Legendary Journeys

The Greater Good
Gab as Xena Greater.jpg
Gabrielle poses as Xena
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Talmadeus, Callisto
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 1
Production # 76924
Filming Dates March 1996
Original Air-Date 6 May 1996
Written By Steven L. Sears
Directed By Gary Jones
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 21 of 134
Order in Season 21 of 24
Order in Franchise 61 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Ties That Bind"
Next Episode in Series "Callisto"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Power"
Next Episode in Franchise "Centaur Mentor Journey"
Title Image
TheGreaterGood Titlecard.jpg

When Xena is injured in battle, it is up to Gabrielle to save a village from an attacking warlord - by posing as Xena. But Xena takes a turn for the worst...


Practice on Argo.

In the forest, Gabrielle swings her staff at Argo, practicing with it. When Xena whistles, Argo kicks Gabrielle's staff and Xena catches it. Xena isn't pleased that Gabrielle is practicing on Argo and insists she wished both her and Argo would be along. Xena leaves Gabrielle in charge of taking Argo to the other side of the valley, while she heads off to get water.

While getting water, Xena responds to a cry for help and stops a group of soldiers sent by the evil warlord Talmadeus, from kidnapping Salmoneus, and burning down his water factory. But before she can pursue the fleeing soldiers, she is hit by a poisoned dart in the back of her neck.

Xena tastes the poison on the dart and then spits it out. She hides the dart in her gauntlet and joins Gabrielle. She soon learns that Lord Talmadeus is seeking revenge on Salmoneus, known locally as Lord Seltzer, for being swindled in a weapons deal. Meanwhile, Talmadeus receives news of Xena's interference from his lieutenant Ness, and doubles his resolve to destroy Salmoneus. When the warlord sets out with his men to confront her, Xena sneaks up behind them and manages to knock out many of the soldiers before she and Talmadeus face each other with swords.

At first, the warrior princess appears to be more than a match for the warlord, but soon she begins to feel the effects of the poisoned dart and with Gabrielle's help, only narrowly escapes death. As Xena grows weaker, she, Gabrielle and Salmoneus concoct a ruse to convince Talmadeus that she is just as strong as ever.

Salmoneus rounds up his factory workers as Gabrielle tries to disguise herself as the warrior princess. In Xena's clothes and armor with her hair dyed jet black, Gabrielle rides ahead to meet the soldiers' attack, shouting a warning for them to flee. The men give chase and when they arrive at the factory, they are hit with a torrent of water spraying from the water tank which Xena, unnoticed, has pierced with her chakram.

Salmoneus' workers and the rest of the villagers are able to drive their attackers off with cork-darts, which are shot out of flasks filled with carbonated water. Later, a bolder plan is put into action as Gabrielle, still in disguise, mounts a surprise attack against Talmadeus and his troops by flinging flaming pouches into his camp. But as she gallops through the chaos, she is thrown from Argo's back and lands in a water trough. Emerging with her disguise no longer intact, she is immediately surrounded and captured. The ruse now exposed, Talmadeus' soldiers Nymis and Kalus silently infiltrate the factory to attack the ailing Xena, who barely defeats them before sinking to the ground herself.

Gabrielle is saved from certain death by Argo, who gallops into Talmadeus' camp spinning, kicking and sending men flying in all directions. She jumps on the horse and rushes back to the factory where she finds Xena lying motionless, apparently dead. Though stunned and heartbroken, Gabrielle somehow manages to rally the workers to begin building a defensive wall while she heads out to find Iolaus in the town of Levadi. Salmoneus, too, finds courage and visits Talmadeus, offering to surrender both himself and Xena to the warlord if he will leave the valley and its people unharmed. Meanwhile, when Gabrielle overhears a soldier on the road tell his comrades that one of the villagers has sold out to Talmadeus and the battle is over, Gabrielle returns to the factory to find Talmadeus' men dragging out Xena's body.

Back at the warlord's camp, Salmoneus realizes that Talmadeus has no intention of living up to their bargain. Talmadeus tells him he plans to sell the villagers to slavers, and then gives the order to tear Xena's body apart limb from limb. But before the command can be obeyed, Gabrielle rushes in, fighting brilliantly with her staff. Despite her impressive performance, however, Talmadeus soon gets the upper hand. Xena's arms and legs are tied to four horses but before she can be torn apart, the Warrior Princess miraculously awakens to defeat Talmadeus and his men, with Gabrielle at her side. In the end, the two women resume their travels, their friendship deepened by all they've been through together.


"Excessive belching can cause brain damage and social ostracism. Kids, please don't give in to peer pressure. Play it safe."

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

"“After Gabrielle and Xena have discussed Xena’s illness… Salmoneus tells Xena that she should have some of his chicken soup. ‘Soup is good food!’ he proclaims. He then mentions that he would make some, but he has no knife to kill the chicken. Xena tells him he can use her breast dagger. So Salmoneus, in his exuberance to please, starts reaching for Xena’s body. In the most steely of voices, Xena imperiously tells him, ‘The breast dagger is on the table!’ Salmoneus pulls back his hands, in his inimitable fumbling way and says, ‘Maybe, uh, you should consider another name for that particular apparatus.’ We loved it! But sadly, for a show much too long on first cut, it had to go – for the ‘greater good.’’’"
― Robert Field (Editor)

(The Official Guide To The Xenaverse by Robert Weisbrot – 1998) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed

" “Ah, [this is] the one with the silly old water fight. [This] was kind of a ‘Renee episode’ and I think I was very happy to let [this] one go into her capable hands… I just remember it was really dirty crawling around on the ground and the studio was filthy. And it was also the last episode we filmed before [hiatus]. By that point you’re completely [exhausted]. The penultimate one you’re at your finest, your hardest-working, but the last one is difficult because everybody’s brains slow down.” "
― Lucy Lawless (Actor, Xena) on filming the final episode of season 1

(The Official Guide To The Xenaverse by Robert Weisbrot – 1998) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed

  • Shooting Dates: March 20th, 1996 through March 28th, 1996 (7 day shoot).
  • This episode is a story leading to the next episode, Callisto, but the episode itself was filmed after Callisto.
  • This was the last episode of season 1 to be filmed.
  • Steven L Sears stated in an interview that Argo was supposed to be present when Gabrielle took her anger and grief out on the tree with her staff. Argo was supposed to nuzzle her. This was meant to show the bonding of the two. Unfortunately, they were going to make it look like Argo was nuzzling her by giving Tilly hay and no matter how they tried to film the moment it became a "I love you Gab... Oh! Happy treats!", as Steve said in the interview. [1]
  • Renee O’Connor said in an interview with Dreamwach magazine that this episode really changed things, allowing the audience to see how much both Xena and Gabrielle meant to each other for the first time and suddenly the heart came into the show. "After that, the writers started to focus more on the two characters together as opposed to all the high-concept plots.” as Renee said in the interview. [2]
  • The prop department made two different targets for Talmadeus to throw axes at: one of Salmoneus and one of Salmoneus realizing he's been hit. Everybody loved the gag, but they regretfully decided they couldn't use them both.

Key Events[]

  • Gabrielle tells Salmoneus that she was going to go looking for Iolaus but never does so. There was a scene cut where Gabrielle overhears a couple of Talmadeus' men say that the battle is over because they have Xena's body. Gabrielle knew that she no longer had time to go looking for help, so she goes to Talmadeus' camp instead.
  • This episode marks Xena's first near death experience on the show.
  • As revealed in the next episode, the one that poisoned Xena is Callisto.


  • Even though Xena's body is completely shut down and in a coma-like state, you can see her breathe in the scene where Gabrielle is by her side, having a quiet moment and then kissing her goodbye.


  • Chakram Count: 2
    • 1) To take out the soldier's weapons.
    • 2) To release the water on the soldiers.
  • In this episode it is revealed that Gabrielle can fold her staff in order for it to fit in the saddle bag, though she will only very occasionally take advantage of this.
  • Even though it was common knowledge Xena's brother died, this episode finally gives him a name: Lyceus.
  • According to Gabrielle, Iolaus is possibly in Labottie, but no mention is made of Hercules' whereabouts. Coincidentally, HTLJ's "The Power" (which premiered the same night and also featured Salmoneus) saw Hercules without Iolaus at his side.

Memorable Quotations[]

"Where is Salmoneus?"
"We had him at his factory when this woman showed up. She fought with the strength of Ares and speed of Hermes.
—Talmadeus and a soldier

Links and References[]

Guest Stars[]

  • Robert Trebor as Salmoneus
  • Peter McCauley as Talmadeus
  • Jonathon Hendry as Ness
  • Natalya Humphrey as Photis
  • Timothy James Adam as Kalus
  • David Mitchell as Gorney
  • Kenneth Prebble as Old Man


  1. [1] many thanks for personally researched, and transcribed
  2. [2] many thanks for personally researched, and transcribed





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