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Vanishing Act
Xena Gab disguise vanishing
Xena and Gabrielle disguise themselves to recover the Statue of Pax
Overview
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 3
Antagonist Tarses
Setting Greece
Production
Original Air-Date April 27th, 1998
Written By Terry Winter
Directed By Andrew Merrifield
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 066
Order in Season 20
Previous Episode Tsunami
Next Episode Sacrifice I
Title Image
Vanishing Act TITLE

Autolycus must find out who stole a certain statue, if he is to keep his title of "The King of Thieves". Xena and Gabrielle assist him, but they soon realise that it is more personal for Autolycus than they think. Will he really turn killer to avenge his brother?

SummaryEdit

Va001

Gabrielle parts with Xena to attend the annual Festival of Peace.

At the annual Festival of Peace, Gabrielle makes her way through a joyous crowd of villagers looking for Adar, the mayor. When she finds him, she explains that Xena  has been delayed, but will be arriving the next day. Adar soon opens the festival by addressing the crowd in front of the majestic statue of Pax, the personification of peace. The following morning, however, the mayor panics when he sees that the 30-foot statue is missing from its pedestal.
Va02

"Autolycus? Of course, who else could pull off a heist like this?”

When Xena arrives and learns of the theft, she scans the crowd for suspects and spots a beefy thug standing next to an old woman in a kerchief. As Xena approaches her, the old woman moves away. But when Xena yanks her back by the collar and rips her kerchief and wig off, she reveals none other than Autolycus! Surprisingly, Autolycus denies having had anything to do with the heist as he gazes wistfully at the empty pedestal. Eager to maintain his reputation as the King of Thieves, he convinces Xena to help him retrieve Pax with the understanding that things are to be done his way. Since she owes him a favor for saving her life, Xena agrees to his terms.

Va03

“Autolycus became a thief to avenge a terrible wrong.”

After discovering a deep furrow at the bottom of the harbor, Autolycus deduces that the statue was toppled over and dragged out by ship. Applying her famous "pinch," Xena forces the wharfmaster to reveal that Tarses of Scyros  stole Pax and now has the statue stashed in his castle on the island of Mikonos.

Va04

Gabrielle pretends to be a fence interested in placing a bid on the statue.

As Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus set sail to Mikonos, it is decided that Gabrielle will infiltrate the castle by pretending to be a fence interested in placing a bid on the statue. When Gabrielle gains entrance posing as the fence, Myopia, and tries to make an offer on Pax, Tarses gets paranoid and orders his guards to fire up the furnace to melt down the golden statue. But before they can act, Xena, dressed in fine clothes and acting rather snooty, arrives and introduces herself as Ezra, also a fence. Claiming to be interested only in the gold, she encourages him to melt down the statue, but insists on being present to make sure that the metal isn't diluted. Just then, Autolycus, disguised as a hunchback, arrives and is introduced as Xena's assistant Bentley. The entire lot make their way to the furnace and as the statue is about to be thrown in, Autolycus creates a clumsy distraction.

Va05

"Ezra" (aka Xena), "Bently" (aka Autolycus) and "Myopia" (aka Gabrielle).

As Tarses and his men look at the mess Autolycus has made, Xena throws her chakram and knocks out the furnace's air supply vent and the valve that releases the heat, forcing Tarses to delay melting Pax. "Embarrassed" by Autolycus' actions, Xena orders him to leave the furnace room. As he cases the castle, Autolycus finds that certain walls have been painted to give the illusion of continuing corridors. Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle engage in a fierce bidding war to stall Tarses. But Xena quickly ends the charade by outbidding Gabrielle when she spots Autolycus again. Elated with his sale, Tarses calls for a celebration.

Va07

Gabrielle attends Tarses' party.

Later that evening, Gabrielle attends Tarses' party while Autolycus discusses his plan with Xena. When he and Xena finally arrive at the party, Tarses' girlfriend Thea starts playing with Autolycus' "hump" and some of his burglar tools clatter to the floor. He tries to cover his tracks, but Tarses is already onto him. As he crosses over to Autolycus, Tarses explains how he used to be a successful merchant who killed a competitor after a disagreement. But unbeknownst to him, that competitior had a younger brother who took revenge by stealing all his goods. Tarses stands directly behind Autolycus with his sword drawn and exposes the King of Thieves. Xena quickly launches into a tearful performance, claiming that Autolycus put her up to this crazy scheme. But Tarses orders his guards to throw Xena into her chamber and lock Autolycus in the dungeon. Only Gabrielle manages to maintain her cover and Tarses informs her that she can re-bid for the statue against the Scylosian General.

Va8

Facing a killer of his brother.

Gabrielle begin to execute Autolycus' master plan by gathering buckets of paint and brushes. In the morning, Xena goes to free Autolycus from the dungeon, but all she finds is a huge pile of picked locks and a pried-open window and she begins to fear that he has gone to kill Tarses. Xena's instincts are right and she finds Autolycus in Tarses' chambers holding a sword to his throat. But Autolycus cannot go through with this deed because in his heart he knows that his dead brother would not condone this murder. He and Xena then fight off a slew of Tarses' guards and make their way to the courtyard where Gabrielle informs them of the Scylosians' arrival. Tarses and his men follow suit and another battle erupts in the courtyard.

Va9

A brilliant plan to get the statue back is revealed!

When the Scylosian General barks out Tarses' name, Tarses ceases his fight and orders the General to arrest Xena and Autolycus, but they have disappeared -- in fact, everything has disappeared, including the statue of Pax! Unamused with Tarses' antics, the duped Scylosian General storms off the island and Autolycus' master plan is finally revealed. The front of the statue was painted to blend in perfectly with its surroundings, giving the illusion that it had vanished.

Va10

"You are not an easy person to thank.”

The following morning, Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus return the statue of Pax to its pedestal in all its glory.

DisclaimerEdit

Upon completion of the filming of this episode, Autolycus' Scuba Gear was placed on display at the Athens Diving Institute for the education and enjoyment of future generations to come.

Background InformationEdit

  • Lucy Lawless was embarrassed by her portrayal in this episode, putting her head in her hands and cringing.[1]
  • Rob Tapert mentioned in an interview that “This episode was one of the biggest losers, at least in my mind… Due to all kinds of circumstances, every single department from the actors through the director through everything—even… the script, let us down…. And the final insult was, if you watch the episode, the very last shot where the thing that was stolen is back in place, the visual effect is so crummy we can’t even see that what was stolen has been replaced.”

Links and ReferencesEdit

Guest StarsEdit

AppearancesEdit

PeopleEdit

Adar, the city Mayor


DeitiesEdit

PlacesEdit

OtherEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Xena: Warrior Princess convention, Passadena, 2003.

Season NavigationEdit

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