XENA - Warrior Princess - 1.09 Death in Chains

XENA Warrior Princess
Episode 1.09 DEATH IN CHAINS

Original Airdate: 11/13/1995
Filmed in New Zealand in October 1995

Story by Babs Greyhosky & Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster

Teleplay by Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster

Directed by Charles Siebert
Developed by R.J. Stewart
Created by John Schulian & Robert Tapert

Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Renee O'Connor (Gabrielle)

Guest Stars:
Kate Hodge (Celesta)
Ray Henwood (Sisyphus),
Leslie Wing (Karas),
Kieren Hutchison (Talus),
Erik Thomson (Hades)
Wayne England (Wounded Man)
Chris Graham (Toxeus)
Kelly Greene (Guard)
Gordon Hatfield (Seerus),
Paul McLaren (Streptus),
Beryl Te Wiata (Old Woman),
Allan Wilkins (Thug)



The character of the warrior princess Xena (portrayed by Lucy Lawless) first appeared on the popular Pacific Renaissance series Hercules - The Legendary Journeys.

As the recurring character of Xena proved to be very popular, a spin-off show around her was created. Xena - Warrior Princess proved to be just as popular and successful as Hercules, if not more so, and it was one of the first television series with a strong female leading character.

Xena had chosen to be a warrior after her hometown Amphipolis had been raided when she was a young girl and her younger brother Lyceus had been killed in an attempt to defend it. After becoming very skilled as a warrior and much feared Xena became the leader of a ruthless and invincible army. Her personal code that prohibited the killing of women and children eventually led to a confrontation with her first lieutenant. She lost a challenge and was forced to leave. She found support from Hercules who pointed her to the path of the hero.

In the course of the series Xena - Warrior Princess the hero meets a young compassionate yet adventures woman named Gabrielle (Rene O'Connor) who wishes to travel with her. Gabrielle becomes a loyal friend who Xena can turn to for support and advice. The show chronicles the adventures of the two women and how they change over time.

Note: Kieren's name is sometimes listed as credit for other characters on Xena, but his only appearance is in Death in Chains. However, there is a flashback with him in the episode Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards - when Gabrielle is telling about her adventures with Celesta and Sisyphus. And in the episode Is there a Doctor in the House Gabrielle has a brush with death and later says that she saw Talus who said hello to her when they met on the Elysian Fields.

In Death in Chains Kieren Hutchison guest stars as Talus, a young man who helps Gabrielle.


King Sisyphus captures Celesta, the harbringer of death, to prevent his own death. If she is not freed within a few hours her eternal flame will burn out and no one on earht will be able to die anymore. That would mean eternal damnation for all mankind. Hades, God of the Underworld and Celesta's brother, asks the warrior princess Xena to rescue Celesta.

On the way to Sisyphus' castle, Xena and her friend Gabrielle encounter people who have been wounded by a rock slide. Their suffering makes the importance of their task even more obvious. While she is trying to help the injured, Gabrielle encounters a compassionate young man by the name of Talus. He distracts a wounded man by telling him a story while attending to his injuries. Gabrielle is very impressed. She tells Talus about Celesta's capture by Sisyphus. Because he grew up in the castle - his mother had been working for the king - Talus offers to take the two women there.

When they are fetching water from a nearby pond, Gabrielle is attacked by Toxeus. Toxeus is a warlord who has challenged Xena to a fight and lost - but due to Celesta's capture he cannot die. Xena comes to the rescue and traps Toxeus under a big tree branch.

Back in the castle Celesta's candle is already burning low. Sisyphus' wife Karas is very concerned. She is not convinced that they are doing the right thing.

Toxeus manages to free himself eventually and returns to his band of outlaws. He convinces his men, who thought him dead, that they are immortal now and they agree to help him to prevent Xena's rescue of Celesta - so they can live forever.

Gabrielle is quite taken with Talus and tells Xena how great she thinks he is. The warrior princess is glad that her friend will have company. Xena has decided to ride on to the castle alone and sends Gabrielle and Talus to a nearby hospital to help. Toxeus and his men watch as Xena and her companions split up. The warlord sends two men after her, while the rest of his band follows Gabrielle and Toxeus.

Soon Xena notices her pursuers. She waits for them and knocks them out. Then she rides on to the castle. She sneaks inside and has no problem knocking out a guard.

At the hospital an old woman tells Gabrielle that touching Celesta will result in death. Concerned for Xena's safety Gabrielle is determined to find and warn her. Talus, who is hiding from Gabrielle that he is suffering from pains in his chest, insists on accompanying her.

Xena encounters Sisyphus in one of the rooms. She tries to convince him to let Celesta go - for the good of all. In turn Sisyphus tries to convince Xena that what he did was right and good. Suddenly Sisyphus disappears and a trap door opens beneath her. She falls down a shaft, screaming. Eventually she ends up in the deepest dungeons of the castle.

Talus and Gabrielle reach the castle. Talus knows the entrance to an ancient escape tunnel he and some other children discovered once. Unnoticed Toxeus and his men follow them inside. At the end of the tunnel Talus pushes open a heavy secret door. Gabrielle offers him again to go back but he is not willing to leave her. Gabrielle is relieved. The place spooks her. Suddenly Toxeus stands before them. They run away, closely followed by Toxeus and his men. Unexpectedly a stair folds up to form a ramp. Gabrielle is already safe but Talus slides down, into a hidden trap door that is opening at the bottom of the stairs. Gabrielle can only watch helplessly. Again Toxeus and his men come closer and she must run on to save herself.

Xena hears screaming and after a few moments someone falls down at her feet. She already has lifted her sword to strike when much to her surprise she recognises Talus. The young man explains to her that Gabrielle was concerned and wanted to warn her not to touch Celesta. Xena knew was already aware of that danger. She is concerned about her friend when she hears that Toxeus and his band were chasing them. Talus blames himself for her predicament but Xena assures him that no one can stop Gabrielle when she has set her mind on something.

Following the sound of water Xena finds a drain pipe. They climb down and crawl through it, looking for a way out. After a while Talus is breathing harder, the exertion is taking its toll on his ill body. All of a sudden countless rats fall upon them out of an opening above their heads. After the rats have gone they crawl on, eventually finding an exit. Xena opens it and climbs out. Karas is watching her, unnoticed. Talus follows Xena out, but has to stop midway due to sudden pains in his chest. He forces himself on, but after only a few steps his strength leaves him. Xena hears his labouring breath and turns around to him. Talus tells her that the pains began about a year ago and have grown worse ever since. Xena replies that this makes her job a lot harder. But Talus assures her, what she is doing is right and that there are just too many people who need Celesta. Xena begins to understand why Gabrielle thinks he is so special.

Unseen Karas has heard everything. She returns to Sisyphus, trying to make him see that what they have done was wrong. But Sisyphus does not see it. He leaves Karas standing there, desperately looking at Celesta who is visibly weakened and whose flame has burned down quite low by now.

Talus leads Xena to the king's private chambers. Karas meets them there and offers her help.

A little later one of Sisyphus' traps is activated. But instead of the warrior princess the king finds his wife inside. Xena and Talus approach from behind him. The king recognises the young man. Talus tells the king about his illness and begs him to let Celesta go. Eventually the young man can convince Sisyphus that Death must not be feared and that it is not important how long you live, but how well.

But when the four of them return to the great hall to free Celesta, whose flame has almost burned out now, Gabrielle comes running in, closely followed by Toxeus and his band. Toxeus grabs her and threatens to kill her, should the others attempt to free Celesta. Xena challenges him to a fight. He accepts and his men start fighting also. Finally Xena manages to throw her chakram in such a fashion that Celesta's shackles are broken. She is free and reaches for her flame that is immediately burning brightly again. One after the other Celesta touches the undead men who sink down to the floor, actually dead at last. But she spares Sisyphus - his time has not yet come. Gabrielle is upset, however, as Celesta holds out her hand for Talus who willingly walks towards her. Gabrielle had not been aware of his illness and begs Celesta for his life. But Talus is prepared to go with her. After a heart-wrenching good-bye he follows Celesta into a white mist. Once more Talus turns around to Xena and Gabrielle who are watching them go, and smiles at the two women. Then he is gone. Gabrielle cries on Xena's shoulder. The warrior princess puts an comforting arm around her friend.

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Kieren Hutchison