ACT II, Part 2



[100] Midst hot-tubbing, that annoying ex-best friend Hercules arrives just in time to steal Iolaus' pride and manhood (just like Alcmene predicted after her abrupt turn around on the Xena issue). How irritating!

[101] A guard announces Hercules arrival. Iolaus surprised asks, "Hercules?" Xena says, "He must have followed us."

[102] Yes, Hercules did, because of Theodorus' grand sacrifice to Xena-love. However, unbeknownst to Xena, Hercules carried "the sword" which represented the true power between the friends.

[103] Iolaus, still dazed and relaxed from the hot-tub scene, asks "Why would he do that?" Xena, using ancient mind manipulation techniques says, "Perhaps he doesn't trust me with you."

[104] What a non sequitur! Even Iolaus can sense the inappropriateness of the statement. He says, continuing what he took as playful, "He shouldn't."

[105] Then Xena digs the knife in so deep that Iolaus is for all intents and purposes dead meat: Xena says, "Or maybe he doesn't think you're man enough to help me."

[106] There is it is. It's out in the open. Iolaus' inferiority complex is laid bare. The guy is seduced and wrapped for the kill. As if reading from a script (hey! he was), Iolaus says, "I'd better go and see what he wants."

[107] Theodorus would have been pleased that yet another romantic encounter between Iolaus and Xena had been terminated before completion.


[108] Poor Iolaus. He may have caused all his problems by his emotional immaturity and his conscious acceptance of Xena's manipulation, but still, it's painful to watch him dig himself deeper. Apparently this guy will forget all his moral and ethical training just to get his back washed. Iolaus says, "It's not every day I meet a beautiful woman that wants to wash my back." Xena retorts, rather honestly, "Oh, I will do more than that, Iolaus, much more."

[109] To Xena's credit, she does try her darndest to live up to her word; it's just that it's not really what Iolaus was anticipating. Iolaus responds by saying, "Do you do this for all your warriors?" Xena, again in an honest streak, answered "Only special ones."

[110] Yes, Iolaus was a very special one: her key to Hercules' downfall. Iolaus answers, "Oh. I hope there aren't too many of those." Xena, not quite telling the truth says, "Right now, there's just you."

[111] Estrogon, who replaced Theodorus in the warrior bed warmer department, is conveniently left unmentioned to Iolaus.


[112] Every camp of ruffians needs a hot tub! 'Nuff said.


[113] Where Iolaus begins "when a woman asks me for help, I don't expect her to be so --" and Xena finishes for him, "Independent? Violent?" reminded me of Xena's interchange with Gabrielle in DEATH MASK where after Gabrielle hears Xena's story about the warlord Cortese, she asks "So that's how you became so...aggressive?".

[114] A later embedded irony of this scene is it shows that Iolaus believed Xena to be the pre-Warlord pre- blood-thirsty Xena which Xena described in CALLISTO. Xena explained in CALLISTO that she somehow lost her way in defending her village against warlords and soon became the very thing she was originally fighting. The Xena Iolaus finds so attractive is this Xena, not really the one she is making up and projecting to him. However, this interpretation could not have been known during the filming and writing; however, it is apropos for part of the Xena myth.


[115] Xena tells Iolaus, "My father was killed in battle and so were all three of my brothers. I won't be."

[116] Was Xena lying? Or was there truth in the statement? So far, apart from this episode, Xena has acknowledged a younger brother Lyceus (SINS OF THE PAST (XWP, episode no. 1), DEATH MASK (XWP, episode no. 23), REMEMBER ME (XWP, episode no. 26)), an elder brother Toris (DEATH MASK, but strangely not REMEMBER ME), a mother (SINS OF THE PAST, REMEMBER ME), and a child given up for adoption (ORPHAN OF WAR (XWP, episode no. 25)). She obviously had a father named Atreus, who later on was conjured up by Ares to do his biding (TIES THAT BIND; XWP, episode no. 20). However, whether the "real" Atreus is still alive or whether he would be anything like the Ares' Atreus is unknown. Therefore, if the conniving WARRIOR PRINCESS Xena was telling the truth about her family, we have one more brother to look forward too.


[117] Although not pertinent to WARRIOR PRINCESS, SINS OF THE PAST and REMEMBER ME share some mirror imagery. The later shows would do this quite a bit. Instead of doing a straight sequel, the writers/producers would present a mirror image of a critical act or scene in later episodes in order to express another critical act or change in circumstances. In SINS OF THE PAST, the scene is where Xena goes to Lyceus' tomb. In this pivotal scene, Gabrielle then comes to Xena (whom, by the way, has just met Xena and is perceived by Xena as little more than a pest) and tells Xena that Xena is not alone. This is a very critical scene underlying the coming Xena and Gabrielle relationship which would eventually become the main story of XWP. The mirror image is presented in REMEMBER ME, where the never- been-a-warrior Xena visits the tomb of her mother. She is joined by Lyceus who basically plays the same role as Gabrielle did in the earlier scene. This underscores the subcontext that Gabrielle and Lyceus both played the same role in Xena's life -- that of being her moral compass.

[118] Another extremely obvious one was where Xena hit Gabrielle during a blood-lust frenzy induced and enhanced by Ares in THE RECKONING (XWP, episode no. 6). One of the results was that Xena came to her senses when a part of her realized she had just winged Gabrielle. The mirror image scene occurred in TIES THAT BIND, where Xena is once again in an Ares' induced blood-lust frenzy. This time, Gabrielle slams a farm- tool to the back of Xena's head. The result is the same. However, this scene underscored and amplified Gabrielle's purpose in Xena's life, again, that of her moral compass.

[119] There are more of these moments and they will be dealt with in subsequent episode guides in this series.

[120] This mirror image effect is mentioned here only because both of the above examples are in context of Xena's family.


[121] (Cut to Xena and Iolaus in the tub together.)
IOLAUS: I wasn't expecting this from somebody whose warriors treat her like a hero.
XENA: You deserve what you get. I deserve what I get.
IOLAUS: I'm not going to argue with you. I saw the way you handled yourself in that fight.
XENA: Did I impress you?
IOLAUS: Well, when a woman asks me for help, I don't expect her to be so --
XENA: Independent? Violent?
IOLAUS: Yeah. And fearless too.
XENA: Hard times breed hard people, Iolaus. There's no avoiding that. My father was killed in battle and so were all three of my brothers. I won't be.
IOLAUS: I admire your goal. But somewhere out there's a warlord who wades in an ocean of blood to keep from you achieving it. If not Petracus, then the next one who comes along.
XENA: You sound like you're worried about me.
IOLAUS: Well, I am. It's not every day I meet a beautiful woman that wants to wash my back.
XENA: Oh, I will do more than that, Iolaus, much more.
IOLAUS: Do you do this for all your warriors?
XENA: Only special ones.
IOLAUS: Oh. I hope there aren't too many of those.
XENA: Right now, there's just you.
(Knock at the door.)
XENA: Come back later!
SOLDIER: But Hercules is here.
IOLAUS: Hercules?
XENA: He must have followed us.
IOLAUS: Why would he do that?
XENA: Perhaps he doesn't trust me with you.
IOLAUS: He shouldn't.
XENA: Or maybe he doesn't think you're man enough to help me.
IOLAUS: I'd better go and see what he wants.



[122] This first interchange between Hercules and the completely-poisoned Iolaus does start out as Xena wanted but ends differently. Both Hercules and Iolaus leave the scene alive, much to Xena's disappointment.

[123] Even with Hercules trying to bring Iolaus to his senses, Iolaus still doesn't get it. Iolaus punches Hercules, but Hercules doesn't take the bait. Hercules merely returns the sword that Iolaus dropped earlier and apparently leaves disgusted by the whole incident.


[124] "I think you lost this," says Hercules to Iolaus as he throws THE knife to Iolaus, "Goodbye, Iolaus."

[125] The knife is now back in Iolaus' possession. The interchange between him and Hercules has finished and the ball is in his court. Even then, though, Hercules does not allow sleeping dogs to lie. Hercules will later be encouraged to reclaim Iolaus, even before Xena sends herself and Estrogon to lure Hercules back to her camp. Thus Iolaus fails another offer of self- redemption. He needs Hercules in order to do the right thing. The symbolism of the knife only occurs to him after Hercules has avoided beating the stuffing out of him.


[126] "My words should be enough for you," says Hercules in shock that Iolaus would challenge his concern for is friend.

[127] Xena's plan is working, however she doesn't realize that Hercules will not kill Iolaus and that Iolaus is not skilled enough ever to kill Hercules. Even after this interchange, she doesn't get it. She goes with Estrogon to bait Hercules back to try it one more time.


[128] Hercules asks Iolaus, "I guess that means friendship doesn't count?" Iolaus answers, "Not when you poison it by coming here."

[129] It is obvious that it is Iolaus, the doomed love- puppy, who is poisoned by Xena, not Hercules. Hercules is trying to recover the friendship.


[130] (Cut to outside where Hercules is waiting for Iolaus.)
SOLDIER: You're a long way from home, Hercules.
HERCULES: Hello, Iolaus.
IOLAUS: I didn't expect to see you here, Hercules.
HERCULES: I didn't expect to come.
IOLAUS: Well, you didn't have to. I thought we agreed on that.
HERCULES: Well, that was before your warrior princess sent someone to kill me.
IOLAUS: I don't like the way you're talking about a brave woman.
HERCULES: Since when is there anything brave about sneak attacks or the people behind them?
IOLAUS: I think you'd better turn around and go home now, Hercules.
HERCULES: I was hoping you'd go with me.
HERCULES: Even though she wants me dead?
IOLAUS: Where's your proof?
HERCULES: My words should be enough for you.
IOLAUS: It isn't.
HERCULES: I guess that means friendship doesn't count?
IOLAUS: Not when you poison it by coming here.
HERCULES: Iolaus, what are you talking about? You've got it all wrong.
IOLAUS: Just get out of here, Hercules. We're through talking.
HERCULES: Why? Are you afraid of what you'll hear?
IOLAUS: Get out of here!
HERCULES: You haven't answered my question.
(Iolaus punches Hercules.)
HERCULES: I think you lost this.
(Hercules throws Iolaus's knife to the ground.)
HERCULES: Goodbye, Iolaus.


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