Legendary Journeys

"Your story will end with your playwright unable to save her Fallen Angel."

Alti to Xena
When Fates Collide
Xena When Fates.jpg
Xena is hit with arrows by the Romans
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 6
Antagonist Julius Caesar, Alti
Setting Rome
In-Universe Date Year 32
Production # V1421
Filming Dates February 2001
Original Air-Date 7 May 2001
Written By Katherine Fugate
Directed By Josh Becker
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 130 of 134
Order in Season 18 of 22
Order in Franchise 299 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Last of the Centaurs"
Next Episode in Series "Many Happy Returns"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Last of the Centaurs"
Next Episode in Franchise "Many Happy Returns"
Title Image
When Fates Collide TITLE.jpg

Julius Caesar escapes from the Underworld and takes over the Fates' loom. He uses it to alter his first encounter with Xena so that they became allies instead of enemies. Reality is greatly altered, as they are now married and rule the Roman Empire. Caesar seems to have changed his destiny, but the sudden arrival of playwright Gabrielle threatens his new reality.


Empress Xena of Rome

Inside the Temple of the Fates, Caesar has chained up Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos in order to change his destiny. Unraveling the strands of time, he pauses on an image from the past in which Xena is seducing him. As he snips the strand and prepares to rethread the Loom of Life, Atropos warns him that not only will he change his own destiny, but also that of countless others. Caesar turns a deaf ear to the Fates' pleas, however, and returns to the moment when he originally betrayed Xena. This time, however, he doesn’t and a completely new universe begins to unfold.

Alti, high priestess of Rome.

It's now five years later and Caesar is meeting with Chinese emissaries. Suddenly, they are interrupted by the High Priestess Alti, who is more evil than ever in her current incarnation. Now chief counsel to the Emperor, Alti uses her astounding mind-powers to kill the emissaries as soon as Caesar accepts the document they're carrying offering Rome an alliance with Chin. Caesar then heads off to find Xena, who is now his wife, the Empress of Rome.

Xena and Caesar on the balcony watch a play.

Xena's regal bearing is immediately apparent when she joins Caesar on the balcony of the royal stateroom as he delivers his "Friends, Romans and Countrymen" speech, announcing that the Senate has unanimously voted to make him Emperor and Xena Empress for life. In this universe, Caesar succeeds in completing his infamous "assassination" speech to thunderous applause from the crowd.

Playwright Gabrielle in another life

That evening, Caesar and Xena are entertained by a play, written by none other than Gabrielle, who appears on stage after the performance to thank the audience. As soon as Xena sees Gabrielle, she is immediately attracted to her although she's never seen her before. At the post-theater banquet, Caesar is suddenly called away by Brutus and Xena and Gabrielle are drawn into a deep conversation that ultimately becomes a discussion about love.

Alti attacks Xena.

Not really knowing why, Xena is drawn towards Gabrielle's quarters later that night, and as she stands below Gabrielle's balcony observing her, the malevolent Alti appears. Confessing she wants to get rid of Xena so she can claim Caesar and Rome, Alti attacks Xena and begins to kill her by flooding her with images from both this life and the previous timeline, causing her excruciating pain. Xena is near death when Caesar suddenly appears and saves her.

Gabrielle's hair is hacked off short when sent to jail.

The next morning, when Xena finds out that Caesar has had Gabrielle arrested for being Alti's accomplice, Xena rushes to the dungeon to see her. Gabrielle denies the charges and Xena, trusting her instincts, promises to help her and find out why Caesar wants her dead. Later, when Alti is escorted into the Roman baths, she is shocked to find Xena waiting for her.

Xena and Gabrielle hear crosses being built.

Claiming she's outgrown Caesar, Xena proposes that the two of them rule Rome together and manipulates Alti into showing her once again the visions she had the previous night. When Xena "comes to," she is fully aware of Alti's evil in her other life, and the rest of her other past.

Rushing into the prison courtyard just as Gabrielle is about to be crucified, Xena confronts Caesar, telling him she now knows the truth. Ignoring her pleas, Caesar is about to proceed with the crucifixion when Xena mentions the Fates, causing Caesar to freeze.

Xena learns the truth that Caesar made this reality.

Xena explains that she knows the rules of the Loom: that only she or Caesar have the power to change their fates back and that she can now pose a real problem for him. Caesar agrees to free Gabrielle on the condition that Xena join him in his crusade to dominate the Earth, which will begin with his conquest of the kingdom of Chin. Later on, Caesar decides to murder Brutus in order to get even for his betrayal in the previous universe.

Gabrielle is reluctant to leave Rome, explaining to Xena that she has never felt as alive and complete as she feels around her, but Xena encourages her to move on and give the Earth more great plays.

Alti torments Gabrielle with visions of the previous timeline

Meanwhile, Caesar agrees to give the evil Alti a chance to prove she'd be a better partner for him than Xena by assigning her the task of ensuring that Gabrielle is killed by his troops as soon as she's out of Xena's sight. On her way out of Rome, Gabrielle is ambushed by soldiers.

Gabrielle talks to Joxer in this universe.

Hearing the commotion, Xena rushes to their aid and a bloody battle ensues during which Alti appears and takes Gabrielle hostage. She grabs her, shows her visions of the "real life". Xena arrives. She shoots an arrow at Alti, who vanishes. Gabrielle is a little comatose. Xena and Alti fight. Roman soldiers come and Xena fights them too. Gabrielle finally stands up and staggers around. Xena is shot with arrows in the leg and arm. Gabrielle tries to go to Xena, but Joxer grabs her. He tells Gabrielle she can't help Xena, but he can help her.

Gabrielle burns the loom.

Later that night, Xena is arrested for a failed attempt to poison Caesar in their royal bedchamber, but she is able to deflect attention away from Gabrielle, who is dangling from the balcony outside. When Joxer, who in this version of reality is a Roman prison guard loyal to Xena, allows Gabrielle to see her, Xena quickly explains that Caesar changed the fate of the Earth and that she is ready to accept her destiny and be crucified.

Xena and Gabrielle reunite in their original universe.

As Xena is nailed to the cross, a devastated Gabrielle races to the Temple of the Fates where she sees that the Loom of Life has become a mass of knots and confusion. Meanwhile, back at the royal palace, Alti stabs Caesar, killing him and making herself the sole ruler of Rome.

When the Fates inform Gabrielle that both Xena and Caesar are dead, a wrathful Gabrielle torches the loom which explodes, creating a new universe. Gabrielle awakes later in a familiar forest and turns to see Xena riding up on Argo. Both rejoice, thrilled to have their universe back.


As the Fates would have it, Caesar was once again harmed during the making of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • This episode was one of seventeen that fans selected to be featured on the Xena: Warrior Princess: 10th Anniversary Collection, and is subsequently considered one of the greatest episodes in Xena: Warrior Princess history.
  • In an interview with the writer, Katherine Fugate, she said she wanted to show that certain events were meant to be, with or without the Fates' interference. Caesar will be assassinated by a person he trusts, Xena will be crucified by Caesar, Alti's thirst for power will lead to her destruction, and Xena will gain strength from Gabrielle's love. Fugate added, "It was my hope to portray the idea that every step we make in this lifetime is the right one - or we wouldn't be living it."
    • Apparently, Gabrielle's haircut was also meant to be.
    • It was always Xena's destiny to become a better person (although this hadn't yet happened in "Armageddon Now Part 2")
  • Ted Raimi initially wasn't supposed to be in this episode. Since he had to be flown down to shoot "Soul Possession" anyway, they decided to include him. The logic was that viewers would instantly understand that he was a good guy even though he was working for Caesar. Katherine Fugate explained, "I didn't discover Ted Raimi was in the episode until I arrived in New Zealand and saw the new script with the Joxer changes. RJ handled that insertion by tweaking the dialogue of an existing character to fit the voice of Joxer, whom he knows so well."
  • In the script Alti doesn't kill Caesar during sex, she does it on the platform while Xena is being crucified so that Xena can witness Alti's moment of triumph. The director changed it while filming because he wanted to parallel the dream sequence from "The Ides of March".
  • In the original script, Gabrielle kisses Xena goodbye as Xena is being taken from her jail cell. This was changed because they wanted to save that intimate moment for the final episode.
  • Callisto was one of the names thrown around to appear in "When Fates Collide" but they picked Alti instead. The reverse happened in The Ides of March when Callisto was picked over Alti to appear in an episode featuring Caesar.
  • This is Claire Stansfield's personal favorite Xena: Warrior Princess episode.

Key Events[]


  • When Xena is crucified while Gabrielle is burning the loom it appears to be pouring rain but the sky is blue and there are sunspots on the camera lens.
  • Some fans believe there is a goof because the alternate timeline story does not take into account the 25 years in the ice cave, but appears to have "rewound" to before that. However, since Caesar died before Eve was born in the original timeline it may be that the point at which he escaped from the afterlife is less important than the date he died. In the episode, we see him complete the speech from his original day of the assassination, so the new timeline appears aligned with Caesar's original death. When Gabrielle goes to see the Fates in the new timeline, the entire loom has been affected with knots and unraveling, so there seems no reason to assume things were neatly exchanged day for day.


  • Gabrielle's play is titled Fallen Angel – the same as the fifth season premiere.
  • Alti predicts that Xena will die when Gabrielle is unable to save her "Fallen Angel", correctly predicting Xena's death for the second time.
  • Ted's portrayal of "Joxer" in this episode is different to his usual portrayal, as he is now a disciplined Roman soldier.
  • Joxer's suggestion that Gabrielle's play "could use more battle scenes" is a reference to the episode, "The Play's The Thing", where he made the similar critiques to Gabrielle's play script.
  • Gabrielle is shown with long hair for the last time.
  • Gabrielle in this timeline becomes a writer like she dreamed of since season one.

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