GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 3 BY Xena214
COMMENTARY 4 BY Philip Teo
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Paris Jefferson (Athena)
Darien Takle (Cyrene)
Musetta Vander (Ilainus)
Renee Kelly (Archer)
Written by Chris Black
Directed by Mark Beesley
ON AN ALL NEW XENA....
(Xena flips and draws her sword, clad in her original costume.)
THE GODS STRIKE BACK.....
(Athena battles Ares)
Athena: Zeus is dead, Ares; our father. The prophecy is coming true and Xena's child is the key.
(Villagers prepare for war; Xena walks with Eve; Xena runs with an explosion trailing)
TO SAVE HER HOME TOWN....
Gabrielle: She'll be here! Hold the line!
(A large explosion knocks Gabrielle down)
....AND HER CHILD,
(Xena with Eve)
Athena: I will kill the child myself.
(Athena draws her sword)
XENA'S ONLY HOPE IS HER GREATEST ENEMY.
(Xena rises, wearing only a fur, as Ares watches)
Xena: I'm offering you my sword, and the body that wields it.
(Xena partially disrobes)
IT'S AN EPIC BATTLE....
(Villagers hide in a trench)
(Elanis fights Xena)
ON AN ALL NEW XENA!
TV GUIDE PROMO
Athena wages war on Xena's hometown of Amphipolis in an effort to kill Eve and stop the Twilight of the Gods. LogLine
Xena's hometown, Amphipolis, is attacked by Athena's warriors in an attempt to get Xena's child. ClickTV
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 02/14/00
An AA average of 3.7
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) XFiles 4.2
(2) Stargate 3.8
(3) Xena 3.7
(4) Back2Back 3.1
(5) Profiler 2.6
(6) Relic Hunter/Lost World 2.4
Earth Final Conflict 2.2
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Guards on the road. Someone approaches. "Who goes there?" shouts a very poorly dressed guard. A well-dressed gleaming woman appears from the foliage. She snaps her fingers, and women with bows and arrows come forward. They start shooting the guards. Xena's war cry sounds through the air, and the Warrior Princess flips over head and lands between the beleaguered guards and the warrior women. She deflects arrows with her chakram, saving the men. Gabrielle, off to the side, cuddles Eve. The head warrior woman shouts, "Get her!" and the women rush Xena. The Xena Theme plays as Xena beats up all the warrior women. Then she goes toe-to-toe with the head woman. They cross swords. Xena eventually cuts the woman's face. The woman calls her warriors back, and they retreat.
Xena wonders who would want to seize the road to Amphipolis. She says "Ares." He pops in, telling Xena he isn't doing this. Others want Eve, after all. Xena pulls an arrow out of one of the guards, and sees Athena's markings on it.
The head warrior woman, whose name is Elanis, goes to Athena. She is Athena's chosen. She heals Elanis' wound. Athena swears to kill Xena's child herself.
Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve go to Amphipolis to see Xena's mother. Mom holds Eve. Xena says she needs to get Mom and baby to safety. Armies gather outside Amphipolis. The town is completely surrounded. Ares and Athena have a little chat about Athena's legions, which come from Egypt, Rome, etc., and include Athena's chosen archer warrior women. "Zeus is dead, Ares," Athena tells her brother. "Xena's child is the key." Athena says the people of Amphipolis are loyal to her, and they will give up the child without spilling blood. Ares says that isn't any fun, and vanishes.
Xena speaks to a crowd of people. She tells them she doesn't mean to endanger them. Someone mentions Eli and his message of love. They say they will defend the child to bring about Eli's message. Athena pops in. She tells the crowd it is just one child, and they need the gods. Xena's Mom says, she has already lost a son and a grandson she never met, and she isn't losing this baby. She starts singing "Glede a ma Glede" (Season 1) and everyone in the room joins in while Athena fumes and tries to make her case. She finally tells them they have chosen their fate, and she disappears.
The armies prepare. The town prepares for war. Gabrielle yells "fire." The townsfolk shoot burning barrels at the armies. The townsfolk, with Gabrielle leading, charge the armies. Gabrielle fights. Athena and Elanis study the situation, wondering about Xena's strategy. Gabrielle fights. Xena leads a group of men through secret tunnels, hoping to come up behind the armies and trap them. Elanis shows up though, with her warriors, blocking the way. Gabrielle yells for Xena. Gabrielle and the townsfolk continue to fight. Xena and Elanis chat for a minute. Elanis has Greek fire. Xena tells the men to run. They flee. Elanis lights the Greek fire. Xena runs, with flames chasing her down the tunnel. She makes a support collapse, and the fire spews out on the armies, blowing Gabrielle down but killing all of Athena's men. Gabrielle says that wasn't what she was expecting. Gabrielle gets up and yells for her men to retreat to the trenches.
Gabrielle and Xena talk. Gabrielle says they're down to half strength. Gabrielle suggests Xena slip away with Eve. Xena says Athena will keep attacking Amphipolis even if she is gone, because she is holding Amphipolis ransom in exchange for the baby. Athena's archers attack, sending arrows all around. Xena races to catch an arrow that Elanis sends at a small girl. She catches the arrow. Elanis laughs. The archers leaves. Xena visits the infirmary, looking at the wounded. Her Mom is helping nurse the men. Athena appears to Xena; no one else can see her. She says she came to talk. Xena tells Athena that of all the Olympians, Athena most deserved Xena's respect, and Xena doesn't understand why Athena is doing this. Xena proposes a fair fight between the goddess and Xena. If Xena wins, Eve and Amphipolis is spared. But Athena won't do that. She says the people need their gods. Xena says they don't; they have something. What, love? Athena laughs. She says she has poisoned the water. Will they drink love? Athena leaves.
Eve cries. Xena goes to her. Mom has the child, and she and Xena talk about watching a kid grow up and how it's worth all the pain to see your baby tall and strong and proud.
Xena goes into a temple. She yells for Ares. Xena reminds him of his offer in Eternal Bonds (last episode). She tells Ares she is ready to make a deal. Fight beside me, she says. Ares wonders what is in it for him. "What's in it for you? Me." Xena says. She moves close to Ares. She tells him that if he helps her defeat Athena, then Xena will be his Warrior Queen. She offers him her sword and the body that wields it. Ares says yeah, but what about Olympus? Xena says Olympus is doomed. Through Eve they can both live together. Xena and Ares kiss. But then Ares backs away. He says no. Xena is up to something. Xena says she is offering a deal and she doesn't go back on promises. Ares vanishes.
Two farmers talk about giving up the baby because Athena has always been good to them. Gabrielle hears, grabs the farmer, tosses him 10 feet. She gives a speech about how next the gods will want your child or your child, and they are fighting for themselves and their children, not just Xena's child. Then Gabrielle calls for Ares. He pops in. Gabrielle tells Ares she knows Xena made a deal with him. She says Xena will revert to her old killing ways if Ares does this to her. She says Xena will never love him. "Do you think she'll give herself to save Eve?" Ares asks. "She never says anything she doesn't mean," Gabrielle says. Ares disappears.
Ares goes to Athena. He says he could take Xena's baby someplace in the netherworld or somewhere like that. He says the gods are creating their own twilight, that Hercules would never have killed Zeus if he'd just left well enough alone. But Athena says there will be no compromises.
Ares goes to the temple. He sees Xena's armor laying in the floor. Xena, in a fur, lounges on a couch waiting for Ares. She drops her fur and asks Ares if they are going to seal their deal. Ares begins to drop his pants. They start to kiss. Xena keeps pausing, saying she hears fighting. Then the wall blows open, revealing Xena and Ares to all. Mom and Eve appear, asking if Xena is all right (oh my). She tells Xena that Gabrielle has launched an attack against Athena's armies. Xena gets up and puts her clothes on to help Gabrielle.
Gabrielle fights. Athena tells Elanis to put an arrow through the bard. Xena walks up with Eve in her arms. Athena sees her and says stop the attack. Gabrielle runs to Xena. Xena tells Gabrielle she is going to save these people and Gabrielle. Athena pops up in front of Xena. Xena tells Athena to pull back her army. Athena says, of course, and orders them to move back. Xena lays the baby on the ground. She tells Athena to do it while the child is asleep. Athena says Xena should turn around. But Xena says she wants to remember every detail. Athena raises her sword. Ares pops in. He and Athena cross swords as Ares protects the baby. Xena yells, "Gabrielle, now!" Gabrielle cries, "Attack!" and people pop out from all over the place. Everybody starts fighting. Elanis comes after Xena. Gabrielle fights. Ares and Athena fight. Xena and Elanis fight. Finally, Xena stabs Elanis. Athena sees and runs to her "favored." Athena takes Elanis in her arms. She says the wound is too bad; she can't heal her. Elanis dies in Athena's arms. Athena kisses Elanis on the head and takes her body away in a blaze of light. She tells Ares to take a good look, because the gods are the next to die. Ares and Xena exchange looks. Gabrielle goes to Xena. Ares wants to conclude his transaction with Xena. But Xena shows Ares that he only saved a doll. Ares says, when we were fighting side by side, it was like we were one. Tell me you didn't feel it. Xena says she felt nothing. Ares tells her it isn't over; that Eve will always be in danger. He leaves. Xena says she felt something.
Mom brings Eve to Xena. Xena and Gabrielle tell her they planned everything, the bombing and the fighting and the trick on Ares so Xena wouldn't have to have sex with Ares. Gabrielle and Xena walk away discussing what Xena "felt" with Ares.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
When this episode finished, I leaped off my couch and performed the Dance of the Overjoyed Fan. Really. Scared my cats to death. What a cool episode! Awesome characters, great Xena-Gabrielle banter, good plans, good bad guys, good story... I'm a happy puppy.
Xena's leathers are BACK, baby! Her warcry-flippin'-growlin'-breastplated entrance was the most welcome thing I've seen in a long time.
I have mixed feelings about Athena's main squeeze/champion. Her outfit rivals Joxer's in ridiculousness - a tin foil costume straight off a 50s sci fi flick. But she did strike a good pose fighting. Her sparrow whistle cracked me up - that would have been a really cool move if she actually COULD whistle. I loved her parallelism with Xena. She was to Athena everything that Ares would like Xena to be to him. I could see the "Worried about yours?" retort to "Worried about your girlfriend?" coming a mile away, but it was still fun and used a sledgehammer in case anyone had missed the hint so far about Xena and Elena's kinship.
I nominate this episode as Ares's best yet. He had great lines like "But where's the fun in that?" and "I'm about to start catapulting dead cows into the village." "And a classic it is." While he got duped in the end in the heat of... ahem... battle, he had the smarts to not trust what Xena was offering, until Gabrielle sealed the deal by shedding a few "No, don't do it!" crocodile tears. But the moment that sold me was when he appeared in his temple and nearly took the altar apart with his frustration. YEAH, Ares!
I have been a sucker for song-for-solidarity scenes ever since the first time I saw Casablanca. The minute Cyrene began singing Glede Ma Glede, the song we first heard waaaayyyyy back in Sins of the Past as Xena's sign that she was home, I nearly stood up and cheered. Excellent scene! What a change five years has brought. The village that almost stoned Xena is now ready to fight with her.
OK, it was just a chase scene, but I liked Xena's dash through the tunnels and very smart collapse of the supports as she went by.
I laughed out loud when Gabrielle descended on the wussy Amphipolitan who started talking about backing out. "Ohhhh, you're up the creek now, pal!" Actually, Gabrielle let him off easier than I thought she might - but she did a great job of quickly and clearly showing everybody, not just him, how important it was to keep fighting. Way to go, bard!
Speaking of the bard, Gabrielle wipes up some serious army butt in this episode. She uses, by turns, a staff with a knife on it, a sword, and a big ol' hammer to lay waste to a whole lotta bad guys. She even does a one-armed flip of a bad guy! Xena and Ares get the quality fights, but Gabrielle gets the quantity.
Ares, of all people, is the one to talk sense to Athena about self-fulfilling prophecies. This whole business with Eve has struck me as such from the beginning. Say that something will be the death of a person, and that person will run themselves to death to prevent it. Too bad Athena wasn't having any of Ares' logic.
There's a number of different ways to read Xena's "Did you hear something?" lines when she and Ares were moshing on the couch. She could have really heard something that wasn't audible on the show. She could have been stalling for time until the wall blew. My personal favorite: there was no sound, but she was asking because she was SUPPOSED to be hearing something by that time and wasn't hearing it yet. I think it's funniest that way.
As for the moshing/seduction scene in general, I think I'll boil my comments down to two words: nipple biting. Good heavens. I would pay money to know if a) that was in the script, and b) Kevin and Lucy had worked that out beforehand, or if it was a surprise.
Apparently, Cyrene wasn't in on the plan, so her reaction to finding Xena and Ares was for real. How did Gabrielle manage to set THAT up? Whatever, the horrified discovery of the clinch was pretty funny, especially how miffed Ares gets at the suggestion of Hermes as a better match.
It's a sign of how the past half-season has gone that I was worried whether Gabrielle was in on what Xena was doing or not. Come to think of it, this episode may have worked BETTER because of that. If the last eight episodes had solid Xena-Gabrielle interaction all the way, I never would have questioned whether Gabrielle was begging Ares not to take up Xena's offer out of true concern or as part of a mega-plan. As it is, I was worried enough to be majorly relieved to see that yes, Xena and Gabrielle had hatched the whole thing together. Thank you, writers.
"Put an arrow in the young bard." Athena has Xena's number. She counts on Xena giving up everything, even Eve, if Gabrielle is killed/about to die. I wonder if she's right?
Athena did have one flaw in her brilliance - she never ONCE checked trickyXena's little bundle to make sure it really was Eve? Granted, maybe her plan was that if it wasn't Eve, her chop would reveal that soon enough, and checking the baby pre-chop might add insult to injury. But it was an obvious trick to ME, seems like it should have occurred to Athena. I did like, though, how the woman could bring an entire battle to a halt with a command. THAT'S a god in action.
Gabrielle is going to be able to take out a patent on her smirks at Ares as Xena keeps throwing him over. Someday your face is going to freeze like that, Gab.
I liked Xena and Gabrielle's final banter about whether Xena "felt something" or not in the temple. The woman's getting hot and heavy with a god who oozes hormones - who WOULDN'T feel something, never mind the past those two have had? But Xena and Gabrielle have a rousing good game of cat and mouse with the confession.
Athena is a VERY spiffy god. She seemed worthy of the respect Xena - Xena, of all people - gave her. She didn't want to kill a baby, but was willing to do what she saw as grim necessity (any memories of Hope YET, Xena?). She managed to see right through (literally) Xena's plan and outmaneuver her in battle. She was powerful and ruthless, but not cruel. She was unflappable and two thoughts ahead of everyone. Big thumbs up on Athena - here's hoping she doesn't get killed off too soon.
GREAT final fight. Xena and Elena kick some serious ass (and I loved Xena's disparaging "not bad" evaluation). Ares and Athena go at it like gangbusters, and Gabrielle does some serious cleaning up house. Looks like everybody, from the writers to the director to the stunties to the actors, decided to make up for a little lost time while everybody had to be a little careful around the pregnant star.
This commentary is by Beboman.
* Okay, before I really get into this commentary, let me say this out loud: Yeah she is back, leather and all, and how I have missed her. With that said I will now move on.
* The opening scene was interesting. I did not realize there were tollbooths in Greece at that time and especially on the road to Amphipolis. However, the toll keeper gets an eye opener when Athena's select warriors led by Ilainus attack, and Athena's warriors get a big eye full when Xena shows up in top form and all ready to do battle.
* As for the fighting in this episode, it was pretty good. The most important was the difference five years made in the village. Remember, the first time Xena returned to her village and told them about Draco's army coming to invade, she almost got stoned to death. This time everyone rallied around her and her child. My hair stood on end when Cyrene started to sing and the rest of the townspeople joined in. It was an excellent way to tell Athena, "we are not listening to what you have to say and we really don't care". What was even more impressive was Xena's astonishment at the villagers reaction to her mother's pleas. Xena went from being totally astonished to totally overwhelmed. I think I even noticed tears in her eyes. Some good acting on the part of LL.
* Another moment that marked the changing times was when Gabrielle told Xena that the wounded could still stand watch. What a difference from the Gabrielle we saw in "The Price" who fought with Xena because the wounded needed to rest and eat. Time and experience really does change people. Another very definite change in Gabrielle was when she led Xena's army into battle. Once again, what a difference from the young warrior who refused to lead men to their deaths. But I think one of the most noticeable changes in Gabrielle came from Athena, when she referred to Gabrielle as Xena's second in command. It is a distinct honor for Gabrielle to be recognized by Athena as a warrior. It shows how far the bard has come as a warrior.
* Another great moment was when Cyrene stood up for Xena, and told Athena that she had lost a son and a grandson she had never knew. At this time my imagination took over and I thought, boy would I have loved to be a fly on the wall when Xena told Cyrene about Solan, about his birth and death. When exactly did Xena talk to Cyrene: right after the death of Solan, after she had returned from Illusia, or after she returned from India? Wouldn't that talk between mother and daughter make a great episode, just chock full of flashbacks. Oh, we can only dream.
* The show had some very tender moments, such as when Gabrielle has Eve in her arms and they are watching Xena fighting (at the opening of the show) and Gabrielle tell Eve, "Mommy is working". Or when Xena, Eve and Gabrielle reach Amphipolis. I could sense the urgency in Xena to get Eve to her grandmother. Also, when Cyrene holds Eve for the first time, all the love and tenderness she felt for the child is reflected in her actions.
* The show had a couple of alarming moments that in the end get cleared up, but at the time where nevertheless very alarming. One of those moments is when Xena offers herself to Ares in order that he will fight for and with her. I could not believe it. And to compound the feeling, we are shown Gabrielle trying to talk Ares out of taking Xena up on her offer. Once again, in the back of my mind, I could hear Xena and Gabrielle argue about Xena's decision to give herself to Ares to save the village, Eve, her mother and Gabrielle.
* Still more alarming was seeing Xena come out with the baby in her arms and offer it to Athena. The slow motion of Xena's approach with the child and the look on her face was simply unbelievable. I could not believe that Xena would sacrifice her child that way. This whole scene reminded me in a way of "Orphan Wars" when Xena remembers giving Solan away. It had that same lonely feeling. I really did not like it and it did not settle well with me.
* However, as the real fighting started and Xena left the child in the middle of the battleground, something told me this was not Eve. I breathed a long deep sigh of relief when I realized that once again Xena had tricked Ares and the child wrapped in the blanket was a doll. Then I wondered why neither Ares nor Athena noticed that the child was not real. Aren't they Gods? Don't they have powers to see things like that? Most important, why didn't they question Xena's change of heart regarding the life of her daughter, especially after Athena herself had mentioned that there was nothing more dangerous than a mother defending her child?
* Although I really want to believe Ares had an idea of what was going on and that he was just another piece in a well-laid plan. There is a part of me that wants to believe he realized he was being used and played his part in the scheme, maybe out of love, lust or just kindness; we will never know. For whatever reason, Ares did what he did and at least he had a few satisfying moments.
* Once again, the seduction scenes between Xena and Ares were pure fire. What made them even more special was this time it was Xena doing the seducing. And did anyone notice Xena's face when Ares pulled away and rejected her? I think Xena has never been rejected in her life. But after seen the show several more times I think Xena was expecting that reaction and was allowing Gabrielle to do her part in the plot. Once again The Warrior Princess shows that she has what it takes for some really down and dirty seduction and that she is good at playing the game.
* The comic moments in the show weren't bad either. Loved Xena's face when her mother got her with Ares, and how Cyrene tried to cover Eve's face so she could not see what Xena was doing. What about Xena's style of foreplay. Not bad at all, a bit on the rough side, but I guess that would be the only way to go with the God of War. What about when Cyrene told Xena it was easy standing up to a Goddess, the bad thing was Xena's terrible two's, three's fourteen. That line was just wonderful and it reminded me so much of my two daughters' and now my granddaughter. And at the end, when Cyrene tells Gabrielle and Xena that she does not know what to do with them. I think those words have been spoken by many a mom about their daughters and, in some cases, their daughters' friends. (I know I have spoken them.)
* Also, loved the interchange between Ares and Athena about being worried about their respective girlfriends. That was interesting dialog.
* Once again, we see Xena's ability to create a plan and carry it out to the last consequence. We also see Xena's ability to analyze a situation and come out with the best possible plan of attack without closing all her avenues and, at the same time using her enemy's strength against them. Xena used her enemy's weakness to her advantage, like letting Athena believe that using Greek fire against Xena was something to Athena's advantage, when in the end it was to Xena's advantage.
* But I have to definitely take my hat off to both Xena and Gabrielle for their ability to stay focused, their ability to plan a great strategy and the ability to make the plan work. Gabrielle was so convincing when she talked to Ares about not taking Xena's offer. Gabrielle's effort to convince Ares into rejecting Xena was the key that pushed him into making the deal with Xena. Great con job, Gabrielle. By so doing, Ares once again fell victim to Xena's trickery. Another great plan created in the mind of a very astute, powerful woman which was very well executed.
* What is even more interesting is the fact of how close and in tune Xena and Gabrielle are. It is as if they are of one mind on the battlefield. There is no more doubt from either as to what the other is doing. Watching them is like seeing a well oiled fighting machine work flawlessly. It is just astonishing what this machine can accomplish.
* The final interchange between Xena and Gabrielle was perfect. You could actually sense a bit of jealousy in Gabrielle's voice when she asked if Xena felt anything for Ares. It was also obvious that Xena could not resist teasing Gabrielle a bit on the matter.
This commentary is by Xena214.
Amphipolis Under Siege was an entertaining episode. Rarely do we see two gods at odds with each other, so seeing Athena and Ares interacting was interesting. Ares has proven to be smarter and more insightful than the other gods. He seems to be the only one to realize that the prophecy may be self-fulfilling. This is good characterization of the character.
Ares has always been more sensitive and more alert and smarter than the rest of the Olympians. Kevin Smith's acting, as always, is awesome. In the first seduction scene, the audience can clearly read from Smith's expression that Ares is both tempted and alarmed. The grin he displays when Gabrielle tells her that Xena always means what she says speaks volumes about Ares' character. At the end, when he realizes that Xena has dishonorably deceived him, he actually looked *hurt*. Smith's acting always deserves to be watched seperately because his expressions speak so much.
There are, however, numerous problems with this episode. Let us first take a look at the minor inconsistencies and plot holes:1. How could Xena and Gab plan everything? What if Ares was less careful and decided to take Xena on the first time round? Would Gabby be prepared to blow up the wall then? Supposedly, Xena didn't see Ares' rejection coming so wouldn't his rejection the first time throw off the timing? I think that the audience is always cheated when TPTB give us the "they planned everything ahead" at the very end of the episode.Now, to the major thing that bugs me:
2. Ares cares about Olympus? I thought he would sell them out if he had the chance. "What about Olympus?" Siding with Dahak and Hope hasn't made him the pariah, but fighting with Xena does?
3. Doesn't Athena know that wrapping up the entire baby in a black cloth would suffocate her? It is illogical to write Athena AND Ares as such dumb deities. It's amazing that with such dumb gods, the twlight hasn't happened earlier.
If Xena didn't even need Ares help in the first place, what was the POINT of the seduction? I hope there was more to it than to titillate the audience. I for sure found it titillating. I'm even more happy than the next gal about seeing Smithy's chest (not that I haven't seen enough at the San Francisco cabaret), but is there a point to all that if it turned out that Xena didn't even need him? If she DOES need him, then it is wrong for her to not keep her word about the deal. "You saved my dolly" is not an excuse if she after all needs his help to fight Athena. Whether or not he played a direct role in saving Eve from under Athena's raised sword is irrelavent. He helped save Eve! If Xena doesn't like the terms of the deal, then she shouldn't have agreed to it in the first place. She actively brings up the issue when she is desperate; she agrees to the terms that Ares has set in the previous episode, and after all her purposes are fulfilled, she reveals that she's been lying all along. Granted, Ares' terms would cost her a lot, but she agrees to it and then fails to carry out her words. This is wrong.
While Ares has always been a manipulative, conniving bastard in the past, in this episode, he demonstrates that he is more honorable than Xena, the heroine. Xena, on the other hand, is cruel for doing what she has done to Ares. Supposedly, Xena is morally superior to Ares because she is the heroine. She and Gabrielle speak of love, forgiveness, and compassion, and yet in this episode, Xena actively manipulates Ares, scoffs him after she has used him for her own purposes, and GETS AWAY with doing what she has done with Gabrielle. She has always been an intelligent woman, but this time, she and Gabrielle are both outwardly treacherous. Indeed, Ares is my favorite character on the show, but I do not defend him for hurting Xena in the past. I do not condone his taking advantage of Xena's deseperation and attempting to sire an heir through her. That IS selfish. He claims that he loves her, and this time he is telling the truth, but his love for her is conditional. However, we must remember that Ares is the villain and the writers do not justify his actions. He is always supposed to be in the wrong and the audience is expected to detest Ares' actions and decisions. Xena, on the other hand, is supposed to be good, but she is let off the hook when she actively manipulates and uses Ares in this episode after he has nobly admitted repeatedly that his affection for her is sincere. She behaves just like Ares has in the past, if not worse. In this episode, Ares delivers his end of the bargain before Xena has a chance to deliver hers. He goes up against Athena and attempts to save what he has thought was Eve at the risk of being an outcast on Olympus. It shows that he trusts Xena and thinks highly of her. This noble, out-of-character gesture of Ares, however, is not good enough for Xena. No, it isn't enough for Xena that Ares has proven he WOULD fight for Eve even if it could mean his death. It isn't enough for Xena when Ares declared in front of his sister Athena that "Blood is thicker than water, but blood runs hardest when love is involved." Xena is present and has heard this, yet she is unmoved. "You saved my dolly", Xena scoffs at the end without a sign of gratefulness toward Ares' actions. Ares takes blows from Athena in order to save what he has thought was Eve because he loves Xena, and it turns out that he's just caught up in the game Xena has treacherously set up. The trick Xena has played on Ares with the doll is cruel and undeserved. Hercules is able to thank Ares for fighting against the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but Xena cannot even utter a simple "thank you" after seeing that for once, Ares is being noble and honorable. If she changes her mind about the deal, the LEAST she could do is to find another way to show her appreciation, and she can't even do just that. In the episode, Xena has not "outsmarted" Ares as some would claim. After all, Ares is smart enough to figure out that the prophecy may be self-fulfilling. Xena has taken full advantage of Ares' trust and admiration of her, and uses that to manipulate him. When Ares finds out that he has been deceived, he apparently is HURT emotionally. "Why do you continue to deny us?" he asks. "Can you tell me you didn't feel anything?" Gabrielle is apparently glad that the god of war is emotionally vulnerable. She smirks at Ares when Xena, betraying her heart, lies:"I felt nothing." Where is that bard who preaches compassion, love, forgiveness, and understanding? Ironically, the heroines appear hypocritical in this episode, whereas the villain we're supposed to hate demonstrates noblity, the ability to love, and emotional vulnerability.
Xena: Warrior Princess is supposed to be a show where women are strong and non-stereotypical. The women do not need the help of males and can take care of themselves. The heroines come with messages of love and forgiveness. However, in this episode, all the above is compromised. Xena and Gabrielle perpetuates the myth that women are conniving, seductive, and ungrateful vixens who work out a plan amongst themselves to deceive a comparatively more noble male character. Apparently, Xena indeed has needed Ares' help in fighting against Athena (or she didn't need to go and seduce him at all), yet when her purposes are fulfilled, she goes back on her promise. Xena and Gabrielle's inability to recognize sincerity and the capacity to love in Ares, a character that they have made up their minds about as someone without redeemable qualities, compromises the goodness of their nature that was presented throughout the series.
This commentary is by Philip Teo.
First of all, it sure is cool to see Xena back in her original brown leather warrior suit! Next, was Xena and Gabrielle on their way back to Amphipolis? Because even if they had anticipated an attack on Amphipolis, they couldn't have made it there so fast, could they?
I am not sure whether Athena, this character ever appeared on the set of Hercules. But this is the first time I see Athena appear on the Xena series. Paris Jefferson, the actress who plays Athena is very convincing as the goddess of wisdom and war. She displays her emotions rather well, controlled and yet angry.
The actress playing Ilainus, Musetta Vander, bears a striking resemblance to Melinda Clarke, the actress who plays Velasca, don't you think? I think that her eyes especially reminds me of Velasca.
One has to admit, Xena is really shrewd. She knew she was no match for Athena alone. And going up against the goddess and such a strong army was eventually going to get everyone killed even if she survived. So, she tries the next best thing. Go through Ares. Ares has always had a thing for Xena, and like what Xena said, for years, he has been wanting her and she has been rejecting him. So finally for now, she is offering him his greatest desires. Kevin Smith did a real good job here of showing the desire in his eyes but yet having doubts about Xena's offer. You could tell he was fully convinced later when Gabrielle begged him not to do it.
I was just thinking. Since when was Ares' temple in the middle of Amphipolis? You could tell that when the explosion blew a hole in his temple, Cyrene was holding Eve and behind her, villagers were scrambling about in the chaos. And if the explosion had occurred much later, wouldn't Xena be forced to give herself to the god of war?
Ilainus, in the beginning seemed to be a lousy fighter, but in the last battle with Xena, she showed that she could put up a good fight too. However, not for a moment did I doubt Xena's abilities. I knew Xena could defeat Ilainus.
I really feel for Ares. Time and time again, Xena has fooled him, and still he keeps coming back for more. Guess our warrior princess has a certain appeal, doesn't it? This was a great episode!
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
06-11-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram, the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, Robert Tapert was interviewed:Interviewer: There have been some pretty hot scenes between Xena and Ares lately.
Robert Tapert: We have an episode coming up that's the most sexually predatory story we've ever told. And if I have any concern, it's over that. Interviewer: Predatory?
Robert Tapert: Xena uses sex as a weapon. "Amphipolis" was the first time we've ever done that. We do it again in "Antony and Cleopatra". It didn't bother me with Ares in "Amphipolis" because it was part of Xena's ruse. Interviewer: They've played so many games with each other?
Robert Tapert: Yeah, but in that episode it was the only weapon left to her. The siege mentality was the justification for her going to Ares and spinning her web that way. Lucy as an actress is hot and Kevin's a good - looking guy. There's a certain chemistry between them that we wanted to "utilize".
11-13-00. Kevin (Ares) Smith was at the Panathenaea Convention in London, England on September 3, 2000. He stated that his favorite lines in AMPHIPOLIS was where Ares and Xena are making out in the temple and the wall blows up and Xena says to her mother, "Its not what you think", and Ares says, "Yes, it is!"
06-17-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram (#11), the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, executive producer Robert Tapert said, "I wasn't satisfied with a lot of the episodes this season. I liked 'Fallen Angels', 'Them Bones', 'God Fearing Child', 'Seeds of Faith', and 'Amphipolis'. But I like what we're doing in the last five episodes...This season has been an absolute failure in terms of missed opportunities."
02-11-00. Along with Jeff Vlaming, Chris Black used to write for WEIRD SCIENCE. WEIRD SCIENCE starred Vanessa Angel who was set to guest star in HERCULES as Xena, but came down with a cold and was not able to fly down to New Zealand. Lucy Lawless eventually got the part and now is a very happy chick about it.
02-11-00. Transcript of the script that was sold on eBay taken from MaryD's page:
It contains pages 6,7,10,11,12, 41,42, 43, 44
The 1st page says "Amphipolis under Siege" - First Draft -12/6/99
Page 6 starts with Xena and Ares talking about an arrow that belongs to Athena. Ares tells Xena that his half sister "won't let the innocent blood of one mortal child stand between them and their survival. And that includes my half sister."
Page 7 talks about a trap Athena and one of her warrior's Ilainus have set for Xena.
Page 10 Athena's army has moved toward Amphipolis.
Page 11 Ares is working with Athena..telling her how to attack Xena
Athena says. "Rumor has it that you made Xena an offer to spare the child. If she gave you one of her own."
Page 12 Athena says "This isn't one of your little games to make Xena your plaything. Zeus is dead, Ares. Our father. The prophecy is coming true and Xena's child is the key."
At the tavern.....Cyrene is holding EVE.
Xena instructs men to report Gabrielle for defensive asssignements
page 41 - Athena speaks of battle taking too long..orders gabrielel killed but Xena saves her.
Page 42 - Gabrielle leads the troops forward as Xena battles Athena.
page 43 -Xena tells Athena "I she never wanted to face you. Ares thought I was his servant but he was wrong. I was always yours"
Athena replies - "And you served me well, Xena. Until you and Herculese killed my father."
Athena attacks with a flaming sword And Ares appears and blocks the sword with his own. Ares and Xena fight side by side as Gabrielle and the villagers fend back Athena's forces...
Ares mentions some deal he and Xena have.
Page 44 - Athena disappears with her fallen warrior in her arms.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Is it just my ears, or did somebody whisper a four-letter word when Xena laid Eve down on the ground?
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
03-06-00. From Bret Rudnick. AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE was the first script that R.J. developed when he came back to XENA. You can definitely see his handiwork in it.
03-06-00. From Jason Boaz.1. Xena wears her old outfit in this episode. After seeing her in that new outfit, she finally wears the outfit we have seen her in for 4 whole seasons once more. (I wonder if she'll ever wear it again?)
2. Gabrielle's staff mysteriously returns, after she chucked it in the Ganges river in India. I don't know how she got it back, but I know its her old staff. (even though it has a blade on it.)
3. Gabrielle uses 3 weapons in this episode. First her old staff, (which she mysteriously reacquired) then she used a sword, and finally she used a mallet. I think she's gotten weapon-happy.
4. Cyrene, Xena's mother, retains her kinky side which was shown on "Takes One to Know One." She proves that when she makes comments about Ares and Xena in bed. She said, "I should expect these thing. He IS a god. Though I'd expect this sort of thing with Apollo or Hermes." I think her kinky side psyched Ares out.
Click here to read a transcript of AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE.
Post Production was under siege during the production of this motion picture