|A Fistful of Dinars|
The Sumerian Treasure
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 1|
|Filming Dates||November 1995|
|Original Air-Date||29 January 1996|
|Written By||R.J. Stewart & Steven L. Sears|
|Directed By||Josh Becker|
|Order in Series||14 of 134|
|Order in Season||14 of 24|
|Order in Franchise||46 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Warrior... Princess"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Once a Hero"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Heedless Hearts"|
Xena intercedes to save her old friend Lycus, from a furious attack by his pursuer Klonig, but only manages to save what the two men are fighting over - a leather pouch containing one of four clues to the location of the Lost Treasure of Sumerian. Only Xena knows that part of the treasure is the Titan's Key, which unlocks the Hall of Ambrosia where the legendary food of the gods can be found.
When Xena learns that the wily assassin Thersites already possesses two of the clues to finding the treasure, she has no choice but to team up with him in the search. But she explains to Gabrielle privately why she must get to the Titan's Key first - any mortal who eats Ambrosia becomes a God.
Xena then sets out with Gabrielle to find Petracles, the ambitious warlord who holds the fourth clue. The warrior princess warns her young companion that Petracles is a dangerously attractive, ruthless, manipulating liar and reveals how she knows this - she and Petracles were once engaged to be married. Appealing to his greed, Xena convinces the brashly confident young warlord to join in the hunt for the treasure.
It is quickly apparent that there is no love lost between Thersites and Petracles as the foursome heads for Mount Poulis. En route through the Paeus woods, they are surprised by a sudden volley of arrows unleashed by unseen attackers. Racing across a battered wooden footbridge spanning a deep chasm, they barely make it to the other side.
That night, despite Xena's repeated warnings, Gabrielle finds an excuse to talk with Petracles away from their campsite. She questions him about his engagement to Xena, he confides that he was too young to understand love and confused it with the thrill of conquest. With sadness and regret, he admits he lost interest in Xena as soon as she agreed to marry him.
Later, Xena is sharpening her sword when Gabrielle returns from speaking with Petracles, knowing something has happened between them. Deeply concerned about Gabrielle's attraction to her former fiance, Xena later threatens to kill Petracles if he does anything to harm her friend, in spite of his protests that he is a changed man. Xena moves away, as Thersites opens his eyes, having heard the whole thing and smiles.
The next day, they reach the Temple of Demeter, the first location revealed by the clues. Xena suggests Gabrielle and Thersties go to get the jewel, while she and Petracles who are better with spears, create the distraction. Gabrielle and Thersites move to the temple, and they hold out the coin, as an offering to the God, and are let into the temple. When Xena and Petracles start throwing spears, the temple warriors come towards them, allowing Gabrielle and Thersites to get the jewel atop of the statue of Demeter. They are caught, and Xena and Petracles rescue then, and after waylaying the temple warriors, make off with the Heart of Demeter - the priceless ruby they have come to retrieve.
At the next location, they find three large totem poles. After Thersites and Petracles square off in a fight over sharing their clues, Xena manages to place the ruby in the correct position on one of the poles. At sunrise the following morning, a beam of light hits the ruby, pointing at a cave in the hillside. The four follow it to a rock wall.
Inside the cave, they discover the magnificent Sumerian Treasure of precious gems, jewelry, sculptures, and coins, as well as a silver tablet that reveals the existence of the Ambrosia and the Titan's Key which leads to it. As Xena races toward the Key, Thersites extinguishes her torch and disappears in the darkness with both the Key and Gabrielle.
Xena and Petracles go after them through a dangerous secret passage into the Hall of Silence, which leads to the Ambrosia cave. Barely avoiding being crushed by boulders when Petracles disturbs the silence, they enter a small chamber where a bowl of Ambrosia rests on a table. Thersites, holding Gabrielle hostage with a knife at her throat, orders Xena and Petracles to back away, but Gabrielle is able to pull away from her captor just enough to allow Xena to disarm him.
Then Xena, Petracles and Thersites become embroiled in a violent three-way battle, with each trying to keep the other two from winning possession of the Ambrosia. When Petracles finally pushes Xena back and turns on Thersites, he is stabbed by the evil assassin. Thersites grabs Gabrielle as a hostage once again, but before he can reach the Ambrosia, the fatally wounded Petracles rises to turn the assassin's dagger against him. As the dying Petracles sinks to the ground, a saddened Xena realizes that his claims that he had changed were true after all.
Later, Xena and Gabrielle stand near a volcano. Xena tells Gabrielle that they don't need the ambrosia anymore, saying it will be returned to the gods. Xena tells Gabrielle that Petracles was a changed man, which Gabrielle agrees with. Xena throws it into the lava as the ambrosia burns and sinks into the lava.
A villainous assasin and a tough-guy warlord were harmed during the making of this motion picture, but only one of them deserved it.
No Ambrosia was Spilled, Spoiled or in any way harmed during the production of this motion picture. (Thanks to the indefinite shelf life of marshmallows.)
|"“At one point during the director’s cut, [director] Josh [Becker] turned to me and said, ‘You cut my pan out… why did you cut my pan out?’ What had happened was, there is a scene where Xena and Petracles are trying to get to the ambrosia cave before Thersites does. The two of them come through this beaded curtain and stop. The camera then pans across this large room ending on a door that Thersites comes through holding Gabrielle at knifepoint. In the interest of time and pacing, I edited out the pan so that we cut from Xena and Petracles coming through the curtain directly to Thersites and Gab coming in the door. When I explained my reasoning to Mr. Becker, he looked at me and said, ‘You just don’t like good cinema, do you?’ I have never stopped laughing about that one, and [director] Rick Jacobson loves to tease me about it, even today. Whenever I do something he disagrees with he asks me that infamous question!”"|
|― Robert Field (Editor)
Source: (Titan: The Official XENA Magazine, Issue #11 – October 2000) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed
Behind the Scenes
- Shooting Dates: November 9 through November 17, 1995 (8 day shoot).
- This episode was originally going to be called Three For Godhood or The Hard Way.
- The title of this episode is play on words of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti-western film A Fistful of Dollars.
- This is the first appearance of ambrosia in the franchise. It is explained that consumption of it by a mortal will grant divinity. Aside from infrequent references, it will factor prominently in "The Quest", "A Necessary Evil" and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode "Top God".
- Xena doesn't use her chakram in this episode. In fact, it doesn't even appear at all, as Xena keeps the pouch with her clue in it on her hip, where the chakram should be.
- Petracles's death in this episode was, technically, avoidable, as when Ambrosia is fed to a recently desceased corpse (as depicted in The Quest) its powers will revive said cadaver. Though, it is possible that Xena did not know this at the time – she might have learned it from M'lila in Destiny prior to the events of The Quest, but after the events of this episode. From a real-world perspective, it is probable that the concept (which doesn't appear in mythology) had yet to be created at this time due to The Quest occuring due to Lucy Lawless's (sudden) broken pelvis, after a fall on The Jay Leno Show.
Links and References
|Season 1||Season 2 >>|
|#01||Sins of the Past||#09||Death in Chains||#17||The Royal Couple of Thieves|
|#02||Chariots of War||#10||Hooves and Harlots||#18||The Prodigal|
|#03||Dreamworker||#11||The Black Wolf||#19||Altared States|
|#04||Cradle of Hope||#12||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts||#20||Ties That Bind|
|#05||The Path Not Taken||#13||Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards||#21||The Greater Good|
|#06||The Reckoning||#14||A Fistful of Dinars||#22||Callisto|
|#07||The Titans||#15||Warrior... Princess||#23||Death Mask|
|#08||Prometheus||#16||Mortal Beloved||#24||Is There a Doctor in the House?|