Looking Death In The Eye

The following post contains information on the episode Looking Death In The Eye.  Go no further if you do not wish to know about the episode.

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Okay. Here goes nothing. I apologize for the late report but with it being Easter and all I had family matters to attend to. It started with me taking a lily to mom and settling back to watch Xena. After that it’s been none stop running but you’re sick of waiting so here it is.

A man is in a tavern selling different odds and ends when he announces he has the last known scroll from the bard of Poteidaia. Joxer, an old man with long graying hair and a receding hairline steps up and asks to see it. It’s Gabrielle’s handwriting so he knows it’s real. He says he knew her and Xena and the patrons all laugh at him. The bidding on the item begins but Joxer decides he MUST have it so he plunks down 65 dinars and takes it from the man's hand.

Back at home you hear him and Meg argue about how he just spent her nest egg on an old scroll for no reason. She reminds him that Xena and Gabrielle are both gone and when is he gonna realize this. (Note: You do not SEE Meg. Note 2: the house, I believe is actually the one they use as Gabby’s house)

He leaves the house and grumbles off to the barn. He plunks down as his son and daughter come in. He asks if they want to hear the story of a warrior princess and they enthusiastically agree. Joxer starts to read and the story takes over.

We see Xena walking into the fates temple. She apologies for dropping in but they tell her she is always welcome there. Xena wants to know when this twilight will start and how she can keep Eve safe. They tell her that she must die – that only in the essence of death will Eve begin to be safe and bring about the twilight. Gabby walks in and hears this and says it’s BS, let’s get out of here. They touch; they make eye contact. Xena seems to care about Gabby’s opinion but stress that she’ll die if she has too. Gabby finally gets Xena to leave.

They are walking through the forest when fireballs come out of nowhere. Xena listens and hears something to the right of her. She throws the chakram, knocking off Hades helmet of invisibility, exposing him. Athena shows up next with her archers and surround the girls. Xena makes a crack to Athena that she’s found Hades for her so she can call off the hunt (LOL). THAT’S the cocky ass Xena I’m used to (VBG). Athena says Xena knows damn well why she’s there and that she should just give up because she can’t win. Obviously she doesn’t realize that ‘thems thar fightin’ words’ to Xena. They all go at it – Xena takes on Athena while Gabby battles Hades. Gabby at one point tells Xena to give Eve to her but Xena declines. Athena makes some comment to the fact that Xena doesn’t trust Gabrielle. In the end however, Xena ends up destroying Hades helmet with her chakram in a discus shoot with her and Gabby. It was nice to see them working ‘together’ for once this season. The helmet shatters and sprinkles down hurting the two gods while Xena and Gabby make their escape.

Meanwhile back at the Ranch de Joxer, he’s reading Gabby’s words of how ‘Xena and I sought refuge with the Roman ally unknown to the gods’. As Joxer speaks we actually witness Gabby putting quill to parchment as Octavius plays with Eve on a tent floor when Xena comes in. Xena thanks Octavius for his hospitality and Octavius says it’s nothing. He’s in her debt for saving his life. Then he leaves Xena and Gabby alone. Xena says ‘here’ and starts to put some medicine on Gabby’s cut face. She flinches and owwws. (VBG) Some warrior huh (LOL)? Gabby asks what it is and Xena says it’s poison. When she goes back to put more on, Gabby flinches and says ‘Hey!’ (LOL) Xena smiles and adds ‘Only if you drink it’. It’s to fight off infection she explains. Gabby asks where Xena got it and she said from mom’s medicine cabinet (VBG). It’s soooo wonderful to see the girls actually interacting with each other in a ‘playful’ way. (VBG) Gabby then makes mention of Athena’s comment in regard to trust. Xena assures her that Athena was just prodding them and it didn’t matter who had Eve – they had to get out of the situation.

The gods have gathered in Athena’s temple to discuss Xena. Ares show’s up uninvited and says if they are looking for ways to defeat Xena they need to come to him. But Athena calls forth Celeste (death) instead. Athena wants Celeste to put the touch on Xena but she declines saying when and only when it’s time for Xena to die will she do it. They accuse Celeste of looking out for her best interest but as Celeste points out – as long as there is life there will also have to be death.

Next Hephesteus is working on a helmet when Xena approaches. She asks him if arts and crafts are what he does for a living what’s his hobby? (VBG) He tells her destroying her and her daughter. Xena retorts that’s more of a perversion. They do battle and Xena gets the ever lovin’ crap kicked out of her. Hephesteus has her cornered and Celeste shows up. Xena says what took you so long to Celeste. Before Hephesteus can strike the death blow Gabby sneaks up on him and gives him a good old fashioned butt whoopin’. In the onset Xena goes and gets some of Hephesteus’s chains (which can hold a god) and strings up Celeste. She rejoins Gabby in the battle against Hephesteus. Gods!! It was GREAT to see Gabby fighting side by side with Xena as the pair delivered blow after blow to Hephesteus. Finally the two knock him over a pit and into what looked like some lava below. Xena is limping after the beating she took and Gabby helps steady her as they go to round up Celeste. Outside Hephesteus’s cave some Roman soldiers have loaded up ‘death’ and Xena thanks Octavius for babysitting. He says it’s no trouble and if she needs anything else to feel free to contact him. They say their good-byes and Xena, Gabby, Eve and Celeste leave.

Back at Athena’s temple the goddess is trashing Ares for his handlings in all of this so far – Eli’s murder, siding with Xena in Amphipolis, etc. etc. Ares is kicked back not really too concerned until she comes face to face with him. Not too many folks have unsettled the God of War but the wide eyed look he got when sis approached his ‘personal space’ was funny (VBG). They are interrupted however when Hephesteus and Hades show up to say that Xena has Celeste.

Later that night Gabby is singing softly to Eve and tells her that someday she’ll have a horse of her own too. (One of those Ahhh moments folks – mother/daughter bonding going on here. She’s starting to treat Eve like a person and not some object that needs careful protection)

But as Xena sits down with Celeste who’s trying to find out why they want her dead now since the duo saved her once before (Hey!! Someone remembered a past script here folks!! I’m shocked to say the least but pleasantly surprised.) Xena then goes on a tyrant with Celeste. Xena says that if ‘death’ dies she doesn’t have to die to fulfill the fates vision and Eve won’t have to worry either. Xena continues to go off, talking about how she’s lost so many people that she loves – Solan, Marcus, Lyceus. Gabby tries to stop Xena by saying that Celeste doesn’t understand what it’s like to love and lose someone because she’s immortal. Xena then asks how Celeste would feel to lose Hades her only family and Celeste starts to cry. Xena wipes away her tears but warns Celeste that she’s (Xena) not going to lose her family. She walks back and stands next to Eve and Gabrielle (WooHoo!! An actual acknowledgement of her ‘family’ here folks) and Gabby gives Eve back to Xena. Xena adds that she’s not going to lose another child and places her in a basket in the cart.

The next morning young Joxer is in a tavern and Gabby comes in to warn him of what’s been happening but before she can Athena’s silver clad chicks show up with Hades. Hades starts to choke Gabby and Athena points out that they need her alive. He releases Gabby but she tries to take them on. Athena comes up and gives Gabby a boot to the head that leaves her standing but swaying to beat the band. Athena grabs Joxer by the neck and demands to know where Xena is. Joxer tells Gabby not to say anything but as Athena tightens her grip he’s changed his mind (LOL). Gabby knows that Athena will kill Joxer so she tells Athena that Xena is heading to the ocean. They release Joxer and take Gabby with them.

Back at the camp sight Celeste’s candle is almost burned out and she’s looking pretty rough. Athena shows up and offers Xena a trade - Celeste for Gabrielle. Gabby tells Xena no, let the candle burn. But Xena agrees. Gabby argues again and Xena says it’s all right. I actually believed that for once this season Xena put Gabrielle’s safety highest among all things…but more importantly she didn’t hold what happened against Gabrielle. Athena pushes Gabby over and they release Celeste. Celeste grabs her candle and starts to walk away. Athena stops her and says she needs her help but Celeste said she’s needed elsewhere at the moment and leaves without harming any of the girls.

Just then Ares shows up in the driver’s seat of the cart as Hephesteus and Hades arrive. “Come on sis,” he tells Athena. “Give us a head start” (LOL). Xena does a flip into the cart and off they race with the Gods and archers in pursuit. Ares tells Xena that his help is the only way out of this mess but she refuses him yet again and tells him to get lost – he keeps asking for something he is never going to get (BG). He says this must be my exit and disappears leaving Xena, Gabby and Eve in the cart. Gabrielle is writing everything down as fast as she can but the scroll falls out of the cart and lands in a field.

Back to old Joxer, the kids ask if that’s the end of the story. Joxer says no. That’s the end of the scroll but not the end of the story. They ask how he knows and he says because he was there. We see young Joxer who’s running to the ocean watching the scene before him.

Xena is trying to get away from the archers as they race along. Gabrielle stays in the back, taking care of Eve. Athena hits the cart with a fireball. Gabrielle is lying limp in the back. Suddenly all three Gods (Athena, Hades and Hephesteus) hit the cart with their weapons as Xena is trying to pick up Gabrielle and get her to safety. The cart explodes and falls over a cliff. The gods go over to inspect and we see Joxer behind them, going down the slope to check on Xena and Gabrielle.

Gabrielle is limp on the shoreline, as is Xena. But Xena starts to move and calls over to Gabrielle. Gabby is out so Xena starts to go through the wreckage looking for Eve. When she doesn’t find her she starts to scream. She goes back to Gabrielle and picks up her limp body, calling her name. Gabrielle doesn’t respond either. She’s dead too. The Gods say the prophecy is now defeated. Xena starts to wail and notices the gods above her. She unsheathes her sword and goes to gut herself but Ares materializes in front of her and takes it away, throwing it behind him. He tells her no and she tells him it’s too late, it’s over. She pops the top off of the poison and drinks. She tells him to let the gods know it’s a package deal, they got her too. Xena goes limp and Ares catches her in his arms. The gods leave as Joxer comes running along the beach. We see lightening two times. He watches as Ares picks up Xena and the two of them disappear.

Octavius then appears on horseback. Octavius gives Joxer a greeting. Joxer tells him that they are all dead. Octavius says no they aren’t and he shows Eve to Joxer. Octavius tells Joxer that Xena created the essence of death. He explains – ‘through flashback’ – that when Xena placed Eve in the cart the night of the Celeste argument he crept in and swapped Eve with a baby doll. And the tears that Xena whipped away that night weren’t out of kindness. She was actually ‘collecting’ them because to drink the tears gives the illusion of death. We then see the action before the cart flipped over. Gabby drinks the bottle first. Xena got Gabby out of the cart and the two jumped away from the burning cart as it went over the hill. Once on the beach Xena put on an act and drunk the tears herself. Joxer says that’s all well in good but something happened that they didn’t figure – Ares took them away. Octavius says, ‘Oh no.’

Next we see Ares in a snowy region carrying Xena. Here’s the conversation after he places her next to Gabby’s coffin in the ice tomb:

“You’re with her (Gabrielle) now. I handled you all wrong. She knew what you need. Unconditional and unselfish love. And I couldn’t give that to you. But I appreciated you in ways that she never could. Your rage. Your violence. Your beauty. When you sacrificed yourself for others you were hers. But when you kicked ass you were mine. ~kiss~ I love you Xena.”

Ares then makes a marker with Xena’s sword and chakram before leaving and sealing the tomb. The last shot is of Xena and Gabby inside their ice coffins before we fade to black.

Can these last eps save season five? No but it could be enough for folks to stick around for season six. Say what you will about Mr. Stewart but I think his presence has been missed and is showing up in these last eps.

CN Winters
Queen of Subtext

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