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Many faces of Xena's past return to haunt her as she faces a former and sinister member of her army, a centaur she fought against years ago, and the son she walked out on whilst fighting the Centaurs.
On a mission of peace, Xena and Gabrielle return to the Centaur village that Xena's evil army devastated years before. The two are soon attacked by warriors under the command of Dagnine, a ruthless leader in Xena's former army. The warrior princess makes quick work of several of her assailants before a group of armed Centaurs arrives on the scene. Led by the regal Kaleipus, the Centaurs regard Xena with a mixture of fear and hatred. As she tries to assure them that she has come only to protect them from Dagnine, who is seeking the mythical Stone of Ixion, a figure leaps at her from the trees brandishing a sword.
Xena quickly evades the assault, but is stunned when she realizes her attacker is none other than her own nine-year-old son Solan, whom she left with the Centaurs shortly after his birth so that her many enemies would not learn of his existence. Solan, unaware that Xena is his mother, blames her for the death of his father, Borias, a courageous warrior who -- after serving as Xena's second-in command and lover -- sided with the Centaurs against her when she tried to take possession of the Ixion Stone.
The next day, Gabrielle pleads with Xena to tell Solan that she is his mother, but the warrior princess does not want to disrupt the boy's happy life with the Centaurs and angrily storms off into the woods. Unbeknownst to the women, however, their conversation has been watched by See'er, one of Dagnine's lieutenants, whose powerful spyglass and ability to read lips reveal to him Solan's identity as Xena's son. Meanwhile, Xena tells Gabrielle why it's so important that the Ixion Stone never fall into the wrong hands. She explains that Ixion, the father of the Centaurs, captured all the evil of his people in the Stone when he had the choice of making the Centaurs noble rather than wicked. Whoever possesses the Stone has the enormous evil power of Ixion's creation.
Xena visits the grave of Borias where she finds Solan, who has been told she killed his father in battle. She denies the accusation, but before she can reveal the whole truth, the boy runs off. When a flash of light catches her eye, Xena turns to see the reflection of See'er's spyglass in the distance. She quickly overtakes him and using her foolproof "Xena" touch, learns that her enemy Dagnine already knows about Solan. Too late to prevent her son's capture, she heads for Dagnine's camp to rescue the boy.
Sneaking straight into the warlord's tent, she manages to knock Dagnine unconscious and steals the key to the spiked metal cage in which Solan is imprisoned outside. Xena tosses him the key but before they can complete their daring escape, the ground gives way beneath them. Mother and son fall into the long-hidden caverns of Ixion, inadvertently revealing their location to Dagnine. The warlord follows them into the caves with his men, but all are surprised to find the Stone missing from its altar. The wise Borias, it seems, found the Stone before he died and hid it in a place known only to him.
Meanwhile, Gabrielle tries to rescue Xena and Solan by throwing them a rope, but as the two are climbing up out of the cave, Solan drops the precious sword he inherited from his father. The hilt shatters on the cave floor, revealing the glistening ruby-red Ixion Stone, which is grabbed by Dagnine and his men.
The power of the stone transforms Dagnine into the most powerful and evil Centaur that ever lived. Xena and the Centaurs make preparations for his attack by building a huge crossbow, but the plan goes awry when Dagnine, now a hideous creature, overpowers the Centaur defenses. As Xena and Dagnine face each other in battle, he confesses that he was the one who actually killed Borias. Enraged, Xena throws her sword back-handed onto the rope which acts as the crossbow's trigger, sending a giant arrow straight into Dagnine's heart.
Xena's victory, however, is tempered by her sadness at having to leave her long-lost son. Her consolation is that Solan, who now regards her as a friend, vows never to become a warrior and tosses his sword into the lake. Xena smiles at him, touches his face, and then walks away. The scene moves in slow motion, as Xena walks away from her son, her face showing that she is near tears, and that the pain runs deep.
- No Sleazy Warlords who deem it necessary to drink magic elixers [sic] that turn them into scaly centaurs were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
Behind the Scenes
- Starting with this episode, Renee O'Connor is added to the opening credit sequence.
- Shooting Dates: May 29 to June 7, 1996 (8 Day shoot).
- Orphan of War aired as the season premier, but was the fifth episode to be filmed for the season and the sixth episode to be written. The first episode of season 2 to be written was Remember Nothing.
- A working title for this episode was "The Ixion Stone".
- This episode is the first to mention Borias, Xena's former lover. Although he isn't featured until over a season later, he will play a pivotal role in the show.
- First appearnce of Solan.
- This episode introduces the costume Gabrielle will wear until the Season 3 episode, "Been There, Done That".
- Among the things Dagnine vows to do with the power of the Ixion Stone are "kill Hercules" and "take Athens".
- In Greek mythology Ixion was a king of Thessaly who was accepted as a guest on Mount Olympus by Zeus. However Ixion grew lustful of Hera and Zeus tricked him by creating a cloud illusion of Hera named Nephele. The union created Centauros who would eventually father the Centaurs.
- The real, historical Solan was an Athenian lawgiver and poet, one of the Seven Sages. Elected "archon" (government leader) of Athens in 594 BC, he repealed the repressive laws of Draco and freed those enslaved for debt.
Links and References
- Alexander Campbell as Meklan
- Stephen Papps as See'er
- Peter Tait as Daylon
- Richard Adams as Warrior
- Paul Gittins as Kaleipus
- Mark Ferguson as Dagnine
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
|<< 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|