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N/A | Episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess | Chariots of War

Sins of the Past
Xena and Gabrielle meet
Xena and Gabrielle meet
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Draco
Setting Amphipolis, Poteidaia
In-Universe Date Year 0
Production # 76901
Filming Dates 26 June to 5 July 1995
Original Air-Date 4 September 1995
Story By Rob Tapert
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Doug Lefler
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 1 of 134
Order in Season 1 of 24
Order in Franchise 20 of 304
Next Episode in Series "Chariots of War"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The King of Thieves"
Next Episode in Franchise "All That Glitters"
Title Image

"I kind of lost my way. Now, I found it. I thought I could start over. But now they don't trust me. Not even Mother. I can't blame her. She can't see into my heart. But I've got to believe that you can. And I wish you were here. It's hard to be alone." ―Xena 

Xena saves a village from a warlord, Draco, as well as attracts the attention of a villager, Gabrielle. Xena decides to go home and visit her mother, Cyrene, only to discover that she is not welcome and that she was followed by a persistent Gabrielle. A friendship develops, as Xena must defend her village from an attacking Draco.



Xena recalls her dark past

Xena is riding on her horse Argo, through a destroyed village while she remembers her dark past. She remembers that she killed lots of people there, A noise brings Xena out of her dark past memories and suddenly a boy appears asking for food. Unaware who she really is, he tells her that a person called "Xena" has killed his parents. Xena is hit by guilt and gives him some food, before riding on.

Xena attempts to give up

She is burying her breastplate and weapons, but suddenly she sees some men annoying some girls. Xena now deep into the forest, is looking on a recently dug trench in the ground. She is about to bury her armor and weapons.  After a reflective moment, and drops them into the hole and starts covering them. Suddenly, villagers, chased by warriors run by her. She hides, wearing nothing but her white underslip in the bushes.

Hecuba, Lila and Gabrielle are kidnapped by Hector

Though she has lost her hunger for power and destruction, Xena cannot stand by when the group of warriors under the command of Hector, a vicious lieutenant of the cruel warlord Draco, threatens to slaughter the peasants of a small village. Xena then looks for her buried sword, and finds her chakram and throws it, breaking swords during the fight, and single-handedly drives off the brutal attackers.

Act One[]

"You've got to take me with you - teach me everything you know"

Though the villagers are grateful, they are also fearful of her reputation and ask her to leave right away. All, that is, except a spirited young woman named Gabrielle who -- bored with life in the village and the prospect of a loveless marriage -- pleads with the warrior princess to take her along on her journey. Xena refuses and leaves alone on horseback, bound for her home in Amphipolis.

Xena confronts Draco

That night, Xena steals into Draco's mountain encampment to confront the savage warlord. Having spared his life in their last encounter, Xena asks him to spare the peasant village. He agrees, but when she rejects his offer to join up with him, claiming she has lost her taste for the slaughter of innocents, he makes secret plans to lay waste to Amphipolis, making sure she would be blamed for it.

I'm going to be a warrior, like her.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle sneaks away from home in the dead of night, determined to join Xena and become a warrior herself, but her sister Lila sees her and Gabrielle has to explain to her that she wants to go with Xena because she is bored with her life in the village and she doesn't want to marry Perdicus, her arranged betrothed. Her sister seems to understand and they say goodbye.

Xena sets up an ambush for one of Draco's men.

On the road to Amphipolis, Xena meets up with a blind man-eating Cyclops, who has an old score to settle with the woman warrior.

Act Two[]

The Cyclops takes a swing at Xena with a huge club, but she easily dodges it. We learn she had blinded him so he would cut down on eating people, and the Cyclops is still not coping well with it. Evading him, she continues on her journey through fierce rainstorms and across rushing rivers. When she realizes she's being followed by Draco's men, she sets up an ambush and forces Hector to reveal Draco's plans to destroy her home village.

"Thank the Gods for dumb cyclopses..."

Meanwhile, Gabrielle follows Xena's trail, showing considerable resourcefulness along the way. When she is trapped by the Cyclops, she outwits him, then charms an old traveler into giving her a ride.

Xena rides through a small field, where some village women are singing "Glede Ma Glede" She arrives in Amphipolis. But Xena's joy at reaching home turns to sorrow when she is met by a wave of hostility from the villagers. Xena's mother Cyrene comes into the room and see's Xena. She draws Xena's sword and holds it at Xena's throat. Villagers back off.  

Act Three[]

Cyrene puts the sword on the bar and tells Xena that weapons are not welcome in her tavern. Her motherCyrene is resentful of her daughter for her sinful past and is unwilling to listen to her warnings about Draco's advance.

Gabrielle saves Xena from being stoned by Amphipolis her village

Back at Draco's camp. Draco is not pleased with Hector's failure and challenges him to a fight. As Draco and Hector fight, Draco gives orders to Gar to go to Amphphplis. When Hector has been beaten by Draco, He grabs an ax, but Draco turns around and sends a knife into his chest.

When Draco's warriors begin torching the valley, an angry mob comes after Xena, convinced that she is in league with the evil warlord. At the last moment, Gabrielle steps forward and convinces the villagers to let Xena go. The two gallop off on horseback.

"It's hard to be alone"

On the horse ride, Gabrielle asks where they are going, she says to see her brother. Xena enters a cave, where walks up to the sarcophagus and brushes it off. It is her brother's grave, she talks about all the trouble she has faced since his death, and that she thought she could start over, but nobody trusts her, and it is hard to be alone. When Gabrielle, suddenly enters and tells Xena she isn't alone. 

"You said one way or the other... It's the other"

Draco enters the barn where the villagers have gathered with his demands, and Xena reappears.

Act Four[]

Xena challenges him to a fight on the scaffolding surrounding the village meeting hall. They agree that the first to hit the floor will die.

Xena fights Draco

The ensuing battle is spectacular and evenly matched, as the villagers cheer Xena on. Draco manages to use his strength to break the pole Xena is on. Her feet swing, just missing the ground. Cyrene enters and watches the fight. Draco starts to hit Xena's hands to make her let go and touch the ground. Draco taunts Xena telling her why she continues to fight for them if they despise her. Draco goes for her head, but she catches the staff with her legs and hits him with it. She flips back up and the fight continues.

Draco loses to Xena

Draco loses his balance and walks onto the villager's shoulders and heads, and Xena does the same. Draco attacks the villager who is holding Xena on his shoulders. The villager falls and Xena moves and hits Draco. He stumbles, but Gar catches him. He leaps up and the fight continues, Xena once more on the villager. Draco goes for the villager again, but she saves him. She attacks Draco's feet. He is about to fall. Gar moves to help, but Gabrielle trips him. Xena deals Draco a mighty kick and he lands flat on the ground. Xena leaps onto his chest.

Cyrene forgives Xena for the death of Lyceus

Finally, with a flying somersault through the air, Xena lands squarely on Draco's chest and sends him crashing to the ground. Instead of slaying him, however, she makes Draco promise to leave without harming anyone. Though Xena has saved the village and reconciled with her mother, there is too much anger over her past for her to stay.


Xena allows Gabrielle to travel with her on adventures

That night, at the campsite, Xena is alone by the campfire, she hears someone from the bushes approaching and leaps up with her sword drawn and is surprised to find Gabrielle, who reveals she has been following her. Gabrielle tries to get Xena to allow her to travel with her and Xena finally relents and tosses a blanket at Gabrielle. The two smile at each other, and Xena tells her where she can sleep.

Xena allows Gabrielle to travel with her

Followed by Gabrielle, Xena leaves to find redemption for her past misdeeds by continuing her battle against the forces of evil.


No disclaimer. These begin with the episode "Cradle of Hope"

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

"We didn't really know what the show was and so we were all thinking on our feet. I had been a little overexcited and not quite centered enough heading into the episode. But the night before the first day of shooting I had terrible diarrhea, and it took everything out of me, which was exactly what was needed for going into the series. So I might have been a lot more hyped, a lot less natural had i not had that inauspicious beginning!"
― Lucy Lawless on her experience a day before filming began on Sins of the Past.

Source: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed

  • R.J. Stewart's first episode as showrunner, a position he held for every episode of Xena except for a thirteen episode stretch in the fifth season ("Them Bones, Them Bones" through "Kindred Spirits"). He would later act as showrunner of Cleopatra 2525 for executive producer Rob Tapert.
  • Shooting Dates: June 25, 1995 through July 5, 1995 (5-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 watched by 4.5 million viewers on its original airing.
  • Lucy Lawless, the actress who plays Xena, had previously appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Lyla in "As Darkness Falls" and as Lysia in Hercules and the Amazon Women.
  • Renée O'Connor, the actress who plays Gabrielle, had previously appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Deianeira of Troy in Hercules and the Lost Kingdom.
  • The original ending ended with the campfire scene, no walking beside the horse the next day.
  • Although it is never stated on screen, the original script for this episode lists Gabrielle's father's name as Herodatus and her mother's name as Hecuba. However, their names will later be revealed in the season four episode "A Family Affair".
  • "Sins Of The Past" generated a Neilsen's rating of 7.0 (of 10) in 1995.
  • The roles of Xena and Gabrielle were originally cast with actresses Vanessa Angel as Xena and Sunny Doench as Gabrielle. These two actresses both were hired for the parts but pulled out for personal reasons.
  • Doug Lefler the director of the episode explained in an interview with The Official Xena Magazine Issue 13, about the differences between Xena and Hercules in filming style. There was a lot of action and forced perspective sequences he explained. I believe the first episode was shot in 16mm instead of 35mm and we were given the marching order to work a lot faster than on Hercules and get a lot more set-ups, because they wanted it to be more like a Hong Kong film. We took inspiration from the Jet Li film The Legend Of Fong Sai Yuk for that climactic battle, which was one of my favorite films. So I loved that scene so much that I jumped at the opportunity to do a sequence like it for the Xena pilot.” [1]
  • R.J. Stewart explained Xena's motives in the opening scene of the series: “The great awakening that Xena had in “Sins of the Past” can be stated thus: ‘I’ve lived a life of a death maker. Now, I’ve had an epiphany, a revelation, a vision. I see what I’ve done, the consequences, the suffering I’ve caused. Perhaps, I’ll destroy myself so I can hurt no one else. Wait, people are in trouble. I’ll help them. That’s it! I’ll give my life to protecting innocent people against people like me. And will that redeem me? Maybe, if I do it long enough, but really it’s up to someone else to decide that. I must keep working to help people. I don’t want to be “forgiven” in a ceremonial way so I feel better about myself. Did the people I killed for greed and revenge ever get a chance to feel better about themselves? I must continue to protect the innocent and any time I see a way to make up for the Sins of the Past, I must embrace it. How it all ends, a higher power will decide, but I know my mission and I will give my life to it.’'

From the Original Script[]

  • The campfire scene was originally longer in length but cut out. It has Xena at her campfire lamenting the loss of her cook, the only reference to her missing her old life with her army. They had Gabrielle convince Xena to bring her along because she can cook, but they rewrote the ending. They wanted to end with the two characters building a personal connection, rather than make it a joke.
  • In the original draft for the pilot episode, Xena's mother, Cyrene, was a lot colder to Xena and there was also a different backstory for Xena's father, who was supposedly alive. Xena's quest for the first season or beyond was trying to find her father. Xena's mother tells her that when she was a young woman, a handsome warrior came to Amphipolis. His name was "Nelo". He said he was related to the King of Mycenae. She fell madly in love with him and later he left. She says he most likely went back to Argos and then Xena was born. A cutscene had Xena heading north to Argos to find her father (which would've been a geography error since Argos is south of Amphipolis).

Key Events[]

"I remember [the first] scene [with Xena]. I remember being in this room and filming this in front of the crew and being nervous because we were all new and you didn’t know who anyone was yet. It takes time to get in sync with a new production. You eventually lose that fear and it becomes a family environment. But this was one of the first scenes we filmed and Lucy and I were a bit nervous. At least I was… I knew this character was staying a while and I was trying to figure out who she is and establishing the relationship with Xena… I had just come from the Hercules telefeature before I did Xena. The style on Hercules was much more comedic… I came to Xena thinking that show was the same. It’s really interesting to watch how I started off playing Gabrielle and then how Lucy was so complicated and complex as Xena. And dark, really, really, dark. It took me most of the first season, maybe not that long, but it took me a long time to come to Lucy’s level of where she was playing the show in terms of style…. You see how animated I am in the scene trying to talk the villagers out of stoning Xena? I’ve got the hands going. That was who I thought Gabrielle was and I thought the style of the show was animated and comedic. But Lucy was so still, I had to balance that. Make it more realistic. I had to come to play in her field.”"
― Renee O’Connor (Actor, Gabrielle) on her experience a day before filming began on Sins of the Past.

Source: The Chakram Newsletter: #21 and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed


  • Xena refers to Argo as a stallion in this episode. In every reference to her gender after this episode, she is referred to as a mare. Later in the series, we meet her offspring, Argo II, confirming that she is, in fact, a mare.
  • The introduction of "The Pinch". Xena stated Hector will die in 20 secs, however, for the rest of the series, she stated 30 secs instead.


  • Chakram Count: 2
    • Xena throws it to disarm the men at the beginning of the episode.
    • Xena throws it to make the Cyclops' pants fall down.
  • Xena in-between "Uncharted Hearts" and this episode got the Chakram from the tree last seen in "The Gauntlet".

Memorable Quotations[]

"You've got to take me with you, teach me everything you know." "Hey, I just saved your life."

"You know, where I'm headed, there'll be trouble."
"I know."
"Then why would you want to go into that with me?"
"That's what friends do. They stand by each other when there's trouble."

Xena and Gabrielle

"Lila, I'm going to join up with Xena."
"Oh, you're serious."
"Absolutely. I'm going to be a warrior, like her."
"A warrior? Gabrielle, I can beat you up."

Gabrielle and Lila

"What do you want?"
"I want you one way or the other. We could be great together. You must know by now you can never escape your past. Xena, celebrate your dark side. Don't run away from it. Ride with me."

Xena and Draco


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


  1. [1] many thanks for personally researched, and transcribed

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