In the episode "Callisto", Gabrielle made Xena promise her that if something happened to her, she would not become a monster and resume her murderous ways. In this episode, Xena keeps that promise and then some. In fact, she actually goes beyond the promise and helps others before she helps Gabrielle.
While Xena is fighting The Berserker, Alti uses her new power of making her victims suffer and relive their pasts. The flashbacks which symbolise the pain Xena is reliving are from the Hercules episode "The Gauntlet", the season 3 finale "Sacrifice II" and the season 2 episode "Destiny".
Borias mentions to Xena his plans for approaching the Centaurs and uniting their armies against the Greek Amazons. This is a reference to the events that are going to occur in the very near future, which were shown in flashback form in the season 2 episode "Orphan of War". Borias's decision resulted in the disintegration of his relationship with Xena, and had huge repercussions on both of their lives.
While together in their tent, Xena makes a comment to Borias that his tactics didn't work so well in Chin. This is a reference to Borias's attempted negotiations with the Emperor of Chin that Xena sabotaged. These events were shown in flashback scenes in the season 3 episode, "The Debt Pt I".
Erik Thomson makes his final appearance as Hades on Xena and Hercules (his final appearance altogether is the Young Hercules episode "A Lady in Hades"). The role is later taken over by Stephen Lovatt in season 5.
The Berserker's pupils dilate when channelling Alti's power. This is the first and only time we see the power having a physical effect on the user. Alti subsequently gets less and less emotive while using her power with each episode in which she returns.
Xena: I want you to deliver a message to Alti: tell her that Xena's coming.
Alti: You are with child.
Xena: Very good. I hadn't told anyone yet. (Borias gapes in shock) I would've got round to it.
Borias: What would you do if I told you I'm in love?
Xena: I'd cut out your sweetheart's throat. (Borias laughs) You think I wouldn't?!
Borias: No, I mean I'm in love with you.
Xena: (in disgust) With me? Have you lost what's left of your mind? People like you and me don't fall in love... not with each other, anyway.
Alti: Your friend you told me about, Lao Ma? Her powers come from denial, self-sacrifice, from the light. That's not for people like you and me. I want to tap into the heart of darkness, the sheer naked will behind all grieving. The hatred, and violence. I'll become the face of death itself. Capable of destroying not only a person's body, but their soul. Help me… and I'll make you Destroyer of Nations.
Xena: Gabrielle... I'm entering a world of darkness I promised myself I'd never return to. But it's the only way I can see you again. My mind has lost its center. It's turning, turning-- can't hold. It can't hold.
Xena:(referring to Anokin who rejected her once she was on the Other Side) I hate the dead. You can't take vengeance on 'em!
Yakut: She must be a very good friend.
Xena: She's the only friend.
Xena: I don't care about your plan. My friend is dead.
Borias: You knew her for less than a moon. What spell have they thrown on you?
Xena: I can't, Gabrielle, I can't. You know nothing would make me happier than seeing you again. You are my light. I just realized what it was that you gave me... a light of my own. There's something I've got to do, something you'd want me to do. I love you.
Shooting Dates: June 16 to June 26, 1998, 9 day shoot
A great deal of this episode was filmed around North Island's Lake Taupo during the mild winter weather. However, on one occasion, the production base camp was blown away, and the day after filming was completed, a flood washed away the road! It's the same storm that heavily damaged the just constructed Hobbiton for The Lord of the Rings.
As originally written, the bad guy in this episode was supposed to be a shaman, but they decided it would be a stronger choice if they made it a shamaness.
When told by her stepmother that her portrayal of Alti was extremely troubling, Claire's reaction was "What? Like I have some evil lurking that you didn't know about? It's acting!
Claire Stansfield didn't tryout for her part. She had auditioned for the part of Morrigan on Hercules, and later Rob Tapert called and said she was perfect for a role on Xena and sent her a script for "Adventures in the Sin Trade". She thought he wanted her for the part of Cyane, because the notes for Alti said she was supposed to be a "frail, old hag"!
Renée O'Connor does not appear in this episode. The opening credits sequence from the first season, which did not credit her, is used.
DISCLAIMER: No Dead Amazons lost their lives in the production of this motion picture.
The Northern Amazons are located on the steppes and taiga of Russia, which is the area inhabited in reality by the Yakut, a semi-nomadic tribe of hunters and reindeer herders. The Amazon named Yakut is a reference to this northern tribe.
Xena: My mind has lost its center. It's turning, turning - can't hold. It can't hold.
This quote from Xena mirrors the opening stanza of W.B. Yeats' poem The Second Coming:
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
The title comes from a collection of hallucinogenic short stories called Adventures in the Skin Trade by Dylan Thomas.
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