"The Bitter Suite" was the culminating episode in the "Rift Arc," a six-episode series where the friends Xena and Gabrielle was severely tested. In the fifth episode, Gabrielle indirectly caused the death of Xena's child. The two went their separate ways, and in "The Bitter Suite" Xena, in a fit of madness, tries to kill Gabrielle. They fall over a cliff and into the musical land of Illusia, where everyone must sing, until they worked out their differences. To put on an original musical in the middle of a television series shooting schedule taxed the production company to its limit, and had it failed, it would become a major embarrassment. The episode was well received, as reaction in the AOL chat shows.