Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 16

Mortal Beloved

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Unknown on
out of 10
User Rating
85 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When Marcus appears asking for Xena's help in the underworld, fighting against a madman who has seized control of Hades, Xena joins him in his effort to set things right.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • A former lover requires Xena's help...

    Marcus (from "The Path Not Taken") returns from the Underworld to warn Xena of the turmoil in the Underworld.

    He desperately pleads for her help. In an attempt to assuage the situation, Xena dives to the bottom of a lake to gain entrance to the Underworld. For the time being, Gabrielle is left behind waiting for her return.

    Xena meets Charon, a delightfully crusty, gruff sort of character who ferries the newly dead across the river Styx, a boundary between Earth and the Underworld. Xena lacks the payment for the ride but since she is among the living, Charon lets it slide. Xena arrives and is reunited with Marcus. She learns that in the underworld, chaos has ensued. The wicked have left Tartartus and have entered the Elysian Fields while the pure are forced to be confined in Tartarus. (The souls were judged after death and sent to a section of the Underworld consisting of the Elysian Fields, a final resting place for the souls of the good and Tartarus, a punishment for the evil.)

    Xena realizes that if she succeeds in getting the helmet back and order is returned, Marcus will once again be compelled to return to Tartarus. Despite the revelation, they visit the God Hades. Atyminius, a bride murderer anxious to return to the mortal world to renew his killing spree, has stolen the Helmet of Invisibility from Hades. Without the helmet, Hades has lost the power to restore order to the Underworld and Xena must find a way to retrieve it. Xena pleads Hades to return Marcus to mortality so together they can retrieve the helmet.

    They dispose of Atyminius and return the helmet to Hades. Xena convinces Hades to judge Marcus not on his past deeds but 'good' that is within him. Hades agrees and Marcus is allowed to spend eternity in the Elysian Fields.

    This is a great story from R.J. Stewart. One must overlook the amateurish CG, it's only 1996. I'd still like to see where Marcus and Petracles (from "A Fist Full of Dinars") belong in Xena's timeline.moreless
  • A brilliant episode.

    Xena and Gabrielle relax in tavern but are disturbed by a girl who claims that she saw a ghost! Xena decides to investigate and gets the shock of her life, when she finds that it is her ex-lover, Marcus! He says that the mad man, Adiminius, has stolen Hades helmet of invisibility and has taken control of the underworld. He has placed the evil in the Elysion fields and the good in Tarterus and is now planning to take over the world…

    Xena travels to a lake that is said to be the entrance to the underworld and after a great dive and swim to the very bottom, she finds herself at the foot of Charon, the undead boatman, and the river Styx. She reaches the other side and finds Marcus and the whole place in turmoil. After being attacked by harpies and nearly plummeting to their deaths, they reach the mercy of Hades, who gives them 48 hours to restore peace to the underworld and stop Adiminius.moreless
  • Who will save your soul? That would be Xena!

    Mortal Beloved was another good solid episode from the first season. Although not one of my favourites, it has some really good points that ensure it is a great hour of Xena.

    This is one of the more dramatic episodes of the first season, as Xena battles to save not only her love Marcus, but all of the good souls who belong in the Elysian Fields. Where this episode falls down for me (personally) is that I don't buy into the love relationship between Xena and Marcus. I don't find that they have all that much chemistry between them, and, more generally, I rarely found the random smattering of love interests provided for both Xena and Gabrielle as all that interesting (with a few exceptions who I will give credit to in due time!).

    Having said that, Marcus is a nice character and very watchable, not to mention a convenient character to structure the episode around.

    The Elysian Fields are an effective set, particularly with the evil souls running rampant. It is a great concept to imagine what the most evil creatures in the world would do in paradise and I wish we could have seen more of it! It was a very neat way to link Toxeus back into the episode, and he was far better in this episode than in Death in Chains. This leads us to the leading enemy of the episode: the outstanding Atyminius. As an enemy, Atyminius stands out from the rest, and is probably the most effective enemy of the first season, (apart from a bitter twisted young woman we will not name...). He really has a very nasty, twisted side that is fascinating to watch. It is a pity he spends much of the episode invisible.

    Although the CGI in this episode is especially bad, it is made up for by the presence of Hades, and the introduction of Charon. Both are outstanding - the old Hades played by Erik Thompson is one of my favourite gods, and Charon is such a crack-up! Charon possesses the very essence of Magical Max from the Princess Bride and is great entertainment.

    The whole plot of the episode works, and despite my lack of interest in the love side of the story, it is a very clever plot which is well executed and has some great moments. Although I imagine it was intended to be more of a tearjerker than it ended up being (at least for me) it is definitely a memorable episode.moreless
  • The ghost of Xena's beloved Marcus leads her to the Underworld, which is in turmoil after a sadistic, murderous madman has stolen Hades' helmet of invisibility, in this great adventure...

    Some fans point to various later seasons as being the show's best, but I personally think the first season is generally very good, with a fresh feel to it, and excellent episodes such as this one.

    After being introduced in 'The Path Not Taken', one of the weakest of the entire season, Bobby Hosea returns as Xena's beloved Marcus.

    Also making his return is Toxeus, the undead goon from 'Death In Chains'. It is a nice touch to see such character continuations, making the episodes seem less stand alone, open-and-closed cases.

    Michael Hurst, better known as Iolaus from 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', plays Charon, making his debut in X:WP. Given his star name and his several notable scenes in this story, it is maybe surprising that he is tucked away with the co-starring cast in the closing credits.

    The twisted Atyminus is a menacing villain, played in a really twisted manner by Paul Willis. You really feel that he is extremely evil and sadistic.

    Then there are the Harpies, brought to screeching life with some so-so CGI work. They look rather flat and unconvincing, even allowing for the CGI restrictions of the time (and on a television episode budget) and are far from the show's best CGI work; However, I don't completely dislike them – I like to see more variety like this, they make a change from the standard evil-warlord-of-the-week.

    Possibly the best scene of the episode is with Gabrielle, sitting by the riverside awaiting Xena's return from the Underworld, is attacked by the invisible Atyminus. Over the commercial break, you really do think that Atyminus has killed her (it's almost a cop out that she struck him with her staff before being knocked unconscious).

    [spoiler] The twist near the end, with Xena stabbing Marcus back to death, is shocking and unexpected, with real shades of Greek tragedy. [end of spoiler]

    A great adventure, one of the best of the first season.moreless
  • Creepy Little Madman!!!

    Mortal Beloved-When her dead love Marcus, asks Xena to help save good souls, she travels to the underworld to set things right. In this exciting episode, Xena reunites with Marcus in the underworld. Too bad they have to stop a psycho killer named Atyminis who has stolen Hades' helmet of invisibility. Now the Tarturas and The Elisen Fields are in chaos. Atyminis is one creepy looking villian, and the actor sure plays the part well. It's also funny seeing Toxeuos again, especially when he was being Atyminis' b!#ch. This episode has some real twists with Gabrielle unconsious in front of Atyminis and Xena tricking Atyminis when his after a bride. I also like how Xena and Hades continue to become more friendly toward each other. This episode also has a great action scene with Xena fighting the Harpies, even though the effects were kinda weak. But hey, this was early 1996, so what do you expect. The episode ends on a sad note with Xena stabbing Maruc to death but this time, Hades sends him the Elisen Fields. Xena and Marcus say their final goodbyes, awww, I will miss Marcus. All in All, a great episode with a great plot and full of sad and dark moments.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Charon: (to Xena) We got everything turned upside down: all the wicked are in the Elysian Fields, all the good guys are down in Tartarus, and now we got tourists already!

    • Toxeus: (Laughing) You ended up with the wicked after all, Xena. I guess it's hard to make up for a lifetime of evil with a few good deeds at the end. Tell me, who had the pleasure of killing you?
      Xena: No one. My horse threw me, and I broke my little neck.

    • Marcus: Nah. I want to be awake for every moment of life I have left to me. You know, you don't realize the kinds of things the living take for granted, until you don't have them anymore. Like the evening air. It just settles on you like a cool blanket. And the sky. There's nothing like it on the other side. You know what I missed most?

    • Gabrielle: Xena!
      Xena: He's in the Elysian fields.
      Gabrielle: You'll be together again one day.
      Xena: We'll never be apart. He's in here, forever.

    • Charon: Who else would be crazy enough to be down here? Mind you, with all the changes that are going on, I could be losing a job soon. Ah-ah-ah-ah! No more Mr. Nice Guy. I refuse to take any more dead people across, unless they got a coin.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Charon complains about people expecting him to take them across the Styx without payment. This is because Hercules had crossed a number of times without payment, either in coin or in one case, livestock (a pig) in the Hercules episode "The Other Side".