EPISODE NO. 47
Season 3, episode 1
1st release: 09-29-97
2nd release: 11-24-97
1st USA strip release: 10-05-98
2nd USA strip release: 01-07-99
Production number: V0224
Script number: 223
Approximate shooting dates: March 1997
Last update: 11-05-01
GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Carmen Carter
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND AL OVE GONE TO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Asa Lindh (Alceto)
Graciela Heredia (Megaera)
Celi Foncesca (Tisiphone)
Gordon Hatfield (Rufinus)
Craig Walsh-Wrightson (Lysis)
Reuben Purchase (Keeper)
Steve Farac-Ciprian (Orestes)
Hudson Leick (Callisto/Gabrielle)
Refered to in dialogue: Orestes, Andreas, Clytemnestra
Edited by Jim Prior
Written by R. J. Stewart
Directed by Gilbert Shilton
XENA IS TORTUED WITH MADNESS
Ares: There is another solution
Xena: Killing mommy?
AND DISCOVERS A FAMILY SECRET
Xena: Daddy isn't dead, is he?
(Note: Xena's looking straight at Ares & her mom's on the chopping block as she says this.)
TV GUIDE PROMO
Syndication's top-rated heroine returns for her third season---and promptly loses her mind. Xena's immortal enemy Ares enlists the aid of the Furies for his latest assault. The three curse-enforcing goddesses declare that the Warrior Princess has committed "a terrible crime. She will be punished by persecution and madness." Just what is the "terrible crime"? Gabrielle investigates and discovers that Xena had failed to avenge the murder of her father. That's news to Xena: she didn't know that her father had been murdered, much less the identity of the killer.
In the third-season opener, Ares enlists the Furies in his war with Xena, and the curse-enforcing goddesses oblige him by making her crazy.
Xena battles Ares, the god of war, in an attempt to save her sanity from the curse of the Furies and the life of her mother, Cyrene.
Xena searches for the cause of her recent insanely erratic behavior, and learns that her madness is a punishment handed down by the Furies for her failure to seek vengeance on her father's murderer.
The Furies curse Xena with madness for failing to avenge her father's death.
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 09/29/97
An AA average of 6.1
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XENA ranked 5th with 6.1
(2) HERCULES ranked 6th with 5.5 ("Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" 60/401)
(3) STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE 9 ranked 8th with 5.4 ("A Time to Stand" 125/601)
(4) WALKER; TEXAS RANGER ranked 14th with 4.0
(5) NYPD BLUE ranked 15th with 3.9
2nd RELEASE: 11/24/97
An AA average of 5.1
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 6th with 6.5
(2) XENA & STAR TREK DS9 ("Statistical Probabilities" 533/609) 12th with 5.1
(3) HERK ("Beanstalks and Bad Eggs" 60/401)/WALKER; TEXAS RANGER 15th with 4.9
(4) NYPD BLUE 23rd
(5) EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT/BAYWATCH 25th with 3.8
(6) CONAN with 2.0
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
The show opens with the Furies performing a sexy dance for Ares. Ares has appeared before the Furies seeking a judgment against Xena. Her crime: she has not avenged the murder of her father. The Furies find her guilty and Ares convinces them to sentence her to persecution and madness.
Xena and Gabrielle are walking down the road having a friendly race when thugs appear. They tell Xena there is a bounty on her head from the Furies' temple. As Xena fights the thugs, the madness sets in. This madness is a silly kind of madness, though, not a dark depressive madness. Xena starts making strange noises, drops her sword and fights with her hands, and forgets she can do her "pinch" until Gabrielle reminds her. She jumps onto her saddle backward. As darkness falls, Xena has daisies in her hair. Gabrielle goes to sleep but wakes to find Xena gone, but her clothing is left behind. /
Gabrielle finds Xena standing with a torch in front of women and children. Xena is apparently naked, telling the people they have to die and pay for their crime. Gabrielle comes to Xena and asks her what they did; Xena says they killed innocent women and children. Gabrielle tells Xena she is looking at innocent women and children. Xena begins to cry a bit. "I'm in trouble, aren't I Gabrielle?" she says quietly. Gabrielle puts a blanket around her friend and leads her away.
The next morning they go to the temple of the Furies. The priest tells Xena why she has been sentenced to madness. She becomes overwhelmed and runs from the temple. She thinks she sees Bacchus, then a shadow becomes a harpie and she stabs at the air. Suddenly Callisto stands before her and she goes after her, only to find Gabrielle there.
Xena ties Gabrielle to a tree and makes her way to Amphipolis and her mother's tavern, where she collapses. Cyrene (Xena's mother) knows what has happened even before Gabrielle finally catches up.
Cyrene tells Gabrielle that she murdered Xena's father. He was going to sacrifice Xena to Ares when Xena was 7 years old, and in order to keep Xena alive Cyrene had to kill her husband. This means Xena must kill her mother to regain her sanity. Gabrielle remembers that Orestes was in the same predicament and he lives a short distance away, so she goes to him to see how he figured out his problem. She finds that he is still mad, because of course he had to be punished for killing his mother.
While Gabrielle is gone Xena confronts her mother. She is sane enough to know her options. She says some harsh things; she calls Gabrielle a piss ant who can't take care of herself, and opines that "Life is a joke. It's a bar room joke at that." And then she says, "I am retiring from the stage."
She tells her mother that "I am a lunatic with lethal combat skills." She leaves and goes to a cliff, where she stands alone and from which she prepares to throw herself. But Ares appears by her side and stops her. Xena is not surprised at his involvement. He convinces Xena that life is not a joke, and Xena can get hers back by killing her mother. Xena decides to do this, but the Furies must be present so that she can be assured of regaining her sanity.
Xena returns to the tavern and confronts Cyrene again. She asks her mother about the night she was conceived. Cyrene says, "Your father was away at war. Suddenly one night he was there with me, and yes it was good." Xena then takes Cyrene to the Furies' temple. She stalls for a bit and then Gabrielle bursts in and begs Xena not to kill Cyrene because the madness will not go away. Ares grabs Gabrielle and covers her mouth. Xena then says she can't kill her mother because her father is not dead, "is he Daddy?" she says as she looks straight at Ares. He lets go of Gabrielle and says he doesn't know what Xena is talking about. Xena tells Gabrielle to do her "bard thing" and Gabrielle tells the Furies that legends say Ares takes the form of his warriors to lay with their wives while they are away at war.
Xena tells the Furies that she thinks this is what happened. She says she can prove it; if Ares is her father, then she should be able to fight him and not die. She goes after Ares and they have a sword fight atop the flag poles in the temple, a sort of who-touches-the-ground-first fight, apparently, and Xena wins. The Furies decide Ares has abused them and frees Xena from her madness. Ares denies he is Xena's father after the Furies are gone.
Xena and her mother comfort each other over the loss of Xena's father at the end.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
THE FURIES was a decent episode, but not one that's going to end up in the XWP halls of fame. It was a bizarre juxtaposition of goofball slapstick jammed right next to some pretty dark themes of matricide and murder.
Xena's madness was a strange beast. She talked about moments of vivid clarity and visions of horror and terror, but would stick daisies in her head at the same time. Was she horrified, terrified, or just living in la-la land? Was it ghastly, or delusional? I suppose it's strange to ask that madness be consistent, but I was having troubles sometimes following exactly how - or in what direction - her brain had snapped.
Definitely not an episode for the kids to watch, unless you really want your seven-year-old niece to turn to mom and ask "What's 'rolling around like weasels' mean?" "What's viginnity?" "Is Ares really MY dad? Should I fight the milkman to see if he's my daddy?"
Gabrielle was HORRIBLY misused in this episode. Xena is stark raving out of her mind, and Gabrielle decides to go to sleep? She's conveniently sent off to another town for a quarter of the episode to get her out of the way? She was relegated to useless sidekick status big time.
So was anyone else reminded big-time of Shakespeare during Xena's talk with Cyrene in the tavern?
We fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that's the end.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Life is a joke! It's a barroom joke at that! And you want to know the punch line? The punch line is that we all end up as food for the worms. ... I leave you to entertain the gods. I'm retiring from the stage.
I hope The Bard isn't rolling in his grave too badly about being compared to an action flick TV show, but I thought the similarity was worth pointing out.
So, the big question: Is Ares daddy? According to some of the rumors, the answer was originally going to be a definite yes, but we were left with a bit more uncertainty instead. We know what conclusion we're *supposed* to draw: Ares was thoroughly unconvincing in his denial of being her father, and the two fought like mirror images of each other. But we're still left with that bit of a question mark, so who knows? True, Xena can outbattle 20 soldiers and hardly draw a deep breath, but at the same time, other complete mortals - Callisto, Meleager, even Palaemon - have done a fair job of holding their own against her. The writers still have plenty of loopholes to play with in the future.
One comment on the other messages I've seen about the episode: some folks seem to be assuming that Ares told Xena's dad to kill her. I was left with the impression that Ares/the priests just told "dad" who really was the father, and he was so enraged and jealous and furious that he came up with the idea of killing young Xena on his own. Hard man.
But not yet! Coming up next week: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. Xena does 12:01/Groundhog Day and relives the same day over and over again. We get to kill off everybody multiple times! XenaStaff has been hinting that this episode has heavy laughs - watch for the chakram throw that ricochets 21+ times.
This commentary is by Carmen Carter.
There's plenty of blame to spread around on this one, the first XWP episode that I found unwatchable for significant stretches of screen time. I've screamed at RoC and groaned at FHTBT, but I hid behind my hands during this one.
1) THE WRITING.
Evidently RJ Stewart envisions madness as a series of pratfalls and Daffy Duck moments. That may work (barely) for a Three Stooges comedy, but it has no place in this series, with its pretensions to occasional dark drama. This wasn't dark, it was dork. If the flippancy and superficiality of this treatment were deliberate, then this was an insulting script; if they were inadvertent, then it was a script sorely in need of revision.
There is nothing humorous about being insane, anymore than there is about being blind. Can you imagine this same slapstick treatment of Xena's condition in Blind Faith? After all, she could have tripped and stumbled, run into trees, walked off cliffs, talked to the wrong person, walked in the wrong direction... the possibilities for tasteless guffaws were nearly unlimited. Why was Xena's insanity treated differently from her blindness?
2) THE DIRECTING.
I don't usually notice directing unless it is either really good or really bad, and in this episode I was startled at just how much bad directing I could spot. From a purely technical standpoint, the blocking and framing and camerawork were of poor quality, very lackluster, all the more evident in an episode that dealt with dramatic subjects like madness, matricide, domestic violence, suicide, incest, etc. These were themes that demanded some visual enhancement. Worst of all, the choices this director made in directing LL's portrayal of madness only exacerbated the slapstick tone. Add the Looney Tunes sound effects and whimsical muscical scoring and you havea painfully over-the-top episode...going in entirely the wrong direction.
3) THE ACTING.
Meg meets the Furies by way of Monty Python. Insanity was the thread that pulled together all the scenes and themes of this episode, so Xena's insanity should have driven the plot and created a sense of dread, violence, tension, anticipation, and anxiety. Instead we got the Minister of Silly Walks. The opening scenes were full-fledged slapstick, with Xena mugging, eye-rolling, babbling, giggling, using baby-talk. Unfortunately, this broad comic approach never fully disappeared. Xena, naked, confronting a group of frightened woman and children, came the closest to a chilling moment, but it was not enough to redeem the balance of the episode.
There are several ways in which to effectively portray insanity. One is of a person losing control over themselves and raging out; another is of a person who feels sane but finds themselves in world that has gone crazy around them.
Lucy Lawless has played both of these approaches very well in previous episodes. In DOCTOR, we saw Xena go mad with grief. Gabrielle was dead, as everyone in the temple well knew, but Xena refused to accept reality -- and her passionate resistance approached insanity...yet she was *Xena* in all those moments. Even Xena out of control was still very recognizable. In contrast, her nightmares in INTIMATE STRANGER had Xena sweating through an insane world. Her mind was clear, but her preceptions were distorted: Gabrielle shifted into Callisto, Callisto appeared out of nowhere, Gabrielle turned on her. Both of these were quite effective dramatic and memorable moments in the series.
With an insane Xena front and center during most of THE FURIES, this should have been a showcase episode for Lawless, not an embarassment. So what went wrong? The wretched dialogue (with its peculiar lapses into babytalk) was a bad start, but considering the incredibly weak director, I suspect that a significant degree of fault lies in that particular area. It is the director's responsibility to decide on tone and to demand, coax or guide actor's into expressing that vision. In this case, that vision was incredibly flawed.
I wish we could have seen what a director like Michael Levine, or even TJ Scott, could have done with this episode both visually and in terms of directing Lawless into delivering a more effective and realistic portrayal of madness. Unfortunately the only associations brought to mind by THE FURIES were of Saturday morning cartoons. This episode was a disservice to the series and to Lucy Lawless. To my surprise and dismay this was, for me, the worst episode of XWP to date.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR:
06-17-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram (#11), the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, writer Chris Manheim was interviewed:Interviewer: Have you ever stated clearly that Ares is not Xena's father for viewers who think he might be?
Chris Manheim: He's not. Xena would be repulsed if there was any hint that was true. And she'd make mention of it. She wouldn't keep quiet on that score. That's not Xena.
02-01-98. At the Burbank II Con (01-18-98), Kevin Smith (actor, Ares) when asked what his favorite XENA episode was he stated that he used to say TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, because he was taken by the idea of Ares without any powers. Then he continued saying that it was still his favorite but "I kinda dug the Furies" because "that was me on the poles at the end." When asked about being Xena's father, he answered "It's one of those things where a certain amount of ambiguity is useful to us at this time It's neither confirmed nor denied at this time."
10-26-97. At the Valley Forge Con (10/04/97) attendees were told that Lucy Lawless watched an episode of the Three Stooges to get a feel for their acting for the XWP episode THE FURIES.
10-21-97. Wondering who Mavis is? Xena, in the midst of her insanity, begins to call Gabrielle, Mavis. M Parnell (email@example.com) reports this about "Mavis": "In case anyone's been wondering (I was), I asked LL outside Grease Tuesday night [10-07-97] about Mavis. She said Mavis was no one, just a 'name she came up with at that minute.' She kind of smiled, smirked. ROC was there, (after LL arived) signed only a few autographs before ducking through the stage door."
10-06-97. Dark? They call this dark? Let's hope that this episode has more to do with the 2nd season then the 3rd season (yup, now Xena is acting goofy like Ares did all last season!). But hey NEW EPISODES, can we really complain? I am busier than the FURIES (and dance about as well), it seems, so I cannot sit down and purge my soul of this episode just yet. Lots of wild stuff happening, lots of implications, and did I mention some pretty clever footwork being done? But I am looking forward to finding some time in the near future to explore the exciting world of the FURIES.
This episode was originally planned for the 2nd season airing but was bumped to the third season when a decision was made to go with 22 episode seasons. Also, FURIES caused quite a bit of fan speculation. Xenastaff intimations were that a plotline was changed sometime ago regarding Xena's father; there is a script circulating in fan circles purporting to be a draft of THE FURIES; actors and staff from the show stressed that the third season would contend with taboo subjects and be very dark. These three events made the hotbed of Xena on-line discussions even more heated. There were also rumors of an actor complaining so much about a plot twist in the script that alterations had been made. Well, we have waited and now we have seen what the RP people have done. It looks like all three points have their truths. The script circulating had Ares own up to his paternity and ended with a scene between Xena and Gabrielle discussing the ramifications of Xena's new parentage (see Script Changes section below). The show as aired has Ares denying the parentage and ends with Xena and her mother reminiscing about Atrius. So, Steven Sears comment in a WHOOSH article about changing the Xena father storyline looks like it was referring to altering the storyline from definite father to ambiguous father. Even though Ares denies parentage the whole episode points to such a paternity. This ambiguous conclusion will no doubt fuel more "is he or isn't he" debates, while at the same time perhaps calming down the actor who alledgedly was outraged by the storyline.
10-21-97. Atrius is murdered and Ares convinces the Furies to torment Xena who refuses to kill Atrius' murderer. From what I heard, do not let the kids watch this one. This appears to be one of the more adult episodes (HA!!! That's what was the buzz but it turned out to be an homage to the Three Stooges. And dark ARE NOT the three stooges). In fact, from the buzz from Xenastaff and people who have seen scripts and parts of the shows, don't let your kid watch any of the shows (again, that buzz was found to be baseless. Makes you wonder whether the "dark" episodes will be dark or just more three stooges chicanery). Rumors of rape, incest, more violence, and adult themes are giving a definite spin to the third season, and that spin is ADULT (except for the three stooges possessing characters and those spiffy sound effects). (I will revise this or reaffirm it after I get to see the episode on Sept. 4th. And here it is. I haven't seen THE DELIVERER yet, but that is the rape episode and the reports from those who have seen it is that YES THE EPISODES ARE GOING DARK.) And I have seen it and I will revise this and discuss it some more WHEN I GET AROUND to writing the commentary. I beg for your patience.
Highlights by Beth Gaynor.
Check out Xena's rush through the woods; the paranoia, the visions of horror. That scene presented a pretty consistent vision of what was going on in her mind. The moment of lucidity in the village ("I'm in trouble, aren't I, Gabrielle?") was nicely done, too.
Some fun humor moments. "I've cut off the flow of blood to your brain and other pertinent body parts" "I'm going to use you as a shield, Gabrielle - just kidding!" "I win! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" They were largely an excuse for us to see some of the goofy things we've wanted (after a few beers) to see Xena do, but never had any reason.
"I'm a lunatic with lethal combat skills." I really don't have anything else to say about that line, I just wanted to repeat it. It's so fabulous.
Hey, it only took about 12 minutes into the new season to get Xena naked! A new record!
My favorite shtick: The out-of-control arms. "I'm ashamed of you!"
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Things by Beth Gaynor.
Watch Xena's immediate response to the accusation that she didn't avenge Lyceus' murder. Now THERE'S a moment of vivid - and dangerous - clarity! Lyceus is still most definitely a sore spot for Xena.
Landmark moments: Xena said please! ("If I win, you have to make those dumplings with the red centers - oh, please!"). She did a very respectable job of comforting her mother in the final scene, too - even went to her to give her a hug, although she didn't look totally comfortable doing it. Xena's slowly chipping down her emotional walls. This also marks the first time we've heard a "do it for me" plea from one of our heroines - and dear heaven, I hope it doesn't get overused.
Xena's closing line, "We'll be stronger," smacks to me of a season theme. The producers have said almost verbatim the same thing about many of Xena and Gabrielle's upcoming trials. Looks like season 3 is going to be the character-building season - like eating your brussel sprouts. Prepare for ouchiness and scene-chewing angst!
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
11-05-01. From Ife. The Furies was as a prelude to the huge emotional turmoil we get in season 3.
From KSZoneW. The carriage seen on the outside of the Asylum was also seen in HTLJ's "Les Contemptibles" and "Long Live the King".
SHOOTING SCRIPT DIFFERENCES
Prepared by SheWho.
This script has a lot of interesting stuff, most notably a completely different ending, a different bet between Xena and Gab, a direct reference to the incest angle, and other little tidbits.
Shooting draft March 6, 1997
The opening scene is described as follows:
"Three beautiful but horrifying women do a hideous dance in this murky hall. Their movements are brutal, irrational, angry and dissonant. Is it a dance at all? Or rather an expression of the mad chaos that lies behind the grid of sanity we project onto the world." [Name Withheld's note: What a load of crap.] "These are the Furies. Their thing is madness. One of them, Alceto, is spinning like a top and shrieking at the top of her lungs. Another, Tisiphone, looks like she's going through convulsions, saliva-froth bubbling on her lips. The third, Megaera, is doing a dance so sensual I get aroused just thinking about it." [Gag...] "Alceto comes out of her spin and suddenly leaps through the air and lands on the lap of Ares who sits in the hall watching this madness. Alceto is all over him like a crazed lap dancer. She's practically inhaling his ear. She's a little too kinky even for Ares." [OK, I have to say it: Does this have any purpose other than some obvious T 'n A bull----?]
Ares' line, "Cool," after Alceto pronounces judgment, isn't in this version of the script.
In this version of the script, the proposed bet is not Xena gathering firewood or Gab making the dumplings, but rather:
Gabrielle: Good point. If I win, you have to teach me how to throw the chakram.
Xena: And if I win, you have to stop asking me to teach you.
[I wonder why they changed this.]
In the script, Gabrielle shouts "Go!" after she has prematurely taken off; in the televised version, Xena says it, wryly. Incidentally, the fourth (and fifth, I think) steps Gab takes when counting off her 3-step lead aren't mentioned in the script. [I love that bit.]
Xena's exchange with the bounty hunters -- "Well, fellas, there are less painful ways of making a dinar, but if you insist" -- is better than as originally scripted, "I'm flattered. Well. Give it your best try."
The first manifestation of Xena's madness was omitted from the televised version:
"Xena and Gabrielle are surrounded by the bad guys, who are cautiously looking for an opening."
Xena (to Rufinus): "Well, you got me fair and square."
"She takes out her sword and tosses it on the ground. Then she tosses the chakram down."
Xena: "I'm all yours."
Gabrielle: "What are you doing?"
"Rufinus eyes the weapons carefully and goes to pick them up."
Xena (to Gabrielle; with a whisper): "How many do you think I can knock down with one punch?"
Xena: "I say five."
"As Rufinus reaches out to pick up the chakram, Xena brings up her left fist into his jaw with a ferocious upper cut. Rufinus flies through the air and knocks down three other guys."
Xena (disappointed): "Four. I should've used my right hand."
The rest is in the screen version, but this is how Stewart envisioned the fight:
"She then leaps into the midst of the warriors and proceeds to apply a series of Three Stooges blows to them. First there's the nose pinch and pull. Then the multiple slaps to one of their faces before she flattens him with a head butt. She catches one of their hands as it flies toward her. She then kisses it gently, before she flips him to the ground."
Xena: "Are we having fun yet?"
In the scripted version, Xena's play with the chakram is more elaborate than just spinning it on her finger. "The she flips it up and balances it on her nose, flips it in the air over her head, catches it on her foot and flips it onto her head like a crown."
Xena's repeated references to Gabrielle as "Mavis" are not in this version of the script. After Rufinus admits to being 19 when he lost his virginity, in the script Xena says, "There you go, Gabrielle. I knew I'd get the truth out of him. (to Rufinus) What was the first thing you ever stole?" In the televised version, Xena says, "See, Mavis, all you have to do is ask nicely."
In the script, the only thing Xena says to the villagers before Gabrielle arrives is "You'll pay for what you've done here. I'm going to level this place." When Xena realizes she's in trouble, Gabrielle tells Xena she's here for her, and they'll get through this.
As scripted, Xena is giggling when she arrives at the temple with Gabrielle. According to Stewart, "Xena has reached the 'I can't stop laughing' part of insanity." When Gab tells Xena to pull herself together, "Xena mimics pulling herself together by jerking on her arm and legs. Then she erupts into more giggles." In the screen version, Xena responds by telling Gab to pull her finger. Xena's nose-picking and rubbing her head against Gab's aren't in this version of the script.
Xena says that the man who killed her brother was Terminus.
The script is more ambitious than the screen version in connection with Xena's hallucinations. After Bacchus comes a harpie, a cyclops, a titan, and then Callisto. Stewart writes: "This entire sequence is based on meticulous research into schizophrenia and a bad trip I had in college when I dropped some purple haze."
The scene where Xena ties Gabrielle to a tree is more violent and arguably suggestive in the script:
"Xena stalks toward her, looking insanely deadly. Gabrielle is frightened by her look and tries to run. Xena reaches out, grabs Gabrielle by the hair and drags her toward a tree. Gabrielle is very frightened now."
Gabrielle: "Xena, it's me...Gabrielle."
"Gabrielle struggles to get away but the relentless Xena drags her to the three. She then begins tearing Gabrielle's dress off. Gabrielle tries to run away but Xena hurls her down roughly to the ground. Then Xena begins to make binds out of Gabrielle's shredded clothes. She tries Gabrielle to the tree." The script later mentions that Gabrielle gets loose from her bindings and "sets out in search of Xena and a makeshift skirt." [I wondered from that if Gab was meant to have a new outfit originally.]
Xena as Minister of Silly Walks appears to be a stretch of what is in the script, which focuses more on Xena twisting her fingers around "as if she's trying to free them from something." Her modified war cry (cock-a-doodle-do) isn't in this version of the script.
The scene where Cyrene describes what happened to Xena's father is better on screen than as scripted, in my view. In the original version, "Xena paces nervously, her lips moving silently, as Cyrene tries to explain what happened. Throughout this scene we see Xena's reactions to what Cyrene says. She's trying desperately to focus on a solution; she's still the hero, but now she has to solve the problem through the fog of insanity. As we will find out later, even now there's a method to her madness. However, to make the drama work, the audience needs to feel she's totally gone." [I liked Xena's total stillness and silence in the televised version better.]
When Cyrene says that Xena's father was returning from Ares' temple, Xena whispers, "Ares." Cyrene says that her father said Xena had to die, and "Xena reacts to this like she was shot with an arrow." In response to Cyrene's indication that her father had threatened to kill her too, "Xena growls like an animal." At the conclusion of Cyrene's story, the camera focuses on Xena. "There's a note of sympathy for her mother in her eyes for a moment and then she twitches as the Furies dig their talons into their reason." The camera then switches to Gabrielle. "She's in almost as much anguish as Xena."
The goodbye scene between Gabrielle and Xena, as scripted:
"She turns and walks up to Xena. She reaches out to embrace Xena. Xena jerks away and looks at her suspiciously." Gabrielle tells her they'll get through it, and "[t]here's a sneering snarl from Xena. A worried Gabrielle exits. Cyrene sees her to the door." The next scene plays out rather differently than as televised:
"Cyrene turns toward Xena who stands leaning aganst the bar with a mad twinkle in her eye. She's holding her sword and admiring the blade. Xena and Cyrene eye each other. Cyrene is frightened."
Xena: "Tell me, Mother. Did you hit Daddy in the head with the axe or was it the back?"
Cyrene: "Xena, don't."
Xena: "Not that it makes much difference. You were saving my life, weren't you? I guess I'm supposed to be grateful. But you must admit, you did put me in a bit of a jam, didn't you?"
"With sword still drawn she starts to stroll around the room."
Xena: "I have an interesting choice. I could kill you. (throws a look at Cyrene and grins) Or I can live my life shuttling between states of babbling idiocy and vivid clarity. And I do mean clarity. Right now, I can see life exactly for what it is."
"She's passing by the front door. Suddenly, the door bursts open and Rufinus and two of his henchmen burst in. Xena smashes one in the face with her elbow, another in the stomach with her foot and then puts a choke hold on Rufinus as she continues to chat with Cyrene."
Xena: "You see, Mom, it turns out that what we call sanity is just a veil the gods throw over our eyes to keep us from seeing the truth."
"Rufinus is sputtering out his last breath."
Xena: "Don't be dying in my mother's tavern."
"She tosses him through a window. The other two appreciate the better part of valor, pull themselves to their feet and exit."
Xena: "What was I saying?"
Cyrene: "You spoke of the truth. What is the truth, Xena?"
Xena: "That life's a joke, Mother. A barroom joke at that. The gods must really get some laughs at our expense. And we take what we do *so* seriously, as if any of it makes any difference. You see, in the end, we all just end up worm food - or fertilizer to nourish a whole new cycle of the useless activity we call our lives. So there's only one way out of this."
"Cyrene bows her head."
Cyrene: "Go ahead. Do it."
Xena: "Oh, you're not geting out of it that easy. No. I leave you to continue to entertain the gods. I, on the other hand, plan to retire from the stage. Good-bye, Mom."
"She exits. Cyrene rushes to the door."
Cyrene: "Xena. Please. Come back."
Stewart's description of Xena drawing near the cliff edge: "Xena approaches the cliff with an almost carefree stride. It's all over for her. Why fret now? She looks down the cliff at the rocks below. She tosses her sword away, then her chakram. She prepares to jump." Ares speaks, and "We see a look on Xena's face that suggests she expected Ares to show up."
A few lines omitted from the exchange between Xena and Ares:
After Xena tells Ares that madness is a rotten way to go through life, she says, "It has its highs, sure, but then you come to your senses and you're in the middle of a field on all fours eating grass. Not a pretty picture." (jerks her head toward the cliff edge) "I'm out of here."
Ares tells Xena she was never so close to the truth, then adds: "Xena, you've spent the last few years trying to find a meaning in your existence. At times you thought you found it in being a silly do-gooder. Now you see the uselessness of it all." Xena then tells Ares if he's trying to convince her life's worth living, this isn't the best strategy ...
Ares mentions that it's common for a jealous man to punish his wife by hurting the child. "It's not a tragedy, but a boring fact of human nature."
After urging Xena to give her mother to the worms, he says, "As you said, it's where she's going to end up anyway. It's all a matter of timing. Make the inevitable happen now, and you will sever yourself forever from those cowardly limitations men call morality."
In the script, Cyrene has told Gabrielle that Orestes is dead. When Gabrielle arives in Andreas, she asks the blacksmith if he knew Orestes when he lived there. He says yeah, and Gabrielle asks him if he can answer some questions. The blacksmith answers, "Sure. But wouldn't you rather ask him yourself?"
Xena returns to retrieve Cyrene, who suggests that maybe Gabrielle--then Xena interrupts, "suddenly full of rage."
Xena: "Stop it! I'm sick of your false little hope. Gabrielle couldn't save a cat in a tree without me. She's a useless little pissant, really, now that I see things clearly."
Cyrene: "That's not true. I don't think you're seeing things clearly, at all."
"Xena is driven to the edge of twitching anger by this rebuke from her mother."
Xena (slow burn): "Mom. Do you really think this is a good time to be arguing with me?" (takes a deep breath) "Of course, what difference does it make one way or the other? I'm crazy and you're dead. Let's go."
Cyrene: "What are you saying?"
Xena: "Don't push it, Mom. I could go off at any second. It's best I do it in front of the Furies. That way they'll know. Because that Ares bastard can't be trusted, you know."
"Cyrene now understands what she's saying."
Cyrene: "Xena. If that's what you feel you have to do--"
Then the question about weasels...Cyrene tells Xena she "will not talk about that," and Xena says "I'm losing patience with you." Cyrene says Xena's father was at war....
Gab's line about not understanding, that this is an asylum, isn't in this version of the script. Stewart's description of the scene: "This is a Mycenean insane asylum. Scary place. Think Marat-Sade without the clean white robes. Mad men and women are chained to the walls, living in their own waste. Gabrielle is led by a keeper through this mess to one of the inmates: Orestes - who is struggling to free himself from his chains. From the frozen look of rage that twists his face, we can assume that this struggle goes on every second of the nightmare that has become his life." Gabrielle "wears a look of pained compassion" as she stoops down next to him. [Btw, she must have hitched a ride with Pegasus to get back from Andreas in the same amount of time it took Xena and Ares to get Cyrene to the temple.]
More description, this time of Ares as Xena prepares to kill Cyrene:
"He positions himself in front of the altar. His eyes glimmer with excitement as he's about to win Xena back forever." The reactions of everyone to Xena's question, "Right, Daddy?"
On the Furies - as they throw confused looks Ares.
On Gabrielle - as she darts a *very* confused look up at Ares.
On Cyrene - as she does a double take toward Ares.
On Ares - as he throws a calm glance toward the Furies.
[Btw, how did Gabrielle know what to say to prove Xena's paternity? She wasn't in the room when Cyrene said that her father had been away at war.]
After asking the Furies if they listened to "the little rap Pop and I had when I was going to toss myself oof that cliff," Xena's question to Ares, "Had you going there, didn't I?" isn't in this version of the script.
When Alceto asks Ares why he used the word jealous, in the script he answers, "All men are jealous. It's the nature of the beast," rather than saying he meant the man was jealous of the attention Cyrene was paying to Xena.
Immediately before Xena grabs Gabrielle to use her as a shield, she says to Ares, "You know, I just realized something. When you and Callisto rutted around like monkeys in heat, she was in the body of your daughter. You *are* the kinky one, aren't you, Dad?"
Apparently this explains how Xena defeated Ares: Xena is holding Gabrielle in front of her, then "[s]he tosses Gabrielle aside, but Gabrielle's presence blocked his view of Xena till the last second. He's surprised to see Xena's sword come up from down below and knock his sword from his hand."
And now, the *original* ending:
Ares (with a shrug): "I've been on the outs with the family before. I'll survive. They need me." (to Xena) "It's my turn to be a proud father. You're the best."
"He turns to Cyrene."
Ares: "Nice seeing you again, Cyrene."
"He glances at Gabrielle with irritated disgust."
Ares (to Xena): "I still don't get what you see in her."
"With that he's gone."
Next scene: country road.
"Xena, Gabrielle and Cyrene walk away into the sunset. We should think for a moment that this is going to be a gooey emotional scene, but the audience will be relieved to find out, when Xena starts talking, that we're done putting them through the ringer."
Xena: "So, does that mean my brothers are really my half brothers?"
Cyrene: "Yeah. I think so. I mean, I'm pretty sure that was really your father... ah... I mean their father... ah... my husband."
"They walk on for a few strides in confused silence."
Gabrielle: "So, you made love to the God of War. How was--"
Xena: "Gabrielle! These are my parents you're talking about."
Gabrielle: "Sorry. That was out of line."
Xena (repeats it in disbelief): "My parents! Ares is my father!"
"She shoots a look at Cyrene and then bends over and whispers to Gabrielle so Mom can't hear."
Xena: "She already told me he was pretty good."
"And as they disappear over a distant hill, we fade out."
Click here to read a transcript of THE FURIES.
Xena's sanity was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. The furies, however, will be opening their own lap dancing variety show off-off-off Broadway soon.