ACT I, Part 1



[30] Hercules is a good boy and loves his mother. He is concerned about her being robbed or hurt, although his mother doesn't agree. Of course, Alcmene has been kidnapped and terrorized before and will be in the future, but this morning, she decides to dismiss her son's fears. It is comforting to know that the weirder aspects of a mother-son relationship are present in full force in Hercules' family.

[31] How apropos that mid-conversation their topic of discussion moves on to Iolaus and his "problem". Hercules, the cagey devil, refuses to go either way on whether Iolaus needs a woman or not. The foreshadowing becomes thicker.


[32] (Hercules' is building a wall at his mother's house.)

ALCMENE: Hercules. Hercules, you're working too hard.
HERCULES: Mother, I've got to do something to make up for never being around here.
ALCMENE: Well, how about stopping around for long enough for a picnic? I'd rather have your company than this wall you want to build.
HERCULES: What if I give you both?
ALCMENE: You certainly know how to make your mother happy. I really do think you spend too much time worrying about me. I mean the wall --
HERCULES: If it keeps you from being hurt or robbed just once, it's worth every drop of sweat I put into it.
ALCMENE: I still don't think the world is that bad a place, Hercules. Besides, Iolaus looks in on me whenever he can.
HERCULES: He is a good man.
ALCMENE: But a lonely one, I'm afraid.
HERCULES: Hmm, you see it too?
ALCMENE: It's his eyes that touch my heart. There's no joy in them.
HERCULES: So you think he needs a woman in his life?
ALCMENE: Do you disagree?
HERCULES: With you? No, I'm too smart for that.



[33] Exhibiting that ardent testiness which she demonstrated in the last scene of the teaser where she chewed out her entire army after beating them to a pulp, the warrior princess begins this scene by chewing out the devout Theodorus.

[34] Theodorus is Xena's current lieutenant/bed mate. He is a willing party to Xena's grand Hercules elimination scheme. One can also see that he is a lovepuppy who is terminally ensnared in Xena's awesome charismatic web. Soon Iolaus would be struggling in the very same web.

[35] Theodorus and Iolaus share many similarities. They are of the same build (except Theo is taller and younger); they both become easily infatuated; and they fight in similar ways. One could conclude that Xena might have a preference for that type, however, Estrogon destroys any theories like that.

[36] One of the more chilling parts of the Xena HERCULES's trilogy was where Xena lames her horse. It is an act which she executes without hesitation and without remorse. It happens the second time we see her in the show. Remember, the first and second appearances usually make the most lasting impression. This is a woman who beats up her own men and lames her own horse. The Xena of the later series would have been appalled. Not just for the cruelty to animals (Xena would sooner die than have someone harm Argo), but also as an unforgivable waste of resources.

[37] The Xena of WARRIOR PRINCESS is more akin to the evil Xena that the redeemed Xena met and fought to the death in DREAMWORKER (XWP, episode no. 3) than the Xena found in the later HERCULES' episodes THE GAUNTLET (HTLJ, episode no. 12) and UNCHAINED HEART (HTLJ, episode no. 13). In DREAMWORKER, the past Xena was so filled with hate and rage that her eyes were black (the eyes are the gateway to the soul). The DREAMWORKER Xena was scary in a horror genre type of way. That Xena appeared in a dreamscape filled with shadows, fog, and "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"-recalling camera angles. The WARRIOR PRINCESS Xena was scary because of her psychotic tendencies and ability to be loving, tender and innocent one moment, and then cold, murderous, and reprehensible the next.

[38] The WARRIOR PRINCESS Xena also shared some striking resemblances to the psychopath Callisto from CALLISTO (XWP, episode no. 22). This makes sense since Callisto supposedly modeled herself after the pre- redemptive, pre-WARRIOR PRINCESS Xena.


[39] With plan in hand, Xena begins in earnest to seduce Iolaus. She contrives an introduction where she comes off as a somewhat helpless waif all alone in the big cruel world. She even acts uncomfortable using a knife (could it be more KNIFE imagery?). She has done her homework, or has she? Or is she merely using a ruse that is very common in the cuckold-genre?

[40] Iolaus, being the gentleman he is, comes to her rescue. Iolaus, the lovepuppy, almost immediately falls for her hook, line, and sinker.


[41] (Cut to Xena and Theodorus.)
THEODORUS: I won't be far away.
XENA: Do you doubt I can't take care of myself?
THEODORUS: No, of course not. But what if --
XENA: You'll know when I need you Theodorus, I don't want to see you before then.
THEODORUS: Very well.

(When she sees Iolaus coming around the corner, Xena hits her horse's leg with a club.)
XENA: (to the horse) There, there, it's not so bad. You'll be okay.
IOLAUS: Need any help?
XENA: Stay away.
IOLAUS: Hey, take it easy.
XENA: Give me a reason to.
IOLAUS: Come on. Do I look dangerous?
XENA: Looks can be very deceiving.
IOLAUS: If you want to stay here and threaten every good Samaritan who comes along, be my guest. But I'll be glad to help you get to the village.
XENA: Are you sure that's what you really want to do?
IOLAUS: Put down the knife, and I'll be glad to.
XENA: Oh, sorry.



[42] Xena is smart. Instead of racing to chase her real prey, she takes her time reeling in the small fish, which will eventually become the bait for the big catch. Her seduction of Iolaus proceeds in the tavern. Xena continues to build on her performance. In this scene she's flattering and coy to Iolaus ("Is everyone you know so famous?"; "Iolaus, you're such a comedian"; "Think you could help me one last time?") and continues her apparent obsession with Iolaus when talking with Hercules ("I had a feeling he was like that").


[43] For the guys it's business as usual. Hercules is mildly annoyed that Iolaus did not help him with the wall earlier in the day, but he's still happy to see him at the tavern. Iolaus is already deeply into phase 1 of his crush on Xena, so his attention is completely on her. However, Iolaus does agree to the offer of dinner from Hercules (although that could have been accepted more out of habit than by actual desire of the moment).


[44] Iolaus is being reeled in by Xena. Once he agreed to aid her in her quest for a bed, he was completely caught. She artfully continued her innocent act and actually did pretty well with her first appearance before Hercules. Meeting your boyfriend's best friend is stressful even when you are not planning to kill both of them -- one can only imagine the pressures Xena was experiencing at this moment. Heck, one can only imagine ANY feelings this tough chick was having. She makes Callisto look like a pussycat.


[45] Hercules notices the snub, but is not too worried because it's a classic, "My buddy's seeing some action" rebuff. However, he shows more concern about the rebuff after a complete week of slights as is shown in his 2nd conversation with his mother in the next scene.


[46] (Cut to tavern.)
VILLAGER: What's the matter Hercules? Running out of the monsters to slay?
HERCULES: Not if my mother's wall counts.
VILLAGER: Is it tougher than the Nemian Lion?
HERCULES: Well, the blisters on my hands say it is.
(Hercules sees Iolaus at the bar. He's getting some drinks.)
IOLAUS: (to bartender) Yeah, thanks a lot. (Goes to table where Xena is sitting) All right. Here you go. Say how about a toast to fate for bringing us together, huh?
HERCULES: (Interrupting) Excuse me.
IOLAUS: Look what the cat dragged in.
HERCULES: I thought you were going to help me with my mother's wall today?
IOLAUS: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. I forgot. Something came up.
HERCULES: I'm sure it did.
XENA: I'm Xena.
HERCULES: Hello Xena. I'm --
IOLAUS: This is my best friend in all the world, that's who he is.
XENA: But does he have a name?
HERCULES: What? Oh, yeah, yeah. This is Hercules.
XENA: Is everyone you know so famous?
IOLAUS: Famous? Him? What are you talking about?
XENA: Iolaus, you're such a comedian.
HERCULES: He certainly is. Until it's time to get down to business, and then I wouldn't want anyone else on my side.
XENA: I had a feeling he was like that. My horse had gone lame out in the countryside when Iolaus found me, and he made sure I got here without anyone else bothering me.
HERCULES: Uh-huh. He never let's you down.
XENA: I have to remember that.
HERCULES: Don't worry, he won't let you forget.
HERCULES: So if he is going to talk about himself all night, should we do it over a nice dinner? Are you interested?
XENA: Oh, I think I'd be better off trying to look for a soft, warm bed. Think you could help me one last time?
IOLAUS: Well, yeah. I think that can be arranged. See ya.



[47] If Hercules wasn't talking about what Alcmene thought he was, what WAS he talking about? Sounds like the Hercster might be a tad jealous!

[48] Ever the optimist, Alcmene once again takes Hercules to task for even daring to think that Xena might be a murdering harlot, er, a woman with a jealous husband (as if it'd be okay if the husband weren't jealous).

[49] However, Herc Solo says to himself 'I have a bad feeling about this.' The foreshadowing is not quite as thick as pea soup, but it's getting there.


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