Recap / Xena S 03 E 11 Maternal Instincts

Imbued with the evil power of her father Dahak, Gabrielle's daughter Hope joins forces with Callisto to kill Xena's son Solan.

Tropes

  • All for Nothing: Callisto achieves her greatest victory against Xena, and it means absolutely nothing.
    "You don't seem to get it, do you? You've won. All these years I've spent living to destroy you—thinking that only if I could give you the same pain that you gave me, I'd be rid of it and life would go on. And then I do and nothing changes. I don't feel better, just empty. So, you let me go, Xena. You can't win this battle. You've already won the war."
  • Annoying Arrows: Callisto. She provides the image for the main page.
  • Bigger Bad: Dahak doesn't appear in this episode, but everything done is in preparation for his return.
  • Creepy Child: Hope, naturally.
  • Downer Ending: One of the show's most notable examples. Solan is dead, Gabrielle poisoned her own daughter, and Xena and Gabrielle's friendship is shattered.
    Xena: Don't you even speak his name.
    Gabrielle: Xena—
    Xena: No. No, you lied to me. I trusted you, and you lied to me. Now, Solan is dead. My son is dead because of you.
  • Driven to Suicide: After poisoning Hope off-screen, Gabrielle takes the container and contemplates having the last bit of poison herself. Defied at the last moment, though.
  • Due to the Dead: Xena refers to Kaleipus as one of the finest people she ever knew.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Double subverted. Hope genuinely believed that Gabrielle hated her and tried to kill her, so she initially has no regard for her. When Gabrielle says she was trying to save her, Hope is surprised and even apologetic.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Hope claims to Gabrielle that Solan was dead when she got to the hiding spot. She refers to Solan by name and claims Gabrielle told her it earlier. This lets Gabrielle know Hope is lying, and she plays along so she can later poison her.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted.
  • Killed Off for Real: Kaleipus and Solan
  • Missing Mom: Gabrielle being this to Hope is discussed when the latter begins manipulating her.
    "All's I remember is lots of water and crying for my mom, but she never came."
  • Not Quite Dead: Hope presumably dies from poison and is burned in the pyre, but the "Armageddon Now" two-parter on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys would reveal she's still alive (albeit badly burned).
  • Oh Crap!: Xena when she learns the little girl is actually Hope.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: This is what the Rift Arc has been building to.
  • Rule of Symbolism: It seems hugely disrespectful that Solan would be cremated beside the demon-child that murdered him, but it does provide a compelling image of two women standing before the pyres of their dead children.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Callisto is left trapped in the collapsed cave. "Armageddon Now" would show that she didn't want to leave due to losing her purpose in life.
  • Spanner in the Works: Hope was preparing to kill Solan in the cave, but Kaleipus stumbled upon her, so she killed him instead.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Hope assumed that Gabrielle tried to drown her when she was put in the basket to save her.
      "You... loved me?"
    • As the cave collapses, Callisto misreads Xena's full intentions.
      Callisto: That's your plan: to trap me here, while my pain keeps growing and growing, and you die and yours ends.
      Xena: You're wrong, Callisto. You let your pain kill you years ago. I'm gonna live with mine.
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