One of the primary reasons Xena: Warrior Princess is such an exceptional show, even sixteen years later, is because it isn’t afraid to make Xena a bad person and, more importantly, it’s not afraid to make Xena a confident woman using everything at her disposal to get what she wants. In this episode, Xena lies and manipulates and beats on people to accomplish her goals. She uses her wits, her strength and her sex appeal. And she’s unapologetic about it.
She also has a vicious temper and isn’t punished for it. When she kills the Villain of the week, that might have been a dark note on another show. It’d be a moment to show the hero falling from the grace they’ve worked so hard to earn. Not on Xena. It’s perfunctory and I adore that.