Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 14

A Necessary Evil (3)

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 10, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


When the evil Amazon Velasca eats Ambrosia she becomes the Goddess of Chaos, and wants to make her first Godly task killing Gabrielle. The only thing Xena can think of to stop her is to pit another immortal against her- Callisto! But can they trick Callisto long enough to stop both her and Velasca once and for all?


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  • Velasca returns...

    After being presumed dead, Velasca returns interrupting an Amazonian ceremony just as Gabrielle is appointing Ephiny as the new queen. The poor woman has just about fallen to her death, and the Amazons pull swords on her. After imbibing Ambrosia, Velasca becomes a god and she's still miffed about losing the position of Queen to Gabs. The situation is grim and Xena tells Gabrielle, "To fight an immortal, I need an immortal." Xena frees Callisto from her underground prison. After Xena promises Callisto a chance to score some Ambrosia for herself, Callisto agrees to help vanquish Velasca. Unbeknownst to Callisto, Xena hopes to rid herself of both Velasca and Callisto.

    At Callisto's insistence, she, Xena, and Gabrielle stop at the nearby village. Xena tells a gathered crowd who she is, who she used to be, and most importantly what she did to the village of Cirra on that faithful night. The villagers greet her admission of guilt with disinterest. Xena is uncomfortable, she seems to be struggling internally. She refers to Callisto as "The soul of one innocent girl who will never be able to reclaim her childhood. And will never know what the Fates had planned for her if not for me." Callisto is visibly upset by Xena's confession, the only true emotion aside from madness seen from her up to this point.

    At first, Callisto tries to switch sides and after Velasco declines her offer, they battle several times. The episode ends in uncertainty and it is not revealed whether Velasca or Callisto survived.

    Become a God or queen of the Amazons? Velasca probably got the better deal. I was not aware that if a mortal eats Ambrosia one would become a walking zombie. And what about her funky voice? Reborn as a God, her acting is overplayed and atrocious, lacking the finesse of Callisto's psychosis. It's funny how none of the Gods materialized in order to protect the precious Ambrosia from falling into the hands of mortals, let alone Artemis whose temple was destroyed by Velasca.

    Callisto is a character that did not thrilled me initially but played as a psychotic b*tch, I must admit she has grown on me considerably. I can see why there are legions of fans that are pro-Callisto. The writers seemed to have been reluctant to let Callisto 'die' and kept her literally under a rock until another storyline needed her again. Amidst unwavering vengeance and insanity, Callisto still manages to have a great sense of humor. After escaping to the outside world, she exclaims, "Such a pretty day for a blood bath." To prove to Gabrielle she cannot be killed, she plunges her own sword through her abdomen and retorts, "Immortals don't bleed and we heal fast…oh, but not in pieces."moreless
  • the stunning conclusion to the trilogy and its a classic!

    this episode has it all,great direction,plot,detail,script,acting,and Callisto.

    Velasca is revealed to have survived at the end of The Quest, and she vowes revenge on Gaby for becoming an official queen of the amazons.

    Xena and Gaby struggle wit the aide of the amazons to defeat her,so they both seek help from another (newly immortal) Callisto.

    Hudson is used to a great effect here and whenever she is in an episode you can tell something big is gonna go down, this technique is used for many occaisons here, Renee in particular seems to carry the episode though as she is being hunted down by Velasca and dealing with help from Callisto after seeing her husband butchered by her in the classic Return Of Callisto.

    but all 4 actresses are fantastic and are on their top form all the way through this episode.

    its truely remarkable and one of this seasons best episodes.moreless
  • OMG

    This episode is worth the money, big time ! Ephiny is involved, Velasca and .... Callisto ! ! ! ! Great suspence, storyline that continued on, good to see two immortals fighting. This is one of those epiosdes that is phenominal and could be watched many more times. Awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome is all i can say about this great showing, my personal favourite in the series, and it was only season 2 ! Well reccommended to anyone out there looking for some action and excitement, because you will not be disappointed. If you are, then you have problems lmao jks.moreless
  • Uh-oh... Velasca is a god... and Callisto is a god... What has Xena done?!!

    A Necessary Evil was an unusual episode, not at all what I expected following Destiny and The Quest. Although they follow different story lines, in reality, Destiny, The Quest and A Necessary Evil are part of the same story-arc, and need to be approached as the trilogy that they are, even though it is hard to find any connection between Destiny (1) and A Necessary Evil (3). Ultimately, you cannot have one without the others, and as a threesome they are a formidable set of episodes!

    This is without a doubt an epic episode. Everything is big: the decisions, the action, the fights, the stakes and the consequences. Although this is a slower paced episode, with a much simpler story-line, it feels very full and busy. From the first scenes with Velasca's impressive entrance it has a good feel to it – she is a genuinely interesting enemy, it is just a shame that she is reduced to being the 'robot' in this episode, instead of exploiting the many interesting aspects of her character.

    I found it very satisfying the way that they tied the consequences for Gabrielle's actions into the theme. The concept of Gabrielle as a target is new: it is a bit of a revelation because, for the first time, we can see that Gabrielle is now having an effect on the world around her, instead of hiding in Xena's shadow. One interesting point that occurred to me is that it was Gabrielle's decisions which she made without Xena's presence which have had such drastic consequences. I wonder if Xena's death had never occurred, and thus Xena been around constantly, whether Gabrielle would ever have done anything with long-term consequences. In many senses, while Gabrielle may have been Xena's conscience, Xena was Gabrielle's keeper.

    The presence of Callisto is always welcome. I really love Callisto. I love watching her; her mannerisms, her attitude, her outstanding dialog, she is just brilliant tv. What I especially liked about this episode too, is that Xena's decision to use the 'services' of Callisto has created another rift between Xena and Gabrielle. Later on we see how this all snow-balls into the relationship destroying fight that is solved in The Bitter Suite. At this point it is fairly unusual to see the two "having words", and does not bode so well for the future.

    The main noteworthy scenes in this episode are the impressive fight in the canyon, and the emotional speech by Xena in the village. I thought that the speech was an unusual inclusion, which made sense at the end, but it was an effective device which shed a little more light on the character that is Callisto. I do think that it could have been played upon a little more, but the reaction from Xena, Callisto, the villagers and Gabrielle was perfect – to the village, the speech meant nothing; Gabrielle's reaction is pride and emotion at what she sees as Xena's courage; to Xena the speech is what she needs to do to get Callisto on side… but Callisto? Who knows what is happening in that twisted mind.

    Of the three episodes, Destiny is by far the outstanding one. The Quest and A Necessary Evil are great episodes, but cannot compare to Destiny. All are enjoyable and prove just what a strong season that two was – anyone who says otherwise is kidding.moreless
  • Velasca is still alive, and now immortal, and hunting down Gabrielle for taking the place of Amazon Queen from her. Xena decides that the only way to defeat Velasca is to make a deal with another immortal – Callisto. A reasonable ending to this story arc.moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This episode serves as a conclusion to the arc that started in 'Destiny' and continued in 'The Quest', and also takes in the 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys' episode 'Surprise'.

    The series at this point feels more to be like a serial, with the story continuing on from week to week.

    There are multiple questions arising as to why Xena decides that Callisto is the only one to help them defeat Velasca. Although she says that they haven't got time to find Hercules, surely taking the time to find him would be better than placing their bets with Psycho Barbie Callisto. (Not to mention, that they often reference Hercules so presumably bump into him quite regularly). But it's another of those cases where it's not wise to pick holes, else there would be no story!

    The story is reasonable, although does not match the great heights set by 'Destiny'. But at least we get to see Xena back in action, after Lucy Lawless was written out for a few episodes after her back injury.

    The best scene of the episode by far is the nighttime camp fire scene between Gabrielle and Callisto, where we get to see Callisto at her cruelest, taunting Gabrielle about Perdicus' death.

    The scenes of the volcano lava are quite evidentially stock archive footage, and the whole scene with the bridge over the river of lava isn't one of the season's most impressive effects (although it does the job, I suppose).

    At the end of the episode, Velasca and Callisto are both seemingly dead (or at least, gone to a place where they won't be coming back from). However, this is far from the last we'll see of Callisto. Although I enjoyed this story arc, I think at the same time that Callisto was better as a mortal, on the same footing as Xena and thus an evenly-matched enemy.moreless
Jodie Dorday

Jodie Dorday


Guest Star

Melinda Clarke

Melinda Clarke


Guest Star

Mark Webley

Mark Webley


Guest Star

Danielle Cormack

Danielle Cormack


Recurring Role

Hudson Leick

Hudson Leick


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This is the first episode of the show that Joxer and Callisto have not starred in together since they first appeared together on "Callisto" (excluding "The Greater Good", where only a silhouette of her appears performed by a body double).

    • Even though Callisto is now immortal and cannot be killed, she is scarred from the Hercules episode "Surprise" from hitting the burning tree, which came after she had became immortal. This can be considered continuity with the Hercules movie Hercules and the Circle of Fire, where Hercules had once wounded his immortal mentor Chiron and the wound never healed. It was established that this happened if one immortal wounded another.

    • Nitpick: At the end of the lava pit scene, right after Xena says 'let's go,' there's a shot of Xena and Gabrielle looking down the cliff. Those two are definitely not Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor.

    • Goof: Pay attention when Xena, Gabrielle and Callisto arrive at the rockslide site. Gabrielle accidentally hits a 'rock' with her staff and it makes an interesting hollow sound.

    • Goof: In the shots when Velasca pulls out the Ambrosia from her pouch it and when she hold it up to show everyone the Ambrosia is two different shapes in each shot. Then in the next shot it is a different shape yet again.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Xena: Look, Gabrielle, I know how much this hurts you.
      Gabrielle: No, you don't! Every time I close my eyes, I hear her voice! I hear Perdicus scream. Now, I have to live with that till the day I die.

    • Callisto: Now, do we stick Gabrielle out like the sacrificial lamb that she is, or are we to trust that she won't be running?

    • Gabrielle: Xena! Are you all right?
      Xena: Oh yeah, I'm fine!
      Callisto: Oh, me too! Thanks for asking. But then, you've never really cared for me, have you?
      Gabrielle: You're here. It wasn't my idea.
      Callisto: Oh, no no, of course not! How've you been? Any new husbands since the last one I killed?

    • Gabrielle: Does an Amazon Queen beat a warrior princess?
      Xena: Do you really want to find out?

    • Gabrielle: Can I ask you something?
      Callisto: All right, we both know how much I love chit-chat.
      Gabrielle: When we were at the village, and Xena was talking about Cirra...did you feel anything?
      Callisto: My goodness, are you trying to figure me out? I'm flattered.
      Gabrielle: Answer me. Or are you afraid?

    • Callisto: Such a pretty day for a blood bath.

    • Velasca: You must have a death wish.
      Callisto: You know, it's funny, I think I do.

    • Ephiny: Shouldn't be a problem. I think I'm high on her list of things to do. Xena, that arm's dislocated.
      Xena: Ah, yeah. (Snaps it back into place) All better now. See?
      Ephiny: Yeah.

    • Xena: Callisto, I didn't come here for this.
      Callisto: Well, then, you shouldn't have come at all.
      Xena: You may be immortal, but I can still do damage. How'd you like to spend eternity in five pieces?

    • Velasca: Three heartbeats. Xena and Gabrielle have a friend. I know where you are, Gabrielle. Your heart just started beating faster. I'll quiet it down, soon enough.

    • Callisto: Let's play a game, shall we? I'll answer your question. If you answer mine.
      Gabrielle: All right.
      Callisto: What did I feel when Xena confessed her crimes? Well, the problem is, Gabrielle, I never feel anything. I mean, bits and pieces here and there, but nothing solid. Think back to when you were a little girl, and all you knew was your mother and your sister. And all of your faith revolved around them. Now kill them. My turn.
      Callisto:When I sliced open your husband, how long did it take him to die?
      (Gabrielle runs away, clearly distraught, while Callisto laughs. Xena approaches as Gabrielle runs past)
      Xena:There's a path out of the mountains... what's wrong with her?
      Callisto: We were playing a game of truth or dare. She's not very good at it.

    • Callisto: Here comes trouble.

    • Gabrielle: Xena, do you think that, deep down, Callisto feels sorry for the things that she's done?
      Xena: No.
      Gabrielle: I do. I have to or I can't forgive her. And if I can't forgive her, I can't move on. Goodbye, Callisto.

    • Velasca: You're all fools! That mask was mine! By rites of the Amazon, that mask was mine! Hello, Gabrielle. Thought I was dead, didn't you?

  • NOTES (2)