Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 7

Intimate Stranger (1)

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 11, 1996 on

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
88 votes
  • a great follow up to the acclaimed Return Of Callisto,and the best of any body swap episodes.

    Intimate Stranger is exactly that,an intimate portrayal of the warrior princess as she does an inside battle with the fantasticfoe Callisto from the inside,and it is indeed a strange and surreal tale because of this...but all for the better of the episode.
    Intimate Stranger is skillfully directed,and very very well written,to make this work as one of the greatest episodes of this show ever to be made.
    Return Of Callisto is an unbeatable gem but this episode certainly comes close to tht standard on many many occaisons.
    Lucy and Hudson have played off each other brillaintly in their past two episodes,but nowe they have to play each others characters as they swap bodies,this technique has made them show an understanding for each other and shows how Xena feels for Gaby,and vice versa for Callisto as Xena discovers the level of anger she has for her.
    Intimate Stranger is beyond brilliance and certainly is one of the best of its kind in the best seasons of the show.
    a true corker of an episode.
  • Xena and Callisto 'switch' bodies...

    Xena and Gabrielle are trailing the army of Callisto in an attempt to bring them to justice; not too far behind Joxer follows. Xena is having nightmares and at first assumes she is harboring guilt over not saving Callisto but later suspects Ares is sending the dreams to her. During one such dream, Xena travels to Tartarus where she confronts Callisto. Ares has sided with Callisto and agrees to exchange Xena's soul with Callisto's body and vice versa. He now has the warrior he always wanted and intends to use the 'situation' to his advantage but "Callisto/Xena" has other plans.

    Xena in Callisto's form convinces Hades to grant her chance to right the situation and gives her only one full day. "Xena/Callisto" eventually gets Gabrielle and Joxer to accept she is Xena though the physical appearance continues to unnerve them. Knowing that "Xena/Callisto" will manage to escape the underworld, "Callisto/Xena" whets Gabrielle's revenge for the death of Perdicus. "Callisto/Xena" also maims Argo so "Xena/Callisto" will have the painful decision to put the horse down.

    Callisto's original plan has now come full circle. Instead of impersonating Xena to defame her, she now is Xena. She intends to kill off the entire village of Amphipolis as revenge for Xena burning her village, which killed her family. During a battle, "Xena/Callisto" finally confronts "Callisto/Xena" but her time begins to run out but having taken precaution by arming herself with a poison dart strikes her with it. Both arrive in Tartarus, battle again and by throwing herself against a big rock, "Xena/Callisto" returns to the mortal world. She believes she will have to accept "being" Callisto.

    You would think that by flinging yourself against a big rock everyone would be able to get out of Tartartus... However, if "Callisto/Xena" is sent back to Tartarus when her time runs out, how did she get out again? Strange… Xena as Callisto/Callisto as Xena is a bit tedious to watch and even more tedious to explain. I have never been a big fan of movies or shows where characters switch bodies. For one thing, it's been done too many times and for this episode, it's not very convincing. Callisto as Xena is less psychotic, more evil. I don't think Callisto would have injured Xena's horse or even slit the throat of Theodoras.

    One surprise was that Xena awakens Callisto's guilt about her killing sprees; Callisto murdered just as mercilessly as Xena had done. The body double for Callisto was well cast and only slightly detectable during one fight scene in the woods.

    This episode was enjoyable with some laughs. Joxer's character seems to be part of the regular cast and actually adds to the storyline.
  • Callisto choreographs a switch of bodies and it is executed in perfect Xena style - an fantastic episode which showcases the outstanding acting talents of Lucy and Hudson.

    Intimate Stranger is a very clever and well executed episode. Although the plot is a little shaky, it wins points for all of the same reasons that the previous episode did: as a tribute to the outstanding acting skills of Lucy, and in this case, Hudson.

    The switch was designed to serve a clear purpose: to replace Lucy while she was recovering from her riding accident, but this episode stands alone as a top episode of Xena. From start to finish, the whole episode works. In parts, it feels like it shouldn't (ie. Callisto's intention of burning the whole of Amphipolis) but the leading ladies are so outstanding playing each other, that those scenes overshadown any lesser parts to the episode.

    It is hard to decide who is more convincing playing the other, but for once I feel I have to give the award to Hudson - her Xena impersonation was absolutely spot on. Without even trying, I could see that she was Xena on the inside, and it is quite remarkable to watch. However, Lucy is outstanding also, and the only reason that she is slightly less convincing is because Callisto, as a character, is so much harder to play. Xena has a presence about her that is easy to see, but Callisto is so random and her mannerisms vary so much, that I think it would be almost impossible for anyone portray her perfectly other than Hudson. Having said that, Lucy is exceptional, and for most of the episode she really is Callisto.

    The episode starts so solidly, with the brilliant opening dream sequences. I like how they tied the themes of dreams into the episode, because it provided a solid backdrop to the episode. I felt that Joxer was a little out of place in this episode, and didn't really belong in such a serious and meaningful episode; Gabrielle, on the other hand, was perfect, and it is a shame that she wasn't used more.

    This episode, however, is about guilt. What I like about this episode, and about the guilt theme in general, is that Xena killed Callisto for Gabrielle. Xena had proved, in the past (ie. "Callisto"), that she wanted to give Callisto a chance to change. She wanted her tried for her crimes and punished, but still given the opportunity to change her ways. However, Xena's love for Gabrielle led her to allow Callisto to die, so that Gabrielle could feel that Perdicus had been avenged. Xena knew that Gabrielle was unable to do it herself, so Xena saw it as her duty to kill Callisto. Where the difficulty lies is in motive vs means. Did Xena actually execute Callisto? Was allowing Callisto to die the same as killing her with her own hands? And, of course, the most difficult question of all: could Callisto have changed?

    The answer is, of course, no. This however, does not make the guilt any easier to live with. Xena lives, and suffers, in a very difficult situation. She is torn between doing what she thinks (in her heart) is right, between what the code she now lives by calls for her to do, and the action that her love and loyalty to her best friend and soul mate expects of her. The beauty of Xena lies in managing this quandary so believably, and so heart wrenchingly. Callisto has provided the ultimate challenge to Xena: physically, mentally and emotionally, in essence, the ultimate foe. In this way, she can be compared to Ares.

    For an episode that I have given a 9 out of 10 to, I feel like I should have more to say. Instead I will wrap it up by saying that this episode should be appreciated for the sheer brilliance of the stars of the show - while this episode won't get picked as a favourite, it deserves a special mention as a highlight of season 2.
  • After allowing Callisto to die, Xena is suffering terrible nightmares. But they are more than just bad dreams, as Ares teams up with Callisto in a plot for her to swap bodies with Xena, allowing her to escape the Underworld. An interesting episode...

    After the comic capers in the previous episode, 'Warrior... Princess... Tramp', here we return to the Callisto story arc, begun two episodes ago in 'Return of Callisto'.

    Hudson Leick playing Callisto in Xena's body, and Lucy Lawless playing Xena in Callisto's body, do very well, with each picking up little speech and movement traits from the other to make the swap seem all the more realistic.

    I like the scene where Callisto really toys with Gabrielle, psyching her up and almost turning her into a killing machine. The fact that she attaches her breast dagger to the end of Gabrielle's staff is quite symbolic, as it is the same one that Gabrielle bought only for (the real) Xena to confiscate it from her way back in 'Dreamworker'.

    Joxer doesn't get all that much to do in this episode, but does show that behind all the goofiness he does have a good heart, as he tries to save Argo from Xena, thinking her to be Callisto (keeping up here?).

    As is well known amongst fans of the series, the outcome of this episode was hastily reworked for Xena to remain in Callisto's body, after Lucy Lawless injured her pelvis whist filming a skit for America's 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' (a quite ironic injury, as it was far worse than any injury Lawless suffered actually filming 'Xena'!). But the swap was so well executed that unknowing viewers could be forgiven for thinking that it had been planned all along.
  • When Xena was Callis..., No When Callsito was...?

    Intimate Stranger-Callisto makes a bargain with Ares, from Tarturus, to switch bodies with Xena, sending Xena into Tarturus and freeing Callisto. Xena, in Callisto's form, makes her own bargain with Hades, to make things right but the only problem is...she has one day to fix it.

    I love this episode!!! Body switching episode are so great, but only if the 2 actors play each other characters without making it look forced and weak. Thank God both Hudson Leick and Lucy Lawless are terrific actresses!! Callisto returns from the grave but she's not alone, Ares helps her switch bodies Xena and so the chaos begins. It is exciting watching these 2 actresses play their opposites, you actually can see Xena in Callisto's body and so with Callisto. The way Callisto plays with Gabrielle's head as Xena is great and seeing Xena so vunerable in Callisto's body is well-written and acted. I love the fight scene between the 2 of them in the woods, and how the episode ended. Hudson makes a good Xena and it's nice the writers wanted to keep her for the next episode as Xena. All in All, such a great episode thanks to the acting skills of 2 great actors.
  • Loved the body switch

    When Callisto and Xena switch bodies, the actresses do an incredible job of portraying each other. Well in my opinion anyway. The way Lawless and the actress playing Callisto (forgot her name) acted out each other's emotions and way of speaking made you feel as though Xena really was in Callisto's body and vice versa, not like an actress was pretending to be Xena, etc. It was pretty tight and one of my favorites.
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