Legendary Journeys

Xena Cross Destiny.jpg
Xena is Crucified by Julius Caesar
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 2
Antagonist Julius Caesar
Setting Cirra
In-Universe Date Year 2 (with flashbacks to Year -8)
Production # V0207
Filming Dates 17 June to 27 June 1996
Original Air-Date 27 January 1997
Story By Robert Tapert
Written By Steven L. Sears & R.J. Stewart
Directed By Robert Tapert
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 36 of 134
Order in Season 12 of 22
Order in Franchise 90 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis"
Next Episode in Series "The Quest"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Surprise"
Next Episode in Franchise "Encounter"
Title Image
Destiny TITLE.jpg

When Xena is critically injured in battle, she asks Gabrielle to take her to a snowy mountain top, where a great healer and old friend lived. During the journey, she relives the time when she first meets Julius Caesar and was turned into the demon she was.


Xena and Gabrielle visit Cirra

Xena forces herself to endure the pain and agony of visiting the ruins of Callisto's hometown of Cirra, which Xena's army destroyed, along with Callisto's parents, many years ago. Gabrielle tells Xena not to keep tormenting herself about Callisto. Xena says she has to understand why she is who she is and what happened to her. While riding by one ruin in particular, Xena's mind flashes back to an image of a young Callisto in tears.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle is kidnapped by the barbaric Children of the Sun led by Sitacles. Xena attacks their primitive camp, quickly disabling many of the men. Waging a spectacular battle single-handedly, she manages to free Gabrielle and a group of slave girls, who escape into the surrounding woods. Sitacles also flees into the woods where he is confronted by Xena.

Xena is badly wounded

She charges him and lands several vicious blows before she seemingly defeats him. A girl wearing a golden medallion who had remained behind to observe the fight distracts Xena who is knocked unconscious when a huge log hidden in the trees is unleashed by Sitacles and slams into her. Sitacles is himself knocked out by Gabrielle after wounding her with his knife.

Gabrielle pleads with Xena to wake up. There is blood everywhere. Gabrielle's hands become covered with Xena's blood as it comes from her ears and nose. When Xena comes to, she asks Gabrielle to take her to Mount Nestos. Determined to save her gravely injured and delirious friend, Gabrielle agrees. Strapped to a litter dragged by Argo, Xena dreams about the time that she and her men took Julius Caesar captive and held him for ransom. Fascinated by his lack of fear, Xena is surprised when Caesar explains that he knows it's his destiny to rule the world.

Xena and Caesar form an alliance

As she drifts in and out of consciousness, Xena next sees herself on the deck of a ship where Caesar is tied to the mast. Flicking aside a canvas cover, she reveals an unlikely stowaway -- a beautiful young girl who turns out to be a formidable warrior. The girl quickly incapacitates Xena and her lieutenants, Viceriu and Telos, by putting the "pinch" on them.

In a spectacular flurry of kicks and blows, she manages to hold off the rest of Xena's men, but is ultimately overwhelmed by their sheer numbers. Xena commands Caesar, who speaks the girl's language, to let her know that her life will be spared if she teaches Xena the secret of the mysterious "pinch." The girl, who is wearing a gold lion-shaped medallion, agrees to show her.

Xena's legs are broken by Caesar

Xena's memories focus next on her ensuing flirtation with Caesar and their discussions about joining forces to conquer the Earth before she releases him to Brutus in exchange for three hefty bags of gold. Over time, the mystery girl shares with Xena her knowledge of martial arts until the day that Caesar returns on a warship. Xena receives him as a friend, but the Roman ruler tricks her and takes command of her ship.

Supremely arrogant and merciless, he crucifies Xena and her men before returning to Rome. As an exhausted Gabrielle continues her struggle to haul Xena through a snow-covered mountain pass, the delirious warrior princess dreams about her rescue from the cross by the mystery girl, who brought her to the healer called Nicklio, the same man to whom Gabrielle is bringing her now.

Xena's life hangs in the balance

Nicklio tends to Gabrielle's wound, insisting that Xena is fighting his attempts at healing her. In her dreams, Xena relives the battle in which the mystery girl sacrificed her own life to save Xena when Roman soldiers invaded Nicklio's house. At that time, the girl's death triggered Xena's fury, unleashing in her all the hatred which caused her to do so much evil in her life.

Now, as Nicklio pronounces Xena dead and Gabrielle weeps over her lifeless body, the spirit of Xena rises to some other dimensional place, where she again faces the mystery girl, whose name is M'Lila. M'Lila challenges Xena to stop feeling guilty about her past and to embrace her destiny. Convinced that the world still needs her, Xena resolves to return to her earthly body.


Julius Caesar was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, the Producers deny responsibility for any unfortunate acts of betrayal occurring soon thereafter.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The soldier who breaks Xena's legs when she is on the cross, is Lucy Lawless' real life brother, Dan Ryan.
  • This episode is partially based on a story about the real-life Julius Caesar. The story states that he was in fact kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom. Once freed, Caesar would later capture and crucify the pirates to send a message that he was not to be taken lightly.
  • Joseph LoDuca was nominated for the 1997 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for this episode.
  • This episode was originally called "Why and Where".
  • The original ending had Xena surviving, however it was rewritten as a cover-up for Lucy's accident. So technically Xena wouldn't have had her first official death until the end of season 4 in "The Ides of March".
  • In the original shooting script for this episode, Caesar specifies that M'Lila is from the "Land of the Pharaohs", which is Egypt, located in northern Africa.
  • This episode marks the directing debut of Robert Tapert on Xena: Warrior Princess. He will later go on to direct "Paradise Found" in season 4 and eventually the final two episodes of Xena, "A Friend in Need Part I" and "A Friend in Need Part II".
  • This is the first episode of the franchise to be based on confirmed historical events, rather than mythological events. It therefore provides a rough historical setting for the series: a fantastical version of the 1st century BCE.

Key Events[]

  • This episode reveals that Xena gained her knowledge of pressure points, including her famous pinch, from M'Lila.
  • This is the first episode to really delve into Xena's past. While a capable warrior, she was a pirate and buffering Amphipolis by raiding surrounding villages. It also reveals that it wasn't until her betrayal by Julius Caesar and death of M'Lila that her darker journey started.
  • In terms of the chronology of Xena's past, this episode is followed by "Last of the Centaurs", as it depicts the beginnings of her relationship with Borias in Hungary.
  • This is the first time we see Xena on a cross.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Julius Caesar.
  • Although this is the first official death of Xena, this episode marks the second time that Xena has "died". The first being in "The Greater Good" where the death was later learned to be false.

Links and References[]

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