Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 6 Episode 12

The God You Know

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 2001 on
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


With Ares rendered mortal, Aphrodite has become off-balance and is easily seduced by the evil Roman Emperor, Caligula, who steals her Godly powers and becomes a threat to the followers of Eli. This causes Michael, the Archangel, to use Eve to force Xena into seducing Caligula and defeat him. However, when Xena learns his plan, she turns on him, which leaves lasting repercussions on Xena, who must find a way to stop Caligula and his Cult of Blood for good.


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  • a genuinly well done masterpiece for this season....just plain wow...an underrated gem

    seriously how can this get a low rating on this website it is the best of the season along with-Heart of Darkness, Legacy, The Abyss, Dangerous Prey, You Are There, Send In The Clones, To Helicon & Back, And When Fates Collide.

    this is a definate stand out from the crowd and its absolutely must watch for everyone...seriously, its fun entertainment all the way through with so many key moments its unbelievable.

    well to start with the archangel Michael makes a return along with the now mortal Ares...and the icing on the cake is Aphrodite in a more serious role.

    this episode is nothing but screaming with sheer brilliance all the way through.

    the pre-op Alexis Arquette is just fabulous here and makes the episode.

    the entire show culminates in a spectacular fashion with a dazzling chariot race through Rome.

    another shocking moment has to be when Xena faces off against Michael and then...yes... she loses her power to kill gods forever.

    so just how will she defeat Caligula.

    you have to watch it to find out just what happens.

    its required viewing for just about everyone who loves great television.moreless
  • When the Archangel Michael summons Xena to kill the now immortal Roman emperor Caligula, she and Gabrielle find that Caligula is draining godhood from Aphrodite. A mostly enjoyable episode with many twists and turns...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    I enjoyed this episode more than the previous one, 'Dangerous Prey'. It has a lot of twists and turns, and some exciting moments.

    At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Alexis Arquette as Caligula. To begin with, I thought he was too camp, but as the episode progressed it became clear that he was playing the part more of a damaged madman, and a very unpredictable one at that. It didn't really feel like he was a deranged killer, but his 'crazy' side did add weight to him being very dangerous.

    The main thing that I will say about this episode is that it felt to me like it had too much crammed in. Eve... Ares... Caligula... Aphrodite... Xena losing her God killing powers... there was a lot, maybe verging on too much for one episode. At points I wondered to myself if this story would have been better worked into a two-parter.

    As a result of being so packed full, Ares gets very much sidelined from the bulk of the episode, and until later on, Eve doesn't get that much to do either.

    Then there is the sub-plot of Gabrielle trying to remind Aphrodite (with some crazy hairdos!) of who she is and of their friendship. Alexandra Tydings gets a quite rare chance at some serious acting in the series, and makes for some good scenes.

    And then there's the moment when Aphrodite kisses Gabrielle – it's like they'd stopped toying with subtext and gone all out in some episodes this season.

    The highlight is, of course, the chariot race between Caligula and Xena, which is well filmed and exciting. The way Xena, stripped of her God killing abilities, convinces Caligula to kill him self is well written and cleverly played out.

    So how do I rate this episode? I'm not sure. It's a good one, with lots of twists and turns to the plot. At times it does seem a bit cramped, with so much crammed in, and some scenes work better than others. But asides from that, it is a good story, and Alexis Arquette makes a memorably unpredictable Caligula.moreless
  • Caligula the crazy, Xena the Seductress and Aphrodite - an interesting ride back to Rome.

    There are many many interesting aspects to this episode. Caligula is played with absolute camp gusto by Alexis Arquette, and it is an excellent and unique performance. The one downside of the part is that Caligula, as a character, was not as believable as a bloodthirsty killer - however, he is clearly a disturbed man who is highly entertaining. His induced suicide at the end was both disturbing and satisfying, it is only a shame that the character could not have been developed further.

    Xena is always incredible playing the seductress - she is completely engaging and stunning to watch. The dark side of Xena is without a doubt the most fascinating side (in my opinion) to watch, and, although my opinion of Eve has improved, seeing Xena, in dark-Xena mode, knock out Eve is priceless!

    The role of Aphrodite in this episode was quite disturbing. When Ares lost his god-hood he remained (in most senses) 'himself', but to watch Aphrodite's mind and essence being siphoned away is sad, particularly her loss of memory towards Gabrielle. It added a fascinating element to the episode, however, and the addition of Aphrodite back into the story was great.

    I must also mention the loss of Xena's ability to kill gods, which, although a little disappointing, was not unexpected. The power had clearly served it's purpose in the series, but it such a unique power and definately added some interesting moments to the last season and the current one. However, it was a logical development given Xena's attempt to kill Archangel Michael!

    Overall, this was an interesting episode, with some great performances and a different pace from the rest of the season.moreless
  • A Pre-Transgendered Arquette!!

    The God You Know-Michael, the Arch-Angel, orders Xena to hunt down the Roman emperor, Caligula, who has stolen Aphrodite's godhood and kill him before he can do anymore harm. One of my favorites from this season. This episode sees Xena going against Rome's most psychotic Emperor in history, Caligula. And who to play the character then the always insane and unpredictable Alexis Arquette. Alexis' performance ranges from bizarre, over-the-top, to sutle and strange which is everthing Caligula was in history. Lucy's brings her usual brilliance when it comes to her manipulation as Xena. Also the subplot with Aphrodite and Gabrielle is sad with Aphrodite seeming so weak and delirious. Alexandra Tyings shows some raw dramtic acting that brings depth to character. Adrienne Wilkinson returns does well as Eve but Kevin Smith as Ares gets push to the side for the majority of the episode. One highlight is the fight scene between Xena and the Archangel Micheal but the downside is Xena loses her power to kill Gods, but I guess it served her purposes anyway. The episode ends with a well directed chariot race between Xena and Caligula, but the way that Caligula kills himself at the end is brutal and wonderfully manipulated by Xena. All and All, a superb episode with tons of dark elements and developments.moreless
Alexis Arquette

Alexis Arquette


Guest Star

Doug McCaulay

Doug McCaulay


Guest Star

David Baxter

David Baxter

Elderly Holy Man

Guest Star

Adrienne Wilkinson

Adrienne Wilkinson


Recurring Role

Alexandra Tydings

Alexandra Tydings


Recurring Role

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This episode reveals that Ares does care about at least one member of his family, Aphrodite.

    • Nitpick: If Gods can kill themselves, why didn't Callisto just do it herself when she was desperate to die at the end of season 3? Perhaps it required the belief that it could be done, which Caligula had, and Callisto apparently didn't.

    • Nitpick: Michael says that Caligula killed Tiberius to gain the throne. What happened to Octavius?

    • Goof: The scene when Xena convinced Caligula that he wants to kill Eve publicly had a couple of bad cuts in it.

    • Goof: When Gabrielle follows Aphrodite at the party and they come across the vase, Aphrodite knocks it over and the vase cracks completely in half by hitting the wall just slightly.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Aphrodite: Okay Gabs, has anyone ever told you that you can be like a total ditz?

    • Gabrielle: Aphrodite... Aphrodite, are you okay?
      Aphrodite: Fabulous. I'm wonderful. I've never been so happy... so... (backs Gabrielle up against a wall)
      Gabrielle: What?
      Aphrodite: Happy... (leaning in to kiss Gabrielle)
      Gabrielle: (pulling away from her) What are you doing?!

    • Xena: Michael! You tried to get Caligula to kill Eve so you could force my hand. Now, you go after my girlfriends. That's not gonna happen!

  • NOTES (4)

    • Alexandra Tydings stated on a radio show that this episode was the most exciting and rewarding one ever for her.

    • Alexis Arquette, who played Caligula, is a famous transwoman actor and cabaret drag performer in real life, as well as the sibling of actors Rosanna, Patricia, Richmond and David. Alexis mentioned in an interview with TV Guide Online, "My friend has been the director for years, and I said, 'you have got to get me on before they're done.' I love that show. It's so corny."

    • In the original story they talk about Caligula's successor Claudius, who was supposedly in love with Eve. This was meant to set up the Roman rescue in the teaser of "The Path of Vengeance".

    • DISCLAIMER: Gabrielle's undercover disguise was extensively harmed during the making of this motion picture.


    • Ka Mate

      During Gabrielle's savage dance number for Caligula, she says the phrase "Ka mate" several times. This is a nod to a particular Maori haka "Ka Mate", best known throughout the world as being the dance/chant performed by the New Zealand national rugby team The All Blacks before every match. She slao ends her dance exclaiming "Hi!", just as the "Ka Mate" haka ends.

    • Eve says "I give unto Caesar all that is Caesar's." This is a Biblical reference, Mark 12:17. ("And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marveled at him.")

    • Xena says to Caligula, "So you gotta ask yourself: do you feel lucky?" This is a paraphrase of the famous Clint Eastwood line from the 1971 film Dirty Harry, "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you, punk?"

    • Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, more commonly known by his nickname Caligula, was the third Roman emperor (37-41 CE). He succeeded his adoptive grandfather Tiberius, who had inherited the throne from Octavian Augustus Caesar, after his death in 14 CE. (Xena shortens these 27 years significantly, as just one year has passed since Octavian was emperor on the show.) Caligula, according to various historical sources, was a moderate ruler for the first two years, but later became a particularly cruel and arrogant tyrant. Almost all sources about Caligula describe him as insane, and report that he referred to himself as a god. Various sources accuse him of killing for amusement, purposely wasting money, and turning his palace into a brothel, though the validity of all these accusations is debated. Caligula was assassinated by Roman officers attempting to restore the Roman Republic, but this plan failed as Caligula's uncle Claudius was declared the new emperor.