Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 12

God Fearing Child

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 31, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Xena and Gabrielle team up with Hercules, when Zeus declares that Xena's unborn child must die so that the prophecy of Olympus' doom will not be fulfilled. Looking for some extra protection from the Gods, Xena decides to travel to the Underworld to steal Hade's helmet of Invisibility. It will allow her and her baby to hide, but once there she runs into her son Solan, who has chosen to live in Tartarus in order to retain his memories of his mother.


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  • Two enormously significant events: the birth of Eve and the death of Zeus, are handled with uncharacteristic apathy by the writers in this muddled and poorly written episode. Highly disappointing, this episode leaves you imagining what could have been.moreless

    "God Fearing Child" is a hugely disappointing episode, in line with the multitude of other poor episodes that make up the dreadful season that was Season Five. The episode itself has quite an epic feel to it, which I think is why fans seem to give it such positive reviews, but all the special effects and guest stars in the world cannot make up for messy plotting, lousy dialogue and general lack of atmosphere, which are all key characteristics of this episode.

    As I have mentioned many times thus far (I'm starting to feel like a broken record), what is most frustrating about this episode is that it could have been so good! With tighter plotting, the removal of a big chunk of side-story, better dialogue between the leads and a much better battle scene, this could have been a season classic. Instead it feels completely flat.

    I think one of the key issues with this episode is the poor lead up to the "Twilight of the Gods" story arc. The whole concept seemed to come out of nowhere in Seeds of Faith, and was then virtually forgotten until this episode when, all of a sudden we have the death of Zeus and the fall of the Gods. There was no continuity, and certainly not enough background to justify the events of this episode. Can I please just reiterate the above point: Zeus dies in this episode! The King of the Greek Gods, a constant omnipresent being throughout the entire Xena and Hercules universe is defeated. This is an enormous event, potentially catastrophic, and yet it occurs with as little fanfare as if we are writing off a warlord-of-the week. It just feels so unrealistic and so inconsequential, it is embarrassing.

    Much more needed to be done with this idea, for example there needed to be an entire army of warriors for Zeus combating against Xena, plus all the Greek Gods together. Was Zeus really that confident that the only other God he felt the need to approach was Ares? Or are the writers seriously trying to say that the best Zeus could do with his life at stake was to dispatch a few measly purple warrior men? Again, totally unrealistic, unbelievable and insulting to our intelligence. Thus, the pitiful excuse for a battle between Hercules and Zeus at the end was just a joke.

    Which brings me to one of the positives of the episode: the last ever appearance of Hercules. I may be one of the few fans who had long since stopped watching Hercules. I basically lost interest in Hercules as a series the day Xena started, so several of the references to the final episode of Hercules were, and still are, lost on me. I believe that this is another fault with this episode. I don't believe that by this stage the writers could still assume that Xena fans were still Hercules fans. The series' had gone in such separate directions by this point that it just seems out of place to make reference to Hercules.

    Having said that, Hercules is actually a breath of fresh air in this episode, and my only complaint is that he is alone, rather than having Iolaus with him. Having said that however, he really doesn't bring much to the episode. Yes, he kills Zeus, but as I have mentioned, it was done in such a poor way that I really don't feel like it contributes to improving the episode.

    I will now launch into my single biggest complaint with this episode, which is the Solan story-line. I mean, are you kidding? Who on earth thought it was a good idea to write Solan back into the series? Not to mention the fact that they had to substitute another child actor to play the role. The story-line doesn't work, the replacement actor doesn't work, it is soppy and cheesy and badly scripted. It also comes out of nowhere, and doesn't align with what we already know, which is that Solan is in the Elysian Fields, courtesy of "The Bitter Suite". I have had a bunch of problems with the Solan story line from day one, and I think it was handled the best when Solan died not knowing that Xena was his mother. Wherever else you go with his storyline, the fact is that Xena lost/gave up the opportunity to be Solan's mother through her selfish and destructive quest for power. Probably the best thing she did for him was to give him up, and as such he was raised in peace and safety, knowing the love of a father in Kaleipus, as well as the love of a family and community among the Centaurs. I don't believe for a second that if given the opportunity to choose between the Elysian Fields and Tartarus, that he would choose Tartarus to remember Xena. I just don't buy it. This story-line also excludes Gabrielle, which is unfair and a waste. Gabrielle, in fact, is enormously underused in this episode, and I don't know why that is.

    I also am hugely disappointed with Eric Thompson's replacement as Hades. It wouldn't bother me so much, except that the writers seem to have recreated the character. Xena and Hades always had a real rapport, and certainly a great deal of history between them. The replacement of the actor has lost all that existing understanding and respect, and they feel like total strangers. As far as I'm concerned, they could have removed the entire Tartarus plot-line and the episode would have been the better for it. Or, they could have gone with the original storyline of having Gabrielle and Joxer head to the Underworld to steal the helmet, and just kept the Solan storyline out of it.

    The birth scene of Eve was utterly unremarkable and highly disappointing. Why not try something more dramatic, like getting the girls to head down to the water and having Eve born as a water baby? I could imagine the various Gods shooting lightning bolts into the water around them, with the water spraying up dramatically as Eve arrives. Then, as Xena and Gabrielle hold her in their arms, they could make a comment like "It's our daughter", or "Our baby girl", something to symbolise that Eve is both their daughter.

    My only real praise for this episode goes to Ares, who is very good. He gets all the good dialogue, and I love, love, loved his miserable attempt at declaring his love for Xena. He handled it beautifully, and my only suggestion would have been to have Gabrielle standing there with the Helmet of Invisibility on when he softly says "I love you, Xena". My other favourite moment is when the Fates cut Zeus' lifeline, and Ares pauses, looks at his hands and shrugs and smirks. Clever and subtle.

    I have been very harsh on this episode, but I just find Season Five as a whole so utterly frustrating. So many wasted opportunities, so much filler material where there should be series classics. This one only gets 7 out of 10 for me, and it is very lucky to get that score. Ares redeems it for me, without him, this would be a 5.moreless
  • incredible

    Hercules joins Xena and Gaby as the twilight of the gods is nearing the fore,and as Xena is about to deliver this sends shivers up Zeus' spine...this doesn't bode well for the mother to be.

    from the epic battle in the beginning God Fearing Child had the feel of being a classic episode for the show,it really sticks your eyes to the screen,and puts viewers on the edge of their seat.

    God Fearing Child is television at its best and another one of the greatest episodes made for the show.

    Hercules aiding Xena is just the icing on the cake of theis incredibly triumphant piece of television that carries on the momentum for the next episodes(EB,AUS).

    a great episode in a fabulous season.moreless
  • Hercules arrives to help protect Xena's unborn baby from Zeus, who insists that the impending birth spells the end of the Olympian Gods and that the child must be destroyed. Xena seeks Hades' helmet of invisibility to protect her unborn child. Exciting...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    It is good to see Hercules in the series again (although I wouldn't wanted them to have overplayed it, I always wished there were more Herc / Xena crossover episodes). He has shorter hair here, due to Kevin Sorbo having his hair cut after the wrap of his own series.

    I would have liked to have seen Hercules accompanied by Iolaus, for one final group team up. Or failing that, why not Salmoneus, who hasn't been used for ages!

    Anyway, this is far from the fun team up of the first season's enjoyable 'Prometheus', as Herc tries to protect Xena's unborn child from Zeus, who is convinced that it must be killed.

    There are two notable pieces of recasting in this episode: Solan is now played by a young actor called Nicko Vella, and Hades is now played by Stephen Lovatt. I didn't mind the recasting of Hades too much (although Eric Thompson will always be the definitive version), but Solan's sudden recasting is awkward and doesn't really work.

    I wasn't too sure about Solan choosing to stay in Tartarus instead of the Elysian Fields, it didn't quite hang together for me; and as we all know, the exact 'rules' of the Underworld seem to change every time 'Hercules' or 'Xena' would venture there.

    But I did like the fight with Gabrielle, wearing Hades' invisible helmet, beating up the bad guys. When it was filmed, before it had the sound effects to bring it to life, it must have looked really weird!

    Then there is the scene where Ares tries to proclaim his love for Xena, but can't quite do it. The late Kevin Smith gives a good performance, and almost makes you feel for the God of War!

    This episode feels like a 'Hercules' episode and a 'Xena' episode melded together, as for much of it, Herc and Xena have their own different plotlines, albeit ones that tie up together.

    Hercules is accompanied on his mission to stop Zeus by Hera, who 'turned good' in the final 'Hercules' episode, 'Full Circle'. After so many years of evil Hera, I could bear her being turned good in the final 'Hercules' episode to round things off, but don't feel that it should have been played much beyond that.

    Zeus is played in this episode by Charles Keating, one of the few actors from the many who have played the role, to play the character twice. Anthony Quinn will always be the definitive Zeus (and a very different character to the Zeus seen here), but Keating doesn't do a bad job.

    The birth of Xena's child is a climatic event, as Zeus tries to kill it and Xena, and Hercules ends up killing his father, in a scene that is very well played out. I couldn't believe they killed Zeus!

    Lucy Lawless gives a great performance as she is giving birth, as she had given birth herself only about a month before. (Of course, one is to presume that the King of the Gods wasn't throwing bolts of lightning at her then!)

    All-in-all, this is a great episode, with some exciting moments. Even though there are a couple of elements that maybe don't work as well as they should have, the overall episode is a very good one.moreless

    God Fearing Child-Xena and Gabrielle team up with Hercules, when Zeus declares that Xena's unborn child must die so that the prophecy will not be fulfilled. Meanwhile, Xena decides to travel to the underworld to retrieve Hade's helmet of invisibility to allow her and her baby to hide, and runs into her son, Solan who has chosen to live in Tarturus. After a miserable excuse for an episode "Punch Lines", The series picks up amazingly with this electrifying episode!! Hercules reunites with Xena and Gabrielle but soon they find out that Zeus and other Gods are after Xena's baby and will stop at nothing to kill it! Kevin Sorbo makes his last appearence on Xena in this episode and he couldn't have done any better in his final performance as the legendary hero! I love his scenes with Zeus and Hera, both Charles Keating and Meg Foster are exceptional actors! I found it a fitting end with Hera ending the rift between her and Hercules, and helping him defeat Zeus. Also Hercules and Ares' scene was so funny, you can really believe these 2 are brothers! Back to the main story, I love how Xena and Gabrielle journey to the underworld and find Solan in the underworld. Too bad both he and Hades were play by different, it kind of changes the connection factor that Xena has with both of them. The battle in the underworld was cool and I love Solan came up with the name of the baby. The episode concludes with a tense scene with Hercules fighting Zeus while Gabrielle helps Xena finally delivers the baby. I always laugh at how Xena snapps at Gabrielle while she's trying to push! I think Hercules killing Zues was a fitting end to their story, I mean Zeus killed his father and only Hercules could have faith in himself to do it. I think both actor played that scene very well. Yeah, the baby is born and she's beautiful(actually the baby is a boy, how could they not get a female baby for the part?) All in All, The is a brillant episode full of great performances, special effects and action!!moreless
  • After of what it seemed like the continuous watered down episodes of the lukewarm Season 5, it picks itself up again with God Fearing Child.

    After Fallen Angel, Chakram and Succession, Season 5 seemed to plunge deeper and deeper into an abyss. (I realize that the star actress was indeed pregnant, but surely they couldnt have thought up better plotlines?)

    Although I do not care much for the Twilight arc, it is only due to the way it was handled. The idea itself is interesting, but it was not executed properly. It seemed to have come from out of no where all of a sudden; no progression, hints, clues or build up. That's where the arc overall, fails to grab you - which is a shame, because this episode was a wonderful edition to the theme.

    Next to Anthony Quinn, the Zeus we see here was by far the best. (I will not compare the two, however, because the actors took different approaches to the character). It was nostalogic to see Hercules appear on Xena again, even though I dont care too much for the character. What is dissappointing, though, is the missed oppurtunity to see them catch up. There was much more that could of been said.

    I felt the Solan in Tartarus idea was very much forced into the episode. It didnt belong, honestly. It didnt make sense, for one, that Solan would do this because it contradicts what we see at the end of The Bitter Suite. It was nice from the acting point of view, as always Lawless always delivers - but unfortunately didnt add to much of anything to the plot. Although I preferred the previous Solan [actor] by far, he and Lawless manage to have exceptional chemistry.

    It was again, very interesting to see Hera make an appearance here, aswell as other various dieties (Fates, Ares, etc). The death of Zeus was done quite well, but it still felt as if it was missing something, which I'm still not sure what it is. I did not like the new Hades [actor], who didnt seem to embody what the God of the Underworld would carry himself or look like.

    I also did not appreciate the way they changed his character so dramatically in Season 5, who was a flat out one-dimensional, ungreatful individual. Xena saved his butt twice in Season 1 (Death in Chains, Mortal Beloved) had mutual respect for one another, and very much seemed to have an acquaintance presence vibe when together (Intimate Stranger, Adventures in the Sin Trade). Hades here, seems to have no recollection of that, and seems like a different person altogether. I also did not like the costume change, but I suppose that is not important lolmoreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Zeus destroys Hera in this episode. Zeus is then killed by Hercules.

    • The episode marks the birth of Eve.

    • The Ribs of Cronus have the power to kill a God. That's the fourth thing in the Xenaverse that can kill a God. The other three are the Dagger of Helios, the Hind's blood and the Chakram of Light.

    • The lake entrance to Tartarus is probably the same as in the season 1 episode "Mortal Beloved".

    • Nitpick: When Ares says he's in his "brother's realm" while in the underworld, but in Greek mythology Hades is his uncle [elder sibling to Zeus], not his brother.

    • Hercules and Hera are seeking a rib of Cronus yet in the Hercules episode "Reunions", Hera mentioned that Cronus is down in the abyss of Tartarus. So how can his bones (implying that he's dead) be found above ground? It's possible that Chronos was the one referred to here. Chronos is the personification of Time, while Cronus was the leader of the Titans and father of Zeus. Another possibility is that Cronus was truly killed, leaving his physical remains on Earth while his soul was sent to Tartarus.

    • Hercules comments on Gabrielle's shorter haircut, implying that he hasn't seen her in at least a year.

    • Hera finally expresses regret for killing Hercules's family in the first episode of his series.

    • This episode marks the only appearance of Zeus on Xena, and Hera's only in-person appearance (she appeared with the familiar peacock eyes in "Prometheus").

    • During this episode, Hera mentions her grandson. She is referring to Evander, son of Ares, who she met on the Hercules Season 6 episode "Full Circle".

    • Goof: At the beginning of the final scene, they start with a long shot with Xena sitting on the ground with Gabrielle on her left and Hercules sitting on a log off to her right. When the camera moves in for the close-up Gabrielle is on Xena's right and Hercules is sitting on the log on her left. Other than that their positions look identical to the long shot, so it's likely the film was reversed in one of the shots.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Gabrielle: I had a dream last night. You and I were both giving birth to your baby. It was like it was coming from both of us.
      Xena: That's very nice. You know, if I could give you half the labor pains, I would do it.

    • Ares: I have feelings for you, okay? I care about you, damn it.
      Xena: Aw, oh no... no...
      Ares: I see your face everywhere.
      Xena: Stop it! You stop it! You're so desperate, you're trying to convince me that you love me. Well, go on. Say it. Say it. Say you love me. The time for you and me has been and gone.
      Ares: It was worth a shot anyway. I thought in your present condition you might be a little more gullible.
      Xena: I am pregnant, not brain-damaged!
      (Xena walks away)
      Ares: I love you, Xena.

    • Zeus: (as he lays dying) Hercules, you've never disappointed me, especially today.

    • Hercules: Xena, I would die before I let anyone hurt your child.

    • Xena: (seeing the stuffed hydra Hercules is carrying) Who's your friend?
      Hercules: Oh, I named him Iolaus, but he happens to be for you, or should I say for your child.

  • NOTES (8)

    • Stephen Lovatt takes over as Hades for this episode and a few following episodes. The previous actor, Erik Thomson, turned down the role because he was busy as a regular on a Australian TV show, All Saints.

    • Rob Tapert had intended to do the "Twilight of the Gods" storyline on Hercules, but when that show ended abruptly he had to bring it to Xena.

    • In the first draft, Hercules didn't appear in this episode. Instead, Amarice stayed with Xena while Gabrielle and Joxer went into the Underworld to steal Hades' helmet so that Xena could be invisible while she gave birth.

    • Xena: Please be quiet, just be quiet.
      This was an adlib by Lucy, who know perhaps better than the writers what an appropriate line for Xena during labor would be.

    • Lucy Lawless had already had her own son a month before this episode was filmed. She wanted to wait until after she had the baby to film it because she didn't want her son to be traumatized by the simulated labor.

    • Nicko Vella takes over the role of Solan from David Taylor due to the fact that David had aged significantly since his last appearance in "The Bitter Suite".

    • DISCLAIMER: Zeus cashed in his chips during the production of this motion picture

    • This episode marks Kevin Sorbo's return to playing Hercules since his show ended and is his last apperence in Xena. Gabrielle comments on Hercules' new haircut since Kevin Sorbo cut it for his new show Andromeda.


    • Hera claims that she and Zeus created mortals. According to many Greek myths, it was actually the Titan Prometheus who created humans from clay. In other stories, notably Plato's Protagoras, the gods created humans and all the other animals, but it was the Titans Prometheus and Epimetheus who gave them their defining attributes, and provided humans with the capability for civilization.