Online Edition Visit chakram 101!

AKA Mentors
AKA Japan I

Episode No. 133
Season 6, episode 21
Series 621
1st release: 06/11/01
2nd release: 09/10/01
Director's Cut 1st airing: Oxygen 09/03/01
Production number: V1424
Script number:
Approximate shooting dates: March 28 - April 12, 2001
Last update: 11-09-01

Previous Episode |BACK TO THE EPISODE GUIDE |Next Episode

Season 1 |Season 2 |Season 3 |Season 4 |Season 5 |Season 6

SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Shana
SYNOPSIS 3 by John
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 4 BY Josh Harrison

Lucy Lawless (Young Xena)
Michelle Ang (Akemi)
Marton Csokas (Borias)
Mac Jeffery Ong (Kenji)
Adrian Brown (Yodoshi)
Yvonne Tan (Ayako)
Shiori Terada (Miyuki)
Venant Wong (Morimoto)
Gary Young (Saburo)
Travor Sai-Louie (Kao)
Ric Chan (Master Swordsman)
Gregor Mclennan (Captain)
Kazuhiro Muroyama (Harukata)

Story By Rob Tapert & R.J. Stewart
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Rob Tapert

A two-parter taking place in Japan. Creation Entertainment.

Summoned by a long-lost spiritual soulmate, Xena heads for Japan with Gabrielle on a daunting mission to save the city of Higuchi from destruction and make amends for her past. Logline

Xena revisits her past by returning to Japan to save the city of Higuchi and make amends for her past mistakes.


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

The aura borealis. Xena and Gabrielle are camping. Gabrielle is contemplating about the infinity of the cosmos. Xena sits up. She asks Gabrielle what are they going to do? Keep running all over Greece? She wants to go south. She hears there's a Phoenician prince who needs a girl with a chakram. Gabrielle nods in the direction of the woods. "You know there's somebody out there." Xena agrees. Finally, a monk with a big backpack stumbles in. He isn't hurt or anything. He asks if this is Xena, and then says he was sent by Akemi. Xena is stunned. "You've seen Akemi?" He then launches into a story.

The monk recalls that he and a fellow monk were wandering around. They were caught in a storm. They found a tea house, and they went in. There were three women in the house. The monk's friend made himself at home with the women (he was not as steadfast in his resolve to his vows), joining two of them in a bath. The monk, however, remembers his vows and listens to a woman play an instrument. Then there is a nightmare like scene, of something moving through the woods toward the house. The woman hears and tells the monk to leave, he is a good man. She pushes him out the back door. The other monk, relaxing in the bath, suddenly finds himself alone. A big head on a snake body comes into the room. The guy screams. The snake head turns into a demon man. It blows out a cold wind and freezes the guy in the tub. Then it sucks the guy in the tub up. The other monk runs, falls in the water, but gets away. The woman greets him as he rises from the water. She says that was the Lord of the Dark Land. She hands the monk a sword, and says the demon must be killed. The monk says he needs to get a samurai. The woman says only the warrior from far away can help. She sends the monk after the Warrior Princess to stop the demon from enslaving even more souls.

Back in the present, a boat floats on the sea. Xena, Gabrielle, and the Monk float along. Gabrielle and the Monk spar with staffs. The Monk says something about Akemi being forced to help bring souls to the Dark Lord. Xena, sitting in the sun with a hat on, calls Gabrielle to her so she can tell her everything.

Xena recalls that when she was with Borias, they learned that a man's daughter was kidnapped. He was offering a large reward for her return. This all took place in a land east of Chin. Xena was eager to conquer yet another land, so they went to get this girl, expecting a big payoff from her father. They enter a palace, and a young girl bows. She knows Xena, and offers her respect. Her keeper calls her insolent, and he will kill her for her insolence. The girl says no, Xena will soon love me, and she will be Xena's student, and Xena won't let this fellow hurt her. Borias laughs. He says Xena doesn't love anyone. Xena seems taken with the girl, though, and she offers the man 50 gold pieces for Akemi. The man begins to turn it down, but Borias tells him he'd better take the offer. He doesn't, and Xena puts the pinch on him. His men attack, and Xena fights them all off while Akemi watches. Xena pulls Akemi up from her kneeling position. As they leave, Xena tells the guy has about 10 more seconds to live. She doesn't undo the pinch. The guy dies.

Borias, Xena, and Akemi are on a boat. Xena tells Borias she will conquer all the land between Chin and Britannia. And she will teach Akemi. Borias says Xena couldn't teach a dog to bark. Xena whistles for Akemi. She tells Akemi to go left/right/feint/kick/twirl, etc. Xena then pretends to be the bad guy and practically breaks Akemi's ribs. "Lesson one," Xena says, "trust no one." Xena and Akemi get off the boat. Borias reminds Xena that he gets a percentage of the ransom money.

Xena and Akemi walk together through the snow. Xena stops, telling Akemi to listen. She hears every sound. It has a message. She hears a deer grazing nearby. Akemi says Xena must be at peace to hear the "commi" (the universe). Xena says no, she's at war when she hears sounds. Akemi gives Xena a gift, a verse she has written.

Back in the present, Gabrielle says that Akemi must have loved Xena very much, write such beautiful poetry for her. "The truth is, Gabrielle, she broke my heart," Xena says. Gabrielle doesn't understand.

Xena continues her story. She and Akemi walk to a grave site. Akemi says they are going to visit her grandfather's grave. Xena is not happy about this. "We walked days to visit a dead guy?" she says. Akemi drops to her knees and begins to pray. Xena pulls out her sword. She goes to chop Akemi's head off. Akemi moves her hair, revealing her neck, and Xena stops. Akemi tells Xena that just like Xena can hear sounds, Akemi hears other things Xena can't. Akemi talks to Grandpa. She says Grandpa tells her that Xena is a fine teacher and role model, but she needs a better sword. She needs a katana [Japanese sword].

Akemi takes Xena to the place where the grand katana rests. Akemi tells the men there that her master wishes to challenge for the grand katana. The men are upset because Xena is a woman; this is an insult. Xena fights off all the men. Her sword is cut in half by a katana. "Give me, give me!" Xena says. She really wants this sword, now. She finishes off all the men except the oldest leader, who goes after Akemi. Xena saves Akemi. She takes the grand katana from them all. "Grandpa was right. Now this is a sword," she says as she admires the blade.

At a campsite, Akemi writes more verse. Xena seems slightly amused and little confused by the adoration. She says, listen, kid, you're nice and all, but I'm just here for the ransom money. Akemi asks Xena what she hears. "Snow falling on cedar." Then she says she hears Akemi's heart, beating faster than normal. Akemi says Xena is a great warrior, but she knows no words of love. Yet, she saved Akemi, and there is no greater love than that. Akemi then asks Xena for a favor. She wants to be shown the pinch.

Back in the present, Gabrielle is horrified. "You only knew this girl a few weeks and you showed her the pinch?" The story is interrupted, however, by the boat captain. It appears that Higuchi, the town they are heading for, is burning. He cannot land. He begins to turn around. Xena says she has to get to that town. Gabrielle says yeah, let's go. They jump in the water. They emerge near the burning town. An old man watches them climb from the water.

Xena and Gabrielle survey the burning town. There are soldiers (or bad guys) roaming around, too, but not many. Then a fire bomb comes from a catapult. Xena sees a water tower. "We've got to release the water from the tower," she says. Gabrielle starts to ask for direction, but Xena asks Gabrielle what she would do. Gabrielle starts to tell her. Xena interrupts. "Show me," she says. Gabrielle takes off running. They grab a rope. They swing around and around. They do a fantastic leap through the air together. They land. Xena asks Gabrielle what's next. Some men attack, and Xena loses sight of Gabrielle for a moment. A man on a ladder is kicked off by Gabrielle. Gabrielle does a ladder stand, and Xena jumps on the other end of the balancing ladder, and Gabrielle somersaults out of the way. Xena somersaults out of the way. There are more attacks. (This all happens very fast and is a little confusing.) Gabrielle yells for Xena to go for the ladder. Gabrielle walks across a thin beam and reaches the ladder. She is climbing up, and Xena suddenly is on the ladder. They do a ladder walk across the area to the water tower. Gabrielle turns the wheel to release the water, but nothing happens. Xena takes her sword and pierces the tower. Water spews over the town. The soldiers retreat and the fire dies down. Xena and Gabrielle clasp hands. "Higuchi is saved," Gabrielle says. "Not quite the way I'd have done it, Gabrielle, but it sure worked," Xena says.

They walk through the town. Gabrielle returns to the story. "You taught Akemi the pinch. Did she use it?" Xena says yes, she did, and returns to her story.

She and Akemi walk to her father's fortress. He is being entertained. A woman in a demon mask enters and beckons to the father. The woman takes off the mask. It is Akemi. Xena comes in then, and asks Akemi what she thinks she is doing. Akemi goes to her father and puts the pinch on him. Then she prays. Xena, meanwhile, is being attacked by the father's men, so she fights them off. Akemi prays to her mother, sisters, brothers, etc., who all died because of her father, and says she is avenging them. Then she tells her father, "I pray you suffer in death the way your family suffered in life."

Xena finishes beating up men and realizes this is Akemi's father. She looks a little shocked at the revelation. Akemi said he had to die. "But what about the ransom?" Xena cries. "Where's my money?" Outside, Akemi kneels. Xena wonders if there is a large inheritance available? Akemi says Xena must help her get her honor back, but cutting off her head with the grand katana and then taking her ashes to a sacred shrine in Higuchi. Xena looks thoroughly confused. Akemi puts the pinch on herself (I think) and Xena finally whirls around and around and swings the sword. We see blood dripping.

Back in the present, the old man who watched Xena and Gabrielle emerge from the water confronts the Warrior Princess. The monk is with him, too. The old man is a Ghost Killer. He tells Xena she killed 40,000 people in this town when she was here before. Xena says she did not.

Back in the past, Xena, with short hair, and drinking Sake, and wearing white makeup, stumbles through the town with Akemi's ashes. Xena says the townsfolk banded together to stop her from putting the ashes in the shrine because they thought it was a bad thing. They attacked Xena and though she tried to ignore them, she couldn't. She falls and the vase breaks. Akemi's ashes are scattered in the wind. Xena takes a drink of her alcohol and breaths fire, setting a building on fire. She wanders off.

Back in the present, the old Ghost Killer says that the wind caught the fire, and it spread. He tells Xena that 40,000 people perished because of her. Xena says this is not possible. The Monk says that Akemi told him that her father was so evil that even the underworld didn't want him, so he became the Lord Yodoshi, eater of souls. He ate all the souls that died in the Higuchi fire. Xena says that she is guilty of a greater evil than she ever thought possible. She has to put it right.

Xena and Gabrielle are atop a wall. Xena asks Gabrielle to listen. Gabrielle says she heard a horse. Xena asks her to really listen. Gabrielle listens and sees an army. Xena says at least three armies are gathering. Gabrielle goes to warn the others. The old Ghost Killer comes to Xena. Xena tells him her spirit aches for the torment she's caused. The Ghost Killer says they want the same thing. Xena asks why he hasn't been able to kill Yodoshi in all these 40 years. He says his blade can kill but he can't get close enough. Only a spirit can get close enough to trap a spirit as might as Yodoshi.

Inside, Xena is on her knees. She talks to Akemi. She says she knows that what is done today may not be undone. Gabrielle comes in and wants to know why Xena isn't ready for battle. Xena asks Gabrielle to come to her. She takes Gabrielle's hands. She puts them on her neck and tells her to feel the life force. Gabrielle objects; she says she knows why Xena doesn't show her the pinch. Xena pushes Gabrielle's hands and Xena is under the pinch. "If I only have 30 seconds to live, this is how I want to live them, looking into your eyes. Always remember I love you," Xena says to a very confused and distressed Gabrielle. Xena releases the pinch. She tells Gabrielle she just wanted her to know everything she knows. Gabrielle looks really confused.

Gabrielle and the Monk take an army contingent and head in one direction. The Monk asks where Xena is. Gabrielle says she's someplace else; but she wants this section stopped. Xena appears and watches Gabrielle walk off with the Monk.







SYNOPSIS 1 BY Beth Gaynor






SYNOPSIS 4 BY Josh Harrison


11-09-01. From deuce92. The following is a list of the changes made for the Director's Cut airing of Friends in Need Part 1 and Part 2. There wasn't anything that I would term a "major change", but there were a couple scenes that made me feel a little better about the ending.

  1. There is no teaser for part 1. The episode starts with the opening credits, then moves into the action.
  2. After Xena and Gabrielle confirm there's someone looking for them, Xena whistles to give off their location.
  3. Kenji's friend gets a little added attention in the hot tub.
  4. Kenji holds out the katana to Xena. "Xena, you must save Higuchi from destruction. Gabrielle says, "The Land of the Rising Sun...that's beyond Chin. I didn't know you were there Xena." Xena looks sad and regretful as she says, "Yes, I was there, I was there. Gabrielle, this is not going to be the trip that I promised you, but if Akemi calls, I must go."
  5. There is a little added footage of Gabrielle's sparring with Kenji.
  6. On the boat, while Akemi is writing, Borias gives her a very long look. Akemi just smiles sweetly at him.
  7. There is another short distant shot of Xena and Akemi traveling towards Grandpa's house.
  8. When Xena enters the forge to get the katana, first she just stands in the doorway with her head lowered.
  9. After Xena and Gabrielle jump in the water, there is a shot of Yodoshi doing one of those "camera rushes" to the house. Akemi isn't disturbed at all by his sudden approach. Yodoshi says, "The katana. You sent it to the foreign whore. Thank you." He laughs evilly, then "She's traveling now to the city of Higuchi. My general awaits her, and when he captures Xena and MY katana, she'll lose her head to the sting of its blade. So thank you, Daughter." NOTE: This segment is particularly revealing...we learn that Yodoshi is Akemi's father, and he gives a "prediction" as to Xena's demise.
  10. After Xena and Gabrielle release the water from the tower, the General with the strong Kiwi accent stops his horse and looks up at Xena: "A wise general knows when a fight is lost, but I think we will meet again soon." He gives a slight bow to Xena and she nods back.
  11. There is much more footage of Xena fighting with her emotions as Akemi's ashes blow away. She screams out her pain.
  12. Gabrielle listens a little longer to the sounds around her.
  13. After they discuss Gabrielle's listening to nature, Xena says, "At least three armies are gathering. The general we met at the water tower was right. We will meet again." NOTE: Once again, a precursor to what will be happening.
  14. While Xena and Gabrielle are still kneeling in the room after Gabrielle learns the pinch, Ghost Killer enters with a "Are you ready?"
  15. There is a long, brief shot of the fortress.
  16. There is a slow motion silhouette of Xena running through the woods toward the battle.
  17. There are lots more shots of Xena shooting arrows. She does an amazing kick and cuts a bunch of the bad guy's swords into two pieces. The tops stick in the ground and Xena kicks them one at a time, sending them into bad guys' chests. She sends one flying at the Kiwi general, but he catches it.
  18. There is another shot of the bloodied chakram, and Gabrielle's eyes looking around it.
  19. While sitting on the bridge, Xena tells Akemi, "I have a job to do; the job that you called me for."
  20. A moment later, still on the bridge, Akemi says about Yodoshi, "He seems to be getting mightier every day." Xena says, "You're going to have to trust me, Akemi. There's someone I have to meet, who can help us.
  21. When Akemi asks if Xena knows she's being followed, Xena replies, "Akemi, I can still hear your heart beating. And I can hear every one of Miyuki's clumsy footfalls."
  22. There is a brief look from Xena when she hears Miyuki following her.
  23. There is a shot of Ghost Killer and Kenji in meditation while Gabrielle gets her tattoo.
  24. There is a shot of Ghost Killer handing the katana to Kenji, who hands it to Xena, who then hands it to Gabrielle.
  25. There is a flash of lightning. Gabrielle and the Kiwi General slowly bow, then draw their swords.
  26. There is a slightly longer shot of Xena comforting Ghost Killer as he dies..
  27. As they are preparing to head to Mt. Fuji, Akemi tells Xena, "Xena, my soul will soon join the other's trapped in Yodoshi's grasp. You must finish the job, and release us all."
  28. This is the most important addition of all, at least to me. Still out in the open, getting ready to find Yodoshi, Akemi says, "Yodoshi is very weak." Yodoshi spots a hawk, turns himself into a vapor, and enters the hawk. Yodoshi flies off. Somehow, Xena knows what he has done. Akemi tells her they don't have to stay in the forms they're in. Xena asks about a snow owl and another smaller bird she sees nearby, and Akemi confirms they can take those forms. Akemi starts talking about Gabrielle succeeding on her mission. Xena says with a confident smile. "She'll succeed, don't worry. She's very good at what she does." Akemi then says she has to tell Xena something. She feels she may have doomed her own soul. The camera focuses on Xena's concerned face. The scene cuts to a moment later. Xena says, "I know you did what you thought you had to do, Akemi. Perhaps by releasing those souls, we'll all be redeemed." Xena looks shocked, but is still willing to forgive Akemi. NOTE: Of all the emotions I felt after watching the finale, the strongest one was anger at Xena for allowing Gabrielle to go to all the trouble to retrieve her body, only to have Xena tell her she couldn't be revived. After viewing this scene, I felt much better about the situation. Up until that point, Xena had every intention of allowing Gabrielle to save her. It doesn't make me any happier with the resolution of the series, but DOES make me feel better in Xena's actions and motives.
  29. There is a short of Gabrielle's horse rearing up on her.
  30. The camera shows the hawk flying then landing on Mt. Fuji, and turning back into Yodoshi, followed by the owl and the smaller bird landing.
  31. The little bird lands and turns into Akemi. Obviously, the owl was Xena.
  32. Xena stretches really hard to reach one of the icicles, and Yodoshi spits a fire bomb that knocks her backwards quite a distance.
  33. In the very final shot of the episode, as the camera pans upward, there isn't the shot of Gabrielle standing alone. The viewer is left with the impression that Xena will always be by Gabrielle's side. NOTE: This scene really didn't do much for me, because the original is still very fresh in my mind. However, just seeing the scenes we weren't shown when FIN first aired whet my appetite for more Director's Cuts of other episodes. Let's hope TPTB decide to show us more!


04-21-01. JAPAN II was renamed FRIENDS IN NEED I and pushed back two weeks to accommodate some extra shooting.

03-20-01. The big news around the Xenaverse is the alleged leak of the news that Xena will be killed off in the last episode of the series. This rumor is turning into an eerier replay of the pre-third season rape rumor that kicked off a summer of division and argument among fans and production people that never really recovered. Of course there are major differences: First, killing Xena off is not as serious as the issue of rape. Second, we only have two months to seethe in the rumormongering instead of four months. But, the similarities are still there. My take personally is that I am going to take Robert Tapert at his word that he gave to WHOOSH is his interview that he is not going to kill off Xena and Gabrielle. He is of course free to have changed his mind (and it is something that has already happened -- principal has already ended and and unit 2 photography will end shortly this week), but so what if Xena is killed. She will no doubt some back again at the drop of a hat as she has done other times. I was hoping for more surprise than that, but its their show. They can end it however they like. Yet, personally, I just do not believe this one folks. I have no inside info on that other than what WHOOSH has been told earlier and my own experience from the past 6 years. Geez. Six years.

02-15-01. On February 10, 2001, Kevin "Ares" Smith mentioned at a New Zealand SF Convention that he would be in the JAPAN episodes of XWP. He also mentioned that the working name is JAPAN and he has no idea what it really is going to be named or what it is about.

02-15-01. Conjecture that Alti would be in the JAPAN arc has been dismissed since Stansfield has stated that FATES will be Alti's last episode. There had been rumors that the JAPAN episodes would use either Alti or Callisto as the main "bad guy" or even both, but those rumors have been denied by both Claire "Alti" Stansfield and Hudson "Callisto" Leick.

02-06-01. The Tedster (Ted Raimi) is back for three or four episodes of XENA. He had SOUL POSSESSION written for him, and now he is being written into WHEN FATES COLLIDE (the episode which will be airing when the Pasadena Con is going on) and the season-ender, the "Japan" episodes. It is unclear whether he will be in one or both of the "Japan" episodes. Also, since the "Japan" episodes are supposedly to be be kept hush-hush, who knows, maybe he will be in the season-ender, maybe not. There are supposed to be a lot of red-herrings released about the "Japan" episodes so we are not even sure that it is taking place in or has anything really to do with Japan. We'd like it to be about Japan or touch on something "Japany" since we at WHOOSH have been calling it "Japan" for a godawfully long time. However, if the rumors of lots of fake info being released is true, then who knows what will happen. All we can be sure of is that RenPics is contractually obligated to produce episodes #21 and #22.

12-18-00. What a difference a week makes. Last week the telemovie deal looked pretty darn good and now this week it looks like its a proverbial longshot. So much a longshot that JAPAN is once again in the running for the season ender. The odds are favoring a two-parter season ender but that will make the show have too many shows in production (at least on paper). There is the chance that one can be dropped or merged into another show. There is also that old old rumor from way back that the show was planning on producing 23 hours this season instead of 22. That would solve the problem as well, especially if they were planning on airing the last two episodes as one two-hour episode. I often wonder why these things concern me, too.

12-11-00. The JAPAN I & II episodes have apparently been tabled (probably for the upcoming telemovies?). In their stead will be two new episodes (duh!).

12-06-00. The show-ender (at least to our knowledge at this time) is tentatively the JAPAN double-episode featuring that "Maiden" chick.


From Bongo Bear.

For those of you who don't already know this, the series finale is set in Japan and a ghostly apparition plays a major role. Here is a link so you can brush up on the lore on Japanese ghosties. I am very curious to see of the XWP writers did their homework or not.



From Bongo Bear.


"[In imperial Edo, present-day Tokyo]....From 1600 to 1866, there were some 20 large fires and three big earthquake, not to mention fires which damaged the Castle and not the town. The three most serious fires were those of 1657 (in which 108,000 persons died and half the city was laid waste), 1772 (started deliberately by a robber, and destroying more than half of Edo), and 1806 (which burnt out the eastern end, including nearly all of the warriors' lodgings). There were also innumerable small fires that were kept under control. The Japanese house, constructed of resinous timber, with paper-covered screens, needed very little to set it alight; if a strong wind were blowing, a fire could quickly spread out of control..."
The houses were close together. They weren't the high-rise apartments as you think of them today as earthquakes kept buildings low to the ground, but it was not unusual to find two and three story buildings with business or shop on the ground floor and living quarters above. Tokyo was one of the first cities in the world to have one million people living within its city limits. So people were packed in tight and have lived that way a very long time.

Arson was so feared, because of the flammable homes and typical layout of the towns, that it was punished by burning the arsonist alive.


From Bongo Bear.

The plot holes that undermine the characters' motivations in this episode are all over the road. A prime example is Yodoshi. So he killed his family with the exception of Akemi. Why did he kill his family? Why was she spared? What was she doing in Chin when Xena bought her with a bag of gold in hopes for many more for her investment?

While I understand why Akemi needed to kill herself after killing her father, people less familiar with Japanese culture could have used a little more explanation than what the show provided -- which was none or left on the cutting room floor. So I'll briefly describe it here. A popular plot device in Japanese tragedies is that of conflicting obligations. Honor is the heart of bushido and it means living up to your obligations, even the ones that might seem relatively trivial. When confronted with obligations that are in direct conflict, that is, one cannot be fulfilled without violating the other, a samurai is in a classic moral quandary. Akemi was obligated to avenge her family's deaths. That meant killing her father which would dishonor him. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. Since she can't just walk away after killing her father, the only way out is suicide. Otherwise, she would be publically humiliated when she is brought to the local magistrate.

The townspeople attacked Xena for trying to place Akemi's ashes in the family shrine because Akemi committed patricide and doesn't deserve the honor. It doesn't matter if Yodoshi deserved to die or not. Akemi does not have the right to mete out justice against her own father. It also doesn't matter if the townspeople approved or disapproved of Yodoshi murdering his own family either. If Yodoshi was their feudal lord, it's not the townspeople's place to question his actions. Justice can only be meted out by a higher authority such as a higher ranking samurai like a daimyo or even the shogun. The show gave no indication of Yodoshi's place in the pecking order, so I have no idea who might have been available to punish him for his evil ways.

Akemi could have appealed to a higher ranking samurai, but even then she would have risked dishonor because narking on your dad is disloyal. She would have had to kill herself any way. The key in these kind of dramas is to come up with an elaborate scheme that reveals the truth without exposing the clever person orchestrating the events. That's why Akemi is the manipulative b*tch that she is. The circumstances of her culture pretty much requires that strategy. Tossing in the supernatural does allow a more straightforward approach once everyone is dead because the constraint of surviving the subterfuge is removed.


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

I got some laughs this episode by counting how many different ways the city's name is pronounced - half of them by Gabrielle over the course of the episode. Higuchi? Heegurchee? Hiyggucci?

How do you make a country's name into it's XenaVerse counterpart? Drop the last sound. China is Chin, Japan is being called Japa. I'm surprised they didn't call them Brittani and Egyp.

Funny fight moment: Most guys go down with one Xena-punch. The big hulk of a guy takes five. Xena even checks her fist as if to make sure it's still working.

How did the ghost Akemi end up with the katana? We don't see it at all after Akemi's death. If I'd had to guess, I'd have said it was back at the family home lying in the dirt next to a very old stain of blood.

Continuity alert: Despite Gabrielle's protests, Xena did teach Gabrielle the pinch, or at least how to remove it, in Haunting of Amphipolis. ("I can't believe you're showing me this now!")

The smoke effect that was used between scenes was pretty neat, especially when it became blood after Akemi's death.

How on earth did the monk get back in Higuchi? Last we saw, he was on the boat that Xena and Gabrielle had to ditch because it wasn't going to go anywhere near the city battle. Next thing you know, the monk shows up in town dry as tinder. Th' heck?


07-26-01. From Nikalaos. I was watching my Helicon tape and began to realize a similarity to Friend in Need as far as Xena being prepared to lose Gabrielle. In FiN, LL plays Xena's intentions much more obvious than in tHaB. For instance, in Fin, Xena says stuff like "What would YOU do, Gab?" and "Jus' wanted you to now everything I know", etc, playing pretty obvious that she plans on becoming a ghost, etc. (the whole *remaining* as a ghost thing is a seperate issue). Anyways, the point? LL played Xena's preparedness to lose Gab in tHaB much subtler, less obvious, and in my opinion, much better than in FiN. Xena was not prepared to lose Gab to death, but to lose her as a companion to the Amazon Nation. Such stuff like, "You're it, Gabrielle, you're it." and "Your people need you." etc, and the look in Xena's eyes when Gab is cheered as queen and inspires her troops, being a leader the Amazons are loyal to and love, etc. . . . all suggest that Xena is preparing herself to lose Gab to the Amazon cause. Perhaps this is more subtle because I've misinterpreted Lucy's lines, etc. Perhaps FiN was not too obvious, but it was a significant part of the plot to have Xena behaving in ways that suggested her seperation from Gab. Either way, just thought I"d share. :)

06-27-01. From Andrea. The filming of the arrival of Yodoshi utilized a technique Sam Raimi developed during the making of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. When the evil dead is approaching the cabin from the woods in both films it is done with the same 'ground rushing by' film technique. Tapert obviously did this as an homage to Sam Raimi and we, as Evil Dead fans, thought this was a classic moment showing their years together in the film industry.

06-24-01. From Bret. There was a lot of stuff cut out of the finale for time. One scene, originally for FIN I, had to do with Xena discovering sushi. Previously, Xena was giving "lessons" to her new protege Akemi. Akemi learned, to some personal pain, that Lesson 1 is not to trust anyone at any time. At one point, Akemi and Xena are traveling and want something to eat. They stop at the home of an elderly couple. Xena learns about having to take her boots off to enter a home and gumbles about it. As she and Akemi sit a tray is placed in front of her. She looks at a plate of raw fish and asks "Haven't you people discovered fire yet? They didn't cook the fish." Akemi says that is what makes it so good. Xena tests a piece of raw fish and decides she likes it. "Think of the campfires I've wasted." Xena points at some wasabi (extremely hot paste). "Is that some sort of vegetable?" Akemi can't resist mischief and says "Yes, it's a vegetable." Xena picks up a big lump and pops it in her mouth. A moment later she's chugging sake, water, beer, anything she can get a hand on that's liquid to quench the fire. Xena throws Akemi an angry look. "Remember lesson one," Akemi says.

06-24-01. From Eric C.. Japanese names are given with regards to specific meaning, and some of the names used in the finale have significance: Yodoshi is the Lord of the Dark Land; his name means 'All Night'. Kenji is a popular Japanese name and can mean 'stalwart youth', 'prosecutor', or 'sticking to'. Harukata contains the word 'haruka' meaning 'distant, far off'. The infinitive 'akeru' means 'to open', and adding the popular feminine suffix -mi gives 'Akemi'.

Kenji comments that Akemi's 'shuji', her calligraphy, has great dignity and beauty.

Akemi advises Xena to listen to the 'kami', the spirits of nature and life. Japan's animist religion Shinto (way of the gods) reveres ties to nature and worships the kami as the living spirits within all things. It also has a strong tradition of ancestral worship shown when Akemi invokes the spirits of her grandfather and her family upon killing Yodoshi.

06-14-01. From Allen Timothy Chang. The episode A Friend in Need has a few similarities with the Hong Kong movie "A Chinese Ghost Story." Both involve female ghosts forced to seduce victims whose soul or yang elements get sucked out by a horrible monster. Both involve a female ghost who has pity on an innocent, good man and who helps the man to conquer the horrible monster. In "A Chinese Ghost Story," there is a villian named "Lord Dark (or Black) Mountain." In the Xena episode there is a villian who is known as the "Lord of the Darkworld." "A Chinese Ghost Story III," also has some vague similarities.


Click here to read a transcript of FRIEND IN NEED I.


Xena and Gabrielle's Flying Circus and Amateur Fire Brigade will be arriving in your town soon.


Screengrabs from MaryD's page

Seven pictures from on the set of FRIEND IN NEED:

FRIENDS IN NEED I 60 second promo. Needs quicktime to view it. Download Quicktime here. If the 60 second clip is not ucrrently on-line, it has been removed due to speace considerations. However, if you wish to view it, please contact Kym and request a download address for this file.

Hubba hubba. Xena and Gabrielle getting awfully close.

Previous Episode |BACK TO THE EPISODE GUIDE |Next Episode

Season 1 |Season 2 |Season 3 |Season 4 |Season 5 |Season 6

Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!