GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Judith K. Parker
COMMENTARY 3 by Philip Teo
WHAT OTHERS HEARD by Joanna Sandsmark
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Elizabeth Pendergrast (Atropos)
Micaela Daniel (Lachesis)
Samantha Adriaanse (Clotho)
Jeremy James Wood (Dahak Disciple #1)
Russell Gowers (Disciple #2)
Bret Rudnick (low paid worshiper)
Written by Paul Robert Coyle
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Rick Jacobson
DAHAK ENTERS OUR WORLD
(Xena and Gabrielle enter a room. Callisto smiles. A hooded man fights.)
WHO LIVES? WHO DIES?
(Xena raises a knife to stab someone. Gabrielle holds someone, looks over their shoulder. The pair appear to fall.)
Xena (leaning over a ledge): Gabrielle!
WHO WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES?
Xena: May you live forever.
(Xena and Ares fight.)
BATTLE ON XENA!
TV GUIDE PROMO
Part 2: Gabrielle's evil daughter Hope takes the form of her mother and joins forces with Ares to create a race of superbeings; Xena is forced to team up with Callisto.
Xena and Gabrielle struggle to kill Hope, who has emerged from a cocoon-- fully grown and looking just like her mother.
Unlikely allies Xena and Callisto unite to destroy Hope.
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 05/11/98
An AA average of 5.4
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-Files 7th with 5.8
(2) Xena 8th with 5.4
(3) Hercules 14th with 4.6
(4) Star Trek 16th with 4.2
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
2nd RELEASE: 09/21/98
An AA average of 4.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 13th with 4.3 [FIRST TIME XENA OVERTOOK X-FILES!!!!]
(2) X-FILES 14th with 4.2
(3) ER 3.5
(4) VIP 3.0
(5) STARGATE 2.7
(6) NYPD UNDERCOVER 2.2
(7) HIGHLANDER RAVEN 1.9
(8) MORTAL KOMBAT 1.7
(9) SPECIAL OPS FORCE 1.6
Wherefore art thou HERCULES?
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
After a quick recall of Sacrifice I, Xena, Gabrielle, Callisto, and Ares watch Hope emerge from her goo-filled cocoon. Xena attacks her, but Hope, using mental powers, throws all kinds of weapons (which are attached to the walls) at her. Xena does manage to hurt her with her chakram, and when she does Hope's grip on Serafin diminishes momentarily. Hope throws the chakram back at Xena and hits her in the stomach with it, although it doesn't do any damage. Callisto appears and takes Hope away.
Xena is not very happy with Gabrielle, who stopped Xena in her initial effort to kill Hope. Xena says she will gladly die to stop Hope, if that is what it takes. They go to a village where the black-hooded creeps are trying to take people as blood-innocence sacrifices to Dahak, and Xena begins fighting them. Ares goes to Dahak's temple and bows before a growling flame. Callisto helps Hope dress like Gabrielle, and asks for her reward of oblivion. Hope says she isn't finished with Callisto yet. They go to the temple. Ares arrives, and he and Callisto fight. Then Hope and Ares kiss ("You are SO not like your mother," Ares says), and Callisto leaves.
Xena and Gabrielle peer over a cliff, watching throngs of people being kidnaped by the hooded men. Serafin jumps over the cliff, and Xena jumps after her. She grabs a vine and Serafin. Xena calls for Gabrielle to help her, but Callisto peers over the edge, jeering at Xena and wondering how she'll get out of this one. So Xena throws Serafin over the top of the cliff, and Serafin runs off. Xena throws herself to the top and she and Callisto talk.
Callisto wants to join Xena because Hope won't kill her. They are all after a knife with hind's blood on it. Xena knows where it is. Hope thinks she does, but it isn't there. She meets up with Joxer, and wonders why everyone loves Gabrielle but Gabrielle couldn't love her (Hope) enough to let her live. Hope, as Gabrielle, tries to convince Xena to let her go get the knife, but Xena catches on. Hope tosses Xena around; Ares intervenes and takes Hope back to the temple.
Callisto, Xena, Gabrielle & Joxer ride horses, and Joxer keeps falling off. Xena finally stops and calls Joxer and moron and stupid, etc., etc., and tells him to go far, far away. He leaves and is captured by the hooded men and taken into the temple as a sacrifice. That night, Xena feels her skin crawl and goes off to see Ares, who offers her one last chance to join him. He tells her Hope is pregnant with his child, who will be one of six apocalyptic death riders. Gabrielle hears this and is not very happy about it. Hope appears to Gabrielle and offers her one last chance to be a mother; Gabrielle says she is sorry about the poison -- sorry it didn't do its job.
Xena asks Gabrielle to stay outside the temple, but Gabrielle refuses. Xena tells Gabrielle that she is so important to her, and has made her life complete, and is a part of herself, no matter what happens. They fight their way into the temple. Xena tosses her chakram at the fire cover above Dahak and smothers the flames. Joxer has the hind's blood knife, and Xena yells at him to throw it to her. He does, and Ares tries to get it. Xena catches it, though. Callisto appears and tosses Ares away, and tells Xena to "gut" Hope and then kill her. Hope stops Xena with her mental powers, but Xena fights the invisible force and slowly moves forward. She is almost there when Ares reminds Gabrielle of Xena's fate if she kills Hope. Gabrielle races over and throws herself against Hope, and they both tumble into a deep boiling endless-looking lava pit. Gabrielle screams Xena's name as she falls. Xena calls Gabrielle's name, but Gabrielle is gone. Those who are under Dahak's spell are released. Joxer leans over the pit looking for Gabrielle.
Callisto laughs, and says her life now has meaning. Xena turns around and stabs Callisto in the stomach with the hind's blood knife. Callisto dies. Ares vanishes. Xena hangs her head.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
Let me state, right here and now, that I hate waiting. I think it's an Empire Strikes Back-induced neurosis, when I watched that film and realized I was going to have to wait two years to find out how the story finished. It's left me permanently scarred. I despise cliff-hanging. Sacrifice II is a great episode, lots of meat, but I am going to hate waiting four months to get a few little questions answered, like:
- What happened to the armies? We had an army of Dahak-worshipping villagers who were gathering against Ares' army of warlords in Sacrifice I. We haven't seen them since. Was the battle called on account of God-of-War fence-hopping?
- Can lava kill Hope? Apparently hind's blood will do her damage - she shied away from it - and the chakram stung, but will being dumped into a lava pit do any permanent harm?
- How badly has this set Dahak back? Can the great evil nasty god be seriously foiled by putting a cover over his burner? It seemed to stun Hope and Seraphin.
- It looked like Seraphin might have regained some of her senses when Hope-n-Dahak were laid low. What's her condition going to be?
- What's Ares' next move? Seems to me that he's the only one who got something he wanted out of this whole escapade: he was angling for Gabrielle to die for Xena from moment one, and he got it. Now what?
- And of course, most importantly, HOW WILL WE GET BACK GABRIELLE? XenaStaff has promised for ages now that Xena and Gabrielle are both still the central focus of the show, there's no sign of Renee O'Connor going anywhere... it's not a question of whether Gabrielle survives the well-traveled Tartarus shuttle, just how. And how vicious of a wringer will Xena travel through before the amazon bard returns?
Nice editing job on the "last week on Xena: Warrior Princess" montage. That was very nicely pieced together.
By now, EVERYbody is keyed into Xena and Gabrielle's importance to each other. Ares threatened Gabrielle with Xena's death to get her to protect Hope, and Callisto did the same to Xena to try to ensure her own death. They might as well wear neon signs that say "in case of emergency, hold me over her head."
Battle report card for Gabrielle: another first - the bard took a beating but came back to clean up. You go, Gab.
Speaking of that scene, Ares now has the distinction of having done the wild thing with both Xena's and Gabrielle's bodies, and yet neither time with the actual women. I'm not sure WHO to congratulate about that. But way to go, Renee, for getting some serious smooch time ("Geez, we've been rough on you this season, Ren. Here, wanna get cozy with Kevin for a scene?"), and Kevin Smith, m'man, a few million people are envying you. And he's getting paid for all that.
We had a couple of themes this episode, things that were apparently so nice, we had to see them twice. And, sometimes, three or four times. These were all great the first time, but we didn't need the recurring motifs. Variety is the spice of life.
Theme 1: --- this! "Experience that!" and "Welcome this!" within ten minutes of each other. It was a neat line once, Xena, but tell your writers to get a bit more creative with the snappy comebacks.
Theme 2: Kryptonite landslides OK, it's gotta be said: Callisto under a rock pile AGAIN?
Theme 3: Death from above Callisto's fireball brought down rocks from the ceiling, Xena chakramed the shield from the ceiling, then Xena used the chakram again to put the ceiling dome on the Dahak barbecue. Note to the bad guys: consider sun roofs.
I'm amazed that Callisto fell for Xena's sending away of Joxer with tons of heaping abuse. She must have decided to give the anti-Joxer fans a break and turned her attention to questioning Gabrielle instead, which wasn't one of her brightest ideas, either. Where exactly was Gabrielle supposed to hide a dagger in that outfit of hers? Hey, Call, the ever-shrinking BGSB is NOT built for stealth.
Hope is a strange beast. OK, she's a strange beast anyway, but I'm talking about her half-human, half-god powers. Let's sum them up. Hope CAN: throw people through the air, control their bodies, fly weapons around like snowballs, and smash rocks with a glance. She CAN'T: change her appearance, teleport, or kill gods. She has Callisto and Ares do that for her. Summed up, she has major telekinetic control, and that's about it. And even that didn't do so well against a really determined Warrior Princess. Why didn't her powers work against Xena in the end? Xena's sheer will? Hind's blood interference? The fire extinguisher on the Dahak altar?
The main, number one (real deal) reason I was looking forward to this episode was to see Renee do the evil thang. We've seen her do fury, we've seen her do campy tough, but can she do straight, pure nasty? The verdict: nice job, ROC! She shined the best when Hope was quiet, with contained power right behind the eyes. Very sharp. She also put impressive gusto into the "slit their throats!" line. I loved the Gabrielle-Hope scene in the forest; when Gabrielle turned Hope down flat, the barest hint of emotion we saw in Hope's face was slammed behind walls. The come-and-go raspy voice was weird and not necessary, though. Hope ditched that scratch in order to pretend to be Gabrielle, but even given that, it slipped in and out at strange times. You'd think that when Callisto put Gab's outfit on Hope, she could have taken care of that little phlegm problem, too.
Xena lit into Gabrielle pretty good for protecting Hope again, but Xena made up for it when she found out Gab was trying to protect her. Nice line about the one she loves and the one she hates looking the same. (Everybody all together now: awwwwww. Watch Gab's head bounce up when she says it, too.) Her farewell speech was unusually eloquent for the Warrior Princess, even if it ended up being Gab's farewell instead of hers.
One mystery from Sacrifice I is solved: the fire that showed up behind Ares was indeed Dahak. "I consider it a partnership," he said, but who's he fooling? I don't think he kidded even himself about that one. He told Hope that "They gotta come through me to get to you," but this smacked of bravado. As soon as the hind's blood dagger came out, Ares bowed out for Xena and went back to goading Gabrielle. The man's always looking out for number one. He was probably just as glad to see Xena win out. He didn't seem too perturbed when he amscrayed at the end of the episode.
Callisto gets the best battle score in this episode than she has since she turned immortal. She has a delightful time warming up, then really letting loose on the village fight. Good guys, bad guys, who cares? She'll level 'em all. (Check out Hope's reaction during that - she enjoys the heck out of it, too.) Callisto does some serious whupping on Xena, and even scores major damage on Ares. Must be consolation prizes before she mouths off once too often and Xena claims blood paybacks for the deaths of Solan and Gabrielle.
Xena's crowning glory: tossing Seraphin like a football up that cliff. Callisto easily gets Xena's blood boiling enough to do that kind of thing. I also loved her battle in the temple at the beginning: I admire the sheer determination of that lady to keep fighting no matter how much she's getting her butt kicked. (And she DID get kicked in that first fight. Ouch!)
It was pretty easy to guess that Gabrielle's death was coming, both because of Ares's suggestions and thanks to some reprehensible TV teasers for this episode. And all logic says it's a safe bet that she'll be back. In spite of those things to steal dramatic tension, Gabrielle's sacrifice was well done. Her final look at Xena as she fell and Xena's, Callisto's, and Joxer's shocked responses were powerful. I loved Xena's stunned reaction and horror when Gab tackled Hope. It's fitting that Gabrielle killed Hope with an embrace, not with attacks or blades. More power to you, Bard, I hope THIS time you managed to make Hope's death stick. Rest easy in the Elysian Fields ("Dead naked heroes!") for the next four months, Gabrielle, and we BETTER be seeing you in the last week of September.
Callisto suddenly has strobe punches. That was a nifty effect for showing the power of a god letting loose, although I'm not sure why we got that now and have never seen it before.
I laughed out loud at Callisto's disgusted look after the cheesy pan of the dancers' bodies. That's called playing to two audiences at once, folks. Ta-dum.
Hope showed one glimmer of humanity: she wanted to figure out and reconcile with her mother. Was Hope's offer to Gabrielle genuine? I think it was; it hit her deep when Gabrielle rejected it in no uncertain terms. This episode refers back to Hope's poisoning a few times, but it begs an earlier question: WOULD Hope have had a chance for goodness if Gabrielle hadn't been forced to abandon her when she was a baby? Probably not, but mom's rejection of Hope seems to be the only thing that made her hurt.
Gabrielle got a little serious horse-riding done, even at a gallop. Seems the bard's been paying attention to Argo lessons all this time, after all.
The past few times we've seen it, I've been able to recognize Xena's "Ares willies" the moment they hit. Great consistency, Lucy! This time, Gabrielle gets it, too, when she goes to find Hope. In fact, the willies are used to pull both women to their Garden of Gethsemane final temptations, last chances to pull out and join up with their darkest reminders of themselves. Both barely gave the idea a second's thought.
Hey, Hope, if you do make it through this somehow (I doubt it, but just in case), here's a tip: duck. When someone's inching toward you with a weapon of destruction, may I suggest faking left and beating feet to the right?
This commentary is by Judith K. Parker.
"Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations."--Tao te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation
"Sacrifice" is about desire, about will, with each person working to attain his or her desires, to impose his or her will on the world.
Xena's desires, as with her character, are split into dark and light. Her dark desire is for revenge on Hope, revenge at any cost to herself or to anyone else. Her other desire, from her will to act for the greater good, is to rescue the innocents who are about to be sacrificed and thus to save the whole world from Dahak. It is upon this latter desire that she struggles to focus, even at the cost of her own life and a final parting from Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is no longer fooled by Hope and so does not desire Hope's redemption. She does desire an end to Hope. Only by destroying Hope can she atone for her own guilt for allowing Hope to live to be the cause of Solan's death and Xena's deepest pain and to bring the ultimate evil into the world. Gabrielle's deepest desire is for Hope to be destroyed without Xena's death.
Ares' desires are those of a coward. He desires power without price and, most of all, his own survival. He has turned against Xena because she could have been his greatest asset but, because of her own will, has become his greatest liability. Does he desire Xena's death? He is willing to use the cutting of her life thread in his plan, but he thinks Gabrielle will betray Xena yet again in order to preserve that thread. He desires the severing of Gabrielle's and Xena's relationship.
Callisto wants oblivion. She is not averse to a little "fun" along the way. Does she want something besides death from Xena?
Hope wants to fulfill her destiny to bring her father Dahak into the world and to give birth to the first of the Destroyers. She wants power, and she wants something--love?--from her mother Gabrielle. Failing to win Gabrielle to her side, she wants to deprive her of the being she sees as the usurper of her true place with her mother. She wants to see Xena suffer and then die.
The desires of Xena, Gabrielle, Ares, Callisto, and Hope are woven together into the drama of Sacrifice.
Xena and Gabrielle start out to save Gabrielle's friend from becoming the blood sacrifice of a strange new cult. Upon discovering that Hope is back and, through the cult, gathering the forces that will enable her to recreate herself and bring her father into the world, Xena's immediate response is to kill her as revenge for Solon's death. She struggles for "focus," knowing that her rage will hamper her ability to deal with Hope and will endanger the world. Whereas Gabrielle was fooled by her daughter before, she now has no illusions and acts with Xena to bring about Hope's defeat. She fools her friend, now Hope's Blood Priestess, into leading Xena to Hope, whom Ares has taken to his Halls of War.
It is at this point that Gabrielle's desires depart from Xena's. Ares takes Gabrielle to the Fates, where he shows her Xena's life thread. In payment of Gabrielle's debt to him for getting her to Chin before Xena, he has demanded of the Fates that Xena die if she kills Hope. The Fates have agreed. For Gabrielle, preserving Xena's life takes precedence over destroying Hope, and, with Xena prepared to strike Hope down before she can emerge from a cocoon-like state, Gabrielle launches herself at Xena and prevents her from landing the killing blow. Thus, due to Gabrielle's intervention, Hope emerges, an evil version of her mother's face and form.
Callisto, who is helping Hope for the promise of her own annihilation, launches an unsuccessful attack on Xena. Hope follows this with an attack of her own as she launches a fusillade of spears and axes and swords. Xena manages to save herself, Gabrielle, and the Blood Priestess, but she is outraged that Gabrielle has once again betrayed her to save her daughter. When she has finally calmed down enough to listen, she believes Gabrielle's reason for keeping her from killing Hope. However, she explains to Gabrielle that she is willing to die if that is what it will take to kill Hope. Later, she pleads with Gabrielle to not feel guilty about all that has happened during the last year.
Ares' reasons for helping Hope become clear as he is shown bowing before a fiery rock-rimmed cauldron that represents Dahak. Ares has made a bargain with the dark god that will allow him to survive the destruction of the Olympian gods and give him a role in the new order. It is clear that Ares is fooling himself that he is to be a partner with Dahak or perhaps even that he will take later take control of the world from Dahak. In exchange for his immortal life and the illusion of power, Ares has literally made a deal with the devil.
Callisto soon learns that Hope is in no hurry to grant her desire for oblivion. As long as Hope has a use for Callisto, she will not release her. Callisto is also disgusted when she learns that Ares is on Hope's side and, in fact, is about to become Hope's lover. Callisto decides to bargain with Xena, who will act with more honor. The blonde goddess tells Xena she knows that Xena has or can get the dagger that was soaked in hind's blood, the dagger that can kill a god. Callisto will help Xena fight Hope if Xena will then use the dagger on her. "I scratch your back; you stab mine." Xena refuses to bargain with the enemy who helped kill her son. She tells Callisto to live, saying this as a curse.
Gabrielle intervenes by reminding Xena to focus. Xena struggles with her conflicting desires, then agrees to the bargain. Callisto wheedles for information about the dagger, but none is forthcoming. The three head for the place where the priests of Dahak are taking hordes of innocents to be sacrificed.
Disguised as Gabrielle, Hope comes upon Joxer and quizzes him about his feelings for Gabrielle and Gabrielle's feelings for Xena. She cannot understand how the woman who didn't love her could be so loved by other people. And she conveys without words her enmity for Xena, who has the place in Gabrielle's heart that should belong to her. Hope goes on to try to fool Xena and to get her to reveal the hiding place of the hind's blood dagger, but Xena recognizes that this is not "the being she loves most in the world." Her "curiosity" satisfied, Hope goes with Ares to the place of sacrifice.
Xena, Callisto, and Gabrielle, now joined by Joxer, follow. Seemingly enraged that the inept Joxer is slowing them down, Xena strikes and berates him, and he dejectedly walks away. Later, Joxer is captured by Hope's priests and taken to be one of the sacrifices that will bring Dahak into the world.
Ares and Xena talk, and Hope and Gabrielle talk. Ares seems to want to brag to Xena about how important he will be in the new order. Xena guesses that Ares has impregnated Hope, and he says that this is true. His and Hope's child will be the first of the six Destroyers Dahak will unleash on the innocent and the righteous. Xena lets him know that she is not impressed and that she considers him Dahak's slave. Hope comes to Gabrielle and offers to intercede with Dahak on her mother's behalf. She tells Gabrielle of her pregnancy and says that she wants Gabrielle with her. It is obvious that, as she holds Gabrielle's hand to her cheek, she is asking for her love. Gabrielle brings up the matter of her poisoning of Hope, and Hope says that she forgives her. Gabrielle says she regrets that the poison did not "finish" Hope.
Xena has made clear to Ares and Gabrielle to Hope that their desires, their wills, have irrevocably diverged and that there will be no reconciliations.
Xena and Gabrielle force their way into the place of sacrifice, a temple in a barren landscape and within the shadow of a smoke-spewing volcano. Hope, standing between the fiery cauldron of her father and a pit that leads to a pool of lava, orders the killing of the innocents. As Xena and Gabrielle fight their way into her presence, her face shows a mixture of emotions, excitement battling with fear. Ares, confident of his hold over Gabrielle, reassures Hope that they'll have to come through him to get to her.
After taking a beating at the hands of the priests, Xena and Gabrielle gain the upper hand. Using her chakram to cut the chain of an iron ceiling fixture, Xena blocks Dahak's cauldron, neutralizing his power in this world and releasing his followers from his hold. Xena calls out to Joxer, who is among the prisoners, and he tosses her the hind's blood dagger. Joxer has been Xena's tool to retrieve the dagger and bring it into the temple. Failing to catch the dagger before Xena can grasp it, Ares backs away from her as she offer him "a taste of hind's blood," Callisto hits Ares with a fire ball and, no longer able to draw on Dahak's power, the God of War collapses against the temple wall. Xena, grasping the dagger, advances on Hope. Hope tries to turn Xena's strength against herself, but Xena steadies the dagger and is about to kill Hope. Ares reminds Gabrielle, "Xena's fate is in your hands."
Gabrielle yells "No!" and "Hope" and launches herself toward Xena and Hope. However, this time, instead of knocking Xena down, she embraces Hope and, with a poignant look at Xena, leaps into the fiery pit. As Xena looks on in shock, Callisto begins to laugh and says that seeing Gabrielle sacrifice herself has made her life worth living again. With a scream of rage, Xena turns and plunges the dagger into Callisto's chest. She says, "No more living for you." Callisto at first looks shocked, and then her expression turns to one of gratitude and perhaps even love, as she caresses Xena's cheek and then slides to the stone floor. Xena and Joxer stare into the pit, and Ares disappears.
As I said at the beginning, oh, so many lines ago, this is a story about desire. Who achieved their desires?
Xena got her desire for revenge on the killers of her son and her desire to keep Dahak out of the world. She was unable to do this while preserving Gabrielle. Willing to surrender her own life, she had wanted Gabrielle to live on and to be happy. She has lost the person she most wanted to save.
Gabrielle got her desire to end Hope's existence. By giving her life while doing this, she also atoned for what she saw as her guilt and, most important to her, saved Xena's life. But she is apparently separated from Xena, perhaps for all time.
Callisto, at the moment she gave up wishing for it, received oblivion.
Ares got to survive and, from his words, "This isn't over, Xena," believes he is living to fight another day. He did not gain the power he sought, and one has to wonder what punishment the Olympian gods he betrayed might mete out.
Hope failed to bring her father and the first of the Destroyers into the world. She did not gain her mother's love or kill Xena. However, in a sense she won something. It was while embracing her, not Xena, that Gabrielle leaped into the unknown.
"Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.
Darkness within darkness,
The gateway to all understanding."--Tao te Ching
This commentary is by Philip Teo.
This was a very good episode, with so many plots rolled into one. And I have been waiting for this episode for a very long time.
The Hope-Xena fight scene was very good, it kept me on the edge of my seat as I saw Hope unleash her full powers on the warrior princess. But it led me to wonder about some things.
I recalled that in a Hercules episode, "Armageddon Now", Hope had the power of fire, and could send Callisto back in time. What happened to all those powers now? Throughout the episode, we never got to see Hope unleash any other kind of powers other than her telekinetic powers. One would naturally assume that as you grow older, your powers would grow and improve and not disappear. But Hope seemed to have lost all those powers. The writer of the story should not make mistakes like this.
And it was rather strange to see Xena getting beaten up by Callisto. Why didn't our warrior princess make any attempt to fight back? Did she somehow already plan to trap Callisto under the pile of rocks? By the way, it was stupid seeing Callisto trapped so easily again. These rocks trapping god tricks is getting rather dumb. And it only seemed to happen to Callisto. What is she? A goddess who cannot defend herself against a pile of rocks? Even if she could not disappear in time, she could have at least blasted away the rocks.
Hope unleashing those weapons at Xena was rather good. There was such power in Hope's telekinetic abilities. But it was also a bit dramatic that Xena could avoid contact with all the weapons flying at her at such speed, and even hitting some with her chakram. Speaking of her chakram, didn't Callisto kick Xena's chakram away from her? We never really saw when Xena bent down to pick up her chakram, so how did she get her chakram back in her hands so soon?
And the directors didn't make an attempt to make Gabrielle's double less obvious. I could tell easily that when Gabrielle was thrown back, Hope was a stunt double, her hair and figure were so different, and it was so fake.
Later on, when Gabrielle explained to Xena why she didn't want her to kill Hope, I was rather surprised by Xena's reaction. I would have at least expected her to sympathize and understand Gabrielle's position. Instead, she said she would rather die than let Hope live. What kind of answer is that? Didn't she care how Gabrielle felt?
It was kind of sad to see Callisto's reaction when she realized Hope wasn't on her side, and instead teaming up with Ares. After all the work she put through to ensure Hope's re-birth, this is what she got. Which brings me back to one issue. We saw Ares brought Hope's cocoon to his temple so to avoid Xena from killing her. But after that, he never really did anything further to ensure her re-birth. And how did Callisto know Hope was in the temple of Ares? Was there some kind of telepathic powers between all gods?
I am getting kind of irritated at Seraphin's behavior. Dahak's hold on her certainly is turning her into a real bitch. She can certainly gets on one's nerves. It was amazing to see how Xena got out of the mess Callisto got her in. Xena flinging Seraphin back on the cliff was spectacular and seeing Gabrielle's vain attempts in attacking Callisto was great too. And Callisto didn't seem to make any attempt to stop Xena from getting up. She stopped Gabrielle from interfering, but she obviously had no intention of stopping Xena, as we know that she came to Xena for a purpose.
When Ares approached Gabrielle in the town when Xena was fighting off Dahak's followers, I was wondering whether Seraphin could see Ares too. It she could, she certainly wasn't showing much surprise on seeing the god of war. And if she couldn't see Ares, wouldn't she be at least showing some kind of bewildered expression that Gabrielle was talking to no one in particular? Her expression was totally wrong, as if she couldn't care less who Gabrielle was talking to, and who Ares was.
I am once again wondering how did Xena knew where the hind's blood dagger was. Did Hercules once again send a messenger all the way just to tell her where the dagger was in case it might come in handy? It just doesn't make any sense.
Hope pretending to be Gabrielle to Joxer was rather convincing too. Renee certainly did her homework. And Joxer was all too concerned about the mission than to notice the strange way "Gabrielle" was behaving.
In the town raid where Xena was fighting off more of Dahak's followers, Callisto really seemed to be having the time of her life, blasting off Dahak's men, and occasionally some innocent villagers too. When hope appeared, I was wondering when did Xena realize it was her, and not Gabrielle. The part about her hiding the dagger in the crypts, was this information true? And when Hope's back was to her, why didn't Xena make an attempt to stab her or something? She just stood there and waited for Hope to once again send Xena flying with her telekinetic powers. And all these gods seemed to appear at the precise moment to save Hope. It's all getting too coincidental. I loved the way Xena made the remark on Callisto. "What did you think you were doing?" Xena knew what Callisto was doing, but made no attempt to stop her during the fight, but to give her a tongue lashing after it was over. It was kind of amusing.
When Joxer was driven away by Xena, we all know later on that this was part of Xena's plan to hide the dagger away from the bad guys until she needed it. But how on earth did Xena know Joxer would end up captured by Dahak's followers? Joxer certainly wasn't showing any signs that he was in a secret plan as he was stumbling away from Xena, much less plan a surprise run in with Dahak's followers.
During the night, I was wondering how did Xena detect Ares' presence and Callisto felt nothing about it. So much for being a god. Xena still stood firmly to her stand and not give in to Ares' offers. And the part about Ares saying he wouldn't protect her anymore puzzled me. Since when did we ever see Ares defend Xena in her past battles? What difference would it make now?
Renee did a good job as Hope trying to convince Gabrielle to join her, and the look on Hope's face when Gabrielle outright rejected her. Another job well done, Renee. The camera effects were well done.
The little conversation Xena and Gabrielle had before they moved into Dahak's temple was a little touching. It was like as though they know someone was about to die and these were their parting words. And I am always amazed at the teleplay for Xena. She always seemed to come up with such philosophical words for Gabrielle and how meaningful they sound.
The final fight scene in the temple was super. Initially, it seemed as though Xena and Gabrielle were out- numbered, especially Gabrielle. I was worried on seeing Gabrielle beaten up and having her staff snatched. Fortunately, Gabrielle recovered and gave those baddies the beating they deserved. Good going Gabrielle!
And it was satisfying on seeing Xena flinging Seraphin against the wall, giving the bitch the treatment she deserved, though we know Seraphin isn't really to be blamed for this.
I never really got to understand what Xena's purpose was in causing the great cover to smother the flames. Was the fire some kind of magic fire that had a hold on the followers? Xena's chakram sure is tough, as it could slice through the thick chains that was holding the cover.
And Joxer certainly has good throwing skills. Considering how clumsy he is at so many occasions, it was amazing how accurately he managed to throw the dagger right into Xena's hands. It was weird that Ares did not make any attempt to snatch the dagger away from Xena. He is a god after all, he could easily get back the dagger if he wanted to. I recalled that in Hercules' "Armageddon Now", Ares used his powers to snatch the hind's blood pendant from the Sovereign's hands. So why then did he not use the same trick on Xena?
Early in the episode, Hope could send Gabrielle flying backwards and also Xena, with the impact on the chakram. So why couldn't she do it at the end when Xena confronted her with the dagger? She only seemed to be able to stop Xena from advancing closer, which also wasn't working very well. Was it because of the hind's blood dagger? Or was her powers just too weak for our warrior princess? The pieces just don't tally.
The Fates always awe me. They always seem to get the best view on all the exciting scenes. They have a giant sized screen where they could view whatever scenes they wish to see while spinning those threads.
Finally, I did not understand why Gabrielle wanted to sacrifice with Hope. Ares had said that if Xena killed Hope, then the Fates would cut Xena's lifeline. But from the way it was going, it looked like Hope would fall down Dahak's fiery pit anyway since she was continually backing away from Xena. Why couldn't Gabrielle just let Xena to keep advancing on Hope? All it took was a few more steps and Hope would plunge straight into the pit anyway. What was the difference? Gabrielle's sacrifice was pointless in the end, from the way I saw it.
And Callisto didn't help much except to blast Ares away from Xena. She could have at least help Xena battle Hope if she wanted to get the dagger. What if Xena somehow had lost to Hope? Wouldn't Callisto lift a hand to help her? She is after all, a god too. From the way I see it, Callisto could overpower Hope if she wanted to.
It was a touching scene as we saw Callisto finally die at Xena's hands. Back then, I really thought this was the end of Callisto. Never did I know that the writers would bring her back in Season 4's near season finale, "The Ides of March". It looked like Callisto would constantly serve as a reminder of Xena's dark past.
Now comes the big question. Is Gabrielle gone forever? Nope, I don't think so. Considering that there would be a Season 4, and how easily characters in the Xenaverse could come back to life, I don't think it would be difficult for the writers to bring Gabrielle back. After all, where would be Xena be today if not for Gabrielle? Earlier in the episode, we did hear Xena say how much Gabrielle had done for her and what she had learnt from Gabrielle's teachings.
It was a nice cliff hanger episode. After 2 Seasons, this was the first time the series ended with such an ending. It would certainly be an incentive to await the next Season!
WHAT OTHERS HEARD:
This is what Joanna Sandsmark heard:
I was listening REALLY closely as Gabrielle fell into the pit in Sacrifice II, and I swear I heard her singing this song. Honest. Being the diligent type that I am, I went back and transcribed it. These lyrics are exactly as they came through on my TV and I have reprinted them here, for those of you who didn't catch it. Just another public service from your friends at WHOOSH.
(To the tune of BS's "The Love of your Love")
Yes, I fried
Wanted to protect you
From the Fates
Those scissor-happy harpies
Think that Ares really rates
So I jumped into the pit
With Hope, whom I hates...
Gosh it's warm.
Reminds me of my tacky
Dahak has no taste
And the a/c is always down.
Now I'm left without my mate
And I feel like devil-bait
I'm frying, sweat's pouring,
Need Right Guard
The menu is offering
Hope's whining and pissed
I'm losing my mind
Please throw me a dagger
With blood from a hind
As for me,
I keep missing you...
And my SPF 142
When you go to tell my mom and dad
Look underneath my pallet for a scroll or two
Burn them into goo
Man, I'll sure owe you.
Geez, it's hot here!
Ever smell a demon who's not bathed?
Hope is getting rancid and my dress shields
Have all failed
Hygiene's been curtailed
No nose unassailed
Hey Xena, get this:
Dahak says that it
Was not a rape
He claims immunity because he's fire!
I watched my lawyer clam up and perspire
So what I need from you
Is to get sand here, CO2, and water
Let's snuff him and then do my daughter
I'm sick of the heat and
I'm tired of the food
I'm not fond of flame-boy
I'm in such a mood
Let's snuff him, and I can escape
Without all that legal red tape
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
03-17-00. Excerpt from an AoL chat on 09-30-99 with Hudson Leick:Question: At the end of Sacrifice2 when Callisto is stabbed by Xena, she drags her hand down Xena's body. Your interpretation of that scene was very sensual. Was it improvised by you and LL or was it written this way in the script?
Hudson tvg: I just wanted to feel her up. Or down. Rather.
02-05-99. Robert Field, a film editor of XWP, at the Santa Monica Xena Convention (01/24/99) showed some "lost scenes" from different episodes which included a lost "campfire scene" from SACRIFICE II with Callisto and Xena (as Gabrielle listened). This was a much longer piece from what aired, and Hudson Leick shined in it.
12-20-98. At Dragon Con in Atlanta (09/98), Steven Sears stated that the character of Werfner was based on Gollum, from LORD OF THE RINGS.
10-02-98. On August 29-30, 1998, at the Cherry Hill, NJ convention, Hudson Leick (Callisto) shared some thoughts about SACRIFICE II, Callisto, and Callisto's fascinating relationship with the ladies:
After belting out her trademarked Callisto scream, Leick jumped into the fray. What's it like to be dead? Relaxing, Hudson said. Was she sorry to see Callisto die? No, she said, and the crowd was silenced. Apparently she still loves Callisto (oh, don't we al?), but as a character, there isn't really any place for Callisto to go (aw c'mon, Hudson, there is always room for one more rock pile). She explained, "You can only say 'I'm going to get you' so many times and then not get you."
Leick would have preferred a different demise for Callisto. She wanted the evil one to find redemption (just like some other messed up chick we know).
When asked about Callisto's death in SACRIFICE II, she said she played it with the idea that Callisto was looking for a way to make sure that Xena would not welch on Xena's promise to kill Callisto. All that aside, Leick felt that Callisto was genuine in her spontaneous laughter at Gabrielle's death.
When subtext was mentioned, Leick stated, ""Oh, you mean was she hot for Xena? Of COURSE she was!" But what about Gabrielle? Callisto "doesn't care a pip about Gabrielle."
10-02-98. On August 29-30, 1998, at the Cherry Hill, NJ convention, Danielle Cormack (Ephiny) shared some thoughts about SACRIFICE II, Ephiny, and Ephiny's fascinating relationship with the ladies:
She would like to have a return to the headstrong and name-taking Ephiny of HOOVES AND HARLOTS, however she was still proud of Ephiny growing out of her obsessive/compulsive desire to be the queen of the Amazons.
After one questioner raised the point that since Gabrielle was now dead, that Ephiny is the full-time Queen of the Amazons, Cormack stated, "Hey, yeah!" When asked what Ephiny was going to do when Gabrielle returned from the dead (which in the Xenaverse is to be expected) and reclaim the mask, Cormack stated, "I'll break her legs slowly!" Looks like a bit of the Eph ubbed off on the Cormack (or was it really always just the other way around?)
10-02-98. Avicus (aka Robert Field, film editor extraordinaire of XWP), made a rare appearance on AoL Sunday night chat on 09-20-98. In response the question, "What was that goo all over Hope when she hatched", Avicus said "Hudson says it was yeast infection and snot, but really it was milk and some powdery substance that gets gooey when wet. Pretty harmless stuff, apparently."
05-19-98. In a chat at www.tvgen.com, on May 11, 1998, Hudson Leick had these comments:
TVG: Is Callisto really dead? Gone for forever, like forever?
Leick: It looks that way.
TVG: Do you think Callisto might ever be redeemed, like Xena?
Leick: NNNNNN, I think she's dead. So no.
TVG: If Callisto is a GOD, then why does a mortal like Xena still keep out smarting her?
Leick: Because she's a rather slow, retarded god.
Highlights by Beth Gaynor.
Callisto was given a cosmic-ly, karmic-ly proper death: at Xena's hand. Her sudden eleventh-inning desire to live again was less than convincing, but it was a much better dramatic option than allowing herself to be killed. When Xena and Callisto's eyes met and Callisto stroked Xena's face, they were both saying goodbye, Callisto to her reason for living, Xena to her greatest enemy and reminder of her guilt. As opposed to Gabrielle's death, Callisto's may actually be permanent. Her story was done, it couldn't go much further without getting repetitive and contrived. How many times can a god fail to kill someone? I'd much rather see Callisto die well than see her character become a joke long after her usefulness and believability had run out. That said, I'm gonna miss Psycho Barbie. Rest in oblivion, Callisto, and thank you, Xena writers and especially Hudson Leick, for giving us such a delicious villain. You won't be forgotten, and your boots will never be completely filled.
XenaStaff EXCELS at double effects. (They should, they've had enough practice by now.) Gabrielle stroking Hope's face, in particular, was an impressive shot.
Callisto still gets the killer lines: "Yeah yeah yeah, glory hallelujah." "Yes, Gabrielle, it seems your daughter is in heat." Great four-year-old "I want it NOW!" foot-stomping tantrum. Ares takes the Line of the Episode crown, though, with "You are SO not like your mother!" I laughed myself off the couch on that one.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
All of the above "unanswered questions" - seed for the season four mill.
A couple of the outdoor scenes had a steady rain going on during them. Must have been a wet week on the Xena set.
Whatever happened to Seraphin's lifeblood sacrifice? She sure spent the episode hale and hearty (and annoyingly more and more shrewish) for someone sans blood. The dire sacrificial death of the Priestess of the Blood became a "prick our fingers and we're blood sisters" kind of pact, instead.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
10-02-98. From Nikalaos. In the "Sorry the poison didn't finish you" scene, look at Renee's double. Either that chick is anoraxic, or it's some little kid. That bicep is the size of Renee's pinky finger!!! I had such a hard time believing it was Gab in that scene. The other double scenes were ok, though.
Click here to read a transcript of SACRIFICE II.
Gabrielle finally went off the deep end during the production of this motion picture.