aka Why and Where
EPISODE NO. 36
Season 2, episode 12
Last update: 07-26-02
Back to the Episode Guide
Production number: V0207
Shooting dates: May/June 1996
1st release: 01/27/97
2nd release: 06/30/97
3rd release: 12/22/97
1st USA strip release: 09/21/98
1st SF Channel release: 11/08/00
1st Oxygen release: 02/12/01
Script number ---
CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Carmen Carter
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Ebonie Smith (M'Lila)
Karl Urban (Julius Caesar)
Nathaniel Lees (Nicklio)
Grant Triplow (Brutus)
Mark Perry (Vicerius)
Grant Boucher (Telos)
Slade Leef (Sitacles)
Dan Ryan (Roman #1)
Rebecca McKinnon (Slave Girl)
Rebecca Kopacka (Young Callisto)
Story by Robert Tapert
Teleplay by R. J. Stewart and Steven L. Sears
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Robert Tapert
TV GUIDE PROMO
After being critically injured in a fight, Xena lets her mind flash back to the time that Julius Caesar taught her a valuable lesson about destiny. Part 1 of two.
A fierce battle with Sitacles and his men leaves Xena lying near death and dreaming of the past encounters that have shaped her into a warrior princess, including her adventures with Julius Caesar and her relationship with a mysterious girl.
1st RELEASE: 01-27-97
An AA average of 6.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) HERCULES ranked 9th with 6.4 ["Surprise" 49/312]
(2) XENA ranked 10th with 6.3
(3) ST: DEEP SPACE NINE ranked 12th with 6.2 ["The Begotten" 110/512]
(4) BAYWATCH ranked 18th with 4.8
2nd RELEASE: 06/30/97
An AA average of 5.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 7th with 5.2
(2) HERCULES 9th with 4.7
(3) STAR TREK DS9 13th with 4.2
(4) BAYWATCH 16th wih 4.0
3rd RELEASE: 12-22-97
An AA average of 5.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 3rd with 8.2
(2) XENA/HERCULES 12th with 5.3
(3) WALKER 17th with 4.8
(4) STAR TREK DS9 26th with 4.1
(5) OUTER LIMITS 28th with 3.9
(6) BAYWATCH 29th with 3.8
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
The show opens with Xena and Gabrielle looking over a valley and the village of Cirra. Cirra is the home of Callisto, Xena's arch enemy (supposedly now dead), and the village burned during one of Xena's army's raids many years ago. Gabrielle tells Xena not to keep tormenting herself about Callisto. Xena says she has to understand why she is who she is, and what happened to her. Xena rides Argo down into the village, but the memories of the fire, and of a little girl watching her family burn, are too strong for her. She rides back up the hill, but Gabrielle is gone. Her staff rests beside a skull. Xena grabs it and heads into the woods. Gabrielle and villagers have been captured by a group of men who worship the Lord of the Moon. Xena appears, beats them up, and sets every one free. However, the men continue to fight. One man sees that a trap set prior to Xena's arrival will get Xena and a small girl. Xena sees a huge tree coming toward her and a small girl with a necklace on (in a familiar design that keeps Xena riveted). Xena throws the girl aside and is hit by the tree and then tossed into another tree, where she lies unconscious. One of the men comes to finish Xena off; Gabrielle fights him off, but she is stabbed in the leg.
Gabrielle pleads with Xena to wake up. There is blood everywhere. Gabrielle's hands become covered with Xena's blood as it comes from her ears, nose, etc. Xena murmurs to Gabrielle and asks her to take her to Mt. Nessus. Gabrielle at first stutters, but Xena whispers "please" and Gabrielle whistles for Argo. Xena's next word is "Amphipolis."
Xena flashes back to her past, 10 winters ago (according to what's written on the screen). She has taken a village that is not loyal to Amphipolis and they are giving her money. She tells them that Amphipolis will be safe, or she will destroy those who try to take her home land. She also has taken a Roman prisoner. He tells her his name is Julius Caesar. He tells her he is worth 100,000 dinars ransom.
Xena has a pirate ship (!), and she loads her crew and Caesar onto it. As they sail, Xena discovers a stowaway. The cloaked person nearly takes out Xena's crew, and uses the "Xena Touch" on Xena herself, paralyzing her leg, and kills one of her men. Xena finally stops her with a good throw of a knife that sends a sail down upon the stowaway, who turns out to be a runaway slave. And female. She speaks only Gaelic, which Caesar translates. Xena allows the stowaway to stay, provided she teaches Xena the "touch."
During some lovely scenery shots with a nice song, it is apparent that some time passes; Xena and Caesar become lovers. Caesar says it is his destiny to rule all. Xena loses her heart to Caesar and says she will join him; he never confirms this, though, but allows her to believe it. Finally he is released back to his Roman soldiers and Xena receives her dinars. Caesar swears he will find her again.
In time Xena's man in the crow's nest spies another ship. It is Caesar's. Xena allows him to embark, but he takes a knife to her throat and captures her entire crew. The stowaway, however, gets away. Xena tells Caesar that she had to kill the girl because she was unruly. Caesar puts Xena and her followers in chains, then hauls them to the beach, where they are placed upon crosses. Caesar orders that Xena's legs be broken; a Roman soldier takes a very large sledge hammer to her lower legs.
In between these remembrances we catch glimpses of the present day, with Gabrielle struggling to get Xena to Mt. Nessus. It is cold and snowing, and Xena is growing worse. Argo keeps the two moving.
As Xena hangs on the cross, someone approaches in the dark. It is the stowaway. She rescues Xena, and takes her to Mt. Nessus, where THE healer lives. He knows the stowaway; her name is M'Lila. He sets Xena's legs where they have been broken, and uses accupuncture to stop her pain. Xena thanks M'Lila for saving her. M'Lila asks Xena (through the healer as interpreter) if she is angry at Caesar for his betrayal. Before Xena can answer, Roman soldiers burst in, trying to recapture Xena.
M'Lila fights bravely, and Xena, in spite of her broken legs, also fights. M'Lila flings herself upon Xena as a soldier shoots a crossbow at her, taking an arrow in the back. Xena is horrified. She kills the soldiers. The last one she takes out with the "Xena touch." She tells the soldier to warn Hades to be ready for a lot of dead people. "A new Xena is born tonight with a new purpose in life: death."
Back in the present day, Xena's vital signs grow fainter and fainter, until she passes away. Her spirit leaves her body and Xena finds herself on a cross, in burning fires. M'Lila's spirit comes to her and tells her she has to choose her destiny. Xena replies that she did: she chose evil. M'Lila replies that because Xena knew evil, she can fight evil. Then M'Lila tells Xena that the dead can hear the thoughts of the living, and asks Xena to listen:
In a moving soliloquy, Xena listens to Gabrielle's words while clips of intimate moments between them flash across the screen. ... "You can't leave me. I know it's not your time. I can feel it in my heart. I just feel this emptiness that I've never known before and it scares me. Xena, above all, remember your destiny. Remember it and fight. Fight to come back! This world needs you. I need you."
"I have to go back," Xena replies.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
This episode's got a little of everything. Some head-banging battles (including the lethal crotch hit - yeow!), some pretty scenery. Some nasty Xena badness, some sweet bardly goodness. Some nasty, simple background on the Warrior Princess, some subtle poking into her psyche. Fun for everyone, unless possibly you have a personal thing against piracy.
"There are no accidents... only destiny." Xena does a lot of wrestling with this whole "destiny" concept. She asked Gabrielle to take her to Niklio, the healer, presumably to get healed, but then asked Niklio not to save her. Xena apparently believed, even at the time that it happened, that she should have died on Caesar's cross, or shouldn't have let M'Lila die in her place. Her constant shame and guilt about the things she did after that night have been hanging on her for about a season and a half now. Somehow, she felt better going back to that spot to die, as if that could take her back to the first time when she "should" have died, when maybe she felt she (and M'lila) had cheated her real destiny and had gone on to become the ruthless killer she was now trying to atone for. Good thing M'lila and Gabrielle talked some sense into her about moving forward instead of looking back.
While we're thinking about Xena re-tracing her steps, count the parallels with me. Xena is injured (by wood, even, if you REALLY want to stretch it). She is rescued by her friend, who takes a wound meant for her. The friend even uses the same whistle to call for a horse to carry them to the healer. With all that, and a few good log-induced hallucinations, it's certainly understandable that Xena could decide she was fated to die in Niklio's cabin.
Ah, the bard's got spunk! Gabrielle shows true grit in her brief appearances. She takes a knife for Xena, crawls her way to the top of a mountain she's never been to before, keeps Xena alive throughout the trip... that is one hurtin' puppy by the end of this hour.
What a studmuffin Caesar was! Oozing confidence and "ain't I cool"-ness out of every pore. Made a nice match for Xena's subtlety-of-a-sledgehammer seduction routine. Mercy. For once, Xena gets totally suckered. Somebody failed to fall right in line with her plans, she let herself get emotionally involved, and Caesar used and abused her. Watch their reunion when their ships dock together: their slow approach, Xena looking hopeful and nervous, Caesar looking smug and cold. Based on everything we've seen of Xena, the positions have been reversed a thousand times; she's been the one to use people's emotions, especially their emotions for her, to get one up on them. It's amazing she didn't see it when she found herself on the receiving end of a complete seduction.
M'lila calls Caesar "Kay-zar." Easy enough to understand how that could be a Gaelic pronounciation of his name. She seems to call Xena "An-weel," though. Wonder what that's supposed to be? Captain? Friend? Hey, you with the fancy duds? [Mystery solved, and a very interesting resolution it is! According to Donna Snyder, who's spent a fair bit of time with Gaelic, the following is the official definition of "an-weel." So my spelling was way off:annwyl - (adj.) dear, beloved
(dear) Annwyl means "beloved" ... The salutation is
"annwyl gyfaill" (dear friend) so it is always
"annwyl" at the top of a letter.]
As a small XWP note, this is the first time we've seen snow. Wonder where Gabrielle picked up the blankets and the sharp cloak?
Xena was quite the successful pirate. She was practically swimming in wealth - lots of fancy metal, enough clothes to make the ship list to starboard, money coming in at every stop we see, and even her crew has quite the pack of fancy pirate duds. She was doing very well for herself - and was getting bored witless with it. Money has never been much of a temptation for Xena, apparently. It's power and conquest that makes her blood heat up.
The crucifixion was painful, painful stuff. The jolt of the cross dropping into place, the leg-breaking... brrr. Leg-breaking was actually done by the Romans, by the way, to speed death along when they didn't want to wait for their victims to die of exposure and thirst. Crucifixion frequently killed by suffocation; the person on the cross had to raise up a bit to get a breath, until he/she was finally too exhausted (or legs were too messed up) to get any more air. Nasty, nasty business.
But as nasty as the crucifying is, the scene that totally sets my teeth on edge is Xena's bone-setting by Niklio. Dear heaven, I don't want to know what possessed Lucy Lawless to scream like that, but it made me want to dive under my couch pillows. Ow owowowowowow OW!
The cross-cam (the rotating shot that follows Xena's head as her cross is raised and slammed into the ground) is classic Sam Raimi style. Do you think maybe he visited the set that day and told the director "Hey, here's a cool trick..."?
Besides the fascinating fun of watching the nasty Xena of yore, there's also some interesting glimpses of those threads that eventually pulled her out of nastiness and made her decide to be a do-gooder. She was getting bored with conquest and mayhem (remember Salmoneus's appeal for Xena because he amused her?), and M'lila was a source of fascination and stability for her. If M'lila had survived, would she and Xena have teamed up a la she and Gabrielle? Would they have been the Lone Ranger and Tonto or Bonnie and Clude? Despite Xena's fierce independence, when she does let someone close, they always have a profound effect on her. We see that to her good in the case of M'lila, Salmoneus, Hercules, and Gabrielle. We see that to her detriment in the case of ol' Julius.
Very nice montage of Gabrielle at Xena's deathbed. Her words are encouraging Xena to come back, and the pictures we see are perfect for the thoughts that run through her head at Xena's death. Xena and Gabrielle's closest moments and Xena's finest looks of nobilty and beauty in Gabrielle's eyes. The kinds of things anyone would remember when someone close to them has just left, but also a refreshing change for Xena to see; someone remembering her as brave and good and kind instead of the brutal nastiness she's been throwing at herself.
Besides all the obvious flashbacks to pirate queen Xena, we also get a brief glimpse of the destruction of Cirra, and wee Callisto's last few moments of sanity. Was that the first moment that Xena realized she could actually remember seeing the young Callisto at Cirra? Ouch, that'll leave a mark.
The girl that Xena saves from the log wore a pendant that matched M'lila's and spoke in what sounded suspiciously like M'lila's Gaelic. That pendant shows up throughout the episode - Xena takes it from M'lila when they're practicing the neck pinch, it's what Xena is fiddling with while she's waiting for Caesar to show up for "dinner," and M'lila has it back on again soon afterwards. If M'lila was enslaved by the Gauls, it's a bit surprising that she wears a Celtic knot of theirs.
How long was M'lila on the ship? Xena sure picked up a ton of fighting moves from her, and M'lila even whistles for a horse just like Xena does now with Argo. Just how fast a learner IS Xena?
Historical note: this story is based on a germ of historical truth. Julius Caesar actually was captured by pirates, demanded that the pirates make a higher ransom demand for him than they had originally planned, then returned after he had been released and crucified his kidnappers. Xenaverse historical tweaking is all that much more fun when it's based on some fun reality.
Ten years ago was a heck of a busy year for young Xena. To put together all we've seen in the series, Xena captained a pirate ship, met and got double-crossed by Caesar, went to Chin and served in Borias' army, spent some quality time with Lao Ma, then headed back for Greece, battled the centaurs with Borias now a part of her army, and gave birth to Solan. This year was, what, 28 months long?
This commentary is by Carmen Carter.
Oh, where to start, where to start? This is probably the most complex and richly layered episode of the series, as fascinating for what it implies about Xena's future as for what it revealed about her past.
By beginning the action at Cirra, the central theme of Xena's omnipresent sense of guilt is immediately established. However DESTINY manages to explore this familiar issue from an entirely new perspective, embedding it within a larger framework of epic historical forces at work on Xena and the people who have shaped her life. Having seen only the first installment of a multi-part story, it's difficult to judge just how far these implications will be carried. However, there is certainly enough material here to shape the course of several episodes, if not the remainder of the season and beyond. So, this is an episode which will probably grow in importance as the show continues and the foreshadowing takes concrete form in other episodes.
The emphasis on destiny--and its importance in the lives of both Caesar and Xena--implies that they will meet again. I'm hoping that the numerous references to Gaul point to another confrontation, perhaps in an entirely different arena than Greece. Certainly it would make for a fascinating storyline if Xena were to travel northward to fight Caesar's advance into Gaul. But regardless of where the show is going from here, there is a very clear sense from this episode that Xena *is* going somewhere, and that her drive for atonement will take on a larger scope than fighting a succession of petty warlords.
Both the child Xena saves and the stowaway M'lila whose life she spares are central to the mystery of Xena's destiny, and possibly of Gabrielle's as well. M'lila's ties to Gaul introduced Caesar's plans for conquest in that area of the world. And her demonstration of fighting skills--presumably learned during her slavery in Gaul--opened Xena's eyes to an entirely different level of fighting skill. Most importantly, however, she offered Xena the gift of unconditional friendship--an action mirrored later by Gabrielle--that touched the warrior deeply. As a result, M'lila's death served a two-fold pupose: it saved Xena's life *and* it triggered the rage that would fuel her rampage over the next ten years. One of the most tantalizing questions of this episode is whether that sacrifice was necessary to insure Xena's fulfillment of her destiny and to what degree M'lila was aware of the repercussions of her action.
The crucifixion imagery which ran throughout the episode enhanced the depth of Xena's reflections over her life. Julius Caesar may have put Xena on the cross the first time, but upon her death it was Xena who was crucifying herself, still punishing herself for her sins and the choices she had made. M'lila cut Xena down from the cross the first time, but the second time it was Gabrielle's entreaty that gave Xena the strength to step down from the cross herself. To what ultimate purpose still remains to be seen.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
07-26-02. Karl Urban at the Oct. 31- Nov. 1 1999 Chicago convention made the following statements about this episode: As Lucy Lawless kept approaching him in the dress his eyes kept opening wider and wider, until his contacts fell out. The director yelled at Lawless, blaming her for goofing up the scene. And the director was none other than Robert Tapert.
12-26-00. Robert Tapert, in an interview with WHOOSH to be released January 1, 2001 (#52), stated the original airing order of the episodes after DESTINY (36/212) were to be EXECUTION (41/217), BLIND FAITH (42/218), and then A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). Because of Lucy Lawless' accident on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the producers retooled or recast some shows in the can and wrote a couple more shows to cover for Ms. Lawless' incapacity. The resultant airing order was INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) [retooled to keep Xena in Callisto's body], TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) [retooled and re-cast Xena with Hudson Leick], SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) [not changed], THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) [not changed], HERE SHE COMES...MIS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211) [not changed], DESTINY (36/212) [retooled to have Xena remain dead], THE QUEST (37/213) [new show], A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) [new show], A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) [not changed], FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) [new show], EXECUTION (41/217) [no change], and BLIND FAITH (42/218) [no change].
11-14-98. At cons Karl oftimes relates the "Spittle" story and the "LOst Contact' story concerning DESTINY. Apparently on one of the takes for the kiss on the beach between Xena and Caesar in DESTINY, as they pull apart there was a string of spit which immediately snapped back into Xena's face. If you look closely at the episode, you can see it, because that is the take they used! And while filming the ship seduction scene where Xena crawls to him on all fours, Urban's contact fell out.
11-14-98. From Beth Gaynor. Karl Urban (Caesar) at the Cherry hill NJ Convention (08/98) mentioned a few things about DESTINY:
To prepare for playing Caesar, Urban did plenty of research, including reading the Shakespearean play and a huge biography. He says that he doesn't consider his portrayal to actually be of Gaius Julius Caesar himself, but kind of an amalgamation of the legend of Caesar.
So did Caesar ever actually love Xena? "Maybe for about 15 minutes he did," Urban replied. Then he decided to kill her off. What a nice guy.
12-17-97. From an interview with R.J. Stewart that took place on July 3, 1997:RJ:Xena's back story is basically this. XENA became a warlord, because her home was destroyed by another warlord and in retaliation she formed an army to counter strike and fight back. She formed a buffer state between her and her village and kept expanding the territory. Pretty soon she got the blood lust and kept going. She had a traumatic experience with Julius Caesar, which we dramatized last year, in our complete disregard for any kind sensible timeline.
WW: What was the audience's feedback on that show?
RJ: Oh, they loved it. It's funny, I wrote it with STEVE SEARS, and both Steve and I were concerned about the timeline aspect. ROB TAPERT, who did the story, was sure that it didn't make any difference and he was right. Everyone that saw it knew it wasn't the right timeline. They sort of accepted our world as a lateral timeline, you know, where you can move along the timeline any which direction you want, but we do have some limitations like, basically, we have this rule that everything has to be B.C. (Before Christ). A rule that is as inflexible as a rubber band, by the way.
PRE-COMMENTARY: Julius Caesar as a boyfriend and Robert Tapert directing. Rumors that this episode tells us more about Xena when she was a bad, bad girl. Was titled WHY AND WHERE while in production. Also, the beginning fight scene has a ton of chakram continuity bloopers....that sucker moves back and forth from left/right, there/not there.
By Bret Rudnick.
No doubt about it -- M'Lila's Song, the bit from the "sailing montage" in Destiny, can be heard in a rendition slightly different from what aired on the album "Mouth Music" by the group of the same name.
It is the tenth track of ten. The Gaelic lyrics are listed first, then a line-by-line translation in English. The song was, quoting from the liner notes, "Heard from Simon MacKenzie; collected by Rev. William Matheson. The song describes several points on the island of North Uist, which could be used as landmarks bt sailors passing along the west coast. Vocal recorded in the Sculpture Department stairwell, Edinburgh College of Art.
Fraoch a Ronaigh, muran a Bhalaigh
Crois iar nan cliar, crois iar Sholais
Beinn Dubh Sholais, Aird a' Bhorrain
'S fhada bhuam Griminis, Lirinis, Cairinis
Fraoch a Ronaigh, muran a Bhalaigh
Crois iar nan cliar, crois iar Sholais
Beinn Dubh Sholais, Aird a' Bhorrain
Heather from Ronar, sea-bent from Vallay
Western cross of the clergy, western cross of Sollas
Black mountain of Sollas, Height of Morran
Far from me are Grimmish, Lirinis, Cairnish
Highlights by Beth Gaynor.
Great pulling out of an old fifth-grade gross-out trick when Gabrielle tries to wake up Xena, and her eyes are focused on two different points. Funky.
M'lila. For a woman who didn't even get an understandable line until the last two minutes of the episode, she was sure a fabulous character. Strong, confident, perceptive. We learn an incredible amount of information about her in a brief space of time - major kudos to the writers for sketching up such a fascinating person from Xena's past. I would have happily watched three more episodes to find out more about her.
Xena's cute Roman salute.
I *love* M'lila's song. We hear it twice: once during the "peaceful ocean sailing" montage, then again in the background during Gabrielle's monologue. The song really is a traditional Gaelic tune, Fraoch a Ronaigh, and my goodness, it's beautiful.
Xena's battle with the Roman soldiers is one of the nastiest - in terms of the pain that gets paraded in front us - we've seen on the show. Xena's fighting on broken legs. A soldier gets horrifically burned before getting skewered. Xena uses a soldier's own sword - and hand - to slice his throat, much to her evident delight. This is NOT a lady to get cheesed off at you.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
By Beth Gaynor.
Be sure to check out the pattern on M'lila's shirt. It matches the brass breastplate Xena now wears. Did Xena have the pattern created as a memory of M'lila?
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
01-29-00. From Virginia Carper. In "Destiny" they introduce Julius Caesar with music from the movie, "Patton". At first, I thought that was a fluke. But when they introduced 'Patton' in the waiting room of "Deja Vu" where General Patton was waiting, they played the same music. I think that someone in Xenaland knows that General George Patton believed in past lives. Patton had a custom of going to a place and reliving a past life. One of his past lives was Caesar. Patton's friend, General Omar Bradley thought that he was nuts. But Bradley also thought Patton reliving past lives and past life battles helped him to win the war.
01-29-00. From Suzanne Goodman. M'Lila's tunic has a printed pattern that is the prototype for Xena's armored breastplate--it's identical. It's a nice little detail that confirms that M'Lila was one of the fundamental influences on the Xena persona and style.
From KSZoneW. Atlantis: Cassandra's house was the same one shown in several episodes. In HTLJ's "Judgement Day" it was Serena's house. In XWP's "Destiny" it was Niklio's Healing House. It was also in HTLJ's "Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" as the house of Alyssa. It was also used in HTLJ's "And Fancy Free" as the house of the disgruntled father of Althea.
From KSZoneW. In HTLJ's Armageddon Now, there where many clips shown from past Xena episodes, during the little time travel scenes of Iolaus. Clips from that were included from "Deliverer", "Ties that Bind", "Callisto", "Destiny", "The Price", and many others.
The Roman centurion who broke Xena's legs was played by Dan Ryan, Lucy Lawless' real life brother.
How did Xena flex her leg in the end, if it was broken?
Xena does not have the squeaking voice that she had in THE DEBT, athough they were taking place at roughly the same time.
The tiger rug in Xena's room had a tongue, which it could not really have, because it would have decomposed unless it was plastic, which was discovered this century!
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Prepared by SheWho.
There are lots of things here that I found interesting, including more hints about M'Lila's role in Xena's destiny, some significant exhanges and scenes between them, a couple of omitted scenes of Gabrielle on the journey to Mount Nestos and with Nicklio, and of course, the original pre-accident ending. Sigh. So romantic . . . .
DESTINY (original title "Why and Where"). Story by Rob Tapert; teleplay by R. J. Stewart & Steven L. Sears. Shooting Draft June 4, 1996
A small wording change: In the beginning of the teaser, when Gabrielle compares the Cirra of death and violence with the beautiful valley they now see, she says, "same kind of change has happened to you". The line is scripted as "your soul".
An interesting description of the barbarian camp:
"This is the camp of real barbarians. They're the Rhodope tribe of mountain people, totally untouched by civilization, Mycenean or otherwise. They're wrapped in animal pelts and carry primitive but very deadly weapons (clubs, spears, huge broadswords). They're ferocious fighters (think Vikings, Highlanders, Apaches, Huns). Their basic interest in the surrounding valleys is as a source for loot and slave girls. Gabrielle sits tied to a post in the middle of the camp. Several other captive girls sit tied to the same post."
"The mountain mean are doing a war dance. Their pelt-covered bodies and bearded faces look wildly demonic. Their dance is accompanied by primitive instruments played by equally ferocious-looking Rhodope women.
"On Sitacles. He's the chief of the Rhodope tribe. He's doing a crazed sword dance. He leaps in the air, gives out a bloodcurdling scream and lands on his feet, his arms spread out as if he wants to embrace the stars. Suddenly, all the other dancers and musicians stop. There's an eerie silence." He then asks the sky for a sign . . .
In the script, the girl with the medallion points to Sitacles and says to Xena (in a foreign language), "Finish him off. Kill him."
The circumstances of Xena's injury are written a little differently.As televised, Xena sees the log careening toward them, and puts herself in the way trying to save the girl. In the script, Xena is distracted by the girl's medallion. "Gabrielle sees the log coming back and also sees that Xena doesn't see it because her stare is still frozen on the girl's medallion." Xena never knows the log is coming before it slams her into the tree.
Not that it matters [although everything matters to the Queen of Minutia], but in the original script, the barbarian leader throws his knife at Gabrielle. It sticks in her thigh; she pulls it out and then limps over to Xena and cradles the warrior's head in her lap. On screen, he plunges the knife into her thigh and retracts it; she falls to the ground and pulls herself over to Xena.
Kind of a funny thought: When Gabrielle whistles for Argo after telling Xena she'll get her to Mount Nestos, the horse trots over and nuzzles Xena with her nose. "She looks as concerned as a horse can get." In an omitted line, Gabrielle then tells Argo they need to hurry; Xena's in trouble. Xena starts babbling, "Amphipolis."...
In the first scene with Caesar, in an omitted line Xena tells Telos, after saying they can get 20,000 dinars for her, "Put him under guard. I don't want a hair on his pretty head touched. He'll be worth more, fat and healthy." Caesar then says 20,000 isn't enough . . .
In the script, M'Lila is said to be from Africa; on screen, Caesar says she's from the "land of the Pharoahs".
During the conversation between Xena and Caesar about destiny after M'Lila has been subdued, some lines are omitted. Caesar says there are no accidents, then:Xena then asks who makes this destiny happen. Caesar identifies several things that work together to weave the tapestry of destiny, and then:
Caesar: "For instance, that girl. Why is she here now, today, in this very spot?"
Xena: "She's probably a runaway slave trying to get back home."
Caesar: "I don't doubt that. But why did she pick your ship to stow away on?"
Xena: "Dumb luck, I guess."
Caesar: "Luck. I don't believe in it."
After this lengthy courtship, Xena tells him he's fated to have dinner in her cabin tomorrow. (As televised, it's "tonight."). In the script, she then pulls her knife and cuts the rope that binds him.
Caesar: "But believe me, what we're fated to be, we'll be. That I know."
Xena: "Maybe. But how do you know you're not fated to be thrown overboard tomorrow? How can you be so sure your future is ruling the world?"
Caesar: "Call that an act of faith."
Xena: "I think you're much too smart to try to escape by jumping into the sea. And I want you to have your hands free in case there's something you need to touch. See you tomorrow."
"She walks away, leaving a thoughtful Caesar behind."
As scripted, the scene where M'Lila teaches Xena the pinch occurs a little differently:As televised, Xena walks in and tells M'Lila to show her how she does the pinch, and when M'Lila starts to do it on Xena's leg, Xena says "No. Not on my leg. On my neck."
"[Xena] then begins a series of hand signals. She points at her leg and does a mock pinch. The Girl smiles but does nothing. Xena points to her again and signals for her to show her. With blinding quickness the Girl does her pinch on Xena's leg. Xena hits the floor again. The Girl laughs.
Xena: "Very funny. I meant for you to show me how to do it. Now fix it."
"The Girl makes a gesture to show she doesn't understand. Xena angrily gestures for her to undo the pinch. The Girl with blinding quickness undoes the pinch. Then she slowly puts her thumb on Xena's inner thigh and stretches her forefinger out to the front of thigh and applies pressure. Xena has been watching carefully. She puts her hand in the approximate position the Girl had her hand. The Girl reaches out and moves her thumb an inch down. Xena eyes the Girl. The Girl nods as if to say 'that's right.' Xena applies pressure, then moves her leg."
Xena: "Amazing. Now show me on the neck."
"Xena gestures toward her own neck. The Girl eyes her as if to ask, 'are you sure?' Xena nods. The Girl does the pinch to Xena's neck. Xena is frozen, a drop of blood trickling down from her nostril."
Xena: "That was too fast again. Now take it off and do it again, slower."
"Playing dumb, the Girl shrugs as if to say 'I don't know what you're talking about.' Xena, unable to make any hand signals, struggles to move.'"
Xena: "Come on. Undo it."
"The Girl's stare is cold and hateful. She looks like it's alright with her if Xena dies."
"On Xena. Beads of sweat form on her forehead as she realized this girl might let her die." End of Act I.
When Xena puts the pinch on M'Lila, she says "Undo it. Undo it." Xena releases her, then says that she can play, too. Then, an omitted silent exchange between them:This is a segue into a brief omitted scene with Gabrielle:
"Suddenly, the Girl moves her hand toward Xena's shoulder. Xena counters just as quickly. They stare each other down, each with their fingers poised to put the pinch on each other. There's a long, tense moment as neither one of them blinks. Then a smile creeps onto the Girl's lips, followed shortly by one on Xena's. Slowly, they each release their grip. They've bonded a bit throughout this odd variation on the old game of Chicken."
"Close on Xena's face. She stares at the Girl. She sees something in her that fascinates her. Something she finds exciting and disturbing at the same time. Suddenly, a flurry of snow is blown onto Xena's face."
"Xena lies on the litter as Argo struggles up a steep incline. Gabrielle is farther up the slope, helping Argo the best she can by pulling on the reins. Snow is falling and a wind is whipping it around in a flurry. Gabrielle wears a winter jacket and has wrapped her legs in animal hide. Xena is covered by a blanket. Close on Xena's face. Still deep in her dream world, she's oblivious to what's going around her. A grin slips onto her face." Segue into the seduction scene...
In the seduction scene, the first words exchanged between Caesar and Xena were omitted from the televised version:Caesar then sits down on the pillows next to Xena. As televised, they're both standing, doing a walking-back-and-forth thing.
Xena: "How's your appetite?"
Xena: "Then enjoy."
The closing lines between them in the seduction scene were also omitted. After Caesar says that some enemies are harder than others, and Xena says she counts on it, we have:
Caesar: "What if your opponent encloses himself in a fortress?"
Caesar: "Yes, I'm very fond of sieges myself."
Xena: "Your weapon of choice?"
"Caesar leans forward. Who's conquering who?"
Caesar: "Why, the battering ram, of course." [How subtle.]
"Their lips brush together in a skirmish of a kiss. They venture forward to explore the opening in each others defenses via roaming hands, lips and tongues. Then they both launch frontal attacks with a passionate open-mouthed kiss. This is going to be a hard fought battle. We leave them to their kiss of passion, as we cut to [scenes 18 and 19 are deleted from this version of the script. Wonder if they were Gab scenes, like explaining to Argo how she happened to have a winter coat in her purse.]
In the next scene where Xena and Caesar part on the beach, after Xena walks away and waves at Brutus and Caesar, Brutus asks, "Are you really going to see her again?" Caesar replies, "Why, Brutus, you know I always keep my promises."
A great scene of M'Lila teaching Xena martial arts was foregone, apparently in favor of a Jacques Cousteau special on underwater life. The regrettably omitted scene is set on the deck of the ship, at night:Cut to next scene, where Ceasar's ship appears . . . .
"Xena and the Girl stand face-to-face in combat stances. Xena makes a lunge at the Girl, who does a flip over Xena's head and lands on the other side. Xena spins around and smiles."
Xena: "You definitely have to teach me that one."
"Xena learns martial arts montage"
"A series of shots of the Girl teaching Xena to do flips, two-footed split kicks, mule kicks, etc. The montage finishes with Xena doing a backflip over the Girl, landing behind her and getting her fingers in position to put on the pinch. She's gotten better than her teacher. Instead of putting the pinch on her, Xena slips the medallion around the Girl's neck. They exchange smiles--"
When Caesar orders the attack and Xena asks him what he's doing, he says they're a part of each other's destiny, then adds, "I'm the last part of yours."
In the next scene where Caesar taunts Xena on her knees, she says, "You bastard. I spared you." Caesar "grabs her jaw with his hand and turns her head, so that he can speak softly into her ear."She lunges at him, but he shoves her back. He then tells her not to think that what they had was meaningless . . . .
Caesar: "No one spares Caesar. You didn't conquer me. *No one* can conquer me. I think we've proven that today."
The first part of the crucifixion-on-the-beach scene had some additional lines. The scene begins with the camera on a crucified man, then we see the row of crosses. A Roman soldier says, "It's gonna take them weeks to die."Brutus then says Xena was easier prey then he expected...
"Roman #2 snaps to attention, as does Roman #1 when he sees the approach of:"
Roman #1: "Caesar!"
"Caesar and Brutus walk up."
Caesar (to men): "Finish your work."
"The two men go to the last cross."
Brutus: "I'll have a full accounting of our victory by morning. The pirates were carrying a sizeable amount of gold."
Caesar (smile): "Enough to finance an expedition into the northern territories?" (then) "These pirates... they just didn't know when to stop. The downfall of all warlords, not knowing their boundaries."
In the script, after Caesar taunts Xena on the cross, "the cross opposite Xena is raised into position. Xena looks at it."He then tells the soldier to break her legs...
"Vicerius stares back at her with his dead, unseeing eyes."
Caesar: "I thought you might want to spend your last few days with an old friend. Good-bye, Xena."
A little more exposition is scripted in the next Gab/wounded Xena scene. As televised, Gabrielle collapses, desperate for sleep, then Argo pulls Xena's litter up beside her. Gabrielle checks Xena, and says she's getting worse. As scripted, Gabrielle's situation is even more dire:
"The snow is pretty high here. We see a large rock formation. Argo is on her knees. The litter with Xena is nearby. Gabrielle is trying to get Argo to her feet."
Gabrielle: "Argo, please... I know. I'm exhausted, but we can't rest now. We can't go to sleep. Come on..."
"Argo is trying to get up, but can't make it. She lies back down. Gabrielle is weary from the combination of exhaustion and her wound."
Gabrielle: "Okay... okay. Just for a little while. Not long..."
"She goes over to Xena and unwraps the blanket. She checks Xena's forehead and pulse."
Gabrielle: "No... no, it's getting worse."
"Xena mumbles something."
Gabrielle: "I'm here. I'm here, Xena. I know... it's cold."
"She holds Xena close. Gabrielle's eyes start to close. Then:"
Gabrielle: "No! I can't! I can't go to sleep!"
"She picks up a handful of snow and rubs it on her face to help her stay awake. Still, her head starts to nod... Argo comes to Gabrielle and nudges her with her nose. Gabrielle gets up and hugs Argo."
Gabrielle: "Good girl. Let's get moving."
"She puts the blanket back around Xena, then pulls the litter over to Argo, as we" cut to the beach where M'Lila rescues Xena from the cross...
When Caesar learns that Xena has escaped and orders her lifeless body brought to him, the script contains additional prophetic dialogue in which Brutus asks Caesar if he fears her. Caesar replies, "Enemies are not to be feared, Brutus. Friends... friends are to be feared."
The foreign-language dialogue between M'Lila and Nicklio when they arrive at his cabin: M'Lila says, "Nicklio, I need help. My friend is injured." Nicklio replies, "Let's put her over here." Xena then asks if he's a healer...
In Nicklio's present-day cabin, after Nicklio says that Xena can wait but he can do something for Gabrielle, the script ends Act III. Act IV begins with an omitted scene of Gabrielle confronting Nicklio. The 5/28 shooting script is different from the next draft. The 5/28 version:The 6/4 version:
"Gabrielle sits on the bed at Xena's head. She wipes Xena's brow as Nicklio works on her. He's putting fine needles into her neck. Gabrielle looks on, frightened."
Gabrielle: "What are you doing? What are you doing to her?"
Nicklio: "I'm trying to deaden the pain. She's got no strength to fight anymore... very strange. I could probably help her but...
Gabrielle: "But what?"
Nicklio: "She doesn't *want* to live."
Cut to the next scene with M'Lila, Nicklio, and Xena in Nicklio's cabin years earlier . . .
"She sits, holding Xena."
Gabrielle: "You *have* to help her! She wanted me to bring her here. She had *faith* in you!"
Nicklio: "Faith... what is faith when your patient fights you? If I can deaden the pain, at least she'll rest easier..."
Gabrielle: "Fighting you? She's not--"
Nicklio (angry): "She's fighting me, girl! It's like... It's like she *wants* to die."
As Xena dies, Gabrielle cries and pounds on Xena's chest, saying, "You can't leave me! You can't! I won't let you!" [Weren't those Xena's words to Gabrielle in Thessaly?]
When Xena's soul leaves her body, we hear her "mysterious, echoing voice" say, "Gabrielle..." "Gabrielle doesn't look up. Xena's voice is not heard in this world." Xena then says, "Gabrielle... think of me..."
The scene where Xena is reunited with M'Lila in the afterlife is different enough from the televised version that I'm including a transcript of the whole scene as scripted:
"We are looking down into a circle. The circle looks vaguely like the chakram in the sense that it has similar designs around the edges. There are also things sticking in the ground around the interior perimeter of the circle. As our POV moves down toward the floor, in the middle of the circle, the frame brightens to a white out, then:"
"On Xena. She now stands in the middle of the large (really large) circle. It's like a table. The objects sticking in the ground around the perimeter are swords. But the swords are all pristine and almost futuristic. Gleaming edges and shiny metal with designs straight out of Heavy Metal."
"Xena stands there, looking around. She is dressed in the same outfit she wore in the dreamscape of 'Dreamworker.' [Interesting choice...]
"At that moment, a shaft of light hits in front of her on the table. Its brilliance is blinding and, when it goes, a figure stands on the table. The Girl, M'Lila. She wears a medallion. (Note: The impression we want to give here as regards to costuming is the difference we would see between the Dali Lhama and a common Tibetan Monk; the Pope and a Priest; a 10th Dan Karate Master and his student; implying a possible progression from one to the other.)"
Girl: "Hello, Xena."
"She hops down off the table and leans back against it."
Girl: "Why do you want to die and undo all my good work?"
Xena: "*Your* work?"
Girl: "Answer me."
Xena: "You should never have saved me. You gave me more time to destroy people's lives. And create monsters like Callisto. I should have died back on that beach. I can never make up for the evil I've done."
Girl: "Stop trying to. You'll never lose the guilt. What counts is *now* and the *future*. And the good that *can* be done."
Xena: "Who are you?"
Girl: "Oh, I can't tell you that. Yet." (then) "You have a Destiny, Xena. But you have to *choose* it."
"Xena moves off for a beat, thinking."
Xena: "I did. I chose to be evil."
Girl: "Back then. And now, you are trained."
Girl: "Yes. Now that you know it... *were* it... you know how to fight it. And defeat it! Become your Destiny, Xena!"
"Xena shakes her head."
Xena: "You're asking me to believe in a future I can't see."
Girl: "Good point." (then) "Xena... When the living think of the dead, the dead can hear their thoughts. Listen..."
"Xena closes her eyes, listening."
Girl: "Yes. What do her thoughts tell you?"
"Close on Xena. Her eyes start to tighten. She says nothing, but we can hear a crowd of whispers... nothing that we can really make out, but obviously Gabrielle's voice... the pain and torment of her friend. The pain of loss. The pain of losing a loved one... Tears begin to stream down Xena's face."
"The girl steps into frame behind Xena."
Girl: "She needs you. Just as much as the world needs you. Do you understand the worth of your life now? For them?"
"A long beat, then Xena's eyes open."
Xena: "I need to go back."
"The Girl smiles and touches Xena's tears. From this: Cut to]...
...the original (pre-accident) ending:[Sniffle.]
"Gabrielle is face down on a blanket. She shakes her head slowly back and forth, silently sobbing. A moment, then a hand reaches in and touches her shoulder, softly."
"Gabrielle turns and finds Xena, still weakened, but sitting upright and smiling. Gabrielle takes a shocked moment, then throws herself into Xena's arms, hugging her. She pulls away and looks into Xena's eyes, as if unsure if this is really happening."
Gabrielle: "What...what happened? I thought you..."
Xena: "I've been asking the wrong question, Gabrielle. What I did in the past isn't as important as what I can do in the future. I had to learn that."
Gabrielle: "And... and we'll do it together, right?"
Xena (nods): "Together."
"Gabrielle hugs her again, tighter. Her tears flowing freely now." Xena: "Don't ever feel pain for me... don't ever hurt because of me..."
Gabrielle: "I promise. But... Don't leave me..."
Xena: "I won't. I won't, Gabrielle."
"And, as they cling to each other, we: Fade out."
Click here to read a transcript of DESTINY .
Julius Caesar was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, the Producers deny any responsibility for any unfortunate acts of betrayal causing some discomfort.
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