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COMMENTARIES ON
MOTHERHOOD





COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 3 BY Storygal
COMMENTARY 4 BY CR
COMMENTARY 5 BY Nikolov Chimovsky
COMMENTARY 6 BY Eric Chor
COMMENTARY 7 BY Virginia Kelly
COMMENTARY 8 BY Jason Boaz
COMMENTARY 9 BY Philip Teo

COMMENTARY 1:

This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

Wow, what a bonfire of the deities this episode was! But when the smoke clears, it's not a total wipeout. Aphrodite stands intact (fitting that the Goddess of Love survives for the dawn of Eli's cult of love), and Ares is mortal but alive. Which means that Ares was right all along - there is no Twilight of the Gods. There is only a self-fulfilling prophecy and the wrath of a cheesed-off Xena. The two gods who place their chips on Xena and Gabrielle (one god per customer) come through intact. Once again everyone, even the gods, make their own fate.

This episode boasts a plethora of unknown gods who are never named in the episode but fall under Xena's winnowing shears:

- Hephaestus was a different actor, but I figured him out based on that axe and chain from three episodes ago. The XenaStaff expect us to - gasp - know a little Greek mythology (or watch Hercules) when Aphrodite clutches her heart and wears black for the rest of the episode after Hephaestus is killed.

- Speaking of watching Hercules, what's up with Strife's actor back as an older guy? Did Strife come back aged, or was that supposed to be a different god? Whichever he was, he won't be missed.

- The chick with the arrows must, at long last, be Artemis. Artemis, you unbelievable wench! You leave Xena and Gabrielle to take care of blaspheming Velasca, you let your Amazons' queen hang on a cross and meet a host of other nasty fates, and the first time you show your face is to shoot arrows at your best gals? Good riddance!

Great introduction scene for the Furies. Ares does a marvelous scoff, which gets a miffed sniff from the head fury-ette. But aren't they missing something? I thought the point of the Furies was that they visited vengeance upon the guilty. But nobody accuses Gabrielle of anything. The Furies just whisper that Eve must be killed to protect Xena. The other fury-ettes must not be nearly as interesting as the lead one. She's about the only one we see - and she does do a great job whipping it up for the camera.

Aphrodite finally proves that she really is Gabrielle's buddy. Aphrodite's care for the bard was the most heart-warming part of the episode. Despite the world crumbling around her, Aphrodite focuses on protecting Gabrielle. Awwww, what a pal.

Eve's still able to catch the chakram... but she doesn't use it to save herself. She really is at the point that Xena was at the beginning of the series - eager to die for her crimes. Except that Xena never squealed and cried when a fire broke out.

NIFTY move when Xena cleared a horse for Gabrielle while on her way to hopping on Argo.

One religious debate of the ages solved: John the Baptist was a sprinkler, not an immerser. Next: Catholicism versus Protestantism.

Xena gets told she can kill gods, and her only response is a quiet "If that's the way it must be, then I'm ready"? After all the gods have done to them and knowing that they'll be coming after Eve again? BULL puckey! Xena should be rolling up her sleeves with glee and shouting "Let me at 'em!" That little blow she gives her chakram later is much more like I would have expected.

Discord gets a particularly gruesome, headless end. Suitable for the annoying bondage kid-goddess.

Xena says she's been given this power to usher in the God of Love because she is the "mother of the messenger." What message is Eve supposed to deliver?

"Never cruel to man, woman, child, or beast" is a fitting eulogy for Joxer. But "bringing joy to everyone"? Virgil might be a guilty of a little blind pride in his da, there.

The "that comes with the territory" line after Virgil stomps all over Eve's attempt to apologize is excellent. I'm glad they didn't make the scene into a simplified lovefest - the cruel reality of never really doing enough to make up for a death is much better.

We get two surprise reappearances in Gabrielle's final temptation. Even in death Joxer is a bumbling slapstick joke. But Hope cuts to the quick, even in a bad wig. How incredibly fitting that Gabrielle's slain daughter convinces Gab to kill Eve.

Here's an interesting thought: despite her intentions, Xena doesn't redeem Eve. Eve is redeemed through miraculous intervention. But maybe Xena CAN be credited with redeeming Ares. By not killing him, by showing mercy where there was none and letting Ares act on love, Ares just may have seen the light.

Xena has beat up on Gabrielle before. She clocked babyGab a good one back in the first season (Reckoning) in the middle of a crazed battle fever. In the third season (Bitter Suite - odd seasons just aren't good for the Gabster), a grief-stricken and Ares-crazed Xena dragged Gabrielle across half the Grecian countryside. I understood those two. I'm having problems with this one. Gabrielle had already struck Eve with her sai, so this was not a matter of defense. We've already seen the chakram magically turn blunt dozens of times when needed - this did not have to be a killing blow. Xena was not in the midst of battle or rage. Her best defense is maternal protectiveness: Gabrielle hadn't expressed any of the doubts that the Furies had been whispering to her. Xena only saw Gab strike a mortal blow from behind to her defenseless daughter. But it's still an ugly, ugly moment. Xena sees the Furies leave (would have left Gabrielle to die otherwise?), and reparations go on for the rest of the episode. Xena tries her damnedest to save both Gab and Eve, and the episode closes with the line about "our daughter." But even that is missing something, like "And by the way, SORRY ABOUT BRAINING YOU."

That said, that scene DID leave my jaw on the floor. I'll give it this much - it had the power of shock and surprise. I couldn't believe that Gabrielle struck such a vicious blow, or that Xena was standing there with Gabrielle's brain matter on her chakram. I'm not sure I like either of those things, but it definitely didn't bore me.

We haven't seen Xena use her fire-breathing trick in a long time. (Pesky safety concerns!) They do a better job of faking it here than they did in Dirty Half Dozen. Good desperation moment from Xena as the battle gets tight. And in the end, Hades ends up with the nastiest death of all the gods.

Aphrodite comes through for Gabrielle, and Xena credits her with some trust. Xena even trusts her with Eve during the tavern battle, but that pushes it too far. If "You started all this, you worm" looks could kill, Eve's whimpering days would be over. And Aphrodite doesn't lift a finger when Ares comes calling on Eve.

Xena's leather armor finally comes in handy! But that arrow she pulls from her gut sure looked like it struck Xena's leg.

Check out the way Xena drags Gabrielle around. As if the bard didn't have enough problems with her cranium springing leaks and being sidelined for half the episode, now she has a dislocated shoulder, too.

Xena refuses to talk about any connection between her daughter and Gabrielle's. She doesn't even seem to acknowledge Gab's kid ever existed. After all they've been through, I wouldn't be surprised it Xena and Gabrielle's brains automatically filtered the word "hope" out of their vocabularies. But calling Eve "my greatest Hope" is just SICK. That line pissed me off.

The episode pulls a MAJOR mid-stream plot device to resolve itself. Gods can give up their immortality to resurrect two lives? When did this get established? Is this like cashing in your skeeball tickets? Could he have traded for four severely wounded people? But the cheap rules change does have one nice touch: as soon as Ares gives up his godhood, the chains of Hephaestus no longer hold him.

When Athena's deathquake started and Xena looked surprised, I expected Ares to tell her "Don't worry, that's been happening up here a lot lately."

So next season will start 25 years in the future, with no gods save Aphrodite and Eli's cult, and with Eve as the third wheel instead of Joxer. My wish for season six: ditch the fate of the gods, ditch the world religions, ditch changing the face of the universe. Go back to dealing with Xena, with Gabrielle, with the villager they meet, and the warlord they fight. One person and one little story at a time. That was so much more interesting than manipulating entire mythologies.

But want to know what I wonder about most for next season? I wonder if they're going to finally change those opening credits.

HIGHLIGHTS

I think the wardrobe department took a bet in the opening scenes that they could make Xena and Gabrielle look good even in burlap. Actually, I think that's a mummy-wrap muslin - but whatever it is, it makes a darned cool cloak.

The one good laugh in this episode comes when Ares taunts Xena right into pulling the trigger. "You shot me! I'm the god of war! Nobody shoots the god of war!" Hee hee hee!

It's a real shame Athena had to croak. She really was awesome. Her battle scenes were great, loved her head shake at Ares when he showed up in Xena's chains, fantastic gloat when Xena doesn't kill her and shock when she does. A moment of silence for a god who just plain rocked.



COMMENTARY 2:

This commentary is by Beboman.

* Even though at the end of "Eve" there was not a caption that said "To be continued", this episode picks up right were the other one left off. It begins with Xena and Gabrielle still chasing after Eve. But this time they are not alone; half of Olympus is also on the lookout for Eve.

* What makes this pursuit one-sided is the fact that this is not Livia, Champion of Rome. It is a guilt-ridden Eve, who now wants to be punished for her wrong doings. She will not do anything to protect herself and has turned into a liability for those who love her.

* It must be hard to deal with the types of emotional demons that Eve is having to deal with. All the dead that are coming back to haunt you. If Eve just stopped for a second, she might have been able to find some type of comfort in her mother's arms. Who better than Xena to guide her through those feelings of guilt and desperation.

* The opening scene of this episode could not have been more lonely, with Eve at an almost destitute level, walking lonely and barefooted through a desert-like terrain. And Xena and Gabrielle not far behind as two dark figures in the mist of the horizon.

* As Xena stood there in the distance watching her daughter suffering, I wondered how much more pain Xena's heart could withstand. Seeing Eve as she herself once was must have been pure torture. (And LL did a great job showing all those emotions.) But what must have hurt just as much was seeing the hate in Gabrielle's eyes for Eve.

* This episode was a pure Xena episode. It had everything that has always made Xena episodes stand way ahead of the rest of the television shows. And TPTB did not hold back any punches. They hit us, the audience, with everything they had and it worked, at least for me.

* The fight scenes were outstanding and there were quite a few this time around. The dramatic scenes were there and Xena's one-liners were delivered just right.

* I guess it is mandatory to have a drag scene every so often in this show. Let's see, Xena dragged Gabrielle, Brutus and the Crasuus; then Callisto, a Roman Gladiator and Livia have dragged Xena and now Eve is dragged by some soldier. But when Eve got dragged, Xena went to her rescue like a lioness to her cub.

* Well, finally Athena got it right. To stop Xena the Gods needed to kill Eve and who better than Gabrielle to do the job for them. Also, what better way to get Gabrielle to kill Eve than to drive Gabrielle insane. That could only be accomplished by using "The Furies". The plan would have worked if it had not been for two tiny flaws. First, Xena's outstanding 6th sense and the lack of patience by the other Gods. The only thing they needed to do was let "The Furies" do their job and they would have maybe all escaped scot free. But they did not listen to what Athena was saying and a few of them paid the consequences.

* This was one of the saddest episodes ever. Just the fact of seeing Xena throw her Chakram at Gabrielle was enough to drive daggers into anyone's heart. But seeing the Chakram return stained with Gabrielle's blood was even harder to comprehend.

* Also, seeing Gabrielle attempt to kill Eve was a bit more than most of us could stomach. But the ultimate killer was seeing Xena dragging around the almost lifeless body of Gabrielle and struggling to keep Eve alive. Those scenes really tore into my heart.

* Of all the Olympian Gods, Aphrodite and Aries got my vote in this episode. Aphrodite was genuinely saddened by the fact that Gabrielle might die. She even asked Athena if the Bard could be spared.

* Then Aries, on the other hand, really came through for Xena by giving up his immortality for the two people Xena loved the most, Gabrielle and Eve. (Question: how will Aries get his immortality back?)

* What better way for "The Furies" to accomplish their task than to gang up on Gabrielle. Gabrielle did not have a chance. She was just a puppet of her emotions and feelings and they all came to light; the killing of Joxer by Livia, her killing of her daughter. In Gabrielle's mind, she could have the strength to kill Hope but Xena, the supposed strong one, could not do it. So it was up to her, Gabrielle, to kill Eve.

* The fight scenes in this episode were out of this world; they were more than great. Xena really was fighting for her life and the lives of her loved ones. There was no margin for mistakes. Xena had to stay focused, even if her heart was tearing apart gradually.

* Xena's fortitude, her strength, her will to live and her love for Gabrielle and Eve all played major roles in Xena continuing her struggle to save all their lives.

* I'm going to make a small side bar here (It might not be the right spot, but I might as well do it since I'm thinking about it): When Xena found out that she could kill the Gods; when Xena was explaining to Gabrielle why she could kill the Gods came across as if Xena was annoyed at all the questions Gabrielle was asking. I don't know if it was meant that way or if it is just my perception, but it did not feel good at all.

* Back to the fight scenes: Those Gods surely did not hold anything back. They hit Xena with all they had and still came out on the losing end of the fight. Even after getting hit by an arrow, Xena did not stop or give up. Those fight scenes drove home the fact that Xena could use her own disadvantages to her advantage and that Xena's physical stamina is overwhelming.

* Now, talking about some really touching scenes, get a facial tissue box scene. What about the scene in the rain, where Xena tells both Gabrielle and Eve that she will not allow them to die. What about when she begs Aphrodite to take her to Mt. Olympus to make a deal with the Gods. Wow, and what about Aphrodite's farewell scene with Gabrielle; and when Eve finally called Xena "mother". That was a juicy one. (Remember, Solan was dead when he was able to call Xena "mother"; Eve was not to far from dead herself.).

* Once again, I will give the prize for the best lines to Aries. "You shot me; no one shots the God of War."

* Talk about a super great fight scene. That last fight between Athena and Xena was absolutely outstanding with all the energy, the emotions, the desire to survive and live. Two very powerful women facing each other. Maybe in another time and place these two women might have been friends, but now they are mortal enemies and one of them is going to die.

* This final fight had some great transitions by both LL and Paris Jefferson. When Xena realized that she had not killed Athena, the surprise in her eyes and the pain at realizing that Eve was dead were superbly performed. On the other hand, when Athena realized that Xena had not killed her, the desire and the power to live became even stronger. I loved Athena's line, "I will not be dictated to by a mortal." Wow, that was extremely good.

* Then when Xena, in her last struggle to stop Athena, really kills her, the transition was so smooth and artistically performed. That was an all around great fight scene.

* At the end of the fight scene when Athena realizes Aries has saved Eve and Gabrielle and Aries has proclaimed his love for Xena, it was a very touching scene. I did feel sorry for the poor guy when Xena, after making sure both Eve and Gabrielle were fine, went toward Aries. He did not know if he was going to die or what. The poor man was confused and the relief and love poured out of his eyes when Xena just thanked him.

* Guys, at least this season did not end with the death of Xena and Gabrielle. The ending of the episode was appropriate and in tune with the season. In the end, Xena ends up with her small family intact, with Gabrielle and her daughter at her side. The road to get there was a long one, but Xena's strength made it happen.

* Loved the closing line from Xena, "No, we got our daughter back." Great parting line.



COMMENTARY 3:

This commentary is by Storygal.

For me, this episode was a terrible end to a very disappointing season. Writers Rob Tapert and R.J. Stewart gave this script plenty of serious kick-butt action and fireworks, but the plot (if indeed there was one) was contrived and pointless. This is the worst writing I've seen on this show since the third season, and that's saying a *lot*. To say the least, this entire story really left a sour taste in my mouth; however, there were several events that I found particularly disturbing.

At the beginning of the ep, after Gabrielle reminds Xena that Eve killed Joxer (never mind that Eve also destroyed entire villages), Xena gives this glib speech about how lost she was before she'd found Gabrielle, and she had to give Eve a chance. I have to admit I saw red when I heard Xena say that. Where was her compassion when Hope first showed up? Granted, Hope did turn out to be a real evil gal, but as many of us will recall, Xena wanted to skewer the babe long before there was any proof that she was the enemy of all humanity. I guess Xena's noble desire to give evildoers a chance only applies to herself and her offspring. But as always, Gabrielle puts her personal pain aside and pledges full support to Xena's quest to redeem her daughter. Too bad Xena never seems to truly appreciate Gabrielle's loyalty.

Another major problem with this ep: now Xena, through Eve's mysterious powers, has the ability to kill gods. This is just too much. Some fans have criticized TPTB for making the Warrior Princess too powerful, and rightly so. It looks like TPTB want to make Xena into some kind of supergoddess with invincible power over gods, angels, demons and whoever else populates this mixed up universe they've created. Watching Xena the God Slayer killed all the suspense and excitement this episode might have had since it was obvious what the eventual outcome would be.

In fact, I felt no emotional connection to this story or to Eve at all. Even though the writers tried to portray Eve as lost and pitiful, I didn't care one way or the other about her struggle for redemption or her struggle to stay alive. I'm sure my apathy is also due to the fact that I haven't enjoyed the Eve story arc as a whole. I feel that TPTB have been gradually diminishing Gabrielle's role throughout this season. This pattern has been especially evident since Eve's birth. It seems that Eve has not only brought about the twilight of the Greek gods, but the twilight of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship as well. Despite the claims of TPTB that the Xena/Gabrielle relationship is central to the show, Eve has basically replaced Gabrielle. If anyone had doubts about this before, this episode has made it painfully clear.

Without a doubt this episode hits rock bottom when Xena slices Gabrielle's head open with her chakram to stop her from killing Eve. While Xena did have to stop Gabrielle, it seems to me that she could have used her chakram to knock the sai out of Gabrielle's hand, or given her a superficial wound to distract her. Xena does look horrified for a brief moment right after the chakram connects, so it's possible that all she meant to do was knock Gabrielle out. But what really gets me is the fact that Xena hardly spares Gabrielle a glance, even she sees that Gabrielle is mortally wounded. When Xena treats Gabrielle's injuries there's no warmth or tenderness at all; none of the connection that we've felt in the past. Aphrodite shows far more concern for Gabrielle, even risking her life to try and help her. Even Ares shows Gabrielle more tenderness in healing her, albeit for selfish reasons.

When Xena tells Eve that Gabrielle is "the purest thing in her life", it rings hollow. Likewise at the end of the episode when Xena says to Gabrielle, "We got *our* daughter back". Huh?? Where did *that* come from? It's as if the writers thought that tacking on a sappy line at the end would make up for all the previous foolishness. Sorry guys, it doesn't work. Not by a longshot. When I think about the sharp contrast between Ides of March last season and this episode, I feel very sad. What a difference a year makes.

Which brings me to my final point. I never thought I would say this, but I think that Gabrielle needs to leave Xena for good. The writers have shown us that although Xena keeps saying that Gabrielle is the best thing in her life, the reality is that she doesn't care about Gabrielle at all, and never has. Xena really believes that she loves Gabrielle, but I think she actually loves what Gabrielle represents to her--a level of goodness she feels she can never attain. Xena seems to feel that as long as Gabrielle is by her side, she doesn't need to change or have any goodness of her own. Gabrielle believes that her purpose is to help Xena, but at this point she needs to forget about Xena and go her own way.

I'm not even going to try and speculate on where the show is going from here. I've heard that Lucy Lawless plans to become more involved with the scripts next season, but it looks like a case of too little too late to me. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm not going to hold my breath.



COMMENTARY 4:

This commentary is by CR.

I luuuuv this episode!

I've heard that Rick Jacobson shot enough extra material to make a whole extra episode, and I can believe it. It repays watching a second and even third time, not because it's hard to follow (it isn't), but to appreciate the little nuances and extra touches here and there.

I'll just touch on the high spots. Which for me is two thirds of the episode.

The conference in Olympus - this is the highest concentration of gods we've seen yet. One good hinds-blood-coated chakram throw would take them all out. Contrary to popular belief, Artemis does have a speaking role in this ep - she gets to say "So what exactly is the plan?". Okay, so it's not exactly quote of the week. But the plan is to use the Furies to make Gabrielle kill Eve.

Athena is her usual assured self. Some would say, rather complacent and smug. Well, I would.

The Furies have more attitude than ever. The look Alecto gives Ares when he laughs, and her 'too bad, pipsqueak' sniff/shrug when he says they failed, had me in stitches.

Aphrodite comes across as the only really sympathetic god. "Can we leave the bard out of this?" "Do you have a soft spot for Gabrielle?" asks Athena. "She's my friend" (rather defensively). "Oh. Then, don't watch". Ouch! Athena, you just lost my sympathy with that crack, and I'm not even a Gabfan.

Speaking of which, Artemis isn't a Gabfan either, there's no sign of the 'special relationship' between Gabby and Artemis much mentioned in fanfic. If Gabrielle's anyone's favourite, it's Aphrodite's.

Back to Livia/Eve in the desert - Xena throws her chacky at Eve and it splits just before it would have taken her head off. Okay, we know at this stage Xena isn't going to kill Evie, but it's a little moment of tension. The director does this to us several times in this ep.

Xena throws it again to cut the rope when Eve is being dragged away, but Eve catches it - I couldn't figure this out at first, even though Eve said "You should have let them kill me". Call me slow...

It was about now that Alecto and her two fellow Furies started in on Gabrielle. No wonder she started having Evicidal thoughts, with those cats slinking around inside her head.

The followers of Eli make me cringe - that's just my reaction to this meta-Christian stuff. I still have a faint hope that Eli's One God will turn out to be another incarnation of Dahak. Nice acting by LL though as she listened to Eve confessing her crimes - whether feeling guilty for her own past, or embarrassed by her daughter's confession, she looked more uncomfortable than I've ever seen the Warrior Princess.

The 'baptist' scene would have made me acutely queasy but for a few odd touches. At first I was irresistibly reminded of the Priest of Apollo ("You are forgiven for past misdeeds. Go now and do good"). Until he saw Eve. Her "What are you looking at?" was just right, like a teenager caught graffitiing a wall.

When Eve said "I should die for my deeds" and the Baptist said "You're right" I was certain this was going to be another Magi Assassin moment. Nice tease, Rick! The golden sunbeam that lit them up, though, was so hokey, it was distractingly like a school-nativity-play tinsel effort. And I actually cringed when Xena said "If that's the way it must be, then I'm ready". Nooooo! She is NOT going to get baptised!! Not the Destroyer of Nations! Please, Zeus (oops, he's dead), please Ares, Athena, Aphrodite, anybody, don't let this happen!! Well, no, it was just Rick winding us up again (that man is twisted, I tell you!). The message Xena got was quite different.

Here it is, verbatim, since it could be all sorts of important: "[The spirit] said that Eve's cleansing gave me the power to kill gods. It was sent by the Archangel Michael. He said that Eve would prepare the way for the rule of the God of Love. I was chosen as the mother of the Messenger. As long as Eve lives I have the power to kill gods".

This, I tell ya, could be as carefully worded as any prophecy of the Fates.

Then Poseidon shows up to seaward and the Olympus Heavy Mob, being Discord, Deimos, Hephaestus, Hades and Artemis to landward. They throw a few fireballs, one of which Xena deflects into Poseidon with evaporative results. (Olympus shakes). Discord loses her head and charges Xena and - loses her head. Pity, I rather liked Discord in a bitchy sort of way. (Olympus shakes again and Athena and Ares look alarmed). Next Hephaestus gets his own hammer back and Xena gets his chains. Aphrodite in Olympus clutches her chest in anguish - she was married to the guy, after all.

Ares and Athena show up. Athena looks murderous. Ares looks more perplexed. He obviously has badly mixed emotions about the whole thing - which is not surprising.

I love the way Xena blows smoke off her chakram as she turns away. "There's nothing more pathetic than a dead god". Right, Xena, spare their feelings won't you? "So don't follow us".

Back at the inn, they meet Virgil who soon takes off (what was he there for? I guess so Eve could experience a bit of remorse). Livia is reading Gabby's scrolls. Whoa, Gab, do you really want to kill her? She's reading your scrolls already. It took you 5 years to get Xena to do that!

Ares appears outside and Xena goes looking for him. Meanwhile Joxer appears to Gabs (this is a bad impersonation, or maybe good if you figure Jox couldn't even handle being a ghost properly), then Hope (the Furies are getting better at it, Hope is positively malevolent. Alecto is going bug-eyed with the effort. You should see those cats snarling round Gabby's head. Deliciously evil). Ares tells Xena he loves her (first time ever face to face?) but she senses something wrong and rushes in just as Gabby stabs Eve from behind. With no time to remember the Prime Directive and set Chakrams to Stun, Xena scones the bard. Just like that. This is considered in some circles to be rather thoughtless on her part. I don't think she had much choice. Score one unconscious (dead?) bard and one seriously damaged (but still living) Eve. The Furies take off outta Gabs' head.

Back in Olympus Athena orders a full-scale attack. Athena, Hades, Artemis and Deimos materialise in the inn and start lobbing incendiary missiles around. In the middle of all this Aphrodite appears (dressed in funeral black - nice touch, TPTB!) and spirits Gabs into a back room. The Goddess of Love is growing up fast. After a spirited firefight during which Xena does the fire-breathing trick on Hades, she drags Eve into the back room and tells Aphrodite "Take care of her!" Considering Eve is majorly responsible for the death of most of Aphrodite's relatives, and potentially 'Dite herself, this is rather a heavy request. Aphrodite looks like someone who has just been ordered to babysit a very large pet crocodile.

Back in the action, Artemis shoots Xena with an arrow which Xena pulls out again. The Eve spell must make Xena immune to Godly weapons too. Deimos manages to get himself under an airborne cart just as it comes down. Squish. Athena does the disappearing trick.

Meanwhile, Ares has finally decided that he has to take a hand. Aphrodite is watching him as one would a crocodile hunter about to shoot the crocodile. In one's living room. Ares give Eve a sort of 'sorry, but...' shake of his head and prepares to make sushi of her, just as Xena enters and chakrams his sword into pieces. Ares looks grimmer than ever and disappears. Aphrodite looks at Xena and her chakram even more unhappily, realises she's the only god left on the premises and she wasn't doing a very good job of babysitting the crocodile, I mean Eve, and disappears in case Xena's developed a habit, godswise.

By now the building is doing what wooden buildings usually do when you start a firefight in them, so Xena drags Eve and Gabrielle out into the rain.

Aphrodite reappears, Xena asks "Why don't you cure her?", 'Dite says gods can only cure with Athena's blessing. Xena demands she take them to Olympus, she wants to offer them a deal. Aphrodite: "And you'll kill them if they don't accept?" Yep, you're learning, Aphrodite. But she agrees. I've never seen her look so grim. Or maybe it's toothache.

In Olympus, Xena tells Aph. she might want to take off, and thanks. Aphrodite says 'Bye little one' to the unconscious Gabs (awwwwwww), and disappears. Ares appears with an offer - they'll make Xena a god, Gabrielle is negotiable, but Eve has to die. Ares is on his home ground now, he's full of confidence even with Xena pointing a crossbow at him. "You still haven't been able to pull the trigger". So she does. And wraps the chains of Hephaestus round him. "Awwghh! You shot me! I'm the God of War! Nobody shoots the God of War!"

Athena gives Ares the sort of resigned, exasperated look one gives to the incompetent when they screw up as expected. She gives Xena the smug, indulgent look a player holding all the aces gives a sucker who tries to raise her. Gods, this god is arrogant! Xena's deal is, Athena heals Eve and Gabby, and Xena will leave her alone. Mighty big of you Xena, when you've just toasted most of the pantheon, but still...

Artemis walks in, shoots at Xena and promptly gets her own arrows back. Terminally. This was Athena's only ace? Way overconfident to raise on that, Athena. Now you have to finish it yourself. Xena dodges all the fireballs and they have a rousing swordfight. Meanwhile, Eve is looking sicker than ever. Athena and Xena close up - one of them has been fatally stabbed - it's Athena but - she's still alive! Eve just died and Xena's powers are gone. The fight resumes, more desperately than ever. Meanwhile Ares has crawled over to Eve and Gabby. Athena goes to plunge her sword into Xena, Xena desperately stabs upward knowing it can't stop her - and Athena feels a mortal wound. She looks incredulously at Ares: "You healed them without my blessing? That's impossible!" Ares says "I gave up my immortality to save them." "Why?" "I'm sorry. But I got a thing for her". This must be the understatement of the season. Athena dies.

Xena says to Ares, "Thankyou". Which must rate as first runner-up in the understatement stakes. But at least she looks as if she really means it.

And the episode concludes with Xena, Gabby and Eve on the beach, playing with a rather beautiful spider.

Ares was right all along the line, it seems. The Gods caused their own demise. But isn't that always the way the prophecies of the fates work?

The Furies are still around somewhere. Who will control them now?

Interestingly, Ares gave up his immortality to save Eve and Gabby. He didn't say he gave up his godhood. There have been immortals who weren't gods, could Ares now be a god who isn't immortal? Of course his sword (which was the source of his powers in Ten Little Warlords) was destroyed by Xena earlier in this episode. But maybe he only loses his powers if someone else takes them by stealing the sword.

And the message Xena received on the beach was very interesting. It was from Michael, not Eli, which was intriguing in itself. It is not 100% sure that Michael's lot and Eli's are the same.

And the message said "Eve would prepare the way for the rule of the God of Love". Who was the God of Love? Who is the only major Olympian god left with all her powers intact? And who, therefore, is heir presumptive to the throne of Olympus now that Athena's gone and Ares has demoted himself? One person. Aphrodite. I do hope so.



COMMENTARY 5:

This commentary is by Nikolov Chimovsky.

First of all, let me just say that I liked this episode. Liked. Not loved. Eve bugs me. Don't get me wrong, I loved Livia but Eve's just useless. As Livia she was an excellent cross between Callisto's soul and Xena's darker-side next of kin. She had Callisto's eyes downpat, her intrigued-but-frustrated looks as Xena kicks her minions collective ass were almost identical, her mannerisms were well done and even the voice and mouth were pulled off in a way that I though only Hudson could. But as Eve, she doesn't seem to have any point but as a way for Xena to bring about the Twilight that all Season Five has been alluding to. Her only point is now is to give the Gods a reason to hunt Xena.

Being an Aussie Xenite, I didn't get the chance to see this ep until I got a bad quality copy of a copy of a copy of an American tape, but I shouldn't complain... our Xena network hasn't aired anything since Fallen Angel, so all Season Five for me is on crappy video, but at least I got to see it, thousands of Aussie Xenites didn't. ANYWAY back to the episode at hand...

It seems that after being handed her redemption on a silver platter Eve thinks it the logical thing to do to go and build sandcastles amidst all the aimless wandering she tends to be doing through a nearby desert. Just one question: why was Xena standing alone watching Eve at the start of the scene, but with Gabrielle in the next shot? No matter. I don't quite understand Eve's agony and pain in this scene. At first I thought that she had kind of been rid of her memories of being Livia with all the killing but as the episode progresses we find that she hasn't. Great delivery of "I've drunk the blood of men that I tortured to death" when she's in that womans home. So I guess she's riddled with guilt and she's disgusted at what she's done, what with her new outlook on life. She's had a conscience thrust down on her and now she has to deal with all the pain she has caused.

I like the Furies a lot more in this ep than at the start of Season Three. They're crazier and more lunatic-esque. If that's a word. The Gods still stress too much and Gab is still REALLY under-reacting to the death of Joxer. It'd take more than a good crying act to convince me that the murderer of one of my best friends was an good person. I think that this is a HUGE injustice to Gabs and Joxers relationship. I know that it was only a friendship but it was a great friendship. I think the strength of this was shown in eps such as Eternal Bonds and even Kindred Spirits. She has a strength of relationship with Jox that is just one notch down from the strength between her and Xena, maybe even equal to it, and I think that she should mourn already. I read somewhere that she's playing it like it hasn't hit her yet and that's probably acceptable but I think she should hurry up. Xena is also completely disregarding his murder but Eve is her daughter and the power between Mother and Daughter is unshakable.

Neat little Chakram trick when it split and smashed those spears or whatever that were aimed for Eve. And I like the black robes X and G are wearing. Xena really should think back to Death Mask (it's all in Gabs scrolls... I thought she read them!) when she said "No we can't kill them, they're the good guys remember" and try not to slaughter so many good natured villagers who are just trying to punish an evil person (remember they don't know Livia has reformed) but I guess she can't really sit them down, calmly explain that Livia is good now and expect them to invite her to the next Village Trivia Night. Immediate defense is really the only option.

I like the title Xena: Defender of the Faith. But I think the Christian imagery is soooo overdone. The fish symbols in Eli's temples, the shepherds staff, 'The Baptist' and I think this cult of Eli stuff is a bit over-rated. I couldn't stand Eli so I'm biased. I thought his message was crap and his only good quality is that he's dead. I thought Seeds of Faith would be the end of him, I was very wrong. I'm not religious, but I grew up in a very religious household. So I have a great respect for Christ and although I don't really follow religion I think that TPTB have overstepped the boundaries with the Eli/Jesus parallel. I liked when they had him doing his garden of Gethsemine bit, and his healing or any bad acting Indian he could find. Actually I liked the Eli/Jesus parallel but I don't like that he's started a religion and that it's lasted for 25 years. Because I didn't like him I didn't see him doing anything outside of the Xena episodes he was in. He just sort of sat around twiddling his thumbs wondering when Xena and Gabrielle would come back and let him resurrect them or something to show his Way of Love stuff off. He certainly wasn't running around founding religions or anything. I don't like how TPTB have made it so blatantly obvious that Eli is so close to Jesus, when it was a bit ambiguous and it was open to interpretation I liked it *alot* better. I also think it's very out of character for Xena to support Eli's religion. I can understand her supporting Eli as a person, but 25 years on she defends his beliefs and teachings that she clearly didn't follow. She's always been a believer in You are what you make of Yourself and didn't place her faith in *any* religion: Greek, Roman, Dahak, Quasi-Christian, Hinduism or any of them. Why she suddenly follows Eli isn't logical. Xena isn't exactly the poster girl for the Way of Non Violence.

That Baptist they had, was he the same actor that killed Autolycus' brother??

Michael's message to Xena was corny. A big fiery face yelling at me from the sky would probably send me running not closing my eyes and looking like someone was rubbing me the right way, and the way it withdrew looked stupid. I think that this was a bit of a cop-out way to give Xena the power to kill Gods, which is a good idea if they had thought of a better excuse for letting her do it. But having Michael send her a flaming telegram from Heaven was kinda stupid. I think that Angel Callisto would have been a nice way to do it. To have Eve collapse and to see Callisto appear like she did in Fallen Angel, with the shimmering way of appearing and the big beautiful wings. Not like in Seeds of Faith with no wings and the trippy psychadelic tie-dyed glow she had around her, giving Xena the news that she just won one hell of a prize from Paradise and she didn't even know she'd entered. Then Callisto disappear and Eve revive (because her spirit just returned to her body) after being baptised.

The arrival of Poseidon was unexpected. We haven't seen him for Three seasons! And he didn't have much of a vocab: "Grrr!" "Arrg!" "Raaaa!" and the like, but I guess ones knowledge of the quasi-English-Greek language would get a little rusty staying under the sea for three years. The rest of the gods show up and throw their magic exploding meatballs at Xena and the gang. I don't like how the line of Gods just stand there and throw fire-balls at Xena, I like the more hand-to-hand combat. Xena has a good shot at baseball as she takes the God of the Sea out. The decapitation of Discord was BRUTAL! The only other decapitation a season ago in Endgame was off screen and that was disturbing enough, but to see her head flying with it still yelling no less and her headless corpse fall to the ground was awful... I loved it!

The music in this scene was great, and I'm glad Hephestus is dead. The God of Arts and Crafts never appealed much to me. But Aphrodite's reaction to the death clutching her chest made me think that she could feel the blow, but I guess not. Ares and Athena show up to stop the party and keep the kiddies from breaking the furniture and for some reason Gabrielle grabs the Chakram off Xena's belt and hands it too her. Is Xena getting lazy, or is Gab just needing attention.

Loved Xena's blowing the top of her Chakram like it were a gun in stupid old western. Beautiful.

Loved even more Ares' "So what we need is a distraction. Ooh, pick me." Classic dry Ares wit. What a guy.

Gabrielle seems to return to the old Xena-worshipping 'your amazing Xena' first season Gabrielle as she jumps around saying how Xena can kill Gods and that's so great and how is it possible? Xena's explanation of how she can kill Gods and why is still pretty dodgy to me. But I guess the point is *that* she can, not *why* she can.

Nice to see Virgil again. Such a strapping young lad, but filled with so much hate. His line "let me cut her throat" was so disturbing. It was scary and creepy the way he said it and really showed his desperation, rage and pain. I think this was his best line in this scene, all the rest really sounded empty, and Eve's lines were pretty clich‚d and poorly said. I thought this was really cute and I think it really made the scene: the sword Virgil pulled on Eve was his fathers sword, it was Joxers. This was such a subtle touch and almost brought a tear to my eye. It made the scene.

Joxer proves that even dead he can be a lovable idiot. His stereotyped ghost performance was typical of his sense of humor and was nice to see, but his hat floating in the air before falling was ridiculous. I yelled a distinct "WHAT?!" when Jox came out with "You shouldn't have let Eve kill me" that was such an unexpected line and I was almost relieved when the Furies showed up and I could blame it on them. I don't dislike Joxer, I find he's like an old friend and I will miss him. I liked the re-emergence of Hope. I liked that she had long hair and was in the BGSB. Good consistency.

Hope's persistent cries of 'do it' got more annoying than creepy but her last yell of "KILL HER!" was excellent. A nice little trick was getting the flashes of lightning the same on both Gabrielle and Hope. This would have been really hard to synchronise as they are both the same actress (obviously) and cannot be on the set at the same time. A great little trick that added to the believability that they were both there on set. The admittance of Ares that he loves Xena to her face for some reason didn't do it for me, I don't know why. I was relieved when Gab shishkabobbed Eve but how exactly did Xena know something was going on inside Meg and Joxers place (on a side note, how did Meg manage to have kids? Remember Key To The Kingdom?). Xena Chakraming Gabrielle in the back of the head was amazing. Unfortunately I downloaded a video clip of this from the net before I saw the episode so I knew it was coming and it didn't have the same shock factor to it. The blood on the Chakram c! reated a beautifully disturbing image, especially when we know it was Gabrielle's blood. Why is it that in the Xenaverse main characters bleed while others don't? Gab bleeds (check out the puddle of blood around her head in the sand, and hear the squish when Xena lifts her head out of it) Xena gets cut and bleeds (always on the same arm, in the same place) Athena bleeds when she dies yet backgrounders never bleed. Anyway.

The wound on Eve's back looked mighty painful. But a sai through the ribs couldn't exactly be good for you. How did Xena know it was the Furies?? She certainly has some great spidey sense if she can tell that just by looking around at nothing and listening to silence.

The Gods show up and throw their meatballs around again. What happened to Hades stupid green bolts? Maybe his power evolved some over 25 years. I love Xena's 'don't you try anything 'cos I can still kill you' look at Aphrodite when she zapped in to help Gab. She was pretty useless when Ares came in to kill Eve, I guess she is just as afraid of her own death as the rest of them. This way Eve gets to die and Aphro doesn't get blamed. When Xena came in and sliced Ares' arm, and looked at Aphrodite, Aphro looked really guilty.

Xena's fire breathing trick is back at full strength. After a few resorts to computer animated fire, it seems they've returned to form with this one. Excellently done. And whats with the magic disappearing reappearing Chakram in this scene? She has it, then she doesn't, then she has it in her hand, then without putting it down she has to pick it up again, and then she doesn't have it again! Seems this thing is pretty magic. Xena taking Artemis' arrow in the side was good, but it didn't really have the same effect on her as it did in Chariots of War.

So all the Gods bar Athena, Ares,Aphrodite and Artemis are dead. Seems 'A' is the lucky letter of the week. Athena Ares and Aphro can be accounted for, but where did Artemis go? Out in the rain again, dragging Gabrielle and helped Eve stumble along, Xena's line "Neither of you is going to leave me" is the most selfish thing I think she has ever said. It sounds like she wants them to stay so she doesn't get inconvenienced by their deaths. Aphrodite shows up and proves that she has a flare for comedy, but certainly not for drama. Don't worry sweetie, if all goes to plan you should be dead soon.

At least she zaps them into Olympus.

Since when does Xena like spiders. She didn't seem to impressed with the Alti-Spider in ADSinTrade. Anyway. I loved when Xena shot Ares after he got a bit cocky around her, and Ares' line "You shot me! I'm the God of War! Nobody shoots the God of War!" was a classic! Right up there with "Who's my girl? Who's my girl? YOU are!" and "So what we need is a distraction. Ooh, pick me" He's getting some great lines this season.

All of Olympus is falling around her feet, her family is being killed off left right and centre, yet still Athena decides to have a quiet little sit down in her big comfy chair. Smart God. Maybe Weaving was more accurate than wisdom. I loved Artemis' arrows. The speed and force of them was truly worthy of a God that we didn't see enough of in this show. I don't watch Hercules, so I don't know if she was in that a lot but she seemed to be assumed knowledge by the Audience. I don't think her name was used at all, we just sort of guess who she was. Then she's killed. I hated that Athena stands on her little alter just shooting blue meatballs at Xena. She could at least run around, or move or something. When she and our Heroine actually got fighting the scene improved, and the blood in Athena's stomach wound was realistic. Realism is good.

The look on Ares face after he admits he gave up his Godhood because he "got a thing for her" and Xena approached him was so vulnerable. He had lain everything he had on the line to help this woman and I think if she had rejected him this time he would have started crying. He looked so desperate for her approval, if she had knocked him back again he would have been destroyed. I'm so glad Xena thanked him. The look of complete fear on his face of her rejection was so... I can't even describe it. He's just given up everything in his life that has kept him safe and secure. The only thing that has kept him alive for a woman who despises him and in his new mortal state he is terrified. He is scared of the emotions he's having, he could be killed, he can't just zap his way in and out of situations. But most of all he's absolutely terrified by another rejection by the woman he loves. He is so desperate for approval by this woman, I think it's beautiful. I think that a character that we've really only known as deceiving and manipulating having such immense depth of emotion is beautiful and you can see the relief on his face when Xena thanks him, he looks like he's about to start crying from relief and happiness.

I didn't really like the end scene. Gab ignores Joxers death and disregards what he meant to her again and Eve just plays with insects. Xena and Gab have a disgustingly clich‚d moment saying that they've got THEIR daughter back. Aawwwww. How sweet. I liked Ides Of March better.



COMMENTARY 6:

This commentary is by Eric Chor.

This is the first commentary I've ever done, of the last episode of the season and, quite ironically, the last one I'll ever see, I think. I'm off to uni this year so I'll probably not get to see the sixth season. Ah well, all's well that ends well, but in my opinion, this one didn't.

The Hercules series spent years developing and defining the characters of the different gods, especially Strife, Discord, Aphrodite, and Ares. Hades also had a few episodes and Julian Garner (not Jason Hoyte from Looking Death in the Eye), made one very beautiful episode as Hephaestus with Aphrodite way back in Hercules. It's clear that Herc always respected the gods more than Xena did, but I hated the way she just does away with them one by one after so long.

Discord: She's had quite a few appearances on Hercules, Young Hercules, and Xena. Her goth queen attitude really stood out and made her unique. End result: Xena lops her head off without even a fight, and she was charging at her with a big-ass sword!

Deimos: Joel Tobeck basically returned his Strife character as Deimos, Ares' son. Strife was a major contribution to the series, being essentially the goofier side of Xena's nemesis Ares. End result: Deimos gets crushed by a cart.

Poseidon: CGI character, but he was nonetheless important during 2nd season. They devoted two entire sea voyage episodes to him, and he talked and laughed menacingly. End result: Xena kills him with a fireball, and all he does is growl.

Hades: a VERY diverse character shaped by both Erik Thomson and now Stephen Lovatt over three or four years. He was given a bit more screen time than the others, but it's sad to see the character leave so abruptly: charbroiled by fire-breathing.

Hephaestus and Artemis: The god of fire and the goddess of the Amazons downgraded to one-ep paper cutout villains thrown in just to round out the cast and killed uselessly with their own weapons. Notice how Aphrodite clutched her heart and starting wearing black right after Heph died? It's an allusion to the myth of their love affair and the ep LOVE TAKES A HOLIDAY when Julian starred as Heph.

Athena: It's a shame they didn't bring her in until this season; she was quickly becoming my fav. goddess, and her character was very individualistic. Too bad she was so expendable.

Ares and Aphrodite are basically the only survivors, with Aph being the last remaining deity. I suppose since they were essentially the first two gods ever introduced on both series (aside from Zeus and Hera) they were kept in, added to the fact that they contrast each other well.

Zeus and Hera were given one remarkable death episode which tied up a lot of loose ends, but with all these other guys Xena just picks em off like flies. I know the Twilight was meant to happen, but it seemed so abrupt that it put the characters' lives to shame. I was expecting she'd kill a god now and then until there were only one or two left at the finale.

That said and done, there's no turning back, so I'll go on. The baptism had me snickering the whole time (the first guy being baptized was laughing while he was attempting to cry), and the Baptist himself was much too unconvincing. Michael's abrupt appearance without dialogue made me think it was either cut up or thrown in at the last minute. Pretty much the only thing that pleased me during the first half was the first desert fight.

Eve sulked and dragged herself around for the entire episode; I half expected her to defy the Way of Love and run screeching at Ares with her fingernails at one point, one last stand against the god who used both her and her mother and trashed both, it seemed appropriate somehow, but it never happened.

Virgil's 5 min sequence was a bit more explored, and in the end he rides off into the sunset with a kiss blown to Gab, the lone wanderer. They should've just said 'Virg, get the hell outta here so we can use your home for refuge NOW!' Hopefully he'll be explored a bit more next season.

I expected much more from Joxer and Hope than a measly 5 min sequence. Hope was the cause of the entire previous two seasons and Joxer's been there from day one (ok, the end of season one). Again, underused and thrown in just to advance the plot and convey ideas like remorse and vengeance. Wincing shot when Xena catches the chakram covered in Gab's blood, and it's still there when he holds it up to Athena; I don't think we've ever seen that happen. The whole barn sequence was like a goofy shooting duck carnival gallery. Here's an idea: Throw your fireballs where she's GOING to land, not where she IS! Then when Xena dragged Eve into the side room and Aphrodite gave her that one long glaring look, I half expected the goddess of love to actually do away with her. That would've been somethin to see, but it's been proven in the past all she does is mend broken hearts and look good; she can cake fight, mud fight and bitch-slap, but thats about it. Really cool scene where Xeba slices Ares' arm with the chakram: one look of absolute disbelief, one look of absolute hatred, all accompanied by thunder and lightning and great crescendo variations of the show theme music.

The final scene had some good elements to it. It was nice to see Xena actually say thank you to the ditziest goddess she's ever disliked and Aph's little goodbye to Gab. Then that last cool gold flash and she's gone..... forever, in my case. *sniff*

The chains of Hephaestus were a real cheesy way to keep Ares out of the fight. Kevin lopes into the throne room halfheartedly and slumps against the wall, only to have the chains slip off like paper as soon as the fight's over. Noticed the ultra cool how-could-you've-been-so-stupid look Athena gives him when he first enters. heehee. The sword fight went pretty well but with some new tricks, including Xena flipping up, clapping her hands on Athena's blade in the air, then dragging herself back to earth, seemed odd, but interesting. Her death reminded me a lot of the Dahak ender back in Season 3: slo-mo death accompanied by a gothic choir, then the temple shakes as if the world is about to end. But then all goes quiet, and then Xena thanks Ares, of all people for his sacrifice. Then at last, with a hairy spider crawling over Eve's hand, "We got our daughter back". Through it all those two always held on.

So to sum up, Eve's alive and good, most of the gods are finished, Ares is mortal, Aph's made herself scarce, Xena can still technically kill gods, and Virgil's ridden off into the sunset. Makes for some decent material into next season, which I hope will be an improvement over some of the stuff this one had. I have to agree with Stewart; they butchered the Ch'in saga, made a tasteless new villain like Mavican, the most horrible ep I've seen MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS, and finished off gradually developing characters like Eli, Yakut and Amarice, although I have to say Callisto's final appearances were grand. It just goes to show how popular she was. They could never get rid of her, and she went out with a bang.

One final thing has been nagging me ever since I saw my very first well-made Xena ep HOOVES AND HARLOTS: Are we EVER going to see the reunion of all the scattered Amazon tribes? It was promised in Young Hercules, and there's a lot of interaction with the Greek and Siberian amazons on Xena's part. I think a major ep should be devoted to it. They deserve it, d*mm*t! ;-)

So this is my last Xena episode probably forever, but then Hope springs eternal (gasp). My last goodbye to the world of Xena. We've had spiritual crises, hair changes, riding accidents, screeching war cries, psycho Barbies and psycho shamanesses, evil and wimpy Roman dictators, insane amazons and even more insane crusaders, set after set of triplets, pie fights, animal fights, sword fights, vocal fights, resurrection after resurrection, dryads, bacchae, centaurs, demons, angels, all breaking the mythological and historical consistency of the world since day one. And through it all two ass-kickin babes manage TV's greatest subtext relationship and always have their wounds mysteriously healed weekly. But hey, it's TV, and it works, so I say have a great series wrap-up. BATTLE ON!



COMMENTARY 7:

This commentary is by Virginia Kelly.

You know, this ep is like listening to Celine Dion sing. There's a wonderful, natural instrument there, and it's loud and pretty, but it has no soul and no heart, which ultimately makes it empty for this viewer.

I haven't a clue what this ep was trying to communicate, except that explosions can be big and pretty.

And I can't even begin to address how much I disagree with Xena caving into a religion without question, without thought, without, well, free will. Maybe others can. I'm gonna stick to the superficial likes and dislikes and then kiss this crappy season good bye.

Likes

ROC is the most gorgeous woman on the face of the earth. The camera really loves her face and eyes in this episode. Loved the billow action of the brown shroud in the first action scene.

This is a beautifully photographed episode with the film-like production values in full, breath-taking view. I especially enjoyed how the Furies were photographed as they surrounded Gabrielle.

Finally!!!!! Some new music, albeit it somewhat mediocre. Jheesh. (I caught the last few minutes of Jack of All Trades before Xena came on, and they had spoofed the opera Carmen. This made my skin crawl). I especially enjoyed the setting of Xena's dirge (from S2, was it?) that closed out the episode.

Good acting all around.

Aphrodite gets major kudo points. Bad hair, but she was so sweet. I thought it was touching that she grabbed her heart when Heph bit the dust. And I found it hysterical that when she showed up after Heph died she had changed from her pink self to black (in mourning) and stylishly so. I'm glad Aphrodite survived. It gives me hope she may return next season. Her plea to Athena was quite an act of courage, and her good-bye to Gabrielle was touching.

Action Scenes. They were quite phenomenal. Cleaner and less sloppy than they've been in awhile.

Athena. She was just too delicious in this episode. She and Smith (Ares) have a great sibling chemistry going on. It was kind of brilliant of Athena to figure out the best way to get to Eve was through Gabrielle.

ROC played her small role, whether being driven insane or being dragged from here to Xena-buck-tu, very well. She did a wonderful job with the insanity and was especially fun as Hope.

Virgil does a nice job with his brief scene. His grief is well-played (you know, he is kind of like a male ROC, able to cry at the drop of a hat). Unfortunately, he scared me with that Meg took all the kids to another city. You know that leaves them WI-I-I-I-DE open to have a Joxer-look-alike in the bunch, don't you? Mark my words...he'll be back.

Hope. I supplicate myself at her evil altar. She's soooo delicious, even if she was just a figment of Gab's crazy mind.

The "our daughter" line at the end. It came out of the blue, really, and is cold comfort after this abysmal season. But like an organist friend of mine (a devout Christian) used to say about being paid to bring people into church with music "I'm a whore for the Lord." Well, I'm a whore for a subtext crumb.

Dislikes

She dices, she splices, and she can turn the plot on a dime...she's plot-device Gabby. Available in fine TPTB stores everywhere. This ep continues the marginalization of Gabrielle and is outright disrespectful of her character. Well, at least she got to get in a good "mad" scene (not up to great mad scenes like Lucia di Lamermoor. But then again not everyone can go mad and die upside down like Maria Callas could).

That Hope wig has got to GO. With a budget like this show has, they couldn't take a few dollars spent on one of the bazillion explosions and get ROC a better wig?! Oh, wait. What am I thinking? She's not the star.

Holy Xena continues to take orders from above. I'm not liking this Xena at all.

Why is Xena the defender of Eli's followers? Helllooo, Gabrielle was his first disciple, she was there when he died and she's been defending his followers every bit as much as Xena has.

Eve. Still no character development. But, wait, that's because the show has to have as many explosions as possible combined with as many close-ups of Xena as possible. I see.

Eve's line to Xena after her baptism: "I've had one load lifted only to be replaced by a heavier load." LOL. Jheesh, she's killed, plundered, murdered, crucified and gotten away with it all, and she's complaining cause she's gotta do some good stuff now?!?!

Xena chakraming Gab in the head. Now, really, why did she have to slice her head? The stabbing was already complete, Gab hadn't raised her hands to stab again. Xena could've done one of her death-defying, spinning somersaults and kicked Gab. After all, this is the Xena who can ricochet her Chakram from one end of town to another with amazing acccuracy (Been There Done That) and somersault the length of football fields in less than a second (Lost Mariner). She could've just run over and tackled Gab. Xena has some 'splainin' to do. I seem to remember Gab's "If that's what it takes" line from Fallen Angel getting her into major trouble and is still brought up over and over and over again. Xena's chakraming Gab's head needs far more explanation than what was given on the screen. Because right now it looks like vengeance to me. And it wasn't emotionally appealing, it was just...plain...stupid.

Xena's talk to unconscious, drag-a-long Gab and Eve just rang really hollow. What's wrong with Xena professing her love of Gabrielle? What the h*ll is "you're the purest thing in my life" supposed to mean? What, is there a limit on how many times Xena can say "I love you" to Gabrielle in a season. Cause she hasn't said it this season. Not one, friggin', single time.

I DID NOT like them using the music from the dreamscape scene of The Quest when Xena says thank you to Ares. That made me physically ill.

Xena DIDN'T slice open Ares head when he went to kill Eve. How come?

Xena and Eve having a mother-daughter moment when Xena and the drag-along gang arrive at Olympus. Hellllooooo, you self-serving, self-centered wenches. Save it for later! Gabrielle is leaking her friggin' brains out all over the floor and there isn't time for this crap!

My Head is Spinning

Ares gives a new level of meaning to the phrase: "I love her. I love her not. I love her..." What a waste of a villain. How can I buy this at all? He just tried to kill Eve...a number of times...and then he saves her? It's unbelievable. The entire Ares loves Xena plot line has just been completely unbelievable, ludicrous and demeaning to Ares, to Xena and to the Xena/Gabrielle relationship.

Now Xena is the mother of the messenger? Oh, gods and goddesses and everything in between will it never end?!?!?!?!? What next: The mother of the messenger of the duke of the queen of the third inbred cousin of the sister of the cosmos?!

So, as long as Eve's alive, Xena can kill gods. Pleh. I like my Xena human.

It Made Me Laugh

Eve trudging through the desert. The bad "I'm dehydrated" make-up that changed numerous times within the one scene. The body double was even worse. There's a shot from the back with her walking away and I started laughing. She looked like a bad Raquel Welch from that caveman movie. I fully expected a pterodactyl to swoop down and pluck her up.

Xena dragging Gabrielle along behind her. Gab-Drag: Part Deux. The Son of Gab-Drag, The Essence of Being Gab-Dragged. It was funny.

Ewwwwww

I hate spiders. Especially large, hairy ones crawling on my hand. What the h*ll was that all about?! Even Gab was ewwwing.

All that blood under Gab's head and on the chakram.

Conclusion

The season's over. I've not even a speck of Xe/Gab Withdrawal Syndrome but I will hold onto my teeny, tiny, itty, bity, kernel of hope that S6 will be worth watching. And even if it isn't, I'll be sticking around to watch the mighty ROC...even if she's only in a few minutes of each episode.

Yes, call me Mezzo Harlot.



COMMENTARY 8:

This commentary is by Jason Boaz.

Motherhood has to be one of the most powerful episodes on "Xena: Warrior Princess" ever. It featured Michael, Eve, the Twilight of the Gods, John the Baptist, the Furies and the Daughter of Dahak...yes. I'm talking about Hope herself.

I believe that the god Xena is preparing the way for is obviously our God. The one who Xena refers to as "The God of the Israelites." Xena was obviously paving the way for future Jews, Israelites, and Christians. A scripture from the Ten Commandments tells of how he feels about other gods, which is probably part of the reason the Twilight of the Gods occurred. "Thou shalt not have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of ANY THING that IS in heaven above, or that IS in the earth beneath, or that IS in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God AM a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth GENERATION of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." As any Christian knows, God does not condone the worship of other gods, like Zeus, Ares, etc.

As for Hope, I think that was really her, and not a Fury-induced hallucination. Only she can torment Gabrielle, and make her try to kill Eve. Nobody else could convince Gabrielle otherwise. Hope is in a position, in which she'd win either way. Either Gabrielle kills Eve and stops the Twilight, or the Twilight occurs, and most of the gods die. Either way, she wins. She probably made her exit, right before Xena came in, and gave Gabrielle a "splitting headache." I doubt we've seen the last of the Daughter of Darkness. (Personally, I think her hair grew longer during her time in Tartarus, or wherever she ended up.)

As for Xena's chak-attack on Gabrielle, it was spur-of-the-moment. I think Xena saw the Furies the moment they went into Gabrielle's head. When she saw Gabrielle stab Eve, Xena did the only thing she could do to stop the Furies from tormenting Gabrielle any further. It was also the only way to stop Eve from getting even more badly injured than she already was. Gabrielle forgave Xena for that, last week. Remember, Xena doesn't do anything that drastic, unless she has no other choice.

Xena had killed only those gods who tried to defy the Twilight by attempting to kill Eve. Those who were away, like Apollo, Bacchus, (Dionysus) Hestia, and Hermes were spared. They might go into hiding, never to be seen, or heard from again. As previously stated, our God is a jealous god.

Also, rejoice Xena fans. The fire spitting attack has returned. After a couple seasons of non-use, Xena has once again gets out a flammable liquid, and spits fire, to eliminate her adversary.

Overall, this season finale marks the ending of an era. The era of the Olympian gods finally came to an end, the moment John the Baptist forgave Eve for her sins of the past. Ares gave up his immortality to save Eve and Gabrielle. Aphrodite helped Gabrielle as best as she could, even though she was mourning the loss of Hephastus. Deimos, Discord, Hades, Poseidon, Artemis, Hephastus and Athena all met their end at Xena's hands. (most of them would've been able to make it out alive, if they only remained calm, or chose to surrender. Discord is a perfect example of this, since she lunged at Xena, filled with rage, only to lose her head. Her temper tantrum cost Discord her life.)

I believe Eve is on the path to redemption. With a little luck, she'll put her past as Livia behind her. (by the way, on last week's season premiere, she recalled a not-so-glorious Amazon massacre. Though she didn't have an evil shamaness like Alti to influence her actionas, this puts mother and daughter on equal footing. Both have killed Amazons in their past. And both regret the terrible mistakes they made.)

PS: Josephine Davison plays Artemis, as she did in "Hercules & Xena; the Animated Movie: Battle for Olympus," only this time, she's actually playing the goddess of the hunt and moon in live action.



COMMENTARY 9:

This commentary is by Philip Teo.

This was a very climatic episode and was nerve wrecking every minute. Aphrodite was very sweet when she told Athena that she wanted no part in their scheme as she cared for Gabrielle. She really fits her status as the goddess of love.

I must say Xena is very good with her chakram. In the initial fight involving the nomads attacking Eve, Xena's chakram was flying for a considerable time before it got back to her. Why didn't Eve fight back? Ever since she realised her errors in the last episode, Eve seemed to have lost the ability to fight. If one were to have seen Eve for the first time, they would not realise she can fight very well.

I was wondering whether there was any scene deleted from this episode. Did the arch-angel Michael make an appearance in this episode? Because I certainly did not see him at all. What I saw was a ray of fire shining on Xena and Xena saying she was ready. The gods were apparently shocked when Poisedon vanished after taking a blow. I was wondering, even if Xena had the ability to kill gods, how could such a simple blow fired from Hades kill Poisedon so easily? Discord, on the other hand, was too reckless and got what she deserved.

Virgil's reaction was expected upon seeing Eve and it would take him a long time before he can forgive her. Ever since Eve got baptised, she had been speaking kind of funny, like her voice was croaking all the time. Why was this so? Must she change her voice until she sounded like a kid all the time? What happened to the previous voice she had when she was Livia?

It was nice to see Ted appear as the young Joxer briefly and I knew something was up when he actually persuaded Gabrielle to kill Eve. The real Joxer would never do that. It was also refreshing to see Hope again and it was delicious to see Renee potray the evil Hope, but I must say, the wig was damn fake looking. Renee kind of looked like a Barbie doll, wearing that long hair. On the other hand, it was very appropriate for Hope to make an appearance, mirroring Gabrielle's own tragic experience with Hope. Why weren't the Furies surprised on seeing Hope? Weren't the Furies part of the Greek gods? Hope was supposed to bring about their destruction, and the Furies acted like they knew Hope was their ally. This also brings another question to me. Was Hope just an apparition? Or was she for real? If she was real, this meant that Hope never really died, and the great evil Dahak was still out there.

When Xena sliced Gabrielle's head with her chakram, I was thinking, ouch, that must have hurt. The fight scene in the hut was spectacular, especially with Xena's chakram distracting Athena and the gods for a while, bouncing against the poles repeatedly. I must also say Aphrodite was really a nice goddess. She knew her husband, Hephaestus was killed by Xena, but yet she was willing to help, out of her love for Gabrielle. Alexandra displayed a good emotion of surpressed anger and concern at the same time.

Since when did the gods need Athena's blessing to heal? This was never mentioned before and when Aphrodite first uttered those explanations, I was thinking, "duh!". Athena was still smirking when Xena approached her in Olympus. Such arrogance was to be paid for. It was explained later that Ares gave up his immortality to revive Gabrielle and Eve. But was that possible? I remember that Hera once said even she, the queen of the gods, could not revive the dead, she needed to combine her powers with Zeus to do it. So, are they saying that it was still possible to revive the dead if a god was willing to sacrifice his godhood?

You could see the gratitude Xena had in her eyes for Ares after the whole ordeal was over. It's very rare to see those expressions in Xena's eyes and she must have been really touched. I assumed that Aphrodite reappeared to teleport them back to earth, I mean, how else would they have gotten out of Olympus since Ares was also a mortal then?

The ending scene was touching as Xena corrected Gabrielle by saying they got their daughter back. I now eagerly await the final season.




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