|A Necessary Evil|
Gabrielle, Callisto & Xena
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 2|
|Filming Dates||25 November to 5 December 1996|
|Original Air-Date||10 February 1997|
|Written By||Paul Robert Coyle|
|Directed By||Mark Beesley|
|Order in Series||38 of 134|
|Order in Season||14 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||94 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"The Quest"|
|Next Episode in Series||"A Day in the Life"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"When a Man Loves a Woman"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Judgment Day"|
Gabrielle, Ephiny, The Amazons and a revived Xena discover that Velasca survived her presumed death and has eaten Ambrosia, making her a Goddess. Fueled by vengeance and anger, she attempts to kill Gabrielle, forcing Xena to team up with her sworn enemy.
As Xena and Gabrielle prepare to leave the Amazon village, Gabrielle hands over her Mask of the Queen to Ephiny in front of the cheering community. But the joyous occasion is soon interrupted by Velasca, who staggers into their midst, dragging one leg, her body caked in dried blood. All are amazed at her return, having presumed she was killed when impaled on spikes during the battle at Ambrosia Hall. Furious with Gabrielle for "stealing" her queenhood, she proudly holds up a small amount of Ambrosia which, after the fight in the Hall, fell to the floor unnoticed.
Velasca quickly takes a bite of the magical food and is instantly transformed into a newborn goddess. Her eyes go white and her wounds are miraculously healed. Velasca sends a lightning bolt from her fingers towards Gabrielle, who is knocked to safety by Xena before she is hit. The Amazons' ensuing attack proves to be futile.
Velasca summons forth a continuing spate of lightning bolts that strike the Amazons' swords, flinging them from their hands. Realizing she's the main target, Gabrielle agrees to take off into the woods, where she will soon be reunited with Xena and Ephiny. Xena tells Ephiny to call a retreat, or she'll lose the entire nation. Ephiny makes the bird call and has ordered the Amazons to retreat.
But as Ephiny and the Amazon refugees flee to a cave to regroup and tend to their wounded. Velasca catches Ephiny and tries to attack her, and Xena flips and hits Velasca, but when she lands, there's an explosion and she's thrown into the air. She lands and dislocates her arm. Velasca is weakened by the use of her new power. Buying them all time to escape and join Gabrielle and the others to retreat.
Meanwhile, Velasca walks through the ruins of the Amazon village. She picks up the burnt queen mask. She holds it to her face but then crumbles it in her fingers.
In the retreat cave, the Amazons treat the wounded. Xena holds her injured arm, and Ephiny informs Xena athat most of the Amazons can still walk, but she can't leave the wounded behind, and Solari insists she doesn't want to give up but fight back at Velasca. But Xena does not agree and thinks they will be killed and insists on Ephiny to send the wounded over to Tyldus and the Centaurs. Ephiny, Solari and the Amazons agree to set up a plan to delay Velasca. When Ephiny asks about Xena's arm being dislocated, Xena crashes herself into a wall of the cave, popping it back into place.
Knowing she needs an immortal to fight an immortal, Xena devises a plan to pit Callisto against Velasca: Gabrielle suggests finding Hercules instead, but Xena states that they don't have time to find him. She insists that Velasca is just learning her powers, and it is weakening her, but the time-lag going to get shorter. Xena knows this is hurting her, but Gabrielle lashes back, telling her every time she closes her eyes she hears Callisto's voice when she killed Perdicas.
As Xena and Gabrielle set out on their journey to the Labyrinth of the Gods, Ephiny and her Amazons set up a diversion at night to try to buy some time for Xena and Gabrielle, with Solari trying to trick Velasca into believing she has given up Ephiny for her, but Velasca quickly sends them running once more when she learns it is a trick.
In the meantime, Xena and Gabrielle find their way to the entrance of the Labyrinth of the gods, where the enraged Callisto, scarred by fire, was entombed by Hercules. Xena tells Gabrielle that Hercules said that the ceiling has collapsed, and Xena ties a rope to a beam and gives Gabrielle the orders to lower her in. Xena lands in the labyrinth and Gabrielle pulls up the rope. Dodging an immediate attack by Callisto, who is so surprised to see Xena has come to visit her. Until Xena insists, she didn't come here to fight, but instead, Xena offers Callisto the chance to obtain Ambrosia in exchange for her help and she agrees.
As the two emerge from the underground Labyrinth, Gabrielle is forced to confront the hated Callisto, who murdered her beloved husband. Gabrielle hits Callisto with her staff across the face and Callisto proves her immortality to Gabrielle by stabbing herself with her sword which has no blood on it. Before Callisto will cooperate further with Xena, she forces the warrior princess to make a public confession about having destroyed Callisto's village of Cirra years before.
In a village, villagers crowd around Xena who stands on a platform and tells the story of Cirra. After Xena finishes her speech and the villagers walk away, Callisto stands looking nowhere with sad eyes. The threesome continues on there journey to confront and defeat Velesca.
Velesca arrives at the Temple of Artemis, the goddess of the Amazons, and when a guard asks if she wants to offer a donation, she gets enraged. She starts yelling at how Artemis was a fake, and did nothing when their many tribes were scattered and destroyed. On a rampage, Velasca destroys the Temple of Artemis, and the guard runs off and she kills him with a lightning bolt.
Meanwhile, Xena leads Gabrielle and Callisto into a box canyon where she plans to have the two immortals battle each other. When Velasca enters the canyon, fully aware of the presence of the three hidden women, Callisto does a flip out into the open, flinging Xena's chakram into the rocks. Xena realizes she's being double-crossed as Callisto shouts to Velasca that they share a common bond - their hatred of Xena and Gabrielle.
Determined to squelch a potential alliance between the two, Xena vaults into the open, screaming to Callisto to begin the attack. As Callisto protests, Velasca begins hurling lightning bolts towards Xena and Gabrielle. Knowing that Velasca is just learning to use her powers and still has periods of weakness, the two race around trying to drain her energies.
When Callisto shoves Velasca to try to get her attention, Velasca sends her flying backwards through the air with a huge lightning bolt. Temporarily drained of her powers, Velasca is then attacked by Xena, who pushes her back towards a steep rock ledge with her sword. By the time Velasca's powers return, Callisto has her in a deadly chokehold. Infuriated by Velasca's attempt to kill her, Callisto now joins forces with Xena against the Amazon. They drive her under the ledge and using Xena's chakram, cause an avalanche of rocks, which buries her. Realizing they'll have some time before she works herself free, they retreat for the night.
At the campfire that night, Gabrielle and Callisto sit together, Callisto is polishing her sword. Gabrielle tries to ask Callisto questions, trying to figure her out. Callisto asks Gabrielle to play a game of truth or dare. Callisto responds to Gabrielle's question and tells her she never feels anything: no pain or love. Callisto asks Gabrielle a painful question about killing her husband and Gabrielle walks away, just as Xena arrives to talk to Callisto about their plan the following day to defeat Velasca.
Xena tells Callisto she knows of another canyon containing some old ruins and a lava pit, where she hopes to bring about Velasca's permanent demise. Callisto thinks it is a brilliant plan but reminds Xena of the most important element for herself, getting that ambrosia. Xena insists she hasn't forgotten and tells Xena they have to lure her into the Lavapit site. Callisto reminds Xena of the perfect bait for that, and it's Gabrielle, which Xena knows.
When Velasca finally breaks free, she turns herself into a whirling dust devil, racing along the ground in hot pursuit of her enemies.
Velasca quickly reaches the ruins, but Xena manages to save Gabrielle from being sucked into the whirlwind. When Velasca begins hurling huge fireballs, the three women flee to the chasm near the lava pit.
Xena orders them to go to the other side, and Velasca appears, and finally gets to Gabrielle, and uses her powers to hurl Xena away. Thrilled to finally be face to face with her enemy, but before Velasca can kill Gabrielle, Callisto attacks her, demanding the Ambrosia. In the ensuing fight, Velasca drops the Ambrosia, which Gabrielle grabs. But Velasca kicks Gabrielle, who goes flying onto the rope bridge, the bag in her mouth. Gabrielle eventually throws to Callisto. Callisto takes a bite and is instantly transformed. She screams, "Here comes trouble." to Velesca.
As the two immortals engage in a fierce battle on the rope bridge suspended over the lava pit, Xena slices through the ropes of the bridge with her chakram, sending them tumbling into the lava pit, hopefully for a very long time. Xena then ties the rope around her and jumps to just catch Gabrielle before she falls herself into the lava pit.
Xena and Gabrielle finally get to the other side safely and help each other up. Xena tells Gabrielle with the bridge out, they'll have to take the long way out of there. Gabrielle asks Xena if deep down Callisto feels sorry for the things she's done, to which Xena replies with a flat no. Gabrielle tells her she has to, or she can't forgive her, Xena accepts it and the two take the long way out since the bridge is broken.
- "The reputation of the Amazon Nation was not harmed despite Velasca's overly radical adherence to an otherwise valid belief system."
|"“I really love[d] torturing Gabrielle… I was reading the part where we were sitting around and she’s like, ‘What were you thinking when Xena was saying all this…’ I laughed out loud when I read that part. I thought that was so funny how Callisto [turned the tables] on Gabrielle. She was so serious and then [Callisto’s] just so sick! I love her! You know, ‘cause Gabrielle’s like this serious really earthy [character] trying to be kind, good, and loving and Callisto’s like, ‘Yeah? How about some of this?’” "|
|― Hudson Leick (Actor, Callisto) on the Gabrielle/Callisto campfire scene
Source: (Whoosh! Interview – August 1997) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed
Behind the Scenes
- Shooting Dates: November 25 to December 5, 1996 (8 Day Shoot)
- This was the nineteenth episode of the season to be written, due to being written after Lucy's accident.
- Paul Robert Coyle the writer revealed in an interview with Whoosh! in March 1999 that this was the first full episode that Lucy Lawless shot after her accident. "They had her injured in the teaser because they weren’t sure if she’d be limping during the episode or how she’d feel. You can’t look at that episode and tell she was recovering from an injury, though. That episode got me a lot of praise over here but I can’t really take the credit for it. Mark Beesely superbly shot it, a first time New Zealand director.” 
- Xena was injured early on as a precaution, as Lucy Lawless was still recovering from the pelvis injury she suffered from during a Tonight Show appearance. 
- Callisto was resurrected, gained immortality, acquired the scar on her face and was trapped by Hercules in the Labyrinth of the Gods during "Surprise", which premiered a couple of weeks earlier. At some point since that episode, Hercules notified Xena about what happened and where Callisto was imprisoned, which most likely happened shortly after "Surprise" but before the events of "Destiny" and Xena's death and return.
- Callisto eventually escapes the lava in "Maternal Instincts", when she is freed by Hope. Velasca, however, is never seen again. Velasca was initally due to return in Season 3's "Maternal Instincts", but the actress was not available. Much later in "You Are There", Charon lists her as among those Xena sent to the Underworld (though how that happened is never revealed).
- This episode was rated 7.8/10 in 1997 by Neilsen's National Ratings, and was the second-highest rated second season episode at the time.
- Callisto had a sword when Xena frees her, but when she was last seen in "Surprise", she only had a knife.
- There is a hole above the where chamber with the tree with golden apples was and where Callisto was trapped. In the Hercules episode "Surprise" the pair had to go through a maze and traps to get there.
|" “I had to wear white contact lenses [after becoming a goddess] and I normally don’t wear contacts at all. They wanted me to do some kind of spinning thing so that they could get me turning around. Of course, I could barely see because of those contact lenses, plus they blinded me with sand from the wind machine! So I’m doing this Wonder Woman-style spin with sand in my eyes, and it didn’t come off very goddess-like. Plus I also lost my voice from shouting so much.” "|
|― Melinda Clark (Actor, Velasca) Source: (Titan: The Official XENA Magazine, Issue #20 – July 2001) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed|
- The establishing shot of the Labyrinth of the Gods was taken from "Surprise".
- Gabrielle wonders why they don't just go find Hercules instead of freeing Callisto, but Xena replies they don't have time. This actually worked out for the best: "When a Man Loves a Woman" premiered the same night and showed Hercules losing his super-strength, so he wouldn't have been much use against Velasca anyway.
- Apart from the male soldier guarding the Artemis temple, this is one of the few episodes of the series to feature only female characters.
"This is Callisto we're talking about! We can't free her! There's gotta be another way, Xena."
"Callisto is an immortal. She's not a god, but she's as close as we're gonna get on short notice."
"What about Hercules, huh?"
"We don't have time to find him. Velasca's just learning her powers. Every time she uses them, it weakens her, but the lagtime's gonna get shorter. Look, Gabrielle, I know how much this hurts you."
"No, you don't! Every time I close my eyes, I hear her voice! I hear Perdicas scream. Now, I have to live with that till the day I die."
- –Gabrielle and Xena
"No, no, no. No, no. Relax, my furry little friend. No, you're not dinner. That's the boring part about immortality. You're never hungry. No, you're definitely not food. You're my little Hercules. Hercules trapped me in this little resort, and I owe him a lot. And I'm planning on paying him back for his kindness soon. Soon. So, run away like a good little Hercules. Run away. Run away. Very soon."
(To Gabrielle) "When I sliced open your husband, how long did it take him to die?"
"Does an Amazon Queen beat a Warrior Princess?"
"Do you really want to find out?"
- -Gabrielle and Xena
Links and References
|<< Season 1||Season 2||Season 3 >>|
|#01||Orphan of War||#09||A Solstice Carol||#17||The Execution|
|#02||Remember Nothing||#10||The Xena Scrolls||#18||Blind Faith|
|#03||The Giant Killer||#11||Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis||#19||Ulysses|
|#04||Girls Just Wanna Have Fun||#12||Destiny||#20||The Price|
|#05||Return of Callisto||#13||The Quest||#21||The Lost Mariner|
|#06||Warrior... Princess... Tramp||#14||A Necessary Evil||#22||A Comedy of Eros|
|#07||Intimate Stranger||#15||A Day in the Life|
|#08||Ten Little Warlords||#16||For Him the Bell Tolls|