GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Videntur
COMMENTARY 3 BY John Wignall
COMMENTARY 4 BY Philip Teo
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Paris Jefferson (Athena)
Jason Hoyte (Hephaestus)
Stephen Lovatt (Hades)
Theresa Healey (Celesta)
Mark Warren (Octavius)
Jed Brody (Ramius)
Kate Smeda (Kara)
Michael Langley (Theon)
Samantha Adriaanse (Clotho)
Elizabeth Pendergast (Atropos)
Chloe Jordan (Lachesis)
Written by Carl Ellsworth
Teleplay by R.J. Stewart
Directed by Garth Maxwell
Announcer: On an All New Xena
(Xena and Eve are in a temple of the Fates with Gabrielle)
Announcer: The Decision is made
Fate: You Must Die Xena
(Hades, Athena and Hephestus on a hilltop. Athena's archers getting ready to fire)
Announcer: To destroy Xena and her child
(Eve cries. Xena fights Hephestus)
Announcer: Never underestimate the power...
Xena: I won't lose another child
(Xena and Gabrielle in a wagon)
Announcer: of a Mother's Love
(Xena and Gabrielle still in wagon)
(Gabrielle brings out her sais. Huge fireballs appear. Screams)
Announcer: On an All New Xena
[The following trailer first appeared during the credits for ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA and then was the only promo given for the airing of LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE. While it has the appearance of a promo, it doesn't appear to belong to any episode in particular, and is most likely to introduce the Twilight of the Gods arc of the season. It interchanges clips from past and upcoming episodes.]
IT IS HERE...
[REVELATIONS (Hercules episode): Michael throws down one of the Four Horsemens' Seals]
Michael: The day of reckoning is at hand.
...AND NO ONE HAD THE POWER TO STOP IT.
[Athenian archers take aim]
[AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SEIGE: Xena running from the tunnel fire, Athena and Ares fighting]
[A woman, possibly Celeste, materializes from thin air]
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE INEVITABLE...
[Ares throws a fireball which intercepts a projectile]
Gabrielle [from AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE]: Fire!
[AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE: The tunnel fire explodes and knocks Gabrielle down]
[Joxer removes his helmet]
[Xena discovers Gabrielle's body]
[Hades aims a fireball, fire races at Xena, who cowers in fright]
[An army marches]
THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS IS AT HAND...
[Xena holding baby Eve]
Gabrielle [from AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE]: CHARGE!!!
[MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS: Discord throws a fireball]
[An army charges, Joxer looking scared, a soldier burns]
[MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS: Aphrodite deflects Discord's fireball]
[AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE: Gabrielle charging with the army]
...AND XENA'S WORLD CHANGES...
[Athena aims a fireball]
[Xena crying before a burning corpse]
[Ares teleports away, holding Xena's body]
COMING NEXT WEEK.
TV GUIDE PROMO
Old Joxer obtains a scroll describing Xena and Gabrielle's attempt to trick the Fates into bringing about the twilight of the gods. Logline
Even a warrior princess needs to chill out every once in a while, but 25 years of imprisonment in ice sounds excessive. Entertainment Weekly
Joxer, now in his 60s, finds the last scroll written by Gabrielle, recounting their battle to protect Xena's child.
This is a combination flashback and flash-ahead episode. It has Joxer (Ted Raimi), in the autumn of his life, looking back and telling a story of how Xena and Gabrielle ( Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor) opposed the gods - and won. It's a well-written story with an especially good ending, the kind of explain-it-all conclusion that Agatha Christie might have written if she had been into mythological mysteries. Daily News (NY)
Joxer (Ted Raimi), now in his 60s, finds the last scroll written by Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor), recounting their battle to protect Xena's (Lucy Lawless) child. ClickTV
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 04/24/00
An AA average of3.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) ER 4.3
(2) X-Files 3.7
(3) Stargate Sg-1 3.5
(4) Xena 3.2
(5) Back2Back/Profiler 2.6
(6) Earth: Final Conflict 2.2
(7) Lost World 1.9
(8) Relic Hunter/Voyager 1.8
2nd RELEASE: 09/04/00
An AA average of 3.0
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-Files 3.1
(2) Xena 3.0
(3) Back2Back 2.2
(4) Invisible Man 2.0
(5) Earth: Final Conflict/ST 1.9
(6) Voyager 1.8
(7) Relic Hunter/Outer Limits 1.4
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
In a tavern, a man offers items for sale. He holds up a scroll. He says it is the last known scroll of the Bard of Potedia. A man turns around. It is Joxer, old now, in his 50's, perhaps. He says he knew the Bard. He looks at the scroll. It is Gabrielle's handwriting. He buys the scroll for 65 dinars, all the money he has, and hurries away. He goes into a house, where the voice of Meg off-camera complains about the loss of money. Joxer goes out to the barn. He joined by two children, a girl and a boy. He asks if they want to hear the tale of a beautiful warrior princess. He begins to read.
After many ceaseless battles with the gods, Xena finds herself at the doorstep of the Three Fates, seeking answers. The Fates tells Xena it is the time of the twilight. They say that Xena must die, for only in the essence of death will Eve fulfill her prophecy. The sooner Xena dies, the faster Eve will bring about the prophecy and the fall of the gods. Gabrielle comes in, and tells Xena she doesn't want to hear any of this. They make their own Fate. But Xena says she has to listen. She says it is the only way. She has to die.
Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve make their way through the woods. Bolts from the blue cut through the trees. Xena tosses her chakram and knocks an invisible Hades to the ground, shaking lose his Helmet of Invisibility. Athena and her warriors arrive. Athena tells Xena to hand over the child. Xena throws her chakram, Gabrielle fights warriors. Xena gets cut on the upper left arm. Gabrielle gets a cut on her face. Gabrielle yells for Xena to throw Eve to her, but Xena doesn't, and Athena makes a remark about Xena not trusting Gabrielle. The dynamic duo get tossed about (Eve is on Xena's back), and then Gabrielle tosses the Helmet of Invisibility in the air. Xena hits it with her chakram, and sparks fly and fall all over the two gods. Xena and Gabrielle take Eve and make their escape. They take shelter with Octavius. Xena treats Gabrielle's wounds with a tincture that she says is poison when swallowed. She treats her own wounds as well. Gabrielle asks Xena about Athena's comment about trusting Gabrielle with Eve. Xena explains that it doesn't matter whose arms are around the child, her life is in constant danger.
The gods hold a meeting. Ares is there, too. Celesta, Death herself, is called forth, and asked why she hasn't just taken Xena. Celesta says she will always be needed, and the gods surmise that Death/Celesta is immune to the prophecy. Celesta says it is forbidden for a mortal to be taken before her rightful time.
Xena goes to Hephaestus. She fights him. He beats her badly. He tosses her against something, she is bleeding, cut on the right arm, blood from her mouth. Celesta appears. Hephaestus asks Xena how it feels to be in the presence of Death herself. Xena says, "What took you so long?" Hephaestus goes to deliver the final killing blow, but Gabrielle stops him. Xena grabs some chains of Hephaestus, and wraps them around Celesta while Gabrielle fights Haphaestus. Xena stops him from killing Gabrielle, and kicks him over a cliff. Gabrielle helps Xena up; she is limping a little. Gabrielle takes Celesta away. Xena limps behind, and picks up Celesta's candle. Outside the cave, Octavius hands Eve to Gabrielle. Celesta, Eve, and Gabrielle are all loaded into a wagon. (Argo is no where in site, she isn't pulling the wagon.)
Athena and Ares talk. Athena reminds Ares that he fought at Xena's side in Amphipolis. They talk about Eli, and how his death has only fueled the people against the gods. Hephaestus and Hades arrive and tell them that Xena has captured Celesta.
Gabrielle sings to Eve, and cuddles her, while Xena talks to Celesta. Xena reminds Celesta that when the candle burns down, Death will die. Then Xena and Eve will live forever. Celesta reminds Xena of all the suffering souls who need to die, and says that Xena's actions aren't in character. Xena has more compassion, more morals, than to want to live forever. Celesta and Xena discuss who decides when it is someone's rightful time to die. Xena mentions Solan, and how his life was taken from him. She mentions Marcus, and Lyceus, her brother and best friend. Gabrielle tells Xena to stop. Celesta is immortal, she will never know loss, or understand the pain of losing someone. Gabrielle cuddles Eve. Celesta says losing Hades, her only brother, the only one who understands her, would be unthinkable. She cries. Xena wipes her tears. Xena asks Celesta what Hades will think, when his sister is dead. Will he care? Xena says she can't lose what is left of her family. And she won't lose another child. Gabrielle tells Xena that even if she can't die, the gods will inflict pain and suffering on all they care about. Gabrielle goes into a tavern, seeking Joxer. Athena's warrriors come in. They grab Joxer. Athena whacks Gabrielle. Hades takes Gabrielle to kill her, but Athena says no. They can't kill the child until Celesta is free. Athena chokes Joxer, and Gabrielle tells Athena that Xena is headed for the ocean. Two of Athena's warriors take Gabrielle. Another one punches Joxer out.
Celesta languishes, with the flame burning low. Athena pops in. Her warriors have Gabrielle. Gabrielle apologizes to Xena. Athena says even if Eve lives forever, she will be hunted for eternity by the gods. Xena nods, and Gabrielle goes to her. Xena unchains Celesta. Ares pops in and sits in the drivers' seat of the wagon. Other gods begin to show up. Gabrielle gets in back of the wagon. Ares, in the front seat, hands Xena the reigns. They go riding away. Athena says when they clear the forest, kill them. Joxer walks through the woods.
Xena and Ares converse in the front of the wagon. Ares says he can help. He says he can make it all go away. Xena says Ares always wants what he can't have. He says okay, and leaves. In front of Xena, Hades stands ready. She tells Gabrielle, "we're on." Bolts are tossed. A scroll falls from the wagon.
Old Joxer says that is the end of the scroll, children. But not the story. He says, I was there.
Joxer (young) watches from the woods, at a distance, as Athena's warriors send arrows at Xena and Gabrielle. Xena keeps driving the wagon. She sees a cliff, the horses run parallel along the cliff. More arrows. Flames. Gabrielle throws her sais and takes out two of Athena's warriors. The wagon stops. Xena throws her chakram and takes out a platoon of Athena's warriors. Athena sends a fire bolt. The wagon burns, the horses are loose from the wagon and they run. Gabrielle lays back, as if overcome from smoke, Xena calls for her, and reaches for Gabrielle. The wagon goes over the cliff.
Gabrielle lies on the sand. Xena lies on the sand. Xena moves. She stands up. She sees Gabrielle, and heads for the wagon's wreckage, calling for Eve. The fire consumes everything. Joxer watches. Athena says the prophecy has been shattered. Xena goes to Gabrielle. She sobs over Gabrielle's body. The gods watch. Xena takes her sword and prepares to kill herself with it. Ares grabs the sword. Xena tells Ares it is over, and he can't stop her. She takes a bottle out, and swallows the poison. She tells Ares to go join his family. He watches in horror as Xena dies. The gods vanish, satisfied. Ares looks at Xena. Joxer runs down to the beach. Ares picks up Xena and disappears.
Octavius rides up. He tells Joxer that Xena and Gabrielle aren't dead. Octavius has Eve. Old Joxer tells the children that Xena and Gabrielle took the tears of Celesta, swallowing the "essence" of death, as stated by the Fates, which made them dead for a while. Xena had never planned to kill Celesta, she just wanted her tears. The gods assumed Xena would never leave her child elsewhere. Gabrielle drank the tears while they were in the wagon, and then Xena put on a convincing show. The effect of the tears would soon wear off. But they did not count on one thing.
Ares. They did not count on Ares taking the bodies of Xena and Gabrielle before Octavius could arrive with Eve.
Ares carries Xena through the snow to an ice cavern. An icy coffin, with Gabrielle's body sealed in it, is joined by an empty coffin. Ares places Xena in the coffin. He tells Xena that Gabrielle knew what she needed -- unconditional and unselfish love. Ares sayshe appreciated Xena's rage and violence. "You were hers when you sacrificed for others, but when you kicked ass, you were mine," Ares says. He kisses her on the lips. He tells her he loves her. He seals up the ice coffin. He puts her sword and chakram as a headstone between the two coffins. He walks out into the snow, and seals the cavern. He disappears.
The two women lie sealed in their coffins, with Xena's sword and chakram marking their tombs.
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
This episode, while very good in general, got some of its punch stolen be a severe case of been-there-done-that-got-the-t-shirt-itis. Gods are after Eve? Seen that all season. Xena and Gabrielle are dead? This is, what, the fourth time for both?
So Joxer and Meg end up together. I like that match, although it sounds like they may not be particularly thrilled about it. And they have kids. Be afraid, be very afraid. Those are some pretty young kids for how old Joxer looks. But I see his son has inherited his taste for stupid hats. Daddy Joxer should be kicked in the butt for never telling his kids any Xena and Gabrielle stories until now. I'd have thought their reaction would be more along the lines of "Aw, geez, Dad, ANOTHER story about those two??"
Hades continues to be the lamest excuse for a god in the entire Olympian order. Over the course of the episode, he fires four bolts at Xena and Eve and doesn't hit once. You'd think that godly powers could include a little hand-eye coordination.
Athena and Hades at least get points for being able to kick Xena and Gabrielle around a little in hand-to-hand combat. Athena is still MONDO cool. But her tinfoil groupies still have the dumbest outfits ever seen on the show.
It's a good thing Xena can do all that mid-air twisting, what with Eve strapped to her back while she goes flying through the air like a pinata that broke its string.
Xena and Gabrielle suffer a collective blonde moment when they hold a friggin' helmet of invisibility in their hands and fret that they have to do something. For cryin' out loud, Gab, you've done the invisible butt-kicking gig before!
Eve may be "just a baby," as Xena says at the end of the cute scene in Octavius's tent, but she's eating darned well on the road. The little gal's a chunk!
This episode gets points for its consistency with Death in Chains. Celesta still operates under all the same rules that she did in the first season. How many things can you say THAT about? Interesting point that Celesta may be immune to the twilight.
Athena accuses Celesta of caring enough about Xena to perhaps refuse to take her... is she right? Celesta could have told the gods about the tears. She shows up for Xena in Hephaestus' cave, so theoretically she'd know something's fishy at the cliffside. But she doesn't tip the gods off.
GREAT delivery on Xena's "What took you so long?" line. I allllmost believed that Xena had set herself on a suicide mission.
Gab is quite handy with that whip! She and Xena do quite a number on Hephaestus when they team up. Love that dual kick!
I thought I was being a smart-aleck when I cracked at the screen that Octavius was baby-sitting, until Xena said the same thing. What has the emperor of the Roman Empire come to?
The other gods seem to be looking to Athena for leadership. After Zeus's death, is she now the leader of the gods? Seems like an appropriate choice.
Apparently, Gabrielle carries a soundtrack in her hip pocket, because she sure as heck wasn't singing that lullaby. (It sounded good, though.)
There's an "awwww" moment at the end of Xena's railing at Celesta. She says she won't lose another child, and prefaces it with that she also can't lose what's left of her family, and poses for a nice portrait with Gabrielle and Eve. Somebody hand me a tissue.
Not that I'm looking to give Joxer more screen time, but if Athena used his pain to get Gabrielle to talk, how did she expect to get her details about Xena's location if they left Joxer behind?
Fantastic attitude from Xena when Athena arrives. "We were just going on a joyride to celebrate being immortal." I love it when the Warrior Princess gets cocky.
Athena once again shows her honor. When Xena agrees to trade Celesta for Gabrielle, Athena immediately signals for Gabrielle's release. A subtle and classy touch.
"Why are you always asking for something you are never going to get? Get off!" But, Xena, I thought getting off WAS what he was asking for?
I realize it was a plot device so that Joxer will have something to read, but I really liked that, as she's hurtling toward the serious possibility of death, Gabrielle is frantically recording everything she can into her scrolls.
Wow, WHAT a shot from Gabrielle: sitting in the back of a tossing wagon, and she two-handed skewers two tinfoil Athena groupies!
The XenaStaff is reaping an unexpected benefit of the mulligan stew mishmash they've made of religion. With all the versions of the afterlife running around, they can get away with faking their death in front of Hades, three other gods, and with Death herself running around. All those godly types are probably assuming Xena and Gabrielle have gone to the Amazon land of the dead. Or been reincarnated. Or maybe they're in heaven. If some butterfingers angel didn't drop them into hell. Whatever.
I have no problems with the fact that the XenaVerse gods are far from omniscient. But these guys are bloody gullible. I loved Xena's heart-warming concern for Gabrielle in the wagon, and the way she threw herself over Gabrielle when they went off the cliff. But a wild wagon chase, a fire, and a drop off a cliff, and Xena doesn't even look at Eve until after the landing??? Xena does a good job of selling her reaction, late as it is, but the gods are reeeeeaaally dense for getting fooled by the babydoll trick twice.
Xena played one mighty big bluff by threatening to skewer herself. She must have figured Ares would come back, but wow, what a guess. It makes sense, though: what self-respecting warrior would choose poison for suicide? She had to get herself disarmed. At that point, self-kabobbing was probably a risk she was willing to take.
There's two flashes of blue light before Ares picks up Xena. At first, I thought Ares zapped Gabrielle and Eve, in which case he was in for a heck of a surprise. But I guess he carried away Gabrielle, then came back for Xena. And ignored Eve. Harsh.
For a second, there, I thought Ares had driven Xena's sword right through her ice coffin. As if being put on ice hadn't dented their recovery plans enough!
They don't actually end this episode with "To be continued...", but this is probably the most I've been looking forward to the next week's episode all season. Xena and Gabrielle are in for one heck of a surprise when they wake up. "Did an ice age move in since we died on the beach?"
Xena really nails Celesta to the wall in their fireside chat. Fantastic scene - great writing, awesome delivery, even the support from Gabrielle and Celesta was perfect.
Classic Xena: Flip into the wagon seat, grab the reins from Ares, and take off hell for leather. Have I mentioned that I love this show?
The truth of Ares's profession of love is that he buries Xena with Gabrielle. It takes an awful lot to give a beloved place of honor to the person who's responsible for stealing someone away from you. But he loves Xena - and, I think, respects Gabrielle - enough to lay them side by side. That's powerful.
This commentary is by Videntur.
Let me just say - I felt like I was watching a second or third season episode. This was classic Xena all the way - action, adventure, strong friendship. I loved this episode. Xena and Gabrielle as always were great and Ares was fantastic. Let's take a look first at the characters.
Octavius - I really enjoyed watching Octavius in this episode. He was not only grateful to Xena and Gabrielle, but he was sure of himself and willing to go up against the gods to be loyal to his two friends.
Joxer - This play had implications for Joxer. Was this the last episode that we would see Joxer in adventures with Xena and Gabrielle? Xena and Gabrielle when they come out of their icy coffins will still be young, but Joxer will be 25 years older. It should be interesting to see what becomes of Joxer. He is definitely, at least to me, a pain - but I would hate to see him go completely. I like it best when Joxer appears in no more than 2-3 episodes per season. One thing we do know from this episode, it seems that Joxer married Meg and they had two children: a boy and a girl.
Celesta (Death) - This part was played well in this episode by Theresa Healey who is different from the person who originally portrayed Death in the episode "Death in Chains" (death played by Kate Hodge). Celesta is definitely not like the other gods in that she is fair and has a conscience. She had no problem letting Athena know that she would not take a life before its time. Also, she has very strong feelings for her brother Hades. I loved it when Celesta made the following reply to Athena's questioning: "As long as my flame continues to burn, death will remain a part of life for eternity Athena." To which Athena replies: "Meaning you might somehow be immune to the prophecy - If I didn't know better, I'd say Death's getting a little cocky." Another personality trait that I liked about Celesta, was that even she knew it was not in Xena's nature to capture death and let the candle burn out just to save her child when it would mean suffering for mankind.
Athena- Definitely the family leader. If one were to look up sibling rivalry in the dictionary, Ares and Athena should appear. These two are very comical to watch. When Death makes Athena angry, Ares truly enjoys every minute of it. Also, whereas Athena is "whatever is best for the family" oriented - Ares is "whatever is best for Ares" oriented.
Ares - my favorite god in this show. I knew Ares loved Xena, but he really displayed his affections in this episode. When Xena twirled her sword around (as only Xena could) and was ready to impale herself with it, it was neat the way Ares stopped her. When Xena still proceeded to seemingly kill herself with poison, the expression on Ares's face was priceless, as was the scene of him carrying the Warrior Princess (our hero) in his arms to be placed in her icy coffin beside Gabrielle. I also liked his speech to her once he placed her in the coffin, it showed he understood the closeness between Xena and Gabrielle and wished he had perhaps handled Xena differently. The speech is beautiful: looking at Xena, Ares states: "You're with her now [referring to Gabrielle], I handled you all wrong, I know that. She knew what you needed - unconditional and unselfish love and I couldn't give that to you. But I appreciated you in ways she never could. Your rage, your violence, your beauty. When you sacrificed yourself for others, you were hers, but when you kicked ass you were mine." After then kissing Xena on the lips Ares states: "I love you Xena" and closes the icy lid of the coffin. Another touching scene was when Ares stuck the sword of the Warrior Princess in ice and placed the chakrum so that it would lay on top of the sword.
Xena and Gabrielle were great. This was like the old days. There were scenes in which the characters behaved the way the original writers portrayed their personalities. This behavior was shown in the following scenes: First, when Gabrielle gets very upset when the fates inform Xena that the sooner she dies, the faster Eve will bring about the fall of the gods; second, when Xena and Gabrielle are fighting together against Athena and Hades (who has the helmet of invisibility); third and one of my favorite scenes was when Xena turned to Gabrielle and said: "Alright, c'mere and preceded to place medicine on Gabrielle's cut. This brought back the old fashion type of caring that we use to see between the two characters. Gabrielle looked like a little girl when Xena placed the medicine on her face. Fourth was when Gabrielle expressed disappointment when she thought Athena was right that Xena did not trust her enough to give her Eve during the initial fight - to which Xena replies in a classic Xena way: "Hey, it not a matter of trust where Athena's concerned_" Xena showed true caring about her friend's feelings in this statement - it was nice to see. Fifth scene was when both Xena and Gabrielle together, fought and won against Hephaestus. This was a great fight. I also liked the aftermath when Gabrielle showed concern over Xena's injuries. Last but not least was Xena's crying over the body of Gabrielle on the sand (although it was only acting since Xena knew that Gabrielle was not really dead). What I liked about this scene was Xena showing again that when Gabrielle dies, she will also die. This is shown in Xena's statement to Ares: "Join your family, tell them it's a packaged deal. They get me too."
As you can tell, I loved this episode. Lucy Lawless is fantastic as always and ROC played Gabrielle as only ROC can. Xena and Gabrielle, behaved like the Xena and Gabrielle that we have grown to love - and the chemistry between these two was fantastic. If you want to see the old friendship, the old caring, the old adventure - don't miss this episode.
This commentary is by John Wignall.
Looking Death in the Eye , or Let's do the time warp.
This ep is really just there to set up next week. Sometimes that means we get a pretty weak ep, with no real point of it's own. This time we get a pretty solid ep, with echoes of classic Xena.
A fairly typical Xenaverse bar, patrons are mostly downtrodden peasant types, drowning their sorrows. One way too cheerful guy is auctioning off stuff. (Although he only seems to have one customer) He makes a sale, and pulls out his next item. A dusty old scroll. No one's impressed, 'till he says, ". the last known scroll transcribed by the bard of Potideia herself." That gets people's attention, in particular a scummy looking guy at the bar. (Some of the more perceptive viewers may recognise Ted in a lot of makeup.) He grabs the scroll and unrolls it, while the auctioneer keeps up his patter. Joxer, decrepit though, he is, recognises Gabby's handwriting. (Although he has trouble deciding which end of the scroll should be up.) He mentions that he knew her, but no one in the bar seems to believe him. (I'm guessing they've heard all the adventures of Joxer the Mighty many times over.) The bidding gets pretty heated, then Jox plops down sixty-five dinars, grabs the scroll and runs.
We cut to an exterior shot of a farm, and hear Lucy, with a cold, complaining about Jox spending "her nest egg" on a scroll. (I'm not liking Meg much in this ep, ya notice that it's her nest egg, not "our" nest egg? For that matter, what was Jox doing in a bar with all their savings? What kind of economic downturn can turn sixty- five dinars into the life savings of a couple with a nice farm, when back in season two, Jox paid fifty dinars for a good pair of boots?) [Girls Just Wanna have Fun] Anyway, Meg's not real sympathetic to Joxer's need to get closure over the loss of Xena and Gabrielle. Jox leaves the house, and walks to the barn to get some peace. He sits down, apparently bruising himself a bit in the process (let's ridicule the elderly a bit, I don't think we've offended them lately), and as he gets settled, two kids come in. They ask their 'daddy' if the scroll is about the Harpies. (I guess Jox & Meg's marriage wasn't all bad, the kids are pretty sweet.) Jox explains that the story is about a beautiful warrior princess. (Was it just me, or was Ted modelling his performance on the grandfather from Princess Bride?) The kids want to hear the story, so he begins to read . (Visualize Wayne and Garth doing the flashback thing.)
Xena's dropped in on the Fates. (Last time she had to kill a bunch of raiders in front of their temple to get a personal audience, I guess they've moved their offices to the mortal realm.) She's there with Eve, to see what's going to happen with this whole twilight of the gods thing. The Fates say a lot of mysterious stuff that's not really much help, except that Xena must die. "Only in the essence of death will the child find salvation and the twilight be set in motion". Is that a downer or what? I wonder if Xena can do that nipple twist thing she did to Joxer in Kindred Spirits on herself? Gabby comes in, and doesn't want to listen. After all, these are just the omnipotent Fates we're talking to, what do they know? Xena figures they know what they're talking about, she says, "I have to die, Gabrielle", and we fade to the opening credits.
When we return, our fave couple is walking through the woods, although Gabby seems to be lagging behind. (Probably stopped for some of those trippy berries.) Suddenly there's a bolt of blue light, and Xena jumps back. ('Cause she can jump faster than the speed of light) The cameraman stumbles or something, and then there's another bold on the other side of her. (Lucky for Xena those gods got such lousy aim.) Xena crouches down, shushes Eve, and waves at Gabby to stay put. The cameraman stumbles again, and I guess Xena hears something, 'cause she throws her chakram and flips up in the air with a mighty cry. The chakram hits something that isn't there, and a perfect outline of a guy appears on the ground. (I defy anyone to make an outline like that just by falling down on loose soil) We see a helmet rolling across the ground, and just in case we didn't remember it from season 1, Xena mentions that it's the helmet of invisibility. Hades stands up, (Although it's not really Hades, it's the new guy they got to play him) and he's really pi. peeved. I'm not sure how he expected the helmet to stay on when he had it perched on top of his crown, but that's beside the point. Xena jumps down out of the tree she jumped into, and flicks the helmet away with her sword. Athena pops in, and Xena mouths off to her while the Athenian dancing girls surround them. Seems the gods have finally remembered that they were trying to kill off the tyke. Athena mentions that they're hard to catch up to, but that doesn't make much sense to me, after all, the gods can teleport anywhere they want to be. [shrug] Xena throws her chakram, takes out one of the dancing girls, and the rest of them scatter. Big fight scene, dancing girls go flying, Athena cuts Xena's arm in the same place that everyone else does. (Why doesn't she get some kind of upper arm armour?) Gabby wants Xena to throw Eve to her, but Xena doesn't. (Good thing too, cause that was just when she had to fight off the Lord of the Underworld.) Athena gets in a little trust dig over that, but Xena's not phased. Incidentally, Gabby hasn't gotten any better at going toe to toe with deities; Hades tosses her across the clearing. (She shouldn't feel too bad, Athena kicked Xena to the same spot.) Xena picks up the helmet that they have conveniently landed beside, and gets an idea. (Let's see, you've got a warrior, and bard, and a baby. There's only one helmet of invisibility, but you have to get all three away from the angry gods. Sounds like one of those logic puzzles doesn't it?) Xena's solution is to throw the helmet at the angry gods, and hit it with a chakram, which apparently drops a whole lot of magic burning things on the gods. This momentary distraction is enough for them to get away. ("Hey look, there they go, down the ." "Shhhh!") Cross fade to a Roman camp. With Octavius in charge, this is now a good place to be. Xena and Gab have holed up here where the Gods can't possibly find them. (Smile and nod.) Gabby is writing in the scroll that Joxer is reading in the future. Octavius does the good host thing, then wanders off to see if he can find some barbarians to conquer or something. Gabby picked up a cut in the battle, and Xena puts some stingy stuff on it. When she asks what it is, the warrior just says it's poi-son. (Really, that's how she says it) But don't worry, it's only poison if you drink it. (I'm pretty sure they're using the same vial that they had in Been There Done That.) It's supposed to prevent infection. Has Gabby never gotten cut before? Xena picked it up from mom's medicine cabinet, so I guess she's just been out of the stuff for THE LAST FIVE YEARS!! [sigh] Gabby's worried about Athena's little trust comment, but Xena does the comfort thing. (Not very well, but she does it)
Meanwhile, on Olympus, Athena is hosting a cocktail party. All the best gods are there, and the topic on conversation is Xena, and why she won't die. (I wonder if anyone is regretting the shabby treatment that they gave Nemesis?) Ares, being the god of war parties. (Get it? Nyuck-nyuck) Drops by, and suggests that they check with Death. So Celesta comes in, and Athena asks why she hasn't taken out the WP and her brat. Celesta is a bit of a stickler for the rules; it seems she wants to wait until there's an actual cause of death before she whisks their souls away. Oh, and they imply that Celesta might have the potential to survive the twilight. As long as her candle keeps burning, she's fine remember?
Over in Hephestus' forge, Xena has decided to pay a visit. I gotta say, for the god of crafts, that helmet was a lousy fit. I did however like Xena's line about arts & crafts. So they fight, Heph using a hammer and some chains against Xena's sword. It was kinda neat to see someone take the chakram in the chest and keep coming. In the end, Xena gets kicked into a little pillar that's just there in case Heph wants to knock someone into it, and she lies there looking helpless. (Her wound, incidentally has changed shoulders.) Heph closes in for the kill, and Celesta shows up. Looks like the WP is finally done for. Xena's comment? "What took you so long?" Fade to commercial.
When we return, Heph raises his hammer, and [dramatic pause] Gabby grabs his arm with Xena's whip and pulls him down on his arse. (Am I the only one bothered by that? I mean, this is supposed to be the god of smiths, and the little bard pulls him over with a quick yank?) Gabs pulls her sais, and yells to Xena to get the chains. The bard then proceeds to lay a beating on Heph, while Xena throws the chains at Celesta. This captures Cel, and frees up the WP to help out her soulmate, who still hasn't quite got the hang of beating up gods. (Hang in there Gab, you'll do it!) With the two of them, they make short work of the crippled god (although he doesn't look very crippled here) They kick him simultaneously, and knock him into a volcano. (Probably not a big problem for him) So now the girrlz have captured Death, who is already figuring out that this was Xena's plan all along. Gabby hauls Cel out, and Xena (who took quite a beating), picks up the candle, considers blowing it out, and just brings it along.
Outside, Roman troops have loaded Cel into a wagon, and Octavius gives Eve to Xena. Xena and Gab get into the cart, and off they go. Meanwhile, on Olympus, Athena is staring out a window, looking pouty. Ares pops in, and she gives him a dressing down over his actions over the whole Eve arc. Once that little recap is established, Heph and Hades show up with the news about Cel. (I'm not sure if Hades helped Heph out of the volcano, or if he was supposed to have ended up in the underworld) Back to the mortal realm, for a campfire scene. Cel is chained up, watching the flames, and looking woebegone, Gabby is singing a lullaby to Eve, and Xena is keeping an eye on the candle. Cele tries appealing to Xena's mercy, but the WP seems to have plumb run out of that particular commodity. Once that candle burns down, Celesta dies, and Xena and her kid get to live forever. (That plan didn't work too well for Sisyphus, but what the hey.) She tells Cel all about Solan, and Marcus, and Borias, and Lyceus . then starts in on Celesta's relationship with Hades. It's all quite nasty and heartwrenching, and Death cries. (I was a little confused when Xena wiped the tears from Cel's cheek, doesn't touching death mean you die? I guess not.) Oh well, Xena puts Eve to bed in the wagon, and Gabby does some thinking out loud. The gods can't kill anyone while they've got Celesta, but they can inflict suffering. Xena figures they'll start with the most vulnerable. Gosh, I wonder who might that be?
In the local tavern, Joxer the Mighty, (Young version) is bending his elbow. Gabs comes in, and he greets her warmly. She's been looking for him for some reason. While they chat, a bunch of the Athenian dancing girls come in, and ask for Jox. Being the man's man that he is, Joxer responds to the lovely young ladies. Gab, tries to pull him away from them, but he's busy chatting up the babes. Seems to work pretty well, two of them grab him, but before they can retire to one of the upstairs rooms, Athena and Hades pop in. Gabby, the ever optimistic, takes a run at Athena with her sais, and gets kicked in the face. (Trust me Gab, this thing with taking on gods solo just isn't going to get you anywhere) After the commercial, the bard finally tries talking. That's what she's good at. Unfortunately, Hades isn't in a chatty mood; he just grabs her by the throat and asks where they've stashed his beloved sis. Athena reminds him that Gab is of no use to them dead. (Huh? I thought no one could die 'till they freed Celesta.) He buys it, and shoves Gab back. Athena explains that diplomacy is the way to go, and demonstrates her diplomatic skills by grabbing Jox by the throat. At first he figures he can take anything 'goldy pants' can dish out, but when she gives his neck a little twist he breaks. (Aw c'mon Jox, you can do better than that.) Gabby tells them that Xena is headed for the ocean, so they grab her and all leave. Last one out knocks out Joxer.
Next morning, Xena's still got Celesta (who isn't doing too well) and the candle. Athena shows up, and her dancing girls bring in Gabby. Simple deal, Gabby for Cel. Gabs is all for letting the candle burn out, but Athena threatens to keep irritating Eve for all eternity. That seals the deal for Xena, she makes the trade. Naturally, as soon as Celesta touches her candle, it gets big again. (No, not like tha. well actually, a bit like that.) She can float again, and the girrlz pile into the wagon. Ath wants Cel to hang out while they do for the kid, but she's a busy anthropomorphism, she's gotta keep moving. Ares zaps in on the wagon, and grabs the reins; he's going with X&G. Hades and Heph pop in in front of the wagon, and Ath draws her flaming sword. (I wonder if 'flaming' was a subtle visual pun about Ath? Nah, I'm reaching there.) Xena uses the chains to snag the sword, and throws the whole kit 'n caboodle into the H team, who hate it when a plan falls apart. She flips onto the wagon, grabs the reins from Ares, and the chase is on. Sort of. Seems the patron goddess of military strategy has a plan. She sends her dancing girls to herd the WP back to the gods. (I gotta wonder why these 'gods' have trouble catching up with a horse drawn wagon)
That's enough excitement, let's see what Jox is up to. He's strolling through the woods, when he remembers that Gab said that Xena's heading for the ocean. He immediately starts jogging off in a different direction. (Presumably towards the ocean)
We now rejoin our chase already in progress. Ares is trying his seductive wargod routine again, figuring that he's the only one who can end Xena's troubles. The fact that Xena's girlfriend is sitting right behind him with a couple of sais in her boots doesn't seem to phase him. (Actually, she's just catching up on a little scrollwork.) Xena tells him to get off. (I thought that was his goal all along) He zaps out of there. When they clear the woods (no they're not out of the woods yet, just beyond the trees) Hades is standing there looking menacing. (It helps to be backlit). Xena tells Gab that "we're on". Hades starts throwing those blue bolts again (He still can't hit the broadside of a centaur) the jouncing of the wagon causes Gabby to lose her scroll. (Ya see how this all fits together?) We cut to old Jox, and the kids are disappointed at the abrupt end of the scroll. Jox says that it's the end of the scroll, but not the end of the story. He knows, 'cause he was there. The Dancing girls run into position, and send a volley of arrows Xena's way, but she just keeps going straight for 'em. They scatter, and fire a few more arrows after her. The rest of this scene gets a little confusing, there's Xena and Gab in the wagon, going as fast as the horses will pull them, there's the dancing girls, and there's the gods. Lots of arrows, Gabby throws her sais into a dancing girl, Xena tosses her chakram around, eventually they end up stopped at the edge of the cliff, broadside to the gods. Athena does the flaming sword thing again, Xena yells at Gab, the wagon catches fire, the horses get loose, and the gods all give the wagon their best shot. Hammer, sword, and mystic bolt all hit the wagon at the same moment, knocking it off the cliff. Slow motion, choral singing, close-ups of the villains, (and of course the shocked Joxer) all tell us that this is important. Down on the beach, Gabby is lying very still, and Xena stirs. First she goes to Gabs, while the gods look on and Jox tries to find a vantagepoint, then she checks on Eve. Lucy gets to do a very emotional scene, crying over her family, while the gods gloat, and Jox freaks out. Finally, Xena draws her sword, (At this point I'm thinking the gods are in some deep, deep doo-doo) and says "Each to his own, you to yours and me to mine!!" (Huh?) Then she spins her sword and makes as if to skewer herself. Fortunately, Ares pops in and stops her, taking that sharp sword away before she hurts herself. He tries to talk her out of it, but she tells him he can't stop her this time, (I'm not sure why he couldn't stop her, but let's let that go.) and shows him the little vial that she had earlier in the show. (Ya knew that would turn up again, didn't ya?) She says it's over, and drinks, then she gives Ares a message for his family, "It's a package deal, they get me too" (Do you get the feeling that someone had trouble settling on a death line?) She finally dies, Ares looks sad, and the other gods leave. Fade to commercial. At that moment about a million Xenites yelled at their television sets. "What the F***?" Then noticed the time, and relaxed. Xena might look dead, but there was still plenty of time for her cunning plan to be revealed.
Joxer is running towards the crash site, and we see flashes of light from off camera, like Ares' vanishing act. When we see the crash again, Ares is picking up Xena, and vanishes in a third flash of light. I'm pretty sure that the first two were added in postproduction when someone noticed that Ares hadn't taken Gab away. Jox falls to his knees, either in grief, or because it's a heck of a long way from that bar he was in to the ocean. Then he takes off his helmet so Ted can emote. Octavius and some troops come riding up the coast. He says it's good to see Joxer again, (No I don't know when they're supposed to have met) and asks where Xena and Gabrielle are. Jox says they're gone, and he was too far away to help them. (Excuse me? They were iced by not one, not two, but three, count 'em three gods. I have no idea what Jox thought he'd do if he were closer.) Oct tells him that they're not really dead, then waves to a soldier, who brings Eve over to them. Joxer is understandably confused, and back in the future, so is his son. The elder Joxer explains. The Fates can't be taken literally, when they were talking about the essence of death, they didn't necessarily mean really dead. What Xena drank was Celesta's tears. The whole kidnap thing was to get her to cry. If the gods were convinced that they were dead, then they would be safe. Eve wasn't dead, 'cause she wasn't in the wagon, back at the camp, when we all thought Xena was putting her there, she was actually handing her off to a concealed Octavius. (Again with the baby/doll switch.) Gabrielle got captured on purpose, so they could release Celesta, then they got chased to the cliff. Joxer figures that Gabrielle drank the tears before the wagon got hit, and Xena took care of her during the fall. (Nice visual of Xena tumbling while holding Gabrielle) Then it looks like everybody dies. The only problem was, Ares snatched the 'bodies'.
We cut to a snowy mountain, Ares is walking along carrying Xena. He enters a cave, and brings her to an ice coffin. Next to it is a similar coffin with Gabby in it. (Why was he able to do Gab so much faster?) He puts Xena in, and does a little monologue with some of his best lines of the series. He acknowledges the love between X&G, and the contrast between their relationship, and his own with Xena. Best line: "When you sacrificed yourself for others, you were hers, but when you kicked ass, you were mine." Then he kisses her, and says, "I love you Xena". Nice dichotomy between him and Gabby in that line. Finally, he closes the coffin. Then he sticks Xena's sword in a pile of ice, and hangs the chakram on it, looking very intense. Quick screencap shot of the improvised grave marker, then Ares walks out of the cave, and uses his powers to seal it up. He disappears, and we get a final slow pan of the burial chamber, then fade to credits.
I really, really liked this ep.
This commentary is by Philip Teo.
It was clever and lame at the same time to use Joxer to recollect how Xena and Gabrielle outwit the Olympian gods. We saw later that Gabrielle wrote that last scroll while on the run from the gods. This was quite unrealistic. We know that Gabrielle has evolved more into a warrior this season and spent less time on her bard self. So why then, would she be so eager to pen down her thoughts, especially in a situation like this? A warrior would never do that!
Then, I was wondering how did Xena locate where the Fates were. Was this a place made known to all mortals? Wouldn't the Fates be in constant peril if such a location was known to all?
In the beginning, why did Xena assume that Hades was wearing his Helmet of Invisibility? If the god wanted to, they could be invisible to mortals, including Xena! Remember in "Married With Fishsticks", Gabrielle initially couldn't see Aphrodite and Discord fighting until they showed themselves. So, why couldn't it be the same situation here? When Athena kicked Xena, I was wondering, if she had landed on her back, wouldn't Eve be crushed?
When Xena was being beaten up by Hepaestus, why did Celesta appear? Was Xena about to die? Was it her rightful time? And how come Xena could see Celesta? Xena and Gabrielle have died more than once over the past seasons, and never once did Celesta made her appearance known to them, why now? And why would Hepaestus's chains trap Celesta? Even if Celesta couldn't free herself, why didn't she just zap herself away or something? I was cheering on at the scene where Xena and Gabrielle teamed up for a moment to send Hepaestus falling down a cliff. Good work, girls!
I must say, Xena should be the Fates herself. She knew her moves and she knew how the gods think. She knew Athena would confront her after she let Gabrielle be captured by them. Xena's chakram sure came into handy this episode. How many times did she use it against Athena's warriors?
Joxer said that Xena did not anticipate Ares to appear and stop her from killing herself. But initially, Xena wanted to end her life by stabbing herself! What if Ares never appeared? Once again, we are shown again how wise Athena really is. She never really checked to see whether she had really killed Eve and assumed that she had won. Being a god really makes one complacent, isn't it? Did she forget that she was outwit by Xena in "Amphipolis Under Siege?" Why was she then so careless again in this episode?
And how did Xena know that by drinking Celesta's tears, it would render her dead for a while? Was this an information made known to all? And when exactly did Xena thought that she would wake up?
While this episode was nerve wrecking almost every moment, it had a lot of questionable areas.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
04-18-00. Ted Raimi did an interview with IGN.COM's Sarah Kuhn on April 14, 2000:IGN Sci-Fi: What's coming up for your character? I heard there's an episode where you age quite a bit...
Ted: There is. Without giving too much away, we see everybody, like 30, 40 years from now. So I'm like, 80. And special effects aged me. I can't tell you how I become that, or what happens to Xena and Gab because the prod ucers would [laughs]...well, what the ****! OK, I'll tell you. Basically, Ares entombs Xena and Gabrielle in ice in a mountainside for 25 years. When they emerge from this cryogenic sort of suspension, Joxer is 80. And li ttle baby Eve is all grown up, she's now 25 -- bonus babe! [laughs] So Xena and Gabrielle are looking the same, Eve is now 25, about their age, and Joxer is now 80. It's very surreal and freaky and stuff. But cool.
IGN Sci-Fi: So you were the only one who had to get old for that episode?
Ted: [sheepishly] Yes. Although, what does happen to Joxer is that he marries Meg. You remember Meg from way back...
IGN Sci-Fi: Oh, yeah, one of the other Lucy Lawless characters...
Ted: The Lucy Lawless character! The one from "Warrior, Princess, Tramp," from way, way back there, that episode, where she's like, the harlot. So they get married! And you actually do see what Xena looks like as Meg when she's also 80. So Lucy and I had a great time playing those characters.
03-24-00. Turns out that the Old Joxer episode is not EVE, but is this one instead. Originally a mature EVE played by Hudson Leick was to appear as well but scheduling problems nixed those plans.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Listen to Gab whisper to Eve after the soundtrack lullaby: "Someday you'll have your own horse." HA!
Boy, Hephaestus makes some b*tt-ugly knickknacks.
Watch the irresistible-force-meets-immovable-object moment when Xena throws the chakram at Hephaestus's breastplate. Awesome!
Ares with the fallen Xena in his arms is a fantastic shot. But Ares does a little Warrior Princess juggling. He carries Xena with her head hanging on his left... but when he walks into the cave, her head is on his right.
When Joxer finishes telling his kids about Eve, why is he still looking at the long-finished scroll?
Click here to read a transcript of LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE.
Death almost died during the production of this motion picture.