Online Edition Come join the Gabsclan!


Season 3, episode 15
Series 315
1st release: 02-23-98
2nd release: 08-03-98
1st strip release: 10-19-98
2nd strip release: 01-21-99
Production number: V0401
Script number: 312
Approximate shooting dates: November/December 1997
Last update: 07-13-00


Ted Raimi (Joxer)
Patrick Fabian (Rafe)
Cameron Rhodes (Eldon)

Justin Curry (Leo)
Stig Eldred (Titus)
Robert McMullen (Croupier)
Bill Florian (Security Guard)
Chris Sherwood (Guard #1)
Vikki Cottingham (Barmaid)
Robert McMullen (Dealer)

Written by Chris Manheim
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Janet Greek

(Xena rolls dice.)
Man: No wonder they call her lucky lady.
(Xena plays cards.)
Man: What are you doing?
Xena: No!
Man #2: Calling her bluff.
(Man is stabbed.)

Poor Joxer is conned out of gambling winnings, then is almost killed by the gambling-den owner's henchmen. So Xena decides it's payback time.

Xena and Gabrielle join forces with two con men to prevent Joxer's death at the hands of a vengeful gaming-club owner.

Joxer's luck seems to have run out when a casino owner orders him killed.

1st RELEASE: 02-23-98
An AA average of 5.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 8th with 7.1
(2) XENA 13th with 5.5
(3) HERCULES 15th with 4.9
(4) WALKER TEXAS RANGER 17th with 4.7
(5) STAR TREK DS9 20th with 4.6
(6) NYPD 3.7

2nd RELEASE: 08-03-98
An AA average of 4.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 8th with 5.1
(2) HERCULES 10th with 4.9
(3) XENA 13th with 4.5
(4) WALKER TEXAS RANGER 16th with 4.0
(5) STAR TREK DS9/BAYWATCH 24th with 3.2


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Somehow Joxer has a lucky day at the gaming tables, and wins 100 dinars. The owner of the establishment, Titus, asks Joxer for a double-or-nothing but Joxer declines because he has to meet Xena and Gabrielle. He leaves and Titus tells his thug-of-a-son Leo to get the money back. Meanwhile Joxer comes across two men arguing over who should cash in a gold nugget. They fleece Joxer of his 100 dinars and take his sword as well, all without Joxer realizing he has been had.

Xena has Gabrielle riding Argo because Gabrielle has a sprained ankle. They come upon Leo and friends beating Joxer to a bloody pulp. Xena runs them off. Joxer is nearly dead. Xena vows revenge upon whoever did this to Joxer. The two men who took Joxer's sword find themselves having to explain to Xena why they have the sword. Rafe and Eldon agree to help Xena obtain her revenge (not that she gives them much choice). Rafe bets Eldon 30 dinars that he can get Xena to kiss him. Titus and Leo talk; Titus wants Joxer dead. Gabrielle tends to Joxer in a temple. She tells him to "stay with us" because he is like family to her and Xena. Xena arrives with Rafe and Eldon. She has a plan to take all of Titus's money. Joxer has a seizure, and Xena goes to get a blanket and Gabrielle goes to get some medicine. Rafe cares for Joxer while Xena and Gabrielle watch without his knowing.

Xena goes on a roll with Rafe (they're just talking!) to refresh one of her many skills (gambling), then they head to the gaming room. She rocks and rolls there, winning until Titus comes to see who is hustling him. When Titus leaves his quarters, Gabrielle slips in and makes a loud crash. Titus rushes back, and Xena follows. She grabs Titus and is tempted to kill him with her "Xena Touch" but Gabrielle acts as the voice of reason and stops her. Xena tells Titus she's going to take everything he has, including his precious ruby.

Xena and Gabrielle have a talk, and Gabrielle wonders if Xena is falling for Rafe. "Your typical bad boy -- just your type," she says. Rafe obtains different clothing for him and Xena; Xena drops her clothes in front of Rafe as they change. Back at the temple, Joxer wants to get up and go fight, but Gabrielle makes him lie down until he falls asleep. Then she joins Eldon at the gaming room, where they wait for Leo to leave to hide the ruby. Titus and Leo also want to find Joxer so they can use him against Xena. Xena and Gabrielle con the ruby away from Leo. They return to the temple, but Joxer is gone. Xena and Gabrielle find him in the woods with Leo and friends. Xena beats everybody up and kidnaps Leo.

Rafe tries to make a very tense Xena relax; they nearly kiss. Eldon goes to Titus and tells him of Xena's plan to cheat at cards and win everything Titus has. She tells Titus to play her or she will kill Leo. Titus says go ahead, kill him. He says he knows all about her plan. Eldon comes forward. Rafe runs at him, and Eldon stabs Rafe. Rafe kisses Xena just before he dies. Xena and Gabrielle start to leave with Rafe's body, but Titus wants to play the card game. Gabrielle tells Xena not to play, but she does so for Rafe's memory. When they play, Titus thinks he has won the game but Xena has four Aces. Rafe resurrects himself (he wasn't really hurt after all) and there is a big fight. Xena takes care of Titus herself. They return to the temple, put Joxer back together, and leave. Xena returns alone and speaks to Rafe for a moment. She sees that Rafe has put money in the temple offering pan.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

I have nothing against homage episodes. I love it when XWP gives a tip of its hat - or in some cases, a full-stage bow - to Indiana Jones, A Christmas Carol, Bride With the White Hair, Groundhog Day, Rosemary's Baby, or It's a Wonderful Life. But there's a problem with this episode's homage to con games, and specifically to The Sting. Con flicks depend surprising you with the con, on guessing how the slickies are going to outsmart each other. When you already know who's going to be doing the outsmarting and how, it ruins the main reason for the show. Without tension, and no good comedic moments to be found, and standard fights, this episode was... well, pretty boring.

Just in case we hadn't caught by the setup that this show was going to borrow heavily from The Sting, the first con against Leo was almost verbatim from the first con The Sting runs on the bad guys. So when Eldon seems to turn against the crew, when Rafe is stabbed and "killed", when the game goes on anyway, there's no surprise. I've seen this done already, I know exactly what's going on. Next.

The con game that *does* work is the sparring between Xena and Rafe. Now there's some classic maneuvering and out-maneuvering; who's conning who, here? How much of what Rafe expresses is for show, for Xena AND for Eldon? When Rafe refuses his winnings, is he making a final play for the big score? When Xena and Rafe kiss, Xena knows about the bet - is she giving Rafe the win? I half expected it to turn out at the end that Xena had made a counter-bet with Eldon - maybe that he would kiss her instead of the opposite - but no such luck.

Hey, back to an old classic: I think we went at least half a season without a warlord putting a knife to Gabrielle's throat! Now some guy tries it twice; guess we had to make up for lost time. Time to start practicing that elbow to the gut again, Gab.

When in the casino, check out the candle-lit disco ball. Tacky lighting has been around much longer than any of us thought in our worst nightmares.

How *was* Xena cheating at the dice game? It wasn't just that she can throw the dice as she wants (which I would have believed in a heartbeat); she checks with Rafe for his call on what will roll next. The card cheat didn't make much sense, either. How does one nonchalantly pull a card from the back of one's head? Prodigious sneezing?

For one episode, the Joxer abuse has turned non-slapstick. They made meat out of our favorite wanna-be - ouch.

Xena shows off a new skill: mumbly-peg on speed ("Do the thing, Bishop!"). Rafe is the cooler head than Eldon. Eldon is the one who cracked while Xena was having her fun with Rafe's hand; Rafe looked like he could sit there all day.

Did Xena cheat at the final card game? It makes sense that she would; theoretically, that was their whole plan. Rafe seemed to put more than one card in Xena's hair, and it looks like Titus only pulls one, so maybe she DID manage to sneak. (Does the cutting room floor have the "Look over there! A minotaur!" scene?) Was Titus cheating? The reactions of the dealer and Titus suggest so. Too bad we never find out for sure what's going on at that game.

Leo was a joke of a bad guy. The battle between he and Xena must have been one of the slowest fights I've seen on the show; Xena should have pounded in four punches before this bulldozer even landed one. Was she trying to make him feel a little before before she knocked him senseless? And sadly, Leo doesn't make up for speed with brains: when Rafe showed up from the dead, Leo didn't connect the dots to realize that his "murderer" must be in on the game. Now there's a fellow who shouldn't be contributing to the gene pool.


03-14-00. From KSZoneW. Edited out the scene were Rafe is stabbed and he calls Eldon a b*st*rd. Titus calling Joxer a p*ss*nt was still there but sounded as if they tried to block it out.


01-31-99. Chris Manheim was interviewed by WHOOSH in the February 1999 issue. Here's what she said about HERE SHE COMES...

...Now we have KING CON (61/315), an homage to The Sting (George Roy Hill, 1973).

[125] [laughs] What was hard was coming up with that first con on Joxer.

[126] Although there are a number of fans who may not think highly of the Joxer character, I did hear a lot of people say "Wow, maybe it was going a bit far beating him to a pulp like that."

[127] It surprised me when I looked at dailies as to how graphic they got. But at the same time you really had to sell the idea that Xena just wouldn't say "To h*ll with this town, I don't care whether they gamble or not," and just walk away. That was the rationale used in the severity of this beating. He had to be so hurt that she had to steel herself to square things about it. It was pretty graphic, wasn't it? But it served its purpose.

02-22-98. Rumors abound that Xena gets to kiss her first post-Ulysses guy! And it looks like Rafe is it. Don't panic...although Rafe does not look married, he does look like, at the very worst, a mild infatuation. Xena hasn't had a heterosexual moment in a long while, so we all knew it was coming!!! So to speak.

02-01-98. Season 3 is definitely the season of the homage for XENA (and also HERCULES, but we will not go there!). This time around it looks like the movie THE STING is being homaged. Perhaps we should change the name of the show to XENA: HOMAGE PRINCESS.

02-01-98. At the Burbank II Con (01-17-98) Brad Carperntar stated that King Con was about gambling and that Joxer is wounded.

01-23-98. Only the most trivia will be ignored by us! Turns out that KING CON was originally scheduled to air 02-16-98 (a week earlier), but was changed later to FORGIVEN.

12-07-97. Ted Raimi has started work on this episode as of Decmber 2, 1997. All we know at this point is that Joxer gets beaten up rather severely in this episode. Why? Because they like him!


Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

The first time Xena meets Titus, I'm not sure how much of the nastiness was for show and how much was Xena's real anger at the fellow who put Joxer through the grinder, but there is still nobody on earth who can threaten better than the Warrior Princess. Notice that Gabrielle calls Xena down and gets her to back off a bit. ("No, no, Xena... first we take him for everything he's got, THEN you can slaughter him.")


From Asallese. Does anyone out there watch NBC's "Providence"? Patrick Fabian, who plays Rafe in this ep, now appears in "Providence" as a recurring character, Jerry, who is the lead's ex-boyfriend.


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

Rafe's tucking in of Joxer was a sweet gesture, but why did Xena say she was going to go get another blanket when one was right behind her?

Back a couple of months ago, I heard rumors that Renee O'Connor was going to be "hopalong Gabby" for a little while. Word from the Powers That Be (hi, Sharon!) is that Renee's limp in this episode is for real. It's typical actor fate that, immediately after filming a faked injury to the left ankle (for One Against an Army), the right one gets hurt. Sometimes it's scary how often that happens. Get well soon, Renee! Gab still kicks butt even with only one foot to pivot on.


07-13-00. From Corinne Heller. "Where Have I Seen You Before"? Patrick Fabian, who played the ever-cunning Rafe, also starred as Spencer -- Sarah's ex (and current..the series was too confusing -and boring- to follow) on "Time on Your Life".

03-14-00. From Adra Jade. In BEWARE GREEKS BEARING GIFTS, the actor Cameron Rhodes plays Deiphobus, Paris' brother and in KING CON he plays Eldon, Rafe's friend.

01-31-99. From Philocleon. I would like to point out a distinct similarity between Monty Python and the Quest For the Holy Grail and Xena in King Con. When Joxer wakes up and says he is going after Leo and Titus, Gabrielle says, "What are you going to do, bleed on them?" During the fight between Arthur and the Black Knight, Arthur reduces the black knight to a torso. When the Black Knight says is on one leg with no arms, he declares that he's invincible. Arthur then says, "What are you going to do, bleed on me?" There are the similarities. And if you haven't seen the movie, do it! It is hilarious and silly, with typical Python humor.

From Lee Blackburn. Has anyone else noticed a sub-plot thread that was not completely deleted? About half way thru KING CON, Gaby and others work a diversion on the guards so she could slip into the boss's private room. The sound of a crash cause the baddies to come in and quickly disclose Gaby behind a curtain; implying she's in real trouble. (Oh, not the jail again!) Cut to commercial...End commercial. Gaby's back in the main room working on the main plot and still free.


Click here to read a transcript of KING CON.


No Con Men were conned during the production of this motion picture.

Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!