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THE GREATER GOOD


EPISODE NO. 21
Season 1, episode 21
Series 121
1st release: 5/06/96
2nd release: 09/02/96
1st strip release: 09/02/98
2nd strip release: 11/30/98
Production number: 76924
Script number: 124
Approximate shooting dates: March 1996
Last update: 03-11-99


GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY by Beboman
NEW STUFF
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
CHANGING TIMES
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
TRANSCRIPT
DISCLAIMER
WHOOSH! ARTICLES
LINKS


GUEST STARS
Robert Trebor (Salmoneus)
Peter McCauley (Talmadeus)

CAST
Jonathon Hendry (Ness)
Natalya Humphrey (Photis)
James Adam (Kalus) Timothy
David Mitchell (Gorney)
Kenneth Prebble (Old Man)

CREDITS
Written by Steven L. Sears
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Gary Jones


TV GUIDE PROMO
When Xena is incapacitated and left near death after being struck by a poisoned dart, Gabrielle is forced to impersonate the Warrior Princess in order to protect a group of innocent villagers.


AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 05/06/96
An AA average of 5.1
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 7th with 5.6
(2) XENA 13th with 5.1
(3) HERCULES 14th with 4.7

2nd RELEASE: 09/02/96
An AA average of 4.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) HERCULES/STAR TREK DS9 9th with 4.8
(2) XENA 12th with 4.5
(3) BAYWATCH 23rd with 3.4





SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Xena and Gabrielle are approached by a young woman, pleading for help for Lord Seltzer. Xena goes and saves Lord Seltzer (aka Salmoneus), but during the fight she's shot mysteriously by a poison dart. Xena continues to fight and acts as if nothing's wrong. She doesn't tell Gabrielle she has been hurt, and during a fight with the warlord who is after Lord Seltzer, Xena is almost killed. Fortunately, Gabrielle comes to the rescue, and the bard and Argo haul the wounded Warrior Princess off to the village.

Xena hatches a plan to convince the warlord that she is really not sick, and in order for this plan to happen, Gabrielle dresses up as Xena. She rides Argo and attacks the warlord's camp. But the warlord still intends to attack, and follows Gabrielle back to the village. Gabrielle has a fake chakram; Xena convinces them that Gabrielle is the "real" Xena by throwing the real chakram from where she lays ill. Gabrielle then goes back for another attack on the warlord, where she is captured. Argo saves Gabrielle.

Meanwhile, though, two men come in and attack Xena. She fights them off. But Salmoneus finds Xena prone on the ground ... dead. When Gabrielle returns, she finds her friend covered up. Gabrielle convinces Salmoneus that they must stay and fight, for that is what Xena would have wanted. Gabrielle vents her frustration on a tree, and Salmoneus goes to the warlord to make a trade. But the warlord is not an honorable man. He rounds up the villagers, and intends to sell them off, not simply take Salmoneus and Xena's body, as he said he would. He tries to have Xena's "carcass" torn in two, but Argo will not move. When a soldier goes to beat the horse, Xena rises from the dead. She then proceeds to win the battle, having recovered from the toxin in the dart.



COMMENTARY:

This commentary is by Beboman.

One of my favorite episodes of the first season. This episode had the perfect mixture of comedy, action and drama. It also brought back to Xenaland the character of Salmoneus, giving this episode an extra edge and twist, as well as a special tone to the comedy in the episode.

This episode goes a little deeper into the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. In this episode, we see how important Xena has become to Gabrielle. The friendship that unites these two characters is very evident in this episode, not only in those dramatic moments the episode presents marvelously, but also in those simple and familiar moments, such as the beginning of the episode when Gabrielle is practicing with her staff or when Gabrielle is about to mount Argo just before Xena whistles and Gabrielle tells Argo, "Xena would be so proud." Then further in the episode, when Xena faces Talmadeus' army as they march toward the village, Gabrielle is hiding in the bushes cheering her friend on, full of pride and awe for this woman who she calls her friend.

In this episode, once again, we see how important Gabrielle has become to Xena. Xena has come to trust this young woman, rely on her and care for her. Gabrielle has become Xena's friend, family and disciple. Xena has begun to guide Gabrielle, both in life and in the art of the warrior.

When Xena is unable to fight and defend the village, she looks to Gabrielle for support and help. Furthermore, in this episode Xena teaches Gabrielle the importance of staying focused, something which is very important, both in life and war. (The more focused you are, the better control you have, both in life and in war.) Xena goes farther and, due to the need of the circumstances, teaches Gabrielle basic military tactics and a basic understanding of the enemy.

It is also in this episode that Xena explains to Gabrielle the importance of The Greater Good. She tells Gabrielle, "It is not about me, it is about these people. That is why we are here. People like this used to be my victims. I keep that in mind every time we come up against a warlord like Talmadeus. It is the Greater Good, remember that." (Words to live by.) But, notice that in that speech Xena says "we". She includes Gabrielle in her fight. She could have said "I", but she chose "we". Once again, the importance of Gabrielle to Xena is relevant in this episode.

This episode presents the audience with a young warrior, Gabrielle. She is no longer the poor defenseless little girl from Potadia, but a warrior who can basically stand on her own. We see the young warrior following in the steps of her teacher and mentor, showing off all she has learned from her teacher, but adding her own very special touches and enthusiasm. It is that desire to emulate her mentor that gets Gabrielle in trouble and causes her to get caught by Talmadeus, hence revealing Xena's apparent health problem. Still, under those circumstances, Gabrielle, like her mentor, maintains her composure and, with the help of Argo, manages to get away. We also see this young warrior risk her life in the defense of the body of her best friend so she can fulfill her friend's last wish.

There are some very dramatic moments in this episode that bring tears to the audience, such as when Xena, alone in the warehouse, almost dead, weak, and at the end of her physical strength, fights the two soldiers sent by Talmadeus to kill her. The music here is a reminder to us, the audience, of a similar moment, "The Gauntlet". The same way as when Xena fought to get to the end to the line in "The Gauntlet", once again Xena is faced with the same struggle. Xena once again crawls toward the end with the last drop of strength and courage and once again falls and is believed to be finished. Just as in "The Gauntlet", the witness to the struggle of this great warrior is Salmoneus. Only this time it is apparent to both Salmoneus and Gabrielle that this is the end of the Warrior Princess.

Salmoneus' words when he finds the inert body of the Warrior Princess are so descriptive about who and what Xena is: "Proud warrior. I will miss you."

For me, as an audience member, the most touching moment was when Gabrielle finds her best friend, her companion and her mentor dead. The scene was so touching. The music combined with the acting was so riveting. The softness and tenderness of Gabrielle's pain was so much in contrast with the violent and determined pain expressed by Xena in "There is a Doctor.." when Gabrielle died.

Here again the writers take the opportunity to show how different these two characters are, but at the same time, how much these two characters love each other. That is not all the writers do for us. They proceed to show us the strength of the pupil as Gabrielle takes over where Xena left off and after giving instructions and saying, almost verbatim, to Salmoneus what Xena had told her, goes to grieve her loss privately.

Loved the repeat of the scene of fighting off Talmadeus' Army. We see Gabrielle fighting them almost identically as Xena did at the beginning of the show and with Gabrielle still wearing Xena's outfit.

Also loved the ending when Xena comes back to life. It was great. The reactions to her reappearance by Talmadeus (disbelief), Salmoneus (surprise) and Gabrielle (ecstatic) were just outstanding.

As I said in the beginning, this episode had the perfect mixture of comedy, drama and action, mixed with some great music, photography, writing and direction



NEW STUFF

THE GREATER GOOD was the first hurt/comfort/dead scenes between Xena and Gabrielle, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, the first mention of the L-word between our grrls.



WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR

02-05-99. Robert Field, a film editor of XWP, at the Santa Monica Xena Convention (01/24/99) showed some "lost scenes" from different episodes. One of them was a much-discussed scene from THE GREATER GOOD which showed greater interaction between Gabrielle and Argo in the "tree bashing" scene. From the same episode, we got to see a funny piece with Argo burping fizzy water and the reaction of Xena and Gabrielle.

02-05-99. Steven L. Sears, writer and co-executive producer of XWP, at the Santa Monica Xena Convention (01/24/99) said that there were different moments that impressed him as regards to Lucy Lawless' and Renee O'Connor's portrayal of their characters. He specifically related an interesting tale about THE GREATER GOOD, and how from one line of description (the Tree Bashing Scene) Renee pulled out everything he imagined that scene should convey.

12-16-98. Robert Trebor at the Creation Phoenix Con (05-31-98), said that he is most proud of his work in the XENA episode THE GREATER GOOD. The audience clapped enthusiastically in appreciation for Robert's work in that episode. Robert noted that the episode gave him a chance to be both comedic and serious. He especially likes the scene in which Salmoneus thinks Xena is dead. In order to do the scene well, Robert asked Lucy (after rehearsals and before they were about to do the take) to please open her eyes and let him look at her for about ten seconds in silence before she closed her eyes. He said that, during that time, he imagined Lucy dying, and that that helped him to bring up the appropriate emotion for the scene. In fact, in the first few takes, he was in tears. The director asked him not to cry in the scene because that emotion was to be saved for Gabrielle. So, in the next take, he was more restrained.

12-16-98. At the Burbank Con II (01/98), Robert Field, film editor of XWP, mentioned in his presentation that in THE GREATER GOOD, there was a poignant scene left on the cutting room floor. In the cut scene, Gabrielle is pounding her staff against a tree. When she slumps to the ground from exhaustion, Argo comes over to her and nuzzles her. Gabrielle pets her nose and says "I guess it's just you and me now."



CHANGING TIMES

Changing Times is by Debbie White.

In THE GREATER GOOD (#21), Xena learns how far Gabrielle will go for her, and Gabrielle learns how much Xena has changed.

The Changing Xena

Xena starts the episode by riding out to save a village from a warlord named Talmadeus. When she finds out the town's hero is Salmoneus, she is exasperated but nonetheless continues to save the village. Xena is then hit by a poisoned dart from an unknown enemy. It is not amazing that Xena has enemies, but it is amazing Xena does not have a clue as to who it might be.

Xena does know what the poison in the dart is, though, showing off her medical knowledge. She does not tell Gabrielle about being poisoned until she is almost killed in battle. Xena is still hiding her weaknesses, even from Gabrielle.

Xena also shows she has a sense of humor along with her confidence at battling large numbers of men. She tags along behind the troop of men and Talmadeus until she is noticed, and then waves happily when seen.

[36] When Gabrielle tells Xena to stop thinking about others for a while, Xena tells her that her first priority and focus is on the greater good. The people of the village, any village she helps, used to be the people she killed and she keeps that in mind when she fights for them against evil. Xena uses her past actions as a motivation to help people, but probably also as a way to never forget what she can become if she forgets that the villagers are people.

We also find out how important it is to Xena that she eventually gets to go home. Even if she cannot go home in life, she very much wants to go home and be buried there when she dies. Now that Gabrielle has proven she will do anything to make that wish come true, she is at last not worried about that anymore.

Xena also shows how she works at defeating her enemies. It is more evident here because she is making others do the work for her. Her simple strategy is to hit people with their greatest fear and demoralize them.

Argo has already been shown as a close companion to Xena. Now Xena shows how much she cares for Argo by breaking the arm of the soldier that was going to kill her .

The Changing Gabrielle

Gabrielle starts off the episode practicing her staff, against Argo! Xena has obviously been teaching Gabrielle some moves, which means Xena must think Gabrielle has learned the 'rules of survival' she set out for Gabrielle in DREAMWORKER (#03).

Gabrielle has helped care for Argo before, even though she has expressed a dislike for riding horses. Still, Gabrielle had a pony when she was young. Horses themselves probably do not scare Gabrielle per se. More likely wild rides or war-horses (like Argo) probably make her nervous. It would also explain why she is willing to get on a horse, but regrets it after the ride is done.

Gabrielle is now growing into a decent fighter. It is not only the actual fighting, but the knowledge of when to fight and when not to. When Xena takes on Talmadeus and his troop of men, Gabrielle hides and watches. When Xena falls and cannot find her sword, Gabrielle knows something is wrong and it is time to fight. Later, Gabrielle is getting good enough with her staff that she can fight her way into the camp to try and get Xena's body.

The fact that Xena is willing to risk Gabrielle by having her play at being Xena means her confidence in Gabrielle's ability has gone up. Not only must Gabrielle be able to defend herself, but now she is following Xena's orders well enough that she does not think Gabrielle will go off and do heroics when told not to.

No one can say Gabrielle is not brave. She does not want to 'be' Xena, yet she does it because Xena asks her to and it needs to be done. She rides Argo again because Xena asks her to. She confronts a camp of troops without Xena because it is part of Xena's plan. She even stands up to Talmadeus when she is captured and scared.

Gabrielle is still the master at talking and improvising to cover her mistakes, though. She is also very loyal to Xena, willing to fight her way into Talmadeus' camp to try and retrieve Xena's body to take back to Amphipolis.

Gabrielle's reaction to Xena's death is interesting. She worries it will happen, quickly figures out that Salmoneus' silence means Xena is dead, then quietly stares at Xena and kisses her cheek. When Salmoneus suggests fleeing, Gabrielle dons the boots she was only pretending to wear before. She will not leave Xena behind, so they must stay and defend her body. Gabrielle cooks up a plan, then rides out and beats a tree senseless in her grief. One would expect a bard to write a story rather than pummel a tree.

It is interesting to notice that Gabrielle carries her staff to fight with on horseback and when fighting into the camp. However, when she is threatening Talmadeus' life, she uses a sword. Does she equate swords with killing?

The Changing Argo

Argo finally gets to show her true colors. Before, Argo just had to put up with Gabrielle, now she gets to save Gabrielle's life! Argo is so loyal to Xena that she talks with another horse and refuses to tear apart Xena's body, even when she is being whipped.



THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

The evil warlord in THE GREATER GOOD, Talmadeus, who wants the head of Salmoneus, is played by the same actor who plays a different evil warlord in the HERC episode MEN IN PINK who falls in love with Salmonella (Salmoneus in drag).

Have you seen the fork in GREATER GOOD? Margaret spotted this one. When Xena is fighting the warlord, the drug delivered by Callisto's dart starts to take effect, and she falls. The bad guy goes to kill her with his sword, and she rolls out of the way. There is what looks like a stainless steel fork under her shoulder. But turns out that it isn't one afterall, just a native NZ plant which grows a stalk which looks like a fork on celluloid! Amazing but true. During the Burbank 1997 Convention, editor Robert Field personally awarded Margaret a prize (a stalk with a fork attached) for finding the fork.

Toward the end, when the bad guys are about to tie Xena's body to the horses, there is a commotion in the backgrond where Gabrielle is supposedly fighting her way through a group of soldiers. Watch the guy on the extreme left of the group. He's really "getting down" with those dance moves.



SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES

Prepared by SheWho.

This is another post describing differences between the shooting script and the televised version of an X:WP ep. There are a number of omitted lines and scenes from The Greater Good, one of the best episodes of either season, imo. While there is no breathy consummation of passion in this version of the script, we get interesting descriptions of important scenes, more information about Gabrielle's relationship with her pony Tympani, a great Gabrielle-Argo scene, an explanation for how Gab ended up back at the factory after leaving to find Iolaus, and other tidbits.

THE GREATER GOOD, by Steven L. Sears. Directed by Gary Jones. Shooting Draft - March 26, 1996.

An interesting parallel between The Greater Good and Dreamworker (both of which were written by Sears): The opening scene is described with a focus on Gabrielle: "She literally rolls into frame and pops up, her staff at the ready. Her look is intense as she moves the staff back and forth, looking for an opening. It's like the opening of Dreamworker (if any of us can remember that long ago), except this time, she looks as if she knows what she's doing. She gets a sly smile on her face, the kind brought on by the knowledge of ultimate victory over an opponent. She suddenly breaks into a choreographed frenzy of staff-swinging; she has obviously learned her defense well. She finishes with the staff locked under one arm at the ready, her other arm out in a defensive position."

When Gabrielle complains that she has to practice and Xena replies not with her horse, Xena asks, "What happened to attacking tree stumps?" Gabrielle replies, "Argo has less splinters. And she doesn't fight back...usually." A few other explanatory lines are missing from the televised version of this scene. Xena tells Gabrielle to bring Argo and meet her on the road. The script contains a few extra lines:


Gabrielle: "Hold on...you're trying to teach me a lesson, aren't you? Leave me with Argo and I'm supposed to learn how well we can get along, right?"

Xena: "Not really. But if you don't want to be alone with her..."

Gabrielle: "Hey! I'm not *afraid* of her. You go on, we'll catch up."

"And Gabrielle turns away to pick up her bundle. Out of her sight, Xena whispers something to Argo. Argo reacts, but Xena gives her a look. Argo bows her head. Then:"

Xena: "Make sure the saddle is tight."

"And she sprints off. Gabrielle looks at her go."

Gabrielle: "Make sure the saddle's tight?"

"As she ponders this, Argo comes up and puts her nose under Gabrielle's hand. She reacts, at first pulling away. Then, she tentatively rubs Argo's nose. [Cut to next scene]"

In the script, there's a brief omitted exchange between Salmoneus and Gabrielle, who has deduced that Salmoneus is selling fizzy water. Salmoneus explains that the villagers' productivity has improved, etc.

Xena: "And of all people, they gave you the credit."

Gabrielle: "Any baby will tell you that burping makes you feel better. Of course, babies aren't in it for a profit."

Salmoneus: "You really haven't done anything about your sarcasm, have you? It's not an attractive trait."

Some omitted background that Talmadeus has with Xena, mentioned after his man reports her interference:

Talmadeus: "I was with Xactius when he went up against Xena. The tricky bitch wiped out half his army. What could possibly interest her here?"

Ness: "Perhaps she's after the elixir."

Talmadeus: "You fool. There is no elixir. It's just spring water."


Then Talmadeus announces that he wants Salmoneus..."There is no creature on earth, nor god from Olympus that will keep me from feeding his broken body to vultures... while he's still alive. I've sworn this."

This isn't a script difference, but I enjoyed reading Sears' description of the first Xena- Talmadeus fight, so what the h*ll:

"Talmadeus jumps down from his horse and pulls his sword. With a yell, he attacks her. Xena turns, draws her sword, and deflects his blow. The men watch as their leader goes at her. At first, this seems to be the typical Xena fight; she is just too good for her opponent."

Cut to Gabrielle in the woods: "She's watching the fight, enjoying it." [No kidding. It was this scene that first suggested to me that Gabrielle *really* enjoys watching Xena fight, if you know what I mean.] Back to scene.

"Now, something strange happens. Xena is locked blade-to-blade with Talmadeus when, with a mighty push, he shoves her back onto the ground. A beat as everyone reacts to this. Xena takes a deep breath. There is a trickle of sweat running down her face. She gets back up, a little more slowly than we are used to. Talmadeus charges. Xena defends. The blades clash again, and, again, she is knocked back, this time to one knee. Xena touches her neck where the dart hit her. Her breath is labored."

"Gabrielle is suddenly concerned."

Gabrielle: "Something's wrong..."

Back to scene.
"Xena stands to her feet. Her logs are wobbly. Talmadeus presses his advantage. Xena is purely on the defensive now and she's being beaten. Talmadeus is screaming with joy."

"Gabrielle is almost beside herself."

Gabrielle: "What's going on? What's happening?"

Back to scene.
"Xena tries to throw a side kick into Talmadeus. But it's slow, as if the end of her leg is a dead weight. Talmadeus grabs her leg and kicks the other out from under her. Her sword drops to her side. She looks over to her sword; too far away. Then she looks up, helpless, as Talmadeus stands over her, his sword ready."

Talmadeus: "I'm the man who killed Xena!"

"His sword raises..."
"Gabrielle takes her staff by one end, swings it wide and throws it. The staff spins through the air like a helicopter blade. The staff hits him solidly in the wrist, causing the sword to fly away."

"Back to scene as Xena kicks out weakly. Talmadeus is taken by surprise and her almost useless foot manages to hit his ankle, knocking him off balance. Talmadeus' men start to move forward. Xena whistles loudly, as Gabrielle runs out of the woods to retrieve her staff, as Argo comes bounding into the area. Xena stands shakily, her legs almost gone. She grabs the saddle."

Xena: "Gabrielle!"

"Gabrielle takes no time in running for Argo and leaping onto her sideways, holding onto Xena for dear life as Xena whistles and Argo bounds off into the brush."

It's Tolmic poison

The description of Gab putting on Xena's clothing (which Xena feels revived enough to watch, I notice):,

"Various angles that repeat the shots from the opening credits: black boots being laced; leather skirt being adjusted; and, finally, hands lifting out of a bowl with some black liquid all over them. Then: back to scene - on Gabrielle: Warrior Bard. Gabrielle is wearing Xena's clothes and armor; her hair is jet black. She strikes a pose."

Gabrielle: "What do you think?"

"Include Xena and Salmoneus. Salmoneus is appraising her, nodding his head. Then, the breastplate slips a bit and droops."

Salmoneus: "I think...I'd like a grave underneath a shady tree."

~The Xena/Gabrielle 'love' scene begins slightly differently, and includes some bits of omitted dialogue about focus which make Gabrielle's tree-bashing monologue a little clearer. Rather than Xena beckoning Gabrielle over to her, "Gabrielle kneels next to Xena. She feels Xena's forehead, but Xena shakes her hand away."

Xena: "Gabrielle, listen carefully. I know you've been in battles before, but this will be different. You have to stay focused. Let the world disappear, let *me* disappear from your thoughts. Focus. I want you riding in and out quickly."

Gabrielle: "Riding? That would mean...Argo. She doesn't like me." (then) "I know. I have to forget that."

"Gabrielle tightens the laces on the boots."

Xena: "Argo doesn't hate you. I thought you had a pony when you were young."

Gabrielle: "I did. His name was Tympani. He was about this high..." (four feet) "...and he had a beautiful golden mane and little white spots right above his eyes that made him look like he was always asking you a question. I only tried to ride him once. It didn't work out, for either of us. Still...he used to follow me around everywhere. I even let him sleep in my room a couple of times."

[Xena asks if Gabrielle left Tympani with her sister, and Gabrielle says that's the trouble with things you love. Sometimes they just leave you.]


"Xena puts her hand on Gabrielle's arm. Gabrielle attempts a smile."

In the next scene, where Gabrielle tells Argo they need a truce, Salmoneus' whistle causes Argo to begin circling. "Gabrielle fixes a stern look on Salmoneus, her head staying toward him as Argo walks around." Then a bird who lets out a whistle, which sends Argo bolting for the forest with Gabrielle hanging on.

When Gabrielle confronts Talmadeus' men, she taunts, "Thought you'd come back for some more, did you?" In the script, she adds, "You fell for my little trick and I have you just where I want you!" [Gabrielle's subsequent line, "I always bow to my enemies before I destroy them!" is one of my all-time favorites. This scene also helped convert my mother into a willing-to-watch- Xena-if-I'm-bored fan.]

An omitted scene: After Talmadeus' men run from the cork darts, Xena

"rolls over and leans next to a barrel. She looks exhausted. She knocks on the side of the barrel. The top of the barrel rises with Salmoneus' head underneath."

Salmoneus: "Did we win?"

Xena: "We won the first battle."

Salmoneus: "*First* battle?"

"With that, he lowers himself back into the barrel."

Some lines were omitted from the next scene, which I think was an improvement, although the film clip of Salmoneus reaching for Xena's cleavage was pretty hilarious. The scene also includes some omitted lines between Gabrielle and Xena that I liked, in which Gabrielle tells Xena that she doesn't want the last thing Xena tells her to be a lie. For completeness, the whole scene as scripted is set forth:

Gabrielle: "Can you stop thinking about everyone else for a second? Isn't there anything I can do for you?"

Salmoneus: "Chicken soup!" (off their reactions) "That's what you need. Some of my patented chicken soup. Yes? Soup is good food, trust Salmoneus. Let's see...lots of chickens around here. I just need a knife."

Xena: "Take my breast dagger."

"He starts to reach toward her breasts."


Xena (calmly): "My breast dagger is in my pouch."

Salmoneus: "Ah. Perhaps a name change of that particular equipment might be in order."

"He heads off. Gabrielle sits next to Xena."

Gabrielle: "I'm worried about you. I mean, are you sure there isn't something that can fight this poison?"

Xena (intense): "Don't worry about me. What did I tell you? Focus! We have Talmadeus on his heels... You have to hit him at his camp. A direct attack will really make him cautious. Take these..."

"She reaches out to grab the ropes on the pouches, but her hands have to struggle with them. Gabrielle helps, then:"

Gabrielle: "Xena... are you going to die?"

Xena: "The poison just has to run its course. I'm going to be okay."

"Gabrielle stares into her eyes and doesn't like what she reads."

Gabrielle: "No...Xena, please. I don't... I don't want the last thing you tell me to be a lie... if it is the last thing..."

"Xena struggles with the answer. Finally:"

Xena: "It's possible... it's a very strong poison. It could... take me."

Gabrielle: "This can't be happening... Not to you."

"Xena grabs her hand."

Xena: "Gabrielle, this isn't about me. It's about these people. That's why we're here. People like this used to be my victims. I keep that in mind every time we come up against warlords like Talmadeus. It's the greater good. Remember that."

"Gabrielle nods, her emotions in turmoil. She picks up the pouches and starts to rise, but Xena stops her."

Xena: "Gabrielle... If... if it does happen... now, or whenever... I want to be taken back home and buried next to Lyceus, my brother."

"Gabrielle can barely speak. She can only nod."

Xena: "Go. I'll be here when you come back."

Gabrielle stands and exits with the pouches. Salmoneus watches her walk by. Gabrielle is about to exit through the door. Salmoneus can see her distress."

Salmoneus (re: Xena): "She'll be okay. She's strong. And with my chicken soup racing through her body, she'll be as good as new."

"She tries to smile at him and exits."

When Gabrielle is being confronted by Talmadeus, she claims that she "was covering for Xena while she... she went to find Hercules! If I were you, I'd get while the getting's good." During Argo's rescue, Gabrielle uses her staff to bat down a spear aimed at the horse. The exchange at the end of the scene in which the ruffian says, "You're not going to kick me, stupid horse!" and Gabrielle replies, "*I* will!" are not in the script.

An omitted beginning of the scene where Salmoneus discovers Xena's body:

"Salmoneus walks in [to the factory], holding his head. The chicken trots in his direction. He cowers from it, protecting his head."

Salmoneus: "Okay! I'll make *pheasant* soup!"

"The chicken looks at him with a newfound sense of superiority, then walks away." He then sees Xena...

The televised version of the scene where Gabrielle realizes that Xena is dead is better than the script, which includes some unnecessary verbage and doesn't include a kiss:

"Gabrielle drops to her knees next to Xena as her strength leaves her. Salmoneus motions for everyone to move away. The people back off. Tears and anger swell up inside Gabrielle as she reaches out and touches the blanket... She lifts it off Xena's face. Xena looks peaceful and at rest."

Salmoneus: "I don't know what happened. I was knocked out and they *had* me! But they must have gotten greedy and gone after her! When I came to, she was like... this. We tied the two warriors up."

"A long pause. Gabrielle says nothing. Salmoneus wrings his hands. He lowers his voice so the people don't hear."

Salmoneus: "There's nothing we can do. We've got to get out of here. It's called cutting your losses and changing markets. That's what I think." (beat) "What do you think?"

"A moment as Gabrielle doesn't answer. Again, she touches Xena's face." Gab then takes a deep breath and begins to issue instructions...

The scene where Gabrielle takes out her anger includes a sweet scene with Argo, which Sears mentioned had to be cut for length considerations:

"Gabrielle removes her staff from the saddle and, determination on her face, heads toward the woods. She gets just to the edge when it overtakes her... She pauses... then spins and hits a nearby tree with her staff in anger. Again and again, she hits it, the tears flowing freely now. Finally, she drops to the ground."

Gabrielle: "No...Xena said to focus... I have to focus..." (then) "Oh, Xena..."

"She curls up, pulling her knees to her and lowering her head, sobbing. A beat, then she feels something beside her. Argo pushes her nose up against her, softly. She turns and rubs Argo's nose, still crying."

Gabrielle: "It's just you and me, Tympani... and we're going to be okay. We are."

"She stands and picks up her staff."

Gabrielle: "I have a better chance on foot. Stay here. I'll be coming back." (then) "Be here when I do."

"She gives Argo a hug around the neck, picks up her courage, and heads off into the woods."

An omitted scene immediately before Salmoneus tells Xena's body that he knows what he has to do:

"The people all stare at Salmoneus as he enters [the factory]. They're looking for guidance."

Gorney: "What are we supposed to do, Lord Seltzer?"

Photis: "Did you and Gabrielle come up with a plan?"

Old man: "Just tell us what to do and we'll defend you!"

"They all cheer at that. Salmoneus takes a breath and calms them down."

Salmoneus: "Okay...okay! Quiet! Listen, people... I'm not... I'm not all that you think I am. A brilliant financial mind, yes, but I'm not worth..." (deep breath) "I'm not worth dying for. There. I've said it. I'm not worth it. Okay?"

"A beat, then Photis steps forward and gestures to Xena's body."

Photis: "She thought you were."

"Salmoneus reacts. Then, he nods."

Salmoneus: "Okay. Let's move all those barrels to the door. We can hold out here. For a while, anyway."

"They cheer and begin working."

Salmoneus begins his bargaining with Talmadeus by telling Talmadeus that "without Xena, you can't win. You know that. Not that you aren't the ultimate warrior. Your power is legendary. But...why fight her when you can have her delivered to you?"

Talmadeus: "And you."

Salmoneus (beat): "Yes. And me."

Talmadeus: "And all I have to do is...?"

Salmoneus: "Leave the valley. Let these people go. Take me and Xena and... do what you want with us." They strike a deal, and the next scene is at the factory:

"Some kegs are set up at the entrance. Gorney and several men are manning the entrance."

Salmoneus' voice: "It's Lord Seltzer! I'm coming in!"

Gorney: "Stand down, everyone!"

"They pull the kegs away. Suddenly, Ness and his men rush in, shoving the villagers aside. Taken by surprise, the battle is quick. Salmoneus enters."

Salmoneus: "Don't fight! It's going to be okay! Talmadeus and I have an arrangement!"

"The men subdue the crowd."

Ness: "Where's Xena?"

"Salmoneus walks him over to the body. Ness smiles."

Salmoneus: "What are you going to do with her?"

Ness: "Me? Nothing. But Talmadeus wants her body torn from limb to limb. I'm just going to enjoy it." (to men) "Let's get them out of here!"

"Salmoneus turns to head out. Ness takes a beat, turns and kicks Xena. He walks away."

"Close - Xena's hand as it moves a bit, then stops..."

How Gabrielle ends up back outside the factory, instead of looking for Iolaus at Levadi:

Ext. woods - day.

"Gabrielle is trying her best to use what senses she has learned from Xena as she moves along. A beat, then she stops... she hears something. She ducks into hiding as two of Talmadeus' men walk through. Another man, Warrior #1, calls to them."

Warrior #1 (O.S.): "Hold up!"

"The two men turn as he walks up."

Warrior #1: "Change of plans. We're to assemble near the factory."

Warrior #2: "What about Xena?"

Warrior #1: "Xena's dead. It's all over. One of the villagers sold them out."

Warrior #2 (to other man): "What did I tell you? One of them would turn. You owe me ten dinars."

"And they head off. Gabrielle appears again. She has no choice; she heads back toward the factory."

Ext. factory - Day.

"The villagers are herded out. Nymis grabs Argo's reins. She resists, but he holds her fast. Ness and Salmoneus come out as Kalus drags Xena across the ground. Salmoneus doesn't look pleased with Xena's treatment."

Salmoneus: "Now, don't hurt any of the people. Talmadeus promised they wouldn't be harmed."

"Meanwhile, we intercut with Gabrielle watching from the brush. Her face reveals anger toward Salmoneus."

Salmoneus: "He's not going to like it if you go back on our arrangement."

"Gabrielle reacts to hearing this."

Gabrielle (to herself): "He sold us out..."

"Ness turns to Kalus."

Ness: "We're keeping our end of the bargain. Now, you go with your people. Calm them down. If they resist, the deal is off. Understand?"

"Salmoneus nods and, with a look to Xena, exits with the people. Ness turns back to Kalus."

Ness: "Wrap her up in that blanket. Talmadeus wants her body to prove he's killed her. Bring it *and* the horse."

"Kalus roughly wraps Xena in the blanket and picks her up. All three of them, including Argo, exit the area. [Focus] On Gabrielle, frozen in shock."

In the script, Salmoneus offers to throw in Xena's chakram to sweeten the deal when he's trying to convince Talmadeus to honor his end of the bargain.

I love Sears' description of Gabrielle-the-avenger who wants Xena's body:

"She swings [her staff] around as we've never seen her do it before, as she heads relentlessly toward Talmadeus."

Talmadeus: "Don't kill her! I like her spirit!"

"If they don't kill her, they sure aren't going to capture her. Gabrielle has a look in her eyes we haven't seen. At one point, a warrior pulls a sword in front of her. She brings her staff up under his chin and sweeps the other end under his wrist, sending the sword flying. Then, she vaults over the man, hits the ground and rolls to her feet, coming up directly in front of Talmadeus. Before he can react, she catches the sword as it comes down and points it right at him. Let's face it, we *are* amazed. Talmadeus freezes, only inches from death. The blaze in Gabrielle's eyes lets us know that she's not to be taken lightly."

After Talmadeus tricks Gabrielle into shifting her grip on the sword, he taunts them as pathetic, then adds: "You think you can steal Xena's body from me. Salmoneus thinks he can trade his life for the villagers." "Gabrielle gives a look to Salmoneus." Later, while Xena's body is being tied to the horses, "Gabrielle glares at Salmoneus, who can't return her gaze." At the end of the big brawl, Gabrielle yanks Salmoneus off the ground, and he shouts, "Wait! You don't understand!" She replies, "I understand you did it to save these people. There's hope for you yet, Salmoneus." She smiles and hugs Salmoneus, who is unsure how to react.

During the final exchange between the two, Xena tells Gabrielle that she "almost was" dead; in the televised version she says that she "was." [Some of us at my place of business thought about using that excuse for missing work after the episode aired: "Sorry; I wasn't feeling well, and I had to go under to fight the effects."]



TRANSCRIPT

Click here to read a transcript of THE GREATER GOOD.



DISCLAIMER:

Excessive belching can cause brain damage and social ostracism. Kids, please don't give in to peer pressure. Play it Safe.



WHOOSH! ARTICLES:

The following WHOOSH! articles discuss this episode:

Carter, Richard Jr., The Hero's Path: Gabrielle as Focal Hero in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 2 (October 1996), paragraph 29

Erb, Maria, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS Scenes We'd Like To See, Issue 6 (March 1997)

Dekker, Nusi P., Who Was Xena's Father? Theories on the Warrior Princess' Origins , Issue 6 (March 1997), paragraph 20

Firebaugh, Anita, Reactions to Death in THE GREATER GOOD and IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE , Issue 3 (November 1996)

Gaar, Gillian G., An Interview with Hudson Leick , Issue 11 (August 1997), paragraphs 19-20

Gilmore, Merry, A Fan's FIrst Introduction to Fan Fiction , Issue 6 (March 1997), paragraph 6

Huang, Peter, Law and Economics in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 2 (October 1996), paragraph 22

LaFleur, Richard, Is Xena a Warrior Born or a Warrior Made? , Issue 9 (June 1997), paragraph 84

Letters to the Editor, Letters to the Editor ,Issue 11 (August 1997)

Robillard, Stacey, Why Doesn;t Renee O'Connor Get More Credit? Or What Have *They* Got Against Gabrielle? , Issue 9 (June 1997), paragraph 4

Rudnick, Bret, Callisto: Arch- Villain Extraordinaire , Issue 4 (December 1996), paragraph 13

Rudnick, Bret, An Interview with Robert Field, Part 2 of 2, Issue 11 (August 1997), paragraphs 128, 162-172

Silva, Anita, The Kiss: Xena and Gabrielle , Issue 4 (December 1996), paragraphs 4-8, 35

Silver, Diane, The Shock of Recognition: A Lesbian Appreciation of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, Issue 11 (August 1997), paragraph 27

Swenson, Gregory R., Alexander the Great: Blueprint for Xena , Issue 4 (December 1996), paragraph 8

Swenson, Gregory R., Puritanism, Capitalism, and Transcendentalism in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 8 (May 1997), paragraph 27



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