|Return of Callisto|
(The Return of Callisto)
Xena and Callisto fight on chariots
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 1|
|Filming Dates||5 July to 16 July 1996|
|Original Air-Date||28 October 1996|
|Written By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||T.J. Scott|
|Order in Series||29 of 134|
|Order in Season||5 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||76 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"|
|Next Episode in Series||"Warrior... Princess... Tramp"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"Not Fade Away"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Monster Child in the Promised Land"|
Callisto, the fierce woman warrior who has vowed revenge on Xena for the death of her family, manages to escape a brutal Mycenaean prison through her awesome strength and cunning, leaving a string of murdered guards in her wake.
Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle are awakened in the middle of the night by Perdicas, a warrior once engaged to marry Gabrielle. Determined to be done with killing, Perdicas declares his undying love for Gabrielle and proposes to her once again. Overwhelmed by emotion, she's unable to give him an immediate answer and Xena suggests that he accompany them to Athens. Along the way, they are joined by Joxer, who brings news of Callisto's escape.
Soon they come upon Callisto sacking a village. Xena draws her sword and starts to advance on her enemy, but Callisto distracts her by hurling a dagger at an innocent young girl, whom Xena rescues at the last minute. As Callisto makes her escape, she promises to destroy Xena's soul before ultimately taking her life. In the aftermath of the brutal raid, Perdicas renounces fighting forever and Gabrielle decides to accept his proposal and return home with him.
Gabrielle marries Perdicas in the village temple and bids Xena a tearful goodbye. Though deeply grieved by the departure of her dear friend, Xena stoically continues on in her pursuit of Callisto, who cannot suppress her delight when she learns that Gabrielle is no longer with the Warrior Princess. Callisto is gone by the time Xena and Joxer reach her mountain stronghold. By putting her special "touch" on Callisto's lieutenant Theodorus, Xena realizes that her enemy has gone after Gabrielle.
Racing to intercept Gabrielle and Perdicas on their journey home, she arrives just as Callisto is about to slay her friend. The two woman warriors face each other once more in battle. When Callisto charges Gabrielle and Xena jumps to block the attack, Callisto suddenly changes course and plunges her sword into Perdicas before galloping off on her horse. In a state of shock, Gabrielle falls on the body of her beloved.
As Xena sings a sad funeral dirge over Perdicas' blazing funeral pyre, a grief-stricken Gabrielle vows to kill Callisto. Xena urges her friend not to allow Callisto to turn her heart into a cauldron of hate, but her words have no effect. Finally, at Gabrielle's insistence, Xena agrees to teach her some basic sword techniques. That night, they sneak up on the stronghold, where the evil one and her men are in the midst of a party.
Xena tells Gabrielle she has found an unguarded passage into Callisto's lair and plans to wait until dawn and go in alone. Telling Xena she has decided to go home to mourn Perdicas' death, Gabrielle sneaks into the stronghold wielding Perdicas' sword, but cannot bring herself to kill the sleeping Callisto.
After taking Gabrielle prisoner, Callisto captures Xena, straps the warrior princess to a chair and forces her to watch as she prepares to burn Gabrielle at the stake. At the last moment, however, Joxer appears and distracts Callisto long enough for Xena to retrieve her chakram and escape her bonds. The two women resume their epic battle in a blur of flashing swords.
Finally driven outside the cavern by Xena, Callisto leaps onto her chariot and thunders off. Xena jumps onto Theodorus' chariot and sets off in hot pursuit. Continuing to fight each other from the chariots, they are finally thrown off into a pit of quicksand. Xena is able to save herself with the help of a tree branch as Callisto sinks beneath the surface and perishes.
Before sunset, Xena tends to Joxer's wounds and thanks him for helping distract Callisto to allow Xena to escape. Xena and Gabrielle watch the sunset, as Gabrielle thinks of Perdicas.
Although Xena finally conquered her dark nemesis Callisto, it took her weeks to get the sand out of her leather unmentionables.
Behind the Scenes
|"“T.J…. goes, ‘All right, I want you to get hit and I want you to enjoy it. Because she would really enjoy it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, that works!’ ‘Cause Xena’s engaging with me. Have you ever been around people that are really angry? Or you don’t even know them, and they’re angry and they take it out on you. You’re driving and they’re swearing at you and you respond back and then you’ve got this thing going. But if you don’t respond, the people get even more angry because there’s nowhere to go. You have nothing to connect to. So I think having Xena fight back and fight with [Callisto] is attention. It’s attention and she’s connecting with me. She’s feeding that part of me. My character is obsessed with Xena. She loves Xena and hates Xena and wants to be Xena! It was interesting… “ "|
|― Hudson Leick (Callisto)
Source: Whoosh! Interview – August 1997 and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed
- In the Starlog 2000 Magazine #271, R.J. Stewart stated that Callisto and Return of Callisto "was originally conceived as a three-parter when I first pitched it, but the wisdom was, why commit to a three-parter until we see what the girl was like? We decided to do one stand-alone and see who we cast and if it worked. I think virtually everybody on the Earth agrees we cast it pretty well with Hudson Leick."  
- Director T.J. Scott added the chariot race at the end of the episode in order to give the script a "spectacular finish."
- Originally Gabrielle was supposed to fall in love with someone new, but they decided it was too sudden for Gabrielle to get so emotionally involved, so they decided to bring back her old love Perdicus.
- The writers originally intended to have Sphaerus, the character from Chariots of War to be brought back in Return of Callisto and end up married to Gabrielle, but killed by Callisto. They ended up going with Perdicas instead.
- This episode was dedicated to Michelle Calvert who was Callisto's body double in the first "Callisto" episode. She died shortly after completing work on the "Callisto" episode in a boating incident. There was suspicion of foul play involved in the incident.
- The original ending had Xena saving Callisto.
|"“I loved [this] episode. We originally shot [the ending] differently. We shot it differently. We shot it where I do try to save [Callisto] and she dies anyway. I get the whip and try to throw it to her. I hesitate but I do it, so that [Xena] could have a little bit of a moral high ground in the next episode: you see, when [Callisto] comes back and accuses [Xena] of murdering her, I say, ‘No, I did try to save you, you hag,’ that sort of thing. But when I had my accident they just quickly re-edited everything [to make the guilt look more justified].” "|
|― Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Source: The Official Guide To The Xenaverse by Robert Weisbrot – 1998 and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed
- This is the first time we see Xena pray.
- Callisto dies for the first time on Xena.
- "The" being added in TV guides is the reverse of The King of Assassins where it was subtracted and just listed as King of Assassins.
- Chakram Count: 3
1) To stop Callisto from killing a villager.
2) To save Gabrielle from being burnt.
3) To get it stuck in a deadwood log so that her whip would have something to latch on to.
- Renee O'Connor has claimed this episode as one of her favorites.
"That's the last one."
"What do you mean?"
"From here on out, all I want on my hands is Callisto's blood."
"Gabrielle, leave Callisto to me. You need time to mourn."
"I have the rest of my life to mourn. I want to see her dead."
"In the morning, I'm going after her. Now, the question is, are you going to come with me or not?"
- –Gabrielle and Xena
"You’re not falling in love with me, are you?"
"And what if I was?"
"I’d have to kill you. Love is a trick that nature plays to get us to reproduce. I want no part of it.”
- -Callisto and Theodorus
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|