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CHAKRAM


EPISODE NO. 92
Season 5, episode 02
Series 502
1st release: 10/04/99
2nd release: 12/06/99
Production number: V0901
Script number: Season 5, episode #1
Approximate shooting dates: April 1999
Last update: 09-26-00


GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
PROMO TRANSCRIPTION
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Kath Halloran
COMMENTARY 3 BY Erica Li
COMMENTARY 4 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 5 BY Jill Hayhurst
COMMENTARY 6 BY John Wignall
COMMENTARY 7 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
TRANSCRIPT
DISCLAIMER


GUEST STARS
Kevin Smith (Ares)
Ted Raimi (Joxer)

CAST
Antonio Te Maioho (Kal)
Tim Omundson (Eli)
Jennifer Sky (Amarice)
Kevin Smith (Ares)
Mark Rounthwaite (Kalib)
(Kal's Lieutenant)

CREDITS
Edited by Jim Prior
Written by Chris Manheim
Directed by Doug Lefler


PROMO TRANSCRIPTION

XENA IS ALIVE... BUT SOMETHING IS MISSING....
(Xena in a trance-like state. A soldier hits her and she falls to the ground)
Gabrielle: Without her dark side, she's lost.
(Xena touches her bruised face)
AND THE ONLY THING THAT CAN BRING HER BACK.....
(Xena fits the two pieces of the old chakram together and raises the whole chakram, then spins and brandishes it at Ares' throat)
COULD DESTROY THEM ALL.....
(The old chakram begins to glow and there is a flash of light, blinding Ares and Eli)
(Xena catches her new chakram with the internal handle)
AN ALL NEW XENA! COMING NEXT WEEK.

IT'S MORE THAN A LETHAL WEAPON...
(The Chakram of Light on the Yin/Yang altar)
IT'S THE POWER OF THE WARRIOR PRINCESS...
(Clips of Xena using the chakram, from past episodes)
Xena: What is this thing anyway?
XENA IS ALIVE, BUT SOMETHING IS MISSING...
(Xena walking through Kalís fortress, a soldier hits her and she falls to the ground.)
Gabrielle: Without her dark side, she's.. lost.
AND THE ONLY THING THAT CAN BRING HER BACK...
(Xena fits the broken pieces of the Dark Chakram together, and raises the Chakram of Light)
Eli: The Chakram of Light.
(The Dark Chakram flashes, blinding Eli and Ares) IS THE ONE THING THAT COULD DESTROY THEM ALL...
(Xena fits the two chakrams together overhead. Alternating shots of Eli, Ares, Kal, Amarice and Gabrielle as the new chakram forms. Xena swings the new chakram)
AN ALL NEW...
Ares: Give me the chakram.
(Xena brandishes the new chakram)
..XENA! COMING UP NEXT.

TV GUIDE PROMO

Xena has no recollection of being a warrior after she and Gabrielle are resurrected from the dead, seemingly, by Eli. Log Line.

Xena forgets her life as a warrior after Eli resurrects her and Gabrielle from the dead. ClickTV

Xena and Gabrielle are resurrected from the dead; Xena loses her memory.

AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION

1st release: 10-04-99
Early Edition 6.7
Now and Again 6.6
Charmed 4.3
Angel 3.9
Buffy 3.8
ER 3.7
XENA/X-Files 3.6
Voyager/Roswell 3.5
3rd Rock 3.4
HERCULES/Harsh Realm 3.3
STARGATE SG-1 2.8
EARTH FINAL CONFLICT/BEAST MASTER 2.7
Seven Days 2.6
Profiler 2.3
RELIC HUNTER/AMAZON 2.0

2nd release: 12/06/99
(14) ER 4.0
(16) XFILES 3.8
XENA/STARGATE SG-1 3.5
HERCULES 3.4
BAYWATCH HAWAII 3.0
EARTH FINAL CONFLICT/PROFILER/VIP 2.7
BEASTMASTER 2.4
RELIC HUNTER 2.2
AMAZON 2.0



SYNOPSIS:

This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Scenes from Ides of March, including a shot for Xena's spirit taking Gabrielle's face in her spirit hands and then lefting Gabrielle's spirt from her body, and shots from Fallen Angel, up to the point of Xena and Gabrielle's resurrection.

Ares and Kal, another war god, argue in Kal's abode. Kal wants Xena. Ares tells him to stop it; she isn't his to take. Ares says Kal is upset because Ares stole the Dark Chakram a long time ago. Kal says Xena teamed with Eli and this is a bad thing somehow. Ares disappears. A monk, Brother Caleb, is sent to retrieve something from a temple. He approaches an altar of the yin and yang, and one chakram, in the light part, remains. The Dark Chakram is missing. Caleb picks up the light chakram, sparks fly, and he is char-broiled. The chakram falls back into its place on the altar.

The cave place where Xena and Gabrielle were resurrected. Joxer says he is glad they aren't dead. Amarice puts a blanket around Xena and gives her the broken chakram. Joxer leads Amarice away. Gabrielle says she can't believe they're back. Xena says they're together always. Xena says she has misplaced something. She put the chakram together. Gabrielle says she doesn't know how it can be fixed. Xena says she doesn't know what it is, but it's sharp and looks dangerous. Gabrielle can't believe Xena doesn't remember. Xena says she's hazy on everything.

Xena, Joxer, Gabrielle and Amarice go to town. Gabrielle gets cool threads -- brown Amazon-like clothing. Xena has a long red gown one with a scarf. Gabrielle also has sais, which Amarice says are for Xena. Xena says she doesn't know anything about weapons. Someone asks what is a warrior without a weapon; Xena thinks it's a riddle. But a guard/goon says she's ripe for the picking. Fighting ensues, with Gabrielle using those sais very well and Amarice kicking butt. Xena gets hit in the face and knocked down. The head guard/goon evil guy goes for Xena. Joxer knocks down a bunch of guys, and Gabrielle tells him to go help Xena while she and Amarice kick more butt. Xena and Joxer run. The head evil guy knocks down Gabrielle and Amarice; Gabrielle says "run." Xena drops the town gate and they escape.

Back at the Bat Cave, Eli waits. Xena says she can't remember anything about violence. Xena has lost her fire, her edge, her marbles, her self. Xena feels empty. Eli can't figure out what happened. Eli says Kal must be a part of it when Xena remembers that the head evil man said that name. The evil guards are in the distance, following, though, so they all scram. Ares pops in and watches them go.

Eli says they should go see his friend Caleb, who is a knowledgeable scholar. They pick up the pace. Joxer asks Eli about telling Gabrielle he loves her.

Xena plays with the sais, but doesn't know how to do anything with them. Xena tries to remember, but doesn't believe the stories the others are telling her about her evil days. Amarice gets upset with the memory loss and Xena's "innocence" and goes off hunting. Xena follows Amarice.

Eli and Gabrielle talk. Gabrielle says she isn't taking the way of love anymore. She says her "path is with Xena. Helping her, however I can. I'll do whatever I have to do to protect her."

Xena finds Amarice. Kal and his evil men come. Amarice kicks butt, but gets knocked flat. The evil head man goes to kill her but Xena steps in the way. Kal tells Xena to go with him, or the friend dies. So Xena goes with him. Amarice attacks Kal, who flips her off and she is knocked unconscious. Gabrielle searches for Xena and finds Amarice. Gabrielle tracks Xena, everyone else follows. Ares pops in and watches.

Xena is in manacles. Kal tells Xena she should know him. He says he once was on the way to being top war god. Kal says the pure monk is toast. Ares arrives. Ares releases Xena from her manacles. Ares and Kal fight. Xena backs away. She sees a chakram symbol and is drawn to it. She traces it with her finger, and remembers a couple of times when she used it. Xena escapes out the window while Kal and Ares fight.

Gabrielle and others watch Kal's abode, working up a plan. Xena pops up. They all go to Calebs. Caleb is missing. Xena realizes the pure dead monk was Caleb. Eli says he won't let his friend's death be a waste, so he sets to reading all these scrolls to find answers. He tells everyone else to rest.

Joxer just misses watching Xena disrobe. Xena climbs in the bath. Joxer turns around and finds Xena there. He is embarrassed. He asks Xena about Gabrielle, and how to tell her he loves her. Xena says Joxer expects too much; he should just tell her with no strings attached. Joxer leaves.

Ares appears to Xena. He gives Xena a massage. Xena doesn't seem to know what "bad" is. She stands up and gives Ares plenty to look at. Ares says its all about him and Xena, and how they are destined to rule the world together and bring order to the world. They begin to kiss. Gabrielle interrupts. She is none too happy with the Greek God of War. Ares disappears.

Joxer and Amarice try to figure out why Ares is involved. Eli learns about the chakram of light, which can kill the gods, but can only be lifted by someone pure, like Xena is now. Xena wants to walk away from everything but the others convince her to see things through so she'll get back to normal somehow and keep the gods from ruling the world.

Kal and Ares talk. They call a truce and agree to work together against Xena's efforts to get the Light Chakram. They decide to greet Xena with an army at the Temple of the Chakram.

Xena prays, with the broken chakram in her hands. She doesn't know if they're doing the right thing. Gabrielle comes to her and tells her it'll be okay. Xena questions the restoration of her dark self. "I think you have to know the darkest part of yourself to be whole," Gabrielle says. Without the light and the darkness, Xena is defenseless, Gabrielle says.

Amarice and Gabrielle do some slaughtering and set-up work. Amarice attempts a rope walk, but the head evil man sees her shadow and cuts the rope down. Amarice and Gabrielle have big bombs, which they light and throw. Joxer, Eli, and Xena run through the gate. Gabrielle fights with the sais. Amarice slices and dices. Joxer fights. Xena goes for the temple. She goes in the temple. She sees the yin/yang altar, and picks up the Light Chakram. She goes outside.

The others are on the temple steps, facing off against the army and Kal and Ares. Xena goes to throw the Light Chakram, which is supposed to kill gods, but says she can't kill and drops the chakram. Gabrielle tells everyone to run, and they go into the temple. Amarice retrieves the chakram. Amarice says Xena still isn't normal. Eli tries to figure out why Xena is still so sweet. Army guys beat at the doors. Joxer decideds to tell Gabrielle he loves her before she dies on him again. Gabrielle looks really confused.

Ares yells for Xena, and tells her he wants the chakram. Hand it over, and she and her friends won't die. Eli says that if the chakrams are joined, the power to kill a god will be diffused. Amarice and Gabrielle kick butt again as the evil men break down the doors. The broken Dark Chakram is put on the altar, and it mends itself. Kal throws Xena aside. Ares touches Eli and acts like he's been bitten by a snake or something; he can't harm the Avatar (it's kind of weird). Gabrielle hits Kal, and then Kal hits Gabrielle and knocks her down. Kal goes to kill Gabrielle. Xena sees, grabs the chakram from the altar, and swipes and slices Kal in the stomach. He explodes.

Xena is stunned by her actions. Ares tells Xena it wasn't her fault, and she should just give him the chakram. Xena picks up the other chakram. She puts them together over her head; they dance around between her hands and become Super Chakram. And Xena is back! Yelling, flipping, fighting, breaking heads, and using her new chakram with lots of expertise. The new chakram splits up in several ways, and Xena throws it in two directions, saving both Amarice and Gabrielle.

Ares asks Xena why she neutralized the chakrams. Xena says no one needs that kind of power. Ares says and it brought you back. "With a vengence," Xena says.

Back at Calebs, Eli bids them all goodbye; he's going to stay and read awhile. Eli tells Xena that it wasn't all him that resurrected them.

Joxer and Gabrielle talk. Joxer tells Gabrielle she doesn't have to say anything; he just wanted her to know.

The four walk toward Greece. Xena and Gabrielle lag behind Joxer and Amarice. Xena thanks Gabrielle for putting her back together again. She tells Gabrielle that when she asked for a sign, she got the Bard, and that meant they were doing the right thing.



PRESS RELEASE:

Joxer (Ted Raimi) and Amarice (Jennifer Sky) stare in wonder as Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) lock in an emotional embrace. Eli (Tim Omundson) has done what seemed to be the impossible -- raise them from the dead. Overjoyed, Amarice pulls the two broken halves of Xena's chakram out of her bag and Xena eyes them curiously. Meanwhile, Kal (Antonio Te Maioho), a pagan god of war, sends the monk Kalib into the Chakram Chamber. Kalib finds himself surrounded by skeletal remains as he approaches the altar, which contains two interlocking circles. One of the circles is empty and the other holds a silver and white chakram. Kalib grabs the chakram and is engulfed in flames when fire erupts from the altar. Later, Gabrielle realizes that something is wrong with Xena when Xena is more interested in buying a scarf than replacing her weapons. At the market, a guard suddenly attacks Xena, but she doesn't defend herself. Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice come to her rescue and take her to Eli's temple.

Everyone is confused as Xena continues to behave like a completely different person. When Eli learns that it was Kal's guards who attacked them, he realizes there must be a reason for Xena's condition. Suddenly, Kal's guards approach the temple and the group slips out the back to find Eli's friend Kalib in search of some answers. Meanwhile, Ares (Kevin Smith) materializes in Kal's fortress and the two gods agree to work together to prevent Xena from becoming herself again. Later, Xena and Amarice are hunting for food when they are attacked by Kal's lieutenant. Amarice is knocked unconscious and Xena is taken to Kal's fortress, where she is put in manacles. Kal starts to explain his plans for Xena, but Ares arrives and sets her free. Convinced that Kal is trying to pull a fast one, Ares engages him in battle. Xena looks at a mural on the wall and becomes mesmerized by an image of a chakram. She suddenly has visions of past battles, but shakes the memories from her head. Xena escapes through an open window and meets up with her friends.

They arrive at Kalib's library, which has been totally ransacked. Xena and Eli realize that Kalib is dead. After looking through Kalib's scrolls, Eli discovers that they need the chakram of light to bring Xena back to normal. But only the purest soul can touch it without being destroyed. The chakram of light is also one of the few things on earth that can kill a god, which explains why Ares and Kal are so eager to get hold of it. Whoever has possession of the chakram could wipe out all the other gods.

The group rushes to the Chakram Chamber and Xena retrieves the chakram of light. When she exits the chamber, her friends are surrounded by Ares, Kal and his guards. Ares and Kal freeze when they see that Xena has the chakram, but she can't make the kill and drops it to the ground. Amarice grabs the chakram of light and Eli rushes everyone back into the chamber. Xena places the broken halves of her dark chakram into one of the altar's interlocking circles. Ares and Kal burst into the chamber and Xena destroys Kal with the chakram of light. The altar repairs Xena's dark chakram and she holds both chakrams above her head and strikes them together. Sparks fly and Xena is left holding a new chakram forged from the dark and light ones, inscribed with a Yin and Yang symbol. Xena is back! She and Ares exchange blows, but the god of war suddenly disappears. Eli decides to stay behind to study Kalib's scrolls and Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer head back to Greece.



COMMENTARY 1:

This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

So we finally learn a little about the chakram... a very little. And end up with some more questions. Ares stole the chakram and gave it to Xena. And apparently, it's key to Xena's fighting abilities. Did it give Xena her dark side, too?

When DID Xena lose that dark side? It wasn't when she was purified as an archangel - Gabrielle was purified too, but has no problem crashing and bashing now. It wasn't when the chakram broke - Xena had plenty of dark side in the afterlife. Xena's haze about the battles in her life seems to be just like the one that kept Callisto from remembering her evil deeds. That lends credence to the idea that Callisto is the one who did this. Was that what Callisto's touch at the end of Fallen Angel was about? Everybody blames "whatever" brought Xena back for Xena's dark side loss, but was that really done only to give her a reason to restore the chakram? When the chakram is restored, so is Xena, so theoretically Callisto took away Xena's dark side to get her to restore the chakram and get rid of the god-killing business.

Interesting setup with the light and dark chakram. Whosoever pulls this chakram from this altar shall rightwise be kick-butter of all gods. Everybody else is toast. Why was the light chakram so much more powerful than the dark chakram? Or has Xena been carrying a god-killer around all this time without realizing it?

Cute symmetry between Joxer fawning over the newly-resurrected Gabrielle and Amarice fawning over the newly-resurrected Xena. When they looked at each other, I half-expected one of them to crack "Oh look, we both have our own pet people!"

Ahhh, I just love XenaVerse logic. "We're freezing in these rags, we better get to a market... so we can be toasty and comfy in even skimpier clothes!" Too bad Xena's dark side apparently holds most of her fashion sense. That housedress really needs to go. But Gab's new outfit... have mercy. The only drawback is that the camera's going to be showing off that open back so often we may forget what Gab's face looks like.

It's almost lost in the hubbub, but in the market, Xena asks Gabrielle "Don't you need some scrolls or something?" GOOD QUESTION! Hello? Bard? In there at all?

As the wise and witty Jennifer pointed out, you can play a great game of "who's got the brain" with this episode:

- Joxer has the brain! He plows into three bad guys to save the fight!
- Gabrielle has the brain! She tracks! She has a plan! (Granted, we never find out what the plan was, but I'm sure she had the brain.)
- Amarice has the brain! She grabs the god-killing chakram that everyone else has left behind on the temple steps.
- Eli has the brain! He stops Ares in his tracks! (OK, maybe that's not a brain, maybe that's just FINALLY being useful for SOMETHING! At LAST!)

Pet peeve time: I hate it when "all good" equals no passion, general uselessness, and child-like naivete. Where Eli and Gabrielle have gone before, Xena now goes. Lucy did a great job playing this dark/violent-less Xena, but I wish we had gotten to see more of her as a sharp, competent woman - like when she closed the gate on the bad guys and beat Amarice at her own tracking game - than as a befuddled and indecisive wallflower.

Gab defines her new Way of Friendship when she tells Ei "I'll do anything to protect her (Xena)." And she proves it, too, by lighting into the bad guys like a whirling dervish and skewering one of 'em. In fact, most of the justice league got to polish up their fighting skills a bit to step in when Xena was not in her normal form. But now that the Destroyer of Nations is back to butt-kicking, will everyone else go back to low-level fighting? Something to watch out for in the coming episodes.

Note #1 for Amarice: When a guy kicks your butt, his boss will most likely kick your butt ten times worse. Note #2 for Amarice: When sneaking up on an enemy to attack from behind, it's best not to give a war cry. Amarice does not have the brain.

Ares and Kal had some great toe-to-toe scenes. Hilarious useless mutual chopping they gave each other - that axe in the throat looked PAINFUL. And they had an awesome fight scene, too - step back and watch the boys play for a while! (Horrible stunt double for Kevin, though - that guy had completely different hair!)

Caleb the ascetic had a hot tub? Remind me to be more ascetic.

So much for Joxer having any clue about the subtext. His attempts to figure out how to tell Gabrielle he loved her were cute, though, and Xena gave him good advice. But check out Xena's amused expression when she talks about just kissing the girl... memories from The Quest, anyone?

STEAMY hot tub scene (I know, bad pun) with Ares and Xena. Mercy, that hearkened back to season one when Ares' attempts to seduce Xena were both literal and figurative. I loved how Ares couldn't manage to pull his eyes up to Xena's face for a full minute after she turned around to face him. And Ares gets the last word with that scampy eyebrow-wiggle at Gabrielle when he makes a parting play for Xena's mindshare before he dashes off.

Eli, when you find a sentence that talks about the light and dark chakram, it would be good to finish the blasted paragraph BEFORE you're in the temple with all the bad guys crushing down on you. Eli doesn't have the brain.

Xena and Gabrielle and the gang have locked themselves inside the temple. Kal directs his soldiers and Ares wheedles ("I'll even make julienne fries! NOW how much would you pay?") outside. Ummm... guys? You're gods. Why not just zap youselves inside or blow down the doors?? (The Xena Reality Editor on my shoulder says that the temple must have been some kind of anti-god zone, hence no touching the chakram.)

Joxer finally tells Gabrielle he loves her! And we still get no resolution. Tune in next week.

The good Xena kills in order to protect Gabrielle (kind of like what some of us thought would be the way Gab would lose her blood innocence waayyyy back when). But she still has no problem grabbing the chakrams. Impressive god-kill effect, by the way!

I liked how, when Ares was trying to convince Xena to hand over the chakram, Gabrielle didn't say anything. It was very subtle, but it was nice sign of trust in Xena, even the lost-puppy-dog Xena.

Xena and Gab aren't the only ones who get a wardrobe change - the chakram gets a new look, too! Nifty splitting trick it does. It allowed Xena and Gabrielle to use similar fighting moves with their sai and chakrams, kind of an additional reinforcement that they're now on pretty much the same level.

I loved the reaction to Xena's "with a vengeance" line. Ares gets nervous, and Gabrielle gets smug.

And one last question for the road... I've heard of puss in boots, but sai in boots? Wow, I guess that'll keep Gabrielle from twisting her ankle if she does any more flips.

HIGHLIGHTS

The best joke of the episode goes to Joxer for: "It's like you've lost your-" "-fire... edge...-" "-marbles." Hee hee!

Allow me to take a brief moment to dance the dance of celebration for the return of Fightin'Gab. Oh yeah! And with convenient speed-framing to make her even snappier and faster than she was before! And with new moves! And with brand new weapons nobody's even SEEN before! Wow, apparently the key to getting better at fighting is to quit for a couple of months. It's been years since I've been in a fight; I ought to be able to maim with a glance by now. Check out Amarice's reaction during the marketplace battle as she, too, marvels over the mega-fighter Gabrielle. 'Bout TIME you showed the woman some respect, kid!

Ares is back at last! With short hair and eased up a bit on the mega-buff muscles. In my opinion, his best look of them all. And he's got the suave charm turned up to the max, too. Oh my.



COMMENTARY 2:

This commentary is by Kath Halloran.

Hmmmm. Could this be the season, after three and a half years, that I finally fall for Gab?

There are people all over the 'verse that live and die each week by brat-bard's doings, but I figured early on that Gabrielle was an albatross the writer's knotted around Xena's neck. Easy-on-the-Gab eps like Destiny, The Debt, AITST were heavenly, Gab-dies (or Gab-gets-gnawed-on) eps were occassions for outright celebration, but a few more eps like Chakram and I may just have to hang up my nails and become a Gab-fan.

So I had read all the spoilers: big deal. Having been primed by Herc (which eventually lost out to a repeat of the "Life and Times" program on Mary "Marg: Princess Warrior" Walsk from This Hour Has 22 Minutes) I was ready for some Warrior Princess action. And "Chakram" in no way disappointed. By the time we ran throught the teaser (with brief asides to Robin explaining Ides and FA) I knew this was gonna be fun. And Gab's 'why is nothing ever easy?' look as we faded to commercial confirmed it.

Everyone's already described the actual plot to death, so I'll try to keep the repetition to a minimum, but in my opinion, CHAKRAM is one of the finest Xena eps since SAC 1&2. As much as I liked SIN, FAM AF, and Sickie, I'm hard-pressed to recall another ep from last season that really rocked me. Endgame was good, Past Imperfect would have been better if they hadn't revised in in Post, and Ides never quite came together IMO, rather it seemed to coast on the expectation of the ending, leaving me kinda unmoved about it all. And for all that I thought Micky was a cute guy (loved the wings) there was a bit too much thrown into the mix at once: Joxer; Eli's crisis of faith; Cal's redemption; and DX just didn't work for me, although I LOVED the new Gab. Well, CHAKRAM shows what the newly-resurrected, newly-connected-with-her-inner-ass-kicker Gabrielle is capable of, and I well, and truly loved every minute.

I wish I had a VCR (not to mention a TV) so I could watch this one again, which is something I haven't felt about XWP in awhile. Unfortunately, I'm kinda like Blanche Dubois here in Montreal: dependant on the 'kindness of strangers'. Everyone's performance just gelled, the writing and the direction couldn't have been better (even though I have no idea who wrote or directed). ROC was amazing once again. It seems to me that not only had Gab been reborn but so has ROC. I got the sense from when I saw her in person and from interviews that Gab's 'peace and love' stuff wasn't something she found easy to relate to as an actor and now that she is getting the chance to strut her stuff, she seems to REALLY be enjoying it. Her moves in the fight in the marketplace were awesome - I guess all those Karate lessons paid off. If XWP folds, she has a future as the next Cynthia Rothrock: that move where she grabbed the baddie's arm and kicked him in the face just left my jaw hanging. Wow. And then the scene in the temple where GAB actually SPIKES a guy. Gab. And then just goes on expediting hinder like it was nothing. A girl could get to like this kinda action. And even the roomie noticed that ROC has been doing alot of weighlifting. She's got a powerful little bod there. And the new outfit is a HUGE improvement.

Actually, I thought everyone looked really good. Corny as it sounds, but LL seems to be glowing.

As for the dramatic side, let's just say I've been waiting for Gab to commit to Xena the way Xena's committed to Gab for a long time. Like since RoC. And the two girls seem to me to be getting along better than ever, and the msuhy dialogue was kept to a minimum which I also appreciated. The final scene: obligatory post-trauma moment. I liked it. As for the body language question, it was obviously just Xena trying to get a private moment with Gab away from their fanclub, and hardly the time for full-blow PDA's. As to whether or not there was anything that went on the next time Joxer dragged 'Reece (shaping up nicely as a supporting character, please don't kill her off - I like the Amazon Assault Force) away is none of my business. ;]

You would think that a Xena without her darkside would be a goofy sort of pathetic wimp, but LL portrays her as something of a big kid, still smart, but without guile or any of Xena's world weary cynicism. And instead of wishing she'd go and get her darkside back already, I found myself being moved by her dilemma. Stripped of her memories, Xena's left vulnerable, and the only people she knows all want her to turn into some kind of monster. No wonder she doesn't want to go back. The moment when she pulls her hand back from the chakram carving, it's plain how much those snippets of memory disturb her. Even keeping in mind that XWP is only goofy TV (new mantra ;]) I felt my heart twist just a little.

What really can I say about the bot tub scene? Besides "LOVED IT!", I mean? It was a scene that harked back to some classic XWP, from Joxer's 'you aren't gonna thump me?' expression when he stumbles onto Xena in the tub, to Xena's little smile when she adds, as an afterthought: "or you could just kiss the girl" - okay Xena, what memory were you experiencing right there? 'Fess up, girl. ;] For the record, I think Xena was talking to herself, not Joxer. As to what she was remembering, I would never dream to venture an opinion on such a personal matter. ;] Although, whatever it was, it certainly seemed to be a pleasant memory.

I have always been a fan of Ares, but he is definitely looking GOOD these days. Very good. Extremely good. The kinda GOOD that leads this former Catholic school-girl think all sorts of things that she really shouldn't. Heehee. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, DO NOT fantasize about Ares, GO immediately to confession. Heeheehee. And the completely distracted face when Xena stands up in the tub was priceless. Though, I do wonder, just what they were doing in that tub to get Xena all wet like that, eh? Heeheeheehee. Better tack an extra 'Hail Mary' onto my pennance. Heh.

All, in all, I can't think of a single criticism of the ep. It wasn't perfect but it was so much fun that it seems churlish to complain. Although...this happiness, easy going headspace I'm in may just be taking things a little too far, when I start to find myself liking not only Joxer (didn't tick me off at all) but ELI! Ack! Help, somebody say something nasty about Canada, mingle some essences, something! I'm sure enjoying Eli in a XWP ep has got to be a sign of extreme mental insability. But there he was, Eli, and I thought he did his thing really well. Especially that 'move your damn hand' moment with Ares. Wooooo! And have I really snapped or did Eli and Xena seem to be flirting with each other? I got the same buzz off the two of them in DEVI, before he turned into the incredibly irritating prophet of mushy wimpness, that there was a sort of 'we are polar opposites but it could still be fun' edge to their conversation. Anybody else get this feeling? I mean, are we looking at 'touched by an Eli', here?

Apart from Xena's dress screaming 'baby on board' the ep was great. I look forward to the giant ass-kicking fest that next weekend seems to promise. More good Gab action ahead. Hmmm, anybody need some pictures hung? I have these nails....



COMMENTARY 3:

This commentary is by Erica Li.

Fallen Angels is the episode where Xena and Gabrielle come back from the dead. Chakram, however, is the episode in which Ares, god of war resurrects from seasons of neglectance. I was rather disappointed that we did not get to see Ares' reaction upon Xena's death. Obviously, he is so much more emotionally attached to the Warrior Princess than he was with Strife. If Strife's death affected him like it did in "Armageddon", I would not be surprised if Ares shed a tear or felt despondent upon receiving the news of Xena's death.

But I guess Chakram is the next best thing and I am all too delighted after watching this episode. It is the first Xena episode I have enjoyed in a long time (of course, we just came out of reruns, and maybe that's why). We don't get to see Ares' reaction to Xena's death, but we get to see him interacting with her and all the other characters upon her return. In Chakram, we learn of the origin of Xena's most powerful weapon. In the beginning, Ares mentions how he has stolen the Dark Chakram years ago. It is obvious that later he gave the chakram to Xena as a gift when she was under his fold. "Steal", however, is not a term Ares is likely to use. The line would have been much better if he had said to Kal:"Are you still mad at me for putting the Dark Chakram to a much better use? That was years ago."

Lucy does Xena's confusion quite well. Throughout it really looks like Xena has lost herself, like Gabrielle has pointed out. It is good to see her in a feminine outfit. In the past she has had very masculine costumes and she also appeared crude from several dark flashback episodes. It is very good to see the tame, innocent, feminine side of Xena. After all, she is a combination of light and dark, and darkness and lightness balance inside her.

It is very good to see that Joxer finally decides to tell Gabrielle how much he loves her. This should have happened sooner, but better later than never! I feel somewhat sorry for Joxer. At the end he really does what Xena has told him--telling Gabrielle his love for her without anything in return. Unconditional love is the greatest love of all.

Eli and Amarice also prove to be valuable friends of Xena. I believer that they love Xena just as much as Gabrielle does. In Chakram, instead of having Xena and Gabrielle saying to each other how they love each other with the most sentimental and saccharine words, we have a whole band of friends together who show each other what love is through action. I find this to be a very positive change in the writing of Xena: WP.

But the best thing about Chakram is, of course, the return of Ares as the manipulative, charming, menacing and seductive antagonist. Kevin Smith's acting in this episode is totally remarkable, as it has always been throught out his career. He really has gotten the character down in his interpretation because in this episode Ares is consistent with everything he was when he was first introduced. Finally, no more dead birds messing up his hair, no more killing cows, no more sending Discord and Deimos to do odd jobs, no more getting easily getting his butt kicked by everyone on the show. Kal, the god of war of the local region, is bigger and perhaps more formidable-looking than Ares. He looks wilder and more warlike in his metal costume with the eagle talons on the shoulders. However, Ares proves to be the sneakier, more manipulative, and smarter of the two. Clearly he has no intention of partnering with the other god of war. Kal tries to make the oblivious Xena do what he wants by sheer brute force. He threatens to kill Amarice and puts Xena in menacles when he captures her. Ares, in contrary, takes full advantage of that seductive, masculine wile that flows out of his body. He knows that brute force cannot get him everything he wants. He frees Xena and fights Kal, making the oblivious Xena grateful of what he has done.

After Joxer leaves Xena in the bathtub, she muses to herself:"Of course, you can just KISS the girl." Then behind the curtain, the stout, masculine silhouette of Ares shows up. The wind lifts the curtain, and there he is. The bathtub scene is very similar to the boudoir scene in "The Reckoning". Ares uses his adeptness with language in a soft, low tone to seduce Xena, both sexually and spiritually: " Let go...it's amazing the difference when you don't resist me..." (Kudo's to Kev's acting) Xena then stands up and says:"I know these words. I know their meanings, but they have no connection here." I almost cracked up when Ares says:"That's...gotta be tough" when he was obviously pleasantly surprised and temporarily muted when Xena suddenly stands before him, naked and dripping. Kevin's facial expressions often speak volumes when the words do not, and it's a real joy to see his body language one more time in this episode. His eyes lower for quite a moment, then return to look at Xena's face. Then, ironically, he somewhat echoes Gabrielle's words when he continues talking:"It's about you and me, Xena. Not Kal, not even Zeus. Just the two of us--to bring peace to the world through force. It's something we're DESTINED to do TOGETHER." As we can see, Gabrielle is destined to be always with Xena, and so is Ares. These two characters represent the two opposite sides of Xena, and without either one, she is not complete. As for Ares--he will never be satisfied if he conquers the world. He has to have Xena with him, and she is a part of him. The music in this scene is the same one as the one in the boudoir scene in "The Reckoning". It starts out to accomodate the seduction, but it grows more and more intense and foreshadows danger toward the end of the scene. This is a non-verbal description of Ares' being. He is both seductive and menacing. These two qualities balance each other inside him and marks his character. The suspense and intensity grows as Xena and Ares start to kiss.

Unfortunately, they are interrupted by Gabrielle. What Gabrielle says about Ares cannot be truer. She almost calls him a bastard. Perhaps she immediately realizes that he's the only legitimate son of Zeus and Hera. Ares indeed is taking full advantage of Xena--her body, her mind. He is doing something very low and reproachable. Ares, however, would not lose a battle with words to Gabrielle, who was formerly known as "the fast talking Xena sidekick". The sarcastic rhetorical questions he asks Gabrielle are just as powerful as Gabrielle's accusation of him, and Kevin delivers them with such conviction: "Like THIS? What do you mean? When she can't remember things that make her mad, that fill her with hate? Well, when did YOU become so hard?" He then disappears grinning and his unspoken "Ha! Gotcha!" is easily read in his expression. Gabrielle can only shake her head in frustration, indignation, and possibly disgust.

Meanwhile Ares is back at Kal's place. Like Gabrielle, Kal also pins down Ares' character. "Indulging yourself with a mortal like Xena--it's hardly work." Their "truce" or "alliance", obviously, is just two war gods using each other.

When Xena goes into the Temple of Chakrams she retrieves the chakram of light, but she cannot bring herself to kill. Is this because she can't kill based on principle, or is it simply because of her emotional attachment to Ares after he sweet talks her? It's likely to be the latter. Again, Ares' manipulations have been working to his benefit.

There is a battle inside the temple. When Ares grabs Eli as he says:"Yeah, maybe later," his expressions suddenly change. Again, this shows Kev's fantastic acting abilities. Note that there are no words exchanged between Ares and Eli. Ares doesn't call Eli a sanctimonius stooge and Eli does not accuse Ares of all of his reproachable actions. There has only been an exchange of glances, and that speaks what words cannot. Ares expression changes from giddy to surprise, disappointment, fear, and perhaps humiliation when he touches Eli--all in one shot.

Xena kills Kal when Kal tries to kill Gabrielle. Ares then says to her in the most soothing and calming voice:"That wasn't your fault. Give me the chakram. Do you want to kill me? Come on." His expressions also appear sincere. Xena shakes her head as he says these words. I don't think Ares has been setting Kal up to be killed. However, he sure has manipulated things in such a way to ensure his own safety even if Xena gets her hands on the chakram.

It seems like Ares will never understand why people would give up the opportunity to be powerful. He himself will never give up attempting to be the most powerful god there is. He asks Xena a the end:"Why did you balance [the chakram]. You had the power to kill us all." Obviously, that's what he's likely to do if he gets his hand on the chakram. Xena answers:"No one deserves that kind of power, least of all me." "Smart move. Brought you back." "With a vengeance." Says Xena. Gabrielle appears very happy that this time, Xena has beaten Ares in a battle of words. Apparently Ares doesn't mind this. Again, his emotional attachment to the Warrior Princess makes him give her a leeway he doesn't give to anyone else. He merely smiles and says:"I'll catch you around the Acropolis."

In conclusion, Ares has been resurrected in this episode. He retains his villainous integrity throughout this episode and does nothing that humiliates his godhood. His character is consistent with what has been formerly established in seasons one and two. It's good to see that he's still emotionally attached to Xena and Xena, as much as she denies it, will never be complete with her dark side, which is represented by Ares. Everything he does reflect his nature and his character and the entire plot as a whole is tightly woven, dynamic, and interesting. Of course, after having subtext on XWP for so long, it's good and interesting that it's downplayed once in a while, such as it is in Chakram, where Ares is with Xena and Joxer is in love with Gabrielle.

There are a few questions I would like to ask, however. What is the setting of this story? Xena and Gabrielle died in the vincinity of Rome. Where is this Chakram place? Kal is the god of war of what country? Also, is Eli from India or has he gone to India from wherever this is and then comes back?

Also, how did Ares get the Dark Chakram? Is the Dark Chakram more easily obtained than the Light Chkarm? Does it not require a pure soul to acquire it, so Ares just grabbed it? And I hope we can see a flashback episode in which we actually see Ares and Xena's past. Obviously so many things went on then and we never had an episode exploring Xena and Ares' past together. We really need to know more about Xena's past by looking at her past relationship with the god of war.

disclaimer: I have been reading mail from Kiwikev this morning and I am sure some of my ideas here have been from people there, so I want to give everyone who participated in the Chakram discussion on kiwikev credit. I thank Lanna, Linda, Kat, Sura, Lessa and many other I cannot name for discussing Chakram on Kiwikev.



COMMENTARY 4:

This commentary is by Beboman.

Okay guys, here we go. I'm ready for the second episode and hopefully the commentaries are not going to be as long as last week. By the end, I had typed my little fingers to the bone.

When we see our heroes again, they are still trying to get over the shock of being alive.

G. - "We are back. Together."
X. - "Always" (Then the music from the end of Bitter Suite.)
Not a bad touch. What got me though, and we could see it in Gabrielle's eyes, is when Xena asked Gabrielle what the Chakram was. Gabrielle's expression was worth a million dinars. Gabrielle should have realized that something was wrong when Americe gave Xena the broken Chakram and there was no reaction from Xena. For us, the audience, the clue was Xena's soft, paced tone of voice. There was something missing from Xena's tone when she interacted with Gabrielle at the beginning.

Then we move to the town and find our characters; Xena is getting new clothes!!!! And Gabrielle is getting weapons!!!!. Yo, what is wrong with this picture. (I'm making a sidebar here to say "SEXY", very sexy about Gabrielle's new outfit. On the other hand that pink outfit Xena has to go. Xena, please remember, you like dark.)

So, we move right along to the first fight scene. It was great to see Gabrielle fighting again, but this time it seemed like she had more gusto to her fighting. It was like she had picked up from where Xena had left off. Gabrielle is definitely a very good student. She learned very well from a great warrior and yes, Americe, Gabrielle can fight. So how do you like them apples, baby. The expression on Americe's face when she saw Gabrielle fighting was great.

Now that we have touched on Americe, I have a question for the writers: When are you guys going to get rid of this character. Please, I beg you, write her out as soon as possible. She adds absolutely nothing to the plot and she is a very annoying character. Other than help Gabrielle a bit with the fighting, she is, "in my opinion", very annoying and useless and it took away from what Joxer could have done. (Oh, by the Gods, I'm standing up for Joxer. I can't believe it.)

As we continue our travels through this episode, Gabrielle faces Eli and finally comes to the realization that her path is with Xena, for good or bad, doing whatever it takes to protect her. I think this time Gabrielle really means it. Not a bad moment. But Gabrielle's realization that Xena's dark side was what made her whole was a very important moment in the episode. So, Gabrielle remembers the old saying, "Don't ask for something because you could be surprised at what you get." Gabrielle wanted Xena to lose her dark side so badly, but when Xena finally lost it, Gabrielle came to the realization that without that part of her, Xena was not a whole person.

I have always enjoyed the tub scenes in this show. They always have a very special touch to them. However, the one in this show did nothing for me. The chemistry that was once there between Ares and Xena was totally gone; the sexual tension that has always existed between these two characters has seemed to disappear. It was like seeing two strangers sharing a moment in a room. Even with Xena totally nude, nothing sparked. This lack of tension was not only apparent in the tub scene, but throughout the entire episode. There was nothing there when Xena and Ares were together, not even at the end of the episode. I hope next time those two get together there is some chemistry between them.

It took so much effort for the New Xena to accept the fact that she had to go for the Chakram of Light in order to save her friends. You could see the pain in her face as she struggled with the idea. What was harder to watch was the pain in Gabrielle as she watched her friend make such a difficult decision. But what got me the most was to see Xena praying again. Xena has prayed twice before, and both times were to save Gabrielle. First time was in "Return of Callisto", the second was in "The Way". This time she is asking for a sign to help her find her "way" (No pun intended). When Gabrielle finds Xena praying, it is a very touching and moving moment.

When Xena comes out of the temple with the Chakram of Light in her hand and strikes her pose, I screamed out of joy. Xena is back; but was I fooled when Xena dropped the Chakram and said she couldn't kill. The reaction from Gabrielle both times was absolutely fantastic.

Poor Joxer, boy his timing is still bad. As Xena would have said, "Wrong place, wrong time", to tell Gabrielle that he loved her. I do admire his courage in saying what he was feeling at a time when they all might end up dead.

Finally, there is a glimpse of the old Xena in the temple when she realizes that if she does not do something soon, or they will all end up dead. But what made her take the first kill was seeing Gabrielle once again in danger of dying. It was Ares who put the final touch on awakening the dormant Xena. There she was, in full glory, fighting, music and all. It was fabulous.

I was so glad to see Xena back and the new chakram is awesome; the duality of it and what it means is just great. It was a long road for Xena to go through and a very painful one, but she is finally back. This road was not easy for Gabrielle either; seeing her friend struggle to understand who and what she really was and seeing her friend's pains and struggle was very difficult. That final fight sequence was excellent. SHE WAS BACK and once the old Xena was back, everything was right (well not everything; she kept the pink dress. Yeah, I know, get over it.)

So, this show tells us that Xena has the quality to be the most evil person and the purest person, all in one. It is interesting that it was Ares who provided her with the first chakram and it was his presence that forced Xena to create the second chakram. My question for Xena is, "Do you know what the middle of the road is all about?" Either she is extremely good or extremely bad.

One thing that I think that needs to be touched on regarding this episode is the pace of the show. The first part of the show was slow (just as I have heard many say), but there was a reason for it. It is Xena's struggle that sets the pace for the show. In this show we had a passive Xena and that passivity created a very slow moving episode. The episode does not pick up until the end when Xena recuperates and turns back into her old self, while retaining some of the qualities of the passive Xena.

For a "Xena Light" episode, this was not bad. (No I'm not crazy, a "Xena Light" episode.) This episode is not going to hit my top ten. When I said "Xena Light", I meant it. For the first part of the episode, the character of Xena was there, but the essence that makes her the Xena we love was not there. When the old essence is given back to the character of Xena at the end, the episode picks up and Xena is back in all her glory.



COMMENTARY 5:

03-06-00. This commentary is by Jill Hayhurst.

ring aound the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down....and that's just what that one priest does, when he goes against what he knows to be right, touching that there Sacred Chakram (Limited Edition! Only 500,000 in circulation!) when he knows he ain't put in the winning bid on eBay. So Wienie Priest becomes Wienie Roast Priest, and since he went there in the first place cos Kel told him to, and Ares told Kel not to be telling folks to go steal the Last Chakram, only Ares gets to do stuff like that, the studly god gets a bit ticked at that second rate upstart trailer trash godling for egging the priest on in the first place.

There's a bit at the beginning, with Ares and the Ugly Duckling God, Kel (wasn't he in 10 Little Warlords? What else? Who can name them?), where they go over the plot up till now and introduce some of the supporting characters in Kel's temple (which looks just like Ares' temple, except there's more beer cans and pizza boxes in the corners), and an even longer bit at the very beginning that rehashes the high points of FA, just in case we'd forgot or watched Dawson's Creek that week, so we're all supposed to be up on the action, to wit:

* X&G were dead. For the Greater Good, or something.
* While dead, they rearranged Heaven and Hell and incidently, redeemed Callisto.
* Callisto worked through Eli to bring X&G back to life (Ares is very snotty about this. As if he ever did such a cool trick.)
* Eli, for some reason, is taking ALL the credit for this.

The real story finally begins next scene, with X&G cuddled up on stone slabs wrapped in flour sacks and sipping bowls of Campbell's Veggie Deluxe, and Amarice comes back into the pre-Mycenian mortuary with another wooly blanket for Xena and the two halves of the broken chakram (the one Xena's carried around with her for nigh on ten winters now, across Asia and Greece and Africa and Europe and Britannia, where it survived the raising of Stonehenge unscathed, and only at the last in IOM did it finally give up and bust, very symbolic that was, and a refreshing tip o' the hat to continuity, since it's supposed to be busted when Janice and Mel find Ares' tomb in XS) and offers them to Xena, who takes them in much the same manner as one would take a dead squirrel from the mouth of a loved cat.

Uh-oh.

After Amarice leaves, Xena and Gabrielle look at each other lingeringly, and talk a bit about being back. Together. Again. Always. And smile tiredly while LoDuca tosses in a phrase or two from the end of BS, and then Xena starts fooling with the chakram bits, and lets out that she don't know what they are.

Uh-oh.

Well, it had to happen. Gab's only been dead once or twice, whereas this is Xena's what? fourth time to come back? You know, in the best RPGs this ressurection thing takes its toll on a person, and after a few times, you're just not quite the Warrior Princess you once were.

So after the title sequence, (where we learn we're watching _Xena: Warrior Princess_! Yay!) they go to the market of the neaby town to pick up some clothes and other odds and ends (did I mention Joxer was in this ep? No? How forgetful of me.) and that bit with the busted chakram is the last bit of continuity we'll see for awhile, since a major bit of IOM and FA was that it was snowing. Winter. Cold. X&G, back from the dead, are still a bit chilly, so the clothes our heroines choose are suited to what kind of climate? Okay, whattheheck, Gabrielle's new outfit warmed *me* right up.

While Xena's checking the effect of a shawl in a mirror, Gabrielle comes out with a pair of fancy knives (sais, they're called, Rob's infatuation with Japanese budget flicks is showing again) and presents them to Xena. Xena's mode of fighting has always been a single broadsword wielded either one or two-handed, so Gabrielle naturally feels that a pair of long knives with cup-hooked guards will suit her right down to the ground. This is not how you jog the memory of an amnesiac, by surrounding her with new and different things, and Xena feels that loved cat or not, she ain't touching that squirrel. Just then an assortment of ne'er-do-well scumbags surround them and Gabrielle and Amarice go to work kicking butt while Xena stands there looking puzzled. You can see she's starting to work things out, this at least is familiar territory, but before she can get very far one of the uglies knocks her to her knees. The head baddie strolls onto the scene just then, and in a flurry of punches and kicks, X&G and Amarice get away long enough for Xena to drop the town gate between them and the bad guys. (Why on earth so many walled towns in the Xenaverse have gates and such that can only be opened or closed from the outside is beyond me, no wonder they have so much trouble with warlords overrunning them all the time.) The bad guys call out impotent threats through the bars to the effect that this ain't the end of things (I should hope not, show's scheduled to run for another 40 minutes), Kel will have them, eep!

(sigh) More confusion for poor Xena's muddled memories, who's Kel? Should she know? Maybe there's a phone number in her datebook. She'll have to check when she has a minute.

They make it back to their hideaway in the hills, where Eli awaits them. He thinks the memory thing might be his fault, he sneezed or something during the Callisto mind-meld energy-transfer thing that kept Xena's awareness of the violent parts of her past (aka 65%, with 25% being time spent playing horsie with Borias, remember how he was so keen on the Centaurs? and the rest being the miscellanious she's got total recall on now) from polluting the pure vessel that was once a Destroyer of Nations.

Gabrielle looks out the window to see the uglies from the marketplace have figured out how the gate works and are even now on the path to their door. Where I would have proposed rigging a fast rock drop over the lintel, Eli (and this just illustrates why he's such a wimp) leads them all outside (presumably down another, non-brigand-infested path) to go have a sensitive chat with an old friend of his, who Eli thinks has Kel's unlisted number on his ice-box. As they leave, Ares materializes in the doorway, watching them out.

Next scene shows our party strolling leisurely along a sun-dappled path through a lightly wooded region (snow's stopped) and Joxer takes Eli aside (Joxer's in this ep) to ask his advice on how to tell Gabrielle he's in love with her. I always check with ascetics on the best way to get women to notice me, too. They pull up in a clearing and Amarice prepares to slip off to bag something for the pot. Xena wants to tag along, but Amarice wants to be alone, despite Xena showing how fast she can move. Amarice does not like weirdness, and a Xena who can't fight but who can still move like Flash Gordon is high on her list of Weirdnesses to be Avoided. Xena trails after her anyway, just in time to get captured by Kel's Boys, who apparently jogged down the path instead of strolling, and shows the value of Keeping in Shape and Sticking to Your Plan, which lessons make X:WP highly desirable viewing for the kidlings in your life.

(Meanwhile, back at the campfire, Gabrielle and Eli have a sensitive chat about Ways and Paths and such. Gabrielle says that her Way is not the Way of Wimpiness after all, big surprise, but the Way of Protecting Xena Till She's Got Her Shit Together And Then We'll See Love.)

Amarice, who got herself captured first, tries to fight their way out of the mess, but it don't work, since that Kel dude is one of the uglies. She gets knocked out when he breathes on her (god-breath! don't let it happen to *your* teeth!) and they take Xena away.

Some time later (it's dark. the moon's out, though. surprise.), Gabrielle, who's dedicated her life to protecting Xena, finally remembers that her charge has wandered off into the woods (give the bard a break-- she was dead, too) and goes to look for her. She finds Amarice instead, still groggy. Gabrielle picks up the trail of the gang and everyone follows her. Ares appears again as they leave the clearing, looking put out or possibly constipated.

Scene shifts to Xena and Kel in the temple from the opening sequence, where Kel and Ares had their chat. Kel wants Xena to go after the remaining chakram for him, since he's not having much luck using his regular courier service, and the chakram would seemingly give him some kind of edge over Ares in the war god rankings. Ares shows up just then and he's majorly pissed with Kel. He zaps the manacles off Xena's wrists and then he and Kel go at it. While they're fighting, Xena catches sight of a chakram designed into a wall mosaic, and traces its form. This plus the noise of the fight brings back some memories of herself using a chakram to kick butt from here to yonder, and since the Big Dogs are all distracted with each other, she eases out a handy window and meets up with Gabrielle and the gang in the woods outside the temple. She and Gabrielle must wear radio collars. Or maybe it's like that radar love thing. Whatever.

They all continue on their way to Eli's friend's place, turns out it's the same priest who was barbequed in the opening, but luckily he's left a lot of writings and scrolls and knickknacks lying around for Eli to look through. While he's doing that, Xena goes off to get a bath. Joxer takes that moment to ask Xena's advice on this hopeless Gab thing he's all et up with, and she tells him to stop worrying about getting a response, just tell her he loves her and leave it at that. He goes off, and to herself Xena says (smiling, must be a happy memory indeed), "of course, you could just kiss the girl."

Ares appears right then and tries to seduce Xena, using her memory loss to his advantage. There's a touch of plot advancement, wherein Ares confirms that her inability to relate to concepts of evil and wrong is for a reason. Bet he doesn't know what it is, though. He does pretend, and tries to kiss Xena, but Gabrielle comes in right then and chews his butt from here to the barn for being such a scuzbag, and he dematerializes in a fit of self-justification.

She and Xena go back into Caleb's living room where Eli confirms that it's the Chakram of Light that Kel and Ares are after, and only the purest soul can touch it. It can kill a god, too, which makes it Special, like Hind's blood, and it's anyone's guess as to why Xena's own chakram, aka the Chakram of Not-Light, never evinced any power to kill immortals, but boy howdy! it did for that bunny rabbit in Aiden's Paradise, didn't it!

I ain't tangented this whole spoiler, I've been just good as gold, and I can NOT stand it any longer: that there Chakram of Light, it's called that cos it's sitting on the light side of a yin-yang piller in what must be the Chakram Hut (I'm really getting way over the use of yin-yang symbology in this show) and in all other respects it is the identical twin to the one Xena's had since forbloodyever, the one that used to once upon a time sit on the dark side of that very pedestal fore Ares nicked it, and what I want to know is, we only have anecdotal evidence that Xena's chakram did indeed come from the dark side-- it might've come from the light, you know, and later on someone got a stick or a twig or a pure-as-snow monk and used that to shove the remaining chakram onto the light side... I mean, really, if they'd both been there and a large dog wandered past, wagging its tail and brushed them both to the floor, it'd be anyone's guess as to which was which, wouldn't it? Hey, it could've happened. Betcha it did, too. More than once.

So anyway we'll just take it as read (for now) that the chakram Xena's been frisbeeing all over the Known World is the Chakram of Dark, and now it's busted, and the one they're after (and that neither Ares nor Kel want them to get) is the Chakram of Light. Xena's still concerned that when she does go after it, it'll bring back all the dark stuff she's free of now, and how can that be good? she asks the sky. She wants a sign. Gabrielle comes up just then and they have a sensitive chat about light needing darkness and how balance is really good and lots of cool sage stuff like that. And the sky continues to not fall, so Xena takes that as her Sign.

Next thing we know, Amarice and Gabrielle are infiltrating the forces surrounding the Hut and demoralizing the soldiery and blowing up the gate! Cool! Eli and Xena and Joxer rush in through the chaos and Xena keeps going through the door of the Hut while Gabrielle and Amarice defend her rear. (Dunno what Joxer and Eli are doing just at this moment, but then, why would it matter?) Xena gets all the way into the room with the pedestal and picks up the Chakram of Light. She rushes back outside with it, just in time to join Amarice and Gabrielle and the boys on the front steps, facing off against Kel and Ares and their band. The bad guys take a step back when they see Xena has the Chakram and apparently knows how to use it, but then she says she can't kill (!) and drops it to the ground. Ares is way happy about this, so's Kel and they charge. Gabrielle shoves Xena back inside the Hut, and Amarice follows, snatching up the Chakram as she goes. (that girl's pretty bright, ya know? Annoying in many ways, but very bright.)

Things are starting to really heat up now. Eli's speed reading through that scroll of Caleb's, and notices incidently for all you YAXI collectors out there, that once the Chakram's off the pedestal, anyone can touch it, so neener neener. Also, while the bad guys are coming in and Joxer's telling Gabrielle he loves her and she's looking at him like he was a dead squirrel the cat brought in last week and forgot to mention till now, Eli points out that if the two Chakrams are joined, their power to kill gods is diffused, which would make them of no use to Ares or Kel, so there's an idea, eh? Xena gets the broken one from Amarice (Amarice makes a good Argo-substitute, so far's carrying stuff goes) and puts them all on the pedestal and the busted one fuses in a shower of sparkly things and while it's doing that, Gabrielle is trying to hold off Kel, with not much success, since he's the one with the knock-out breath, and Ares and Eli are facing off, and Ares tries to shove Eli aside but he can't, Eli's got that Avatar thing going for him, and Kel tries to finish off Gabrielle and that does it for Xena's reluctance to kill, she pulls the Light Chakram off the pedestal and splits Kel in two with it and he fries to a pile of dusty charcoal briquettes right there.

Ares tries that mindgame thing on Xena, the one from the bath scene in Caleb's, to get the Chakram from her before she uses it on him, but instead she fuses the two together, forming a yin-yang Chakram that whirls and twirls, slices and dices, splits apart and locks together at the lightest whim of the fx crew. Then our grrls clean house on the remaining uglies. Ares goes bye-bye, the Xena he and we love to watch is back and that's fine with him, even if he doesn't get a godkilling toy. Xena and Gabrielle say bye-bye in their turn to Eli, and head for home with Amarice and Joxer (anyone remember why he was in this?) walking ahead.

Okay, 'nother cool ep, with a fair amount of butt-kicking and a worthy successor to the BGSB. Jury's still out on the yin-yang chakram, though, and goodness knows now how it gets defused and the dark one busted up again in time to find its way into Ares' tomb, but then, Ares ain't been entombed yet, so we'll see. Maybe a dog walks past Xena when she's hanging around a tavern, wagging its tail...



COMMENTARY 6:

05-11-00. This commentary is by John Wignall.

This week we find out all about Xena's chakram, or so we thought. I liked this ep, honest I did, but it wasn't what I was looking for. I was all primed for flashbacks of Evil Xena in her prime. The God of War's Chosen and her new toy. Instead, I got amnesiac happy Xena in the land of the redshirts, giving Joxer advice in his quest to gain Gabrielle's heart (or some other bit of her anatomy) [sigh] But I liked it, honest I did.

We start with a little 'story so far' montage, and to be honest, I gotta give kudos to the guy who edited it. 'cause he covered the major plot points in a remarkably short slice of screen time.

Then we've got good ole Ares. With short hair! And he's shaved! Much, Much better. He's giving some longhaired boy a hard time over Xena. At first I thought this guy was a new warlord of the week, and to be honest, I kinda wish he had been. It would've worked better. In fact, he is Kel, War god of the redshirt people. The never actually say where they are, but I think that fits pretty darn well. Once Ares has told mister don't-bother-remembering-my-name-I-won't-be-here-long to lay off his best girl, we see the new guy with his Power Rangers henchman menacing some guy in a hooded robe. Somebody really should tell 'Brother Caleb' that he's got a "Kill me" sign stuck to his back. They send him into the ruined temple; he steps on burnt bodies, and comes to a giant yin/yang symbol. (Did anyone else notice that the temple looked an awful lot like a certain Chin Palace?) So, on the symbol, in the white half, where there's supposed to be a little bit of black, is a chakram, just like Xena's, and in the black half, is an empty space. So, hood boy picks up the chakram. Obviously he hasn't seen Raiders of the Lost Arc, 'cause he doesn't put a bag of sand down, and the altar zaps him. Strangely enough, the chakram drops right back where he got it. So we've simultaneously established that Kel is bad, and the chakram is dangerous.

Enter our heroes, who haven't moved a muscle since last week. Except that X&G are sitting a little further apart. X&G chat a bit, getting all mushy, and the music from the end of Bitter suite plays. Xena doesn't know what the chakram is, but knows that sharp things are dangerous. Seems the mighty WP has regressed just a tad. So what should we do about this? Let's go shopping! ( I didn't spot 'Dite but she was there in spirit.) Ya gotta love Gabby's new outfit. It covers even less than the BGSB ensemble and looks more practical for baddie whupping. She's got Xena a lovely gift. A pair of sais. Xena suggests that she ask Joxer if he can afford them. For some reason she's more interested in riddles than sharp pointies. No time to chat about that tho, the audience is starting to fidget. Let's have some generic baddies attack. They do so, and Gabby is mystically gifted with the ability to use these sais. I'm not gonna complain tho, just so she's not blowing smoke up their . . . noses. Amarice is doing some serious butt kicking, as is Gab, but Xe just stands there looking pretty. (pretty dang pregnant iffen ya ask me) Jox gets tossed aside early on, but we expect that. Then some piddly little minion decks Xena. Everyone is so shocked at this, that they just stand there, and let the baddies surround them. The Power Rangers guy is coming, what can they do? Joxer the Mighty to the rescue!! Jox takes down three, count em, three baddies, and Gab's first reaction is. "Joxer, help Xena!" It just warms my cockles. So back to butt kicking, but there's still a Power Ranger coming. Gabby takes a shot at him, but he's pretty tough, he knocks her arse over teakettle. Our heroes choose the better part of valour, and run like hades. The baddies get back up, and they and the Power Ranger come after the good guys, it looks like trouble until Xena pulls a convenient lever, dropping a portcullis. Apparently this is a really, really long wall, 'cause nobody even tries to go 'round it.

Back to their cozy little abandoned temple, or whatever. They spend a little time establishing Xena's amnesia, and we find out that Kel is the war god of 'this region'. I guess it really doesn't matter where this region is. Oh, and the baddies are still coming. I guess they found the end of that wall. So everybody rushes off to meet Eli's old college buddy 'Caleb'. Not that he can help with the baddies; he just hung on to his textbooks. Joxer the confident figures that Eli can help him get Gabby to love him. (Sorry Jox, ya got the wrong equipment) Everybody is telling tales about Xena's glories, hoping she'll remember who she is, but Xe doesn't believe them. Amarice is just spewing attitude (big surprise from Keebler). So X and A go off to hunt, and Gabby lets Eli down easy.

X and A run into Kel and da boys. Amarice fights, but Power Ranger kicks her ass. Xena protects her, and agrees to go with Kel to save her. Kel and Ares argue over Xena again, this time with her right in the room with them. They even have a little Sam Rami moment, sticking sharp things into each other and not caring. Xe wanders off while they're playing with their swords, and notices a chakram design on the wall. This rings more of a bell than holding the actual chakram did for some reason. So anyhow, Xe leaves, and hooks up with the gang. Everyone goes off to find Caleb, and Xena realizes that Kel killed Caleb. (Remember robe boy? Ya didn't think you'd have to didja?) Eli gets upset, and decides to do some light reading.

Jox finds the hot tub. (Oh yeah, Caleb was a real aesthetic. I'll bet he was usually in there with three or four monk groupies) You can see him deciding to relax a bit, while Xena wanders in behind him, strips down, and climbs in. (Drat that wooden shelf) Xena's doing the whole innocent thing, not caring that she's nekkid. Jox turns his back to her, (what a gentleman) and asks for advice in stealing her girlfriend from her. She helps him out!!!! I got a problem here. Just how has losing her dark side caused her to forget all about her relationship with Gabby?? [sigh] Oh well, I still really liked Lucy's delivery on that line about 'you could just kiss the girl'. Enter Ares. He does the old seductive wargod bit. Giving Xena a backrub while she's in the tub. Seems Xena has no concept of negative things. Xena stands up, giving us a lovely view of Lucy's body double's wet back. (There is just no way that back matches with the front we saw in the red dress.) I had to sympathize with Ares here. He wants to look her in the eye, he's trying to carry on a conversation here, but he just can't. I mean, they're right there! Gabby comes in, and is none to happy to find tall dark and studly hitting on her girl. They trade barbs for a bit, confusing Xena, and Ares takes off.

Quick brainstorming session, and the plot is explained. Seems in Caleb's copy of Magic Weapons 101 Eli found out about the Chakram of light, which has apparently been dipped in hind's blood or something, 'cause it can kill a god. Only someone pure of heart can get it. (Which I suppose means that only the truly evil could've gotten the old one.) If one of the wargods get it, they'll be in charge, which would be a bad thing, so our heroes have to get it first. In Kel's throneroom, Kevin is showing off what he's learned over the last few years on the shows. Seems this guy plays with his sword a lot. He and Kel decide to make nice, and team up against our heroes. Meanwhile, Xena is contemplating her navel (She can't hardly miss it at this point) and wondering if there is some kind of all knowing deity out there who can give her all the answers. Gabby wants her to get her darkness back, and spouts a bunch of philosophy to justify it. Seems to me everybody was okay with Cally loosing her darkness last week. Well, everybody but the Callisto fans out there.

So it's time for the big assault. This was great. Amazon commando raid. Did they hire Sean Connery as a consultant or something? Power Ranger cuts Keebler's rope, and she falls down, but that's okay, he gets blowed up real good. Just where did they get the explosives? I remember Xena's smoke bombs, but this is new, isn't it? Watch the facial expressions while Gabby and Keebler play with the bombs. They're liking this. Oh, and Gabby seems fully recovered from that not killing thing, she's doing for redshirts left and right. Even Joxer gets into the fight, and he's not completely useless. So Xena gets in and picks up the Chakram. For whatever reason, she doesn't need the bag of sand, she's just fine. (Big surprise) There's a screen cap moment out on the steps, with Gabby, Eli, Joxer, and Amarice on the steps, then Xena comes out, raises the chakram and. drops it. Yeah. So after the commercial, our heroes retreat into the temple, Amarice grabs the chakram and Eli looks confused. 'How could I be wrong, Caleb had the notes in the margin and everything.' Jox and Gab run to bar the back door, and Jox decides that this is a good time for a quiet little chat. Our boy really has to work on timing. He tells her that he loves her, and she runs off to deal with the crisis. Bit of a letdown for the J&G crew ain't it? Was it just me or did Gabby look like she needed to pee?

Incidentally, Ares will never make police negotiator, he'd better go see some of the right movies or something. Now check this out. If you take two incredibly powerful magic chakrams, they become less powerful. Sometimes this show makes my head hurt. So the baddies break in, and Xena and Eli start putting things together on the altar. Gabby and Amarice fight the baddies, and, it was tough to tell, but I think Jox was in there giving Keebler a hand. The broken chakram is mended, and the wargods come in. Eli faces off against Ares, who sneers at him, and tries to push him aside, but can't. Then he starts swallowing, like hippie boy scares him. Gabby doesn't do quite so well. Genius girl tries stabbing a god. It doesn't work, and she gets knocked on her butt, again. Kel starts to lop off her noggin, but Xena jumps in and swipes at Kel with the chakram. Yup, it kills gods, with nifty CGI effects too. Now Xe gets her second shot at the whole first kill thing, and Ares, not Gabby, but Ares, comforts her. Ares wants the chakram, but Xena joins the chakrams together, and produces the super chakram. (Which looks kinda like a yin/yang itself. She gets her memory back, and starts fighting Power Ranger. She finds out that the chakram splits into two nifty knife thingees. She fights him, Gabby fights everyone else, there's some really neat hand to hand footage. (I think I like this paired weapon theme they're going with) Even Jox is in there with Keebler again. (He's getting good at that full body tackle) Xena does Power Ranger in, and throws the halves of her chakram in two different directions to take out all the other baddies.

Did everyone catch Gabby's smirk while Xena and Ares are doing their wind up chat? "She's mine boy, go find your own" So we have a sensitive chat with Eli, Gabby talks to Jox, Xena and Gabby have a tender moment, and they walk off into the sunset.

All in all, a pretty cool ep. Lots of fighting, and Lucy in a tub. I gotta give it a thumbs up.



COMMENTARY 7:

09-26-00. This commentary is by Philip Teo.

Before I actually get on with the actual review, I would like to comment on the scenes that was edited. The country where I came from, Singapore, seems to be censoring every episode of Xena this season that the kicks of watching the episode becomes diminished.

The first one I noticed came from the Ares-Xena bath tub scene. Xena stood up and let Ares admire her body. In Singapore's version, the moment she stood up and said some words, it jumped to the part where they are about to kiss.

The second edited scene was when Xena threw her two chakrams in an effort to save Gabrielle and Amarice. She had picked up her sword and stabbed the guy twice, but in Singapore's version, the stabbing part was totally cut off, guess it's too violent for kids, huh?

I am kind of confused about Kal's existence. Another god of war? From where? Is Kal a Greek god? And does both Ares and Kal know that Xena was just killed recently and resurrected not long ago?

Gabrielle sure looks so cool with her new outfit, and the way she fights is certainly spectacular! In the past, she fought with her staff, and seldom kicked, but look at how many times she had kicked the butts of the guards in this episode!

I have to give Amarice credit for attempting to take on Kal. Despite being knocked down several times, she still got up from her feet to take him on.

After so many seasons, Joxer has finally gotten the courage to tell Gabrielle he loves her. If one recalled, it was in the episode, A Comedy of Eros where we first learnt of Joxer's genuine affections for Gabrielle.

Gabrielle has finally realised that the way of love wasn't for her, rather the way of friendship. That is so loyal of her.

In the final fight scene, Gabrielle and Amarice sure did a swell job of ambushing the guards and making their way into the temple. There was no reason given as to why the union of the dark and light chakrams would restore Xena's warrior memory, but hey, who's complaining? Our warrior princess is finally back! And it's nice to see her kicking butt again! And I have to say the new chakram does look cool.

Why did Ares shudder at the touch of Eli? And Eli seemed to sense something about Ares too, like as though he knew something we don't.

Xena and Gabrielle's true adventures have finally begun, and I can't wait for the next episode.



WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?

By Xorys.

So, who was who in Chakram?

Ares (looking as if he just got a job with IBM or something...) was played once more by Kevin Smith. Apart from playing Ares on HTLJ, XWP and Young Hercules, Kevin can be seen in Channelling Baby (together with Joel Tobeck and Danielle Cormick), in the TV movie Flatmates (also featuring various other Xenaverse faces), in the NZ movie Desperate Remedies (ditto), and in the TV feature "McLeod's Daughters". He also recently starred as a detective in a NZ TV movie called "Lawless" (I was saying that Lucy ought to appear as a travelling freelance iron-worker in a show called "Smith" just to get her own back...) - his co-star in this venture was Angela Dotchin (the fetching amphibian Nautica in the HTLJ eps Love On The Rocks and My Best Girl's Wedding, Suraya, the young bride from last season's XWP ep Tsunami, Kora on Young Hercules, and soon-to-be Emily in JACK OF ALL TRADES)... there was also a cat called Xena! I also heard rumours that Kevin has signed to do a NZ TV show, but I don't have any details on that...

Joxer was, of course, played by Ted Raimi. I won't go over Ted's *many* roles again, since I went through them at length not so long ago, when he appeared as Joxer in If The Shoe Fits.

The feisty but steadily maturing young Amazon Amarice, first seen in Endgame, was once more played by Jennifer Sky, who was new to the Xenaverse when she took on this role. If you recognised her, it was most likely from her stint on General Hospital, playing Sarah Webber, from 1997-98. She was also in the TV series Emerald Cove, and the TV feature Our Son, The Matchmaker. Or perhaps you recognised her from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode The Pack, in which she guested as Heidi. She has also appeared in episodes of Sins Of The City, Out Of The Blue and Sea Quest DSV (thanks to Anne Warfield for pointing that last one out to me). Jennifer will shortly be playing a starring role in the new Renpics show Cleopatra 2525, one of the half-hour action adventures which will be replacing HTLJ when it goes off the air.

Timothy Omundson, who reprised his role as Eli in this ep, can be seen in Starship Troopers (a dreadful movie, I thought - the sort of thing that gets Science Fiction a bad name...), playing a Psychic. He also appeared in the Frasier ep Good Grief as the Director (he didn't direct the ep - he played a director in it). Timothy is an American, born in Missouri and raised in Seattle. He was featured in a Fox series called Medicine Ball (I mistakenly identified this as forthcoming previously, based on an undated release, but apparently it has been and gone). He played the recurring role of Dr. Joshua Levin on Seaquest, and has also done guest spots on Seinfeld (don't know which ep) and Legacy (in the ep Search Party).

And what about that "other" war god, Kal? Did he look familiar? Might have, might have. He was played by Antonio Te Maioha whom we haven't seen before on XWP - but he's appeared in a couple of HTLJ eps, as Boraxis in War Wounds, and as Dumuzi in Descent.

And the ill-fated holy-man Caleb? He was played by Mark Rounthwaite. Again, we haven't seen Mark on XWP before, but he made is first venture into the Xenaverse as a Guard in the HTLJ ep Resurrection.

The ep was written by Chris Manheim, whose previous writing credits on XWP are for The Prodigal, Altared States, Remember Nothing (with Steven Sears), A Solstice Carol, Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis, The Quest (with Steven Sears and R. J. Stewart), A Comedy Of Eros, Maternal Instincts, The Bitter Suite (with Steven Sears), King Con, Tsunami, A Family Affair (with Liz Friedman), Paradise Found, Devi, and The Convert.

Chakram was directed by Doug Lefler. Doug directed the first ever XWP ep, the pilot, Sins Of The Past. Then he had a long absence, before returning to direct A Family Affair last season. Doug also directed the pre-series Hercules movie Hercules And The Circle Of Fire, and the HTLJ eps The Wrong Path, The Road To Calydon, and The King Of Thieves (Bruce Campbell's debut as Autolycus), which Doug also wrote.

Outside of the Xenaverse, Doug has directed eps of Mortal Kombat: Conquest, Spy Game, JAG, American Gothic, and Babylon 5.



WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR

09-15-99. CHAKRAM is a flashback episode about the origin of the chakram as Xena and Gabrielle head for the Halls of War because Ares is the only one who can repair the damaged chakram. The chakram is repaired and the ladies meet Kel, another God of War.

08-25-99. CHAKRAM is where we finally find out the origins of Xena's trusty weapon when she is involved in a flashback episode where she gets a replacement for the last chakram she broke in IDES OF MARCH. Ares plays a role in the recovery.

08-25-99. Rumor has it that CHAKRAM picks up on the Joxer-Gabrielle romance superarc started in COMEDY OF EROS. It is unclear whether this is where it will end.



THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

These things are by Beth Gaynor.

Did the line about "purest monk in his order" get changed halfway through filming? Kal's mouth looks a little off when he says it, and Eli's voice changes when he does the line, as if they were both re-dubbed.



MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

10-20-99. From Kari A Snorek. A Yin-Yang has a black dot in the white half, and a white dot in the black half, but the Yin-Yang in Chakram had the light chakram in the light side, which is not a true yin-yang.

10-20-99. From Debbie . If Xena merged both Chakrams, how come in THE XENA SCROLLS, which is in the future, the original, single Chakram is there? Ares says he stole the Dark Chakram years ago. So did he give it to Xena?



TRANSCRIPT

Click here to read a transcript of CHAKRAM .



DISCLAIMER:

Xena's Dark and Violent Past was restored during the production of this motion picture.





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