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Season 1, episode 05
Series 105
1st release: 10-02-95
2nd release: 12-25-95
3rd release: 06-24-96
4th release: 09-08-97
1st strip release: 08-11-98
2nd strip release: 11-05-98
Production number: 76907
Script number: 505
Approximate shooting dates: August 1995
Last update: 01-31-99

SYNOPSIS 1 by Kym Taborn
SYNOPSIS 2 by Kym Taborn

Bobby Hosea (Marcus)
Stephen Tozer (Myzantius)

Nicola Cliff (Jana)
Jimi Liversidge (Agranon)
John O'Leary (Antonius)
Iain Rea (Brisus)
Crawford Thompson (Dictys)
Peter Saena-Brown (Soldier #1)

Written by Julie Sherman
Edited by Doug Ibold
Directed by Stephen L. Posey

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 helps a prince rescue his fiancee who has been kidnapped by a greedy arms dealer opposed to their marriage.

A plan to rescue a kidnapped princess stirs enemies from the past.

1st RELEASE: 10-02-95
An AA average of 4.8
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 3rd with 8.5
(2) HERCULES 8th with 6.1
(3) BAYWATCH 12th with 5.2
(4) XENA 16th with 4.8

2nd RELEASE: 12-25-95
An AA average of Not Available
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:

3rd RELEASE: 06-24-96
An AA average of 4.9
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) HERCULES 7th with 5.3
(2) STAR TREK DS9 9th with 5.1
(3) XENA 10th with 4.9

4th RELEASE: 09-08-97
An AA average of 4.6
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 10th with 4.6
(2) HERCULES 13th with 4.2
(3) STAR TREK DS9 17th with 3.9
(4) WALTER TEXAS RANGER 16th with 4.1
(5) PENASCOLA 21st with 3.7


This synopsis is by Kym Taborn.

A young woman is captured by an arm's dealer who wants to use her to start a war in order to drum up business. A job for Superman? No, a job for the Warrior Princess! Realizing this, the victim's intended hires Xena to find her. Xena accepts but is recognized by the ruffians, and especially an old flame, Marcus. Marcus thinks Xena is out to purloin the weapons and she leads him on with that thought. However, he finds out the truth after he finds Xena stuffing the princess into a basket. Marcus gets all confused: he turns Xena in, then regrets it, and finally he uses his body as a shield to save the princess from death. Xena kills the arms dealer and mourns at Marcus' funeral pyre.


This synopsis is by Kym Taborn.

In order to rescue a maiden in distress (kidnapped by an arms dealer), Xena infiltrates an arms dealer's camp and meets up with an old flame, Marcus. Xena tries to seduce Marcus to the Force, and she is successful. Unfortunately, Marcus is killed during his epiphany. Xena is deeply disturbed and sings the dirge at Marcus' funeral. Xena confides to Gabrielle that Marcus was her friend.


Commentary Kym Taborn.

Marcus was unique because he was referred to by Xena as her "friend." Xena has only referred to Hercules and Gabrielle as friends thus far in the series, showing that she neither takes friendship lightly, and nor does she offer it freely.

Although the old Xena apparently either herself slept her way to the top or aided others as they slept their way to the top, she held her relationship with Marcus as unique. In other words, it was more than sex. How far she would go for a friend in need was illustrated again via Marcus in "Mortal Beloved", episode number 16.

The level of devotion Marcus and Xena had/have for each other was explored further also in "Mortal Beloved".


Click here to read a Music Guide to THE PATH NOT TAKEN 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!


Highlights by Kym Taborn.

Lucy Lawless performed and wrote the dirge heard at Marcus' funeral (it is in Hassidic style, no less!). Ms. Lawless as Xena sang this very same dirge again at the funeral pyre of Perdicas, Gabrielle's ill-fated husband in RETURN OF CALLISTO. Also, see the very same hot tub used by Xena to seduce Iolaus only a year before!


Prepared by SheWho.


The final exchange between Xena and Gabrielle in the teaser -- where Agranon leaves, Gabrielle moves her chair closer to Xena, asks "Can I see that?" and takes the prince's necklace (draping the chain across Xena's thigh), only to have Xena yank it back and snarl, "Give me that!" -- is not in the script.

The little goodbye hand squeeze that Xena gives Gab when she leaves is not mentioned in the script. Nor is Agranon's glance at their hands. (Yes, I slow-mo'd this.)

Gab's offer to tell Agranon a story after Xena leaves is not in the script.

When Xena arrives at the walled city, she tells Argo, "Go on. I'll call for you later."

Marcus is described as "in his 30's, handsome."

Mezentius is described as "well-dressed, in his 40's, and cold as steel. No matter what stirs on the surface, the man is pure snake underneath."

When Agranon is telling Gabrielle how he met the princess, Agranon says he had stopped by an old burnt out farm. Gabrielle says, "Oh. A ruin. How romantic. It was love at first sight I bet." (Something she has experienced herself, even if she doesn't know it, imo.) Agranon says she's right.

Gabrielle decides that Agranon should tell the princess's father the story. Agranon says their kingdoms are about to go to war, and Gab says, "That's the point. They're talking politics, when this is all really an affair of the heart." She then says she can get him in . . .

Xena and Marcus's reunion heart-to-heart starts with Marcus telling Xena "I can't believe how incredible you look."

When Xena and Marcus are walking, reminiscing about a time that Marcus said he'd do anything for her:

Marcus: "Somewhere there's this cyclops still wondering who pulled his teeth out. You don't still . . ."

Xena: "I got rid of them a long time ago."

Marcus (mock-serious): "A lot of effort went into that gift."
They laugh.

When Mezentius confronts Xena about her suspected plan to steal his weapons, Xena says, "You know you can't kill me. My Army would swarm over this place like ants on honey." (In the televised version, she asks him "Are you going to kill me?")

When Xena and Marcus are in the hot springs grotto, "Looking at one another, it's hard for either of them to miss the chemistry. The steam rises off the water, caressing them both." (Yuk.)

When Xena, Marcus and Mezentius see Jana on the ledge, Xena asks, "How did she get out there? Wasn't she under guard?" Marcus replies, "Why? Where in Trachus could she go to?" The script includes various precarious attempts by guards to grab Jana off the ledge, to the amusement of the gathered crowd and annoyance of Mezentius.

When Xena arrives to talk to Jana, the princess threatens to use the knife (on Xena), who says, "Do you think I'd let you get close enough?" Jana thinks, then holds the dagger to her own throat. After Jana says the only way she's coming down off the ledge is straight down, Xena says, "Have it your way."

"And, with that, Xena pushes Jana off the ledge! Intercut all the looks of amazement: from Mezentius, Marcus, the crowd and, most importantly, from Jana as she teeters off balance and starts to fall. She drops her dagger as her skirt billows and she falls. . . Xena pulls her breast dagger and jams it down through Jana's skirt into the ledge. Jana jerks to a halt just below the ledge. The crowd below cheers! Xena reaches down and slaps the 'pinch' on Jana. She slumps. Xena grabs the back of her bodice and as she pulls up onto the ledge:

Jana: "I . . . I can't move!"

Xena: "You'll be all right."

Xena then shows Jana the prince's emblem.

Xena advises Mezentius not to let his passion overcome his senses, and that she's dealt with the situation before. "And I've dealt with men like you. Though not as good-looking, I admit."

Marcus and Xena are talking outside the well about Marcus's attempt to leave the life. After Marcus describes his man's attack on the crippled child, he says, "And, I swear, for some reason, I thought of you. Because you could be as vicious as the next guy, but you never killed defenseless people. . . ." When Xena says that obviously he came back, Marcus says he wasn't cut out for it. "And the hatred . . . if you could have seen the hatred in some of those eyes."

"Her eyes glistening with unexpressed, and inexpressible empathy, Xena shakes her head."

Xena "melts into his embrace" at the well. Later, "Marcus and Xena are still kissing. He's totally into it, but she's a wreck: there's nowhere she'd rather be than where she is, but there's a much more urgent matter to attend to."

Xena hides Jana in the pool after hoisting her up to a window that is too narrow.

Xena drops her robe to the floor, to reveal that she is not wearing anything underneath. "Mezentius tries to keep his cool as Xena casually steps back into the pool and relaxes."

Xena: "Go on. If you can remember."

Mezentius tells Xena about the capture and planned execution of Agranon and his companion. "Companion? Xena notes the comment."

As Marcus threatens to shoot the arrow at the box where the princess is hidden, "Xena moves toward him, her feminine side at work."

Xena: "Marcus . . . you can show me that later. Right now . . . we're alone. We should take advantage of the time we have."

"She gently places her hand on Marcus' outstretched arm, pushing it so that the bow and arrow point toward the ground. He lets her do it, slackening his bow."

Marcus: "Now?" (on her nod) "Here?" (on her nod) "No."

He aims at the box, and asks if she's afraid he'll hit the princess.

"Marcus lets fly the arrow, and Xena reacts as only she can: an instant before its lethal, barbed shaft hits the box, she catches it by the feathers. Marcus grins bitterly."

Marcus: "I knew you'd catch the arrow if she was in there."

Xena asks Marcus to go with her, but he says he's not that strong. Xena replies, "I'll be there . . . trust me." "For a moment, Marcus seems lost: the choice should be clear, but the stakes are so high. And when it all shakes out, all that's left is the pain of an infinitely bruised ego. His face clears." He calls for the guards . . .

Xena takes the princess up to hide behind some crates.

Xena: "You'll be safe here."

Princess: "For how long?"

Xena: "Don't ask silly questions."

In the televised version, Xena tells the princess to "stay here." The princess asks for how long, and Xena says, "as long as it takes."

In the closing scene, the script notes that in the general vicinity of the funeral ridge, "Xena, Jana, Agranon and even Gabrielle sit quietly before a campfire."


Click here to read a transcript of THE PATH NOT TAKEN.


There was no humorous disclaimer for this episode.

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