"Callisto, when Xena burned your family did you see them on fire? Did you... did you smell their flesh sizzling? Do you know what I think? I think you wanted them to die so you'd have a reason to be a bitch."
Xena gives up her place in Heaven in order to convert Callisto into an Angel
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 4|
|Filming Dates||10 May to 24 May 1999|
|Original Air-Date||27 September 1999|
|Written By||R.J. Stewart & Rob Tapert|
|Teleplay By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||John Fawcett|
|Order in Series||91 of 134|
|Order in Season||1 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||253 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Deja Vu All Over Again"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Chakram"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Be Deviled"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Love, Amazon Style"|
Joxer says he wants to take their bodies back home to Greece. Amarice says the Romans will not allow that. Joxer insists he's going to do it anyway and Amarice agrees to help him.
Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle sit on the ledge of a cliff and are approached by a flock of angels, who scoop them up and fly out over a monumental abyss. One of the angels Lief holds out his hand to Gabrielle as she reaches out to him. Xena holds her back, but Gabrielle insists they can trust them. The angels take first Gabrielle and head up, as Xena holds out her hand, watching Gabrielle go, smiling with joy. The other angels lift Xena and carry her into the air.
Black specks rise up from below and the angels get all upset about the approaching demons. The demons make the angels drop first Gabrielle and then Xena. Xena screams for Gabrielle, trying to reach her. Gabrielle cries out for Xena as Xena tries to fall toward Gabrielle. They almost touch hands when somebody grabs Xena by the neck. It is Callisto in demonic form promising to deliver Xena to her lord.
Gabrielle keeps falling, yelling for Xena. Xena and Callisto exchange blows. But Xena goes flying and grabs one of the rocks, as she looks down at Hell. The rocks break and Xena falls, when the archangel Michael grabs Xena, but Callisto takes Gabrielle to the depths of Hell.
In a cavern, the angels wait for the archangels to enter as Xena is lowered to the ground. Xena's guardian angel Laura is happy that Xena made it to heaven, and fills Xena in on who is an archangel and guardian angel. When Xena asks where Gabrielle was taken too, Michael gives her the bad news that she was taken to hell. Xena is upset to hear that a soul like Gabrielle ended up in hell. Michael informs Xena of a war going on between good and evil, not only on Earth, but here in eternity as well. Once there were only angels and then one of their own rebelled and he and his allies were thrown down from Heaven. They insist to recapture paradise and twist it into their image. Determined to bring Gabrielle back, Xena convinces Michael to turn her into an archangel.
Gabrielle wakes up in hell, with Callisto beside her, laughing that she gets to spend eternity with her, and confesses she'll enjoy tormenting her even if she is sure the powers that be will try to rob her of that joy, as That's always the catch down there. Gabrielle promises that Xena will not leave her down in hell with Callisto forever. Callisto admires Gabrielle's strong faith, but they can try to rescue her and that she won't be surprised if Xena makes some self-sacrificing gesture. Callisto tries to trick Gabrielle into eating the fruit that will spread evil through her body, but Gabrielle resists. Callisto smirks to Gabrielle that she will eat the fruit, and is betting on it.
Meanwhile back on earth Joxer, Amarice and Eli remove Xena and Gabrielle's bodies from the crosses.
Michael places Xena in a cave and Xena walks through the Fire of Purification. She emerges, engulfed in flames and Michael leads her to a pond of divine water. Xena, bearing wings, rises from the pond a full-fledged archangel.
Before descending into Hell, Michael warns Xena that she might be tempted to relieve the damned of their suffering. The only way to do this is to take on their guilt, which would free them, but trap her in Hell forever.
Amarice cuts a lock of Xena's hair and swears to honor the memory of the Warrior Princess. She turns on Eli and tells him all of this is his fault, because he turned Gabrielle into a whimpering wimp who would not fight or anything until it was too late.
Callisto has some of the other demons hold Gabrielle down and force food into her throat. Gabrielle gets a taste and then eats more and grows horns. Gabrielle tells Callisto she probably enjoyed watching her family burn because it allowed her to turn into a bitch. Xena and the rest of the archangels arrive in Hell just after Gabrielle succumbs and eats the poisoned fruit. Xena attacks Callisto and cuts off both her wings. Michael and the other archangels battle the demons and rescue Gabrielle.
Xena is about to leave when she looks at the helpless Callisto and sees every ounce of suffering that occurred in her life. Truly moved, Xena pulls Callisto close and a glowing light surrounds them.
After Gabrielle is purified in the divine water, she is disgusted when she learns that Xena gave herself up to save Callisto. Michael tries to explain that Callisto is an innocent because Xena healed her pain and took away the memory of all her past evil deeds. But Gabrielle thinks that Callisto is just putting on an act.
Michael continues by saying that the next time the demons attack, they may not be able to stop them because Xena is more powerful than ever now that she has turned demon. Michael tells Gabrielle that Xena is more dangerous in the air and that their only chance of defeating her is to attack her while she's on the ground. Gabrielle knows she's the only one who can ground Xena, but she needs to have wings in order to do so. Instead of walking through the Fire of Purification, however, Gabrielle must forgive Callisto for everything she's done in order to become an archangel.
Gabrielle earns her wings just as Xena ascends from Hell with a legion of demons ready to take over the earth. Xena goes after Gabrielle, but before the other archangels can attack, Xena takes to the air. Gabrielle follows and lures Xena into the abyss, where the two fight like they've never fought before. Xena is clearly more powerful and de-wings all of the archangels.
Meanwhile, Eli, who feels responsible for the deaths of Xena and Gabrielle, is praying for forgiveness when he is approached by Callisto as a Guardian Angel, who whispers something in his ear. Eli goes over to Xena and Gabrielle's bodies and places his hands on their heads. Callisto, not visible to Joxer and Amarice, rests her hands on top of Eli's. Just as Xena is about to send Gabrielle to Hell, Michael jumps to Gabrielle's defense. As they fall, Xena and Gabrielle disappear in the mid air.
Stunned, Eli, Joxer and Amarice look on as Xena and Gabrielle slowly come back to life. They look at each other and Gabrielle reaches out and takes Xena's hand. Eli smiles as Amarice and Joxer gather around them. Callisto moves forward and touches Xena, before moving back to Michael. It is Callisto's turn to earn her wings, as she is transformed into an archangel and disappears with Michael, to be reunited with her family in Heaven.
As the sun enters the temple, Joxer touches Gabrielle's shoulder and is filled with joy that she is alive. Gabrielle looks at Xena who looks out of it. Gabrielle promises to Xena that they are going to be together...for eternity.
Hell Hath No Fury like a Woman Scorned
Behind the Scenes
- This episode was one of seventeen that fans selected to be featured on the Xena: Warrior Princess: 10th Anniversary Collection, and is subsequently considered one of the greatest episodes in Xena: Warrior Princess history.
- When the Archangel Xena fights the Archdemon Callisto in Hell, music from "The Deliverer" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" plays (from the respective fight scenes with Krafstar and Bacchus).
- Joseph LoDuca won the 2000 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for this episode.
- This episode required around 270 special effects shots, as compared to the usual 50-100 in an episode.
- Lucy Lawless dubbed lines like "heavy birdie" and "little broken butterfly on the ground" for demon Xena as she prepared to take Gabrielle back to Hell with her, but they decided not to use them. They were meant to show that demon Xena wanted Gabrielle the way that a cat wants a mouse.
- As of this episode, Xena: Warrior Princess gets a new costume designer, Jane Holland, and two new head writers, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
- Holland mentioned that this was the second episode she had to design costumes for and she struggled alot with practical requirements. She said in an interviews for the Season Five DVD Set, “The wings were really heavy so they had to have a substantial harness to hold them on. And also a lot of those characters were flying as well, so they had flying harnesses. The challenge was to provide a form-fitting costume that incorporated the bulk of the harnesses. So I first looked at medieval paintings and from there we sort of evolved the look of the angels, which were gold and white…”
- Eric Gruendemann revealed in an interview for the Season Five DVD set that this was the first time they created digital sets for almost everything in the episode and everything was shot in front of a blue screen with just a little bit of flooring, so it was very hard for the actors on set. He remembered reading the script for this and thinking, ‘Well, okay, in the teaser… we’ll be spending more money trying to create this situation than we would in a whole episode otherwise.’ So by that point, I’m already crying and hemorrhaging money, but it was worth it…”
- Rob Tapert talked about Xena giving up her humanity to redeem Callisto to Whoosh! Interview in January 2001. He liked Xena giving up her humanity to redeem Callisto but they struggled a great deal to get into a situation that allowed the action to take place, so that Xena was willing to trade places with Callisto. “Therefore, I guess it did embrace aspects of Christianity, but I am certainly not banging the drum for Christianity… I don’t feel we embraced Christianity any more than we embraced Hinduism… or anything else.”
- First appearance of the archangel Michael on Xena: Warrior Princess. He previously appeared in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode, "Revelations", the season finale of the fifth season. That episode was rather ambiguous as to what he was, but this episode explicitly confirms he is an archangel, in the Abrahamic tradition.
- This is the second of a three episode story arc, beginning with "The Ides Of March".
- Callisto's pain is wiped away and she becomes a pure soul. Her ultimate redemption, however, will not occur until "Seeds of Faith".
- In the Alternate Reality in "When Fates Collide", Gabrielle's play was called "Fallen Angel" and was based on this episode.
Links and References
- Ted Raimi as Joxer
- Timothy Omundson as Eli
- Jennifer Sky as Amarice
- Charles Mesure as Michael
- Hudson Leick as Callisto
- David de Lautour as Lief
- Angela Gribben as Laura
- Tamati Rice as Raphael
- Jim McLarty as Pankos
- Lee Jane Foreman as Arleia
- Jay Ryan as Zortis
- Lyceus (Mentioned)
- Perdicus (Mentioned)
|<< Season 4||Season 5||Season 6 >>|
|#01||Fallen Angel||#09||Seeds of Faith||#17||Kindred Spirits|
|#02||Chakram||#10||Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire||#18||Antony & Cleopatra|
|#03||Succession||#11||Punchlines||#19||Looking Death in the Eye|
|#04||Animal Attraction||#12||God Fearing Child||#20||Livia|
|#05||Them Bones, Them Bones||#13||Eternal Bonds||#21||Eve|
|#06||Purity||#14||Amphipolis Under Siege||#22||Motherhood|
|#07||Back in the Bottle||#15||Married with Fishsticks|