This one starts with Xena going after a murderous bandit named Hesiod. After pounding his men, she loses Hesiod because Gabi (who Xena told to look after Argo) screwed up Argo’s reins so Xena couldn’t ride after Hesiod immediately. After giving Gabi shit, Xena rides off and Gabi hears chanting from a nearby cave. She finds a bunch of villagers (led by Philius, who will be Gabi’s boyfriend-of-the-week for this episode) reading a chant off an old scroll. Gabi corrects their accent and reads the scroll herself, which awakens three Titans who had been turned to stone by the Gods. The three Titans (Crius, Thea, and Hyperion) assume Gabi is a goddess since she had the power to bring them back to life.
Xena tracks Hesiod to a tavern and captures him easily, but a bunch of his men show up. Before things get too intense, Gabi arrives and orders the Titans to slap Hesiod’s men around. After the bandits flee (except Hesiod, who Xena has tied up), Gabi orders the Titans to help clear the roads for the villagers. Hyperion isn’t too happy about being ordered around (and has his suspicions about Gabi’s godhood), but the other two are afraid of her and convince Hyperion to obey. Philius gushes over Gabi, obviously very impressed with her, but Xena is worried the Titans will figure out Gabi is a mere mortal and kill her. Gabi tries to reassure Xena, but when the Titans return it doesn’t take long for Hyperion (who hates humans in general) to figure out Gabi has been bullshitting them. He decides to punish her by stepping on her.
Xena saves Gabi by jamming her sword in Hyperion’s foot and they run while Hyperion goes all Godzilla on the village. Philius leads them to the Temple of Cronus, which Hyperion won’t attack because Cronus is a fellow Titan. Most of the villagers cram into the Temple to shelter from the Titans and aren’t too happy with Gabi for waking them up (although Philius points out it was his idea in the first place). In a nearby cave, the Titans argue, with Hyperion wanting to waste all the humans, Crius wanting to leave them alone, and Thea kind of in the middle but leaning toward mercy for the humans. Hyperion goes out to deliver an ultimatum: hand Xena over (so he can kill her for humiliating him) or he’ll kill every human he can find. Some of the villagers are considering the deal and Hesiod starts sweet-talking a guy named Rhodos, trying to convince him to free him and go after Xena. Since Hyperion’s threat included a promise to make a king out of whoever gives him Xena, Rhodos is tempted. A woman comes in to say a bunch of kids are missing and Xena goes out to find them. The kids end up in the Titans’ cave and Hyperion is ready to slaughter them, but Crius tries to stop him. While they fight, Xena gets the kids out of the cave and Hyperion ends up impaling Crius with a stalactite. Xena brings the kids back to the Temple, but Hesiod’s whisper campaign has worked, so Rhodos has freed him. Hesiod, Rhodos, and a few other villagers capture Xena.
Hesiod and Rhodos take Xena to Hyperion and Thea, but Xena escapes before they get there. Hyperion is so pissed off he squashes the two humans flat. Xena sneaks into the Titans’ cave and overhears Hyperion’s plan to wake up hundreds more Titans. She goes back to the Temple and tells everyone what happened. The villagers are sorry for betraying her, but she has a plan. Philius also has an idea: there’s another scroll in the cave that can turn the Titans back to stone. Gabi volunteers to read it, but Xena won’t let her get anywhere near the cave, since the Titans need her to awaken the rest of their race. Gabi assumes Xena doesn’t trust her and thinks she’s just a stupid kid and when Xena sees her and Philius snuggled up on a cot, Gabi lets her think they banged. (They didn’t.) Xena tries to apologize for being harsh with Gabi, but Gabi’s pissed off now and heads out to the cave to prove herself. She finds the scroll, but gets caught by Thea.
Hyperion wants Gabi to awaken the other Titans and Gabi uses her gift of the gab (so to speak) to stall, even getting Thea interested in her tales of the Titans and the Gods. Xena and the villagers bring a contraption she built to the cave and set it up. Gabi lies and says she can’t awaken the other Titans because she’s no longer a virgin and Hyperion is about to squash her when Xena throws a rock at his head. Xena retreats into a cavern and Hyperion tries to grab her, but the villagers spring their trap, locking Hyperion’s hand in a huge stock so he’s stuck. Xena is ready to kill him, but Thea begs her to spare Hyperion and gives her the scroll to turn them to stone again. When Hyperion hears Gabi was lying about losing her virginity, he busts loose and tears the scroll in half trying to grab it from Xena. Gabi reads half the scroll and Xena gets the other half just in time, knocking Hyperion into a chasm before he can waste Gabi. Gabi reads the other half of the chant, turning Hyperion (and Thea) to stone before he can smash them. Back at the village, Gabi says goodbye to Philius and she and Xena make up. Gabi admits she was trying to prove herself so Xena wouldn’t hate her for her screw-ups. Xena says she could never hate Gabi (except briefly in Season 3), but warns her not to mess with Argo’s reins again.
This is not one of my favourite episodes (number 128 on my all-time list), a rare misfire from R.J. Stewart. Apparently, the script was changed quite a bit and the scenes that were cut would’ve made things flow a bit better. In particular, the stuff between Xena and Gabi, with Gabi wanting Xena to believe she wasn’t a virgin anymore, seems a bit strange. In the cut scenes, Gabi tells Xena she wanted to be somebody else because she thought Xena didn’t like who she was. Xena says she likes her just fine and tells her to be herself and not worry about what other people think. In another cut scene, Xena says “This isn’t a kid’s game” when Gabi volunteers to go turn the Titans back to stone. Gabi takes that to mean Xena thinks of her as a stupid kid, but Xena just wanted to keep her away from the cave because she knew the Titans needed Gabi to wake up the rest of their kind.
The dynamic between the Titans is kinda weird; Hyperion is a dick from the start and Crius is the nice one, but Hyperion points out that Crius is in love with Thea (which seems to be true, judging by the looks he gives her). But then Hyperion starts making out with Thea (to piss Crius off) and she doesn’t object, even though it seems like she might have feelings for Crius too. So is she actually into Hyperion, or does she really prefer Crius and is just too scared to say anything? She’s certainly broken up when Crius is killed. In Greek mythology, Hyperion and Thea were married (and the parents of Helios, Selene, and Eos), while Crius was a later addition to the stories, with no real personality; I guess they needed some more named Titans, so the poets just made up a few.
Some people think Xena is jealous of Gabi and Philius in the episode, but I think it’s way too soon for any romantic feelings on Xena’s part. Xena does get a weird look on her face when she sees Gabi and Philius in the cot together, but I don’t think it’s jealousy. She does look troubled, but I think she was just worried that Gabi might’ve done something impulsive just to prove she was “grown up”. Or maybe Xena is worried that Gabi might actually fall for Philius and end up staying with him, leaving Xena alone again. Xena knows she can’t handle her redemptive path on her own, so she’s probably afraid of losing Gabi, who’s the only person who believes in her unconditionally. So maybe she is jealous in a way, just not romantically. For the record, I do believe Xena and Gabi end up in a romantic relationship—and I’m all for it—I just think it’s too early for those sorts of feelings. I’ll probably do a Romantic Timeline post one of these days, showing my own ideas on how Xena and Gabi’s relationship evolves over the series.
- Gabi is referred to repeatedly as the “virgin goddess”, which embarrasses her. In the third season episode Warrior…Priestess…Tramp, Gabi will get pissed off because everyone can tell she’s not a virgin.
- The way the Titans special effects are done here kinda reminds me of the way Apollo was depicted in the Star Trek episode Who Mourns for Adonais?
- The main (human) villain here is named Hesiod, which is the name of a real Greek poet who wrote about the Titans and their war against the Gods.
- When Gabi is listing her screw-ups at the end, she mentions getting captured while trying to stop the war in The Path Not Taken.
- “Don’t be sorry, Gabrielle, just improve.” Xena’s advice after Gabi screws up Argo’s reins. I think Xena is constantly teaching Gabi as they travel together and is probably pretty harsh because she knows a mistake in their line of work can be deadly.
- “I guess I thought you didn’t like who I was, so I wanted to be somebody else.” A line that was cut from the final version, illustrating why Gabi lied about losing her virginity, and why she was so eager to risk her life to prove herself to Xena.