GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Videntur
COMMENTARY 3 BY Jill Hayhurst
COMMENTARY 4 BY Renee Sorrell
COMMENTARY 5 BY Josh Harrison
COMMENTARY 6 BY Beboman
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Adrienne Wilkinson (Eve/Livia)
William Gregory Lee (Virgil)
Anthony Ray Parker (Mephistopheles)
Darien Takle (Cyrene)
Charles Mesure (Michael)
Tamati Rice (Raphael)
Edited by Tim Batt
Story by Edithe Swensen and Joel Metzger
Teleplay by Joel Metzger
Directed by Garth Maxwell
ON AN ALL NEW XENA...
(Gabrielle inspects her withered hands; Mephistopheles appears; Gabrielle's hand covered in blood)
Xena: They burned her at the stake.
(Villagers surround Cyrene with torches, Cyrene is terrified)
Man: Light the fire!
A HOUSE OF HORROR...
(Eve dives into the apparition of Livia, Xena and Gabrielle struggle with their conjoined arms)
Eve: I demand this evil presence be cast out!
AND A HAUNTED HOMECOMING!
(Gabrielle is possessed, with wrinkled skin and yellow eyes; Xena looks on in fear)
Xena: My mother's soul is trapped.... my daughter is half dead...
...and the portal to Hell just opened up in my backyard!
THE WARRIOR PRINCESS TAKES ON...
(Mephistopheles rises from Hell, he and Xena fight)
(Mephistopheles materializes behind Xena)
Gabrielle: You cannot kill every demon!
(Mephistopheles knocks Xena backward)
...THE KING OF HELL.
Xena: This is MY fight now.
BATTLE ON XENA.
TV GUIDE PROMO
On her trip home, Xena finds the town possessed and sinister powers awaiting her. TVGrid.
Xena is forced to battle Mephistopheles when she returns to Amphipolis with Gabrielle and Eve to find her home haunted by evil. LogLine.
Xena's village of Amphipolis [is] haunted by evil and they are sucked into a ferocious battle against Mephistopheles. PR Newswire
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 10-09-00
An AA average of2.9
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
Inv. Man 1.7
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Archangel Michael and another angel from the episode Fallen Angel watch Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve ride. Michael says Xena is finally going to Amphipolis. He says Xena is the only mortal prepared to face "this".
Xena hums. Xena and Gabrielle tell Eve about Cyrene, and how much she'll love seeing her granddaughter. But they enter a very dark, dank, and spooky Amphipolis. The town appears totally deserted. They go into the tavern, full of cobwebs and bones and mice and scary stuff.
Xena goes upstairs to check things out. Gabrielle goes to check the back. Eve hangs out. Xena walks down a cob-webbed hallway, cautiously. She sees a woman being dragged away. "Mom?" she says.
Eve lights candles against the darkness. An evil voice: "LIVIA." Eve sees a man pulling a woman; the woman passes through Eve. Xena and Gabrielle come back. Eve tells Xena her mother is dead; she felt Cyrene's spirit pass through her. She tells Xena that Cyrene is helpless and in pain. She trapped, and other souls are trapped. She says Amphipolis has become a gateway of spiritual crossroads. "The realms of heaven and hell are taking sides," Eve whispers. Xena vows a vengeance against whoever trapped her mother's soul. She says she has to go to the mausoleum. She leaves Gabrielle and Eve in the Tavern, because she says she has to go do this alone.
In the mausoleum, Xena sees odd paintings and offerings on crypts. Xena finds her family's tomb (?), and finds burned bones upon the crypt. Xena sees all these bones, and says that everything has been taken from her mother, that is why she cannot rest. Xena cries. "I'll make it right," she says. It thunders and lightning flashes.
Gabrielle and Eve talk. Eve says Cyrene's spirit was frightened. Gabrielle takes a bite of fruit. Eve looks down and sees worms crawling in the fruit. Eve points this out to Gabrielle. Gabrielle runs and spits out what she's eating. Eve throws the fruit down, and the worms start growing and crawling and looking pretty icky. Eve calls on Eli and all the presence of heaven to cast out the bad stuff. Gabrielle washes her face and hands, and worms start crawling out of her skin on her hands. Her hands turn skeletal. Eve keeps praying. Gabrielle's hands return to normal and the worms disappear. Eve looks tired and awed at what she did.
Xena, at the tomb, lights candles and tells Cyrene she'll put her at peace. An old man is watching. Xena grabs him. He says he is just hiding out from the storm. He realizes who Xena is. He tells Xena that Mephestopheles sent evil spirits to the Tavern years ago. Cyrene finally went mad. The crops failed. The people said Cyrene was a withc for the Big M. and so they burned her at the stake. The old man says the spirits were in the house are there still.
Gabrielle sees an odd symbol on the floor. Eve sees the symbol, too. Gabrielle hears a noise from the floor, and puts her ear to the ground. She is grabbed by lots of hands and pulled through the ground into water. She had lots of demon things trying to drown her.
Xena yells for Eve and Gabrielle. Gabrielle continues to be fight the drowning demons. Xena looks for Gabrielle. Gabrielle yells for Xena but Xena can't hear her. "This one is not the Messenger" one of the demons says. Eve suggests Gabrielle went upstairs, but Xena says no, she's there. Xena sees the symbol. Xena hears Gabrielle's cries and punches her hand down through the ground. Gabrielle grabs Xena's hand and Xena pulls her up. Gabrielle says she burns all over; the water is burning her. Xena and Eve put Gabrielle in a shower.
Xena tells them about Cyrene's death. Eve says it is no accident she's in the house. Gabrielle says the demons told her they seek the blood of the Messenger. Xena says if the Big M. has picked a fight with Eve, he's picked a fight with her.
Xena sees Lyceus, her brother, dead. Cyrene cries over him. Xena sees herself, watching her mother mourn. Cyrene and Xena argue over Lyceus' death. Cyrene slaps Xena and says her brother's death was all her fault, and she took Lyceus from her. "Mother, I'm just so sorry about everything," Xena says as the vision vanishes.
Eve sits, and blood drips up from the floor. Gabrielle continues to shower. The water turns to blood. Blood starts oozing out of Gabrielle's crucifixion wounds. Eve prays more. Gabrielle has a seizure or something. More blood everywhere. Eve screams.
Gabrielle lies unconscious. She wakes up. Gabrielle is a demon. Eve prays. Gabrielle licks the blood off her hand. Xena sees Gabrielle crawling on the ceiling. Gabrielle attacks Xena. Xena grabs a cloth to bind Gabrielle's hands. Eve puts her hands in the blood as she prays and the blood goes away.
Xena holds Demon Gabrielle down. Big M. tells her, speaking through Gabrielle, that Gabrielle is with him. "Why are you doing this to my family?" Xena says. Eve comes to Gabrielle. She touches her and prays.
Through Demon Gabrielle, the Big M. tells Xena that when Eve's blood is spilled in his name, he'll be made flesh. "Your mother cried out for you, even at the end," Demon Gabrielle says.
Xena sees a vision of Cyrene's burning. The fire is light, and Cyrene cries for Xena. Demon Gabrielle tells Xena to spill her daughter's blood and bring the Big M. into the world. Even continues to pray over Gabrielle. Demon Gabrielle says more prophetic-type stuff. Eve keeps praying. The Big M. leaves Gabrielle. Xena and Gabrielle hug.
Xena tells Gabrielle she wants her out of the house. Eve says the Big M. can't get Gabrielle again; she's been cleansed now. Eve prays some more. Xena and Gabrielle are alone and Xena tries to persuade Gabrielle to go somewhere safe; they touch hands and then they are joined together at the hand. They get a joint rubber arm. They try to pull themselves apart but can't. Then they are joined at the leg. Furniture and stuff comes after them, and they work together to jump over it. They try to leave the room, but chains grab Gabrielle by the neck and the foot. Xena chops the chain with her sword and they go to Eve. Eve prays over Xena and Gabrielle and they aren't bound to each other anymore. But Eve collapses from the effort. "Look at her," Gabrielle says. Eve can't fight this fight.
The Big M. tells Xena that Eve is dying as Eve tries to pray over a fissure in the ground. He tells Xena that he just needs a few drops of the Messenger's blood. Xena tells Gabrielle that she is going to go fight the Big M. Gabrielle says that requires going to the spiritual realm if he isn't brought to earth. Xena says she is going to put the pinch on herself and go to the spiritual realm. She shows Gabrielle how to undo the pinch. Gabrielle doesn't want Xena to do this. She says if she can't undo the pinch, Xena will be trapped down there. Xena tells Gabrielle she believes in her. Xena does the pinch on herself and collapses.
Xena is in the spiritual realm (which looks an awful lot like Tartarus). She sees Cyrene. Cyrene carries a bloody axe. She says she killed her husband. Xena tells Cyrene she'll make it right. The Big M. appears. They fight.
Eve tells Gabrielle she'll go get some water to help revive Xena. Gabrielle tells Eve that she (Gabrielle) doesn't know what she's doing.
The Big M. tells Xena that she can't hurt him in the spiritual realm.
Gabrielle says, "I'm right here, Xena."
Xena fights the Big M. The Big M. tells Xena that whoever kills him must reign over hell in his stead. Xena's nose begins to bleed in the spiritual realm. The Big M. says maybe Eve will spill her own blood, if the right pressure is applied.
Eve, at the water, sees a headless man. She beheaded him back when she was Livia. Lots of her victims show up, all trapped because they didn't have time to be absolved of their sins. The unabsolved souls torment Eve.
Gabrielle does the pinch thing, trying to wake Xena.
Eve says she is not Livia. A mirror reflects Livia, and comes out of the mirror. Eve and Livia confront one another. Livia tells Eve to spill her blood and the souls will be released from torment.
Gabrielle does the pinch thing again.
Eve runs into Livia's body. Eve is tormented.
Gabrielle does the pinch thing again, and Xena wakes up. Gabrielle pulls Xena to her. Xena asks where Eve is. They find Eve huddled up. Eve says she has to stop the Big M. Xena says they will, by giving him exactly what he wants. Gabrielle tells Xena she can't do this. Xena says she is not going to let her family be tormented any more. Xena says her family makes her own destiny. Eve says she'll fulfill her destiny by bringing the Big M. into the only hands capable of killing him.
Gabrielle holds Eve up as Eve prays and then, in the Big M.'s name, she cuts her hand open.
Xena tells Gabrielle and Eve to leave, it's her fight now. The ground opens up. The Big M. rises. Xena and the Big M. fight. Gabrielle and Eve watch. Xena tells the Big M. that he's lying about that throne thing. They fight some more. The Big M. tells Xena she's afraid he's telling the truth. Xena hesitates, then stabs the Big M. "So be it," she says. The Big M. goes "poof." Xena looks a little funny in a possessed kind of way. She turns around, and sees Cyrene with Eve. She tells Xena she never gave up hope. Cyrene tells Xena she'll never really be gone; she'll always be in Xena's heart. Cyrene disappears.
Daybreak. Gabrielle says, "Xena, you killed the king of hell. What happens now?" Xena says she has a feeling it's not over yet." The three stand and look at a steaming fissure, the spot where the Big M. came out.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
Y'know, I really liked this episode! Xena meets all the classic horror flicks. Good Halloween-y time. It still has a few niggling concerns, like that instead of a simple ghost we simply MUST be fighting the King of All Hell, and who knows WHAT that hell might be after all the different versions of the afterlife Xena's tromped around in. But still, it was a spooky romp, lots of atmosphere and creepiness, and I enjoyed it.
Congratulations to Michael and his buddy for providing the most boring and unnecessary opening exposition of all time. If you're that worried, Mich ol' boy, she's an old pal - why not ring her up?
Eve finally gets something to do! Granted, that something is to get a lot of interpretive heebie-jeebies and chant, but at least it's something! Poor Eve, though, is underappreciated as a spiritual medium. "It's a gateway, or a spiritual crossroads, or-" "-It's haunted." "Well, sure, Mom, if you want to take the plebian layman's interpretation, yah."
No horror story is worth its salt unless something truly tragic makes the horror real. So a moment of silence for Cyrene, who provided the grimness of the episode. XenaMomma spent her last years haunted, insane, and then burned at the stake. Gruesome! And maybe she has a light-and-happy afterlife now, but it doesn't take back those nasty years. And while it's a bummer for Cyrene, I'm glad nobody tried to steal the horror thunder of this episode by erasing those bad things that happened.
Two ultra-nifty effects that I really liked in this episode: when Cyrene passes through Eve and turns into a skull, and Mephistopheles' float above the air. Those were both "Ooooooo" moments.
Gabrielle has eaten a LOT of gross stuff... raw squid, goat cheese and chicken livers, Joxer's stew... I figured her stomach was pretty much cast-iron. Turns out she has a limit after all - one little maggot and she's barking at her boots.
I realize it's another horror cliche that we must follow, but why, oh why, are normally intelligent people required to stay in a cursed place? When Xena finds out the house is haunted, wouldn't the smart thing be to LEAVE? Sure, there's evil to fight and a mother's spirit to rescue, but at least get everybody out to regroup and come up with a plan! Instead everybody splits up and starts showering. I'm surprised no mass murderers showed up with axes.
Gabrielle wins the sixth season award for being the first to drop her clothes. (Would that be a booby prize? Ba-dump-dum- dum!) And Xena wins... something... for being able to not just tie Gab up in a wrestling match, but wrap some toga undies around her, too. Another GabGarb bites the dust - so much for the leather bikini and skirt. The dark blue outfit looks good on her, although it doesn't show off those fine, fine abs. Wonder what's next?
When she gets possessed, Gabrielle bleeds from the wounds in her hands and feet where she got crucified. I'm sure that means something... I'm just not sure what.
"There is no Gabrielle, only Zuul." Posess-o-Gab was really cool, loved the voice effect, Renee O'Connor eats up every moment of it. But some of her moves were right out of Ghostbusters - I was expecting Gab to levitate over the stone slab at any second.
OK, it was kinda spooky, but mostly the Xena-Gab Stretch Armstrong doll just made me crack up. Loved their three- legged race to Eve.
Xena dies AGAIN?!?!?! This is getting ridiculous. And this time, instead of Tartarus, Elysium, the Amazon Land of the Dead, Heaven, or Reincarnation, she goes to Hell - which looks amazingly exactly like Tartarus did - but still, how on earth does anyone keep track of where Xena's going after seven trips to the afterlife?
And one other snarky remark: Xena, there's a HUGE GAPING PIT TO HELL right in front of you! Did you try just jumping down it? In an otherwise corny moment, Gabrielle's "I can't believe you're showing me this now!" is hysterically right on the mark.
Poor Anthony Ray Parker. That guy has been on the show 4 times, and in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Deliverer, and this episode, he's buried under four inches of makeup. New Zealand must have a shortage of suckers who are willing to undergo latex body mask hell. (Fun trivia factoid: Parker's fourth episode was Comedy of Eros, when he got to show his true - and rather handsome - face as the slaver who was going to buy the virgins.)
Mephistopheles is pretty nifty-looking, except that the forehead lines where the hornskull mask is attached look cheesy.
This episode features two really COOL sword versus pole arm fights! The moves are awesome, Meph-boy whips that long axe around like it weighs nothing, and Xena gets not just one, but two super-hero cracks with "I'm just distracted by your good looks" and "Other than your stench?"
The scene where Eve's past victims haunt her lacks the punch this scene had the first time around, when it was Xena's victims haunting her back in the first season. But I did like the disembodied head's hand providing the throat- chopping motion in air - that was some sick humor.
Xena is going to wake up from her little afterlife jaunt with a heck of a sore throat. I think poor Gab tries to pinch her five or six times. That's gonna leave a mark.
This whole inheriting Hell business is too melodramatic to take seriously... but I did like Xena's "So be it" line. Xena seems her usual self at the end, but all the signs point to something happening: she gets a spookster moment, the smoking pit to Hell is still belching dry ice in the middle of Amphipolis, and creepy music continues into the credits. The only thing we were missing was the "To Be Continued" subtitle.
Some of these horror moments were genuinely creepy. The moans, creaky doors, and disembodied cries. The ghostly image of Cyrene being dragged away. Blood dripping upward. Skulls and blackened bones. Maggots and worms. And taking the cake was Gabrielle's maggot attack on her hands - that was positively disgusting! It was awesome.
One of the reasons I like this episode is the number of classic Xena looks we get in it. Xena glowers, looks wary and dangerous. She taunts, she growls, she cocks her head to the side in hear-through-the-walls concentration. That's the Warrior Princess we know and love!
This commentary is by Videntur.
First let me just say that this is the best Xena season I have ever seen.
It seems that since the show is being discontinued, the writers are giving the viewers everything they have been asking and I am a very happy camper. Let me also say that I hate to see the show come to an end with this season. I will not be watching television at all, since Xena was really the only show worth watching. However, I saw Lucy Lawless on the Rosie O'Donnell show and she looked tired and worn out. She mentioned she was having trouble with her voice due to the warcry and other sounds she needed to make on the show. As much as I love the show, I also have enough respect for the actress to understand how she needs to take the time to be with her family and get her health back to one hundred percent. The show requires a great deal of physical endurance and no one can stand up to that type of strain but for so long. That is why the show was so great, because both Lucy and Renee always gave it their all - let me just say you will both be truly missed when the final show airs. (There is always hope for a full length feature film in the movies)
Now for the episode. This season the episodes have been great and this one was like watching first season all over again. There was action, adventure, intrigue and most of all there was a display of the bond between Xena and Gabrielle which is the basis for every good episode ever shown. Let's explore the characters in this episode.
Well first there is Mephistopheles. He was everything a demon should be, ugly, cocky and mean. He evidently was not Satan since Xena destroyed him at the end and we know that Lucifer is in this next episode. So now we know that hell had more than one ruler (at least according to the Xena legend). His cockiness was his undoing in that he told Xena exactly how to destroy him and he was so sure of himself that he never took the time to explore other possibilities. If you notice, when Xena went down to the underworld and could not destroy him, he told her that she had the power to kill gods but only on earth and since she was no longer on earth - but - instead she was in his world - he could not be destroyed. He might as well had just come right out and said, bring me into your world and then you can destroy me. Also, he was so sure that Xena would not take his place, that he never explored the possibility that Xena could be so selfless as to take his place if it would mean saving the world. Thus he let his guard down and was destroyed.
Eve was very good in this episode. I do not usually like a third character in the play that sticks around for more than one or two episodes but Eve has managed to mingle very well with our two main characters as well as blend into the storyline -nonetheless, I will be happy when she goes her merry way and the storyline gets back down to just the adventures of Xena and Gabrielle. Eve in this episode seems to be the messenger for the teachings of Eli which thus gives her powers to destroy evil - I wouldn't want her job. She definitely is a strong character that never gives up trying, even in the presence of great evil - which definitely shows the strength of both Xena and Callisto (which from last season we know is her genetic profile). Unlike last season, she has definitely accepted Xena as her mother and Gabrielle as an Aunt. She showed the faith that she had in Xena when Xena asked her to spill her blood to bring Mephistopheles into the world. Eve stated to Gabrielle: "Destiny comes to pass in strange ways, I'll fulfill mine, I'll deliver Mephistopheles into the only hands capable of beating him." Eve definitely knows and believes in the strength of Xena, her mother. There were also definite similarities when Eve confronted people in the past who she had murdered and Xena's confrontations with people in the past she had murdered in the episode 'Dreamworker' (1st season - 3rd episode). Seems daughter and mother must go through the same cycle of past repentance and forgiveness from others and from oneself.
It is ironic - Gabrielle who was "all good" brought about a child that was totally evil (Hope) and Xena who was considered "all bad" brought about a child that is the messenger of all good. Cool!
Xena and Gabrielle - great as usual. The interaction in the episode between the two was fantastic and definitely more like the Xena: Warrior Princess we are use to seeing. First there is the bond in which they think of each other as Family (never forget the episode: 'Ties that Bind', where Xena stated at the end to Gabrielle that some families are made and they are closer than blood). In this episode (The 'Haunting of Amphipolis') when Xena first goes to find her mother in the Mausoleum and Gabrielle ask if she would like her and Eve to come along - Xena replies that this is something she must do alone. You can see in Gabrielle's eyes that she really does want to go along with Xena and that she thinks of herself and Eve as both equally being part of Xena's family. The next scene is when Xena comes back into the house and cannot find Gabrielle but yet she can sense that she is there - and she does not give up until she finds her (I loved the way Xena stuck her hand forcefully into the floor determined to find Gabrielle). When Mephistopheles takes over Gabrielle's body and Eve drives him out, the first thing Xena does is tell Gabrielle that she wants her out of there. It's like old times, the only difference is that this is a mature and strong Gabrielle who intends to stay and fight at Xena's side. The next scene which is my favorite in the episode is when Xena tells Gabrielle that she is going into the spirit realm to fight Mephistopheles. Gabrielle forcefully screams no - and you could feel her fear for Xena's safety. When Gabrielle states that if she fails in the pinch to bring Xena back, she will be trapped down in the spiritual Realm forever - I loved it when Xena stated: "You can do it, I believe in you. Bring me back Gabrielle." This scene and the remainder of the scene right up to and including Gabrielle successfully bringing Xena back was fantastic. It showed their friendship to the maximum level. Yes Rob Tapert, you are indeed doing a great job this season.
I loved this episode because this episode as well as last week's episode, shows the strength in Xena and Gabrielle's friendship. The writers have given us in this last season everything we have asked for and at least when the last show finally airs, we as viewers will not be able to say that we were disappointed. Lucy and Renee you are the best and your show will always be the best whether it is on the air or not.
This commentary is by Jill Hayhurst.
I do believe that Xenastaff has a miracle here, that they're trying to keep the lid on and not let on about, but some stuff just can't be hid for long. What we have here, friends -n- neighbours, is the penultimate result of a full thousand years' of a full thousand monkeys scribbling.
In case anyone was expecting an homage to THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, well, you're outta luck. This is more like homaging THE EXORCIST, except without all that boring old plot stuff, like motivation and backstory and rising and falling action. Fearing to disturb the delicate spell woven by the piping of the faery chorus of the fifth season, this week's ep starts on one confused note and stays there throughout.
Well, as Opus said, maybe it isn't *that* bad. But lord, it isn't good.
Opening: starry sky, panning down to where Michael and Truckdriver Archangel are chatting about this and that (TA's grown his wing back already, well, it's been a year) and watching Xena, Gabrielle and Eve ride down the road via HercVortexVeiwCam, upgraded to HeavenlyPanoram(c). Like all guys with too many channels to surf, they've become jaded and now stare blindly at the pretty pictures while dipping snuff. From their comments, one gleans the idea that Xena's riding toward a major crossroads, a confrontation with the very Forces of Hell, upon which hangs the Fate of the World, and even Heaven, yadda yadda yadda, and is the Superbowl on yet and this mint Skoal's not bad.
(And Xena stormed Olympus for these guys? Huh. Lesson for the kidlings: just say no to being dead.)
Switch scene (none too soon, lumberjacks are circling those boys, angelwood armoires, anyone?) to Xena, Gabrielle and Eve (Xena's on Argo II! Yay!) clopping into town, all in a blue wash, just like the opening to GJWHF, but without the swooshy effects, they're not moving very fast, so far neither is the plot, and Amphipolis is deserted and run down, with tumblyweeds rolling in the chill breezes and they park their ponies in front of Ye Olde Axehead Saloon where mom used to ply the locals with wine and it's really spooky. Xena says that mom would never have left, heck, *I'd* have tooken off at the first cyanotic tinge to the skyline and I'm sure Cyrene's nobody's fool either.
Our grrls go inside, where it's all cobwebby and dusty and run to ruin, and even bluer and Gab says it's cold, in what she's wearing, Cancun beaches would be cold, and so of course they all split up cos that's what you do in horror flicks, split up so something scary can happen to everyone and they have to face it alone and maybe die or at least get grossed out enough to scream like seagulls. Xena goes upstairs, Gabrielle goes to the back, and Eve hangs out in the foyer. Xena wanders down a hall and sees a vision of her mom being hauled off by some guys and she's crying. Cut to exterior shot for absolutely no reason, then to Gabrielle doing nothing, and then Eve lighting candles and starting at demon burps. Suddenly a shot rings out! No wait, lemme start over. Suddenly she sees the guys dragging Cyrene and shouting about lighting the fire, maybe Cyrene was a Darsham all this time, and the ghost of grandmama passes through Eve, turns into a skull and disappears. Wheeee! Xena runs down the stairs and Gabrielle runs in from the greenroom and Eve tells Xena that Cyrene's dead. Y'know, if you're patient and keep at it and really spell it out and draw pictures for that kid, she does figure stuff out.
Time for the titles, yup, they're still different, and on with the show! Eve starts spouting off about how Cyrene's not at peace, she's trapped in the house, Heaven and Hell are spitting on their hands and squaring off for battle and Xena shuts her up and goes to check out the mausoleum (next to the toolshed in back) while Gab gets Eve her meds.
Hey, it's sunny out! No wait, it's storming, no, it's sunny... I can't keep up. The bright afternoon autumnal sunbeams pick out the grafitti all over the family crypts, and the blackened bones which look just like Cyrene, that's how Xena recognizes them, and Xena vows to um... well, do something useful. Back in the kitchen, Gabrielle's mixing up a little potion for Eve, or if she isn't she should be, that kid's going off the deep end fast.
Then the fruit Gab's munching on suddenly crosses its 'sell-by' date. Gab runs for the water bucket where she splashes cold water on her face, while Eve takes the fruit out to the courtyard and dumps it and its passengers (big ol' mealworms-- if Xena'd been there, we'd'a had another FFG) on the flagstones. While worms start coming out the skin on Gab's hands, and then the flesh falls from her bones (so, apparently, do her bracelets), Eve kneels down among the worms and starts chanting. The following is a compilation of Eve's lines for the rest of the ep:
"In the name of Eli and all the powers of Heaven, I command this evil presence to be cast out!"
Goodness, lady, they were just mealworms. Anyway, they disappear, Gabrielle's hands return to their normal perfection, and Xena catches a wandering homeless plot device in the mausoleum. He says he just comes in there to get warm, right, I hang around haunted places when I'm feeling chilly myself. Xena clues him in on the fact that it's warm and sunny about a hundred yards down the path, and he tells her about Cyrene's last days and they each go their merry ways.
Seems Mephistopheles has been targeting Cyrene for years now-- sent evil spirits to her tavern, drove her mad, and got the townspeople to burn her at the stake for being a witch. Then they carefully and lovingly piled all her charred bones in the family crypt.
At this point I would like to caution each and every one of you with at least half a functioning brain cell to just switch it off. Mephistopheles who? you might be wondering, why Cyrene? you might be musing (I'll bet Cyrene did, "out of all the gin joints in the world" and all that), what's wrong with being a witch in times of ancient gods, when lands are crying out for heroes? you might be expostulating.
It's no good, you know, asking questions like that. All I got out of it was a headache. And while you're nattering on with questions, you'll miss the bit where Gabrielle kneels in a hallway to better look at a weirdo squidshape branded into a flagstone and gets drug into the GreenSlimePool just underneath by zombies and animated skeletons (the zombies' makeup keeps coming off in the pool). Turns out the squid was an upsidedown devil's mark, they're all over the place, Eve's looking at one, Xena saw 'em in the crypt, and now Xena's trying to find Gabrielle by playing Marco Polo with her. (She tried asking Eve, with predictable results.)
The zombies figure out they have the wrong fish in their net, Gab ain't the Messenger, but no matter, she'll do for carrying a note to Xena. Who, by the way, has finally found the squidmarked flagstone and reaches through to pull Gabrielle back. The pool was a tad over-chlorinated, it seems, cos Gab complains of it still burning her. Xena and Eve drag her off to what may be the only working shower in Amphipolis, who'd'a thunk it? The place has been haunted and deserted and filled with evil spirits for years, but the plumbing still works.
Gabrielle id's Mephistopheles as the King of Hell, so that's one mystery solved. Then Eve, no doubt just to lighten mommy's load of cares, mentions that if Cyrene died unabsolved, then Mephistopheles would have possession of her soul.
I just report this stuff. I do not make it up. If that brain cell is still giving you trouble, with querilous whines about absolution being a foreign concept within Ancient NewGreeceland, send it to its room with a good book. Or you could try reminding it that Apollo's priests evidently did some kind of washing away of sins, as per the liner notes in that looking-better-every-day ep, FORGIVEN. Okay, Apollo's dead, which may or may not explain the erratic behaviour of the sun now, and I doubt very much he had any kind of repo arrangement with Mephistopheles, but still, there it is.
(sigh) Maybe this is why Mike and Raphael (someone finally told me Truckdriver Archangel's name) were looking so catatonic at the top of the ep. Maybe they'd peeked in on all this using the HeavenlyPanoram(tm) and just didn't want to think too hard about it either.
Nevertheless, there's still twenty minutes or so of tape on the machine, of scenes Rob wished he coulda done back in the Evil Dead days and never had the money for till now ('nother lesson for the kidlings: do not give up your dreams), so I'd best get on with it.
Anyway, Gabrielle tells Xena about how Meph wants the blood of the Messenger, that would be Eve, that would, and while I think that's a fine and dandy solution to all the tangles woven so far this evening, Xena isn't so keen. She walks off and suddenly sees a vision of her younger, badder self beside a dead man on a table, Cyrene's there and weeping over the fellow, they keep calling him Lyceas even though Lyceas was a blond and this lad's a brunette (was he a brunette in RN? I can't remember), and in the Vision Cyrene blames his death on Xena, since she persuaded him to fight the raiders instead of, well, whatever he was gonna do instead.
Present-day Xena hasn't changed in this one respect-- she's as ready as ever to take the blame for all the wrongs in this world. Though if anyone can figure out what this scene has to do with anything else in this ep, you get a gold star.
Eve has gone to hang with the flagstones, them being so safe and comforting and all, so it comes as a complete surprise to her when they start raining blood upward from their joints, and she starts chanting again, and screaming and chanting and the blood's rolling toward her in tidal waves (*what* kind of church did the Taperts go to?). Meanwhile, back in the shower, Gab's come all over with cadmium red Tempera paints, mixed in with a bit of red sienna, it's pumping rythmically out of her crucifixion wounds and smeared all over her face, and next thing you know, she's got a nasty case of eczema all around her hairline and she musta left rinsing her eyes till last, cos they're all yellow.
PossessedGab licks her bloody fingers and smiles in one of the few highlights of the hour. Meanwhile, Eve's chanting reaches a frenzied pitch and as she rips her toga off and starts speaking in tongues while washing her own feet in oil from her pores and wiping them dry with her hair, wait, no, sorry, it would have fit, you know, she does chant something fierce though, and the blood wave disappears. She goes looking for X&G and behind her the GreenSlimePoolLight bursts the flagstones asunder.
Xena's found PossessedGab clinging naked from the ceiling, they have a roll on the floor where some bits of cloth are conveniently to hand and Xena manages to tie her up simultaneously with getting her dressed, which may be the second highlight of the ep, illustrating yet another of Xena's many skills. Eve shows up as Xena's asking PG/Meph what he wants with Eve. Eve breaks in with "He knows that I do this--" and so help me, she grabs PG by neck and abs and starts chanting again. At this point, I'm doing a little chanting of my own (In the name of Xena, and by the good taste of Xenites everywhere, I command that this silly wench hit the road!) and cheering on PossessedGab as she cackles and hisses and writhes her way through this scene. PG/Meph shows Xena a vision of Cyrene's last few minutes at the stake, and says that it's time for his reign on Earth to begin, since Xena cleared the god fields. He just needs the blood of the Messenger to transmogrify into flesh, that's all. A little blood, a couple drops, he couldn't wait for Eve to stub her toe and bloody her nose or something, no, he has to spend all his spiritual capital infesting a little tavern in a podunk village, not to mention alerting his would-be adversaries to his plans.
Fool don't deserve to rule a slimepool, if he's gonna be that dumb. Eve casts him out of PG, or he leaves on his own, hard to say which, and Eve runs off to chant some more by the glowing green hole in the courtyard. Xena and Gabrielle start after her, but are delayed by a purely egregious FX where their arms and legs are morphed together and they hobble off in search of Eve to fix this, dodging errant furniture and fixtures on the way.
Now comes the only decent scene so far, where Xena decides to fight Meph in Hell. She shows Gab how to put the Pinch on her and take it off (this spot's for the Pinch, that one's for stopping hearts, this other one makes latte), over Gabrielle's fervent objections. It's very touching and heartwarming. Then it's off to the Spiritual Realm for Xena.
Hell looks a lot like Tartartus, but with less slime and more dry ice. Cyrene's here, though, carring a bloodied axe and crying how she'd done for her husband Orestes (who? man's name was Atrius.) but she'd had no choice, well, she hadn't. No matter, but it does make one wonder about the minds of folks what'll dream up a religion a thousand times more cruel and arbitrary than any human society ever was.
Meph shows up (my sakes, that's one ugly dude-- but even with all that latex he's still more lively than Mike or Raph) and FINALLY we get to the butt-kicking! WAHOO! I am so relieved, I can't begin to tell you. Meph's got this way wicked polearm-trident that Xena keeps whacking with her sword, can't be doing a thing for its edge, but despite being a better fighter, not to mention more witty, she can't put him down and out since her, um, her god-killing powers (that's what Meph says, puts me in mind of little switches and dials across her back, wonder what the "reset to factory defaults" combo is?) don't work outside of the earthly realm. She'll read the fine print next time, I'm sure.
During the fight, Meph tells Xena that if she kills him on Earth, she'll have to take his place and rule over Hell. She wants Cyrene released, but of course there's no reason why he should so he just laughs at her. If she won't get Eve to spill even just a few drops for him, he'll work on the kid directly. And he vanishes in a crinkly flash of red swirlies.
Eve's gone for water, we still have many yards of tape left, and when she dumps the bucket she also dumps out the severed head of one of her victims back from before she started treating Lithium as a breakfast cereal. This is a fairly cool scene, with several of her victims appearing and walking around her, complaining that since they'd died unabsolved, they are now in Limbo and it's her fault. Me, I'd be blaming the metaphysicists on staff, but I'm still alive even after watching this ep, and that likely makes a difference to one's perspective. Still, under the Olympians, these people would have ended up in the Elysian Fields. Worth remembering, I think. Anyway, on the plus side, Livia makes an appearance and the difference between Good and Evil is right there for all to see. Lesson for the kidlings (this ep is chock full of them): to be Good is to be a weepy whining chanter. To be Evil is to be happy, in control and swing a sharp sword from horseback.
Enough of that.
Gab's up top, having decided it's drizzle drazzle drozzle drome, time for this one to come home, and poking and prodding Xena's neck with a vengeance. She also checks her pulse a couple of times. Eventually she gets it in the right place with the right amount of force, and Xena's back in her body. Bet her neck's way bruised though. First thing they do is run look for Eve, who's all traumatised by her Livia flashback, and Xena says they're gonna give him what he wants. What I want is more beer. Commercial break, so yay! we all get what we want.
They scurry in a huddle back to the Hellmouth. Gabrielle plays !devil's advocate (tiny geek joke, sorry) and points out to Xena that the Greater Good will suffer mightily if she and Eve go through with this. Much better for Eve to grow a backbone and face Meph herself like she ought. Not that Xena:Stage Mommy will go for that, so Eve cuts her hand in Meph's name like Xena wants. Meph appears on cue and Xena whups up on him. Like he didn't know that would happen all along. He teases her again about the 'rule in his place' thing and she bites on the bait and stabs him. Her family makes its own destiny, my great aunt's left elbow. Cool fight, though.
Xena's not the same afterward, but Cyrene's spirit appears long enough to bless everyone. And the weather gets better. But the Hellmouth is still smoking.
I think it's fairly clear what I thought of this ep. Clunky, kludgy, dragging, pieced together out of the shards of Xenastaff's collective toe-dips into the primordial slime, it was an inexplicable departure from normally pretty darn good production values. Basically, it sucked like a jet plane through a flock of migrating ducks.
The butt-kicking, though, was as cool as ever. Eve has gone from being 'not bright' to dumb as an Irish Setter in a thunderstorm.
This commentary is by Renee Sorrell.
Ok, I have to start out with the blunt and startling truth. This was one of the worst Xena episodes I have ever seen. I find this extremely unusual for me as I like pretty much every Xena episode. Sure, some are better than others are. But, there aren't any I wouldn't watch again because all of them have some good or at least interesting points in them. Or at least I thought so. Let's just say my VCR will be fast-forwarding past this one for a while. I alternated between boredom and anger. I am not quite sure where to start. Let's start with anger, shall we?
I am admitting up front that I am a HUGE Gabrielle fan. So, my comments will be biased. However, I have to say Xena's treatment of Gabby in this episode was horrible! Let's start with the total 'you are an outsider to my family attitude'. A number of scenes left Gabby on the sidelines for special family moments. The most glaring example being in the argument for and against releasing Satan or whoever into the world (no comments on this plot line). Xena counters Gabrielle's assertion that this is not Eve's destiny by saying, "in this family we make our own destiny." The implication being that Gabrielle was not a part of THIS family and she just doesn't get it. I don't usually get huffy about lines in an episode. I mean it's just a show ya know? But this really got to me. Maybe it was a cumulative effect. In fact, the only concern Xena had for Gab at all during the episode was after Eve released her from the whole demon possession thing. One could argue that Xena's insistence that Gab leave, even AFTER Eve said she could no longer be possessed (no comment there), was a sign of concern. I took it to be a 'lets get rid of the liability' attitude from earlier in the series. 'Golly gee, Gab might endanger Eve or get in the way of my plan for vengeance.' It's a good thing she didn't leave since Xena felt it necessary to kill herself and come back AGAIN and needed Gabby's pinching expertise or lack thereof. On a side note, there should be a law against a plan that involves coming back from the dead in 2 back to back episodes. :) Xena is finally brought back to a relieved Gab in that scene and Xena shrugs her off quickly. Anyway, I found it odd that Xena could go from having complete faith in Gab to wanting her to leave ("and go where?" as Gab points out) to taking no heed of any advice she should give and then ends up yelling at her by the end of the episode. After Xena kills the devil incarnate (no comment again) and Gab says her name, Xena responds with a irritated "What?!". As in, what in the world does this chick want to bother me about now? Maybe, I am being a little too excited by this. Did anybody else feel this way? Gabby is sidelined, kidnapped (sort of), and possessed for most of the episode anyhow. She doesn't get much real interaction with the other characters, other than to argue with Xena or get insulted. She is a plot device to move along the story, if story is what you term it. Well, I had better leave this alone or I could ramble for pages. Let's move on to that *ahem* riveting plot...
The story line was just plain bad. In fact, I am not sure exactly what they meant to accomplish with this episode. I thought they were closing down the Christianity arc not opening a whole new can of worms inside of it. (No pun intended to the yummy looking creatures that Gab ingested.) Now, Xena is supposed to become ruler of hell? Well, hey, we get another exciting story about that this next episode. Let's move on everyone. I didn't find any of it particularly interesting. I could have cared less about the whole good vs. evil. Halfway through I was practically yelling in frustration "Just release Satan and get it over with!" And if Eve said "Eli and all the powers of heaven" one more time I might have just completely gone over the edge and hurt my television set. I really liked the season opener and this was just poor in comparison. Most of the time is spent with everyone wandering around their perspective spots on the set either being eaten away from the inside (Gab), chanting (Eve), or planning vengeance (Xena of course). On another side note how stupid is Gab to grab some random fruit from an abandoned inn and just start chawing down? Of course, then we couldn't have the beautiful skeletal hands scene if she wasn't that stupid right? The only part I enjoyed was Gabrielle's desperate neck punching in order to bring Xena back. Of course, that was interrupted by Eve randomly having an identity crisis. I just didn't get all that either. Did that make her more likely to shed her blood? Whatever. Sure, maybe there has been an episode this boring in Xena history (I am thinking 'Married with Fischsticks") but at least it was rounded out with some comedy, character interactions and not blatant 'everyone is having P.M.S.' behavior.
All in all, I have to sadly report I did not like this episode. In case, anyone failed to notice. But, on an up-note I would rather watch this episode than anything else on at 3am. I mean it is Xena: Warrior Princess. :)
This commentary is by Josh Harrison.
A friend of mine has an expression that he came up with several months ago. "Two great tastes that go great separately." I think it is an appropriate description for this most recent episode. It honestly felt to me like there were two similar, but almost totally unrelated storylines grafted together - and the seams were pretty obvious.
That's a shame too, because I don't think either plotline was bad in and of itself. The "haunted house" story surrounding the death of Cyrene had quite a bit of potential, and the "exorcist" plot with Eve plays very nicely into the metaplot Rob Tapert seems to be working towards.
The trouble is, when the two stories merged something got lost in each. The suspense and horror required for Cyrene's tale didn't get built up properly - I'll get more into that in a moment. And the plot revolving around Eve and Mephistopheles seemed almost to come out of left field, rehashing the same (tired) Xena-versus-deity story that we witnessed several times last season (and in last week's premiere).
Here's my theory on what happened. You may notice in the credits for this show there are separate entries for the story and the teleplay. In addition, the people credited for them are (so far as I have been able to determine) first-time scribes for the series. I believe they submitted the story idea revolving around Cyrene and the haunted ruins of Amphipolis. It was a good story - certainly good enough to merit an episode.
However, Rob Tapert had some metaplot concerns. In order to play into his overall plan for Eve - and this season - certain plot elements had to be introduced and developed. Most notable of these was Eve's role as the "messenger" for Eli. (This is not a bad idea in itself, and I'll address it in a moment or two.)
So when the teleplay (that is, the actual script) was written, these metaplot concerns were grafted onto a story that seemed like it could have supported them. In fact, it did - to a point. Unfortunately the original story of Cyrene's tormented spirit accidentally got amputated. It ended up serving as atmospheric "set dressing" and all sense of horror and tension got dropped from the episode.
Whose fault is it? I don't know for certain. I'm not even sure blame can be laid at any one person's feet. Tapert's focus on the overall story arc is certainly a factor, but I wonder if the inexperience of the writing team played a part. There are some wonderful moments, but they lack cohesion overall. Without a solid script - a solid story - everything else generally falls flat.
Now I'd like to address the issue of this as a "horror" episode. It fails, for the reason that I mention above - the tension exists early on, but is very rapidly defused and shoved aside by what is probably the biggest deus ex machina in the history of the Xenaverse. A villager shows up in the family crypt and explains exactly what is going on - and this before the first act is even up!
This is a major gaffe in the horror genre. There are some wonderful moments - like the scene with the maggot-ridden food - that did a great job of slowly increasing the tension. However, with the Scooby-Doo revelation provided by Anonymous Villager #3 (who shows up, says his thing, and leaves), all of the dramatic potential is flushed away. I have to give major negative points there.
Another event that served to ruin the tension was Eve's discovery of her ability to cast out the evil spirits. It happened much too early in the story. You can't rush horror. The handling of the story at moments like that is simply unforgivable.
As far as an homage to horror films goes, it isn't that bad. The exterior shots of the house brought to mind the decrepit mansion overlooking the Bates Motel (from Hitchcock's classic "Psycho"). The moments when Gabrielle is trapped under the floor with the dead bodies recalls the conclusion of the original "Poltergeist". And then of course there is the beautifully over-the-top performance of Renee O'Connor when Mephistopheles possesses her - recalling Linda Blair in "The Exorcist".
One film that didn't come to mind while watching this episode, interestingly enough, was Raimi and Tapert's "Evil Dead" series. I suppose we were meant to have them in the back of our mind while watching, but I could detect no direct homage to those films. (As a side note, the first film in the series is truly creepy. The second is basically a comedy remake of the first, and the third is a spiritual predecessor to Xena and Hercules.)
The second storyline - Eve's conflict with Mephistopheles - has some elements in it that I am sure will be important later on this season. She is referred to as the "messenger" - and it is fairly obvious that she has some sort of greater purpose in the battle between heaven and hell that is developing.
In terms of the hero cycle (a favorite subject of mine) Eve's role as messenger actually makes a great deal of sense. She is the individual that is carrying the life-granting boon (in this case, Eli's message of Love and Peace) back to the people of the world. In fact, an interesting parallel here can be seen with the Biblical accounts of Paul.
Paul was a Roman official known as Saul who persecuted the early Christians. One day, while on the road to Damascus, he was paid a visit by Jesus and blinded. He was later healed, changed his name, and dedicated his life to evangelical work. Change Saul/Paul to Livia/Eve, and have Eli fill in the role of Jesus. Uncanny, isn't it?
I'm not suggesting that this is a deliberate allegory on Rob Tapert's part. Rather I believe it is a simple case of a basic, fundamental story being reinterpreted. I am certain that similar parallels can be drawn with stories in other mythological and religious traditions.
Clearly, the entire Mephistopheles plot is intended to set up a conflict in later episodes. It is a shame that what could have been a solid ghost story had to get castrated in order to develop the overall story arc.
As a quick side note, I find it interesting that Xena is now in charge of Hell - much like she was as a demon in last season's premiere, "Fallen Angel". It's a nice bit of irony, even if it wasn't intentional.
I'm not totally down on this episode - there were some wonderful moments. Lucy and Renee turned in wonderful performances, and even Adrienne did a good job with what she was given (which, admittedly, wasn't much). It was nice to see Darien Takle again, even if her story got pushed into the background. The effects were (for the most part) solid, and the musical underscore was appropriate. Considering the train wreck of a script they had to deal with, it was an admirable effort.
In the end, I can't really recommend this one. I have a feeling that there may be some important elements that will come into play later on, but much of the story here is either forced or ignored. As horror it flat out doesn't work, and the Mephistopheles plot is rife with clich‚s and rehashed plot elements. Despite solid performances from the cast, there was little that could exorcise the demons from this script. I give it a D-plus.
This commentary is by Beboman.
Well, I guess it's Halloween time and Xena is not going to be an exception. "The Haunting of Amphipolis" is not a bad try. With this said I will move on.
First of all, I have a few simple questions for Xena and Gabrielle. Xena: If Cyreen was still alive, wouldn't she be about 70 years old by the time you, Eve, and Gabrielle returned to Amphipolis? So what makes Xena believe her mother might still be alive?
Haven't Xena and Gabrielle realized yet that time passed them by when they were so comfortably sleeping in their ice tombs? Don't they also realize that thing do change in 25 years? Also, shouldn't Xena and Gabrielle have realized that Eve is not Hope, who grew up in leaps and bounds in the first few minutes after her birth?
A few things about this episode did bother me a bit; the most important one is Eve. I'm getting really tired of Eve's whining and her totally meek attitude. You can be good and strong at the same time. You don't have to be whiny to be good. Look at Xena and Gabrielle, especially Gabrielle. For the most part, Gabrielle has always been good and she is far from being a whiny character.
Eve is so far away from Livia that it is hard to believe they could have been the same person. When Xena goes from Evil Xena to Good Xena she still keeps her strength, her power, her presence. Where did Eve's strength go? Or was all that strength and power just a show to cover up her bratty, "Daddy's girl" attitude.
When Eve was driving away the demons and the evil spirits, all those scenes just felt empty. There was a lack of force and involvement that Eve did not come across (at least in my opinion) as some one who had the strength to be able to drive away a fly.
Another scene that bothered me: When Eve meets her evil counterpart, Livia. If this was supposed to be a parallel to that same scene in "Dreammaker" when Xena met Evil Xena, it did not work with Eve. There was no force, no power, no intensity; all the elements that made the scene between Good Xena and Evil Xena work.
Another thing that bothered me about this episode was Xena. She felt flat. It seemed that LL was trying very hard to give Xena some meat in this episode, but there was nothing there for her to hold on to and develop.
On the other hand I take my hat of to ROC. She does portray a very good demon, especially when she is hanging naked from the corner of the ceiling and drops down on Xena. That was an interesting little struggle. Xena showed how fast she could dress and tie down the Demon Gabrielle.
There were a few interesting and good moments in the show. For instance, when Gabrielle is trying to get rid of the worms that keep on coming until she skins her hands to the bone. Also, when Gabrielle was taking her shower and she ends up with blood dripping down on her. That was quite interesting.
There were a few "touchy feely" moments for Xena in this episode: When she sees herself as a young Xena in front of her dead brother and she sees all the hate and suffering in her mother's eyes. The slap from her mother not only solidified Xena's guilt over her brother's death, but it was also the first step toward Xena's descent into evil.
Another of those "touchy feely" moments came at the end of the show when Cyreen finally meets Eve. That whole scene hit those sensitive nerves that make us want to cry.
The show also had a few sub-text scenes: The scene in which Xena is teaching Gabrielle the pinch (I have to agree with Gabrielle; Xena picked a hell of a time to teach her that move. I mean, didn't Xena have five years to show Gabrielle how to do the pinch?) When Xena looks into Gabrielle's eyes and tells Gabrielle she believes in her. There was trust in Xena's voice that felt good. There was solid eye contact that reflected Xena's feelings and those emotions came across to the audience loud and clear. Another sub-text moment was when Gabrielle finally brings Xena back. That second where Gabrielle is holding Xena and there is that slight touch of Xena's face on Gabrielle's arm as if to say, "I'm safe and I'm home".
The fight scenes between Xena and Mestapholis were good. Xena still has the touch for those one-liners. I really liked the expression on Xena's face when Mestapholis comes to the realm of the living to face Xena. It was an "Oh my god, he is bigger than life" type of expression. But you have to give it to Xena; she has some guts, doesn't she?
In the final analysis of the episode, the question is did I like the episode? My answer would have to be that it entertained me, so it fulfilled its purpose. Will it go on my list of great episodes? I don't think so. It may not even hit my list of relatively good episodes.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
09-17-00. Logic wins out for a change! Those who wanted HAUNTING to be the Halloween episode obviously lost their battle since HAUNTING has been scheduled for right after COMING HOME, and no where NEAR Halloween. Better luck next time!
08-28-00. Renee O'Connor mentioned in an interview in the most recent OFFICIAL XENA MAGAZINE that "Gabrielle uses her Indian dancing to entertain" in this episode.
07-18-00. Okay okay, it's Mephistopheles, not THAT CAT from T.S. Eliot's poem or that musical.
07-13-00. Xena has a run in with Mistopholees (no Sword and Staff jokes here!) and fights him to the death while Amphipolis burns.
07-13-00. In June 2000, Sharon Delaney (Official XENA Fan Club) posted this cryptic notes about this episode, "Lucy mentioned I should ask Renee about the pureed asparagus!" [This was later expanded to "Lucy mentioned I should ask Renee about the pureed asparagus, KY jelly and vegemite!"]
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
It's not a blooper, but there's an incredibly confusing cut when our trio of heroes (hey, that almost rhymes) arrive at Amphipolis. We take their point of view to look at the tumbleweeds blowing past... Argo II's butt. For a second I thought a duplicate was in the town until I realized we had jump cut behind the gals, who had also hopped off their horses in a hurry.
Amphipolis isn't just haunted, it's got weather problems out the wazoo. It's dark when Xena and the gang arrive. Then when Xena opens the door to leave, it's bright and sunny out. As she walks across the town, it's dark and storming. Then in the mausoleum, sunlight streams onto the coffins. Even the sun is a ghost!
Flashbacks to last season's finale - more about Eve being a messenger. Still no clue what her message is, though.
Two entire episodes - Ties That Bind and The Furies - dwell on Xena's father, which includes lots of time on the fact that her father's name was Atrius. So why on earth was Cyrene calling out "My Orestes!" when she had killed him? Orestes was the name of the Furies' victim that Gabrielle met. Somebody's research intern needs to be fired.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
04-21-01. From Jeremy Root. In the scene where Eve is being tormented by the ghosts of her past victims as Livia, one of them holds out his head by the hair, and says he is like this because she beheaded him. Well this little scene reminded me of a passage from Dante's Inferno. Here is the text:"I surely saw, and it still seems I see, a trunk without a head that walked just like the others in that melancholy herd; it carried by the hair it's severed head, which swayed within its hand just like a lantern, and that head looked at us and said: "Ah me!" Out of itself it made itself a lamp, and they were two in one and one in two; how that can be, He knows who so decrees. When it was just below the bridge, it lifted its arm together with its head, so that its words might be more near us, words that said: "Now you can see atrocious punishment, you who, still breathing, go to view the dead: see if there's any pain as great as this. And so that you may carry news of me, know that I am Bertran de Born, the one who gave bad counsel to the fledgling king. I made the son and father enemies: Achitophel with his malicious urgings did not do worse with Absalom and David. Because I severed those so joined, I carry- alas- my brain dissevered from its source, which is within my trunk. And thus, in me, one sees the law of counter-penalty.""When Bertran lived (1140-1215), he was a minor noble in France and an early troubadour poet. A biography of the time noted that Henry II believed that Bertran had instigated his son, Prince Henry ("the fledgling king"), against him. If you want more information, check the web or consult an encyclopedia, as this info is too complex for me to sort out in this little comment. Also , feel free to interpret the passage as you wish, and feel free to e-mail me what you think. As for Bertran's comment on Absalom, see II Samuel 15-17, and it helps if you know your bible.
11-12-00. From Virginia and Lourdes. While watching Haunting Of Amphipolis, we noticed Gabrielle's silver wristbands/gauntlets disappeared and appeared as fast as Xena wrapped Gabrielle up. One scene she was just holding them, then another scene she was wearing them and then the next scene, they're gone.
Click here to read a transcript of THE HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS.
No maggots were harmed during the making of this motion picture, although a few were found stuck in Gabrielle's teeth.
Official Website Press Release
HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS screen grabs from MaryD's Ausxip.com webpage
Graphics from Creation Entertainment:
Xena holding Gabrielle's hand