|Adventures in the Sin Trade|
Xena Begins the Ritual
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|Antagonist||Alti, The Berserker|
Amazon Land of the Dead
|In-Universe Date||Year 3|
|Original Air-Date||28 September 1998|
|Story By||Rob Tapert & R.J. Stewart|
|Teleplay By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||T.J. Scott|
|Order in Series||69 of 134|
|Order in Season||1 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||168 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Sacrifice II"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Adventures in the Sin Trade II"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Faith"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Cyrano de Hercules"|
Distraught with grief over the loss of Gabrielle, Xena travels to Siberia and the Amazon Land of the Dead to find her friend. Plunging into a deep part of her memory that she vowed she'd never return to, she relives her encounter with Queen Cyane and the evil shamaness, Alti.
Xena gallops into a small village and confronts Hades as to why she did not find Gabrielle in the Underworld. But Hades insists that Gabrielle did not come to him. Remembering that Gabrielle was initiated as an Amazon princess, Xena surmises that she went to a different Land of the Dead. Xena leaves Argo behind and gallops away on another horse, as it seems the place she was going was too dangerous. Upon shooting down a Barasingha (swamp deer), Xena performs a ritual and hears Gabrielle's voice in the wind.
The next day, Xena enters a cave and begins to recall bitter memories. She thinks back to a night in her dark past when she was with Borias. As he tries to convince her of the wisdom of an alliance with the Northern Amazons, a warrior enters with Alti, a gnarled old shamaness, and Anokin, Alti's beautiful, young apprentice. Alti explains how she can help Xena defeat the Amazons since she was once an Amazon herself. Unimpressed, Borias is quick to dismiss Alti, but when the shamaness announces that Xena is pregnant, Xena is intrigued because she hasn't yet told anyone.
As Xena continues her trek, she comes across a woman who is impaled on a sapling. Xena is then approached by a Siberian warrior and the two begin to battle. More warriors engage, but they are no match for the warrior princess. After they retreat, Xena builds a funeral pyre for the young woman and as she stands over the burning corpse, she lets out a heartrending wail.
As Xena continues to mourn, a group of young women emerge from the rough, dragging a wounded Siberian warrior. One of them, Yakut, figures they have nothing to fear since Xena fought their enemy. But Otere has heard this wailing before. She tells the others how Xena and Borias destroyed her village when she was a young girl. But when Xena tried to kill her, Borias saved her. The girls watch as Xena approaches her horse with a knife.
Later that night, Xena does a frantic dance as she drinks the horse's blood. When she collapses, a series of Xena spirits representing different stages of her life rise from her body to form one collective Xena spirit, and she enters the Land of the Dead.
As Xena makes her way across the barren landscape, she remembers how Alti taught her to cross over and promised to make her the Destroyer of Nations. But Xena is shaken from her thoughts when she crests a hill and sees Cyane, Queen of the Northern Amazons. Cyane, not happy to see Xena, tells her that Alti has cursed the Northern Amazons to wander the Land of the Dead forever. While Xena explains she is looking for Gabrielle, she begins to shake as a reaction to Yakut and Otere moving her corporeal body.
Yakut wants to kill Xena, but Otere insists that their destiny lies with her. She explains that when she was a child, Alti told Xena to kill her, for one day she would take Xena's powers away. Borias intervened, but Otere believes that Xena wouldn't have killed her anyway.
Meanwhile, in the Land of the Dead, Cyanne tells Xena she will find Gabrielle at the Gate to Eternity. As Xena walks to the Gate, she realizes that it was Gabrielle who gave her the strength to live her life to helping others. Xena returns to the Northern Amazons and tells Cyane that she is going to remove Alti's curse and help reestablish the Northern Amazon nation.
Suddenly, Xena returns to her corporeal body and recognizes Otere. Xena sends the wounded Siberian warrior to warn Alti of her arrival. But the young Northern Amazons know that Alti will send the Berserker, the greatest fighter in the land, to destroy them. Ready for a challenge, Xena leads the group of young women through the forest where they are attacked by Alti's warriors.
The battle commences and Xena and the young Amazons defeat the warriors. Just when Xena thinks she has conquered the Berserker, a formidable warrior appears. Xena and the Berserker immediately go head to head. But this time the fight is different. She feels not only the pain from this present fight but also the pain from past battles. Suddenly, Xena falls to the ground, grabbing her legs. In her mind, she is reliving the time when her legs were broken by the Romans. Helpless, Xena lies crippled on the ground as the Berserker charges towards her with a raised sword.
Xena manages to break the trance for long enough to crawl to a fallen warrior's horse. With sheer determination, Xena pulls herself onto the horse and the battle resumes. When the Berserker jumps onto Xena's steed, she plunges her sword into his heart, killing him. Now that the Berserker is dead, the trance should be lifted, but her legs still feel as if they're broken. Suddenly, Xena charges the Berserker's horse and Alti's spirit leaves the steed. When Alti's spirit disappears, Xena's legs return to normal.
No Dead Amazons lost their lives in the production of this motion picture.
Behind the Scenes
- Renee O'Connor does not physically appear in this episode, though her voice is heard. Additionally, the opening credits are altered to remove her "Also Starring" credit.
- Ted Raimi was going to appear in this episode at the very beginning. The scene was supposedly one where Xena got especially emotional and Joxer comforted Xena. He ended up being cut out of the entire episode altogether.
- A great deal of this episode was filmed around New-Zealand's North Island by Lake Taupo, during the mild winter weather. However, on one occasion, the production base camp was blown away, and the day after filming was completed, a flood washed away the road.
- As originally written, the villain in this episode was supposed to be a shaman, but they decided it would be a stronger choice if they made it a shamaness.
- Claire Stansfield didn't try out for her part. She had auditioned for the part of Morrigan on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and later Rob Tapert called and said she was perfect for a role on Xena: Warrior Princess and sent her a script for this episode. She thought he wanted her for the part of Cyane, because the notes for Alti said she was supposed to be a "frail, old hag", although these were altered to match Claire's appearance.
- Although Gabrielle wasn't present in this episode, Renne O'Connor was present on set. She followed the director of this episode during filming because she wanted eventually to direct an episode herself, as she later did in "Deja Vu All Over Again" and "Dangerous Prey".
- Erik Thomson makes his final appearance as Hades on Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (his final appearance altogether is the Young Hercules episode "A Lady in Hades"). The role is later taken over by Stephen Lovatt in "God Fearing Child".
- Hades tells Xena that he could arrange a short meeting between her and Solan. We later find out in God Fearing Child that Hades allowed Solan to be placed in Tartarus so he could review his life for eternity.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Alti.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Yakut.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Northern Amazons.
- In the episode "Callisto", Gabrielle made Xena promise her that if something happened to her, she would not become a monster and resume her murderous ways. In this episode, Xena keeps that promise and then some. In fact, she actually goes beyond the promise and helps others before she helps Gabrielle.
- It is revealed to Xena that Gabrielle is alive by means of Alti's power, therefore it is likely that the voices Xena heard in the earlier scenes don't belong to Gabrielle. However, there is no explanation stated or mentioned.
- Xena shouldn't be able to see Hades in the opening since she supposedly isn't a demigod. Hades may have anticipated her arrival and made sure to corporealize.
- Hades and his subordinates judge the souls of the dead after they cross the River Styx, not before the enter the Underworld.
- Xena does not use her Chakram in this episode.
- Clips used in this episode are (in order of use);
- Even though the storyline had not been conceived yet, this episode (and the next one) unintentionally foreshadow the events of the Season Six; an event in Xena's past caused souls unable to cross-over to the other side, which results in Xena having to die to fight the being causing this and kill them. The only detail that changes is that Xena was unable to be revived in "A Friend in Need Part II".
- The events that Xena relives in this episode take place between "The Debt I" & II and "Past Imperfect".
Links and References
- Marton Csokas as Borias
- Claire Stansfield as Alti
- Sheeri Rappaport as Otere
- Vicky Pratt as Cyane
- Erik Thomson as Hades
- Kate Elliott as Yakut
- Charlotte Saunders as Anokin
- Northern Amazons
- Solan (Mentioned)
- Gabrielle (Voice Heard, Mentioned)
- Lao Ma (Mentioned)
- Dead amazons
- Amazon Land of the Dead
- Chin (Mentioned)
- Tartarus (Mentioned)
- Elysian Fields (Mentioned)
|<< Season 3||Season 4||Season 5 >>|
|#01||Adventures in the Sin Trade||#09||Past Imperfect||#17||The Play's the Thing|
|#02||Adventures in the Sin Trade II||#10||The Key to the Kingdom||#18||The Convert|
|#03||A Family Affair||#11||Daughter of Pomira||#19||Takes One to Know One|
|#04||In Sickness and in Hell||#12||If the Shoe Fits...||#20||Endgame|
|#05||A Good Day||#13||Paradise Found||#21||The Ides of March|
|#06||A Tale of Two Muses||#14||Devi||#22||Deja Vu All Over Again|
|#07||Locked Up and Tied Down||#15||Between the Lines|