Legendary Journeys

To Helicon and Back
Gabrielle Leader Helicon Back.jpg
Gabrielle takes charge of the united Amazon Nation
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 6
Antagonist Bellerophon
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 32
Production # V1419
Filming Dates December 2000
Original Air-Date 19 February 2001
Written By Liz Friedman
Vanessa Place
Directed By Michael Hurst
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 127 of 134
Order in Season 15 of 22
Order in Franchise 296 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Path of Vengeance"
Next Episode in Series "Send in the Clones"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Path of Vengeance"
Next Episode in Franchise "Send in the Clones"
Title Image
Titlecard Helicon Back.jpg

When Varia is kidnapped by Bellerophon, the son of Artemis, Gabrielle leads the now united Amazon Nation on a treacherous and bloody rescue mission. The plan takes a downward turn, however, when Xena's efforts to counteract the warrior's catapults are ineffective.


Gabrielle and Varia have made peace since the previous episode's events.

The Amazon village, Xena and Gabrielle celebrate the naming of Varia as new Queen of the united tribe of Amazons. Gabrielle and Varia clasp arms and discuss their fight not so long ago. Since the ceremony is restricted to Amazons, Xena agrees to sleep in the forest while Gabrielle enjoys the festivities.

The Amazon nation is under attack by masked warriors.

That evening, Xena gets a feeling that the Amazons are in danger and heads for the village. The celebration is crashed by a mysterious masked warrior and his men, who ride in proclaiming "death to the Amazons!" Xena's battle cry suddenly fills the air and the masked warrior, recognizing it, easily blocks her chakram before kicking her. When Varia charges him, he knocks her unconscious and tosses her on his horse before hurling an axe at Gabrielle. As Xena dives for the axe, the warriors disappear with Varia.

Xena and the Amazon try to figure out who attacked them.

Looking for clues, Xena studies the masked warrior's axe and concludes that it's from Helicon. Determined to rescue Varia, the Amazons insist that Gabrielle lead them to Helicon. Xena declares that she will battle the leader and disengage the catapults, but Gabrielle, anxious about Xena's safety, reminds her that the masked warrior was a tough adversary.

Varia meets the masked warrior, Bellerophon.

Meanwhile, Varia is thrown in a castle dungeon and approached by the masked warrior, Bellerophon, who smiles smugly when she insists that her tribe will rescue her. In his command room, Bellerophon orders that the catapults be loaded and tells his Lieutenant to watch out for Xena. When Bellerophon is alone, Xena lunges out of the shadows and punches him.

The Amazons burn there fallen tribe mates.

Unfazed by her blows, Xena deduces that he must be half-god and he confirms her hunch, informing her that his mother was Artemis, the Olympian goddess who taught the Amazons all they know and then abandoned her. Bellerophon and Xena face off again, but he gains control and holding a dagger to her throat, vows that she and the Amazons will pay for murdering Artemis. Knowing she is presently no match for the warrior, Xena gives him a head slam, freeing herself from his grasp, and flees through the window taking one of his guards with her. Furious, he orders his men to arm the catapults.

An Amazon sacrifices herself so everyone can get to safety.

Out in the ocean that night, the guard attacks Xena with a knife, but a shark takes hold of him and she is spared. Relieved, Xena suddenly recognizes the Amazon boat burning in the distance. With many Amazons dead and others being eaten by sharks, Gabrielle tells Gwyn-Teir that they are taking the beach. As the women step onshore, they are bombarded with arrows and catapult fire. Looking to Gabrielle for direction, she sends one of the Amazons out to clear a path and tells the others to stay close. The Amazon is hit, but the explosion clears the way for them. When Xena emerges from the water, Gabrielle tries to relinquish leadership to her, but Xena declines insisting that the Amazons will not listen to her.

Bellerophon threatens Varia to kill Gabrielle to ensure freedom.

Back at the castle, Bellerophon informs Varia of the bloodshed and threatens to execute her and the rest of her tribe unless she kills Gabrielle. Scanning the beach, Xena notices a trench that would provide good cover and races towards it, deflecting a missile with her chakram. On Xena's signal, the Amazons run for the gully, but Gwyn-Teir is wounded in the process and Xena grabs her and carries her to safety.

Bellerophon lets Varia go free.

Just then, Varia appears and joins them in the trench claiming that Bellerophon said she should die with her tribe. Varia insists that they retreat, but Gabrielle disagrees, fearing that they will be destroyed if they don't act now. Doubting Xena, Gabrielle agrees to go with her plan of building a raft to save the wounded. Meanwhile, Varia surveys her injured sisters and tells Gabrielle she has a job for her.

Gabrielle questions Varia's loyalty to the tribe.

As Xena and Tyro finish the raft, they notice Gabrielle struggling to grab Amazon weapons at the water's edge. Xena reaches Gabrielle and pushes her out of the way just before she is hit by a catapult. Xena grows suspicious when Gabrielle says that Varia ordered her to gather the weapons. Walking back, they see Varia crouched, shooting arrows at them. Gabrielle angrily confronts her while Xena informs the rest of the tribe of Varia's intentions. With the Amazons on Gabrielle's side, she agrees to let Varia accompany them, but declares that she is no longer Queen.

Gabrielle gives a moving peace to the Amazons before the final battle.

That night, after moving the wounded Amazons by raft, Xena stabs one of Bellerophon's soldiers with an arrow and he begins to groan. Gabrielle approaches ready to kill him, but Xena puts the pinch on him instead, silencing his whimpering. Shocked by Gabrielle's steely resolve, Xena rides to Bellerophon's castle and challenges him to a one on one brawl.

The last remaining Amazons.

Bellerophon agrees and the two struggle. He lunges a rock at Xena that hits a crossbow, releasing two arrows that shoot her in the back. Seemingly stricken, she pulls herself up onto Argo, who carries her into the woods. Bellerophon and his men pursue her, unaware that she feigned her injury, and are suddenly ambushed by Xena and the remaining Amazons. With some fancy flips, Xena has Bellerophon at her mercy and the warrior begs for her to kill him. When she refuses, he secretly pulls out a dagger and lunges at her, but she turns just in time and he impales himself on her sword. Stopping Gabrielle from any more killing, Xena tells her it's over. Cyane calls out, Queen Gabrielle, telling her, that her people need her. Gabrielle walks over to the remaining Amazons. She goes to Varia, they clasp hands, saying to a strong Amazon Nation.


No shark bait was harmed during the making of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

  • The myth this episode was based on was set in Lycia, in what is today Turkey. Helicon is a mountain in central Greece.
  • Chakram Count: 2
  1. To disarm one of Bellerophon's men.
  2. To destroy one of the catapults and create a fire.
  • This episode had more edited out than any other previously, with 25 minutes of deleted footage. The previous record-holder was "Motherhood", with 20 minutes.
  • Last appearance of Varia on the series. Though there is still some lingering ambiguity regarding her destiny and place within the Amazon society.
  • This is the only episode of Xena: Warrior Princess to feature sharks. The Season Two episode "The Lost Mariner" mentions them.
  • When writing the action for the landing scene, Liz put a note reading, "As much carnage as television will allow". She personally thought this episode pushed the boundaries on that subject farther than what is normally allowed.
  • In the script, Gabrielle doesn't ask Trudis to be the diversion, she orders her. When they filmed it, they had Trudis volunteer. In editing, they compromised and had Gabrielle ask her if she will do it.
  • Originally Gabrielle's speech to rally her troops for the final attack on Bellerophon was more Pattonesque, but they rewrote it to be more low-key and soulful.
  • While filming the scene where Gabrielle argues with Varia about whether or not they should leave the wounded Amazons behind Renee and Tsianina switched lines several times because no one was sure which would be more appropriate for Gabrielle to argue.
  • There were two shark scenes filmed. The second made it into the episode, but the first came when Xena leaped into the water to escape from Bellerophon. The guard that she knocks out before her gets eaten. The scene was cut for time.
  • Michael Hurst called this the Xena Version of "Saving Private Ryan".

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