Amphipolis Under Siege

I love Gabby. Have I mentioned that? I’m never sure so I like to check. ;)

Why did I love Gabby in this ep? Is it because she was smart? Could it be because she just looked good out there kicking a little warrior butt? Could it be because of her overprotective nature of Xena, going so far as to threaten the god of war? It could be all of these things I’m sure . . . But I’ll be shallow and just say it’s because she’s extremely hot. (VBG)

This tales opens when some highwaymen – well they look like highwaymen - trying to stop this warrior woman to collect a toll. She’s pretty shinny in her silver outfit and if you ask me it’s not real practical for battle since the enemy could see you a mile away. Anyhow, they try to collect from her and she calls out her archers (equally gaudy dressed of course) and they shoot the men.

But enter the warrior princess with her old leathers (WooHoo!!) and long version of her battlecry. (Double WooHoo!). Gabby stands back in the bushes holding Eve (Xena actually let Gabrielle HOLD the baby – THAT’S a step in the right direction if you ask me). She’s bouncing Eve and telling her that her momma’s working so they have to be quiet (Ahhhhh….isn’t that sweet (BG)). Xena kicks the gaudy dressed warrior gals butts and faces off against the commander. When Xena gets in a good strike to the commanders face they all retreat. Xena knows Ares must be trying to get the road to Amphipolis because he’s trying to extort her. Ares appears however and says that’s not the case. Other Gods have Xena at the top of their poop list. Xena rips the arrow from the man’s chest and sees that it’s Athena’s mark – the goddess of wisdom and warfare (and as Xena points out to Ares – weaving too (LOL) The ‘weaving’ scene, which comes later in the story, is exactly the ‘dry’ comedy of X:WP that I enjoy and has been lacking so much in recent years. RJ headed this one so I’m starting to have a little faith – not a lot but a little(G)).

Back at Athena’s camp, she finds out that Xena is the one who got the strike in on her ‘babydoll’. Now this is maintext folks. The warrior, Alanis, is Athena’s favorite and it’s obviously not just in the ways of war by the conversation they have and the light caress after Athena heals her wound. Alanis says she will kill Xena and Eve for Athena but Athena says it’s her fight, adding that the most dangerous animal is a mother protecting its young. Apparently, Athena hasn’t watched any Xena episodes because she would know that Xena is a dangerous animal regardless of motherhood (VBG).

The gals reach Amphipolis and are meet with Xena's mother, Cyrene. Xena is trying to tell her mom of the impending problem but Cyrene is too wrapped up in her granddaughter to pay much attention. I like Cyrene. She’s a stop and smell the flowers kinda gal like Najara – but she doesn’t chop people up (well except for Xena’s dad (G) ) and she doesn’t hear strange voices in her head telling her she has to ‘possess’ Gabrielle.

Alanis and Athena are plotting their next move when Ares shows up to offer his advice on the Amphipolis attack. Athena tells him to get lost. She thinks that the town will gladly turn over Eve.

Xena is speaking to the town telling them the situation. A man says they’ve heard of Eli’s teaching and Xena’s kid and they agree to help her. But Athena appears during the meeting and tries to scare the crowd by saying they need her for survival. When that doesn’t work she tries a guilt trip by saying how much she’s looked after them – yeah right, like when Cortese came to town, right sister? Get real. No one’s buying it. Cyrene tells the goddess she’s lost a son and a grandson so she’s not about to have this child taken away too. She starts to sing ‘the Amphipolis song’ and the town joins in. In a huff and a glittering shower of gold Athena takes off saying she gave them a chance and they’ve made their choice.

Gabrielle is in the trench with the villagers. They begin an artillery fire on Athena’s troops and Gabrielle orders the charge. The troops and villagers engage. Gabby has a spear that she’s using as a staff and kicking lots of Athena warrior’s butts.

Athena and Alanis are discussing the battle. Xena isn’t on the field with Gabrielle. Alanis thinks it’s because Xena has faith in the bard. Athena says she doesn’t doubt that but she thinks something is going on. Xena wouldn’t just leave the bard out there in a frontal assault. Xena fears losing Gabrielle too much for that and she wouldn’t put her ‘companion’ in harm’s way. In the meantime, the villagers are getting nervous since Xena isn’t there. Gabby says not to worry but soon she starts yelling for Xena.

Xena isn’t leaving Gabrielle out there. In fact she’s organizing a flank from the under workings of the town with a group of villages. Alanis meets Xena in the tunnel and tells her that Gabrielle is going to be crushed. Xena won’t be able to help her. Xena basically says get lost. When Alanis rolls out some barrels of ‘Greek fire’ Xena’s eyes get as big as pie pans and she orders a retreat. Xena warns Alanis that she doesn’t want to do that. But does she listen? Nooooooo…The villagers take off and Alanis sets the barrels in motion. Xena starts running for her life with a huge fireball behind her. She slices the wood above her creating a barrier. When the fire has nowhere to go but up, it causes an explosion on the battlefield that blows up Athena’s troops (so much for the goddess of Wisdom huh?(BG) ) and knocks Gabby to the ground.

Gabrielle sees the turn of events and says ‘Not what I was expecting’ (again another good ‘comedy’ moment). It wasn’t what she expected but she’d take it anyway. She calls everyone back to the trenches as what’s left of Athena’s forces retreats.

Xena and Gab meet back at the village. Gabby tells Xena to take some of the armor they got from Athena’s men and leave with Eve. Xena, says if she leaves it won’t matter Athena is out for revenge at this point. Athena's archers start an air assault and get in some lucky shots. Alanis takes aim on a child to bring Xena out of cover trying to protect her. But they group retreats before Alanis gets a shot at Xena.

Later Athena appears to just Xena and tells her to give up the child. She can’t win and it’s only a matter of time and…oh…by the way…. ‘I poisoned the water supply’. Athena vanishes. And Xena hears Eve cry. Cyrene is seeing to her and tells Xena it’s just a wet diaper. Xena thanks her mom for standing up to the gods. Cyrene says she’s a mom – she can face anything. And she want’s Xena to have that same joy by watching Eve grow.

Xena then decides to go to Ares temple. She summons him and tells him she wants to go with the deal. She’ll have him if he’ll save Eve. As always he’s wondering ‘What's in it for me?’. She says he’d get his warrior queen he always wanted. He’d be a father to Eve and his legacy would go on. But Ares isn’t THAT dumb. Xena’s offering things up way to easy to him for his taste. He says he can’t believe her and Xena points out when has she lied or not kept her word. Ares replies that’s true but Xena has a way of one upping him.

In the trenches two men are talking and one of them makes a point that they could just end it and give Eve to Athena. Gabby hears him and she grabs him by the scruff and tells him to get a clue more or less. She asked if anyone else feels the same – if anyone else would be willing to turn his or her child over. In their silence the troops agree. They are doing the right thing by protecting Eve. Gabby, the bard, the words before weapons warrior is back. She could have kicked that guys butt but she turned it around with a speech. Very nicely done and much more like the Gabby I’ve come to know and love. No…she’s not season one or two Gabby…but damn it…she’s fundamentally the same in this episode and that’s what I haven’t seen this season. Another point to RJ in my opinion.

Gabrielle collects herself and yells for Ares. He shows up rather quickly since we all know how much he hates the irritating blonde. (VBG) Gabby warns him that she knows about the deal. She’s not very please and if he so much as lays a hand on Xena she’ll…. Ares taunts Gabrielle since she doesn’t finish by asking her just what would she do. Gabrielle tells him he’ll turn Xena into the warlord she once was. Ares said he liked that Xena. Gabby points out that Ares seems to like the ‘new Xena’ just as much since he’s so preoccupied with her. He then asks Gabby if Xena would lie to him. Gab points out that Xena always keeps her word. He grins confident in the fact that he’s got Xena just where he wants her and disappears. Gabby realizes she just talked Ares into taking the offer. Opps! Silly bard (VBG).

Ares goes to Athena to try to call things off. Ares offers to take Xena and child to another dimension where they won’t pose a threat. Athena isn’t buying it and Ares goes back to his temple in a huff. There he sees Xena’s clothes and weapons scattered about. Ares follows them to a goblet. He picks it up but before he can drink he sees Xena on his sofa wrapped in a fur. She asks him "Are we gonna seal this deal?". He sounds like a pubescent teenager as he squawks his reply, trying to act casually. He walks over dropping his weapons, going for the warrior princess.

Xena however wants to go over the rules and stops his advance. When everything is settled Xena

throws him to the sofa with an oaf. She lunges on top of him, bites his nipple and kisses him. Suddenly she pulls back. She says she heard something. Ares didn’t hear anything and starts again. Xena stops again and says it sounds like a battle. Ares again…. hears nothing. Suddenly a loud crash and a hole appears in the temple. Moments later Xena sees her mom standing there with Eve. Xena tells her mom it’s not what it looks like. Ares says yes it is. (LOL). Cyrene gives her credit. After all Ares is a god but someone like Hermes would have made a better choice. Of course Ares is put off big time and debates Cyrene’s choice of sexy gods.(LOL)

Cyrene says that she came to tell Xena that Gabrielle attacked Athena's troops and the war is starting in town. Xena gets up and gets her leathers into place while Ares is telling her that the three of them now have the chance to leave since Gabrielle began the battle. Xena says she has to help Gabrielle. Ares says, "Leave her." Xena doesn’t reply but she’s far from pleased with that idea. She tells Ares, "I have to do this my way." Ares figured as much and he watches Xena go.

Athena and her girltoy are watching Gabrielle beating the stuffing out of Athena’s troops. Athena wants Gabby out of the picture. And in order to break Xena’s spirit she’ll kill the bard. Alanis takes aim but Athena watches as Xena walks through the battle, carrying Eve. Athena orders her troops to stand down. Gabby sees Xena and rushes to her. She asks Xena what she thinks she's doing. Xena says she’s not going to watch the village die because of this child and pushes Gabby out of the way. Gabrielle can’t believe what she’s watching but she follows behind the warrior.

Xena places Eve on the ground before Athena. Athena tells Xena she might want to look away but Xena says she wants to remember it all and refuses. Athena looks a bit apprehensive but Xena tells her if she’s going to do it, to do it now while the baby is asleep. Athena raises her sword to strike but Ares appears. Athena tells Ares that he’s ‘whipped’ and the two of them start to fight. Gabrielle orders another attack and villagers come out of hiding and take on the masses. Alanis finds Xena and the two of them fight near Athena and Ares.

Xena does the warrior thing and gets that cocky grin on her face while she taunts Alanis about her fighting prowess (WooHoo!! NOW THAT’S THE XENA I REMEMBER!!(LOL) Point three to RJ). Alanis gets a little P.O.ed and opens up on Xena. She manages to pin Xena and put her sword against the warrior’s throat.

Athena for her part is doing a good job of kicking Ares @ss. She asks if Ares is worried about his girlfriend. Ares replies "Oh no. Not at all. . . Are you worried about your girlfriend?" Athena turns to see Xena get the upper hand on Alanis and stab her in the gut. Athena races over to Alanis. She tells her champion that the wound is too sever for her to heal. Alanis accepts that and asks if she’s still Athena’s favorite even though she wasn’t victorious. Athena tells her girlfriend that she never let her down. With that, Alanis dies. Athena warns Ares that the gods are gonna go next. Athena cradles Alanis and lovingly kisses her on the forehead before they both disappear.

The troops move out and the town starts to celebrate. Ares tells Xena not so fast. He helped save Eve so Xena owes him. Xena hands Eve to Ares to reveal a doll. You saved my dolly, Xena tells him. (LOL) He’s not happy to be duped again but that’s life. Gabrielle asked if ‘anything happened’ between them. Xena said no. Ares can’t believe Xena didn’t feel anything. But Xena stays steadfast and answers no. Pissed, he leaves.

Xena says that perhaps she felt ‘something’. Gabby looks to Xena but Cyrene comes carrying Eve. Mom figures out it was Gabby who blew up the temple and started the war. She’s the one who tricked Ares into thinking Xena would go throw with the deal. And Xena points out if the bard would have waited much long she might have had to go through with it because Ares would engage in only so much foreplay. Gabby apologizes and says if they had a better time keeping device they could synchronize things much better. Cyrene hands Xena the baby and says she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the two of them (X and G).

The gals start to walk away and Gabby prods Xena about feeling ‘something’. Xena teases Gabby and says she doesn’t know what Gabrielle’s talking about. She didn’t say anything. Gabby agrees to drop it but Xena mutters, "Well, maybe something." (LOL) She’s got Gabby’s goat again and they walk off chuckling.

I liked this one. I could say I didn’t like Xena ‘prostituting’ herself to Ares but much like the ‘Reckoning’ she used her sex appeal to distract Ares (and men are soooooo easily distracted (LOL). That’s a joke fella’s so lighten up okay (BG) ). I think RJ’s presence is showing up in the subtlest of ways. But that’s one of the things I liked about Xena - - the subtle things. We have an ep with a lesbian (or perhaps bi) goddess. We have the girl’s interacting like soul mates again instead of business partners. We have OTHER people (like Athena and Ares) pointing out how much the girls mean to each other. We have moments of witty dialog but into a serious story. And we have a story that has a plot that isn’t so thick it’s bogged down. It runs cool, clear and precise.

Next week is Married with Fishsticks. Gabby gets a knock to the head, a bad 80's hairstyle wig and Joxer in a loud shirt. My verdict is still out on this one. We’ll see if RJ can save this one (LOL). If so I think I just might name him the genius of X:WP this season (LOL).

CN Winters