Death in Chains
Series: Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Season: One
Story Number: 009
Writer: Babs Greyhosky
Adam Armus
Nora Kay Foster
Director: Charles Siebert
Broadcast: November 13, 1995
Previous Story: Prometheus
Following Story: Hooves and Harlots

Synopsis Edit

Xena and Gabrielle are walking among lovers and apple trees, Gabrielle droning on about what is more important in life, to have love, or to be able to travel and see things and meet so many people.As Gabrielle goes to pick an apple, some thugs appear, wishing for Xena to join them. She of course refuses, in her own little way.

As this is happening, Death has been trapped by Sisyphus because he doesn't want to die, he wants to live on and provide his people with great and long lives. The way to get that is to trap Death, to take away her candle. The result is, no one can die. another result, according to Hades, Lord of Tartarus, and God of Death, is human suffering will greatly increase, since death will no longer be able to abate their suffering.

Hades entrusts the task of rescuing Death, who apparently is his sister (apparently the olympian gods have more half brothers and sisters than we realized?) He neglects to mention the tiny detail of 'whosoever touches death, or allows death to touch them, will die' Oops. But he's a big fan of Xena, really.

Toxeus, the man that Xena fought with in the opening, is no longer dead, but bright eyed and bushy tailed, and trying to find an army, but instead finds his old band of thugs. Toxeus then proceeds to demonstrate his run of good luck in the not dying department, effectively skewering each of his men, without spilling a drop of blood.

After her chance meeting with Toxeus, Xena and Gabrielle have traveled a bit, and came upon a group of people injured in a rock slide. Xena goes to help, but is told by an older man that her medicines will not help, only death can. Gabrielle meanwhile is tending to another man, a bit roughly, when someone else offers a hand, and a story. Gabrielle is smitten with him, Talus. Xena requests more water and the two wander off to a pond to fulfill the order. They are jumped by Toxeus, and Xena uses her Chakram to get the drop on him. Literally.

Xena eventually tells Gabrielle to stick with Talus and head off to Corinth to the hospital everyone is trying to reach. Talus and Gabrielle, however, don't listen. They end up following Xena to meet with Sisyphus, after Gabrielle is given some bad news by a woman who had died earlier that morning.

A couple dungeons and rat packs later, they all meet the tricky king, and convince him that to truly make his kingdom one with less suffering, he would have to free death. They make it to the chamber where she is being held, and Sisyphus attempts to free her, but those darn keys aren't doing so well (and if you look closely, he's able to touch her without dying, perhaps the candle is her power?)

Xena ends up using her chakram to cut Death's bonds without touching her, and the thugs all end up dying. And Death tells Sisyphus his time will come, and instead turns to Talus, who has been suffering all along with chest pains, who had been one to convince the king to release him from the pain.

Gabrielle is upset, and tells Death that she owes them one, but Talus lets her know that he will be waiting for her when she crosses to the other side, and they will all be happy.

Memorable quotes Edit

Cast Edit

Background information and notes Edit

  • This is the first appearance of Erik Thomson as Hades. He was in four episodes of Xena. In addition, he played the same role in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (he was in four episodes of that as well). He also played Hades in the other spin off, Young Hercules (he was in one episode).
  • Gabrielle's costume changes as of this episode. Her early villager clothes are replaced by a red tunic like top and shorter dress. This sudden change is actually due to the fact that the following episode, "Hooves and Harlots", should really be shown first. In fact, the top that Gabrielle wears here is different to what would be the regular version - most notably it has a much wider blue collar than the regular one. Gabrielle also wears a necklace from that episode, although this is the only other episode in which it appears with the costume.
  • This episode had the working title Death is M.I.A.

Continuity and mistakes Edit

  • For reasons unknown, this episode was broadcast out of story order. It is set after the following episode, Hooves and Harlots, due to the fact Gabrielle is already wearing her Amazon outfit.
  • Toxeus is seemingly invincible and walks around in perfect health despite the numerous stab wounds and whatever that big branch crushed. He should be in agony like the other people suffering from fatal wounds during the absence of Death.
  • How come most people die on their own, but king Sisyphus gets a special visit?

Possible answer: At the beginning, Death says that Sisyphus is going to die as punishment from Zeus, so it seems that Death is acting as an assassin, rather than a representation of Sisyphus dying of natural causes. Then again, maybe she's there for everybody, other people just don't see her most of the time.

Chakram CountEdit

  1. To cut the branch so it would fall on Toxeus.
  2. To prevent Toxeus from killing Gabrielle and to realese Celesta.

Disclaimer Edit

  • No Unabating or Severely Punishing Deities were harmed during the production of this motion picture.