GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 3 BY Martman
COMMENTARY 4 BY John Wignall
COMMENTARY 5 BY Philip Teo
WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Kate Elliott (Yakut)
Donogh Rees (Chi'ah)
Beryl Te Wiata (Midwife)
Rachel Hayward (Amazon)
Creative Consultanting by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
Written by Buddy Williers [Stephen L. Sears]
Directed by John Fawcett
ON AN ALL NEW XENA.....
(Gabrielle with dirt streaks on her face. Yakut touches Xena's body.)
Xena: Something's gone wrong!
(Xena thrashing on a bed in pain, watched by Gabrielle and a midwife.)
THE WARRIOR PRINCESS FACES HER WORST NIGHTMARE....
(Strobe shots of Xena in her shaman costume, and Alti in her new leather outfit.)
Xena: Something's trying to kill my baby!
FROM AN ENEMY SHE THOUGHT WAS DEAD......
(Alti lifts Yakut by the throat, a whirlwind flies from her skeleton.)
Alti: Such a pleasure to see you again, Xena.
AN ENEMY WHO WILL TEST THE POWER OF A MOTHER'S LOVE.....
(Xena punches Chi'ah. Alti casts a spell and sucks Xena through a portal.)
(Xena screaming in pain.)
Xena: If you harm my child, I will be your eternal damnation.
(Alti gives the wickedest crooning laugh.)
AN ALL NEW XENA, COMING NEXT WEEK.
TV GUIDE PROMO
The spirit of the evil Shamaness Alti attempts to capture the soul of Xena's unborn child. Logline
Alti, an evil shamaness Xena killed, returns through the spirit world to gain control of her unborn baby's soul. TVGrid
When Xena experiences sharp pains in her stomach, Gabrielle takes her to see a midwife. As the midwife examines her a baby skeleton tears out of Xena's belly. Horrified Xena screams and loses consciousness. Gabrielle calls out to Xena and she wakes up -- it was only a nightmare. The midwife tells Xena that she needs bed rest, but Xena is convinced that someone is trying to kill her baby. She tells Gabrielle and Amarice that they are going to see Yakut, a shamaness and leader of the Northern Amazons. Upon their arrival at the village, Yakut performs a ritual and tells Xena that her child is being drained of its life force in the spiritual realm by Alti, the evil shamaness Xena killed. Gabrielle knows that Xena can't fight Alti in her condition in the spiritual world, so she convinces Xena to send her instead. Xena hands Gabrielle the dagger she will need to kill Alti and tells her not to let go of it no matter what. The two perform an elaborate ceremony and Gabrielle falls into a trance. Alti greets Gabrielle with a fierce blow that knocks the dagger out of her hand. The shamaness turns the knife into a dove that flies away. In the real world, Xena sees the dagger disappear from Gabrielle's hands and desperately tries to wake her, but can't.
Gabriele wounds Alti just before Xena pulls her back into the real world. When Gabrielle tells Xena that Alti said she needs the baby to be born, Xena realizes that Alti is trying to re-enter the world by taking away her baby's soul and replacing it with her own. Xena figures the only way to stop Alti is to perform the burial ritual for restless souls. She sends Gabrielle and Amarice to the Scherian Caverns to retrieve a special amber that, when placed on Alti's remains, will trap her soul when it hardens. Xena and Yakut leave to recover Alti's bones, but when they find them, the skull is missing. Yakut tells Xena that she took the skull because she thought she could harness Alti's power and use it for good. But now Yakut knows that she's responsible for Alti's return.
Later that night, puts herself in a trance and enters Alti's realm. Xena wakes up and sees that Yakut is unconscious. She enters Alti's dreamscape and Alti punches Xena in the back and retracts a glowing orb. As Xena and Yakut awake from their trances, Alti tells Xena that she will give her child's soul back if she is brought back into the physical world. Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Amarice enter the caverns and are greeted by Chi'Ah, an Amazon mystic who guards the amber. But Chi'Ah reveals that Amarice is not really an Amazon and will not let her pass. Gabrielle retrieves the amber and she and Amarice return to Yakut's camp. Determined to retrieve the child's soul, the Amazons perform an elaborate ceremony and Xena brings Alti out of her realm.
But in actuality, Xena has tricked Alti. She merely transferred her from one dreamscape to another, which has weakened her powers. Alti, in skeletal form, attacks Xena with a vengeance. Xena steps out of her skin and the two skeletal forms go head to head. In the real world, Gabrielle sees that Xena has the upper hand and pours the amber on Alti's bones, which causes Alti to freeze in place in the spiritual world. Xena takes her sword and slices Alti right down the middle, causing the bones to explode. Xena returns to the real world with her child's soul perfectly safe...at least for the time being.
Claire Stansfield (Alti)
Jennifer Sky (Amarice)
Kate Eliot (Yakut)
Donogh Rees (Chi-Ah)
Beryl Te Wiata (Midwife)
Rachel Hayward (amazon)
Written by Steven L. Sears & R.J. Stewart
Directed by John Fawcett
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 11-01-99
An AA average of 3.6
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XFILES 4.0
(2) XENA 3.6
(3) HERCULES 3.3
(4) STARGATE 3.0
(5) EARTH FINAL CONFLICT 2.9
(6) BEASTMASTER 2.7
(7) LOST WORLD 2.2
(8) PROFILER 2.1
(9) RELIC HUNTER 2.0
2nd RELEASE: 02-28-00
An AA average of <3.2
Competition from Syndication:RANK PROGRAM NAME DISTRIBUTOR RATING AUDIENCE 1 WHEEL OF FORTUNE-SYN KIN 11.3 11,418,000 2 JEOPARDY KIN 9.6 9,657,000 3 JUDGE JUDY (AT) PRM 7.2 7,235,000 4 WHEEL OF FORTUNE-WKND KIN 6.5 6,531,000 5 ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT PRM 6.5 6,514,000 6 OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT) KIN 6.4 6,476,000 7 FRIENDS-SYN (AT) WB 6.1 6,125,000 8 SEINFELD CTS 5.6 5,653,000 9 FRASIER-SYN (AT) PRM 5.3 5,369,000 10 HOLLYWOOD SQUARES KIN 4.4 4,426,000 11 DREW CAREY (AT) WB 4.2 4,273,000 12 JUDGE JOE BROWN (AT) PRM 4.1 4,172,000 13 ER-SYN (AT) W/T 4.1 4,115,000 14 X-FILES-SYN (AT) 2/T 4.0 4,062,000 15 JERRY SPRINGER (AT) STD 3.9 3,897,000 15 SEINFELD-WKND CTS 3.8 3,863,000 17 EXTRA WB 3.5 3,576,000 18 ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW WB 3.5 3,515,000 19 FRIENDS WEEKND (AT) WB 3.4 3,438,000 19 MONTEL WILLIAMS SHOW PRM 3.4 3,409,000 21 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN(AT) BVC 3.4 3,408,000 22 MAURY (AT) STD 3.4 3,383,000 23 LIVE-REGIS & KATHIE LEE BV 3.3 3,359,000 24 STARGATE SG-1 MGM 3.3 3,297,000 25 VIP (AT) CTS 3.2 3,267,000
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Gabrielle digs in the ground for a mushroom-shaped herb that Xena wants for morning sickness. Xena and Gabrielle kid around. Xena eats the mushroom. She screams in pain. Gabrielle takes Xena to a midwife. Xena screams and yells. She rips her clothes off. Her tummy starts poking around doing the mamba, then a skull pops up through her stomach. Xena screams.
It was just a dream. Gabrielle and the midwife are right there. The midwife had given Xena a sedative. Amarice comes in. The midwife says Xena needs to rest, but Xena gets up. She says she needs to go see Yakut, the shamanness of the northern Amazons. She tells Gabrielle that was no dream; it was a premonition. She says something is trying to kill her baby. Xena, Gabrielle and Amarice ride their horses a very long way.
They reach the northern Amazons. Yakut greets them. She says she saw them coming in a vision. Yakut does a ritual over Xena and says the baby is being drained of its life force in the spirit world by someone with the symbol of the shamanness. Xena realizes it is Alti. She has flashes of scenes from the India Arc ep which had Alti in it (Between the Lines).
Xena wants to go the spirit realm to fight Alti, but everyone's concerned because she is pregnant. Xena and Gabrielle have a very sweet heart-to-heart chat about it. "I love your baby like its my own," Gabrielle says. Gabrielle finally convinces Xena to let her go in her place. Gabrielle prepares to make the journey by hunting and killing a stag. She makes her own little Ewok outfit out of the stag and gets all bloody and does trance dances. The Amazons do a lot of dancing. Xena and Gabrielle do ritual activities. Xena gives Gabrielle a dagger and tells her not to let go of it. Gabrielle asks Xena not to let go of her. Amarice watches and looks very confused.
Gabrielle crosses over in an indescribable sequence. She takes the dagger with her. The world stops. Alti appears in front of Gabrielle. Xena watches Gabrielle's body. Alti beats up Gabrielle. Xena tells Gabrielle to come back. Alti makes Gabrielle cut her throat. Xena pleads with Gabrielle to return. Alti counts to 10 and Gabrielle dies in the spirit world and in the real world.
Xena gives Gabrielle mouth-to-mouth. Gabrielle breathes again and comes back to the real world. Gabrielle tells Xena that Alti wants the baby to be born. Xena realizes Alti wants to come back through Xena's baby.
Xena and Yakut set out to dig up Alti's skeleton. Amarice and Gabrielle take off after some special amber that will trap souls. A spiritual Amazon guards the amber, they are told.
Yakut and Xena talk about a golden tree with lots of branches and accepting motherhood and seeing doves. Xena uncovers Alti's skeleton and finds the skull is missing. Yakut says everything is her fault. She wanted to harness Alti's powers for good and so did some shamanness stuff that apparently did not work. Xena is a little pissed.
Night. Xena wakes to find Yakut in a spirit coma. Xena drinks and follows Yakut to the spirit world. She sees someone she thinks is Yakut but it's really Alti. Alti thrusts her hand into Xena's stomach and pulls out the soul light of Xena's baby. Yakut is all strung up and hurt. Xena threatens to follow Alti forever and ever if she hurts the baby. Alti carries the light around and tells Xena she can have the baby back if she convinces the Amazons to bring Alti back to life. Xena returns to the real world. Yakut returns as well.
Gabrielle and Amarice find the cave with the amber. The spiritual amazon guardian (Chi'ah) says that Amarice isn't an Amazon; she can't go any further. Amarice runs away. Gabrielle gets the amber and returns outside to find Amarice. Amarice says she had no identity so she created one as an Amazon so she could be a part of something. Gabrielle and Amarice talk some more and head back to the tribe to find that Xena is really upset about her baby's soul being lost.
The Amazons perform a ritual over Alti's skeleton. Xena drinks stuff and goes to the spirit world. She tells Alti she's won. Alti takes Xena's hand. Alti's skeleton pulls itself together and gets up. The skeleton swallows the baby's light. Xena takes off her head to reveal her own skeleton. Yakut and Gabrielle say that Xena has taken Alti to another dreamscape. Xena comes out of her skin and the skeletons fight.
Gabrielle asks Xena to give her a signal. The skeletons fight. Xena's body oozes blood from her mouth and nose. Xena finally gets her baby's soul from Alti. Amarice feels the baby move.
Gabrielle pours the amber over the skeleton. Xena's skeleton whacks up Alti's skeleton in the dreamscape.
The Amazons see a lot of wind and yelling and stuff as Alti's skeleton and soul get all hung up in the amber. Xena returns to her body.
Gabrielle and Amarice talk. Gabrielle says she didn't tell Xena what the Chi'ah said. Gabrielle tells Amarice she is one of her Amazon sisters. Amarice says she is going to stay with the northern Amazons and learn a few things.
Yakut and Xena talk. Xena tells Yakut she's heading east because more people and spirits and things will be after the baby. Xena sees a dove, which means she's accepted her baby and being a mother.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
I'm not a particularly superstitious person, but I gotta say this right off the bat: If I were pregnant, playing a problem with a pregnancy would spook the bejeebers out of me. I'm very glad this episode didn't air until after Lucy's baby was born safe and sound. If the pregnancy hadn't been clean as a whistle, those first few minutes of the episode would have made me throw up.
Xena sends Gab searching for "just a plain ol' mushroom"?? Even if the line had been something like "look for a yellow one with a brown center," I would have bought it. But anyone who's even heard of the 60s or learned not to eat everything that grows would know what a bad idea "a plain ol' mushroom" is. No wonder Xena trips out. That wasn't a vision, that was healer penance for such a screwup.
The banter at the beginning of the episodes was pretty danged cute. I liked Lucy's delivery of "Ugh. I feel like a slug" (letting a little personal inflection in there?), and nice lightening of a corny moment with "I'm not eating mushrooms."
Gabrielle's horse is still around! Gab's looking pretty at home on him, too. And she's not even walking funny after riding across half of eastern Europe.
Granted, people change and move pretty quick in the XenaVerse. But geez, the last time we saw Yakut, she was a shell-shocked kid wearing a bullwinkle hat two sizes too big. ("Look, mom! I'm the new head of the elk lodge!") A year later, she's a mondo prophetess, with no sign or mention of the Otere chick we spent so much time with in Sin Trade that was... what was it again?... oh, yeah, the queen!
On the flip side, it was nice to see that the Thunderdome Amazons seem to be settling and growing in numbers. That seemed like a believable change for the past year. There still ain't a one of 'em over 20 years old, though. When Chia showed up, we finally found out what these amazons do with women past the quarter-century mark: they ship them off as hermit mystics.
Yakut puts her hand on Xena's stomach and draws a picture: the first sonogram!
Sharon has been sneaking out pictures of Gab'in Hood from this episode for a while now. And she did look amazing as a huntress. But I gotta say, the set photographer realized how great ROC looked in that outfit better than the show's director did. Blink and you'll miss it in the episode.
Interesting Sin Trade consistency: the boojum effect of the blood and the rituals and dancing looked the same, and were explained better this time around. The camera work was even similar. But what was up with all the goofy montages? A spider? An alligator eating a fish?
During the whole first ritual, every time they showed the amazons dancing, Amarice was in the middle of them all with an amazed look as if she thinks they're all insane. By the third or fourth shot of this, I was laughing myself sick.
Nifty freeze-frame effect a la The Matrix when Gabrielle wakes up in the dream world.
Alti got a new look! A little more aerodynamic now, although she still keeps Mary Kay Cosmetics in business with all that mascara.
Chalk up another death for Gabrielle. And to cure a same-ol', same-ol' death, they used a same-ol', same-ol' CPR resurrection method from Doctor in the House. What the heck was the use of the blood-sister pact Xena and Gabrielle made before Gab went under? It didn't seem to do a lick of good.
Xena puts Yakut in her place pretty neatly for bringing Alti down on them and not saying anything until she had no choice. I think it was the latter part that peeved Xena the most, since she immediately reminds Yakut that Gabrielle almost died while Yakut sat on her hands. No cutesy feel-better lines, no platitudes to make it all right, just a "you idiot" attitude and "let's do our job." Given all that, I'm surprised that Xena didn't use the Borias method of trance interruption and smack the crap out of Yakut. (Of course, she DID give her a heck of a punch when she found her in the dream world, so maybe she just waited.)
Right up there with "any ol' mushroom" in the swiftie pregnancy moves is Xena's chug-a-lug of trippy blood. Getting the baby soul-napped was Xena's comeuppance for fooling around with blood rites while in a family way. Hello, warrior princess! Maybe the dove at the end was the baby's way of saying "Thank you, now will you PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH ME!" (Then again, Warlord Xena DID do the same thing when she was carrying Solan.)
And in the "subtlety is not my strong suit" category for the week, we have Alti's "I've always wanted to be inside of you, Xena" line. She was talking about slipping a dagger between Xena's ribs, right? That must have been it. Feel free to use that if you have any pre-teens watching the show who ask uncomfortable questions.
Alti's deal makes major sense. If she was born as Xena's baby, Xena'd just do another Hope-i-cide and off the kid before it drew two breaths. (Been there, done that.) This way, Alti gets to come back as fully herself.
I expected Guardian Chia to tell Gabrielle "You may pass... but first you met get past my pet."
Gee, the chick full of "In MY tribe, we spun tops on our heads" stories isn't really an amazon? Knock me over with a feather. Gabrielle's addition of Amarice to her tribe was predictable, but nicely done. And then Amarice decides to stay with the Northern tribe? That's gratitude for ya.
The world-creating business was telegraphed from the moment Alti said the amazons can do anything if they put their minds to it. Yakut serves as Amazon Narrator for both trance scenes, this time by providing subtitles for the scheme with the line "Our minds, creator of worlds."
The next entry in the creative methods of avoiding fight scenes with a pregnant star: a special-effected fight. I'm as up for a Ray Harryhausen tribute as the next gal, but the fight bored the pants off me. (Note to self: wear a belt next time.) It looked too much like Doom on my computer screen.
Poor Gabrielle: she goes through all that "Shamaness in a Day" training, only to find herself thrown into the deep end of the pool without a life jacket while Alti speeds around on a Jet-Ski. I liked this scene a lot. The bewildering shots of dual Gabrielles, of Alti's total control of the realm, showed how unprepared Gabrielle was for that fight. Alti: 2, Gabrielle: 0. Alti's due for a MAJOR buttkicking from the Amazon Queen next time they meet.
Xena's threat about being Alti's eternal damnation has some serious bite to it, given her recent stint leading the forces of hell. Take this woman seriously, Alti!
COOL line from Gabrielle: "For many years I walked in Xena's shadow... she taught me something. It's warmer standing in the sun." It was good to see Gab get to show off some of those people skills of hers. She was warm, perceptive, and wise in this episode.
This commentary is by Beboman.
Someone please pinch me, slap me; just do something to wake me up. I can't believe this is the fifth episode of the new season and it's just super awesome.
At this time, words escape me to describe the way I feel about this episode (being out of words is something almost impossible for me to accomplish).
There were many things I liked about this episode, but one of my favorites was the fact that, YES, OH YES, Americe is gone. She stayed with the Northern Amazons. Hopefully never to be seen again. In this episode the character of Americe was the only downfall to the episode. The character was annoying and interrupted at moments which were very important in the show. The big surprise about Americe in this show was to find out that she was not an Amazon. That explained to me the reason for some of her attitudes and her lack of understanding of some of the rituals and actions of the Amazons. I guess (and to give some due to Americe) the fact that she was not an Amazon was what made her so annoying. It is hard to try to belong to something when you are not totally aware of all the rules and motivations of the game. There is more to being an Amazon than just being able to fight well, and that is what Americe lacked. I would like to believe that Xena was aware of the fact that Americe was not a true Amazon, but Xena understood and was willing to give her the opportunity to grow and learn. With this said, I will move on.
For those who follow subtext, I will say that this episode was loaded with subtext, and I did enjoy it. Moments such as when Gabrielle tells Xena that she loves her baby as if it were her own, or when Alti calls Gabrielle Xena's b****, and the mouth to mouth resuscitation was just great.
The connection that has developed between Gabrielle and Xena is just so beautiful and so special. There is no more doubt or questioning where Gabrielle will be either in mind, soul or presence. She is there next to Xena, through the good, the bad and especially the ugly. She is strong and tender. I have to say I love what the writers have done with Gabrielle this season. She has grown so much. I guess dying on a cross, going through heaven and hell and coming back to life has a way of putting your priorities in order.
I have also enjoyed the moments of intimacy between Gabrielle and Xena. The opening of the show was one of those moments and was done just perfectly, with Gabrielle helping Xena get the mushroom to end Xena's morning sickness. The whole interchange was done with great timing and it helped as the lead into a great story line.
Bringing back Alti as the evil spirit who wants to harm Xena's baby was a stroke of sheer genius. Who better than Alti to create havoc and discontent. Who better than the same person who cursed Solan's soul before he was born to try to steal the soul of Xena's new baby. Alti's presence gave the show just the touch of evil it needed. That was something that made this an outstanding episode.
It was good to see Yaku as the Shamaness. I have to agree with Xena; she has grown quite a bit since the last time we saw her. She has become a more sedate and soft spoken character. She has lost that bouncing from "Adventures in Sins" without losing her essential character. The fact that she has trying to harvest Alti's strength is a sign that Yaku is still an audacious character.
There were several moments that got me and, once again, I was super glad there were commercials, because I needed a breather. It was very interesting to see Gabrielle become a Shamaness under the tutelage of Xena. The whole sequence was done marvelously and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Seeing Gabrielle go through the process was interesting because I was remembering in "Adventures in..." when Xena, lonely and desperate, was going through the process of passing over to the other side. Xena's process of passing over to the other side was covered with rain, dark clouds and a deep feeling of grief and made Xena's process seem that much more lonely and heartbreaking.
On the other hand, when Gabrielle passed over to the other side, even though she was going to face Alti, she was in the company of Xena, her mentor, friend, and guide. She was not alone or desperately grieving. Gabrielle had a mission to save the soul of Xena's baby, but at the same time Xena was holding on to her and she was holding on to Xena. When Xena is explaining about the dagger and the blood, this was a very touchy scene, especially when Gabrielle tells Xena not to let go of her. There was so much emphasis in those words. Gabrielle knew Xena would not let go. Gabrielle just needed to hear Xena tell her she was not going to let go.
The presence of Alti and her ability to destroy once again the psyche of Gabrielle was a true reminiscence of "Between the Lines". The character of Alti is a very strong and impressive character. Outside of Callisto, Alti makes the best nemesis for Xena and Gabrielle. The fight between Alti and Gabrielle, or let me rephrase myself, the lack of fighting between Alti and Gabrielle served to emphasis the fact that sometimes the student cannot take the place of the teacher. No matter how advanced Gabrielle was, she was totally outmatched by Alti
The special effects were outstanding, especially when Gabrielle wakes up in the dream land Alti inhabits. The freezing of the water, the bird and the fire was absolutely fantastic. The skeleton fight was also very interesting. Seeing Xena go from a flesh and blood human to a skeleton was a very dazzling effect. It was just amazing to see that both skeletons maintained the characteristics of the characters they represented. The whole scene was absolutely top notch, especially when Xena takes one of Alti's extremities and says "That's got to hurt". Once again, it reminded me of "Crusader".
One thing and only one thing regarding the special effects that got me a bit on the bothered side was the way the flashing back into the other world was done. I found it a bit on the distracting side. Following the poison through the veins and so forth was a bit overboard. I'm sure the effect could have been accomplished in some other way. The music, directing and photography were, as usual, excellent.
Now is the time to talk about Xena. By the Gods, Xena as a mother looks more beautiful than ever. Xena seems to be more focused in everything she does. Her deductive abilities are sharper than ever. Her voice is softer, without losing that tone of authority that makes Xena who she is. Her fighting skills are sharper, more determined, with a slight flare of flashiness that makes Xena a great warrior.
Xena's interaction and emotions with Gabrielle traveled a vast range on this show. We see the funny and relaxed side at the beginning of the show, then we see how Xena becomes Gabrielle's guide. We see the pride Xena feels when Gabrielle returns triumphant. Then there is Xena's desperation at the fact that Gabrielle might have died at the hands of Alti. All those emotions are neatly intertwined within each other.
I would like to say that LL's acting was superb in this episode. It would have been so easy for Xena to run wild in this show, but LL kept her a subdued and did a great job at it. ROC was excellent in this show. She portrayed Gabrielle with such maturity and determination that it was a real pleasure to see. Then there was Claire Stansfield, who did another outstanding job as Alti.
To tell the truth, I really enjoyed this episode. I'm getting a bit frightened about the other episodes to come. I am worried that the quality of the shows we have been given is so good, there may be a letdown coming and we will lose this marvelous momentum.
This commentary is by Martman.
Them Bones was a good episode of XWP. Please note I'm emphasizing the word GOOD, not GREAT, FANTASTIC, or WORTHY OF ETERNAL WORSHIP. Although the ep gave me some of what I wanted, it failed to provide everything which made its prequels (AITST 1 and 2, and BTL) classic episodes of the show. But all things considered, it was definitely acceptable.
Kickin' *ss and Takin' Names
Once again Alti opened up a can of spiritual whoop *ss (OH H*LL YEAH!!) on Xena and Gab. Now its fun to see her whoops our heroes good, just as long as they come back and beat her in the end. (Don't take that literally! *eg*) The problem I had this time, however, was that even though Alti cleaned both their clocks, Xena was the only one able to muster any offense against her. I've noticed that's a big pattern that seems to form every time Alti gets in the picture. First Gab is nowhere around in AITST 1 and 2, then in BTL she can't even get a blow in, and now here in TBTB she manages one kick to the gut. It wasn't very noticable to me in the first 3 Alti eps. But that's probably because Season 4 focused in on THE RELATIONSHIP (especially in the wake of the vision), and so seeing Gab get trashed was no big deal.
Now however, the show has shifted focus slightly, placing more emphasis on Gab's fighting abilities and her coming of age (in other words, her ability to match Xena's fighting skills). H*ll! That was the prime focus of Succession, and was certainly an underlying issue in Chakrum and to a lesser extent in FA and AA. In this light, seeing Gab get whooped so badly by Alti was VERY noticable. C'mon TPTB! How do you expect us to be able to see Gab as Xena's EQUAL in terms of fighting abilities if you show her totally and completely outgunned like she was here? I'm not saying I wanted her to beat Alti all by herself; just put up a fight, make it interesting, and make it look like she has finally gained the fighting skills that Xena always had. If they'd done this, TPTB would acutally have built upon the foundation they laid down in Succession. But instead, they just took that foundation and smashed it to bits. NOT A WISE MOVE!
In the last 3 Alti eps, we saw Xena and Gab fight, and ultimately defeat Alti TOGETHER. Now for those of you who remember AITST, yes I'm aware of the fact that Gab wasn't PHYSICALLY with Xena when she combated Alti. BUT, Xena said it herself in AITST 2: "she'll [Gabrielle will] live inside me forever". And indeed, when we saw the vision for the first time, Gab declared her life long devotion and loyalty to her best friend; even if it meant her death. ("Even in death ... i will never leave you") So as far as I'm concerned, once Xena saw Gab was alive in the vision and started kicking Alti's *ss in that forest, GAB was kicking her *ss too. At that point, Xena and Gab were united SPIRITUALLY, and BOTH of them defeated and killed Alti. Likewise in BTL, although Gab didn't get any shots in on Alti, it took BOTH OF THEM to activate the mendhi powers required to bring her soul back in time and defeat it. Seeing that Xena nor Gab could defeat Alti alone, and seeing their love and dedication for each other help them to defeat defeat her each time was a very big factor in making all 3 previous Alti eps so special.
In TBTB, however, I just didn't get the feeling that were united in their fight against Alti. Gab went in first and failed; Xena went in and won. They weren't working TOGETHER in this one, but rather SEPARATELY. And this is something that leaves me feeling a big empty. I want to see them both triumph over adversity, not just see one or the other do it. Now I'm sure someone is gonna say to me that Gab DID trap Alti's soul in the amber, which Xena couldn't do cuz she was in the spirit world. Well, that's true. But it just didn't have the same feeling. It was a let down. And as much as I tried to think this through, I simply couldn't convince myself otherwise - even with Xena's declaration that they defeated her TOGETHER. Sorry, no sale!
AITST 1 and 2, and BTL are classics in my mind primarily because they took the relationship to heights I never thought were possible before. AITST 1 and 2 established Gab as the person who restored Xena's light and gave her a new life. Likewise, by Xena saying that Gab would want her to defeat Alti for the Greater Good, and not see her in the Amazon land of the dead indicates that Xena gave Gab a light of her own - taught her to be a hero, and to have a hero's values. Likewise, BTL established Xena and Gab as eternal soulmates who are destined to be togther for eternity.
TBTB, on the other hand, did nothing to deepen or strengthen the relationship (but then again, it did nothing to harm it either), nor did it show me anything that I didn't already know. I mean, it stands to reason that if Gab was willing to die, kill, and give up her way for Xena (IOM), then she would most certainly be willing to do the same to protect Xena's baby. This was simple common sense. Now don't get me wrong. There WERE intimate/tender loving care scenes between Xena and Gab in this ep - most noticeably when Xena was trying to prevent Gab from fighting Alti in the spirit realm for her own safety, and then later when she went frantic as Alti killed off Gab's body. I definitely appreciate that these scences were written into the script, but its nothing we haven't seen before.
During the ep, we see Xena and Gab cut each other's hands open and start gushing all over the place. I REALLY think that was over the line. I DO NOT want to see self mutilation on TV. It's sickening and very very creepy. I didn't like it in GJWHF when Bacchus cut his own hand, but at least the actor had enough sense to hide that from the camera to an extent. This time we SAW the cut being made s-l-o-o-o-w-w-l-l-y-y. And it was SICK. I'm sure some people would interpret this as growth and development in the relationship. Now, according to them, Xena and Gab not only share eternity together, but they also share blood. Well, NO THANK YOU. I don't want the relationship to be deepened in this way, nor do I want a trend to be established whereby Xena and Gab can only have loving/tender loving care moments when they mutilate their bodies. NO THANK YOU!! Sorry, but if Xena didn't have to cut herself open in AITST to get to the spirit realm, and if Xena and Gab didn't have to cut themselves open in BTL to apply the mendhi, then why are they doing it here? I'm sending a message to TPTB right now: PLEASE refrain from doing this again in the future.
Amarice the Amazon
Honestly, I don't see how this storyline added anything to the story. So Amarice is not a true Amazon. Big whoop! Still, it sheds new light on why she kept saying "in my tribe" during Endgame and IOM. Me thinks she protests too much. Actually, if TPTB had said that she was Callisto's sister, and then when Xena burned down her village, she ran away to join them, this plot would've actually served a purpose on the show. Oh well. At any rate, at the end of the ep, Gab said, "Hey Amarice, you're an Amazon now!". Ok, she didn't say it like THAT, but you get the jist of it. I guess Amarice does deserve to be an Amazon. She risked her life to get Xena and Gab off the cross in Fallen Angel, much like Gab protected that one Amazon (I forgot her name) in Hooves and Harlots. So I guess its only fair.
1. Wow! This episode was bloody!! But then again, I guess that's to be expected whenever Alti makes an appearence.
2. I thought TPTB overdid those scenes where Xena and Gab crossed over into the spirit realm in this ep. It just got a bit too corny for my taste. Those wierd FX and herky/jerky camera motions got on my nerves.
3. Give TPTB credit for coming up with those skeleton fight scenes. Not only were they cool, but they let LL take it easy while pregnant.
4. Alti said, "Welcome to the dog house"?? I think one of the script writers is a professional wrestling fan. (Oh you didn't know?? Your *ss better call somebody!!)
The Final Word
From my review, it might sound that I hated TBTB. That is not the case. I liked it, I just didn't LOVE it like its prequels. Still, there was a lot to like about this ep. Xena and Gab were great as usual, and their mutual concern over the child was very heartwarming to see. It was great also seeing Alti again. She was just fab as that never say die archvillain. Hopefully we've not seen the end of Alti on this show. Just cuz her soul got trapped in amber doesn't mean she's gone for good does it? Well, we'll have to wait and see. But I will DEFINITELY welcome her back on the show anytime.
05-11-00. This commentary is by John Wignall.
Them Bones, Them Bones (or Evil Dead IV)
The thing that amazes me most about this ep is that Bruce Campbell wasn't in it. How could Xena salute the Evil Dead series without Ash??
We open the ep with a rather yucky image, setting the tone for most of the ep. Gabby is poking around in a swamp with one of her sais, and pulls out something gross. Xena's looking for a 'plain old mushroom', but this looks more to me like a chunk of mouldy swamp goop. (Or possibly tofu, it can be hard to tell the difference) Somehow this gross thing is supposed to keep her from puking. I, for one, see a flaw in the logic. I know that pregnant women will eat some pretty weird stuff, but I really gotta wonder what Rob promised Lucy to get her to do this scene.
So anyway, the happy couple are busy cooing at each other, and talking about how wonderful life is when you're pregnant, when Xe gets a cramp. It must be a pretty bad one, 'cause next thing we know, we're watching er. I was waiting for that grumpy chick with the crutch to show up and tell everyone to get out of the way. Xena screams for a while, then we switch from er to Alien, and a little skeleton jumps out of her tummy. (I guess the kid hasn't grown skin yet) CLICK Nope, that was a dream. The sedatives in ancient Greece seem to cause some weird-ass hallucinations. Keebler runs in, she's dumped Armand and Joxer. (Who knows, maybe the boys decided they prefer each other's company. Remember the bathhouse scene?) Xena gets up and decides to visit the ewok-zons again. This trip she's just been on, (which I kinda think the mushroom had something to do with) has convinced her that someone is trying to harm her baby. (Oh, and as a side note, Lucy has gotten better at saying baby, remember how she said it in The Gauntlet?) Keebler thinks that's a long way to go when you're due to squeeze out a pup, but we get a montage of Xena, Argo, Gabby, her new horsie, Keebler, and some horse she probably stole from a man, riding to the north. I recognised a few of the shots, I wonder if this is the same path they used in AITST.
The opening credits roll over the ewok-zon village, as our intrepid threesome (hmmm…) ride in. Keebler doesn't seem real impressed with the spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but Yakko has pretty good hearing, and puts her in her place. They've got some stuff to do, so into the mystic sauna they go. (With their clothes on this time darn it) Yakko is doing some kind of magic sonogram, and drawing something squiggly in the sand. This squiggly thing has something to do with a shamaness, so they figure it's gotta be Alti messing with the kid. Cue a montage of Alti's greatest hits. Is it just me, or is Alti a little overplayed? I always understood Callisto's motivation, but Alti seems to be bad for the sake of being bad. [shrug] Anyway, she's dead, and the power of henna has banished her soul, but because dreams happen in your mind she can attack Xena through the power of too much mascara. Or something like that. Keebler doesn't get it, and I'm sorry to say, neither do I. Xena is planning to take her on, but Yakko thinks she can't do it, so the Gabinator want's to take a run at this nasty ole hag. Xena doesn't want her to risk herself, and they have a nice little subtexty argument. In the end, Gabby's gonna be a shamaness too. I swear, these shamanesses multiply faster than rabbits. The Gabinator goes on a deer hunt, while Lucy does a voice-over with some quasi-spiritual stuff to explain why she's killing the cute deer. Ya wanna know how much of a geek I am? When Gab slices the deer open, my head was filled with images of Han Solo slicing open his taun-tan in Empire Strikes Back. Anyway, Gabby gets her little headdress, with some serious horns. (Remember all the size jokes when Xena had the stubby horns on her hat?) She comes back to the village, all covered in blood and bits of deer, and looking ready to kick some serious ass. (So much for that way of peace, ya just know she was a vegetarian last year.)
The sun goes down, and we get a big ewok-zon dance number. I'm going to go on record here saying that I much prefer the southern amazon dancers, and I'm shallow enough to admit it. Yakko yammers on a bit about spiritual stuff, and Xena cuts Gabby's hand, then her own hand. I think they kinda blew the fake blood budget on this ep. Xena gives Gabby a special dagger, and they have another subtexty moment. Then Gab chugs a bloody mary, and we get a montage of stock footage from old high-school filmstrips. I spotted some stuff from some old health class films, and a coupla science ones, all intercut with X&G tripping out. I wanna know where they get these great drinks. Gab wakes up the next morning in a field and can't find her pants. (Oh, no wait, that was me in university) Gab wakes up in a field, and there are funky camera effects going on all around her. She spots Alti, and they use that old camera effect from Evil Dead, (You know, the one Lucasfilm copied in Jedi) to show how evil Alti is. Mostly I noticed how good Claire looks in that Emma Peel outfit, even with the stupid makeup. Alti calls Gabby 'Xena's little bitch', then grabs her and says, 'welcome to the doghouse'. Here I thought they had exhausted the women in prison cliché's in Locked Up and Tied Down. Gabby tries to stab her, but realises that the dagger is in her other hand. No, not the left one, the other right one, with her other body on the other side of the field. In case I haven't mentioned, this is a pretty trippy ep. Alti says something about wanting Xena's baby to be born, and tries to get Gabby 1 to cut her own throat by pushing Gabby 2's hand. Meanwhile in that boring old reality where you can only be one place at a time, Xena is trying to get Gabby to give it up and come back. Alti drops Gabby 2, and uses the awesome magic of Sesame Street to defeat Gabrielle by counting to ten. I was just a trifle disappointed that Alti didn't use her 'evil laugh' here. It would've made for a perfect impression of that vampire muppet. It works, and Gabby dies, (again) Xena brings her back with that mouth-breathing thing she learned back in ITADITH.
Gabby feel guilty about failing to defeat Alti, which strikes me as kind of like a kid in his first year of pee-wee hockey feeling bad about not being able to score on Curtis Joseph. Xena's just glad she got back alive, and with the news that Alti want's Xena's baby to be born. Xena, having read ahead in the script, figures out that Alti wants to switch souls with the kid. She decides to try a plan that's never worked before, they're going to cover Alti's bones in quick drying sap, which will trap her. (Hopefully this sap is more effective than the henna was.) So Xena and Yakko go to dig up Alti, and Gabby and Keebler go to get the sap, which is guarded by a telepathic Chia pet. (I'm not making this up!!)
Xena and Yakko go riding off (Since when do the ewok-zons have horses?) and chat about trees and doves and stuff like that. They're getting all philosophical about motherhood and stuff. They find Alti's old place, (Where for some reason there's still a fire going) and with some camera work highly reminiscent of the first Evil Dead movie, go in. Xena finds Alti's bones, but the skull is missing. That's okay, Yakko has it. Seems that Yakko taking her skull is what got Alti upset in the first place. (Or something like that) Yakko is all guilty and wants to take her own shot at Alti, and Xena tells her not to. That night, sure enough, Yakko tries it anyway. (Doesn't Xena ever get tired of this stuff?) Xena chugs the bloody mary, and we get another montage looted from my high school. This time with a quick shot from trainspotting tossed in. (In case anyone was still uncertain about this 'blood' stuff everybody's taking) Xena wakes up at night, in the woods, and doesn't get the fun camera effects like Gab did, but she does run into Yakko, who sneaks up on her, and does a zombie impression. So Xena smacks her, and she shoves her hand into Xena's stomach, then turns into Alti. (Y'know it might help to watch this ep stoned.) Alti mentions that she's always wanted to be inside of Xena. (Whoo-hoo!!) then yanks a glowing ball out of her. (Looked a bit like tinkerbell to me) Another quick reality shift, while the commercials are on, and we find that Yakko (presumably the real Yakko) is locked up in a skeleton. (Didn't the Canadian government just decide that Xena contained no sadomasochistic imagery?) Alti calls Xena 'mommy' and Xena, rather than being transported with maternal instincts, swears a rather elaborate eternal vengeance if she harms tinkerbell. Alti doesn't seem real impressed. They chat for a bit, then Alti proposes a deal, she'll give tinkerbell back, if Xena will get the ewok-zons to help her bring Alti back to life. Then she zaps Xena back by way of a Sliders vortex. Xena and Yakko wake up, and Yakko says she's sorry, but she doesn't touch Xena's face, so Xena brushes her off and heads for camp.
Cut to horny-Gabby, and Keebler, on their quest to challenge the psychic Chia for the quick-dry sap. (I can't even type that without laughing) They go into a cave, and the Chia comes out. She says that she can only hand over the sap to an amazon, and one of them isn't an amazon. This is where we're all supposed to doubt Gabby's rite of caste, but I don't think it fooled anybody. Keebler isn't really an amazon, she's a poseur. She leaves, and the Chia gives the sap to Gabby. Gabby comes out with the sap, feeds her horse, and has a sensitive chat with Keebler. Something about getting more sun.
Everybody gets back together at the ewok-zon village, and Yakko explains that Alti got tinkerbell. Gabby, ever the decisive amazon queen, asks the near hysterical mother what to do. No prob, Xena's got a plan, we'll beat Alti at her own game by bringing her back just like she wants. So cut to the cave. There are a bunch of candles around the skeleton, and lots of dancing ewok-zons intercut with shots of fast-moving clouds. Yakko gets another of her weird little speeches, and Xena has another of these cocktails that everyone's enjoying so much. Back to the high-school film vault. Are you sure this isn't a rave we're watching? Xena wakes up, and Alti grabs her. Xena tells her that she wins and they shake on it. ZAP! Back to the cave, but the ewok-zons are gone. Xena gets up, but there's no sign of Alti, just the same old bones on the altar. Here's where the Sam Rami tribute really gets going. Xena turns her back, and the skeleton gets magnetic, assembling itself, then jumping up. It's Alti, she just forgot her skin. Xena want's tinkerbell back, but Alti swallows it. (Kinda neat as a CGI effect) Xena responds by saying something about her dreams, and ripping her own face off. (Now I've had some whacked out dreams, some with chemical assistance, some without, but I honestly don't recall ever dreaming about ripping my own face off. What is in these drinks???) Turns out that instead of going to the real world, they're in Xena's dream world, which is being supported by a whole bunch of ewok-zons thinking unhappy thoughts. (I don't write 'em, I just review 'em.) Xena rips off the rest of her body, and now we've got two CGI skeletons. One white, and one black. So now we see RenPic's latest way of getting around Lucy's pregnancy. A purely CGI fight scene. I quite liked this, it looked cool, and remained exciting. They even fit in a python reference. (Although it'd be pretty tough for a skeleton to claim 'It's only a flesh wound') Xena rips open Alti's chest, and grabs tinkerbell, which causes her body in the real world to jump a bit. When this happens, Gabby pours the sap on Alti's skeleton, while in the dreamworld, Xena's skeleton keeps beating the marrow out of Alti's skeleton. (Are ya beginning to understand the title?) The sap makes Alti's skeleton fly up into the air, in a big tornado, and Xena wakes up.
Time for the touching closing conversations. Gabby hasn't told Xena what the Chia said about Keebler, and she's added a bead to her necklace, which makes Keebler a real amazon. [shrug] Heck if Gabs can become an amazon princess by chatting for an hour, I guess this is probably binding. Keebler's going to stick around, so that she can be on Cleo2525, and Xena has a touching good-bye with Yakko. She's heading back to Chin to re-learn the ways of the force. Tinkerbell sends Xena a thank-you Dove.
I liked this one, some very cool stuff, and despite the weird drinks, very little truly stupid stuff. This ep gets a big, big thumbs up.
11-06-00. This commentary is by Philip Teo.
This was a nice episode to bring back two characters, Yakut and Alti. But I was a bit confused. The last time Xena was with the northen amazons, she left Otere in charge. So, where was she now? And Yakut seemed to have changed ever since she became a shamanness. She appeared more cool, and less level-headed, and I wonder why there is such a change in her character.
Alti seems to be forever on Xena's nightmare list. She successfully stole Xena's first child, Solan from her, and now she is trying to make history repeat itself, this time more for her own personal benefit.
I looked at Gabrielle and really felt the pain she was taking in from Alti. Gabrielle could never seem to get in as much as a punch or a kick from Alti and seemed totally helpless here. Gabrielle has improved so much in her fighting skills, but she was merely like a rag doll to Alti here.
And we learn that Amarice is not a true amazon. How did she get into a tribe in the first place? I thought that Chilah was being a little hard on her, though it was true.
Alti once again displayed her weakness as I explained in previous reviews. She thinks she is all powerful and underestimated Xena. In the end, she was tricked by Xena into another realm where she could be defeated more easily. The special effects were spectacular, but I would have preferred to watch Xena in action, beating the lights out of Alti.
Amarice has learnt a great lesson and it might appear this might be the last time we will see her on Xena again.
WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
Alti was, of course, played by Claire Stansfield, who originated the role in Adventures In The Sin Trade. Claire hasn't played any other roles in the Xenaverse, but she has many other credits to her name. She has appeared on the movies Steel (1997), Sweepers (1999), Darkdrive (1996), Gladiator Cop II: The Swordsman (1995), Wes Craven's The Outpost (1995), Drop Zone (1994), The Favor (1994), Gladiator Cop (1994), Sensation (1994), Best of the Best II (1993), The Swordsman (1993), Nervous Ticks (1992), and The Doors (1991). I particularly remember her as the "Warhol Eurosnob" in The Doors, and, IIRC, as a fairly athletic baddy in Drop Zone (although I don't really remember the plot much...) She has also done quite a bit of TV, appearing in episodes of Two Of A Kind, Ned And Stacey, Cybill, Frasier (in the ep "Can't Buy Me Love"), The X Files (playing the eponymous role in "The Jersey Devil"), The Raven (playing Marta Kelsy in the ep "Checkmate"), Red Shoe Diaries (in the ep "Bounty Hunter"), The Flash, and Twin Peaks. Claire is now getting into directing pictures. You can find out more at Claire's own website: http://clairestansfield.com/.
The young Amazon shamaness Yakut was played by Kate Elliott, who first played this role in Adventures In The Sin Trade. Yakut is Kate's only Xenaverse role.
Kate can be seen in the NZ TV movie House Of Sticks, along with Jim McLarty (Callisto's dad Pankos, the eye popping Fish Merchant in Love On The Rocks, Myles in Eye Of The Beholder, Pankos in Armageddon Now Part 2, the Teacher in Reunions), and Michelle Leuthart (Ria the fading woman in the HTLJ ep Fade Out).
Amarice was played once more by Jennifer Sky - perhaps for the last time, given the end of this ep and the fact that Jennifer is going to be starring in the new series Cleopatra 2525. I won't go over Jennifer's résumé again, since I've covered it before, most recently for the ep Chakram, and there's nothing new to add.
The strangely named Amazon power figure Chi'ah (surely everyone was thinking of pottery sheep with cress growing on them...?) was played by Donogh Rees. Donogh has never appeared on X:WP before, but she is quite a familiar figure, or at least a familiar voice, on the HTLJ side. Most recently Donogh did the voice of the supernatural entity the Cabiri in My Best Girl's Wedding, and previously she was heard (but not seen) playing the somewhat similar role of the Titan Mnemosyne in Let There Be Light. Donogh also played the dreadfully tragic (and *very* strangely accented) Frigga, in the eps Norse By Norsevest and Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge.
Donogh has several NZ movie credits. She can be seen in Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior, along with Lucy Lawless, and many other folks who've shown up in the Xenaverse - Donogh played the Lab Supervisor. Donogh is also in the 1987 NZ film, Starlight Hotel (1987), which also features Norman Forsey (King Lias in W.P and W.P.T1, Casca in BTDT, Megas the old prisoner in Key To The Kingdom, Tiresias in The Road To Calydon, The Festival Of Dionysus and The Outcast, Old Merlin in Once Upon A Future King), and she starred in the 1984 NZ film Constance, which also featured Mark Hadlow (Zera's unctuous sidekick Milo in The Play's The Thing), Yvonne Lawley (Gryphia in Key To The Kingdom, Woman in Hercules And The Circle of Fire, Old Woman in Market in Hercules In The Underworld, Alyssa in Beanstalks And Bad Eggs, the Norn in Norse By Norsevest and Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge), Beryl Te Wiata (the midwife in this ep, the old Psyche in The Green-Eyed Monster, Cynara the Seer in Cradle Of Hope, the old sick woman in Death In Chains, one of the Sisters of Gaia from the orphanage in The Quill Is Mightier) and William Kircher (the Prison Overseer in LUATD). Donogh can also be seen in the 1992 NZ film Crush, together with Terry Batchelor ("Burly Man" in Greece Is Burning, Trikonis in Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur, Mudo in The March To Freedom, and Segallus in All That Glitters).
Donogh also appeared in the NZ TV series City Life, together with Katrina Browne (Mendala in When In Rome, Thelassa in Locked Up And Tied Down), Lisa Chappell (Daughter #1 in Hercules And The Circle of Fire, Lydia in Pride Comes Before A Brawl, Dirce in The King Of Thieves and The Wedding Of Alcmene, Princess Melissa in War Brides, Queen Melissa and Dirce in Hercules On Trial, and Melissa Blake in Yes Virginia There Is A Hercules and For Those Of You Just Joining Us), Peter Muller (Deric in As Darkness Falls, The Outcast and The Wedding Of Alcmene, Dustinus Hoofmanus in The Play's The Thing), and Charles Mesure (Mercer in The Price, Darnelle in TDHD and Johnny Pinto in Yes Virginia There Is A Hercules).
And surely the Midwife who tended to Xena looked familiar to you? She was played by Beryl Te Wiata, who I always think of as a quintessential Xenaverse figure. Beryl played Cynara the Seer in Cradle Of Hope. She played the old sick woman in Death In Chains. She played one of the Sisters of Gaia from the orphanage in Comedy Of Eros (the ones who were given the sword, remember?) And over on HTLJ Beryl appeared as Psyche, when she became old, in the ep The Green-Eyed Monster.
Beryl can be seen in a number of movies. She appears in 1986's Mesmerized, which stars Jodie Foster and John Lithgow, but just to give Xenites someone else to look for, also features Norman Fairley (Lord Lycost in Been There, Done That, the Headmaster of the orphanage in Darkness Visible, Aurelius in Atlantis, Angus in Render Unto Caesar).
Beryl is also in 1994's Bread & Roses, along with Mick Rose (King Oedipus in Rebel With A Cause, Villager in Hercules And The Amazon Women, Lichas in The Wrong Path).
Another movie in which Beryl can be seen is My Grandfather Is a Vampire (1991), which also features Joel Tobeck (Strife, Deimos), and Phoebe Falconer (a fashion model in Greece Is Burning).
Beryl also appears in the 1984 picture Constance, which I already wrote about above, under Donogh Rees, who stars in it.
And in 1981 Beryl acted in a movie called Dead Kids, which, for once, doesn't appear to have any other Xenaverse actors in it.
There was a credit for Rachel Hayward in the role of "Amazon". Now of course there were plenty of Amazons in this ep... but still, I couldn't figure this credit out - I watched carefully, and I couldn't see any Amazon (other than the stars and guest stars) who spoke, or did anything prominent enough to merit a credit. I wonder if perhaps Rachel's efforts ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. There have been no previous Xenaverse credits for Rachel Hayward. There is a Rachel Hayward with a very extensive list of film and TV credits, including the movie Convergence, and TV roles in Harsh Realm, First Wave, Millennium, and Highlander... but given the small (not so say invisible) nature of this role, I doubt this is the same person.
Another funny thing - this ep was credited on-screen as having been written by Buddy Williers. This name means nothing to me... I couldn't find any prior credits under it. However the official Studios USA site and Whoosh both credit this ep as having been co-written by Steven L. Sears and R. J. Stewart. So what's the story? Does Buddy Williers exist, and did he write this ep? Or is there any truth to the assertion that it was written by Sears and Stewart?
The ep was directed by John Fawcett, whose previously directed The Way and Fallen Angel.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
06-09-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram, the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, Robert Tapert stated, "I wasn't satisfied with a lot of the episodes this season. I liked 'Fallen Angels', 'Them Bones', 'God Fearing Child', 'Seeds of Faith', and 'Amphipolis'. But I like what we're doing in the last five episodes... This season has been an absolute failure in terms of missed opportunities."
02-07-00. Steve Sears, a former co-executive producer of XENA, appeared on the NetForum on or around February 3, 2000, under his Tyldus Rubrick, and shared the following:[responding to this question] (If I may take this opportunity to ask, you might like to settle a small point. In the episode "Them Bones Them Bones", Xena declares that Yakut is now the "leader" of the Northern Amazons. To your knowledge, does this mean that the former leader of that tribe, Otere (from "Adventures in the Sin Trade"), is no longer alive?)
She said that, eh? Well, I'm sure you know that I was rewritten on that script. In one of my early versions of the story, Otere was there. Then, later, I explained her absence, but I can't remember exactly how. I know I didn't just leave it with "Yakut is now the leader". So I have no idea what it meant. Maybe she went to be with Amarice's tribe that mysteriously disappeared.
12-10-99. At the Chicago Con (11/27/99) Claire Standsfield was asked if she had read the original Steve Sears THEM BONES cript and what she thought of the changes. She said she had and indicated that the original script called for her to be naked and that she was to fight the Amazons. She enjoyed her "controversial" lines, but added that a stunt double's arm was what we saw going into Xena's stomach. She also mentioned WHOOSH on stage. We all at WHOOSH thank her whole heartedly.
11-07-99. Sears and Stewart were originally credited as the writers for Them Bones in the press release of ANIMAL ATTRACTION, however, the final episode credits have it written by Buddy Williers and Kurtzmann & Orci as Creative Consultants. Steve Sears explains this situation:"Originally, RJ and I were going to write it together. Then, as we started working on it, something came up (I can't remember what, maybe CLEOPATRA) and RJ wasn't able to work on it anymore. So I took over. I wrote the script and second draft. As we were getting ready for me to leave, Bob and Alex were getting more involved in the show. Since they were to take over my position, it would be up to them to do the rewrites. They rewrote BONES completely because they had some things they wanted to do and head toward in future episodes. Because the episode was rewritten so extensively, I didn't feel comfortable with my name still on it. I couldn't take blame or credit for it, so I used a pseudonym. Buddy Williers is my WGA registered aka. There is another script that they rewrote of mine, but I forget the title at the moment (Ah, sweet age!). You'll know it by the Williers credit.
"Again, this isn't even a comment on quality. I just had no way to take responsibility for any of it. If someone complimented me on it, I would have no right to accept it. If I was criticized, I didn't want to sound as if I was making excuses."
10-28-99. Rob Field, editor of XWP, stated at the San Francisco October 1999 Creation Convention that THEM BONES would contain the "most ambitious CGI" that has ever been tried in any Xena episode thus far.
10-05-99. SUCCESSION is a Steve Sears script. He originally wrote DEM BONES and BACK IN THE BOTTLE as well, but they underwent such extensive re-writes by Orci and Kurtzman that they bear a small resemblance to the originals and they will might possibly be credited to a pseudonym.
09-15-99. This may be the episode Xena discovers she is pregnant, or it might be as early as SUCCESSION or ANIMAL ATTRACTION.
08-25-99. The Amazons return in BONES.
08-25-99. At the Cherry Hill, NJ Xena Con II (08-22-99), Claire Stansfield (Alti) shared with the fans that (1) Alti gets killed in BONES [like what else is new! Doesn't Alti get whupped and dead every time she's on?]; (2) Alti does something so horrible to the pregnant Xena that Ms. Stansfield had problems dealing with it herself [rumors abound that Alti kicks the preganant Xena in the stomach]; (3) instead of being nude, Alti will be in some Mrs. Peel type leathers.
06-25-99. At a convention n Orlando FL 5/99, Claire Stansfield mentioned she was going to film an episode of XWP in June called THEM BONES THEM BONES. Apparently, Yakut, the Amazon shameness last seen on the SIN TRADEs, does some over-ambitious juju with some dry bones which come to life. Guess who? Alti returns NAKED. Stansfield mentioned the nudity about five times during the convention. She'll be wearing a "hair bra". She also mentioned that in one of her lines to Xena she says something like "I'd like to be in you" referring to the baby. Xena gets a new do and new clothes also this season. Stansfield explained a "hair bra" as when they paste your hair over your breasts and whenever you lift your head, your breasts go up too, hence, a bra (holding them up).
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
"I love your baby like it were my own." Given everything Gabrielle went through on Hope's behalf, that's a powerful statement. And it's either a) screaming foreshadowing for the discovery that Gabrielle did have something to do with the baby, or b) killer irony when they find out that someone like Callisto is responsible.
In support of a), there's an interesting note about that dove story that Yakut and Xena go through, that when a mother accepts what she is going to become, a dove appears from the baby to say thanks. Not surprisingly, Xena sees a dove at the end of the episode after she's fought to retrieve her baby. But when Gabrielle manages to cross to the dream world for the baby's sake, I could swear that bird that Gabrielle sees is a dove.
Small consistency blooper: when Xena smears blood on Gabrielle's forehead, a few drops spill on her cheek. Those drops are gone in the next shot.
Why is Alti's body in a burned village? Shouldn't she be on a tree with the slaughtered amazon leaders?
In that final fight, it made sense to me that Alti had the baby's soul in her chest, since she was trying to munch it for her own life. But when Xena took the baby back, shouldn't it have been hanging out around her hips?
What was up with the setting of the final ritual? It began in a cave with lots of candles and Alti on a stone slab. The dream world was the same, just minus all the amazons, which made sense. But then when we returned to the group, they were outside, in daytime, with Alti and Xena on wooden cots. Was that on purpose, or a major consistency blunder?
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
11-14-99. From Eric C.. While Gab and Xena prepare for Gab's first crossing over Xena paints a horizontal streak of blood across her forehead. As she finishes her finger grazes Gab's right cheek and leaves a small smear. The camera switches to Xena's face, and when it returns to Gab's the smear is gone.
11-14-99. From CCC. Notice how the opening dream sequence in Them Bones -- where Xena dreams a skeleton bursts forth from her stomach -- is a direct lift of one of the opening scenes in Aliens (the second movie in the series with Sigourney Weaver)? The Xena scene is faithful right down to the way in which Xena, writhing in obvious agony, sweeps drinking utensils and other items off the table next to the bed in which she's been placed -- just as Ripley sweeps similar items off the bedside table in Aliens as she gives birth. And both sequences show the items falling from the table in slow motion, to emphasize the effect. I suspect it's meant as an homage to Aliens rather than a rip-off -- it was effective in Aliens, and still effective in Them Bones.
11-07-99. From Eric C. The snake emblems throughout the shamanism episodes have real meaning. Yakut drew a serpent in the sand as the symbol of the shamaness, which Alti had on her hat and Xena on her costume from the Sin Trade episodes. Sometimes it is shown devouring its own tail. In ancient times the snake represents fertility and the beneficial power of the earth. In shamanic mysticism it is the symbol of immortality since the snake sheds its skin periodically, and this was carried into medieval alchemy as the Ouroboros, the serpent devouring itself which stands for the cycle of life and death. Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, has a snake twined around his staff, and the caduceus of Hermes, two snakes curled around a stick, has become an official symbol of medicine today.
Click here to read a transcript of THEM BONES THEM BONES .
Xena and Alti were Bad To The Bone during the production of this motion picture.
Review by Jeff Lundgren
Them Bones preview from the XWP Clip Vault.