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When in Rome...
Xena fight rome.jpg
Xena Fights in the Colosseum
Overview
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 3
Antagonist Julius Caesar, Pompey Magnus, Crassus
Setting Gaul, Syria, Rome
In-Universe Date Year 3
Production
Production # V0416
Filming Dates January 1998
Original Air-Date 2 March 1998
Written By Steven L. Sears
Directed By John Laing
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 62 of 134
Order in Season 16 of 22
Order in Franchise 144 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "King Con"
Next Episode in Series "Forget Me Not"
Previous Episode in Franchise "King Con"
Next Episode in Franchise "Forget Me Not"
Title Image
When in Rome TITLE.jpg

When Xena learns that the hero Vircinix of Gaul has been captured by Caesar, she captures Crassus, one of Caesar's sworn enemies, in hopes of him wanting to trade. But in order for the plan to commence, she must trust Gabrielle with a task that Gabrielle isn't comfortable with.

Summary[]

Vercinix, the mighty Gaul warrior, is leading his countrymen in a grueling battle against the Romans when he is captured by Julius Caesar. Meanwhile, in Syria, a similar battle has ended but here, it is the Romans who are defeated. Suddenly a familiar yell is heard and Xena comes riding into the camp on Argo, tossing a bag of swords to the Roman soldiers. As pandemonium breaks loose, Xena throws a rope around the Roman leader Crassus' waist and rides out of the camp dragging him behind her. When they meet up with Gabrielle at the harbor, Xena informs Crassus that she is going to trade him for Vercinix. As they sail to Rome, Gabrielle learns that Crassus, Caesar and another leader, Pompey, make up the Triumvirate, the group that shares control of Rome and the provinces. Xena, impatient with Crassus' talk, immobilizes him long enough to remove his royal ring in order to prove to Caesar that she's captured him. But Crassus doubts an exchange will be possible, given how much Caesar and the people want Vercinix' execution.

Xena with Pompey


Xena and Gabrielle force their way into Caesar's palace to confront him directly. Holding up Crassus' ring, 

Xena escorts a shocked Caesar back to the boat to prove that Crassus is still alive. Caesar does not accept the trade right away since a huge gala has been planned for that evening to show off Vercinix and Caesar wants Xena to accompany him to the festivities. She agrees to attend the celebration, but knows that Caesar will never go through with the trade. She therefore devises a plan in which she and Gabrielle will make the switch themselves by placing Crassus in Vercinix's cell. Gabrielle thinks the plan is fine at first, but soon becomes reluctant when she realizes that Crassus might be killed in the end. Xena's only concern at this point is freeing Vercinix. After the gala that evening, Xena is able to make a clay mold of the keyhole to Vercinix's cell and has a key made before she returns to the boat. They must act fast because Caesar has decided to move up the execution.

The following day, Xena heads back into Rome leaving Gabrielle in charge of switching Crassus for Vercinix. As Gabrielle and Crassus make their way back into the city, they stop by a well for a drink of water. Unbeknownst to Crassus, Gabrielle laces his drink with a powdered drug. By the time they they hit the city's suburbs, they are causing quite a disturbance. Crassus is behaving like a drunken man and Gabrielle is pretending to be drunk as she "fights" with him. Soldiers drag them off and throw them into the prison cell iacross from Vercinix. Crassus falls to the floor in a stupor.

Later that night, Xena leaps up into Caesar's bedroom window, armed with a dagger secretly given to her by the devious Pompey. But Caesar has anticipated her arrival and she's thrown into Vercinix' cell. Xena and Gabrielle quickly begin to execute their escape. Gabrielle tosses the key to Xena and she unlocks the door. Crassus is still sleeping and Vercinix is fully aware of the plan when he calls the guard over and Xena slams him in the face with the door, knocking him out.

The following morning, as people stream into the Coliseum to witness Vercinix' execution, Caesar pulls out the dagger Pompey gave to Xena and lets Pompey know that he's aware of the warlord's attempt to double-cross him. As Xena is dragged from prison into the arena, Caesar proclaims that she has betrayed Rome and orders combat to begin. She is suddenly attacked by two merciless gladiators on galloping horses. Meanwhile, back at the prison, Gabrielle opens her cell door as the "guard" approaches her. It is Vercinix. Gabrielle is ready to sneak into the Coliseum to give Xena the signal that they've made it out of prison when she remembers that she needs to leave Crassus' ring with him so his life will be spared.

But when Vercinix sees what she's about to do, he informs her how evil Crassus really is. Back at the Coliseum, Xena is still battling the two horsemen, who appear to have gained the upper hand. But when she sees Gabrielle in the crowd, Xena really shows her stuff and stops just short of killing one of her attackers. Caesar is incensed and orders that she be thrown back into her cell. Next, "Vercinix," who is actually Crassus, is brought out to the arena as the "guard," who is really Vercinix, opens Xena's cell door. Caesar is shocked when he realizes that the man dragged before him is Crassus, not Vercinix, but he decides to go ahead with the execution anyway, knowing that it's what the bloodthirsty crowd wants. As the spectacle unfolds, Xena and Gabrielle are able to escape with Vercinix back to their boat.

Disclaimer[]

"Caesar's Palace was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, Crassus and the gladiators went down for the count."

Background Information[]

  • The final scene, where Gabrielle drops Crassus's Imperial Ring into the ocean, mirrors the final scene from the 1998 film, "Titanic", where Rose drops the Star of the Ocean necklace into the ocean.
  • This is the first time that Gabrielle has chosen, largely independently and with a clear head, to end someone's life.               
  • This episode takes place at the right time in Crassus's timeline. While governing Syria, he led a campaign against the Parthian Empire, with disastrous results. Xena kidnaps him from Syria.
  • Historically, Vercingix was indeed publicly executed, in 46 BCE. This happened a few years after Crassus's death in 53 BCE. The rift between Pompey and Caesar had begun with Crassus's death and ended with Pompey's defeat and subsequent assassination in 48 BCE, while Vercingix was still a prisoner of Rome but before his execution.
  • The title of the episode refers to a phrase attributed to Saint Augustine: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

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