Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 6 Episode 18

When Fates Collide

Aired Monday 8:00 PM May 07, 2001 on
out of 10
User Rating
103 votes

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Episode Summary


After escaping from Tartarus and capturing the Fates, Caesar changes the Threads of Fate in order to change his destiny. He makes Xena his Empress and rules the world by her side. In this alternate reality, Gabrielle is a talented playwright and Alti is the High Priestess of Rome, who wants all the power for herself and will stop at nothing to get it.


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  • Caesar has escaped from Tartarus and captured the Fates, and changes the Threads of Fate to alter the past of Xena and himself. The result is Xena ending up as Empress of Rome, with no recollection of her true past, in this intriguing episode...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    This is a very intriguing episode, one of the most thoughtful of the season. It marks the return of Karl Urban as Caesar, who was killed off in the fourth season's 'The Ides of March'.

    The episode is a 'what if' story with some very dark and dramatic moments.

    It reminds me very much of the second season episode 'Remember Nothing', in that Xena's course through life is changed.

    The episode is full of paradoxes, but its best not to nitpick about them and just enjoy the story.

    As if the return of Caesar wasn't enough, we also get another returning villain in the form of Alti, who in this alternate reality is High Priestess of Rome. I never completely took to Alti in her various appearances, but this is one of her far better appearances in the series.

    Ted Raimi also features as an alternate existence Joxer, a soldier. Although it is great to see Raimi back in the series, sadly he doesn't really get much to do here.

    I really like how – as they do no matter the surroundings of the timeline – Xena and Gabrielle are instinctively drawn to each other, a theme that has been present throughout the entire series.

    This alternative existence Gabrielle sounds to have a really nice life, becoming the playwright that she always wanted to be and living "on a vineyard by the sea". That is until Caesar decides to try and crucify her!

    One of the standout moments is as Gabrielle (at first having long hair) is forced to have her hair cut by Caesar's soldiers. How considerate of them, however, to fashion it into her nice, regular bob!

    The moment as Gabrielle is about to be crucified is tense, and Xena only manages to get it stopped in the nick of time.

    When Xena herself is executed... well, we've seen it happen before, but it never gets any easier to watch.

    The scene is excellently intercut with Alti killing Caesar as she makes love to him – very Greek tragedy!

    Then there is the strange and questionable ending, where, to turn everything back to normal, Gabrielle burns the Fates' loom. I found this a really bizarre moment and not explained; The world seemed to cave in on itself and then we get Gabrielle walking through mist. ...Then up rides (the regular) Xena and everything seems to be back to normal!

    For those that like to play with such ideas, the ending could also be taken as in the end of Xena and Gabrielle's world, and everything remaining in the series is a dream.

    All-in-all, this is a dark and interesting episode, probably one of the best of the season.moreless
  • A truly amazing episode - the most formidable team in history: Xena, Caesar and Alti! An episode that is impossible to tear your eyes away from!

    Everything about When Fates Collide is brutal and brilliant - easily one of the best episodes of Season 6, and possibly one of the best episodes of the whole series!

    The story follows the return of Caesar who, due to a 'lack of security' in Hades has captured the fates and changed the course of history. Rather than crucifying Xena back in the day, he actually joins forces with her, eventually taking over the Roman empire together. This is an amazing scenario, which has always been one of those 'what if' moments - you couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had they joined forces. The return of Carl Urban has been much awaited and doesn't disappoint. He is smooth, sexy, powerful and completely evil, and it is truly refreshing to have such a fantastic villain back again.

    The episode also includes Alti - who has found her place as High Priestess for Caesar - and she is incredible as usual, although in a slightly different role this time around, as an evil and twisted seductress. She is quite mesmerizing in this role, it is hard to take your eyes off her.

    Xena is now the Emperess of Rome - and looks incredible! There is no doubt that the combination of Caesar, Alti and Xena as allies is a lethal combination - and the most fascinating to watch unfold. However, the fact that Xena has not followed her own true path in life has robbed her character of something... and while she is incredibly sexy and powerful, she seems a little lost and uncertain. Which leads us to Gabrielle.

    Gabrielle, having never met Xena, has become the famous play write she dreamed to be. However, in her also, something is missing in her life. We have seen similar scenarios where Xena and Gabrielle have gone on different paths but never met; however, this episode truly shows the incredible bond between the two soul mates - across the sands of time and the loom of fate, they are truly drawn to each other, and destined to be together. The moment on the balcony is something quite out of this world, and is one of the most beautiful images of the whole series.

    The episode parallels many other episodes, most particularly the equally brilliant Ides of March. The flashbacks are perfectly selected and incredibly powerful.. they draw the viewer back to some of the most intense and moving moments in the show: the crucification of Xena and Gabrielle, their journey together, the amazing battle with Alti in Between the Lines, the 'Gab-drag' morphing into the 'Xena-drag'... so many great moments are made reference to.

    However, the episode also has some amazing original moments. The cutting of Gabrielle's hair, the crucification of Xena, Alti's murder of Caesar while having sex... the list goes on and on!

    There is so much to say about this episode that I can only recommend going and watching it - several times!! It is rare to find a show that has an episode that has so much power, emotion and entertainment - and, yet, Xena has them regularly. Just reminds us how special the show really was.moreless
  • A Fate Worse Than Death!!

    When Fates Collide-After escaping from Hades and capturing the Fates, Caesar changes the Threads of Fate in order to change his destiny. He makes Xena his empress and rules the world by her side. Gabrielle is a talented playwright and Alti is the High Priestess of Rome, and she wants all the power for herself and will stop at nothing to get it. An original, dark episode which features shocking and touching scenes between recurring characters. It's a very intriguing concept with Ceaser and Xena are the Emperor and Emperoress on Rome. But what I love about this episode is still unconditional love that Xena and Gabrielle feel around each other even though they don't exactly know each other. Just the way they look at each other in their scenes is powerful and Lucy and Renee are brilliant throughout. Ted Raimi makes a return into the series but gets a thoughtless role sadly. Karl Urban is menancing as usual as the tragic Ceaser and Claire Stansfield shines for the last time as the pure evil herself Alti. Brutas returns as well and his demise by Ceaser is well played and hard to watch. The final moments of the episode are also very brutal and shocking that I'm surprised that TV networks showed these scenes. Watching the sex scene between Ceaser and Alti starts out vomit inducing than slowingly turning into utter bllodlust with Alti stabbing him to death just as Xena gets crucified by the Romans which is strong throwback to "The Ides of March"! All and All, a brilliant episode with a great stroyline, superb performances and touching moments!!moreless
Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Guest Star

David Franklin

David Franklin


Guest Star

Leah Mizrahi

Leah Mizrahi


Guest Star

Karl Urban

Karl Urban

Julius Caesar

Recurring Role

Claire Stansfield

Claire Stansfield


Recurring Role

Elizabeth Pendergrast

Elizabeth Pendergrast


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • This episode marks Alti's last appearence on Xena.

    • Caesar's words to Xena after she is captured by his men are exactly the same as his parting words to her in season 2's "Destiny". Seems that Xena is right; whatever life he's in, he'll "always be scum".

    • Subtext alert! The heterosexual couple in Gabrielle's play re-enact the dialogue between Xena and Gabrielle in season 5's "Fallen Angel".

    • In yet another reference to earlier seasons, Xena is tied and dragged behind a horse just like Gabrielle was in "The Bitter Suite".

    • This episode marks Caesar's last appearence in the series.

    • Apparently, without Xena ever having gone to Chin to corrupt Ming Tien, Lao Ma is still alive and well, and is taking credit for her rule instead of attributing everything to her comatose husband.

    • Goof: As Xena recovers from the visions the second time around, she grabs the cell bars to pull herself to her feet. At every shot from her front, her wrap is across her shoulders. At every shot from behind, the wrap is down around her waist.

    • The reason why Xena didn't die when Caesar cut the thread is probably because people only die when the Fates cut the thread. Only they have the power to end lives by cutting the threads.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Xena: (to Gabrielle) I'll love you forever.

    • Gabrielle: Xena, when I'm with you, this emptiness that I have felt my entire life, is gone.

    • Caesar: Listen, my love. As we speak, our legions are preparing to conquer the kingdom of Lao Ma, the richest province in Ch'in. Once achieved, all nations will bow at our feet. We'll be the Emperor and Empress, not just of Rome, but of the world. That is our destiny.
      Xena: And that can still happen. If you set her free, I will be your Empress and we will conquer the world. But if you kill her, I will dedicate this life to changing things back to the way they were, and I can do it, because we both know I have many skills.

    • Xena: (referring to the play Gabrielle wrote in the alternate reality) It was all right. Maybe it could've done with a few more fight scenes.
      Gabrielle: Everyone's a critic.

    • Xena: In the other world, my destiny was linked to Caesar, and that cross- and I hated them both. But now I realize that... everything happens precisely as it should- precisely.

    • Xena: This isn't about you, Alti!
      Alti: Oh, yes it is! It's all about me- and what I know! Your story will end with your playwright unable to save her 'Fallen Angel'.

    • Alti: I can see into your soul, Xena- where you've been and where you're going. I have that power and I will destroy you. Can you feel the pain and terror in your soul? Secreting its blackness- oozing inside of you? And know this, Xena- Caesar, Rome- all of it- will be mine!

    • Alti: (to Caesar as he looks at Gabrielle and Xena with jealousy) What do you suppose the Empress and the writer are discussing, hmm? Horse-riding? Sword play?

    • Barnabus: I can't believe they were gonna kill you for writing that bad play. I saw it. Could've used a few more fight scenes.

    • Xena: Crucifying me on the beach was drastic. I must have been your worst nightmare.
      Caesar: Yes, well, I've had better experiences with women.

    • Xena: (outside Gabrielle's prison cell) Unlock it.
      Barnabus: But Caesar said...
      Xena: (interrupting) To enrage the Empress 'til she beat the tar out of you?

    • Xena: My Emperor.
      Caesar: My Empress.

  • NOTES (9)

    • In an interview with the writer, Katherine Fugate, she said she wanted to show that certain events were meant to be, with or without the Fates' interference. Caesar will be assassinated by a person he trusts, Xena will be crucified by Caesar, Alti's thirst for power will lead to her destruction, and Xena will gain strength from Gabrielle's love. (Apparently Gabrielle's haircut was also meant to be.) Fugate added, "It was my hope to portray the idea that every step we make in this lifetime is the right one - or we wouldn't be living it."

    • Ted Raimi initially wasn't supposed to be in this episode. Since he had to be flown down to shoot "Soul Possession" anyway, they decided to have him play the Barnabus role. The logic was that viewers would instantly understand that he was a good guy even though he was working for Caesar if Ted played him. Fugate explained, "I didn't discover Ted Raimi was in the episode until I arrived in New Zealand and saw the new script with the Joxer changes. RJ handled that insertion by tweaking the dialogue of an existing character to fit the voice of Joxer, whom he knows so well."

    • The Fates' loom was the most expensive individual piece of this episode. It was as big as a room, and Katherine Fugate wished that they could have filmed from inside it while Gabrielle was kneeling in front of it.

    • In the original script Gabrielle kisses Xena goodbye as Xena is being taken from her jail cell. This was changed because they wanted to save that intimate moment for the final episode.

    • In the script Alti doesn't kill Caesar during sex, she does it on the platform while Xena is being crucified so that Xena can witness Alti's moment of triumph. The director changed it while filming because he wanted to parallel the dream sequence from "The Ides of March".

    • Katherine consulted Claire Stansfield on Alti while she was writing the episode. She asked Claire how she would like to be portrayed. Claire said Alti had always been so dark and ugly, she wanted to have a chance to play her as a beautiful seductress. She said she felt that in this alternate timeline, Alti avoided whatever trauma that made her so insane and evil, though she is still quite power-hungry and tricky.

    • Katherine Fugate was a fan of the show as well as being a professional screenwriter, so she contacted the producers through her agent and pitched this episode to them.

    • Renee was nervous about cantering a horse in the rain because of her pregnancy.

    • DISCLAIMER: As the Fates would have it, Caesar was once again harmed during the making of this motion picture.


    • Caesar says to Brutus, "It's not that I love you any less, but that I love Rome more" (and, of course, he is Rome). This is a mirror of the line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, given by Brutus to justify killing Caesar: "Not that I love Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more." This line was also referenced in season 5's "Antony & Cleopatra", spoken by Marc Antony.

    • The title of this episode is a play on When Worlds Collide, a 1932 science fiction novel by Philip Gordon Wylie and Edwin Balmer. It was made into an iconic science fiction movie in 1951. Its subject is the upcoming collision of a rogue planet with the Earth and the preservation of the human race by colonizing a second planet that will take the Earth's place in the solar system. In the episode, of course, Caesar causes the universe to be replaced by one partly of his own devising.