- The Bitter Suite
Infobox Television episode
Title=The Bitter Suite
Xena Warrior Princess
February 02 1998
Writer= Chris Manheim
Steven L. Sears
Ted Raimi( Joxer) Hudson Leick(Callisto)
Prev= Maternal Instincts
Next= One Against an Army
The Bitter Suite is the twelfth episode of the third season of the TV series "". This episode is noted for being a rare "musical episode" of the series, combining both humor and drama. The Bitter Suite was nominated for two
Emmy Awards. Composer Joseph LoDucawas nominated for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for the song "The Love of Your Love" and LoDuca and lyricist Dennis Spiegel were nominated in the same category for the song "Hearts Are Hurting". ["Variety" Magazine, February 6, 1998] It was LoDuca's second and third nominations for the series out of a total of seven nominations, and one award, through the six-year run of the series.
In the episode
Xenaand Gabrielle are brought to the "Land of Illusia", where they have to work together again, letting their past problems go, in order to escape alive. Xena and Gabrielle's enemy Callisto ( Hudson Leick) is their guide and is aided by Ares and Joxer. Throughout the episode Xena and Gabrielle deal with the problems that had recently torn them apart and learn to focus on the stronger bond that brought them together in the first place.
After Gabrielle's daughter Hope (also played by Renée O'Connor) kills Xena's son Solan, a rift is sown between them. Though Gabrielle realizes, too late, that her daughter is an evil half-demon, Xena still blames Gabrielle for her son's death, while Gabrielle blames Xena for having to destroy her daughter.
By the start of the episode, the two of them have reached the point where only the other's death will satisfy their thirst for vengeance. Xena attacks and attempts to kill Gabrielle, only to be thwarted at the last moment when both are brought to the land of Illusia. After both awaken completely
nakedand are supplied with new clothing, their enemies immediately try to set them against each other.
The concept of "Illusia" is never actually explained. Aleph is their guide throughout the magical land, but the entire episode appears to be a "
deus ex machina" to bring the two of them back together when nothing else could. Throughout the episode the two are forced to realize what drove them apart, and what is truly important to them. Ultimately realizing that the only thing separating the two of them is hate, and that they truly do love each other, and would sacrifice their own lives for each other.
Quote_box|width=30%|align=right|quote=""We decided to use an orchestra and chorus for the episode. We also brought in a Broadway director/choreographer named Jeff Calhoun, I had a chance to work with some wonderful lyricists; all the things that wouldn't be part of an ordinary episode. There are seven main numbers, as many as you would find in a full-length musical. As you tend to find with any Xena episode, we cram that TV screen with music and images and special fx, and this episode is no different."|source=—
Joseph LoDuca, series Soundtrack, about The Bitter Suite [ Joseph LoDuca, composer, from the article "Bitter Suite: The Making of a Musical", Topps Official Xena Magazine #3, May 1998] ."The Bitter Suite was shot between September and October, 1997, in New Zealand. Some actors of the previous episode return, as Hudson Leick, as Callisto, Danielle Cormack, as Ephiny, and David Tayloras Solan. Other old actors in the series return in that episode, as Ted Raimi, Kevin Tod Smith, Willa O'Neill, Karl Urbanand Marton Csokas. The series executive producer, Robert Tapert, was originally going to direct the episode himself, but pulled out at the last minute because of complications on '. Kevin Smith was unable to rehearse the tango sequence in the episode with Lucy Lawlessbecause Lucy sprained her knee getting off Tilly. Kevin had to rehearse with a dance instructor a foot shorter than Lucy. All ended well as Lucy's knee healed in a week, and Lucy was much easier to dance with because of her height<. Hudson Leick's singing voice was dubbed in this episode by Broadway and film star Michelle Nicastro, although Leick did provide the narration from Paul Foster Case's "The Book of Tokens" to open the musical segment of the episode. Renee O'Connor's voice was dubbed by Broadway singer Susan Wood. [Green, Michelle Erica. "Susan Wood: Singing for the Bard," "n.d.", [http://www.littlereview.com/getcritical/interviews/wood.htm] ] Lucy Lawless, Kevin Smith, Ted Raimi and Willa O'Neill did their own singing for the episode. Willa O'Neillwas at the "Panathenaea Convention" in London, England, at September 2, 2000. She mentioned that she did her own singing in "The Bitter Suite". She explained that she had to audition to Joseph LoDucain Detroitby telephone. Then when they recorded the songs, the singing was done in a sound studio in New Zealand, but the actual taping was done in Detroit. After taping it, they then played it back while filming the episode. She found it weird to hear her voice singing during the filming. The costumes in "The Bitter Suite" are all based on Tarot cards, Callisto was based on The Fool, Gabrielle was The Empress, Xena played both Death and The High Priestess, and Joxer was The Hanged Man.
A soundtrack containing the various songs used in the episode was released by
Universal Musicon March 01, 1998.
# The Sweat Hut/Slapped Out Of It/Xena's In Town
# Horrible Drag/On The Edge/Song Of The Fool
# What's Still Unwritten...(Song Of Illusia)/Little Ditties/Into The Chandra/Joxer The Mighty...
# War And Peace/Gab Is Stabbed
# Melt Into Me/Let Go
# Dead?/Hearts Are Hurting (Part 1)
# The Deliverer
# Hate Is the Star(Son Of The Torment)/Hearts Are Hurting (Part 2)
# The Way Out/The Love Of Your Love/Passing Through
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