Online Edition Visit the Crossroads to the Xenaverse!


Season 1, episode 3
Series 103
1st release: 09-18-95
2nd release: 12-11-95
1st USA release: 08-07-98
1st SF Channel release: 02-01-00
1st Oxygen release: 01-01-01
Production number: 76905
Script number: 303
Script history:
Shooting: 07/01/95
Pink: 07/07/95
Blue: 07/12/95
Approximate shooting dates: July 1995
Last update: 11-05-01


Nathaniel Lees (Manus)
Desmond Kelly (Elkton)

Sydney Jackson (Storekeeper)
Colin Francis (Swordsmith)
John Palmer (Baruch)
Bruce Hopkins (Termin)
Matthew Jeffs (Gothos)
Michael Daly (Mesmer)
Peter Phillips (1st Xena Warrior)
Grant Boucher (2nd Xena Warrior)
Lawrence Wharerau (Mystic Warrior)
Patrick Smith (Dolas)
Polly Baigent (Doppelganger)

Written by Steven L. Sears
Edited by Jim Prior
Directed by Bruce Seth Green

Xena enters a mystical realm known as the Dreamscape to save Gabrielle, who has been taken there and forced to complete a series of daunting tasks that will make her worthy of becoming the bride of the dream god, Morpheus.

When Gabrielle is kidnapped by a mystic, Xena enters an altered state of consciousness and must face ghosts from her past in order to rescue her friend.

The high priest Manus abducts Gabrielle to be Morpheus' bride.

1st RELEASE: 09-18-95
An AA average of 4.4
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STDS9 at 11th with 5.4
(2) HTLJ at 12th with 5.1
(3) BAYWATCH at 15th with 4.9
(4) LAND'S ENDING at 17th with 4.7
(5) XWP with 4.4

2nd RELEASE: 12-11-96
An AA average of Unavailable
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:


This synopsis is by Kym Taborn.

Gabrielle gets kidnapped by the followers of Morpheus who want her to lose her blood innocence by killing someone so they can sacrifice her (hey, it could happen). Xena does not take a liking to this and allows herself to be cast into a Dream Passage, where she must confront her past in order to break through to her future. While Xena is having a therapists dream, Gabrielle is going through three tests where she artfully dodges killing anyone. Xena finally conquers her past just in time to save Gabrielle; however Gabrielle gets to punch out the High Priest of Morpheus. Xena is impressed.


This synopsis is by Kym Taborn.

Gabrielle is captured by the priests of Morpheus, the god of sleep, and she is tricked into performing tests which will force her to kill and therefore become the god's sacrifice. Luckily, Xena already told her how NOT to kill and yet be successful in defending herself.

Meanwhile, Xena discovers the only way to save Gabrielle (which has become her day job) is to participate in a "Dream walk". Her spirit/soul must go through a trial comprising of facing her past. If she emerges at the end then she will be reunited with her physical self. On the way she discovers her worst enemy is herself (like, this is news???). Her old self picks a fight with the new-and-improved-Gabrielle- protecting Xena who is walking around sans leather. As expected, both Xenas beat each other to a pulp, but the sans leather Xena still outsmarts the leather Xena, thus illustrating that the good Xena controls the old.

Xena saves Gabrielle in just the nick of time, and defeats the evil priests. Xena restores the previous benevolent priesthood and cheerfully leaves the village, Gabrielle in tow.


This commentary is by Kym Taborn.

DREAMWORKER introduced the underlying theme of Gabrielle's blood innocence. In DREAMWORKER (03/103), the characteristic was imposed upon Gabrielle by Xena. Gabrielle was at the height of her hero-worship of Xena. She wanted to be Xena or at least just like her [Gabrielle even told her sister that in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)]. Xena would have nothing of it. Xena was in the midst of questioning her own life and she would not permit Gabrielle to enter a similar lifestyle. By the time of IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124), Gabrielle had made this decision for herself. This decision was tested in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) when Gabrielle had to deal head on with the emotions of revenge after Callisto cold-heartedly killed Gabrielle's newly-wed husband, Perdicas. Gabrielle made the decision not to kill. In both episodes, Gabrielle knew how to kill and kill quite efficiently, and yet she refused to do so, even at her own peril. This characteristic eventually became known as Gabrielle's code. The care and attention of developing this theme of blood innocence was sacrificed in the third season in favor of the Dahak/Hope/Decline of the gods theme. In THE DELIVERER (50/304), Gabrielle's loss of blood innocence was effectively lost midst all the other spectacle going on. It was sadly, a great missed opportunity in the show. The loss of Gabrielle's innocence, so carefully constructed over two years, literally became a plot device for some johnny-come-lately story and was over with in less than a couple of minutes. Perhaps this issue will be dealt with in more detail in later seasons, but the fact remains, it would have made more sense dramatically and storywise, to deal with it when it happened, and not a season or two later.

DREAMWORKER also marked a subtle change in Gabrielle's and Xena's relationship.

One of the more attractive aspects of XWP is the depiction of how a close and private friendship grows throughout time. This theme is rarely shown or even attempted on a weekly series, especially in an action one. DREAMWORKER gave the first intimations that the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle would become a great theme of the series.

DREAMWORKER is my personal favorite episode. It is curious in that it dealt with Xena having to conquer her old self so early in the game. It was released as episode number 3. The program had Xena deal with her "general" guilt (as opposed to her "personal" guilts as explored in SINS OF THE PAST, PATH NOT TAKEN, THE BLACK WOLF, TIES THAT BIND, CALLISTO, DEATH MASK, ORPHAN OF WAR, and REMEMBER NOTHING - to name a few, heh heh) over her past life. How Freudian can one get? Xena actually had to throw her old self through a door in order to escape her quagmire.

The quagmire, of course, WAS how to save Gabrielle from (1) losing her blood innocence, and (2) losing her life. Two very perplexing problems.

Up to that point, Xena barely tolerated Gabrielle tagging along. Xena met Gabrielle after saving Gabrielle's village from Draco's army. It is clear that Gabrielle became enamored immediately with Xena the first time she that she saw her. Can Gabrielle be blamed? She saw a woman who could defend herself and knew that she wanted to learn to do that. Gabrielle even told her sister she wanted to learn to be a warrior just like Xena. Gabrielle was attracted enough to what Xena represented that she decided to follow Xena, even with Xena's express wishes for her not to.

Gabrielle then popped up in time to use her gift of...pontificating to save Xena during one of Xena's self-pitying moods. Xena appeared so discouraged that she probably would have allow the villagers to kill her or harm her in some way. That was the critical juncture. Xena had a sense of honor, and a very traditional debt of honor is one where someone saves your life.

As it turned out, Xena, honor bound, allowed Gabrielle to join her at her camp. Xena had shown a predilection towards a veiled fondness for humorous types (e.g. Salmoneous, the little man made her laugh, after all; perhaps Gabrielle did to?; also in later episodes like DIRTY HALF DOZEN of the third season, we discover that Xena has had young, impressionable, female, sidekicks before). Gabrielle also had that moment with Xena while Xena was at the tomb of her brother.

That tomb scene has always jarred me and it has always felt awkward to me (the emotions portrayed, not the execution of the scene). I felt that Gabrielle was jumping the gun. But, I guess there was a thematic necessity for it.

That's where it stood by the end of SINS OF THE PAST, the first episode. The next episode was CHARIOTS OF WAR. Gabrielle was clearly attracted to the guy who shot Xena and Xena was attracted to the the guy who pulled the arrow out (talk about generating several years of therapy bills!).

The only point where the gals even mentioned relationships was where Gabrielle was rambling on like she normally does and says: "I have no way of finding this guy. What if I'm supposed to intertwine with him and have kids? Now I'll wind up some lonely, pathetic woman like [she looks at Xena], never mind." (Well, I tell a lie. This conversation hearkened back to an earlier one they had where Gabrielle was going on and on and on about finding that special person). This scene is an anomoly for the first two seasons. It is one of the only scenes I can think of where Gabrielle actually thinks badly upon Xena during the first two seasons. Also, to my knowledge, after this episode, Gabrielle never discusses severing their relationship except in THE PRODIGAL where Gabrielle wanted to visit her family and her brief marriage to Perdicus in RETURN OF CALLISTO (thank you, Callisto!). This observation is not valid during the third season, because that was the season of THE RIFT, which by the episode BITTER SUITE, both characters wanted to kill the other, with Xena more successful several times.

CHARIOTS OF WAR stands out because it gave a love interest each of the women. The only other show to do that again was PROMETHEUS, which paired Xena with Hercules and Gabrielle with Iolaus (which really didn't count because Iolaus would go after anything female...and so would Hercules, now that I think about it).

Apparently Xena was not ready to settle down with Darius, the pacifist Trojan, and Gabrielle's male object of interest was so neurotic that even she probably realized he was bad news. At the end of the show, all the ladies had were each other and they both walked off into the dusk together.

Perhaps this episode was purposely planned as a "Xena is straight" show since they really did overdo the relationships aspect. It obviously made Xena less severe, especially in having her in the deceased wife's dress. Perhaps they wanted to show the ladies were capable of being a male attraction early in the game and not minding it?

Next, DREAMWORKER came! In order to save a person whom Xena has been keeping around for amusement and a debt of honor, she is willing to separate her soul from her body and confront her deepest guilt and torments. This is not agreeing to pick up someone's mail while they are on vacation. This is a sign of a major (emotional) commitment.

By the time DREAMWORKER comes along, Xena has realized, if not Gabrielle (but, I think she has, just watch DREAMWORKER again and concentrate on Gabrielle's complete and unwavering trust in Xena...you do not give someone that much power over you unless you have made some sort of commitment), that the relationship is worth more than her life. Xena puts herself in complete peril without hardly a thought, because (drum roll please) Gabrielle has been taken away from her.

There are more issues of which I will not get into here (especially the loss of blood innocence paralleled with the loss of life, two separate themes running throughout the entire first season). The primary thought I want to hold is that DREAMWORKER is definitely a relationship episode. Just remember the look Xena gives as she finds Gabrielle on the divan and they discuss whose dream they are in. That's some of the most emotion Xena had shown up to then other than the orgasms she got while beating up people.


DREAMWORKER was the first episode in which Xena said Gabrielle's name, the first time Xena panicked when Gabrielle was kidnapped, and did more to define Gabrielle's character than any other episode before or since.


Click here to read a Music Guide to DREAMWORKER by DJWP. If you like this feature, CLICK here to write to DJWP and tell her to start making more of these because the fans DEMAND IT!


12-21-98. From R.J. Stewart's (the executive producer of XWP) RealHollywood 12-15-98 chat:

R.J.Stewart says "I guess it's because I'm the producer, when things go wrong they never seem funny to me! I'll tell you a funny thing that happened .. early on when we first worked on the series, Steve Sears [writer ofDREAMWORKER]...he's now the co exec producer, he was enthusiastically pitching an action scene to us. And, he said "and then Xena does a back flip!" and he DID a backflip right in the room!...It just floored us cause we were in shock, that's not what you expect from writers .. at that time it was a rather amazing moment. Fortunately writers don't actually have to act out the action they write!...Or we'd all be dead."


Changing Times is by Debbie White.

In this episode, Xena and Gabrielle learn more about themselves. Xena learns to stop hating everything about her evil years. Gabrielle learns the difference between survival and killing. The roles of warrior and talker are switched, somewhat, to where Gabrielle is wielding a sword and Xena has to talk her way free from a dreamscape passage.

The Changing Xena

Xena is confronted with all she is and all she was when she enters the dreamscape. First she is surrounded by all the people she killed. "Oh, that's right, you never knew the names of your victims," one man says as the crowd chants their names. Xena starts to panic, not wanting to have people, not just kills, to haunt her nightmares. She is able to escape from the impact of killing 'real people' by going back to her "I don't do that anymore" philosophy when she is given a sword to kill them again.

Next, Xena is confronted by her first and last kill. She manages to overcome her guilt when they mention Gabrielle losing her blood innocence and having haunted dreams, like Xena. She breaks free because of her concern for Gabrielle being "forever changed." Xena tries her best, from beginning to end, to keep Gabrielle from making the choice of killing without truly understanding the change it causes. This may be because Xena never understood this until it was too late to change back.

Finally, Xena comes upon her evil self and has to find 'the key' to escape the dreamscape. She revels in the fact that she can finally kill her evil half. When she tries, she finds herself without her fighting skills and getting beaten by her evil self. As her evil half taunts her, Xena finally realizes that not everything she was should be left behind. All her skills and abilities were honed to perfection in her evil days, "foraged in the heat of battle." Xena is starting to learn that while her actions were wrong, what she learned from them were not. Her skills could be used for good or evil, but that in itself did not make them evil. Xena was then able to forgive herself for some of what she was and is.

The Changing Gabrielle

Gabrielle wants to be a warrior like Xena. She starts this episode wielding a sword against a tree stump, since Xena will not teach her. When Gabrielle says she simply wants to learn to survive, Xena tells her there is a difference between weapons. If she wants to survive, then here are the rules:

1. If you can run, run.

2. If you can't run, surrender, then run.

3. If you're outnumbered, let them fight each other, and then run.

4. Talk your way out of it.

Gabrielle still wants to be able to help Xena out. In the next fight, Xena loses her sword and Gabrielle picks it up. She immediately becomes a target, and Xena has to rescue her. Even seeing how just holding a sword makes her a target, Gabrielle nonetheless goes into a weapon's shop in the next town. She tries to play 'the warrior who's lost her sword,' but the shopkeeper catches on and gives her the infamous breast dagger. The surprising thing is that he HAD a breast dagger, considering his main customers would be a few village men, not the rare woman warrior. Xena notices the dagger, however, and confiscates it. Gabrielle still has not learned her lesson...or has she?

Gabrielle is kidnapped by the followers of Morpheus, who want her to lose her blood innocence. In other words, they want her to kill, which should be easy since that is what Gabrielle has been asking to be taught. Gabrielle realizes there is something strange going on, though, and uses Xena's advise on how to survive rather than trying to kill. She was listening to Xena, at least, since she survives without killing in the first test. Two warriors were behind back-lit curtains and Gabrielle tricks them into killing each other by mistake.

Xena is then able to warn Gabrielle not to kill, or she will be sacrificed to Morpheus. When Gabrielle is allowed to sleep, Xena's dreamscape crosses hers, and Xena warns her to talk her way out of the tests instead of killing. So in the next test, she talks. There are three warriors, so she pits them against each other saying that one must be better than the other. When only one is left, a freak chance saves Gabrielle from being killed. The head priest realizes that Xena has warned Gabrielle and sets her a choice were she has to kill or be killed.

Gabrielle picks up the sword, slowly being forced towards her decision when Xena saves her from having to make that choice. "But I got close enough to peek over and what I saw scared me," Gabrielle says at the end. "Everyone is capable of killing," Xena responds.

Gabrielle has now really learned the consequences of killing. She is more concerned about surviving instead of being a warrior, though she still wants to help Xena out in the fights. This becomes the basis for Gabrielle's code.

"The lake may look the same, but it is forever changed."


Where Gabrielle's dream and Xena's Dream Passage overlap momentarily; and when Xena discovers the key to exiting the Dream Passage.


11-05-01. From Ife. Dreamworker has sooo much enduring stuff. We've got Gabrielle inadvertently responsible for Xena's breast dagger (which figures prominently in several eps, including Deliverer). The first clue that Gabrielle is an enticing tidbit for evil doers who crave innocence, and that Xena will go through hell and high water to get Gabby back. The very critical point that Xena needs her dark side. The evidence that Gabrielle has her own little dark side and would very much like to learn weaponry (both of which Xena very much would like to keep her from), as well as that Gabrielle's primary "weapons" will be nonlethal. Xena's willingness to use the spiritual realm when it suits her purposes. The "what's beneath the surface" water imagery, which is replayed in the "like water soft, and hard," scene in Debt, as well as reinforces the contrasting, yin yang ideas of something appearing "good" one minute and "bad" the next, of containing the power to be either and both. True, other first season eps help paint the context of Xena's quest and the crazy Xenaverse, but I think Dreamworker best lays out a lot of the philosophical, internal and interpersonal dynamics critical to understanding what's going on beneath the surface.

09-24-98. From Nikalaos. Did anyone notice strange parallels to furtue events in this landmark episode? You could watch SINS OF THE PAST, DREAMWORKER, HOOVES AND HARLOTS, and then start up in the rift saga's THE DELIVERER and you pretty much have a legit storyline!

Just think of these things when vieweing Dreamworker:

--Dreamscape idea . . . interesting "other realm" sorta thing. The first in a series of creepy "Intimate Stranger" dreams, Illusia, and of course those rivers from "Forget Me Not"

--Xena's "nice outfit" . . . Greeks didn't have true fitted sleeves like that (well, Gabby's costume is different . . .) so that purple get -up is kinda reminescent of a kimono or something -- it's got that eastern look, with the satin/silk and all, and her hair is back. So it could have been looking toward the DEBT eps.

--Gabby's breaking the spear to make it a staff. Well, THERE's foreshadowing!!!

--Morpheus uses a ram's head for a symbol ANOTHER FORESADOWING!!! (Think Dahaok, "Gabby's Hope" and "Sacrifice2")

--and obviously, the whole Blood Innocence bit. Duh. It's only what started it all.

-- and we can't forget the first time we get to see those nifty BLACK CONTACT LENSES!!!

Weird, in that Steven Sears interview in WHOOSH #22 (July 1998), he says the rift started in SINS OF THE PAST. DREAMWORKER was important - it almost sets us up for the whole third (screwy as it is) season!!

Interesting, no?


Prepared by SheWho.

During the scene where Xena catches Gab playing with her sword, we learn that Xena and Gab are on their way to a village called Antidoticus (hmm...), and Xena wants to find out how to cross the Mystic Mountains. They're going to meet with the Three Graea, soothsayers.

Xena and Gab's discussion about the rules of survival takes place in the next scene, with Xena riding Argo and Gab walking alongside. Amid the discussion, Xena asks Gab if she wants to ride, and Gab declines "until they make those things closer to the ground."

Just before Gab picks up the sword in the first attack, Xena yells at her to run. At the conclusion of the fight, Xena wipes the blood from the sword in a pointed message to Gab. (Wow!)

Xena mentions to Gab before they split up in the village that there aren't any young girls around. Gab says if it's anything like her home town, they're all at a knitting party.

Interesting line change: When the storekeeper asks Xena, "Is that your friend?" she answers, "As far as I can tell." Then, "Why do you ask?"

In the weapons shop, Gab elaborates on the "big battle" where she lost her weapons: "There must have been ten or twenty of them. You know how you lose count when you're just dropping them left and right."

When Gab warns Manus that he is in "*big* trouble," he asks her if she knows Zeus, who is the only one who can help her now. She replies, "Zeus? Well . . . we've talked."

In delineating her faults, Gab adds that she gets "edgy when it's hot and sick when it's cold".

When Xena first approaches Elkton, the blind mystic, he throws a knife at her that she catches mid-flight.

Elkton explains that the other dream gods aren't evil, but "Morpheus has a side that isn't happy with the simple praise of common people," and that Manus "feeds that side with evil."

Before remembering Xena's advice about getting her opponents to fight each other in the first challenge, Gab grumbles, "This is why I should've learned what I *wanted* to learn about swords."

Xena and Gab's dreamscapes merge in a beautiful meadow with Gab sitting beside a small pond, tossing plucked flower petals into the water.

At the end, Xena prefaces her pond-side chat with, "I'm not very good with wisdom." Gab responds, "That's a given. Go ahead." Then Xena throws the rock in . . .

The script has some hilarious directions (or whatever they're called) in it:

one scene calls for "a large (but budget conscious) group of nasty looking men"

their leader is described as "a nasty scarface who, in a good light, would be ugly."

Xena puts Gab's breast dagger "in between her breasts (heck, it *is* where it is supposed to go)."

in the 'where-is-she' scene with the shopkeeper, we're told that Xena "is pissed". Yeah, that's how I would have described it.


Click here to read a transcript of DREAMWORKER .


No humorous disclaimer


The following WHOOSH! articles discuss this episode:

Carter, Carmen, Visual Metaphor in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 3 (November 1996), paragraph 2

Carter, Richard Jr., The Hero's Path: Gabrielle as Focal Hero in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 2 (October 1996), paragraphs 17, 20

Draganis, Mary, Dark warrior Pasts: Kira and Xena , Issue 7 (April 1997), paragraph 1

Knighton, Linda, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS: A Native Amercian Perspective , Issue 3 (November 1996), paragraph 13

Letters to the Editor, Letters to the Editor , Issue 3 (November 1996); Letters to the Editor , Issue 4 (December 1996); Letters to the Editor , Issue 4 (December 1996); Letters to the Editor, Letters to the Editor , Issue 5 (February 1997); Letters to the Editor, Letters to the Editor , Issue 7 (April 1997); Letters to the Editor, Letters to the Editor , Issue 11 (August 1997)

Maynard, Kate, In Praise of Bards: Missed Opportunities and the Xena Scrolls , Issue 6 (March 1997), paragraph 3

Murphy, Tricia, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and the Mortality Rate of Significant Others , Issue 7 (April 1997)

Silver, Diane, The Shock of Recognition: A Lesbian Appreciation of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, Issue 11 (August 1997), paragraph 15

Silver, Diane, The Steve Sears and Liz Friedman Show, or Why Gabrielle Doesn't Ride , Issue 5 (February 1997)

Swenson, Gregory R., Alexander the Great: Blueprint for Xena , Issue 4 (December 1996), paragraph 5

Swenson, Gregory R., Puritanism, Capitalism, and Transcendentalism in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 8 (May 1997), paragraphs 17, 23
Taborn, Kym Masera, The Annotated WARRIOR PRINCESS , Issue 2 (October 1996), paragraph 37

White, Debbie, Changing Times: DEATH IN CHAINS, HOOVES AND HARLOTS, and THE BLACK WOLF , Issue 9 (June 1997), paragraph 12

White, Debbie, Changing Times: DREAMWORKER and CRADLE OF HOPE , Issue 4 (December 1996)

White, Debbie, Changing Times: SINS OF THE PAST , Issue 3 (November 1996), paragraph 28

White, Debbie, Xena's Family: Who Are They? , Issue 4 (December 1996), paragraph 9

Wiatt, C., Xena and Callisto: Why Are They the Way They Are, Issue 1 (September 1996), paragraph 23

Wong, Stephanie, Convention Madness for One Obsessed Xenite , Issue 5 (February 1997), paragraph 15

Previous Episode
Back to the Episode Guide
Next Episode

Season 1 |Season 2 |Season 3 |Season 4 |Season 5 |Season 6

Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!