The Debt II
Series: Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Season: Three
Story Number: 053
Writer: R.J. Stewart (screen story)

Robert G. Tapert (story)

Director: Oley Sassone
Broadcast: 10 November 1997
Previous Story: The Debt
Following Story: The King of Assassins

Synopsis Edit

Gabrielle, in the throne room with Ming Tien, asks to see Xena, but cannot. Xena is placed in an indescribable large wooden square device which goes around her neck. She is sent down to a mucky water-filled dungeon. A guard asks Xena if it's true she was betrayed by a friend. "No, not a friend," Xena replies. Gabrielle sits with Ming Tien and asks again to see Xena; she is terrified of what Xena will think of her. Ming Tien, through flashbacks, tells Gabrielle how Xena taught him to rule when she kidnapped him -- her ruthlessness combined with the lack of spine in his father taught him how to be emperor.

In the dungeon Xena learns that Lao Ma has been executed. She remembers in flashback all the things Lao Ma taught her, which included a lot of philosophical sayings about losing your desires and conquering yourself instead of others. Lao Ma told Xena she must serve others. Xena said she could serve Lao Ma. But Lao Ma said it is easy to serve someone you love; Xena had to serve someone she hated. So Xena posed as a servant girl and served Ming Tzu, Ming Tien's father, at a dinner, and resisted the urge to kill him. As a reward Lao Ma healed Xena's wounded legs, and Xena and Lao Ma embraced.

In the present, Gabrielle slaps Xena in the face in an effort to get her to promise not to try to kill Ming Tien again. Xena has tears on her cheeks. Gabrielle leans down and whispers to Xena, begging her to make this promise so they can ride away together. But Xena pulls away from Gabrielle's hand, and Ming Tien sentences Xena to death. He tells Gabrielle not to feel like she failed with Xena because he was going to sentence her to death anyway, even if she had promised not to kill him.

Now that Xena has been condemned, Ming Tien lets Gabrielle see Xena. Gabrielle goes to the prison and sloshes through the water. Xena won't talk to her. Gabrielle says she realizes that her reverence for life has left an evil emperor in power and cost her the life of her best friend. Xena could not hate Gabrielle any more than she hates herself, Gabrielle says. Xena finally turns to Gabrielle (with this big wooden plank still around her neck) and says "scratch my nose, will you?" Gabrielle bursts into tears. Xena tells Gabrielle that she was angry, but she didn't hate Gabrielle. She says she could never hate her. Xena then tells Gabrielle through flashback how Lao Ma saved her soul.

After the healing of her legs Xena learned to give up her will and desires. She floated through the air with Lao Ma. The air dance was interrupted when Borias came in the room. Xena attacked him. Lao Ma begged Xena to give up her hatred, but Xena could not. Lao Ma wanted peace, and she wanted Xena to be her "warrior princess." But Ming Tzu said he owned Xena; Borias said he found her, and Xena said she belonged to herself. So ownership of Xena was decided in a game of dice; only they increased the stakes to include a body part of each of the losers as well. Xena won. She claimed Borias's "heart" and went after Ming Tzu. She killed him. She and Borias went after Ming Tien, who watched all this, but Lao Ma (who is Ming Tien's mother) stopped them with her mind powers.

In the present, Xena tells Gabrielle that it took her years to understand what Lao Ma tried to teach her. She says she was at the end of her rope just before she met Gabrielle, and it was the teachings of Lao Ma that enabled her to turn her life around and be "reborn." This is the debt Xena had to repay.

Then the guards come for Xena and take her to the throne room. She is placed on a cross to have her head lopped off across the forehead. While she lies there, Lao Ma's face appears before her, repeating all of those philosophical words. Xena remembers she has to conquer herself and all that other stuff, and somehow she makes weapons fly through the air and land in the back of the executioner. She makes her chains break open and frees herself. She fights off several men with some conventional methods and then she uses her mind to send a blast of power through the palace wall. She starts crumbling the palace as people run. She tells Gabrielle to get everyone out before the palace falls in. One last blast buries Ming Tien.

Ming Tien comes out of the rubble and tells Xena he wants to talk to her. He tells her he personally killed Lao Ma because he knew she wouldn't use her powers on her little boy. He says she cried over the loss of peace, and even when he tore her heart out she cried. He picks up Lao Ma's book of wisdom and says it did her no good. He gives Xena a hairpin that Lao Ma wanted Xena to have.

Gabrielle returns and finds Xena before Ming Tien as he sits on his throne. She tells him she doesn't have to kill him because she's made him small and no one will follow him now. She picks up the book and takes it with her. Gabrielle says they will take care of the book. She tells Xena she is proud of her for not killing Ming Tien and that she loves her. Xena says "I love you too, Gabrielle." The camera cuts back to Ming Tien, who has a hair pin sticking out of the side of his head that Gabrielle cannot see, making it plain that the Green Dragon was slain after all.

Memorable quotes Edit

  • Lao Ma: Fill yourself with desire and see only illusion, empty yourself of desire and understand the great mystery of things.

  • Lao Ma: The entire world is driven by a will, blind and ruthless, in order to transcend the limitations of that world, you need to stop willing, stop desiring, stop hating.

  • Lao Ma: Heaven endures and the Earth lasts a long time because they do not live for themselves.

  • Lao Ma: Therefore, she who would live a long time, should live for others, serve others.

  • Lao Ma: To conquer others is to have power, to conquer yourself is to know The Way.

Cast Edit

  • Lucy Lawless as Xena
  • Renée O'Connor as Gabrielle
  • Marton Csokas as Borias
  • Ric Chan as Jiu
  • Tai Hadfield as Chuang
  • Daniel Lim as Ming T'ien, 12 years
  • Daniel Sing as Ming T'ien
  • Grant McFarland as Ming Tzu
  • Jacqueline Kim as Lao Ma
  • Din Tran as Prison Guard

Background information and notes Edit

  • The origin of the Warrior Princess title is revealed; it was Lao Ma's plan to make her the Warrior Princess of China. And sitting beside Xena at the time the plan is revealed was Borias, who, as the only other witness, was probably responsible for spreading that title to Greece.

Continuity and mistakes Edit

Disclaimer Edit

  • Xena and Gabrielle's relationship suffered another blow (although Gabrielle doesn't know it yet) during the production of this motion picture.