A Family Affair
Series: Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Season: Four
Story Number: 071
Writer: Liz Friedman
Director: Doug Lefler
Broadcast: 12 October 1998
Previous Story: Adventures in the Sin Trade II
Following Story: In Sickness and in Hell

Synopsis Edit

This episode begins with an old man searching for his dog in the forest. He calls and calls, and finally he appears. But when the dog gets there he starts barking loudly, making his owner angry, until he discovers the reason for it. He runs in terror, and is caught by the creature chasing him.

The scene shifts to the ruined Temple where Gabrielle fell to a fiery death with Hope. Joxer sits next to the abyss, dropping daisies as a tribute to the woman he loved. He is startled when someone grabs his hand as he reaches into the hole, and Xena pulls herself up. She tells him that Gabrielle isn't dead, that she had a vision that the bard was still alive and she has just gone down into the abyss to be sure. Joxer is sceptical, but when Xena realizes that Gabrielle would have headed for Potidea he follows.

They get to the marketplace of Potidea and begin their search. Joxer is easily distracted by a puppetshow, but Xena sees Gabrielle, just as she had hoped. Joxer sees her too and is overwhelmed by the warmth of her greeting. Xena and Gabrielle hug, and Xena begs her to tell her everything- how did she survive, where has she been. Gabrielle says that she got knocked into a niche in the wall, and when she came to she tried to call out for help but couldn't. Eventually she was able to climb out but when she tried to send messages to Xena she got no response, making her fear that something had happened to the warrior princess. When she finishes her tale Xena says that something doesn't seem right about Potidea, and Gabrielle tells her she's right, there is danger there. Joxer comes over and tells the two women that there is something they need to see. They go into the forest and see the man who had been chased in the forest the night before hanging dead from a tree. Gabrielle says that there had been similar occurances lately, but this was the first time it was a human that was treated in such a fashion.

They go to the house of Gabrielle's parents. Gabrielle introduces her family to Joxer, who charms Lila with his fine manners. Xena is left alone with Gabrielle's father Herodotus, who tells Xena that Gabrielle would be better off if she was out of her life for good. There is nothing she can say to him, so she leaves it at that for the moment.

Xena and Gabrielle set a trap for the creature out in the barn. The two talk, and Gabrielle says she missed Xena, but seems to focus on all of the negative parts of their lives together. Then Gabrielle looks up and sees that the bait they had hung from the ceiing has been taken while their backs were turned. The creature comes rushing past Gabrielle straight for Xena. Xena and the creature fight, and Xena's blows seem to do it no damage while Xena takes some hard knocks in return. She gets free, then drives the monster back with a bright light, and grabbing Gabrielle, she runs for the house. The creature gives chase, but they are able to slam the door shut before it catches them. It tries to break down the door but is forced to give up as the sun rises. Gabrielle's family is full of questions, but Xena says that all she knows is that she hurt the monster pretty badly. Gabrielle seems concerned, but allows her mother to drag her away to tend to a small wound the bard picked up in the melee. Xena, left alone with Joxer, tells him that she lied about wounding the beast because she is certain that the girl who was just with them wasn't Gabrielle but Hope, and that the creature she just faced must therefore be Hope's son the Destroyer. Joxer asks Xena why they don't just kill Hope immediately, and Xena replies that as long as she plays along with Hope's game Gabrielle's family will be safe and she can use the girl to track down the monster. She tells Joxer she needs him to count the sheep in the area in order to get some idea where he might strike next, and Joxer does it.

Meanwhile Hope is furious about the night's events and desperately wants to get to her son to see how badly he is hurt. She tells Lila that she wants to spend some time with her since she will be leaving with Xena soon, and they decide to have a picnic. Xena finds out that the two have left and follows. When she catches up Hope changes direction, knowing that she'll have to find a way to ditch them before she can get to her son. She takes them to a derelict bridge and goes onto it. When she starts to fall she calls for Lila, who rushes to help. Hope leaves her there and it collapses under Lila's feet. Xena grabs Lila and Hope, teling them that she's going for help, leaves them there. Xena finally manages to pull Lila to safety, but now she has lost Hope's trail. When Hope gets to the monster's lair she examines her son all over, though the creature makes it difficult for her by trying to hug her. He is completely covered with long spikes and when he isn't careful he scratches Hope on the leg. She tells him that Xena lied about him being wounded, which means that the warrior knows that she isn't Gabrielle. That doesn't bother her, and she tells her son to be ready because his next test will be soon.

Back at Gabrielle's parent's home Xena is confronted by the united family because Hope has come back to them covered with bruises that she claimed came from Xena. Hope tells her to leave, and uses her powers to levitate swords over the family's heads as a reminder that she could kill them any time she chose. Xena leaves to go and track the beast, and Joxer wakes up from counting sheep to see a familiar blonde walking through the forest. He follows, and Xena follows as well. But while Joxer trails Hope it is the real Gabrielle that Xena finds! The two women fall upon each other weeping, and Gabrielle tells Xena a story that is very similar to the one that Hope had told the warrior. Xena lets Gabrielle know that Hope is still alive and is threatening her family. The bard is deeply worried by this and says that she has to save them. Xena says that Hope won't hurt them- they are her insurance. She sends Gabrielle back to the farm while she goes after the Destroyer. Time is running out, particularly for Joxer, who has been captured and left hanging from a tree outside the monster's cave.

Gabrielle hides in the barn getting ready for the final showdown but spies her mother crying her heart out, so Gabrielle sneaks into the room she used to share with Lila. Lila is in there getting some cloth for bandages, giving Gabrielle the chance to tell her sister that the girl in the other room isn't Gabrielle, it's someone who wants to kill them all. She proves her identity by telling a story from their childhood, and then asks Lila to bring their parents to her so that she can tell them what is going on.

Lila leaves but instead of her returning Hope arrives. She asks her mother why she tried to kill her by pushing her into the abyss, and Gabrielle replies that in spite of the love she feels for her daughter she has to stop her for the sake of all mankind. A noise distracts Hope briefly and Gabrielle takes advantage of it to jump out of the window.Hope lets her go, knowing that she has a more powerful adversary to defeat.

Joxer hears the monster stirring inside its lair and he struggles to try to get free. Xena gets there just in time to cut him down, then tells him to warn the village while she draws the monster after her. It chases her to the barn. Once there, they fight, and again the monster gets the upper hand. She tries to use the lantern to frighten it off but it has learned since their last encounter and douses it with a waterskin. The Destroyer rushes her again and gets her up against the wall with its arm against her throat. Xena spits defiance into his face, but before he can strike he sees what he thinks is his mother come into the barn. It is really Gabrielle, but when she tells him that they should kill Xena together he reacts gladly, going to his "mother" for a hug. Gabrielle allows the creature to hug her to give Xena the time to attack. She stabs him in the back, and he goes wild at the unexpected pain. Gabrielle runs away just as Hope enters the barn. She sees the mortal wound that has been given to her son and screams in her rage. The monster, thinking that his mother has betrayed him, stabs her with one of the scythe-like spikes attached to his wrists. Once he does so he discovers that there are two women who look like his mother, and he has killed the wrong one! He moans in despair, and the two die in each other's arms. Gabrielle makes a move to go to her offspring but Xena holds her back. They sit down and talk together, and Gabrielle asks if it is really over, or whether they will have to go through this again. Xena says she was once trapped in a cycle of violence and hate but Gabrielle pulled her out of it. As long as they are together everything will be all right in the end.

Memorable quotes Edit

  • Joxer: [to Lila] Any sister of Gabrielle's is a part of her family.

Cast Edit

Background information and notes Edit

  • Renée O'Connor is credited again as "Also Starring". In the double-part season premiere she wasn't credited to maintain the expectations on whether Gabrielle would return or not (despite the fact that she actually appeared in both episodes).
  • This episode wrapped up the Dahak/Hope arc on Xena, although the storyline would be further explored in Hercules.

Continuity and mistakes Edit

Disclaimer Edit

  • No spike-skinned, beast-like, incredibly hungry offspring who can't stand the sun were harmed during the production of this motion picture.