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Series / Xena: Warrior Princess

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Xena (left) and her li'l buddy Gabrielle (right)

"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 Les 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.

The series 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. 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.

There were also a pair of video game adaptations: Xena: Warrior Princess and Xena: Warrior Princess: The Talisman of Fate.

The characters from Xena appeared in Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus, an Animated Adaptation which combined the two series. There have also been several published novels featuring the characters from the show.

Produced by Renaissance Pictures and Universal for the syndicated Action Pack block.

Now has a recap page that's complete, but could use some love.

Xena: Warrior Princess provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • 10-Minute Retirement: In the pilot, Xena buries her weapons, renouncing her life of violence. It doesn't last.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Xena calling Gabrielle "Mavis" in "The Furies".
  • Action Dress Rip
    • 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.
  • Actor Allusion
    • "The Play's The Thing" features a Centaur actor played by Peter Muller, who played Deric the Centaur on Hercules. (And his name is Dustinus Hoofmanus.)
    • "Here She Comes, Miss Amphipolis" sees Xena go undercover at a beauty pageant. Lucy Lawless is no stranger to beauty pageants, having been crowned Mrs. New Zealand in 1989.
    • Autolycus being made to punch himself in the face by Xena while she's inhabiting his body brings to mind a certain other role that Bruce Campbell has had.
    • Done pretty often with Ted Raimi (Joxer the Mighty), usually to poke fun at him for being the Executive Producer's brother.
    • With Bruce Campbell (Autolycus) this is usually done alongside Ted Raimi, referencing his (Campell's) work on the Evil Dead movies, and his longstanding friendship with Raimi's older brother.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the original myths, Sisyphos attempted to cheat death twice and was condemned to move a rock up a mountain for all eternity because of it. The Sisyphos of the show manages to cheat death every other episode, and not even the rock punishment is enough to keep him dead. Xena even calls him "quite the little escape artist" at one point.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Bacchus is a rather exaggerated example. He is frequently depicted in media as either a effeminate Pretty Boy or a fat middle-aged man. The TV show ditches both representations and has him depicted as a fearsome-looking demonic being with red skin, sharp fangs and curved horns. Quite the departure indeed.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Gabrielle's Important Haircut in Season 4.
  • Adventure Towns: Xena visited adventure villages weekly, as did Hercules in his show.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Janice Covington, from a clip-show episode, was clearly this trope in action (she had a Gatling gun in her tent!) who was obsessed with finding evidence of Xena's travels. She fancied herself a direct descendent of Xena and was initially disappointed to find out that she was a descendant of Gabrielle instead.
  • 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).
  • Aliens Speaking English: Xena travels to Rome, Brittania, Africa, India, China, and Japan, yet never runs into language barriers.
  • 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, his friend Iolaus gets more female attention than Herc does.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Or at least, according to Ares, every time he tries to seduce Xena.
  • All Myths Are True: Initially centered on Greek mythology, as the show progressed, it introduced such things as the Egyptian pantheon and Christianity.
  • Alternate Reality Episode: "Remember Nothing" (Xena never becomes a warlord) and "When Fates Collide" (Caesar and Xena rule Rome).
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Anteus' (Abraham) almost-sacrifice of Ikus (Isaac) [c.2000BC?], the siege of Troy [12th or 13th century BC], the reign of Julius Caesar [49-44BC], and the birth of Christ [c. 4BC] all happening during the same three years. The Stew gets thicker in later seasons with such events as Octavius' rule of Rome [27BC-4AD], Cleopatra and Antony's affair, katanas [~15th century AD onward], and the events depicted in the poem Beowulf [~6th century AD].
    • It even happens in-universe, as just a year after the aforementioned siege of Troy, Xena helps Odysseus get home, with reference even being made to how he's been trying to get there for ten years.
    • In "Animal Attraction", the heroes come to a town that, other than a lack of guns, was clearly modeled on the Wild West.
  • Ancient Grome: One episode was devoted to Bacchae, and thus featured Bacchus in a major role. As opposed to, say, Dionysus and his Maenads.
  • Annoying Arrows
    • Callisto becomes a godly pin-cushion in "Maternal Instincts", and provides the image for that trope page.
    • Xena also provides an example of this in the finale.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the series, the only recurring supporting characters who hadn't died were Autolycus, Salmoneus, Ares, and Aphrodite. Even the other Olympian gods... The ones confirmed to be killed by Xena and Hercules are Zeus, Discord, Poseidon, Hades, Hephaestus, Artemis, Athena and Deimos. The Furies and even the Fates were also killed.
  • Arch-Enemy: For Callisto and Xena, It's Personal.
  • Arrow Catch
    • Commonly done by Xena, occasionally performed by other characters.
    • Gabrielle never caught an arrow during the show, but she did block one or two with her staff.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Xena's "pinch" wouldn't work in real life for several reasons. This wouldn't normally be an issue in a world of magical fantasy except that it's constantly portrayed as a physical ability requiring anatomical knowledge and skill rather than a supernatural ability. In real life, there is no way to easily "cut off" blood flow to the brain (or any other appendage) in a way that could easily and quickly be reversed, and it certainly can't be done by striking a pressure point. Furthermore, while a person would live longer than 30 seconds without blood flow to the brain, they would lose consciousness within seconds, making it a rather poor interrogation tool.
  • 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.
    • Of course, since the chakram Xena uses is a divine artifact, it may be designed that way.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In "The Titans", Gabrielle argues with a band of cultists over the correct way to recite an ancient chant that will free the titular Titans. The cultists recite it in an Ionian rythm, which fails to unleash the mighty Titans... and translates to: "Thank you very much! So and so! Hello, Good morning! Hello Goodnight! Hello... Kali noches!"note  Gabrielle says that they should recite the chant in a Dorian rythm; her attempt is more successful, if equally nonsensical: "Greetings greetings greetings hello greetings. Good greets. Moupolita moupolita.note  Chania Heraclion."note 
  • Ax-Crazy: Callisto. Xena when she was a warlord. Najara.
  • Badass Adorable: Gabrielle, until the fifth season.
  • Badass Cape: Xena sported one when she was a warlord. Other characters, such as Hades, also sported capes from time to time.
  • Badass Longcoat: Xena and Gabrielle wear these in season 5.
  • 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.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Bare midriffs were one of the main form of the show's fanservice. Out of the main duo, Gabrielle the bard's green halter top and burgundy skirt exposed her midriff whereas the tough warrior Xena wore a breastplate that covered it. Gabrielle's outfit got even more revealing over the seasons; eventually she switched to a red top that was barely more than a bra and a shorter matching skirt. One episode that involved Gabrielle losing her memory even hung a lampshade on it: 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. Eventually, Xena also got into the midriff-baring with her Japanese armor in the finale. Almost all other female guest stars and recurring characters also wore midriff-baring outfits.
  • 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".
  • Battle Ballgown: Xena wears one of these in "Soul Possession" to her wedding.
  • Battle Couple: Xena and Gabrielle, Darnell and Glyphera.
  • Battle Cry: Xena's ululation. It's such a defining trait of hers that whenever someone tries to pretend to be her a proper one is the first thing they try to copy.
  • Battle Rapping: "Lyre Lyre Hearts On Fire" culminates in a rap battle/fight scene between Xena and Draco.
  • Beach Episode: "Here She Comes, Ms. Amphipolis" starts with Xena and Gabrielle admiring the New Zealand coast, then they see a bunch of scantily-clad women running on the beach in slow motion.
  • Beam-O-War: Velasca and the newly-empowered Callisto fire lightning bolts at each other in "A Necessary Evil".
  • Beard of Evil: Ares, plus many guest characters.
  • Behind the Black: The only possible way Callisto could have snuck up on Gabrielle and Perdicus in "The Return of Callisto" while riding a horse is with the director's help.
  • Beyond the Impossible
    • Xena's utter disregard for the laws of the setting. Such as killing Gods.
    • How Callisto's soul managed to impregnate Xena.
  • 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 Jerkass, 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.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: A variation occurs in the "Groundhog Day" Loop episode "Been There Done That", as Xena is explaining her predicament to Gabrielle and Joxer, answering the questions she know that they'll ask in advance:
    Gabrielle: We've repeated the same day that many times.
    Xena: Yes.
    Gabrielle: But I—
    Xena: No, No, Yes, No, I tried that, yes both ways, no, I don't know, no again, are there any more questions? Good.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
    • Xena, moreso while she was on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
    • Also Varia, Velasca and (occasionally) Amarice.
    • 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.
  • Black Vikings: Ancient Greece seems to have had an unusually large multi-ethnic population. Justified in episodes set in Egypt, Athens, or other large significant trade routes; less explicable in the tiny peasant farming villages the show encountered so often.
  • Blood Knight: Xena was this before she reformed (and she certainly still loves a good fight afterwards).
  • Booze Flamethrower: One of Xena's signature moves.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Gabrielle is a perfect example, with her impromptu haircut being a symbolic conclusion to her Coming of Age Story, and of her maturing from being Xena's young sidekick and protegee, to a mature, independent, strong woman, and fighter, with skills on par with Xena's own.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Gabrielle does this in "Cradle of Hope," when she hears a strange crying sound and Xena draws her sword:
    Gabrielle: Is that a cat? A big cat? Or maybe a gryphon? A gryphon with a cat in his mouth?
  • Broken Pedestal: In "The Execution", Gabrielle is devastated by Meleager's confession that he really did kill someone. Invoked by Xena:
    Xena: You put people on a pedestal, and sooner or later they're going to fall, and your expectations fall with them.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Ares loses his godhood in "Ten Little Warlords". Apparently his powers are tied to his sword, which Sisyphus stole.
  • Buffy Speak: A few examples:
    • 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 round killing thing.
    Gabrielle: Chakram.
    Diana: Bless you.
    • Then there's the "loud-talking-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.
    • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joxer. In a Spot the Imposter episode his friends identified him because he was hanging from a wall by his underpants.
  • The Caligula: Caligula himself.
  • Camp: Apparently you can have lesbian camp.
  • 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 Little 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.
    • 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 .
    • invokedMany fans do not officially consider the two-part "Friend in Need" arc to be the finale and, thankfully, neither do the writers of the Xena comics! Dynamite Publications' "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.
  • Catchphrase
    • "I have many skills."
    • "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 abandon her line to save Gabrielle.
  • Celebrity Paradox: According to "Soul Possession", Bruce Campbell does exist...and has a sizable fee for appearing at conventions.
  • 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 fiery 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.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang
    • The "Hind's Blood Dagger", which originated on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, but later appeared on Xena in "Sacrifice 2".
    • Surprisingly, NOT the chakram.
    • The "cleavage dagger" which Gabrielle picked up in season 1 and which kept popping up throughout the show.
  • Christmas Episode: "A Solstice Carol". (Possibly the only Christmas Episode in which the C-word is never spoken, for obvious reasons.)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In a season one episode Xena's older brother Toris turns up. He hadn't been mentioned before, and never is again.
  • Clear My Name: Averted in "Locked Up and Tied Down"; Gabrielle expects Xena to plead her case when the latter is accused of murder, but Xena admits that she actually did the crime. It turns out that her supposed victim didn't actually die, however, so everything works out in the end.
  • Clip Show: Several.
    • 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' descendants. 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 5: Punch Lines where Gabrielle recalls to Aphrodite an incident with the god of despair.
    • 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.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Eve, surprisingly, during "You Are There". Also counts as a Berserk Button, as her swearing was caused by his badmouthing Xena.
    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.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: In "The Debt", Lao Ma tells an injured and hunted Xena to "Come with me if you wish your freedom."
  • 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.
  • 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 sitcom that didn't make it to air.
  • Cooldown Hug: Gabrielle calming down monster child of her daughter Hope pretending to be his own mother in "A Family Affair" episode.
  • Courtroom Episode: "The Execution"
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Reviving Gabrielle with hysterical screaming and poundi—er, ancient Greek medical techniques.
  • Crapsaccharine World: "Paradise Found"
  • 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.
  • Credits Gag: The "No Animals Were Harmed..." disclaimer in the ending credits.
    The musical genre was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. In fact, the Producers sincerely hope you were A-MUSE-D by this episode.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: A very odd example in "The Deliverer". When Xena kills evil warlords and the occasional Mook who are threatening innocents, that's heroic. But when Gabrielle stabs a dark cultist who is trying to kill her and her friend, who is literally in the act of raising a sword to strike Gabrielle down, apparently that's objectively Evil enough of an act that it destroys her "innocence of evil" and allows a dark god to enter the world!
  • Crossover
    • 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.
  • Crossover Cosmology / All Myths Are True: The later seasons establish that, along with the Greek Underworld, the Judeo-Christian Heaven and Hell also exists. Xena and Gabrielle were also introduced to the idea of reincarnation after visiting India. Also, the canon comic series by Dynamite Entertainment features an all-out war between the Greek and Egyptian Gods.
  • Curse Cut Short
    • In the 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—!
  • Dark Action Girl: Callisto, Xena herself prior to the show's beginning.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
    • As mentioned on the HTLJ page, Hades. He rules the Underworld and tends to dress all in black, but is a fairly pleasant guy.
    • Not to mention Xena's revelation that without her dark past, she wouldn't be the hero she became, and that, in the end, it was all worth it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Started out slightly darker and edgier than Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and got progressively more so as the series continued.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Prodigal" is the first episode to focus on Gabrielle rather than Xena, to the extent that Xena herself only appears at the beginning and the end.
  • Daydream Surprise: In "Paradise Found", Xena imagines breaking Gabrielle's arm.
  • Death by Childbirth: Meg's father.
    Meg: My father died in childbirth!
    Gabrielle: Your father died in childbirth?
    Meg: Yeah. He got drunk and fell off the roof while I was being born.
  • Death Is Cheap
    • 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 Dahak)) (e.g. Heaven, the Elysian Fields, Valhalla etc.) and those who are evil are drawn into the Dark (e.g. Hell, Tartarus etc.). There are 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.
  • Death Takes a Holiday: Done twice in the first season:
    • 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.
    • The Amazon Queen Cyane, however, used this trope to humiliate Xena when Xena ambushed her by ripping the clothes Xena herself was wearing right off of her and then dressing herself in them, leaving Xena naked but for a tiny loincloth, forcing an angry and humiliated Xena to flee in shame.
  • Description Cut
    • In "The Titans":
    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 reached 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.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Twice. Xena whistles it in "Fins, Femmes, and Gems" and plays it on a lute in "Lyre Lyre Hearts on Fire".
  • Direct Line to the Author: The television series is based on "The Xena Scrolls," as written by Gabrielle, and later found by an archaeological team in the 1930s who all happened to be Identical Grandchildren of the main cast. Joxer's counterpart left them to his equally Identical Grandson Ted Raimi, and the rest is history (well, it's as much history as anything in Xena is).
  • Discount Lesbians: Done a lot:
    • 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.
    • The episode where Xena had to walk through a wall of fire and wake up Gabrielle by kissing her.
    • Aphrodite kissing Gabrielle while being not quite herself because of Caligula.
    • Arguably, cross-dresser beauty contest winner kissing Xena.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Xena is pretty much this for Hercules, by the time she gets her own series.
  • Distract and Disarm: Gabrielle finds herself holding a hostile warlord at swordpoint. He retaliates by mocking her, telling her that she has no business pretending to be a warrior, and that she isn't even holding her sword properly. Sure enough, Gabrielle takes her eyes off the warlord for a moment to check her grip, and he knocks the sword out of her hands.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Happens every now and then, such as in "The Prodigal", in which Gabrielle and some of Potidaea's female residents dance sexily to distract Damon's soldiers.
  • Documentary Episode: "You Are There"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Kindred Spirits", Xena and Gabrielle act like a couple whose marriage is being tested by career vs. family obligations.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Joxer towards Gabrielle.
  • Domestic Abuse: Gab Drag, anyone?
  • 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!
  • Downer Ending: By the end of the series, virtually every major supporting character has suffered a violent death, Hercules was forced to kill his own father, the nonhuman races like Centaurs are doomed to extinction, the Amazons are doomed setting back women's rights, the ancient pantheons will eventually fade away into nothing with only a few gods surviving with their replacement being better is questionable at best, Ares is one of the few gods left and free to manipulate humanity with no one really around to stop him, it is unknown if Xena ever got the redemption and peace she wanted leaving her dead, and Gabrielle is left wandering the world with all those she loved dead.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Ares thinks that Callisto will follow his orders in "Intimate Stranger". She has other plans.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Xena wakes up from no less than three nested nightmares in "Intimate Stranger".
  • Dress Hits Floor: Several, including two 'Shipperiffic ones: "The Reckoning" (ohdearpowers...) and "The Bitter Suite".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • 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 Trek Red 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 Hercules page, this is completely subverted with Aphrodite. She's extremely vapid and shallow (at least at first), but very cunning.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This show is rather notorious for this, and the first season in particular can feel like a completely different show than later ones. This is mostly in the handling of Xena herself, who initially comes across as a young woman atoning for a period of her life in which she's characterized as a violent warlord, but one who is nonetheless not without honour or morals. As such, the first season often had her meeting up with friends of "ten years ago" who remembered her as a valued and trustworthy person. As the show went on, the writers began to fill in some of the blanks of her "dark period", in which she comes across as little more than a feral psychopath. Subsequently, most of her old acquaintances that appear in later seasons who remember her from these days are either terrified of her, or out for revenge.
  • El Cid Ploy: Gabrielle's village hired a famous warrior to protect them from bandits. Unfortunately, said warrior has a habit of passing out drunk. So, Gabrielle strings him up like a puppet in order to frighten away some soldiers.
  • Emergency Impersonation
    • 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 Mark Antony against each other.
  • The Emperor: Ming T'ien and Augustus.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Not only does everyone (outside of the mooks) know Kung-Fu, they know different styles: Karate, Capoeira, Judo, pressure point manipulation — if it's vaguely martial art-like, a Xena character has used it.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Pao Ssu switched from her chipao to the regalia of an empress.
  • Evil Counterpart: Draco, Callisto and Najara and Ilainus all to Xena.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Xena's horse Argo can tell something is wrong with Xena when Callisto's spirit takes control of her body. In "Takes One to Know One," Xena mentions Argo has an instinct for danger.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Xena's reason for giving up Solan, she didn't want him turning out like her.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Shamaness Alti.
  • 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.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The Archangel Michael goes from devout servant of righteousness and protector of souls to a cackling villain who sets Eve up to die to martyr her. The same might be said for the God of Love because Michael was working with said being's full knowledge if not orders.
    • In "In Sickness and in Hell" Argo has a falling-out with Xena and lets the villain of the piece use her as a mount. When Xena finds out how the guy accomplished this....
      Xena: Apples?! You left me for apples?!
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Zigzagged all over the place with Meleager the Mighty in "The Prodigal." In the end he turns out to be a true hero who saves the village.
  • 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).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Pomira and the Amazons are Native Americans in Greece.
  • Fattening the Victim: Gabrielle and Virgil are captured by a Cannibal Tribe in "The Abyss" episode that keep their victims in a hut filled with food. While imprisoned, they meet a fellow prisoner called Rubico who managed to stay off the menu by staying skinny with diet and exercise so that he would be less appetizing than his fellow captives.
    Virgil: What kind of savages feed their captives like kings? Maybe they did understand me. Now that they know that I'm a friend of Xena. What are you doing?
    Rubico : Breathing a sigh of relief.
    Virgil: About what?
    Rubico: Your youthful zest for food and drink.
    Virgil: Oh, I get it. I'm the catch of the day.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Xena does this in "The Greater Goods" after being (apparently) poisoned to death.
  • Flames of Love: In the episode "The Ring", Brunhilda falls in love with Gabrielle and turns herself into a wall of fire to protect Gabrielle who falls into a magical coma.
  • Forged by the Gods
    • The chakram, Xena's primary weapon.
    • The Dagger of Helios can kill gods.
    • "Prometheus" features a set of three artifacts: the chains that bound the titular titan, a sword which is the only thing that can break those chains, and Hercules' gauntlets. Xena and Hercules spend much of the episode fighting over who uses the sword, as the wielder gets vaporized when they use it against an item that Hephaestus has created.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: "Animal Attraction" to allow Lucy Lawless more rest due to her pregnancy.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Depending on one's knowledge of history or mythology, some episodes can become this (though can just as easily not be so, particularly if the show takes liberties or say, substitutes Xena for Cleopatra). Of note, when it looks like Xena may end up becoming the ruler of Hell, then this guy Lucifer shows up, it's not hard to guess what happens....
  • Forgot About His Powers: The gods forget about pretty much all of their powers during the Twilight arc to make it possible for Xena to kill them. This includes their invisibility (particularly able to effect things while invisible), scrying from a distance. projectiles from a safe distance, plagues, summoning of armies of monsters, telekinesis, and general reality warping. The only one they remember are fireballs.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode
    • Several episodes 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.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip
    • 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.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: A naked Xena rising from the water is quite a sight, and so Xena uses the distraction to knock out an enemy in "Altared States".
  • Gatling Good: Used in "The Xena Scrolls".
  • Gender Rarity Value: Joxer and the Amazon Rhea in "Kindred Spirits". She wants to have a baby, and he's the only male around. They don't have sex, because Status Quo Is God.
  • Girl Next Door: Gabrielle, in the first few episodes. She even marries her childhood sweetheart in "Return of Callisto", but Callisto kills him the next day.
  • Girls Behind Bars / Prison Episode
    • "Locked Up and Tied Down"
    • "The Black Wolf"
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Solan, Xena's son.
  • Grand Theft Me: Callisto switches bodies with Xena in "Intimate Stranger".
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dahak is once referred to as "The blind force behind every evil deed."
  • Groin Attack: Xena has inflicted this on many a hapless Mook. Gabrielle too.
    • In "Orphan of War" she even does it to a centaur!
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The episode "Been There, Done That".
  • Happy Ending Override: By the end of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Zeus was about to patch things up with Hera and Hercules, and Herc himself was in the middle of And the Adventure Continues with Iolaus. Come the Twilight of the Gods arc, which occurs after the end of Hercules, Zeus kills Hera in an attempt to consolidate his power against Xena. Hercules in turn is forced to kill Zeus, undoing the potential reconciliation his family might have had.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • Xenan, son of Ephiny (human) and Phantes (Centaur).
    • And, of course, Hope, whose mother is Gabrielle and father is Dahak.
    • Then there's Eve whose mother is Xena and her father is implied to be God.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Xena battles harpies when she journeys to the underworld in "Mortal Beloved".
  • 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 Damsel in Distress 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn
    • Xena prior to the start of the series.
    • Joxer. Granted, he wasn't good at being bad, but by the end of his first appearance, he realizes being a hero (or in his case, trying to be) suits him better.
    • Callisto is the ultimate example. She becomes a freaking angel.
  • Held Gaze: Xena and Ulysses have great chemistry from the moment they meet.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: A good chunk of characters. We have Xena, Ares, Callisto, Hades, Draco, Jett, Alti, any warlord featured on the show ever...
  • Hell Has New Management: defeated the previous ruler of Hell, Mephistopheles, and learned that as a result, she either had to rule Hell or let all of the demons loose on Earth. She decided to Take a Third Option and corrupted Lucifer and had him take her place. Her justification was that his Holier Than Thou act was hypocritical anyways.
  • Hero of Another Story: A literal example if you replace the word "story" with "show." In the season five episode "Lifeblood", Xena and Gabrielle are given the means to explore the history of the Amazons, discovering that the culture was formed after a young woman from the 20th century named Cyane was pulled back in time and helped a tribe of women rise to greatness. Sounds pretty out there (even by this show's standards) and that's because the whole thing is comprised of footage from a failed pilot called Amazon High that Rob Tapert transferred wholesale into Xena: Warrior Princess.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Autolycus, who Xena calls on it in "The Quest":
    Xena: I was in there. I know. Despite all your bluster, Autolycus, you're a nice person.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "Vanishing Act" episode, Autolycus, inspired by the false tunnel painted over the wall he saw in the castle, paints the golden statue of Pax to blend in with the background.
  • 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 descendants met up in the 1940s 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.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: It was Hercules who inspired Xena to turn a new leaf.
  • 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")
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Take a shot every time Xena could have put an end to some dramatic conflict so much faster by just throwing her chakram, but she doesn't.
  • Honorary Princess: Born of innkeepers, Xena stayed single, and was at first a pirate, then a warlord, and finally a heroine. Then, where does the "warrior princess" of the title comes from? A friend of her, Lao Ma, used to call her this. Xena does have a lookalike (Diana) who is a princess by birth.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Tsunami", Xena goes out of her way to rescue Macon, an unapologetic and convicted murderer.
    Macon: Why? I'm a killer. Why'd you come back? What'd you expect?
    Xena: From you? Nothing. From me? Nothing less.
  • Hot Springs Episode: "Animal Attraction", which is also a tribute to The Wild West.
  • Human Popsicle: Xena and Gabrielle slept for over twenty years and ended up stuck in the future.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Gabrielle every time she was Joxer's "sidekick".
  • I Am Spartacus
    • The episode "The Black Wolf".
    • For bonus points, the Trope Namer itself appears through a tale that Homer tells in "Athens: School of the Performing Bards".
  • Iconic Item: Xena's personal weapon – Chakram.
  • 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!
  • Identical Stranger
    • 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!
    • Lucy Lawless also had two Hercules: The Legendary Journeys roles that were not Xena or the doppelgangers from her own show.
  • 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"!
  • Immortal Breaker: A Hind's Blood Dagger is one of the few things that can kill a god. Two of them show up in the series, but because Golden Hinds go extinct during the series they are becoming increasingly rare.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Greek Gods have absolutely terrible aim 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.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Combined with Does This Remind You of Anything?, Xena's chakram, a handheld stand-in for Captain America's Shield.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Lampshaded in "A Day in the Life" when Xena says she likes getting creative during battle.
  • Improvised Weapon: Fishes – "The Quill is Mightier...", frying pan – "A Day in Life".
  • Incoming!: In one episode, Gabrielle launches some firebombs onto an encampment of soldiers as a distraction. As the first bomb lands, a soldier in the background can be heard to yell "Incoming!"
  • Indy Hat Roll: "The Xena Scrolls" — Gabrielle's umpteenth great grand-daughter is an Indiana Jones expy.
  • 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.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Xena's plan in "A Tale of Two Muses".
    "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 Jerkass things to a few specific humans, but totalitarian oppressors they are not).
      • Also this:
    Eli: It's not a war of violence, it's a war of peace.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy
    • 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 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 an inordinate amount of blame for many problems and accepts the guilt, blaming herself for not only the free will of others but circumstances out of her control when usually the most she did was set events in motion.
    • Callisto is the most prominent example. 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]
  • Invincible Hero: Xena, while supposedly a regular mortal (questions about her true father aside), is pretty much unbeatable. She has defeated entire armies on her own along with war gods, archangels, and demons in direct battle despite their vastly superior strength. Any time she meets an enemy she cannot directly defeat she either acquires new powers, skills, or weapons that allow her to triumph or her enemies conveniently forget about the powers that would let them easily defeat a mortal.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: In "The King of Assassins" and "Key to the Kingdom", Evil Dead veterans and frequent collaborators Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi are reunited on-screen.
  • Jerkass Gods: Very much in keeping with Greek mythology.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Joxer organized a bachelor party for Ares. The girl who jumped out was Meg, the Identical Stranger of the woman he's going to marry.
  • Karma Houdini: Satrina, Xena' ex-slave girl partly responsible for Borias' death.
  • Kick Chick: Completely averted. Xena can definitely kick, but she is equally competent at throwing punches and swordfighting, and doesn't show any particular preference for kicks. Gabrielle prefers to use a staff when it comes to a fight.
  • Killer Rabbit: A real one in "In Sickness and in Hell".
  • Kill It with Fire: How Xena deals with the Harpies in "Mortal Beloved". And Hades in "Motherhood", as well a whole Japanese village in the finale.
  • Kill the God: Lots.
    • 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 abhorrent of any destructive impulses by nature suddenly wants Xena to murder the Olympian Gods... wait, what?)
  • Kiss of Death: See Last Kiss below.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Callisto, Hope and Julius Caesar.
  • Kung-Foley: Every single battle goes something like this: "Aiiiyiyiyiyiy!" SWOOSH! THUMP! THWACK! POW!
  • Lady of War: Xena could be the Trope Codifier for this. Eve apparently counts as well.
  • A Lady Rides Aside: Played for laughs. When an Identical Stranger princess disguises herself as Xena, one of the obvious tells is that she mounts her horse sidesaddle.
  • Large Ham: Many. Xena herself ventures into this territory on some occasions.
  • Last Kiss: Xena and Marcus — twice — in "Mortal Beloved". The first time, Marcus' second chance at life is just about to end (Hades only gave him 48 hours), so Xena kisses him passionately before stabbing him in the heart. Later, when she meets the now-dead Marcus in the Elysian Fields, they kiss again before she has to leave the Underworld.
  • Lava Pit
    • "Sacrifice 2"
    • "Soul Possession".
    • "A Necessary Evil"
    • "Maternal Instincts"
  • 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, Ravenica 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.
  • 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.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: A couple, but "The Deliverer" is a good example.
  • 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.
  • Love Goddess: Aphrodite and Cupid.
  • Made of Explodium: The Harpies, oddly enough. Also the Furies.
  • Mama Bear
    • Xena to Solan and especially Eve, seeing she was a baby being targeted by the Greek Gods.
    • Gabrielle does it with Hope, but it ends poorly, namely that Hope kills Xena's son. Oh, and she's the spawn of an evil God named Dahak.
  • Meaningful Name
    • 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).
  • Mêlée à Trois: For a short while in "A Necessary Evil", Xena, Velasca, and Callisto are all fighting each other at the same time.
  • Mind Rape:
    • Caligula does this to Aphrodite.
    • Alti also does this to Xena many times.
  • Minidress of Power: Xena wears a short leather dress.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Xena invents the Molotov in "Warrior... Princess".
  • More Popular Spin Off: Sure people for the most part liked Hercules, 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 three episodes from Hercules 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.
  • Mugging the Monster: Happens to Xena very often - some don't realise just who it is they're attacking, others attack even when they know Xena's reputation. Also happens to Ares in season 6 after he becomes mortal.
  • Murder by Cremation: "Blind Faith". Gabrielle is fed into a crematorium while in a coffin. She's alright though.
  • Murder by Inaction: This is how Xena originally killed Callisto; they tumbled down a hill, Callisto landed in quicksand and Xena simply let her sink. She got better though, multiple times.
  • Musical Episode: Three, if you include "A Tale of Two Muses", which is a dancing episode.
    • 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
    • Xena sings a funeral dirge in several episodes, starting in "The Path Not Taken", composed by Lucy Lawless herself.
    • Not to mention the countless renditions of Joxer's theme song.
  • 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.

  • Naked Nutter: One of the most common punishments visited by the gods is madness. When this happens to Xena herself, one of the symptoms she displays is an inability to dress herself or realize that she's naked in public.
  • Naked on Arrival
    • When Xena and Gabrielle arrive in Illusia 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 Illusia 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.
  • Near Misses: In "Livia" and "Eve", Xena uselessly but dramatically catches daggers out of midair that seem to have been aimed somewhere over her shoulders.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod
    • 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?
  • '90s Anti-Hero: One of the more well-rounded examples.
  • No Bisexuals: Subverted, by the two main characters no less.
  • Nobody Poops
    • Averted in "A Day in the Life".
    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."
  • Not so Dire: In "The Price" we see Xena and Gabrielle in a struggle with something which turns to just them fishing. Their fun is ruined however when corpses start floating down the river.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: There is no way Xena should have survived the ending of "Prometheus."
  • Of Corpse He's Alive:' A villain in "Blind Faith" episode forces unaware Gabrielle to marry dead king in order to take over his power.
  • Offhand Backhand: Xena, quite often with regular mooks, using either her fists, her sword, or her feet. It's just always a bad idea to try and sneak up on her.
  • 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.
  • Off with His Head!: Pompey and Discord.
  • 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.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted in that there are several Amazons named Cyane, presumably named in honor of the Amazons' founder.
  • 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 Zealander 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.
    • Take a shot every time you catch some new guy calling the title character "Xener."
  • Opening Narration:
    "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 Britannia. 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.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Bacchae" appeared on both Young Hercules and Xena, ultimately destroyed in the latter.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    Salmoneus (Ares in disguise): One week it's a melodrama, the next it's The Three Stooges.
  • Physical God: Many gods of various pantheons appear in the flesh throughout the show, and most are visually indistinguishable from humans.
  • Pinball Projectile: The chakram, which bounces off pillars, rocks, and Mooks' heads, is the Trope Inspirer.
  • Pirate Girl: Nebula
  • 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 
  • Power Tattoo: Gabrielle's dragon tattoo in the Finale.
  • Powers That Be: The God of Love, the show's analog of the real-world Judeo-Christian god, in seasons 5 and 6 is never seen or heard from directly, acting only through agents like angels and prophets.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The chakram.
  • Pressure Point: Xena's favorite interrogation method was a nerve pinch that cut off blood flow to the victim's brain. And she liked to explain that as it happened.
  • 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 Jace.
  • 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 people demanding justice for Eve's crimes against them 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. The irony is the Olympians are portrayed as villains for wanting to murder Eve based on a prophecy and who her father is, an outsider god who wants to do away with them and take over the civilization they built. Yet Xena tried to murder Gabriel's daughter Hope on nothing more than a prophecy and who her father was.
  • Punny Name: Tons — the most wince-worthy being, perhaps, two soldiers named Thelonius and Monk.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Pao Ssu was able to harness her powers because of her purity, of hate.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The lesson of the season 4 episode "A Good Day".
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Xena as the Slayer of Gods, killed most of the Olympian gods, and a few non-Olympians.
  • Real After All: "Altared States": Gabrielle never reached the loud-talking-thing.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Xena's pregnancy in Season Five.
  • Reality-Writing Book: The magic scroll in "The Quill Is Mightier..."
  • Reckless Sidekick: Gabrielle. Never Joxer — would the latter lead to You Can Keep Her!?
  • Redemption Equals Death: Xena herself.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni
    • 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.
    • Pompey and Caesar.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Between Xena and Gabrielle.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Xena-in-Callisto's body, almost word-for-word, in "Ten Little Warlords".
  • Right Behind Me: Subverted in "The Debt II". Ming Tzu talks badly about Xena to Lao Ma, unaware that the serving woman standing directly behind him (and holding a knife!) is, in fact, Xena in disguise. He never does realize the truth.
  • Rings of Death: Xena's chakram.
  • Rule of Symbolism
    • 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.
  • Scenery Gorn
  • Self-Deprecation: "The Plays' the Thing" and "Deja Vu All Over Again".
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Twilight.
  • Sequel Episode: "Warrior... Princess..." and its sequels "Warrior... Princess... Tramp" and "Warrior... Priestess... Tramp".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Euripides was very fond of this.
  • Sex Slave: in 'Who's Ghurkan?' our heroines rescue the slave girls of the tyrant Ghurkan's harem, including Gabrielle's niece.
  • 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 Illusia. 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.
    • Also happened to Xena in "Adventures in the Sin Trade" where she ambushed Amazon Queen Cyane (Victoria Pratt) while she's basically naked but for a loincloth while getting a massage, only for the blonde warrior to fight back and steal all of Xena's clothes right off of her and then dressing herself in them, leaving Xena herself basically naked but for a leather thong underwear, causing an angry Xena to wrap herself up in a Modesty Towel (or modesty rug at least) before fleeing in shame and anger.
  • Shamu Fu: More than once Xena went into combat armed only with fish.
  • She-Fu: Xena, sometimes taken to the extreme.
  • Shirtless Scene
    Xena: You lost weight.
    Marcus: It's hot down here.
  • Shout-Out
    • 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.
    • Not to mention the occasional reference to a certain Buffus the Bacchae Slayer.
    • The reworked title for the play "Message of Peace" is Faster Chakram, Kill, Kill, Kill!
    • At the end of "The Xena Scrolls," Ted Kleinman is attempting a pitch to Rob Tapert. What he describes is essentially the climatic scene from Evil Dead 2. Tapert even responds with, "Done it."
    • Xena (in Autolycus body) and Gabrielle's kiss in "The Quest" seems straight out of Ghost (1990).
    • The underwater kiss scene with Lao Ma and Xena was replicated straight from A Chinese Ghost Story.
  • Sick Episode: "In Sickness and in Hell" where Xena has lice, Gabrielle has foot rot and later they both get food poisoning.
  • Sidekick: Gabrielle and Joxer.
  • Skyward Scream: Xena in "The Ring".
    Xena: ... who am I... WHO AM I?!?!
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Amarice and Arman.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: In one episode, there was a group of mercenaries who slept not only with their eyes open but also in battle ready stances.
  • Snow Means Death: Xena's vision of her and Gabrielle being crucified on a snowy mountain in season 4. That came true.
    • It also snowed during Xena's first trip to Japan with Akemi. Both women would die there, one just a few days after the snow fall, and the other some years later.
  • 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.
  • Spectacular Spinning. Almost everybody's style of handling any weapon, but primarily Xena's mighty physics-defying chakram and Gabrielle's sais. If you can jump and do a flip in the air, that's how the viewers know you're a badass.
  • 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.
  • Stark Naked Sorcery: The Amazons have a spiritual purification ritual where they heal their emotional wounds and cleanse their souls. It's performed in a "purging hut" where they lay naked on a table while other (clothed) women perform various rituals. Gabrielle undergoes it in "The Bitter Suite" as she's grieving for the death of her child. In "Adventures in the Sin Trade II", Xena reminisces on how she once ambushed the Amazon Queen Cyane while she was undergoing said ritual, thinking she'd be easy prey in such a vulnerable position. She was wrong and ended up being on the end of a Full-Frontal Assault, in which Cyane not only defeated Xena but also stole her clothing in the process, forcing Xena to flee in the buff.
  • 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.
  • Stripperiffic
    • Some of Xena's outfits.
    • Gabrielle, particularly her "incredible shrinking costume" in later seasons.
    • The Amazons, the Furies, the Banshees...
    • Discord's male henchmen also deserve a mention here, walking around basically in leather underwear and boots.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Marcus, Xena's true love.
  • 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.
  • Surprise Slide Staircase: Used repeatedly in various different castles, dungeons and tombs. Apparently the ancient Greeks really enjoyed this trope!
  • Swarm of Rats: In the episode "Death in Chains".
  • Take That!: Charon's entire rant in "You Are There" where he bashes Hercules for never paying his tolls while comparing Xena more favorably against Herc was more than likely a giant Take That! directed against Kevin Sorbo. By the time this episode had aired, Hercules had already ended and Kevin Sorbo himself had ended his Hercules stint on a very sour note with Rob Tapert. Tapert had wanted to continue Hercules for three more seasons while Sorbo himself was tired of playing Hercules and wanted to move on to Andromeda, in addition to already disliking Tapert, claiming that Rob had taken away money, production values, and his favorite writers away from Hercules to benefit Xena. Sorbo himself admitted that things didn't end well with Rob Tapert in his autobiography and all the things Charon said about Hercules was more than likely a case of Writer on Board where Rob Tapert was venting and expressing his exact thoughts on how ungrateful he considered Kevin Sorbo to be.
  • Take Up My Sword: In "The Greater Good". Could also be seen as a character arc for Gabrielle throughout the entire show, depending on how you take the events in "A Friend In Need".
  • Talking to the Dead: In the very first episode, with Xena at her brother's grave.
  • Team Pet: Argo, and later Argo II, Xena's horse(s).
  • Technology Erasure Event: After Hera chained Prometheus to the rock, humanity had his gifts (fire and the ability to heal wounds) taken away. Xena and Hercules had to band together to fix this.
  • Temporary Love Interest: Xena had a good number of these before switching to Les Yay with Gabrielle.
  • Temporary Substitute: When Lucy Lawless was injured doing a stunt for The Tonight Show, a single episode where Xena and Callisto changed bodies became a two-episode-arc with Hudson Leick playing Xena (trapped in Callisto's body).
  • That Came Out Wrong: In "Takes One to Know One", Joxer 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...".
  • That Man Is Dead: In "Orphan of War", Xena and Gabrielle visit a centaur village that Xena had attacked during her Conqueror period:
    Kaleipus : Xena, destroyer of nations. You promised you’d never return.
    Xena: That Xena never will.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: They've got several variants on it, and the more energetically her theme song plays, the worse it's right about to be for the bad guys du jour.
  • 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, and a pair of sais. 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.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Happens in "Amphipolis Under Siege", where Xena helps her hometown defend against Athena's attack.
  • 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).
  • Traumatic C-Section: Downplayed, but when you have a baby centaur in the oven (obviously a bit larger than a human), you'd wish you'd have a modern hospital for deliverance, not Xena with a rusty sword. Female badassery prevails, Ephiny and her baby survive.
  • Trojan Horse: Literal trojan horse in "Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts" episode.
  • 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.
  • Twisting the Prophecy: In "Cradle of Hope" a king reluctantly orders the deaths of all newborn baby boys, fearing a prophecy that a boy born during that period would replace him as king. Xena eventually convinces the king to raise the kid prophesied to replace him as his son, so that when he does replace him, it will be as his heir, not as his conqueror.
  • 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.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: Gabrielle corrects someone's reading of a spell (they were using the wrong meter) and Gabrielle accidentally summons three Titans.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension
    • Xena and Gabrielle, especially. There's also Xena and Ares, Xena and Hercules, Xena and Iolaus, Xena and Lao Ma and Xena and Borias.
    • Also Gabrielle and Joxer.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In "You Are There", a modern day reporter and his crew show up and start interviewing everyone. The most anybody reacts to them is mild surprise.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Gabrielle buys a "breast dagger" that's designed for this, as it can fit between her breasts. Since it comes with no sheath however that seems like a hazard to the bearer. Xena took it from Gabrielle and puts the dagger to good use, though not always held in her cleavage (possibly due to the above).
  • A Villain Named Khan: The Story Arc set in China features an enemy warlord named Khan, based on Genghis Khan.
  • Villain of the Week: Try Warlord of the Week, especially in season 1.
  • 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.
  • Visions of Another Self: A few episodes but played out as Flash Forward setups with the characters in the modern day.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Xena and Gabrielle squabble occasionally, but it's almost always played for laughs. Keeping in mind what happened the ONE time it wasn't played for laughs...
  • Wall Crawl: Gabrielle as a temporary Bacchae (vampire) in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
  • War Is Hell: It may be a campy show but Xena refuses to shy away from the terrible effects of war.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Xena and Marc Antony in "Antony and Cleopatra".
  • Wham Episode
    • "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.
  • Wham Line: after the previously suicidal Callisto rejoices as Gabrielle's "death" gives her the will to live again.
Xena (quietly) Oh no (stabs Callisto in the heart with the Hind's blood dagger) No more living for YOU!"
  • 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?"
  • 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 ever 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.
  • Wire Fu: Xena is constantly leaping thirty feet (or even further) and pulling off spectacular aerial maneuvers. A few other characters can also do this, if they're badass enough. The treetop battles in "Adventures in the Sin Trade, Part 2" look like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
  • 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 Dahak'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.
  • Worf Effect: A number of supernatural characters become this to make Xena look good.
    • Pretty much all of the Olympians during the Twilight arc to make it possible for Xena to kill them.
    • The Archangel Michael started out more powerful than most gods and able to defeat Hercules with ease. When he shows up on Xena, he gets progressively weaker till he is no different from any other enemy she has faced.
  • Wordof Gay: Lucy Lawless confirmed Xena was gay.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Xena's upgraded chakram in season five was created by combining her original broken chakram of darkness and the chakram of light. Not only is it shaped like an actual yin-yang symbol, it now has the power to split in two, with each half able to fly and hit things independently. Unusually for the typical yin-yang bomb, this actually made the chakram weaker - on its own the chakram of light had the power to kill gods. It seems that combining it with the dark chakram, which can't kill gods, neutralises this ability.
  • 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 Mean "Xmas": "A Solstice Carol" — subtle.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Xena


Cyane Defeats Xena

Xena tries to invoke this by attacking the Amazon Queen Cyane while she's naked during a ritual, however Cyane turns the tables on her and humiliates Xena by ripping the clothes Xena herself was wearing and then dressing herself in them, forcing the furious Xena to flee in shame.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (32 votes)

Example of:

Main / DefeatByModesty

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