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The Path Not Taken
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Xena and Marcus rekindle their romance
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Marcus, Mezentius
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 0
Production # 76907
Filming Dates 14 August to 21 August 1995
Original Air-Date 2 October 1995
Written By Julie Sherman
Directed By Stephen L. Posey
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 5 of 134
Order in Season 5 of 24
Order in Franchise 28 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Cradle of Hope"
Next Episode in Series "The Reckoning"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Outcast"
Next Episode in Franchise "Under the Broken Sky"
Title Image

Xena faces ghosts from the past when she visits one of her old haunts and ingratiates herself with murderous former "colleagues" in order to locate a kidnapped princess who is being hidden there.


Xena agrees to help a young man find his bride to be

One evening, Jana, the beautiful young princess of Boeotia, sits under the stars with her handsome fianceAgranon, the prince of Colonus. As they celebrate the fact that their impending marriage will end a bitter, centuries-old feud between their two nations, several masked men overpower Agranon and ride off with Jana.Xena learns of the kidnapping when Agranon approaches her in a seedy tavern where she and Gabrielle have stopped for a meal.

Xena pretends to be her former evil self to rescue the princess.

Impressed by the ease with which Xena fights her way past several lascivious drunks, Agranon pleads with her to find Jana. He names Mezentius, an arms dealer who will get rich selling weapons to both sides if war breaks out, as the probable kidnapper. Responding to the prince's obvious anguish, Xena agrees to help, though it means returning to the treacherous city of Trachis where she will be recognized by former colleagues from her dark past.

Xena reunites with Marcus, an old friend.

When Xena saunters into the pub in Trachis playing the role of the conquering hero, she immediately dispels "rumors" that she has given up fighting for profit. With much banter and backslapping, she receives a warm welcome from the assembled murderers and mercenaries including the handsomeMarcus, a former lover and friend. Xena gets her first glimpse of the kidnapped princess when she convinces Marcus to take her to Mezentius to propose a business deal.

Taken hostage.

When she meets with the evil arms dealer, she tells him she knows he is fomenting war between Boeotia and Cronus and offers him her army to prolong the conflict in exchange for weapons and half of his profit. She even convinces Mezentius to refrain from killing Jana, persuading him that the princess will be worth a hefty ransom. Meanwhile, Gabrielle persuades Agranon to go to Jana's father in an attempt to avert the coming war, but the two are quickly taken hostage when they approach Boeotia.

Marcus dies

When Jana threatens suicide, Xena stages a dramatic rescue for Mezentius, using the opportunity to tell the princess that she has been sent by Agranon. She arranges a secret meeting with Jana at the castle's underground grotto that night. After avoiding discovery by Mezentius in the grotto, Xena whisks Jana off to the weapons warehouse, where she hides her in a box emptied of bows and arrows, which is destined for Jana's kingdom.

Xena mourns Marcus at his funeral.

Just as Xena finishes nailing down the lid, Marcus appears and realizes what she is doing. Xena pleads with Marcus to leave his life of war behind, but he ultimately refuses and sounds the alarm. Xena battles the guards valiantly. But when Mezentius draws his bow to kill Jana, it is Marcus who leaps in front of her and takes the arrow meant for the princess. Through his heroic last act, Xena sadly realizes that she has indeed lost a true friend.

Background Information[]

"This was the first action scene where I started to 'get it.' I guess I'd been training for a while at this stage. [Before this] oh I hated it, I hated it, I hated it, I used to dread another fight coming on. Now I quite enjoy it--It's something all the exercise I get in a week [laughs], and my body is much more flexible. I move much faster from getting hit so much!"
― Lucy Lawless on the opening brawl

Source: Xena: Warrior Princess: The Official Guide to the Xenaverse book 1997

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Shooting dates: August 14th, 1995 through August 21st, 1995 (6 day shoot).
  • This episode is also known by the title "Going Home."
  • This was the seventh episode of the series to be written, but aired as the fifth.
  • The funeral song that Xena sings for Marcus was written and sung by Lucy Lawless. It reappears in later episodes.
  • Originally in the closing scene of the funeral ridge, Xena, Jana, Agranon and Gabrielle sit quietly before a campfire.

Key Events[]

  • This episode marks the first appearance of Marcus.


  • Chakram Count: 2
  1. To distract the guard guarding the weapons chamber.
  2. To kill Mezentius.