GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Shana
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 3 BY Jason Boaz
COMMENTARY 4 BY Josh Harrison
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Editor Tim Batt
Written Chris Black
Directed by John Laing
TV GUIDE PROMO
In an ancient world meets modern-day satire, a tabloid TV reporter stalks Xena and Gabrielle, determined to get a juicy scoop on the Warrior Princess. Logline
Much to their chagrin, a tabloid-TV reporter attempts to learn why Xena and Gabrielle have returned to Norse lands. His investigation leads him to suspect that Xena is plotting to kill Odin and make herself a god in his place. But his story takes a twist when a mysterious informant explains that the Warrior Princess is trying to save the world and that the reporter should follow the love if he wants the true story. tvguide.com
A tabloid reporter tries to get the scoop on Xena and her motivation for her quest to obtain the legendary golden apples from Valhalla. clicktv.com
A tabloid TV reporter stalks Xena and Gabrielle, determined to get a story on the warrior princess. ExciteTV
A nosy television reporter asks Gabrielle if she's in love with Xena. Well, duh. Entertainment Weekly
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Xena and Gabrielle ride on a horse. A boat. The sunrises. The moon rises. Boats. Sky. A raven. The raven flies. A big castle. Xena and Gabrielle are back in the land of Odin. The Valkyrie tapestry. Beowulf drinks at a tavern. Gabrielle goes up to him, says hello. Beowulf says howdy back. Xena says what's the problem, big guy, you used to be all over Gabrielle. He shrugs it off. It appears he doesn't love Gabrielle anymore. Valkyries appear. Xena says she wants to see Odin. The Valkyries decide to stop Xena from seeing Odin. They begin fighting.
Outside, a camera and an interviewer. They watch as Valkyries go flying out the door. The interviewer asks why Xena has returned to the Norselands. This doesn't make sense, apparently, because Odin has vowed to kill Xena if she tries to get back into Valhalla. The interviewer gets in Xena's face. Xena stares into a camera.
The interviewer calls Xena a savior or a butcher, depending upon point of view.
Xena gets make up for a TV show. Gabrielle tells someone to keep their hands off her, and Xena emphasizes the point. They go on a TV show. The interviewer (same guy) asks Xena lots of questions. Xena gets upset. Gabrielle says the interview is over.
The interviewer goes to the River Styx and has a chat with Charon. Xena is good for business, Charon says. Caligula is on the side of the river, waiting for a ride. He gets an interview, too. He says Xena is a snake, and that she likes the thrill of drawing blood. Charon tries to take Caligula across the water, but Caligula likes being interviewed. He says Xena is evil. Charon says that at least Xena pays her fare, unlike some other so-called hero, yeah, he means you, Hercules.
Odin declines an interview, but the interviewer says someone from Valhalla, using the cloak of invisibility, is sitting in the chair to do an interview. The interviewee says that Xena is after the golden apples, because Xena wants to be a god. Or a goddess. Whatever. The interviewer shatters the myth of invisibility, revealing Odin. He says all loyal Norsemen should work to stop Xena from getting the apples, because she will return Ares to god status and become a god or goddess or whatever and be his queen. Odin says that is why Xena didn't kill Ares in the first place, because she has a thing for him. Odin then firebombs a TV monitor, scares the interviewer, and storms out.
"Odin and Xena, a battle for apples." The Interviewer comes upon Gabrielle, bathing. He asks Gabrielle if Xena is Ares' love slave. Gabrielle knocks him down into the mud.
The Interviewer goes to the farmstead. He beats on the door. Ares comes out. He says he has nothing to say about Xena. He says Xena owes him nothing. Ares laughs when asked about Xena being his queen. He says she isn't interested. Then Xena comes into the farmstead. The Interviewer asks if Xena is in love with Ares. Ares knocks away all the cameras.
In Heaven, the Interviewer talks to Archangel Michael. Michael says Odin would do well to fear Xena. He explains about angels, how they strive to help humans, but humans have free will and Xena exercises her free will with wild abandon. He says Xena puts her own self interest above everything, explaining how Xena seduced Lucifer, etc. in order to save her daughter. "Who isn't she willing to screw over?" Michael asks.
The Interviewer falls from Heaven and ends in Hell. He interviews Lucifer. Lucifer is not too fond of Xena.
The Interviewer finds Eve, praying in a circle of Eligians. Eve declines to talk to the Interviewer, then spews forth the message of Eli. Then she curses the Interviewer with lots of bleeped words. She punches the Interviewer.
The Interviewer says that Xena invokes strong emotions, either hatred or loyalty. Gabrielle comes on. She says the Interviewer has it all wrong about Xena. She says the Interviewer makes it sound like Ares and Xena have a conspiracy going to screw the world. Gabrielle says that Xena doesn't lust after Ares. She watches a montage of Xena and Ares kisses. Okay, they have a history, Gabrielle says. The Interviewer asks Gabrielle if she is in love with Xena. "I don't love Xena," Gabrielle says. Xena bursts in.
The Interviewer asks Xena if she loves Gabrielle. Xena does the pinch on the Interviewer. She asks him who he loves. She says he doesn't love anyone, that no one loves anyone, because the world has lost its greatest gift.
Outside, Xena and Gabrielle argue about sidekick stuff. Xena says she has to get the love back into the world.
It's a world without love.
The Interviewer goes to a bordello. This business is booming. But this business isn't about love. In fact, the less love, the better the business. Ares is next on the list for a Thunder God room. He sees the Interviewer and runs away.
The Interviewer goes into a cave. He says he is meeting an anonymous source. The source tells the Interviewer that Xena is trying to put a god back on Mt. Olympus, but not the god of war. Fool, Xena doesn't want to rule the world, she wants to save it, the source says. She tells the Interviewer to follow the love.
The Interviewer finds a lot of people trying to touch Aphrodite. The Interviewer has a chat with Aphrodite. She says Xena pulled her out of her madness and gave her back her life. But love has faded away because Aphrodite wasn't able to replace it as a mortal. "Poof" the love has gone. Mortals all take love for granted. The power of love is tied to Olympus.
Gabrielle and Beowulf are in the snow. The Interviewer, with Aphrodite in tow, comes up. Xena has gone into Valhalla to face Odin. Gabrielle says Xena can't kill gods, but Odin can kill Xena. Lots of flashes of light from Valhalla. Xena yells. The Interviewer calls it the "sounds of an epic struggle." Aphrodite tells Gabrielle she is glad that she is still with Xena. She thought the lack of love might have split them up.
Xena comes out of Valhalla with the apples and Odin. The Interviewer asks Xena if she is going to give the apples to Aphrodite, to restore love to the world.
Ares comes up. Xena lets him have a bit of apple. Ares throws a fireball. Ares tells Xena to eat the apple. Xena looks at it, then tosses it to Aphrodite. Aphrodite eats. Love touches everyone. Xena and Gabrielle look at each other. Beowulf glows with love for Gabrielle. Ares tries to tempt Xena again to eat an apple. Xena gives the apples back to Odin. Odin finds out Grinhilda helped Xena get into Valhalla, and she was the mysterious "source" for the Interviewer.
Grinhilda does another interview, and says that Ares got his godhood back because you can't love without hating, or forgive without having anger, and without Ares, it would have thrown the world out of balance. She says she sent the Interviewer to fetch Aphrodite and get him out of Xena's hair for a while.
Eve and the Eligian come to the Interviewer and ask forgiveness. Eve offers him a cane so he can give her flagellation in atonement.
Ares says Xena did what she did because she is still redeeming herself.
Xena and Gabrielle, in a tavern, are approached by the Interviewer. HE asks if they are lovers. Xena says it is none of your business. Gabrielle says, hey, why not tell him. Xena goes to answer the question. The "show" experiences TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.
This synopsis is by Shana.
As I tell about this episode, I don't know if it will appear whether or not I liked this episode. The truth is, right now, I'm not really sure. The ending makes me feel manipulated and frustrated. But I have the feeling, when it's all said and done, in the whole scheme of things, I'm going to learn to like it a lot more. If that's confusing, imagine how I feel! To the casual observer familiar with the Xenaverse, this episode will more than likely be very entertaining. To someone like me, who has a great love and adoration of the main characters, I feel like I've been taken to the top of a great cliff, and am left dangling over the edge with only a small branch to support me, and that branch is bending severely. I don't think I was really expecting any of the big questions of the Xenaverse to be answered, especially the question of the nature of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship, but I've come away finding myself with even more questions than I started with. It's probably my own fault, expecting this episode to at least clear some things up. Thank the gods for Xena and Gabrielle's appearances through the episode! They seemed to be the only people making sense in the whole episode!
The disclaimer read, "Linear time was severely harmed during the making of this motion picture. No kidding! This episode jumped around a lot, and I needed a score card to keep track. Let's see if I can make some sense as we get to the meat of the episode...
The episode starts with footage we've seen before, though it's supposed to be new. I just watched part of Them Bones, Them Bones, so the shot of Xena, and Gabs riding like the Furies toward the Northern Amazon country popped out at me right away. The shot cuts before Amarice rides into the picture. Then there's a shot of Xena and Gabs traveling by boat toward a piece of land, that's basically a cliff. I'm sure we've seen that before too, but I'd have to do some digging to find out which episode. We see a shot of a raven calling out, and then flying through the air toward Valhala. That footage was VERY familiar. We hear a male voice, Odin's call out, "What? Here?" I guess the raven's still being a stool pigeon. Then there is a shot of the tapestry which features Xena as a Valkyries. It is hanging on a tavern wall. Okay, so now I've figured out Xena and Gabrielle are traveling toward the Norse Country. My first thought? Prothorax better look out!
We cut to some new footage (finally!) of a lone man sitting in the tavern. I recognized him from behind to be Beowulf. He's sitting alone. A familiar hand touches his shoulder, and he turns to see Gabrielle, Xena right behind her. Beo and Gabs tell each other they're glad to see the other, and then Xena gives her greeting, "Hey..." I don't know why, but I always laugh when she greets someone like that. He tells her they're a long way from home. Xena and Gabrielle look puzzled. "What's going on , Beowulf? The last time you saw Gabrielle you were willing to walk through a column of fire to be at her side?" He tells her it was lovestruck foolishness. "I like my bones the way they are, without the flesh seared from them." He invites them to sit with them and slake their thirst. Xena tells him they aren't there to drink, they need to see Odin. Beowulf tells her she knows the way but Gabs says it's not that easy. Insert another voice from off-screen. It's Grinhilda flanked by a few Valkyries, and she doesn't look pleased to see Xena. She tells Xena that she knows the way to Valhala. Xena needs to "die a hero's death; I'll escort you there myself." Xena tells that is part of her long-range plan (eeesh! I don't like THAT plan), but right now she just needs to see Odin. Grin tells her Odin doesn't want to see her, and in fact, she and the other Valkyries have orders to keep Xena away. I love Lucy's delivery on the next line...Xena's super-confident attitude is in place as she replies, "Well, I don't want to make a Sister Valkyries look bad, but you're going to have trouble following those orders." Grinhilda and the other Valkyries draw their swords, Grin asking, "You think so?" Xena draws her own sword, intones, "Mm hmm..." and jumps into the fray, Gabrielle right behind her. Beowulf just turns back to his drinking.
We never actually get to see the fight, for the action cuts outside to Michael Hurst, dressed in modern-day clothes as a reporter, apparently getting ready to do some filming. He hears the sounds of the fight, as do we, and tells the camera, and us, that this may be the chance to get to Xena. He weaves his way through some bemused Norse people, and we see Xena send a couple of Valkyries flying out the open door, and then Xena herself, pushing Grinhilda out of the tavern, and tumbling her down a flight of steps. "Here's Xena now," the reporter tells the camera. "I think we're just going to go and talk to her." Yeah, right...Xena has watched Grinhilda's tumble with a self-satisfied sneer, and now she and Gabs are apparently preparing to go after the retreating Valkyries. The reporter pushes his way through the sea of silver, "Sorry, Valkyries," and is suddenly in her face, asking her why she has returned to the North country. Xena takes a brief look at him, then the microphone jammed in her face, and then notices the camera staring at it like the next enemy she's going to destroy. It takes Gabs a little longer to notice the camera, and she looks very confused even as Xena steps in front of her and towards the camera, still looking like she's going to take a bite out of it any time. Actually, I thought the reaction was pretty honest and true to form, and hysterically funny. We fade to opening credits, and already I'm asking questions.
What's up with Beowulf's change in attitude? Why is Grinhilda so vicious with Xena, when the last time they saw each other, Xena was apologizing and restoring her place in Valhala? Why is there NO explanation given for why Michael Hurst's character, as well as modern-day camera crew there? Why did we not see any of the actual fight? Where's Prothorax? Don't worry, none of these questions will be answered, and there will be MANY more added before the end of this commentary.
Next we see Michael, who's character is Nigel, walking through the Viking village, describing Xena as people see her. Some see her as a protector, a savior, while others see her as a butcher who killed hundreds, no thousands. Which is she? Nigel tells us, tonight, we'll have the answers.
Cut to a darkened studio, and Xena non-verbally protesting the application of blush to her cheeks...she looks like me when my mom used to try to brush my hair...duck and dodge, jab and weave..."Hey!" she says with a pointed finger. Gabrielle is sitting next to her going through her own struggles. "Hey, watch where you put your hands!" she tells the guy trying to clip on her microphone. As the lights come up, Xena is leading forward saying, "Yeah, you watch where you put your hands, Buddy!" Nigel tells us that also here is "Gabrielle, the Battling Bard of Poteidaia"...Gabrielle really brightens up at that comment, raising her eyebrows with a nodding grin toward Xena. He finishes,"Xena's constant traveling companion, and the chronicler of her deeds. Glad you can make it." Gabs tells him she's glad to be there. Xena's distracted by her own microphone, but listens up when Nigel starts with her. He tells her that it's common knowledge she isn't liked in the Norse country, that she is feared for her reign of terror she created as a Valkyries. Xena listens, looking a little feral, then glances at Gabs who leans in and whispers, "Everyone's seen the tapestry." Xena tells him it was a long time ago. Nigel wants to know why she's returned. "There's no love lost between you and Odin." Xena leans forward perking up a bit, "Ah but that's just it," she tells him, and with those words, I promise you, I suddenly knew the reason Xena and Gabrielle were there. I didn't know how they were going to accomplish the goal, but I knew what the purpose of this mission was. Xena starts to tell him, 'That's exactly the reason Gabrielle and I are he-" but Nigel cuts her off with "You betrayed Odin, didn't you?" He tells about Xena turning Grinhilda into Grendl and there's a "file photo" of Grendl. Too funny! Gabrielle is quick to defend, "Yeah, but Xena changed her back!" Nigel's done his research noting that Xena didn't change Grin back until after she and her son had sent lots of warriors to Valhala.
Xena's on the hot seat and she looks like her warrior butt is heating up quickly. "Is there a question in this somewhere?" There sure is! "Xena, is it your intention to kill Odin and have yourself proclaimed a god in his place?" "What?" Gabrielle asks with a nervous smile. Xena leans back squirming, "This is crazy." "Do you deny that you stole the Rhinegold?" Nigel asks. "No," she replies, and he continues, "and forged that into a ring that gave you the power of a god?" Xena's answer is emphatic. "I gave back the Rhinegold, you can ask the Rhine maidens," to which Gabrielle nods emphatically. "And what about the Olympian gods," he fires back. "You destroyed them also,didn't you?" "Not all of them," Xena mutters, losing some of her impetus, but leave it to Gabs to come through, "They were trying to kill her daughter!" "Ah yes," Nigel replies, "a daughter who is following very successfully in her mother's bloody footsteps." Uh oh...wrong thing to say...."Now just a doggone minute," Xena whispers as the music swells and she leans menacingly forward again. He's not afraid...well, not yet. He asks Xena if she still has the power to kill a god. Xena rises from her chair, hand on her chakram, and Gabrielle desperately trying to hold her back."I got the power to kill much lower forms of life than that," she threatens. He's looking a bit intimidated now, but delivers, "What's the matter, Xena? Uncomfortable with the truth?" "The truth?" she echoes, ripping of the microphone. "You know what? You wouldn't know the truth if it grew fangs and bit you on the-", he's cut off again, this time by Gabrielle who puts her hand over her mouth and tells Nigel the interview is over. Xena and Gabs make a hasty retreat out of the studio, with Nigel still calling after her to admit she's always lusted for the power of a god, and that's the real reason she's here. He finishes yelling and smiles at the camera. "I thought that was good...I had heard on the ropes."
We cut to the River Styx,and Nigel's voiceover about how though Xena might say she's innocent, she's sent plenty of business by way of Charon, Boatman of the Dead (I love the captions identifying these characters!) The only thing I've seen Charon in is "Mortal Beloved", and Michael Hurst played him in that episode. If this is a different actor in this episode, he did a very good job imitating Michael. I saw little difference. He tells Nigel that Xena has been just a drop in the bucket for him, as far as numbers go, but she has sent him some pretty heavy hitters...Ilanius of Mycenae, Velasca, Marc Anthony, Callisto, you can even make a case for Caesar himself. These people don't go out without a fight. Someone is jumping around behind Charon, and it's none other than Caligula, "former emperor of Rome-deceased." He's more than a little impatient...the boat man has bumped him twice already and he's wanting to get his afterlife underway. Nigel tells him he just wants to ask him about Xena. Oh boy...don't get him started! "Xena? You just want to ask me about Xena? She's a snake! A treacherous deceiver like the rest of her sex! (Hey! I took that personally!), Never turn your back on her! She and that...that bard of hers, yeah like we don't know what's going on there? (I for one, am still not real sure)...yeah, and she wants you to think she fights for honor?" When Nigel questions the honor thing, Cali continues his tirade saying she kills for the same reason he did, the glorious benefits of it (I'm paraphrasing here.) He points to someone else in line, asking him who killed him. The man replies "Begging your pardon, but you did," and Cali raves some more. He concludes with "Xena's evil! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, I was a god, a living god, and that bitch took me out." He's being herded onto the boat (finally!) by Charon who tells him, "You may have been a bigshot on earth, but here you're just dead." Charon turns back to Nigel telling him he has one more thing to tell him. "At least Xena pays her fare. Unlike another so-called hero I know...more like super-cheapskate...that's right, I'm talking about you, Hercules!" Hmm...for some reason Iolaus, I mean Nigel chooses to ignore that and focus on Cali's final statement, "I was a god, a living god, and that bitch took me out."
Cut to an "Artist's Rendering" of Valhala, and Nigel telling us that Odin declined to comment, but another source from Valhala would talk under strict anonymity. We see an empty chair, and are told that the source is using a cloak of invisibility. Funny, the voice sounds AWFULLY familiar. The voice knows why Xena is there. She is after the...apples. The golden apples, insert file footage here. Nigel and the voice summarize, that by eating the golden apples, Xena can become a god, goddess "whatever". Nigel tells the voice that before they get into that, isn't it true that only Odin has the power to render himself invisible? His cover blown, Odin appears before Nigel. He appeals to all Norse men to stop Xena at all costs. He looks like Hulk Hogan challenging Xena to a battle royale. Odin says Xena will restore Ares to Olympus (more file footage), who will in exchange, make her his queen. Nigel points out that Ares and Xena have an adversarial history, but Odin ain't buying that. He asks a logical question. Why didn't Xena kill Ares when she had the chance? It's because she's always had a thing for him, (Insert the closing scene from Coming Home). Odin threatens the monitor, telling Xena to stay away from Valhala or she knows what's going to happen to her. He points his finger and the monitor goes up in a barrage of teeny tiny pieces while Nigel cowers behind his chair. "You'll never be a god, Xena!" Odin concludes.
I won't voice all my questions from this segment, but here are some of the more obvious. What was Nigel and the film crew doing in the Norse country? Who invited him? Why would Xena and Gabrielle agree to ever do an interview with anyone? How did I know Nigel's name, when it hasn't even been mentioned at this point? How did the golden apples suddenly become a plot point, when ambrosia has always been the food of the gods? What is this thing on my arm, and should I see a doctor? Errr...back to the show!
Nigel has apparently escaped Odin's clutches and is in the woods. We are witnessing an epic struggle, Odin and his apples vs. Xena and her desire to possess them...but why? Odin spots Gabs washing up by a stream, her regular clothes on her top half and her bottom half wrapped in a towel. He charges after her, wanting to know if Xena and Ares have a sexual relationship. Is Xena Ares' love slave? She whirls on him, "What are you doing here?" and begins to beat him mercilessly with a loufah until his face ends up in the mud. She stalks off.
Not to be distracted, Nigel's all cleaned up and tells us there's one other person who can shed his light on "the twisted co-dependent relationship between the warrior princess and the god of war." In the background, is a hovel, a horrible looking old shack that is overgrown with weeds. I've got a really bad feeling about this! Nigel pounds on the door, and a male voice tells him to go away. Uh oh, I know that voice! He continues to pound, knowing there is someone in there, (duh...the voice was a clue!), and finally the door opens to strains of...oh no...hillbilly music. Yep, it's Ares himself, say it with me now, shirtless, and looking a little grunged up. He's got a large stein in his hand, and apparently, all the hard work Xena and Gabrielle did on the farm was all for naught, the place looks worse than when they just found it! Nigel wants to know if he's the former god of war, but Ares wants to know...."who wants to know?" Nigel wants him to answer some questions about Xena, but Ares has nothing to say about Xena Nigel tells him Odin thinks Xena wants the apples to restore Ares to Olympus, to which Ares responds, "That'd be d*** nice." Is he drinking a vanilla milk shake? He still hasn't gotten the hang of the mortal gig. He wants to make it clear Xena owes him nothing. Nigel continues to tell him what Odin said, about Ares and Xena ruling side by side. Ares gives a hearty sarcastic laugh. Xena has had plenty of chances to be his queen and she's not interested. For someone who had nothing to say about Xena, he's got an awful lot to say about Xena! Nigel wants to know if Ares has talked to her lately; Ares just wants to know why he can't bother some other god sent down from Olympus. Nigel wants to know if there are other gods who survived the attack, and about the time we hear, "Yo, Ares!" from off-screen. Oh boy, I REALLY know that voice! Nigel has heard it too, and wants to know who it is, pushing Ares aside to get inside the shack. Once inside, Ares is really uncomfortable, the guy now has a milk moustache for crying out loud!, and tells Nigel to laugh it up at the conditions of his living quarters. A door opens and in walks someone saying, "Ares, what's the commotion?" The someone is Xena, and I must admit, I was REALLY curious as to why she was there. I don't know why I was so surprised, but I was! She isn't too happy to see Nigel, and even less happy to see the camera. I love the way she keeps looking at the camera, like it bothers her far more than the guy asking the questions! She wants to know what Nigel is doing here, and he tells her it's because he was right about her all along. Ares takes another drink, and now the lower face of his face is covered in some kind of froth. I didn't find that amusing at all. "Stay out of my business, Nigel," she growls. Ah, that's how I know his name...someone finally said it! Don't ask me who told her! "Are you in love with Ares?" Nigel presses, and Ares gets violent, yelling and shoving Nigel out of the room while Xena and he do their best to get the camera shut down. It's like watching Sean Penn dodge the paparazzi.
Next stop, heaven. Nigel has sat down in a cave with Michael, the not-so-angelic archangel. Nigel asks Michael if Odin should fear Xena, and Michael says he wouldn't put his tail feathers on the line to trust Xena. Nigel calls Michael an angel, but Michael corrects him quickly, "Arch angel." Nigel builds up Michael's confidence and wonders if archangels look for the good in people. Michael laughs and tells about mankind's free will, and how far Xena likes to stretch hers. Xena puts her own self-interest ahead of the greater good. He summarizes the whole storyline of "The Haunting of Amphipolis" and "The Heart of Darkness", painting Xena in a very negative light. "And if she's capable of doing that, of seducing an archangel into assuming the throne of hell, you tell me...who wouldn't she be willing to screw over?" "Who indeed?" Nigel asks before being...cast out...
It's a long fall, and Nigel ends up at the opposite end of the earth...hell. He's about to be the first to ever get an exclusive interview with Lucifer. Lucifer hasn't changed much since we last saw him...he still looks like Freddie Krueger to me, even though I'm pretty sure it's a different actor. Nigel tells Lucifer that the public wants to know the real demon behind the myth. "Try not to cover anything up." I laughed at Lucifer's response, "Cover anything up? I'm the devil, you idiot! I'm real bad...I'm evil incarnate. What do I have to cover up?" He wants to know what Nigel is doing there, "Are you one of mine?" You mean he's got so many he can't keep track? Nigel is quick to tell him no, he's part of an investigation on Xena. That fires up Lucifer! He still should be an archangel. He wouldn't be there if it wasn't for her lies and deceit. Nigel wants to know if that means she can't be trusted. Lucifer flames up again, "She's a lying sack! I only wish I could get her down here...mete out some everlasting punishment!" Nigel says that's not an impossible dream, knowing Xena's evil history. Lucifer knows of all the good she's done though, and isn't so sure. But now he can't wait to get his claws into Nigel once he's dead. Nigel laughs uneasily, he's an award-winning investigative journalist, not a murdering warlord. "Like I said," Lucifer repeats, roughing Nigel up some, "I can't wait to get my claws into you."
Next scene is a fish statue, and a bunch of young folks kneeling around it, gently murmuring. Nigel, yes, him again, approaches the one in front, wanting to know if it's Eve. Eve turns and smiles, wanting to know if he want to join the prayer circle. No he wants to know about Xena, but Eve tells him her mother can answer for herself. She and the others try to walk away. Nigel follows, asking Eve if Xena wants to become a god. Eve replies there is only one God, Eli's God. Nigel asks if Xena follows that God, but Eve replies she respects their faith...she would do nothing to offend it. Uh, excuse me, but wasn't it just a week ago that Xena was on the verge of killing an archangel? I think that would offend some! Then Nigel asks about Ares. Eve turns on him, "What about Ares?" Nigel tells her the rumor, about the ruling on Olympus thing. Eve shakes her head and smiles, "The time of the mini-gods has passed." Nigel starts pushing buttons. "Then why is Xena trying to steal the golden apples, and why is she shacked up with Ares?...Did you know that?" Eve is backing away, vehemently shaking her head in horror now. Nigel brings up Xena's standing by, doing nothing, while Ares killed Eli. Uh...excuse me again, but wasn't it Gabrielle that witnessed Eli's murder? Xena didn't come into the picture until after he was dead. But it doesn't matter...apparently Eve has been watching Springer a lot. Does she kiss Xena with that mouth? She assures Nigel in very expletive terms that Xena would only be with Ares for a very good reason. Nigel gets in one more comment, "Are you still jealous because Ares was obsessed with your mother the entire time he was sleeping with you?" Eve is really p***** now, I counted at least four f words bleeped out during the whole spiel with her, along with a p word, a couple of s words, and an a word. But Nigel is a glutton for punishment, goading her, trying to get her to admit she wants to see Xena and Ares in Olympus so the three of them can continue their "bloody menage a tois". Ergh! If she hadn't cold cocked him right then, I would have! That was uncalled for!
Eve and the followers leave Nigel to pick himself up, spluttering at the camera, "Tell me you got that, you got that, right?" The camera pulls back to reveal Nigel watching himself on a monitor before turning to another camera (I know this is confusing). He tells us this is shocking coming from a messenger of Eli, but not so shocking perhaps, coming from the daughter of Xena.
He's changed camera angles, and is now telling us that Xena's brings strong emotions from people she's crossed paths with, fear and anger. But she also commands fierce loyalty from her friends. It is this loyalty that brings the person sitting opposite him into the studio. Any guesses? "Gabrielle, thank you." The caption comes up, "Gabrielle, Xena's sidekick", and Gabrielle says you're welcome, but she's here to tell Nigel he's wrong about Xena. He's wrong in every sense. Xena and Ares don't have a conspiracy to rule the world. Xena wants to save the world. Nigel wants to know if Ares wants to save the world also. "It's hard to explain," Gabrielle laughs. Nigel doesn't think so. Maybe Xena doesn't lust after war...maybe she lusts after the god of war. Gabs gives a very embarrassed, uncomfortable grin. "Xena doesn't lust after Ares." Nigel asks her to direct her attention to the monitor. We see the kiss from Coming Home, the kiss from Livia. the first kiss from Amphipolis Under Siege, and the nipple bite leading to the lip lick from the same episode. Gabs watches it, swallows, and tries to grin again. "So they have...history. It doesn't mean anything." Nigel sucks on the earpiece of his glasses while Gabs continues to look at the monitor, a fake smile in place that seems to be saying "I wish he'd shut up, now!" Nigel wants to know if it's possible that Gabbers is confused by her own feelings for Xena. "By my feelings for Xena?" Gabs repeats, putting a hand to her heart. "Come on Gabrielle, I know that Xena is more to you than just...a friend." Gabrielle laughs nervously again, I must say Renee is absolutely fantastic in this whole segment...so true to character and hilarious in her discomfort!, and says, "Okay, you're right...she's...she's my best friend." So much for revealing the truth here! Nigel always has something to say. "What would you say, Gabrielle, if I told you that not too long ago I found your friend, Xena, in a tumble-down little love shack at the edge of town in the arms of Ares?" The smile is gone from Gabbers face as she listens to this piece of news. It returns briefly, only to fade when he asks her how she feels. "I don't know how I feel." Nigel moves in for the kill now. "Tell us all the truth. You and Xena are lovers, or I should say were lovers until you were replaced by Ares?" She looks horrified, opening her mouth to only get out, "I..." before hesitating, looking much distressed, I must say. He tries one last time...at least for now. "Gabrielle, are you in love with Xena?" She shakes her head, saying the following as if she doesn't believe what she's saying, "I don't love Xena."
Okay, while the commercials play, I have a few more random questions. What, oh what, was Xena doing in Ares' shack? This one really, really bothers me! And why didn't Gabrielle know about it? What is up with Michael...why did he go from being such a God-serving angel to a "make sure you get my best camera angle" jerk? When did Eve go from a "by the powers of Eli" peace-lover to "say something about mom and I'll drag your you-know-what in the dirt" butt kicker? And why, oh why, would Gabrielle say she doesn't love Xena???? We all know Gabrielle loves Xena...we just don't know to what level the love goes. That was a big clue to what's going on in this episode! One more question...why is Gabrielle fighting Varia in the previews of next week's episode? Looks like a return to normality is on the horizon!
And back to the show...Gabrielle is still under the line of fire. "You mean, you don't love Xena?" Nigel asks, and there's a disturbance heard off screen. Someone yells it's a closed set, and we hear an angry warrior princess's retort, "Closed set, my butt!" Xena crashes in to the studio, knocks over a few stage hands, and holds her hand out to Gabs. "Xena, I was just trying to stop him from telling lies about you." "I know," Xena replies, "let's go." Nigel sees his chance and asks Xena if she's in love with Gabs. "You've got some pair on you, Mister," Xena answers. He tells her he's just doing his job, and she says so is she before she puts the pinch on him. She tells him if he's done his research he'll know he's got thirty seconds to listen to what she has to say. She knows he wants to know if she loves Gabrielle. But she asks him if he loves anyone, his wife, his dog, himself? Anyone? She pokes and prods him during this, pushing his glasses against his face, poking at his nose...all Nigel can do is gasp. Xena concludes with, of course, he can't. None of them can! They've lost the greatest gift the gods ever gave them, and she's going to get it back. She holds up a finger. "That's your story." She releases the pinch, and for some reason Gabrielle grins hugely at this...even as she makes sure Nigel is okay. Xena turns to the camera, and I guess it's her response to Odin's Hulk Hogan challenge, "You hear me, Odin?" she yells. "I'm coming for yaaaaaaa!"
The next scene is the funniest one of the whole episode, for me at least. For some reason seeing Xena and Gabrielle in full costume, walking outside a sound stage having a conversation struck me as hilarious. This dialog is too funny not to quote in full:Gabrielle: So what's the plan?Cut back to the Norse tavern and Nigel is monologuing (is that a real word?) about a world without love. That doesn't seem to be a problem in this tavern, because as Nigel points out, it's the one place in the world where love isn't in short supply. It's a brothel, and Nigel is having a hard time delivering his speech because he is being uh...approached by women, trying to get a piece of his anatomy. The den mother (okay, I know that's not her title, but I'm trying to be genteel here), is giving out numbers to the prospective customers. She tells Nigel they have a special on the Thor's Hammer, or for a bit extra he can have the Ride of the Valkyries. Uh...no, I ain't gonna go there, I'm trying to be genteel, remember? Nigel comments that business is booming, and the woman replies her men know where to come to dock their long boats docked. Uh huh. But her business isn't about love. The less love in her business, the fatter her wallet. Hey, she said it, I didn't! She calls out for number 27, for the Thor's Hammer..."Will make you feel like a god of thunder!" The second the voice yelled back, "Yo! I got 27" I cringed. Sheesh...Ares still hasn't wiped that stuff from his face. Nigel spots him..."The former god of war!". "No, I'm not," Ares responds, sounding very weak. He notices the camera and shouts, "Crap!", taking off. I love Ares character, but so far in this episode, he's just been...embarrassing. Nigel is following him, and we hear Ares shout, "I'm trying to get laid, I'm not a criminal!" as he exits the bordello.
Xena: I'm going after Odin!
G: There's got to more to it than that.
X: Why do you do that?
G: Do what?
X: Ask me to spell out the plan! You think after all these years you could maybe join the dots yourself. (I was laughing VERY hard at this after just reading some ironic posts on one of the mailing lists last night about how Gabrielle seems to never quite aware of what's going on...great timing, guys!)
G: Well, why do I have to drag it out of you? You know, I wish you would show me the pinch. I would force you to share your little "plan" with me. (I put quotes there, because that's what Gabs does with her hands. Her condescending expression during that is hysterical!)
X: No, no, no, you can take the pinch off, but you're not allowed to put the pinch on!
G(grabbing X's arm and whirling her around): Oh, I'm not allowed? Oh that's right, I'm the sidekick. You go ahead, Xena, I'll walk ten paces behind you and your horse!
X: You can walk beside my horse! (insert my gleeful giggling here)
G: That's really big of you, Xena!
X (shaking her head and putting up her hands): Wait, Gabrielle, stop! What's going on? This isn't us!
G: We're saying things that people who love each other would never say.
X: We gotta get love back into the world, Gabrielle, and fast!
G: Right....so what's the plan? (She gives a great big "I just did that to see the fire in your eyes" grin. I want a screen capture of that grin!)
Next we see a mountain cave, that could just as easily be Grindl's or Morloch's cave. Nigel is spelunking, flashlight in hand, whispering to us that a source has contacted them about telling the whole story. It's a feminine voice, and the identity is not revealed in this scene, although anyone who's seen the Ring trilogy will recognize it. It's Grinhilda again, dressed like a Jawa. She tells Nigel he's following the wrong story. Xena's trying to put a god on Olympus, but not the god he thinks. She can't tell him who, and is in great danger if Odin finds out she betrayed him. Nigel tries a different tactic to get her to tell him who the god is, but she tells him it's a waste of time. He wants to know what Xena is doing with Ares, and Grin tells her Xena will play any card to accomplish her task. Nigel presses about Xena wanting to be a god, and Grin tells her Xena doesn't rule the world, "She wants to save it." Hmmm...that's the exact same thing Gabrielle said! Nigel asks her why she believes this. "Because she saved me." She starts to take off, but Nigel begs her to wait, wanting to know where he should go from here. "Follow the love," she says before she is out of sight.
Nigel tells us "follow the love" is a bizarre command in a world seemingly devoid of love. He's standing in a forest again, and behind him is a group of people mobbing someone dressed in pink. Looks like Aphrodite is on the scene! He bursts through the people, and touches Aphrodite's shoulder, to get her attention. She whirls on him, "I said keep your mortal meat hooks..." then she notices the camera and starts preening, "Well, hello there!" If the camera was so foreign to Xena and Gabrielle, why does Aphrodite immediately recognize it? Oh, sorry...it's not time for questions yet! Someone else tries to touch Aphrodite, and she punches them, "Get off!", then turns back to cheese for the camera.
Somehow, they got the people away, and Nigel is ready for his one-on-one with Aphrodite. He asks if it's true she lost her mind with Caligula, and Aphrodite tells him it's true, but Xena gave her back her life. But she bemoans the fate of living, growing old, and wrinkled,...and saggy. Nigel wants to know what the people are doing there, but she's more concerned by the tiny line at the corner of her eye. Finally he gets her to talk to him, and she tells him the mortals have squandered or spurned all the love that's left in the world. It's all gone. The love has slipped through the mortal's fingers except for the few people who are there, trying to get the last bits of love clinging to her. There is nothing she can do as a mortal. Her powers are tied to Olympus and Xena made sure she couldn't get back to it.
Nigel repeats "Xena", and then he's leading Aphrodite through what looks like a wartorn battlefield. There's snow all over the place. You know, Aphrodite should really look out of place in her nightie, but she doesn't. Gabs and Beowulf are taking cover behind a rock, watching Valhala intently. Gabrielle is irritated to see Nigel, but when she sees Aphrodite behind her, she smiles and gives her a hug. Nigel wants to know where Xena is, and Gabs pushes at him telling him to get lost. He asks again, and Gabs says "You just missed her." I guess Beo is tired of the chatter because he tells Nigel, "She's gone in to face Odin, alone..." Nigel wants to know if Xena is going to kill him, but Gabs tells him Xena doesn't have the power to kill gods, not anymore. So much for keeping that a secret! Thunder sounds, and lightning flashes, we hear Xena's wicked battle laugh and a "yah!" and a male grunt. Gabrielle looks on worried...."But Odin can kill her."
Question time...Why, oh, why would Gabrielle agree to do another interview? I know she wanted to tell Nigel the truth, but she knew this guy was relentless! Why did I find the conversation outside the studio so funny? If they hadn't ended with "something's wrong", I'm sure I wouldn't have, but it was great! Why did Grinhilda come forward to talk to Nigel? It sounded like she was trying to help Xena, when in the teaser she was fighting with all her might to keep Xena from Valhala. Well, that one is actually answered in the final segment, but at the time, I couldn't figure it out. Why paint Ares in such a terrible portrait, looking like an uncouth slob? Sad...very sad. Why did Aphrodite follow Nigel to Valhala? Okay, we'll find that out too, if you haven't already figured it out. Why is Beowulf completely wasted in this episode? Why do we not get to see a real fight scene in this episode?
The unseen battle rages on, and Xena and Odin are making a lot of noise. The chakram sound whirrs and swords clank. Nigel drones on and on. Finally, Aphrodite turns to Gabrielle, "Gabrielle, I have to say I'm glad to see you're still traveling with Xena. I was afraid that with me away from Olympus, you two might not be so close." "No, we're still partners," Gabrielle responds. Good, she's over that sidekick thing! Nigel reminds us once again, while Xena is there to get the golden apples. But if she succeeds, who will she bestow them upon?
The sounds quiet, and Nigel tells us something might be happening. Beowulf stands (why is he here, anyway?). "The day may be decided," he says. Gabrielle stands beside him, and we see Xena has won, as she prods Odin out of Valhala, kicking him in the seat of his pants, the golden apples firmly in her hand.( hee hee, I was going to say "his" golden apples firmly in her hand, but I thought someone might misinterpret that!) I absolutely adore Gabrielle's faithfulness! "Xena, are you all right?" Xena holds up the apples, "Couldn't be better!" she smiles back. "You've beaten Odin," Beowulf says...hmmm...never would have figured that one out on my own! "Don't rub his nose in it!" Xena calls back. She tells Odin he could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had just given her the fruit. This is going to sound really strange, but the chakram at her waist looks much bigger than usual! Maybe it's the camera angle...weird. Odin tells her his pain is almost over. He wants her to eat the apple and end this.
Xena finally approaches the waiting group, and Nigel thinks he's got it all figured out. He knows Xena isn't going to eat the apple, to which she responds, "Why ever not?" holding one of the apples to her mouth. Nigel still thinks she's going to give it to Aphrodite to restore love to the world. "Give this apple to Aphrodite and bring love back to the world?" she muses. Nigel grins and Gabrielle, standing behind him, smiles encouragingly. Xena isn't finished," That's a novel and very unselfish idea. No, it's not something the Xena you know would do." Methinks the warrior princess is toying with our investigative journalist! "Well, before," he answers, "I was reporting on the wrong Xena, Xena." Xena eyes him seriously, "Maybe..."
"And maybe not!" I know that voice, and it's Ares again. Thank the gods he's got his wargod leathers back on and looks nice and cleaned up! It's about time! You know, the ambrosia always looked like orange jello to me, but I hope whoever put the gold spraypaint on these apples made sure it was non-toxic! Nigel tells Xena she can't restore Ares power, but Xena and Ares are eyeing each other triumphantly. "Now he's telling me what I can't do," Xena whispers, "I think I can" and holds up the apple to Ares' mouth. He takes a big bite and that must be some good eating! "It's juicy," he tells Xena, and she holds it up to her nose, looking at it very hungrily. Ares gets a rush of power, and rolls the invisible dice, sending a fireball into some rocks. Whoo hoo! He's back!! Thank the gods!! He sends another one for good measure.
Nigel knew it...Xena was in it for herself. I wish he would make up his mind! Odin adds, "Of course, she is, you moron! Who wouldn't want to be a god?" Ares tries real hard, pushing the apple to her mouth. "Come on...it's good." Xena really, REALLY takes a long look at the apple. "Don't", Gabrielle says, looking worried. "Hey," Ares says, pointing a finger at Gabs, "there's nothing for you here." He continues with Xena, telling her the "weasel" had some good ideas about her becoming a goddess, them having some kicks. "Wouldn't want you to be alone on Olympus," Xena says, and she continues to stare into Ares eyes, opening her mouth to take a bite. "Xena, don't," Gabrielle says again, and Xena glances at her. I honestly think she wanted to take a bite of the apple. I never would have thought that of her, but in this scene, there wasn't even a hint of a bluff. She was really going to do it, but Gabrielle's look of "you'd better not, or I'm telling...someone" makes her hesitate. "Aphrodite will keep you company," she finally whispers to Ares, and she pitches the apple to Aphrodite, who grins, "Thank you, Xena," before taking a bite. Her love vibes start to flow, sweeping over Nigel, then Gabrielle, then Xena. Now this next thought has got me really fired up. Gabrielle gets a big grin on her face, and it's obvious she's looking at Xena. No problem. But as Xena breaks into her widest, best grin (love that smile!), as far as I can tell, she has not changed positions, and is looking straight ahead... at Ares. Maybe I've read way too much into those few seconds...but I'm just wondering...who was Xena really looking at? Beowulf walks up to Gabs, "It really is good to see you again, Gabrielle," he says, putting a hand on her face and she tells him "You've got that gleam in your eye, Beowulf," with a hand to his shoulder. Aphrodite is beaming, of course, and tells Ares they should leave the mortals to their business. What a surprise...Ares isn't done with Xena. He tries once again to get her to eat an apple, now that she has the power of love. "Think about the possibilities." She's not even tempted this time though. She gives the three remaining apples to Odin and tells him to "keep these someplace safe." "I guess you'd know I'll never stop trying," Ares tells her. Xena gives him a not-too-friendly, yet very familiar scowl, "I'd expect nothing less." Aphrodite giggles and pulls Ares along with her as they disappear. Xena kind of shakes her head, and then looks rather morose, by the gods, there are tears in her eyes!
Odin wants to know how Xena breached his defenses when he'd been preparing for her for weeks. She tells him, "I cheated....Had a little help from a friend." She gives him that quirky half grin, and turns to see the long tall Jawa walking along a path on the side of a mountain. Grinhilda turns and reveals she's....Grinhilda. The interview aren't quite over, because now Grin is sitting in Nigel's studio, telling Nigel how Xena saved her. Nigel reminds her how she turned Grin into the creature in the first place, but Grin responds that was a different Xena, "the dark, evil Xena. The real Xena restored my human form, and returned me to Valhala." Nigel says it doesn't make sense for Xena to return Ares to Olympus as the god of war, and now Xena is in the chair. She tells Nigel "you can't have love without hate, peace without violence, and you certainly can't have forgiveness without anger. I knew I couldn't just send Aphrodite back to Olympus without Ares...It would have thrown the whole world out of balance." Cut back to Grin, telling Nigel it's her people's lust for living that defines them. Xena knew that, so Grin sent Nigel after Aphrodite while she rounded up Ares. Nigel couldn't figure that out. Duh! "You sent me after Aphrodite?" "Follow the love?" Grinhilda smiles back. Nigel just put two and two together and realized she was the voice in the cave. "Xena wanted you out of her hair for a while. She figured she might as well put you to work getting Aphrodite for her." While Nigel lets that soak in, Grin stands. She has to go; Odin is still pretty sore at her.
Next is Eve and her friends. She apologizes to Nigel on all their behalf, and ensures Nigel they're back on the way of love. She and her group hold up uh...homemade whips? I'm sure they have a name which I can't remember, but it's the same thing used to purify Cyane in Sin Trade and Gabrielle in Bitter Suite. "You may flagellate us," Eve tells him. Did she just say something dirty again? How come they didn't bleep that out? Nigel doesn't need to do that. "No we insist," Eve says, and he protests again. "Do it!" she barks, handing him the whip and lowering her head with a smile. Uh...do I want to go there? Nah, I'm not still trying to be genteel or anything, but I'm beginning to wonder if Eve liked it when her mother slugged her last week!
Ares looks very much at home, draped over his throne at Olympus. "Do I think she did it because of how she feels about me?," he queries. "No...I mean, don't get me wrong....sparks (which he demonstrates with his hands), you can see that, right? Right. No, she pretty well did it for the same reason she always does, redeeming herself, her evil past...(now in feminine voice) Oh, I killed so many people, the pain, the pain." Ares gives the universal symbol for uh...polishing your sword during this...I am so glad he is back! His offer was genuine, he has a place for her here. But the place is not the same. He tells "Chuckles" it's over and to cut the filming. The filming continues. A fireball forms in his hand, "Do not make me ZAP YOU!" he barks.
I guess he didn't, because the final scene is here. The scene I will have bad dreams about for a long time to come. Okay, that's being overdramatic (who me? No way!) , but here goes... Xena, Gabrielle, and Nigel are in a tavern. Nigel says he has only one question left...the question Gabrielle has been avoiding all evening. Xena looks a little bored, but Gabrielle, knowing the question, smiles and nods, her head down. "Are you two...lovers?" Nigel asks. Xena looks mildly to Gabrielle who just looks back. I don't think Xena quite got the question..."You're asking...", while Gabrielle gives an abbreviated laugh. "That's right," Nigel continues, "I'm asking are you two...(dramatic pause)...lovers?" Xena is on her feet, with Gabs trying to hold her back. "That's none of your beeswax, Nigel!" Gabrielle reminds Xena, "You just risked everything to bring love back into the world." Xena calms a little and sits back down...."So what?" Gabrielle grins, mischievously. "I think you should answer the question." I agree. Xena, answer the friggin question! "Oh you do, do you?" she ask Gabs. "Yeah," Gabbers replies. Xena opens her mouth to speak, but Nigel suddenly remembers he's a reporter, and has to set up the statement for the camera...gee...are we stalling here, guys? As he tells us about the world exclusive, there's some interesting interplay between Xena and Gabs. Gabrielle is much amused by all this, and Xena is trying to keep her stoic face in place, but a small smile cracks through as they elbow each other. Finally back to the question...."Gabrielle....Xena....are you two lovers?" Both of them stare at Nigel, then Xena finally says, "You want the truth?" "That's right, the truth..." Nigel confirms.
Okay, get ready to get really, really angry. I did, and watching it again, I'm even more infuriated. "Well, it's like this..." Xena begins saying, and the picture and sound get snowy. We see them again for a brief second, and Xena is saying, "Technically", with a finger in the air, and then the picture fades entirely to static. "Please stand by" and a test pattern screen come up as Nigel shouts, "What? It's dead? The battery? We're telling the world's greatest story and you're telling me the battery is dead? I don't believe this...ah man!" It fades to that annoying beeping sound and Sam and Rob's name.
I was not amused...I don't like being slapped in the face like that, and that's the way I feel. The scene with Gabrielle earlier on was fine...it was just a tease. But for some reason this scene just goes through me like a knife. I told someone I pictured Rob Tapert leaning back in his chair, his fingers intertwined behind his head, thinking what a good chuckle the fans would get from this episode.
I was glad to see Ares and Aphrodite restored, and I did laugh over some of the stuff earlier in the episode, particularly the scene outside the studio, but I certainly didn't chuckle after this scene! The conclusion was like a bad Saturday Night Live skit. And I won't rant over it anymore, because I'm tired of thinking.
Questions for this segment...Why does Nigel change the focus of his documentary so much? Was Xena really that close to taking a bite of the apple? Who is Chuckles and why does Ares hate him so much? What does flagellation have to do with the Way of Love? Why do I let a show get to me as much as XWP does? Well, I will answer that one...because I love the characters so much! I don't blame Lucy and Renee for this abrupt final scene, I blame the Powers That Be. Maybe some viewers will find it funny. Whoops, I'm ranting again, and I just said I wasn't going to do that!
Leave off the final scene, and this episode was clever and fun. I thought Lucy and Renee's performances were dead on the mark, not over-acted , and very much in character. Definitely the best part of the episode for me! I'll be very interested to hear what others think of this episode!
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
OK, hang on, I have to stop laughing long enough to type.
Good God almighty, that was a fun comedy. Just the setup of having a modern-day reporter, with all the equipment and clothes and speech of today, running around the Xenaverse without a word of explanation or question made me chuckle. The episode's disclaimer is about the only thing in the show the acknowledges that "The concept of linear time was severely harmed during the making of this motion picture." The episode was a giant game of "What If": What if Geraldo Rivera were in a Xena episode?
This episode was another example of the incredibly creative way XenaStaff approaches clip shows. This was, in essence, a clip show, since both Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor had relatively little screen time and no big complicated fights or stunts to pull off. The clips were shown as file photos, artist's renderings, and "watch on the monitor" moments. The remainder of the time was filled in with interviews from a rogue's gallery of the show's best characters of the past season or so. X:WP retains its crown for some of the most original ways of pulling off clip shows of all time.
A bonus to getting Michael Hurst in this episode: two characters for the price of one! We meet Nigel the reporter, and we get a wonderful return appearance of Charon, all the way from first season's Mortal Beloved.
The whole Odin interview was hilarious - a talking chair that even moves with lines like the petulant twist with "Whatever!" And when Nigel calls Odin on his transparent trick, Odin pauses, curses, and reappears, outwitted. Odin still can't win - and I thought some of the *Greek* gods were wusses!
Xena's grandparents' home isn't faring well under Ares' care. He's managed to do more damage than twenty-five years of abandonment did! Good thing he's able to give that up. But a question: what happened to Horace?
Nigel must have one bodacious passport. The Norselands, Greece, Heaven, Hell, Valhalla, back to the Norselands... there's a guy determined to track down his story!
The talks with Michael and Lucifer revisit the whole controversy about how much guilt Xena should bear for Lucifer's fall. It doesn't make any progress on it, mind you, it just talks about the same things the fans talked about after the episode.
Gabrielle's interview was a great scene. She actually starts breathing heavier when Nigel throws the Ares love scenes at her. She gives a great reaction to her own realization before she says she doesn't love Xena. And then Xena breaks down the set, tells Nigel he "has a pair on him," puts the pinch on him, and for once instead of the traditional "You have 30 seconds to tell me _____," says "You have 30 seconds to listen to what I have to say." Beautiful!
BIG time kudos to this episode for telling a very coherent story while the jokes are rolling! Beowulf brushes off Gabrielle, Eve is straying from her path of love, Xena and Gabrielle are bickering (well, more than usual)... all signs that something's rotten in the state of the XenaVerse. Of course, we figure out the plot a lot quicker than Nigel does, but forgive him, maybe he hasn't watched many Xena episodes before.
The episode's plot gets a mixed consistency review... but then again, so does the whole show. The loss of love in this episode harkened back to Ten Little Warlords, when the world started to go crazy with the loss of the god of war. The problem is that none of that has happened since Xena plowed most of Olympus under - amazons are still running around, war and discord have been having a fine time, forges still burn. But I'm willing to give love a little extra air time.
The whole "So what's the plan?" argument was hilarious. Xena's finally exasperated with the traditional method of exposition. It doesn't keep Gabrielle from ending the whole scene with the same "So what's the plan" question that started it, along with an adorable grin. But it's also the one scene in the episode when the point of view is broken. Other than the first 45 seconds, the whole episode takes place through Nigel's cameras. Except for that scene.
Slight camera mismatch during the post-interview argument: when Xena and Gabrielle face off, Xena's hair is over her right shoulder whenever the camera is behind her, but is all pulled back whenever she's shot from the front.
The episode takes a brief foray into All The President's Men territory, complete with a Deep Throat character who tells Nigel to "Follow the love" instead of "Follow the money." But unlike Woodward and Bernstein's Deep Throat, this one doesn't have the patience for denial and absence-of-denial games.
Aphrodite may be burdened with mortal woes, but she has plenty of time and attention for a camera. Don't miss her smack of a peasant who's clinging a little too closely and might interrupt her camera time!
I can think of two reasons that Xena paused so long over the golden apple before giving it to Aphrodite. First was that she may have wanted to toy with Nigel some more and make him sweat about which Xena was going to pick. Plus, with the God of War now back in his seat and no love in the land, how could that not be a tempting idea?
Aphrodite and Ares are both back, hale and hearty and god-ly again! It'll be very good to have Ares back in full form. I missed having that nasty fellow around.
That was a little bit Too Much Information about what Eve's into these days when she demands that Nigel flagellate them all for losing their love. Someone really wants to be punished for being a naughty girl.
So, Xena and Gabrielle: "ARE you two lovers?" The show has now been playing the subtext game for so long and so famously that they can devote half an episode to a reporter trying to weasel that answer out. And Nigel fares no better than any of the show's viewers. "Technically," we still don't get an answer. Even the word "technically" could be used to build any of a whole slew of responses. The episode itself still throws lots of conflicting hints our way. In between accusations that Xena and Ares are shacking up and a montage of their love scenes, Gabrielle reassures Aphrodite that she and Xena are partners, even when love is gone from the earth. And when Aphrodite starts putting out her love waves, Xena and Gabrielle stare at each other pretty gooily while little hearts float around. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
It was TOUGH to pare down all the jokes to my favorite few of the episode. But after many painful decisions, the best jokes boil down to these:"I was a God... a living god... and that bitch took me out." Definitely Caligula's best line delivery in both his episodes.
Gabrielle's vicious loofah attack on Nigel.
Michael's booming, reverberating "ARCHANGEL!"
"Cover anything up? I'm the devil, you idiot!"
"You can walk beside my horse!"
"I'm trying to get laid, I'm not a criminal!" (Actually, the whole bordello scene was funny. And Ares' denial at being caught was even funnier.)
Aphrodite's squeaked "Saggy!" in her list of mortality woes.
Nigel poking himself in the eye with his glasses.
And taking the All-Time Champeen crown for the funniest line of the episode, in an episode chock full of em: Ares' "Oh, I killed so many people, the pain, the pain" taunt WITH accompanying hand gesture. I scared my cats, I laughed so hard.
Eve's cuss-out of Nigel was ----ing beautiful! I laughed my --- off!
This commentary is by Beboman.
Well, the other shoe finally dropped. It was long over due. I am going to start by saying that this is going to be a record short commentary for me. I know that I usually have the ability to find something good in every episode I review, with a few exceptions, but this one is one of those exceptions.
I think this episode will enter on my list of "Don't Waste Your Time In Watching", but one thing is for sure; it is not as bad as "In Sickness and In Hell". That one is on my personal list (as you all can see, I underlined my personal list) as the worst episode ever.
Don't get me wrong, I like comedies just like the next person, but I thought that giving Ares and Aphrodite their Godhood could have been a bit more dramatic. I could deal with it as a comedy. I can also deal with the need to give both LL and ROC some time off (the Gods know that both women deserve it); they have done an excellent job this year. I can also deal with the use of a character very much like Geraldo Rivera. Michael Hurst did a great job of portraying him. (Oh wow, I found something good in this episode.)
To move on, I found the script choppy, the acting at best weak, and when we finally see some strength in Eve, she uses as many obscenities as possible in one sentence. Once again, I have no problem with that type of language. It is not that I myself have not used some of those chosen words in my life. (Believe me, after working in a world of men for 20 years, I have used and heard almost everything and very few things shock me.) But I prefer more of the Bill Cosby type of standup comedy than the Chris Rock type where the use of obscenities is needed to drive home a point. That is what I objected here about Eve. I also objected to the masochistic turn of Eve at the end of the episode when she presents the newscaster with a flagging stick to punish her for her earlier behavior. To me, that was taking the character completely out of context.
I am not going to go into a philosophical review of the show or an interpretative review of the show because that is not my style. This show, to me, (and once again I underline that part) was a waste of good talent and good film.
In my opinion, the only really funny part of this episode was the end when Xena and Gabrielle are about to answer the question that we are all dying to know and the camera runs out of batteries. That was a good ending to a very poor episode.
With all this said, I think I'll call it a day and hope that the next installment is better.
This commentary is by Jason Boaz.
The first thing I would like to talk about, is this Nigel person. He's a nosy reporter who seems to specialize in asking the wrong questions to people. We've seen him get accosted by Xena, Ares, Lucifer, Eve, Odin and Gabrielle for invading their privacy, not to mention saying nasty things about Eve, Xena and Ares...he was even shoved face-first into the mud by Gabrielle, who was TRYING to take a bath...that is, until Nigel got too close. (Personally, this presents a perfect opportunity to quote Yvenna, who died to help Young Hercules acquire the Golden Fleece. The quote I'm mentioning is from when Yvenna steps on Young Iolaus, who...doesn't make a good first impression on her. "Not only are you covered with it, you're FULL OF IT." )
Now, this guy, Nigel...he sure knows how to get around. He has went from the Norselands, to Valhalla, to "Old Ares' Farm," to Heaven, to Hell, back to the Norselands, to Greece, and finally back to the Norselands and Valhalla. HOW did he and his crew get there? Did they use some time machine to take them back in time, or did someone like Callisto send them there, just to spite Xena? Speaking of Callisto, when Nigel was saying rotten things about Xena to Eve, I think he provoked Callisto's infamous short temper. THAT is WHY Eve, formerly known as Livia, cussed that dummy out, then punched him for a loop. NOBODY speaks that way about Xena and gets away with it...especially if you're talking to Xena's daughter, Eve, who has the soul of greatest adversary the Warrior Princess has ever known, within her.
Moving right along, we'll talk about why Caligula, Michael, Lucifer, Odin, Beowulf and a whole lot of people who have a thing for Xena or Gabrielle were now acting as though they've lost whatever love, or admiration they had for them. It was because the world was suffering from a absence of love, AND war. Remember when Aphrodite quit being the goddess of love on "Love Takes a Holiday?" According to her, the guys still wanted love, but women couldn't care less.
Also, remember what happened in "Ten Little Warlords? Without a sitting god of war, peaceful people have lost the self-discipline to control their anger. Also, those who have learned to channel their anger, just get more and more focused. But people who have no experience with violence totally lose it. Now, without either a sitting goddess of love, OR a sitting god of war, the effects felt by the absence of both Aphrodite AND Ares as the Goddess of Love and the God of War Collide...the world, the Underworld, Heaven, and even Hell are affected by these absences...the result? Total Chaos. In other words, everything was a MESS! A complete and total mess...and Nigel didn't even see it.
Of course, the one who gets the credit on the channeling their anger part is Grinhilda, who, with a clear head, helped Xena get both Ares and=A0Aphrodite to Valhalla, so they can both eat the golden apples, and regain their immortality. Thus, the balance between love and war is restored. Because of the chaos, Xena and Gabrielle had yet another one of their old squabbles. Xena most likely gave Ares a taste of the golden apple first, so those who had no experience with anger could regain their calm. Either that, or Aphrodite lost in a coin toss to decide who gets the first bite.
Also, on a more personal note, I disagree with whoever said that Peter Rowley played Charon. That was definitely Michael Hurst as Charon. I recognized the voice, and the look, not to mention his height. They used either a double for the pesky reporter, who was covered in shadows, most of the time in the interview with Charon, or computer imaging to make both characters Mr. Hurst was playing to be in the same spot at the same time.
This reporter, Nigel knows a lot about those he interviews...well...not really. He is oblivious to the fact that Xena set Ares up in a farm to escape from a bunch of warlords. Xena promised Ares that she might visit. That's what made Ares want to stay in that exact same run-down farm that Nigel thinks is a "love shack." He is oblivious to the fact that Eve, formerly known as Livia, is the reincarnation of Callisto, the Warrior Queen, who is Xena's arch-rival. AND...he is oblivious to the fact that because of a transgression Xena had with Michael about Aphrodite's fate, Eli took away the ability to kill gods from Xena. (The killing the super-powered bad guy's intended victim so he can't gain ultimate power bit Michael played out is a reflection of what the good guys of Dragonball Z tried to do to stop Cell from absorbing Androids 17 and 18 to become perfect...but...that's a completely different show.)
Anyway, getting back on topic, one of the questions Nigel tried to keep asking Xena and Gabrielle about...if they're lovers, was one that both dodged very well. This guy is DENSE, and NOSY! No wonder Lucifer wanted to sink his claws into him. What a pest! Anyway, I'm glad the battery went dead before Xena was forced into an answer. Some mysteries aren't meant to be solved. (Personally, I agree with Gabrielle. She loves her, but NOT in THE WAY Sir Nigel the Dunce thinks. THAT is why she said "I don't love Xena.")
This commentary is by Josh Harrison.
There have been episodes of Xena (and Hercules) that have severely bent the rules of time and space in the name of narrative convenience. But I don't think an episode has ever broken those rules so blatantly - or so brilliantly.
This episode is certainly not to everybody's taste. Fans who are bothered by YAXIs, those who watch for a much more rigid consistency, and those who prefer dark, gritty realism to light-hearted, goofy play will probably be offended by this episode.
And that's perfectly all right - one of the beauties of the Xena fan community is the incredibly diverse array of backgrounds and opinions present. Indeed, the fact that some fans don't blindly swallow the latest offering with fanboyish glee supports the theory that Xena fans are among the most thoughtful, intelligent, and discriminating fans in the realm of science fiction and fantasy.
As for myself, I didn't find this to be the funniest episode in the history of the show. It comes very close, however. If this episode had been played straight, I don't think it would have been anything remarkable. After all, how many of the plot elements have we seen before? Without too many changes, this episode could have played like a retread of "The Quest" - a fine episode, but it's been done.
Instead, the script approaches this episode from a totally different direction. While it is primarily a parody of in-your-face tabloid journalism, the show also pokes fun at itself - proving once again that while the RenPic crew takes their work seriously, they aren't above having a laugh at their own expense.
The cast list reads like a Who's Who of the past season - Caligula, Odin, and Lucifer appear along with Eve, Beowulf, the Valkyries, and other characters. There are some very funny moments, and I noticed some subtle groundwork being laid for a conflict that may dominate the final weeks of the series. I'll get to that in a minute.
Michael Hurst adds yet another character to his Xenaverse credit. Nigel the reporter isn't a bad sort - he's just a little bit blunt. He honestly believes that he's getting to the bottom of a major cover-up, only to discover that the truth isn't always readily apparent. Despite the obstacles and challenges that are thrown in his way, he approaches his job with dedication.
One of the funniest moments in the show illustrates this point beautifully. After speaking with the angel - excuse me - Archangel Michael, Nigel is sent to Hell where he scores an exclusive interview with the Prince of Darkness. When he picks himself up off the ground he looks at the camera and says, "We are here, in Hell," in the very same tone that he introduces all the segments for his dirt-digging TV show. Neither snow nor sleet nor fires of Hell will keep this reporter from his appointed rounds.
Another wonderful subplot in this episode involved Eve. When Nigel interrupts their prayer circle, his probing questions upset Eve and she begins to swear at him in true Jerry Springer fashion - ending her tirade with a right hook that sends the reporter sprawling.
The clincher to the whole gag comes at the end of the episode, when the final wrap-ups are being shown. Eve and her followers are in the studio, apologizing for their behavior. The only way to atone for this was for Nigel to flagellate them.
From my point of view, this was funny on several different levels. First of all, Nigel's reaction to this was priceless. Secondly, the fervent, monotheistic belief system that many fans felt has been infecting the series since it was introduced gets a sly dig without being overtly offensive. Finally, it reminded me of the hysterical sequence in Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Galahad in Castle Anthrax and the punishment Zoot must endure for lighting the grail-shaped beacon ("First come the spankings...").
There are far too many in-jokes and cultural references to adequately cover in this episode. If you didn't like this episode the first time around, a second viewing may moderate your opinion if you keep the following in mind.
Ultimately, this episode is about Nigel, and how his work to uncover the deep dish on Xena changes his life. In fact, I get the impression that the ultimate message of this episode is this: if the show's detractors would only take the time to look beneath the surface, they would find their lives changed and enriched by the experience.
There is one more point I'd like to raise before I bring this commentary to a close. First is the cryptic comment I made earlier about subtle groundwork for a coming conflict. That conflict, I believe, is between Xena and Michael. In "The God You Know" Xena's power to kill gods is taken away when she uses that power against Michael. In his interview with Nigel, Michael reveals some of his feelings about the warrior princess, claiming that she isn't really working for the greater good, but only her own selfish ends.
Michael's attitude isn't new to the series - it first appeared when the Crusader, Najara, appeared on the scene. Najara believed that she knew what was better for people than they did themselves. It would appear that Michael feels the same way. Indeed, looking back on the early episodes this season (most notably, "Heart of Darkness") it would appear that Lucifer was merely the most obvious symptom of a greater cancer afflicting the soldiers of Heaven.
Xena has always fought for people's freedom to live. Humanity doesn't deserve to be enslaved - either by physical chains, or intellectual ones. The respect that Xena has for Eve's beliefs doesn't seem to be returned by those in the higher echelons of the belief. Xena returned Ares and Aphrodite to Olympus not just to get love and hate back into the world, but also to give humanity the freedom to worship as they chose. I get the impression Michael believes humanity doesn't deserve that freedom, or that choice.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess are at their best when they are darkly realistic and emotionally powerful, or humorously subversive and self-deprecating. This episode is a classic example of the latter. While it isn't perfect, it deserves a great deal more credit than I believe some fans gave it. In the end, I give it an A-minus.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
12-30-00. This episode is allegedly a comedy.
12-30-00. Oops. Got it wrong. THE GOD YOU KNOW is where Aphrodite loses her powers, then in YOU ARE THERE is where Xena restores Ares and Aphrodite's powers by using a trick they learned up in the frozen north. YOU ARE THERE is a mockumentary which uses a character Michael Hurst may have played in SEND IN THE CLONES. It is a send up of the "You Are There" TV series where historical figures where interviewed as they were making history. This time, the interviewer follows Xena's attempt at restoring the god powers of both Ares and Aphrodite. Now, the airing schedule for these episodes has been pushed back to April. That is tentative. The official site has then beginning the February sweeps week. The were originally planned to end the February sweeps week. Now it is on the table to air them during no sweeps week in April 2001. If Ares is in PATH OF VENGEANCE, TO HELICON AND BACK, the unnamed Joxer episode, or LAST OF THE CENTAURS, then they may have to reshoot. There are plans to do reshoots for THE GOD YOU KNOW and YOU ARE THERE in early January. If they are going to stick to the April date for THE GOD YOU KNOW and YOU ARE THERE, then they are going to have churn out the Joxer and CENTAURS episode at record speed. That will leave all of February and half of March to film the series ender (still seems to be two episodes), the musical, and FATES.
11-19-00. This episode is an homage to the old CBS dramatized newshow, "You Are There" where CBS reporters who 'go back into history' and interview the key characters during an historical event.
11-15-00. There is a very good possibility that this episode along with the GOD YOU ARE will close out the 2nd airing period covering the February sweeps time.
11-14-00. Michael Hurst is appearing in this episode and playing a part that he originated in either the Norse trilogy or the clip show (CLONES); one source says its related to the Norse episodes and another says it is related to the Clip show. So who knows eh???
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
The first time Nigel finds Eve and her prayer group, watch when the pray-ers gather behind Eve. One woman stops between Eve and Nigel's shoulders, but then a guy practically steps on her to squirm his way into the prime background spot and react to everything that gets said. What an upstager!
The golden apple that Ares and Aphrodite eat sprouts leaves halfway through its scene. It must have been excited to have a moment in the spotlight!
During Grinhilda's interview, where the HECK did Xena come from to throw in her explanation of needing the balance between love and hate? Grinhilda was there alone. That was a jarring cut. And speaking of that interview, Nigel is an awfully dull knife to not yet realize that Grinhilda was his Deep Throat.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
02-26-01. From Virginia & Lourdes S.. Anyone else notice that the beer mug Ares was holding when Nigel visited him was the same beer mug Beowolf was drinking from at the inn?
Click here to read a transcript of YOU ARE THERE.
Linear time was severely harmed during the making of this motion picture.
You Are There review by Michelle Erica Green