Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 19

Looking Death in the Eye

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 24, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
75 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


In the future, an old Joxer obtains a lost scroll of Gabrielle's. It tells the story of how Xena and Gabrielle learn from the Fates that Xena must die for Eve to set the twilight of the Gods in motion. They form an elaborate plan to trick the Gods, but there are some serious consequences.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • Back to Greece with the Olympian Gods hot on their trail, Xena and Gabrielle go to extreme lengths to save Eve. However, for perhaps the first time, Xena's cunning plan backfires horrifically, leaving all parties in a dire situation.moreless

    So after a short reprieve, we are back to the same-old-same-old storyline of the Gods trying to kill baby Eve. A lot of fans rate this episode very highly, which I find a little strange. I don't believe it has anything particularly 'epic' about it, and while it is certainly a highly significant episode in terms of the ending, I really don't feel like it stands out as a great episode in any sense. By this stage I find this drawn-out storyline very dull, and thank goodness this is pretty much the end of it.

    By now we should be used to the ridiculous situation whereby a handful of immortal Olympian Gods cannot manage to kill one defenceless baby, even if her mother is Xena. However, having said that, I still can't accept it. It just seems ridiculous; how have Xena, Gabs and Eve gone undetected for so long? Are all the Gods this incompetent? And how can four Gods not manage to aim one fireball in the right direction??? If this is a representation of all the Greek Gods, perhaps it is a good thing that we are on the eve of the Twilight (no pun intended). Clearly the Gods aren't worth the parchment they are written on.

    So, again Hades, Athena and her archers, and Hephaestus try their darndest to wipe little Eve (and Xena) off the face of the earth. Again, Xena puts into action a cunning plan, however, this time, she does not think through all of the angles, and the plan back-fires dreadfully. This is actually my favourite part of the episode: the disastrous end to what seemed, on face-value, to be a perfect plan.

    The plan is simple enough; after being told by the Fates that 'only in the essence of death' can Eve bring about the Twilight, Xena decides to simulate their deaths to the Gods to get them off their backs once and for all. In order to do this, Xena captures Celesta, death herself, which is surprisingly much easier than you would think. She is then very mean and nasty to Celesta, and makes her cry, stealing her tears (a.k.a the 'essence' of death) and bottling them for use later on. Then, after managing to free Celesta without making it all seem too fishy; they embark on a wild wagon ride to the ocean, with the Gods in hot pursuit. Moments before the Gods blast the wagon off the cliff, Gabrielle downs a tear, effectively killing herself. The wagon crashes off the cliff, Xena wails in grief over the loss of Eve and Gabrielle, and she drinks a tear, also dying. The Gods are satisfied, and don't even bother to check that they are all actually dead, especially Eve. This is an enormous oversight, however, because, as it turns out, Xena gave Eve to Octavius for safe-keeping, and she is fine. Thus, the prophecy has not been shattered, and the Gods' own belief in their own superiority turns out to be their downfall.

    This then brings us to the nice twist at the end: Ares. Xena really failed to realise just how much in love with her he really is, which turns out to be a massive oversight. Although Ares is a slime-ball, it has been clear for some time that he is so totally, completely in love with Xena that he values her life above his own. It seems the only person who has really failed to realise this is Xena herself. Subsequently, overcome with grief at finding the love of his life is dead, Ares decides to entomb the girls in a cave of ice where they can rest for eternity. Unfortunately, freezing the ladies it seems unlikely that the tears of death will wear off as planned, and all of a sudden we are in a real pickle.

    Although the rest of the episode is rather hum-drum, the ending is really excellent. Ares devotion to both Xena and Gabrielle is enormously touching, and his beautiful speech to her corpse at the end is perfection in action. We now have a very interesting situation where Octavius, Emperor of Rome, has the custody of Eve. What an ironic twist, that the nation Xena has spent her life fighting now has the sole responsibility for her daughter. It is a really excellent cliff-hanger, one that would have been much more at home as the finale of season five.

    A quick mention goes to the elderly Joxer, who seems a lot older than you would expect after 10 – 15 years. There are some continuity issues here. Firstly, Joxer appears to have married Meg, who we know from previous episodes can't have children. Yet, they appear to have two kids. Secondly, as we later find out, Joxer definitely had a son, but whatever happened to his daughter? Thirdly, are we really to believe that Joxer just left his best friends' daughter to be raised by Rome? Joxer loved Xena and Gabrielle, and Eve like his own. Why wouldn't he have taken custody of her?

    There is a lot to complain about in this episode: the wooden acting, the lousy script, the predictability of every battle with the Gods. But the ending is very good. It is again a mixed-bag of an episode, and a bit of a let-down. Thank goodness, however, that baby Eve is no more! I don't think I could stand another baby episode, so extra points for that! It still gets a fairly average score overall from me though, 7 out of 10.moreless
  • As the episode starts out, we see Joxer, 25yrs older.He tells the tale.Xena,Gabrielle and Eve are on the run from the Gods. They go 2 the fates, where they tell them that the twilight will begin in time,the sooner Xena dies, the sooner the twilight beginsmoreless

    The sooner Xena dies,the sooner the twillight begins.How are they going to get out of this one?It all ends in a "showdown" where it seems that Gabrielle dies flown from the wagon Eve consumed in the wrecage and Xena by poison.

    It all turns out to be a very dangerous plan that worked execpt for the thing that noone could've predicted.Ares putting them in a ice cave,a grave. The poison was Death's tears,the essance of death. Ares putting the on ice,slowed the process and the end up in their for 25yrs.This episode while having a few mistakes is one the best.moreless
  • Best of season five? YES!!

    a stunning masterclass of direction by Garth Maxwell,a truely epic episode that sets the plans in motion for the season finale...the twilight has now started,and Xena/Gabrielle and Joxer must battle until the death.

    its truely great and is definately one of the shows best episodes ever made...maybe even the best of season 5(in leagues with Motherhood,Fallen Angel,Eve anyways).

    it is a true spectacle that remains unpredictable everytime its viewed,it single handedly took this seasons arc and turned it inside out making it a true spectacle and completely unpredictable from its explosive start to its devastating cliffhanger of a conclusion.

    not only did it add to the arc but it altered all of the characters lives for the rest of the series run.

    Looking Death In The Eye boasts some brilliant effects and some of the most greatest scenes known on the show...its sheer brilliance.moreless
  • In the (then) future, an elderly Joxer buys what is said to be the last scroll written by Gabrielle telling of how Xena and she tried to trick the Fates into thinking that Eve was dead, setting in motion the twilight of the Gods. A great, exciting episodemoreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    After a run of lacklustre episodes (some people loved 'Antony and Cleopatra' but I personally didn't care much for it), things take a definite upturn again with this cracking episode.

    The episodes starts with a much older Joxer in a tavern, where he buys what is said to be the last scroll written by bard Gabrielle.

    The make-up on this older Joxer was good, but I was certain that I could see the join in his prosthetic make-up to his normal skin down the side of his head by each of his eyes! (As a side note, although we never actually see his wife, going by what she sounds like off-screen, it would seem that Joxer married Xena's look-alike Meg).

    Anyway, he reads to his children about Xena and Gabrielle's last recorded adventure.

    The season-long plot by the Gods to kill baby Eve continues, but Xena has had enough and decides to do something about it.

    As part of her plan, Xena captures Celesta, last seen in the first season episode 'Death in Chains' played by a different actress. She also appeared in the fourth season 'Hercules' episode 'Regrets... I've Had A Few', where she was played by yet another actress, and was blonde on that occasion.

    I like the night-time scene with Xena and the captured Celesta. It is really well written, although maybe does go on a little bit too long.

    The action in this episode is great, and is a welcome return after the previous few episodes which have been quite light on action, especially from the Warrior Princess herself.

    The climatic scene with the wagon, containing Xena, Gabrielle and Eve is excellent. With Gabrielle and Eve seemingly dead, Lucy Lawless gives one of her very best performances of the season (maybe even of the whole series).

    Also of particular note in this episode is the late Kevin Smith, who gives a really good performance of Ares. At the end, he really seems to show his love for Xena as he takes her and Gabrielle to their icy coffins in the mountains.

    This is a really exciting episode, and I love how at the end it is explained what Xena's plan was.

    Although we've already seen them go through dead at the beginning of this season, it is edge-of-the-seat time as Xena and Gabrielle really seem to have met their maker this time. A really good episode, one of the best this end of the season. With the excellent cliff-hanger (which almost feels like an end of season one) I can't wait to see the next instalment!moreless
  • Race Against Time!!

    Looking Death In the Eye-In the future, an old Joxer obtains a scroll that tells how Xena and Gabrielle tricked the Fates into setting in motion the twilight of the gods and how Gabrielle and Xena were presumed dead for 25 years and baby Eve went missing.

    What an episode! You don't know what's going on when you see an old Joxer and his kids, not to mention Xena and Gabrielle are dead! As Joxer reads Gabrielle's last written the story unfolds... This is probably one of the best storylines the writers came up with all season. I love how the Fates tell Xena how Eve with fullfill her destiny and how they come up with a brillant plan. I love the scene with Xena being angry at death, Xena has lost a lot of loved ones but Death just doesn't understand it, it's a touching scene! Watching the Gods go after Xena, Eve and Gabrielle is so suspensful til the end, you truly believe that there is no possible way they can win. It's amazing to see in the end how Xena and Gabrielle tricked The Gods to thinking they were dead, and how all the actions they made throughout the episode was apart of a much bigger plan. It's a very exciting conclusion, until Ares stores Xena and Gabrielle's bodies in an ice cave! What happens next?! Another brillant episode, this season is picking up fast!!moreless
Paris Jefferson

Paris Jefferson


Guest Star

Stephen Lovatt

Stephen Lovatt


Guest Star

Theresa Healey

Theresa Healey


Guest Star

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Elizabeth Pendergrast

Elizabeth Pendergrast


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Argo (I) makes her final appearance on the series.

    • In the fourth season episode "The Key To The Kingdom", Meg said that she couldn't conceive. So where did her and Joxer's children come from? Maybe they adopted, or whoever told her that she would be barren was wrong.

    • Nitpick: In the scenes with old Joxer, the join in his prosthetic make-up to his normal skin seems to be visible down the side of his head by each of his eyes.

    • The actor playing Joxer's son Theon previously appeared in the Young Hercules episode "The Serpent's Tooth".

    • Goofs: At the begining, when Xena is fighting Hades and Athena, watch the chakram. It falls of the hook, and in the next shot its back on. Later in the fight, Xena throws it to destroy the helmet of invisibility, but never catches it again, it just flies away. Later in the episode, Xena throws it at the archers of Athena whilst in the wagon to disarm them, then catches it. When they fall off the cliff, and Xena stands up, its not on its hook, but she has it later when Ares carries her off to the cave.

    • Goof: When the episode opens we see Xena in the Temple of the Fates with a cut on her right arm, but she doesn't get cut until later in her fight with Hades and Athena. The scenes were reversed in order in the final editing.

    • If you look closely Xena turns the baby's pouch as she flips keeping the baby safetly upright.

    • Goof: When Gabrielle throws her sais at the Athenian archers, the computer generated image of the sais flying through the air shows them to have brown handles. But Gabrielle's sais are dull black and silver in colour.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Xena: So, if you're the God of Arts and Crafts, what do you do for a hobby?

    • Meg: Wait a minute! You spent my nest egg on one lousy piece of parchment?!
      Joxer: Please, Meg, it's Gabrielle's last scroll. Maybe it explains what she and Xena were doing.
      Meg: What do you care?! Xena and Gabrielle are gone! When are you gonna accept that?

    • Lachesis: The time depends on you, Xena.
      Xena: What do you mean? It's me that determines when the twilight begins? How?
      Atropos: You must die, Xena.

    • Athena: Thank you, Xena. But I think you know who we're really here for. I have to give you credit, Xena. You three are hard ones to catch up to... for mortals.
      Xena: (sarcastically) That's the beauty of being insignificant.

    • Ares: Come on. Give us a head start. I don't think that's too much to ask, do you, Sis?
      Athena: I think it is. (Xena, Gabrielle and Ares make their getaway) You know what to do. Let them clear the forest first, then drive them to us.

    • Ares: I love you, Xena.

    • Ares: (Watching Xena about to consume the essence of death which Ares thinks is poison) No, Xena! Don't!
      Xena: Ares, you can't stop me this time.
      Ares: No!
      Xena: (Looks around at the destruction at what appears to be the ruins of Eve and Gabrielle) It's over. It's over. Join your family. Tell them it's a package deal. They get me, too.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This is the first appearance of Hephaestus on Xena, though the character previously appeared in two Hercules episodes. Jason Hoyte is the second actor to play the character, but his appearance has changed dramatically since the last time seen on Hercules. The first actor in the role, Julian Garner, would return to play the character in the later Xena episode "Motherhood". Jason Hoyte was also the regular actor to play the role of Hephaestus on the spin-off series Young Hercules.

    • Kevin Smith was sick when they filmed this episode, so they offered to have a stand-in perform his role when Ares carries Xena's body into the cave. Kevin said no, that it didn't matter how sick he felt, there was no way he was going to drop a woman, and played that scene himself.

    • They cut the final scene of this episode. It showed Octavius holding Eve, telling her that he will keep her safe with him in Rome. It was meant to play on Xena's antipathy to Rome, and set up the next episode.

    • DISCLAIMER: Death almost died during the production of this motion picture.