Saturday, September 7, 2013

Death In Chains

Original Air-Date November 13, 1995

As his wife Queen Karis nervously looks on, a confident King Sisyphus greets Celesta, the embodiment of Death, who has come to escort him to the Underworld of her brother Hades. Through trickery, the King captures and chains his visitor, rendering her helpless by seizing her eternal flame.
Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle travel through an apple orchard in the forest. Gabrielle attempts to pick an apple from a tree, she moves to pick one when an arrow shoots through it. They are attacked by the evil thug Toxeus. In the heated battle which follows, Toxeus tries to stab her with a hidden dagger but Xena narrowly escapes, driving the knife into the chest of her attacker. As she and Gabrielle walk away, however, they do not see that the imprisonment of Celesta has already begun to have an effect - Toxeus' eyes pop open and his mortally wounded body is suddenly very much alive.
As Xena and Gabrielle continue on their way, they are intercepted by Hades, who comes rumbling up from the Underworld to ask Xena to rescue his sister. He explains that if Celesta's flame is allowed to burn out, no one will be able to die. Eternal life -- filled with suffering -- will be the fate of all mankind. Xena agrees to help.
On their way to Sisyphus' castle, Xena and Gabrielle are faced with the terrible realization that as long as Celesta is imprisoned, the ill will find no relief in death. When they stop to give comfort to a group of sick and injured people by the roadside, they meet Talus, a handsome and compassionate young man who helps Gabrielle dispense first aid.
Talus and Gabrielle are strongly drawn to each other and upon hearing about Celesta's capture, Talus insists on joining them in their mission. He reveals he can be of special help to them since his mother worked for the King when he was a small boy and he knows Sisyphus' castle quite well. At the same time, Toxeus, enjoying his newfound immortality, demonstrates to his band of thugs that they cannot be killed and convinces them to join in his campaign to hunt Xena down so they can capture Death for themselves.
Xena dispatches Gabrielle and Talus to the local hospital to help the injured as she leaves for Sisyphus' castle. Pursued by Toxeus and his men, she scales the castle wall and steals into the fortress. At the hospital, Gabrielle is warned by an old woman that Xena will die if she touches Death or allows it to touch her. Fearing for her friend's life, Gabrielle sets out for the castle with Talus.
After battling her way past several guards, Xena confronts Sisyphus in a dimly lit chamber, but falls prey to one of his tricks and falls through a trap door into a pit. After Gabrielle and Talus sneak into the castle, Talus, too, falls through a trap door into the same pit. Gabrielle successfully evades Toxeus' men as Xena and Talus escape the pit to face a succession of deadly traps.
As Celesta's flame burns still lower, Karas finally offers her help, knowing that her husband's selfish attempt to cheat Death is wrong. She and Talus convince Sisyphus to release Celesta, but as he begins to unlock her chains, Gabrielle rushes in, followed by Toxeus and his men, who take her hostage. Xena fends off the thugs and manages to save Gabrielle's life by smashing the last lock holding Celesta with a direct blow from her chakram.
As soon as Celesta is free, Toxeus and his men fall to the ground, dead. Sadly, Celesta then comes for Talus, who has been ill for some time, but not before Gabrielle bids a heartfelt farewell to her new friend. They hug and Talus moves to Celesta. She touches him and the two move through the door to the afterlife. Gabrielle hugs Xena and Xena tries to comfort her as Talus walks away.

Lucy Lawless as Xena

Renée O'Connor as Gabrielle

Ray Henwood as Sisyphus

Kate Hodge as Celesta

Kieren Hutchison as Talus

Erik Thomson as Hades

Leslie Wing as Karas

Wayne England as Wounded Man

Chris Graham as Toxeus

Kelly Greene as Guard

Gordon Hatfield as Seerus

Paul McLaren as Streptus

Beryl Te Wiata as Old Woman

Allan Wilkins as Thug

No Jumbo Sized Cocktail Rats were harmed during the production of this motion picture.


This episode is also known by the title "Death is M.I.A.".

This episode was the third to be written, after Sins of the Past and Chariots of War, but ended up being filmed as the tenth. It explains why Gabrielle isn't carrying her staff in the episode, and it makes sense why they placed it before Hooves and Harlots. So the continuity error is simply Gabrielle wearing the wrong outfit.

This episode marks the only appearance of Karis on Xena: Warrior Princess. She will later appear in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode "Highway to Hades."

This episode is the first to feature Xena without her large belt, which she used to keep her Chakram on (and her sword in earlier episodes).

This episode marks the first appearance of Gabrielle's second costume.

Gabrielle is wearing her amazon atire in this episode - an outfit she doesn't recieve until the following episode.

Toxeus and his men all suffered fatal wounds, just like the people who were involved in the landslide, even Telus. This means that they should have been in pain, like Telus and the victims of the landslide were.

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