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Season 6, episode 06
Last update: 02/21/03

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Series 606
Production number: V1406
Shooting dates: ---

1st release: 11/06/00
2nd release: 03/19/01

1st USA strip release: none
1st SF Channel release: none
1st Oxygen release: 2002

Script number: Season 6, Script 5
Shooting: ---
Pink: ---
Blue: ---

SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 3 BY Jill Hayhurst
COMMENTARY 4 BY Josh Harrison
COMMENTARY 6 by Cheryl Ande

William Gregory Lee (Virgil)
Ian Harcourt (Rubio)
John Wielemaker (alpha Male)
Mark Williams (Fire Maker)
Jason Palmer (Hosep)
Steve Tate (Djindar #1)
Story by Rob Tapert
Written by James Kahn
Directed by Rick Jacobson

Xena and Gabrielle are forced into a deadly confrontation with cannibals when they go in search of Virgil. Logline.

1st RELEASE: 11/06/00
An AA average of 3.4
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
X-Files (4.1, up 5% from last week)
Andromeda (3.7, down 3% from last week)
Xena (3.4, down 13% from last week)
Stargate SG-1 (3.3, up 14% from last week)
ER (2.8, down 7% from last week)
VIP (2.7, up 8% from last week) matched its season high.
Earth: Final Conflict (2.3/2.4)
Beastmaster (2.1/2.3)
Baywatch Hawaii/Maximum Exposure/The Lost World (2.0 each)
Back2Back/Sheena (1.9 each)
The Outer Limits (1.8/1.9)
The Invisible/Queen of Swords (1.7/1.8 each)
Relic Hunter (1.5)
Battle Dome (1.4)
The Immortal (0.7)

2nd RELEASE: 03/19/01
An AA average of 2.8


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Two men run through the woods. They are being chased by some monstrous-looking creatures who turn out to be men in animal skins. The men call out to each other; they are Virgil and Hosep. Hosep gets his foot caught in a trap, and the men/creatures get him. "Help me, Virgil!" he cries. Virgil watches as Hosep is carried away.

A deer stands in a glen. Gabrielle, with a bow and arrow, takes aim. She shoots, and misses. Xena says, good shot. Gabrielle says she is having a bad day. Xena says no, the deer is just having a better day than Gabrielle. Gabrielle says she supposes they will eat fish again. Xena says that's okay with her; Gabrielle was the one who had a taste for venison. Gabrielle looks sad. Xena looks concerned.

Xena and Gabrielle are in a canoe. They talk about finding Virgil and Hosep, whom they are meeting. They see a campsite, and stop. Xena says it's about four hours old. Gabrielle says there is blood on everything. Gabrielle wonders if it was theives. Xena finds a sword with a skull on it. No, she says. Not theives.

Virgil, who apparently followed the men/creatures to see about his friend, watches from the brush as men fight over food. He realizes that, on a spit over a fire, is a person. They have been skewered and coated with something, and have a tube sticking out of their mouth, and are being cooked. Virgil realizes these guys are cannibals.

Xena and Gabrielle, still in the canoe, call out for Virgil. Xena says she hopes they escaped down the river. They have a discussion about Gabrielle's killing of Desert Boy in Legacy. Gabrielle says her instincts are that of a warrior, but her judgment is not.

Virgil watches the cannibals a bit more, then takes off running. He sets off a trap or an alarm.

Xena and Gabrielle examine the waters and the river bank. They are still in the canoe. Xena says they are being watched. Xena says they have to keep going, but there is a waterfall up ahead, so they will soon have to go forward on foot.

Virgil runs for his life. He is chased and caught in a net. He is carried off.

Gabrielle tells Xena that if she'd listened to her heart, maybe Desert Boy would still be alive. Xena says she killed to protect Xena, and Xena says she is glad to know that she can trust her own life to Gabrielle. Especially right then. They are attacked from beneath the water. The canoe is skewered, and two guys come up after then. Xena and Gabrielle knock them both away. The two women make it to shore. More cannibals come up and attack them. They fight. Xena has three or more fellows. Gabrielle has fewer. Gabrielle gets one guy down, and she goes to stab him, but she sees Desert Boy, and hesitates. She gets stabbed in the side. Xena sees that Gabrielle is hurt, and calls her name. Gabrielle goes down, but keeps fighting. One of the guys picks Gabrielle up, and the bard yells for Xena. Gabrielle kicks and twists and ends up in the river, yelling for Xena as she goes in. Xena dives in after her, and they both head for the waterfall.

Gabrielle fights the water, and cries out for Xena. Her foot catches on something, and she is pulled under. Xena yells for Gabrielle, but can't find her. She dives down, searching. She eventually finds her and pulls her to shore, to a small water-filled cavern. Gabrielle is unconscious, but she spits up and comes to quickly. Xena holds her. Gabrielle says, what was with those guys, they kept biting us. Xena tells Gabrielle they were cannibals. Xena looks at Gabrielle's wound. Part of the blade is still in her side. Xena cuts in out, lecturing Gabrielle on not pausing during a fight as she does so. She tells Gabrielle she can't think about Desert Boy when she is fighting. Gabrielle tells Xena to can the lecture. Xena sends Gabrielle back into the cave, and goes out. She climbs a rock wall, but the cannibals, above, throw rocks at Xena until they knock her off and back into the water. Xena disappears beneath the water.

She reappears back in the cave with Gabrielle. Gabrielle's wound is festering. Gabrielle is shaking with fever and cold. Xena says they'll get out.

Virgil finds himself surrounded by hungry cannibals. He sees the bones of his friend being picked clean, and freaks. He starts fighting and is quickly conked on the head.

Xena holds Gabrielle, who is feverish. Hope? Gabrielle says. Is that you? I love you. I would never hurt you. My child. You have to go. She'll hurt you. She'll take you away. You don't understand.

Xena cries and says she does understand. "I understand everything."

The waters run red.

Virgil is awakened in a cell by a skinny man. There is lots of food and water for Virgil, to fatten him up. The skinny guy says he hasn't been eaten yet because he isn't fat enough; the cannibals are saving him for a rainy day.

Xena tells Gabrielle she is getting her out of the damp cave, because she is getting worse. Gabrielle says she has a last request. Xena says she doesn't want to hear it for another 50 years. Gabrielle tells Xena she doesn't want to be buried with the Amazons. She wants to buried with Xena and her family in Amphipolis. She says she is a part of Xena. "I love you," Gabrielle says. They clasp hands. Xena sheds silent tears. Xena says all of this is her fault, that she put Gabrielle on the wrong path. Gabrielle says any path is the right path, as long as she is with Xena.

Xena climbs the rock wall with Gabrielle strapped to her back. It is raining. Gabrielle is cold, wet, and feverish. Xena sees torches everywhere; they are pretty much surrounded. Xena tells Gabrielle to trust her. Then Xena does her war cry, and runs and hides. The cannibals come and find Gabrielle lying at the edge of the cliff. The cannibals take Gabrielle, and Xena watches them go. She follows them. Several cannibals attack her. She fights them.

Virgil sees the door to his cell open. Gabrielle is brought in. They have a brief reunion, then the cannibals return. They put Gabrielle on a table and force some stuff down her throat after looking at the wound in her side. Then they do mumbo jumbo and put herbs on her wound. Gabrielle is semi-conscious. The cannibals leave. The skinny guys says the cannibals will do anything to see that their meat doesn't go bad on them.

Xena, wearing a fur she took off of one of the cannibals who attacked her earlier, sneaks into camp.

Gabrielle tells Virgil to be ready when Xena comes. Xena watches the cannibals do chants and dances and eat people parts.

Xena goes to the waterfall. She uses her chakram to cut a tree, and her sword to cut trees, and she moves rocks, stones, and half the mountain to create a dam. She stops the waterfall.

Virgil nurses Gabrielle. Her fever breaks, but she is weak. Gabrielle tells Virgil this is her fault because she lost her nerve and couldn't kill a cannibal. Virgil says her compassion is a good thing. The cannibals come and take Gabrielle. Virgil says, take me instead. The cannibals carry off Gabrielle, and Virgil screams out her name a dozen times. Xena hears his cries, and starts running through the forest. She is attacked by more cannibals. She fights them.

Gabrielle sees human bones being picked clean.

Xena continues fighting the cannibals on the camp perimeter.

Gabrielle, tied up and on a stick, has stuff smeared all over her. Xena continues to fight. Gabrielle cries out for Xena just before a pipe thing is stuck into her mouth.

Xena does her war cry, and somersaults into camp. Gabrielle frees herself and picks up a big stick. She uses the stick as a staff and starts whacking. Xena does her fire trick, and then spills lots of liquids, and sets lots of fires. She tosses the chakram and it pops out a whole slew of cannibals. She tells Gabrielle to free Virgil and get to the horses. Xena fights off cannibals, and Virgil fights a few while Gabrielle leads the skinny guy to the horses. They get on the horses, and call to Xena. Xena gives the chakram one last toss, and then runs to the horses. They all ride away. The cannibals chase them.

Xena leads them to the dam. Xena says she is going back to lead the cannibals under the waterfall. She wants Virgil and Gabrielle to stay above, and cut the vine that is holding the stones and logs in place.

Four or five cannibals search for Virgil and Gabrielle, who hide.

Xena does her yell, and draws most of the cannibals after her. She runs, with the whole tribe chasing after her. Xena races through the woods. Gabrielle finds her sais, and remembers killing Desert Boy again. Xena gets beneath the waterfall. Up above, the cannibals see the vine. Gabrielle makes a decision and stabs the cannibal. Xena yells for Gabrielle to cut the vine. But Gabrielle is being attacked and is fighting off cannibals, as is Virgil. Xena faces the entire tribe. They come after her, all of them at once. "Gabrielle!" Xena cries. Gabrielle kills another cannibal, and then slices the vine. Everything begins to fall, and Xena does a super somersault and clings to the cliff wall while the logs, stones and water crash down on the cannibals.

Later, after they've all cleaned up, Xena asks Gabrielle how she feels "upstairs." Gabrielle says she feels better. She says she will learn to live with her mistakes. She says that is the way.

The skinny guy says, what way? Xena looks at him. Who are you, anyway? she says. The skinny guy starts to say something, but Virgil shuts him up. Xena and Gabrielle look at each other.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

Brrrr, CREEPY episode! Much of this whole 45 minutes was like the first 10 minutes of The Price (and I loved that episode, too) - the same foggy/smoky river, the same impending waterfall, the same lush jungle surroundings, very similar mysterious and horrendous natives. This could very well have been another Horde episode if they hadn't been defanged a couple of years ago.

The episode opens with two different parallels in one scene; Gabrielle's hunt. One parallel is to The Price, which opened with a peaceful fishing scene. This one opens with a peaceful failed hunting scene (loved the "what kind of wine goes with bark" joke) and a decision to go back to fishing. The second parallel is to the whole rest of the episode: Gabrielle begins the episode hunting, she and the rest of our intrepid crew spend the remainder of the episode being hunted.

Good Lord, I thought the Gab'in Hood look from Them Bones was nice - this one beats Them Bones hands down! (Although given the color, this one may be more a Gabb Scarlet.) Both Xena and Gab sport really nifty dusters at the beginning of the episode... too bad the river mysteriously eats them ten minutes into the episode. Damn you, river!

Small props blooper: Gabrielle hands to Xena her bow and quiver. In the closing shot of the scene, Xena is standing with the quiver, the bow... and an extra arrow clutched with the bow. No wonder she looks bemused.

The whole person-on-a-stick with a nice covering of mud was grrrrross. I was wondering if the giant reed in the mouth was the equivalent of one of those pop-up turkey basters - would the reed shoot out of the cook-ee's mouth when he was done?

The first battle with the cannibals is really cool - everybody was doing lots of twists and flips that looked pretty spiffy. My favorite move, though, was Gab's duck under a cannibal's swing. That was awesome! Sign of the times: Gabrielle almost seems to fare better than Xena against the cannibals at first. (Not for long, though.)

These cannibals must have been really unpopular in the playground, what with their penchant for biting. But they may have a career in pro boxing ahead of them!

Virgil's a lot more than "a little slow on the uptake", he's practically dead weight. He just saw his friend cooked and eaten in lots of drawn-out attack and spy scenes, and he couldn't figure out why the cannibals would feed him? Daddy's genes crop up at the most inopportune times.

Rubio... well, Rubio annoyed me. He didn't seem to serve any purpose except to tell everyone that the cannibals eat people and his name is Rubio. Over and over again. All with the charm of a carnival barker.

One of the reasons I really liked this episode was because Xena was back to the superhumanly, cheesily improbable - but with just enough effort and work to sell it with a proud flourish. Cliff-climbing 200 feet with 120 pounds of dead weight on the back in the cold and driving rain... YEOW!

Another reason I really liked this episode was because Xena pulls the kind of gutsy, tough decision that the Warrior Princess is famous for. She leaves Gabrielle for the cannibals to find, suffering in the dark while listening to Gab call her for help. But it works... Gab gets warm and dry (albeit mud-covered).

Xena's hopes for the way the cannibals would care for Gabrielle may have been pegged a little high. Their idea of healing was to feed some dope to her, sprinkle sesame seeds and oregano, and do a chant with a really gross baby rattle. Not real helpful.

Xena must be a veteran of the Warrior Corps of Engineers! She puts in a hellacious day's work damming a raging river and rigging it to open with a single ripcord. And all in time for dinner!

Virgil REALLY gets the shaft in this episode. He once again proves pretty useless as he shakes a flimsy cell door that a weakened Gabrielle later takes out with one kick. Loser alert.

How impressive! That shaman guy ate pure fat right in front of Gabrielle to prove how he defies heart disease. Gabrielle acts appropriately horrified.

How exactly does clothing, boots, jewelry, and weapons add to the taste of a bard?

True to XWP form, the episode wraps up with a rip-roarin' fight! Xena shows off her fire-breathing trick of yore (with a little help from computer graphics nowadays), which is especially handy against primitives who haven't learned yet to stop, drop, and roll. And by my count, she took out about 15 guys with one chakram throw, including penning in a half-dozen or so for half the fight.

I was amusing the heck out of myself by providing subtitles for the Cannibal language: "Ruuff! Ruuu! Ruuuf!" "Wait! She'll be tastier with this lovely lemon sauce!" "Ruuuf ruu ruuuf! Ruuf!" "She defies the laws of physics! RUN!" And then the whole thing degenerated into singing "WHOOOO LET THE DOGS OUT?" "RUUF! RUUF! RUF RUF!" and I had to quit.

Gabrielle's seasons-long angst about warrioring may finally be at an end. Her line "My reflexes are those of a warrior... I'm afraid my judgment's not" may be the wisest summation of her problem yet. In the end of the episode, she says that she will learn to live with her mistakes, which is also a very wise dissection of the issue. Gab's always wanted to be a warrior - including fighting for friends, family, and the Greater Good - but without paying the blood price that entails. Maybe she's finally willing to bear the cost of a necessary battle. She gets past her killing issues in a serious way as she offs three guys or so to get to the waterfall ripcord, and takes her hand in killing off a hundred or two. Maybe she can now take a "Gabrielle, Destroyer of Tribes" title to go with Xena's more fear-inspiring "Destroyer of Nations" moniker.


Wow, out of nowhere, Xena finally, FINALLY gets hit upside the head with a little guilt about Hope. This is the first time we get a hint that Xena may have seen her mad dog charge at baby Hope from Gabrielle's perspective... about time you woke up and smelled the matricide, Xena. This was an incredibly touching scene - mostly because Lucy not only nailed this scene, she smoothed it out, drilled it a pilot hole, and framed it.

The next shot of our heroines is of Gabrielle lying alone in a puddle in the cave... for a moment I was afraid Xena has gone off on another "She's better off without me" kick and left the poor bard. But instead, we got a new scene that may have been more heartstring-tugging than the first: a now clear-headed Gabrielle tells Xena that it's more important to be buried with her than with her tribe or her family. This could be the most heartfelt "I love you" we've heard yet. What a corker of a scene.

Awesome shot of Xena's war cry with the storm in the background. Fakey, but still awesome. In fact, the whole next few minutes in the storm is one cool shot after another - Xena hiding behind a tree lit by lightning, ducking into those convenient rays of light that show up even in raging night storms to highlight her eyes... it was a fun sequence.


This commentary is by Shana.

This one has a lot going on besides the plot, and it's going to be hard to project the actual "feel" of the episode. Before I go on with the review, I have to make some comments that have been bugging me for weeks now. I LOVE the new opening for this season. I think the clips are well chosen, and do a good job of representing the various elements of XWP. However, I'm just curious if anyone else is like me, and misses the SOUNDS of the old opening...the sound of Xena's cry as she raises her sword to Poseidon, the shout after "forged in battle", and the war cry after "the danger" in particular. I like the new sounds for the new opening, and they reflect the changes in Xena's tones from season to season, but it's taking some getting used to. And has anyone ever found out what causes the scrapes on the inside of Xena's right arm as she raises her sword in the final shot? Inquriing minds want to know!! And while I'm asking, has anyone ever bothered to explain how and why the Warrior Princess has a vaccination scar? Okay, enough stalling, now for "The Abyss."

Parts of this episode reminded me of The Price, which is one of my top ten favorite episodes. I think it was inevitable...Xena and Gabrielle are up against a group of people they know nothing about and can't communicate with. And these people are fierce. It's got to be disconcerting to be doing hand-to-hand combat with an opponent who just leans in and takes a BITE out of you! Eeeesh!! The episode opens in a way reminescent of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, only this time, instead of Joxer being on the run, it's Joxer, Jr. aka. Virgil. If I refer to JJ, that's Virgil, because that's how I think of him in my twisted mind. Actually, I came away from this episode feeling better about his character, but more on that later... By the way, for the record, there is absolutely NO mention of Eve in this episode. There are no shots of her or Virgil in next week's previews either, so perhaps they're not going to be seen for a while. They may have her own battles to fight. Okay, back to The Abyss, Virgil and some friend are high-tailing if through the forest. The friend is refered to as Hoseph, but I have no idea if the spelling is correct. It doesn't matter, as you only see about sixty seconds of him alive. They are being chased by grunting growling men in pig heads, who are apparently intelligent enough to set some traps in the forest. Hoseph falls into one, and is immediately captured. He screams to Virgil for help, and while JJ looks very angst ridden, he isn't stupid (smart?) enough to try to rescue his friend. Instead, he maintains a safe distance, and follows them. Cut to Gabbin Hood, who is looking adorable in her tan long coat. I don't know what the weather conditions were when this was shot, but it certainly LOOKED cold. Gabbin Hood takes aim at a deer with her (is it really hers?) trusty bow and arrow, and THWACK! misses the deer completely and hits a tree that will never live to eat someone's garden again! Xena approaches in her long leather cloak and quips, "Nice shot! Just don't know what kind of wine goes with bark." (Enjoy the humor while it lasts, because there is VERY LITTLE in this episode). Gabs says "So we'll have fish. That's what people do while they're on the river." Xena replies after a very funny eye roll, "Fish is all right with me...you're the one who said she wanted venison." Gabs gives a slight sheepish smile, and says "I'm having a bad day." Xena says, referring to the deer, "Nah, he's having a good day. It's all on how you look at it." Despite the light talk, there's a very somber note to this scene...the music is very reflective and the expressions in Xena and Gabs show that not all is right with the world. A very effective set up is in place.

The next scene cuts to Xena and Gabs in a canoe, once again reminescent of The Price. Gabrielle comments "This river is so calm," to which Xena replies with a warm smile, "I was hoping it would have an effect to you." That earns a nice smile from Gab. They spot Virgil's and Hoseph's campsite, and Xena: Warrior Tracker determines it's four hours old. Gabs says everything is covered in blood, and Xena decides they escaped in their canoe, running (paddling?), for their lives. Now we cut back to Virgil, who is hiding and watching what's happening at the pig people's camp, and I'll tell you, it ain't pretty!! TPTB seem to be going for broke this season with the shock effect...it's extremely disturbing to see a human being covered in SOMETHING, slowly being turned on a spit. There's some rather large object shoved in Hoseph's mouth, and he is in an unusual position, sort of a somersalt position, and is slowly being turned so he cooks evenly. Blech!! Cut to opening credits...and yes, that IS Virgil that Gabs is hugging in the new opening, as you'll see before the end of the episode. After the commercial, Xena and Gabs are still in the canoe, and the first serious conversation unfolds. Gabrielle comments she doesn't know what's wrong with her, and she and Xena discuss the events of The Legacy. Xena is trying to reassure Gabs that she did what she had to do, but Gabrielle isn't buying. She comments, "My reflexes are those of a warrior, I'm afraid my judgement's not. I think that's a bad combination." Interesting thought there. Gabs goes back to calling out Virgil's name. He is terrified, watching the roasting of his friend, and takes off running. He trips over a vine, and a crow calls out, alerting the pig people. Anyone seen The Stand? I'd swear that was Randall Flag calling out to the Pig People! Hee hee!

Xena and Gabrielle find Virgil's canoe and Xena ascertains by examining it that it broke up "no more than a few hours ago." Gabs asks "how can it break up?" but Xena: Warrior Psychic kicks in and says they're being watched. They need to keep going, but there's a waterfall up ahead so they'll have to travel by land. Of course, they're being watched by people that are on land. Oh yeah, ominous storm clouds are moving in. Things are looking bad. JJ is on the run from the Pig People, but he can't avoid being captured. Uh huh. He's netted and hauled off from the picture. Cut back to Xena and Gabs who haven't ditched the canoe yet, and more very serious conversation. Gabs wants to know if she'd listened to her heart, would Desert Boy still be alive. Xena replies, "You did listen to your heart. You thought he was going to kill me. You thought you were trying to protect me." Then Xena proceeds to tell her a trained warrior would have never come up behind her. Was that supposed to make Gabs feel better? It certainly didn't make me feel any better! That made Desert Boy sound like even less of an actual threat! Anyway, Xena's ears prick up and she says she's glad she can trust Gabs with her life, and here comes the attack! The pig people must have studied with the Hoarde, because they hide under the water too! Xena and Gabrielle make it to shore, and the real fight begins. There are pig people all over the place, and it's quite a battle!

More than once Xena is overwhelmed, and although no blood is shown, apparently, more than one pig gets a mouthful of her! Gabs gets one of the pig people on the ground, raises her sai for the kill, and you guessed it, can't do it because she sees Desert Boy's face. Instead, for her trouble, she takes a knife in the side! Yeow! Xena screams in horror, but has to keep fighting, and Gabs does the same, although she's wounded seriously. One of the pig people takes a chunk out of Gab's thigh, then picks her up and tosses her in the river. It's so good to hear Gabrielle yell out Xena's name when she's in trouble! Xena takes out a couple more pig people, then dives in the river rampage after her, and begins screaming out Gab's name. Cut to some really bad editing where one second, Xena has on the overcoat and the next second she doesn't, and then a really interesting thing happens. Gabs is still screaming for Xena, but her foot catches on a vine under the water, and she quits screaming. My question is, did Gabs even try to escape the vine? It doesn't look like it would have been that difficult to pull her leg away, but she doesn't try. She just goes under the water and stays there. As the fade to commercial ensues, Gabs is floating lifeless under the water. Did I mention this episode was intense? :o) Xena, Warrior Lifeguard finds Gab underwater, and hauls her butt to the surface. She takes her to a small cave in the river bank, talking to her the whole time. There's no place that's totally dry, but Xena gets her in as shallow a spot as she can. Xena doesn't even have to try mouth-to-mouth, Gabs spits some waters on her face and she's awake. Xena kisses her forehead audibly, then they have to take care of her side. If I'm not mistaken, Xena reaches into Gab's boot for one of her sais to take the "bit of blade" out of Gabrielle's side, and more serious talk ensues. Xena is chiding Gabrielle for hesitating in the fight...she knows what happened. Gabrielle is actually agreeing with her, and Xena lets ups on her, telling her she needs to conserve energy. She tells Gabs she'll be right back. Now it's time for Xena: Warrior Rockclimber. I'm a person who talks to the television screen, and i was yelling almost immediately. Why would Xena try to climb a cliff when she knows the pig people are at the top of it? I don't have warrior sense, and I knew they were there. Oh well, hee hee, they throw some rocks and bones down on her, and knock her off the cliff, and she falls back into the water and goes back to Gabrielle. Now comes the REALLY serious stuff. The big secret. Actually, I'm not sure if I missed something during this scene. From rumors I heard earlier in the week, I expected something REALLY earthshaking... I only felt it to be a little tremor, but maybe I missed something. I'm sure someone will correct me if I did....Here's the scene. Last chance to turn back!! Xena swims back to the cave, and takes Gabrielle on her lap, rubbing her to warm her.

Xena: You're wound's getting worse.
Gabrielle (shivering) We're in a pretty tough spot.
X : We've been in rough scrapes. We're gonna' get you out of her. Count on it.
(These girls are really cold. And it makes the colors in the face all the more vivid. Wowee!)

The scene moves to JJ threatening the pig people by saying he knows Xena the great warrior is going to rescue him before he sees the remains of Hoseph. As for Hoseph's remains, all I can say is blech again! He makes a break for it, but it doesn't work. More ominous storm clouds roll in, thunder rumbles, and we're back in the cave. At this point, Xena is looking almost worse than Gabrielle. She is pretty distraught. As she strokes Gabrielle's head...

G: Hope...
X: Did you say something?
G:My baby...
Gabrielle reaches up with her hand. Xena takes it, kisses it, then holds it to her face, tears in her eyes.
G: Is it you?
X: Yeah, it's me.
G: I love you. I would never hurt you. You know that don't you?
X: I know.
G: You're my child.
Now I have to interject here, before I continue. Anyone who has seen Fins, Femmes, and Gems, knows that look on Xena's face when Gabrielle is talking about the one person for her, whom Xena assumes it's her, and then finds out is Gabrielle. Forgive me, but the look on Xena's face reminds me of that episode. It's not the same expression, and the tones of the scenes are TOTALLY OPPOSITE, but Xena's look of disappointment when she realizes Gabrielle is talking about Hope instead of her is DEVASTATING. My heart aches just to watch it. Wow!! The facial expressions of these two are so revealing. Unbelievably painful! Okay, back to the scene...
G: We have to go. We have to go, she'll hurt you...she'll take you away from me.
X: You have to rest. You don't have to go anywhere.
Tears are pouring down Xena's cheeks.
G: You don't understand...
X: I do understand.
She reaches down to draw Gab's face to hers.
X: I understand everything.
And that's it. Seeing it in print is not going to make up for seeing it on screen, but anyone who can watch this exchange without feeling pain is beyond me. I always assumed Gabrielle and Xena understand the other's actions during the third season, but maybe they didn't discuss it in full. At any rate, it's obvious that Xena now fully comprehends Gabrielle's thoughts when she spared Hope. Sheesh...I'm bawling as I type this!! Back at the camp, Virgil is locked up in a room with another prisoner and a table full of food and drink. Virgil learns that he is suppose to fatten up, so he'll be a more tasty morsel for the pig people. The only other real humor is in this scene. Virgil tells the other prisoner (Rubio), that Xena will save him, and Rubio wants to keep calling her some warrior named Zebra. Virgil corrects him, but I couldn't help picturing Meg..."That's Xena, with a capital Z!" The emotional roller coaster continues as we cut back to the cave...Rain, thunder and lightening are pounding the night sky. Gabrielle is shivering violently with the cold. It's night, and Xena swims into the cave. You guys are going to love this part! I'm getting more Kleenex out...
X: Gabrielle, Gabrielle?
G: Yeah...
X. The time's come. We're getting you out of here, all right?
G: Yeah. (Xena starts tying a vine around Gab's waist.)
G: Xena, I have a last wish.
X: I don't want to hear it.
G: No. I'm serious....You don't want to know?
X: What is it, then?
(Personal note...I LOVE THIS PART!!!)
G: I don't want to be buried with the Amazons
X (trying to make light of it): All right, well in fifty years when the time comes-
G: Xena...I wanna lie with you. With your family...Please?
X: What about your family?
G: I love them...but I'm a part of you...I want it to be like that forever.
She grasps Xena's hand and pulls it close to her.
G: I love you.
Xena is speechless...just one big tear rolling down her cheek. The expressions on their faces...well...I'm speechless too.
G: This is all my fault.
X: This is not your fault. This is not your fault. It's mine for setting you on a path you were never meant to walk.
G: Any path is okay, Xena, as long as it's with you.
X (her confidence restored, temporarily) I'm setting you on a path that's warm and dry.
It ain't over yet, folks, but now Xena, Warrior Stretcher takes over, and with Gabrielle strapped to her back, Xena scales the cliff. This time, there are no pig people to throw rocks at them, and with a huge cry of anguish, Xena makes it to the top and lowers Gabs to the ground. This next part is a little tricky, but it's my overactive imagination at work... Gabrielle is in bad shape. She can't walk on her own. Xena looks up and sees the pig people approach with torches. She knows she can't escape with Gabs. She rouses Gab and tells her to not be afraid and to trust her. Then Xena stands up and does her war cry, alerting the pig people to their location. Xena retreats to the trees and hides. The rain is pouring down. The pig people surround Gabrielle and haul her off. Gabrielle is desperately screaming Xena's name. Xena watches, but her expression is unreadable. As we fade to commercial, the camera focuses on Xena's face. Gabrielle's final scream sounds, and the look on Xena's face is terrifying. Something is very wrong.

Did I mention this episode is intense? The pig people are carrying Gabrielle back to camp. Xena is watching from a distance, her face reminding me of her expressions in Ties that Bind, when she went ballistic at the end. There's an excellent shot of her face moving into a spotlight of sorts. Man! Some of the pig people spot Xena and attack. No problem for Xena, and she secures a nifty pig's head in the process. That'll come in handy. Gabrielle is thrown in the same place as Virgil and Rubio. I like Virgil in this scene. He immediately moves to comfort Gabrielle, and tells Rubio to shut up. When the pig people come in, he tells them to take him instead. Of course, they don't listen, and instead, lay Gab's down on a table. They force her to drink something. She doesn't like it, but has to swallow. They do a little voodoo over her, and leave. Virgil says they were healing her, but I wasn't sure what was going on. Virgil says she needs to rest, because he's going to get her out of here. Gabs looks up and whispers "Be ready when Xena comes." Poor JJ...he had to feel like Dad did when Gabs would spurn him for Xena! But it's well acted, and Virgil is very good in this scene. He doesn't overestimate himself, and says "I will." Meanwhile, Xena has ditched the pig's head (it had to smell in there!), and is skulking around the camp. She sees the pig people eating some human back ribs, and takes off. Hmmm....My brain was saying what's up with this? I suppose her expressions were misleading for a reason, but I was beginning to wonder if all was right in Xena's brain. Cut to the next day and Xena: Warrior Lumberjack. It seems like Xena is doing some redecorating at the river. I love the music that plays over these scenes! I don't know if I've heard it before, I'm not the best at remembering musical scores, but the music was awesome! It sounded so triumphant, and watching Xena's expression as she cut down trees with her sword made me realize she was well aware of what she was doing, and didn't doubt her success. Whoo! A breath of fresh air!! Back at the camp, Virgil and Gabrielle talk about Gabs hesitation to kill the pig person. Her fever has broken and she's totally lucid now. She gives him the hug shown in the opening credits Virgil says: "Never apologize about your compassion, Gabrielle. It's one of the most beautiful things about you." Very nice!

The pig people come in and take Gabrielle. Virgil tries to stop them, but he can't. He sounds more authoratative than his dad, but isn't much more effective. I do think he has the same heart as his father though. He screams Gabrielle's name, and Xena: Warrior Hearing Aid hears it from across the forest. She takes off at a run, fighting off a few pig people in the process. One of them takes a nice chunk out of her ankle. You know, this is really demented, but I was thinking those pig people would really love to get a hold of Xena. Here's a woman with some meat on her bones! Back at the camp, Gabrielle is getting to witness in the daylight, some of these people at mealtime. Someone needs to teach them some table manners! Nothing more disgusting than watching a cannibal at work! Xena is very feral in this fighting. No gleeful laughs or wicked grins here...only snarling and menacing sneers. I think it's because she really didn't know if Gabs was all right or not. Gabs has been tied into the tuck position and is being covered in a nice cornmeal breading. Gushy! I'm sure you've seen it in the previews. A toilet paper tube is stuck into her mouth, and the commercial comes...darn it! Okay, it wasn't really a toilet paper tube, but at least you can picture in your mind what it looks like! It's hard to read Gabs expressions with that tube in her mouth, but when Xena's war cry sounds, the relief is very evident in her eyes. Virgil is estatic. Xena: Warrior Acrobat arrives on the scene right after her chakram cuts Gabs loose, and the fight is on! Gabs seems fairly recovered, picks up the spit she was on, and begins using it as a staff. There's no time for mushy talk, but the grins on Xena and Gabs faces as they get close to each other are heartwarming. Xena breathlessly tells Gabrielle to get Virgil and get to the horses, then blows fire at a few pig people.

It's shown from head on, and if it isn't Lucy blowing her own fire again, it's very good special effects! Just as a slight aside, how does Xena always know whatever liquid she picks up is going to be flammable? Must be the Xena: Warrior Arsonist in her. It would be so anticlimactic to see her put out the torch because what she thought was alcohol was actually water! Xena continues to do damage at the camp, torching it in places, and doing some damage with her chakram. The ones who don't believe in the magical powers of the chakram, ala. Coming Home are going to hate this part! Gabs frees Virgil, who proceeds to do quite a bit of fighting that his father was never capapble of. Xena is enjoying this part of the fight much more, and a few grins slip through. She knows Gabrielle is safe. Suddenly, out of thin air, three horses appear. Maybe they were shown earlier, but that's the first I saw of them! Rubio hops on with Gabs and the group rides into the forest. They come across the spot in the woods where Xena had been playing Home Alone, and Gabs comments, "Looks like the cannibals weren't the only ones cooking something up." Virgil asks what the plan is, and Xena says she's going back to lead the pig people into her trap. Gabs and Virgil are to cut the vine to spring the trap. Rubio is to take the horses and get out of Dodge. He doesn't argue, and neither do Gabs or Virgil. Xena runs off through the forest, and does a cry to get the pig people on her trail. That girl sets a mean pace. Meanwhile, Gabs and Virgil have to face a few pig people who apparently didn't like their meals on the run. Gabs has an extended flashback to Legacy. Her struggle isn't over. By the way, she's still covered in breading. Xena is taunting her pursuers. At one poiint, she turns and says, "Come on, Piggies". Hmmmm...who does that remind anyone of? :o) "Dinner's calling!" Xena jibes as she continues to run. Meanwhile, Gabs and Virgil are struggling up above. Xena is shouting, "Gabrielle, now!" but isn't getting a response. Her back is against the cliff at the edge of the river, and the pig people are closing in. Xena calls again, desperate now. Guess what? Gabs HAS to kill one of the pig people, and this time, she does it, an almost joyful expression on her face. She KNOWS she has to kill, or Xena will be the main course at a human barbcue without the barbcue. She skewers the pig, and cuts fhe vine. Xena: Warrior Flywoman hangs on to the side of the cliff as all the pig people are swept into Lucifer's lair. Xena had dammed the river in more ways than one. There will be a pork fest in Hell tonight! Okay, enough bad puns, the final scene has Rubio gorging on fruit, he can put some meat on his bones now. Xena is bemoaning the condition of her sword, but stops to ask Gabs how she is upstairs. Gabrielle says: I did what I had to do. I will learn to live with my mistakes, no matter how terrible they may be. That's the way. Rubio asks, "What way?" Xena looks at him, and says, "Who are you, anyway?" LOL! Virgil shuts Rubio up, and then there's a slow mo shot of Xena and Gabrielle looking at each other. It's very weird to me...why slow motion? It has a note of finality to it that doesn't settle well with me.

But I like their pink cheeks...it looks like it was VERY cold there. So that's it...of all the episodes this season, this one had the most Classic Xena feel to it. There are many plot holes in it, and in reality, nothing is learned about the cannibals, but it's obvious the focus of this episode was to be the relationship between Gabrielle and Xena, and Gabrielle's guilt. It was an emotional journey, at least for me, and extremely well acted. I give it two thumbs up. The disclaimer, for anyone interested, is "Virgil's appetite was suppressed during the making of this motion picture." Next week's previews are intriguing, with Xena in a gold Hermes hat talking about creating monsters. Only one shot of Gabs though, so it may be less of a Xena/Gabs excursion. Still looks very intriguing though!


This commentary is by Jill Hayhurst.

1 lb. bread crumbs
1 cup salt
1 cup pepper, coarse
1/2 cup cinnamon
1 cup sage
1/4 cup nutmeg
1 doz. eggs, preferably chicken
6 apples
2 lemons
2 lbs new potatoes
3 cloves garlic

... and one long pig. Yummers, eh? But it's like the rabbit stew recipe, first thing ya gotta do, is catch the rabbit. Who's usually running at a heck of a clip. In a remarkable coincidence, so's Virgil and Friend. (Friend's name is unimportant, for reasons we'll get into in a minute, right about the time we compute his stats for the half-mile obstacle course run.)

Whoops! Game over for that boy. Shame, he had such a future, too. His pursuers surround him and cart him off while Virgil watches from the cover (if I can call it that) of a clump of spindly birches.

Switch scene to a peaceful forest, where happy woodland creatures gambol about the glade, and Gabrielle, in a breathtaking reddish brown suede coat (and understated though sparkly foundation), draws down on a buck. She misses, and trades quips with Xena while retreiving her arrow. Since they can't have venison, they'll have fish. They're travelling on a river, after all, and are they anywhere near where they're supposed to meet Virgil & Whatshisname?

They get in their canoe and paddle down this peaceful, idyllic river, pondering, no doubt, the ease with which they are able to remain in almost constant contact with their friends and family, despite what one might logically consider to be the limitations of pre-Mycenian telecommunications, to the point where they can arrange exact meeting times and places through doing no more (so far's we can tell) than wishing it were so. We couldn't do better with cell phones and pagers, not to mention GPS. Alas and alackaday, how much have we lost since we've become civilized and modern?

They're looking for Virgil and Whosit's campsite, Gab's doublechecking the radio collar frequency and Xena looks up to see smoke billowing out over the treetops on the near bank. That's them, she says. I'm thinking it might be someone else unless the park rangers have restricted access already this season, and it turns out Xena's right, it is their campfire. They're not there, though, and they've let it burn while they wandered away in direct violation of park safety rules, this is just terrible, good thing it's X&G and not the rangers this time. Looking around, Gab says there's blood everywhere, and Xena pulls up a wand or stake or something with an old skull pinioned on one end. From this she deduces that Virgil and Thingie were in serious danger, escaped in their canoe and were running for their lives.

Well. It's like magic. Let's us mortal folk try to follow the Warrior Princess' reasoning:

1. They were in danger: okay, they did go off and leave the fire going. Surely Virgil's more responsible than that. He's a poet, after all. Oh, yeah-- there's all that blood, too.

2. They escaped in their canoe: this one's a bit shakier. True, there's no canoe around, but it could've sunk or slipped its painter.

3. They were running for their lives: this is a major leap, not to mention illogical, since it doesn't fit with the canoe theme. Either they're running around (for their lives or maybe just for the gold) or they're paddling down the river in a canoe. Skull-stake or no skull-stake, I'm not budging on this one.

It actually doesn't matter what I think of her logic, since she's right about the one salient point-- they were running for their lives. And Virgil, like a true survivor, concentrated on only running faster than his companion. He'll need therapy for that someday, but for right now, he's still alive. In an effort no doubt to mitigate his guilt, he's followed the guys what captured Dinkums to their encampment, not terribly closely since they've had time enough and to spare to encase Doofus in clay or something similar and wrap him around a big ol' spit over a roaring fire.

This is just too strange. I don't normally prepare people for the cookfire, truly I don't, a good marbled beefsteak is ever so much nicer, but if I were to contemplate doing so, I'm sure that the better way is to first gut and skin them and then spit them up their middles for more even cooking of the meat. Gutting is important to remove those juices and other bits that tend to flavour meat unfavourably, and skinning gives the cook the opportunity for herb rubs and other nice additives. Binding the carcass (or in this case, the live body) head-up around the spit and then covering it with clay slip or whatever that was, without even undressing it first, and spinning it over a hot fire is simply asking for the outside to be burnt and the inside to be raw.

So these are particularly stupid cannibals we're dealing with here. Or perhaps the people-cooking thing is not so much a main dietary staple as a religious rite. Like Eli's laying on of hands thing, only more involved. From their regalia, one must assume that they're good enough hunters to bring down plenty of wild boar, and that is no mean feat, so it's not like they're underfed.

Anyway, Virgil can see his buddy (however did he recognize him? From the way the breathing tube sticks out of his mouth? Did I really go there?) spinning round and round, and the painted ponies going up and down-- sorry-- and a wee tear escapes his eye just as the title sequence cranks into full swing.

In the non-sequitur of the ep, when we get back to the action, Gabrielle and Xena are floating down the river in their canoe again, calling for Virgil, and Gabrielle remarks that she doesn't know what's wrong with her (they're in a difficult and potentially dangerous situation, they've lost radio contact with their mother ship and one of their scouts is missing, she'd have to be chugging Xanax not to be disturbed) and Xena says it's cos she's still upset over killing Desert Boy. Right. Okay, maybe she is, but it's not like she doesn't have plenty else to weigh on her sense of well-being.

Anyone else get the feeling that Xena's trying to talk about something that Gab doesn't want to discuss and that this is the forty-eleventh time they've had this talk and Gabrielle's getting just a bit tired of it? She resumes calling for Virgil, but he's too busy to pay any attention. He's still spying on the cannibal camp and watching as Fine Young Cannibal wrestles with Gary Busey Cannibal over a bone or haunch, when he decides he's seen enough and takes off for the hills. He is Joxer's son, though, a factoid we're not let to forget when he trips up over a trap thingie and sets the alarm (raven in a cage) to sounding. The entire cannibal crew immediately drops everything and rushes to investigate. Whoopsie.

Meanwhile, X&G have found the remains of the boys' canoe. It's not in good shape. Gabrielle asks how it could have broken up-- I gots news for ya, Gab, them grass canoes are not that sturdy. A few blows from a skull-wand and they're naught more'n kindling. (Weather report: storm clouds are moving in at a clip that in Oklahoma would indicate another trailer park is about to be airborne.)

The cannibals are closing in on Virgil. Looks like he's used up his good luck for the day. They net him, knock him unconcious and carry him off. Back on the river, X&G are still hashing over the thing in the desert. Xena gets in the last word just when Navy SEAL cannibals surface from under their canoe. They go for shore and make a stand on the bank. Things are going our grrls' way until Gabrielle has a bit of a break with reality and loses her momentum. She also takes a stab in the abs. Xena comes to her aid just as her guy tosses her into the river. We'll never know why he did that. Maybe the larder's full just now. Maybe they've caught they're limit that day, or she's too small. Them parkies can be fierce about stuff like that.

Xena dives in after her. It takes a bit, but she finds Gab's unmoving, floating body in the middle of the pre-rapids chaos. (Wizard corner: Gabrielle went into the water in that fine, fine coat. We see her wearing it while unconcious and floating. Xena reaches her in the next camera cut-- no coat.) Xena pulls her into the safety of a cave in the river bank and revives her. Then she pulls out a bit of knife blade. This is still the 'hurt' part of the 'hurt/comfort' sequence. Then Xena leaves Gabrielle to recuperate in the back of the cave while she swims out and attempts to climb up the now-steep riverbank by means of the vines from ANE. No joy there, the cannibals are up top with rocks and bits of skulls and bones and whatnot to knock her off with.

What's up with this? Just because they're cannibals don't mean they festoon themselves with skeleton parts, no more than any other primitive yet highly evolved nomadic hunter/gatherer society. Sheesh.

Okay, so Xena swims back to where Gabrielle is rapidly succumbing to hypothermia. (Shame about that coat. Mean old wizard.) Back in Cannibal City, the first bunch is re-entering with Virgil. (We get a fine shot of the camp surroundings here, enough to notice that whatever you may say about their dietary oddities, these people gots *way* better canoes than X&G or Virgil. At least one looked like fiberglass.) Fine Young Cannibal looks over the goods and appears to congratulate Gary Busey Cannibal. I think FYC's in charge and GBC's his first mate or something. The rest of 'em have about finished with Tweedledee on the spit, so my guess (and Virgil's) would be that ol' Virg is gonna be the next entree, whenever that's served. He screams some more and they whack him to shut him up.

In the cave, Gabrielle is hallucinating on Xena's lap. She's talking to Hope, but it's Xena making the responses. It's very poignant. Both hurt and comfort.

Outside, it's raining. Creek's rising, too. In the cannibal camp, though, the sun is shining brightly through the bars of Virgil's prison. He's not alone, there's a clown in there with him who brings him up to speed on why he shouldn't chow down on all the nice melons and nanners and sweetcakes and such in there with them. Virgil insists that Xena will be along to rescue them any time now. The clown is happy either way: rescue's nice, but if "Zebra's" captured, well, that's yet another one in line for the cookfire ahead of him.

In the cave, the river's fixing to flood our grrls out. Gabrielle tells Xena she wants to be buried with her. Xena is very touched. This is the 'comfort' part of the hurt/comfort thing. Suck it up, kids, it's as good as it gets. Then Xena ties Gabrielle to her back with a fistful of vines and heads for the steep bank again. This time, she makes it. It's very heroic. Gab's barely coherent, so when Xena explains her plan, she's not interrupting with any queries as to which of them just spent all that time off her head.

The plan is that Xena lures the cannibals to where she's left Gabrielle. Sound good so far? It gets better. The cannibals will capture Gabrielle and take her back to their camp, where it's odds-on she'll go to the top of the menu. Apparently, Xena figures that they won't want to eat a sick, raving person, but will first make Gabrielle comfortable, dry her off, give her a nice blankie or tanned hide to wrap up in, send in a nurse with her flu shot and only then will they do a shake -n- Gab-bake.

Now this is why Xena's a Warrior Princess and I'm just a biker chick. Checking with recent history, I'd have focused on how, when the cannibals last had an armful of battlin' bard, they chucked her in the river. I'd be a mite concerned they'd do that again. But not Xena-- she *knows*. And it plays out just like she said it would. The cannibals capture Gab and haul her back to camp, where they toss her in with Virgil, who wraps her up in a sheepskin. He tries to tell her he'll save her, but she harrumphs and says for him just to be ready when Xena comes. Then the cannibals bust in the prison, probe her wound and medicate her (using some kind of clear liquid poured from a skull. This tribe has a real thing for bones.). The camera notices that she still has her sais. The cannibals do not. Within just a few ticks, she's right as rain.

Which, by the way, has stopped falling. Xena knows to make hay while the sun shines, and she does. She sets to chopping trees down with her sword (don't try this at home. Parkies are everywhere.) and floating them down the river (the ends are cut clean as hot wire cuts butter, wonder if she's motorized that blade?), loosing boulders with the aid of her trusty Light&Dark Chakram and hauling them up more trees using tar-coated vines (they grow abundantly throughout most of the Xenaverse's wilder areas). The music's pretty cool, too.

Meanwhile, Virgil's comforting Gabrielle and she's comforting him. It's very innocent and sweet. He saying he'll take care of her. Then the cannibals come in and haul her off. Guess it's time for elevenses. In the forest, Xena hears Virgil shouting "Gabrielle!" (that being the extent of his ability to take care of anyone, witness his care for his buddy at the top of the ep) and takes it as her cue to begin Part 1 of The Plan. She finds some handy cannibals (they weren't very far away) and starts a fight.

Guess they were the outlying guards. She pummels them into oblivion as back in camp, Gab's strapped to the spit and is being smeared with pink mud. She doesn't like it. She's still dressed, too, hell-- she's still armed. Don't seem to help much, though, but I'll bet it wouldn't have improved her taste. Certainly not her boots.

Xena busts into camp before they can lift Gab onto the supports. More butt-kicking, very nice fight. Gab's freed almost immediately, and Xena tells her to get Virgil and get to the horses. As soon as Virgil and the clown are free, Virg starts in with a pair of hammers, doing some stellar work. All around cannibals are scurrying to and fro, carrying bundles mostly, while the better-paid cannibals are earning their money being whupped up on and tossed around. Virgil, Gabrielle and the clown make it to the cannibals' horses, and then pick up Xena, and they beat a fast retreat with FYC hot to chase after them, as soon as the cannibals get all their stuff put away.

Time for Part 2 of The Plan: Xena's dammed the river at Point A. At Point B, Gabrielle and Virgil are to wait for Xena's signal. Xena will be down in the dry river bed at Point C with as many cannibals as she can tease into following her. On her signal, Gabrielle and Virgil are to cut the vine holding the key bits of the dam (Point A) in place.

Xena races off to Point D, where most all the cannibals are waiting. A few of them got lost, though, and wandered around to Point B, and Gabrielle and Virgil gotta hide right quick. Gabrielle draws a sai, and has another flashback to killing Desert Boy. This is getting to be as prevalent as the snowy Romans of season four. Meanwhile, Xena's got the pack down in the river bed with her, and unlike recently drained river beds in the rest of the known world, it is bone dry and easy to dance around on. Just as well, since Part 2 depends on fancy footwork.

Back at Point B, Gabrielle sneaks up on the cannibal fooling with the vine she's supposed to cut, and stabs him in the heart from behind, like she shoulda done at the top of the ep. Guess she's gotten over herself. Then, of course, she and Virgil have to deal with the rest of the crew up there, and they're a bit tougher.

Unfortunately for timing, Xena's in place at Point C and hollaring for the vine to be cut. She has some really tense moments before Gabrielle finally finishes off the last cannibal. He was between her and the vine. His bad luck. Meanwhile, GBC got Xena's sword in his gut, which is all to the good.

The vine finally cut, the whole dam comes crashing down on top of Xena and the cannibals (not a rock group. yet.), or rather just the cannibals since Xena: Spider Princess lept over the lot of them and glommed onto the rock wall bank on the opposite side. It's a minor apocalyptic mess, as cannibals are slammed into fishfood by boulders and logs and river trash. FYC gets it about now. In case anyone's keeping score.

Later, after Xena and Gabrielle and the extras have gotten back together, Gabrielle tells Xena she'll learn to live with her mistakes, no matter how terrible, and that *that's* the way. The Way? That? Well, maybe if she works on it a bit, gets a consulting group involved in the wording, she can make something of it. In the meantime, if it takes her mind off Desert Boy, it's doable.

All in all, classically cool ep. Hurt/comfort, unredeemably bad opponents, sensitive chats, Xena doing superhuman (but not too much) stunts and making hard choices. Gabrielle doing human stunts and making hard choices. Extras who stay extras and don't try to be love interests. And several fine fights.


This commentary is by Josh Harrison.

Even from a wonderful show like Xena: Warrior Princess, one cannot expect perfection all the time. In fact, half the fun of the show (especially in the earlier years) is looking for the little imperfections - some accidental, some intentional. These little quirks are part of the show's charm, and when they are part of an enjoyable story they can be forgiven.

One of those little quirks - well, it's really a big quirk - is part of this week's episode. I'll get to it a little later. Fortunately, the story itself is pretty solid and makes for an enjoyable hour.

I'm not completely sure why this episode is called "The Abyss". Is it a reference to the deluge dumped on the barbarian cannibals at the end? Is it a reference to the spiritual depths Gabrielle climbs her way out of? I'm not certain.

Several references came to mind while watching this episode, however. Some of them were to previous Xena episodes, while others - in true RenPic fashion - are to other sources.

The barbarian cannibals and the terror they embodied brought to mind the Horde from "The Price". But where the Horde turned into the "noble savage" presented in "Daughter of Pomira", the men in this episode were barely more than beasts. There were no apparent redeeming features of these folk - they were rabid animals that needed to be put down, nothing more.

In fact, their costuming contributed to this notion. They wore boar pelts, with the head (and tusks) still attached. When fully garbed, they were barely recognizable as human. Only two of the barbarians were given faces - the tribe's shaman, and the war leader.

Another thing I noticed was the apparent lack of women in the tribe. How could a society develop to this point (with rituals and beliefs and so forth) without women to continue the family lines? It isn't a significant issue, since the tribe existed mostly as a force of nature, rather than as a distinct and unique culture. Still, it does reduce the credibility of the storyline.

Another reference that came to mind is the Michael Crichton novel "Eaters of the Dead" (made into the film "The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas). That story also deals with a primitive, cannibalistic tribe in the wilderness. There weren't any other real similarities that I noticed, but the connection appears to be there.

I also noticed references to other Xena episodes. "One Against An Army" came to mind, as did "Gabrielle's Hope" (in one touching sequence). All in all, the writer showed a working knowledge of the Xena canon, using ideas that have been presented before in a new manner. He also displayed a solid working knowledge of the characters, and they behaved in character.

The performances were solid all around. Renee continued to portray the guilt and uncertainty that appeared in last week's episode. It also appears that she came to some resolution. While she may never be completely comfortable with her role as a warrior, I think that is an important aspect of her character.

Lucy turns in an excellent performance as Xena. She lets her dark side come out to play, but keeps it in check better than she did in "The Price". Of course, in this episode her murderous rage is totally justified so perhaps it is simply the fact said rage is never called into question. She also displays some of the tactical skill Xena is known for, and we are treated to the old fire-breathing trick (not seen often these days, but still a joy to behold).

Xena and Gabrielle's relationship is very well treated in this episode as well. We have some wonderfully touching moments that happen between the two of them at various times. Fans of the relationship should be satisfied with this episode as well.

The barbarian shaman and war leader adequately portray the mystery and threat of the lead cannibals with little more than grunts, gibberish, and evil glares. My only complaint is that for a tribe that was developed more or less to give Xena something to kill, there was a little too much "character development". Still, they played the role of the demonic villains to the hilt.

Greg Lee did a good job as Virgil, demonstrating fewer of the "Joxeresque" qualities that annoyed so many people in "Who's Gurkhan". He exhibits a self-sacrificing attitude and doesn't get in the way.

Even Ruvio - the token comic relief in this dark episode - does a good job. He doesn't descend too far into the realm of camp, adding a realistic human touch to the brutal carnage that serves as a backdrop to this episode.

I have one major complaint, plot-wise. The dam Xena constructs to destroy the cannibals is a bit of a stretch - even for this show. While the idea would work in theory, it really stretches credibility for her to have done it in a day, to the point where the waterfall would completely dry up.

Even if that could have happened, during the time that she was off rescuing Gabrielle and Virgil the river would have backed up behind the dam and likely started spilling over the top. While the show has never held to the strictest standards of real-world physics, this particular story element just screamed "plot device!"

(On the plus side, I was happy to see that Xena didn't jump to the top of the cliff while escaping the waterfall at the end. It was a slight nod to reality, and I'll take what I can get at this point.)

One issue I would like to address before wrapping up is the cannibalistic tradition as depicted in this episode. In this case it serves a valid purpose, and I don't have any specific problem with how it is shown here. Traditionally, cannibalism is viewed with distaste and horror in western culture. There is another aspect to it that I would like to point out, however.

Cannibalism is a practice that dates back thousands of years. It is most prevalent in primitive tropical societies, where a strong spiritual connection with nature's cycles is felt. In the jungle, observation teaches that life springs from death - the old tree falls, and new growth develops from it.

Cannibalism is an extension of that belief. In rituals that honor this natural cycle, a human life is often taken, and the tribe partakes of it. Aside from the metaphorical comparison, there is another meaning often associated with the ritual eating of human flesh - it is often believed that aspects of the deceased are absorbed by the eater. It is a sacred ritual that honors the dead.

Indeed, echoes of this ancient practice can still be found in religious ceremonies today. After all, what is communion but the ritual cannibalism of Jesus Christ?

I didn't really expect an in depth analysis of cannibalistic ritual in this episode, but I thought I would share some of that information.

Overall, this was a solid episode with genuinely creepy undertones that treated the characters with respect. While there were a couple of questionable plot elements (the lack of women in the cannibal tribe and Xena's miraculous engineering skills) they can be forgiven in light of the fact that the basic story itself didn't totally suck. I give it a B.


This commentary is by Beboman.

Writing this commentary has been hard for me on many levels. I don't know if it has to do with writers' block, or that there were some really emotional scenes in the episode that touched me deeply, or the subject matter of the show.

Whatever it is, something within this show did not allow me to get started on the commentary. To say that I have watched the show a few times would be a fallacy. I have watched it so much that the tape is beginning to wear out (if that is possible). But I think my problem is that, as much as I enjoyed this episode, at the same time I disliked it just as much.

To be very sincere, this whole idea of cannibalism does not go with me. I do understand that, at one point in time, there were cannibals and I do understand that, at one point in time in their travels, our characters had to encounter cannibals. Or maybe not.

I think that to develop the ideas and the feelings portrayed in this episode, the characters did not really have to be in peril of being eaten. There are still many perils they could have encountered and still have the emotional reactions they had.

With all this said I'm moving along. As I said before, there were some parts of this episode that I truly enjoyed and then there are the parts I keep going to.

I am really enjoying those intimate moments between Xena and Gabrielle, those moments of just living life and sharing.

It was very interesting to see Gabrielle the huntress, but if dinner depended on Gabrielle, fish might be the only thing eaten by our characters. I really enjoyed the interaction between them about dinner and, like Xena, I wonder what type of wine is good with bark

That river scene was beautiful. The water looked so beautiful. I take a sidebar here to say how great the acting by both actresses was in this episode. They really got into their characters in this episode and delivered two of the most heartbreaking scenes in a long time. I take my hat off to them.

The scenery in this episode helped so much to set the mood of the episode: the river, the rapids and the forest all helped to create a good setting.

How much have our characters changed in the last six years. In the beginning, Gabrielle was the optimist and Xena was the pessimist. This time, it was great to see Xena as the optimist. An example:

G- I'm having a bad day.
X- No, he is having a good day. It's all how you look at it.

When they are in the canoe, Xena is trying to make Gabrielle understand that even though she killed the Desert Boy, it was for the right reason; she was trying to save Xena's life. Xena's words reflect how much Xena values Gabrielle's abilities as a warrior that she can trust Gabrielle to cover her back.

It is at this time that they get attacked by the cannibals and the boat or canoe is torn by the cannibals. My question (and I know I'm nit-picking) is how did the canoe stay afloat after two spears were driven into the canoe by the cannibals? Another nit-picking question is why was Xena questioning what the attack was all about when it seemed clear to me that at Virgil's camp she knew who the enemy was.

I would like to state that I did enjoy the fight scene. Seeing Xena use her fire-breathing trick was great. That special effect is really getting good. To tell the truth, those cannibals wanted to take on Xena all at one time. That thing of waiting their turn to fight her was not really in their makeup, but they tried. That final scene was just great as Xena was screaming for Gabrielle to cut the vines, while, at the same time, Gabrielle and Virgil were trying to stay alive fighting the other cannibals. Good scene, I enjoyed it.

Well guys, here we are at the first of the two touchiest moments, at least for me: When Gabrielle hallucinated telling Hope that she loves her and that she is trying to protect her from Xena; what a superior acting job by both actresses. I still think of it and tears creep into my eyes. My question is why does Gabrielle always tell Xena things like this when she is delirious. Remember in "One Against an Army" when Gabrielle is in the barn delirious and tells Xena how much she wanted to be like Xena, and later on, she apologies, in a roundabout way, for betraying Xena in Chine. Now when she is delirious, Gabrielle tells Xena how she felt about Hope and about the way Xena reacted toward Hope.

The hurt in Xena's eyes during this whole scene is simply amazing. Did she really understand how Gabrielle felt? You bet she did, probably for a long time (remember, Gabrielle talks in her sleep). But having Gabrielle come out and say it at this time must have torn right into the deepest part of Xena's heart. However, Xena has come a long way in showing Gabrielle how she feels and not being afraid to touch and cuddle Gabrielle when she is in need.

If my memory serves me right, remember how hard it was for Xena in "Death in Chains" just to hug Gabrielle at the end of the show when Death took the young man (I can't remember his name) that Gabrielle had befriended. To that moment, when Xena is holding Gabrielle in her arms, kissing her forehead and telling her that she (Xena) does understand Gabrielle's feelings, there is pure, unaltered love from Xena to Gabrielle. That is what made that scene so good and genuine, for me at least.

Then, as if it was not enough, Gabrielle comes out with her death wish, another one like the scene in "One Against an Army", but this one hits even deeper. When Gabrielle tells Xena that she wants to be buried with Xena because she is part of Xena, talk about a blow to the already raw nerve in Xena's guilt, despair and love for this woman. But what made it an even stronger scene is the fact that this was the first time Gabrielle has said anything about where she wanted to be buried. It was as if this was the first time Gabrielle had realize that, if she died this time, she might not be brought back and she wanted to make sure Xena understood her last wish.

Again, this was a great scene, very well written, directed and acted, it drove the point home. Once again, I have gone through that scene several times and the more I watch it, the more it gets to me.

Now to a lesser but just as powerful scene: when Xena leaves Gabrielle out to be found by the cannibals and she hears Gabrielle calling for her. Those moments felt like an eternity for Xena. To be able to save Gabrielle's life she had to risk Gabrielle's life and put her in the hands of the cannibals in the hope that they would treat her wounds before even thinking of making a meal out of her. What a tough spot to be in, especially after Xena has just heard that Gabrielle wants to spend eternity next to her.

Well, Xena was back to her focused self in this episode. Nothing was going to distract her from her task of saving Gabrielle from the cannibals. She went into building a dam, a good and steady one, and she did this in record time. Never have I seen someone work so hard as Xena did in this episode. In a future life, Xena should be an engineer. She already shows great potential for that type of work.

Even though I really did not want to touch on the cannibal part of this show, my picky nature cannot resist not asking: Were the cannibals going to eat Gabrielle's Sais also. I mean she had them with her all the time. They did not notice them when they were basting her. She had them with her when they found her and while she was in the prison she shared with Virgil and the skinny dude. I am amazed that no one at any time thought about using them to free themselves or, on the part of the cannibals, to take them away from Gabrielle. I know I am getting too picky.

Okay, the Chakram is getting better every time. I am beginning to believe that Xena controls the Chakram mentally as well as physically. This Chakram is a mixture of both good and evil, light and dark, is a more metaphysical type of Chakram and it allows Xena to control it both mentally and physically (Whoa, how did you like that explanation for the Chakram throws.)

Well, the episode ended the way it started; with our two characters together. But with one major difference: Gabrielle realizing that she has to move on, that we all have to learn to live with our mistakes, that you cannot change the past, but you can learn to avoid the mistakes of the past in the future.

This episode was very interesting. In an obscure way it did resolve the way Gabrielle felt about Hope. It also let Xena know how Gabrielle felt about Hope. It put up front and center Gabrielle's feelings for Xena and what she wants done when her final time comes. This has taken a long time for Gabrielle, but not for Xena. In "Prometheus" Xena comes out and names Gabrielle as her heir. This shows that even that far back, Xena had recognized the importance of Gabrielle in her life.

The final question, like always, is did I liked the episode, my answer will be yes, I enjoyed greatly some parts of this episode. But in general the episode was extremely well directed. The acting was superb. The photography was excellent. So all in all this was a very good episode.


Commentary by Cheryl Ande.

I like this episode very much. It is one of those that I put in when I just want to watch a quintessential Xena episode.

It has lovely mushy subtext moments, villains with absolutely no redeeming qualities, Xena at her most heroic, and terrific battle sequences. Of course there are also just wonderful absurd moments too.

The episode continues and mercifully concludes Gabrielle's guilt arc. In Legacy, Gabby accidentally killed a young man, Korah, and as this episode opens Gabrielle is still trying to come to grips with this accident. Hunting in the forest Gabrielle misses an easy shot at a buck. When Xena gently teases her about Gabby says she just doesn't know what has come over her. Xena of course knows, Gabrielle is still suffering from guilt. As the duo paddles down a forest river in order to meet up with Virgil and his friend, Xena tries to convince Gabrielle to put aside her guilt. Gabrielle however is worried that her warrior skills are not matched by a sound warrior judgment.

Meanwhile things have gone horribly wrong for Virgil and his friend. They have come across a bunch of loathsome cannibals. They have chased the two men through the forest and have captured Horsep, Virgil's friend. A terrified Virgil follows the cannibals and sees his friend being roasted on a spit (this is a scene from an old Cornel Wilde movie, The Naked Savage, that gave me nightmares as a kid). Virgil is absolutely horrified and when he tries to flee he is captured.

Meanwhile Xena and Gabrielle are still discussing the state of Gabrielle's psyche when they finally come across Virgil's campsite. They come ashore only to find the camp a shambles with blood everywhere. Xena has deduced that the campfire has been cold for four hours (I wonder how she knows so precisely how cold a campfire gets in 240 min, of course she does have many skills). The two women decide to continue down stream looking for their friends. Gabrielle is still worried about her guilt but Xena says she is glad that Gabrielle was so diligent about watching her back but she that is going to come in handy just about now. Suddenly knives shoot up from the bottom of the boat and the women head for shore.

There they are attacked by a score of cannibals. They a fearsome looking lot. Faces painted, teeth filed to points, and wearing boar's heads, they not only attack the women with swords and knives but also gnaw on the women as they fight. The fight is furious. Gabrielle is holding her own but suddenly she has one of the attackers on the ground and as she is about to kill him, when she hesitates. The savage is frightened and looks oddly enough a bit like Korah, Gabby doesn't make the strike and it is an almost fatal error. She is knifed in the side. Xena hears Gabby cry out and begins to battle to her. Gabby however is still doing pretty well - good enough that she suddenly goes from prospective lunch to annoyance for the attackers and she is thrown into the river which now flowing towards a waterfall. Xena seeing her friend dump in the water tosses aside the remaining cannibals and jumps in after her.

Back at the camp Virgil, after begging for his life and mentioning that he is a friend of Xena, is knocked unconscious. He awakens in a hut with a fellow prisoner. A thin but genial fellow named Rubio. Virgil is startled to find that a feast has been set out for him and as he eats, a relieved Rubio checks him out. No Rubio isn't looking for a Saturday night date, he just making sure Virgil will be the next menu item. Rubio is pleased with what he finds - Virgil will the blue plate special tonight. Virgil however says Xena will save him - Rubio doesn't have much faith in the Zebra, the Warrior Princess.

In the river Xena is frantically trying to reach Gabrielle. The rapids are vicious and soon Gabrielle weighed down by her coats is trapped on a submerged branch. Xena however rescues her and after shucking off their coats (I assume Xena stripped them off because they suddenly disappeared) they make it to a convenient cave. In the cave the wounded Gabrielle is in bad shape. Xena is still lecturing her about how her guilt will get her killed as she removes the knife tip from Gabby's side. As Gabrielle tries to make herself comfortable the in wet cave, Xena tries to see if there is way out of their predicament. A step walls surround the river and the cannibals are still about and chuck rocks at Xena.

Xena goes back to the cave to care for Gabby (to cr this is now classic hurt-comfort territory). Gabby knows he has messed up big time. Xena however just wants Gabrielle to be well. As the night progresses Gabrielle slips into delirium, she relieves her flight with Hope. Xena is obviously upset to see that this is still bothering Gabrielle and perhaps is thinking Gabrielle has paid a very big price for being with her. Eventually Xena makes a decision. Gabrielle awakens more lucid but still very ill. She is wet, cold and her wound is infected. Xena has decided the time has come to do something radical. As Xena prepares for their escape, Gabrielle, who has developed a pessimistic streak, decides to tell Xena she wants to be buried with Xena's family. She is part of Xena and wants to be with her forever. Xena is touched and when Gabrielle apologizes for getting them in this mess. Xena says it was her fault for setting Gabrielle on the warrior path. Gabrielle says no - she is where she wants to be; her path is with Xena. Well Xena says she going to know set Gabrielle on a path to somewhere warm and dry.

Strapping Gabrielle to her back Xena begins to climb the river's steep walls - all this in a savage thunderstorm. Once Xena gets to the top of the cliff she sets Gabrielle down. With the admonition not to be afraid, Xena lets out her war cry. The cry alerts the cannibals who are still looking for them. The cannibals find Gabrielle and carry the terrified woman away. Following close behind is Xena. Soon she is attacked. Xena makes short work of the attackers but now she has a boar's head to hide under. Soon Xena is in the cannibal's village.

Gabrielle is now deposited with a surprised Virgil and gleeful Rubio. Rubio is thrilled with Gabrielle's arrival since women apparently are a delicacy. Virgil is not so happy but Gabrielle tells Virgil to be ready because Xena will be coming for them. Suddenly the cannibals burst in; they throw Gabby on a table force some kind of brew down her throat and the medicine man does an incantation and they leave just as abruptly. Rubio explains that they don't like their meat spoiled.

As daybreak arrives, Xena is in the forest trying to think of a plan. She comes across the waterfall and she gets a scathingly brilliant idea. She starts to work. The chakram buzzes through enormous trees, pushes over giant boulders, Xena drags trees around and hauls boulders into the treetops. All this accompanied by Joe DoLuca's wonderful score. When she is done she has damned the waterfall. This is my favorite scene of the whole series. It is impossible and absurd but it is so wonderfully done. Lucy is so intense and serious that you have no doubt that Xena could do this in just a matter of hours.

Xena's dam building exercise is just in time. Back at the hut Gabrielle is feeling better (the cannibals have one heck of a medicine man) and Xena's plan to get Gabrielle warm and dry has worked. Virgil is solicitous and he just wishes he could do something to save Gabrielle. It doesn't seem to have dawned on either the cannibals, Gabrielle, or Virgil that Gabby is still armed to the teeth. Her sais are in her boots. Now the cannibals might have not known what they were, Gabby was sick so maybe she forgot, but Virgil must be as dense as his father not have noticed the two lethal weapons at his disposal. When the cannibals come to take Gabby to lunch, Virgil tries his ineffectual best to save her but to no avail.

The cannibals now begin to prepare Gabby for cooking. They obviously have some strange culinary customs since they are going to cook Gabby along with her boots, sais, clothes and jewelry. They begin to smear the clay on her. While I'm sure the male actors may have found this not an unpleasant core, ROC has said this was absolutely disgusting and Gabrielle certainly reflected this disgust. Just as the chief stuff the team vent in Gabby's mouth, a chakram wipes through the ranks cutting Gabby's bonds. Xena has arrived and she is taking no prisoners. Gabby leaps off the table whacks the hell out of the main cannibal and rescues Virgil and Rubio. Xena chakram has a bunch of other tribesmen busy and Xena is literally breathing fire. With the village in flames the group makes their escape.

At the edge the waterfall, Gabrielle sees that Xena has been a very busy gal. Xena sends Rubio off and tells Gabby that she is going to go back and lead the cannibals to the damned fall. Gabby will cut the vine that is strung between the trees when she and the tribe are in position. Xena is off and Gabby and Virgil are left behind. They hide themselves but soon a band of cannibals come into the clearing. One of them discovers the tied vine and just as he is about to call to his companions, Gabrielle leaps from her hiding place. Will she be able to kill? It's odd how nearly being the main course at a family picnic can clarify one's thinking - she skewers him. Now Gabrielle and Virgil fight off the he other cannibals.

Meanwhile Xena attracts the main body of cannibals. She leads them in wild chase over the dry riverbed to the edge of the falls. As she fights them off she yells for Gabrielle to cut the vine. Gabby however is busy fighting off the cannibals. The fight at the water grows more desperate. Gabby finally kills the last attacker and cuts the vine. In a contraption that would have made Rube Goldberg proud, the vine unleashes a tied boulder that swings down and demolished the damn and river crashes over the falls. Xena leaps to safety and the horrible cannibals drown to a man.

Back on land a freshly bathed Gabrielle sits beside Xena. Xena asks how she is. Gabby says fine. "No", Xena says, "How are you upstairs." Gabrielle says she will learn to live with her mistakes because that is "the way." A happily feasting Rubio pipes up with "what way." Xena finally gets around to asking who this strange fellow is anyway. After a light moment the episode ends with a nice shot of Xena giving Gabrielle an amused and affectionate look.

There was when this episode aired some discussion over the fact that Xena actually committed genocide when she killed the cannibals. An interesting idea but I would say a false accusation. The cannibals didn't actually seem to be a race or even a culture. There were no women present and so I am assuming they were some kind of cult. They looked a bit like the Lord of the Flies so maybe they were a band that got lost and started to be cannibals out of necessity and liked it. Cannibalism. I believe was fairly rare and usually ritualistic. I don't think there was ever any culture that ate their fellow human beings for sustenance. So I don't think this was genocide and frankly I think Xena did everyone a favor by eliminating these boys.

I did think this was just a bit of cheat when it came to the issue of Gabrielle's guilt issues and her lost of nerve. The episode put her in such dire straits that she would have had to be a complete neurotic not to have killed to save herself. There was no ambiguity here. Her judgment wasn't really tested at all. Her hesitation in the scene where she is wounded is so foolish that even Gabrielle knows she screwed up badly. So as a resolution of Gabrielle's angst it was week but resolve it we did. After this Gabrielle doesn't seem to question leaping into battle again.


09-16-00. THE ABYSS is the conclusion of the three-part Gabrielle arc which explores Gabrielle's recent walk down the "aggresive" side. In the first part Gabrielle ponders what it really means to kill someone in cold blood (yeah, she took her time!). In the second part she ponders how the instinct to kill plays into all this. Finally, in THE ABYSS, she takes what she learned in the last two parts and uses them to create a balance and to resolve her sudden crisis of consciousness.

09-16-00. It looks like ABYSS is where the Hope/Eve issue is allegedly resolved, or at least acknowledged and discussed between Xena and Gabrielle. It looked like ABYSS was going to be held for airing until January but now according to the recently released schedule from Creation Entertainment, the Gabrielle trilogy will be aired together in succession (WHO'S GURKHAN, LEGACY, THE ABYSS) and the Nordic/Beowolf trilogy will be cut up (THE RHINEGOLD, THE RING, RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES). This Hope/Eve resolution is being looked most forward to by many fans. This issue is part of the Big Three problems which matured or manifested themselves in the 5th season which have been targeted (at least for now) to be quickly resolved so they can get on with the rest of the show. The Big Three problems are (1) The Christian/Eli arc (this will reportedly be put to bed in HEART OF DARKNESS); (2) Xena's hubris, which includes the chakram to Gabrielle's head scene in MOTHERHOOD (this will reportedly begin to be acknowledged in COMING HOME); and (3) the Hope/Eve paradox (this will reportedly be dealt with in THE ABYSS). Eve is not in the episode and I do not know if Hope is (bring back Hope! bring back Hope! She's one of the few honest characters left in the show!), so be prepared for the gals just talking about the kids. Maybe around a campfire?

09-02-00. It looks like there will be three key episodes in the 6th season that will attempt to undo the damage left by the 5th season: COMING HOME (Xena's latest attack on Gabrielle, Xena honoring Ares so much), HEART OF DARKNESS (the "Christianity" arc), and THE ABYSS (the Hope/Eve paradox). Can they turn around a wary fanbase with three strategic shows? I think so, IF, and this is a big if too, they can support it with other interesting episodes. The Gabrielle trilogy of WHO'S GURKHAN, LEGACY, and THE ABYSS appears to be strong. However, there is buzz that the Norse trilogy might not hit the mark. If that is true, that puts more pressure on HEART OF DARKNESS and HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS to perform. Unfortunately, these episodes deal with resolving the very tired Christianity arc. There is good word on the last Norse episode that there is a scene there that may save the whole trilogy because it will give many fans what they wanted all 5th season.

08-28-00. Looks like ABYSS is the final episode of the Gabrielle "deals with her violent tendencies" trilogy. It also looks like it will be orphaned from airing with the two other episodes it is "paired" with, unless they go with 9 new episode before 2001. Also, Ido not know whether Hope makes an appearance in it, but there are rumblings that Hope is at least discussed in this episode by Xena and Gabrielle. Maybe they finally get around to swapping parenting tips? Nah, we wouldn't be so lucky!

07-11-00. There are rumors and rumors of rumors that the issue of Hope and Gabrielle's relationship will be brought into play one way or another in THE ABYSS. Whether it is a passing reference or an actual resolution to the whole storyline or something inbetween is as yet not clear. The rumor also makes THE ABYSS seem a stronger candidate for being the third of the three episode arc about Gabrielle getting her head together one way or another about all this slicing and dicing and what not. If that is so, then ABYSS is most likely the episode which will follow LEGACY.

07-06-00. There is a good chance that this will be the third episode of the loosely joined story arc about how Gabrielle is coping and coming to terms with her recent violent turn. It is certain the the first two are WHO'S GURKHAN and LEGACY, but the third one has been not referred to by name by anyone that would appear to know.


From Beth Gaynor. Virgil's poncho reminds me of the Endor outfits that Han, Luke and Leia wore in Return of the Jedi.

From Beth Gaynor. Loved the makeup and the nasty ribplates on the chest and back of these cannibals. Just one problem - there are no women anywhere in this tribe. Just a bunch of manazons wearing animal heads, wrestling, and eating people. How on earth do they keep the tribe going? I can't picture many boys who would run away from home to join the cannibals.

From Beth Gaynor. Watch the magically disappearing overcoats! I was feeling sorry for both Xena and Gabrielle, having to swim in full leather, armor, and weapons. Then apparently their overcoats decided to show some sympathy and magically melt away. Up until the time Xena swims around the nasty, creepy skeleton to find Gabrielle's floating body, they both have on their overcoats. When Xena grabs Gab and pulls her to the surface, both overcoats are gone. Magic!

From Beth Gaynor. Two small nits with the closing fight at the waterfall ripcord: 1) where did Virgil get his knife? None of the cannibals seem to carry blades on them, and 2) since when are the sais bladed weapons that can cut a rope (and throat)? Ah well, it was still a good fracas.

12-18-00. From Les Rankins. When Gabrielle cuts the rope and the dam breaks we get a view of the river pouring down onto the cannibals. You can plainly hear in the background some one calling out "kaltaka", the word for water used by the Horde in THE PRICE.

12-18-00. From Carla Capizzi. I am sitting here watching, by coincidence, "The Naked Prey" with Cornell Wilde, which is cited as the inspiration for the upcoming episode "Dangerous Prey." Since "Dangerous Prey" hasn't aired yet, I can't comment on how much similarity there might be between the two. However, I can say emphatically that it is also an inspiration for "The Abyss." There is a scene in the beginning of the Cornel Wilde film that has been duplicated exactly in "The Abyss." The African natives have killed one of the hunters they captured, and he has been coated in some sort of mud, stuck on a spit -- in exactly the same odd manner in which Hosef was placed on a spit, like he's sitting with his knees up to his chest, and the spit under his legs. He has a tube-type object in his mouth, and he is rotating slowly over the flames. The only difference is, the mud has baked to a hard covering.

BTW, if Dangerous Prey is like this movie, it's going to be one very bizarre episode: almost no dialogue, a lot of violence, lots of action, one brave and smart hero (Cornel) outwitting a lot of blood-thirsty bad guys with clever traps. Wait, that sounds like The Abyss! I can't wait to see how this movie ends!

12-06-00. From Justin Hartung. The human BBQ scene from The Abyss is straight out of the movie DANGEROUS PREY.

12-05-00. From Kim Holman. In the "Abyss", a cannibal stabs Gabrielle in the left side. When Xena drags her into the watery cave, she tends to Gab's wound on the right side. The cannibal witch doctor also tended to her right side.

12-05-00. From Alfred H. Berger. Gabrielle was holding a bow and arrow to shoot at a deer. The arrow was "knocked" on the wrong side. The bow was a "left-handed" bow. The arrow was a 20th century "target" arrow with a "target" point. It should have been a "flint broadhead" hunting point. As usual, there was absolutely no blood on any of the swords or daggers.

11-19-00. From Jeanne Hedge. During the fight at the side of the river, we see the cannibals bite Xena's neck and Gab's leg. That wasn't all though - during the scenes in the cave, take a look at the back of Gab's left hand - there's a full set of teeth marks across the back of it. At a minimum, you can see it during both the scene where Gab is hallucinating about Hope, and during the following one where she tells Xena she wants to be buried with her. (the make-up department gets full points for this bit of detail!)


Click here to read a transcript of THE ABYSS.


Virgil's appetite was suppressed during the making of this motion picture.


"Riding the Fantasy Wave", Xenamour 11/25/00, Letters to the Editor. WHOOSH #51 (December 2000).

"Gabbashing in the Xenaverse", Argeaux. Paragraph 6. WHOOSH #65 (February 2002).

"MTR Event. Museum of Television and Radio, Beverly Hills, June 19, 2001" Chris Clogston. On the Road.

"An Interview With Jane O'Kane (Makeup/ Hair Supervisor)", Bret Ryan Rudnick. Paragraph 7. WHOOSH #54 (March 2001).

"Gabrielle: The Forgotten Hero", Andrew Shaughnessy. Paragraph 67. WHOOSH #71 (August 2002).

"Chronology of Xena: Warrior Princess", Jaquee Alvord. WHOOSH #65 (February 2002).


Screen Grabs from MaryD's website

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