Since Xena must be dead to fight Yodoshi, she allows a samurai and his warriors to kill her. Gabrielle learns that she can bring Xena back to life by burning her body and putting the ashes in a magic spring before sunset on the second day. Gabrielle fights the samurai for Xena's body. She then builds a pyre and collects Xena's ashes. Meanwhile, Xena's spirit comes to a teahouse where other spirits that are against the evil Yodoshi dwell. Eventually Xena defeats Yodoshi and releases the many souls that he has held captive. But, in order for those souls to remain at peace, Xena must stay dead. Gabrielle realizes that she must sacrifice her friend for the greater good. But as she departs, Xena's spirit promises to be with Gabrielle always.moreless
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Gabrielle was both the reason Xena chose to go on in the beginning, and the thing Xena had to be willing to lose to buy her redemption in the end.
This is the only episode of Xena not to start with the opening title sequence.
Gabrielle successfully throws the chakram for the first and only time in the series.
Goofs: Although occasionally the faces of stunt doubles are visible in any film/series, in this episode the Yodoshi that Xena battles at the end is quite obviously a different person than the actor we see for most of the two-parter. The reason for this is that the actor playing Yodoshi hurt his leg badly during the filming. They had to have him do his work after that point sitting down. That's why Xena kills him with such a low shot. Also, when Gabrielle goes to retrieve Xena's ashes from the bird's nest on the cliff and kicks the small urn up into the air (the "hackey sack moment" mentioned in the commentary on the DVD), Renee O'Connor's double's face is quite clearly visible as well.
Nitpick: That the ship Gabrielle was sailing on at the end was beetling along at a goodly clip, but what was powering it? There were no sails oroars moving it along.
Gabrielle: But if I bring you back to life.
Xena: Those souls will be lost forever.
Xena's Voice: Listen not just to the sounds to what's behind the sounds, behind the sounds.
Gabrielle: You're my whole life, Xena. I won't lose you.
Xena: You won't lose me.
Xena's Voiceover: If I only had 30 seconds to live, this is how I'd want to live them. Looking into your eyes. Even in death, Gabrielle, I will never leave you.
Gabrielle: You will return to me, my friend.
Harukata: Would you risk your life for the return of hers?
Gabrielle: Without hesitation.
Xena: But if there is a reason for our travels together, it's because I had to learn from you. Enough to know the final, the good, the right thing to do. I can't come back. I can't.
Gabrielle: I love you, Xena. How am I supposed to go on without you?
Gabrielle: A life of journeying has brought you to the farthest lands, to the very edges of the Earth.
Xena: And to the place where I'll always remain... your heart. So, where to, now?
Gabrielle: I think we should go south, to the land of the Pharaohs. I hear they need a girl with a chakram.
Xena: Where you go, I'm at your side.
Gabrielle: I knew you'd say that.
Xena: I can't take that. It's difficult to explain.
Gabrielle: You're dead.
How come Xena's solid enough to hug Gabrielle but not solid enough to hold a weapon? The writers decided that Yodoshi's magic which gave them substance wouldn't allow the ghosts to hold weapons, since that would be rebellion. Of course Akemi and Xena can hold the sword, so it's gotta be the sword's magic that is letting them. Another interesting piece of connected trivia is that in the script when Xena reaches for her chakram but is unable to take it she lies to Gabrielle and says "I hurt my hand". They filmed this, but it was edited out, since Gabrielle saw through her (no ghostly pun intended) anyways.
The guest actors had a hard time in this episode. Both Yodoshi and the General injured themselves during the production of the episode, though not while they were doing stunts!
Filming Dates: March 20 to March 30 2001, 9 day shoot.
Joseph LoDuca was nominated for the 2002 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore)" for this episode.
The actress who played Miyuki spoke almost no English, which made it difficult to let her know what they wanted from her moment to moment, but Lucy and Rob praise her highly in the commentary. They also mention that she had short, spikey blond hair under her geisha wig!
They had three separate units filming at once, so Xena's beheaded body was doubled by Polly Baigent, who was no longer with the show. She was Lucy's original body double, and had an acting role in episodes "The Play's the Thing" and "Send in the Clones".
It was easier for Renee to simulate intense nausea than usual (when Gabrielle saw Xena's decapitated body) because of her pregnancy.
They strongly considered having Gabrielle die alongside Xena. When planning that scenario, they meant to have Varia with Xena and Gabrielle, so that they would have someone to which to pass the torch of heroism.
They considered ending the series with Gabrielle bringing Xena's ashes to her brother's crypt, but decided it would be better to end it on the boat, showing that the adventures would continue even after Xena's death.
DISCLAIMER:Xena was permanently harmed in the making of this motion picture, but kept her spirits up.
Originally Adrienne Wilkson (Eve) was going to be in the 2-Parter but plans changed. Also, the original script for the finale had a mention of Eve, but it was cut out as well.
So for a show about the power of courage and love, we are left with the idea that honor, redemption, and forgiveness can only be found in death. But what they meant to say that these were the rules for Japan- since revenge is a strong part of the samurai culture, vengeance was a part of redemption in Japan. If the finale had taken place in Spain they would not have had to have her stay dead.
This is one of the very few episodes in which we see horses being killed.
The massive (and patently impossible) explosion that Xena creates in this episode is based on classic footage of atomic bomb tests. In the "Friend In Need" Director's Cut DVD audio commentary, Rob Tapert is clearly proud of this allusion; Japanese viewers may have had a slightly different opinion.
The teahouse and the anklet worn by Miyuki are tributes to the Hong Kong action movie A Chinese Ghost Story, which was the inspiration for the episode.
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