Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
"In a time of ancient Gods, Warlords, and Kings, A land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power. The passion. The danger. Her courage will change the world."
Xena: Warrior Princess starred Lucy Lawless as an amazonian leather-clad warrior-woman fighting monsters while battling inner demons based on sins from her warlord past. Xena originated on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as a Worthy Opponent to the title character, and became so popular with fans that she got her own show.Immediately after her split from Hercules, she gained a friend and traveling companion in Gabrielle. Gabrielle was an aspiring bard who wanted to chronicle Xena's adventures, and the pair became a major source of Ho Yay in the nineties. Word of God goes back and forth on whether they were simply Heterosexual Life-Partners, with conflicting accounts from all sides. Suffice to say, the show offered enough winks and nudges to satisfy the shippers, while keeping under the radar to avoid tempting the wrath of network affiliates.Xena had many things in common with Hercules, even sharing certain plot lines between the two series. The one main difference was that while Hercules was a bit hesitant to kill, Xena had no such qualms and would regularly kill enemies. The show was equal parts satire, dark drama and lowbrow comedy, often in completely nonsensical combinations. Anachronism was par for the course.The series ran from 1995-2001, and at one point was the most popular show in the world, surpassing Baywatch for the title. Now has an Episode Guide currently under construction.The series also had several comic book spin-offs by Topps Comics and Dark Horse Comics (including two crossovers with Evil Dead), which ended following the show's end. However, in 2007, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to the comics and published two story arcs (Contest of Pantheons and Dark Xena), which essentially act as a Fix Fic, reversing many of Season Five's plot developments as well as undoing the season finale.Produced by Renaissance Pictures.
In "The Xena Scrolls" in Season 2, which has Xena's identical descendant and Gabrielle's identical descendant in the nineteen forties, the reincarnated Xena does this, signaling the moment that she's being possessed by her ancestor and is about to kick serious ass.
She also did this in episode 2, "Chariots of War".
She also does it in "Warrior... Princess", when she is posing as Diana at the latter's wedding.
Action Girl: Lots of them in this series, though Xena is easily the iconic example.
Aliens Speaking Greek: Xena travels the world, but never has any problems communicating with people. While one might initially assume that she's merely multilingual (she has many skills, after all), the fact that Gabrielle and even Joxer don't have language problems imply that everyone is actually speaking Greek.
Semi-averted in that during classical period throughout much of the Mediterranean world, Greek was the common tongue. So much so that one variant, Koine, is the Greek word for common. Of course once Xena and Gabrielle travel to Asia all bets are off.
Aerith and Bob: In a world full of traditional Greek names, we had the distinctly French and relatively normal-sounding Gabrielle (though it was originally a Hebrew name, derived from the masculine Gabriel).
All Amazons Want Hercules: Averted? Parodied? Amazons have crushes on Joxer in Lyre Lyre Hearts on Fire and Kindred Spirits, and Joxer ain't Hercules. In fact, even when Hercules is around, so is his friend Iolaus who gets more female attention than Herc does.
Alternate Reality Episode: "Remember Nothing" (Xena never becomes a warlord) and "When Fates Collide" (Caesar & Xena rule Rome).
Anachronism Stew: Anteas (Abraham) almost-sacrifice of Ikiss (Isaac), the siege of Troy, the reign of Julius Caesar, and the birth of Christ all happening during the same three years. The Stew gets thicker in later seasons with such events as Octavius' rule of Rome, Cleopatra and Antony's affair, Katanas and the events depicted in the poem Beowulf.
It even happens in-universe, as just a year after the aforementioned siege of Troy, Xena helps Odyssius get home, with reference even being made to how he's been trying to get there for ten years.
Callisto becomes a godly pin-cushion in "Maternal Instincts".
Xena also provides an example of this in the finale.
Anyone Can Die: By the end of the series, the only recurring supporting character who hadn't died was Autolycus. Even the Olympian Gods... The ones confirmed to be killed by Xena and Hercules are Zeus, Discord, Posiedon, Hades, Hephestus, Artemis, Athena and Deimos. The Furies and even the Fates were also killed.
Commonly done by Xena, occasionally preformed by other characters.
Gabrielle never caught an arrow during the show, but she did block one or two with her staff.
As Lethal as It Needs to Be: Xena's chakram is the Trope Codifier. It killed enemies or knocked them out, according to Rule of Drama. (Though it was always lethal if she used it as a melee weapon.) It's usually used as a non-lethal Precision-Guided Boomerang, but on occasion, we've seen it cut through rope, wood and human body parts. Callisto managed to throw it hard enough to go through Xena's sheathed sword and into her back. Many fans simply figure that there's a button, somewhere on the chakram, that turns it sharp.
Ax-Crazy: Callisto. Xena when she was a Warlord. Najara.
An Axe to Grind: The Horde loves throwing axes. And Xena's mother killed Xena's father with one to protect Xena from him when she was a child.
Badass Cape: Xena sported one when she was a warlord. Other characters, such as Hades, also sported capes from time to time.
Badass Normal: Xena, who has gone toe-to-toe with Ares at times (although, rampant speculation about her ancestry casts doubt on the 'normal' part of the title). Gabrielle becomes this as the series progresses.
Bald of Evil: Averted mostly. Many, many bad guys with long, flowing hair in the Ancient Greek tradition.
The Bard: For a while Gabrielle wants to be a traveling bard. She also meets Homer, who it turns out is called "blind" because he closes his eyes when he recites.
Also fairly standard for female guest stars and recurring characters. This show really liked its Fanservice.
It even lampshaded it. One episode involved Gabrielle losing her memory. Joxer tries to fill her in, and one of the things she learns is how her clothes have covered progressively less of her over the years.
Barehanded Blade Block: Done by Xena on more than one occasion — for example, in the episode "Cradle of Hope".
Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: Arms dealer Mezentius says this in "The Path Not Taken", instructing his guards to have a female captive "bathed and perfumed and brought to my chamber".
Xena's utter disregard for the laws of the setting. Such as killing Gods.
how Callisto's soul managed to impregnate Xena.
Bi the Way: Xena and Gabrielle start out having a few male romantic/sexual interests, but end up getting more and more subtext-y until it is openly Word of God that they are Common Law married. Not that Word Of God didn't flip-flop on it.
This was really in season 6... although it helped that one of the writers was a Promoted Fangirl slash-ficer of Xena and Gabrielle.
Big Bad: Callisto. Ares. Caesar. Alti. Dahak. Hope. Athena.
Although Ares and Callisto were less Big Bads and more just obsessed with Xena (Ares was more a victim of his godhood of War, which quite literally defined who he was, and just a Jerk Ass, and Callisto was insane), and Athena wasn't evil at all, just trying to stop the destruction of herself and her entire family (at most she was a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but not willing to let the birth of one human destroy everyone she loved). However, Alti, Dahak and Hope were actually to-the-core evil, and Caesar was an egotistical maniac cross psychopath drowning in his own narcissism.
Bigger Bad: Dahak, who is once referred to as "The blind force behind every evil deed".
Ephiny inverts this, by being unfriendly toward Xena and Gabrielle originally, before becoming one of their best and most trusted friends.
Callisto for the first ten minutes of "Surprise", on Hercules.
Black Sheep: Joxer is a Heroic Wannabe in a family where his father is a warlord and his brother Jett is an infamous assassin. On the other hand, due to Joxer and Jett's reluctance to talk about him, third brother Jace may qualify for this trope even more so.
Blood Knight: Xena was this before she reformed (and she certainly still loves a good fight afterwards).
Broken Aesop: a few, but not as many as Hercules. Usually in the earlier seasons, although he Twilight Of the Gods arc breaks quite a few of its presented aesops in short succession - which unfortunately only adds to the hypocrisy of the thing.
Spilling blood for the first time, even in self-defence, makes you Defiled Forever. (This gets played up a few times with some very uncomfortable Unfortunate Implications, although a couple of very well written episodes after the introduction of Daehak manage to subvert this at the very last minute).
The finale breaks the Aesop of the entire show, by trying to enforce Redemption Equals Death on Xena. One of many reasons it was written away by the comics.
Gabrielle describing how to survive a battle when you have no fight experience:
Gabrielle: See the pointy bits on the ends of those swordy things? Stay away from them.
And in "Warrior... Princess":
Diana:(impersonating Xena) Oh, this? This is... my round killing thing. Gabrielle: Chakram. Diana:Bless you.
Then there's the "loud-speaking-thing" (it's a primitive type of megaphone) in "Altared States".
Bullet Dancing: In "The Xena Scrolls", Dr Janice Covington (Gabrielle) does this to the bandit who attempts to steal Mel (Xena)'s briefcase.
Bury Your Gays: It's complicated. As aired, future versions / reincarnations were still happily together, but the core couple was broken up by Xena's death. The comics continuity removes that last bit.
Elias (spelling? "Ilainus") and Athena are canon. When Ares taunts her with "Worried about your girlfriend" Athena turns away from him in the middle of a fight to see how she's doing. Any guesses as to how they ended up?
Bus Crash: Phantes, Ephiny's centaur husband, dies off-screen between her first and second appearance on the show.
As does Melosa, Queen of the Amazons.
Amarice's final appearance (after which the actress left the show for Cleopatra 2525) ends with her happy in a new group of Amazons, so they could have simply ended the story there. Later, it was casually mentioned that she'd died.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Deconstructed. The Xena-led raid that killed Callisto's family was a source of mild regret for Xena at the time (it involved an accidental fire that killed women and children), but she never gave it much thought afterwards. It's not until Callisto returns All Grown Up! and with a massive thirst for vengeance upon the woman responsible for the deaths of her parents and sister that Xena realizes the full consequences of her actions and the fact that she's unknowingly created her worst enemy.
California Doubling: The New Zealand variant standing in for ancient Greece and other parts of the world.
Canon Discontinuity: Coming up to the 'Twilight of the Gods' arc, many things that were very integral parts of the setting were ignored so it could come to pass. Firstly, killing a real god (not just an ambrosia upgrade) has been shown in past seasons and in Hercules to rock the foundations of reality. The Olympus gods embody (or are personifications of, even) different aspects of humanity, and when a god loses his powers or dies, the control they had over that aspect goes insane and humanity is deeply affected (as is shown in 'Ten Warriors' when Ares loses his godhood and everyone goes crazy with uncontrolled anger and violence). When Strife died, Hercules felt it all the way in another dimensions and even says that "something terrible has happened, indicating that the death of a God was an unnatural phenomena. Always, the Olympus Gods were insanely powerful and usually quite intelligent, being Jerk Asses a lot of the time and bullying a few humans, but are never shown actually oppressing humanity (i.e. they are not evil). There was a reason only Hercules dealt with the problems of the Gods and not Xena: a mortal just can't compete with the power of the Gods (even though Xena was on par with Ares in terms of one-on-one combat). For 'Twilight', the Gods' powers were brought down insanely, they all became evil idiots - with the characters of every single God except Aphrodite ignored, with their actions in this Arc making no sense as far as many characters were concerned (including Athena, who is supposed to be the Big Bad of this Arc) - and were basically mortals with pyrotechnics (with none of the inventive and intrinsic use of their powers that had been shone previously), and Xena got a literal Deus ex Machina upgrade that anything she does hurts the Gods. Killing the Gods had no impact on humans or the universe at large. Oh, and Eli's sacrifice to prove to people that the Way of Love meant that they no longer needed to worship the Gods and that they would be gotten rid of by the people turning away from them, unafraid, and them being down-powered to just supernatural beings? Completely forgotten and pointless. The writers basically hacked into the foundations of the universe of Xena and Hercules with an axe so they could put into place a poorly written character arc that even the most devoted fans found it hard to swallow. Nice work, guys!
There's also the fact that "Hercules" had already established that in the future Zeus was still alive, and if we take it that Xena is based on the Xena Scrolls that Gabrielle wrote, and yet the Greek Gods are alive at the time of the show's production, that basically indicates that either A) For a god, "Death" is a temporary thing and they come back after a while, or B) Gabrielle was lying her ass off about the entire Twilight of the Gods arc. Unless the episode Yes, Virginia, There is Hercules of Hercules season 4 hasn't been retconned, those are the only two explanations that make sense.note Although Strife is alive in that episode so either the plot point of his death was an elaboration the writers cooked up (in-universe) or A is correct. However, there is precedent for Gabrielle elaborating and/or lying in her scrolls, so either wouldn't be surprising.
Fanon Discontinuity: invokedMany fans do not officially consider the two-part "Friend in Need" arc to be the finale, and neither do the writers of the Xena comics — thank you, Dynamite Publications! The "Dark Xena" arc is basically a Fix Fic — constructing a story to undo the finale and other events (such as the deaths of the Olympian gods). Considering that the comics are technically canon, this is a rare case of Fanon Discontinuity becoming Canon Discontinuity.
Carpet-Rolled Corpse: Emulating Plutarch's accounts, Xena is smuggled inside a carpet when she poses as Cleopatra.
"I just cut off the flow of blood into your brain. You'll be dead in 30 seconds".
The Catfish: In "Fins, Femmes and Gems", Xena is exposed to Aphrodite's magical perfume Obsession while holding a fish, and becomes obsessed with catching Solaris; a giant, wily fish in a lake that always eluded her as a child. She eventually hooks it, but has to abndon her line to save Gabrielle.
Cerebus Syndrome: The first two seasons were heavy on camp and occasionally had a serious episode. Then, in Season 3, Gabrielle got pregnant with her Fetus Terrible daughter, Hope, setting off a season-long storyline meant to put Xena and Gabrielle through emotional hell. Also, the Season 3 finale ended on a cliffhanger featuring Gabrielle and Hope dying in a firey pit. Subsequent seasons had even less comedy.
Chainmail Bikini: Not Xena herself, but almost every minor female character on the show. Also Gabrielle in later seasons.
Xena considers switching to chainmail at one point (due to a particularly annoying fanboy with a leather fetish), but decides against it due to the risk of just attracting a kinkier class of fanboys.
Characterization Marches On: Not necessarily applying to the series itself but Xena's character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is a bit different than the character we would come to know. Evil Xena in her debut episode "The Warrior Princess" shows no signs of morals and is willing to sleep with and kill her soldiers to get what she wants a far cry from the warrior with honor even in her warlord days. The second episode "The Gauntlet" was more in line with the Xena we would know, establishing her as having a code of honor and getting rid of the implication that she slept with her soldiers to gain their loyalty. However the third episode "Unchained Heart" turns Xena into a Distaff Counterpart of Hercules. Thankfully the series goes with the honorable warrior interpretation rather than the Formerly evil now good Girl Scout version.
Season 1: Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards. Gabrielle goes to bard school and takes part in a storytelling contest, with her stories naturally relating to Xena. Besides reusing old episodes, there are also clips from the Steve Reeves movie (Stallonus' story), Spartacus (Homer's) and two HTLJ episodes ("The Warrior Princess" and "The Gauntlet").
Season 2: The Xena Scrolls. Arguably the most well-known of the bunch, as it marked the franchise's start of casting familiar actors as their characters' descendents. Set during the WWII-era, a timid professor (Xena), a tough archeologist (Gabrielle) and a supposed French soldier (Joxer) explore a temple containing the imprisoned Ares.
Season 3: Forget Me Not. Feeling guilty and anguished by the Dahak/Hope storyline, Gabrielle goes to the temple of Mnemosyne. Over the course of the episode, she faces up to different actions and events that put a strain on her friendship with Xena, as well as placing a new spin on the events of a pivotal two-parter. It also uses cut footage to good effect AND serves to close a Plot Hole that had been hanging (namely, how did Gabby get to China before Xena?).
Season 4: Deja Vu All Over Again. A geeky fan thinks she's Xena reincarnated so her boyfriend takes her to a past life specialist - only to find they are the characters' descendants (but with Xena and Joxer switched around).
Season 6: You Are There. A reporter and his crew from the 20th century are in ancient Greece, interviewing everyone they come across about Xena. Viewers were also treated this season to "Send in the Clones," which saw Xena and Gabrielle resurrected as clones in the present-day. Also, "Soul Possession," which brought back the geek trio from Season 4 and saw them faced with a deal made with Ares long ago.
Reporter: Who would have expected to hear such words from the messenger of Eli? Eve: F*** off!
Combat Pragmatist: Xena will use quite literally anything as a weapon, and is pretty much lethal with everything she uses (if she chooses to be). Of course, mid-way through season 5 and in season 6 when the intelligence of all the fights started to slip, she stopped doing this, but this was much less a character choice and more a writing one.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Lampshaded at the end of "One against an army" when after beating the Persian cavalry almost single-handed Xena says they must have had an off-day.
Contralto of Danger: Xena's voice is much deeper than Gabrielle's, since between the two, Xena is a seasoned fighter, while Gaby is a bard.
Contrived Coincidence: the entire Twilight of the Gods arc. The number of improbable and ridiculous plot, character and setting contrivances that were required to pull off everything from the very beginning when Zeus dies to the end of this trainwreck are just one of the reasons this arc was so badly received and universally panned. Although deciding to get rid of the underlying premise of three different series with the writers who wrote "Married with Fishsticks" sounds like the pilot of a Sadist Show sit-com that didn't make it to air.
Crapsack World: There is war everywhere. Bandits prowl the roads and warlords battle for territory. Kind rulers are scarce and the gods, much like in Hercules, don't care about the plight of mortals — and when the gods do show up, they tend to make things worse.
Though it shared recurring characters with its parent series, there were only two guest appearances by Hercules and Iolaus. Both appear in Season 1's "Prometheus". Iolaus appears in Season 2's "The Quest" and Hercules in Season 5's "God Fearing Child".
Xena, Gabrielle, Ephiny, Joxer and Callisto have all made appearances on Hercules.
In Season 3 episode "Fins, Femmes and Gems", Xena does this to Gabrielle when Gabrielle's singing a song about herself (It Makes Sense in Context).
Gabrielle: Well, listen to my story about Gabrielle, cute little gal that's looking really swell, perfect hair, such a lovely lass, nice round breasts and a firm young — (Xena covers her mouth) Xena: Are you out of your mind? Gabrielle: Too loud?
Amarice after Joxer and Arman laughs at her after slipping in "Animal Attraction".
Amarice: You wanna know where my sense of humor is? I'll tell you, you mother—!
Leah: Life as a priestess to the virgin goddess Hestia isn't all that hard, the most important rule is to know who you are. Gabrielle: Believe me, if I have to go the rest of my life without companionship, knowing myself won't be a problem.
Xena and Gabrielle have died and come back so many times that Hades probably has a revolving door installed. Which didn't stop Xena from being Killed Off for Real in the finale.
It is also worth noting that every time either Xena or Gabrielle visited a new culture or place, that particular afterlife was incorporated into the show's mythology. We saw the Greek Elysian Fields and Tartarus, the Amazon land of the dead (which is apparently some place different from the traditional Greek afterlives), Judeo-Christian Heaven and Hell, Xena and Gabrielle were introduced to the idea of reincarnation after visiting India, and of course the finale.
This is also supported in Hercules, which basically introduces the idea that the Underworld for all humans basically has as many countries as the world above it, but that those who are inherently good are drawn into the Light (based on the basic Creative Force (opposite of Daehak)) (e.g. Heaven, the Elysian Fields, Vallhalah etc.) and those who are evil are drawn into the Dark (e.g. Hell, Tartarus etc.). There's also places where you can travel into Eternity as well, and be reincarnated. And apparently there are many spiritual levels to reality as well (which humans cannot see).
Death of the Old Gods: The show plays fast and loose with this trope. Early on, Xena runs into a monotheistic cult that seems to be analogue of early Christians, but later turns out to worship evil. Later on still, she is sent forwards in time a few centuries and sent on a quest by the The prophet Eli to wipe out all the remaining pagan gods.
In "Death in Chains", Celesta (a.k.a. Death) is captured by Sisyphus when he fears his own death, intending to let her eternal flame burn out (an event that would kill Celesta and result in there being no death, ever). During her imprisonment, no-one can die, either, resulting in an army of undead bandits coming after Xena and several terminally ill people being stuck in constant suffering. Obviously, Celesta is eventually freed.
In "Mortal Beloved", the psychotic Atyminius usurps Hades' power by stealing his Helmet of Invisibility, confining him to his palace. Atyminius then uses his newfound powers to completely turn the order of the Underworld upside down, sending innocents to Tartarus and allowing the wicked into the Elysian Fields. It all gets put right in the end, of course.
Deconstructive Parody: "A Day in the Life" pokes fun at little things usually overlooked like how do Xena and Gabrielle know which direction to go, how do they get food, how do they pass the time, hygiene, the call of nature, etc. Through the characters of Hower and Minya, the show also pokes fun at the fandom.
Defeat by Modesty: Averted by Xena, who grabs her weapons before her clothes if she is attacked while naked. This provides a handy distraction.
Thea: She may appear sweet, but who knows what destructive powers she may possess? (cut to Gabrielle fruitlessly trying to break a nut with her fist)
Done twice in "Animal Attraction" first when Gabrielle said Xena hates flowers (Xena is sniffing flowers and looking at a teddy bear at the market) then when Arman and Amarice say Xena always has things together (Xena is vomiting).
Determinator: Xena, hands down. She has a force of will that no-one can match. No-one. This is part of what makes her one of the greatest warriors of all time (at the very least).
Deus ex Machina: The Musical Episode "The Bitter Suite" is often accused of being this. Xena and Gabrielle—now enemies after the death of Xena's son Solan—are transported to the dreamworld of Illusia and have to work out their problems through song and dance to get out alive. The nature of Illusia—how they got there, how they managed to leave, etc.—is never fully explained, so the episode is often considered an Ass Pull to get Xena and Gabs on the same side again since their relationship had reach its breaking point.
Deus Exit Machina: In "The Quill is Mightier...", Gabrielle has one of her scrolls (upon which she is writing a story) enchanted by Aphrodite, causing anything written upon it to come true. The first thing Gabrielle writes on it? "Xena had gone fishing". Hilarity Ensues, including the depowering of both Ares and Aphrodite. When the characters realise that they need Xena later, and write that she has returned, she does so pulling a giant cartload piled high with fish, after spending several days fishing with no idea why.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lots. Xena killed most of the Olympian Gods, a couple non-Olympian Gods, Mephistopheles the King of Hell, the demon Yodoshi, a super-powered Alti, the archangel Michael and stopped the ultimate evil Dahak numerous times. And then some.
Xena and Gabrielle's first kiss was when Xena was inhabiting Autolycus' body.
In the finale, Gabrielle helps Xena drink from the Fountain of Strength by kissing her.
In "The Debt 1", Lao Ma hid Xena from her pursuers in a bath tub. When Xena was underwater for too long, Lao Ma gives her an Underwater Kiss to give her air, but given all the Sub Text between them, there may have been more to that.
Double Standard: Eli wants to kill all the Greek Gods to stop their 'oppression and tyranny' of the people, saying that the people should bow to no God, and that all that is needed is love and compassion, espousing the Way of Love and devotion to...the God of Love?... What.
The God of Love wants the Gods destroyed so man will be his own master and no subject to the oppression and dictates of any God... well, except Him, of course. Despite His commandments and dictates being far more oppressive and determinative than any of that of the Greek Gods, but They are the oppressive tyrants!
When Xena, prophesied to spell the end of the Greek Gods' reign, gains the power to kill gods, a group of them led by Athena attacks, and the whole group (except Athena herself, given a decent battle), some of whom were recurring allies or villains throughout years of the show as well as its parent series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, gets taken out more casually and anticlimactically than any Star TrekRed Shirt, one after another after another.
And who could forget the episode "Endgame," which killed off the (much beloved) Amazon regent Ephiny two minutes into the opening teaser. Still at least Ephiny died on screen; the following season Amarice, who had been Xena and Gabrielle's companion for a good run of episodes earlier that season, was unceremoniously killed offscreen during the teaser for the episode "Lifeblood" (by then the actress, Jennifer Sky, was starring in Cleopatra 2525, but Amarice's character arc ended with her being happily left with a tribe of Amazons, so mentioning her again just to say she was dead seemed, well, kind of mean and pointless).
There's also Ephiny's Centaur husband, Phantes. Offscreen, he is brutally ripped apart by war dogs sometime prior to the events of "Is There a Doctor in the House?"
Dumb Blonde: As mentioned on the HTLJ page, this is completely subverted with Aphrodite. She's extremely vapid and shallow (at least at first), but very cunning.
Xena stands in for a look-alike princess (Diana) whose life is in danger. Later on, another look-alike, who turns out to be a sassy barmaid (Meg), is added into the mix, and they all swap lives for a while.
And after that, a Hestial Virgin look-alike (Leah) appears.
And in season 1, Gabrielle pretended to be Xena who was poisoned.
Season 5, Xena pretended to be the assassinated Cleopatra and manipulated Brutus and Marc Antony against each other.
Express Delivery: Gabrielle carries and gives birth to Hope within one day. This was likely intentional to highlight the supernatural quality — in the first season finale, Ephiny was in labor for at least an entire day.
Fantastic Racism: During the 'twilight of the Gods' arc, Gabrielle and Xena come to pretty much despise all immortals, wanting to wipe out all the gods (including those who have never done them or humans any harm), saying that none of them can feel any loss - because they are immortal (??) - and considering all the Gods actions as evil and selfish... despite the fact that both Xena and Gabrielle are willing to wipe out an entire race of beings for one child (the fact that the Olympians are not only just fighting for survival but fighting to protect their own family and loved ones seems to escape Xena). This can also stretch to Moral Dissonance - considering Xena's view on things before the Twilight of the Gods arc - and a Double Standard (for obvious reasons).
In "Intimate Stranger" and "Ten Little Warlords", Xena and Callisto switched bodies (due to a Real Life Writes the Plot incident in which Lucy Lawless broke her pelvis in an equestrian stunt — see Written-In Infirmity below).
Xena also shared bodies with at least two other characters over the course of the series: Autolycus, in a spirit possession (also cross-referenced with Not Quite Dead and Almost Kiss), and a young girl.
Frying Pan of Doom: Used in "A Day in the Life". Unfortunately, it was the only one Gabrielle had.
Gaius Julius Caesar: Played by Karl Urban, Caesar was one of Xena's most reccuring (and hated) foes.
In the episode "Cradle of Hope", Gabrielle finds a baby abandoned in the bushes and takes care of him with Xena for a while. In the end, the local king adopts the child and asks if there's any way he can repay Xena — and she asks only that he name the baby Gabriel. The entire episode was probably the first example of blatant Homoerotic Subtext in the series.
Eve has roughly three mommies. Xena was basically impregnated by the dead Callisto, and started to raise the baby with Gabrielle as "father" [sic]. Then Xena and Gabrielle disappeared before Eve turned one, and Eve was raised by Augustus... and no mother whatsoever.
Hat Damage: In "The Xena Scrolls", Dr Covington's hat is shot off her head during the opening shoot-out.
Heel Face Door Slam: In "The Path Not Taken", Xena, after encountering some of her former warriors back from her days as a warlord, convinces one of them, Marcus (who also happens to be her one true love) that her commitment to reform is genuine. Later on, Marcus sacrifices his life by taking an arrow meant for Distressed Damsel Jana. Fast forward to "Mortal Beloved", where Xena is contacted by Marcus' ghost to go to the Underworld — no thanks to Atyminius usurping Hades' power, all the blessed people who used to play in the Elysium Fields have been sent to Tartarus, and all the evil folks condemned to Tartarus are partying it up in Elysium. When she gets there, she finds Marcus, and realizes that if he's in Elysium now, he must have been in Tartarus before. He confirms it - one good deed wasn't enough to make up for a lifetime of crime. Eventually however, he's allowed to stay in Elysium for good after helping Xena give Hades back his powers and thus putting things right in the Underworld.
Heroes Gone Fishing: Xena literally goes fishing a few times. One notable occasion ends with her returning with a cart full of fish for the end of the episode fight. Another memorable case has her use the MacGuffin of the week as fish bait.
Gabrielle in the aptly named episode "Sacrifice 2".
Hide Your Lesbians: The show features one of the best known and longest running examples of this trope in the implied relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. Though the subtext becomes more and more explicit throughout the series, particularly during the final season, they're never officially confirmed to be anything more than Heterosexual Life-Partners, and both characters are seen engaged in serious relationships (in one case, even a short-lived marriage) with male characters at various points throughout the series. It should be noted, though, that in later seasons, they stopped having Temporary Love Interests.
One episode set in the modern day, with the Xena TV show existing had Xena reincarnated in one of Joxer's identical descendants, marrying Gabrielle reincarnated in one of Gabrielle's identical descendants. Their friend was Joxer reincarnated in one of Xena's identical descendants. Then, a later episode showed Ares appearing to switch them back into the bodies that look like they used to look, with the result being that Gabrielle and Xena were alive in the modern era and were about to get married as wife and wife. And they were cloned, with heavy implications that their modern day clones were a couple. And then their identical descendents met up in the 1940's which ended up with the pretty explicit implication that these two people would become life partners (although neither were actual reincarnations of Xena and Gabrielle, even if Xena's spirit hijacked her descendent's body for a while), even though at the time same sex marriage was illegal. So really, Gabrielle and Xena's relationship is confirmed, it just doesn't appear to happen until their various reincarnations.
Hijacked by Jesus: Although most of the gods being jerks was inherent in the premise, the universe of both Xena and Hercules is strange about this depending on the situation, especially Ares, who tends to waver between being a Jerkass and being an evil bastard, depending on the needs of the plot. Hades is usually treated as just a dark but very overworked and unappreciated ruler of the Underworld. Although the producers seemed intent on making up for lost time in the last two seasons of Xena. The prophet Eli was an exceedingly thinly disguised Crystal Dragon Jesus and Xena was put on a quest to kill all the Pagan gods.
The fact that the reasoning behind Xena's quest was that "the pagan Gods are oppressing humanity and we must free humanity from them" when although humans did fear the Gods, the Gods were really just personifications of their different aspects and very rarely interfered with human affairs on the whole (even Ares influence on real world events was limited), did not make this hijacking any easier to swallow. The contrived reasoning to kill the pagan Gods basically ended up sounding like the twisted paranoid propaganda of a tyrant trying to eradicate his rivals. It didn't make the 'God of Love' look very good when he was urging wholesale war and slaughter. (Not that after this reasoning was introduced, the writers didn't hurry and try to justify it, derailing the characters of more than one God in their attempt to justify "tyranny that must be destroyed")
For bonus points, the Trope Namer itself appears through a tale that Homer tells in "Athens: School of the Performing Bards".
Identical Grandson: "The Xena Scrolls" deserves special mention for not only featuring Identical Great-whatever-Grandchildren of all the main characters in the 1930s, but going on to claim Joxer's descendent, "Jacques Ser", is actually the grandfather of actor Ted Raimi!
For Xena, there was Meg (a harlot), Diana (a princess) and Leah (a priestess), who all happened to look like Xena. In addition to all of them having being confused for Xena at some point, there were also stories in which they were being confused for each other before Xena arrived on the scene!
Idiot Ball: combines with Villain Ball - suddenly in the Twilight Of The Gods arc, all the Gods become insanely stupid and evil - ignoring all their prior characterizations, sometimes to the point of being just insulting - because the show needs a good reason to kill them all off. Every single God - except Aphrodite - becomes basically an idiot evil henchmen who can't fight and uses his or her God powers like bad pyrotechnics. This becomes particularly galling when you compare their actions and intelligence in this arc to just a season before and see the stark difference. YMMV whether you consider this Character Derailment or not.
If You Kill Her You Will Be Just Like Her: Gabrielle goes a little Ax-Crazy after Perdicas is murdered by Callisto and literally ends up one incredibly easy sword thrust away from killing the sleeping Callisto; at the last moment, she drops her sword and states that she can't do it.
The Immodest Orgasm: Gabrielle loudly fakes sex noises to distract some guards in "The Prodigal".
Gabrielle: Ohhhh! No wonder they call you "the Mighty"!
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: the Greek Gods have absolutely terrible aiming whenever they are opposing Xena. Ridiculously bad (they never hit anything except the scenery). So do basically all the antagonists whenever they are handling projectile weapons.
Innocent Innuendo: At the beginning of "Altared States", we see Xena and Gabrielle's clothes are strewn on the bushes and we can hear comments such as, "How was that?" "Very nice!". It turns out that Xena is showing Gabrielle how to catch fish by hand while wading.
"You want to teach the children to kill so they won't learn to dance?!"
Also when Eli says this: "the Gods have no choice but to give us what is rightfully ours"...despite the fact that the Gods don't have anything of humanity's and getting rid of them wouldn't change anything...well, except temples would be replaced by Churches (for the 'God of Love'), and the Gods wouldn't be around to do the occasional beneficial or dickish thing to a few humans (and let's face it, the Gods might do a few Jerk Ass things to a few specific humans, but totalitarian oppressors they are not).
Eli: It's not a war of violence, it's a war of peace.
This happens to a bounty hunter after Xena gets a dagger through his neck, courtesy of another bounty hunter. Xena cuts him a new breathing hole out of mercy. He still dies, though (though because of Applied Phlebotinum, not anything Xena did).
Xena does this in the first season episode "Is There a Doctor in the House?" You never see the guy again, though, so we don't know how it ultimately turned out.
It's All My Fault: Xena gets blamed with an inordinate amount of problems, all of which she quickly takes the guilt of, blaming herself for not only the free will of others, but circumstances out of her control when on the majority of occasions the most she did was set events in motion.
Most particular of this is Callisto. Xena gets her family killed, and then is blamed for making Callisto and for all the crimes Callisto made out of her own free will. Yes, Xena is culpable for the death of Callisto's family, but what Callisto did with that background was her own decision (the Batman parallels are very strong).
Xena kidnaps Ming-Tien for two days, doing absolutely nothing to him except making him sit around in a cave, and she is to blame for him becoming a complete and utter tyrant? And this despite the fact that he was raised by a father who deliberately taught him to be ruthless and unyielding and already demonstrably felt no emotional attachment to his own mother by the time Xena met him.
Interspecies Romance: Ephiny marries Phantes, her former Centaur enemy, sometime after the events of "Hooves and Harlots", and they later have a child together.
Irony: The reason why love (as in "the Way of Love") has power, is because the Creator of All (supposedly 'the God of Love') created a universe, a reality, where love - 'true' love - invokes the power of the God of Love and allows the follower of the Way of Love - through the purity of love and compassion - to be a vessel to channel heavenly forces. Agreed? In the parameters of this show's universe, are we all agreed that this is how Eli's healing spirit and the way of Love works? The following statement is hence the most ironic thing said in the entire show, start to finish:
Eli "If we are united in the spirit of love, no one can stand against us. If we are joined in peace and friendship, then we have no need of the Gods." [in-universe]
Even with a couple of special tools, this is shown to be incredibly difficult, considering the manifold powers of the Gods and their intelligence. Well, at least until the Twilight of the Gods arc, when they all suddenly become stupid and evil for no reason and Xena suddenly has the power to kill them (because the God of Love, the force which embodies creation and the will to love and forgive all beings and is abhorent of any destructive impulses by nature suddenly wants Xena to murder the Olympian Gods... wait, what?)
Laxative Prank: In "Takes One to Know One", Gabrielle attempted to do this to the bounty hunter Ravenica by lacing her water bottle with gravy made to Lethal Chef Joxor's recipe in order to give her the runs. However, Raveinca was smart enough not to drink it.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "The Play's the Thing", Joxer is once again bearing the brunt of comedic misfortune. As the episode ends and the executive producer credits appear, Joxer whines, "I'm gonna tell my brother." The whole episode can be seen as a history of the show itself.
Licking the Blade: Callisto licks a dagger at one point. Also, in the episode sharing her name, she kisses Xena's Chakram.
Literary Agent Hypothesis: Like Hercules, there was an episode that suggests the series is based on the real life of Xena as found by the "Xena Scrolls" written by Gabrielle.
Living MacGuffin: In one episode Xena and her two doubles (Diana and Meg) try to rescue Diana's baby. The baby is such a plot device that it's not even given a name or gender.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Solan says that people in the Elysian Fields live the best day of their lives without their loved ones. They are made to think they are on a trip and will be back soon. Which is why Solan chooses to stay in Tartarus so he can watch his former life with Xena.
Khrafstar, who is revealed to be a servant of Dahak. This is rather subtle example of the trope if you're not familiar with Zoroastrianism, from which Dahak was derived. See this definition from the Oxford Dictionary Of World Religions:
Azi Dahaka is the personification of the Lie, often depicted in mythology as a terrible dragon with three heads, six eyes, and three jaws, whose body is full of khrafstras (evil spirits or beings).
Also Eve, who was destined to bring about the "Twilight of the Gods"; Evening and Twilight both being times of day. This was another incredibly subtle example, even more so in universe, as the person who named her was utterly clueless about her destiny.
Eve's name is doubly meaningful in the context of the death of the old pagan gods cleared the way for the in-verse equivalent of the Judeochristian god. Adam & Eve, anyone?
Mediation Backfire: In "Been There, Done That", Joxer attempts to intervene in order to stop the feuding families. He gets a couple dozen arrows to his face for his trouble (but again, this being a Groundhog Day Loop, he gets better).
Moral Dissonance: all over the place, although never present in Xena's actions (except in the 'Twilight of the Gods' arc, but everyone's actions are questionable there).
Gabrielle has this in different times. Firstly, in season 1 and 2 she has a very Black and White Morality spectrum, where she treats killing someone when it isn't self-defense as instant evil, despite the long-term consequences (some of which result in Fridge Horror). Then she takes the Path of Love, gets rid of her fighting stick (which she used so she could fight and not kill people), and then as soon as the Path of Love doesn't work for her, she abandons it and immediately picks up fighting knives to use in combat, killing people left and right and not even trying to find a fighting stick.
The "Hord" revere all life... except when they slaughter all those who they consider their enemy, usually unprovoked, and then torture and crucify them. Oh but wait, it was their land and they were trying to get 'white people' to stay off it, which justifies everything...right?
Not that the 'white people' were any more moral, what with giving money for the freshly-killed bodies of their enemy
Eli advocates the destruction of the Gods when not only does he believe that love and compassion are the true Way (and hence destruction is anathema) but he is an avatar of a GOD. (Note that no Gods have been shown oppressing any people so far (except the Gods of War), and so the whole reason for this tirade falls flat). This is all in the name of he God of Love (i.e. the Christian God), who is the only God seen oppressing and forcing his/her people into a specific path of living (whether this path of living is beneficial or not).
The God of Love, the being who is the source of all love and compassion is supposedly the "real" God and creator... but is so threatened by the Greek Gods that he commissions Xena to destroy them? (This all while this God is espousing a message of peace and love, and not wholesale destruction).
And if the God of Love is actually supposed to be the Light - Daehak's opposite force for creation - which is supposed to abhor destruction by its very nature, and in fact loves and has compassion and mercy for all beings, the very idea that this God gives Xena the power to inordinately kill all the Olympian Gods is just so ridiculously out-of-character for It that it borders on insulting (the force for all Creation giving someone the ability to kill is by definition hypocritical!). So either this is a case of severe character derailment on the part of the writers, or this God is in fact actually threatened by the Olympian Gods, their message for love and compassion is false, and hence this God is actually a Manipulative Bastard trying to manipulate people to His will. YMMV on whether you prefer this God to be false, or the writers to just be stupid beyond all reason.
Athena tells Xena that "the people need their gods, they need something to believe in," and Xena turns around, agrees that people need something to believe in but says that they have the 'Cult of Eli'... which is based in the Way of Love contingent on the God of Love! So in other words, Athena is right. However Xena goes on sacrificing the lives of people who are not warriors but are willing to fight to get rid of the Gods, while espousing Eli's teachings, i.e. to turn people to another God (the power to kill Gods comes from Heaven itself of all places!). No one seems to pick up on this mammoth Double Standard though.
Xena and Gabrielle kidnap Celestia in order to stop death itself, something which they stopped another selfish idiot from doing in the early seasons. Despite the fact the Olympian Gods are basically trying to survive and save the family they love, which is the exact same thing that Xena is doing, ' Her condescension to Celestia about it is appalling. Of course this was just to get the tears of Death in order to do a Romeo and Juliet on the Gods.
More Popular Spin Off: Sure people for the most part liked Hercules Legendary Journeys, but Xena is considered a pop culture icon. Xena's popularity over its parent show extends to the point that the Xena Trilogy the original 3 episodes from Hercules Legendary Journeys that introduces Xena's character and sets up her own show, was released on a separate DVD so that Xena fans could purchase them without having to buy the entire first season of Hercules
Solan qualifies as this, as he is the driving force behind Xena and Gabrielle's being transported to the musical world of Illusia after they tried to kill each other.
Also Terpsichore's Lyre, from "Lyre, Lyre Hearts on Fire". is an inanimate version of this, as the musical aspects of the episode only begin when the Lyre is unearthed by Draco, and are abruptly ended when the Battle of the Bands is won. By Xena
My God, What Have I Done?: Joxer after his first kill. Even though it was in self-defense (against a warlord, no less), he is completely guilt-ridden over his actions.
When Xena and Gabrielle arrive in Illusyia in "The Bitter Suite", both are completely naked, having lost their clothes to the rapids that brought them there.
When Hope hatches from her cocoon in "Sacrifice, Part I", she is completely naked, with only cocoon skin and goo to save her modesty.
Naked People Are Funny: In "The Bitter Suite", Xena and Gabrielle wake up in Illusyia completely naked. Gabrielle notices her own nudity when she is musing over whether or not she is in the Elysian Fields before running away, hands over her chest protectively, to avoid being seen nude by Joxer, who later provides her with clothes. Xena is initially dressed in blue and beige robes by Callisto, but when she confronts Ares, he strips her completely naked with two quick sword slashes, exposing her firm, shapely body before his minions, much to her quiet yet humorous anger.
The episode "Cradle of Hope" featured a baby prophesied to be the next king. In that case, Xena heads off the infanticide by convincing the king to adopt the child and make him his lawful successor.
There's also the complete reversal where Gabrielle sends her daughter floating down the river to save her life... from Xena, because the baby is prophesied to bring about DOOM. While it's never entirely clear, there are hints within the narrative that perhaps the ensuing destruction could have been avoided if Hope had been brought up by a loving mother instead of having people try to murder it all the time.
Not a baby, but the Archangel Michael says that as long as Xena's daughter is alive, Xena has the power to kill the Greek Gods. What do the Gods do? Attack Eve. What does that cause Xena to do? Kill the Gods. Xena was never particularly fond of the Gods, but would she have gone on a killing spree if they hadn't endangered her daughter?
Gabrielle: You used my scrolls?! Xena: Now, take it easy. There were no good leaves in the bush. I used a piece that didn't have much writing on it!
In "A Tale of Two Muses", Xena uses a flushable toilet.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: "The Deliverer", which saw Gabrielle commit her first kill (thus losing her blood innocence), the introduction of Dahak and the beginning of the "Rift" arc. A shaken Gabrielle even laments, "Everything's different now."
Official Couple: In an odd case of this, the episode "The Xena Scrolls" have the descendants of Xena and Gabrielle find the title scrolls which detail Xena's life and which name Marcus as Xena's "one true love." Obviously, most fans chalk this down to Canon Discontinuity.
Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: The assassin Sinteres is said to be deadly with any weapon. King of Thieves Autolycus, posing as Sinteres, has to demonstrate this by killing a man with a thrown toothpick although Xena's use of a grappling hook helped.
Only Mostly Dead: In "The Greater Good", Xena temporarily dies after Callisto poisons her — in her words, she has to fully "go under" to fight the poison. Later, in "Is There a Doctor in the House?" Gabrielle is severely injured and stops breathing for several minutes before being revived. The end of that episode confirms that Gabrielle's soul did indeed make it to the Elysian Fields, so she was technically dead for those few minutes.
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Happens very often, particularly among the minor characters and extras, usually played by New Zealand and Australian actors called on to sport American accents with varying degrees of success. Lucy Lawless was known to do this a few times herself.
"In a time of ancient gods, warlords, and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle...."
Opening Shout-Out: The show made fun of the "the power, the passion" part of the opening narration.
Our Banshees Are Louder: Xena and Gabrielle encountered a trio of banshees in Britainia. They didn't display any high-pitched screams, and were described as shades that could take solid form at will (the latter making it difficult for Xena to land a punch). These banshees were also shown to be worshipful of Hope and Dahak. Their mannerisms are also reminiscent of Deadites.
Playing with Fire: Callisto as a Goddess. Occasionally Ares, Hades and other Gods too.
Please Don't Leave Me: Adds much fuel to the Les Yay fire when Xena screams, "Don't you leave me!" while trying to resuscitate a not-breathing Gabrielle.
Please Wake Up: Xena to Gabrielle, word for word, as she is dying in Is There A Doctor in the House? She does. Does both, that is, dying and then being awoken by Xena.
Poorly Disguised Pilot: Season 5's "Lifeblood" showed clips for a new series, Amazon High, that explained the "origin" of the Amazons through a series of vision-quest flashbacks.
Popularity Power: how Xena beats all the Olympian Gods in the Twilight of the Gods arc. No, really.
The Power of Love: subverted in the 'Twilight of the Gods' arc. Firstly, Eli says that love and compassion - the Way of Love - is enough to destroy the Gods, that the population of Greece will turn away from the Gods (well, more 'turn to' the God of Love, but anyway...) and he sacrifices himself to martyr for the cause. Then, in a later episode a prophecy comes along that says that it's Xena's child who will actually destroy the Gods, subverting the entire 'Way of Love' plotline and making Eli's sacrifice completely pointless.note Seems like the writers thought Love wasn't strong enough after all.
Prince and Pauper: Both Xena and Joxer have several identical lookalikes. Xena has the princess Diana, the tramp-turned-cook Meg, and the priestess Leah. Joxer has two identical triplet brothers named Jett and Jayce.
Prophecy Twist - Xena convinced a king to adopt a baby who was prophesied to take his throne in season 1.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: In the last two seasons, virtually anything Xena does to protect Eve is considered just and anyone that anyway puts Eve in jeopardy is deserves death. This includes people questioning whether one child is worth that of many others, people demanding justice for Eve's crimes against them, or normally benevolent (Athena) gods fighting for their own loved ones. Xena only gets called out on it when she nearly unleashes hell on Earth, corrupts and archangel and tries to murder the Archangel Michael. Even then any criticisms are casually brushed aside.
Punny Name: Tons — the most wince-worthy being, perhaps, two soldiers named Thelonius and Monk.
Pure Is Not Good: Pao Hsu was able to harness her powers because of her purity, of hate.
Xena is usually the Blue Oni. She thinks through her actions more than Gabrielle, has less rage and blood-thirstiness than Callisto, is nowhere near as jittery as Joxer, and even keeps her cool around Ares. Hercules only flips the dynamic by virtue of being in less internal anguish.
In one episode Xena and Callisto have a teeter-tottering fight on a series of ladders and rails, defying the laws of physics and gravity, and somehow managing to create a see-saw out of the materials around them. It makes little sense, but perfectly depicts how Callisto sees both herself and her bond with Xena.
Shaky P.O.V. Cam: In "A Family Affair", this is used during Xena's first encounter with the Destroyer (In a Shout-Out to Evil Dead, the sequence includes banging against a closed door.)
Shameful Strip: Happens to both Xena and Gabrielle in The Bitter Suite when they lose their clothes to the river they fall into that brings them into Illusyia. And then it happens to Xena a second time when Ares cuts off the clothes Callisto loaned her in front of his men. Xena herself was not amused.
Shamu Fu: More than once Xena went into combat armed only with fish.
At the end of "The Play's the Thing", Joxer is left alone hanging over the stage with a rope around his feet, whining that he is going to tell his brother. Joxer is played by Ted Raimi, whose brother is director Sam Raimi, one of the producers of the show.
Several episode were set in the present time and portrayed the show as being a re-enactment of the "Xena Scrolls" written by Gabrielle.
"The Bitter Suite", and "Lyre, Lyre Hearts on Fire", the musical episodes.
"'You Are There" features a modern-day reporter (played by Michael Hurst) following Xena and Gabrielle around. With no explanation.
Something Only They Would Say: When Callisto manages to swap bodies with Xena, Xena-in-Callisto urges Gabrielle to ask Callisto-in-Xena what Gabrielle has been dreaming about since the death of her husband. When "Xena" says that it's been the moment in which Gabrielle can have her revenge, Gabrielle knows she's lying, not just because it's out of character, but because she had already told Xena that she hadn't had any dreams since Perdicus's death.
Spontaneous Reverb: In the episode where Xena meets the slave girl who teaches her how to fight. At one point the slave girl is on the bow of the boat, singing. She brought her own reverb.
Springtime for Hitler: In "The Play's the Thing" (a Whole Plot Reference to The Producers), a pair of con artists get a hold of one of Gabrielle's plays and convince her to put it on as a play. As it's overly talky, lacking any action and full of Gabrielle's beliefs, they expect it to fail and to be able to keep all the money (including what was donated by some vicious warlords). Problem is, the cast and producer Joxer make changes (which Gabrielle ultimately agrees with) to transform it into a rousing, violent adventure story.
Stepping-Stone Sword: In one episode, Xena is scaling the wall of an enemy stronghold and, when it looks like she is about to fall short, her allies fire arrows into the wall that she uses as rungs to scale the last few feet.
The Strategist: Xena is an absolutely brilliant and cunning strategist, and intelligent and humble enough to take on anything and everything her mentors, allies, and enemies show her, using them with the genius of a born military commander. If we find out that she ghost-wrote The Art Of War, it wouldn't be surprising. However, her military brilliance means that she conquered and killed entire nations, which comes back to haunt her later when she atones for it.
Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: In "Fins, Femmes and Gems", Joxer thinks he is 'Atis, the Ape Man' and claims to be able to speak to animals. It is unclear if if he actually can or if this is just part of his delusion.
Superhero Origin: subverted. The show tended to avoid Xena's origin story, being more preoccupied with the character development that Xena's crimes after her origin allowed for.
Not that we don't know what happened; we hear the account of Cortez's raid on Xena's village several different times, and even see (via flashback) Xena's confrontation with her mother after the death of her brother, but we never see the battle itself.
We also hear the accounts of Xena's other brother, the warlord who led the attack, the villagers and Xena herself numerous times.
The entire series kind of serves as Gabrielle's origin story.
Superman Stays out of Gotham: Aka "Hercules Stays Away From Wherever Xena Happens to Be." In "A Necessary Evil," Gabrielle actually suggests getting Hercules' help for their current problem (a now-godly Velasca), but Xena states they don't know where to find him. Otherwise, the possibility of getting Hercules' help for major threats (such as against Dahak or Hope) is never even brought up. Justified since the problems they're facing need to be handled immediately, the fastest means of communication would be a pigeon or an unreliable god, the fastest means of travel would probably be a boat or an unreliable god and generally they wouldn't have the faintest idea where Hercules would be even if they did have a god helping them.
Hercules does, however, deal with a lot of the same threats Xena does, battling Hope, Callisto, Ares, Caesar and even being the one to finally end the Dahak plotline, by killing the God of evil.
10-Minute Retirement: In the pilot, Xena buries her weapons, renouncing her life of violence. It doesn't last.
That Came Out Wrong: In "Takes One to Know One", Joxor speculates that Minya's motive for the murder might be that she "loves horses too much". After a pause, and several odd looks from the other characters, he continues "Let me rephrase...".
To Hell and Back: Hell. Heaven. Elysium. Tartarus. Valhalla. The Amazon Land of the Dead.
Took a Level in Badass: Gabrielle. Her earliest costume was a very modest dress while later episodes had her with a green midriff revealing top and a skirt with her fighting staff. And later a more revealing costume, shorter hair & a pair of Sai. Averted with Joxer, who is the son of a warlord and travels with Xena and Gabrielle for quite a lot of time, passes through many battles, and yet remains a very poor fighter.
Trapped in Another World: The Amazon founder Cyane is actually from the 20th century. This explains why some of the Amazon's rituals are familiar (the Amazon purification ritual is a sauna, the Amazon royal challenge is pro wrestling).
The Trojan War: back in season 1. It's unique in that Troy is not portrayed as a golden city but a place that's almost in ruins after a decade of war.
Two Halves Make A Plot: One episode featured the search for a large, hidden treasure with a treasure map that had been ripped into several pieces. The different people looking for the map were forced to work together as they had memorized their portions of the map and then destroyed them.
Villainous Valour: The gods during the "Twilight" arc. The gods are defending their own lives, but also their loved ones, homes and everything they have built over thousands of years. Athena tries reasoning, bargaining, and intimidation before resorting to bloodshed.
Vine Swing: Joxer does this in "Fins, Femmes and Gems", swinging in on a vine to abduct Gabrielle, after he becomes obsessed with the story of "Atis, the Ape Man" as a result of Aphrodite's magical perfume.
Virgin Sacrifice: In "Many Happy Returns", Zarat and his band of religious zealots are about to sacrifice the virgin Genia by hurling her off the edge of a cliff. After Xena saves her, Genia mistakes her for a goddess and confesses about how she has always dreamed of being sacrificed.
"The Deliverer" for kickstarting the Dahak/Rift storylines. Immediately followed by another Wham Episode ("Gabrielle's Hope"), where Gabrielle gives birth to a certain baby.
Whole Plot Reference: The episode "The Play's the Thing" is based off the plot from The Producers, with Gabrielle getting caught in the scam. At one point, when Joxer and her actors are trying to offer constructive criticism, someone suggests the name be changed. Gabrielle sarcastically asks "To what? Springtime for Warlords?"
"Takes One to Know One" is this to Clue and other murder mysteries.
What a Drag: Xena drags Gabrielle behind a galloping horse in 'Bitter Suite' and gloatingly reprises in a later episode by dragging Cassius in front of Gabrielle.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Callisto eventually got sick of her godhood-induced immortality when she had nothing to live for and wanted Xena to kill her with the Hind's Blood Dagger, but Xena refused to give Callisto what she wanted until she saw Gabrielle perish, realizing that Callisto now had something worth living for. However, Callisto may have just been playing off of Xena's fragmented emotional state in the moment, to achieve her goal.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? : the Greek Gods are amazingly powerful, capable of blowing up entire buildings and even cities, manipulating the weather and are omniscient - when they can be bothered to use that power - and that's just the tip of the iceberg, but none of them every just blow up the building Xena is in or targeting her with a lightning bolt (using their omniscience to be accurate) or even teleporting her 150 feet in the air and then dropping her to her death etc. etc. when they want to kill heror her baby and they never use their amazing powers for anything except fights between other Gods, making it a case of Reed Richards Is Useless as well. They only ever attack Xena like any other warlord, and never use their thousands of years of experience to their advantage.
With Catlike Tread: Bandits trying to kill Xena in her sleep in "A Day in the Life" ruin their own chances by shouting "Now you will die, Xena!"
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Destroyer. Unlike his mother, who had knowledge of morality and what is right and wrong, the Destroyer only kills humans because his mother tells him to, only wanting love and affection (which Hope has no interest in giving, only wanting him to be alive so that they can fulfill Daehak's plan). He only attacks Xena because Hope tells him to, and not only completely stops fighting when Gabrielle shows him affection and tells him not to, but is absolutely distraught when he accidentally hurts and kills Hope. This is a creature who, unlike Hope, was actually born innocent, and deserved the same attempts Gabrielle made to redeem Hope much more than Hope herself did.
When Lucy Lawless was thrown from a horse during a stunt on The Tonight Show, it triggered a story arc where Xena was in a death-like trance and her soul had to be carried in the bodies of other characters on the show. Thus, "Xena" could still appear on the show while Lucy Lawless was recuperating. Two of the soul-carriers were Xena's enemy Callisto and Autolycus, the King of Thieves.
Gabrielle spraining her ankle in "One Against an Army" was written because Renee O'Connor really did sprain her ankle during production. It's even acknowledged in the credits.
You Can't Fight Fate/Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Once decreed by the Fates, The "Twilight of the Gods" is inevitable. Xena's child would eventually become the messenger of Eli and turn people away from the Olympians and Xena would be given the power to kill gods. Ironically, the very attempts by the gods to prevent it both delays it and causes their own deaths. Quite fitting for a show based on Greek Mythology. Fate may also explain their sudden changes in personality and bouts in stupidity.
You Look Familiar: Many examples, but Cupid and Julius Caesar, both played by Karl Urban, stand out. Lucy Lawless & Renee O'Connor both played different characters in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys preseries Made For TV Movies.