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GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 BY Shana
COMMENTARY 3 BY Beboman
COMMENTARY 4 BY Josh Harrison
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Written by R. J. Stewart
Directed by Charles Siebert w
TV GUIDE PROMO
To protext Ares from a gang of revenge-seeking warlords, Xena brings him to her childhood home and disguises him as a farmer. (Logline)
Xena disguises Ares as a farmer to hide him from warlords seeking revenge. (ClickTV)
Ares is on the farm, the lights are out and three in a bed makes one too many! And don't even think bad thoughts about this before you actually see it. (Creation Entertainment)
Xena brings Ares to her childhood home and disguises him as a farmer to protect him from a gang of vengeful warlords. ExciteTV
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 01/15/01
An AA average of 3.3
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:Andromeda 3.9/4.0 Xena 3.3/3.5 Stargate SG-1 3.0/3.2 VIP 2.7/2.9 BeastMaster 2.4/2.6 Earth: Final Conflict 2.1/2.3 Baywatch Hawaii 2.1/2.2 Sheena 2.0/2.1 The Lost World 1.9/2.0 The Invisible Man 1.7 Relic Hunter 1.7 Back2Back Action 1.6 Maximum Exposure hit a series low 1.5/1.6 Queen of Swords 1.3 Battle Dome 1.0/1.1 Thunderbox 1.0
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
A quaint village. A bar scene. Xena and Gabrielle enter the tavern. They order. Xena notices some fellows in warlord garb and excuses herself. She questions them. She asks if so-and-so didn't ride with so-and-so (one of them was called Atilla), and Ahab the Lame. Then she asks if this is a "scumbag convention." "What brings you cut throats together?" The guys get all riled and ready to fight. Xena puts the pinch on the first guy who says he isn't going to tell her anything, and then lots of fighting ensues. Gabrielle joins in. Whack, Whack, don't talk back. After the room is cleared, Xena returns to the dying pinched guy. He says a guy has a price on his head and all the warlords want him dead. Xena undoes the pinch and asks who the guy is they're after. They are after Ares because he is mortal now. The warlords Ares upset all want their revenge. Xena looks angry.
Ares walks down a path. Some little guy jumps out and says he's going to kill Ares. Xena and Gabrielle appear beside Ares. The little guy runs. Xena tells Ares he has a price on his head and he should assume a new identity. Ares says he could get into reinventing himself. He asks Xena what she has in mind. Xena says, "How are you at shoveling "bleep"." Ares says he would rather he and Xena go and kick warlord butt. But Xena and Gabrielle take Ares to an old farmstead, which is "just as I remember it," according to Xena. She recalls her grandmother telling her stories of the Olympian gods -- "whom you then slaughtered," Ares interrupts -- and how good it all was. Ares does not look pleased at the condition of the old rundown place.
Back at the tavern, the little guy boasts he killed the god of war. Another warlord type says no you didn't, but you have seen him, that was a good description. The little guy says Ares and two women were headed toward some valley.
A pastoral scene. Ares is on the porch with his shirt off. Xena and Gabrielle are pretending to be on The Dukes of Hazzard. Xena tells Ares to get to work. Ares looks at Xena's butt as she climbs a ladder. Ares goes outside to get a pile of rags he hid earlier, but they are gone. Gabrielle is also missing a boot. A neighbor lady comes by and tells them a warlord is on his way into the valley. There are crude jokes, comments, and looks.
Xena gets back into her warrior clothes and tells Gabrielle and Ares to keep working whilst she goes to see the warlord. She goes into Warlord Gaskar's camp. She tells him she can give him Ares' head on a platter. Gaskar wants to know why Xena didn't take out Ares when she was killing all the other Olympians. Xena says Ares was a coward and he ran. Gaskar says he doesn't need Xena. Xena says she doesn't want money, it's personal. She says also, what if the rumor of Ares' mortality isn't true? Only Xena can kill gods, after all.
Back on the farm, Gabrielle tells Ares it was nice of him to give up his mortality to save her and Eve. Ares says he was only saving Eve because if Eve had died, Athena would have killed Xena. "You were just an afterthought." "Thanks anyway," Gabrielle says. Xena enters. She is delighted that the chimney is cleaned and a fire is burning. She says she and her brothers sat by the fire and told ghost stories. She says she misses her brothers sometimes. Ares says that the thief is still there and lists some other items that are now missing besides rags and boots. Gabrielle says maybe the thief is a ghost. The roof begins to leak a lot. Xena goes into a bedroom that has not yet been opened and says the roof is not leaking in there. Ares looks in and sees a big beg. He suggests they all three sleep in the bed. Xena and Gabrielle look skeptical but then decide they are all grown ups. Xena and Ares spoon and spar in the bed, change positions, Gabrielle rolls over and puts her hand over Ares' crotch. Xena removes Gabrielle's hand. Ares says he is in Tartarus.
Next morning, Xena is upset because her breast plate is missing. There are drag marks from the breast plate being dragged away. Xena finds most of the missing stuff buried in the garden. Ares goes over to a log and says there is a wolf in the log. Xena and Gabrielle look in. It is a dog. The dog licks Ares. Gabrielle and Xena rub the dog's tummy. Ares says he doesn't want a dog. Gabrielle says a dog is good. "Is there anything you and I agree on?" Ares asks Gabrielle. Gabrielle looks at Xena. "Oh yeah. Anything else?" The dog jumps on Xena.
Gabrielle and Xena go into town for supplies, leaving Ares alone on the farm. He works on the roof of the house. The neighbor lady comes by. She talks about her dead husband and says war is bad. She asks Ares about his "daughters" and tells him he looks old, but fit, and has grey hair. Ares climbs back on the roof and falls through it. Xena returns to find Ares lying in a pile of rubble in the middle of the floor. He says he aches all over. The dog licks him. Gabrielle comes back with a wagon with a pig, a cow, and chickens. Xena tells Ares to kill a chicken for dinner. He likes that idea much better than farm chores. He takes his sword and tries to kill the chicken.
Xena tells Gabrielle that once Ares is set up, they are out of there. Gabrielle says Xena is there to relive her childhood memories. Xena says she was happy at the farm, it was peaceful, and she felt safe, and ever since then her life has been anything but. Gabrielle says we'll enjoy it here while we can. They watch as Ares torments the chickens trying to catch one. Xena calls out to Ares that her plan is working. Gaskar's army is coming right toward them.
Xena puts her warrior clothes back on. She disappears. Gabrielle tears her blouse and goes outside to distract the warlord party while Ares changes clothes. She flirts with the warlord. Ares comes out and tells his little woman to git her butt back in the house now. The warlords laugh at him. They ask if he has seen Ares, then smack him around some. Xena comes riding up. She says that the farmer isn't Ares. The warlord guy wants Xena to put the pinch on the "farmer." Xena reluctantly does so, saying, she'll hurt the farmer "you and your little dog, too" and the "farmer" says Ares went toward some pass a few days away. Xena tells the warlords she'll head for the pass. The warlords return to their camp. Gabrielle comes out and tells Ares he shouldn't have copped an attitude with the warlords. Ares says the dog is the only one who loves him. He adopts the dog and names him Horace.
Xena milks a cow. She and Gabrielle discuss proper milking techniques. A man comes by. He is a traveling salesman, looking for his dog. The dog runs away, but the man catches him. Ares is sad about the dog.
The warlords approach the traveling salesman as he is peddling his wares. He has one of Ares' gauntlets for sale. The warlords ask where it came from. The salesman says from some farm a ways back; his dog found it.
Ares misses his gauntlets. The neighbor lady comes by and says the army is returning. Xena goes to Gaskar. Gaskar says he knows Xena is covering for Ares for some reason. Gabrielle comes in. Xena looks surprised. Gabrielle says, did you really think you could fall in love with Ares and just leave me? I'll tell you where he is, Gaskar, and repay Xena for her treachery (or something like that). Gabrielle chest-butts Xena. Xena and Gabrielle begin fighting and tearing up the tent. The warlord and his men leave to go to whatever cave Gabrielle says Ares is cowering in. Gabrielle and Xena stop fighting and congratulate each other.
Horace the dog returns to Ares. Xena and Gabrielle ride up. They say the warlords have gone to the cave where some eight-headed monster lives and won't be back. Xena tells Ares he should try to be a farmer. He says when the chickens are all dead he will leave. Xena says if he stays as a farmer, she might come to see him. Ares goes to kiss Xena but she moves. Xena and Gabrielle ride off. Xena tells Gabrielle she learned that she can't look for peace in the world around you, you find it in your own heart. She says she was lucky when she was little and she's lucky now. Gabrielle says, "Me too."
This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.
This comedy was a departure from the past couple of seasons' lowbrow sledgehammer humor. Thank god, we didn't resort to reams of slapstick and bodily function gags to try to gain laughs. But the humor that was left was mostly just a droll "isn't that funny, Ares is trying to be a farmer" amusement, which didn't provide many opportunities to fall off the couch laughing. The episode was cute, harmless... but also nothing to remember past the moment the end credits roll.
Xena sure picks a fight in a hurry in that bar. How did she recognize all those warriors and warlords when 26 years have passed since any of her old cronies were around? And how on earth did she spot Attila's "colors" on a guy wearing all black leather? If that's true, EVERY warrior we see on the show wears Attila's colors!
That was a very weird bleep on Xena's line about shoveling s__t. Usually these days, the local stations just drop the sound, not insert the loud BLEEEP of old. My theory: I think the studio added it in as obnoxiously as possible, knowing they wouldn't get away with that word, just to tweak up the humor of it.
I gotta side with Ares on his assessment of the ramshackle Green Acres ruin. Gabrielle called it "charming"?!? Xena said it smells like she remembers? Did it always smell of rot and cobwebs? Xena's grandmother must have been a lousy housekeeper.
What on EARTH was up with the outfits Xena and Gabrielle were wearing? Maybe they were the clothes young Xena wore when she was at the farm; that would explain how small they were. And were those actually bows in Xena's hair? Those dresses were pretty horrid, and Gabrielle suddenly took a liking to polka-dotted bras. Apparently, being on a farm means losing all fashion sense.
I had my bets on the mysterious thief being a squirrel. How on earth did the dog manage to get the rags that were under the boards of the porch?
Ares tells Gabrielle that saving her was an afterthought, but I don't buy it. I think he was just trying to tweak her. His only motivation may have been to keep Xena happy, but nothing about giving up immortality is an afterthought.
The scene of the threesome in bed was contrived. But I couldn't help it, I kept chuckling at Ares' "I'm in Tartarus!" moan by the time Xena is plucking Gabrielle's hand away from where it landed with a resounding thud.
Is there a reason that the dog and the warlord both have different-colored eyes? I'd say that was something deep and meaningful, except that this episode never even paid "deep and meaningful" a passing glance.
Greba's a twit and mostly a waste of very dumb lines. But at least she provides an excuse for Ares to put his moves on someone besides Xena.
Ares gets one of the all-time great pitiful speeches of the show:Oh, I'm just lying here... smelling my mortality. Every muscle in my body aching. I have gray hair. And the dog has his tongue in my mouth.I *almost* felt sorry for the guy!
I liked that the first task Ares shows any enthusiasm for is to slaughter a chicken. Ares even gives a battle yell in the middle of the ensuing Sensitive Chat between Xena and Gabrielle.
When the army's search party arrives, steam is rising off of Ares. That must have been a COLD day of shooting!
OK, it was amusing that the dog bit Xena on the butt. I guess the reason that the dog didn't go after the lieutenant first when HE was beating up Ares was because it wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining.
Seeing as how all the fights on X:WP are faked, it was funny that the "fight" Xena and Gabrielle have in the warlord's tent is made to be very badly faked... so that it's a faked fake fight. It actually has some weird logic to it. I kind of liked the gusto that they had for tearing up the joint.
All told, it wasn't a rip-roaring side-splitter. But it was cute, and kinda sweet-like. A potato chip of an episode. I wouldn't want a bunch of episodes like it, but I didn't mind this one.
Although there weren't MANY gut-laughs, I did hit a couple. Without further ado, my favorite jokes of the episode:Ares, to Gabrielle: "Is there ANYTHING you and I agree on?"(Gabrielle flashes a look at Xena.)Ares: "Oh yeah. Anything else?"Best sound effect of the season so far: when Ares sucked in his chest for Greba's benefit. HA!
Gabrielle: "I just used the first thing that popped into my head."
Ares: "I think that says a lot about you." (No kidding! I was thinking the SAME thing!)
Mark your calendars: this episode may very well have provided more MALE eye candy than FEMALE. Gabrielle tried her darnedest to... ahem... hold up her gender's side with an avalanche of eye-popping cleavage shots. But the gals' outfits were just no match for Ares running around with no shirt and form-fitting leather pants for the whole episode. My favorite Ares moment: his growled "Thank god I'm a country boy" as he rolls out of bed, hops from the second floor window to the ground, and tiptoes barefoot through the back forty. Whew, no wonder the neighbor girl was swooning.
This commentary is by Shana.
Well, the first comedy of the season is history (at least for me), and I must say, this one was actually tamer than I thought it would be. Ever since I had seen the previews, I have had visions dancing in my head of farmer's daughters, traveling salesmen, and unhealthy relationships with farm animals...I know, I know...I'm a twisted soul! Funny thing is, ALL of these elements were in this episode, but I still can't help but generalize it as a sentimental, light-hearted episode.
That ought to pique someone's interest so here goes...!
The episode begins innocently enough with a wide shot of a beautiful lush valley, then an interior shot of a darkened tavern, where the customers sound a little rowdy. Xena and Gabrielle come down the stairs...they've been staying in inns an awful lot this season, it seems to me. Gabrielle's hair is short again, and if I'm not mistaken, Xena's is a little shorter too. Maybe the girls are just coming from a makeover session upstairs. I've already got strains of "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" in my head to muddle in with "Old Ares Had a Farm, EIEIO".. You know, I was eight years old before I realized that EIEIO didn't spell farm!
But I digress, and rather early for me...Gabrielle tells Xena she's losing her appetite, but Xena assures her, "Sometimes these places have great food." They belly up to the bar, but some raucous laughter behind them causes Xena to turn. She pats Gabs shoulder with "Won't be a sec," and heads off to the rabble rousers. She asks the noisiest one if he rode with Ahab the Lame...what a moniker! The hairy guy answers, "Yeah, but I moved on to better things" to which the men laugh heartily again. "You look like the self-improvement type," Xena surmises. She looks at a couple of others, identifying them with as riding with Atilla and Turkston. "What is this?" she asks, "A scumbag convention?" Gabrielle is watching all this, and looks around nervously, setting down her mug. I could almost hear a voice in the background drawling, "there's going to be a gunfight, boys!"
The Ahab supporter says he doesn't haven't to take this from Xena, but she assures him he does, before she puts the pinch on him. What follows isn't exactly a gunfight, but is some pretty nifty hand-to-hand combat as Xena and Gabrielle take on the unruly group of men. What is it about the wig of Renee's stuntdouble that makes it so obvious it's a stuntdouble? It always distracts me! The guy that Xena has put the pinch on has been suffering during the whole fight sequence which took longer than thirty seconds, but the instant all the other bad guys have been urged to nap, Xena turns to him. "You've got seconds to live, so spit it out!" He tells her that the warlords of Greece, Macedonia, and Thrace have put a price on someone's head and have united with Gascar the Terrible. They're going to split the bounty. Xena releases from the pinch. Has anyone else ever noticed that sometimes it takes one move to remove the pinch, sometimes it's two, and sometimes it's three? Maybe it has to do with how long they've been under the effect. This guy took three moves. Xena wants to know whose head has a price on it. The man tells her, "The god of war, Ares. He's mortal. And now the warlords that he crossed when he was a god are having their revenge." This doesn't seem to bode well with the Warrior Princess.
Cut to the aforementioned former god who is walking innocently down a path, stretching the kinks out of his back. A pipsqueak dressed in armor approaches him with his sword drawn, "Ares, prepare to die!" Ares doesn't seem too worried, and is languidly drawing his sword as he is flanked on either sides with an arm-crossed Xena and a confident-looking Gabrielle. Ares looks at the pair with a bit of surprise...can't blame him. "Who are you?" Squeaky asks. Xena smiles slightly and says, "Who are you?" "They call me Battling Siki", Squeaky...errr...Siki replies. Xena sure likes to deflate guy's egos! "Nobody ever called you that," she replies. "You just made that up. If you don't want to be called Dead Siki, you'd be movin' on." He's not as stupid as he looks, but before running off, he tells Ares that the gold will be his.
Ares turns to Xena, I don't know if he even realizes Gabrielle is there. He tells her that's been happening a lot lately. He doesn't sound too concerned about it. He asks Xena what brings her there..." Animal magnetism?" "I'm here to save your butt," Xena replies. She tells him that word is out that he's mortal and there's a price on his head. Gabrielle then tells him just a few of the foes out to get him....I love these names. " Gascar the Terrible, Lombar, the Hal Brothers (hi, this is my brother Hal and my other brother Hal), Mosher" Xena supplies "Atilla" and Gabrielle finishes with "The Beast of Turkeston". I just pictured the newest additions to the WWF! Ares likes this news, "It will be great fighting by your side; we'll take no prisoners." Unfortunately for him, Xena has other plans. She tells him they're not there for a blood bath; they have a different proposal. She tells him he will live the rest of his mortal life a hunted man, unless he assumes a new identity. Ares is certainly in a good mood today. He kind of likes the idea of reinventing himself. Maybe he'll become a king, or a priest "if the cult is sexy enough." Xena and Gabrielle just exchange the "okay, we'll let him dream for a second" glances, before Xena speaks again. She tells him it has to be something no one would ever suspect of him. "Like what?" he asks. Xena leans in close, and get ready for the first really big laugh of the episode. "How are you at shoveling BEEP?" she asks, although if you listen carefully, you can hear the "sh" and the "t". Just supply the missing sound (hey, hooked on phonics worked for me) and you can picture Ares expression and Xena and Gabrielle's happy grins as the scene fades to opening credits. Xena's eyebrows look darker than normal, and Gabrielle's hair looks thicker than usual. Just thought I'd mention that.
The next scene has the trio walking down the same path. Gabrielle wants to know what's wrong with Ares becoming a farmer. He tells her it's okay for a rube, but not the god of war, to which Xena corrects with "former god of war". Ares turns to her, "Xena, let's you and I go crazy on Gascar and his boys; I'm talking about slaughter and mayhem." Xena won't have it, asking if he really wants to be hunted by every warlord who wants to make a fortune. Ares agrees it's getting to be a chore. "If we set you up as a farmer," Gabrielle tells him, "you could come and go as you please." Ares gives her the over-exaggerated "Really!" Gabrielle isn't discouraged..."No one would suspect the god of war would be living on a country farm." She wraps an arm around Ares as Xena slips an arm over his shoulder as they continue down the path. Xena tells him that Gabs and she will stay with him, just until he gets used to things. Somehow, Ares is warming up to the idea. Xena pats his shoulder before he walks ahead, musing, "Yeah, plantations, some slaves, half a dozen flute playing girls..." Xena and Gabs exchange a look. "Just what I was thinkin'" Xena mutters, before they follow him.
Next scene has Xena astride Argo II, followed by Gabrielle driving a wagon, with Ares sitting next to her. Xena is grinning, big-time, as she looks at an old dilapitated farmhouse. "There it is, just as I remember it...the Elysian Fields on earth." Gabrielle has a slightly less enthusiastic smile, but Ares could catch flies with that open jawed stare of his. "Well, this is it," she tells them, as Gabrielle and Ares join her to surmise the cabin closer up. "What, the outhouse?" Ares quips. Seems his normally-cynical mood has returned!
This is the house that Xena's grandparents lived in! Okay, okay, nevermind the fact that Xena never before mentioned she knew her grandparents, she obviously remembers this homestead with great affection. She shows Gabrielle the pole that she carved her initial into, and sure enough the X is still there. Then there's the chair her grandmother used to rock in, and tell her stories about the Olympian gods. Ares is doing his best to remove her sentimental mood, saying, "Bet you never guessed you'd grow up to kill most of them, did ya?" Xena won't let him ruin her pleasant thoughts. "But wait, the best is yet to come," she says, pointedly ignoring him. "Come on!" Gabs grins, then gives a little giggle...she now seems as excited about this as Xena does. "Xena, it's charming" she says, as they enter the shack. I've got to give Gabrielle credit...she has much more vision than I do! I like Ares summation better,"I don't want to spoil your waltz down memory lane, but Ares ain't living here. Now you can tell us all about your pastural childhood on the way back to civilization." Xena is musing over the way it even smells the way she remembers it and tells Ares it's a little rundown, "but we can fix it." Ares isn't convinced. "Even when I was a god, I couldn't have fixed this place" he tells her. Hee hee! "It's nothing that a little hard work can't put right," Gabrielle tells him, as she sets a table upright. The table promptly collapses. "See, now you're scaring me," Ares tells her. Xena walks past them, into the next room, asking if he's scared more by the house than a band of cutthroats out for him. The door she pulls open promptly falls off its hinges. Xena's all excited again. Her eyes are glowing as she sticks her head back in the main room, "Gabrielle, come check out the stove." Gabrielle follows her to which Ares just moves his eyes in one of those "I can't believe I'm here" looks.
Next is Siki The Nearly Dead bragging in the tavern about finding Ares and cutting his throat. He's got a couple of local girls eating up his every word. One of them asks what Ares looked like and Siki gives a decent description, "You know, he wasn't as mean looking as everyone says. Kind of a dark, handsome guy, dressed all in black, with a beard, and he had this great vest-" He's cut off by a hand that jerks him out of his seat and slams him into the bar. A really ugly, scarred blonde guy has grabbed him, and tells Siki he didn't kill anyone, but his description of Ares is pretty good. He wants to know where Siki saw him. Siki tells him he saw Ares outside of Iparaus and followed "them" as far as the Lachawan Valley. I know the names of these places aren't spelled right, so I'll just go phonetically. The sweaty blonde wants to know who "them" is. Does Ares have an army? "No, a couple of woman." Siki doesn't say "women"...he says "woman." Guess it's that Kiwi accent of his that keeps slipping! Blonde guy releases him with a laugh. "Ares always did have a weakness for the ladies. Probably looking for a place to shack up with them. Pass the word." Xena and Gabrielle better not hear him talk about them that way!
It seems springtime has come to Ares farm! Suddenly there are shots of silky corn stalks growing and fields of wildflowers swaying in the breeze! A bee is pollenating some marigolds. I know, I know...where did all this stuff come from and why are they all in bloom at the same time, but this is time travel in the Xenaverse! The music takes on a lackadaisacal fiddle tone, as the camera pans in on a shirtless and very buff former god of war reclining against a post on the front porch, with a wineskin between his outstretched legs. He's parched it seems, as he wipes his brow with a dirty looking towel.
Gabrielle is coming down the stairs with a basket under one arm, while Xena is doing some hammering. Xena yells at Ares, "Hurry up with those rags!" Ares isn't too interested in work, and looking around, shoves the towel he's been using under a floorboard of the porch. He calls back he can't seem to find them anywhere. "Well, that doesn't make sense," Xena replies, removing her apron as she walks outdoors, "then come on, we'll do something else." Ares starts whining..."Awww.....I was doing a...thing" he says. Gabrielle wanders outdoors. "Has anyone seen that saw I left out here?" The three make a very striking picture out there on that run down porch. Ares is in his black leather pants, still reclining against the porch...Xena is in what looks very much like her shift of first season, with a few alterations. She's even accessorized with a necklace and bracelet and a couple flowers in her hair. And Gabrielle is dressed all in blue, her midriff showing (of course), and a checkered scarf on her head. Ares tells Gabrielle not to look at him, "I try to touch tools of common laborers as little as possible." He starts to take a drink but Xena gives him a "Well, that's going to change", tugging his ear to make him stand upright, and then whisks him in the house by snapping her apron at him. He protests the whole way, "Hey, that'll leave a mark," to which Xena grins and taunts, "Don't turn around!" Gabrielle is still muttering about her lost saw, while Xena climbs a couple of rungs of a ladder her backside to Ares. His eyes immediately focus on a specific part of her anatomy, and after a couple seconds, the camera focuses on the same view. Xena is telling Ares to climb up on the ladder and nail some boards to the ceiling. Ares is still staring. "After you," he drawls. Xena knows what he's doing. She turns to him, with an exasperated, "Ares...come on."
Poor Ares is tuckered out. He lays his head on his crossed arms on the mantle. Not wanting to use a hammer, I guess, he asks Xena what she wanted him to do with the rags. Xena tells him in her cranky voice, she wanted him to stuff them in the holes in the outside walls. "I'd rather do that," he tells her and heads back outside. Xena is tired of playing, and follows him, wanting to know what he's doing. Ares admits he hid the rags under the plank, because he thought she was going to make him use them to mop the floor or some other demeaning job. Gabrielle is back outside again, and now she's missing a boot. Doh! Ares says the rags are gone, and now so is his wineskin. Xena moves her eyes back and forth..."Something is out there" she rasps.
That something, at least for the moment, seems to be coming in the form of an attractive lady who introduces herself as Greba, their neighbor. Ares seems to like her looks immediately. Greba is a talker. She tells them she just came from Iparus where there is a warlord, Gascar, heading toward the valley. Gabs thanks her for the warning, but Greba is off in La-La land, musing, "That Gascar, he's a bad one. You know what they say his favorite sport is? They say it's to take a young, beautiful, helpless maiden, and to spoil her chastity, again and again and again and AGAIN!" Excuse me, but can't that only happen once? Ares liks this idea almost as much as Greba seems to. "Oh, the beast" he smiles, which earns him a whack from Xena. "Thanks, Greba," Xena tells her pointedly, but Greba is rattling on about being a poor defenseless woman in a house all by herself , just over there! Ares is slowly walking toward her, his eyes all a-twinkle, and when she gets to her being a "young widow, on her own" his pecs tighten up with...uh...a zipping sound. My my, he HAS been working out! Xena and Gabs know what game's afoot, and when Greba finally pauses for air, say in unison, and rather sarcastically, "Thank you, Greba!" Ares is telling Greba's to drop by when the news is better, and behind him, Xena puts a finger on Gabrielle's arm with a look. For a minute, I thought she was going into the "pinch, buy me a coke routine" for their saying the same thing at the same time, but I don't know what was up with it. Ares tells Greba she can drop by so they can "swap tips on root vegetables" to which Xena rolls her eyes. Greba finally leaves and Xena tells Gabs and Ares to find the thief while she looks after Gascar. Ares doesn't like that. "Oh ho...uh huh...so you still get to be warrior!" Xena has gone into the house, and you hear a brief rustling, a couple of zipper sounds, and Xena steps back outside in full warrior garb. Xena truly did learn from Cyane! Nice camera work on this! It sure looks like Lucy walking both in and out of the house, in a full five second costume change, but there is no camera jump to establish it was a trick. "Uh huh," she tells Ares, "but I would much rather stay and work on the house." "You know the sad thing?" Ares says, as she saunters off, Warrior Princess sneer fully in place, "I believe you!!"...then after a beat, "Where's my belt?" Xena looks back before riding off, "Definitely take care of that one!" she quips.
Xena obviously finds Gascar's camp easy enough. She doesn't even bother to barge in...in fact she's announced to Gascar, who is the same blonde guy who interrogated Siki in the tavern. She tells Gascar she's going to bring him a gift. The gift? Ares' head on a platter.
Gascar circles her, thinking about what she's said. He's heard of some of the things Ares has done to Xena, but wants to know why she didn't take him out when she killed the other gods on Olympus. "The coward ran," Xena replies. "I didn't get the chance." Gascar believes her, but tells her Ares is mortal, and they don't need her help. He doesn't want to split the bounty anymore than it's already split. But Xena growls, "I'm not in this for the gold. This is personal. Besides, what if you're wrong? What if it's all just a rumor and he hasn't lost his immortality at all? You'd be stalking the god of war." She starts to grin now. "Now I, I have the ability to kill gods." (Well, at least we know Eve is still alive somewhere!) She picks up a knife that looks exactly like the one Joxer used when he killed Kryton in The Convert. "Wouldn't that make a nice insurance policy, huh? Besides, I know where to find him." she sneers, stabbing the knife into the table in front of Gascar. Gascar is obviously falling for her bluff as she leans back with a confident smile. I'm sorry, but her eyebrows are A LOT darker!
The next scene really surprised me. It's storming outside. Gabrielle is sitting in front of a fireplace, her legs stretched out in front of her, and a cup of something in her hand. Ares is sitting across from her. The only light in the room is the flames before them. Gabrielle starts,"Ares, when you gave up your immortality to save Eve and me, that was...that was quite a sacrifice. Thank you." Somehow, I get the feeling she had been wanting to say that for quite some time. Ares replies, "If Eve had died, and Xena would have lost the power to kill gods, then Athena would have killed Xena. So I was saving Eve, to save Xena." Gabrielle nods solemnly. "You were an afterthought," he adds, before taking a bite of...something. Gabrielle gives him that wrinkled nose grin for a few long seconds, then repiles, "Thanks anyway," Hee hee!
Cue Xena to enter the cabin, soaked and chilled. Gabs asks how it went and she replies, "So far, so good." She's glad to see they cleared the chimney, and sits down on the hearth, next to Gabrielle's chair. Gabs tells her, "Ares did the heavy work", to which he responds, "She's exaggerating. She just doesn't want to admit she couldn't get me to work any better than you could." "Lot a truth in that," Gabrielle replies gently, nudging him with her foot.
Xena is off down memory lane again. She says, "You know my brothers and I used to sit by the fire here...tell ghost stories. My brothers...I miss them sometimes." Now someone, correct me if I'm wrong, but is the first time since Death Mask that Xena has acknowledged she has two brothers? Of course, she always spoke of Lyceus with great affection, but now it seems she's adding Toris to her fond memories. It's about time! Ares is getting impatient though. "Xena!" he barks, breaking her out of her daze."The thief is still here." It has stolen his gauntlet now, and is very, very good. "We didn't see a thing," he adds. "What if there's nothing to see?" Gabrielle slowly muses. Ares leans in just a tad, "Like a ghost?" he asks and the flash of lightning emphasizes his words, much to his consternation. "Yeah," Gabs replies. Xena chuckles, but Ares isn't amused. "You mortals (shouldn't that be "we mortals"?) go to the most incredible places just to rationalize unexplained phenomena." Xena doesn't seem to care about any of this. "You know what's wonderful?" she asks. "What?" Gabrielle snaps, irritated, not at her but at Ares. "It's wonderful that we're sitting here in front of this cozy fire." Funny thing is, I was thinking the exact same thing! Unfortunately, this is a cue for water to start dropping from the ceiling. Gabrielle has slipped into Xena's mode of thinking now, saying how peaceful farm life is. Ares ain't buying. "Are you two insane? The life is incredibly dull, it's horribly uncomfortable, and it's...hard." Xena waves a hand at him, "Oh, you'll change your tune when you get a few-" she cuts off as she notices likes are springing EVERYWHERE, then finishes, "...calluses on your hands."
Mr. Grouchy isn't too happy when water starts streaming over him. "Let me guess...this is your favorite part?" he growls at Xena. He continues to eat as the water pours over him, and Xena gets up saying they should split up and find a dry room in the house. Split up? This house is even bigger than I thought! Gabrielle calls out that the kitchen's worse, but Xena has found a dry room. It's her old room..."Grandpa must have fortified the roof." She opens a window, I know, I know, it's raining, but it's dark in there! Then she begins to uncover the bed. "That's a big bed," Ares surmises. "The three of us can sleep in there." He suddenly seems happy again...wonder why? Gabbers isn't so convinced. "The three of us in one bed?" she echoes. "Sure!" Ares replies. Xena pauses and says, "Well, I suppose...we are all grown ups" with a very deliberate look at Ares. Only it sounds like she says "growin ups" Ares nods confidently. "We certainly are," he answers trying hard to stifle his grin.
What follows is one of the funniest scenes I've seen on XWP in a long time. It's just the whole idea of it all. For some reason, there's sunlight shining through the window, but I think it's supposed to be the middle of the night. Xena and Gabbers have stripped down to the bare essentials, (lavendar bra for the Warrior Princess, blue and white for the Bard), and are stretched out on either side of Ares, who is shirtless again. There isn't much to speak of as far as covers go, but Ares doesn't seem to uncomfortable with all those naked thighs around him. All he has for warmth is a gray rag, which won't even cover his chest, and he's squirming around. Xena scratches an itch, and rolls over in her sleep, but when her head nuzzles against Ares, she opens her eyes. She stares a couple of seconds, then whispers, "I think a change of positions is in order." She rolls over on her other side, and methinks she'd better be careful or she's going to catch a cold if she keeps those cheeks exposed and I'm not talking about the ones on her face Ares dutifully rolls over behind her and spoons up against her. Xena looks at him over her shoulder. "I mean we should both change positions," she growls. "All right," he whispers back and then turns again so he's flat on her back. Now it's time for Gabrielle to change positions, and boy does she! She rolls and one hand ends up on Ares' forehead and her other hand ends up...uh...not on his forehead. Let's just say it's on the sword he always carries to bed! Xena knows something amiss because she hears Ares breath suddenly gets very heavy, and with her vaccination mark sparkling (I just had to point that out!) as she slowly turns, spots the trouble instantly. She gingerly reaches over, and removes Gabrielle's hand, putting it out of harm's way. Her face holds the expression of pulling Gabrielle's hand out of something really disgusting. "I'm in Tartarus!" Ares declares, as the fade scenes out.
Thank goodness, the sun is out the next day! Ares is the only one asleep but not for long as Xena shrieks, "Gabrielle! I don't care if it is a ghost! I can kill gods, maybe I can kill ghosts too!!" Ares grabs his sword (not the same one Gabbers grabbed!) and struggles to his feet muttering the inevitable "Thank God I'm a country boy." He walks to the balcony (where did THAT come from? Same place Xena's huge bedroom and the whole second story came from obviously. Come to think of it...if Xena's room was the ONLY dry room in the house, and it's on the second story, shouldn't there have been another dry room directly underneath it? I'm thinking too much!) Xena is still ranting, "Wait a minute...drag marks, Look!" Gabrielle looks up at Ares before following Xena. "It dragged off her breastplate." Ares considers this, noting her breastplate was too heavy to be carried off. "Oh, it's an ample breastplate to be sure," and hops down off the balcony to follow the twosome. His sensitive feet aren't travelling too well across the difficult terrain of uh...grass.
I find it ironic that Xena didn't seem too concerned about the thefts until something of HERS was stolen, but she quickly follows the trail to find that "something buried our stuff." She oo's and aa's when she finds her breastplate as if she's found the lost city of Atlantis. Gabrielle digs for more treasure, and puzzles, "Where are my boots?" even as Ares is distracted by a growling noise coming from a log. When Xena and Gabs notice, he tells them, "It's a wolf!" They break into grins and Gabrielle tells him, "It's not a wolf...it's a dog. Don't they have dogs in Olympus?" "Not one-headed," Ares replies. The dog growls, then bounds out of the log, and leaps on Ares, licking his face furiously. "Get it off of me!" Xena is still grinning, "Hey, he's not attacking you; he's just tyring to be affecitionate," she tells him. "Well, I'm not interested in that kind of relationship!" Ares snaps back, and pushes the dog off of him. Xena and Gabrielle disagreee and proceed to pet the cute little guy (the dog, not Ares). I get the feeling it was Ares wanting to get his belly rubbed instead of the mutt! Note to Gabrielle: You'd better be careful, or she might just fall out of that dress!
Ares tells them to stop or they'll never get rid of the dog. Gabrielle tells him they don't want to get rid of it. Here comes my absolutely favorite moment of the episode. Xena is standing up, and Ares asks Gabrielle, "Is there anything you and I agree on?" Gabs answer is a look upward at Xena, to which Ares responds, "Oh yeah, anything else?" Xena seems oblivious to all this, but I like it! I like it a lot!
Xena tells Ares to stay there with his furry little friend and fix the roof. She and Gabrielle are off to town to buy some supplies. Ares watches them leave, muttering, "Could it get any worse?" I think anyone could have figured out the answer to that! Ares dutifully goes to work on the roof, while the pup jumps at the ladder and barks. "Hello again!" a voice calls out, and Ares sees Greba. "The neighbor lady! Hello!" He preens and primps his way down the ladders showing off his manly shirtless physique again, calling the dog a "filthy mongrel" until Greba tells him when she sees dogs, she goes all cuddly. Ares immediately changes his tune, "See the lady? Say hello to the lady! Say hello!" Greba starts in on her pitiful tale...how her husband was killed in battle, and then the funeral wagon ran over her dog. Oh puh-lease! She asks Ares "Isn't war just terrible?" "A crime against humanity," the god of war responds with a straight face. Greba rattles on about how animals are so much better, not going to war and such. "Take this little fellow here," she says bending down to pet the pup. Ares has doggy envy again. "I mean," Greba replies, "when he likes you, he just comes up and starts licking you! Why can't we be more like that?" Ares thinks that's a very,very good question and maybe they could take him for a long walk sometime and discuss it. Time to deflate Ares' confidence. "They won't mind if we borrow their dog," Greba asks..."Your daughters?" "You mean slave girls," he corrects. Greba doesn't think they act like slaves, but he says he spoils them. But his curiosity is arroused and he wants to know what made her think the two were his daughters.
Suddenly, I don't think Ares liked Greba nearly as much as before. She proceeds to describe him as an "older man", in shape and all, but he's more sophisticated than she's used to, and then there's the gray hair. "Gray hair?" he laughs, non-amusedly, and he becomes even more uncomfortable when she points it out to him. Suddenly, he thinks he's feeling rain again, and he'd better get back to the roof. He climbs the ladder with far less bravado than he came down it. Greba waves goodbye and leaves. Ares turns to the barking dog..."You think that's funny? Yuk it up!" Once back on the roof, he steps down heavily and hears a foreboding creaking sound. "Of course!" he remarks, just before the roof collapses and he falls flat on his back inside the house, amid a pile of rubble.
Xena walks into the cabin to find Ares still lying there in the main room, still piled in broken wood, with the dog crawling all over him. "What are you doing?" she asks, looking as if she really doesn't want to know. After a few groans of pain, he replies, " Oh, I'm just lying here, smelling my mortality, every muscle in my body aching...I have gray hair! And the dog has its tongue in my mouth." Xena looks sympathetic at first, then laughs a little. She shooes off the dog, and offers a hand to Ares who takes it and lets her pull him to his feet. "With all due respect, Xena, this is the worst idea you've ever had." She brushes the dirt out of his hair while he tells her he's not a very convincing farmer. "Nonsense," she replies happily. "You just need to learn to accessorize...come on!" He straightens up and follows her outside, only to watch Gabbers pull up on a wagon fully loaded with a bunch of chickens and at least one pig. There's even a cow tied to the back end. The dog watches too, and the little guy has two different colored eyes...one blue and one grayish. Freaky! "Let me guess...these are the accessories?" Ares asks the beaming Xena. She just walks off toward Gabs who laughs, "Look what I've found!"
Back inside the cabin, Xena is humming her theme song while she and Gabs work on straightening up the house. Ares is stretched out watching them, with the pup's head on his thigh. "This dog is incredibly needy," he says. "Why don't you pet it?" Gabrielle asks him. "Then maybe he won't be so needy." Ares gives it a shot, but his petting looks like he's giving five to the dog's head. Xena watches and says, "Ares, I've got a job you might like. Why don't you go kill a chicken for dinner?" "All right!" he shouts joyfully, grabbing his sword. "Now you're talking!" "Only one chicken!" Gabrielle calls out after him with a grin.
He gives it a valiant try, but why the chaos continues outside, there's a nice conversation going on inside...Gabrielle: Think he'll ever get used to it?They exchange warm smiles.
Xena: We just have to convince him once, then he can hire him some help, or get his dancing girls for all I care. But once he is set up...you and I are out of here.
G (smiling softly to herself): Mm hmmm.
X (eyeing her): What?
G: Xena, I know you want to help Ares. But you're here to relive your childhood memories.
X: Ya think so?
G: Yeah! (She closes in on Xena, watching her expectantly.)
X (with an ironic grin): Maybe you're right. I was happy here. It was peaceful and...safe. Ever since...my life has been anything but.
G: I'll say!
"Let's enjoy it while we can", Gabrielle concludes. A loud noise from outside distracts Xena who turns to the window with a "come here" to Gabs. They watch Ares dive and jab in his effort to catch their dinner, and his enthusiastic failings evoke the biggest grins I've ever seen from Xena. He finally lands on his back, and when the pup comes to lick him, he puts a hand up. "Careful," he tells the dog, "I'm beginning to like that". Xena finishes laughing and calls out, "Uh Ares, my plan is working perfectly!" "Your plan to drive me insane?" he asks, hauling himself to his feet. "No, my plan to deal with Gascar," she answers. He wants to know if they're leaving the valley. "Nope...they're coming right toward us", and sure enough, there they are in the background.
Ares rushes back in the cabin. Xena is in her leathers, and Gabrielle helps her get into her breastplate. Now how is it she was able to change clothes in five seconds earlier in the episode, but now she's dressing at a much more normal pace? I guess it's because she has to talk, telling Ares if he can pull this off, convincing them he's a farmer, then he'll have his cover. Ares looks nervous, telling her that Gascar and Atilla knows what he looks like. Thank the gods Xena covers every angle! "That's the beauty of it," she answers. "I've asked around, they're the only ones who know what you look like and they won't be part of this search party." How convenient!! The leader of the group starts calling for the occupants to show themselves while Xena gives them the "official story". "Ares passed by here a couple of days ago-" "Suck it in!" Gabrielle interrupts as she tightens the straps on Xena's armor, as Xena continues, "and when he left, he was heading for the Horida Pass." Ares is looking more scared by the minute. Xena throws some clothing at him, telling him "You're on!" and walks past him saying, "I'll be waiting out back. It wouldn't do to find the Warrior Princess hanging out on a farm."
Gabrielle urges Ares, "Go out there," but Ares tells her he needs a moment, and she should go outside and stall. "Stall?" Gabbers repeats, and she removes her scarf, and musses her hair a bit. Then she rips her blouse open, and stands in the doorway as if she's just been in the middle of...something. Ares nods most approvingly! The leader of the men, who had just given the order to torch the place apparently approves too. So do his men. "Sorry, I was uh...busy..." she says with an embarrassed smile. The leader says, "Come down here, Pretty One," and she obeys, sashaying the whole way. He asks for her help in finding Ares, saying "A lot of women like the look of him". Gabs replies in her best Southern drawl, "There are a lot of men who come around here whose looks I like." That gets a response out of most of the men, but it also cues Ares. He calls her some ficticious name I can't decipher, and then tells her, "Get back in the house, Woman!" He's decked out in full farmer's regalia, a wide brimmed leather hat on his head, and a pitchfork in his hand. There's something stuffed in his cheeks too, and at least one tooth is blacked out. He works fast! The leader doesn't like him chasing off Gabs and asks him if he's seen anyone suspicious around here. "Yes, sir, that'd be you," Ares drawls, and it earns him a boot to the face. The leader hits him again and demands an answer. Xena can be seen riding up in the background. The leader says he's sure if Ares had been around, the farmer's "woman" would have been all over him. Ares starts to pick up a board which the leader grabs and is ready to clout him with, but Xena stops him with a hand. "Wait a minute...if he's out cold, how can we question him?" She eyes the leader like he's the dumbest guy in the world. The leader responds this guy is pretty feisty for a farmer...how do they know it isn't Ares himself? Ares giggles nervously, sounding very much like one of the chickens he had been chasing after a few minutes earlier. "Are you kidding?" Xena asks, incredulous. "Ares is a much younger man!" "Huh?" Ares asks, looking up at her. "Oh yeah, you've seen him," comes the response."But the question is, has he seen him?" Xena tells him that's exactly what she's going to find out, and grabs Ares, who's on his feet by now, by the collar, and turns him to face her.
Now the leader turns into another fan. He wants to see Xena do the pinch. Xena tells him "Yeah, well, it's not exactly a spectator's sport." The guy isn't deterred..."I hear it makes the nose gush blood!" Xena and Ares look to each other uncomfortably. Xena is put on the spot, and they both know it. "Are you going to do it or not?" Xena sighs, and watches Ares who raises his eyebrows in a "go ahead" manner. She puts the pinch on him, and the dog, who's been watching all this growls, and rushes forward and bites Xena on her warrior butt...I kid you not! Xena grabs the affected area as the men around her guffaw and the dog takes off running only to jump on the back of the other horse there, an apaloosa that's been pulling the wagon. Xena leans in to Ares, who is on his knees and her next line made me roar with laughter. "You're going to be dead in thirty seconds, you and your little dog too, if you don't tell me, have you seen Ares, the god of war." Flashbacks to the Wizard of Oz here! Ares is struggling under the pinch, but manages to give the information, about Ares riding on to the Horida Pass. The leader tells Xena he'll let Gascar know right away, and she tells them she's heading for the pass. She deliberately stalls a few seconds, watching Ares' efforts to get her to release the pinch, then does it. It only takes two moves on him. She rides off on Argo II, while Gabrielle comes out of the house, chastising Ares for having such an attitude. Ares removes his chaw, which is at least four pieces of what he had been eating earlier. He laughs at Gabs, "My woman was about to take on an entire army. I think even a farmer would have just a little bit of an attitude about that, don't you." When he said "take on", I don't think he meant "fight". "I was playing with my character," Gabrielle responds. "I just used the first thing that popped into my head." Ares smiles, "I think that says a lot about you," he answers, and Gabrielle looks puzzled as Xena rides back up. "Well done, Ares, you fooled them." The dog barks and Xena barks back at him, "Get down from there!" He's still on the horse's back. She then proceeds to throw the chakram at him which hits the saddle horn and returns to her. Gee, one little bite on the ass, and she suddenly wants the little guy dead? "Hey, hey, hey..." Ares shouts, "do not be throwing things at my dog!" "What do you mean, he bit me!" Xena retorts, and then his words sink in. "Did you just say your dog?" Ares picks up the pup as Xena dismounts, a disbelieving look on her face as Gabrielle just smiles, bemused. "He is the only one who stood up for me just now," Ares tells them. "I think I'll call him...Horace. Come, Horace, let's go kill some chickens." I knew the bonding was coming, and it was sappily sweet...I like it! Gabrielle muses, "That's amazing. Ares has bonded with the dog." "Well that dog worships him," Xena replies, smiling now, "that's a relationship that Ares can understand."
The next scene is much more relaxed. Gabrielle is hugging and rubbing a calf (where did that come from?) while Xena takes milking duty. Gabrielle watches her, as does Ares who is reclining (yet again) against a bale of hay, stroking Horace. Somehow, that sounds more kinky than I intended.Gabrielle: I see you use the pull and squeeze method. I prefer the double squeeze.Xena directs a stream of milk in her direction.)
Xena: Double squeeze takes too long.
G: No, you get more milk that way. It's easier on the cow. (She giggles asAres (with a chuckle): The Warrior Princess and the Battling Bard discussing the correct technique for milking a cow. Absurd...yet at the same time...ridiculous!Funny, but I was thinking the exact same thing!
Xena points a finger at him, and says, quite seriously, "It's important."
About that time an off screen voice calls "hello!" and Gabrielle calls back "In here!" Horace takes off at a dead run. A ridiculously overdressed man enters the barn and apologizes for the interuption, but wants to know if anyone has seen his dog. He's a travelling salesman (told you there'd be one), and lost him during a thunderstorm. He tells them they couldn't miss him...he's got two different colored eyes. "One gray and one blue?" Ares asks, and when the salesman responds heartily, "Yes!!", Ares quips, "I've never seen him." Horace barks from wherever he is, and the salesman exclaims, "That's him!" and bounds out of the barn, the other three at his heels. He spots Horace running away, and Ares tells him "That's not a dog, that's a horse. We breed 'em small around here!" "Run, Horace, Run!" Ares squeaks, and Xena gives him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder that says "buck up, little shaver...it'll all be all right."
Apparently, the salesman catches Horace, because in the next scene he's selling his wares from the wagon, and is approached by Gascar and the leader of the group that accosted Gabs and Ares. Horace is chewing on a guantlet and Gascar questions the salesman about where he found it. He knows it's Ares' gauntlet. After much spluttering, the salesman tells him they found it on a farm. "What farm?" Gascar queries as the scene fades to commercial.
Ares has noticed his gauntlet is missing. It's not in the pigpen! "Maybe he's buried it in the field," Gabbers suggests. Ares turns to her..."Oh, you are so quick to blame Horace!" "Well, who else would steal it?" Xena wants to know as we hear the voice of Greba approaching, yet again. Ares seems to have renewed self-concept when Xena and Gabrielle are around. She starts in with her gossip (even standing at a fence to do it), telling them that Gascar and his men have turned around and are heading back to the valley, to this very farm. Word has it that Ares is here. "Goodness, aren't people just the funniest things?" Ares just smiles, while Xena says, "Thank you, Greba" in not-the-friendliest manner. Greba starts with more gossip but Xena cuts her off..."Greba...go away." Greba is nonplussed and takes off with a "goodbye" and a smile.
Back at Gascar's warcamp, Xena is announced again. Gascar tells her he thought she was heading for the Horida Pass, but she tells him she changed plans when his army turned around. She started in on the "official story", but he cut her off, producing the gauntlet, telling her it was found on the same farm she rode up to. He leans forward, and his eyes are all wonky. Hey, they're like the Horace's...two different colors! Maybe...naaah...I won't even go there! "Why are you trying to hide Ares, Xena?" Xena searches for her answer, as a familiar voice sounds behind her..."I'll tell you why!" It's Gabrielle, and she and Xena are hurling daggers from their eyes at each other. "Gabrielle, what are you doing here?" Uh huh. "Tired of being used by you, Xena." (Ever notice how many times Xena and Gabrielle ever say each other's names?) Xena hisses back, "Gabrielle, this is not the time for one of your little spats!" Interesting choice of words there. It's going to get even more interesting. "Don't listen to her," Xena continues, "She's insane." "I'll tell you who's insane, "Gabrielle fires back, "You! If you think you can walk away from me! You've fallen in love with Ares and suddenly I'm nothin'! " Gascar can't stay out of it. "You've fallen in love with Ares? After all he's done to you? That's pathetic!" Xena whirls on him. "You want a piece of me, Gascar?" He backs down immediately..."None of my business, really." "Damn straight!" Xena whispers. Gascar looks at Gabs, "You were about to tell me where Ares is?" "Yeah," Gabrielle answers and Xena whirls back to her. "I wouldn't do that if I were you, Gabrielle!" she warns. Gabrielle doesn't look affected. "Xena, you taught me how to fight. (see what I mean about the name thing?) I may be tougher than you think!" Gabbers then sticks out her chest and bumps into Xena's breastplate hard. Xena is fuming now, hee hee. Gabs tells Gascar Ares is heading for Potrolis. Gascar...heading for Potrolis??? Do you think someone was having some fun with the names on this show?
Xena is really mad now. Yeah...sure. "Why I oughta...!" Xena spits on her hand, ready for a good tussle. "Oh, come on Warrior Princess," Gabs jibes, waving her hands in that "come on" manner. "Let's see what you've got!" She tears at Xena, offering a series of attempted hits, which Xena wards off easily. Xena grabs her by the arm, and twists it behind Gabber's back, shoving her into a tent pole. You know, writing this, the thought occurs me that people will think I'm making this up, but I'm not! Gabrielle catches her breath, then reaches into a crate behind her, and starts hurling small bottles at Xena. For a girl who throws sais for a living...she sure has a lousy throwing arm! Her throws miss Xena by a mile, and come a lot closer to Gascar's head. Hmmm... Gascar gets the hint, "Okay I'll leave!" As he's exiting the tent, he asks his second, "How far to Potrolis?" and is told it's a day's ride. Listen to the sounds Xena and Gabrielle make as they continue fighting. I'd swear one of them goes "yoohoo" and one of Xena's battle grunts is actually the f word...I think the editor's slipped! A little more struggling, and some grins are starting to slip through on the two gladiators now. Gabs draws her sais and Xena draws her sword, and when they see the tent is now divest of Gascar and his cronies, they relax. "All right," Xena nods. They clang sword and sai, and Xena winks at Gabrielle. "Nice moves!"
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, (I just had to say that), Ares is lamenting the loss of Horace. It's almost touching. Then here he comes, Horace bounding back onto the scene, and into Ares arms. Xena and Gabrielle ride up, and Xena dismounts as Gabs says, "I guess you won't need the flute girls anymore." "Hey, I like his company," Ares answers."It's not like he takes care of all my problems." Xena has been wearing Ares' gauntlet (there's something strangely symbolic in that), but she pulls it off and tosses it back to him. Ares asks what happened with Gascar and Xena tells him that Gascar and his men are headed to the Potrolis Caves. "That would be the Potrolis Caves with the Seven Headed Beast?" Ares asks and Gabbers corrects him, "Eight heads. Not one of them is friendly." "So you can stay here as long as you want", Xena adds..."No one will bother you here." He considers it, and says, "Thanks, Xena, but to be honest, once I'm out of chickens, I might just move on." "Well, you might drag it out," Xena advises, "You know you might find a kind of peace here, that you won't find afterwards." Considering the conversation she had earlier with Gabrielle, she knows what she's talking about. Then she moves in closer, her voice lowering even more. "And who knows, maybe I'll come and visit you some time." Oh my! He reconsiders immediately! "Or...I could give this whole rural thing a good try." All pretense fade from his eyes, as he moves his head in for the kiss. Gabrielle politely lowers her eyes, as Xena leads forward, mouth open, and then reaches up and pinches Ares cheek, then pats it. "Good boy!" she says, to which he doesn't even look surprised. I was! After Coming Home, I was expecting a kiss to finish out the episode! Xena remounts Argo II, with a "Have fun!" and she and Gabbers ride off as Ares watches affectionately.
The final exchange between Xena and Gabrielle sum it all up nicely. They're slowly riding off the farm Gabrielle asks, "How are you feeling?" Xena answers, "I've learned something since I've come back here. You can't look for peace in the world around you, you've got to find it in your own heart. I was happier when I was a kid here because I was loved and felt like I belonged. I was lucky then, and I'm lucky now." "Me too," Gabrielle answers with a reciprocating smile and they ride away.
The disclaimer? "Ares went to the dog in the making of this motion picture."
So that's my take on this episode. It wasn't the over-the top comedy I was expecting, although there were some achingly funny moments in it. It hearkened my mind the A Day in the Life theme...most of the episode didn't center on catching the bad guy...more it was building up the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle and Ares. One of the things I liked most about the episode is the fact that they managed to stay in character throughout the whole thing, even when the situation grew farfetched. Can't wait till next week's episode! Looks much more intense!
This commentary is by Beboman.
This episode was a breath of fresh air after the previous trilogy. It was a good change of pace and I really welcomed this comedy.
This comedy had all the elements and ingredients that make for a good show and a good comedy. It comes close, in my book, to "A Day In The Life". We were treated to a good bar brawl, some good slap stick (not over the edge), some truly funny moments with some good down home tones. At the same time, there was enough subtext to keep all of us who like subtext happy. No hidden plots or agendas, just a simple and enjoyable (at least to me) show.
This comedy departs from the other recent comedies and I'm grateful for it.
It was great to see a relaxed Xena. Her major worry was how to keep Ares alive. For that, she created a simple and doable plan. And while saving Ares' life, why shouldn't she and Gabrielle have some fun and relax.
Another interesting point was seeing Xena reminisce about her childhood and those fun moments at her grandparents' home. There was no resentment, no guilt of past events and no violence was remembered. There was just joy, love and an easiness that we have not seen in Xena for a long time.
Even the scenes with Gabrielle were soft, like a lazy afternoon. There were no major dilemmas to clarify, hurt feelings to forgive and nothing for which to make amends. Their interaction was still strong and powerful, but at the same time easy and soft. Like I said before, no hidden agendas, no complex dilemmas, and just a nice, simple visit to the country.
Watching Xena and Gabrielle interact in a stress-free (well almost stress-free) environment was also a welcome change of pace. The mere idea of them going out shopping for household things and laughing at the shenanigans of Ares made the episode flow.
In a way, I find myself agreeing with Ares when he said that listening to Xena and Gabrielle talk about the proper technique to milk a cow was a bit absurd, but I disagree with him that it was ridiculous. For one, I just thought it was downright amusing.
As for the acting in this episode, I have to give Kevin Smith two thumbs up. He did a great job in his portrayal of Ares. He was a vulnerable, out of place, conceded, unmotivated, and delusional Ares. Didn't he hear what Xena said about shoveling...
But if truth was to be told, the one who stole the show was the dog. He was cute and the interaction between the dog and Ares was great. I almost fell of my chair when Xena through the Chakram at the dog and Ares told her to stop throwing things at his dog. That was really good.
One thing is for sure: Ares might have lost his Godhood, but he did not lose his appeal and desire for women. He can still flirt. I did enjoy watching him flirt with the neighbor woman. All was going well until she told him she thought he was old. She tried to fix it, but I don't think she did a good job.
There were too many scenes that were just too funny to mention each and every one of them, but I will mention just a few that I really enjoyed. I would have to say that the bed scene was just great. It just doesn't stop amazing me how jealous Xena can be. When she saw Gabrielle's hand on Ares, her reaction was worth a million.
Then there was the fight scene between Gabrielle and Xena at the warlord's tent. That was just too good. Also, the scene when Xena puts the pinch on Ares and the dog comes running and bites Xena in the tushy and all the animals laugh; I still think of it and giggle.
To be truthful, if there was a prize for the fastest dresser on television, Xena would definitely get it. It was amazing how fast she changed clothes from the farm girl to the warrior when they first got word that the bad guys were heading their way. In contrast though, it took her forever to do the same change when they had the bad guys at their door. That made me wonder.
If I sit and watch the episode one more time with a different perspective, I could probably find several more questionable moments on the show. But to me, this was not a show for deep thinking or philosophical searching. It was just an episode where the actors, the production crew and everyone involved had a plain old good time and had fun making it; it showed.
Did I like the episode? Absolutely, yes I did. It fulfilled the purpose it was meant to: to bring a few laughs into our lives and to entertain us.
This commentary is by Josh Harrison.
In some ways, this episode revisits ground covered in other Ares episodes - most notably, "Ten Little Warlords" and "The Quill is Mightier". This episode also bears more resemblance to the situational comedy of the second season than the "slapstick stupidity" of later years. It is in many ways a return to the old style, and long-time Xenascribe R.J. Stewart takes us there with style.
The basic premise is rather simple - word has gotten around that Ares is now mortal. A bounty has been placed on his head, and a band of warlords is looking to cash in. Xena takes action to protect the former God of War by countrifying him. What results is a relatively light-hearted tale that shows - once again - Ares is really an old softie underneath all the machismo.
The story wasn't flawless, but it was fun. There were several aspects of the script that had me scratching my head - I'm sure there were several pieces of country-and-western pop culture that sailed miles over my head, and one or two of the relevant plot points didn't make a whole lot of sense taken in the greater context of the series (especially at this late stage of the game). It is these points I would like to address in my commentary.
First of all, what drove Xena to start that brawl in the bar? While I recognized the high degree of thugitude present, I failed to notice why Xena started beating them about the head and shoulders. The revelation that these goons were after Ares didn't come until after the fight, so that couldn't have been Xena's motivation. Has she taken a more proactive stance on crime fighting? She's cracking skulls simply because a bunch of professional lackeys are drinking in a tavern? It struck me as a little out of character - it looked like Xena acted before being provoked.
Perhaps it is simply that there wasn't much action in the script, and they needed to get a certain amount of fisticuffs in.
Another oddity that struck me was how nonchalant the warriors seemed with Xena's presence. The Warrior Princess disappeared for twenty-five years, returned to kill off the Olympian gods, and then vanished off to Norseland for a year. Everything else being equal, didn't it seem a little strange to anybody else that Gasgar wasn't awed by her mere presence? There seemed to be more professional respect than anything else. Sure, the warlord in question could have been around back in Xena's heyday (he looked old enough), but based on the reactions Xena and Gabrielle inspired in "Legacy" he struck me as awfully calm.
These issues aside, it was nice to see Xena solve a problem without a massive brawl. When Xena's initial ruse was uncovered, she and Gabrielle staged a catfight to send the bounty hunters off in another direction. Aside from the initial skull-kicking (and a pinch or two) there was surprisingly little combat in an episode centered on a band of bloodthirsty warlords after Ares' head.
I personally feel the episode really belonged to Ares, though. As I said before, we covered the area of Ares dealing with mortality in previous episodes. The character has undergone many changes over the past five years or so. Watching him cope with mundane life instills in him a humanity that many fans have felt was there for a long time - a humanity that Xena (in her own way) inspired in the War God.
In addition to the enjoyment of watching Ares cope with mortality, we had the subplot with Xena journeying down memory lane, and a glimpse into the domestic life that she and Gabrielle could settle into - if there weren't evil to fight on a daily basis. Our heroes have certainly learned to live in the moment, and enjoy a bit of pastoral solitude when they can find it.
The interplay between Ares and Gabrielle was also enjoyable. The banter they share (especially when Xena isn't around) was wonderful. I was especially fond of Ares' comment on Gabrielle's choice of stall tactic, "Maybe that says something about you." The two clearly have a love/hate relationship, and accept the fact that the other a part of Xena's life.
I had two "favorite moments" in this episode. The first was when Horace was running into the woods to escape his former owner, and Ares was quietly urging him on, a fearful (and partially heartbroken) expression on his face. It was a funny yet tender moment. The other moment was the encounter on the road with the young warrior Siki looking to make a name by taking out Ares. His demeanor reminded me a great deal of a young Joxer, trying to impress Xena in "Callisto".
In the end, this was a very enjoyable hour of television. While there were some story details that don't make much sense to me in terms of the grander scope of events, R.J.'s script treats the characters with respect. It isn't the finest hour the show has produced, but it is far from being the worst. A worthy effort, and a gentle way to slide us back into the final season. I give it a solid B.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
02-15-01. On February 10, 2001, Kevin "Ares" Smith mentioned at a New Zealand SF Convention that they ended up with so many imperfect takes of the three-in-one-bed scene that they had to go with the take where Renee O'Connor had to bury her face in the pillow since she was having a laugh attack while Gabrielle was "handling" Ares.
01-30-01. Many people have commented on how they like the "bonding" between Ares and Horace, the dog. There was one scene that was cut for time. After Horace runs off and Ares delivers his Forrest Gumpian line "Run, Horace, Run," Ares stands there with a very sad look on his face. Gabrielle and Xena attempt to console him, and Gabby says, "That's all right, Ares, we'll get you another puppy." Ares, with lip trembling and tears welling up in his eyes says, "I don't want another puppy. I want *Horace*." Perhaps it was thought the scene would make Ares too pathetic but it was both touching and amusing.
01-06-01. I have not read the script, heard any detailed synopses, or seen anything that would tell me one way or another about how this episode came out. From just the descriptions and graphics I have seen, though, I have to admit I have been expecting a real dog. However, believe it or not, I have not heard one bad word about this episode from people who have been given an opportunity to see the episode or read the script. I am amazed (because I have been hearing some bad stuff about other episodes!). So, maybe it will be watchable. One even said they felt it was the best comedy that XENA ever had. Now that I will not believe until I see it with my own two eyes. XENA has such a bad record with comedies. Anyways, just thought I'd share that bit of info. I would love to see a comedy where I did not have to cover my ears and eyes at times.
11-13-00. Now that he's a mortal, Ares needs a livelihood. Ever helpful, Xena suggests farming. Hilarity ensues.
11-13-00. From the Official Fanclub Site at target="_blank">Creation Entertainment: "Ares is on the farm, the lights are out and three in a bed makes one too many! And don't even think bad thoughts about this before you actually see it (grin). And then there's the Jane Russell-Gabrielle photo shoot in the barn bathed in a golden glow. Geoff Short at it again. Reckon we can safely say Ares is in this one."
09-02-00. R.J. Stewart has recently completed a script about Ares which is scheduled to lens in mid to late September, some say its a comedy, some say its not.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Slight blooper: when Gabrielle knocks the table over, it lands with the legs up in the air. In the next shot of Ares walking past, it's lying on its side.
Going back to the scene when Ares hops out of bed and to the ground through the window: when did the bedroom move to the second floor? When did that place even GET a second floor?
Click here to read a transcript of OLD ARES HAS A FARM.
Ares went to the dogs in the making of this motion picture
12-05-00. From Creation Entertainments graphic spoiler page:A generic farmer's daughter
Result of a Bed Shortage in Ancient Greece