SINS OF THE PAST
EPISODE NO. 1
Season 1, episode 1
Last update: 11-05-01
Back to the Episode Guide
Production number: 76901
Shooting dates: June-July 1995
1st release: 09-04-95
2nd release: 11-27-95
3rd release: 09-23-96
4th release: 05-21-01
1st USA strip release: 08-03-98
1st SF Channel release: 02-01-00
1st Oxygen release: 01-01-01
Script number 101
CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS 1 by Kym Taborn
SYNOPSIS 2 by Kym Taborn
SYNOPSIS 3 by Gonzalo Viola
COMMENTARY 1 by Kym Taborn
COMMENTARY 2 by Beboman
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Jay Laga'aia (Draco)
Darien Takle (Cyrene)
Stephen Hall (Hector)
Linda Jones (Hecuba)
Willa O'Neill (Lila)
Geoff Snell (Herodotus)
Anton Bentley (Perdicas)
David Perrett (Gar)
Patrick Wilson (Cyclops)
Wally Green (Old Man)
Roydon Muir (Kastor)
Huntly Eliott (First Citizen)
Winston Harris (Boy)
Story by Robert Tapert
Teleplay by R.J. Stewart
Edited by Jim Prior
Directed by Doug Lefler
ON THE NEXT XENA--
Draco (to Xena): Celebrate your dark side. Don't run away from it.
(Xena throws her chakram at a Cyclops, and he falls to the ground.)
IN A HERO'S WORLD--
(Xena fights a soldier, and forces his sword up into a tree branch.)
YOU MUST MAKE A CHOICE--
(An arrow is fired at Draco and he catches it.) Draco (to Hector): There's no rest for the wicked! Gabrielle (to Xena): He's a scary guy.
(Xena unmasks Draco.)
Xena: Is one woman too much for you?
(Draco positions his sword in front of him.)
(Xena uses a staff to knock down four soldiers behind her.)
AT ANY PRICE.
Draco: Kill the first one that touches the ground.
(Archers raise their bows.)
LUCY LAWLESS IS A BRAVE, NEW HERO--
(Xena battles Draco.)
ON THE NEXT EPISODE--
Xena: You don't want to make me mad now, do you?
OF XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS!
TV GUIDE PROMO
After vowing to change her evil ways, Xena decides to head back to her village, but first she must face off against an immoral warlord who's determined to keep her on the wrong side of the law.
Xena's forced to fight an evil warlord who wants to keep her on the wrong side of the law.
The warlord Draco challenges Xena's efforts to atone for past sins.
Xena journeys homeward determined to make amends for the sins of her past, but her efforts to begin a new life are challenged by the vengeful warlord Draco. Logline.
Though she has lost her hunger for power and destruction, Xena (Lucy Lawless) cannot stand by when a group of warriors under the command of Hector (Stephen Hall), a vicious lieutenant of the cruel warlord Draco (Jay Laga'aia), threatens to slaughter the peasants of a small village. Xena single-handedly drives off the brutal attackers. Though the villagers are grateful, they are also fearful of her reputation and ask her to leave right away. All, that is, except a spirited young woman named Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) who -- bored with life in the village and the prospect of a loveless marriage -- pleads with the warrior princess to take her along on her journey. Xena refuses and leaves alone on horseback, bound for her home in Amphipolis.
That night, Xena steals into Draco's mountain encampment to confront the savage warlord. Having spared his life in their last encounter, Xena asks him to spare the peasant village. He agrees, but when she rejects his offer to join up with him, claiming she has lost her taste for the slaughter of innocents, he makes secret plans to lay waste to Amphipolis. Meanwhile, Gabrielle sneaks away from home in the dead of night, determined to join Xena and become a warrior herself.
On the road to Amphipolis, Xena meets up with a blind man-eating Cyclops (Patrick Wilson), who has an old score to settle with the woman warrior. Evading him, she continues on her journey through fierce rainstorms and across rushing rivers. When she realizes she's being followed by Draco's men, she sets up an ambush and forces Hector to reveal Draco's plans to destroy her home village. Meanwhile, Gabrielle follows Xena's trail, showing considerable resourcefulness along the way. When she is trapped by the Cyclops, she outwits him, then charms an old traveler (Wally Green) into giving her a ride.
Xena's joy at reaching home turns to sorrow when she is met by a wave of hostility from the villagers. Even her mother Cyrene (Darien Takle) cannot forgive her daughter for her sinful past and is unwilling to listen to her warnings about Draco's advance. When Draco's warriors begin torching the valley, an angry mob comes after Xena, convinced that she is in league with the evil warlord. At the last moment, Gabrielle steps forward and convinces the villagers to let Xena go. The two gallop off on horseback, but when Draco arrives, Xena reappears and challenges him to a fight on the scaffolding surrounding the village meeting hall. They agree that the first to hit the floor will die. The ensuing battle is spectacular and evenly matched, spilling over the scaffolding and onto the heads and shoulders of those who have gathered to watch. Finally, with a flying somersault through the air, Xena lands squarely on Draco's chest and sends him crashing to the ground. Instead of slaying him, however, she makes Draco promise to leave without harming anyone.
Though Xena has saved the village and reconciled with her mother, there is too much anger over her past for her to stay. Followed by Gabrielle, Xena leaves to search out her father and continue her battle against the forces of evil.
1st RELEASE: 09-04-95
An AA average of 4.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) HERCULES 5.4 ("The King of Thieves" 14/201)
(2) STAR TREK DS9 4.9 ("Distant Voices" 64R1/318)
(3) XENA 4.5
(4) BAYWATCH 4.4
2nd RELEASE: 11-27-95
An AA average of 5.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
HERCULES ("Eye of the Beholder" 02R2/102)
STAR TREK DS9 ("Our Man Bashir" 82/410)
BABYLON 5 ("Passing Through Gethsemane" 48/304)
HIGHLANDER ("Chivalry" 76/410)
FOREVER KNIGHT ("The Black Buddha Part 1" 301R2)
THE OUTER LIMITS ("The Choice" 12/112)
3rd RELEASE: 10-21-96
An AA average of 4.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) STAR TREK DS9 9th with 5.3 ("Broken Link" 98R2/426)
(2) HERCULES 11th with 4.8 ("Cast a Giant Shadow" 23R2/210)
(3) XENA 13th with 4.3
(4) BAYWATCH 18th with 3.8
4th RELEASE: 05/21/01
An AA average of 2.4
While trying to give up the evil warrior way of life, Xena inadvertently saves Gabrielle's village. Gabrielle's repayment is to pursue Xena (can you say STALK?) and persuade Xena to allow Gabrielle to follow Xena in her ways. Many adventures for both the gals ensue. They wind up in Xena's village, where Xena must save the villagers by fighting to the death with the warlord, Draco. By then, Gabrielle has saved Xena's life so Xena, trying so hard to be honorable and good, can't think of any way to ditch Gabrielle.
Xena, disgusted with her life after her close encounter with Hercules, buried her clothes and weapons in a forest. Fortunately, she chose the forest where Gabrielle's village was being systemically pillaged at that very same moment.
Xena saved the village (natch); decided that she liked her leather outfit and weapons; and left. Gabrielle, knowing a good story when she saw one, followed Xena, who had after the saving of the town of Poteidaia, decided to seek amends from her mother in Amphipolis. Both Xena and Gabrielle, separately, encountered a blind cyclops on the way to Amphipolis.
Xena found her mother really angry at her for her warrior princess hi-jinks. Xena also discovered that the village was soon-to-be in conflict with a visiting horde of evil warriors. The villagers didn't take a shine to Xena either, thinking that the visiting horde was her army (done purposely by Draco, who told Xena plainly that "You can never go home"). Xena was about to be beaten to a pulp (or was it pelted by tomatoes) when Gabrielle talked both of their ways out of the village...alive.
Xena made up with her mother and village when she saved them by challenging Draco (who wanted either to have Xena as a mate or fight her to the death -- guess which one Xena chose) to a fascinating battle on scaffolding and people's heads (first to touch the ground was to be dead meat).
Draco fell. Xena allowed him his pathetic life. He repaid his debt by killing one of his men who tried to backstab Xena. Earlier, when Xena went to the grave of her brother, Gabrielle informed Xena that she was not alone (whether Xena liked it or not...in Gabrielle's favor though, it was implied that Xena liked it). Thus the great adventures began!
Synopsis by Gonzalo Viola.
Xena is riding on her horse while she remembers her dark past. She remembers that she killed lots of people there. Suddely, a boy appears and, unaware who she really is, tells her that a person called "Xena" has killed his parents. Then he asks Xena for food. Xena gives him some food.
Xena enters a places(A forest). She is burying her breastplate, but suddely she sees some men "annoying some girls". These men have looted the village, and they are going with the girls. Xena recognises the leader of the group and decides to start a battle. She sends a message for Dracco(the leader of the group). Xena fights off the atackers with her sword and chakram and they run away.
After that, the villagers thank Xena for saving the girls' life, but they tell her that they don't want her to stay there. They are also fearful of her reputation and ask her to leave right away. But a young woman called Gabrielle defends her. She tells Xena that she is bored with life in the village and the prospect of a loveless marriage. She pleads with Xena to take her along on her journey. But Xena doesn't want to hear her. She refuses and leaves alone on horseback, straight to her home in Amphipolis.
That night, before leaving the village, Xena goes to the Dracco's encampment to confront the evil warlord. Xena asks him to spare the peasant village. He agrees, but when she rejects his offer to join up with him, claiming she has lost her taste for the slaughter of innocents, he makes secret plans to lay waste to Amphipolis.
In the meantime, Gabrielle tries to scape from her home, but her sister sees her and Gabrielle has to explain her sister Lila that she wants to go with Xena because she is bored with her life in the village and she doesn't want to marry Perdicus. Her sister seems to understand Gabrielle and they say godbye.
In the morning, on her way to Amphipolis, Xena meets up with a blind Cylops who eats people and who has an old score to settle with the woman warrior. She evades the giant and continues on her journey. Later, she realizes she's being followed by Draco's men, she puts the pinch on Hector and forces him to reveal Draco's plans to destroy her home village. In the meantime, Gabrielle is going after Xena. She meets up with the same cyclops, but she cons him by saying that she is a Xena's enemy. Then, she charms an old traveler into giving her a lift to Amphipolis.
Later, Xena gets home in Amphipolis, she is happy but that happiness turns into sorrow when her own mother and villagers cannot forgive her daughter for her dark past and yhey are unwilling to listen to her warnings about Dracco's advance.
Draco's warriors begin torching the valley, an angry mob comes after Xena, convinced that she is in league with the savage warlord. Gabrielle appears and convinces the villagers to let her go. The two gallop off on horseback, but when Draco arrives, Xena reappears and challenges him to a battle on the scaffolding surrounding the village meeting hall. They agree that the first to hit the floor will die. The battle is spectacular and evenly matched, spilling over the scaffolding and onto the heads and shoulders of those who have gathered to watch. Later, with a flying somersault through the air, Xena lands squarely on Draco's chest and sends him crashing to the ground. Instead of killing him, however, she makes Draco promise go out.
At last, Xena is forgiven by her mother and she accepts Gabrielle's company. She says her mother that she will travel to continue her battle against the forces of evil in search of redemption.
The introduction of Gabrielle into the Xena story may have seemed peripheral in the beginning, but as the season matured, so did Gabrielle. Gabrielle started out as a whiny pest (the classical baby sister to any red-blooded American teen) whom Xena, for the life of her, could not figure out how to honorably get rid of. Luckily for the audience, Xena never did figure it out. Gabrielle developed eventually into the conscience of Xena. Xena had to save someone weekly, and Gabrielle fit the bill. However, instead of staying in the Gabrielle-as-victim rut, the series premise grew from Xena's story of redemption to the story of Gabrielle's journey of self- discovery and rite of passage into adulthood.
Commentary by Beboman.
As this episode opens we find a lonely Xena, filled with guilt and remorse. She is so overwhelmed by her guilt and remorse, she even gives away the last piece of food when she comes face to face with a boy who tells her “the myth about Xena”. But Xena’s change does not stop there. Her manner of dress is different, as is her horse. Even though she still favors black attire, she now rides a white horse. For Xena her dark path is still very present, even though she rides into the future with hope.
For Xena, the burying of her weapons was not just a sign of giving up. She is trying to bury her past, her guilt at what she had become. The sound of the fighting brings her back to reality and she hides; not from fear, but because of her effort to escape from that type of life.
The image of Gabrielle facing the soldiers is a reminder to Xena of the time she was forced to face a warlord. Xena sees in Gabrielle the innocence and courage she herself once had. It is that image which makes her come forward and fight.
During Xena’s fight with Draco's men, Xena realizes how much she has missed fighting, how much she likes fighting and how she can use her fighting skill to do good and to protect the helpless.
Once the fighting is over reality hits and Xena’s past once again becomes her present. When she is asked by Gabrielle’s father to leave the village, it doesn’t matter that she just saved their lives. For Gabrielle’s father and the rest of the villagers she is just as bad as the bandits from which she just saved them.
The conversation between Gabrielle and Xena after Gabrielle’s father leaves is amusing to Xena. This young, high-spirited girl impresses Xena. At the same time, Gabrielle is in awe of this strong and dark character. (I really believe when Xena tells Gabrielle not to follow her, Xena is unconsciously challenging Gabrielle to follow her.)
When Xena enters Draco’s tent, we see the same sensuous woman we saw in “The Warrior Princess”. She shows that she is still able to use her sexuality to obtain what she wants and at the same time she demonstrates a great presence and self-assurance as she obtains from Draco what she had set out to obtain.
As both characters (Xena and Gabrielle) start their journey to Amphipolis, we are shown once again how different these two women are. Xena is a lonely, stoic traveler. Gabrielle, on the other hand, is an enthusiastic, wide-eyed woman-child, capable of talking her way out of getting eaten or even talking her way into getting a ride to her destination.
When Xena finds out about Draco's plans to attack Amphipolis, her circle is complete. She started her “war-like ways” in defense of her people and now she is ending her “war-like ways” once again in defense of her people. This time, however, defending her people is not going to be easy.
The moment Xena comes face to face with her mother for the first time is just as Draco had said; the only difference is that her mother did not physically hit her with a hammer, but it was as if she had. You can see in Xena’s eyes the pain her mother’s distrust (as well as the rest of the villagers) has on her. Xena is now faced with the dilemma of fighting Draco by herself to prove to her mother she has changed.
When Xena returns to her mother’s tavern to retrieve her weapon, she makes one last attempt to convince her mother she has changed or at least she is trying to change, to start all over. But Draco and his men are making it hard for Xena to convince them she has changed. She now faces them, completing another circle. The young girl who she saved is now saving her using words instead of a sword. This does not please Xena. She is accustomed to fighting her own battles. Having this wide-eyed youngster who she saved earlier now saving her life does not sit well with Xena.
Xena’s dialog at her brothers tomb is very touching and shows the loneliness and the inner struggle this character is facing. Once again from within her loneliness the voice of Gabrielle echoes redemption and a new beginning.
Xena’s fight with Draco is more than just another fight for Xena. It represents her way of showing her people she is not lying; she is there to help them and defend them. It also serves to show Draco and whoever else doubts her superiority as a fighter. (An ego thing.) (This scene was very well done and the stunts were just too good to be true. I love the fighting on the heads of people. You have to give it to Xena when it comes to fighting. She knows how to really do it and show off at the same time.)
Finally our character finds a note of redemption when she meets with the love and approval of her mother. At the same time, she realizes the road ahead is a long and lonely one.
Then there is the campfire scene, the first of many to come. The fire is not strong because the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle is just beginning. But the blaze is there and the feelings are there also. The road ahead will be one filled with problems and adventures for our two heroines.
This first episode starts to outline our characters. It shows their strong points and some of their weak points. It also shows the path that lay ahead is not going to be an easy one for either of the two women.
This episode also shows the great chemistry between LL and Roc. The acting is very good, the script was good and the photography was just breathtaking. All in all, it was a very good first show that left you wanting for more. It was like having a tiny piece of a great big sweet cake and you know you must have more.
Click here to read a Music Guide to SINS OF THE PAST by DJWP. If you like this feature, CLICK here to write to DJWP and tell her to start making more of these because the fans DEMAND IT!
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
02-26-01. 02/03/01, Renee O'Connor interview at Upbeat Magazine by Bridget Petrella with additional editing by Sonia Satra. Title: 'Xena' Star Renee O'Connor: Deeply Soulful And Subtly Engaging. Check it out at http://www.2upbeatmag.com/TUBE-FILE/tube_file_renee-oconnor-feature-intervie w.html. Here's some selections:
UPBEAT: How old were you when you first started on `Xena`?
Renee O'Connor: "24."
UPBEAT: So you grew up on this show?
Renee O'Connor: "I did grow up on this show. It's so funny for me to look back on some of those older episodes, I can remember exactly what was going on personally for me at the time, and it's really interesting to see that. It was amazing."
UPBEAT: As both an actress and a director, do you feel that network television has actually succeeded in creating enough strong independent female roles?
Renee O'Connor: "Well to tell you the truth, over the last six years, I've hardly watched any television at all, because of the hours that I keep on the set. I come home very late at night and then I study for the next day. It's hard to believe that I've missed most of `Seinfeld', I've missed most of `Friends', all of these television shows that I know have had quite an impact on our generation, on our culture, I've completely missed out on them. I don't know any of the characters at all. The only awareness I do have is how revolutionary the character Xena was at the time and how she's actually pushed the requirements even now, within the industry, to create complex women, at least with action roles, I hope. I mean, look at Laura Croft (from Tomb Raider)_ I can't imagine back when I was in L.A., that there would be a female action hero role for a film, it was just unheard of at the time. It's incredible. I remember when Rob (Tapert) was first trying to get 'Xena' off of the ground, I wasn't actually with him, but I remember it was just fresh, that we were the underdogs, no one was expecting very much of us, and it's just incredible to see what's happened since then. We' re probably on the preface of some sort of revolutionary role for women. Perhaps the turning point has already happened, I mean, where else can women go from here? I don`t know, maybe we just need to keep on pushing forward and see what happens."
03-12-00. In the Starlog 2000 Magazine #271 (12/99), R.J. Stewart stated that "we had a mutual agreement that I would not come on as a show runner if the pilot script didn't work, because there's nothing more of a nightmare than being locked up in a contract on a show where they hate you."
12-21-98. From R.J. Stewart's (the executive producer of XWP) RealHollywood 12-15-98 chat:
twgie asks "Where you always a producer of this show or did you start to write first and work you way into it"
R.J.Stewart says "I was hired to be the co exec producer from day one when it was a pilot. The character had been created on Hercules in a three parter. John created the character and Rob sold it for 22 episodes before I came in .. but a pilot had to be written and that's what I wrote .. the franchise with X and G and right from that first day l.... I'm now exec producer .. so I've been a producer from the get go."
09-27-98. Way back during the Burbank II Con (January 1998), Brad Carpenter (ex-Director of Marketin for RenPic) stated that the character of Gabrielle was written for Renee O'Connor specifically. This information jibes with an LA Times article from early 1996 which they interviewed a woman who had been offered the role of Gabrielle but she had refused it because she did not want to work in New Zealand.
09-27-98. In the UK, the episode are censored quite a bit. It was reported in May 1998 that SINS had censored on various stations Gabrielle's exchange with the Cyclops (too much violence described, perhaps?) and Draco killing Hector towards the end.
09-27-98. Way back during the Burbank II Con (January 1998), Kevin Smith was asked who his favorite warlord was. He said Draco, because of "the hair thing".
01-03-98. From an interview with R.J. Stewart that took place on July 3, 1997:
WW: How did the creation of XENA come about?
RJ: HERCULES was a successful MCA TV show. They introduced a villain in the first season named XENA. JOHN SCHULIAN wrote that character. People liked her and they said let's do a spin off series. Rob Tapert created the series idea and wrote the story for the first episode. I was hired to write the pilot, make Xena a good girl, and create the character of Gabrielle.
WW: Did UNIVERSAL specifically have you in mind to write the pilot?
RJ: They knew my work and I had previously met with Rob on some other projects and there was same simpatico there. Plus they were familiar with some of my feature scripts that never got produced.
Changing Times is by Debbie White.
SINS OF THE PAST (01/101) is an important episode not only because it was the first episode of the series but because it also marks Xena's final acceptance of the journey to do good, and Gabrielle's decision to experience more than others had predetermined for her. Though it may not be obvious, many actions in this episode reveal starting points of change for Xena and Gabrielle.
The first question that comes to mind about SINS OF THE PAST is that of time. When we last saw Xena, she was leaving Hercules to go out alone and redeem her past (UNCHAINED HEART, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS (H13/113). When we see her again, she has a new war-horse (not cheap or something you quickly train), a new style of armor (not as flamboyant as before), and now uses a neck pinch (and she has it down-pat). Time and adventure(s) may have passed since we last saw her. She also seems harder. Not crueler, but not the 'You unchained my heart' Xena that we last saw in UNCHAINED HEART.
Some feeling of the amount of time that has passed is given when Xena meets a boy in a burned-out village begging for food. The boy could not have survived long, especially though winter, so Xena had probably been wandering alone for a year or less.
THE CHANGING XENA
One scene in SINS OF THE PAST was particularly curious. In UNCHAINED HEART, Xena was setting off as a warrior to right the wrongs she did. In SINS OF THE PAST, we find her burying her armor and weapons, as though she were trying to bury that past. Xena re-lives the memories of the her evil deeds as she works. The scene has a sense of finality to it.
What happened since we last saw Xena that was so bad that she felt she must renounce becoming the 'true warrior' instead of redeeming herself by becoming one? Did she think she was somehow past redemption? Her mother later suggests it was possible, so Xena may very well have thought that as well. Was the starving boy in the village the last straw that led her to try and bury her past? The last flash of memories she had were of her on Argo and in her new armor, watching a village burn. The village where Xena saved the baby was burned. This village is burned. The guilt and the memories would have been strong.
Also adding to this feeling of finality is when talking over her brother's grave, Xena says, "I thought I could start over, but they don't trust me." People have not been helpful in her journey for redemption. This scene is probably more than a symbolic shedding of the old warrior, especially since she has already done that by changing her armor and horse.
Xena has changed how she reacts to and treats people. When she was evil, she treated people as targets or as beings to do her will. She did not consider their wants if it didn't further her own. At the beginning of SINS OF THE PAST, she is still working on this perception of people. She comes to a village her army gutted, and a boy comes out. The boy, not recognizing who Xena is, asks for food and Xena challenges his request by saying food is scarce. She's still thinking of herself over others. When Xena asks about his parents (who should be providing the food), he tells her of a demon-like Xena leading her army to destroy the village and his parents. Xena looks away in pain, realizing it was her fault, so she gives up her food in payment, poor though it was.
Also, when Gabrielle, then an unknown, spirited girl, offers herself in trade for letting the rest of her village free, Xena defends her and keeps an eye on her throughout the resulting battle. Xena was hearing echoing yells from her past when ones from the present intruded. Maybe Xena saw a reflection of the innocence spirit she used to have and was trying to save it, or maybe she was, in a way, trying to save herself. Maybe she just did not want to see someone hurt, or fought as a part of her redemption. It's probably a mixture of both reasons, but she's looking at Gabrielle as a person rather than something that does not affect her.
Even after burying the outward weapons that made her a warrior, Xena still cannot stop being one. At first she fought bare-handed, but when she grabbed her sword and chakram she came alive. Her face lit up, she gave her war-cry, and preceded to dominate where before she was simply fighting. When she stopped denying what she was, she came alive again. Though not obvious, this may actually be the first time Gabrielle helps save the warrior princess by keeping her from denying a part of herself.
Xena dons her armor again, acts as if she has met the villagers demand that she leave, and then leaves alone to visit Draco to ask that Gabrielle's village be spared. Xena is thinking of the village as people instead of a target (Draco: "You care about that village?!").
Draco bares scars for not respecting Xena in a previous encounter. Now he respects her and even offers her a position at his side, leading his army. There is a pull, a seduction, about the whole scene beyond playing the evil warrior princess to get a favor. Xena seems tempted to accept and return to her old ways, but she has now become determined to ask for forgiveness from her mother. She may see that that is the only way she can stay a warrior. To be forgiven, she can't fight beside Draco, so she leaves the temptation behind.
Another interesting encounter is the blind cyclops. Xena refers to her blinding him as 'cutting down on your people-eating.' Did she blind him during the missing TRILOGY to SINS OF THE PAST time, or was it back when she was leading her army? My only thoughts on this are that Xena says she blinded the cyclops, yet while she was leading an army, she generally let them do the killing along with her or for her. This may be a hint as something that happened in the missing time. It may not.
Several interesting things happen when Xena goes home. The greeting is far from friendly. The villagers refer to sons that died under Xena's leadership, and Xena's mother scornfully asks if she's back to 'borrow a few men for an army.' Even though these men went willingly to defend the village, the people here blame Xena for their deaths. They evidently did not like the fact that Xena took the battle beyond defending the village.
When Xena is refused forgiveness, and the villagers come to stone her (because of Draco's army), she says, "Take your revenge. It's true what they say, it's sweet." This may be an attitude that needs changing. More likely, Xena is being rather suicidal. She has been refused the forgiveness she so desperately wanted. Even though she said she was going to spend the rest of her life trying to take away the shame she brought on her family, she almost seems to be unable to accept the fact they will not forgive her. She uses this as a frantic way to test if they really hate her beyond forgiveness. She taunts them to go ahead and hurt her, and she's surprised when they do.
Xena ends up fighting Draco to protect her people. In the end, she lets him live, despite the fact it was a fight to the death. When Draco's archers find themselves too loyal to follow orders to kill the loser, Xena punches her staff against his throat to show she could kill him. Yet she does not. Instead, a deal is made: Draco leaves the village alone.
Why did Xena let him live? If she did not want to fight Draco's army, she was still the dominant warlord and could have simply taken Draco's army after she killed him. Leading armies, a symbol of her evil past, is what she is trying to get away from, though. She knew Draco well enough to know he would honor his word, so she let him go, even though he was hurting people. This is a start on one of her new ideals: killing only in the heat of battle. Later she takes it a step further by taking people to justice for their crimes.
Hercules gave Xena a way to change by giving her a new ideal to try and attain. This ideal did not include an army, since that was a part of her evil past she rejected. Even a companion was not welcome, since it was she who needed to pay and do the redeeming for her past, not someone else. This may have been what lead to the burying her weapons and armor. She knew what she wanted, yet had no example to look at to see places she had gone wrong. All she had were fading memories to go by. Also, "it's hard to be alone." She was constantly surrounded by her army before, even if she was emotionally alone. Then Hercules unchained her emotions, yet she leaves him to find her own way and now has no one to share her emotions with. Her great determination is the only thing keeping her going.
When Gabrielle forces herself into Xena's life, she incurs her debt ("hey, I just saved your life back there") and then her words of "It's hard to prove you're a different person" strike on what Xena struggles with, herself. Gabrielle is not a threat to Xena's work of redemption, and is in fact someone to protect (a good deed). "You aren't alone anymore," Gabrielle says. Gabrielle becomes a friend and an example of all the purity Xena lost.
Gabrielle is a young woman looking for a place in that fits her. She's not very athletic, but makes up for it by talking her way out of bad situations. She has studied maps and received lessons from a traveling bard, so she could tell stories of places, even if she could not go there herself. She's betrothed to a man who lets her have her way and has a loving family, somehow managing to live her 19 or 20 years relatively unscathed.
Then Xena comes, giving her the idea that a woman can survive and have the adventures those tales speak of and do things beyond what she was used to seeing. Xena makes the mistake of telling Gabrielle not to follow her, so of course Gabrielle now has that bright idea and sets out to do it. She uses her logic to get Xena out of being stoned mostly because she is willing to help people. Still, Gabrielle is willing to use anything, including debts with Xena and lies to get a ride to Amphipolis, to get her way. None of her lying is hurtful to anyone, though. Now that she has her way, she's got her hero to teach her to survive and help her experience life...and a friend to face and overcome problems with.
Wonderful fight among the scaffolding which ends up on the villagers heads. And not one villager looks up Xena's skirt! You have to see it to believe it. This was perhaps the first clue that XWP was not going to be your father's action-adventure series.
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Prepared by SheWho.
This is the first of an eventual series of posts identifying differences between the shooting scripts I bought and the televised versions. For SINS, there are some *big* differences, including some pretty telling passages about Gab's home life, Xena's origins, her initial perception of Gab, etc. Note: brackets = mine; parens = theirs.
SINS OF THE PAST, Revised 06-27-95 script, "Blue"
[In the teaser, Xena's weapons are blood and gore-spattered, as are her hands.] "She's sitting in an open field. She picks up her chakram and eyes it carefully as if she's trying to determine if it's an old friend or an enemy. After a reflective moment she drops it on top of the shield and begins pushing dirt into the trench. she's burying her weapons. She's doing this with great intensity as if the fate of her soul depends on it. Suddenly, a scream . . ."
Gabrielle's mother is named Hecuba. Gabrielle's father is named Herodotus.
Gabrielle steps out and offers herself. The stage direction reads: "ON XENA as she watches this confrontation. She seems keenly interested in the fate of this spunky young woman."
During the fight scene after Xena stops Hector from whipping Gabrielle:
Xena "seems almost suicidal in her maniacal recklessness."
Hector asks Xena: "Who are you?"
(Xena gives a reflective answer): "That's a good question."
Gabrielle warns Xena about a warrior sneaking up on her: "Behind you!"
"Gabrielle kicks one of the warriors. Her kick is pretty pathetic compared to Xena's. The warrior turns to split her in two with his sword but Xena leaps in front of Gabrielle and takes a glancing blow off her side. She manages to lay this guy out with a crushing kick to his groin, in spite of blood trickling out of her wound."
After Xena starts slicing with her retrieved weapons, "Gabrielle takes an awkward swing at one of the warriors, misses, and goes head first into the trench."
[SheWho gratuitous comment: I like the way the fight scene played on screen, particularly that Gab successfully punches the guy, and the subsequent look ("connection") between Xena and Gab which gets Xena knocked out.]
While Hecuba bandages Xena's wound, "Gabrielle tries to imitate Xena's round kick and falls flat on her butt. She bounces up and doesn't miss a beat." [Gab asks Xena to teach her the kick]. ("Lila gives Gabrielle an affectionate look. She thinks her big sister is pretty silly.")
[Perdicas is described as about 30]. "Perdicas is a kindly, cheerful and somewhat dull fellow. He puts a loving arm around Gabrielle. Gabrielle shoots a mournful look at Perdicas. This obviously isn't the man of her dreams."
[Herodotus says they want her to leave]: "join up with your army and move on."
Xena: "I don't have an army."
(The townspeople all glance at each other curiously. Is this the Xena?)
Hecuba: "Of course she doesn't. That's why she befriended us. She wants to recruit our young men for the slaughter."
Gabrielle: "Mother, that's not fair. You're not giving her a chance."
Herodotus: "Gabrielle, hold your tongue."
Gabrielle starts to protest, and Xena says she plans to move on anyway.
[Gab begs Xena to take her with her]. "Xena gives this hyper kid a bemused look."
[Gab says she was born to do so much more]. "I could be very valuable to you."
Xena (amused): "How could you be valuable to me?"
Gabrielle: "I've studied the stars, spoken with philosophers and I have the gift of prophecy."
Xena: "Then you know already I'm not taking you with me."
Gabrielle: "Oh, please Xena, I know I'm just a silly, innocent girl, but I don't want to be."
Xena: "Don't be in such a hurry to lose your innocence. Once it's gone, it's gone forever."
Gab: "But I want so much to be like you."
(Xena eyes her with disdain): "Like me? Why? Look at all you've got in your life. A home, a mother, a father, a nice guy who wants to marry you. Don't be a fool. You don't want to be me."
Gab: "I guess you're right. I got it pretty good here. (beat) Where are you headed now?"
As Xena moves toward the door, she says: "Goodbye, Gabrielle." [I don't remember her saying Gabrielle's name on the show until Dreamworker, did she?]
[In the scene with Draco, Xena says she wants to ask a favor.]
Draco (laughs): "A favor! The last time you saw me you cut my face in half. Why would I owe you a favor?"
Xena: "Because I cut only your face when I should have cut your throat."
[Draco asks]: "Why do you care about those peasants?"
Xena: "One of them reminds me of myself, a long time ago."
[Draco asks Xena to join him, and she says she's "out of that business." He asks what that means.]
Xena: "That means that on my last raid I heard screams."
Draco: "What are you talking about? You've heard screams before."
Xena: "This time I heard them in here." (taps her chest) "I never want to hear innocence [sic] scream like that again."
Draco: "This is crazy. You're having some kind of breakdown. You're not thinking straight."
Xena: "I'm thinking straight for the first time in my life. From here on out, I fight against evil."
Draco (angry, almost indignant): "Alright. Fine. If it's evil you want to fight, draw your weapon right now. Because you'll look a long time before you find worse than me. I've dreamt of being with you . .." [etc.]
[Draco says his father tried to beat him to death with a blacksmith's hammer, and he had to kill him to stay alive.]
Additional lines in the Gab-Lila goodbye scene:
Gab: "Well, you're very strong for your age. Besides, I have other talents."
Lila (sarcastic): "You mean like the gift of prophecy."
Gab (lying): "I mentioned it to Xena and she was very impressed."
Lila: "Did you tell her you predicted a drought last year just before the flood?"
Gab: "The important thing is I knew there was a weird rain thing about to happen. Lila, you know I'm different than everybody else in this town."
Gab: "But I don't love him. And Mother and Father don't understand me at all."
Lila: "They can be pretty hard on you sometimes."
[Gab says she's got to do this . ]
After Xena knocks the Cyclops over:
Xena: "Come on, be a Cyclops. You're embarrassing yourself."
Cyclops: "You lied to me. You said you wanted to be my woman. That's the only way you got close enough to blind me."
Xena (mock remorse): "Ahh, I lied to the people-eating Cyclops. How will I ever live with myself?"
[After her encounter with the Cyclops, various scenes of Xena riding "through a driving rain storm along a precipitous path. She looks wet, tired and determined." The next day, she "fords this dangerous river, driving her horse hard but herself harder." Then a snow-covered barren hillside, "Xena scurries up this slippery, precarious slope on foot, leading her horse behind her. This is a woman on a mission." Next scene, at night:] "Xena sits by her campfire shivering. She's watching a pot over the fire. She reaches out with a big spoon, ladles out some broth from the pot and tastes it. She tosses the spoon aside and curls up next to the fire under a bearskin. She'd rather go hungry than eat any more of her own cooking."
"Xena approaches Cyrene with a childlike look of joyful expectation on her face."
"Cyrene answers Xena's greeting with a vicious slap across her face, and to top off the homecoming, she spits on her daughter. We hold on Xena's pained face before we FADE OUT."
[Act Three opens as] "Xena and Cyrene stand facing each other as the other customers in the inn look on in shock at this display of fury from the usually mild Cyrene."
Cyrene: "You murderous bitch! You shame me and all your kinsmen."
Xena looks destroyed.
Cyrene: "Look at you. You're about to cry." (with bitter laugh) "What did you expect? For me to take you in my arms and say everything's alright. Ha. Every night I pray to Athena, begging her to give someone the power to end your worthless life to an end."
Xena: "Mother, I understand your anger but you need to listen to me. The warlord Draco is moving on this valley. We need to organize a defense."
Cyrene: "Oh, I suppose you're a fighter for justice now."
Cyrene: "Well, you could prove your new interest in justice one way. Kill *yourself.*"
"A devastated Xena leaves the inn."
[A scene cut from the televised version:]
[Night] "A pretty rough crowd sits around the Mycenaean truckstop listening to Gabrielle tell the story of Oedipus. The Old Man who picked her up sits listening, just as riveted as everybody else. She's not a great actress but she's really into it and besides, what do these galoots know about acting."
Gab: "And here the most tragic of men lived out his days."
"She pauses. It takes a moment before it dawns on the audience that the performance is over and then the crowd erupts in applause. The Old Man is particularly enthused. Then he catches himself."
Old Man: "That really wasn't how it went down."
"He's hooted down by the others. A big teamster, Kastor, hands Gabrielle a cup of wine and holds his cup up in a toast."
Kastor: "To the prettiest storyteller I ever come across."
"The other traders and teamsters join in the toast."
Kastor: "Where you headed?
Kastor: "You'll reach there tomorrow. You got friends in Amphipolis?"
Gab: "Well, yes, one. Xena."
"The smiles fade from the faces of the group. One big tough gets up, goes to the door and closes it. Gabrielle swallows hard."
Kastor: "Young lady, you were kind enough to tell us a story. Let me return the favor and tell you one. Xena grew up in the next valley, outside of Amphipolis. She was a natural born leader, even as a teenager. When a warlord tried to enslave Amphipolis, the people looked to her to save them. She organized an army of locals and they went off to fight the warlord."
Old Man: "I remember that army. They were full of goodness and hope. And they beat that warlord. They say Xena herself cut his throat."
Kastor: "And she liked doing it. Too much. She fell in love with blood and power. The young army that had started out wanting to save the world turned into a tool of Ares.
Old Man: "They were all dead within a year. But that didn't stop her. She just recruited a new army."
Kastor: "Be careful, young lady. A lot of people who trusted Xena are dead."
"Off Gabrielle's thoughtful look, we CUT TO" [Cyrene next day].
[Cyrene asks Xena why she came home.]
Xena: "I want to start over again."
Cyrene: "That's impossible. Oh, Xena. I tried my best to raise you with a sense of right and wrong."
Xena: "It's not your fault."
Cyrene: "Maybe I shouldn't have let you be so independent."
Xena: "It breaks my heart to hear you blaming yourself."
Cyrene: "I don't believe you. If you had a heart to break, you never would have done those terrible things."
Xena: "Mother, listen to me, please. I've changed. I've dedicated my life to fighting evil. I'll be good at it. I fight it in myself every day."
Cyrene: "How I wish I could believe you. Please go now."
[The "lynch mob" comes in and accuses Xena of being hooked up with Draco.]
Xena: "Mother, I have nothing to do with Draco. I came to warn you about him."
Cyrene: "Maybe your father was a monster come up from Hades." (to the mob) "Do what you will with her."
[Gabrielle steps in and throws some logic at them.] "Xena reacts to the guts of this kid."
Gabrielle: "Let's say you stone Xena to death. First of all, I might point out you didn't bring enough stones in here for a really good stoning."
"The citizens look around to check out the stone supply."
Gab: "But lets say there's a whole rock quarry down the road and you're able to really lay it to her. What do you got when you're done? If I'm right, and Xena's on the side of good, you just killed your only ticket out of this mess."
First Citizen: "You're wasting your breath." . . .
Gab: " . . . oh boy, it gives me the creeps to even think about it."
"Gabrielle turns and throws a wave and a smile at Xena, who can't believe this kid."
[SheWho note: Gab's free 'feel' as she settles in behind Xena isn't in the script.]
[Another note: The visit to Lyceus' tomb is not in the script.]
[Draco tells Xena he wants her one way or the other.]
"Xena looks around the room at the faces of her kinsmen who hate her. She pauses on her mother. Cyrene looks away, her face still cold. She looks at Draco and reflects for a moment. Then she throws a glance at:
GABRIELLE - Her hopeful innocence is undeniable.
ON XENA - The traces of a smile can be detected on Xena's lips as she looks at Gabrielle. Then she turns back to Draco." [Xena tells him it's the other.]
[During the fight, Xena is the first to land on a villager. Her staff has been knocked away, but Gabrielle tosses it back to her. Xena steps on Gar's shoulder and he grabs her ankle, allowing Draco to knock her off balance. She tries to break her fall, but her head almost touches the ground when Gabrielle catches it and helps her climb back up on the shoulders of the citizens. Xena nods her thanks to Gabrielle ...]
[After Draco kills Gar who is sneaking up on Xena, Draco says,] "we'll do this again some day." Xena replies, "I can't wait. It's a great workout."
[The first citizen offers her the loot wagons.] "Xena seems sad as she realizes they'll never trust her again, no matter what she does. She looks at:
THE PEOPLE OF THE VALLEY
They still hate her.
who accepts her fate as an outcast."
Xena: "I don't want anything." (looks up at Cyrene) "Except to be left alone."
[Gabrielle (crying) witnesses the Xena-Cyrene goodbye scene. During that scene:]
Xena: "Mother? Can you tell me about my father?"
Cyrene: "When I was a young woman, about your age, a handsome warrior came to Amphipolis. His name was Nelo. He wore a medallion from Argos. He said he was related to the King of Mycenae. I fell madly in love with him. I was so happy. And then one day he was gone. Back to Argos, I suppose. It broke my heart. For months I cursed him. And then you were born. After that I praised him to the gods for bringing such joy into my life." (She begins to cry) "That joy was gone for a long time."
Xena: "I know mother. I'm so sorry I hurt you."
Cyrene: "The joy is even sweeter now that I have it again. Welcome home, Xena."
[A missing scene:]
"Xena gallops into view. Gabrielle sits on the horse behind her. Xena stops the horse and Gabrielle dismounts."
Gabrielle: "I'm so saddle-sore I can hardly walk."
Xena: "Well, you'll have to. Your village is about two hours on foot toward the setting sun. Go home while you still can. I'm headed north toward Argos."
Gab: "You're looking for your father, aren't you?"
Xena: "Have a good life, Gabrielle."
Gab: "Xena, listen, I want to say--"
"She doesn't get to say it because Xena has galloped off towards the horizon without so much as a wave."
[Campfire scene:] "Xena sits at the campfire, watching her latest batch of soup simmer. She ladles out a spoonful and sips it. She spits it out in disgust. A rustling in the bushes causes her to leap to her feet. Gabrielle walks out of the bushes and collapses next to the campfire. Xena stares at her in amazement."
[Gab mentions building fire, mosquitoes, etc.]
Xena: "You don't get it, do you? I want to travel alone."
Gab: "Oh, come on. Admit I came in pretty handy a couple of times."
Xena: "You're headed back first thing in the morning."
Gab: "Give me a chance. I can be very useful."
Xena: "Look, I don't need a kid tagging along with me. I'm no nursemaid. You're gonna be more trouble than you're worth. There's no way--"
Gab: "I can cook."
Xena: "You sleep over there. I want rabbit stew in the morning."
Gab: "You got it."
That is the closing scene - no walking beside the horse the next day.
Click here to read a transcript of SINS OF THE PAST .
NO WITTY DISCLAIMER!!! They didn't start that until CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104).
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