Welcome to another Xena Thursday! Today we’re continuing our last series of posts on this iconic action series, looking at particular themes/arcs/elements through a handful of accompanying installments. My hope is that this can be a resource, like so many of the other entries here, for those who are just beginning their adventure with Xena. So far we’ve looked at the best action episodes, and the best offerings that feature Xena in an anti-heroic light. Today we’re looking at the episodes featuring Callisto, who many consider Xena’s best nemesis (and one best remembered by casual viewers), and who got one of the best arcs of the series (second to only Xena and Gabrielle). Because she also made some seminal appearances on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, those episodes are featured here as well. (Note that these are only Callisto appearances — not Hudson Leick appearances). There are no explanations in this entry, for the episodes’ inclusion here is simply due to her inclusion in them. So for fans of the Warrior Queen, these are the episodes to watch . . .
01. Season 1, Episode 22: “Callisto” (Aired: 05/13/96 | Filmed: 02/06 – 02/16/96)
Xena is once again reminded of the sins of her past when a malicious female warrior, whose family was killed by Xena’s former army, exacts her revenge on the Warrior Princess by impersonating her.
Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. 876920
02. Season 2, Episode 5: “Return Of Callisto” (Aired: 10/28/96 | Filmed: 07/05 – 07/16/96)
Gabrielle’s consumed by hatred and a desire for vengeance after an escaped Callisto murders her beloved, Perdicus, in an attempt to punish Xena.
Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by T.J. Scott | Production No. V0210
03. Season 2, Episode 7: “Intimate Stranger” (Aired: 11/11/96 | Filmed: 07/17 – 07/26 & 10/21/96)
Xena’s life takes a nightmarish turn when Callisto escapes from the Underworld by infiltrating her dreams.
Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by Gary Jones | Production No. V0211
I featured this episode as one of the 18 honorable mentions that narrowly missed inclusion on my list of the 60 best episodes. Read my thoughts here. Check out what the cast and crew had to say about the episode here.
04. HTLJ – Season 3, Episode 12: “Surprise” (Aired: 01/27/97 | Filmed: 11/18 – 11/26/96)
Xena’s old enemy Callisto returns from the afterlife when she makes a deal with Hera to kill Hercules in exchange for immortality.
Written by Alex Kurtzman | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0117
05. Season 2, Episode 14: “A Necessary Evil” (Aired: 02/10/97 | Filmed: 11/26 – 12/05/96)
In order to stop the evil, and now immortal, Velasca from hunting down Gabrielle, Xena must unleash an even more depraved immortal to vanquish her—Callisto.
Written by Paul Robert Coyle | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V0219
06. Season 3, Episode 11: “Maternal Instincts” (Aired: 01/26/98 | Filmed: 06/18 – 06/27/97)
Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship is strained after Callisto manipulates Gabrielle’s daughter into killing Xena’s son.
Written by Chris Manheim | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V0405
07. Season 3, Episode 12: “The Bitter Suite” (Aired: 02/02/98 | Filmed: 11/05 – 11/19/97)
Xena and Gabrielle’s bitter conflict reaches its climax when both are transported to the dream world of Illusia to settle their mutual differences.
Written by Steven L. Sears and Chris Manheim | Lyrics by Joseph LoDuca, Pamela Phillips Oland, and Dennis Spiegel | Directed by Oley Sassone | Production No. V0409
08. HTLJ – Season 4, Episode 13: “Armageddon Now (I)” (Aired: 02/09/98 | Filmed: 12/01 – 12/09/97)
Evil Hope, who survives her own cremation, frees Callisto and sends her back in time to keep Hercules from being born.
Written by Paul Robert Coyle | Directed by Mark Beesley | Production No. V0319
09. HTLJ – Season 4, Episode 14: “Armageddon Now (II)” (Aired: 02/16/98 | Filmed: 12/10 – 12/19/97)
Iolaus encounters the evil, unreformed Xena during his journey into the past to stop Callisto from killing the pregnant Alcmene before she can give birth to Herc.
Story by Paul Robert Coyle and Gene O’Neill & Noreen Tobin | Teleplay by Gene O’Neill & Noreen Tobin | Production No. V0320
10. Season 3, Episode 21: “Sacrifice (I)” (Aired: 05/04/98 | Filmed: 03/02 – 03/11/98)
Xena saves Gabrielle’s friend Seraphin from being sacrificed, then learns that she’s willing to die — so that Gabrielle’s evil daughter Hope can be reborn.
Written by Steven L. Sears | Directed by David Warry-Smith | Production No. V0420
11. Season 3, Episode 22: “Sacrifice (II)” (Aired: 05/11/98 | Filmed: 03/12 – 03/20/98)
Gabrielle’s evil daughter Hope takes the form of her mother and joins forces with Ares to create a race of superbeings; Xena is forced to team up with Callisto.
Written by Paul Robert Coyle | Directed by Rick Jacobson | Production No. V0419
12. Season 4, Episode 21: “The Ides Of March” (Aired: 05/10/99 | Filmed: 03/09 – 03/18/99)
When Xena learns that Caesar has put a six-million-dinar price on her head, she decides to go to Rome and kill him. Meanwhile, Caesar sends Brutus to capture Gabrielle and Amarice. Complicating matters is Callisto, who has been released from Hell and put on a double mission.
Written by R.J. Stewart | Directed by Ken Girotti | Production No. V0624
13. Season 5, Episode 1: “Fallen Angel” (Aired: 09/27/99 | Filmed: 05/10 – 05/24/99)
Xena and Gabrielle, now released from their mortal coils, join forces with the Archangel Michael to battle Callisto and the infernal forces of Hell.
Story by Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart | Teleplay by R.J. Stewart | Directed by John Fawcett | Production No. V0903
14. Season 5, Episode 9: “Seeds Of Faith” (Aired: 01/10/00 | Filmed: 08/17 – 08/25/99)
Eli takes on Ares in an effort to overthrow the gods and Xena finally learns the true identity of her baby’s father.
Written by George Strayton & Tom O’Neill | Directed by Garth Maxwell | Production No. V0912
Come back next week for another installment of Following Xena! And tune in tomorrow for another Pre-Code Film Friday!