Vanishing Act
Series: Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Season: Three
Story Number: 066
Writer: Terence Winter
Director: Andrew Merrifield
Broadcast: 27 April 1998
Previous Story: Tsunami
Following Story: Sacrifice I

Synopsis Edit

The episode begins with Xena and Gabrielle splitting up and Gabrielle traveling alone to a small village where a friend of hers is giving a speech. The village is celebrating the "Festival of Peace", which is embodied in a huge statue they have named "Pax". The statue is symbolic of the peace between the villagers.

After the day of celebrations, the next morning the village wakes up to find the statue has been stolen overnight. Xena arrives in the village to find it in a state of panic over the loss of the statue. Xena quickly smells a rat and discovers Autolycus, the self professed "King of Thieves" hiding in a disguise. While clearly in awe of the theft, Autolycus swears that he is not responsible for the stealing of the statue, but he asks Xena to allow him to help her find out who stole it, and steal it back 'his way', in order to salvage his reputation as the "King of Thieves". Reluctantly, Xena agrees.

Autolycus immediately starts investigating how the statue could have been stolen, and discovers that it was toppled over and dragged away by boat. Together, Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus approach the wharf master to determine which boat towed the statue away. After Autolycus' methods of persuasion are unsuccessful, Xena steps in, putting the pinch on the wharf master who confesses that it was a thief called Tarsus who was based on the Island of Mykenos.

Immediately they set out for the island. Once on land, Gabrielle disguises herself and enters the castle as a fence where she approaches Tarsus and indicates her desire to make a bid on the statue. Tarsus, however, is less than pleased that news of the theft has gotten out and, smelling a rat, immediately orders the furnace lit so the statue can be melted down. Seeing the furnace being lit, Xena and Autolycus also enter the castle, with Xena disguised as another bidder, and Autolycus as her assistant. She expresses her desire to make a bid on the statue as well, but unlike Gabrielle, Xena pretends she wants to see the statue melted, and Tarsus obliges, taking them to the furnace. At the furnace, Autolycus creates a distraction while Xena sabotages the furnace, so the statue at least will be safe while they come up with a plan.

Inside the castle, Autolycus scouts out the place, putting together a plan. Meanwhile, outside, the ever competitive Xena and Gabrielle try to outbid each other for the statue. Xena is the winner. With a plan developed and the statue safe, that evening Tarsus throws a party to celebrate the sale of the statue. Gabrielle covers for Xena and Autolycus while they set up the plan they will put into action the following day. Just as their absence is noticed, they arrive back. Eager to maintain a distraction, Xena pretends to be interested in Tarsus' story of how he became a thief and ultimately stole the statue. He tells the story of how he used to be a merchant, before a run-in with a competitor led to the murder of the other merchant, and the younger brother of the dead merchant (Autolycus) stealing everything he had to take his revenge. Tarsus raises a toast to Autolycus before blowing Autolycus' cover and revealing that he knows their identity.

Tarsus throws Autolycus into the dungeons, where he locks him in with 200 of the strongest locks. Xena he ties to a chair in another room. Xena escapes within moments, and meets up with Gabrielle. They decide to leave Autolycus to free himself, based on the satisfaction it will give him, and they go together to put the plan into action.

The next morning, after working all night, Xena and Gabrielle have the plan ready. They become concerned, however, that Autolycus has not escaped from the dungeon and joined them. Xena decides to go and rescue him after all, only to reach the dungeons and discover that he has already escaped. Realizing that he has decided to go after Tarsus to avenge his brother, Xena makes her way to Tarsus's bedroom.

In the room, Autolycus is holding Tarsus at sword point, ready to commit murder. Xena arrives just in time to talk him out of doing it. They run from the room together down to the courtyard, where they join Gabrielle and fight off the guards. Just as they defeat Tarsus, the Scylosian General arrives to make a bid on the statue. Trying to compose himself, Tarsus orders the general to arrest Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus, only to look around and find that they are gone. The General asks to see the statue that he is there to bid on, only for them all to discover that the statue is also gone. Autolycus emerges from his hiding spot and declares that the statue is gone, and that he has stolen it. The General is furious at Tarsus, and leaves threatening revenge, before Xena emerges and knocks out Tarsus.

The plan is revealed and it turns out that, following Autolycus's plan, Xena and Gabrielle painted the base of the statue to look like the castle wall, and simply hid the statue of Pax behind it. Feeling pleased with themselves they return the statue to the village, and Tarsus is arrested.

The next morning, the village awakens to discover the statue returned and celebrations ensue. Offering Xena and Gabrielle his thanks for assisting him in retaining his title as the "King of Thieves", Autolycus bids them farewell and joins the party.

Memorable quotes Edit

Cast Edit

Background information and notes Edit

Continuity and mistakes Edit

  • Hat problems abounded during the big battle. Watch Gabrielle when she squares off against two of the baddies. A staff uppercut takes the hat off the guy to her left, but then it's back on when she knocks him to the ground. Same thing happens to Xena, too: after her lovely "Come play with me" line, the guy on her right who tries to oblige her has no hat on, then it's crawled back onto his head in time for Xena to paste him.

Disclaimer Edit

  • Upon completion of the filming of this episode, Autolycus' Scuba Gear was placed on display at the Athens Diving Institute for the education and enjoyment of future generations to come.