Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 16

Lifeblood (1)

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Mar 13, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
68 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

After Xena and Gabrielle travel to the northern Amazon village to make Eve an Amazon Princess, they learn that their dear friends Yakut and Amarice have been killed by raiding nomads. Gabrielle takes up the mantle of Queen to help rebuild the tribe and keep them from seeking pointless vengeance. But when her powers of persuasion aren't strong enough to deter them, Yakut's spirit appears to Xena and leads her to a sacred dagger that can reveal the truth of the Amazons' origins and prevent the tribe from plunging into needless war.moreless

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  • Xena as a series reaches an all-time low with this complete disaster of an episode.

    This episode is utterly dreadful. There are no good aspects to mention whatsoever; the plot is as flimsy as any we have ever seen, the acting is disgraceful, it is pointless, and meaningless and a cop out on the part of the writers. I loathe this episode, even more than the previous offering, "Married with Fishsticks". This episode wins the prize for the worst episode of Season Five, and possibly the worst episode of all time. Probably the sole redeeming factor is the fact that at least this one is set in the Xenaverse (sort of), unlike the previous offering.

    Where to start with this one…. Well, a good place is at the beginning. Actually, where does this episode start and finish? It really is hard to tell, it jumps from one moment to the next the whole way through; there is no continuity at all. We find out that Amarice and Yakut are both dead. This in itself just feels wrong; these were two key characters that are just gone, without a reasonable explanation. Yakut I can live without, simply because I found her to be an extremely two-dimensional character with little to offer. She was played poorly by the actress and never had any real character development. She was a cardboard cut-out really. Amarice, on the other hand, was played up to be a recurring character. You expected to see her again, or at least have her death acknowledged. Instead we get nothing. Zip, zero. Lazy, lazy, lazy writing. I don't care what the excuse is, if you have to urgently write someone out of a series then there are better and cleverer ways to do it.

    Then we have Gabrielle wanting to give her right of caste to Eve. A reasonable enough idea, or so you would think. Unfortunately, Gabrielle is a Greek Amazon, not a Northern Amazon. She is not a queen in this tribe; she is no one in this tribe. I find it hard to believe that you can just pop into any Amazon tribe nearby to pass on your right of caste. These plot inconsistencies are highly significant in this episode. If the basic plot makes no sense, then the episode as a whole has no hope.

    Then to add to the confusion, we have Danielle Cormack return as the original Samsara. I have no problem whatsoever with actors returning as different characters in the series; in fact, I actually really enjoy it. But it just doesn't make sense to have an actress who played an Amazon Queen return to play another Amazon Queen. I realise that this inconsistency exists due to the fact that most of the episode is stock footage from the unmade "Amazon High", but it does nothing to aid viewers in trying to work out what is actually going on.

    They have also managed to ruin my beloved Karl Urban for me in his dreadful performance as the cannibal man-thing. Why? He is so bad in this, and he is usually so wonderful. Although it is probably a minor point, it just adds to my enormous disappointment with this episode. To be truly honest (and probably hopelessly mean), if this was what they were trying to turn into a new series, thank the gods that it never got made. It looks like trash.

    The major problem with this episode is the fact that they have tried to merge footage from "Amazon High" into an episode of Xena. Clearly they didn't want to waste the time and money spent on the unmade show and thought Xena would be a really great place to get some use out of it. Wrong. It just doesn't fit; it feels disjointed and odd. Perhaps, however, they could have pulled the merge off if the Xena episode that accompanied it was better plotted and more effort was made to fit the Xena filler to the "Amazon High" footage. Instead we get two very mismatched storylines glued together. The plot is confusing, unrealistic, unbelievable, convoluted, and actually quite insulting to dedicated fans who had sat through "Married…" the previous week. What particularly concerns me is that you just don't care about this Amazon tribe. You don't really care if they go out and obliterate themselves, they are essentially very unlikable, and to complicate matters, what Yakut left 'unfinished' is not clear, so what is going to happen if Xena fails? Well, we don't really know. And don't really care. A huge issue in any series.

    My other major complaint is the inclusion of Selma Blair. So, was she in "Amazon High"? Or in Xena? Or in both? I'm not sure what is what here. She is a bad choice; I don't like her acting, and I think she is poorly suited to the series. And really, why is she there at all? It is not even clear what role she plays in Amazon history. Oh, that's right; she was called Cyanne, and then named the tribe the Amazons because that was what they were called her world. Sorry? It just doesn't feel right. I also had a very big problem with her little romance with Karl Urban's cannibal-man. It is just so silly! Are we really meant to believe this? I feel insulted. He is a cannibal, with a tiny, undeveloped brain. He doesn't bathe. He would have no teeth (realistically, not actually). He would probably be disease-ridden. And he isn't even that good looking (dressed up like he is). So there is just no way in any universe that some random girl from the future would find him even remotely attractive, let alone want to kiss him.

    This episode just makes me miss the 'old' Xena so, so much. It is so disappointing to see just how far from the dizzy heights of "The Ides of March" the series managed to fall in just over half a season. Fortunately, this is as low as the series ever gets. From here on out things only get better, and for that we can be truly grateful.

    For once, I agree with other fans. This truly is one of the worst episodes of all time. It may even be my least favourite episode of all time. It's hard to say for sure, but it is certainly in my bottom five. As a side note, at least three of the worst episodes from the series in total are from season five ("Little Problems", "Married…" and this one). Kind of says it all. So, this one wins the prize for the worst episode of this pitiful season, and, combined with "Married…" sums up the mish-mash of ideas and episodes that was season five.moreless
  • When Xena and Gabrielle arrive at the Amazon village to make Eve an Amazon princess, they find that the Amazons are about to go into an unnecessary war. A series of flashbacks shows how the Amazons were first formed. A boring, messy episode...moreless

    This episode makes heavy use of the unsold and unbroadcast 'Amazon High' pilot, directed by Michael Hurst, filmed almost two years earlier. Rob Tapert had planned it to be a new, semi-spin off series, but when it came time to sell it, found that a number of similar themed series were going into production and pulled out.

    The Amazons (present day) are about to go into a needless war after a number of their warriors, including Yukut and Amarice, were killed. I felt that these two deaths were handled awkwardly, especially Amarice, who had been set up earlier in the season as a recurring character. Now to have her suddenly killed off and written out feels really uneasy. (In actuality, it was due to actress Jennifer Sky having a role in 'Cleopatra 2525', one of the two half hour shows that took what would have been 'Amazon High''s slot).

    The 'Amazon High' clips are used in a very heavy handed fashion, and don't really make for a very pleasing episode. Xena and Gabrielle are hardly used at all (the original notion about making Eve an Amazon princess is just a shoehorned plot device to get them to the Amazon village), and the whole episode is a bit of a mess.

    An maybe it was just were the 'Amazon High' story had been reshuffled to fit in with the Xena wraparound, but I found that modern day Utma's sudden arrival in the distant past not very well explained and brushed over.

    This episode comes after the bizarre 'Married With Fishsticks', causing two weak episodes in a row. I have to say, out of the two of them, I'd actually prefer 'Married With Fishsticks' – at least it works as a curiosity; I don't care for 'Lifeblood' much at all.moreless
  • Lifeless Episode!!

    Lifeblood-Xena and Gabrielle travel to the Amazon village to make baby Eve an Amazon princess and find that they must stop a war instead. Another good episode on paper, but once on screen, is just bad!! Okay, this episode almost makes the Amazon mythology na history look like crap. I mean a 20th Century girl going into the past and forming the Amazons, WTF!!? It's just so stupid, and such a waste of a good actress like Selma Blair! Also Yakut and Amarice's deaths were handled poorly, espeically Amarice who wasn't even there long, WTF!! Karl Urban returns and has a stupif role as one of the cannibals Cyane saves in the past....booooooooorinnggg! All in All, avoid this one, it just a horrible concept and I'm glad Rob Tapert failed to make a spin-off of it!!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • This episode explains the origins of the Amazons. The Chertomlik tribe was attacked by cannibals who killed off (and ate) all the men. So, they vowed to forever be a tribe of only women... which somehow honors the memory of the dead men. In addition, they called themselves Amazons because the girl from the future called them that, creating an interesting paradox. This origin story makes them a lot more like fighting nuns than like women's rights activists, like they were in season 1's "Hooves and Harlots" (where they explain that they live away from men because they didn't get respect or equal rights).

    • Why is Gabrielle able to be the queen of this Amazon tribe? This is not the tribe where she received the right of caste. Also, she seemed to have already given away her queenhood to Chilapa in the season 4 episode "Endgame". Perhaps she only had Chilapa hold her place as queen, the way Ephiny had done in the past.

    • Nitpick: During the fight sequences with the cannibals, you can see the stuntmen are wearing black shorts underneath their primitive clothes.

    • Watch Eve when Gabrielle and Xena learn about Amarice's fate. Eve plucks up one of Gab's sais, drops it in a classic baby game of "I throw it, you bring it," and gives a hilarious laugh.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Xena: But your right of caste, that's a pretty precious gift.
      Gabrielle: Xena, we're all family. I love her like my own daughter.
      Xena: Well, if that's the way you feel...

    • Gabrielle: It was the birth of the Amazon nation. And of their legendary warrior, Samsara, whose lust for blood perverted their history, for eons. Then Xena brought her daughter, Eve, to receive the Amazon right of caste. This is the story of Eve's initiation. And of the Amazon rebirth.

    • Cyane: You eat horses?! You're not supposed to eat horses! Horses aren't food! I can't believe this!

  • NOTES (6)

    • The Xena elements of this episode were directed (uncredited) by Paul Grinder.

    • Michael Hurst only directed the Amazon High parts of this episode, not the Xena wraparound. However, due to the percentage of the Amazon High footage used, sole directing credit went to him.

    • The clips from Amazon High mark the only appearances of Danielle Cormack (Ephiny) and Karl Urban (Caesar/Cupid) for the 1999-2000 season. The two actors otherwise appear in person in all seasons of Xena.

    • DISCLAIMER: Warning: The Surgeon General cautions practising Weird and Grotesque Amazon rituals may be hazardous to your health.

    • Amarice was killed off because Jennifer Sky, who played the part, had her own show Cleopatra 2525 just starting. It was produced by the Action Pack and used a number of the same sets, actors, and stunties as Xena.

    • The flashbacks with Cyane and the begining of the Amazon nation where used from the unproduced spin off series Amazon High. But they did twist the idea and come up with Cleopatra 2525 which was produced for two seasons.