Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 5

Them Bones, Them Bones

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 01, 1999 on
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


After experiencing a vision of death surrounding her unborn child, Xena visits her old Amazon-shamaness friend Yakut ("Adventures in the Sin Trade Pt 1 & Pt 2"). There she learns that her baby's soul is being stolen by Alti, who seeks to re-enter the world through the child's body. Xena and Gabrielle must battle Alti on the Spiritual Plane to prevent her rebirth and save Xena's child from Alti's destructive powers.


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  • The acknowledgement of Lucy/Xena's pregnancy paves the way for baby-themed episodes. This episode tries to recapture the magic and power of AITST, though not as successfully.

    "Them Bones, Them Bones" is a fairly traditionally-themed shamaness/Alti episode. Whilst certainly not in the same league as the outstanding AITST, it is quite watchable. I tend to feel that this particular theme has been a bit done to death. There is only so much shamanism that you can watch without it all feeling a bit same-same.

    This episode Gabrielle is introduced to the way of the Shamaness, and fails miserably in the battle of the wills with Alti. I do very much enjoy the costuming that comes with the way of the shaman, but I find the rest is a little tiresome.

    I found the strange stock-footage of pumping blood and crashing waves to be highly overdone and very unsuitable for the episode. I don't really know where the motivation to include that came from, but I found it quite distracting.

    Yakut is not as interesting a character as I would like; I find her quite one-dimensional, and find her acting quite wooden, the opposite of how I felt about Ontari.

    Due to the physical limitations that come with Lucy being several months pregnant, Xena's storylines and scripting are also becoming quite repetitive which is a shame because the episodes lose a lot of their power without Xena's strong contributions. I know that the writers did what they could with Xena during this period, but it still detracts from the episode overall.

    Again (as in the outstanding Between the Lines) Alti was exceptionally under-used in this episode. I wonder why this is, because I find Claire to be just outstanding. I wonder what kinds of reception Alti originally received from audiences, because it feels as if the writers use her more as a convenience than as a highly appreciated character.

    Even though the fight with the skeletons in the mock-reality was entertaining, I would much rather have watched Xena and Alti fight it out in the flesh, and it feels like a slightly underwhelming conclusion to the saga.

    There is surprisingly little else to comment on in this episode. The plotline is sound, and everything works well. I enjoyed the little twist of finding out that Amarice is not actually an Amazon, and thought it was nice that she chose to stay with the tribe to learn more.

    Ultimately though, I just don't think this is an episode that you will remember for any other reason than its catchy title. 7.5 out of 10.moreless

    this is a very underrated episode of the series and i cant ever understand why,its pretty fantastic actually and one of the better Alti episodes that she has been in.

    i love how the eerie vision reflects on the Alien chestburster sequence(i am a fan of those films too)and i found it to be a very revealing episode on many different levels.

    this is another one of the best episodes of season 5 which i recommend to everyone.

    it shows Alti at her most devastating best,with a great plot to go with it.

    this episode is a true gem in the Xena eppy crown.

    it sines on many levels and isnt as dark/broody as the AITST two parter where Alti made her debut.

    all in all them bones is a triumphant episode that really sheds Altis true psychotic colours...and all the better for it too.moreless
  • After a terrifying vision, Xena and Gabrielle visit Amazon shamaness Yakut, and learn that Alti is trying to capture the soul of Xena's unborn child from the spirit world. An interesting (and in places quite scary) episode with some good ideas...moreless

    This episode is a sequel to, and very similar in style, the fourth season two-part opener, 'Adventures in the Sin Trade'. However, whereas I found that story heavy going and very hard to even follow, this episode is much better, with a decent storyline that is easier to follow, and some great moments.

    The opening vision, with the skeleton baby bursting out of Xena's stomach, is really scary, and I feel sorry for anyone pregnant at the time who is watching the episode! Thank goodness, it turns out to only be a dream.

    With Xena weak, it is up to Gabrielle to do the shamaness hocus pocus and make the trip to the spirit world. Even wearing a deer as a costume Gabrielle looks good!

    The climatic battle, with Alti and Xena's skeletons fighting each other, ranks as some of the series' very best CGI work, the sort of quality that you'd expect from a modest big screen movie.

    Some fans have picked up on a few minor continuity issues, but I can't say that they really stood out to me, although I didn't like 'Adventures in the Sin Trade' much at all, so I probably just didn't care enough to notice them.

    All-in-all, not a classic episode, but some good ideas, and the aforementioned skeleton fight is great. Thus far, this season is turning out to be much better than the previous one, which was overall not the strongest season in my opinion.moreless
  • This Title, This Title!!!

    Them Bones, Them Bones-Xena and Gabrielle cross over to the spirit realm to stop Alti from draining Xena's baby's lifeforce, so she can enter the physical world in the child's body.

    Boy, does this episode begin with a disturbing and shocking scene. Xena in pain and the skeleton baby coming out of her stomach, YIKES! This episode sees the return of the Nothern Amazons, in which, Yakut is now the head shamoness. It's an incredible scene to watch Gabrielle in the spiritual world and battling Alti. The idea of Alti being reborn in Xena's child is a very intriging plot and the resolution to the problem is even more interesting. The skeleton fight between Xena and Alti is actually pretty good for a CGI fight. Of course, this was done because Lucy Lawless was actually pregnant at the time and for most of Season 5. All in All, a great episode with a great storyline and a great title.."Them Bones, Them Bones"...so funny!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Alti: I've always wanted to be inside of you, Xena.

    • Amarice: You and Xena were right. What you see isn't always what you get. I thought if I denied that enough times, I'd make it true. I had no identity, so I created one. The thing I always wanted to be an Amazon. You know, I just wanted to feel like part of something.

    • Yakut: Uh, a word of warning. The tree is guarded by an Amazon mystic named Chi'ah. She has the power to see the truth in your heart. You may lie to yourself, but you can't lie to Chi'ah.

    • Alti: Xena's little b****! Welcome to the doghouse.

    • Xena: The ritual of crossing over. To do battle with Alti on the spiritual plane, you must be unified with one who's ecently passed over. Choose a creature of the forest. This being killed with a ceremonial dagger of a shamaness will be our bridge to the realm of souls.

    • Gabrielle: For many years, I walked in Xena's shadow. She taught me something. It's warmer standing in the sun.

    • Gabrielle: (on why she didn't reveal Amarice's deception to Xena) Because, I don't think it's true anymore. I have this Amazon necklace, and it's from my tribe. There's a stone on here for all my sisters. I just added another one, for you.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Buddy Williers is credited as the writer, and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are credited as creative consultants. Buddy Williers is a pseudonym for Steven L. Sears, who chose to use it when his original draft of the episode was heavily edited by Orci & Kurtzman. Sears stated, "This isn't even a comment on quality. I just had no way to take responsibility for any of it."

    • In this episode we learn Amarice is really not an Amazon, she just joined up with the Amazons so she could be a part of something. When the character was created they intended her to be a real Amazon, but when Jennifer Sky got the part of Cleopatra on Cleopatra 2525 they needed to park the character somewhere, so they thought that having her stay with the Northern Amazons while learning to be one of them was the best way to write her out as their travelling companion.

      Xena and Alti were Bad To The Bone during the production of this motion picture.


    • The snake emblems throughout the shaman episodes have real meaning. In this episode, Yakut drew a serpent in the sand as the symbol of the shamaness. This symbol also appears in the "Adventures in the Sin Trade" episodes. Sometimes it is shown devouring its own tail. In ancient times, the snake represented fertility and the beneficial power of the earth. In shamanic mysticism, it is the symbol of immortality since the snake sheds its skin periodically. In medieval alchemy, the Ouroboros is the serpent devouring itself, which stands for the cycle of life and death. Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, has a snake twined around his staff. The caduceus of Hermes (or of Iris), two snakes curled around a stick, has become an official symbol of medicine today.

    • The opening dream sequence is a reference to an opening scene in the movie Aliens. Both include the protagonist writhing in agony and sweeping things off the table next to the bed, before a monster bursts through their stomach.