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Haunting of Amphipolis
Season 6 - Episode 2

A Djwp Spoiler

We open on a field of stars and pan down to two very worried archangels: Michael and Gabriel. From the clouds of the heavens above, they are looking down, watching over Xena, Gabrielle and Eve as they approach Amphipolis.

Why are they so worried, you ask? Apparently, Xena's homecoming isn't going to be quite what she was expecting. There's something rotten in Amphipolis and it isn't the souvlakia.

The minions of Hell are gathering for an all-out afront. Michael and Gabriel sure hope that Xena can handle it, so they won't have to.

Xena, Eve and Gabrielle enter town and Xena is happily humming the Amphipolis's theme song (Green Acres?). She's going on and on about how much Eve is going to love her hometown - its so colorful and full of life.

Oops, looks like they ran out of tax dollars for renovations. The village is in ruins and Amphipolis is a ghost town.

They enter Cyrene's tavern and Eve grimaces at the décor - early "Roman Ruins". Mother grew up here? No wonder they live on the road. Admid the broken rafters and cobwebs, Eve picks up on a coldness - a deathly chill and it isn't because of the hole in the roof.

Something wicked has taken up residence and it isn't paying the bill.

Xena goes upstairs to check things out and tells Eve and Gabrielle to stay put. It's time to play the game: Name that Horror Movie! In typical XWP fashion, great tributes to old classics abound. Trick or treat!

We walk down a long, tilted, dark corridor. There are cries and moans, just within earshot, tickling our senses and sending shivers down our spines. Xena steps carefully forward and sees a glimpse of Cyrene being led away by villagers under great protest. Xena runs after the apparition, but they disappear. It is only a shadow of the past, of what happened to Cyrene in these very halls, long ago.

The spirits vanish and we flash to a terrific outside shot of Cyrene's tavern (Classic Horror Movie #1 - The Haunting).

Back inside the dining room, Eve is lighting candles and hears a voice. "Livia!" a deep whisper calls to her. She listens closely, but there is nothing. Shrugging, she continues to bring some light into the dark room and turns, almost bumping into the ghost of a villager. He brought a torch with him; nice of him to help her.

"Light the fire!" he yells as he passes by Eve. And then the same men that Xena saw in the corridor appear, dragging Cyrene to the cookout. Eve attempts to help Cyrene, but her grandmother's spirit passes right through her. (Classic #2 - Poltergeist)

When Xena returns from walking the halls, Eve breaks the bad news to her Mom. Grandmother is dead.

"How can you know?" Gabrielle asks. Well, its been 25 years for one thing, and besides, Eve says she felt her spirit. That's the good news. The bad news is that Cyrene is not at rest in that big tavern in the sky.

Xena believes her daughter. After all, the warrior got a glimpse of mother, too, in the hallway. And Cyrene's not the only soul trapped in the tavern. There are others souls imprisoned in here with her.

Eve explains that it feels as though the forces of Heaven and Hell are gathering, preparing for a great war and this is the stillness before the battle.

Once again, Xena tells them to stay put. She goes to the town crypt to see if anyones home.

The crypt is a lot fuller than the last time we visited it (Sins of the Past). Mom's coffin is a mess. There's Blair Witch project markings all over the place and Xena finds the charred remains of Mom's bones. Guess what? Mom was the main course at the bbq -- and Xena missed the party.

Xena vows to find Cyrene and set things right.

Back at Cyrene's Haunted Tavern (where people check in but they can't check out), Gabrielle and Eve are having a nice bite to eat. Gabrielle should have recognized that dish from Hell's Kitchen, or at least asked to see the menu before she dove in. Right after Gab takes a nibble, Eve notices that there's something wiggling inside. The fruit is filled with worms! Oops! Too late - Gabrielle already swallowed. As the bard rushes off to visit the porcelain goddess, Eve runs outside to throw the plate away. The fruit tumbles to the dirt and maggots and worms multiply, covering the ground all around Eve. Uck! It's a bit more than even Livia, Bitch of Rome can handle. She's had enough, so she raises her hands and ...

In the name of Eli, maggots be gone!

Eve becomes the first 'Father Merrin' as she drives the evil maggot spirits away in true Exorcist fashion. Good thing Gab didn't spew the fruit combo all over Eve ala split pea soup.

Speaking of Gab, she's looking a little queasy as she splashes her face with water. Looks like that famous Gabrielle appetite might be gone for awhile. She washes her hands and realizes that maybe she still has a few maggots in her after all.

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The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out - poor Gabrielle needs a dermatologist fast. She tears at the flesh on her hands in a panic, trying to get rid of the maggots that are poking their heads up out of her skin and ends up ripping her hands to bloody shreds (I think it was Poltergiest, wasn't it, where the guy looks in the mirror and rips the flesh from his face). Anyway, Gabrielle rips her skin off all of the way, right down to Them Bones, Them Bones (oops, that was a different episode).

"In The Name of Eli and all the Powers of Heaven, I command this evil presence to be cast out!"

Outside, Eve the Exorcists finally casts away the evil maggots. She's not only the first exorcist, but the first exterminator. Gabrielle has her hands back, minus the worms.

Back at the old crypt, the town hermit (every town has one) stumbles upon Xena bemoaning the fate of her mother, and thankfully tells us what the Hades ... I mean Hell ... is going on.

Seems that Mephastopholes, the King of Hell, sent some evil spirits to Cyrene's tavern and they must of not liked the food because they decided to curse the place. Cyrene went mad, and when the crops failed, they blamed Cyrene and called her a witch. Hermit knew she wasn't a witch - Cyrene had always been kind to him. The spirits weren't in her, they were in the house and they are in there still!

No shit, Sherlock.

Back at Cyrene's Haunted Tavern, Gabrielle notices a strange drawing on the floor. Gabrielle hears voices coming from beneath it and bends down to listen. Doesn't she know the Horror Movie rules? Whenever you hear strange voices coming from an even stranger drawing on the floor, never ... and I mean NEVER ... bend down to listen.

Sure enough, a group of very nasty hands grab her from beneath. They pull her down into a slimy pit of zombie soup. (Nightmare on Elm Street).

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While Gabrielle is simmering, Xena comes back to find her missing. Eve thinks she's gone upstairs, but Xena knows she's in trouble. She's got her Gadar going.

Back in the pot, there's an ingredient missing. "This one is not the messenger," one of the zombies grumble. Apparently, the last ingredient needed in the Zombie soup is the blood of the Messenger. Gabrielle is just not good enough to spice it up.

Xena, searching for her partner looks down and sees that funny face in the floor. Hmmm, that wasn't there when she was a child.

She reaches in and pulls Gabrielle up and out of the soup, and needless to say Gabrielle is a little freaked out. The soup was hot stuff and it's burning the bard's skin, so I guess Xena is just gonna have to give Gabrielle a bath. Eve and Xena give Gabrielle a shower to wash off the zombie juice. Rub a dub dub, Xena!

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As they are rubbing Gabrielle down (with Xena doing most of the rubbing), Eve's tells them that its no accident she's in Cyrene's Haunted Tavern. They are here to prepare for a battle and it's a battle that Eve must face alone.

What? A battle and Xena's not invited?

Xena runs off to take it up with Mephastopoles and stumbles right into a shadow from her own past. A younger Xena has just layed out the body of her dead brother Lyceus on a table, when Cyrene appears. Xena is reliving the death of her beloved brother. Xena watches as Cyrene blames the young Xena for the death of her only son. She slaps Xena and we can see the transformation from young woman to cold- hearted killer with that one slap. An angry, young Xena looks up at her older, reformed self, eyes filled with guilt and anger ... and the image fades.

Xena apologizes to the trapped soul of her mother for everything that has happened. Now more than ever, Xena needs to set things right.

Suddenly, the cracks in the floor begin to fill with blood. Still in the shower, the water turns red bathing Gabrielle in a shower of blood. Bloody soap. Bloody hair. Blood, blood everywhere and not a drop to drink.

The blood drips out of the cracks, upward, from floor to ceiling.

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Eve begins her mantra to drive the blood away, but the blood keeps on flowing, eventually filling up the funny face on the floor. And that's when we see it. The bloody shower has turned Gabrielle into the Evil Dead. (Geez, this has just not been Gabrielle's day).

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Xena rushes in to find Demon Gabrielle hanging out on the ceiling in her birthday suit. Demon Gabrielle swoops down to attack Xena and they begin to wrestle around on the ground. Nice buns, Demon Gabrielle. Xena subdues the little devil, and then the demon tells her that it wants the messenger of Eli, Eve.

The demon inside Gabrielle explains that the gods have been killed by Xena, so now the way is clear for the reign of the King of Hell on earth.

When Eve's blood is spilled, the King of Hell will be made flesh.

Not over Xena's dead body (oops, too soon in the ep).

Bring in the Exorcist. As Exorcist Eve attempts to expel the evil from Gabrielle, the demon taunts Xena.

The demon reveals that Cyrenne cried out for Xena even at the end. It sends a vision of Cyrene burning at the stake and crying her daughter's name.

Eve continues her attempt to cast out the evil spirit that is possessing Gabrielle. (By the body of Christ, I command you! Ooops, wrong Exorcist).

As the exorcism ensues, the demon reveals that unless Xena spills Eve's blood, Mephastopoles will keep all the souls of Amphipolis trapped in the tavern, reliving the horrors of their past, including her mother, Cyrene.

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Eventually, the demon cannot resist the power of Eli. The devil is cast out, and Gabrielle is cleansed.

Eve is looking pretty ragged. These exorcisms are hard work and her energy box is nearly depleted.

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Xena and Gabrielle have a bit of a tiff. Xena wants Gabrielle to leave because old Meph is using her. And Gabrielle, of course, demands to stay. Eve says Meph can't use her again because she has been cleansed (guess he likes 'em dirty.) Gabrielle reveals that while she was possessed, she felt that Mephastopoles was afraid of Eve.

Meanwhile, right in their own backyard, the bowels of Hell have made a crack in the earth and Hell is threatening to bubble over. Despite her weakness, Eve attempts to exorcise it.

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As Eve attempts to heal the crack, Xena and Gabrielle are finally handfasted - literally. Their arms meld together. Try as they might, they can't separate themselves from one another (talk about being joined at the hip!). The tavern itself begins to attack them, and they have to work together to avoid flying chains, tables, and knives. With arms melted together and joined at the knee, they stumble outside in the hopes that Eve can release them.

Thank Eli, Eve has enough energy left to separate them, but it took just about all she had.

Xena decides she has to take the battle away from Eve and down to Mephastopoles, to defeat him in his own realm. But how can she do that? That's the spirit world and to get to the spirit world you need to be ... you guessed it ...

Dead again.

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Xena has Gabrielle put the pinch on her and send her straight to hell. She shows Gabrielle how to undo the pinch, trusting that Gabrielle will be able to find the right spot. We think Gabrielle will find the right spot, too.

With the pinch cutting off the flow of blood to her brain, Xena dies and goes to hell to face off against Mephastopoles.

Once there, Xena sees her Mom wandering around Hell with an axe in her hand - forty whacks with an axe - she killed her husband, so guess where she ended up? Xena promises to release her, but Mephastopoles appears and says she shouldn't make promises she can't keep.

The King of Hell and the Warrior Princess do battle, but Xena is having a bit of hard time with this particular god. It appears her godkilling powers only work at home - on earth. She has no power in Hell, begone!

Xena cannot hurt Mephastopoles in his own realm, the spirit world. He tells her that if he comes into her realm, that's when she can kill him, but Xena needs to beware - whoever kills him has to take his place as King (or Queen) of Hell.

If Xena won't spill Eve's blood, then Mephastopoles thinks perhaps he can get Eve to spill her own.

Back in the real world, the flow of blood has been blocked from Xena's brain.

Eve goes to get Xena some water, just in case that would revive her. As she draws water, spirits approach her from Livia's past. A man she beheaded, another she axed; she's surrounded by the people she has killed, just like Xena in Dreamworker (and in American Werewolf in London).

Back at the pit, Gabrielle is attempting to revive Xena but keeps missing the mark.

Eve faces her own evil-Livia self, just like Xena did in Dreamworker. Livia tells Eve she must spill her own blood or the souls will never be released. She defeats Livia by entering her own evil body and exorcising her dark side.

Back at the pit, Gabrielle is still attempting to revive Xena, but keeps missing the spot. Xena is going to have one heck of a bruise on her neck.

Gabrielle is poking away, giving it her best shot, but no go. Finally, a kiss to her fingers and one last poke and Xena comes to.

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As soon as the blood has returned to Xena's brain, they rush to find Eve, who isn't doing so well. Eve declares that the only way they can stop Mephastopoles, is if she spills her own blood. Xena won't let her spill her own blood, but guess what? Xena's gonna do it for her.

The plan is that Xena is going to bring Mephastopoles to earth so Xena can battle and defeat him here, where she can do it. Gab doesn't like the plan, not one bit. She objects to the evil being let into the world. And there's something else, isn't there?

Xena reveals that whoever kills the King of Hell must inherit the throne. Now, Gabrielle really doesn't like the plan.

Xena leaves it up to Eve to decide.

Eve says she will fulfill her destiny by delivering Mephastopoles into the only hands capable of beating him. She looks pointedly at Gabrielle and asks her if she will help. Gabrielle, of course, concedes.

They go outside to the pit of Hell. Eve prays to Eli and together, Gab and Eve spill Eve's blood into the pit and call forth Mephastopoles.

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Up he comes, the Horny One, Mephastopoles, King of Hell, and he is made flesh by Eve's blood.

Xena and Mephastopoles battle again. The King of Hell taunts the warrior that she is holding back. Is she afraid that she will have to reign in Hell forever?

Xena is not afraid, she thinks he is lying about that one.

Xena pauses a moment considering her options. Mephastopoles continues to taunt, not believing that she will do it, but we know better. No matter the consequence, the earth (and Eve) must be saved, and Xena drives her sword into his gut. Mephastopoles is destroyed.

The curse on Amphipolis is dissolved. The souls in the tavern are released. The spirit of Cyrene appears bathed in light and she gets to meet her grown-up granddaughter.

A short, sensitive chat later, Xena and her Mom have closure and Cyrene's soul is free to ascend.

But what about Xena? Is she now destined to reign in Hell as its Queen? And what about Gabrielle? Will she ever learn how to do the pinch?

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