Xena and Cecrops
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 2|
|Filming Dates||6 March to 18 March 1997|
|Original Air-Date||5 May 1997|
|Written By||Steven L. Sears|
|Directed By||Garth Maxwell|
|Order in Series||45 of 134|
|Order in Season||21 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||108 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"The Price"|
|Next Episode in Series||"A Comedy of Eros"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"A Rock and a Hard Place"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Atlantis"|
When Xena's and Gabrielle's ship is wrecked, Gabrielle is picked up by another ship - the ship of Cecrops, the Lost Mariner, whose ship is cursed with the only escape being death. Xena hastily joins Gabrielle on the ship and the two are offered safe passage to the shore by Poseidon, but Xena realizes that there may be a way to break Cecrops' curse. Meanwhile, Gabrielle has to try and cope with seasickness.
Xena and Gabrielle aboard a merchant vessel being chased by pirates when the ship is suddenly forced onto the shoreline rocks and destroyed. Xena manages to make it to a nearby island but Gabrielle, having drifted back into deep water, is picked up by the cursed ship of Cecrops, the Lost Mariner. Familiar with the legend of the 300-year-old curse, Gabrielle soon finds her worst fears confirmed. Cecrops tells her that she -- and any others who come aboard -- are destined to spend the rest of their lives on the vessel. An agonizing death at sea awaits anyone who tries to escape.
When Xena realizes that Gabrielle is on Cecrops' ship, she resolves to save her friend, regardless of the danger. But she must first outwit Basculis, the pirate leader responsible for the wreck of the merchant vessel, who has taken refuge on the island to repair his ship. Xena cleverly evades Basculis' men, who have been ordered to capture her, while keeping sight of Cecrops' vessel as it rounds the shore.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle learns the full story behind Cecrops' curse. The vengeful god Poseidon damned the sailor to remain at sea for eternity, or until he is redeemed by love, as revenge for arbitrating against him in a contest with Athena which made her the Goddess of Athens. Athena tried to mitigate the angry god's curse by granting Cecrops immortality, hoping he would someday find that love. Cecrops sadly tells Gabrielle that the only reason he brought her aboard his cursed vessel was that she was about to be devoured by sharks.
When he suddenly spies Xena escaping Basculis' men on the island and realizes that she's preparing to jump aboard his ship, Cecrops orders his men to sail away from the shore immediately. But Xena severs the rope attached to the mainsail with her chakram, causing the boat to drift inland. Dodging the arrows of the pirates pursuing her, she makes her longest flip onto the deck of Cecrops' ship. With Basculis believing she is after Cecrops' treasures, he soon follows in his own ship.
Convinced there must be a way out of the curse, Xena confronts Cecrops, who confides how much he yearns to feel the earth beneath his feet once more. When she chides him for giving up hope, the bitter mariner reveals the story of how Poseidon separated him from his one true love, Tarae, by creating the mighty whirlpool Charybdis, through which he could not sail. Xena persuades Cecrops to head back towards Tarae's village, believing that the whirlpool might well hold the key to breaking the curse.
Continuing on their journey, Basculis' ship quickly closes in and prepares to attack. As both vessels get ready for battle, the monstrous Poseidon suddenly bursts forth from the sea, offering Xena and Gabrielle safe passage from Cecrops' ship if they agree not to intervene. When Xena refuses, Poseidon stirs up a violent storm, causing the crates of cargo on Cecrops' vessel to smash around the hold of the ship.
When a huge crate slides towards Cecrops, it is intercepted by the mariner's only true friend, the tough-talking but good-hearted Hidsim, who is crushed by the heavy load. Overcome by grief at the death of his friend, Cecrops returns to his cabin where he is visited by Poseidon. Enraged by Xena's defiance, the god now offers Cecrops his freedom if he agrees to throw Xena into the fierce waters of Charybdis.
The storm begins to abate as Cecrops sails towards the whirlpool. But once his ship reaches the outer edge of Charybdis, Xena is the only one willing to climb up to the crow's nest to navigate the boat through the treacherous waters. From this vantage point, she watches as Basculis' vessel, still pursuing their ship, is drawn into the deadly current and ultimately destroyed. Soon Cecrops' ship starts to buckle under the pressure of the unforgiving sea. When the wood mast cracks, Xena becomes entangled the rigging and is trapped in the crow's nest. As her sword plunges down into the deck below, Poseidon appears, demanding that Cecrops surrender the Warrior Princess to him. But rather than give in to the furious god, Cecrops tosses the sword up to Xena, allowing her to free herself, before he jumps overboard.
The ship itself does not survive the wrath of Poseidon but Xena, Gabrielle, Cecrops and his crew made it safely to a nearby beach. The curse is broken -- not by anyone's love for Cecrops, but by his love for others.
"Cecrops' 'Joie de Vivre' was not harmed during the production of this motion picture."
Behind the Scenes
- This episode is also known as 'Cecrops The Sailor'.
- Xena does her biggest flip of the series in this episode.
- There was a cyclone (hurricane) just offshore during the filming of this episode.
- Renee O’Connor spoke to the Singapore Press about her experiences with the squid: “They marinated [the squid] for me. It was the worst! It was so bad. It took me months to try to eat calamari after that. I am not kidding.”
- Although called squid in the show, what Renee O'Connor was really eating was marinated octopus.
- Director Garth Maxwell's experiences filming this episode with Titan Xena Magazine: “[This] was quite an interesting shoot, because you try and keep your backlight very dominant to give an interesting shape to an actor’s face. The lighting on Xena is fairly critical, and when you’re on a boat this is even more difficult because sunlight becomes your backlight. The boat we had was a converted barge, with motors and drives in all four corners, and I had to keep it where I wanted it to be for the backlight no matter which direction we were shooting from. So it was difficult to keep the boat turned the way we were shooting to keep the sun behind it…. We had an enormous number of hands throwing water out of buckets onto guest star Tony Todd’s face with the wind machine turned on and him screaming as though it was a major gale, even though the water was actually calm during that sequence. Working with water and being at sea certainly presents interesting challenges!” 
- During the scene where Xena and Gabrielle are talking about pressure points, Gabrielle says a line about "Raw Squid", but if you look closely, you can see that Renee actually said "Raw Fish" and that the audio was obviously ADR.
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|