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Season 4, episode 2
Series 402
1st release: 10-05-98
2nd release: 11-30-98
Production number: V0608
Shooting dates: May/June 1998
Shooting number: 407
Last update: 02-16-01

SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Missy Good
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Deb E. McGhee
COMMENTARY 3 by Jill Arenson
COMMENTARY 4 by Videntur
COMMENTARY 5 by Philip Teo

Marton Csokas (Borias)
Claire Stansfield (Alti)
Sheeri Rappaport (Otere)
Vicky Pratt (Cyane)

Kate Elliott (Yakut)
Jay Saussey (Young Woman)
Barry Duffield (Koryak)

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

Alti to Xena: You and I love the same things.
[A woman clad only in briefs pushes Xena; rips Xena's clothes off and quickly dresses herself in them.]
Woman: Side with us and find life. Side with Alti and find death.
[Xena fights among the trees.]

(Alti dances around a fire.)
Alti: We have to destroy the Amazons.
Xena: She lives off their strength.
(Xena and the other Amazons fall to the ground.)
Alti: You and I love the same things.
(Xena falls through the roof of an Amazon hut.)
(Cyane, dressed only in a thong, beats up Xena, then steals her clothes and puts them on.)
Cyane: Side with us and find life. Side with Alti and find death.
(Xena and Cyane look at an unconscious Alti.)
(Xena runs on top of tree branches.)
Gabrielle: Xena.
Xena: Amazons, arise.
(Xena runs up a tree.)
Xena: We must be ready to make a spiritual war.
(Xena and Alti fly through the air towards each other.)

Xena travels to the Amazon Resting Place to battle the evil witch, Alti, and learns that Gabrielle is still alive.

Conclusion. Xena's continuing search for Gabrielle in the Amazon Resting Place leads to a climatic battle with the evil shamaness Alti.

At the Amazon Place of Rest, Xena must battle an evil shaman in order to find Gabrielle. Part 2 of 2.

1st RELEASE: 10-05-98
An AA average of 4.6
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 12th with 4.6
(2) ER 13th with 4.5
(3) HERCULES 14th with 4.3
(4) X-FILES/STAR TREK DS9 15th with 4.2

2nd RELEASE: 11-30-98
An AA average of 3.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 11th with 5.5
(2) ER 15th with 4.3
(3) HERCULES 19th with 3.8
(4) STAR TREK DS9 with 3.7
(5) XENA with 3.5
(6) STARGATE with 3.1
(8) CROW 2.5
(11) SHRUNK KIDS 1.9


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Note: Renee O'Connor again is not listed in the opening credits.

The saga of the steppes continues as Xena and her new young Amazon friends build a purge hut in preparation for a spiritual battle with Alti. Xena takes Otere into the hut for some girltalk. She remembers spying on Queen Cyane while she was in a similar hut. Xena fell through the roof and the Queen whipped her butt. Xena would have died except Borias intervened.

Later Xena proclaims one of the young women the new shamanness of the tribe. They do the Dance of the Spirits. Alti, meanwhile, calls forth a bunch of hapless souls from the land of the dead to go and attack Xena and the Amazons. Xena cannot get the young Amazons out of their bodies to fight the souls; she has to beat them up as they are taken over and they attack her. Finally, though, she shakes them up and the souls depart.

The young Amazons and Xena travel to find Alti. Xena says they must go to a sacred place of the dead, where Alti's power is. They make camp, setting up a charm circle. Xena remembers being asked to join the Amazons. Queen Cyane won a spiritual dual with Alti, impressing the younger Xena.

While keeping watch, a spider jumps on Xena, and she falls into a trance-state. The spider takes on Gabrielle's face, and then Alti comes out and tries to strangle Xena. She wants to know who the blond girl is. Xena tells her she is goodness and light. The spider bites Xena and she is tranced again. The girls put Xena on a litter and continue their journey. Xena bounces up and they walk on. They reach the sacred dead site. This is where Queen Cyane's body is, hanging from a tree. Lots of them hang from trees. Xena remembers how they got there. She attacked all the leaders of the Amazons, after she had set traps, and killed them all. She left the Amazons virtually defenseless, with no strong leader to rally around, and thus easy to wipe out, except for the bunch she now journeys with.

Xena suddenly runs around and puts her "touch" on all the women because Alti is near and they have no time to do the spirit dance. Xena and Alti, in spirit, fight, flying through the trees. Alti shows Xena her future death, a place of fire, and finally she shows her how she and Gabrielle (who has very short hair) are crucified. Xena's hands really start to bleed as the nails are driven in. But Xena is suddenly happy and she regains her strength, because if Gabrielle is in her future, she isn't dead yet. She and Alti fight some more. Xena throws Alti into a tree limb and Alti dies. Xena returns to her body (and there are holes in her hands) and brings everybody back from her "touch." She tells the young shamanness that the new holy word is "love", and the souls in the land of the dead are now free to go to Eternity. The young Amazons do a dance. Xena turns over her role as leader of the Amazons to Otere, and she gets on a horse and heads for home.


This synopsis is by Missy Good.

Okay.. here we go for Part II.... I have my scorecard ready, and I've just watched Part I.

Amazons are building a sweat hut. (laughing) Sorry.. that wasn't meant to be funny. But now we get Xena giving the sweat treatment to the kid. (Oteri?) (merwolf's bad with names) Oteri gets the best line ("This is supposed to be good for me, right?") Xena cracks her neck (in a good way) then tells her a little more pressure and she could have killed her.

(sidebar - I can see a mutual cleansing sweathut scene coming up for Xena and the restored Gabs in numerous 4th season fanfics.)

Now we get a flashback to Cyane... and Xena falls headfirst into her sweathut... she thinks she has Cyane cornered cause she's naked, but Cyane steals her clothes and beats her silly. Cyane can run across branches like they were a path.. apparently this is the queen of all Amazon warriors. Xena gets her butt kicked.. it's fun to watch.

(another sidebard..er..bar - this is rated PG-V, and for those who are keeping track, they are still using the 1st season opener, where Renee is not credited)

Okay, so Borias comes and saves the day (note - Xena does a frustrated wild child quite well) Xena decides she wants to learn fighting techniques from Cyane.(she's not a dumb as she appears)

Back in the present - Oteri tells Xena her father died defending their village from Xena's army (Xena knew this) Xena tells her she can never ask her forgiveness, but Oteri should let her help the Amazons build a new life - that that is what Gabrielle did for her. Oteri agrees. This is a nice moment.

Xena makes another Amazon the new shamaness, and is teaching her how to enter the spirit world. In the meantime, the Wicked Witch of the West.. I mean.. Alti, is gathering evil spirits to her, in order to make her powerful. (her speech patterns, including the cackle, bothered me.. I kept expecting to hear 'My sweeties" coming out of her mouth)

CGI Clouds and sunsets happen. Dancing happens. I'm assuming this means time is passing. More dancing, more CGI clouds, lots of chanting.

Alti calls evil spirits up, and sends them after Xena.. she promises the evil spirits she will release them into Eternity if they destroy Xena, otherwise they are destined to live forever in the land of the Dead. She tells the spirits to go and drive Xena and her friends insane.

Meanwhile, the dancing finally stops, and they all fall down. Xena talks them into releasing their spirits and helping her fight. The evil sprirts enter the Amazon's bodies, and they attack Xena. Xena defends herself, but not lethally. Xena convinces them to rid themselves of the spirits, and they do. They get a pat on the back from the Warrior Princess while they all recover from being beat up by her.

Xena is carrying her saddlebags. She realizes they are going the wrong way - and decides Alti's stronghold is where the Amazons go to the Land of the Dead. She tells the Amazons to make camp - and to create a charm circle to keep Alti out. They do, with lots of blood and gore. I think they're starting to really like it.

Another flashback - Cyane is asking Xena to join the Amazons... she tells Xena to let Borias change.. to have her stay with them and learn a new way.

Alti and Cyane face off - Cyane wins - Cyane tells Xena not to put her soul in Alti's hands - she tells Xena to side with them and chose life, or side with Alti and choose death.

In the present, Xena tells teh Amazons that Alti's close, and that they should watch out - she's keeping watch alone and gets attacked by the infamous spidah.

Folks - putting Gabrielle's head on a spidah about did me in. I had flashbacks to "The Fly" (The original version) Then Gabrielle becomes a full size wraith, and Xena reaches out to her. Teh wraith morphs into Alti, who attacks Xena, desperate to find out "who she is.. tell me who the blond one is!"

Xena tells her Gabrielle is goodness and innocence, and that she represents the power that will defeat Alti.(and that Gabrielle will live inside her forever) Alti takes her back and shows her that she cursed Solan, so that he would never know the love of either of his parents. (I'd say Solan defeated this one, there at the very, very end, but that's just IMHO)

Xena gets rid of the spidah.. and falls into a trance.. The Amazons think her powers are gone.. there is a very cute moment between Oteri and the shamaness here - I grinned a lot. the Amazons carry her down the path, and she wakes up and tells them about Alti's curse. Xena says it's because Alti knew Solan would turn her from the darkness and Alti coudn't afford that.

Xena leads the Amazons to Alti's stronghold, where the decor tends to dead bodies and lots of spikes. This is where Cyane died... Xena tells the Amazons the story of how she killed all the Amazons there - it was a leadership council to honor a slain Amazon. Xena tells them she killed the Amazon, then she goes about sprnging a trap that kllls all the Amazons except for Cyane. Then Xena throws Cyane into a spike, saying Alti offered her a better deal.

(sidebar - Xena is a fast learner. None of the Amazons here are a match for her, including Cyane, which aint bad for a young, pregnant girl with no morals) Also - Xena strikes me very much here as more very young, very ambitious, and very selfishly arrogant rather than deliberately evil - it's almost like it's a game for her. A very distinct contrast to the present day Xena.

Alti takes Cyane's blood - Xena tells the Amazons that she's responsible for all of the Amazon's deaths -she tells them Alti lives on the spirits of the dead... Xena then puts the pinch of all of them, including herself and they all start to die.

Xena's spirit takes off..and coaxes the other Amazons to join her (they don't have much choice here.) Now we have a flying battle... Alti is tormenting Xena with visions again, but Xena's now reliving her future...she sees scenes yet to come.. it's not a pretty future.. .Xena gets beat up a lot... Alti's winning...then she shows Xena a scene.in the snow...

Roman centurians... they're nailing Xena to a cross... and next to her, also on a cross is a short haired Gabrielle. They look at each other...Xena says "Gabrielle, you are the best thing in my life." Gabrielle gets 'that look - you all know the one I mean) and says "I love you Xena." Just as the centurion goes to nail her hands to the cross. They smile at each other.

(sidebar - it was nice seeing Renee O'Connor again, let me tell you - even with short hair.)

Alti says "Your little friend is dying, Xena.. how does that make you feel?" Xena replies. "Good." Alti says.. "What??" Xena says.. "Because if she's dying in my future.. it means she's alive !!" And proceeds to pummel the heck out of Alti and impale her on a stake.

(subtext? What subtext? I don't see any stinking subtext here..)

Xena wakes up from her trance, and has stigmata from the nailing of the cross, which makes her realize it's true -that Gabrielle is alive (never saw someone so happy to see holes in their hands... she starts to say Gabrielle's name, then realizes she better take the pinch off the Amazons)

And, of course, the secret code word, as everyone already realized, is love. (subtext? Nah...not here) The Amazons in the land of the dead realize they can cross over now, and the'yre pretty happy about that, let me tell you.

A campfire... Xena tells Oteri her prophecy is fufilled, that she takes Xena's powers as leader of the Amazons. Oteri asks Xena where she is going - Xena answers "Home." Then she holds up her hands. "She's alive!" And she rides off across the plains, presumably back to Greece.

Okay - I liked this one a lot better. Maybe it was Gabrielle's presence. (laugh) Actually, I think an interesting point is starting to be made - a lot of people tried to turn Xena to the good side in her past. Lao Ma, Borias, Cyane.. countless others we haven't met yet...

Gabirelle was the one who suceeded - in not only showing Xena a new way, but keeping her on it - actually changing a fundimental part of who Xena is. This love that she's found is so profound, it changes everything. I think, if nothing else, this episode makes it very hard to not believe these two are soulmates... regardless of whether or not you think they're sleeping together (does it really matter?)

(for the record, I think they *are* soulmates, and I don't much care if they're doing the wild thing or not)


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

We've seen both parts of this episode now, and I'm still scratching my head on a few points. These two episodes have a "great trees, weird forest" syndrome going. I adore some of the scenes, but there's some goofy problems with the whole thing when you take a step back and look at the package.

Last season, I noted a new season record for least amount of time to achieve nudity. This season fell a little behind that mark, so apparently they decided to make up for speed with quantity. Thanks for letting us know that thongs were the Undies of Warrior Babe Choice back then! The pan of Cyane in the sweat lodge was a near-duplicate of Gabrielle's from Bitter Suite, with one small difference: there's no question that there's no stunt b*tt being used here. Nice meeting you, Cyane!

Warlord Xena was no dummy - she realizes that she can learn things from Cyane. But when does she? I didn't think much time had passed until she slaughters all the amazon leaders, yet by then she sure had their fighting style down pat.

We've graduated from hot tubs to sweat lodges. Apparently when you leave Greece, hot tubbing is out of vogue and has been replaced by steam room-ing as the favored excuse to strip down.

The first part of this episode led me to believe that all this stuff that Xena and Alti were buried in was black, death magic. She said in the first part that she had promised herself she wouldn't return to this nasty stuff. And yet she crowns a shell-shocked-looking Yakut as the new shamaness - the next Alti? (with the stupidest-looking hat we've seen yet) and has all the Thunderdome Amazons dripping blood and making skulls. And are they all drinking blood for the rituals? Not the best of influences you're having on these kids, Xena.

The Thunderdome Amazon's trademark look: the deer in the headlights stare. And I guess only the Otere and Yakut actresses were paid the Speaking Role fee - the rest never utter a word. Charismatic group ya got there. They also need a serious injection of rhythym; I think the reason Alti has more power is that she can dance better.

During the first night, Xena tells everybody they have to battle Alti. They dance themselves into a frenzy, play a wicked game of London Bridges, and drop into trances - kind of. They get invaded by the dead spirits, Xena kicks 'em around a little, and then they all get up again. (Actually, we only see the spirits leave Yakut and Otere - what about the other three?) We never see those nasty spirits again, and the trance idea is forgotten. What the HECK just happened there?

In the second night, Xena has the amazons set up a charm circle to keep Alti and "her demons" busy. We didn't see a sign of the demons, but apparently it didn't work very well against spider-Alti. I haven't been able to figure out the rules of this magic. With the other exposition scenes we saw, I would have really liked to have seen one where Xena tells the new shamaness about this whole magic gig and how it works.

I tried, I really tried to take the "spritual duel" between Cyane and Alti seriously. But by the dozenth close-up of a grimace (there were 18 total - I counted!), I couldn't keep from laughing myself sick. I think we could have gotten the idea with less than ten of those neck-clenching shots.

Alti's best Darth Vader line: "You don't know the power..." of the Dark Side of the Force.

The amazon tribute salute looks an awful lot like the Roman salute we saw in Destiny. I adored Warlord Xena's "salute THIS" throw when she arrives at the clearing with the amazon leaders. That woman can toss attitude like nobody's business. At the very end of the episode, despite Xena's earlier protests, Otere gives the departing Xena the salute; a sweet touch.

Xena's destruction of the amazon leaders was the nastiest I've seen her yet. To me, this beat even the wall of severed heads in Chin - this one was done with glee and enjoyment - for sport, as she said about killing the young girl they were mourning. Her ruthlessness and efficiency were amazing, and she exudes cockiness when she arrives at the clearing and taunts the amazons. I wonder what Borias's reaction was when he found out what had happened?

Xena may have abandoned the heartless cruelty of her past, but the lethal decisiveness is still there. Alti's coming, need some spiritual power... how about I just put the pinch on all of ya. Those amazons must have felt pretty stupid after hearing that story and then getting wiped out in a matter of seconds by the Warrior Princess. I guess Xena's spirit incarnation convinced them she was still on their side. Either that or this is an ultra-trusting bunch.

Fascinating set of flash-forwards we see when Alti tries to take Xena to her death. A key quote from Alti came after the first flash, when she said they just needed to go "a little further to get to the real thing." It sounds to me like we were seeing a bunch of times when Xena was close to death, until finally the actual death would come along.

In order, we saw:

  • Xena standing in a burning village with a look of shock on her face.

  • Xena fighting some guys in Egyptian outfits and getting the tar kicked out of her. (Loved Alti's taunt after that one: "That was interesting, huh, Xena?")

  • Xena on a burning battlefield (same village as the first vision?), with Roman soldiers running around.

  • Xena and Gabrielle being crucified side-by-side in the snow by Romans. Other people were already hanging on crosses behind them. Biggest item of note: Gabrielle's hair was SHORT! Wow, the pixie look was strange. They both seemed pretty resigned to the process, and gave the requisite touching death-bed declarations of love. Sweet, but not quite as cool as Xena's fire when she connects the dots to realize that Gabrielle is still alive.
  • To me, this is the important note: they were getting closer to Xena's death, but there's no way to know that the final vision was actually Xena's death. Looks like it was actually a time for Xena's hands to get nailed - THAT's gonna leave interesting scars - but we have no way of not knowing that the second after that vision ended somebody else didn't show up to kick Roman guard butt.

    If there's anyone out there who DIDN'T know hours in advance that the new holy word would be "love," you are hereby sentenced to flipping to the USA channel to watch a few more Xena episodes, especially any speech by Gabrielle about the power of love. How soon did Xena figure it out? When Alti was demanding to know who the blonde was, Xena said she "represents what can defeat you." Did Xena already know that the holy word would be love, which to her Gabrielle is the symbol of?

    The special effects budget (and time) must have run low by the end of this episode - Cyane somehow feels like they can pass into eternity now without any real reason or even actually seeing the holy word get passed along.

    Otere's assumption of Xena's power was Xena telling Otere that she's now the leader of the amazons? I was waiting for Otere to mutter "Thanks tons, warrior, but I was that way before you got here." Ah well, I suppose Xena was just making it official. And who declared Xena the leader in the first place? What a wimpy prophecy.

    Overall, the manic camera shots this episode were much better used than last. I could follow all the battles this time and the really bizzarre cuts were saved for the amazon drug parties.

    Add it all together, and this means the past two episodes have kind of been a shaggy-dog story. The reason for the trip was to find Gabrielle, but in the end, we're no closer to figuring out where she is. My inner GabFan (which most of my friends will tell you is not very inner) is throwing a tantrum. She's not the least bit surprised, but she's getting highly impatient waiting to see the bard again.


    10-11-98. This commentary is by Deb E. McGhee.

    WARNING!!! This is not a warm, glowy, sugar and spice review. If you don't like negative criticism, skip this.

    Adventures in the Sin Trade II. Rob Tapert & RJ Stewart (story); RJ Stewart (teleplay). Directed by TJ Scott

    SOUNDBYTE SUMMARY: How could the second part of a two-part episode -- with all the same players in front of and behind the camera -- look, feel, and taste so different from the first part? How could Part I be so good and Part II...not? Adventures in the Sin Trade II has the dubious honour of being the most excessively self-indulgent and pointless of the forays into Xena the Psychopath's Dark Past. Rating: 2.5 quills (out of 5).

    ANALYSIS-REVIEW: My immediate reaction to Sin Trade II was 'So What?' How fitting, because I dimly recall that my reaction to the clothes-swapping teaser was 'What the hell was that?' Sin Trade II was *supposed* to be a continuation of Part I, but the story-level connections were so tenuous that I wonder why they even bothered going through the motions.

    In fact, this episode lived up to all the fears I had had about Part I; that Part I didn't confirm my expectations is little consolation. I had fully expected that Sin Trade would be the next, now obligatory, installment into Xena's sordid history -- with little point other than to wallow in her depravity. Part I avoided such vacuousness by keeping the Dark Past fully in service to the present-day spirit quest. In Part II, the Dark Past *was* the whole story, slapped between the wafer-thin bookends of the premise to find a new Holyword for the decimated Amazons and the so-called moral of 'Look how much she's changed!'.

    Been there, done that...but not as badly. No, even the murky logic of Destiny's setup worked better than the lame-o one of Sin Trade II. How believable is it that Xena wouldn't comprehend that love is stronger than courage when: 1) she had just made that long, arduous journey on the strength of love alone, ending it (abruptly) with "I love you [see you later]" and 2) she *already* knew that Alti's power derived from evil and hate?

    But even worse, from a story-telling point of view, is the fact that there was absolutely nothing in Sin Trade II to indicate special knowledge or understanding over and above that already gained in Part I... or Sacrifice II or Bitter Suite (whose ENTIRE plot hinged on acceptance of the idea that love is stronger than anything, including lying about not having killed one's own child and attempted murder) or When in Rome or Debt II or....

    If a series-level point is supposed to be that 'one step below omniscience and omnipotence' Xena is a slow-learner when it comes to the power of love, then xenastaff ought to MAKE THAT A CENTRAL ISSUE. As it stands now, it's up for debate as to whether psychological interpretations of Xena's character based on vague, esoteric hints are on the mark, or if, instead, persons like myself who make such interpretations are making something out of the nothing of re-hashed stories. Even a 2-minute segment in Sin Trade II wherein we have some exploration of 'Why now?' and why Xena keeps not 'getting it' would have gone a long way in elevating the story above triviality and meaninglessness.

    That's where supporting characters come in. There were a whole slew of them in Sin Trade, and they were all misused, underdeveloped, or both. What a waste.

    Whereas in the first part I was fascinated by Alti (and not just because of those gorgeous lips), in Part II it quickly became apparent that she was to be nothing more than just another evil for the sake of evil paper cutout villain. Callisto had her own backstory and complex and often conflicting motivations. The same can be said for Ares. Caesar had the weight of history, if nothing else. Alti had lots of eyeshadow and a dirty face. Oh, and a raspy voice like the Wicked Witch of the West. Alti offered Xena power and Xena took it. So what.

    Whereas there were a wealth of possibilities with Otere, none were developed past the level of hints of rough parallelism between the Xena-Calli and Xena-Gab stories. At the end, I got no indication that Xena had learned anything from Otere, nor that Otere had really learned anything spectacular or grown all that much from her contact with Xena (and this may be a result of both weak writing and Rappaport's stern visage). In fact, I was left cold by the resolution to Alti's prophecy. Otere *already* was functioning as the de facto leader of her tribe, and Xena did little more than lend her brute strength and knowledge of Alti's arcane rituals to rid the tribe of their enemy. For a story that pretended towards transcendence, the Otere-Xena subplot was disappointingly mundane.

    And what happened to Anokin? Maybe Alti really did put a spell on Xena just so she could get Xena to take a trip to the Land of the Dead and help carry out Alti's plan of massacring the Amazons. The alternative is that Xena routinely gets all whacked out when her nubile young things get killed, and Gabrielle simply holds the distinction of being co-dependent and lucky enough to have hung around longer than the rest. Anokin proved to be nothing more than a meaningless plot device meant to show how and why Xena had previously visited the Land of the Dead. Anokin was a distracting waste of time. I hate it when that happens!

    (I'm not even going to go into Cyane; the camera spent enough time paying her tribute that I feel any more would be excessive.)

    Or maybe *I* was distracted and that's why I was so annoyed by Sin Trade II. You see, I tend to find the 'Dark Past' episodes trying and less than fulfilling. I want something more than 'Xena was really, really bad and slinked like a panther, rutted like a bear, and snarled like a dog'. I want something more than 'someone got betrayed and Bad Things ensued'. For example, Debt II accomplished this by tightly interweaving not only Xena's past and present, but also Ming Tien's; by attending to Gabrielle's character development rather than leaving her as a plot device/sounding board for narrative exposition; and by embedding all of this within the larger contexts of Xena's and Gabrielle's growth and the X&G relationship. Having been left wanting for that type of complexity in Debt I and especially Destiny, Debt II was a pleasant surprise. Sin Trade I matched, if not exceeded, Debt II in this regard.

    But Destiny was a marvel compared to Sin Trade II. Sin II was predicated on Xena's sudden turning away from the quest for Gabrielle, to follow the alternative storyline of Xena redeeming herself with the Amazons. A noble cause, to be sure, but in execution, this detour looked like a thin excuse to gorge on the wild oats of Xena's monstrousness. This is supposed to make the character sympathetic? Frankly, when Xena slaughtered the Amazons I was repulsed (and seeing as how _Pulp Fiction_ is one of the few videos I've actually liked enough to *purchase*, I don't repulse easily), and NOTHING after that matched the emotional intensity of that event.

    The believability of Xena's change -- both in this episode in specific as well as in the series general -- and therefore the success of the story's premise, hinged on 2 things: that she'd go to extraordinary lengths to right her wrongs and LL's acting. The former was partially fulfilled in Sin II, the latter not. Simply put, Lawless was more convincing as the ruthless, double-crossing, out-of-control psychopath than as the changed person who deeply regrets her past actions. Lawless' expressions of regret and empathy looked (as they often do) more like consternation. They didn't even carry the smooth veneer that one associates with the false emotion of sociopaths, a read infinitely preferable to the murkiness we got. True, clearcut ungenuineness would have changed the message of the story (and the series!), but at least with that I'd have gotten a better sense of whether Xena had really experienced some growth.

    The bottom line is that I found Adventures in the Sin Trade II to be thinly-plotted, emotionally-lacking, confusing, and pointless (Someone care to tell me the point of Solan's curse?). Yeah, it got my blood heated in a few places, but more often than not it started something and then didn't finish it. I could say something with the word 'tease' in it, but I won't be crude. {sg} The fact that I was most interested in the glimpses into the future and more moved by the crucifixion scene than anything else in the entire 44 minutes (the overuse of the cross imagery without accompanying greater purpose and the erroneousness of nails through the palms rather than the wrists, notwithstanding) captures the whole of my experience of this episode in a nutshell. It had its moments, but more often than not, I felt irritated and frustrated.

    VARIOUS AND SUNDRY: I happened to catch bits of HTLJ right before this. For all intents and purposes, Iolaus is dead. Turning grey, starting to stink, wrapped up in a shroud dead. He died last week, he didn't come back this week, and he doesn't appear in the previews for next week. But what do you know? Michael Hurst is still 'Also Starring' on HTLJ. He appeared in flashback and had approximately the same amount of screen time as ROC did in Sin Trade II. Who's ROC, you ask? Why, she's that non-credited person who portrays Gabrielle. "Suspense," they say? "Horse manure," I reply. Plain and simple insulting-to-the-intelligence horse manure. It was a dumb idea.

    D*mn. I said I wasn't going to take the show so seriously anymore. You know, try to stay in a fluffy mindframe. Oops. Okay, here's something I really did like: Yakut's method of testing whether or not Otere had Xena's 'power'. Too rich! And the opening chase scene with Cyane in the trees was shot pretty cool too.

    Also, I noticed that Xena's rituals were suspisciously similar to the Hope resurrection rituals: Flesh and Blood. Ooh..creeepy! {g}

    Looking forward to next week....


    10-11-98. This commentary is by Jill Arenson.

    I enjoyed part 2 of AITST a whole lot more than part 1. Where part 1 was jerky, part 2 was smooth -- where part 1 was confusing, I found part 2 to be clear. And, at the conclusion, when Cyan stood hearing 'the word' and seeing the gates to eternity open for her and her amazons, with an incredibly beautiful female chorus chanting in the background, I was almost moved to tears.

    The opening scene, of Xena instructing Otere on the use of the steam room and what the Amazons used it for was very telling to me. I believe it was important because it gave me a clue as to exactly what 'power' it was that Xena was going to pass on to Otere and the young amazon tribe. More about that later.

    I was moved by the look of guilt and regret on Xena's face and felt Lucy conveyed it very well. The single tear that fell was an echo of the same regret I saw during the Callisto 'campfire scene', and even a bit more emotional, because the tear fell after the line "that's what Gabrielle did for me'.

    Unlike most it seems, I really enjoyed the Cyann steam house scene. Hey, if I had peeked in that room and got an eyeful of that incredible body, my eyes would have popped out and I would have fallen through the roof, too. It was great fun to see Xena fall on her face, stand defiantly to face her foe, and only to have the clothes ripped right off her back. That was a scene worthy of multiple freeze-frame plabacks. I loved it ... loved it ... loved it!!

    The chase through the trees was GREAT! Very well done and much better than the later battle, where the few shots of the Amazons climbing the trees looked a little less real. But more importantly, it made Cyan a leader to be reckoned with -- a warrior whose skill was as great, if not greater, than Xena's. Again, I agree with Joanna -- I enjoy watching the early Xena's eyes grow as wide as a child when she sees a skill she simply must learn.

    The next bit was wonderful. Both sides preparing for battle. Alti dances around a fire and calls to the souls she feeds upon. Xena prepares her Amazons. The chanting is Native American Indian in feel and is sung by women. In fact, most of the musical chants appear to be female in voice in this second part. I am forever amazed at how a show controlled, for the most part by men, can be so woman-oriented - but I digress. I loved the chanting and the dancing and the MTV-ish cuts and fades. I adored the spirits rushing through the forest ala Evil Dead. In fact, I'm surprised it took this long for a tribute to those films in this series.

    At any rate, the spirits rushing through the forest worked for me here, just as it did in Evil Dead.

    The special effects in this part are some of the best I've scene to date. The souls flying out of Alti's hut and shooting towards their destination was great. I loved how they portrayed the "out of body" experience - excellent efx. I expected there to be a battle of spirits, but instead the lost souls invaded Xena's Amazons, rendering Xena's battle plan neatly ineffective. Afterall, she didn't want to hurt her own Amazons -- I thought this was very clever. (personal comment here - I just LOVE Xena's double-fisted swinging punch and she does a great one here - sending one of the young amazons spinning around several times - yee-ah - wish I could do that!)

    Xena then leads her amazons towards where she thinks Alti resides, the canyons, only to realize that they are going the wrong way. Alti's stronghold lies the Amazons burial ground - the place where Xena virtually destroyed Otere's tribe all those years ago. That is the source of her power. I think Xena realizes here that Alti gets her power from the souls of the Amazons trapped in the lead of the dead -- the very amazons she killed.

    They set up a charm ring to protect the camp - more female chanting and drumming - simply great music and I loved the visuals here as well. Skulls and bones and dripping blood -- Otere smearing the blood across her chin, pleased with her work and with the new knowledge she is acquiring.

    I loved Cyann in the next scene. "You're a true Amazon, Xena" -- a good tie back to a great episode (Necessary Evil). I had to laugh when Xena answered, "I can't say."

    Was this a little dig -- a referral to those "patented" answers she forced to give in interviews? Nah, I'm probably reading too much into the dialog.

    The conversation turns to Borias. "You think I deserve better?" "No -- I think Borias deserves better." I laughed out loud. Then Cyann says, "You're a murderer because you still think and act like one." I loved this line for its relationship to what Xena is always saying -- the "you are what you do" or the "be careful what you pretend to be" philosophy. Another link to an ongoing theme of the series.

    The next scene, the battle of wills between Alti and Cyann was important as well. It established Cyann as a formidable foe, even to Alti, with spiritual skills just as powerful. Skills that Xena desired to master. The question was, who would the young Xena chose to follow to learn these skills? I think Xena was seriously thinking about joining the Amazons. The statement Cyann made about Xena thinking and acting like a murder, really affected her. But Alti offered the one thing that we ALL know Xena could never resist (even to this day) - she offered her Caesar. A spiritual force to match the power of her army that would bring the world within her grasp - Greece ... Egypt ... Rome ... CAESAR.

    Say it with me people ... CAESAR. Now nod. CAESAR.

    We all know, just mention that name ... and Xena has your complete attention.

    Now we come to the eensie, beansie spidah. Well, I hate spidahs, so my skin crawled. The effect was cheesy and yeah I expected Gabrielle to squeak, "Help me!" I hated the stretch effect in the AITST Part 1 just as much as I hated it here. But I loved the fact that Gabrielle faded into Alti, and that Alti was desperate to know who the blond one was.

    Alti cursed Solan. That was interesting, but poor Solan would probably never have known the love of Borias and Xena anyway. Xena just does not have that maternal instinct. As a warlord, Borias's days were numbered. He was developing a heart, and that means certain death for a warlord. The same fate almost happened to Xena - she spared the life of a child and was sent through a gauntlet. No ... a warlord with a heart is a dead warlord.

    Now, I just love the scene where Yakut whacks Otere in the nose and says, "Nope .. no power for you, yet." These amazons just won my heart. I could watch a spin off show about these guys and be very entertained.

    So, we arrive at the burial ground of the Amazons (suddenly we have some Chin music. I wondered about the significance of this.

    And we come to the second most riveting part of this episode. I cannot believe that Xena killed those amazons. And the WAY she killed them! By the gods, Xena was bad! bad! BAD TO THE BONE!

    I can only say this about Xena's past: "What did you expect ... glamour?" Xena was evil. Xena was very, very bad. She was a sociopath, a mass murderer, a serial killer - if you will. Not only did she kill, but she loved to kill. She enjoyed leading those Amazons into those traps. She LOVED killing Cyann, and out-Amazoning the Amazons.

    This was open-mouthed, edge of your seat time and I loved it. Xena is the darkest, most controversial hero we've seen on television. I love it ... love it ... love it.

    Alti gathers the blood from the dead amazons (and apparently, their souls), and then we get a wonderful shot of Cyann and the amazons sitting in desolate despair, trapped forever in the amazon land of the dead, unable to go on to their rest in spiritual eternity.

    All because of Xena.

    No wonder Xena has nightmares.

    Amazingly enough, after telling those poor young amazons this horror story, Xena then turns around and puts the pinch on them all (including herself)! And they still trust her! Their spirits joined with Xena for the final face-off.

    Then we are given a battle scene between Alti and Xena based on XWP's original roots - The Kung Fu action movie. I had just watched the Bride with the White Hair. This is a fight sequence worthy of those Kung Fun movies. The two adversaries flying through the air is classic chinese mythology. They staged it excellently here. Even the laugh that Alti made as she tortured Xena with her future reminded me of 'Bride'.

    I also really liked the way the corporeal bodies were effected by what was happening spiritually. The jerking and jumping of Xena and Alti's bodies as the blows were made by their spirits was very effective.

    This scene was great, but I guess if you don't enjoy Kung Fu Theater, you wouldn't enjoy this.

    Well, this episode could have ended with Xena simply defeating Alti and I would have been happy. But what did it do? It gave me one of the best scenes in the series to date.

    Alti made a fatal mistake. She showed Xena her future -- a future which revealled that Xena would cause the death of her beloved friend, Gabrielle. She thought it would destroy Xena, knowing that her actions would result in their cruxifiction. (It appears that, once again, Xena can't resist something to do with Caesar and, once again, she has gotten them both into BIG trouble).

    We saw glimpses of future battles - battles in which Xena wasn't doing so well. And then that incredible blue-tinted cruxifiction scene. Xena calls Gabrielle's name, tells her she's the best thing in her life and Gabrielle looks at her with such an expression of devotion and says, "I love you, Xena," with so much feeling, I thought my heart was going to burst out of its chest.

    By the gods, people -- what more do you want in an episode?

    The nail is placed across the wood on Xena's wrist and it looked to me as though they were going to nail Gabrielle's wrist.

    At any rate, the blood flowed from the en-tranced Xena's palm, and Alti asked with glee "You're little friend is dying, how does that make you feel?"

    Hey! Xena feels great! Why? Because if Gabrielle and she die together in the future -- it means that she is alive today!

    It worked for me. I yelled with delight! So what if it also meant that Xena must have lived to survive the battle with Alti (didn't Alti realize that?). Picky, picky, picky. It was more important to me that Gabrielle isn't dead. She didn't die! Xena isn't going to pull her back from the dead (again) - she simply isn't dead. Now what happened to her is a story for another ep, but the stigmata is proof that her love is still alive.

    You go get the bad guy, Xena! And Xena does. Knowing that Gabrielle is still alive is just what Xena needed to hear. Afterall, Gabrielle is her source. When she does things that she's not capable of, it's because of Gabrielle.

    I love it ... love it ... love it!

    Now the ep could end here and I would have been happy. But there are two more important points to discuss.

    The closing scene where the female chorus is singing "gregorian style" and Cyann stands, realizing that the gates to eternity are opening for them -- this moves me every time I see it (and I've seen the ep many times by now).

    About the new word being "love" -- in my mind, it was not enough that Xena could just know what the word was and pass it on to Yakut. She had to feel and understand sacrificial love. It's what Cyann was talking about -- they would have taught Xena what it meant and felt like to live for others.

    When Xena looked at Gabrielle from upon the cross, she said: "you are the best thing in my life." A declaration of love, to be sure -- but not quite there. What Gabrielle did was look back and say, "I love you Xena". I would gladly die with you ... sacrifice my life for you.

    Now THAT is power.

    Xena passed on that revellation to Otere and Yakut, plus something more. And now I get to what I believe was the power that Xena gave back to the Amazons.

    It was the power of their heritage, their customs. When Xena first arrived at the Stepps, these amazons didn't even know what a ceremonial steam hut was! She returned to them all of their customs and rituals which were lost to them when Xena killed all of their leaders. There was no one left to pass on the heritage of the amazons to these young ones.

    The poor things didn't even know the Amazon salute!

    Xena gave them their culture back. A people's heritage must live and breathe if that culture is to stay alive. Xena passed that heritage back to Otere.

    Then she got on a horse and headed back to get her girl!

    I know there were a lot of cheesy moments (in both parts), but I would much rather watch these two shows then most of the shows in the first season and many of the shows in the second. And as far as Alti goes as a villain, I thought she was excellent. You can't compare her to Callisto. Callisto had multiple episodes to develop her character and was a sympathetic character to boot.

    And don't even mention Cortese in the same breath. Now, THERE was an ineffectual villain who virtually negated a very important turning point in Xena's life!

    The only question I have about Alti is why she was not with Xena as she conquered the land during her ten year reign of terror (sort of like a anti-Merlin to an evil-Arthur).

    But, maybe that's a story for another ep (probably not), but I don't care.

    I was thoroughly entertained, and very pleased with the maintext.

    The rituals and practices were lost to these young amazons. They knew nothing of them -- not even an amazon salute. Their heritage died in the trees when their leaders where killed by Xena. The steam bath in the opening scene was a nice tie in to the ritual established in the Bitter Suite, and used again by the amazons in the past, but unknown to Otere and her tribe. How sad that these young amazons knew nothing of their amazon heritage, for heritage is very powerful and is needed if a culture is too survive.

    The power that Xena returned to them was the power of their heritage as Amazons, in my opinion. She returned their rituals and customs to them. Rituals and customs that had been lost when all of their leaders had been killed by Xena's hand.


    11-07-98. This commentary is by Videntur.

    Before beginning this commentary, let me just say that if anyone didn’t understand this episode the first time, then by all means you should look at it again. There is quite a bit going on in this episode and after watching it a second time, I was surprised how much I missed the first time I watched it.

    Achieving your Goal

    In “Adventures in the Sin Trade II”, we have the last of the steps which I referred to in my commentary for Part I of this two-part episode. Xena’s goal is made clear at the very beginning of the episode when she says to Otere: “If you learn anything from that monster I used to be, it was how to stay dead...and I can never ask your forgiveness, but I do ask that you let me help you build a new life - that’s what my friend Gabrielle did for me.” Now Xena’s goals are laid out - she (Xena) intends to help the dead Amazons cross over and to help rebuild the Amazon nation she lessened in number many years ago when she was evil. Xena knows that Alti is all evil and that her evilness is strengthened by the power of the past Amazon leaders who by drinking their blood turned their light into a power of darkness synonymous with her (Alti’s) evilness. Alti knows that Xena now possesses that which can defeat her. This is why when Alti appears to Xena first as a spider, then as a spider with Gabrielle’s head and then finally as herself, she demands to know who the blond one is. Xena’s reply said it all: “She’s goodness and innocence Alti and she’ll live inside of me forever. She frightens you because she represents what can defeat you.” Alti now knows that Gabrielle has become a part of Xena’s past and present thereby making these two timeframes no longer useable in defeating Xena - so she goes for Xena’s future. However, by doing this, not only does she (Alti) find out that Gabrielle is a part of Xena’s future, but Xena also finds out that she (Gabrielle) is in her future. Alti still feels that Xena will be distracted by the fact that she is seeing both her death as well as the death of Gabrielle. However, Alti’s plans fail to achieve her goal. Alti states: ”Your little friend is dying with you Xena-how does that make you feel?” To which Xena replies: “Good - cause if she’s dying in my future, that means she’s alive.” This fact of Gabrielle being alive in Xena’s future, takes away all means by which Alti could have defeated Xena. At the end we find out that its Gabrielle’s love that gives Xena the power to destroy Alti - thus showing that love conquers all but that the love which Gabrielle’s holds can only be obtained when one lets go of their darkness and allows that light to enter. Xena has learned how to drive this dark force from herself and passes that knowledge on. When the evil spirits sent by Alti first enter the bodies of young Amazons, Xena helps them to drive the spirits out with the use of will-power. She helped them to defeat the evil that had become a part of them, just as Gabrielle had taught her how to defeat the evil inside of her and you could see how proud Xena was when they were able to do it. The same proudness that Gabrielle shows Xena everytime she fights her evil side and wins.

    One nice touch that I noticed was that when the young Amazons were going to first give Xena the amazon tribute, Xena refused it and explained her reason by telling the Amazons how she had killed the Amazon leaders which left the remaining Amazons easy prey for defeat. At the very end when Xena tells Otere she is going home, as Xena turns to go away, Otere gives her the Amazon salute thus showing that in her eyesight Xena is truly worthy of the praises of the Amazons. Yet once again, our hero never really feels that she is ever worthy of the praise or thanks given to her. Again, I felt this was an excellent episode and as always, Lucy Lawless did a superb job.


    05-11-00. This commentary is by Philip Teo.

    This 2 parter was quite a good idea to recap Xena's past. And the introduction of Queen Cyane was a good one. The initial scene where Xena spies on Cyane from the roof of the hut was edited from my version. I guess it was because of the nudity. Cyane certainly was an excellent fighter, Xena appeared badly out-matched.

    What I don't get is when Cyane had Xena pinned to the ground, Xena struggled like some women, probably like how Meg would struggle. We all know that Xena's combat skills wasn't up to standard then, but she was still no pushie. She certainly wasn't much challenge to Cyane. Was Xena really that bad?

    Cyane did not have a good impression of Xena in the beginning, so why then when the next scene, Cyane and Xena were talking like old friends? This part was never explained, was it? Cyane wanted Xena to join the amazons and for a moment there, even convinced Xena to walk the right path in life and not lead a life of crime. Xena seemed to seriously considering Cyane's words.

    And I was rather impressed and glad that Cyane won the spiritual duel against Alti. But it also led me to wonder about one thing. Where did Cyane learn all those skills? She certainly had all the qualities to be an amazon queen and Alti was not a match for her.

    Then, we finally get to know about why Solan never got to know his real parents. It all happened because of Alti's curse. Alti's curse must have really been powerful, Solan even died a horrible death.

    We jump to the recollections of Xena attacking the amazon leaders and Cyane. I thought that this scene was rather disappointing. These were all supposed to be amazon leaders, but none of them were a match to Xena, or anyway close. If they fought so badly, how could they be amazon leaders? The way they fought, I think even Gabrielle could defeat them.

    The worse is Cyane. From what we saw earlier in the episode, Cyane was a formidable opponent, she was a much better fighter than Xena in all aspects. So then, why did Cyane lose to Xena so easily in the end? Even if somehow Xena had managed to pick up all those skills from Cyane during that period, the fight should have been a draw at most. It was rather disappointing how they killed off Cyane.

    Lastly, the scene where Xena battles Alti. Alti knew that in terms of physical combat, she could not defeat our warrior princess. So, she had to resort to using her special powers. This time, instead of making Xena relive the pain of her past experiences, Alti showed Xena visions of her future, scenes where Xena is suffering defeat. The most crucial scene came when she is shown a vision of being crucified with Gabrielle by the Romans. Xena regained her strength and I loved the music and the scene where Xena tightened her hands and grasped it tight, showing the strength flowing back into her. Notice how much more confident Xena was after that. Alti was defeated thereafter. It must have really hurt.

    But one thing we know now, if Alti's vision was true, that means Gabrielle is still alive! Xena is filled with renewed hope and passes leadership to Otere and sets off to find Gabrielle. I knew the implementation of Alti had more to do than to just introduce a new adversary for Xena. One must remember, Xena's original quest was to find Gabrielle, and not help the amazons battle Alti. Thus, the story is getting back on track. I can't wait to see what happens next.


    02-16-01. Claire Stansfield at a convention in Seattle in February 2001 said that filming the scene in Sin Trade where she had to dance in front of the fire was hard because she had to do it by herself in front of a bunch of people (the crew). She also said it's kind of tough to do the scenes where she grabs people (like Gabrielle!) and they have to act like they are reliving their past because it gets put in later in editing. Reported by Michael Oliva.

    01-09-01. From an interview on her website, Claire "Alti" Stansfield on 01-07-09 stated:

    Interviewer: In Adventures In The Sin Trade, there is a scene where one of Alti's henchmen come into the hut to warn her that Xena is coming and she interrupts him saying something like "Xena's coming. You idiots think I didn't know that?" It looks as if you were about to do something to the henchman just as the scene ends but we never get to see what that was because the scene is cut short. Did something happen there or am I just imagining things?
    Stansfield: Very perceptive my dear! I gave him a kiss and then bit his lip.

    02-03-99. Claire "Alti" Stansfield was at the Santa Monica Convention (01/24/99), and she related again how uncomfortable she was in the harness while doing the flying scenes, but mentioned that was offset by the fact that Lucy Lawless was so enthusiastic and energetic. Lucy helped her get through it and drew her to perform at a higher level.

    02-03-99. From the Claire "Alti" Stansfield interview in WHOOSH, issue #28:

    ...How did you come to play the part of Alti?

    [04] I originally read for Hercules, for the part of Morrigan, which I didn't get. In the audition scene, I had to get very angry. Rob Tapert apparently saw some anger there he liked. My agent called me and said "Rob Tapert wants to offer you a part in Xena."

    [05] The reason why I read for the Hercules part was the character was meant to be a regular or recurring character, so I wondered about the Xena part. The agent said "Oh no, it's only for a couple of episodes, but there's a possibility it could go on for more." I said, "Well, all right, send it over."

    [06] I got the script but was never told the name of the character they wanted me to play. As I was flipping through it I kept seeing the name 'Cyane' and since she was Queen of the Amazons I thought 'That's me!' Gee, I wonder who's going to play this 'old bag of bones' Alti." [both laugh]

    [07] When I got to New Zealand, T.J. [Scott] said "Obviously you're not a bag of bones or an old hag. We'll just take some of that out." It's funny because you can see some of the places where they didn't take it out. The actors just said what was in the script and part of that got left in there. I mean, I'm a hundred and forty pounds, no bag of bones.

    [08] Even under all that makeup, certainly not an old hag.

    [09] Thank you. [both laugh] So that's how that all came about. I had just seen Merlin (TV miniseries, Steve Barron, 1998), at the time, and I thought Miranda Richardson did such a wonderful job as Mab. I asked Rob Tapert if I could play Alti like Mab, with the eye makeup and the whispery growl, and he said "Yeah!" I wanted to make it more scary and thought that was a way to do it. Whenever I get into that "wicked witch" mode I just "become" that evil character....

    ...I notice that in the first two episodes you were in, SIN TRADE (69-70/401-402), you must have spent a lot of time hanging from a wire.

    [20] Yes, it was really uncomfortable. They did a lot of that first with blue screen, thinking to add the background in later. But then T.J. said "Let's hang Lucy and Claire in the forest!" There were these two cranes that had a landing on top, and across from the cranes was a wire. Lucy was standing on one crane landing and I was standing on the other. We jump off and fly at each other, harnessed under our costumes. We weren't that far off the ground, but the stunt girls were later. We were far enough, though, and far apart enough to miss each other. Lucy is so into it you can't help but want to jump in with her. "Let's go again!" she'd say.

    [21] Then when we were losing light and we had to do the "spinning" sequence, they set up a contraption where we were at one end and the camera was at the other and the whole thing was spinning. It went up and down as well as around. We spent a lot of time harnessed to each other, flying around. It wasn't very comfortable, but they took good care of you. Two or three minutes of agony, then they pamper you like crazy... RUDNICK:
    ...Aside from being suspended from wires, did you have any other memorable experiences that stand out?

    [25] For me the thing that was most scary was when I had to dance around the fire. It's easier to dance in a group than by yourself in front of a crew. I didn't know what I was going to do. I was in my hotel room, studying and listening to the music, trying to figure out what to do.

    [26] While I was doing this, there was a documentary on television. They don't have much TV down there, but I was watching The Lonely Planet. They guy on that show happened to be down in South America filming a bunch of shamaness-like women calling up the spirits in a dance. So I went from being stumped on what to do to having an example to work from.

    [27] I basically copied these big, strong, beautiful South American women doing this dance, and that, for me, was an important moment. I'm actually quite shy, so getting through that was memorable for me as an actor.

    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."

    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.

    09-14-98. In the forthcoming newsletter (#5), for the Official Xena Fan Club (Creation Entertainment), Robert Tapert is quoted as saying, "In Sin Trade II, Xena is shown what, for all practical purposes, very much appears to be the moment of her death and Gabrielle's dying with her and Xena's going to try and change that outcome." [There is a rumor that PAST IMPERFECT is the episode where Xena's vision comes to fruition].


    Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

    The "remove the tablecloth, keep the flowers standing" clothes switch between Xena and Cyane was hysterical. The lady even takes Xena's gauntlets and hat, just to prove she can. I *like* her! Small note, though: where'd she get the boots she has when she books after Xena through the woods? In the end, Warlord Xena gets her hat back - and stuffs it on her head with a "so there!" look that had me rolling. Yeah, it's those moral victories that count when you're stripped naked and smacked around through the woods, Xena. Keep telling yourself that.

    Great dialogue and work by Lucy Lawless when Xena and Otere chat about the effects that Xena's past actions still have and how little Xena can do to make up for them. The tear that falls struck me as being part for the still-fresh memory of Gabrielle, part for the crimes she can't repair. Xena faces a double-edged sword now; she has the key to what she can do to rebuild on the ruins that she created, but remembering that key brings with it the pain of what she's lost when she lost Gabrielle. The lady can't win.

    Funniest moment of the whole episode goes to Yakut's smack on Otere's nose to figure out if she has Xena's powers. Beautiful. Don't miss Otere's indignant elbow to Yakut's side as the camera pans away.


    These things are by Beth Gaynor.

    Alti's curse didn't work. She cursed Solan to never know the love of his mother or father, but at the end of Bitter Suite, he knew Xena was his mom and she told him she loved him. If the curse had been never to know it while he lived, it would come true.

    Slight blooper or editing mis-cut: one of the amazon leaders gets hit by a ball of spikes. The next shot looks like it's supposed to be the same amazon's swinging body, except that she's impaled by a branch instead of a ball.

    Slight historical note: crucifixions - most notably Jesus's, of course - traditionally show nails through the hands, but the studies that I've seen say that the nails really went through the wrists. The flesh in the hands wouldn't have been able to support a body's weight.


    01-11-99. From Candi McBride. Regarding HTLJ's DESCENT and XWP's ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE: Where do we go when we die? To Hades if we are Greek unless we are Amazon, belong to a cult, or die in Sumeria? Gabrielle died in Greece but Hades thought she would go to the Amazon Land of the Dead. Iolaus, a non-cultist Greek, died in Sumeria and Dumuzi saw him pass to the Sumerian Underworld. Or does Dahak make the Other Side weird too?

    10-28-98. From constare. Have you seen seen the Swedish movie "My Life As A Dog" when the 10 year old boy lies on top of the sky light watching the very statuesque woman model nude for the artist and then he crashes through? Sound familiar? I had a good laugh, too, because Xena had almost exactly the same look on her face as she watched, right before she fell.

    10-10-98. Some of the visions of Xena's future will transpire during the episode PAST IMPERFECT, which apparently continues the massive flashback problem Xena has been having since DESTINY and the DEBT. We will learn more about Borias, Solan's birth, yet another peeved female from Xena's colorful past, and the infamous Battle of Corinth, not to mention Xena's obsession about keeping Gabrielle alive at all costs.


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


    Xena's search for Gabrielle was not harmed during 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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