|The Black Wolf|
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 1|
|Filming Dates||October 1995|
|Original Air-Date||8 January 1996|
|Written By||Alan Jay Glueckman|
|Directed By||Mario Di Leo|
|Order in Series||11 of 134|
|Order in Season||11 of 24|
|Order in Franchise||41 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Hooves and Harlots"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Sword of Veracity"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"The Enforcer"|
Xena comes to the aid of imprisoned freedom fighters who refuse to reveal the identity of their mysterious leader.
When a band of freedom fighters, following a shadowy figure known as the Black Wolf, ambush and kill a group of armed bullies collecting taxes, Xerxes, the cold-blooded ruler of Argos, threatens the villagers with death unless they betray the identity of the rebel leader in their midst. A dozen courageous citizens step forward claiming to be the infamous Black Wolf and Xerxes angrily orders his guards to arrest them all.
Xena arrives a short while later, just in time to witness her old friend Hermia being abused by Xerxes' guards when she begs to see her imprisoned daughter, Flora. After Xena teaches the guards some manners with their own spears, Hermia tells her that Flora has fallen madly in love with one of the Black Wolves and is now in prison for having taken up their cause to overthrow Xerxes. Xena vows to come up with a plan to rescue the young woman.
The warrior princess fights her way into Xerxes' palace and interrupts the ruthless despot while he's threatening his Minister of Security, Koulos. Xerxes tells Koulos he will be killed if he fails to capture the Black Wolf in time for a public execution during the fast-approaching Feast of Zeus. Pretending to sympathize with Xerxes' predicament, Xena offers to go undercover for a hefty price and expose the identity of the Black Wolf. Xerxes agrees and the next day, Xena stages an attack on Koulos in the village square, witnessed by a Black Wolf sympathizer. After a rousing battle, Xena is "captured" and taken to the dungeon.
When Gabrielle arrives later that day, she runs into Salmoneus, who is furtively selling Black Wolf merchandise, and learns that Xena is in Xerxes' prison. Knowing the only way to reach her friend is to be thrown into the dungeon herself, Gabrielle begins hassling Xerxes' guards to provoke them into locking her up. Her first few attempts backfire and result in Salmoneus' arrest instead. Meanwhile, Xena makes her way to rebels' corner of the dungeon and sees Flora for the first time in many years. She offers to help her escape, but quickly learns that her determined young friend won't consider leaving without the rest of the Wolf Pack.
Just then, Koulos arrives to intimidate the rebels into giving up their leader by locking Xena into a pit covered by a wooden grate and flooding it with water. Moments before drowning, Xena is able to make a spectacular escape when she knocks out a guard by hurling a bone upward from the bottom of the pit and grabbing his sword to slash through the grating. As Koulos angrily exits the cell, Salmoneus is unceremoniously dumped at Xena's feet.
Later, Xena turns to Flora's beloved Diomedes, a courageous young rebel in the Pack, and tells him she has a plan to free all the prisoners. Believing that Xena may be setting them up, Diomedes begins to listen to her only after she admits that she allowed herself to be captured in order to rescue Flora. Under Xena's direction, Salmoneus begins collecting various materials from all the prisoners, including their belts, bits of rope and sticks of wood.
After fashioning makeshift bows, arrows and netting, the Pack puts Xena's plan into action. When the guards enter to feed them that night, they are surprised and overpowered by the rebels, who drop down from the netting they have secured to the ceiling with their arrows. The prisoners escape into the woods, only to find Xerxes and his men lying in wait to recapture them. Back in the dungeon, Xena is accused of betrayal and is challenged by Diomedes. After a no-holds-barred battle, Xena gains the upper hand but spares Diomedes, insisting that she is not the traitor in their midst. She soon reveals that the real traitor is the prisoner Parnassus.
Later, when Koulos threatens Salmoneus' life, Flora steps forward to admit what Xena has already guessed -- that she is the Black Wolf. As Flora prepares to die, Xena -- still in Xerxes' good graces -- agrees to accompany him to the public execution. At the last moment, with Gabrielle's help, Xena is able to free Flora and the rest of the Wolf Pack, who rise up in battle to defeat the evil Xerxes.
|"“It was a good-looking episode but hard to shoot… I remember being in the water [in the scene where Xerxes’ minister of security, Koulos, tries to drown Xena], being in the tank, which was warm, no complaints about that. It’s always such a good look, you know, being wet – plenty uncomfortable, but it looks great… Salmoneus was in this. [Robert Trebor] was really well behaved. I [had] thought, ‘Oh, crumb, here we go.’ But he perhaps sensed this and managed to pull his head in a bit. You know, he’s got a good heart, but he can be a naughty boy.” "|
|― Lucy Lawless
Source: (The Official Guide To The Xenaverse by Robert Weisbrot – 1998)
Behind the Scenes
- Shooting Dates: October 30th, 1995 through November 8th, 1995 (9-day shoot).
- The writers originally intended to have Gabrielle remain in her Amazon outfit from Hooves and Harlots, but decided that it just didn't feel right, and they didn't want Gabrielle to be known as "Gabrielle Amazon Princess." They went ahead and gave her a new costume, much more action-ready than her farm girl dress but still less obviously martial than Xena's, that would be used to show her growth and developement throughout the series. The reason for change in staff design was never really explained, though similarly, it was probably felt it didn't look right.
- This episode introduces the recurring character of Salmoneus on Xena, portrayed with comedic gusto by Robert Trebor. He had been featured in several episodes of the Xena pilot trilogy on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, making him another in a series of characters that have crossed over from Hercules to Xena.
- The guards outside Xerxes' dungeon play a version of Rock Paper Scissors called Rock Parchment Dagger
- Chakram Count:
- 1) To prevent Flora from being executed and to release the prisoners.
Links and References
- Robert Trebor as Salmoneus
- Kevin J. Wilson as Xerxes
- Nigel Harbrow as Koulos
- Emma Turner as Flora
- Ian Hughes as Diomedes
- Maggie Tarver as Hermia
- Ross Duncan as Parnassus
- John Dybvig as Brigand (Ox)
- Brigand (Ox)
|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?|