THE ANNOTATED "WARRIOR PRINCESS"
ACT III, Part 2 / ACT IV
ACT 3, SCENE 6:
 (Cut to the woods where Xena and Estrogon are waiting to ambush Hercules.)
ESTROGON: There he is.
XENA: Shh, get back.
(Estrogen makes a noise.)
HERCULES: Who's there? If you don't show your face, I'm coming in there after you.
ESTROGON: That won't be necessary.
HERCULES: Does your warrior princess have a previous engagement?
ESTROGON: Even the mighty Hercules should show more respect than that.
HERCULES: For what? A murderer? A crazy woman whose only purpose in life is to kill and conquer?
ESTROGON: You're dead.
HERCULES: Not yet.
(Estrogon and Hercules fight and Estrogon cuts Hercules' arm. Hercules finally defeats Estrogon.)
ESTROGON: No more.
HERCULES: What did you say?
ESTROGON: I said I surrender. Please don't kill me.
HERCULES: I'm not going to kill you. Stand up.
ESTROGON: What are you going to do to me?
(Xena flings her chakram and kills Estrogon, slitting his throat.)
HERCULES: Is this what you do to all your warriors, Xena?!
XENA: Only those who don't follow my code.
ACT 3, SCENE 7: ANNOTATION
INSIGHT INTO THE UNCHAINED HEART XENA
 This is a short scene where Xena makes her getaway with Hercules in pursuit. She rents her clothing, musses up her hair (which makes her surprisingly look like she did throughout UNCHAINED HEART), and returns to her camp.
ACT 3, SCENE 7:
 (Xena rides off. Xena stops to put dirt on herself and tears her clothing and mess up her hair.)
ACT 3, SCENE 8: ANNOTATION
THOSE GOOFY WARRIORS, PART 3
 Since Xena is trying to solicit as much sympathy as possible from Iolaus she doesn't seem at all annoyed by her guards as they show their infinite concern over her. The other times whenever her loyal troops showed concern, she either insulted them or beat them up.
THE TRAP IS SPRUNG
 Iolaus is still a little slow. When Xena is describing to him what happened, he still doesn't get it. "Hercules", Xena has to remind him.
ACT 3, SCENE 8:
 (Cut to Xena's camp where Iolaus is practicing with his knife.)
SOLDIER 1: It's Xena! What's happened to her?
SOLDIER 2: Are you all right?
IOLAUS: Xena, what happened?
XENA: He killed Estrogon, and he tried to kill me.
IOLAUS: Who did?
ACT 4, SCENE 1: ANNOTATION
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE PART 3
 In his attempt to rationalize Hercules "attack" on his lady love, Iolaus begins to convince himself that Hercules has gone mad. Xena jumps on this interpretation and encourages him. By this time, Xena doesn't even need to bait him; he is baiting himself. Iolaus then berates Xena for going with Estrogon, when he should have been by her side. She counters with that Hercules would have killed him. Iolaus' feathers are ruffled and he reacts perfectly as expected, his pride has been hurt. He asks, "You expect me to run away?" Xena sneers, "Other men would." Iolaus counters with "Other men couldn't love you the way I do." Even now, he can't sever himself from the idea that his love for Xena is being tested by an insane Hercules.
 Xena pounces on this immediately. "Do you mean that? Can you really put me in your life before Hercules?" she asks acting as if she didn't know the answer. Iolaus answers, "I did once." She counters with "But this time is different." "Yeah," says Iolaus haltingly, "I know if Hercules comes for you, I may have to -- kill him." Once said Xena then only has to encourage him by soothing his ego. Luckily, Xena doesn't give him her medallion!
 In dialogue straight out of THE POSTMAN RINGS TWICE/DOUBLE INDEMNITY milieu, sans automobile references, Xena prepares Iolaus for the proper frame of mind for his eventual baiting of Hercules. Iolaus is confused. He believes Xena and yet can't believe that Hercules would hunt her down. So he convinces himself that Hercules is insane (more of that irony stuff when the viewer considers that it is Iolaus who is really loopy). Iolaus is also confused about why Xena went out with Estrogon instead of him. Xena artfully directs the conversation so the Iolaus states that he must kill Hercules.
 Again, what is this magic which Xena emits which causes relatively sane men to believe that they can kill Hercules because of their love of her? She really is a black widow!
ACT 4, SCENE 1:
 (Cut to inside, where Iolaus is cleaning Xena up.)
XENA: He caught us by surprise, Iolaus. I thought I was going to die.
IOLAUS: Ambushing people, attacking women. That's not the Hercules I know. He must have gone crazy or something.
XENA: You'd know that he had if you saw what he did to Estrogon.
IOLAUS: Estrogon shouldn't have been there with you; I should have.
XENA: Well then Hercules would have killed you.
IOLAUS: You expect me to run away?
XENA: Other men would.
IOLAUS: Other men couldn't love you the way I do.
XENA: Do you mean that? Can you really put me in your life before Hercules?
IOLAUS: I did once. I'm not going to back down, Xena.
XENA: But this time is different. You've got to know that.
IOLAUS: Yeah. I know if Hercules comes for you, I may have to -- kill him.
XENA: Can you do that?
IOLAUS: Only for you.
XENA: Iolaus, I know you can defeat Hercules. I know it in my soul. You know the way Hercules fights, you know all his moves, you know all of his tricks you know all of his weaknesses.
ACT 4, SCENE 2: ANNOTATION
HERE COMES HERCULES!
 Well, here he comes. Iolaus and Xena are in biiiiig trouble now.
ACT 4, SCENE 2:
 (Here comes Hercules.)
ACT 4, SCENE 3: ANNOTATION
XENA, A HAPPY GAL AT LAST
 Xena is just busting out at the seams. She is proud of herself and can taste victory.
THOSE GOOFY WARRIORS, PART 4
 Ever mindful of the low I.Q. of her troops, Xena reminds them not to tell Iolaus about "the plan" where they will attack Hercules after Hercules has killed Iolaus.
 One of the hidden gems in WARRIOR PRINCESS is Lucy Lawless' consistent subdued playing of Xena's frustration, disrespect, and general disappointment in her troops, yet practical realization that the troops are the best Xena can get and so she works with them. Lawless plays it almost to the point where it has a comedic edge, but because Xena is so despicable, the mood reveals itself as more an irony which Xena herself accepts but chooses to ignore because consciously admitting it would begin to erode her self-inflicted justification for her actions. This general interpretation laid the groundwork for Xena's later miraculous change from evil to good.
ACT 4, SCENE 3:
 (Cut to outside where Xena is speaking to her army.)
XENA: The only one to do battle with Hercules when he arrives is Iolaus, do you understand? I don't care how quickly my little man dies, and I don't care how painfully he does it, no one is to be out there until Iolaus is dead and Hercules is standing, staggered by the weight of what he's done to his best friend. Then and only then do we move in to rid the world of the Son of Zeus. Do I make myself clear? Good. And not a word about this to Iolaus. If he knew what a sacrifice he was going to make, he might have second thoughts.
ACT 4, SCENE 4: ANNOTATION
IOLAUS AND PRE-CURTAIN JITTERS
 Iolaus has made his bed, laid on it, and now he must pay the piper (hows that for mixed metaphors!). Xena goads him on by telling him, "He's here." Hercules, of course.
ACT 4, SCENE 4:
 (Cut to inside where Iolaus is pacing. Xena comes in the door to Iolaus.)
XENA: He's here.
ACT 4, SCENE 5: ANNOTATION
THE MORAL OF THE TALE aka THAT DARN KNIFE, PART 6
 Hercules and Iolaus duke it out. Iolaus tries to bait Hercules, but finds out he ain't Xena when it comes to baiting. Hercules gets the better of Iolaus (like it was even in doubt?) and Iolaus holds up THE KNIFE, the symbol of their friendship. Hercules asks poignantly, "Are you going to use it?" And Iolaus says, "No. This knife wasn't meant to draw your blood." Then Iolaus expects Hercules to kill him! Iolaus had been with Xena too long! Hercules refuses, of course. Iolaus quickly comes to his senses and Xena realizes that Plan A has just been aborted. "I want them both dead!" she yells to her minions. A huge fights ensues and Xena jumps on her horse and rides away after taking the time to tell the boys, "Ha! You haven't heard the last of me, Hercules!" And thank goodness! The world would have been a pretty boring place without the return of Xena, the Warrior Princess.
 After they have swatted the last of Xena's "goons" out of the camp, Iolaus braces himself for a Herculean lecture, but Hercules, realizing how much he loves that crazy goof Iolaus, tells Iolaus that he'll get no lecture...this time.
 And so the great friendship is no longer asunder and there is peace and harmony and wholeness again. The boys survived the wrath of Xena and did they become better for it? Well, according to the last scene, Iolaus didn't apparently learn a darn thing, and Hercules, just happy to be back with Iolaus, just chuckled it off. However, Xena, as we will find in THE GAUNTLET was much more deeply affected than either of the boys.
ACT 4, SCENE 5:
 (Iolaus goes outside.)
IOLAUS: I can't believe you'd show your face here.
HERCULES: Stay out of this, Iolaus. My fight's with Xena, not you.
IOLAUS: Don't push me aside. You're the one that attacked Xena and killed the warrior with her.
HERCULES: Is that what she told you?
IOLAUS: Get a weapon, Hercules.
HERCULES: She's using to you to get to me.
IOLAUS: Quit talking and get a weapon. I'm giving you the chance you never gave Xena.
HERCULES: And what if I don't want it?
IOLAUS: You don't get off that easy.
(Iolaus throws a sword at Hercules.)
XENA: What are you doing?
IOLAUS: Come on.
(Hercules and Iolaus fight.)
IOLAUS: Fight, damn it! Quit acting like you're too good for me.
HERCULES: I have never been too good for you. I'm just trying to stay alive long enough for you to come to your senses.
XENA: Yes. Kill him, Iolaus.
HERCULES: Xena, keep your goons out of this! (Hercules defeats Iolaus who holds up his sword.)
HERCULES: Are you going to use it?
IOLAUS: No. This knife wasn't meant to draw your blood. Come on, let's get it over with.
HERCULES: I'm not going to kill you.
IOLAUS: I was going to kill you.
HERCULES: Were you?
XENA: Get them.
HERCULES: We'll talk about this later.
XENA: I want them both dead.
(Xena's army attacks Hercules and Iolaus.)
IOLAUS: Hercules, behind you!
XENA: Let's get out of here!
SOLDIER: Let's go, let's get out of here.
HERCULES: Aren't up even going to say goodbye?!?
XENA: Ha! You haven't heard the last of me, Hercules!
(Xena and her army ride off.)
IOLAUS: You could have caught her if you hadn't saved me.
HERCULES: You're a little more important than she is.
IOLAUS: I don't know which hurts worse, my head or knowing how stupid I was.
HERCULES: It always helps to know what you're fighting for before you start fighting.
IOLAUS: Is this where the lecture starts?
HERCULES: It could be, but it won't.
ACT 4, SCENE 6: ANNOTATION
IOLAUS REALLY WANTED A LECTURE
 Just a scene before, Hercules assured Iolaus that he wouldn't lecture him, and yet Iolaus is now advising Hercules in what to lecture him about! After surviving Xena, Iolaus is still a confused puppy. Can you say character stagnation????
ACT 4, SCENE 6:
 IOLAUS: You know, if you really want to lecture me, it should be about the kind of woman I'm attracted to.
HERCULES: After Xena, you'd be better off falling in love with a black widow.
IOLAUS: Maybe I'll just give up women altogether. What do you think?
HERCULES: I think it would be a good idea.
IOLAUS: Yeah -- wait a minute.
HERCULES: Iolaus, it seems like an awful lot like for a red-blooded man like you to be walking away from.
IOLAUS: Yeah, right. Only next time, give me a woman who wants to kill me with kisses.
AFTERTHOUGHTS AND AFTERWORDS
 WARRIOR PRINCESS was one of the more serious HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS episodes. It did not contain lighthearted sound effects and tackled a serious subject and introduced a very human nemesis. Almost from conception, Xena took on a life of her own. It is not surprising that the producers could sense that Xena might be the solution to their need to create a companion show to HERCULES. By the filming of THE GAUNTLET and UNCHAINED HEART, a mere few months later, they knew they wanted to expand Xena into a weekly series. By changing her story into a story of redemption and quests, Xena at once offered a new depth of drama and pathos that could not have been explored in HERCULES.
 The task was to soften and define a new Xena in THE GAUNTLET and UNCHAINED HEART. Both episodes explored different aspects of the Xena "myth" and in turn moved her to where they needed the character to be at the beginning of the XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS series first episode THE SINS OF THE PAST.
 From this perspective the "Xena trilogy" of HERCULES is problematic and uneven, and yet, in it's enthusiasm and respect for the character of Xena, these rushed attempts at character definition can be forgiven. This trait is continued throughout XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. Character development is almost always favored over plot development or even short-term character development. This great concern for character and especially what makes the character tick and how they would react to ordinary and extraordinary circumstances allows the show to stand out in a ocean of other action-oriented shows. Where else can you observe the slow and consistent evolution of a friendship such as Xena and Gabrielle's? Therein lies the magic and appeal of the show. On one level there is clever writing with many cross-cultural jokes and references; on another level there is the action of martial arts and battle; on still another there is the backdrop of the ancient world with great adventures and quests filmed in the lush scenery of New Zealand with gorgeous cinematography; yet all of this is done on the background of the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. It's the buddy movie of all movies, and it's two women to boot!