7.08 Burying the Dead



The city gates open and Xena rides Argo outside, breaking into a gallop as soon as the guards move to close the gates. Anxious, military music swells; the beat of Argo's hooves seconds its beat. The camera tracks rider and horse for a moment.


A detachment of grim-faced guards marches Gabrielle and Antigone along a gloomy stone-walled corridor; the military music continues in time with their steps. Torches flicker in their brackets, casting shadows on the faces as the group passes them.

The music grows more urgent as we cut from Xena riding downhill, to the prisoners marching towards a cell, then back again to Xena. An army camp appears in the distance, Xena urges Argo to even more speed.


One of the guards unlocks a door, while another thrusts Gabrielle, then Antigone, inside. Antigone gives him a withering, contemptuous look as he locks the heavy door. Gabrielle is holding a small candle--in its light, the cell looks tiny and cold. Cut to show men carrying building stones; another guard motions them towards the door. As they start laying the stones, the music rises to a crescendo, then stops abruptly.


Xena reaches the army camp and dismounts quickly.


Theseus appears with two other men. Seeing Xena, he rushes forward.

     My army is ready. We can ride the moment you give the word.

     Good. That moment is now.

THESEUS (alarmed at her urgent tone):
     What is it? What's happened?

     Creon's arrested his niece. And Gabrielle. He's condemned them to death.

THESEUS (to the soldiers):
     We ride for Thebes, at once.

     Yes, sir.

He disappears into the camp, trumpets sound in the background. Xena mounts Argo again and turns her around.

THESEUS (looking up at Xena):
     You're going back?

     I have to.

They exchange a brief nod in acknowledgement of importance of the mission, then Xena kicks Argo into a gallop.


Gabrielle pounding at the dungeon door. She stops, lets out a long breath, then puts her hands forward and leans her forehead against them. Behind her, Antigone puts a hand on her arm gently.

Gabrielle is still for a moment, then she straightens and turns back to Antigone, who looks surprisingly calm, if a bit regretful.

GABRIELLE (determined):
     I'm going to get us out of here.

She turns around on the bare stone flagging, trying in vain to find something she can use. Antigone follows her with her eyes.

ANTIGONE (sadly):
     They've sealed us in here. There's stone all around--they can't even hear us. There's no way out.

Gabrielle stops, then looks at Antigone. The princess looks back evenly.

GABRIELLE (dismayed at the realization):
     You...wanted this. You knew they would arrest you.

Antigone sits down near a wall and leans back with a resigned sigh. Gabrielle comes to stand over her.

     I never meant to involve you in this. It was supposed to be just me--I was ready to face the consequences of what I had to do. I'm really, really sorry, Gabrielle.

     You wanted to die?!

ANTIGONE (raises her voice):
     Wanted? No, of course I didn't want to die! But tell me--what else could I have done?

     Waited for Xena and me to...

ANTIGONE (rounding on Gabrielle):
     Waited for you and Xena to do what was my own duty? (bitterly) Oh, yes, just like the rest of my life. For once, Gabrielle--just once!--I could do something myself, something that was right, and brave. Something that is worth dying for. (with a child's delight) They didn't even suspect me; I surprised them! (resentfully) My uncle didn't think his little Antigone could defy him like that.

Gabrielle sighs, rubbing her face, then sits down beside Antigone.

     Your uncle...isn't a bad man.

     And that's why we're here?

     I think things just got out of hand for him. He made a bad decision--and what you did... (she glances around as she speaks, still looking for an escape) It just made it harder for him to admit it.

Antigone shrugs.

     Sometimes the most direct way to do things isn't the best way.

     It's a bit late to lecture me, Gabrielle. I'd rather die knowing I did the right thing than face a lifetime as a coward.


Xena riding back towards Thebes. The city is up ahead, with the battleground in front of it. Ravens are circling the dead men. The camera pans up along the wall. There are two figures on the battlements.


The battlements. Creon is standing there, watching Xena approach the city. Teiresias, the blind prophet, is next to him. Teiresias' face is turned in the same direction as Creon's; the wind is whipping strands of his white hair around his face.

     The Warrior Princess returns for her friend. I fear for our city, Creon. My heart weeps for Thebes, and I cannot ignore its pleas.

CREON (bitterly):
     Your heart. You have that luxury, Teiresias--listening to your heart. I have my city to think of--no matter how my own heart breaks, there are decisions that no one else can make.

     Yes... There are decisions to be made, Creon. The Warrior Princess returns for her friend--what will she do, when she discovers her dead? What fury will she unleash upon Thebes?

CREON (defensive, but clearly frightened):
     I... I only did what was right...

Teiresias turns his unseeing eyes to Creon; Creon shifts uncomfortably, as though the prophet is looking straight into his soul.

     Release the prisoners, Creon.

     I can't do that.

     Then at least release the young bard.

Creon looks torn for a few moments. Abruptly, he calls the guards.

CREON (to the guards):
     Open the tomb and bring Gabrielle to me. The princess...the other prisoner stays where she is.


CREON (barks):
     Do it!

     Yes, my liege.


The dungeon cell, where Gabrielle and Antigone are still sitting on the floor. There is a scraping noise outside, both Gabrielle and the princess look in the direction of the noise.

GABRIELLE (jumping up):

One of the large stones beside the door is pushed inwards, the head of a guard appears in the opening. He crawls through, then gets up.

GUARD (grins at Gabrielle):
     'Fraid I'm not her--but it's your lucky day. King orders your release. (looks regretfully at Antigone) Sorry, princess--King's orders; you stay here.

Gabrielle shocked

     What?! You can't be serious--you've got to let her go, please...

The guard grips Gabrielle's arm and steers her towards the opening; she tries to free herself. Antigone makes no move to protest.

     I'm sorry--but there's really nothing I can do.


     I've made my choice, Gabrielle. Don't worry about me.

The guard disappears with Gabrielle, and the stone is moved back into position. The camera focuses on Antigone's face for a while, as she listens to the footsteps retreating outside. She closes her eyes.


The battlements. Gabrielle is brought before Creon; Teiresias is no longer there. The guard releases her and steps back respectfully.


     What are you doing, Creon?

CREON (shakes his head tiredly):
     What I must.


Xena runs through the dungeon corridors towards the door of the cell we saw earlier--only now, a layer of stones blocks it completely. She looks at the stones, almost completely in shadow.

She takes a step back and looks up. The camera follows her line of sight to a torch in a metal bracket. Xena reaches for her chakram and throws it; the chakram slices the bracket and Xena catches the torch, still burning, in one hand. There is a 'clink' off-camera as the chakram bounces off the opposite wall; Xena catches it with her other hand and returns it to her hip.

She inspects the stones and mortar by torchlight, then squats down and runs her hand along the seams in the wall. It's the place where the stone was removed to release Gabrielle.

XENA (looking at her hand):
     Fresh mortar.


The stone moves slightly, then falls into the cell with a crash, raising a cloud of dust. Xena climbs though, still holding the torch. Close-up of her face as she looks around, then freezes.

XENA (dropping the torch):
     Antigone! No!!!

The camera pans to show what Xena is looking at. In the center of the cell, a rope hangs down from a ceiling crossbeam. Antigone is holding on to the rafter by her hands--the end of the rope is around her neck.

She releases the rafter and falls, the rope drawing taut. Xena leaps forward, catching Antigone before she can hang herself.

     It's okay...I've got you... It's going to be all right.

Antigone looks at the rope, almost in disbelief, then at Xena. Her hands shake as she fingers the rope. She releases it abruptly and drops her face into Xena's shoulder, shaking.

     I thought...I...I... Xena, I don't want to die!

Xena untangles the rope around the girl's neck, stroking her hair a little uncomfortably.

     Shhh... It's all right now. It's okay. You're safe.

ANTIGONE (sobbing):
     I thought it would just end...I thought I wanted it to! But I don't.


The battlements, where Creon and Gabrielle are talking.

     Try to see it my way, Gabrielle. If I release her now--if I withdraw the decree, it's going to be the end for me. And for Thebes: this city will fall apart, all over again. If I'm not strong for us--what use am I as a king? No. I have to be strong.

     You have to be just, Creon.

     And what is justice, Gabrielle? You tell me that. Is it just to honor the enemies of Thebes?

     Creon--there are no enemies, not anymore. Those men, down there, they are dead. Gone. And Antigone--

     She broke the law and sided with enemies of Thebes. What does that make her?

     A young girl, trying to right the wrongs she sees around her. She needs your love, Creon, your support--not your condemnation.

A pause as Gabrielle glances over the wall.

     But if you continue this, Creon--there will be enemies. Real ones.

Creon follows Gabrielle's gaze. In the distance, wavering against the setting sun, are the standards of an approaching army.

     What...? That's Xena's doing, isn't it?

     No, it's your own doing. (close-up as she looks at Creon) You are your own enemy, Creon. That army down there--your actions brought them here. Just like Polyneices did.

CREON (shaking his head slowly):
     No... This has gone too far. Much too far. (yells) Guards!

Guards appear. Gabrielle looks at Creon apprehensively.

     Release princess Antigone. And find Xena.

The guards step aside in surprise, as Xena makes her way towards Creon.

XENA (smiling):
     Best commands I've heard in a long time. But I'm afraid I pre-empted your orders.

She stands aside as Antigone walks past her, then stops, looking at her uncle. For a moment, Creon looks at her uncertainly, then rushes to embrace her. Gabrielle and Xena exchange a relieved look.

     Antigone... Gods! You're all right! (holding her) Oh, thank the gods! Your grief for your brothers--I was so angry at them for the war, for making you hurt like that... But I lost sight of what was really important... I thought I lost you.

     You almost did. (smiles up at Xena, then Gabrielle) I was wrong, too.

     Things are going to be different now.

     I know.


The battleground in front of the city. Funeral pyres are burning orange against the blue of the evening; Theseus' soldiers are moving between them. Xena's voice, singing a mourning chant, sounds in the background. There is a small group of people around one of the pyres. The camera focuses on it for a few moments, before moving closer.

Gabrielle and Antigone stand together, watching the flames.

     Rest in peace, my brothers.

She touches Gabrielle's hand in thanks, before leaving her side to join Creon, standing nearby.

Gabrielle comes up to where Xena is standing, as she finishes the song.

GABRIELLE (watching Antigone):
     Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

     What's that?

     That she will make a great queen one day.


GABRIELLE (surprised):
     You don't think so?

XENA (grins):
     Oh, I do. But that's not what I was thinking.

The theme music plays as their conversation fades into the background...

Gabrielle and Xena

     You're going to make me guess aren't you?




[Sophocles turned over in his grave during the production of this motion picture.]

Xena: Warrior Princess
Shipper Seasons
Season 7

Episode 8
Burying the Dead

Story By: Tango
Written By: Tango and LadyKate
Collage By: Aurora
Images Gathered By: Aurora


XenaLucy Lawless
GabrielleRenee O'Connor
AntigoneKate Elliot
CreonMichael Kostas
Eteocles/PolyneicesStaurt Morgan
DavosSyd Mannion
Alderman #1George Harvy
Watchman #1Adam Wilks
Watchman #2Rich O'Hara
SimonTed Ravess
NicosFrank Sims
Advisor #1Connor Wangus
Advisor #2George Balcen
ServantPaul Newman
TheseusMichael Trasady
TeiresiasAlexander Row

Original Airdate

November 17, 2001

Sophocles turned over in his grave during the production of this motion picture.


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