Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys

"Every night, I see it happen... Every morning, I wish it was a dream."

The Quest
Gabrielle Xena Coffin Quest.jpg
Gabrielle with Xena's Coffin
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 2
Antagonist Velasca
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 2
Production # V0221
Filming Dates 14 November to 25 November 1996
Original Air-Date 3 February 1997
Story By R.J. Stewart, Steven L. Sears & Chris Manheim
Teleplay By Steven L. Sears
Directed By Michael Levine
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 37 of 134
Order in Season 13 of 22
Order in Franchise 92 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Destiny"
Next Episode in Series "A Necessary Evil"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Encounter"
Next Episode in Franchise "When a Man Loves a Woman"
Title Image
The Quest TITLE.jpg

Gabrielle is still in mourning over the death of Xena and decides to give her an Amazon funeral and take her ashes back to Amphipolis. Meanwhile, Xena is given a chance to be reunited with her body and be revived. She asks Autolycus to steal her body from the Amazons before they can cremate it and retrieve the Ambrosia.


Gabrielle reunites with Iolaus

A grief-stricken Gabrielle is on her way back to Amphipolis with Xena's casket when she is ambushed by several club-wielding thugs, who attempt to steal Xena's body and claim it as their own trophy. She drives them off with some help from Iolaus, who was passing through the area.

The Amazons pay respect to Xena.

After comforting Gabrielle about her loss, Iolaus leaves to deliver the sad news to Hercules. As she presses on, Gabrielle is suddenly surrounded by several Amazons, who drop down from the trees on ropes. As they remove their masks, she is happy to see the smiling face of her close friend Ephiny.

When Gabrielle asks to talk to Queen Melosa, Ephiny informs her that Melosa was challenged and killed in combat by her adopted daughter Velasca, who steps forward to introduce herself as the new Amazon Queen, at least for the time being. Clearly no fan of Velasca's, Ephiny is delighted about the arrival of Gabrielle who, it turns out, is legally entitled to become the new Queen having inherited Terreis' right of cast. Surprised by the situation, Gabrielle decides to go back to the village with Ephiny to think things through.

In a clever plan to reclaim her body, Xena's spirit invades the body and mind of Autolycus, the King of Thieves, as he pulls off an ingenious heist inside the temple to retrieve the precious Dagger of Helios.

Xena invades Autoycus body on a mission to return to the living world.

After fleeing with the dagger and a small wooden book, Autolycus is stunned to hear Xena's voice inside his head, asking him to steal her dead body from the Amazon village. She explains that in order to reunite with her body, she needs Ambrosia, the food of the gods. Revealing that the map contained in the wooden book he has stolen will show him the way, she tells him that the dagger is the key to finding the precious substance.

Gabrielle becomes Queen of the Amazons

Meanwhile, as Gabrielle visits with Ephiny, she learns that the cold-hearted Velasca, who is the late Queen's adopted daughter, wants to reclaim Centaur lands which would inevitably provoke a war. Ephiny pleads with Gabrielle to assume her rightful position as Queen and offers to give Xena a proper Amazon funeral, after which Gabrielle can take Xena's ashes to Amphopolis like she promised. Gabrielle finally agrees after the power-hungry Velasca approaches her directly, urging her to step aside. As preparations for the coronation get under way, Autolycus, still possessed by Xena, sneaks into the village disguised as an Amazon. The ceremony soon begins and despite Velasca's attempt to halt the ritual, Gabrielle dons the Mask of the New Queen. Meanwhile, Autolycus breaks into the hut containing Xena's body, only to be surprised by Gabrielle and several armed Amazons.

Recognizing the King of Thieves, Gabrielle assumes that he's come to steal Xena's body for profit, despite his protestations. When Xena's casket is loaded onto the funeral pyre lit with flaming arrows, a panicky Autolycus, propelled by Xena, flips through the air, lands on the coffin and begins patting out the flames. Quickly attacked by the Amazons, he fights in true Xena-esque fashion, using her chakram to full advantage. Realizing that Xena has somehow possessed the body of Autolycus, an astonished Gabrielle jumps onto the coffin as Autolycus, who has flipped up onto Argo's back, lashes his saddle whip around the coffin's handle. The two gallop out of the village, dragging the casket with them. When Ephiny refuses Velasca's order to round up a party to pursue them, Velasca throws her in jail.

Meanwhile, Autolycus, serving as the channeler for the Warrior Princess, brings about a heartfelt reunion between Xena and Gabrielle. Xena confesses that guilt about her evil past made her lose her will to live, but she has come to realize that her destiny is to continue to fight for good. Gabrielle and Autolycus set out to find the Ambrosia after hiding Xena's casket in the river.

Upon arriving at Ambrosia Hall, they look up to see a hole in the shape of the dagger of Helios in the center of the ceiling, surrounded by hanging vines. But before they can reach it, Velasca and her Amazons charge in and take them prisoner.

Xena returns to the living

While torturing Autolycus, Velasca finds the dagger and realizing it's the key to the Ambrosia, hurries to Ambrosia Hall. Autolycus frees himself and his comrades with a makeshift lock pick and while Ephiny is retrieving Xena's casket, her companions race to the Hall. There they find Velasca, who is thrilled that she's about to become a goddess, climbing up the vines towards the ceiling. Xena, now in the body of Gabrielle, and Velasca engage in a feverish battle, fighting each other while clinging to the vines. As Ephiny arrives with Xena's body, Velasca manages to reach the ceiling and places the dagger inside the hole.

An enclosure instantly opens, revealing the Ambrosia. Velasca grabs it, but loses her hold and the Ambrosia tumbles into the pit of bubbling lava below, hitting Gabrielle in the chest on the way down. Wresting the dagger away from Velasca, Gabrielle sends the Amazon crashing down onto one of the spikes surrounding the pit. Quickly placing the residue of Ambrosia left on her chest on Xena's lips, Gabrielle is overjoyed when her friend awakens at last. Later, Xena thanks Autolycus for helping save her life by promising him a favor.


Xena's body was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, it took weeks for Autolycus to get his swagger back.

Background Information[]

"“This episode followed Lucy Lawless’ accident with Jay Leno. She couldn’t do all her usual stunts (or even walk, really), so I flew down to help her out. The schtick was that her spirit was in my body, so I really had to get in touch with my feminine side.”"
― Bruce Campbell (Actor, Autolycus)

Source: (Dreamwatch Magazine #49 – October 1998) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed

"““When we came to [this episode], we had Lucy for a couple of shots, but we also had her voice, so the idea of doing an All of Me type episode sprang up. We all worked out the story and did versions of different acts, and I got the brunt of it thrown onto me, which was fine, because I loved doing the episode. When we finished it, we realized that we made the stakes so big with the ambrosia and introducing this new villain, Velasca, that Melinda Clarke played wonderfully, we thought it would be great to do another episode where Callisto and Xena combined forces to fight Velasca. By then, Lucy could do some movement, and we could cover her with a stunt double.” ”"
― Steven L. Sears (Writer/Producer)

Source: (Starlog Magazine #246 – January 1998) and many thanks to http://jacksonupperco.com/ for personally researched, and transcribed

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Shooting Dates: November 14 to 25, 1996 (8 day shoot)
  • This episode was produced to give Lucy Lawless time to recover from a pelvis injury she suffered from during a Tonight Show appearance and to keep production of the series going in the meantime. [1]
  • The plot was inspired by All of Me. [2]
  • According to Michael Levine, ten minutes of footage had to be cut. [3]
  • Renee O’Connor revealed to The Austin Chronicle – February 1998 about Lucy's first day back on set following her accident: “Lucy had only just come back from her accident and she couldn’t do a whole lot… we didn’t actually smooch, but we had the shot and we came in very close together. We were definitely there. We were in front of a blue screen. They wanted to make it heaven-like. That’s why there probably wasn’t any shadow. But we were definitely together.” [4]
  • Melinda Clarke recalled her experiences when she first started filming this episode to The Official Xena Magazine, Issue #20, that that Xena set was the most organized and well sun set she has ever been too and very efficient with all the action stuff they do. "I remember that Renee [O’Connor] was very strong, and when I had to do a fight with her it was so hard to keep up. I also remember the look on my face when I saw the outfit I had to wear!". [5]
  • Melinda Clarke was written into an additional episode in the third season, but was unavailable for filming.
  • Autolycus' "Hey, I paid for an hour" line to Velasca was originally an ad-lib. [6]

Key Events[]

  • At the end of the episode, Autolycus decides to take Xena up on her offer of her owing him a favor. He collects on this favor in "Vanishing Act".


  • Velasca's defeat in this episode presents somewhat of a conundrum, as the rope Velasca was hanging on was cut by Gabrielle (who at the time was possesed by Xena), this would present that, despite Xena's control of Gabrielle, Gabrielle still would appear to have killed Velasca and thus have lost her blood innocence, despite the fact that Velasca wasn't actually killed (a fact that all the characters were obviously unaware of). However Dahak would have known and all the characters would find out in the next episode that she did not die.
  • The Dagger of Helios appeared in this episode, as well as would continue to make future appearances throughout the series (usually for its deity killing abilities) and would obtain a new shape almost every time.
  • Was delivering the sad news to Hercules really so important that Iolaus would actually leave Gabrielle and Xena's corpse undefended when he literally just saved them from thugs?


  • This episode features the birth of the subtext: in Gabrielle's vision, Xena kisses her, only for Gabrielle to find herself in an embrace with Autolycus instead. It is not clear at all in the episode what exactly was supposed to be happening story-wise. An alternative interpretation is that Autolycus was making a move on Gabrielle using the vision as a cover, hence Xena's movement in the vision.
  • Because of "Encounter" (which premiered the same night), Iolaus' presence suggests Ceryneia is nearby.

Memorable Quotations[]

"Ah, another day, another defilement."


"Well, I'm just giving you your chance to thank me."
"I thought I already did, but if you need to hear it again, then thank you for helping to bring me back. If you ever need a favor, it's yours."
"Bringing you back? Oh, ho! No, no, no. I let you experience what it's like to be Autolycus. You were in there. You were controlling my bodily functions. That's not something I do for everyone."
"No, you don't often let people see who you really are, either. I was in there. I know. Despite all your bluster and bravado, Autolycus, you're a nice person. I knew I could trust you. I always will."
"Yes, well, yes, there you have it. Thank you. Uh, but if it's all the same, I think I'll keep that favor thing in mind. It might just come in handy one day for the King of Thieves."

Autolycus and Xena

Links and References[]

Guest Stars[]

Other Cast[]



  1. [1] An Interview With R. J. Stewart (Issue 09, June 1997)
  2. [2] An Interview with Robert Tapert Page 2
  3. [3] Whoosh! Episode Guide: THE QUEST - WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR (12-16-98)
  4. [4] many thanks for personally researched, and transcribed
  5. [5] many thanks for personally researched, and transcribed
  6. [6] Whoosh! Episode Guide: THE QUEST - TRIVIA

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