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Season 3, episode 3
Series 303
1st release: 10/13/97
2nd release: 12/08/97
1st strip release: 10/07/98
2nd strip release:
Production number: V0411
Script number: 308
Approximate shooting dates: July 1997
Last update: 11-05-01

COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Carmen Carter

Kevin Smith (Ares)
Charles Mesure (Darnelle)
Katrina Hobbs (Glaphyra)
Jon Brazier (Walsim)
Jonathan Roberts (Agathon)

Stephen Ure (Monlik)
Peter Ford (Villager #1)
Roy Snow (Athenian Captain)
Adam Schlooz (Guard #1)
Amron McCormack (Warrior #1)
Campbell Rousselle (Warrior #2)

Written by Steven L. Sears
Directed by Rick Jacobson

Xena rounds up a gang of cutthroats to battle the warlord Agathon, a protege of Ares who possesses weapons made of a super-hard metal.

Xena assembles a ruthless band of convicts to confront a powerful army clad in indestructible armor.

Xena, Gabrielle and four felons set out to keep Ares' protege Agathon from conquering the world.

Xena and Gabrielle team up with a band of criminals to battle Ares' ambitious protege and his heavily armed troops.


1st RELEASE: 10-13-97
An AA average of 5.0
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES ranked 3rd at 8.8
(2) XENA/HERCULES ranked 9th at 5.0 ("Regrets, I've Had A Few" 62/403)
(3) STDS9 ranked 12th at 4.8 ("Sons and Daughters" 127/603)
(4) WALKER ranked 18th
(5) NYPD BLUE ranked 22nd at 3.6
(6) BAYWATCH ranked 24th at 3.4

2nd RELEASE: 12-08-97
An AA average of Not available
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
Episodes in competition:
HERCULES ("Regrets, I've Had A Few" 62/403)
STDS9 ("Ferengi Love Songs" 518R)


This synopsis is by Anita Firebaugh.

The show opens as a soldier from the Athenian army, bloody, tries to understand how 6000 soldiers were just killed. Then he is killed. The visuals switch to a man being beheaded. He is saved by two hooded figures. When he is safe, he sees Xena and Gabrielle standing before him. Xena tells him he has a choice: work with her to go up against Ares or go back to the village to be killed. Some choice.

Another man is put into a prison cell, and suddenly Xena jumps up from a sewer in the floor. She takes the man, another man, and a woman who was hiding amongst the men in the jail, and disappears with them. They all join up on the road, where Xena gives them weapons. She makes introductions: the first man she saved is Walsim. There is a tall man, a gladiator, named Darnelle. The other man, a skinny weasel of a guy, is Monlik, a thief. The girl is Glaphyra, a slave trader who deals strictly in men. Xena trained and taught them all.

Xena takes them to the battlefield and shows them the destroyed army. Suddenly armored men come after them. They have metal from the forge of Hephaestus! Ares has stolen the secret and has given it to a young warlord named Agathon. Ares wants him to be his next conqueror. After some whacking and fighting, Xena and her "friends" defeat the small number of armored men.

While making camp, Xena and Gabrielle have a talk. Gabrielle is wondering if she is who she is now because of Xena. Xena expects to stay up all night because her "friends" are not trustworthy, but since they do not trust each other no one sleeps but Xena and Gabrielle. Xena sends Darnelle and Glaphyra to town to buy some supplies, the thief Monlik to check out Agathon's castle, and she and Gabrielle go and ask King Gregor (from Season 1's CRADLE OF HOPE) to mobilize his army against Agathon's. When they reunite, the thief Monlik has decided not to give Xena his information. He attacks Xena and she slams him into an axe sticking out of a tree.

Now they need another plan to get into the castle. Gabrielle and Darnelle throw fire bombs while Glaphyra throws knives into the castle wall so Xena can climb up. She gets in but is trapped because Darnelle and Walsom have turned traitor. Xena, Glaphyra, and Gabrielle are put in a jail cell made of Hephaestus metal. Darnelle returns. He really did not turn traitor! He gives Xena a chain of metal that will cut through the bars and the women are free.

They go to the forge where Agathon is having weapons made. They engage in a very cool fight with Agathon's men, and win. Xena throws all the weapons into the forge and they plug it up so it will blow. Agathon challenges Xena, and Ares says he will not intervene. Agathon has created his own boomerang-like weapon from Hephaestus metal. When that metal meets Xena's chakram, it bursts apart and flies back into Agathon's face. Xena, Glaphyra, Gabrielle and Darnelle get out of the castle before it explodes.

Glaphyera and Darnelle decide to leave together and maybe even do good deeds. Xena tells Gabrielle that she is who she is because of who she is and not because of Xena. But Xena says she would not be who she is without Gabrielle, because Gabrielle has been her teacher.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN was, well, kind of predictable. Five minutes into this episode, I knew exactly who was going to die, who was going to ride into the sunset with whom, and who was going to turn out to be OK in the end.

We were introduced to some intriguing looks at the former Xena, and were shown another of her legacies: a legion of brigands and murderers she mentored that are still inflicting their damage on the countryside. Xena trained incredible warriors, assassins, AND thieves - many skills, indeed!

Interesting parallel between Glaphyra and Gabrielle. Both started out as eager girls who wanted to see the world and fell into the "I'll do anything for the Warrior Princess" haze. Xena was in her warlord days when Glaphyra came around, who ended up as a bitter slaver. Xena had reformed when she met Gabrielle, and Gabrielle has grown into the bard and Amazon princess we know and love. Had their positions been switched, would Glaphyra have turned out noble and Gabrielle angry and violent? Xena doesn't think so, but it's a good question, and one the fans have been batting around in one form or the other for a while now. Gabrielle is strong enough to exert an influence on Xena, but the episode never seemed to hint that Glaphyra had any kind of effect on the warlord. Maybe Gabrielle really would have been strong enough to escape the pull of the Destroyer of Nations. More likely is that Gabrielle never would have wanted to follow the old Xena. It was Xena's heroism that attracted Gabrielle in the first place, while Glaphyra apparently had no qualms about joining up with a warlord.

A GenX warlord? Agathon seemed more suited to Aphrodite's surfer talk than Ares' generalship.

Least favorite member of the A-team: Glaphyra, the woman slaver. She was thinly drawn and not portrayed very convincingly. OK, OK, we got the idea after the first tirade that she hates men. We didn't need to get it driven home five times over, especially when it was so obvious all along that she was going to end up with Darnelle. A string of identical outbursts does not an interesting character make. I could have done with more fire in the belly and fewer one-note insults.

Favorite member of the A-team: Darnelle, the gladiator/javelin-thrower. His smug confidence was fun. That actor did a fine job with the stoic, soldierly Mercer and now turns in a good performance as the flippant and brash Darnelle. Keep that guy on the batting roster. He also gets the line of the episode award for "That's gotta be uncomfortable."

Apparently, the genie from Disney's Aladdin made a brief cameo disguised as Ares ("Oooh! Score one for the warrior princess! [ding!]"). What on EARTH was that?

The shootout in the armory was a cute, if strangely-placed, tip of the hat to spaghetti westerns (watch Xena's fingers twitch).

In the battles against the tin cans, Gabrielle, of all people, turns out to be the most effective! While everyone else is contending with losing their weapons to these guys, Gabrielle's staff is mowing through the baddies. Let's hear it for blunt instruments! The Amazon Princess is definitely kicking t**l these days!

Gabrielle's explanation to Darnelle of her fighting skills was interesting: "I'm a princess." Funny, I would have expected "Are you kidding? I travel with Xena!" Gabrielle has a highly-developed sense of duty toward her Amazon title.

Small question, though: Amazon PRINCESS? Last I knew, she had been promoted. Maybe she's just keeping the princess title while Ephiny's doing the regent gig as queen.

Xena's lost her sword! Oh, it hurt to see that beautiful sword break. Maybe this will be like when her sword went flying over the chasm in A NECESSARY EVIL and/or her whip went by way of Minya in A DAY IN THE LIFE, and we'll see it pop back up again next episode. Those weapons have more lives than cats.


This commentary is by Carmen Carter.

(Yawn) Wha?...oh, yeah...the episode....

Never would have pegged this for a Sears episode, and I'd have to rank it as the weakest of his scripts. Dull plot, lackluster pacing, mildly offensive dialogue in places, a few really good Gab/Xena moments, a few witty lines of dialogue, a lot of mediocre ones, lots of action, and lots of bad acting from the supporting cast. Oh, and some costuming that looked re-cycled from a HTLJ episode about Ancient Greek cyborgs.

The superficial, ham-handed, cliched treatment of that hoary old Battle of the Sexes really sunk this episode for me. The worst of the episode's dialogue was centered on this theme. However, I didn't consider the Bitter Woman to be a lesbian, just one of those Card-carrying Heterosexual Man-Haters who learns to love the Right Guy, especially after he kisses her. Oh, please.

[For you ST:TNG fans, parts of this episode reminded of "Angel One". That was the pedantic first season episode about a planet where women were the rulers and Riker wore a cute little feather-trimmed tunic when he flirted with the female Head Honcho.]

On the bright side, there were several touching scenes in which Xena reaffirmed her admiration and respect for Gabrielle, both her innate goodness as well as the role she's played in Xena's life. And don't miss the moment when Gabrielle wakes up to find the camp empty...I could swear she woke up because Xena was gone from her side. And she and Xena looked splendid in capes!

Overall grade: D for disappointing.


10/30/97. Reported from the 10/26/97 AoL Lawless Chat: Tyldus said that THE DELIVERER was supposed to air *way* before THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN, but it was an "unavoidable station decision" to put them on in the order they did.

Read on the net pondering WHY Xena's sword was cut in half by Hephaestus' metal, but her chakram split Agathon's weapon in half: "Xena's sword [is] her phallic weapon [and so it] easily loses against the metal of Hephaestus. Her yonical weapon [the chakram]... which symbolizes or maybe embodies the female nature, is stronger than the sword, stronger than the metal of Haephestus. I expect someday we will learn more about the origins of the chakram, for now, my reason satisfies me. Makes me smile."


Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

Xena is definitely rubbing off on Gabrielle. That was a pretty nice across-the-cage arm slam she did on Glaphyra when Perdicus was brought up. (And check out the burst of fire in Gabrielle's eyes when she does it. Nice job, Renee!) We saw Xena's sore spot about Lyceus in THE FURIES. This time, we got to see Gabrielle's. These ladies should think about putting up "Beware of berserk rages" signs around certain conversation areas.

Everyone, chant with me: More cloaks! More cloaks! More cloaks! My goodness, those were cool.

Moment of the episode: Xena's battle in the armory, wild-eyed and ready to slaughter, with a Hephaestus-metal sword in each hand. THERE'S a glimpse of the dark Xena we've been promised for the episodes to come. Wow. Agathon the surfer warlord was an idiot for thinking he could take her on. He was completely out of her league. (Kudos to Lucy's steely acting and a hellacious fire-blowing act.)

Some new music was used during Xena's ever-so-cool entrance into the castle via Glaphyra's daggers, Darnelle's javelin, and Walsim's shooting. Very nice!


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

The Gabgarb has shrunk AGAIN. That top now really is a sports bra. The pattern on it has changed, too, and the skirt is a thinner material. No wonder Renee O'Connor is reaching new levels of paranoia about falling out of her outfit -- she hardly has any of it left. If this show does go on to the year 2000, the poor lady's gonna be wearing strings by then. Granted, I don't know of too many people, other than herself, who would complain about it, but I just report the trends.

This episode offered up the definite suggestion that the chakram is of the same Hephaestus-metal as those other weapons were, and was quite likely given to Xena by Ares. But then again, it managed to break -- and reverse -- Agathon's version of a chakram. Maybe that's just what Hephaestus metal can do in the hands of someone more experienced, but, yowza! Why wasn't Xena using the chakram against the tin-can baddies in their first battle against them?

Don't blink or you'll miss the DAY IN THE LIFE in-joke! Be sure to catch the return of the 20 questions game when Xena and Gabrielle return from fetching water.

Watch for the piece of crusting that has fallen off the grate Xena uses to enter Agathon's castle. The grate is covered in rough stone except for one nice, shiny bar of steel down in the lower left.

We have BIG TIME setup for the rift! Many things were discussed that have never been openly discussed before: Xena's influence on Gabrielle, Gabrielle's on Xena, and Gabrielle's independence -- or lack thereof. We might as well have painted in big red letters across the set "Pay attention: here's how strong this relationship is and the questions it has. Stay tuned for it to piledrive right over a cliff into Tartarus."


11-05-01. From Ife. There is an almost throwaway aspect of Dirty Half Dozen, where we get Gabrielle's "am I who I am, or who you made me," and Xena's comment to Glyphyra that some people (like Gabrielle) are "born good," which suggests the pedestal that Xena has Gabrielle on at that time. The "You can re-create yourself every moment" comment to Tara was a big bit of growth since Dirty Half Dozen.

10-07-98. From Stuart Downing. I have not seen this mentioned anywhere else, but my friend and I noted that as the boiler was about to explode at the end of DIRTY HALF DOZEN, Gabrielle and Glaphyra are seen to be holding hands... BEFORE they start to run! I donít know if this actually MEANS anything, but as I am in something of a group of subtext fans, this caused something of a stir.


Click here to read a transcript of THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN .


No Convicts were reformed during the production of this motion picture. Can't we all just get along?


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