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Heart of Darkness

A Djwp Spoiler

"Sin creates an inclination to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root." – para 1865, Catechism of the Catholic Church

<electric blues guitar strumming> They did a bad, bad thing … they did a bad, bad thing …

With eyes wide shut, archangels Michael and Rafael are looking down upon the earth. Michael has a sneaking suspicion that Xena will never burn in hell voluntarily and he's probably right. Rafael insists that Xena knew the rules when she played the game last week; she killed old Mephistopheles, so the throne is hers whether she wants the job or not. And that is exactly what is worrying Michael. Last time Xena was in hell, she almost captured heaven.

That Xena's - she's just a natural born conqueror, isn't she?

Suddenly, up pops another Archangel. He's not part of the "in" crowd yet, but he sure would like to be. He pegs Michael and Rafael for a couple of wimps. The new guy figures if he can take care of this little Xena-capturing-heaven problem without any help from his wimpy brother angels, then the Big Boss Up High will give him a promotion to Seraphim. He's pretty cocky and makes a brash claim that if Xena needs to be thrown down the pit, he's the man. Michael agrees – in fact, Michael's thinks this new guy may be the perfect angel for the job.

Back in Amphipolis, Eve and Gabrielle are staring down into the still bubbling brew that has opened up in the front yard of Cyrene's tavern. Eve is very worried. Something wicked this way comes – she can feel it and it's going to arrive any minute.

As the portent of evil things to come hang in the air, an angel hanging by a string from the ceiling arrives and announces that he has come to escort Xena to her new throne … in hell. The angel advises Gabrielle and Eve that unless they know what's good for them, they better help him. It dawns simultaneously to Eve and Gabrielle that Xena may be in big trouble and they rush off to warn her.

In another part of Amphipolis, a poor unsuspecting, innocent village girl is petting Argo II. Petting Argo II? That's more dangerous than the pit bubbling in Cyrene's yard! Xena pulls her away with a brisk warning not to ever touch her horse again. Undaunted, the saccharine sweet village girl offers her services to restore Mom's tavern. Hmmm, not a bad idea, Xena's thinking. Actually, she was thinking of refurbishing and turning it into a den of iniquity anyway.

Eve and Gabrielle rush to Xena's side to warn her of the pending danger, but Xena seems not only unconcerned, but expecting the visit and even looking forward to it.

The archangel materializes and announces himself as the angel that's destined to become a household name, once he rids the world of Xena, that is. One nefarious look at the handsome stud and Xena's well pleased that he was the one to show up. Good choice, Michael. Xena points out that he is pretty full of himself. Pride – one of the seven deadly sins – very unbecoming on an archangel.

Xena draws her sword and steps forward to knock him down a peg, but the angel lands a green fireball right in the middle of her chest, sending her to the dirt. A fight ensues, and Xena manages to avoid the rest of the fireballs thrown her way, eventually landing a blow that sends Lucifer to his butt.

As Xena looms over the prone archangel ready to kill, she promises him that Gabrielle will record his name for posterity's sake – if only she knew his name. He introduces himself as Lucifer. Xena smirks – Lucifer? Has a nice ring to it. And Xena lifts her sword to deliver the final blow.

Eve, taking the role of Eli's messenger, steps up urging her mom not to murder a servant of god. It isn't good for her karma. Xena is annoyed that Eve took this moment to turn goody-two-shoes – just when she was about to have some fun. Why is Eve concerned about God and not her? After all, wasn't Lucifer serving god when he tried to send her mommy to hell? But Eve's been touched by an angel and she advises that it is not always possible to interpret God's will.

Xena pauses. The sword waivers. Is she seeing the light? No, she's just in a conundrum. Should she kill Lucifer now? Or should she kill him later and have a little fun with him first.

Xena decides that things have gotten a little dull around town lately. Maybe Lucifer can help to pick things up a bit.

Fun first, kill later.

She lowers her sword and extends him her hand instead. With a chummy arm around his shoulder, Xena asks, "You don't mind if I call you Lucy, do ya? Lucifer, Lucironi, Big L? Come on, loosen up. Let's have a drink. It's all right. I know the owner."

Eve's perplexed. That's not exactly what she had in mind, and Xena sure isn't acting like the Mom she grown to know and love either.

She leans in for a closer look at Mom with her X-ray vision.

Thump, thump … thump, thump Xena's beating heart … it's beating … and … it's turning black.

A cancerous evil has taken root in Xena's heart. Her life and her very soul is in danger.

Oh my.

As Xena puts together a little picnic basket for her new friend, Lucifer, Eve and Gabrielle frantically try to convince her that she's in trouble. Xena thinks they are overreacting, but the evil is definitely seeping up from hell, through the portal straight to Xena's heart. After all, that is Xena with a picnic basket in her hand, isn't it? Hell is definitely coming up to claim its true queen. Xena corrects them – you mean, its rightful ruler.

"And that would be you," Gabrielle comments.

But Xena is thinking ahead, "Not if I can find someone to take my place," she replies and leaves Gabrielle and Eve to ponder the plan, and to have a little picnic with the perfect candidate for the job.

Lucifer is sitting at the bar, dejected. He failed in his first attempt to take Xena down. What is the big boss in the sky gonna think of him now? Xena arrives and offers the pouting angel a little drink, a little food, and a little taste of his first temptation.

They find a nice secluded glade and sit for a chat and a pat. Nothing evil in that. Xena proceeds to introduce Lucifer, the archangel to the world of earthly delights: good food and a fine wine with a good body – namely, Xena's.

"It's not often I meet an adversary who's other attributes equals his prowess with a sword," Xena purrs as she takes a nice healthy bite of chicken. Oh yeah, the chicken is lookin' mighty good, and Lucifer is thinking to himself he just may help himself to a breast.

Meanwhile, back in town, Eve has turned evangelist and is trying to convert the townsfolk. But, the natives are getting restless. Armed with her X-ray vision, Eve looks deep into the villagers and…

Thump, thump … thump, thump They've got the black heart rot, too.

Back at the peaceful picnic, Xena is serving up some more temptations. She observes that Lucifer appears to be twice the angel that Michael is and he should have been promoted long ago. She urges Lucifer to let her help him become the envy of all the angels. Envy -- another of those seven deadly sins.

Xena offers Lucifer a sample of flesh in every form. Lucifer, however, is only partially persuaded. They have a bonding moment, both aware that it is not the flesh, but the spirit that is the most delicious because that is where the power comes from. At heart, Xena and Lucifer share the same tastes.

Back in Sin City, someone new has arrived on the scene and has started a fight, which the rest of the villagers seem more than happy to join. A young man has been beaten to a pulp … by Virgil. And Virgil is looking mighty good and thinks Gabrielle looks tastier than he remembered her looking the last time they met. He shows Gabrielle his virility by kicking the poor downed villager in the gut, just for the fun of it.

A quick check with our X-ray glasses and … yup …

Thump, thump … thump, thump Virgil has joined the black hearts.

The portal is a magnet. It's drawing people to Amphipolis, and to Xena - feeding their dark side and creating a hell on earth. And this is fine by Virgil because he came to town for some fun and Gabrielle is looking like just the girl to give it to him.

Back in a veiled, private chamber in the inn (which was obviously once Xena's childhood bedroom), Xena is slipping into something a bit more comfortable. Not only do we get to watch, but Lucifer is getting an eyeful as well.

Despite this excellent temptation, and taking a peek nonetheless, Lucifer is still not won over. Lucifer states that Xena is a mortal woman with a lying tongue, savage tendencies and a blond girlfriend.

Right on all counts, Lucifer.

Maybe he's not as dumb as he looks.

Lucifer announces that she will never seduce him. He is an archangel in the service of the Lord, which he proclaims loudly as fondles his own dagger.

He puts the dagger under the pillow, just in case they should end up in bed – just in case, mind you.

Xena saunters into the bedroom in a sexy red negligee and by the look on Lucifer's face, Xena can tell they are both really sinners at heart.

Xena wisely comments that Lucifer barely just arrived and he has already hit two of the top seven deadly sins – not bad for a beginner.

Good thing Lucifer put that dagger under the pillow, because they do end up in bed, and Xena is about to take Lucifer to heaven.

Deftly, and obviously with lots of previous practice, Xena flips him over and demonstrates another one of her many skills. Egyptian message with a back-roller, warrior princess style. With a warlord- Xena glint in her eye and a snarl on her lips, she flips the roller like a sword and does Lucifer's muscle.

Lucifer has never felt anything like THAT before.

Back in town, Virgil is drooling over Gabrielle. Gabrielle asks Virgil what brings him to town, and Virgil tells her that he's come to join the party. Rumor has it, now that the gods are dead, Xena is about to take over. He plans to pledge his life to Xena and hopes he can do it with Gabrielle at his side.

Fat chance, Virgil. Gabrielle is the Big X's blond girlfriend, remember?

Back at the masseuse table, Xena is still rolling Lucifer for all he's worth, and he's more than ready for the next phase of his earthly education. Lucifer thinks he's being sly by going for his dagger, but Xena knows the dagger is under the pillow – oldest trick in the book. With his own dagger now at his throat, Xena assures Lucifer that she doesn't want to kill him, she wants to be his salvation and offers him …


But, will Lucifer take the offer?

Back at the temple, Eve invents the fish symbol and offers it to Eli a token of her undying devotion. She prays to him for help in this, her darkest hour. Lucifer arrives in the temple (did he actually leave Xena's bed? Hard to believe, but I guess he did) and tells Eve to ask for help is a sign of weakness. Eve comments that perhaps Lucifer came here to ask for a little help himself. Lucifer, however, insists he didn't come to the temple seeking help. He just came for a little peace and quiet.

Well, a temple is the last place he should have come. Suddenly, the temple is turned into a the new hotspot in town.

Lucifer better ask for help quick, because he is sure gonna need it now. Xena is pulling out all the stops

Swirling viels, pillows, dancing girls and young, handsome studs fill the room. Xena arrives, carried in on a litter and dressed in full dominatrix attire (a tribute to Emma Peel and the Avengers here, I'm sure). She beckons for Lucifer to join her in the grand opening of the new Amphipolis Hellfire Club.

Let the party begin!

The temple fills with scantily clad men and women ready to get it on.

Eve beseeches Xena to stop. Gabrielle urges Eve to trust Xena, she knows what she's doing, but Eve seems doubtful. After all, she has X- ray vision and …

Thump, thump … thump, thump Mom's beating heart is getting blacker by the minute.

Xena tells Eve that if she can't stand the heat, she needs to get the hell out of her kitchen. Mom is cooking up dinner and the main course is angel food.

Eve persists with her preaching, and (to our relief) Gabrielle promptly clonks Eve on the head with her own newly designed fish symbol.

No one likes a party pooper.

E Tu, Gabrielle? Just before she passes out, Eve takes a closer look with her X-ray eyes and...

Thump, thump … thump, thump Just as she thought, Gabrielle's heart is rotten to the core.


The music pumps up and the party gets going.

Virgil and Gabrielle are reclined on a soft, bed of silken pillows and Virgil is coming on to Gabrielle in a big way, trying to get her drunk. "What are you trying to do?" Gabrielle asks, "Get me drunk and loose?"

She took the words right out of his mouth.

Liquor is quicker, and it doesn't take much to get Gabrielle going. In no time at all, Virgil and Gabrielle are getting it on and boy, can that Gabrielle pinch a nipple.

On the main throne, Lucifer and Xena preside over the activities, and Xena can't help but notice that Lucifer seems to be enjoying the Virgil/Gabrielle show.

But Lucifer ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Xena tells Lucifer that on earth, their greatest possession is free will. Take your destiny in your own hands, she urges the archangel.

If Gabrielle and Virgil keep it up, he'll be doing just that.

Xena has something else in mind. She stands, saunters through the crowd and proceeds to teach John Trivolta how to clear a dance floor.

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(Note: DJWP PREDICTION: The following scene will be the centerpiece to every fan-produced Xena music video from here on, and screen grabs will adorn computer monitors and refrigerator doors, all across America and around the world for years to come.)

Standing in the center of the dance floor, Xena scans the room with lidded eyes, knowing just who she's looking for. Lifting a long, sleek arm, she beckons Gabrielle to her side.

Virgil … who's Virgil?

With one crook of a long, leather clad finger, Gabrielle is up and off them pillows. In a heart beat (thump, thump … thump, thump) she is sashaying over and at Xena's side.

Gabrielle's arm lifts, and her fingers reach for and find the hand that beckons. Caressing her way up an impossibly long arm, she ends up in Xena's embrace.

Burn baby, burn…

Xena and Gabrielle prove once and for all why episodes with subtext are the highest rated.

And with drums beating an hypnotic rhythm in the background, Xena and Gabrielle…

do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.

That is, until Virgil decides to buttinski (did I say no one likes a party pooper?).

But Xena is in a generous mood and lets him go off with her girl for little awhile. Besides, she needs to concentrate on Lucifer. And while Gabrielle and Virgil go back to the pillows, Xena does a strip tease ala Demi Moore, demonstrating for Lucifer a few more of those earthly delights.

She hardly needed to go through the trouble. That little Xena and Gabrielle number did the trick. Lucifer is sold. Nothing, not even heaven, could be better than that. (He can say that again.)

I think Lucifer has committed a few more of them seven deadlies.

Xena and Lucifer dance, and as Xena spins her seductive web, the trap is complete. Lucifer wants a piece of that action for himself … more than the top gun position in heaven. Fringe benefits are much better. Especially when Xena wraps those long legs around his waist.

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Just when the orgy is about to really get going, more party poopers arrive: Michael and Rafael. Seems as though Lucifer has committed one sin too many, and they've come to give him a little discipline. Too bad, they don't realize that now Lucifer might actually enjoy it.

Party's over.

Michael's come to give Xena a spanking, but Xena doesn't think he's up to the job. She is an angel-killer after all. A gaggle of angels arrive and try to take Xena, but they haven't got the juice. She ends up with their swords in her hands.

Michael and Rafael are going to have to take care of Xena themselves and move in for the kill. They attack in unison, and as swords clash, lightning strikes and they all end up back at the portal to hell.

The plan is to push Xena over the edge. (Them and what army?)

Michael and Raphael continue the fight, attempting to do just that, but Xena knocks them both on their ass with her groovy boots. Just in time, Lucifer arrives and apparently, he is here to finish the job.


Xena never did like betrayal much and her displeasure is clear. One last chance, she urges Lucifer to join her, tempting him with everything she has to offer. But it looks like Lucifer has renewed his vows to his Lord God and has joined the other side. When all else fails, Xena does what all women do: she cries.

"Please Lucifer, I was their hero once, too and look what they did to me," Xena pleads, pulling the sympathy card. "Please, don't send me to hell."

The tears work (don't they always?). Lucifer turns against Michael and Rafael to stand at Xena's side. Oddly, they appear satisfied and disappear.

Evil Xena is well pleased and rewards Lucifer with a hearty kiss, then gets whacked in the head by Gabrielle's robe. Her blond girlfriend has caught them smooching by the portal and doesn't seem too happy.

Ooops, sorry `bout that, Xena. Honey, may I to talk to you for a minute, please? Annoyed, but dutifully, Xena departs as requested and Gabrielle follows, but not before she throws Lucifer a hell of a look.

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If looks could kill, Lucifer would be sitting on his throne right now.

Finally, alone with Xena, Gabrielle reminds her that she was suppose to throw him into the portal, not throw him a kiss. Xena shrugs the kiss off as incidental. She doesn't think Lucifer is ready yet.

He looked pretty ready to Gabrielle while Xena was kissing him. Look who's talking – Xena has her own comment. Gabrielle sure looked ready while she was kissing Virgil.

"Oh yeah," Gab retorts, "so?"

"It's that dark side, it's pretty tempting isn't it?" Xena says as only Xena can.

Oh yeah.

Now, it's Lucifer's turn to buttinksi. He reminds them that with no one sitting on the throne in hell, the portal is threatening to burst wide open and they're wasting time. Xena and Lucifer still need to work out the terms of their partnership. After all, Xena will need more than a mere mortal to handle the power, and Lucifer is the man for the job.

Eve comes in, a little groggy from the fish attack, but recovered. She warns Xena that she needs her help. Xena tells Eve that she should trust her. Xena has a vision, and Eve might not be seeing it.

Eve leans in with her X-ray vision and…

Thump, thump … thump, thump Eve sees a vision all right – it's Xena heart and it's as black as coal.

Eve tries to touch Xena's heart to drive the black out, but she'll never break, never break, never break … never BREAK … that heart of stone.

She is thrown back by the sheer power of it.

Xena warns Eve that she's gotten in her way for the last time and she and Lucifer leave to … cement the terms of their partnership.

Lucifer is anxious to get things going with Xena, but it ain't gonna happen now. Her daughter has given her a headache. And besides, now he is going to have to wait cause he was such a bad boy at the pit when he betrayed Xena and tried to give her up to Michael. Lucifer is just going to have to keep his pants on until Xena gets rid of Eve once and for all.

Kill Eve first, fun later.

Eve is dashing through the dark forest, with Xena and Lucifer in hot pursuit. She's running just as fast as she can, scratching up her face, her legs and hands. Trying to get away into the night, and then she turns and looks around her and stumbles to the ground and then she hears:

Thump, thump … thump, thump She isn't alone now. Xena and Lucifer are right on her tail.

Xena and Lucifer chase Eve to the temple. There are swords there and I'm not quite sure of the significance of the swords, but she came to get them, and they're better than nothing.

Virgil steps up and blocks her from getting the swords. He can't understand why Eli chose the women who killed Joxer, his father, as his messenger.

Gabrielle steps up next to stop her from getting the swords. She urges her not to give up her way of peace just because of this crisis. Eve begs Gabrielle to help her. There is no saving Xena – she must be sent through the portal to reign in Hell.

Gabrielle says she will help her and promptly grabs Eve and yells for Xena.

Eve gives up on pacifism to fight her own mother. She gets past Virgil and Gabrielle, and grabs the two swords to face off against Xena and Lucifer. Xena steps back lets Lucifer fight her daughter. Eve's pretty good, but Lucifer is better. He disarms her and sends her to the temple floor. Just before he strikes to kill Eve, Xena steps forward and grabs his arm, halting the blow.

Xena tells Lucifer that if anyone deserves to strike the killing blow, its Gabrielle.

"What do you mean? Why Gabrielle?" Lucifer is dumbstruck. What could that little blond possibly have over him?

Xena enlightens him. Face it, she's been her partner for years, and they've shared things that Lucifer could never understand.

Add to this the fact that Xena can't trust Lucifer as far as she can spit – he did betray her, remember? And, on top of all that, he's committed just about every one of those seven deadly sins … but one.

Did he? Lucifer counts to himself. Let's see, there's pride and envy – he did that in the first few minutes. There was plenty of lust and gluttony, and I guess you can count greed with him not wanting to share Xena and all. What did I miss? Sloth? Well, he is looking pretty lazy on the floor right now. What else is there … let me think…


Lucifer is mad as hell and he isn't gonna take it anymore. Xena is going back on every one of her promises to him. He vows that Xena will feel his wrath, and a few other things as well.

Oh well. That was the last sin. He got 7 out of 7. He wins the sin lottery.

First prize is a one way ticket to hell.

Lucifer is outraged! How can Xena judge him like that when men sin everyday?

But Xena, Warrior Princess has a sage answer for that: sin is what makes us human. But an archangel who has risen and should know better and succumbs to such temptation? It makes him…

A monster!

Lucifer gets his horns and the pit to hell opens up in the temple to welcome him. (Hey, wasn't that pit out by the tavern? Oh well, I guess this is the side door).

Old Lucifer isn't going down as easy as that.

He's a horny red devil and pretty damn ugly. Xena ain't going no place with him. Those attributes she admired in the beginning have lost a little in the translation.

He's still hot for her, though, only now he is bigger and stronger and more powerful than ever. Xena has helped him achieve his potential and he has discovered what she suspected all alone – she put Lucifer in touch with his inner demon.

Just for being such a good little devil and doing everything Xena taught him, she gives him his reward with the heel of her boot.

One swift kick, and Lucifer falls down the fiery pit and hell has its king.

The pit closes up - we put on our X-ray glasses one more time and …

Thump, thump … thump, thump Xena's heart turns to gold.

As everyone recovers from black heart syndrome, Gab realizes she's touching Virgil – uck!

And Eve realizes she misjudged Xena. She never should have doubted her.

And Virgil realizes that it's a good thing Xena saved the world, because in doing so, she also saved him from making the mistake of a lifetime. Gabrielle heartily agrees. Virgil goes to clean the mess up and Eve leaves to help him.

Though the crisis is over, Gabrielle tells Xena she thought she lost her for a minute.

"Which minute was that?" Xena asks, unconcerned.

Gabrielle blushes. "Well, You and Lucifer were looking a little…"

Hey, the blond girlfriend had nothing to worry about. Xena tells her that every time she thought she was losing control, all she had to do was think of Gabrielle.

(Now, about that dance …)

The End


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