GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Shana
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY deb7
COMMENTARY 3 BY Josh Harrison
COMMENTARY 4 BY John Vasser
COMMENTARY 5 BY Beboman
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Story by Paul Robert Coyle
Directed by Charlie Haskell
TV GUIDE PROMO
Modern-day Xena fans clone Xena and Gabrielle and Alti awaits their rebirth. Logline.
Three modern-day fans of Xena create clones of Xena and Gabrielle.
In a modern-day episode, a clone of Xena battles her arch-enemy, the evil Alti. USA Studios
A clone of Xena battles her archenemy, evil Alti. Excite TV
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 04/23/01
An AA average of 2.3
1st RELEASE: 07/30/01
An AA average of 2.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-Files 3.3
(2) Stargate 2.5
(3) Xena 2.2
(4) Andromeda 2.0
(5) Invisible Man/Profiler 1.9
(6) Earth Final Conflict 1.7
(7) Early Edition 1.6
(8) Star Trek: Voyager 1.5
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Two cars meet in a deserted area. One flashes its headlights three times; the other does the same. A lanky svelte woman gets out of a red car. She greets a dorky looking man with a briefcase. He opens the briefcase, revealing a chakram, and then 2000 year old hair samples, perfectly preserved. Money changes hands.
Clips from Them Bones, where Xena tricks Alti into the dreamscape. Pan a room of a Xena fan. Two girls and a guy watch Xena. One says this is good footage. The phone rings, the guy finally answers it. It is the woman from the car meeting, Alexis. She asks if the guy has the clips compiled. Alexis says they have to be on digital disc, and the guy says he knows, he's the computer nerd. He wants more Joxer information. Alexis tells him to let Leah decide, she has information about psych profiles. She tells nerd guy, Leah, and Dr. Polly to meet her in 72 hours.
They go into a dark looking high-rise building. The three go up to Alexis, who says the "maturation acceleration" worked well. She points to two tables, where naked Xena and Gabrielle lay. The tables move until Xena and Gabrielle are nearly standing upright. The three are very excited.
Alexis tells Leah that the hair came from the Tomb of the Scrolls. Nerd boy oogles Xena's body. Leah says that Gabrielle is Xena's most important relationship. Alexis says they have to put the information from the show into their brains. They put EKG patches on Xena and Gabrielle's head. Leah wants to put in the official tribute to Gabrielle. Nerd boy doesn't like that idea. Alexis says Xena is first and foremost a warrior. Nerd boy puts in the clips. Scenes from Chakram, Eve, Motherhood (?), The Way, Heart of Darkness. Dr. Polly checks on the clones, but no response. Leah says Xena needs a dose of Gabrielle to jump-start her heart. Nerd boy wants to jump-start her heart with his hands. Alexis says that enough for the day; they don't want to overstimulate the clones, or they might go crazy.
Dr. Polly says she ordered the clones some Xena and Gabrielle clothes from a catalog. Everyone leaves. Later, a gloved hand gently brushes Xena's face. Gabrielle's EKG patches are removed. The mystery person puts in an EVIL XENA disc. Clips from Destiny, Sin Trade. The Xena clone twitches. Clips from Hercules (Armageddon II). The clone sneers.
Next day, Leah and Alexis come in. Leah is upset because Nerd boy cut Gabrielle's hair. The clones are dressed. Nerd boy goes to his computer. Somebody downloaded stuff, he says. They watch, and Alexis says its Evil Xena information. Dr. Polly says Xena's life signs are now working. Nerd boy starts to spit-shine Xena's breastplate (while it is on her body). Leah says Xena needs some Gabrielle information to keep from being traumatized. Alexis agrees. Clips from One Against an Army and The Way. Dr. Polly says that's enough nice stuff. Leah says okay and they show different clips, Ides of March. Alexis says they should show Xena how her dark past had consequences. More clips, A Necessary Evil. They show Callisto, and Xena perks up. She twitches. Xena wakes up and takes off the EKG pads while the four watch other Xena clips. Xena pulls a chakram from her belt and throws it. Everyone watches it whiz around the room. It returns to Xena, but breaks in half. Xena drops the chakram, then puts the pinch on Nerd Boy.
Everyone is taken by surprise. Alexis tells everyone to be calm. Gabrielle wakes up and asks for Xena. Xena says her name. Xena tells Nerd Boy to start talking. Alexis tells Xena she's a clone, and says welcome to the future. Gabrielle tells Xena to take the pinch off of Nerd boy, and she does. Gabrielle asks if Ares did this. Alexis says no, science did. Xena asks why they were brought back, and Leah says because the world needs heroes. They show Xena and Gabrielle the evening news. Dr. Polly says somebody needs to kick b*tt. Xena says she's the girl for that.
Xena says they are hungry. They are given donuts. More clips, Sins of the Past, Prodigal, ITADIH, A Good Day, etc. Xena and Gabrielle eat pizza. The thoughts of the other people are revealed. Dr. Polly is thinking Xena could beat up everyone in the movie world. Nerd Boy is hoping he will be the first 21st century man to screw Xena or Gabrielle (or both). Leah is glad that she got to show her Gabrielle compilation of clips. She thinks she should show the heroes a lot of Ellen shows.
More clips. Return of Callisto, where Gabrielle says good-bye to Xena. Xena says, "Alright!" Clips, Return of the Valkyries Xena says that isn't the way it happened. Gabrielle confirms Xena's memory. Dr. Polly realizes they are really remembering, not just remembering what was fed in via the TV show clips. Nerd Boy asks what they think of the show. Xena likes the sexy one who plays her. Gabrielle says the writing is bad; they've taken liberties with her scrolls. Xena agrees and wonders what they are trying to say about "the relationship" anyway? Nerd Boy asks Xena if she ever got it on with Ares. Xena tells him to get a life.
Xena and Gabrielle move away from the others to talk. They decide they are heroes; they should act like heroes. Xena says she doesn't want to do The Greater Good thing this time. Xena starts to leave the lab and tells Gabrielle all about the bathroom.
Alexis tells Gabrielle she's afraid they woke up Evil Xena. She takes Gabrielle outside so they can talk. The police come, though, and Alexis says Gabrielle is the "loony" who broke into her laboratory. Gabrielle starts to fight off the police with her sais, but Alexis reminds Gabrielle what guns to do. The police take Gabrielle away.
Back in the lab, Nerd Boy, Dr. Polly and Leah watch videos. Xena is asleep. More clips. Nerd Boy asks if the show accurately characterizes Joxer. Xena says she didn't think he was that smart. Alexis comes in and says Gabrielle has been arrested. Xena jumps up and asks what police is; Alexis says the local warlords. Alexis directs Xena to the jail, and gives her the chakram Alexis got in the first scene. Xena takes off to save Gabrielle.
The three Xena fans are upset with Alexis. They ask where the chakram came from. Then they realize that Alexis is Alti. Alti/Alexis laughs. She said she was tired of Xena's new do-gooder reputation; she is the one who hid the scrolls, and she liked the violent world before Xena. If Xena does bad stuff, her reputation will suffer.
On the TV, we hear that Xena has broken Gabrielle out of jail. The three fans are upset, and figure out that Alti/Alexis really cloned the Evil Xena. More news footage about Xena. Alti/Alexis says Xena will make a good sidekick. Everyone leaves to go see about Xena. The news continues with an interview from a guy describing Xena's actions.
In a junkyard, Xena has put on welder's gear and is making something. Gabrielle asks Xena what she's doing. Xena says she's making new weapons. She pulls out a pistol and says it is useless in hand-to-hand combat. She fires the pistol; a cat meows. Xena picks up a sword and calls it a toy. The sword she was making looks like a real sword. Gabrielle tells Xena she could have killed somebody at the city dungeon. Xena asks Gabrielle if she wanted to rot in there for the rest of her life.
Alti/Alexis pulls up in her red car. Gabrielle tells Xena not to listen to Alti/Alexis. Alti/Alexis reminds Xena of their past together, more clips. The fans climb out of the car. Alti/Alexis says Xena had good stuff going before Gabrielle came into the picture. More clips. Gabrielle keeps telling Xena not to listen to her. Alti/Alexis says Gabrielle betrayed Xena. More clips (Debt, Maternal Instinct, Ides of March, Bitter Suite. Xena turns on Gabrielle and asks Alti why she brought Gabrielle back. She says Gabrielle is her gift to Xena. Then Gabrielle tells Xena to remember the good stuff. More clips, good stuff clips. Xena pushes Gabrielle out of the way and goes after Alti/Alexis. Lots of fighting. Gabrielle gets the three fans out of the way, they all watch. Alti hits Xena with a crowbar. Alti gets in her car and tries to run over Xena. She hits Xena and Xena rolls up the windshield. Alti hits an electrical wire. The wire is live.
Xena jumps on Alti/Alexis again and gets Alti out of the car. Alti gets the live electrical wire and tries to fry Xena. Xena gets the cable away from Alti and turns the car into an electrical unit. Xena drops a car on Alti. Alti pops up behind Xena. More fighting. Dr. Polly jumps in and gets popped out by Alti/Alexis. More fighting. Xena finally flips Alti/Alexis over on top of the electrified car, and Alti burns to a crisp. A fire starts on the ground and heads toward Gabrielle and the fans. They are behind flammable barrels. Xena yells for them to run. Xena goes to them and she and Gabrielle get the three fans out of the way. Gabrielle throws her arms around Xena and they hug as the flames draw near. A big kaboom ensues and everything blows up.
The fans look up. There is nothing left. They look for remains of Xena and Gabrielle but don't find anything. They walk away, sad. A taxi drives by. Xena and Gabrielle are in the back, drinking out of champagne glasses. They toast. The fans ignore them and never see them. Nerd Boy wonders if anyone at the conventions will believe him. Then he says he could clone Dr. Spock's toenails. The taxi keeps driving away.
This synopsis is by Shana.
It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of doing this, and after the long break, I kind of wish I could review a different episode. Send in the Clones was hit and miss with me. Here's a brief lowdown:
Some great one liners, some of the best!
Alti, as wicked as ever!
Xena and Gabs eating modern day food (I know that sounds crazy, but it was a kick!)
Xena and Gabbers fans expressing their obsessions in various ways
Not enough action (we hear about things, but don't see them)
Low blows (Alti was too vicious, as I know a lot of Gabs fans will agree)
Misrepresentation of Evil Xena (not in character with Evil Xena we've seen before)
Poor ending (I laughed, but ended up going, "Huh?")
So with those tidbits to chew on, let's delve in, shall we?
We start on a foggy night. A car pulls up and flashes its headlights three times. Another car, already parked flashes its headlights back, three times. I'm already impressed with the well-thought out plan. Yeah, we play Simon Sez with the headlights so we'll know each other! Heh heh.
One of the cars is a sharp-looking red Firebird, which will be the inspiration of one of my favorite lines, but that's way down the road! Anyway, a man gets out of the car that just stopped. He is, quite ugly. Not only does he have a silver tooth in front, but he also has a gray one. Blechh. He looks familiar. I know him from the Xenaverse, but I'm not going to try to place him right now. The driver of the Firebird is Claire Stansfield, not as Alti. She's in a long black jumpsuit, and is very attractive, so much better-looking without her Rascal makeup. The man has a open briefcase and Claire reaches inside and pulls out the chakram, the NEW chakram. It's rusty and dulled, but the chakram none-the-less. Then, looking further into the briefcase, she sees a vial which contains a single strand of blonde hair and a single strand of black hair. Claire (who we later learn is Alexis, a very popular name in fan fiction), smiles at the man (Is he the salesman from Prometheus?), and hands him a wallet. The man checks and the wallet is loaded with bills. "It's all there," Alexis assures him, and they head back to their cars.
Cut to the footage from Them Bones, Them Bones where Xena tricks Alti into entering her own dreamscape. We watch up to the point Alti's skeleton assembles, then the scene freezes. The scene cuts to the room of a basic Xenaphile. Videos are strewn across the floor. Pictures of Xena and Gabs cover the walls. There is a Xena standee and a chakram. They're talking, saying they should use this footage. As a phone starts to ring, we see them, three fans. The two women (Allison Wall and Polly Baigent) have both been on the show before, of course) are wearing Xena shirts. Polly has her Xena-do, (not to be confused with the horrible movie Xanadu), and really looks the part. Allison is sporting blonde hair now, and looks much better as Leah than she ever did as Minya. The guy is wearing a dumpy white t-shirt and some kind of long overshirt., and a Xena hat. The guy says, "Shouldn't we have more Joxer stuff?" "You're kidding, aren't you?" Polly laughs.
Finally someone suggests answering the phone, which the guy does. When he realizes it's Alexis, he's all business. She wants to know if he's got the clips compiled, and he says they're almost done. Alexis says they have to be on digital disc, and the guy tells her he knows, he's the computer nerd. He'd like to have more Joxer stuff, and Alexis says Leah has to settle the dispute, she knows psychological profiles. She wants to know if Dr. Polly (gee, how'd they come up with that name?) is there as well, which she is. Alexis is pleased, and wants to meet with the "team" in 72 hours.
The music for this episode is very interesting. It's got Joe LoDuca's signature all over it, but it's still modern-day sounding. Very cool!
Anyway, we cut to a high rise building in what I assume is downtown Los Angeles, (the cars in the episode have California plates.) A door opens and the team rushes up to Alexis who is standing by a computer monitor. They want to know if it worked. Was she able to use the DNA from the hair? Alexis tells her it worked beyond her wildest dreams. "See for yourselves." Two tables that have been laying horizontal to the ground slowly rotate, until they are standing upright. On the left is Xena, on the right is Gabs. Gabrielle's hair is long. Neither has any clothes on.
As the team squeals with joy, the teaser comes to an end.
After the commercial, we see the guy on his knees, uh, touching Xena's bare leg. Alexis smacks his hand away (hee hee.). Leah, who is clearly NOT Minya, is much more fascinated with Gabs than Xena in this episode. She is gazing dreamily into Gabs face as she says to Alexis, "So, your man in Macedonia really came through, huh?" Alexis confirms it, saying the two strands of hair came from the Tomb of the Scrolls. Is this supposed to be the cave from the Xena Scrolls? Stay tuned for further details!
Dr. Polly is standing next to Xena, trying to size herself up next to the Warrior Princess. Kudos have to go to both Lucy and Renee for maintaining their composure and lack of expression for so long during these scenes. I would bet there are many, many outtakes where the two just busted out laughing. But not a hint of any change shows in this episode. Alexis says her carbon testing shows the hairs to be between 2 and 3000 years old. That's quite a spread, isn't it? Anyway, Polly is raving about two ancient Myceanaen heroes being alive now the world is going to be a better place! Uh huh. Alexis reminds her they have to be successful first. Right now, the two figures are just clones, with no memories or personalities. The guy is staring at Xena's face. "Yeah, but they're great to look at, just the way they are." Leah chastises, "Don't be a male cliche. Are you telling me you're excited looking at lifeless female forms with no minds or personality?" The guy pauses a millisecond. "Yeah!" he replies. Heh heh. Alexis asks him, "Discs?" and they change the subject. Behind Alexis on a big computer screen are Xena logo screen savers, kinda cool. The guy tells Alexis the first disc is by the Gabfan Leah, and has a lot of Gabs on it. Polly sniffs that you'd think all they did was sit around in baths and at campfires emoting. Her Kiwi accent really comes through on this line. But Leah sticks to her guns, saying she included other stuff, but she thinks Gabs is the most important relationship in Xena's life. The guy tells her, "If you start talking about subtext, I'm going to barf!" Hee hee. Polly backs him up saying they're not bringing them back to offer help to the lovelorn, they want someone who can kick *ss.
Alexis tells Polly to get the subjects ready for download, which seems to consist of putting those EKG patches on Xena and Gabs temples. Leah is off in la-la land, saying the first disc is the official tribute to Gabrielle set to the tune of Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings." Oh brother. But the guy (I'm sure he has a name, but I've yet to catch it), says, "They need a wakeup call, not sleep aids." Heh heh. He gets a lot of the best lines! Leah tells Alexis that Gabrielle is more important to Xena than her fighting skills. Alexis squirms a bit and says sure, in the overall picture, but Xena is first and foremost a warrior. Once again, uh huh. The guy punches at the keyboard, and the clips start. First the creation of the new chakram from Chakram, then part of the subsequent fight. Next is part of the fight with Eve at the end of .Eve. (I love how they came up with the names for the fifth season episodes) Then there's part of the fight in Mt. Olympus at the end of Motherhood. Polly glances over at Xena and Gabs, but they aren't responding. She goes back to cheering the action on the screen. We see Xena's feral entrance at the beginning of Amphipolis Under Siege, prompting Leah to say how dangerous she looks. Next is The Way, with Xena stabbing whats-his-face in the face. The guy loves that one. We see Xena tangle with Lucifer at the end of Heart of Darkness. The team likes it, but Xena and Gabs remain oblivious. Polly checks a monitor and says there's no brain activity from either one.
Alexis stops the screening, to the guy's protest, but Leah approaches Gabs' body, saying Xena needs a "dose of Gabby. That'll jumpstart her heart." "Heart, schmeart," the guy returns He thinks they need a more "hands-on" approach. He holds his hands up in front of Xena's chest. "What about a bit of cardiac massage?" "You could be right," Leah answers, "Or what about mouth-to-mouth?" she asks moving closer to Gabs' face. I'm telling you, Lucy and Renee should be up for Emmy's after this! Polly is much more practical. "Maybe what you two need is a bucket of cold water or your *sses kicked" Leah is still thinking about all the fun they had together though, the baths they shared." The guy likes this, but if she's talking about their "special relationship" he wants a front row seat. Alexis isn't amused though, and shuts down the monitor, saying that's enough for today. Alexis says if they download to much, the clones could "go crazy". Their disappointment is brief as Polly tells Leah she ordered Xena and Gabs' costumes from the catalog. They giggle excitedly about that as everyone clears the lab.
It's now later that night. A hand covered in a black glove reaches out to touch clone Xena's face. Whomever it is moves to Gabs and removes the wires from the EKG patches. The person moves to the computer monitor and lays down a box clearly marked, "Evil Xena #1". That made me giggle...REAL incognito here! The box is opened and a disc is removed. It is labeled (say it with me now, Evil Xena). The disc loads and there's Evil Xena (what a surprise), from the end of Destiny. Next is footage of Xena clobbering all the Amazons in Sin Trade. Shadows and flashes of light are playing across Clone Xena's face...did I just see an eye twitch? We see Evil Xena's own version of the Great Wall of Chin...then footage of the Hercules' episode, Armageddon Now II, where Xena the Conqueror orders Gabs to be put on the cross. When EX orders, "Break her legs," Clone Xena's face really becomes animated. The Evil Xena sneer slowly forms. But the clone never opens her eyes.
It's the next morning. Leah and Alexis enter the lab. Leah freaks and runs to the guy who is standing beside Gabs with a long clump of blonde hair in his hand. Both Xena and Gabs are now dressed in their sixth season outfits. But Leah is upset that the guy cut Gabs' hair. She wanted her to be "Classic Gabby." "Only in the reruns, Babe," he tells her handing her the hair. Leah clutches it to her face.
The guy goes to the computer and says that someone has made a download without their knowledge. They watch some of the footage in fast forward and Alexis says it's all Evil Xena footage...Someone must have snuck in and downloaded it. How is that possible? Polly checks her monitor and says Xena's life signs have elevated. Something must have had an effect. The guy says they'd better get them ready and proceeds to begin spit shining Xena's breast armor. Leah is concerned about which Xena will wake up, "the power hungry warrior motivated only by bloodlust and hate?" Alexis interjects to the guy, "I..uh...would get my hands off her b**bs," she warns him. Heh heh. Leah says it's essential that both Gabs and Xena be fed the Gabs and Xena footage, or the Clone Xena could suffer from deep trauma. Alexis agrees. Up comes clips from One Against an Army then footage of Gabs talking with Eli in The Way. Then from The Way is Xena's apology about taking Gabs so far away from the truth. I dunno why, but the screen suddenly focuses on just Gabs and Xena's mouth...weird. The guy and Polly are getting bored, and Polly turns off the footage. "Enough of the lovey dovey crap." Leah actually agrees and wants to use Polly's Gabrielle footage. Argh! It's from the Ides of March, the toughest Xena episode of all for me to watch! We see Xena go down like Goliath fallen in battle, and then Gabbers turns into a killing machine. I swear, it makes me squirm just to type about it. The quartet watching the footage is much more happy with these clips. Even Alexis smiles. But she says they need to input more positive images of Xena, to show her the consequences of her dark past. She has the guy bring up "this one". It turns out to be Xena's apology in A Necessary Evil. The scene starts to focus on Callisto, and we hear a little noise from Xena's EKG. She starts to twitch, then that glorious eyebrow goes up. Polly is wondering if it's a good idea showing Xena Callisto. "It will only make her blood boil." She seems to be right as Xena is really percolating now.
Leah is thinking a nice campfire scene is in order. (Find one from Sixth Season, Leah, I dare ya!). Meanwhile, behind them, we can see Xena has awakened. She rips the patches from her head with an irritated look. As the team continues to argue about the pertinents of certain campfire scenes (I don't even know if they were valid scenes, I was too busy watching Xena), Xena glances around her surroundings, pulls the OLD chakram from her belt and lets it fly. The team responds immediately. Their backs are to her, but they recognize the whirl of the chakram and follow its path around the lab. Xena catches the chakram and it breaks in two. Okay, is this supposed to be the chakram from the Xena Scrolls? I dunno. She drops the broken half of the chakram, and approaches the team who is standing at attention, too scared to turn around. Xena approaches the guy and does the pinch. She goes through the rhetoric, "I've just shut off the flow of blood to your brain, you'll be dead in thirty seconds unless you tell me what's going on." Alexis is looking pleased by all this. The others just make squeaky noises as we fade to commercial.
After the break, Alexis is telling everyone to stay calm. Gabrielle is beginning to wake up and assess her surroundings. The guy admits he is not calm...and then we hear the familiar exchange, "Xena?" it's Gabrielle's soft wonder-filled voice. Xena responds "Gabrielle?", and looks at her as if she's just now noticed the bard is there. Alexis gives a big smile and looks just like...you guessed it...Alti. Xena doesn't seem to notice though. "All right, you'd better start talking!" She still has her hands on the guy's neck. I'm sure it's been much longer than thirty seconds, but who pays attention to this in the Xenaverse? Alexis summarizes the cloning process, which had to be gibberish to our girls, but then welcomes them to the future. Gabs has been watching all this wide-eyed, then says, "Xena, shouldn't you take the pinch off him?" The guy has been watching his watch, but she releases him and he falls to the floor for a second, then retreats behind the others. "How much do you remember?" Leah asks, and the guy interjects, "She remembers the pinch pretty good." As Xena stares at him, the guy realizes, "I've just been pinched by Xena!" He doesn't look so unhappy now!
Gabs is still confused. "Did Ares do this?" Alexis responds, "No, a higher power called science." Xena wants to know why they were brought there, and Leah tells them it's because they need heroes. The team goes back to the monitor and brings up footage from the evening news...explosions, violent protests, hostage standoffs, etc. Xena and Gabrielle watch it on the big screen, their faces very serious. Polly tells them "We need someone to go out there and kick b*tt."
Xena's face is stoic. "You've got the right girl for that," she intones. As the girls wiggle with their excitement, the guy says, "She can kick my b*tt any day." Leah tells her, "We were hoping you'd kick b*tt for good." "Oh it'll be good all right," the guy chimes in, and takes a pop to the abdomen from Leah. Xena glances at Gabs, then back at the team. "We're hungry," she says. "Got any food?" I think this is supposed to be an incarnation of Evil Xena, but it's more a representation of Cranky Xena, especially reminiscent of first season Cranky Xena. The team approaches with a box of doughnuts. The guy sticks one on his finger and says, "Sort of like chakram...but you can eat 'em!" He takes a bite and chews, showing them how good the delicious "sugar and fat" is. Xena eyeballs him for a long time, then leans in and, licks her way up the side of the doughnut...'Nuff said.
We're watching more clips. So are Xena and Gabrielle who are now seated in front of the big screen. Xena has an open pizza box on her lap, and is sitting there like Al Bundy, minus the hands in her pants. The clips are from Sins of the Past, when Xena hauls Gabs up onto Argo, then Gabs ecstatic Pan's pipes playing from The Prodigal, then Gabs crying on Xena's shoulder in A Good Day. Next is Gabs trying to entice Xena to try the squid in Lost Mariner. Xena and Gabs are watching all this with interest. Gabs is also struggling with her soda. She seems to know how to use a straw, but the lid has popped off, and is distracting her. We see Gabs dying in Is There a Doctor in the House?, then the water fight in A Day in the Life. This makes Gabs laugh merrily. Xena is focusing on a piece of pizza however...this woman should be making commercials for Pizza Hut! Heh heh, for those of you that care, I'm a manager at a Pizza Hut. During all this, we hear each of the team member's thoughts... Polly is watching Xena's every move. She's thinking Xena could kick Jackie Chan's *ss. If Bruce Lee came back from the grave, she could kick his *ss too. The guy's line of thinking is more direct, "Man, they're hot, and you know, after 2000 years they gotta be horny. (told you he got some of the best lines!) And I've seen them looking at me; there's no competition. I'm going to be their first 21st century man!" Leah watches Gabs struggle with her drink and thinks that the others almost ruined it by showing them all the "macho" footage. She knows how to fix it...later she'll show them a full season of Ellen episodes!
Now comes some really interesting footage. We see the kiss from Return of Callisto Gabrielle watches this with a look of great discomfort. Xena, however, about to do her second take for the pizza commercial, likes it. "All right!" she grins. My mind boggled. Next is the kiss from Return of the Valkyries Xena watches then says, "That's not how it happened. I woke you up before I went to Valhalla, right?" "That's how I remember it; you're right" Gabs confirmed. As Xena picks off the toppings she doesn't like, Polly realizes that they are remembering the real things Xena and Gabs did, not just what was programmed in. Leah says that was the plan, to stimulate all the "latent memories." Her glassy eyed gaze at Gabs makes the bard uncomfortable. The guy wants to know what they think of the show. Xena floored me with her next line. "Ah, I like the one who plays me...she's kind of sexy." Gabs is being more practical. "What about this writing, Xena. It's not exactly Euripides. They've taken liberties with my scrolls." Xena agrees, "Yeah, what are they trying to say about our relationship, anyway?" "Who knows?" Gabrielle answers. Who knows, indeed... Whoa, I felt like Nigel from You are There for a minute!
The guy gets down in Xena's face. She looks and sounds like she's had a little too much pizza. He wants to know if her and Ares...you know...Xena sneers at him..."Get a life, pervert" she growls. As always, Gabs has been watching this (why do I always feel like Gabs wants to know the answer to this one too?)...but now she pats Xena's arm. "Now, now, Xena." Xena stands, dropping the pizza box to the floor. Gabs stands too so our girls can talk without the others hearing them...of course the others are still about three feet away. Xena wants to know what to do next. Gabs says they're here as heroes so they should find a mission and do some good. Xena doesn't know though...she doesn't really want to go the Greater Good route this time. "It kinda doesn't appeal this time round." She tells Gab she has some "sugar on the fat," and points to a spot on Gabs chest. I knew it was coming and sure enough, up comes the finger to pop Gabs' nose. You'd have thought Gabs would have learned from Ares in The Quill is Mightier. Anyway, Xena smiles, "I always wanted to do that," and starts to leave the lab. See what I mean? That isn't Evil Xena, that's just Xena on a bad day.
As Xena struts out of the lab, she turns back to Gabs, "Oh, and uh, Gabrielle, if that pork starts talking back to you, they have a whole room back here designed for the sole purpose of uh...relieving yourself, Wahey!"
"A whole room?" Gabs echoes, as Alexis approaches her, wanting to know if she can speak with her. After getting the affirmative, she tells Gabs they may have awakened the Evil Xena. "Is that what's wrong with her?" Gabs asks, as if that makes sense. Alexis asks the team to look after Xena while she brings Gabrielle up to speed. Alexis and Gabs walk off screen, while the team sits down to watch some more footage, leaving Xena to...whatever. The guy reaches down into the pizza box and picks up some of Xena's discarded crust, which he discreetly pockets. Hey, didn't someone pay a fortune for one the Back Street Boy's breakfast remains?
Alexis has led Gabs outside. Gabs is gazing around "It's so big!" and Alexis is playing tour guide as we hear sirens approaching. As policemen approach, Alexis changes her tune. "This is her. She broke into the lab dressed as some television character...I think she's a bit of a loony." A policewoman played by one of the women who was a contestant in Here She Comes, Miss Amphipolis asks for id. Gabs doesn't have a clue. The policewoman tries to take Gabs arm, but Gabs resists. The woman starts to go for her gun, as Gabs gives her believable story, "Look, I don't know what ridiculous story she told you, but for your information she cloned me from a strand of hair she found 2000 years ago." Alexis stands behind her shaking her head with a "yeah right" smile. The policewoman chuckles, then says, "Let's take her." With a feral snarl, Gabs draws her sais and the policeman draw their weapons. Alexis says "I'd do what they say, Sweetie. You saw what those weapons can do...in the videos we showed you?" The camera tightens on Gabs face as she flashbacks to briefly, a similar pose in The Abyss, and then her fight from Ides of March. That's the last we see of Gabs for now, because now we're back in the lab. The team is still watching videos, but Xena is out of it, her long body slumped in her chair and her head thrown back. I guess the pizza has taken its toll. We see clips of Gabs first fight with Joxer, then some of Joxer's goofy moments in Purity, The Sacrifice, then back to Callisto. Polly pops Xena on the back (Huh? Xena would have killed for less!), and Xena wakes up. "Do you think that's an accurate characterization of Joxer?" the guy asked. "Yeah, pretty much," Xena replies hazily. "I don't remember him being that smart though."
In runs, Alexis, all concerned. Uh huh. "Xena, Gabrielle has been arrested!" "How could that have happened?" Polly asks as the team and Xena turn and stand in one. Alexis explains, only to be interrupted by Xena, "What's police?" "The local warlords...they confiscated her sais and then they took her." Oh sure, as if police don't get a bad enough rap as it is! "Took her where?" Xena demands, all business now. "To the city jail, out the front door to the left, two miles down the road." Uh huh again. "Right," Xena says before taking off. "Are you insane, you're encouraging her!" the guy tells Alexis.
I think the charade is over. Alexis tells Xena to wait. She reaches beneath a shelf and tells Xena "You might be needing this." She tosses the object and Xena catches it. "My chakram...the real thing!" she whispers swinging it around. "Yes, it is," Alexis tells her. "Got it!" Xena takes off again.
The team turns on Alexis, asking her if she's gone insane. She's just set Xena on a path to conflict with the authorities. Polly wants to know where the chakram has come from. And the guy says, "You know, I'm beginning to think there are a few things you haven't told us." Yep...the games over...Alexis is standing in front of the big screen, and with a flash of fire behind her, transforms before their very eyes. "Alti?" they whisper as one, and when all eight eyes focus on Alti's images from Sin Trade on the screen behind them, the team confirms it with nods. Alti just laughs evilly as we fade to commercial.
Yes, it's Alti in all her wicked makeup and costume, and that wonderfully sinister grin. The guy wants to know why. Alti says she's had countless incarnations with Xena's reputation as a do-gooder lost for eternity. After Xena died, Alti hid the scrolls (so is that how they ended up in the cave? why didn't she just destroy them?) Alti says she wanted to just sit back and watch violence corrupt the world. She says it really hit a few high points in this last century. There's an understatement! "But then, this hideous TV show starts celebrating her as a defender of righteousness. Well, we'll see how long that reputation lasts." She turns back to the big screen.
Xena moves fast! She made that two mile trip in just under 45 seconds, I'd say. This is a continuation of the same scene where Alexis threw her the chakram. On the big screen, we see Breaking News from Sandy Radford, Channel 6, ZROB. ZROB? Heh heh...looks like Rob Tapert is getting his due! There's mayhem in the city. A woman dressed as Xena:Warrior Princess has broken into city jail and freed another woman dressed as Gabrielle, "Warrior Princess's sidekick." Leah snorts, "She's plenty more than a sidekick!" Heh heh. Polly tells her to give it a rest, and the focus is back on the news report. Bob Eastwick, a corrections officer is assessing the damage, "We've got concussions, we've got broken bones, we've got blood on the floor...crazy chick...she's got the strangest damn weapon...kind of like a frisbee." Sandy tells the viewers the woman is armed, dangerous, and should not be approached. The team is watching this in horror as Alti chuckles. Leah says she cloned Evil Xena to discredit her, to which Alti sneers, "Oh, you catch on fast." Meanwhile, the news footage continues. Uh...we saw some of it earlier in this episode. Oh well, Sandy is describing how Xena made her escape leaping from car to car leading to high-speed collisions and multiple pileups. Call me a sicko, but I would have liked to have seen this!
Alti is off in her own little Alti world. "Xena wasn't always an angel in the early days. She gets twenty-two episodes of a TV show, and everyone thinks she's a great hero. (Technically, there were 24 episodes in the first season alone!) Well, they'll soon know the real truth. Once she's alienated herself from everything good, decent, she'll follow me...and together, we'll rule the world. Let's go." The team looks at each other, then takes off running asking one another, "why didn't you stop her?" The news footage continues with a good looking young man describing the action as he saw it. His name is Edwin B. Stalter and he's an animal enthusiast. As he gives his enthusiastic play-by-play, we hear the now familiar BLEEP as the f word is censored out repeatedly. That's the third time this season that little ploy has been used. Apparently, Xena has eluded the police with a few "Huyahhs!" and has jumped the fence to procure a horse. "It was awesome, man." Did I forget to mention Edwin talks like a surfer? "You know, Xena's hot too, you know?"
Next we're in a junkyard. People are running everywhere. away from the action. Xena has put on (I kid you not!) a welder's mask and is power sanding...something. Gabs approaches, fingers in her ears, and asks Xena what she's making. Xena raises the visor, then pulls off the mask. (Thank the gods!) She tells Gabs she's making some new weapons. She pulls a pistol out of her boot and says, "These things are hopeless in hand-to-hand combat." She fires the pistol, and she and Gabs jump. There's an off-screen cat yowl. "See what I mean?" She tosses the pistol, and picks up a sword, which must have come with the catalog-ordered costume (which are very realistic, by the way, heh heh). She calls the sword a mere toy, and picks up the sword she's been working on. She's got amazing skills. It looks like just like her old sword, decoration and all!
Seems like Jiminy Gabrielle has kicked in. "Xena, you could have killed someone at the city dungeon." (I found that accolade hysterical...and appropriate!) "They had you locked up," Xena replies, never looking at Gabs. She is studying the sword. "What did you want to do? Rot their for the rest of your life?" Gabrielle tries to interject, but Xena continues, "If they want trouble, they're going to get it!"
Cue the Firebird. Xena and Gabs watch as Alti climb out. Xena is shocked, but Gabrielle doesn't seem to be. "I hear you've been busy, Xena." Xena says Alti's name, and Gabs tells Xena, "Don't listen to her." Alti wants Xena to remember what they used to have, and Xena starts to flashback...to the campfire scene in Sin Trade. Then it's Cyane's blood letting in Sin Trade and Xena's declaration of being the Destroyer of Nations from Past Imperfect. Back to the campfire for a second, and we're back to the present. Xena is staring expressionless at Gabs. The team gets out of the Firebird. "Remember the thrill of conquest?" Alti is huskily asking Xena. "You had? Hmmm??? Before she came into her life?" Xena flashes back to a ride as the Valkyries Xena continues to stare at the bard who shakes her head and says, "Don't listen to her."
Alti is vicious...and here's where some of the Gabfans are probably going to get riled up. Alti whispers, "Doesn't her little voice remind you of her betrayal?" and Xena remembers the horrible moment from the Debt 1 where she goes to kill Ming T'ien and finds Gabs waiting for her instead. Xena whispers, "You!" evilly, and Alti keeps pressing buttons, "What her lies did to your son?" "My son..." Xena echoes as she remembers finding Solan's lifeless body in Maternal Instinct. Next to Ides of March, Xena's scream during that scene is probably the toughest for me to watch, and it's here again. Xena's starting to look more like Evil Xena now, her teeth bared at Gabs as Alti adds, "How much you enjoyed avenging that deed, huh?" And now we're subjected to watching the Gabdrag.. It's shown up to the point Xena is standing with Gabrielle over her head, crying out, "Vengeance!" As the flashback ends, Xena asks, "Why did you bring her back?" Uh oh...that doesn't sound promising. "Well," Alti answers, walking around Gabs, then giving her a push into Xena. "Consider her my gift to you."
As Xena continues to stare, now looking more confused than anything, Gabbers speaks up. She tells Xena she wasn't like that in the end. "Think of what we accomplished...think of the good we did for the world!" Now the flashbacks consist of more positive moments...Xena saving the two girls in Past Imperfect and Amphipolis Under Siege. Xena shakes her head a bit, whispering, "Gabrielle." Gabs steps forwards and puts her hands on Xena's shoulders, "Xena, the good we did for each other." There are clips from One Against and Army, Family Affair, Ides of March, The Abyss, and Sacrifice 2. Some of the most heartwarming moments of the series, truly. After they're done, Xena looks at Gabrielle, gives a feral yell, and roughly pushes the bard out of the way. It looks like the positive moments have won out, because Xena goes after Alti. Whew!
Gabrielle wisely gets the team to safety as Alti and Xena go at it. Alti uses a crowbar to Xena's sword and sends Xena flying to land on her Warrior Princess b*tt. Then magically, Alti's in the Firebird, screeching toward Xena. "Little bird, you sure move fast!" Xena mutters, before somersaulting over the speeding car. She eludes the car again, but on the third pass, can't, and takes a nice roll of the windshield. The team and Gabrielle wince, but Alti skids the car into...something, and now there's a live electrical wire laying on the ground. Alti is still in the car, looking to see where Xena has landed, and then hears Xena's battle cry as she runs over the top of the car, leaps down beside the driver's side, gives that great Xena hiss, and punches Alti in the head. Heh heh. She yanks Alti out of the car and throws her, several yards away. She jumps to her and tries to stomp her, but Alti rolls to her feet with the live power cable. Xena must know those sparks mean danger, because she avoids them at all cost as Alti tries to fry her. Finally, she kicks the cable away, and it lands on the Firebird, electrifying it. "Nice move, Xena," Alti rasps. "You'll make a great sidekick." Xena ignores her however, and realizes Alti standing under a car suspended by a chain. "I'll give you sidekick!" Xena growls, and chakrams the chain, releasing the car on top of Alti.
Xena isn't so sure she's dead, and whispers Alti's name until Alti pops up behind her. They scrap again, and Alti sends Xena flying on top of some sort of structure. Gabs and the team have been watching all this, but Polly's had enough. "Right!" she says, moving forward as the other three try to stop her. Gabs yells something, but I can't make it out. Polly stands in front of Alti, and does a couple of Xena stances, and Alti backhands her. With the sound of a falling tree, Polly hits the dirt. Nice try.
Alti shakes her head and moves on to better things. She makes her way to Xena and the battle continues. Xena uses a move I've never seen before as she cartwheels off the structure onto a car. She seemingly lands wrong, and her knees buckle, but she's just moving into a sideways flip to kick Alti in the head. They continue to exchange kicks and punches, with Xena, of course, seemingly taking as much as she was giving, but finally, Xena flips Alti over her head and on top of the Firebird. Alti twitches and screams for a while, and as the paintjob on the Firebird blackens, she burns to a crisp. Xena watches with shielded eyes, and then realizes a fire has started on the ground, as is following a convenient trail of gasoline which is headed towards the conveniently placed flammable drums all around Gabs and the team. "Run" she screams, but they don't...they're all frozen. So Xena runs to them, and after some prodding, proceeds to lift the team one by one up over the structure behind them. Gabs helps her every step of the way, and as the two realize there's no time for their own escape, Gabs throws her arms around Xena in a tight hug. Xena grabs her back, holding tightly, and slams her eyes shut. There is a huge fireball as the drums explode.
The team's heads pop up after the explosion. They are right above some drums marked "Flammable" that are burning...what is wrong with that picture? Anyway, they are obviously looking for remains of Xena and Gabs. There are none.
Next scene has the threesome walking away from the junkyard, bemoaning the fate of the duo. "I guess clones just break up easy," Leah says. The guy thinks it might be for the better...they were messing for nature. They disagree on that for a second, then Polly says she was a little disappointed anyway...they're more dynamic on TV. A slow moving taxi moves by, but the team ignores it. The taxi is shown driving away, and we can see Xena, her arm stretched out around Gabrielle. They hold up champagne glasses and clink them together. (Once again, I kid you not!) Notice Xena is sitting in the center of the backseat...with no one to the left of her, which I found interesting. The guy wants to know if anyone will believe their story at the conventions. Then he changes his tune. He says he has some of "Dr." Spock's toenails at home. from when he was a Trekkie. Leah proclaims if he was a Trekkie, he really was a nerd. The guy says he's not proud of it as the taxi drives off into the sunset...well..up the road anyway. Come on, though, anyone who loves Star Trek knows it's Mr. Spock, not Dr. Spock!
And that's it...in a big ol' nutshell. The ending leads us to believe the real Xena and Gabrielle are running around in the world today...it's a nice thought, but I would have much rather seen them returned to the past.
Once again, TPTB have made a clip show that has so much backstory, it's easy to forget it is a clip show. I got a lot of laughs out of the episode, but am not really satisfied with it as a whole. Xena and Gabs were too quick to adapt to their surroundings (the welder's mask really got to me), and Evil Xena just wasn't evil enough. Oh well....looks like Evil Xena the way we know and love her will be back in full force in next week's episode, The Last of the Centaurs. This one looks pretty good!
The disclaimer...for the record...is "No Xena fans were harmed in the making of this motion picture." I could have come up with that one!
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
I was surprised to see this episode unfold the way it did; I thought we'd already had this season's clip episode in You Are There. But now, only three episodes later, we got another clip episode. And a huge clip episode at that; out of a 44 minute show, clips took up 13 minutes. I liked the premise a lot; take a piece from all the headlines about cloning and bring Xena and Gabrielle into the modern day. But it seemed like this episode only scratched the surface of the fun that could have been had with this. Maybe the surface-scratching problem was because of how stuffed the episode was with the clips.
One of my favorite things about this show has been the amazingly creative ways they've done clip shows. But this one pulled out all the tired "Remember when?" cliched ways to present clips. Xena was like Pavlov's dog; every time anyone said the magic words "Think about," Xena was gone in another set of flashbacks. Alti could have won her fight if she'd just yelled "Hey Xena! Think about all the times I kicked your b*tt!" and then proceeded to do so while Xena was still head-rolling.
I don't mean to sound like I hated the episode - I didn't. They picked quite a cross-section of fans: a rabid Xena b*tt-kicker, a rabid Xena subtexter and Gabfan, and a rabid Joxerfan. The casting of Doctor Polly and Clea were fun in-jokes; Polly (whose name really is Polly) has served as a body double for Lucy/Xena ever since Dreamworker right up through playing the Xena-actress wannabe who ran off with Minya in The Play's the Thing. And playing fangirl Clea was Alison Wall, who also played Xena's original fangirl, Minya. I didn't catch any in-joke for Mac - he's an actor from episodes of old, too, but never a fanboy.
The three fans all have appropriate fan clothes, although a limited wardrobe; I think each of them wear at least one item of clothing on multiple days. Clea wears Gabrielle and the white Xena-and-Gab friendship shirt. Polly wears Callisto and evilXena shirts. Mac wears Joxer shirts and a winter hat with earflaps, probably the closest modern equivalent to the Joxer hat there is.
Were these three mega-fans, plus Xena and Gabrielle, never supposed to notice the Alti lookalike?
Claire Stansfield has already commented in conventions about what a fun episode this was for her, and I can see why. Nifty clothes AND a cool car to kick Xena's b*tt with. Not bad!
Within the span of five minutes, Mac says subtext makes him puke and that it's fine with him as long as he gets to watch. That's trying to fit so many stereotypes into one character that he's schizophrenic.
Why did Alexis have to sneak into her own lab?
Nifty shot of the episode: the reflections from the TV screen on Xena's face.
This entire show could have been filled with nothing but Xena and Gabrielle discovering the modern world. I was disappointed that it gets almost totally bypassed. The two moments we saw that I liked were Gabrielle trying to figure out the straw and cup, and Xena's disdainful shoot and toss of the gun as an inferior weapon.
Another shtick that could have occupied an entire episode: Xena and Gabrielle's "That's not how that happened!" discussion.
I realized there's two things I haven't missed at all this season: Joxer as a slapstick device, and bathroom humor. Unfortunately, both came back this episode. Apparently Xena's evil side also means she dumps food on the floor and gets excited about relieving herself. I did kind of like her "got some sugar and fat" trick, though.
One of the news broadcast clips of the carnage Xena has created is the same clip that was shown to Xena and Gabrielle about the terrible state the world is in. This was either a very deep and meaningful attempt to show that the fans had unleashed the exact chaos they sought to contain... or they just ran out of clips of mayhem.
Xena, while in the throes of remembering the worst moments with Gabrielle, asks Alti why she brought Gab back. I had been wondering the same thing most of the episode. Alti says it's as a gift to Xena, I guess thinking that if Xena kills Gab, Alti will have free reign over her. Alti apparently missed the Bad Guy Memo that went out around second season to tell everyone that ploy never works.
WOW, Alti hops into a car fast! Xena even comments on it with "You sure move fast." That must be how Alti escaped that really great shot of the car crunching right down on her - and why Xena isn't fooled for a second.
At long last, one of the fans (WHY did they go with Alti?) tries to be helpful. Polly fails spectacularly, but at least it was an attempt. The collective worst geek moment was their voiceover "thoughts" once Xena and Gab were resurrected. Jackie Chan b*tt-kicking, the horniness of their stars, and Ellen seasons. Couldn't any of them had an actual helpful or thoughtful moment in the episode?
For once, Xena and Gabrielle surviving death surprised me. I figured they could safely kill off clones in a time where they didn't belong. But instead, they happily ride off in the only taxi in the world equipped with champagne and crystal glasses. Fly and be free, clones!
I'm going to really break the geek bank and try to identify all the clips in the episode. Wish me luck!First clip:Xena and Alti shaman fight - Them BonesThe fighting sequence:The new chakram - ChakramEvil Xena sequence:
The fight on the swings - Eve
The battle with Athena - Motherhood
The flip over the roadblock - Amphipolis Under Siege
Fight at the barn door - One Against an Army
Xena as Kali - The Way
Fight with Lucifer - Heart of DarknessNew Xena is born - DestinyGabrielle sequence:
Amazon slaughter - Adventures in the Sin Trade I
The row of heads - The Debt
Xena as the conqueror putting Gabrielle on the cross - Armageddon Now II, a Hercules episode"I want to be like you" - One Against an ArmyFightin' Gab sequence:
Failing the first test - The WayGabrielle killing Energizer bunny - Ides of MarchConsequences of evil:Speech to the village about Callisto - A Necessary EvilCouch potato clips:Getting on horseback - Sins of the Past Gab piping - The ProdigalThe smooches (which Xena really likes):
Xena holding Gab while she cries - A Good Day
Gab munching squid - Lost Mariner
Gab's revival - Is There a Doctor in the House
The hot tub splash fight - A Day in the LifeGab's wedding - Return of Callisto Snow White and Warrior Princess Charming - Return of the ValkyrieJoxer-rama:Callisto Back in the BottleAlti and Xena:
and, again, CallistoAdventures in the Sin Trade I and II Past ImperfectXena as a baddie:
Adventures in the Sin Trade IThe RheingoldThe anti-Rift set:The whole Rift set:Gabrielle hands Xena over - The Debt I Solan's death - Maternal Instincts
The GabDrag - Bitter Suite
The little girl in the catapults - ?
Little girl and the arrow - Amphipolis Under SiegeSacrifice One Against an Army
Ides of March
Moments that made me laugh:That was a generally awesome fight between Xena and Alti. Xena's jump down to the car roof to kick Alti sure looked more like a fall than a kick, though - that looked painful!
* "I want long hair, like classic Gabby!"
"Only in the reruns, babe."
(And watch Clea's sad sniff/hug of the lock of hair)
* Mac rubs his eye through his glass-less glasses.
* "SHE KEPT HER BOOTS ON!"
* The eyebrow arch as one of the first things to back to life on Xena.
* After Polly smacks Mac for saying that being forced to behave would be good, one of the two tells him "That's gross!"
* Gabrielle's nervous check of the drooling Clea.
* Mac sneaks a pizza crust that Xena had chewed on into his pocket.
* The giraffe guy's reaction to Xena. "It was awesome, man." Xena could have ended up becoming a folk hero, even as her bad self.
This commentary is by deb7.
SOUNDBYTE SUMMARY. A fun premise, a bevy of great guest stars, less than one week til Pasadena: What could go wrong? A lot, apparently. Every aspect of *Clones* was just slightly off, and because of that whole-greater-than-parts thing, the resulting episode was barely mediocre. Rating: 2 quills (out of 5).
The inadequacies of "Send in the Clones" were best encapsulated in one scene: Polly, Leah, and Mac are watching XWP clips, and they're so engrossed that it takes awhile for anyone to recognise that the phone is ringing. The camera slowly pans to capture their rapt expressions in all their hazed-out glory; we listen to the crew muse and mumble about their clip selection. Sounds good and veridical enough on paper -- except that the dialogue has absolutely no zing, zest, or verve, and during all the musin and phone-missin, THEY'RE WATCHING A PAUSED IMAGE!
Verily, I say to you, I was so stunned by the inanity of that scene that *I* started drooling.
How is it possible to assemble together Alison Wall, who has delighted me several times over with her Minya; Polly Baigent, who took the cake/biscuit in her turn as bad.actress.Xena and worked like a charm opposite the aforementioned Ms. Wall in "The Play's the Thing"; Ian Hughes, whose delivery of "She likes to see me helpless in my rage" back in the good ole days of subtle, intelligent humour was easily one of the series' best moments (okay, so Hughes annoyed the heck out of me as Black Wolf Boyfriend, but still); and Dare to Claire Stansfield, yet end up with such...(mostly) boring dreck? Bad writing, lame-o direction, and amateurish editing, that's how!
In its final season, XWP has been having an Old Home Week nearly every week. Not only have we enjoyed familiar faces like Darien Tackle, Alison Bruce, Michael Hurst, and Norman Forsey (King Lias, Casca), but writers and directors who'd been absent for a while returned for one last outing. Seeing Paul Norell in one more turn as a xenaversian merchant brought a smile to my face, to be sure, but I'm sorry to say that writer Paul Robert Coyle should have stayed in retirement, and director Charlie Haskell seems to have spent his shooting days cowering behind his monitor.
Was Coyle assigned to write a script consisting of only twenty minutes worth of new material (the rest to be filled out by clips), or was he Just That Tired? The plot had very little tension and the action didn't rise. But whose idea was it to assign Coyle this script anyway? Coyle has shown very little positive regard for fandom (or at least certain factions of it), so unless the idea was to shoot for mean and spiteful, that couldn't have been the deciding factor. Perhaps he got the gig because it would be a light load and he wouldn't have to worry about writing Gabrielle -- a task Coyle frequently has not seemed up to -- but, if so, I fear he took those directions too literally.
*Clones* could have gone successfully in any number of directions. Instead it went about two steps in half a dozen different directions and ended up somewhere over Nowhere. What happens when fans meet Xena and Gabrielle in the flesh? Are their expectations met and dreams fulfilled beyond their wildest imaginings, or are their illusions hurled to the floor and crushed under the heel of Xena's boot? What happens when our foxes wake up in the 21st century, hale and hearty but with physiologies and perceptual sets designed for the 1st century? Could X&G's codes of justice and morality work in our time, or would their inconsistencies p*ss people off and land them in jail, scorned by all but the most ardent boot-lickers? And would you really dress them in Sore Thumb Attire?
*Clones* probably should have been a cross between "The Xena Scrolls", "The Play's the Thing", and "Deja Vu All Over Again" but OOPS! they already did those eps, didn't they?
(It has been suggested that *Clones* might have been conceived to serve as a series-long retrospective designed to serve as a backdrop for the remaining dramas. If so, surely there were ways to go about it that would have spoken more directly to characterisation of X&G in *their* present.)
Speaking of *Scrolls*, I figure Haskell got the *Clones* directing gig because he showed such a flare for archetype spoofing in his season 2 outing. Unfortunately, that work also drew the wrath of the title star, and as the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy (babe). Eager to make sure no toes were trampled, Lucy was given a leash several hundred miles long and the supporting cast -- lined up in a row not unlike the one you saw in the last secondary school play you attended -- was subdued to the point of lassitude (more dynamic, indeed! Fan, heal *thyself*!).
Meanwhile, back in the editing bay, Haskell and editor Tim Batt put even more effort into sucking the life out of the ep. With the exception of one fast-moving sequence toward the end, the clips generally went on so long as to bring what very little momentum existed in the script to a grinding, screeching, clinically depressive halt. Then there were those miscues like: Fanboy looks to Xena to (dis)confirm the characterisation of Joxer, Xena snarks, and Fanboy-- We're sorry, but there will be no punchline reaction shot worthy of a second glance in today's episode. Please accept our profound apologies and go back to gazing adoringly at Xena as she stands up. Ooh, ah!
Luckily, Haskell woke up for the fight scene -- arguably the best of the season so far -- and he did indicate he had a clue in the way he put together the "lovey dovey crap" sequence -- its ponderousness and turgidness made it snortingly funny -- but that sort of zinginess was missing most of the rest of the time.
Okay, I really did laugh loud and long when Xena's prop chakram broke, but after that much of my energy was directed toward figuring out what sort of Xena that was supposed to be. Something appropriate, I'm sure, but that wasn't evil.Xena and it wasn't even cranky|annoyed|p*ssy.Xena. It wasn't even BPD/APD.Meg. Finally, late in the game it hit me: That was Bronx-Zoo.Xena! "Oh, is *that* what's wrong with her?" Uh huh, my feelings exactly. ROC is kinda fun when she's dissociative and/or bored silly and when Gabrielle's sole function in the script is to be a totem-made-flesh.
When I first heard about the premise of *Clones* and that Coyle was writing it, I was a tad concerned that it would turn out to be 42 minutes of "harming the Xena fans". Well, that fear was not fulfilled but I'm almost wishing it had been. Nothing, kids, is worse for deb7 than being bored... except eps that waste time when there's so little time left.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
Hey, what was with that "campfire" remark, Ab?
It took me awhile to get with Claire's not-Alti and Alison's not-Minya (who seemed vaguely like Cyrene). I had to think back and try to remember whether i'd ingested any substances. heh.
The initial downloading scene made little internal sense. Were the clips supposed to restore their psyches or revive them? If the former, how could they do both X&G at once? How are Xena's fight scenes and Xena being a "warrior first and foremost" relevant to Gabrielle as an independent being? Eh, don't answer that.
Deal breakers: Xena, User of Power Tools; Xena, Reader of English labels; Xena of the Fire-Impervious Epidermis; Champagne-serving taxicabs.
Some of the clips shown were actually different takes or cuts than what originally aired. Example: the "new Xena" scene from "Destiny".
Claire said "b**bs", Claire said "b**bs"!
Fan Geekiness Moment: The fans discussed what clips to show to counteract the negative images. Leah suggested a campfire scene and mentioned Series 2 (Hello, non-North American English!), episode 11. As aired, that would have been "Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis", which featured exactly ZERO campfire chats. By production order, ep 11 was "Intimate Stranger" (thanks, WHOOSH!), which DID feature an intense camp chat during the teaser...but it was that scary one with nightmare.Gab telling Xena how culpable she was and always will be! HAHAHA, yikes!
Speaking of fan geekiness and slow-paced eps, The Pinch was on for 48 seconds.
Gabrielle's arresting officer was none other than Jennifer Becker -- Miss Parnassus to you and me.
Shout-Out to New Zealand: Newsreader Sandy Radford was played by Elizabeth Hawthorne, a very well-known NZ actor.
Edwin B. Stalter (that's just GOTTA be an anagram), Animal Enthusiast was a hoot!
Icky Moments Alert: That dumb*ss drag from *Bitter Suite*, cut down to what I can only assume was supposed to be its "appropriate" length. Watching it and those dumb-b*tt Amazons who moved out of the way to let the Queen pass was a PTSD-like experience I could have done without, but at least it was made clear that that was an evil.Xena event, thank you very much. Thank the annihilated gods for small -- minuscule even -- favours.
Funny Moment Alert: Polly joining in on the junkyard brawl and immediately getting clocked, complete with sound effects. So ends today's lesson on "Body Doubles vs. Stunt Doubles". It was also fun to catch the shots (both from "realtime" and clips) wherein Polly doubled for Xena.
Evil.deb7 Comment: It may be a pipe dream, but here's to hoping that *Clones* will steer Uberfic back toward action-oriented stories.
THAT QUOTE THING
Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
in my career?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year...
... OR NOT!
This commentary is by Josh Harrison.
This episode - the first of the final seven - expands the uber-Xenaverse and gently pokes fun at the more... fervent of the show's fans. Overall it is an enjoyable episode, and a great way to ease into the final days.
Comparisons to other clip shows are inevitable. I think the framing story holds the episode together more coherently than, say, "Punch Lines". I don't, however, think that it rates quite as highly as the definitive "Xena Scrolls".
In the early twenty-first century a group of rabid Xena fans decide the world needs heroes again - and who better than the Warrior Princess and Battling Bard? Using genetic material found in hairs recovered from the cave where the Xena Scrolls were found, they clone the duo. They imprint the personalities using clip montages, awaken the pair, and... well... would it be fair to say that wackiness ensues?
This whole plot is thrown into turmoil by the appearance of Alti, who is actually the scientist responsible for cloning the pair. She tries to awaken "Evil Xena" in order to discredit the legend. It ends up turning into a junkyard fight that ends up killing Alti - while Xena and Gabrielle get blown up. (Or do they? The final sequence certainly implies they survived the inferno, which raises a question or two in my mind.)
Anyhow, the overall plot is kind of forgettable; with the number of clip montages present the story doesn't get much real development. That really isn't a problem, though - the real joy in this episode comes from the in-jokes and one-liners that abound. The three Xena fans are each stereotypes of certain sub-groups.
Alison Wall plays the subtext-loving Gabfan Clea (who gets upset when the bard's hair gets cut). Since her premiere character of Minya is the original pre-Mycenaean fangrrl it is only fitting she be reincarnated in a twenty-first century version.
Polly Baigent (last seen as a Xena-double in "The Play's the Thing") plays Polly, the foil to Alison's Clea. Polly is a kick-b*tt, take-no-prisoners fan of the buff, tough, Warrior P. It becomes clear that their opinions on subtext are... divisive.
Finally, newcomer Ian Hughes (at least, I don't remember him from any previous episodes) plays the token guy; a Joxer fan that seems devoted to the T&A aspects of the main characters.
The interaction between these three characters makes this episode a joy to watch. The debates that spring up - as well as the fundamental differences in points of view - remind me of heady debates with other fans online. I can only imagine what it's like when you get a group of them into a room together.
There are several inconsistencies and questions that crop up as a result of this episode, however. I find it a little bit strange that Alti has - apparently - had no difficulty remembering who she is in her various incarnations (a problem that has plagued uber-versions of both Xena and Gabrielle in episodes like "D‚j… Vu All Over Again").
Apparently Alti hid the Xena Scrolls in order to kill Xena's legend. But wait a minute, according to "The Xena Scrolls", weren't the scrolls found where Xena had sealed Ares using the Eye of Haephestus? Not to mention the difference in the chakram itself - an inconsistency that will probably haunt fans the rest of their days.
And what's the deal with this clone stuff? It looks like there are going to be as many Xena and Gabrielle look-alikes in the modern world as there were back in the olden days. A quick tally gives us Harry, Mattie, Annie, the clone versions of X&G... is it just me, or is this getting a little convoluted for even this show?
Perhaps it is fitting that this episode - which celebrates the fans obsession with details and trivia - generates so many questions that can be debated in chat rooms and mailing lists for weeks to come. I for one am not embarrassed or offended by this portrayal of Xena fandom - I take it as it was intended; a way for the cast and crew of the show to thank the people who made the last six years possible.
The other goal of this episode - at least as I see it - is to try and sum up the whole experience. At this, I don't think it succeeds. There is too much that has happened; too many events have shaped Xena and Gabrielle into the people they are today. Any attempt to capture that in forty minutes is doomed to failure.
In the end, this is a fun way for fans to kill an hour. Less devoted viewers will probably be left in the dark and scratching their heads. That's okay, though - this episode isn't really meant for them. A fun premise, coupled with great character dynamics and rib-tickling one-liners makes this one a keeper. However, the light story and over-reliance on clip montages holds the episode back, rather than enhancing it. My grade for this episode is a solid B.
This commentary is by John Vasser.
Talk about your METAPHORS! This ep was a doozy with several small metaphors wrapped in a big one. The overall metaphor was, "This is your world and it's up to you to learn what to do about the violence and not depend on some heroic people of another time.
Three fans took on the character of different facets the X-WP series projects, according to much of the fan fiction and list chats: One was "kick b*tt", a second was "subtext" and the third was "childish lust". Then there was Altie, poster girl for "evil".
This ep saluted its "hard core nut balls" fans while being lightly critical of their actions. Again friendship is confirmed, evil is acknowledged, kicking b*tt demonstrated and lust condemned by having one character mirror the immature males who never rose in intellect above their days in the boys locker room.
Fans whose only interest is to be continually entertained by one new ep after another, are shown how to make their own clip shows to accent just what they like most. Then, having done this, Clones goes on to demonstrates to us that fans should be multi-directed or faceted, just as Xena and Gab are. Fans should not blindly follow either the characters of this series but any "star" or "punk" or linear artists. Seek out your own strengths and learn how to eliminate your weaknesses because, "the best helping hand you can find is the one at the end of your own wrist".
Finally driving all of the metaphors to conclusion was the last scene where we saw Xena and Gab riding away in a cab drinking champagne [or beer?] Weren't they blown up in the explosion like the 3 fan characters believed? Of course not. The totality of ideas that X-WP represents could never be cloned just as one fan's reason for loving the series can never be the same for all.
This commentary is by Beboman.
This is not going to be easy for me to say, because as you may be aware, I'm not to keen on the comedy episode. There have been few that I have found funny and I have to say that this one was not bad at all. For a comedy and a clip episode, this was a really good effort. I did enjoy the fact that TPTB poked some fun at us, the fans. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I did find it funny. Well, I am one of those rabid Xena fans, so I felt pretty well depicted in this episode.
Even though this was a good show, it was a clip show and the selection of clips was just excellent, so I'm not going to drag this commentary out too long. In addition to the fact that I'm not going to sit here and analyze this episode, I'm just going to enjoy the clips and the trajectory of the show to its present time. There was something that I truly enjoyed about the episode and something that left me wondering, but the last part is almost always true for me when it comes to the comedy episodes, so what's new.
I loved the Clone Xena. She was a mixture of Meg and Xena that was just right. If Alti was trying to bring back Evil Xena, she failed. She brought back Meg/Xena. It did not take Xena long to figure out how to eat pizza. It really never does for anyone. Also, we see the Meg triad in this Xena of not been to tide, but this was not a strong Xena quality either. Many times Gabrielle has complained about it.
It took a bit longer for Gabrielle to get accustomed to life in the 21st century. When we see her trying to drink out of a straw, that was really a good acting job by ROC. It is really easy to eat pizza. It is harder to play at not knowing how to use a straw when you are so accustomed to using them.
I have to disagree with Xena in the fact that a gun is not very good in close combat, but who am I to argue with the Warrior Princess.
One thing was amazing in this episode: How fast Xena learns about guns and cars and electricity and the convenience of taxis (as long as you don't hail one in NYC) and the taste for good champagne. I do have one question for Xena: How did she get the money for the taxi and the champagne? How she got the gun was not strange to figure out, but how did she learn about welding? Oh well, this is the Xenaverse and anything and everything is possible.
I have to say that Claire Stansfield looked amazing in this episode. No doubt the fans did not recognize her as Alti; she looked nothing like Alti. It wasn't until she wanted them to recognize her that she manipulated things to allow them to figure that one out.
What surprised me was that Xena did not recognize Alti in Alexis. I guess Xena was too busy trying to figure out this new world.
Once again, the fight scene between Alti and Xena was excellent. I really do enjoy when these two women are on screen together. There is and has always been some really good chemistry between them.
I am not going to even begin to question how in Taterus Xena and Gabrielle escaped from the burning barrels of fuel and least of all where they found the champagne and the cap. I will leave that to my other, more learned colleagues to question.
I'm just going to sit back with a big tall glass of... well something to drink and enjoy this episode once again.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
05-13-01. CLONES was originally more ambitious than it turned out to be, but was cut back for budget reasons. One item that got cut was Xena had to fight a motorcycle gang, the leader being played by the actor who played Draco on a number of occasions. Xena and Gabrielle were also supposed to foil a bank robbery.
01-09-01. From an interview on her website, Claire "Alti" Stansfield on 01-07-09 stated:Interviewer: Has there ever been a time when a fellow cast member made you laugh on purpose during the shooting of a scene on Xena? Details please!
Stansfield: During the shooting of "Send In the Clones" Lucy and Renee are brought back to life in the modern day.. in the lab I have them on tables lying horizontally push a button and the tables slowly rise up and they are vertical.. (they are naked with 2 plastic like arms covering their unmentionables) during one take we are all waiting for them to rise up and one of the arms flies open on Lucy's contraption. She was wearing a flesh colored tube top on top but it was very funny to see this great reveal go a different direction.
01-09-01. Claire Stansfield on the The Beth Lapides Experience on Comedy World Internet Radio on December 20, 2001, stated that she gets to drive around in a big car and try to run over Xena in SEND IN THE CLONES.
01-06-01. Claire Stansfield was at the International Comics Fair in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, on October 22, 2000, and she said that she had just finished filming SEND IN THE CLONES and that it took place in contemporary times. She also said that her character's name was Alexis Los Alamos and got to drive around in a Pontiac Firebird. She also stated that she would be returning to NZ in January to film more XENA episodes. [It is also rumored that Alexis is merely the contemporary manifestation of Alti; also one of the episodes that Ms. Stansfield was originally talking about was STICKS AND STONES, but that was dropped, and now she is slated to film WHEN FATES COLLIDE and possibly the series finale.]
12-18-00. Robert "Salmoneus" Trebor was at the Long Island Creation Con 12/10/00 and he stated that he doubts he will be in any of the 6th season XENA episodes. However he did mention than he talked with Paul Robert Coyle about a possible appearance in SEND IN THE CLONES. Since that episode has already been filmed, we can probably safely assume that Salmoneus will not make it into any more XENA episodes.
11-06-00. There are some rumors that we were right after all, this "modem" chick might actually be Alti trying to wreck havoc on our two heroes. Also, this might be the rumored "fan fic homage" episode. There was news that the "modem" chick was really named "Alex" in the episode. And what is Alex except the MOST WIDELY USED UberXena name in the KNOWN WORLD. This episode also supposedly has a scene r two where the fans of Xena are either homaged or mercilessly made fun of. I doubt the Alex character will be the UberXena though, and there probably won't be an uberXena in it at all since Alex is most likely Alti trying to clone Xena and Gabrielle to get in some last minute hero baiting in before the show ends.
09-28-00. There are murmurings that this episode will "playfully" satirize XENA's on-line fan community, going mostly after the self-avowed "hard-core nutballs". Do they have the cajones to do that? I kind of hope so.
09-28-00. In mid-September Creation Entertainment mentioned this about the show on their site, "Renaissance, however, did raid our warehouse for this modern-day story, which is definitely a comedy.".
09-16-00. Like OLD ARES HAS A FARM, SEND IN THE CLONES has morphed into a comedy. The season, going from no comedies to now two confirmed comedies in a blink of an eye, features CLONES that has Claire Stansfield in a possible pseudo-uber and taking place in the early 21st century where cloning is rampant or at least available for cloning a warrior princess and her bard. Yeah, I know, been there done that in fan fiction already, BUT the twist is that it is a pack of rabid XENA fans who do it! Looks like tapping into the "look at XENA'S goofy fanbase" schtick was too tempting not to do again as they did in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN.
09-16-00. We knew that Claire Stansfield was going down under to tape a XENA as Alti. However, that was before we knew about STICKS AND STONES, so we assumed that Alti was in SEND IN THE CLONES. Boo-boo. Stansfield plays a modern day character called "modem", perhaps a rabid Internet XENA fan, in CLONES, which is a clip show. Alti will be in STICKS AND STONES.
09-02-00. SEND IN THE CLONES is allegedly NOT a comedy. It also looks like it will be another visit to contemporary or near contemporary times like DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN.
07-12-00. This will be a clip show.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Did something go majorly wrong with the sound in the opening scene? Alexis's "It's all there" line is dubbed, and the fence's thank you is almost inaudible (but that could have been on purpose).
One small nitpick with Alexis's line about getting digital transfers so that there would be no loss of signal to the clones' brains: these are transfers of a TV image. You can't get much worse loss of signal.
Another fun in-joke: "Wind Beneath My Wings" really is the music that Creation plays during their montage to Xena and Gabrielle at conventions.
This episode gave us some more Xena history: Xena and Gabrielle lived 2-3,000 years ago; no big surprise there. After Xena dies, Alti hides the scrolls in what is now called "the tomb of the scrolls." But if they've been taken from Xena and Gabrielle, whose tomb are the scrolls in? Could the Tomb of the Scrolls be Ares's tomb, where Mel and Janice found a bunch of scrolls?
Also in the truly geeky vein: Series (aka Season) 2, episode 11 is Here She Comes, Miss Amphipolis (which has no campfire scene at all), and series 4, episode 7 is Locked Up and Tied Down (also campfire scene-less).
For those of us keeping tally, there are now clones, reincarnations, AND descendents of Xena running around. Look at your neighbor closely!
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
11-05-01. From Richard. When Xena does that thing of pointing at Gabrielle's chest and hitting her in the nose. The first angle shows Xena pointing with her left hand, the second angle shows her right hand come up and hit Gabrielle's nose.
From Angie. Gabfan Leah's way cool hand mendhi.
From Angie. Ep promo: when the clones are being rotated upright, that film piece must have been reversed. Our gals pop up on the right side of the screen, while the ep shows them appearing on the left side.
Click here to read a transcript of SEND IN THE CLONES.
No Xena fans were harmed in the making of this motion picture.