Let me begin by saying I have seen Xena finally do a feat that I find totally unbelievable. I’ve watched her take on the Persian Army single handedly. I’ve watched her jump three stories in the air while standing still. Maybe – just maybe – all those flips, jumps and kicks were feasible. (G) But watching Xena go through labor AND battle the Gods henchmen…well let’s just say that’s a little too much to believe.(G) Anyone who has gone through the ‘joy’ of childbirth knows exactly what I mean (VBG) – Sorry Xena but this is JUST NOT POSSIBLE (LOL) even for a warrior princess.

On to our story. It opens with the Fates standing around, playin with their threads, telling Zeus it’s curtains for him and the other gods because of a child not conceived with man or something along those lines (now it looks like TPTB are stealing from Shakespeare – that would be ‘MacBeth’ for those of you folks that aren’t familiar with Willy’s work (G) ). Upon the newsflash Zeus decides to ‘take Xena’s youngin’ out’.

Now we flash to our gals. And finally ‘love’ is in the air. Xena feels the baby kicking and she takes Gabby’s hand so she can feel it too. THEY TOUCH! THEY ACTUALLY TOUCH!! Lord we haven’t seen THAT lately (VBG). Gabby says she had a dream that they were both (as in the two of them) were giving birth to the baby. Xena says if she could share half the labor pains with Gabby she would. Gabby says she’d be more than happy to help. (LOL) Ahhh. . . .luuuvvvvvvv(G).

Of course Herc has to show up then and break up the touchy feely moment(G). Nahhh, just kidding - he’s a good guy. He ribs Xena for not telling him about the baby and he walks up with a stuffed three-headed dragon toy nicknamed Iolaus (since the real one isn’t there this time). They all hug. Herc who’s sporting a shorter hair do makes some crack about Gabby’s short locks and she returns the jab. But the good times are short lived as Hera’s henchmen come after the trio. They find out that the Gods want Xena’s baby dead because the birth will mean their destruction.

Xena says she’s going to kill Zeus first but she needs the helmet of invisibility from Hades so she and Gabby are going to Tartarus. Herc wants to speak to Zeus first before they do anything drastic. Xena reluctantly agrees but says she’s still going to Tartarus to get the helmet. Herc warns that if she has her baby there it will be stillborn but Xena’s willing to take that chance. They both know that if they can then get the rib of Kronos they can kill Zeus. Herc hopes it doesn’t come to that but he does say he’s willing to die before anyone would hurt Xena’s child. They split up into two groups.

Xena and Gabby head to the lake to make the trip to Tartarus. Gabby’s concerned for Xena isn’t one of lecture as in episodes past. They actually relate to each other. Xena speaks of Solan and Gabby points out that they BOTH morn his loss but this time things will be different and Gabby adds that she’ll do anything to protect this child. Herc for his part is at a temple and summons Zeus. Zeus shows up and gives Herc the same song and dance about how Xena’s child MUST BE DESTROYED!! Yadayadayada! Hera shows up and gives the same ‘Ah uh. He’s right.’ attitude. They argue. Zeus says he can love Herc or the memory of him – it’s Herc's choice if he chooses to interfere. Herc says he can’t call Zeus father anymore. They part ways.

Hera tells Zeus that perhaps it is there time to leave but Zeus says nope – not buying it.

Xena and Gabby make it to Tartarus. They sneak around searching for the helmet. In the onset Zeus goes to Ares and says that he needs Herc distracted so he can kill Xena. Ares says he’s fond of Xena and if he’s gonna help do her in then he wants to be able to finally kill Herc. They bicker but Zeus agrees - Ares can kill Herc so Zeus can kill Xena.

While strolling through Tartarus like tourist (I mean you’d think they would pick up the pace since they got Hades goons running all around), they see pod people strung up whose ‘torture’ is to see their lives over and over again. They pass one pod and Xena sees herself talking to Solan in a clip from Orphan of War. Xena turns and sees Solan in the pod. She tears it open with her chakram and she learns that Solan has CHOSEN Tartarus because in Elysian Fields he’d always be waiting for her but in Tartarus he could see her. Xena says that’s BS ( and I’m not talking about The Bitter Suite (G)) and takes him with them.

Ares shows up with Herc. They bicker (Ares just loves to bicker in this ep (VBG). Ares goes after him with a fireball. Hera shows up and takes aim . . . on Ares (VBG) . . . to save Herc. Hera says since Herc saved her grandson that she owes him – besides it’s the Gods time and a father should never outlive his child. As they walk and talk Herc believes Hera really is on his side and she shows him how to get the rib of Kronos.

Back in Tartarus Solan is feeling sib rivalry and says that Xena doesn’t love him because she’s having a new baby. Xena tells him that’s simply not true and that she’s going to get him to the Elysian Fields. Zeus has found Ares knocked out under a tree and wakes him up. He finds out that Hera is helping Herc and goes to the crept that holds Kronos – who happens to be Zeus’ father that he himself killed.

In the main throne room in Tartarus, they see the helmet but Hades and the goons show up to wreak havoc. They battle but Gabby makes a break for it and gets the helmet. Invisible, Gabby does some pretty good butt kickin (G) as Xena and Solan make their escape.

Ares in the mean time makes his way to Tartarus. He finds Xena and tells her that if he becomes mortal he wants to live out his days with Xena. He says he has ‘deep feelings’ for her that are scaring the heck outta him. Xena tells him to say it – to say that he loves her. He can’t do it but he manages to tell Xena that he though in her condition she’d be more understanding. She informs him that she’s pregnant not brain damaged (LOL). But after she leaves, Ares says out loud (and get this… ‘sincerely’), "I love you Xena". Ahhhh….luuuuvvvv (VBG). The god of war does have a heart…. no matter how small (VBG).

Herc and Hera get the rib as Zeus arrives. Hera hits him with a bolt and tells Herc to go and save Xena because she can finally do the noble thing and stop another innocent child from dying. Herc does as he’s asked. Hera knows her time is at hand and lets Zeus ‘kill her with a kiss’. With his wife out of the way, Zeus goes in search of Xena and her child.

But Xena and her first child are looking at the window to the Elysian Fields from Tartarus as her labor pains begin. Gabby shows up and takes the helmet off. Xena realizes they can’t get passed the guards so she makes a choice. She gives Solan the helmet and tells him to go on. He doesn’t want to go but she promises that they will meet again and they will all be a family. He whispers something to her and they say their goodbye. Xena and Gabby take on the guards and whup some more behinds. Solan waves his goodbye from Tartarus and Xena and Gabby find themselves walking through a cave back to the living world.

Now here’s where the unbelievable part comes in (LOL). Xena and Gabby are battling the bad guys when Herc shows up with the rib. Herc takes them out with the bone and tosses it to Xena who takes out her guys but the labor has progressed and she falls to her knees screaming…. not for Herc (G) but for yes, you guessed it…. Gabrielle (VBG).

Gabby and Herc take Xena by a tree as Herc tells them he’s going out to face his father. Xena pleas with Gabby to leave if Zeus gets passed Herc but Gabby won’t hear of it. She says no dice and helps with trying to make Xena comfortable. Herc and Zeus battle. Xena keeps ‘laboring’ and Gabby is trying to talk to Xena to keep her calm but it isn’t helping. Xena is the typical laboring woman at this point. Saying things that don’t make much sense (LOL) – Xena tells Gabby she’s cold but she’s trying to take her bracers off (LOL), Xena tells Gabby to be quiet and stop talking. When Xena starts bearing down, Gabby tries to steady her and holds her in the arms softly telling her to push. Herc gets knocked out as Zeus heads toward Xena. At this point Gabby has delivered the baby and is holding it. Zeus comes over ready to take aim with a thunderbolt. He never gets the shot off. Herc tackles him and drives the rib into Zeus.

Herc regrets what he’s done but Zeus tells him he’s always been proud of him - even today. Zeus dies and disappears into the sky. The earth and heavens shake. Ares, who’s with the fates, sees the life line to Zeus cut and wiggles his own fingers. He looks like he’s not sure of what is happening but he doesn’t seem too alarmed so I assume he still has his powers.

Herc takes a seat next to the girls who are coo-cooing over the addition to the family. Xena offers her condolences. Herc offers his congratulations. He asks about a name. Xena says it’s Eve. Solan suggested it when they were in Tartarus. Herc motions Gabby to follow him and the two of them walk off (they don’t show the conversation but I would have liked to see that (G)). Xena is alone with Eve and she promises Solan again that they would all be together again forever. Fade to Black.

Next week Ares is trying to talk Xena into giving him the baby to keep her save. Seems the gods are pissed because they hold her responsible for Zeus’ death. The Gods they are a fallin’ (BG). I have to say in closing this ep…it’s been the best one this season. The Herc writers are given writing credits but RJ is back as producer. I think that has made all the difference and I hope for more good stories and interaction from the gals we’ve come to know.

CN Winters