EPISODE No. 113
Season 6, episode 01
Last update: 07/22/02
Back to the Episode Guide
Production number: V1411
Shooting dates: mid-August 2000
1st release: 10/02/00
2nd release: 01/08/01
1st USA strip release: never shown on USA
1st SF Channel release: never shown on SF
1st Oxygen release: ?
Script number ---
CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by John
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Josh Harrison
COMMENTARY 3 by Beboman
COMMENTARY 4 by Amol Sathe
COMMENTARY 5 by Jill Hayhurst
COMMENTARY 6 by Philip Teo
MISSY GOOD COMMENTARY
THAT DARN CHAKRAM
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Kevin Smith (Ares)
Adrienne Wilkinson (Eve)
Tsianina Joelson (Varia)
Sela Apera (Queen Marga)
Asa Lindh (Alecto)
Edited by Tim Batt
Written by Melissa Good
Directed by Mark Beesley
ON THE SEASON PREMIERE OF XENA...
(Xena rides in on a horse, she and Ares draw swords)
Xena: You were barely a match for me when you were a god!
IT'S THE SHOWDOWN THAT'S BEEN COMING FOR YEARS...
(A soldier approaches Ares standing on a hill)
Ares: I want my godhood back.
Xena: You ain't ready for that.
(Xena flip kicks two warriors; Gabrielle spins her sai; Varia's sword is held at Eve's throat)
THE CONFLICT THAT TRANSCENDS GOOD AND EVIL...
Ares: WAR, baby!
...LOVE AND HATE...
(Xena and Ares kiss; Ares looks angry)
Xena: You're losing it!
XENA, AND A VERY MORTAL GOD OF WAR...
(Ares and Xena square off, and Xena punches Ares down)
...IN A FIGHT TO THE DEATH!
(Ares uppercuts Xena, sending her flying into the snow)
BATTLE ON, IN THE SEASON PREMIERE...
(Xena thrashes Ares with left and right hooks) ...OF XENA!
[brief new red X symbol fades into trailer screen]
TV GUIDE PROMO
Ares needs Xena's help to restore his godly powers, but he gets more than he bargained for when the Furies play a trick on him. TVGrid.
Ares decides being mortal is for the birds (or the mortals, rather) and asks Xena to help him return to his godly ways. Entertainment Weekly.
Ares calls upon Xena to help him restore his godhood. Zap2it.com
Fed up with being mortal, Ares calls upon Xena to help him restore his godhood, unaware that the Furies are conspiring against him. Logline
1st RELEASE: 10-02-00
An AA average of 3.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Soldiers march on a forest path. Amazons track them. A confrontation appears imminent.
Xena, Gabrielle and Eve walk through a destroyed forest. They mention they are meeting Ares, and how they owe him a favor because he gave up his godhood to save Gabrielle and Eve. Eve, looking at the burned forest, asks, "Weren't these Amazon lands?" Gabrielle says they still are. But, "who would destroy the Amazon Forest?"
The Amazons and the soldiers fight. Xena hears the sounds of battle. The three race toward the noise. The Amazons are outnumbered. Xena gives her war call. Everyone turns. Xena and Gabrielle race into battle. The Amazons rally. Everyone fights. Eve fights also, with defensive moves, not killing anyone, but certainly stopping a few fellows. She saves the Queen, Marga. Eve and another Amazon, Varia, lock eyes and exchange a look. Lots more fighting. Eve fights, also. The soldiers run away. The Amazons yell in victory.
Queen Marga and Varia, who appears to be her second in command, introduce themselves to Xena and Gabrielle. When they hear the names, they know who they are. Marga greets Gabrielle as an Amazon queen. She turns to Xena. "Xena, it is said you have the power to kill gods. We have one more for you. Ares, God of War."
Xena tells Gabrielle she is going to check out Ares' camp. Gabrielle says she will go to help with wounded Amazons and stuff like that. Eve goes with Gabrielle.
The soldiers return to Ares. He is not happy that they were "ambushed" and pushed back with reinforcements. Ares says he wants that Amazon village. When the soldiers say, why not just blast it to smithereens, he says there isn't any fun in that. He is pretending to be a god. Back in his tent, Ares tries to kill a fly. Xena enters and laughs at him. She taunts him because he can't kill a fly. She kills the fly. Ares tells Xena he is calling in his favor. He wants his godhood back.
Marga, meanwhile, tells Gabrielle she hasn't a clue as to why Ares keeps scorching her forest.
Ares tells Xena he doesn't do "mortal" well. He wants the Amazon's secret stash of ambrosia, because that will give him his godhood back. His sister Artemis came to him in a dream and told him where to find the ambrosia, he says. He tells Xena to just go in and get the ambrosia.
Xena says that isn't any fun. She says she wants control of Ares' army, and they'll go get those nasty Amazons. This greater good stuff gets old, she says. She tells Ares he is where he is all because he did one good deed, and was it all worth it? Xena and Ares are getting really cozy when Gabrielle comes in. She looks confused at first, but then she agrees with Xena that they should attack the Amazons. She tells Ares that he and Xena have taught her that warriors rule the world, not philosophers.
Eve and Varia talk. Varia says Eve looks really familiar. She tries to make Eve fight with the Amazons, and when Eve refuses, she says Eve has to fight her. Eve walks away.
Eve comes into the tent with Ares. She says she should be leading his army, not Xena. Ares says what about that path of goodness or whatever? Eve says she got over that. Xena and Gabrielle come in and tell Eve to step aside, they are in control. Ares looks very happy. Xena tells Ares that once they have the ambrosia, they should split if four ways and then they could start Olympus on earth. Ares says yeah, good idea. He leaves, and Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve change into the Three Furies.
Ares goes to ready his army. Some guy brings him armor, but the Xena-trio disguised Furies appear and tell Ares he doesn't need armor. Ares talks to the Furies but the soldiers can't see them so they look really confused. Ares tells the guy to scrap the armor.
Xena and Gabrielle enter Ares tent. Ares says, didn't I tell you to wait outside? Xena and Gabrielle don't know what he is talking about. Ares says the war, we're going to war, and Xena says there isn't going to be any war. Ares raves a bit more and leaves. Gabrielle says he's lost his mind. Xena says maybe he's had some help, probably from The Furies. They go outside. Ares sees the Furies, posing as Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve, and he sees the real Xena and Gabrielle. The Furies persuade Ares to give the order to "kill them all" and the army heads out for the Amazon village.
Xena and Gabrielle follow the army. The army marches through a convenient canyon. Xena tosses the super chakram and causes a landslide. With the pass closed for the moment, Xena and Gabrielle head back to the Amazons to warn them of the impending attack.
Eve and Varia compare battle scars. They talk about war. Eve says she doesn't miss it. Varia asks Eve to teach her some defensive moves. Eve agrees. They do some sparring, and then Varia asks Eve to show them her best move. She does this twist jump thing and when she lands, Varia pulls a sword on her. "You are Livia, the b*tch of Rome!" she cries.
Xena and Gabrielle enter the village. Eve is bound at the hands and has this rope collar thing around her neck. The Amazons are taunting her. Xena tells Marga to set Eve free. She says the Amazons have to flee because they can't defeat Ares' army. Marga says Eve, as Livia, killed a lot of Amazons. Eve tells Xena she sold the Amazons she captured into slavery. Eve is taken to a hut and bound. Varia has a sword to Eve's throat when Xena comes in. Xena and Eve have a mother-daughter chat about this unforgivable action, this Amazon killing. Then Xena suddenly turns to Gabrielle and tells her how sorry she is about chopping off the top of her head with her chakram in "Motherhood." Gabrielle blames the Furies, and tells Xena she has forgiven her, and Xena should forgive herself. "I nearly lost you," Xena says, touching Gabrielle on the cheek.
Ares, meanwhile, chaffs at the delay caused by the rockslide. A Xena Fury appears and tells Ares he isn't worthy of godhood. He taunted and tormented a little more.
Xena comes to Ares and tells him the Furies are taunting him. Ares tells Xena she is always trying to drive him crazy. Xena says no, we just didn't want the same things. Xena does a flip out of the canyon. Ares yells, "I will kill you and all those Amazons."
The Amazons ready themselves for battle. Xena tells them to retreat. Marga says they will fight, because without their land, they are no longer Amazons. She says Xena isn't to be trusted because she brought the mortal enemy (Eve) into their midst. Gabrielle tells Xena the Amazons are like lambs to the slaughter. "Not if I can help it," Xena says.
The army marches on. The Amazons confront the army. Marga tells Ares he'll have to kill every last one of them. Ares pulls his sword. Xena yells. She races up on a brown horse. She knocks Ares' sword from his hands. She punches Ares. The Furies taunt Ares. He keeps yelling "shut up!" Xena says, "You're losing it. Oh, and gods don't bleed." The soldiers all mutter. Xena hops on her horse and rides off. Ares follows her. The army retreats. The Amazons rejoice. Xena rides, with Ares behind her. Gabrielle goes to Eve and frees her, they grab blankets, and Gabrielle tells Eve they need her help. They leave.
Xena dismounts on a snowy ridge with an icy pool below. Ares follows her. "You ready to die, Xena?" Ares yells. "Been there, done that," Xena says. Xena throws the chakram, it misses and bounces away. Xena and Ares fight. Ares has a bloody mouth. Ares tells Xena she is mean. He says he will open her up and show people the mean inside of her. He gets in a good whack. Xena punches Ares some more. Ares hits Xena. Her mouth and nose bleed. Xena tells Ares that he might be immortal, but he will never be a man. Ares punches Xena and she falls into the icy pond. She does not come up. She goes under an ice flow. She says something unintelligible, while Ares watches her.
The Furies come out of Ares head and tell him they have avenged the deaths on Olympus, and now they will rule Olympus. The chakram flies from nowhere and kills the Furies. Ares dives in the water and pulls Xena up from the icy pond. He brings her lifeless body ashore. He cries over her body. "I loved you, Xena," he wails.
Gabrielle and Eve arrive. They throw blankets around Xena. Gabrielle says they have to warm her up. Gabrielle gives Xena mouth-to-mouth. Xena wakes up, with Gabrielle holding her, and Xena reaches one hand up and catches the chakram. "Good plan," Gabrielle says as Ares looks on.
Ares sits on a mountain. Xena goes to him. He says mortality stinks and it hurts. Ares says that maybe as a mortal he can experience something he couldn't as a god -- Xena. They kiss. Xena tells Ares that he's always gotten to her, but "you're bad for me." Ares asks what the odds are they could get together. Xena says about one in a billion. "So there's a chance," Ares says. Xena walks away.
Ares turns away, and tries to do his godly vaporizing thing. "I've got to stop trying that. I'm going to rupture something," he says, and walks off.
This synopsis is by John.
Yup, this is it. The season premiere that's supposed to fix everything that went wrong in season five. The first Missy episode to be aired, the start of a new, more rational approach. Yeah, sure. Fair warning, I will be criticizing the divine Ms. Good in this review. I fully expect the Greater Toronto Area Merpups at my door with torches and pitchforks.
We open in a peaceful forest, with some troops in a standard bad guy uniform marching. They're being parallelled by a bunch of amazon skirmishers. It's a tidy set up for the amazons, and they're looking very cool and bloodthirsty. (The skimpy leather costumes don't hurt none either) One of the 'zons has one of those horny hats on. I guess she's Queen Horny. Actually, the costumes are kind of a melding of the northern and southern 'zons styles. I suppose over the twenty five years, the tribes merged. Anyway, as I said, it's a great little ambush setup. The troops are clueless, and the 'zons are ready. I'm just waiting for some giant logs or rocks or something to come crashing down on the troops to get things started.
Meanwhile, our grrlz, plus Evie are on their way to meet Ares. They figure they owe him big for saving their bacon back on Olympus. Xena mentions that there's no greater sacrifice for the god of war. I'm not sure why it's a greater sacrifice for him than for another god, or for that matter why becoming mortal is a greater sacrifice than dying, which likely would've happened if he'd been hanging around watching Gab and Eve die when Xena finished with his little sister. No matter, there's bigger dialogue problems for me to pick on coming up. Gab mentions Ares' "thing" for Xena. Why she's quoting a line she was unconscious for, I don't know. Xena thinks he wants something, Gab says that's her point.
For those of you who didn't pick up on this terribly subtle play on words, Gab thinks Ares wants to bump uglies with the WP. (Well Duh!) Evie, however has something on her mind. She thinks these might've been amazon lands at one time. Gabby confirms that they still are, and asks Eve why she asks. Eve looks nervous and says "No reason". Golly, D'ya think that the former Roman commander just might have some history with the amazons? Xena and Gab, being the perceptive sort of parents they are, let it pass. [sigh] They top a ridge, and see a 'panorama of destruction'. I was looking for Smoky the Bear to come 'round a corner and tell them that only they could prevent this. Gabby asks, (rhetorically I assume), "Who would destroy the amazon forest?" Strangely enough, just as we get a closeup of Evie. But before we can chuckle at that, there's a bloodcurdling scream in the distance. (I'm betting from the guy who lit the first match.) Our heroes rush off.
Cut to a big battle scene. Amazons vs baddies. A very cool scene, lots of scantily clad chorus line girls getting a chance to do something rather more active. It's good eye candy, but went on for a little longer than I'd have expected. Perhaps Missy isn't quite used to the timing constraints of television scripts? [shrug] I'm not complaining, it really was a good fight sequence. Horny Queen yells to her psycho chick friend with the deer blood makeup (at least I hope it's deer blood) to retreat. Seems that they didn't actually have any big logs or rocks, they were just waiting for the troops to notice them 'cause it's so terribly rude to attack people who don't even know you're there. Clearly amazons have forgotten the basics of guerilla warfare. (Or should that be girrl-illa warfare?) Bloody Psycho Chick has some good moves, but they don't seem to include 'disengage and fall back'. Lucky for her, we hear a familiar warcry, and there's Xena. Standing there. Isn't she usually in the air when she yells that? I know there's no reason she couldn't yell it from a standing position, I just found it a little, disconcerting. The soldiers gape at her for a moment. "Hey, she's wearing more clothes than the rest of 'em." So she jumps on them. Gabby runs into the battle, and the terrible twosome get to what they do best. Lots of fighting, kicking, etc. One of the 'zons gets into trouble, and Eve finally does something. With a jump worthy of any of her mommies, (X, G, or C), she's in the thick of things and saving the Horny Queen. (HQ for short) So now everybody's into it, and as usual in a Xenaverse fight there's not a lot of blades hitting flesh. More kicking and hitting with the hilt. That's why I missed a plot point buried in this fight, but we'll find out about that soon enough. Eventually the baddies run away, and the 'zons celebrate. (Nice shot of Bloody Psycho Chick yelling, that'll be screen capped a few times.) Evie has declared herself a medic, she's on the wounded 'zon before anyone else is done yelling. HQ, thanks the 'strangers' for their help. Gabby says that they're not strangers. Um... Did I miss something? I didn't see any familiar faces here. Who do they know? BPC mentions that Evie looks familiar. (That there is what 'cha call yer basic 'foreshadowing', it proves that the writer isn't just making it up as she goes along) Xena makes introductions, and HQ seems to know them by reputation. (Why is it nobody asks Xena why she looks so young? Everybody takes this at face value, and it's starting to bug me. Did they have magical Oil of Olay then or what?) They've heard that Xena can kill gods, and want her to take on Ares, the God of War. (As opposed to Ares, the guy from the gas station) Somehow, with all they know of Xena and Gab, they haven't heard about Xena's 'special' relationship to said god. Fade to credits.
Incidentally, they've changed the credits. Contrary to rumor, they haven't changed the song, but they have changed the clips (many of which I haven't seen before) and slipped the new chakram in over the old one in the old clips. Renee's got a 'Starring' credit now, and when they say 'passion' they've got Xena on top of some redshirt.
When we return, the 'zons are on their way back to camp, and X & G are discussing Ares' motives. Xena decides to go on a reccy of Ares' army, Gabby's going to talk to HQ. (Remember? She does the sensitive chats.)
As Ares' troops get back to camp, they find the big A himself, standing proud and looking over the aforementioned 'panorama of destruction'. Looking for Smoky? Could be. The non-com tries to report, but Ares stops him. He's pretty good at management by intimidation. He asks a simple question, "Did you find the amazon camp", and the non-com tries to weasel out of saying no, whining about needing more men. Ares pops him one. Well, that's one command style. The non-com wants to know why Ares doesn't use his powers. That slows him down a bit, but he recovers well. "Where's the fun in that?" A classic Ares attitude that also gets him off the hook. He sends his men off with little in the way of useful orders. "I want those amazons on their knees by the end of the day" So... should we send out more patrols? That line was cut. Honest. As they wander off to try and figure out a strategy, Ares flexes his hand. That punch hurt him. He goes to his tent, and tries to kill a fly. It's actually a very funny scene, with a pretty good CGI fly. He can't zap it, and when he tries to punch it, he just squashes a bunch of grapes. Full marks to Kevin for this one. He turns around, and there's Xena, laughing at him. She catches the fly for him and asks what he wants. He says he wants his godhood back. (So where'd he leave his sword this time? And why didn't he need it to do that trick with Gab and Eve? Or am I being picky again?)
Back at the amazon camp, Gabs is talking to HQ, queen to queen. HQ isn't sure why Ares is attacking, they've "always had an uneasy rapport". Excuse me? Is this an amazon queen or a half literate PR exec? They've never had a rapport with Ares, and there's no reason for her to be pretentiously abusing the Queen's English. I'm not sure if Missy did this deliberately or not, but it grated on me. That aside, mostly what this scene establishes is that HQ doesn't know what Ares wants, and that BPC is highly motivated. The good news is that nobody overstates their lines. The acting so far has been pretty controlled.
Back in Ares' tent, he's still having his little tete 'a tete with Xena. This dialogue was cute, but I don't get the dream thing. Artemis came to Ares "in a dream from the other side". The other side of what? Which afterlife do gods go to? Weren't Xenites debating this one back in season four? Apparently they still have the ability to show up in dreams, but ... why is Artemis helping Ares? None of it makes sense. Which is why it's contained in one quickly spoken line. [sigh] A little disappointing from Missy, but hey, she's one of TPTB now. Ares wants Xena to snag the ambrosia from the amazons, because he trusts her. Huh? Why? Again, that's glossed over. Ares figures that to avoid war, Xena will do what he wants. Xena disagrees, she likes the idea of a war. She wants Ares' army, so she can squish the amazon village. (Xenites sitting at home are saying, "what's she up to") Ares promptly asks, "What are ya up to?" Unfortunately, that's about the only glimmer of intelligence that we see from the ole wargod this ep. Xena keeps on telling him what he wants to hear, echoing what's probably been going on in his own head. Then she goes in for a kiss, but they're interrupted by Gabby. "What are you doing?" She wanders in, looking very much like a jealous girlfriend. She tells Ares that the amazons know what he wants. I figured that she and Xena were working cross scams. Xena says that they'll have to take it from 'em. Gabby pauses, then, quick on the uptake, agrees. She's positively enthusiastic about sending this army after the 'zons, and cuddles right up to Ares. Ya'd think that Ares would catch on at this point, but let's face it, guys don't do their best thinking while two gorgeous women are cuddled up to them telling them what they want to hear. He's enjoying himself. (For that matter, I don't think Kevin had any objections either.)
Back at camp, the 'zons are training hard. Seems that the US military got most of their training techniques from the 'zons, including pugil sticks. (Yeah, I'm just showing off the fact that I know what they're called, so sue me) Evie flashes back to brutally killing a bunch of 'zons. (See! I told ya so!) BPC interrupts her reminiscing to chat. She still can't place her face. Eve suggests that she has a common look, not unreasonably considering the resemblance between her and BPC. Trying another angle, BPC compliment's her fighting technique, but Eve says she doesn't fight, she was just trying to keep people from getting hurt. (Or at least, keep amazons from getting hurt.) BPC doesn't buy this, and wants Eve to either help fight Ares, or to fight her. Amazing how much amazons look like jocks when they get into a pissing contest. Eve walks away. Incidentally, what are those training sticks BPC is holding? They're too short to be staves, and too long to be chobos. The don't look like they're supposed to be practice swords, so what are they?
Back in Ares' tent, he's still hung up on this fly thing. I liked this bit, it got a grin out of me, and I was really glad to see Ares finally triumph. Eve shows up behind him, and now she wants his army. She too, is being very, very cuddly. Xena and Gabby show up, and now Ares has three gorgeous women fawning over him. Much as I'd like to, I just can't blame him for not thinking straight. (Well, I guess in a way he is thinking straight, but that's beside the point.) He tries to zap off and get the attack started, and there's an awkward moment. I guess it takes a while to break the habits of several thousand years. Before he goes, Xena suggests that they split the ambrosia between the four of them. Ares, who is obviously thinking of a completely different sort of fourway, agrees. He mentions that his commanders thought he was insane. (BTW, is "spinning brilliant" a kiwi expression?) As he leaves, Xena reveals herself to really be, the lap dancing Fury. Naturally, Gab and Eve are also Furies. They want to avenge the Olympians and rule mankind in their stead. I gotta admit, Missy suckered me on this one. I was looking for an old fashioned Xena plan, and this fooled me. Big points for her on that.
After another commercial, Ares is leaving his tent with faux X, G, and E. (Not sure what held him up while they were explaining their plot to the audience, maybe he had to tie his shoe or something.) A lackey with a nice looking chunk or armor comes up and tries to give it to Ares. The Furies are talking Ares out of wearing it, but only he can see or hear them. (Which is the whole point of this scene, but the lackey's reactions are pretty funny.) Ares goes back to his tent to get his sword, (which he forgot because we needed to separate him from the Furies for a bit) and in stroll the real Xena and Gab. (No, there's no explanation of where Xena got off to, or how Gab caught up to her, this is another smile and nod moment.) Ares is confused, and acts a lot like a Jerry Springer guest. Actually given the way some of the dialogue later on goes, I figure Missy must have watched an awful lot of that show as research. Naturally, given that Ares is acting weird, Xena concludes that the furies are involved. Okay, maybe this one didn't necessarily require sitting in on the writers meeting, maybe she just glanced at the cast list.
Back outside, Ares is confronted with the disguised Furies, being even more creepy. (Gab and Eve chorusing in on the end of Xena's sentence was just weird, and those smiles!) While they're keeping Ares and the boys pumped up, the real Xena and Gab show up. This is where Ares is really Joxerfied. He's got Xena, Gab, and Eve standing on his right, and Xena and Gab on his left. With the wargod's long and ahem, intimate experience with the Furies, one would think he would make a connection. Especially when 'Xena' does a teleport. [sigh] Nevertheless, Ares marches his army off to battle.
Interestingly enough, he choses to march them through a narrow canyon with loose rock on either side. (Kudos to these extras, they're almost in step, that's unusual for troops in the Xenaverse) Now usually, when facing guerilla (or ever girrl-illa) fighters, one avoids natural ambush points like the plague, surely even Ares can figure this one out. But no, so Xena starts a rockslide with her chakram, (really, really bad CGI rocks), and the army is stuck. I'm not sure what that comment about "heading them off at the pass" was supposed to be, I think Missy just wanted a line in there and fell back on a not entirely appropriate cliche. The non- com gets the men to work clearing rocks right away, and the girrlz are off to warn the 'zons. (They know a way around this canyon, why didn't anyone in Ares' army?)
Eve is cleaning a cut on her leg with something disgusting. It's probably a traditional amazon herbal disinfectant, but it looks pretty gross. (Not as bad as what they used in 13th warrior) BPC wanders in, and starts on her again. They get to comparing scars. I guess that's a bonding thing for amazons. More interesting than trading hair care tips I guess, but it still looks to me like a pissing contest. They then move on to reminiscing about the joys of warfare, but Eve isn't impressed. Still, BPC talks her into teaching her some moves, by promising to only use them for defense. Hands up anyone who believes her. I didn't think so.
They're practicing with those little sticks again. Using them like a cross between a sword and a staff. I suppose that traditional amazon armament could've changed in the last twenty-five years, what with the shortage of wood, but I think it's more likely go to do with a prop department that didn't want to make real staves. BPC wants to learn one more move, Eve's best, so she shows her a neat little flip which will put your opponent directly behind you. Clever. BPC has seen this particular bit of idiocy only once before, and identifies Eve as Livia. Being behind her, of course it's pretty easy to get the drop on her, and she's an amazon prisoner before she can say "Doh". More commercials.
Xena and Gab get back to the amazon camp, and find the 'zons all worked up over something they can't see. Of course, it's Eve, with a big wooden spiked collar on, and being held by a bunch of ropes. Does anyone know what those spikes are meant to accomplish? They're pointing out, at the captors, not the captive, so they're not very effective as a means of torment. [shrug] Xena tries to get the amazons to let her darling daughter go, but they don't want to. She tries scaring them with the huge army marching on them, but they're a little more interested in the nastiness Livia perpetrated on them. (Yup, another bigger word than I need, maybe Missy is rubbing off on me.) She killed a bunch of them, enslaved a bunch more, and generally messed things up for them. Amazon law says she must die. Last time someone they cared about was condemned under amazon law, it was a big issue for Xena and Gab, they even had to stage a big WWF tribute to get around it. (And all Joxer did was peek at bathing beauties, surely not as bad as all the killing, enslaving, looting, etc that Livia did) This time, they pretty much ignore it. Gabby threatens to challenge HQ, but they don't actually carry that through either. They just lock Eve up 'till after the battle. (Actually she said "after this is resolved", maybe Missy has been spending too much time in corporate meetings.) In the hut, BPC is just about to dispense some guardhouse justice, when Xena comes in. She storms out, and we get a quick round of forgiveness tag. Eve couldn't bear to tell them about the last time she was here because, "She knows how much the amazons mean to them" We're not talking about family pets here! Then Xena starts to apologize for nearly killing Gab again. (Can you say pattern of violent behavior kiddies?) The little exchange between Xena and Gab is supposed to make up for the chakram incident in Motherhood, but it's a bit of a patch job. Better than nothing. They resolve to 'take out' the furies. I don't think they mean down to the pub for a few pints.
Back at the rockslide, Ares is yelling at his men to work faster. (Lucky all those rocks are about the same, man portable, size.) The head (or maybe lap) Fury shows up, and transforms into Xena again. She rips into Ares, pushing all his buttons, working him up. Remember that line about him barely being a match for her when he was a god, I'll be mentioning it again. Ares' troops are treated to the sight of their mighty god flailing his sword wildly at thin air. He then starts yelling at them not to look at him. Kevin must have loved doing this episode. The real Xena runs up, past a bunch of troops who don't seem much concerned about the famous Warrior Princess in their midst. She tries to tell Ares about the Furies, but he's pretty much snapped. I loved his "You don't bring me flowers anymore." Possibly a reference to past sacrifices on his altar? But why would you sacrifice flowers to the god of war? Whatever. He's in full rant, and doing a lovely job of it. He even gets a nice bit of insight into Xena's character, "You want the power, but you're just too much of a coward to admit it." Yeah, she probably still knows about the lust for power. Eventually, he swings at her, she jumps over it, and lands on top of the cliff. She runs off while he yells threats after her.
Last set of commercials, and the amazons are getting ready for battle, handing out swords, (don't they usually carry those with them?), dipping their arrows in a vat of what I can only assume is poison, (are good guys allowed to use that under the great laws of drama?), and lining up in semi-orderly ranks. We see HQ and BPC exchange the secret amazon handshake. Xena comes running up, and tries to explain the tactical facts of life to the 'zons. Unfortunately, amazon pride outweighs amazon intelligence by a fair bit. (Nope, I don't know anyone like that, do you?) So off they go to battle. Why on earth the command "Amazons, let's fight" was chosen, I don't know. Perhaps it's an awkward translation from the original amazon tongue. The actress did the best she could with it, but ... Nah. Ares' army is advancing, not doing quite as good a job of keeping in step as last time we saw them, but still pretty good. Out of the woods, come the amazons. The army stops, and prepares for battle, still with good discipline. The amazons really look like a rag-tag bunch in comparison. HQ gives a defiant speech about how they "won't take another backward step". Do I even need to comment on that one? She tells Ares that he'll have to kill every last one of them. Ares lives for openings like that. "What will I do the rest of the afternoon?" I'm a little confused about what the newly mortal Ares is doing being so cocky in front of the shield wall, and facing a whole lot of arrows, but the line is good enough that I'll forgive it. He dismounts, and gives HQ his ultimatum, but Xena shows up to interrupt. She says it's between him and her. I'm not sure where she gets that, he wants the amazon's ambrosia, they don't want her help, she's actually pretty out of this, but what the hey. She kicks his sword out of his hand, and they start a good old fashioned fist fight, well, not really much of a fight, she hits him, he hits the ground. Xena's trying to embarrass Ares in front of his men, and the Furies are still goading him. While he's punching empty air to shut up the voices in his head, she mentions that he's bleeding. Not a very godly activity. When he looks back to see if they've noticed, (they have), she jumps on her horsie and gallops away. (Not Argo jr. by the way, some brown horse) Ares takes another look at the angry amazons, and decides to go chase Xena. This leaves his troops suddenly with the knowledge that god is no longer on their side. All they've got is highly disciplined well trained heavy infantry backed up with cavalry with an overwhelming numerical advantage against a bunch of lightly armed, un armored, forest skirmishers who for unknown reasons have decided to try an open battle. Since they are not only well disciplined but incredibly stupid, they break and run.
Down the trail, Xena is galloping along, hotly pursued by Ares, who doesn't seem to be much of a rider. (Again, I'm not sure if it was deliberate, or if Kevin just doesn't do much riding.) They ride and ride and ride. In the amazon camp, Eve thinks BPC has come to kill her, but it's Gabrielle, who cuts her loose and tells her to gather up blankets and follow her. Now I'm sure I smell a Xena plan. Xena and Ares have ridden a really, really long way, there's snow sprayed on the ground all around them, and a little pond with a sheet of plexiglass floating in it. (It's supposed to be ice) Xena dismounts, and runs down to the pond. Ares is right behind her. Would this be the climactic showdown?
Ares asks Xena if she's ready to die, she says "Been there, done that". Another good one, I haven't been keeping close score, but I think Missy is slightly up on the good line/total klunker scoreboard. Xena throws her chakram, narrowly missing Ares, and it bounces a few times before spinning away. Naturally, experienced Xenites know that Xena never does anything accidentally with her chakram, and are waiting for it to return. Ares and Xena start punching each other, mixed in with some really fun dialogue. Not only does it sound Springeresque, but I thought I detected a nod to the final episode of Survivor. Remember Susan's little rant? Listen to Ares closely. I'm not sure of the timing, I could be imagining it, but if so, it's a wicked little bit of satire. Kevin is obviously having the time of his life here, and Xena gets to lay a few on him for all the abused women who might hear echos of their own relationship in this. Frankly, when Ares says that she's making it way too easy for him, I had to agree, thinking back to that line about him barely being a match when he was a god. (I told you I'd be back to that.) When she tries harder, it's a thing of beauty. We know on one level that she's setting him up, but on another we're hoping we're right. I also loved this line: "You might be mortal Ares, but you will never be a man." That works on so many levels. Xena is goading Ares, so it's an insult. They're also making all kinds of parallels to abusive relationships, so it works there. (Most abusers may be male, but none of them are men.) I've gotta give that one honors for top line in the ep. Finally, Ares knocks Xena into the 'icy' pond. He's still yelling at her, and steps into the pond to find her. She floats up under the plexi in the center of the pond. (Note for those living in southern climes, ice generally forms around the edges of a body of water first, and ice that clear is generally thin enough to break very easily.) Ares is really crackers now, watching Xena drown under the ice while talking about how beautiful she is, and what she gets for trying to fool the god of war. It's really a nice scene. Now, I'm not sure, but the 'snow' on top of the 'ice' that Xena was trapped under looked a lot to me like road salt. That would imply that the water was to one degree or another salty, (it's hard to spread salt like that precisely, some of it almost certainly spilled) so there's very good odds that Lucy was keeping her beautiful blue eyes open in salt water for that scene. Thank you Lucy. Anyway, Xena drowns, and the Furies leave Ares' skull. The speaking one taunts Ares in a strong kiwi accent, then gloats about ruling the world, but just as they begin that irritating laugh of theirs, the chakram comes along and kills all three of them. Um. I know that Xena has a lot of control over that thing, but how she could know not only exactly when the Furies would come out, but exactly where they would be standing, all in a convenient line ... well, the only explanation I can come up with is a little control box hidden in her breastplate. Ares looks all anguished, (wouldn't it be nice if insanity worked that way in the real world? Just went away all of a sudden?) and dives in to save Xena. He manages to find open water pretty easily, despite her problems. (But that was a set-up wasn't it? Never mind) He carries her to shore, looking very reminiscent of the time he put her in the ice cave, and screams his anguish to the sky. He tells her he loves her again, (he's starting to say that more often than Gabby). Just when all seems lost, Gabrielle and Eve come running around the corner with blankets. Gabby very briefly explains that because she drowned in cold water, she's still alive, they just need to warm her up. There is medical support for that, but it usually takes an IC ward to bring the victims back, and brain damage occurs more often than not. They wrap blankets around the fallen warrior, and Gabby starts CPR. (How much do you want to bet Missy had a much more interesting way of restoring Xena's body temperature in her first draft?) Apparently Eve doesn't have her St. John's certification, because Gabby's doing this on her own. Eventually, Xena starts to come around, and reaches up to catch her chakram. (Gotta be somewhere, maybe in the bracer.)
We crossfade into the next scene. Ares is silhouetted on a ridge, looking sad and tragic. (Yeah, so it's redundant, he looks really sad) Xena walks up, and he starts griping about this mortality gig. They chat for a bit, and he comes on to her, again. She kisses him, which I'm sure upset a lot of people, but trust me on this, there is no cause for concern. That was a goodbye kiss, a 'I like you but only as a friend' kiss, a 'you're a really nice guy, so I'll take pity on you' kiss. I've had enough of those that I can spot 'em a mile away. Don't worry, she's still with the bard. The one in a billion line was cute, not great, and kinda predictable, but cute. Ares closing line about rupturing something if he kept teleporting was about at the same level.
So, in the end, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but much better than I'd feared. Missy seems to drop the occasional klunker when she's not paying attention to her dialogue, but she's not really used to writing for television, and she had lots of good lines to make up for it. Ares has been Joxerfied, which I'm not thrilled about, but I'm sure Kevin will do a good job as comedy relief, and that he'll have a ball. This ep won't save the show all on it's own, but it's a good start. It's certainly better than most of season five.
I've gotta go now, I think there's an angry mob at the door.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
OK, first things first: only five-sixths of the way through the series (according to the latest scuttlebutt), we actually have a new opening credits montage! Shots seem to mostly be from the original montage, or fourth, fifth, and this season. There's a half-dozen or so we haven't seen yet. Oo, the suspense!
Other tidbits that must be covered with a season premiere: Gab's hair is getting longer... she's getting a fluffy look. The costumes seem unchanged so far. Both our gals are looking hale and hearty and ready to sit down to an eight-course acting banquet. Eve looked so different I almost thought it was a different actress when I first laid eyes on her. I'm not sure what it is - maybe she just got a chance to get cleaned up between seasons - but she really threw me at first.
As for the episode... eh, not bad. Not GREAT, either, and nothing to blow our socks off to start the season off with a bang, but there wasn't anything that I hated, either. Others have already asked the question I must ask: Why was this called "Coming Home?" A reference to Gab seeing the Amazons 25 years later? When they only mentioned in two sentences that she has any relationship with them at all?
When Xena and Gabrielle separate for their "Shaggy, you and Scooby go talk to the Amazons" plan, watch Xena's face. She shoots one of those old "She's so cute I could just scream" looks at Gab's back. I've missed those looks. Good to see it again.
Speaking of that plan... what happened to it?? Xena was going to spy out Ares, Gabrielle was going to talk to Marga. I was surprised when both Xena and Gabrielle showed up in Ares' tent, until we find out it's the Furies, until the REAL Xena and Gabrielle again show up at Ares' camp together. Gabrielle talked to Marga as expected; what was Xena doing?
This episode would have really been helped out if they had established that Ares was going crazy BEFORE babbling about ambrosia and believing Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve were all his lovekittens. I spent ten minutes being honked off that Ares would be that stupid. Once I understood he had a little Furies-whammy on him, I was OK with it, but it didn't give me back those ten minutes.
The Furies' idea of justice and retribution keeps getting stranger and stranger. In the first episode we saw them, they tortured Xena for not instinctively knowing that ma killed pa. Weird, but it fits in a Greek tragedy kind of way. Next time, Ares sic'ed them on Gabrielle to kill off Eve, in retribution for...? I can't even guess. And this time, they tortured Ares as vengeance for the death of the Gods. And as opposed to the resolution in the first episode, when madness is permanent, here they just wanted Xena to be killed off. Whaaaaatever. AND I never did get the Furies' little plan about how this would let them rule Olympus.
Eve needs a better 12-step program; she protests fighting in between battles and bone-headed exhibitions that turn her into a plot device. Did she really believe that bloody-thirsty Varia was going to use killer fighting moves for defense only? Neither of them seemed to believe it at the time. And by the way, won't those amazons be looking for Eve at the end of this episode? Gabrielle made a big deal last season out of making Eve into an Amazon and her heir... won't this be a bit of an issue?
Gabrielle pulls out the queen card in a big way with the threat of challenging Marga. It gets her and Xena what they want without a fight; not bad!
On the one hand, I'm very glad that the show has addressed that little "oops-upside-your-head" chakram incident. But on the other, their conversation about it was out of nowhere, five sentences long, and included no explanation, just instant acceptance. It was magician resolution, which leaves me feeling only imperfectly mollified about the chak-otomy.
The amazons were facing an army in their territory who greatly outnumbered them... and they attack by walking out of the woods? Have they never heard of guerilla warfare? Sneak attacks? Instead of giving away dance moves, maybe Eve should have been teaching these girls some tactics.
Xena responds to Ares' "Are you ready to die, Xena?" threat with "Been there, done that." No kidding! By my count, this is the sixth time Xena has died. I wonder which afterlife she visited this time?
Ares' love for Xena gets full legitimacy at last. His insanity is mostly focused on her - even though that's always been the case. He's always flirted with the crossroads between obsession, possession, and love when it comes to Xena. But his despair when he thinks he's killed her is raw in its reality, and Xena gives him the ultimate acknowledgment that there's always something between them with their first genuine kiss... at the same time that she reminds him that there will never be anything more than that.
But I must also add this... Ares' line about how there might still be a chance for them would have been sweeter if I hadn't seen a claymation chicken use the same line in Chicken Run this summer. Now I'm cursed with seeing Ares with the head of Babs the chicken. Help me!
From what I can figure, that chakram throw goes down as the all-time most prescient moment in the universe. Xena must be Nostradamus in disguise. At first, I thought Xena had thrown the chakram to Eve, who then threw it at the Furies... which bothered me because last we saw, only Xena had the ability to kill gods (which I assume includes their lap(-dancing) dogs), no matter the weapon. But by the end of the scene, I think the idea was supposed to be that the chakram had been flying for that whole five minutes, and that bothered me MORE. Sure, Xena's a master planner and can throw that chakram to beat the band, but when did she pick up a time machine in her travels?
Kevin Smith does a stellar, stellar job in this episode. I had problems buying the insanity at first, but in the end, when his insanity is in full grip and then his grief is in full rage, he really nails it. What a great showcase for Ares.
Lucy and Renee get to stretch their hammy, eeeeevil-acting muscles a bit. Gabrielle and Eve do a lot of that head-jerking kind of motion the Furies are famous for (I gotta admit, I like the Furies and their unabashed over-acting). Xena does a great fly-snag. But my favorite moment is when Ares & company march out of his tent. Watch FuryGab as they pass the honor guard - she snaps the guards a crazed salute, and FuryEve does a little bounce to follow suit until they get distracted by the armorer. Made me laugh out loud.
Lines of the episode ALL belong to Ares:"Don't touch me!" barking at Gab.
"You'll have to kill every last one of us."
"What'll I do with the rest of the afternoon?"
"I gotta stop tryin' that, I'm gonna rupture something."
This commentary is by Josh Harrison. 10-10-00.
Right off the bat, I have a confession to make. I missed the opening teaser and the first act of this episode, so I don't have a complete picture of what was going on. However, I didn't find it too difficult to fill in the missing pieces of this episode, so I feel justified in making some comments about it. (I also neglected to tape the episode, so I couldn't go back and see what transpired. It's been a rough month, okay?)
All in all, I don't think this episode was too bad. I also don't think it was anything particularly special, either. It was certainly reminiscent of earlier seasons - which isn't too surprising when you consider that fanfic scribe Missy Good penned this particular story. Still, it had a decidedly "been there, done that" kind of feel to it (and I'm not referring to the classic second season episode).
It played like a mixture of "The Furies" and "Hooves & Harlots" without the interesting conflict between the Amazons and the Centaurs. Not only that, but there were several Xenaverse cliches that made me sigh with barely restrained frustration. I'll get to the more offensive of those in just a minute.
The past couple of premieres have set the bar for season openers fairly high. Both "Adventures in the Sin Trade" and "Fallen Angel" are richly woven episodes where the emotional stakes are high. This episode, on the other hand, didn't feel particularly tense at all. It felt more like a midseason anchor. I didn't find the emotional stakes particularly high, despite the generally solid construction of the story. I'm not sure whether this is a result of Missy Good's writing, or the fact that last season's closer, "Motherhood", didn't leave us precariously balanced on the edge of our seats. From what I've heard of Missy's fanfiction, it is probably a combination of the two.
I think everybody involved turned in solid performances, especially Kevin Smith. The former God of War had a hard enough time dealing with becoming mortal, he sure as heck didn't need the Furies bouncing around his cranium. He played the role very well, and didn't stray into the realm of over-the-top scene chewing too much.
Xena returned to familiar territory. The old school focus was back in full view, with only a little bit of residual guilt floating around. Gabrielle remained true to the character changes that developed during season five. I was pleased to see this, as I was afraid a fan writer might try to force her back into an earlier costume (so to speak). Both Lucy and Renee seemed very comfortable in their roles, and neither actress "phoned in" their performance (at least, as far as I could tell). Even after five full seasons, they are giving their all.
Eve seemed to have emerged from the shell of self-pity and doubt that she had wrapped around herself in "Motherhood". It seemed that she was starting to find a balance between her past and her present, and actually was starting to enjoy life again. I hope that more stories this season focus on this struggle, because it makes for an interesting contrast with Xena's early quest for redemption.
Then there are the Amazons, a perennial fan favorite. Presented to us in this episode was a whole tribe of new characters with no solid connection to the Amazons from the past that I was able to discern. This caused some problems for me, because I had a hard time caring what happened to them. Gone are the Amazon glory days of "The Quest" and "A Necessary Evil". In fact, the notion that the Amazons are a dying nation seems a trifle hackneyed at this point - the producers have been playing that card since the first season. I can only be kept hanging for so long before I want a resolution to a storyline. Either have the Amazons die off, or have them experience a new beginning. Leaving them in a perpetual state of decline is just getting old.
While the plot is fairly solid, with no chariot-sized holes, it felt recycled. The worst example of this was the "elaborate plan" where Xena fakes her own death. It wasn't that the execution of this plan stretched credulity (at least, not any more than this show usually does), it was simply that the elements of the plot had all been done fairly recently. The Furies figured into "Motherhood", Xena faked her death in "Looking Death in the Eye", and a major battle was avoided by Xena's timely misdirection in "Amphipolis Under Siege". These are only a couple examples of recycled plot elements. Closer examination would certainly reveal more.
Perhaps the grognards are right, and there isn't really any new territory to explore in this series. I didn't agree with them last season, and I don't really agree with them now. I can't find any major technical fault with this story; it simply lacks the spark of life that has made so many other episodes memorable. Is it a sign that the series has run longer than it should have? I don't think so, but perhaps the miles are starting to show a bit more clearly.
In final analysis, this episode feels more like an interlude between the seasons five and six. I think I can see where The Powers That Be were going with this one, but I didn't feel especially compelled to go along for the ride. It wasn't a bad episode - indeed, it would have made a pretty good mid-season anchor. As a season premiere, though, it falls short of the high standards set by previous years. On my own wildly subjective scale, I rate it a C-plus.
This commentary is by Beboman.
* Before I start with my commentary of this episode, I have to come clean with a few things: First, I have to admit that I was one of those people who read every possible spoiler regarding this episode. After last year's season opener, which was also just great, I could not wait to see this one. If it had taken any longer to air, I think I would have gone mad. The second thing I have to face up to is the fact that I think I'm one of the few people in the Xenaverse who had not read any of Ms. Good's Fan Fiction stories. So, in a way, this put me at an advantage over many because I felt I would be a bit more impartial than the rest.
* After saying all that, I will move on with this commentary. For openers and with no pun intended, there is the new opening of the show. I personally think it was about time. I was getting very tired of seeing Gabrielle in her peasant girl outfit and still being reflected as dependent on Xena. I like the takes used for the new presentation. They reflect a new change in the show. I think something was probably well received by all: the fact that ROC has been promoted from being in a co-starring role to being in a starring role.
* Now, I can sit here and nitpick the show, I can give a blow-by-blow account of events or I might just take the short cut and comment on the things that made the show for me. So, guess what, I'm taking the short cut and going for what I liked.
* First and foremost, the show was entertaining. It went back to basics; the trust and relationship between Gabrielle and Xena was there. There was something for everyone, from some really good fight scenes to some "touchy feely" moments between Gabrielle and Xena, and even Xena and Ares. This was well taken considering some of the complex plots of previous years. The opening scene set the mood for what was to come and I liked that.
* I guess that from the last time we saw our wondering trio, these characters must have had a long time to talk about things. Xena and Gabrielle must have had some time to get to know and try to understand Eve. However, I think Gabrielle is still not too taken by Eve. Gabrielle still refers to Eve, as "Your Daughter" even though it seems Xena has tried to create an atmosphere in which Gabrielle can feel like Eve's mother also.
* The reason I say all this is because when we first see Xena, Gabrielle and Eve, there is an easiness between Xena and Gabrielle that has been missing; that old easiness of days long gone. But when Eve asks if that is Amazon land, Gabrielle's tone of voice changes and her answer to Eve feels short and curt.
* In those first moments, one thing really hit home to me in a sad way. It was the sight of the Amazon forest, the destruction and the loneliness it represented. It reminded me of how Dade County in Florida looked after Hurricane Andrew. My heart went out to those Amazons that were losing everything, just as it did for the people in those devastated areas of Florida.
* Xena and Gabrielle are definitely in true "Xena and Gabrielle" form. At the sound of battle, they rush to see what is happening and see how they can get involved. Here is where we hit our first battle scene and it is a good one too. Not too long but not too short either. It had the right timing and the right emotions to it, like all the other fight scenes in this show, especially the fistfight between Xena and Ares. That was a marvelous scene and Kevin Smith flat out stole it.
* One thing I found interesting with that first fight scene was the fact that Xena was standing there doing her war cry. I found it to be a bit bold of Xena, but I guess at this point in time Xena can definitely be as bold as Xena wants. It was as if Xena was saying, "Yo guys, I'm here, want a piece of me?"
* Both Xena and Gabrielle were just a magnificent fighting machine with Eve just standing there, looking meek. I don't like this attitude in Eve. (Yes, Eve, you have done some really nasty things, so you are going to have to pay for them. So move on and get over it.) It was good to see her get into the fight.
* As the show progressed, I continued to enjoy it even more. The idea of the Furies driving Ares crazy and representing themselves as Xena, Gabrielle and Eve was a wonderful idea. How else could you get Ares to go after Xena and get rid of her. Brilliant move by the Furies. The only thing that nixed their plan was Xena. She smelled a rat and it had the Furies' name written all over it.
* Once again, in this whole thing with the Furies, Kevin Smith did an outstanding job. It showed that he was truly enjoying himself.
* I guess the stories of Gabrielle and Xena being put in ice by Ares and then waking up 25 years later have traveled well and have even reached the land of the Amazons. I wonder how much those stories have been exaggerated over the few months that Xena and Gabrielle have been free from their icy tomb. I also wonder what other stories have been told of the adventures of Xena and Gabrielle. There was a tone of respect and amazement in the voice of the Queen of the Amazons when Xena introduced herself and her companions.
* One great part was when Gabrielle challenged the Amazon Queen. This is not the naive little girl of years past from "Hooves and Harlots". This was a true Queen and she showed she is someone to contend with.
* It seems as though Eve's life has, in many ways, paralleled that of her mother. Wasn't Xena the one who destroyed a whole Amazon Nation just to please Alti and, by doing so, condemn them to live in the land of the dead for eternity.
* Now moving along, I know a lot of people have had some problems with the Gabchak and the apology scene. I, for one, did not have a problem with either. First, the apology scene was true to form. How many of us know a person who has a problem saying they are sorry. They will do whatever it takes to make the other person feel good, but they have major trouble saying, "I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry for..." We also know people who, even before their partners have even thought of apologizing, have already forgiven that person. I believe this is the case with Xena and Gabrielle. I have no doubt whatsoever that these two characters love each other. It is true that in the last few years they have gone through some really rough times, but the fact that they have stayed together is a sign of their dedication to each other and their love for each other.
* Then who better to forgive Xena for her actions than Gabrielle. Wasn't Gabrielle the one who lied to Xena in "Gabrielle's Hope", when Gabrielle told Xena that she (Gabrielle) had killed Hope when, in reality, she had put her in a basket and sent her down river to save her life. Or wasn't it Gabrielle who sent Hope to Solan's tent so she could save her and this was when Hope killed Solan in "Maternal Instincts". A person who has experienced those kinds of feelings can really understand where Xena was coming from. On the other hand, I really believe there is a long road ahead before Gabrielle can truly say she has forgiven Eve for all the evil Eve has done.
* Well, here we are at the end of the show and guess what: Xena died again. This time she dies at the hand of Ares. By this time, I have lost count of how many times Xena has died during the run of this show. But what made this death scene a refreshing one was the fact that it was Gabrielle who came to the rescue. She was the one who gave Xena mouth to mouth. She was the one in control. It was great to see. It was obvious that the years with Xena have not been wasted when it comes to lifesaving techniques.
* Now, regarding the final scene between Xena and Ares; I found it to be an easygoing scene, a goodbye between two longtime friends. At this time in the game, the scoreboard is clean. Xena owes Ares nothing; Ares owes Xena nothing. He will love Xena forever, just like Joxer loved Gabrielle, but he is aware that there will never be anything between he and Xena.
* Please Note: The kiss was just a goodbye kiss, a simple goodbye kiss. There was no sexual attraction or tension there.
* Did the show have its problems? Yes, there were some lines that really did not make too much sense and there were some holes in the plot. Did I like this show? Absolutely, positively YES. It was a very refreshing show. It had some really good lines and the plot was not convoluted. The acting was, as usual, superior by all the actors, especially Kevin Smith. (I have to admit, he really looks great wet.) Even though I liked last season's opening show with all its special effects, I like this one even more because it was easy and it took me back to the first two seasons. It made me feel at home.
* I was entertained, I laughed, I was moved and there were no hidden agendas. I have to say that, for a first time out, Ms. Good did an excellent job. I can't wait to see her next installment.
This commentary is by Amol Sathe. 10-13-00.
I have been watching Xena since it premiered back in 1995, and I have been a loyal viewer ever since, having only missed one episode "Blind Faith." During season three and four, I became such a devoted fan that I opened up my first website, dedicated to Hercules and Xena called Ultimate Hercules and Xena (which can be found at http://xenaherc.cjb.net).
Then came season five, which started out with a bang, and then went downhill. While Xena's new chakram was improved, the rest of the show just went downhill. Then, I saw "Antony and Cleopatra", and I was amazed. A lot of people didn't like it but I LOVED it. Now, a lot of fans out there are adults who look deep into the meaning of Xena or who enjoy the subtext of the show. Me? I'm a teenager who wants to be entertained and likes some heterosexuality on the show every now and then.
So at the end of season five, I was sort of anxious to see what would happen in season six. And now, I have heard that a lot of people did not thoroughly enjoy "Coming Home." Well all I gotta say is IT WAS THE BEST XENA EPISODE I HAVE SEEN IN A LOOONNNNGGGG TIME. "Coming Home" was simply brilliant in merging the Furies, Ares, Ares and Xena, the Amazons, and Eve all into one extremely entertaining episode. And I think that kiss between Ares and Xena was GREAT. The show is having some level of heterosexuality, while still having that juicy subtext (where Gabrielle gives Xena mouth-to-mouth). It clearly shows that while Xena and Gabrielle have a very strong relationship, something that was lacking in season five.
The episode started off with an AWESOME fight scene, with one of the best Xena war cries ever. I loved how all of Ares's men were like, "huh?" when Xena screamed her battle cry. The new intro was AWESOME!!! I LOVED the footage they used in it. I just wished they could have paid homage to some of the older seasons and lost characters with some footage of Callisto, Joxer, etc. Oh well. Anyway, back to the episode (geez, I'm really bad at this, aren't I?)
I liked the interaction between Varia and Eve. It was increasingly obvious that Varia knew something about Eve's past, and I liked the way she uncovered the truth about Eve. I also liked Xena's reaction to Eve being tied up, although I think that Xena should have mentioned to the Amazons that Eve was the main reason she was able to kill Gods (did you just forget that or something Xena?).
Ares being taunted and tantalized by the Furies was great. At first I thought Xena acting all evil was part of some diabolical plan. I loved the blonde Fury, she was wacky. It was nice seeing a different side of Ares, and it was also nice seeing him deal with being mortal (as opposed to the way he dealt with it in "The Quill is Mightier.")
Xena and Ares fighting in the snow was awesome. The line where Ares says he will "show people the meanness inside you" was great. He recited it like a mad scientist, and it cracked me up. But then they started to really fight, and Ares got real nasty. I wanted to beat Ares up myself when I heard Xena scream out in pain, with blood splurting out of her mouth. But then, she cracked his hand or something, so I was satisfied.
When she was trapped under the ice, chills ran up my spine as she "died." Even though she didn't really die, all of Xena's deaths, past and present, have been pretty bad:1. dying slowly because of poison (I think this one was real in "The Greater Good")I LOVED how the chakram came back and killed the Furies. I was not expecting that. It was a really goofy way to kill three really goofy characters and I loved it. I also liked how Xena caught it. Her math skills must have really improved from "Been There, Done That" where she had to make careful calculations and measurements before performing such a stunt. Oh well. She has many skills.
2. being slammed against a tree (real in "Destiny"...but she returned in "The Quest")
3. being nailed to a cross ( a real OUCH in "Ides of March" but she returned in "Fallen Angel")
4. poisoning herself (staged in "Looking Death in the Eye")
5. drowning under ice (staged in "Coming Home"). I think there's more than that too, I just can't remember. Wow. Xena has sure died a lot. I hope I get that many chances to come back when I die.
I have never read any of Melissa Good's fan fiction, nor have I really read much of anyone's fan fiction. But after seeing this episode, it is obvious that she is a very talented writer. Sure, the episode did have its flaws, but don't all episodes? I cannot think of one absolutely perfect Xena episode. This episode was an excellent season opener, and while it did not eliminate the not-so-great season five from the plot, it sure did a heck-of-a-good job incorporating those elements. But I have just one question...when was that whole Christianity thing resolved? Or was it resolved in "Motherhood" at the end of Season Five...playing with spiders sure didn't seem like a way to resolve a major story-arc to me. Oh well, that was my ranting and raving about one of the best Xena episodes I have seen after a very...ahem...not-all-that-great season.
This commentary is by Jill Hayhurst. 10-13-00.
Take me hoooooome, country road, to the place I beloooooOOOOOOoong... Western Xe-land, Mountain Mama...
Just for you, o spoiler-free fans, did I dig that little ditty up out of the sludge and muck that houses such piquant tunes as the Brady Bunch theme and that happy little be-bop what went along with the Tidy Bowl man. Ew. I Done Ma Dudie.
Lessee, where were we, Gab took a dive into a volcano, no, wait... Gab's the best thing in Xena's life... um, not quite it... Right. I got it-- Xena slimmed the Pantheon down to maybe Pan, leastways I think he's the only one left, did she do for Dionysus? Anyone notice? D*mn Jacobean tragedies, it's so hard to get a realistic body count, you'd think it was the Vietnam war (ahem) police action.
So our new and lastest season opens with an idyllic silvan scene, dappled spring leaves (whups! no leaves, just bare branches, so okay, bare branches) in the sunshine, dappled spring Amazon bellies shifting in and out of the shadows, clanking soldiery stolidly stumping down a forest path. Hm. 'Pears the Amazons are stalking them. Like Red Injuns and the cavalry. They're even all painted up (their lip gloss is a clashing color, though) for fightin'.
We know they're Amazons cos they're women and they ain't hardly dressed to speak of. But what we don't know is, who're them soldier-boys? Okay, they got head to foot black leather, barely dance-hall quality, and enscrolled shields, but these're slightly different than the ones the Romans had in Britannia (they're shorter. I think the soldiers may be shorter too. Might not be, though.) and other than that, they're kinda anonymous. Hm.
So anyway, these generic warmongers are clanking down the high road, completely and totally oblivious to the bare naked abs not even partially hidden by the tree stumps and scorched branches they purport to hide behind. These dudes are so slow, you know they're gonna get their hinder whupped any second now.
No need to keep watching them. In another part of the forest, Xena and Gabrielle and Tara, excuse me, Eve, Tara died somewhere in all the fireworks, didn't she? Dang. Sing a song and torch some wood, however annoying she was, she was real good at carrying stuff and most importantly, she wasn't Eve. Anyway, Xena and Gab and Little Miss are hiking up a slope and going over backstory in case one of them forgot who did for the gods and who chucked her staff into a river, vowing eternal peaceableness and sharp sais, they've been dead a few times now and need reminding of stuff, you'll understand someday when you've been dead once or twice, and it seems that Ares (not quite dead, but no longer a god, and you know that just chaps him where he lives) wanted to meet them pretty much right there and they owe him everything (shame the way that being dead thing works the ol' brain cells into such porridge) cos he gave up his godhood to keep them from being killed yet again, not like they wouldn't have found a way around it, sheesh-- war gods. Too many knocks on the noggin.
Anyway, seems they're hiking through Amazon lands, as Eve notices in the merest touch of foreshadowing, but Interfor's been there before them and the clearcutting can be seen from Mars. Amazons sans trees make for mighty exposed abs, which effect can be noted in the switch to a pitched battle between the soldiers and the Amazons we saw earlier. Now, RPG fans, you tell me-- in an all-out confrontation between Dexterity and Studded Leather, what wins? Those boys have wooden heads, true, but they do have AC out the wazoo compared to the Deerskin Bikini tribe. Good thing Xena and Co. are in the vicinity, they turn the tide with their, um, their Starring Power +10 and the soldiers run away. (Eve manages some nice moves, despite being wrapped Roman style in pressed linen the color of dead pond weeds. Someone should point out to the costumer that Romans hung out in the marketplace in that getup, they didn't go out brawling in it, if only because it binds one's left arm.)
Okay, so Our Grrls chat with the Zon Queen and learn much, mainly that Ares is the grand poobah of the leather boys and also the chairman of Interfor and is out on a rampage not seen since Billy Bob got into Orville's moonshine and took the tractor through the pumpkin patch and out into the lettuce fields. He's hurting for something, well, so was Billy Bob, but no matter, the titles are on!
In time of ancient.... what the h*ll? Hey, these are new, no, well, some of them are... d*mn. There ain't no one but a nutball woulda noticed, dunno why they bothered if that's all the change there's to be. Oh, well, whatever rocks Xenastaff's world.
Back to the action, Xena sends Gab off to chat with the queen about Ares, while she heads for Ares' camp. Cut to Ares chewing out the leader of the patrol what got its butt whupped just a bit ago. Ares stomps into his tent and can't even catch a fly, actually, we spend a hell of a lot of film on demonstrating that Ares ain't a god any more. Xena shows up and taunts him. Meanwhile, Gab gets more backstory out of Marga, the queen. Ares is harassing them, who knows why? Back in the tent, Ares tells Xena that he wants her to sneak into the Amazon village and get the ambrosia he knows they're hiding, so he can be a god again. She would rather he go to war, she likes it, he likes it, what's the problem?
Hey, this stuff is the plot, and I gotta lay out the plot, no matter how thin it is. Anyway, here's just tons of backstory, laid out nicely in a couple scenes as neat as you please. Not jarring a bit, till that last. Xena don't seem herself. Normally, while she might not object to nibbling Ares' earlobes, she does rain on the war parade.
Ares loves it, but can't quite go for it. Then Gabrielle shows up and he falls hook, line and sinker.
Back in Zonland, the Deerskin Bikini tribe is running the obstacle course under the watchful eyes of Varia and Eve. Varia, the second in command, is trying to get Eve to spar with her.
At the same time, Eve is in Ares' tent, crawling all over him. Then Xena and Gabrielle... a threesome... there's something fishy about all this.
Ares leaves the tent, to mobilize for all-out assault, and the three women change into Furies. It was them all along! Well, not them in the Amazon village, though why not I don't know. Heck, for all I know, it's been the Furies since the whole thing on the crosses with the snowy Romans and Caesar, and the real Xena and Gabrielle are hanging out in the Elysian Fields, keeping order since Hades was offed. Think about it-- did you ever see Eve and Eli in the same place? Where it couldn't be explained by mirrors? Or wizards?
Okay, I'm reaching. (sigh)
The Furies whole plan has been to get Ares to call on Xena for help to get her in range, then do her in in some way, so they could... rule in place of the Gods? Why on earth don't they just do that anyway? Okay, Lunacy says that's cos it would shoot them to number one with a bullet on Xena's hit parade, and gods know she's been shooting Expert when it comes to offing dieties lately. Okay, I'll buy that. I'm easy.
The mobilization is full underway. There's some more bits where Ares' armorer brings him a new breastplate and the Furies (disguised) chaff him into rejecting it. No one but Ares can see the Furies (disguised) so there's quite a bit of footage from now on used to show the reactions of his troops to him talking to air. Like famous generals never do stuff like that. For cryin' out loud-- troops don't bat an eye to anything outside of the sacrificing of babies in their leaders-- they are not gonna blink at Ares talking to himself.
By the time the Furies (disguised) are done with Ares, he's just this side of babbling. Time to see what the Amazons are up to. Oh. Shucks. Varia's up to getting Eve to out herself as the Roman who killed Amazons, burnt their houses, sold the living into slavery and spat in their milk. That was easy, actually.
That sets up the bit where Xena and Eve and Gabrielle have a sensitive chat in the Amazon jail, about how Eve should have told them about the Amazon portion of her resume', and then in a segue clumsy as a three-legged ox on a rocky beach, Xena apologizes to Gabrielle for... bashing out her brains in a dead-on chakram toss.
Gabrielle cuts her off, of course. So would I. Woman's still got that chakram, after all. So Gab does the smart thing and forgives her.
Ares and his gang are busy clearing rocks from the pass (that ol' chakram, again, I condense a lot, you know) and FuryXena appears to taunt him about it. His soldiers worry about him. Then RealXena appears and they argue. That boy's just not right. She runs off and he shouts at the men. Even for a sometime god, the descent into madness is, well, banal.
The Deerskin Doegrrls prepare for war. Xena tries to persuade them to retreat. Marga puts her in her place with a few words, then nobly leads her people to what may be their last stand, but they'll go down the way they lived, by golly. Why Xena and Gabrielle think the Amazons are no match for a nutcase and his merry fellows is a mystery, but maybe they're adding the Dexterity v. AC scores and coming up short on the Amazon side of the ledger.
No matter. When the Zons and the Bozos meet, Xena taunts Ares into deserting his army and chasing her. With their leader, such as he was, gone, the soldiers have no stomach to continue the battle, and retreat. Zons cheer, arm in arm.
Okay, so the forest is saved for another day. Righteousness prevails. But hark! there is yet plot to be denoued. Xena, after riding hell for leather night and day and night and half a morning maybe, ends up in an part of the set with a totally different climate. It's snowy. And icy. Likely a bit chilly, too, but she seems warm enough. There's a froze-over pond nearby. She seems to be expecting it. Ares shows up, Xena flings the chakram at him (it misses) and they fight. With their fists. It looks painful, but not near so bad as it ought, some sensibility from 50's gunslinger brawls prevails. There's only a bit of blood drooling. Ares is wretched. Xena goads him into knocking her ass over teakettle into the pond, where he talks through a sheet of ice to her dying face. Once she's out of it, the Furies exit his ear in a stream of multicolored banners, much like a birthday party invite. They rejoice as he comes to his senses, then, before anyone can blink, the chakram hurtles round and lops off their heads. (Three blind mice, three blind mice, see how they run...) Ares pulls Xena's body to the shore and rages in his grief over what's been done. Just then, Gabrielle and Eve (Gab sprung Eve from jail in an object lesson on justice and morality) and brought her and a couple armloads of blankets to this spot, seems Xena told her what the plan was, and they wrap Xena's body in the blankets and Gabrielle gives her vigorous mouth-to-mouth, bruising her own lips in the process (or maybe Xena had a blueberry pie off-camera) and our heroine lives! just in time to catch the returning chakram.
Now, brainier folks than I have timed the chakram's path through the ether and have come up with four minutes' flight time, and have thusly posited that this just canNOT be for real.
Even in Xenaverse terms, cos when Xena flung the earlier record-breaking Chakram Toss of Tosses, in BTDT, she spent damn near half the ep measuring and signifying and testing and angling and practically invented Euclidean geometry on the spot, took several days, and this time she just chucks it?! Well, my thought (for what it's worth) is that this is a different, new and improved, chakram. This is the chakram with not only the JATO units of the old, but also with some rudimentary powers of understanding and reasoning, and that Xena's been working with it during the off-season, teaching it first to sit, then to stay, and fetch, and find Timmy, and rescue trapped firefighters, until now when it counts, that chakram will hurtle right out of camera range and then hover until its cue is called. So there.
Okay, Xena's alive (surprise!) and the Furies aren't (just check off another three) and Ares is still mortal and still got it bad for Xena, but she tells him it ain't on and kisses him like it might be and that's that for the ep.
All in all, okay ep. This godkilling thing is at best forced, but this ep does it as well as any could. Nice to see Amazons fighting like warriors, even if they do wear lip gloss. Eve is, well, not bright.
This commentary is by Philip Teo. 10-13-00.
I waited so long for the final season and it never came. It looked like my country, Singapore was never going to air its final season due to the numerous sex, violence and suggestive themes episodes in the season. So, I did the next best thing. I ordered the entire sixth season of Xena through the net. And after three weeks of solid waiting, I have the entire season right in my hands! I do believe I am one of the very few Singaporeans being able to watch the final season of Xena and I relish that.
I always loved amazon-themed episodes and what a great way to start off the final season! I wondered how did Marga became amazon queen. Was it because of her wise leadership or other factors? In the past, the amazon queens I saw were always the best fighters in the tribe, but after watching Marga fight, I would say even her second-in-command, Varia, did much better. So far, the amazon queen who impressed me best as of date is still Queen Melosa from Hooves and Harlots. She's the most impressive amazon queen in terms of leadership and fighting capability. Ephiny was the next best queen but she lacked the fighting skills.
It was nice to see Eve fight again. Ever since she became Eve, she had became sort of a weakling, losing the edge she had when she was Livia. I was rather surprised that Marga and Varia welcomed Xena and Gabrielle so easily. Why was it that they never questioned the warrior princess and her best friend how were they able to stay so young after 25 years? Did they somehow learn that Xena and Gabrielle had come back to life? I know that Xena killing gods was a big thing in Motherhood, but did word travelled that fast?
When Ares gave up his godhood for Xena, he did it for love. But I believe back then, he didn't consider the consequences of his actions. It's nice to see the writers showing us how hard he is doing as a mortal. Naturally, a power-hungry ex-god would want his powers back. And the Furies were clever enough to capitalize on that and convince him to lead the war against the amazons. One thing I would like to know is; why is the ambrosia always stashed with the amazons? Though Marga doesn't know about it, Ares did. In The Quest, Xena had knew the amazons had ambrosia stashed within the village. Is this common knowledge to all?
I loved it when Gabrielle challenged Marga in her efforts to pardon Eve. Marga was wise enough to step down from the challenge, but was foolish to go on with her plans to fight Ares's army. If Xena hadn't stepped in, the amazons would have perished. I think that the amazons have a lot to learn from both Xena and Gabrielle, and even Eve.
Now, the chakram thing was the talked about of this episode. Even before watching this episode, I had already read comments and reviews about this part and I have to agree with you guys; Xena's done the most impressive feat with her chakram as of date! Back in Been There, Done That, we were shown Xena's hard efforts to throw her chakram at certain spots of the town in order to save the day. And that was done with careful calculations. However, this time, Xena's really done it. She's thrown the chakram long enough to kill the Furies and catch it when she awakes. I do know that aiming wasn't a problem, but I find it hard to believe Xena could predict exactly when the Furies would appear and when she would be revived by Gabrielle. This is something unexplainable in human standards. But then again, this is Xena we are talking about and in the Xenaverse, anything's possible. Welcome back, Xena!
MISSY GOOD COMMENTARY
This is a compendium of answers episode writer Melissa Good gave on a mailing list about this episode. Reprinted with permission.
03-09-02. Question: What about that chakram toss?
Further Answers: How do we know Xena did that? Maybe Eve caught it, and tossed it at the Furies at just the right time, and that's why Gabrielle needed to free her from the Amazons? Maybe Gabrielle has learned to catch and throw the chakram - in HOA, she learns to put the pinch on Xena, so you never know what that wiley old Warrior Princess is teaching her partner, do you?
If Gab and Eve were in on the plan, why assume it was all Xena?
You never expect the Chakram. I think Xena wills the chakkie, but her will isn't a perfec thing. Also, it wouldn't have been as funny if she hadn't spent all that time measuring. (g) I tend, when I write fiction, to make Xena go the 'long way' in getting to her goal. She certainly can do things no one else can, but she's got to work at it. THe Chakkie is a magic wand, on the other hand.
[Re: The Motherhood chakram action] If you wanted to look at it from a perspective of Xena defending her child - then yes, I'd say it responds to her will because Gabrielle was merely clipped on the back of the head, and not decapitated.
If we're being logical about Xena, then sure. She'd have calculated where Ares was standing, then figured the Furies would materialize back and to his left, right, where they always do appear, and also she'd have adjusted for their height. Given what she did with that chakram in BTDT, this was relatively easy for her. (g)
11-13-00. [On the working title of LEGACY, "Two Women In Search of a Chariot Race"; Ms. Good mentions some alternative names for COMING HOME]]
Answer: It was a pretty goofy name - I had no idea when I turned in the beat sheet that they were going to 'publish' the sheet, which means it gets sent to NZ, and the LA office, and to Studios USA. SO that's the ep name on my contract. (slapping head). I stuck to Coming Home this time, instead of "Ares' Folly" or "Hell hath no woman like a Fury scorned." which was my real second choice. (G)
11-06-00. Question: What about that chakram toss?
Answer: Since I didn't invent the chakkie, or script what it did in this case - that was left up to the director - I can't say if Xena could get the thing to air hang for six minutes or not. So - if you ask me for a logical explanation of it, I would tend to have to look at something other than a miraculous chakram throw - I would also have to look at other possibilities, and the other possibilities include Eve or Gabrielle (most probably Eve) catching the chakram as prearranged, and throwing it at the right time.
Why not show this? Because from a storytelling point of view, it's much more exciting to the story for the audience not to know what's happening - if you show Eve catching the chakram, and preparing to toss it back, it negates any surprise in the result.
Now, if it'd been my choice, I'd have had Xena chop their empty little heads off with her longsword, but I'm bloodthirsty that way.
Another commment: Seriously - it's no more of a stretch of credulity for me than believing Xena could leap three hundred feet out to Cecrops ship, or flip a rat thirty two times to unjam her chakram, or come back from the dead. (again)
Another commment: I think trying to judge Xe by the laws of physics, or rationalize the impossible things she does is kind of like trying to hold ice cream in your hand in Miami in August, and expect to actually eat any.
Another commment: Actually, we went through a number of iterations on how/why/when to resolve the end of the Furies. I knew Xena would kill them, but the question was, how to get them out of Ares first. The most fun way was to not let the audience realize what was going on until the very last moment - having the chakram do it after Xena's death was about as very last moment as you could get.
The chakram responds to Xena's will just as much as it does to her prowess at throwing round sharp objects. How did it happen? Xena willed it that way - throwing the chakram with a trajectory that would take it far, far out - then bring it back in a parabolic arc to take otu the furies, then swinging out again only to come back to her hand after Gabrielle kissed the da... I mean, gave her mouth to mouth and brought her back to life. (g)
Another commment: Ah.. the Chakkie again. Well, I have to be honest here - when they told me what they were going to do with the chakkie - have her toss it, then have it cream the Furies, then have her catch it.. I must hang my head and admit that what I said was...
11-06-00. Question: Is there something in COMING HOME that you can point to specificly and say, "that's mine and no one else"?
Answer: Hm. Is there something in the ep that I can point to, that pretty much went from my demented brain directly to the screen?The fly. (g)It's definitely a collaborative process - RJ and RT had a huge amount of input, as did the actors and director when they interpreted the material.
The Ares/Furies scenes.
The scene between Ares and the armorer.
11-06-00. Question: What were your favorite parts?
Answer: Actually, that whole first exchange starting with "This greater good thing gets old" is one of my favorites, aong with the armorer discussion. I saw the armoror scene get filmed - the guy playing the armoror was hilarious especially his facial expressions. (nice guy, too. Tsianina was really nice as well)
11-06-00. Question: General observations
Answer: Well, that's a complicated question [so complicated the editor did not want to reproduce it or re-write it!], and a lot of the answer has to do with a couple of things. First, that stories sometimes take on a mind of their own once they start being filmed, and also sometimes circumstances change and you have to adapt to them.
The chakkie has been a concern for a long time. Even when we were first discussing Legacy, there is a beat in there that references it - and that was put in before Motherhood even aired.
We knew that CH was going to be at the beginning of the season - either aired 3rd or 1st, from the time they started discussing the storyline with me. At that time, the opening ep would have been on against the Olympics, so the thought was, let's do a smaller story, a more intimate script that could maybe address a few things from last season, and sort of start the year off right from a hardcore nutball fan perspective.
The apology scene was always a part of this discussion - the problem was finding a way to shape the story so that it would become an integral part of it. That worked right up until the shooting draft, when the Studio pushed the season back, and all of a sudden, instead of a smaller ep, CH was going to actually have to function as the for real season opener.
The changes we made to adapt to this weren't that extensive - but one of the problems was that the apology scene, where it was placed, was a show stopper. There was discussion about cutting it down to a one line reference, and the question arose of simply removing it. However - there was a strong feeling among staff and cast that this issue needed to be at least acknowledged, and I also felt that was true, myself.
So we had to find a way to do it. We found one of the only quiet places it was even feasible, and filmed it. The transition was awkward - but the emotions behind it were real, and I was caught between knowing it could have been done differently/better, and hoping that one moment of real emotion would be left in. Mark Beesley in his director's cut made the decision to leave the scene in, and Rob agreed when he did the final.
The reason that scene is in there is because of us. It would have been a heck of a lot easier to leave it out - and a lot of time and thought from a bunch of folks including Renee and Lucy went into what you eventually saw on the screen, because those people thought it was important to give that one moment of emotion back to the fans.
In a way, you can consider it a kind of little gift - I didn't write that dialog, Lucy and Renee did. They decided what they wanted Xena and Gabrielle to say to each other, and how they wanted to say it, and that's what you saw. So, as awkward as it was, and out of place as it seemed, it's a pretty special few seconds of film for me, at least.
As for the great 'let's get the guys to watch Ares and Rogaine' conspiracy - I'm not sure there was one. We came up with what I thought was a fun story, and it involved Ares, Amazons, and loose ends - of the stated goals for the ep, hooking the guys wasn't one of them. (g) I"m happier to see Rogaine commercials than Transformers, from a personal perspective - I'm used to the Rogaine ones from the History Channel, which has my favorite shows on it.
11-06-00. Question: When we left Ares at the end of season 5 he had given up his immortality, but it wasn't clear if he had lost his powers. Now it is clear, but was wondering if this was your idea for the story, or if it was a given by the time you started writing this episode.
Answer: no, we'd actually had a debate about whether or not to subtract his powers along with his immortality. It was felt that it made for a much better story if he did not have his powers - and it really only lost me one thing - in the beginning, where Ares punches out that guard - I had him turning the guy into a pig. So the only thing he was after was his immortality back. I think this made for a better story.
11-06-00. Question: On writing COMING HOME
Answer: I was having an enormous amount of fun. CH was a trip of a script to write - I laughed the entire first act while I was typing it. It came out even funnier than I imagined, due to Renee, Lucy, and Kevin's interpretation of Ares and Furies. Renee's Fury Gab had me on the floor - I thought she was going to lean over and blow in his ear for a minute.
I think it was nice for the cast - they'd just finished filming the Ring trilogy, which was a tough go of it from what I hear. This allowed them to relax, and just 'ACT'- as Lucy put it - do the heart stuff and not have to deal with monsters and FX and the rest of it. Also, it was their first filming with Kevin that year, and there were a lot of nice Amazons and hunky fighters walking around - as well as the three Furies, who were, indeed, chilly.
11-06-00. Question: The kiss between Xena and Ares. It was originally intended for Motherhood, but someone decided it didn't work well there and wisely scrapped it. Why come back to it here?
Answer: Well, it was something they felt was important to present as both a tie up to last season, and also to set up something else down the line. I think when it's eventually viewed as part of the bigger picture, it'll make a lot more sense, but I agree in the short term, it comes off as a little odd, and puzzling on Xena's part.
The original scene is also between Xena and Ares, but had different tone and content
Another commment: It was a scene that was already filmed in Motherhood, but they had to cut it for time. (I think it was referenced in TV Guide, or some other guide, if you remember) So it was recreated here.
I didn't mind the scene - however, I think to balance it off, we should have kept in the full version of the apology to give Gab equal time.
10-13-00. Question: If the Amazons were of Gabrielle's tribe, why did Gabrielle not ask the Amazon tribe about her friends, and why was not Gabrielle's right to rule the tribe discussed?
Answer: Well, because it's been twenty five years. The average life span at that time was probably fifty, tops - she's skipped an entire generation. Marga's probably three or four queens distant from Ephiny and Chalupa (I know that's not her name, it's a Taco Bell special, but nevermind) So she knows Gab as a name in her history scrolls. There can be, I understand, several concurrent Amazon queens at any one time - so I don't know that it would occur to Marga that Gab would want to take over.
And, I don't think she would - unless she was pushed to it. (g)Which she was, and Marga had the sense to back down. I think that was my favorite scene in the entire script, from a Gabrielle perspective. (g)
10-13-00. Question: How did Gabrielle know that the land was still Amazon territory?
Answer: Gab knew because it was her Amazon tribe. Remember, they're 25 years later, but she'd remember her own lands - that's how Marga also knew her. We won't get into why they just seem to ignore the age weirdness. (g) It's just like, shh... Xena's going back to Amphipolis in Haunting and expecting mom to be there waiting for her... do the math. (g)
10-13-00. Question: What was Xena saying under the ice as she drowned?
Answer: I don't know what Xena was saying - that wasn't scripted. (g)
10-13-00. Question: Did you write a line where Eve was pardoned for her crimes against the nation as Xena had been?
Answer: Originally, if you read the official synopsis on the Studios USA page, you'll see that Eve WAS pardoned by the Amazons - but - (g) between that and the final editing, a story arc happened, so we'll have to wait and see what Eve's fate is.
10-13-00. Question: Why the title?
Answer: Why was it called Coming Home? For me, it was because a.) they were returning to Greece (the next ep takes them to Amphipolis) and probably more importantly in my mind, when I was writing it I was consciously trying to return X and G 'HOME' in the sense of giving them back each other - giving each of them back their best friend. It started as a working title - I have to put SOMETHING on the beat sheet when I submit it because that's what Studios USA uses to write your writer's contract (I learned my lesson with Legacy - my contract is written under the "Two Women...." title) So I put that on when I submitted it - and I was never asked to change it. (g) Maybe the PTB (Rob T, RJ, et al) saw a bit of symbolism in the name, as I did.
The name was mine...It stayed that all through the writing process, unlike Legacy, which began life as "Two Women in Search of Chariot Race."
THAT DARN CHAKRAM
10-10-00. It is all about suspension of disbelief. With a show like XENA, you are given a set of "rules" and those are what you have to accept in order to have fun watching. They get stretched and challenged, but for the most part, they are pretty easy to follow. For example, one "rule" is 'Xena can jump really high and far'. So we see her run up trees, or jump onto Cecrops ship (which was a biiiig stretch, but it was set up. She jumped from a tree branch, from a cliff so that leap had a downward spiral as well as outward. She spun in the air to aid her momentum, etc). You can accept this jumping ability or dismiss it, but it's part of the show. Like accepting that Superman can fly -- Krypton had different gravity and therefore Supes can fly. If you don't buy it, don't buy his comics cuz he's gonna do it in every issue.
So what happens if your credulity is stretched beyond the boundaries? What if Xena leapt so high she went into orbit, didn't need oxygen, threw meteorites at a warlord, then landed on her feet back where she started from? What if she jumped so high she broke the time barrier? For me, either of these would break my suspension of disbelief. It would be a "cheat". There is no precedent in the show for that outrageous a leap and the breaking of those laws of physics. Cecrops' ship is the approx. limit. The time barrier is out of bounds, when it comes to jumping.
So the chakram throw in COMING HOME has to be seen in terms of suspension of disbelief and the limits set. And interestingly, the show *gave* us the limits in very clear terms. The throw in BEEN THERE DONE THAT was beyond Xena's capability UNLESS SHE DID THE MATH FIRST. She had to study the angles, measure, theorize, figure it all out prior to throwing. That throw had to accomplish a number of things. It had to go from knocking off a hat to breaking the vial and it had to sheer across town to do it. It was a mighty complex throw.
But even before she did the math, she was not relying on guesses and chance. She knew where everyone would be, at what time, down to the millimeter and millisecond. It was a matter of finding the formula, not being a witch.
With that set as the precedent (i.e. we know what cannot be done without also doing the math and knowing all the parameters), the chakram throw in COMING HOME broke all the rules. To me, this is lazy writing. Instead of playing within the rules already set, it's making it up because you want to accomplish A, B, C and D without doing any of the work necessary to accomplish them logically. It's a cavalier "they watch XENA, they'll buy anything we feed them." So what they fed us was this:1. An offhanded toss that was supposed to look like she aimed for Ares but missed, and then the chakram flies offscreen with another bounce or two. This is the only portion of the toss that follows the rules set by the show.And probably a whole lot more that I haven't even thought of. Xena had to break the time barrier (knowing the future) in order to throw the chakram. I let the show get away with a lot, but they have to play fair. This was dirty pool.
2. A full 4 minutes of screen time later, the chakram returns. This means that when Xena had originally thrown it at Ares, she had to know *without ANY margin for error:a) the Furies would materialize,3. In addition, she would also have had to know, in that second of time she tossed that chakram at Ares, a full 2 minutes more of screen time after the Furies died that
b) the exact time they would materialize within a few seconds,
c) where they would stand,
d) the exact positions of their bodies,
e) exactly where their usual writhing contortions (i.e. their overacting) would leave them at that second in time in the future and
f) their inability to use any godly senses that danger was screeching outta the west.a) Xena herself would fight with Ares,
b) that Xena would be thrown into the water,
c) that she would 'die' under the ice,
d) that Ares would save her,
e) that he wouldn't be able to resuscitate her,
f) that Gabrielle would arrive at exactly that moment,
g) that Gabrielle would revive her in exactly the right amount of minutes and seconds,
h) that she (Xena) would be lying in exactly that spot on the ground,
i) that Gabrielle would not be blocking her in any way from catching the chakram,
j) that this entire timeline would take exactly as long as it did,
k) that a revived Xena would then be aware enough to catch the returning chakram.
11-13-00. From Sally Dye
I've been watching the new opening credits and trying to figure out which episodes are represented. Gosh, there are a lot of them! Here's my list, and there are some scenes I'm not sure about. Maybe someone else has a better memory than I do (or I may have to go back and watch all 118 eps again, hmm). Here's my list:
The original beach scene from the first opening credits
IN A TIME OF ANCIENT GODS
Mephistopheles from "Haunting of Amphipolis"
(Looks like a Roman fighting a Viking - episode?)
The cannibal leader from "The Abyss"
Augustus from "Livia"
A LAND IN TURMOIL
(Men running, look like Romans - episode?)
Gab fighting with her staff - "Amphipolis Under Siege"?
CRIED OUT FOR A HERO
Men jumping off a roof or over a barracade - AUS?
Roman archers - "Eve"
Calib in the temple of the chakram - "Chakram"
Original opening credits - Xena's outfit
Men running down a desert hill - "Motherhood"
Original opening credits - Xena's outfit
Xena running from the fireball - "Amphipolis Under Siege"
Original opening credits - Xena's outfit
Xena flipping over a barrier - episode?
SHE WAS XENA
Xena on Argo - original opening credits
A MIGHTY PRINCESS
Xena riding at the head of an army - Herc trilogy/original credits
Xena drawing her sword - "A Necessary Evil"
FORGED IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE
Xena fighting Romans - "A Good Day"
Xena in "Haunting of Amphipolis" (Starring Lucy Lawless)
Gab in front of an explosion - AUS?
Xena raising her sword - episode?
Gab in "Coming Home" (Also starring Renee O'Connor)
Xena seducing Ares in "Amphipolis Under Siege"
Xena and Caesar in Caesar's dream - "Ides of March"
Xena pulling open the armory door - "One Against an Army"
Gab dancing in "Who's Gurkhan"
Xena as Kali in "The Way"
Xena shooting an arrow - episode?
Gab being comforted by Virgil - "The Abyss"
Xena in the prison scene in "Ides of March"
A dryad in "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"
Gab as a demon - "Haunting of Amphipolis"
Xena in the dreamscape as a skeleton - "Them Bones"
Xena, veiled, in "Who's Gurkhan"
Xena fighting on a dock - "Ides of March"?
Xena throwing the chakram - "The Abyss"
Chakram hitting three men - original credits/episode?
Xena catching the chakram - "Endgame"?
HER COURAGE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD
Xena with her sword from the original credits
Can anybody fill in the blanks?
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
09-16-00. The Amazon Varia (formerly named Nikas) is introduced in this episode and she will appear again in DANGEROUS PREY.
09-02-00. Adrienne Wilkinson at the Cherry Hill NJ con (August 26-27 2000) stated that COMING HOME was indeed the season opener. She also stated that she had just returned from NZ filming it the week before. She also confirmed that writer Missy Good was there during the filming and doing some on the fly re-writes. It looks like COMING HOME was retained as the season opener (even though the season was pushed back a week to avoid competition from the Olympics, and hence HEART OF DARKNESS could then open the season) so they could jam-packed the episode with an amazing amount of damage control. Season Five, and especially the editing problems with MOTHERHOOD (apparently key scenes were left on the cutting room floor that made Xena's motivations more clear, among other things), left the show with some gnawing problems, and as HEART OF DARKNESS is supposed to resolve the Christianity arc, COMING HOME will resolve at best, or acknowledge at least, Xena's chak attack against Eve, Xena and Ares' weird and freaky relationship, and some other annoying bits that have arisen over the last season. In fact it looks like there will be three key episodes in the 6th season's attempt to undo the damage left by the 5th season: COMING HOME, HEART OF DARKNESS, and THE ABYSS. Can they turn around a wary fanbase with three strategic shows? I think so, IF, and this is a big if too, they can support it with other interesting episodes. The Gabrielle trilogy of WHO'S GURKHAN, LEGACY, and THE ABYSS appears to be strong. However, there is buzz that the Norse trilogy might not hit the mark. If that is true, that puts more pressure on HEART OF DARKNESS and HAUNTING OF AMPHIPOLIS to perform. Unfortunately, these episodes deal with resolving the very tired Christianity arc. There is good word on the last Norse episode that there is a scene there that may save the whole trilogy because it will give many fans what they wanted all 5th season. Reports have the North Africa episodes (GURKHAN and LEGACY) being visually arresting, and the nude bathing scene (LEGACY) if kept in will keep many fan blazes going throughout whatever the Norse trilogy has to offer us.
08-28-00. For what it is worth, I am personally convinced that this episode will indeed be the season opener, even though the season is being delayed for the end of the Sydney Olympics.
07-11-00. There may be Amazons in this episode and the Furies may make an appearance.
06-24-00. This is the 2nd script purchased by RenPic from wellknown Internet fan fiction writer Missy Good. It is currently in pre-production.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
The shots of the chakram striking the rock walls to create an avalanche are recycled from A Necessary Evil. Nice to see the show being so historical an' all.
Xena seems to have traded in Argo II for a magical horse - it changes from dark brown to black and back again.
Either Gabrielle's lips get very cold giving that mouth-to-mouth, or Lucy's purple makeup smears on Renee.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
01-18-01. From Kim Holman. When Xena is confronting Ares and they're standing between the Amazons and his army, Ares jerks his head back and forth and his earring comes off. One second you see it, the next you don't, then the next you do!
11-06-00. From deb7. The dialogue between Ares and Xena at the end of "Coming Home" is remarkably similar to dialogue between Lloyd and Mary in _Dumb & Dumber_ .from _Dumb & Dumber_
Lloyd Christmas: What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me...ending up together?
Mary Swanson: Not good.
Lloyd Christmas: Not good like one in a hundred?
Mary Swanson: I'd say more like one in a million.
Lloyd Christmas: So you're telling me there's a chance?
from "Coming Home"
Ares: Xena! Is there even a chance we could be together one day? I don't know, maybe... one in a thousand?
Xena: More like one in a billion.
Ares: So you're saying there is a chance.
10-10-00. From Tory. While waiting around for Sex and the City to start last night, I flipped over to FX and watched a bit of the Abyss, that other water pic by James Cameron that I haven't seen in a long. long time. The part I watched was the part where Ed Harris (Bud) and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Lindsey) are trapped in some leaky underwater capsule and come up with a plan for swimming back to the main ship. The plan looked awfully familiar, having just watched Coming Home for the third time.
Lindsey decides to let herself drown, figuring that the freezing water will put her into a kind of extended death stasis so she can be revived once they get back to the ship. Sound familiar?
Well..it got even MORE familiar. During the revival scene, I noticed that it played out almost EXACTLY like the revival scene in ITADITH. After some chest pumping and mouth to mouth, Lindsey doesn't wake up. When reviving her doesn't appear to work, one of the characters gently backs Bud off saying something like "come on, man..she's gone, let her go". After a pause, Bud shoves the character aside screaming "No, no!" and then starts giving much more dramatic mouth to mouth and chest pounding screaming "come on, live! Live!" and then the all too familiar "You've never run away from anything in your life". Naturally she comes back and there is a big hugging/crying scene. All it needed was the "You're Aeschlepius (or whatever) come back from the dead."
Really.....Xena staff need to stop going to the video store..really.
10-10-00. From HL Powers. When Ares said, "You don't bring me flowers anymore" it was in reference to a Neil Diamond song the was done in duet with Barbara Streisand. Great song, and a pretty big hit. I'm a Neil Diamond nut (though not as much as I'm a Xena nut) so I really enjoyed this line for a couple of reasons.
Click here to read a transcript of COMING HOME.
Xena & Gabrielle's psyches were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
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