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Season 2, episode 18
Series 218
1st release: 04/14/97
2nd release: 08/18/97
Production number: V0214
Script number: 220
Approximate shooting dates: February 1997
Last update: 12-26-00

COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Carmen Carter

Jeremy Callaghan (Palaemon)

Chris Bailey (Apex)
Sydney Jackson (Vidalus)
Graham Lauder (Lagos)
Ajay Vasisht (Vendor)

Written by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Edited by Robert Field
Directed by Josh Becker

Palaemon to Gabrielle: Don't make me break your neck!
Xena: Where's Gabrielle?
Gabrielle in coffin: Let me out!!!
Palaemon: A fight to the death.
Apex: Seize her!
(Oil splashed in Xena's eyes)
(Xena falling off cliff)
Palaemon: Xena!!!!
Palaemon: You're blind!

A warrior wants to make his name by killing Xena. He fails, of course, but he succeeds in putting the warrior princess in a blind rage when he kidnaps Gabrielle and sells her to agents of a king---who, it seems, needs a queen.

Despite being blinded in battle, Xena continues to fight to thwart a nefarious plan to force Gabrielle to marry a king.

Though blinded by oil while fighting Gabrielle's kidnapper, Xena attempts to find and free her friend before seeking a cure.

Even temporarily blinded, Xena's the toughest kid on the block as she rescues Gabrielle from a fiery death. The Guardian

1st RELEASE: 04/14/97
AA rating of 5.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA ranked 10th at 5.5
(2) HERCULES ranked 12th at 5.1
(3) STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE 9 (not in top 20 -- eek!)

2nd RELEASE: 08/18/97
AA rating of 5.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA 7th with 5.2
(2) HERCULES 11th with 4.6
(3) STAR TREK DS9 16th with 3.9
(4) BAYWATCH 23rd with 3.4


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

The story opens with Xena and Gabrielle strolling through a village. Xena is hungry and wants to go to a tavern to eat. Gabrielle wants to shop and blow a few dinars on something frivilous. Xena says okay and goes off to eat. Gabrielle argues with a fellow over some cloth and then is abducted by a man with a scar on his face.

Xena comes out looking for Gabrielle and finds her staff. The man, whose name is Palaemon, tells Xena the staff belongs to him now because he killed Gabrielle. Xena and Palaemon fight. He tells Xena he wants to kill her. During the fight Xena's sword goes into a bag of oil and it squirts into her face. Xena downs Palaemon and learns that Gabrielle is not dead, only kidnapped.

Gabrielle, meanwhile, finds herself in a castle with images of other young women who look a lot like her all around. The king's advisor tells her she will marry the king. The king's help-man (for lack of a better term) has to make Gabrielle presentable to the Lords and Ladies so the King can marry her. Gabrielle resists but eventually gives in and begins her "lady" training.'

Xena forces Palaemon to go with her in search of Gabrielle, for Palaemon has sold Gabrielle to these people in the castle. The oil had sumac in it and Xena's eyes begin to bother her and she cannot see. She and Palaemon are attacked by guards from the castle, and after this fight Palaemon realizes that Xena has lost her eyesight completely. She is blind. Xena finds a chain with cuffs on each end near her sword as it lies on the ground and she binds Palaemon to her with them, telling him he will be her eyes to help her get Gabrielle back.

Palaemon doesn't understand why Xena does not head for Athens to get a cure for the blindness (she needs an Egyptian plant which can be found there). But Xena says she has to rescue Gabrielle. Palaemon and Xena come across the guards again and run; during the process Xena goes over a cliff. Palaemon tries to pull her up but cannot; he falls to a lower ledge. He begins to lose his grip and Xena uncuffs herself so she will fall and Palaemon can save himself. Xena grabs a vine and Palaemon pulls her up, but she has to promise to fight him to the death after she gets her eyesight back. He still wants to be the man who kills Xena, Warrior Princess.

Gabrielle is presented to the Lords and Ladies. She steals away to meet this king and discovers he is dead. His Advisor tells her that their charter says the king must be married when he dies or the land goes to his brother some distance away. If he is married the kingdom goes to the Advisor. He forces Gabrielle to marry the dead man in a fake ceremony and tells the people they are wed. He then puts the dead king and Gabrielle into separate caskets to be cremated.

Xena and Palaemon finally make their way into the castle. They find the "help-man," who is tied up because he tried to help Gabrielle. He leads them to the crematorium. Palaemon fights off several guards. Xena does a flip over them and goes into the room where Gabrielle is trapped in her casket, beating on the top trying to open it before she goes into the flames.

The Advisor realizes Xena is blind because she cannot see Gabrielle's casket; the guards attack. Xena takes them all out. The Advisor runs and the help-man knocks him in the head. Xena pulls the casket from the flames and feels inside until she finds Gabrielle, who, though covered with smoke and soot, is ok. Palaemon watches the two friends reunite and turns away.

Gabrielle realizes Xena is blind. Xena tells Gabrielle the blindness will probably be permanent because they cannot get to Athens in time to get the Egyptian plant. The help-man says he grows that plant in his garden (it makes a good face cream). Gabrielle sponges Xena's face and eyes and Xena's eyesight returns. Palaemon does not challenge Xena; instead he says he has learned something from her -- that you are who you pretend to be, and he is going to try pretending to be someone good for a while to see how it feels.


This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

BLIND FAITH was a fun episode: good swashbuckling (GREAT battle between Palaemon and Xena), humor courtesy of our dear Gabrielle (Gab, try looking at the statue's FACE next time), and "scene stealer of the month" award goes to Vidalis as the exasperated finishing school marm.

Palaemon was a great character, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him pop up again sometime. Shades of Xena's own start -- by the end of the show, I was wondering if we were going to see a "Palaemon: Warrior Wannabe" spin-off show with Vidalis trailing after him.

The last five minutes of the show were the finest:

(1) Xena's frantic search for Gab in the coffin (that was not a huge sarcophagus - how long does it take to find a body in it?);

(2) Xena's sight restored (who else saw the "there's a sight for sore eyes" line coming a league away? Didn't matter - it was still great);

(3) Vidalis's decision to follow the "attractive" Palaemon, and Xena's curtsey and two-handed wave.

What the heck kingdom WAS this that they stumbled into? Those had to be the weirdest laws on the face of the earth. "If, however, the king dies on the third Tuesday of the month, we hold a random lottery to determine who will be the new potentate of the republic, and our head chef becomes the new military commander. But only if the full moon has already passed."

Before too much longer, Gab's name isn't going to fit in her underwear anymore: "Gabrielle of Poteidaia, Warrior Bard, best friend of the Warrior Princess, Queen of the Amazons, also deposed Queen of Someweirdkingdom, intended Bride of Morpheus, favorite enemy of Velaska the Goddess of Powertrips, etc., etc., etc..."


This commentary is by Carmen Carter.

BLIND FAITH is an Armus & Foster episode that features a much more focused and tightly constructed script than their previous efforts. In fact, there is a texture and layering to this story that is on par with WARRIOR...PRINCESS and MISS AMPHIPOLIS as social/sexual satire.

Solid action/adventure scenes for Xena alternated with some delightful comedy scenes for Gabrielle. And although the underlying plot of an evil minister seeking power was standard fare, the real substance of the episode was centered on the twin pairings of Xena and Palimon versus Gabrielle and Vidalis. These parallel stories were spiced with some very heavy subtext for our heroines, as well as some incredibly overt gay innuendo for the two main guest characters.

Lucy delivered a solid performance as the blinded Xena, and Renee once again displayed her flair for comedy. The episode was also enhanced by two very good supporting actors in the roles of Palaemon (Jeremy Callaghan) and Vidalis.

Palaemon plays the warrior wannabe, a man intent on attacking Xena to inflate his reputation and also eager to learn her fighting ways. However, when Palaemon fails to take advantage of Xena's blindness, she realizes this young man isn't cut out to be an evil warlord. Instead, he helps in Xena's determined search for Gabrielle, a search that Xena knows will delay treatment for her impending blindness.

Elsewhere, Gabrielle is the reluctant Queen-wannabe, failing miserably under the tutelage of Vidalis, the fey Royal etiquette tutor. No Eliza Doolittle miracles in this court! Instead, we see just how uncomfortable Gabrielle is at displaying traditional feminine behavior. This gender-bender casts an interesting new light on our favorite bard, adding a "butch" twist to her supposedly "femme" role as sidekick to a leather-clad warrior. Despite their superficial differences, visual humor underscored some amusing parallels between Gabrielle and Vidalis. At various points in the episode he is strung up, has a knife held to his throat, and wields a mean blunt instrument to help out Palimon during a fight.

By the end of the episode, Palaemon decides to emulate Xena's dedication to good, and Vidalis -- obviously smitten with the hunky young warrior -- decides to emulate Gabrielle's role as a sidekick by following after Palimon. "It's pretty good work if you can get it," says Gabrielle.

She should know. The warrior princess is willing to risk permanent blindness to save Gabrielle, and Gabrielle confesses her love for an unspecified someone in a priceless scene in which she and Vidalis discuss romantic love with a bevy of gender-neutral pronouns. This was no grieving widow bemoaning a lost husband; rather, this was a woman admitting to being deeply in love...with someone.

The scene in which the blinded Xena rescues Gabrielle from certain death was both touching and touchy. As was the scene in which Xena recovers her sight: the first thing she sees is Gabrielle's smiling face. And the final shot of the two of them walking off together is filled with the same playful banter that made ADITL such a joy.

All in all, this was a fun treat!


12-26-00. Robert Tapert, in an interview with WHOOSH to be released January 1, 2001 (#52), stated the original airing order of the episodes after DESTINY (36/212) were to be EXECUTION (41/217), BLIND FAITH (42/218), and then A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). Because of Lucy Lawless' accident on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the producers retooled or recast some shows in the can and wrote a couple more shows to cover for Ms. Lawless' incapacity. The resultant airing order was INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) [retooled to keep Xena in Callisto's body], TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208) [re-cast Xena with Hudson Leick], SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) [not changed], THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) [not changed], HERE SHE COMES...MIS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211) [not changed], DESTINY (36/212) [retooled to have Xena remain dead], THE QUEST (37/213) [new show], A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) [new show], A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) [not changed], FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) [new show], EXECUTION (41/217) [no change], and BLIND FAITH (42/218) [no change].

Don't mess with Gabrielle unless you want a powerful dose of the Warrior Princess! In a nutshell, this is a sub-conscious rip-off of DREAMWORKER (#03) but with 2nd season sensibilities thrown in.


Highlights by Beth Gaynor.

More showcasing of Lucy and Renee's acting: Renee is a marvelous comedienne. And Lucy did excellent work at playing blind. Keeping your eyes from focusing on the things around you is TOUGH; Lucy did a great job of leading her reactions with her ears instead of her eyes.

Did anyone else notice that Vidalis belittled everything about Gab that we all love the most? Those muscles, that voice, that stomach - hey! Those are her BEST points! And the lines about her "red" hair and her track record with boyfriends - oh, the writers were having a LOT of fun with us fans in this episode.

Nice Princess Leia-in-zero-gravity 'do they put on Gab -- yeeeek. I think Vidalis should have been less worried about Gabrielle and been going medieval on the dressmaker's case, instead.


From Petra. Two interesting translations (Xena is Dutch subtitled here) from BLIND FAITH: "Now that's a sight for sore eyes" became 'Dat is nu een prachtig gezicht'. Which means about the same but it also means 'Now that's a beautiful face'. Alos, the translator scored a subtext point there but he/she lost it again with the translation of Gab's muffled line 'As long as I can't be with them' (or something like that, when talking about the person she is in love with). 'Them' got turned into 'him'.... Darn *G*

From Beth Gaynor. Blindness blunders: When Xena and Palaemon are sneaking into the castle, watch Xena duck under the open window even though she shouldn't be able to see it. Even better, in the castle, just before they find Vidalis, Palaemon and Xena walk past a candelabra, and Xena ducks her right shoulder so her sword doesn't hit the candles. Those moments require the Xena realism-editor who sits on my shoulder, the same one who says "Sure, she can run up vertical surfaces and leap thirty feet in the air - she's a Warrior Princess!" who this time said "Whoops, hey, don't worry about that, she felt the heat from the candles! Yeah, that's it! Look, they found Vidalis - watch the show!"

These things are from The Kymster.

12-30-97. In HTLJ's STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD, while singing his little number, Iolaus trips over Gabrielle's coffin from BLIND FAITH.

The "face" of the crematorium was recycled from the Baracus in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (#32).

The statute of Demeter (the goddess of the Corn) which first appeared in A FISTFUL OF DINARS (#14), appears also in ALTARED STATES (#19), A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39), and BLIND FAITH (#42).

The statute of Themis (goddess of justice and law) which first appeared in THE EXECUTION (#41), also appears in BLIND FAITH (#42).

Apex's insult to Vidalus of "you fishcake" was originally taped as "you fruitcake", but was overdubbed in post-production.


Click here to read a transcript of BLIND FAITH.


Prepared by UtahFan c/o ktaborn@lightspeed.net.

An explanation for how Xena knew where to look for Gabrielle, a fuller explanation for why Gabrielle was selected to be the bride, some speculation on how it would affect Xena to be blind, Gab's original royal outfit, an intriguing way that Xena verified that it was Gabrielle's coffin, and a different ending.

BLIND FAITH by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster. Directed by Josh Becker. Shooting scripts February 5 and February 18, 1997

Note: Many of the pages in the February 18 script were not revised from the previous version, and remain dated Feb. 12. Accordingly, at various times the Feb. 12 and Feb. 18 versions are distinguished. If no distinction is made between the Feb. 5 and later versions, there is no material difference between the scripts.

In the opening scene, Gabrielle tries to talk Xena into shopping with her. Xena declines, but says it's fine with her if Gabrielle wants to shop. In the script, Gabrielle then promises that she "won't go over three dinars." Xena replies, "Whatever."

Gabrielle's haggling strategy changed slightly between the Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 scripts. In the first draft, Gabrielle disdainfully tells she vendor that she could use the scarf to clean up spills. In the next version, she suggests that she could use it "to wipe the sweat off our horse." (As filmed, she tells him she could use it to wipe the sweat off "my horse.")

Palaemon's first line after grabbing Gabrielle around the neck -- "Don't make me break your neck" -- isn't in these versions of the script.

A cute exchange omitted from the screened version: Xena leaves the tavern "in search of the mad shopper." She stops at the scarf vendor.

Xena: "You seen a blonde woman with a staff?"

Vendor: "Yes. I sold her a beautiful Babylonian dancing veil for only seven dinars. I could make you the same deal."

Xena: "No thanks. Where'd she go?"
"The Vendor points toward the alley. Xena crosses the marketplace and enters the alley." She freezes as she sees Gabrielle's staff . . . .

A script change when Xena says the staff belongs to a friend of hers: In the Feb. 5 version, Palaemon replies, "That little girl?" In the Feb. 12 version, he says, "That irritating blonde?" As filmed, it's a little of both: "That irritating little blonde?"

There are a couple of unnecessary interruptions deleted from the initial fight scene between Palaemon and Xena. At one point during the fight, the Vendor tells them, "You pay for what you bleed on." Later, as Xena demands to know what Palaemon did with Gabrielle, the Vendor approaches her and interrupts, "Excuse me, who will be paying for the damages?" Xena "glares at him with fury in her eyes," and the Vendor says, "We can talk about it later."

A vital (zzzz...) change from the Feb. 5 to the Feb. 12 script: The vendor originally tells Xena that he sells the sumac oil mixture as a bleach; later, it's changed to dye.

The voiceover at the beginning of the scene where Xena leads Palaemon through the forest ("So, who's this Gabrielle, anyway?" "A friend." "Yeah, I got friends. Could be following up right now") isn't in these versions of the script. Instead, the script actually provides an explanation for why they're headed down the path:

"Xena's POV - close on tracks in the dirt. We try to focus on the tracks, but it's hard. They are a blur one moment and clear the next. On Xena. She stoops next to the tracks, struggling to make them out. A still bound Palaemon stands a few feet away. Xena's back is to him so he doesn't see the trouble she's having with her eyes. She stands up and turns to him."
Xena (bluffing): "Those are her tracks all right."

Palaemon: "How can you tell?"

Xena: "I know Gabrielle's tracks."

Palaemon (calling her bluff): "Then prove it. Which way did they go?"
"There are three forks in the road. She has a one in three shot."
Xena: "That way."

Palaemon: "You are good."
"Xena leads the bound Palaemon after her down the road she pointed to. She throws him a look. Xena's POV - Palaemon. We fight for focus for a moment and then Palaemon becomes a total blur." Xena then stumbles on a rut in the road that she didn't see . . . .

In the script, although Palaemon refuses to make it too easy on Xena by telling her where Gabrielle is, he does offer a reassurance: "I will tell you this. She'll be all right. Nobody's gonna hurt her. As a matter of fact, if she just relaxed and enjoyed it, she might even be grateful to me one day." [Note: So now we know that A & F actually had two of the good guys -- Vidalus and Palaemon -- uttering this sentiment. Since a similar line was kept in later, I suspect this earlier reference was deleted not because it is questionable, but more to keep Xena in the dark about her friend's fate. Anyone know whether Nora Kay Foster is in fact a woman?]

In case we miss the subtlety of Gabrielle eyeing the lap region of the King Solus statue, Armus & Foster make sure we realize that the sculpture is "as close to a fantasy man as Gabrielle will ever have." [Or maybe they mean to impart that Gabrielle doesn't really have a fantasy man, for some reason . . . .]

Interestingly, in the original script, Gabrielle's status as Amazon royalty is somewhat important to the plot, as it permits Apex to present her as a queen candidate. For instance, after Apex discloses to Vidalus that the prospective queen is a commoner, there's a brief discussion:

Vidalus: "A commoner? No royal connection?"

Apex: "She's an Amazon Princess."

Vidalus: "Does that count?"

Apex: "It counts."

Vidalus (at a loss): "How . . . interesting."
Later, Palaemon tells Xena that he convinced the bad guys that Gabrielle was the right physical type, and adds, "Then I played up the whole Amazon Princess thing to make her sound royal enough." Xena realizes something is wrong with the scheme, because "an Amazon Princess isn't usually a very desirable match for a king." In the final screened version, all references to Gabrielle's Amazon status are absent, and she is kidnapped simply because of her appearance.

A slight wording change in the initial Vidalus/Gabrielle exchange: Gabrielle asks why Solus would want to marry a complete peasant stranger. On screen, Vidalus replies, "Who knows? I say sit back and enjoy the ride." In the script, Vidalus responds, "Tradition. You fit a certain type. It's your fate and let's face it, things could be a lot worse than being a queen. I say, sit back and enjoy the ride."

In the Feb. 5 script, Vidalus comments to Gabrielle on "your hands!". In the Feb. 12 version, it's made clear that he's commenting on her "dishwasher hands."

Gabrielle's lust for studly men [Did you get that? *Men*, damn it!] surfaces again when "one particularly hunky Manservant" approaches her with grapes and asks if she's hungry. According to Armus & Foster, Gabrielle is "a little taken", and replies, "Nice grapes . . . ." [Oh, that girl's just too heterosexual for her own good!] As screened, she seems more taken by the grapes than the plate bearer, murmuring, "Well, maybe a couple of grapes . . . ." as she reaches for them.

The disappearing struggle: In the first (Feb. 5) draft, Gabrielle starts to leave the room, sees armed guards, and is thereby foiled. Vidalus then tells her, "I've got to work on your walk. I've seen more graceful soldiers. How's your curtsy?" Gabrielle is distressed. In the Feb. 12 revision, we get an actual struggle from the imprisoned Amazon Princess and companion of the Warrior Princess: "Gabrielle shoves the Manservant and goes for the door. She flings it open, revealing two armed guards. She grabs a pike out of one of their hands and whacks him on the nose. A moment later three other soldiers with swords arrive. Gabrielle is disarmed. Foiled, she turns back to Vidalus, who has watched all of this with bulging eyes." Vidalus then says, "We have a lot of work to do." For whatever reason, the original wimpy-Gab version is what ended up on screen.

An omitted line, spoken by Palaemon after Xena advises him to quit trying to unlock the manacles: "You know, I always thought being chained to a beautiful woman would be more fun." Someone must have really liked this line (for reasons which remain obscure); in the Feb. 5 script, Palaemon utters it when he is clutching at a tree root to keep from following Xena over the ravine. It does not appear in the screened version.

In the Feb. 5 script (not in the Feb. 12 version), after Xena tells Palaemon she's not going after the antitode because she has to save her friend, Palaemon taunts Xena about her blindness. [Some definite fan fic fodder here]:

Palaemon: "That must be some friend. (beat) What's it like being blind, anyway?"

Xena: "Why don't you shut up?"

Palaemon: "Must be a pretty powerless feeling. Specially for a warrior like you, used to commanding so much respect."

Xena: "I'm warning you. Keep your mouth shut."

Palaemon: "You may never get your sight back. How are you with pity? Cause you're going to be getting a lot of it."
"In anger Xena strikes out with her fist toward Palaemon. He dodges the blow." [Yeah, right. No wonder they deleted this; it seems just a liiiiiitle inconsistent with her ability to take out a dozen armed goons and catch arrows even while blind.]
Palaemon: "Missed me with a six inch punch. You are helpless, aren't you?"
"Xena directs a powerful elbow shot in the direction of Palaemon's voice. It connects with his nose."
Xena: "I've still got enough left to keep you in line."

Palaemon: "How long do you plan on keeping me in line?"
"They continue to walk along."
Xena: "Till I get Gabrielle back."
Xena then sniffs the air, detecting the horse, er, residue . . . .

More scripted lines omitted from the screened version: When Vidalus is trying to persuade Gabrielle to emerge from behind the curtain in her new royal attire, he says, "Never mind the debt of gratitude you owe me -- how I slaved for hours teaching correct court speech and carriage . . . ." After Gab announces that she's coming out [if only!], Vidalus tells her, "Please. If you act like a peasant girl, I'm a dead man."

There's an interesting change between the Feb. 5 and later versions as to Gabrielle's queenly garb. In the first draft, "Gabrielle looks like Little Bo Peep, dressed in a corseted dress with an oversized hoop skirt! Her hair has been teased into a Beehive hairdo." [Hey, is that a slam on my home state?!] As she crosses to meet the royal types, "her dress swings wildly, knocking several Royal Types off their feet. She stops to help them, but as she bends over, her hoop flies up, revealing her pantaloons." [Gee, there's an original concept. We haven't seen that a hundred times before.] As revised and filmed, Gabrielle "is in a skintight dress, a la Mortisha Addams. she looks real good for a moment. Then she starts to keel over like a chopped tree. She disappears from frame for a moment until she is righted by Vidalus." Vidalus then reminds her to take baby steps . . . .

From the script, not the screened version: As Xena and Palaemon try to outrun the hoodlums chasing them in the woods, "Xena is in the lead. Palaemon has to pull on the manacle to keep her from running into a tree." As he pulls her to a stop...

Palaemon: "Stop being stubborn and let me lead! I'm the one who can see! And you can--"
"Xena suddenly tilts her head as she hears something. She reaches out and catches an arrow with her hand." [And this is the woman who didn't realize Palaemon was waving his hand in front of her face earlier to test her eyes?]
Palaemon: ". . . do things like that."
"They take off again, this time Palaemon is leading the way, dodging trees, jumping streams. Suddenly, Palaemon hits the brakes but Xena doesn't and runs blindly off the edge of a raving, narrow and deep . . . ."

In the Feb. 5 script, Xena breaks her fall over the ravine edge by reaching out and grabbing the rock face. In the Feb. 18 version, she holds the manacle chain out in front of her, and it catches on jagged rock. As screened, she reaches out and grabs a convenient vine.

The script contains a somewhat surprising display of virtue by Xena. After she has released Palaemon to avoid dragging him to his death, he offers to pull her up and help her get Gabrielle back if she agrees to fight him to the death. Although it will mean her certain death and resigning Gabrielle to her fate, Xena tells him, "Forget it." Palaemon then points out, "Like you're in the position to bargain." Only then does Xena agree. [Maybe it's me, but I envision Xena saying or agreeing to almost anything to save Gabrielle.]

A knee-slapper that somehow made its way to the cutting floor: When Gabrielle is attempting to exude confidence as instructed by Vidalus, he tells her, "I said confident, not constipated." She starts to protest, but he then tells her, "Please, Gabrielle. He'll kill me if you don't show some improvement." [I think they should have left in more of Vidalus' pleading for his life, since it might have provided some explanation for Gabrielle's otherwise uncharacteristic complacency.]

OK, I thought this scripted exchange was kind of funny, and also would have showed a bit of life by the Amazon Princess, but it too went by the wayside. In the Feb. 12 version, a frustrated Gabrielle tosses away the posture-aid scroll. (In the Feb. 5 script, she kicks off her high heeled shoes after Vidalus tells her she looks like a lame goose.) Vidalus asks what she's doing; the ceremony is only a few hours away.

Gabrielle: How many times do I have to tell you? I'm not getting married! I'm being held against my will! I'm a HOSTAGE, not a BRIDE-TO-BE!

Vidalus: "You say tomato . . . (then; more serious) Look, do you think I'm happy with Lord Apex breathing down my neck? I'm lucky he gave me another chance after the curtsy debacle."
Gabrielle then pleads with Vidalus to help her get to the king . . . .

Btw, in all three versions of the script, Gabrielle says "him" (not "them") in explaining that her heart belongs to another.

Something a little unusual from my review of other scripts: In this episode, several scenes were filmed with original dialogue which had been changed in subsequent drafts. For example, while making their way to the castle, Palaemon is working on a plan. In the Feb. 5 script, he says, "I know. We'll invade the same way you did in Byblos a few years ago. Setting their oil reserves on fire was a stroke of genius. They say you could hear those soldiers scream all the way to Athens. Or how about the way you slaughtered those men at Corinth?" Those lines were condensed in the Feb. 12 version to read, "I know. We'll invade the same way you did in Byblos a few years ago. People still talk about the way you slaughtered their troops without mercy." The original version ended up on film.

Another example: Apex is explaining King Solus's untimely death to Gabrielle. The Feb. 5 script states: "It happened a few days ago. An unfortunate accident in the royal baths." As revised, the Feb. 12 script reads: "It happened a few days ago. Slipped on a bar of slap, knocked himself unconscious, and drowned in the Royal Baths." Again, it was the original version that ended up on screen. [Note: I actually happen to like that version, which leaves open the possibility that it wasn't an accident.]

A nice bit of scripted heroism by Vidalus didn't end up on screen: After Apex tells Gabrielle that the highlight of her honeymoon will be a trip to the crematorium, "Vidalus distracts a few Guards by knocking over a vase . . . .," then shouts, "Run, Gabrielle! Get out of here!"

While Xena and Palaemon wait for the guards to pass, Xena says that she doesn't buy his no-mercy act. In an additional line from the script, she tells him, "Your instincts aren't for killing, but helping people. You've actually thrown yourself into this whole thing, saving a young woman you barely know."

Another omitted line: When Palaemon and Xena are making their way through the castle, Palaemon tells Xena she'd better stay close to him since the place is crawling with guards. He adds, "I know you hate to admit it to yourself but you do need me at the moment." She then warns him that it's beginning to sound like he cares . . . .

An omitted scene: After Gabrielle has been shoved into the the sarcophagus, Apex is met by Lagos and Memba (the principal henchmen).

Lagos: "My Lord . . ."

Apex: "This had better be important. You're disrupting my finest hour."

Lagos: "Xena has entered the castle."

Apex: "Alert the Guard. Have them scour the grounds until they find her. And Memba. Inform the people that the King has met with a tragic accident."

In another omitted exchange, Vidalus has trouble finding the crematorium, and it is Xena who figures it out:

"Moments later, Xena and Palaemon follow Vidalus. He slows."
Palaemon: "What's wrong?"

Vidalus (a little confused): "Just getting my bearings . . . I thought the Royal Laundry was in the South Wing . . ."

Palaemon: "We're lost?! (with his sword) You're probably working for Apex. I should like you wide open . . ."

Xena: "Wait!"
"She moves toward the wall, putting her hands to it."
Xena: "I feel heat. (gesturing to the right) This way!"
It was also Xena who cut the ropes to free Vidalus in the first place, as scripted. For some reason, the final version had Palaemon doing it.

Now *here's* a brief bit from the first draft that might have fueled some fan fiction writers' imagination: Xena rushes toward the ovens, and then: "Thrusting her arms into the flames, Xena feels the sculpted lid of the sarcophagus and recognizes Gabrielle's likeness! She quickly grabs the hot coffin and pulls . . . ." Xena's hands-on recognition of Gabrielle's form was taken out in the Feb. 12 revision, replaced with Xena just reaching into the flames.

As scripted in the Feb. 12 version, while Xena is pulling the coffin out, Apex grabs her. "Palaemon and Vidalus storm in. Palaemon slams Apex on the head with his sword butt. Xena, swinging blindly, nearly decapitates Palaemon." Palaemon says, "Hey, I'm on your side, remember? (then) Go. Save Gabrielle." The line where Apex tells Vidalus -- "Fruitcake," voiced over with "Fishcake" -- to get out of his way, only to receive a torch across the back, is not in these versions of the script.

Want to know how the script describes that great embarrassed-cough expression Palaemon gets when Xena and Gabrielle are caressing each other in relief? "Palaemon smiles, genuinely touched by their friendship." In the Feb. 5 (not Feb. 12) script, Vidalus is also watching, and wipes away tears. "It's just so . . . so . . . (noticing Palaemon) Hey! Where are you going?"

In the first draft, Xena and Gabrielle end up having to travel, apparently for days, to get the senna. [No explanation is given for how the solution still restores Xena's vision so late. Must be one of her many skills.] As written initially, immediately after Xena tells Gabrielle that she is blind, we cut away to Gabrielle squeezing liquid into Xena's eyes somewhere on the road, followed by Palaemon's challenge. Vidalus is not included in this scene.

In the Feb. 5 draft, Palaemon shows up as Xena's vision clears, and Xena says she was expecting him. Palaemon replies, "I figured you were. You probably knew I was following you for the last few days." He then tells her he's going to pretend to be good for a while, and exits. That hot-blooded het babe Gabrielle can't help observing that Palaemon is kind of attractive when he's not kidnapping her. Of course, as screened, Vidalus is present, and agrees with her statement. In the first draft, Vidalus is not present, and Xena replies:

Xena: "It's hard for me to have an opinion. After he stopped trying to kill me, I was blind."

Gabrielle: "Yeah, he didn't make a good first impression in either one of us, but at least he has a pulse." [Tee hee.]
Xena smiles, then gazes proudly in the direction Palaemon went, and we fade out . . . .

By the Feb. 18 revision, the dialogue with Vidalus wanting to be Palaemon's "sidekick" (and Gabrielle's smirky confirmation that it's good work if you can get it) has been added.


Once again, Gabrielle's luck with men was harmed during the production of this motion picture.


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