|Looking Death in the Eye|
Ares and Xena
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|Antagonist||Athena, Hades, Hephaestus|
|In-Universe Date||Year 30|
(with flashbacks to Year 5)
|Original Air-Date||24 April 2000|
|Written By||Carl Ellsworth|
|Teleplay By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||Garth Maxwell|
|Order in Series||109 of 134|
|Order in Season||19 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||278 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Antony & Cleopatra"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Livia"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Antony & Cleopatra"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Livia"|
An older looking Joxer buys a scroll that depicts Xena and Gabrielle's last adventure known and tells it to his children - Xena has finally had enough with the constant pursuit of the gods and visits the Fates. She queries as to when the Twilight will happen, only to discover that it is she who decides when it begins - by choosing when she will die.
Joxer, now in his early 60s, is overjoyed when he gets hold of the last scroll written by Gabrielle recounting her and Xena's battle against the gods to protect the life of Xena's daughter Eve. Excited about learning what really happened to his warrior pals, Joxer begins to read the story to his children.
In flashback, Xena and Gabrielle are pursued by Hades and Athena, whom they fight before barely managing to escape. The two take up shelter with their friend Octavius, the new leader of Rome, before going to visit the Fates. The Fates deliver a prophecy to Xena, proclaiming that only in the essence of death will Eve find salvation and the twilight of the gods be set in motion. While Gabrielle dismisses their decree, Xena realizes she may have to die to save her child. Meanwhile, the deities convene to try to figure out how to insure their survival and plead with death, Celesta, to pay Xena and Eve a visit. Celesta replies that she can only take mortals at their rightful time.
Xena visits Hephaestus, who beats her to within an inch of her life with his chains and sledgehammer. When Celesta appears, Gabrielle yanks Hephaestus' chains out of his hand and Xena uses them to immobilize the goddess of death. They proceed to kidnap Celesta and retrieve Eve from Octavius, who was watching her. At Mt Olympus, Athena and Ares talk. Athena reminds Ares that he fought at Xena's side in Amphipolis. They talk about Eli and how his death has only fueled the people against the gods. Hephaestus and Hades arrive and tell them that Xena has captured Celesta.
At the campsite, Gabrielle sings to Eve and cuddles her, while Xena talks to Celesta. As Celesta's candle burns down, bringing her closer to her own death, Xena tearfully recalls the painful losses of her son, former lover Marcus and her brother. When Celesta ponders what it would be like to lose her own brother, Hades, she begins to cry. Although they cannot kill anyone without Celesta, the gods retaliate by sending Athena's archers to torture Joxer. Gabrielle valiantly tries to save him, but is captured by Athena and forced to divulge Xena's location.
Athena offers to exchange Gabrielle for Celesta and Xena accepts. Ares pops in and sits in a seat of the wagon. Other gods begin to show up. Gabrielle gets in back of the wagon. Ares, in the front seat, hands Xena the reigns. They go riding away. Athena says when they clear the forest, kill them. Joxer walks through the woods. Xena and Ares converse in the front of the wagon. Ares says he can help. He says he can make it all go away. Xena rejects and Ares leaves. The gods allow Xena and Gabrielle to make their getaway in a horse drawn wagon, but send the archers after them.
Back in the present, old Joxer comes to the end of the scroll, but at his daughter's urging, reveals that there's more to the story. The scene unfolds with Athena, Hades and Hephaestus launching all of their weapons on the wagon which explodes in flames and plunges off a cliff onto the beach below. Gabrielle lies motionless on the beach as Xena searches in vain for Eve. Believing she has lost them both, Xena takes out her sword to kill herself but is stopped by Ares.
Defying him and announcing her imminent demise to the gods perched on the cliff, Xena drinks from a small vial of poison and collapses. With tears in his eyes, Ares lifts Xena and Gabrielle into his arms and disappears. No sooner is he gone than Octavius and his men come looking for Xena and Gabrielle. When Joxer tells him that they are gone forever, a concerned Octavius retorts that Xena and Gabrielle are not dead and that Eve has been with him all along.
Once again in the present, old Joxer begins to piece together what actually transpired. All the events were, in fact, a plot by Xena and Gabrielle to fulfill the Fates' prophecy without sacrificing themselves. Xena and Gabrielle never intended to kill Celesta, they just needed to collect her tears, for subsequent consumption, to appear dead temporarily. Gabrielle allowed herself to be captured by Athena while appearing to save Joxer so that no one would be suspicious of Celesta's release.
Next, with Octavius's help, by faking that Xena placed Eve in the wagon, but in fact she was passing Eve to Octavius and successfully replaced her with a fake bundle, all in the sight of Celesta. Once the switch was made, Gabrielle drank some of the tears and then joined Xena in the wagon before it went over the cliff. As the Fates had explicitly stated "only in essence of death, will the child find salvation and the Twilight be set motion" and the tears of Celesta represented the essence of death. Octavius would have used his resources to retrieve, then hide, Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve... but none of them counted on Ares's grief.
Ares carries Xena through the snow to an ice cavern. An icy coffin, with Gabrielle's body sealed in it, is joined by an empty coffin. Ares places Xena in the coffin. He tells Xena that Gabrielle knew what Xena needed is unconditional and unselfish love. And yet he was the one who appreciated Xena's rage, violence and beauty, part of her which Gabrielle fails to savour. The Xena that sacrifices herself for others belongs to Gabrielle, whilst the Xena that kick asses and enjoys violence... she still belongs to Ares. He concludes his love for Xena with a kiss on her lips and seals up the ice coffin. He puts her sword and chakram as a headstone between the two coffins. He walks out into the snow and seals the cavern. The two women lie sealed in their coffins, with Xena's sword and chakram marking their tombs.
- Death almost died during the production of this motion picture.
- Xena and Gabrielle are put to sleep for 25 years in this episode. The entire episode is technically a flashback from sometime during their sleep to right before it.
- First appearance of Hephaestus on Xena: Warrior Princess, after many mentions of him and appearances of his creations.
- Meg is heard off-screen, only identified by Joxer saying her name.
- Ares again confirms his love for Xena, but proving his selfishness, can't say it to her face and ruins her original plan with his private funeral.
- When Xena throws the Chakram for the third time, it doesn't return to her. The sound effects of the Chakram fade out instead.
- This is the first in a series of four episodes, which conclude the Twilight of the Gods storyline.
- Chakram Count: 5
- To reveal Hades
- To take out an Athenian soldier
- To destroy Hades' Helmet of Invisibility
- To stun Hephaestus
- To take out the Athenian Archers
- This is not the last episode to depict events before the 25-year sleep. "Soul Possession" will be the final episode to do so, where untold events between "Adventures in the Sin Trade II" and "A Family Affair" are told.
Links and References
- Joxer's Son
- Joxer's Daughter
- Marcus (Mentioned)
- Lyceus (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|