Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 6 Episode 3

Heart of Darkness (2)

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 16, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
83 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Xena defeats Mephistopheles, the King of Hell, and an Archangel named Lucifer is sent down from Heaven to force Xena to descend into Hell to rule it. However, Xena devises a plan to tempt him with worldly delights so that he'll take her place. But with Xena's heart, and the hearts of the ones around her turning evil, Xena must maintain the remaining goodness inside of her and keep herself from hurting her daughter in the process.


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  • a mini masterpiece

    Virgil returns in this spectacle of an episode which sees our heroes taken over by the dark side after the events of the previous epiode.

    Lucifer is a great plot device as he is lead to being the one and only Satan by Xenas flirtitious ways.

    it is very dark,brutal and on many occaisons its intene.

    by far one of this seasons best episodes.

    and is very unique from any other episodes while showing a colourful sense of direction much like season 4s India quadrilogy.

    Heart of Darkness,is a fantastic tale and as many twists and plot techniques throughout and is at its worst a spectacle.

    it never threatens to get dull,and always attracts your attention.

    a must see.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle explore the dark side...again.

    After defeating Mephistopholes Xena must take her place as queen of hell but she dosen't want to so the heavens send down the arch angel...Lucifer to throw her in hell but she instead of fighting him uses a different technique to try and presuade him to stay on earth. Xena's mission was to try and get him to do all seven deadly sins so he would qualifiy as king of hell and although he resisted in the end she had control over him but the whole village of Amphipolis were under the effect of the forces of evil. Eve tries to change this but ends up getting chased by Xena, Gabrielle, Verge and Lucifer and she tries to defend herself in a courageous way but she loses and she is almost killed by Lucifer but Xena stops him and says Gabrielle should have the honor of killing Eve so Lucifer gets the wrath Xena wanted him to feel and he has then done all seven deadly sins. Lucifer thinks that it is no problem since men sin everyday but Xena reminds him that he is an arch angel that didn't resist temptation so he became the king of hell and he flew around the temple fighting Xena but in a very strong kick Xena threw him into hell and all was normal again. The writing of this episode was fantastic. Xena and Gabrielle were so sexy in this episode. I loved their acting and the direction and the battle scenes and all the new costumes especially the one Xena wore near the end. Fantastic. Favorite character from this episode : Eve !!! I loved how courageous she was and how she did not give in to the evil coming from hell. Good stuff. This episode qualifies in being one of my top ten Xena episodes ever !moreless
  • Having defeated Mephistopheles, the King of Hell, Xena is in line to inherit the position. When archangel Lucifer is sent down from Heaven to force Xena to take rule of hell, she plans to tempt him into taking the place instead. Not my favourite episode..moreless

    This review contains moderate spoilers.

    Jumping in at the deep end... I was surprised how popular this episode seems to be with many fans. I personally did not enjoy it much at all.

    The excellent (and scary) 'The Haunting of Amphipolis' was a great stand-alone episode, and personally I felt that it didn't need this continuation at all.

    Going by the name alone, we all know that Lucifer is going to end up as Satan, but the mystery is how Xena will dupe him into taking the position. That is, if you can keep your interest up long enough!

    After falling into the pit of ghouls in the last episode, which seemingly destroyed her costume, here Gabrielle debuts in her seventh costume of the series. Like her classic green top, it could be mistaken for one and the same, but the top is (even) shorter, without the tassels around the bottom, and of a slightly different design. Her necklace is also a different design.

    I'm sure this episode looked semi-interesting on paper, but personally I found it very dragged out, and my interest started to wander before long.

    It reminds me in many ways of several episodes of 'Star Trek' and its spin-offs, where the crew would be infected with a disease that makes them act out of character. They were never my favourite episodes of that series, and likewise, this is far from one of my favourite episodes of 'Xena'.

    In what can only be described as the orgy scene, I felt very awkward about watching Gabrielle flirt around. With Xena, it is bearable, and it's almost part of who she is (think back to the original, albeit rather out of character 'Hercules' episode 'The Warrior Princess', where she basically used sex to get what she wanted), who is much more pure, it makes for awkward viewing.

    I haven't mentioned this in any of my reviews so far, but I'm really not keen on William Gregory Lee as Virgil. With due respect to Lee, I just can't warm to him at all. In the past, the producers have gone for mostly spot-on (and often quite inspired) pieces of casting, but with Lee, they just seem to have gone for the stereotypical good looking boy, and given him little real character. I think I would have really liked it if it was Gabrielle and Joxer flirting, but with Gabrielle and Virgil, it just doesn't work for me.

    Then there is 'the dance', between Xena and Gabrielle. It's certainly one of the most sexually charged moments of the series, especially in recent times where the sub-text seems to have taken a back seat slightly. It certainly is sensual, and in my view, one of the only real moments of note in the episode.

    With everyone acting so out of character, it is up to Eve to try and make them see sense. They seem to be really taking a different route with her this season – far from the all conquering warrior introduced at the end of last season, they seem to be going a much more spiritual path with her.

    To sum up, although many liked it, this was not really one of my favourite episodes. It's not bottom of the barrel (there are plenty of fourth season episodes to vie for that title in my opinion!), but it's not really stand out either.moreless
  • Eve takes it upon herself to stop the spread of evil!

    After stopping a Mephistopholes, the archangel Lucifer (surprise, surprise) is sent to force Xena through the portal to Hell. However Xena works to grow his ambition until he sinned all 7 deadly sins. She seduces him, however she seems to lose control and goes after her daughter, Eve, who must unfortunately defend herself with violence and a couple fancy sword tricks. Luckily, Xena tricks Lucifer into turning into a monster and (as destiny has it) he became the ruler of Hell in her place. Once again we are spell-bound by Lucy Lawless' incredible acting and Renee O' Conner's undeniable chemistry with William Gregory Lee. I give this episode a perfect 10!moreless
  • A great dark, sexy episode to reveal some more of Xena and Gabrielle's dark sides - while trying to close the portal to Hell!!

    This episode is great as it takes a different turn to the episodes we have been seeing for ages (excepting, of course, the previous episode).Xena can do dark, sexy and funny so well, and they nailed it in this episode. Also, Eve is not the centre of attention for a change, which is nice to see. Xena, herself, has so many layers to be revealed, and anytime she reverts to her ‘dark side’ is an episode worth watching. In Heart of Darkness, she uses her powers of seduction to the max – and Lucifer, played well by Alex Mendoza, falls for it hook line and sinker. Lucy and Alex have some good chemistry, but the value of the episode is more in seeing Xena’s old dark side again than the effect that it has on Lucifer.

    It is also great to see Gabrielle touch on her dark side a little more; her character development has always been fantastic, but she has always maintained a somewhat innocent side when it comes to relationships. However, this is well and truly done away with in this episode after her romp with Virgil in the temple orgy scene.

    I also think that Xena and Gabrielle’s sensual dance is a stand out moment in this episode, as it touches on their relationship in a way that we haven’t seen before, as does Gabrielle’s reaction to Xena’s budding affair with Lucifer, which is pretty telling! The costumes were really great in the temple scene too, Lucy looks amazing in her vixen outfit, and anytime she gets to wear another costume is fantastic!

    All in all it is a great episode, with a real twist to it. Although it got a lot of negative publicity, I think it is an important episode to keep reminding us that Xena (and Gabrielle) have dark sides.moreless
Alex Mendoza

Alex Mendoza

Archangel Lucifer

Guest Star

Tamati Rice

Tamati Rice

Archangel Raphael

Guest Star

Kara Douglas

Kara Douglas


Guest Star

William Gregory Lee

William Gregory Lee


Recurring Role

Adrienne Wilkinson

Adrienne Wilkinson


Recurring Role

Charles Mesure

Charles Mesure

Archangel Michael

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • In "Fallen Angel" Michael says that an Angel fell from paradise and he and his followers are trying to reclaim Heaven. Apparently Lucifer is not the first fallen Angel to rule Hell.

    • Gabrielle's seventh and final costume makes its debut in this episode. The top is (even smaller) and a slightly different design, and doesn't have the 'tassels' around the bottom. Her necklace also has a different design.

    • The Archangels, including Lucifer before and after his transformation, seemed to be flying well but the strange thing was they never flapped their wings. Must be they can soar for a long time like eagles and other raptors.

    • Over the course of the episode, Xena points out Lucifer's sins of pride, envy, lust, and wrath. She says that he goes through all seven, so at some point he also must have expressed gluttony (perhaps at the picnic), greed (he's certainly tempted by the idea of ruling the world), and sloth (when he was getting his massage).

    • For the first time in the series, Joxer is mentioned in an episode he is not in. (Virgil: "It lied to me when it asked me to forgive you for murdering my father.")

    • The temple where the "orgy scene" took place, was the same temple used in the episode "Is There A Doctor In The House?".

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Lucifer: Stay out of this, Gabrielle, I wish you no harm.
      Xena: That's surprisingly decent coming form one so guilty of indecent exposure.
      Lucifer: (looks down below his waist) I expose nothing!
      Xena: Except your abundant pride...

    • Lucifer: Come Xena. You belong to me.
      Xena: Like Hell I do!

    • Lucifer: Your reputation for wit is well deserved. Me, a sinner?
      Xena: You hit two of the top seven in your first hour here. What do you call that, beginner's luck?

    • Xena: Down here the greatest possession is free will. Take your destiny in your hands, Lucifer. Stay here and rule the world with me. Or you can go back to Heaven and become a Seraphim and spend the rest of eternity taking orders. Your choice.

    • Michael: You dare talk of dirty work, when you besmirch so many souls with your nefarious filth?
      Xena: Besmirch? Is that even a real word?

    • Eve: A great evil is coming, Gabrielle. I can feel it.
      Gabrielle: Maybe that's because you're standing near the portal to Hell.

    • Xena: (seducing Lucifer) You and I have much in common.
      Lucifer: Of course we do. You're a mortal female with a lying tongue, savage tendencies, and a blond girlfriend. I'm a celibate Archangel in the service of the Lord.

    • Eve: (to Xena, when she plans to corrupt Lucifer) Eli says, 'To corrupt another, is to corrupt yourself.'

  • NOTES (6)

    • Director Mark Beesley was chosen to direct this episode because he is considered to have a Rock & Roll video style, and they thought that would be just the thing to give the story the edge it needed.

    • The original script for this episode had a kiss between Gabrielle and Virgil. Both Renee O'Connor and William Gregory Lee decided it was better to insinuate and tease with the possibility of a relationship than to actually have one develop.

    • Adrienne Wilkinson's favorite moment from the series occurs in this episode. It's when Gabrielle hits Eve over the head with a statue.

    • Global TV, the station that aired Xena: Warrior Princess in Quebec, Canada, did not air this episode due to its sexual content.

    • Lucy and Renee played with the idea of writing their own episode using the "Seven Deadly Sins" as their theme. Unfortunately, they never felt they had the time to develop it properly.

    • DISCLAIMER: All Hell broke loose during the filming of this motion picture.