Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys

Is There a Doctor
in the House?
Normal itadith 01.jpg
Xena Tries to Save Gabrielle
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Marmax
Setting Thessaly
In-Universe Date Year 1
Production # 76925
Filming Dates March 1996
Original Air-Date 29 July 1996
Written By Patricia Manney
Directed By T.J. Scott
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 24 of 134
Order in Season 24 of 24
Order in Franchise 66 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Death Mask"
Next Episode in Series "Orphan of War"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Cave of Echoes"
Next Episode in Franchise "Mercenary"
Title Image

Xena andGabrielle get caught up in the middle of a civil war, and find a heavily pregnant Ephiny hiding on the battlefield. They resort to a healing temple, where the religious healers are baffled and offended by Xena's unorthodox ways of healing and lack of respect for the gods.


Taking the shortest route to Athens, Xena and Gabrielle find themselves approaching a terrible battle scene. Xena explains that the Mitoans and Thessalians have been waging a civil war against each other, and are fighting for control of the pass which is the only route between Thessaly and Mitoa.

Xena and Gabrielle reunite with Ephiny who is pregnant

Suddenly, they hear a woman moaning and discover the Amazon Ephiny, hiding nearby. Newly widowed and about to give birth, Ephiny explains that she and her Centaur husband Phantes wanted to have their baby in Athens but on the way there, Phantes was captured and killed by the Mitoans. Xena, determined to put an end to the war, leaves Ephiny in Gabrielle's care and sneaks up on Mitoan General Marmax as he talks to his aides. When he rides away on his horse seeking a better vantage point, Xena succeeds in wounding and capturing him.

Stripping him of his signs of rank, she forces him to enter the Thessalian Temple of Asclepius, then tends to Ephiny. The healing temple teems with the wounded and dying of both sides and when Xena sees how little attention the injured Mitoans are given by the attending Thessalian priests, she applies her own knowledge of medicine and surgical procedures to save as many lives as possible. Two young priests, Hippocrates and Democrites, become increasingly impressed by her abilities and prove to be willing assistants despite the angry disapproval of the head priest Galen.

Xena becomes in charge of medical care

With Xena in charge of medical care, some degree of order comes to the temple. But when Galen returns from the field with a new group of casualties and finds that Xena has turned his altar into an operating theater for both Mitoan and Thessalian patients, the high priest orders that she be thrown out.

Xena outwits and overpowers Galen's guards and continues with her work. She is ably assisted by Gabrielle, who has by now deeply impressed Marmax with her brains, beauty, and compassion.

When a soldier is brought in with a gangrenous leg, Xena orders Marmax to help her with the amputation and the General gets grisly, closeup look at the horrors of war. Soon after, when Gabrielle leaves the temple to search for a wounded soldier's fallen comrade, Marmax learns from Ephiny how his soldiers slaughtered her husband, who he correctly suspects was a Centaur from her account of the story. A few minutes later, a seriously wounded Gabrielle is carried in on a stretcher.

Ephiny gives birth to a Centaur

As Xena stitches up Gabrielle's multiple knife wounds, Marmax is clearly astonished to learn that she refused to kill the man who stabbed her. With the battle approaching the temple grounds, Democrites begins organizing a group of women and children to protect them from attack when he is hit in the chest by an arrow. Galen rushes him into the temple and, for the first time, turns to Xena for help.

Xena removes the arrow and works to stop the bleeding as Democrites passes out on the table right next to the unconscious Gabrielle. Just as the Thessalians begin bombarding the temple with catapults to stop the quickly advancing Mitoans, Ephiny is ready to give birth. Xena quickly determines that the baby is breech and assisted by Marmax, she operates and delivers a healthy baby Centaur.

Xena almost loses it when she believes Gabrielle is dead

As the battle sounds grow louder, the Mitoan prisoners in the temple stage a revolt against the guards, but Marmax quickly takes command and sends messengers to announce that the war is over. He tells his men that in their quest for freedom, they have become everything they once despised, and now the madness must stop.

At that moment, Gabrielle is seized by a convulsion and seems to slip away. Desperate, Xena gives her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and pounds on her chest in an attempt to get her breathing again. Though everyone tells her that her friend has died, Xena continues and eventually, Gabrielle responds. In the end, both Gabrielle and Democrites recover and Marmax realizes that it was Xena who wounded him in the first place in order to teach him the most valuable lesson of his life.

While leaving the temple, Gabrielle recalls her near death experience to the other side.

Later, while leaving the Temple of Asclepius, Gabrielle tells Xena that she did briefly cross over to the other side and met her grandmother and Talus. Xena and Gabrielle continue on their journey while Gabrielle recovers from her injuries.


Being that war is hell, lots of people were harmed during the production of this motion picture (but since television is a dramatic medium of make believe, all casualties removed their prosthetic make-up and went home unscathed).

Background Information[]


  • Hippocrates was a Greek physician, whose name became associated with a number of medical writings (the Hippocratic Collection). The Hippocratic Oath, a code of ethics defining a physician's relationship with his patient, survives to this day.
  • Asclepius was the demi-god son of Apollo, and after the death of his mortal half, he became the Greek God of Medicine.
  • Galen was a famous ancient physician. He was one of the first to use cadavers to explore the human internal systems and wrote a manual that was used throughout the ages by physicians. His writings were based on the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, and above all Hippocrates (who actually lived about 500 years before him).

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Shooting Dates: March 13 through March 19, 1996 (6 day shoot).
  • This episode was one of seventeen that fans selected to be featured on the Xena: Warrior Princess: 10th Anniversary Collection, and is subsequently considered one of the greatest episodes in Xena: Warrior Princess history.
  • This episode was not originally intended to air as the series one finale.
  • According to the Chakram Newsletter, when being briefed by Rob Tapert on what he needed for this episode, he told Patricia Manney, "4 1/2 days shooting, one location, ER, and kill Gabrielle." She says he left it up in the air how (or whether) they would bring Gabrielle back at the end.
  • Danielle Cormack was really pregnant during the filming of this episode, but she was only a few months along.
  • The original cut for this episode didn't pass censors, deeming it too bloody for airing (like the leg amputation scene). Rob Tapert, Lucy Lawless and Eric Gruendemann fought for the episode, proving that most of the gore is off-screen. In the end, only about 60 seconds was cut from the episode, which is why it aired in July, as so much editing was needed.

Key Events[]

  • This episode marks the birth of Ephiny's son Xenan.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Gabrielle's second outfit in the series, her modified Amazon costume, which she has worn since "The Black Wolf".


  • The operation performed on Ephiny is known as a Caesarian section, because Julius Caesar was the first to make it a law that a child could be surgically removed from the mother in order to save the life of the child.
  • Democritus was a famous philosopher who developed the atomic theory (something which Gabrielle would later postulate in "The Deliverer").
  • Chakram Count: 1
    • 1) To take out Marmax.


  • Did Xena discover Artificial Respiration and CPR?

Links and References[]

Guest Stars[]





Season Navigation[]