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Season 4, episode 1
Series 401
1st release: 09-28-98
2nd release: 11-23-98
Production number: V0607
Script number: 406
Shooting dates: May/June 1998
Last update: 02-16-01

SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Missy Good
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Deb McGhee
COMMENTARY 3 by Judith K. Parker
COMMENTARY 4 by Psycho Bunny
COMMENTARY 5 by Vindentur
HIGHLIGHTS by Beth Gaynor

Marton Csokas (Borias)
Claire Stansfield (Alti)
Sheeri Rappaport (Otere, 16 years old))
Vicky Pratt (Cyane)

Erik Thomson (Hades)
Kate Elliott (Yakut)
Charlotte Saunders (Anokin)
Jay Saussey (Young Woman)
Samelle Vosloo (Young Otere, 8 years old)
Barry Duffield (Koryak)
Ben Baker (Chalcis)
Barret Irwin (Warrior)

Story By Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by T.J. Scott

[The chakram flies. Xena does a flip. The chakram cuts the points from a row of spears. Armored soldiers look at their beheaded sticks. Xena lands before a group of threatened villagers.]
Woman: Xena!
Xena: Hello!
[A flaming ball flies from a catapult-like thing. Two soldiers are exploded out of their foxhole. Xena is in an explosion, running. Xena slices and dices.]
[Xena dances with Autolycus, who is dressed in black. An old man enters a room. He falls and lands at the feet of a wet and naked Xena.]

[Xena, dressed in her plains attire. Xena in the snow.]
Cyane: What are you doing here, Xena? What do you want?
[The plains. Fire. Xena rides a horse.]
[Xena and Callisto fight. Xena on a cross. A Roman breaks her legs. Xena in plains attire. A fight on horseback.]

(Xena and a Young Woman walk through a snow-covered land.)
Alti: Xena, I hear you.
(Xena paints her forehad with blood.)
(Xena rides a horse.)
Cyane: What are you doing here, Xena? What do you want?
(Xena draws her sword.)
(Shot of a horse's face up to the face of the Berserker.)
(Xena being beaten; from "The Gauntlet.")
(Xena's legs being broken; from "Destiny.")
(Xena fights Callisto; from "Sacrifice II.")
Xena (in clip): Yah!
(Superimposed image of Gabrielle looking over Xena's face; from "The Greater Good.")
Xena: This one's for you, Gabrielle.
(Xena in front of a fire.)
(Xena dancing.)
Xena: Yeeah!
(Xena charges the Berserker on horseback.)
Xena: Yah!

Distraught with grief over the loss of Gabrielle, Xena travels to Siberia and the Amazon Land of the Dead to find her friend.

When last seen in May's cliffhanger, Gabrielle was sacrificing herself at the altar of Dahak to rid the world of her evil daughter Hope. As the fourth season opens, Xena begins a two-part search for her friend's spirit. Her first stop, the underworld, is a dry well. ("She didn't come to me," Hades shrugs.) Then it dawns on the Warrior Princess that Gabrielle had been initiated into the Amazons, who have their own land of the dead. So, guided by Gabrielle's faint voice in the wind, Xena rides off. Geographically, she's in Siberia; but spiritually, Xena is in an abyss where she confronts her dark past. What's more, she has to battle an evil shamaness (Claire Stansfield) along the way.

Talk about having it both ways. During a trek to the Land of the Dead in search of Gabrielle, Xena engages in both a chest-heaving reverie of her beloved charge (hey, she's gay!) and a steamy tryst with the hunky Borias (no, she's not!). More duplicitous fun comes with the news that the princess is preggers! [ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 10-02-98]

In a two-part episode, Xena searches for Gabrielle in the Amazon Land of the Dead. But in Part 1, her quest is interrupted by her evil past.

1st RELEASE: 09-28-98
An AA average of 4.6
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA/STAR TREK DS9 12th with 4.6
(2) HERCULES/X-FILES 14th with 4.2
(3) ER 17th with 4.1

2nd RELEASE: 11-23-98
An AA average of 3.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 9th with 6.0
(2) STAR TREK DS9/ER 15th with 4.4
(4) XENA 3.5


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Xena races Argo across a battlefield, searching for Hades as he checks off the dead. She wants to talk to Gabrielle. Hades tells Xena he doesn't have her friend's soul. He offers to make arrangements for her to see Solan, but she says Solan doesn't need to know her problems. Hades says he doesn't get all the souls; he asks if Gabrielle belonged to a spiritual society. Xena realizes that Gabrielle's initiation into the Amazons means she went to the Amazon land of the dead, and Hades doesn't know where that is. But Xena does. She leaves Argo and takes another horse. She rides through the deserts and the winds and snows. She kills a big deer, and she dances around it. She hears Gabrielle call her name.

As she rides forth, she says, "Gabrielle, I'm entering a world of darkness I promised myself I'd never return to. .... my mind has lost its center." She remembers a time she was with Borias (doing the nasty doggy style) and Borias told her he was "in love" with her. Then an outcast Amazon shaman woman, Alti, and her apprentice, Anokin, appear. Xena eyes the young girl. Alti tells Xena she is with child, and Xena admits it. She had not told Borias until then.

Back in the present, Xena dances around and puts on animal skins. She resumes her journey. She finds a woman impaled on a tree, and fights off many men while other women watch from a safe distance. Xena carries the dead woman away and builds a funeral pyre. While she is doing this, the watching women take one of the men Xena beat up prisoner, and then they watch Xena. Xena finally mourns for Gabrielle, and remembers the times they spent together and how much her friend meant to her. Xena's cries are agonizing as they echo across the steppes.

One of the watching women remembers hearing such wailing before. She was a child when Borias and Xena attacked her village. Anokin was killed, and Xena mourned for her. Borias had saved the woman and had taken her back with him.

Xena kills her horse so she can use its soul to cross over to the side. The watching women stay out of sight, waiting. Xena goes to the land of the dead and is greeted by the woman she burned earlier. The woman is grateful for the proper burial. Xena tells the woman about being in the land of the dead before, when she came to find Anokin. Anokin spurned her, however, and told Xena she had "poisoned" her. Xena also remembers that she and Borias had argued, and she called Borias "soft as pig's belly" and told him if he mentioned the word "family, I'm gonna puke." Xena then remembered talking to Alti, who told her Lao Ma's strength came from self-denial and was of the light, but Alti and Xena were people of the darkness, who took their strength from the darkness and death.

Back in the land of the dead, Xena meets up with Queen Cyane, who isn't happy to see the woman who killed her long ago. In the real world, the watching women poke Xena to see if she's dead. One woman wants to kill her body but she is stopped. In the land of the dead, Xena learns that the Amazon tribe of Queen Cyane is cursed, and they cannot cross over to Eternity. Instead they are doomed to walk endless steppes in the land of the dead, watching the Greek and Mesopotamia Amazons cross on over. In the real world, the watching women move Xena's body to a safer place in a cave. The watching woman remembers again, telling her comrades that Alti told Xena that she (the woman) would one day take Xena's power from her. For this reason she wants to protect Xena and wait and see what happens; Xena is their future.

In the land of the dead, Xena turns to go to the gate to eternity. She hears Gabrielle call to her. She stops. She can't go, she says. "You were my light," she tells Gabrielle. She wants to see her, but "I just realized what it was that you gave me -- a light of my own." Xena says, "I love you" and returns to the cursed Amazons. She tells them she is going to help them.

Xena wakes up in her body, a bit startled to find herself in a cave surrounded by women. The woman who remembers her introduces herself as Otere and Xena remembers her. Xena lets their prisoner go with a message for Alti: Xena's coming. The women tell Xena that Alti has the Berserker, a man with special powers. Xena goes after Alti anyway, following the trail of blood left by the prisoner. The women also go along, following Xena. The women and Xena fight other men, and then the Berserker shows up. He has a form of mind power, and he makes Xena relieve the pain of the beating of the gauntlet, a time when Callisto beat her up, and finally the breaking of her legs on the cross of Caesar. Xena falls to the ground. She gets up on a horse, fights the Berserker, and kills him. She still has broken-feeling legs, though, and realizes that the spirit of Alti is in the horse. She moves to kill the horse and the spirit vanishes. Xena's pain leaves enough for her to stand up. The women want to know if they can beat Alti. Xena says they have to.

To be continued.


This synopsis is by Missy Good.

Okay... make sure you have a scorecard for this one, folks... I needed one.

First things first - they haven't changed the credits, at least for this episode...though I forgot to watch the after teaser credits to see if there were any changes in listings. [editor's note: Renee O'Connor was missing from the title credits; the first time since the first season]

We start with Hades out and about, doing his thing. He's a cute god, we should see more of him.

On second though, given what he's god of, maybe not. (laughing)

Xena catches up to him. She's not happy. She's so far from happy, it's like she's been PMS'ing for... oh, a couple of weeks. She asks him where Gab is - he has no idea, and offers to get her a few minutes with Solan.. Xena turns this down, saying Solan doesn't need to know about her problems. (?!). She begs him.. she wants to know where Gab went after she died. Hades really doesn't know.. he asks if she's joined any cults lately.. Xena says no, then asks him if he gets the Amazon dead.. he says no, and he has no idea where they go. Xena says, she does.

What follows is either a return to North America, or a decent into madness, I can't decide which. Xena talks to Gabrielle a lot, and keeps hearing her voice on the wind. She tells Gabrielle that she's decending back into the darkness she swore she'd never return to, because that was the only way she'd get a chance to see her again.

Xena kills a deer, and fufills a favorite fanfic scene of mine by lifting it up onto her shoulders and carrying it. (laugh) then she skins it, and makes the horned hat, drinks blood, and generally goes a little nutso. ( a little? Merwolf was way, way confused at this point.)

We get a nookie with Borias scene... his accent's changed again - now it reminds me vaguely of Chekov's.

She goes into what I"m going to assume is Siberian Amazon territory... she finds and cuts down an Amazon, and the other Amazons watch her in secret.. she beats the tar out of a bunch of thugs, then makes camp.

She's visited by visions of Gabrielle, and is howling with grief and crying.. then she kills her horse (not Argo, now I realize why she coudn't take Argo with her.. killing Argo and drinking ARGO's blood would have gotten them a NC17 at least)

Anyway, drinking horse blood gets her to the Amazon land of the dead. She meets up with another Amazon spirt who was slain (the Amazon she cut down and allowed to pass over) who sort of guides her. She says that Gabrielle must have passed through the Gates of Eternity - and the girl asks her if she intends on following Gabrielle through the gates, and Xena says yes.

The girl asks, will you be able to get back? Xena says I don't know. Girl says, "She must be a very good friend" Xena says, "She's the only friend."

Girls asks why Xena's so familiar with the land of the dead - Xena tells her a story of when she was there last - when she followed another friend - who was not glad to see her there. Xena got there the first time wtih the help from a rather nasty looking Amazon witch, who is seducing her to the dark side. (Sorry.. but that's the only way I could put that (laugh)) Her name is Alti

Xena finds the Queen of the Amazons in the land of the dead.. whom she killed (ten years ago? Must be.. she hasn't had Solan yet) That was a busy year for the leather clad one, y'know? The Amazon is, to put it politely, hostile. But she agrees to lead Xena to the Gates of Eternity, when Xena tells her that she's looking for a friend, a Greek Amazon. The Queen looks very skeptical about that, but goes on anyway.

Turns out Alti condemed the Amazons to wander the land of the dead - they tell her where to find Gabrielle, and she starts towards the gates, because Greek Amazons can pass through, but then she stops, even though she can hear Gabrielle calling to her, and says she can't - that she just realized what it was that Gabrielle gave her..and that she had to do something, something that Gabrielle would want her to do, and that she loves her.

She goes back, and tells the dead Amazons she's going to stop Alti, and release them from the land of the dead... they are, in a word, skeptical. (so is merwolf..maybe it's those deer horns... they're making me giggle, which is not the intention, I would think)

Xena wakes up, and sets the prisoner the Amazons have taken free, tells him to tell Alti that she was coming. Alti knows this and sends grungy troops after the Amazons, which get neatly dispatched by the Amazons.. but the Berserker shows up, and starts pounding on Xena...she's reliving pain from her past...including her crippling by Caesar.. she manages to get to horse, though.. and pull her self on.. and we all remember what a good horse soldier Xena is.. she continues the fight...she kills the Berserker...but her legs still feel broken.. then she spots the horse...who has glowing red eyes.. and draws sword on it.. the spirit of Alti takes off, and Xena realizes that she will be a royal b*tch to beat.. but that they have to, to release the Amazons spirits.


First impression...the episode curiously lacked depth. (!!!) I could never really get into what Xena was going through, because it introduced so many unfamiliar concepts.. I felt like I was watching another character entirely. IF they'd started it out in Greece, and had Xena's campfire scene there, in a more familiar spot, where she's so despondant and desperate to get back to Gabirelle, THEN she sets off on this spiritual/whatever journey.. it would have been easier to assimilate. A person seeing this as a first time Xena ep would be completely comfused, I would imagine.

Interesting point - Xena fully intends to fufill her promise to follow Gabrielle into eternity, and is willing to do just about anything to achieve that.


COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Deb McGhee
COMMENTARY 3 by Judith K. Parker
COMMENTARY 4 by Psycho Bunny
COMMENTARY 5 by Vindentur


This essay is by Simahoyo.

When most of us learn history, the first time we even encounter the word, Siberia, is in connection to Soviet political prisoners. So, how does an empty place where Soviet political prisoners go have anything to do with Xena?

Start in Korea. There were ancient kingdoms. One was named Altai. And yes, this is the same name as the evil woman in Adventures in the Sin Trade. The people of the Kingdom of Altai practiced Shamanism, an old, old system of spirituality, medicine and psychology which was used for good. (Please read Judith Parker’s comments) Like any system used for good, people came up who turned this system into something evil.

The system of Shamanism is based on the idea that the healer can leave their normal state of consciousness and enter another, where they will notice things they would miss in ordinary consciousness. The underpinnings of this are pretty basic. There are three worlds, one we are on, which is slightly different than our everyday world, and can get us to other worlds. The there is the world above, most familiar to English speaking folks in the story, “Jack and the Beanstalk” This holds major psychological keys, and can be used to help people with overcoming fear, mending their fragmented personality, and so forth. The world below is not Hell. It is more like the caves where sometimes dragons dwell. The tunnel is the means of moving about in the underworld. This is often used in physical diagnosis and healing.

Then there are places between the worlds, including the Land of the Dead.

In order to leave our world, and get to these other places, the shamans learned that they had to have transportation. They traditionally used a branch of birch cut to roughly resemble a horse, or rode the rim of their drum while beating it. It was the drumbeat they said they rode into these other worlds. And that drumbeat came from a special frame drum made from the wood of a living tree, and covered with reindeer hide. The undertones can become so beautiful that the shaman can hear lovely singing from the drum.

It was that beauty that the evil shamans had to destroy. The Korean traditional Shamans were women, or men willing to dress as women. It is unknown if gender politics had anything to do with the formation of this rival group, or if it was solely the thirst for power. But, one of these Shamans discovered that a black bull hide substituted for the reindeer hide could change the beautiful overtones to disturbing and ugly ones. They enhanced their ugly ways by cutting their palms and applying their own blood to the hides, and by the use of blood in their rituals. So that which was started to heal, was turned to a cruel power trip. This is known as Black Shamanism, after the color of the hides used on their drums. And this is what the character, Altai is.

In the time of the great migrations, the Altai swept into Central, then Western Asia. It was in the area near Turkey that Altai would have met Xena. This was also the home of the Amazons. So, this is how the two cultures met.

“But”, some of you ask, “Why the fake Indian costumes?”

According to the, “Wallum Olum”, a Delaware history, their ancestors came to North American from the West, over a sheet of ice. So, one would think that such an obvious connection to Siberia would explain why clothing would often be similar, as well as some customs.

The clothing looks as if the Xena staff has been reading Rudenko’s, “Frozen Tombs of Siberia”. It also resembles items in Vilmos Dioszegi’s ethnographies about Siberian Tribes. It is authentic. The antlers, by the way, are alluding to the ancient crown of the Altai kingdom, gold antlers, with birch leaves hanging from them and a crescent moon. There is another meaning, but is it too much into the sacred to discuss in public.

Another source I can see Xena staff used was, “Eaters of the Dead”, a famous chronicle of Northern European customs by an Islamic historian who traveled as far north as Lithuania. Of course another famous historian who visited Lithuania was Herodotus.

How the Amazons got mixed up with the Altai is probably through invasion and trade. The Altai brought new inventions to the area now called, “Turkey”. Another group from Siberia were the Scythians, who also had Amazon groups. This explains the non-Greek Amazons in the Land of the Dead.

Now, I must admit that I have visited the Land of the Dead myself, and nothing bigger than an apple died, since it was part of my lunch. This is nothing for the novice to try. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. After years of knowing my way around the Worlds, I was partnered with someone, and given a secret word to make sure I returned. I went and visited with dead family members and friends, and got the lay of the land.. We were all repeatedly cautioned not to touch or bump or startle our fellow journeyers due to consequences we would not like. Old stories say that doing this could kill the one on the journey. And so would failure to call them back. When Borias buffeted Xena and Altai awake in mid-journey, he could have killed them, and part of Xena went missing. I wonder if she will find it?

And this is what they were showing when Xena was being moved in real reality, and reacted in the Land of the Dead. I was impressed!!!!!

I was also impressed by the Sacred Dance sequences. I guess it sometimes pays off to write a negative article for Whoosh. They really cleaned up their act. The dance was very authentic, except for two things. Where was Xena’s rattle? She moved her hands like that because she should have been holding a rattle made of tiny bells or bits of metal or reindeer hoofs on a strip of leather. And, darn it I love when Lucy sings, but she sure can’t chant.

All in all I have to say that this is the most blatant use of Shamanism in Xena yet. For other Shaman content, please see: Dreamworker, Bitter Suite, Forget Me Not and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

Here are some good books to read after you check out the ones listed by Judith Parker:

  • Popular Beliefs and Folklore Tradition in Siberia, Vilmos Dioszegi

  • Ecstasy: Shamanism in Korea, Alan Carter Covell

  • Folk Art & Magic: Shamanism in Korea, Alan Carter Covell

  • Frozen Tombs of Siberia, The Pazyryk Burials of Iron Age Horsemen, Sergei L. Rudenko
  • I also have a short story posted which explains many Siberian Philosophies and customs, although it is set farther north and East of the people shown in Adventures in the Sin Trade. It is called, “Everything That Is”.


    10-28-98. Linda Riley shares with us these after thoughts:

  • First, permit me to state that Xena looks like nothing quite so much as an Ewok in this episode. There. It had to be said.

  • Secondly, I don't believe there are any guild regulations that prohibit ROC's receiving credit in an ep she does not physically appear in. My suggestion is that they left her off the credits on purpose to leave her fate ambiguous [Editor's note: TPTB did mention that ROC was left out on purpose for that very purpose; however, the critical issue was why this strategy was used on XWP for only two episodes while Michael Hurst still received billing for his character's "death"].

  • I believe, contrary to the duran duran lyric quote in the discussion of this episode in WHOOSH, that this ep's title is a clever little homage to a book that is practically the bible of screenwriters, "Adventures in the Screen Trade" by William Goldman (Goldman wrote Marathon Man, All the President's Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Princess Bride).

  • It made me laugh to see that Mr. Maggiore left out no. 6. Then I remembered that, long time xenite tho I am, I don't know the origin of that much despised number's disgrance. can you fill me in? [Editor's note: The custom began as an homage to a Monty Python skit in which the number 6 of a list was "There is no number six".]


    02-16-01. Claire Stansfield at a convention in Seattle in February 2001 said that she based Alti on Mab the evil Queen from the NBC mini-series Merlin a few years back and also on the Wicked Witch a little since she is the scariest character she could think of. She talked about filming Sin Trade, they were up on ropes and wires and she had lots of layers of furs and hides on and when they dropped her and she was spinning she felt like a spinning possum (lol!). Reported by Michael Oliva.

    12-26-00. Robert Tapert, in an interview with WHOOSH to be released January 1, 2001 (#52), stated about this episode: "They had the flood of the century while we were shooting there. It was also a low point in the series for Lucy [Lawless]. There's nothing she hates more than being cold and wet. She tells me the only other people who have any idea what that is like are Navy SEALS. It was rainy, windy, and cold. She had a tough time. She didn't really get mad or anything, but it was a dark time for her. It worked for the episodes."

    06-24-99. Claire "Alti" Stansfield at the Orlando Con 5/99 stated that the SIN TRADE Amazon land of the dead was filmed at a mountain near Lake Taupo. She also stated that she enjoyed having the really heavy furs on. She felt sorry for the actress playing the dead Amazon `Anokin`, because she didn't have as warm a costume.

    06-24-99. In the June 1999 issue of WHOOSH, Marton Csokas stated that: "R.J. Stewart wrote the script for my first appearance and that was to take place in Mongolia or thereabouts. I was trying to do a combination Russian/Chinese kind of accent which didn't quite work out. He was at a wardrobe fitting and mentioned that the character was based on Attila the Hun, and should be sort of Hungarian. Well, that's no problem for me, to do a Hungarian accent, but it turned out a little more generic than that. I liked the character. "

    02-03-99. Claire "Alti" Stansfield was at the Santa Monica Convention (01/24/99), and said:

  • When she got the script for Alti they didn't tell her which part she was reading for and assumed it was Cyane, the Amazon Queen, not the "old bag of bones" Alti.

  • She said Lucy Lawless helped her feel at ease while she was playing Alti, because Lucy herself was very enthusiastic and supportive.

  • She mentioned that Marton "Borias" Csokas really gets into his role. "When he threw Alti out of the room he *threw* her out of the room!"

  • It doesn't take long to apply the Alti makeup. There is a lot of extra theatrical blood, however.
  • 02-01-99. Holy Henbane, Batman! They must be smoking it in massive quantities in Sydney, Australia, as evidenced by this description of ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE that was released February 5, 1999 in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    "Xena - Warrior Princess
    Ten 7.30 pm

    Here we go again, another series of Xena, gender-bender rom way back. It's a land of constant turmoil, fighting, killing ("After all the people we've killed, what's another corpse?" asks Xena). Unlike the Siclian country-side of The Godfather movies, there are still for some reason, people about.

    Hades (Erik Thompson) and Xena (Lucy Lawless) discuss: "Where do we go from here?" And, thankfully, there is still a choice of enemies.

    Xena, apparently newly pregnant, crosses to the World of the Dead (pity the poor horse she despatched to drink its blood) in search of Gabriel [sic] for whom she really does have a great fondness.

    And after stumbling about a bit, she exchanges pleasantries with Diane [sic], Queen of the Amazons, whom she has killed.

    Someone is about to plunge a sword into Xena's prone body while her spirit is away cavorting with the Dead, but someone stops it. (What a hell of a time bubba in the womb is in for).

    Later, when Xena returns and is about to slay a girl, Hades, who has apparently impregnated her, rushes in sort of saying "tut tut".

    They go off fighting again, and Xena is swapping blows with a toughie called Berserker who, waving a sword that looks like a feather (which does about as much damage to Xena), comes of second-best and gets all spiritual. Malcolm Brown"

    12-21-98. From R.J. Stewart's (the executive producer of XWP, and co-writer of this episode) RealHollywood 12-15-98 chat:

    ErisGoD asks "What's the deal with 2 Amazon Queens named Cyan? Are they one and the same?"

    R.J.Stewart says "Well, this is all explained in Amazon High, however, the original Amazon Queen was named Cyan, so it's a tradition that the Amazon Queen's are "Cyan."...You didn't know that? Ha! It is something we planted in Amazon High and then carried into Xena and not many people have seen AH, so not many understand that."

    11-24-98. There has been conjecture whether the Cyane of SIN TRADE was the same or a related Cyane with the Cyane from YOUNG HERCULES. Not so said Liz Friedman, producer of every sort of Herk, Xena, or Young Herk. Then why does the name Cyane pop up so much in the Xenaverse, especially for Amazon Queens? Apparently it is all linked to that once and future pilot, AMAZON HIGH. The high school Buffyoid who goes back in time to join in on the formation of the Amazon nation is named Cyane. She at first has a really rough time (as Liz Friedman said, the poor gal no longer has access to a blow dryer), but then eventually matures enough to become the first Queen of the Amazon Nation. And subsequent Queens have taken the name Cyane when they ascended the throne in honor of Buffy, oops, I mean Cyane. Even though, it might be interesting to have an Amazon Queen named Buffy, "My name is Buffy. Does anyone have a problem with that?". Apparently Melosa, Ephiny, and Gabrielle have yet to hear of this hallowed Amazon tradition.

    10-28-98. Claire Stansfield (Alti) appeared at the San Francisco Creation Con (10/17/98). Someone in the audience mentioned that she looked like Anne Bancroft and she replied that she hears that a lot -- so much that if "The Graduate" is remade, she wants the Mrs. Robinson role (she also mentioned having a boyfriend 10 years her junior). She is way younger than the character and she related a funny story about reading for several other parts, including the part of Cyane, the Amazon Queen, only to be cast as the "old, bag of bones" character. The fur outfits were many layered and heavy "Lucy and I are big girls, but in these outfits, we were REALLY big girls" and the harness work (aerial fight scenes) was difficult, uncomfortable, but worth it for the effect. (Reported by Chris Clogston).

    10-05-98. Writer/executive producer R.J. Stewart is a big fan of Joseph Conrad. THE DEBT was heavily influenced by APOCALYPSE NOW and the Joseph Conrad novel which inspired it. And now it looks like he has returned to the same well that is HEART OF DARKNESS. HEART is a novel which explores both the outward and inward journey into hell and back. Looks like Xena is caught big time in Conradland.

    09-30-98. This episode was mentioned few times at the Cherry Hill, NJ Con. (08/29-30/98) Sharon Delaney's presentation revealed this information:

  • An anecdote of TJ Scott: Sharon showed an outtake photo of Lucy Lawless between takes during ADVENTURES I, huddled under a raincoat and an umbrella looking completely miserable. It was pouring rain and the temperature was about 50 degrees. Sharon said the director, TJ Scott, asked Lucy if she wanted to stop the shooting, but she elected to keep filming in a very tired but determined voice.

  • Sharon's other shots from ADVENTURES I showed a group of people, including Borias in a post-Debt flashback, and a lot of women that Sharon said are Mongolian Amazons. Beth Gaynor in her review of the convention commented that "The goofy thing is that the Mongolian amazons are in American Indian-style leathers. (Ah, the Xenaverse fun with timelines and geography!) Everyone's wearing soft brown buckskins, lots of bone and beads, and Xena wrapped in it from head to toe, including a hood with short antlers on it. Sharon had a great shot of Xena in the indian leathers in mid-flight, looking as bad-as-Hades as ever."
  • 09-30-98. At the Dearborn Con back on August 22, 1998, it was mentioned during one of the presentations that Joxer appeared in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I. The scene was supposedly one where Xena got especially emotional and Joxer comforted Xena and actually matured. Well, I haven't seen ADVENTURES I yet, but I have heard the reports and read the synopses and have seen hide nor hare of Joxer. It looks like he was indeed cut out of the entire episode as it was rumored a couple of weeks ago.

    09-27-98. Looks like Renee O'Connor lost her "co-starring" billing for this episode. Perhaps union rules or something. She appears in the episode only as voices in the wind heard by the insane Xena. But do not panic. She shall be back by the end of the third episode this season, and eventually will be dancing with Xena and Autolycus at some bizarre village.

    09-23-98. Robert Field, XWP film editor extraordinaire, in an AoL chat on 09-20-98, mentioned that there was a take in SIN TRADE where a spider went in and out of Lucy's mouth. They didn't get it on film. He also mentioned that Vicky Pratt's character whups Xena pretty good and also has a nude scene. This may be the one that got by the censors.

    09-15-98. This may be the first Renee O'Connorless episode. The character, Gabrielle will appear but most likely as a clip or voiceover from an earlier show. In the promos sent to TV stations carrying XWP, Gabrielle is only listed in the credits of SIN TRADE II. There also has been talk that although Renee O'Connor was not in front of the cameras much for the two part season opener, she was behind the camera working on her goal of becoming a director someday. She was also in LA for a while (but it seems before SIN TRADE was filmed) appearing in a movie called RUBBERNECKING. Originally thought to be a TV movie, it now looks like it might be released as a feature.

    09-14-98. Borias returns in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I. First mentioned in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), and first appearing in the third season THE DEBT, Parts I and II, Borias will appear in three critical episodes of the fourth season. It is unknown at this time whether his appearance in SIN TRADE I and II count as one or two episodes. It is conjectured that Borias will also appear in PAST IMPERFECT. If SIN is counted as once appearance, then there will be another appearancee by Borias this season.

    09-14-98. Vicky Pratt, who plays the Amazon Queen that Xena meets in SIN TRADE, is a well-known professional body builder, and was featured recently in the September 1998 issue of IRON MAN magazine.

    07-29-98. TJ Scott was re-drafted and he agreed to film the opening two-parter ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE. There is also rumors that he is filming a couple more than that. There is also news that TJ Scott is up to his normal high-jinks of shooting more film than any other mortal could, and that he is still obsessed with that unique camera technique which makes 90% of the viewers run for more dramanine. Ah, reminds me of the second season when they let Scott out of his cage. And to think, a year ago, GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN was my least favorite show because of that camera technique. How a year can make a difference...now I am nostalgic for it.

    07-29-98. Marton Csokas, the actor who played Khrafstar and Borias, has been signed for three episodes in the XENA fourth season. Rumor has it he will play Borias in all three and all in scripts written by Steven L. Sears. Borias will be in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I. It is unclear whether he will be in the second part. It seems, if he is, that appeareance will not comprise the second appearence of Csonkas (meaning he still appears in two more episodes). Rumor has it that these episodes will be throughout the season and that they will be a critical part of an overall arc for the 4th season. More rumors about that one of the other two episodes will be PAST IMPERFECT (a Sears script).


    Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

    In a sick, twisted, dreading kind of way, Xena's grief at the funeral pyre was what I've been waiting four months to see. That was a great scene, doubly touching because it was at the pyre of someone else, since Xena wasn't able to give Gabrielle a funeral. And in the midst of that sorrow was the affirmation that "Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you" - Xena was preparing to follow up on that promise even as she mourned. I love that they showed the splash fight from A Day in the Life when Xena talked about the joy Gab brought; that's one of my all-time favorite moments of pure fun.


    03-06-00. From KSZoneW. They edit out the entire Xena/Borias bearskin scene. The scene where Xena is in the cavern fades into the part were Xena and Borias are close together and kissing.


    These things are by Beth Gaynor.

    Is it just coincidence that the girl Xena pulled down from the tree had been killed the same way that Cyane was killed? I'm doubtin' it.

    The Berserker is introduced with the grim words that he's "killed every warrior he's ever met in combat." But isn't that true of all warriors except the dead ones?

    How did Xena know that guy the Thunderdome Amazons had kidnapped was from Alti? And by the way, Alti lays quite a kiss on that flunky when he gets back - right after chewing him out. What the heck was THAT all about? I felt like that scene got cut mid-line; did we miss something else that was supposed to happen?


    03-11-00. From Lesley Keech. During the scene when Xena first enters the Amazon lands and starts kitting herself out in her new hide outfit, she says:-

    "My mind has lost its center. It's turning-- turning-- can't hold."
    What immediately sprang to my mind was the similarity to the classic lines by W B Yeats from his poem "The Second Coming":-
    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;"
    The lines are very apt for this episode and it's great that it was alluded to. Kudos to R J Stewart and/or Rob Tapert for putting this kind of stuff into the show.

    12-16-99. From Victoria Finkenstadt. In Is There a Doctor in the House, when Gabrielle died she went to the Elysian Fields, even after she was inducted as an Amazon. But in Adventures in the Sin Trade I, she went to the Amazon Land of the Dead. In Hooves and Harlots, Gabrielle asked what the Amazon's were doing for Terreis, who had been killed. Xena replied that they were sending her to Artemis, their Greek Goddess. So, I guess after they see Artemis, she sends them to the Land of the Dead without going thru Hades. Perhaps Xena should have asked Artemis instead of Hades.

    From Carolyn. I've previously watched ADVENTURES I many times on an NTSC (US format) tape I was sent from the states. It was broadcast for the first time last night here in Australia, and what struck me (apart from some devastating cuts) was the different quality of the episode in PAL (Aussie format); or so it seemed to me. ADEVENTURES I is an episode that I really love so I'd watched it several times previously and really enjoyed the look of it apart from anything else. But watching it on PAL after being so familiar with the NTSC version, was like seeing the whole thing afresh. I don't know how much the difference was due to the differences in taping and the effect of converting NTSC to PAL.

  • The PAL version I saw just had so much more of a full colour tone; it was like watching it in 3-D after being familiar with a 2-D version. The picture just looked so much sharper; the minor detail so much more clear.

  • For instance I'd never noticed before how much it's clearly raining. It must have been hell to film. The PAL broadcast made it very clear to me for the first time that it's raining quite hard during that opening scene with Hades; also during that section by the river which includes Xena carrying the deer on her back (in fact there's a brief moment when Xena puts her hand out palm up & this time I realised that she is just feeling the rain on her hand.); it's raining on Xena in the cave when she starts to dress in her new outfit & paints red stuff on her face.

  • On this PAL version I could also see more detail of stones on the ground the horses' coats, the clothes and Lucy's facial skin texture. I was going Wow! amazing ! I 'm glad I'm taping this PAL version - until the end......the fight with the Berserker....and suddenly I was going HEY ! What happened !. I rewound the tape as soon as the episode finished - all those bits where The Berserker made Xena relive scenes of beeing battered from her past, were cut. There was just The Berserker snapping his pupils shut and kind of zapping Xena's leg. But all the dialogue with Xena talking about Alti's power to make you relive your past & Xena still having a pain in the leg from it, was left in: so it made no sense at all.

  • Other cuts I noticed:
  • The first time we see Xena with Borias - the bit of a frolic under the wolf skin where Xena & Borias are meant to be at it, was cut. It just picks up with the after-sex discussion about Borias being in love. Now some may see this as an improvement, tho' I think the wolf rug thing implies that Xena's relationship with Borias is much more of a carnally animalistic one, than Xena's relationships with women eg with Gabrielle.

  • The drinking of horses blood was also cut. It may still be clear that she is drinking horses blood - the Aussie version shows up to the rear view of Xena raising the cup of blood....then we see her dancing with blood dripping from her mouth. I think the drinking blood implication may have gone over some Aussies' heads tho'.
  • So now I have one version with the full episode & one flawed episode where the colour quality is an extra pleasure to watch....choices !!
  • From Bret Rudnick. The script in SIN TRADE called for Lucy to say "That's a tough one." It was a Lucy-ism when she said "That's a toughie".

    From Bongo Bear. Xena shot what wooked wike a big bad caribou with her widdle bow. That bowstring looked a little slack, but hey, it's just TV. And what about the heaving and huffing bear scene? Oh my. I thought it was a real bear with major constipation until ..... well you know. Xena should have worn the equivalent of a lobster bib when she drank her horse's blood. Nasty. Are there no paper napkins in all of Siberia? A napkin for a horse!

    From Kym Taborn. I don't know about you, but "it's a toughie" has got to be the highlight line of the 4th season (can they really top that???). It's like when they produced their most sublime episode as the third into the first season (DREAMWORKER...OKAY??? Now be honest, where can you really go AFTER THAT???), they have given us the ultimate dialogue moment, just barely into the 4th season.

    This is from Bluesong. We now have YAXI (Yet another Xena inconsistancies) with the ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I episode. Gabrielle, when she died in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124) went to the Elysian Fields, remember? She saw her Uncle Morose -- along with Talus and several others. And of course she was already an Amazon Princess by that time. So Xena's explanation about the initiation is, well, wrong. She should have said, if anything, "her acceptance of the mask of queen must have sent her to a different land of the dead" -- which I could have bought without considering it an inconsistency. But Xena said her initiation into the Amazons is what did it, hence, she should have went to the other land of the dead in ItaDitH.


    This top ten is from Frank Maggiore.

    10. Xena looks cute even with antlers

    9. The Land of the Dead looks suspiciously like a strip mine in New Zealand

    8. Xena loves Gabrielle so much she carries her scrolls with her, even into battle

    7. After fighting the Berserker and reliving the pain from her past Xena realizes that she has broken more bones then Jackie Chan

    6. Number 6 was left behind with Argo, who still thinks he could have kicked that Berserker horse's *ss.

    5. Going to the Land of The Dead Xena realizes she has p*ss*d off an awful lot of Amazons and should send Ephiny a get well card.

    4. Xena and Alti seem to share the same taste in women, short blondes who wear outfits that show off their abs.

    3. If you wander around the woods long enough you can start hearing Gabrielle call out your name.

    2. Alti, no matter how good a psychic she is, still can't see a good *ss-kicking coming her way, even though the rest of us non-psychics can

    And the number one thing that we learned during Adventures In The Sin Trade

    1. Horse blood is highly hallucinogenic


    Click here to read a transcript of ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I.


    No Dead Amazons lost their lives in the production of this motion picture.


    Coming soon


    The episode
    Mary Draganis' Montage and Review
    GEOS Guide
    Screen Captures

    Marton Csokas
    Nyx's Shrine to Marton Csokas
    The Aussie/Kiwis Actors Lounge
    E! Fact Sheet
    The Internet Movie Database

    Kate Elliot
    The Internet Movie Database

    Robert Field
    An Interview with Robert Field, Part 1 by Bret Rudnick WHOOSH #10 (07/98)
    An Interview with Robert Field, Part 2 by Bret Rudnick WHOOSH #11 (08/98)
    An Interview with Robert Field (01/97) by Deborah White

    Vicky Pratt
    The Internet Movie Database

    Sheeri Rappaport
    E! Fact Sheet
    The Internet Movie Database

    T. J. Scott
    E! Fact Sheet
    The Internet Movie Database

    Claire Stansfield
    E! Fact Sheet
    The Internet Movie Database

    R.J. Stewart
    "An Interview with R. J. Stewart" by Bret Ryan Rudnick WHOOSH #09 (06/97)
    RJ Prodction Credits
    The Internet Movie Database

    Robert Tapert
    "Just Marry Her, Will You? Robert tapert at the Burbank Convention" by Cynthia Ward Cooper WHOOSH #05 (02/97)
    Rob Tapert in Burbank II (01/98)
    Dreamwatch #39 Interview "Mythmaker" (11/97)
    TV Zone #93 article "Warrior Princess: Xena" (08/87)
    "Lawfully Wedded" People Magazine (04/13/98)
    "Cult-Show Maker Simply Too Busy to Go Hollywood" by Mike Duffy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers (03-03-97)
    "Kick! Slam! Role of Xena is hit for New Zealander" by Jennifer Weiner Knight Ridder Newspapers (07/05/96)
    "Two Who Trounced Trek" by Elisa Zuritsky (TV Guide May 1997)
    Executive Producer of XWP
    The Evil Dead transcription
    Short Biography
    Production Credits
    The Internet Movie Database

    Erik Thomson
    The Aussie/Kiwis Actors Lounge
    The Internet Movie Database

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