TO HELICON AND BACK

BY

C.N. WINTERS


Did you see the spoilers on the USA page? No? Good...because someone better start watching the WHOLE episode before they write these little reviews. Xena doesn't get 'arrowed'. Xena and Gabby don't embrace and get interrupted. I will say this - Liz Friedman, former X:WP producer and resident lesbian, wrote this ep. And like the famed scripts of alt fan fiction writer Missy Good the script left little in the way of subtext. Still in light of this it was a decent ep. From what I read on Whoosh it was the longest ep they've ever shot and lots of stuff was cut out in the final edit.

So to make the report easier on me(G), I'm gonna list USA's version and tell you 'what's wrong'(VBG). Trust me...this will be fun. I promise. (VBG)

Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor which USA studios doesn’t list!! Don’t they know I love Gabby? Can’t they mention the actress of that role too!!! Sheesh! Sorry…anyway) return to the Amazon village to celebrate the naming of Varia as new Queen of the Amazons. Since the ceremony is restricted to Amazons, Xena agrees to sleep in the forest while Gabrielle enjoys the festivities. ( Sidenote before leaving Xena turns to Gabby and says, "Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do" (ROTFL) Doesn’t Xena trust her gal with a bunch of half naked buff women dancing and drinking wine all night long.) That evening, Xena gets a feeling that the Amazons are in danger and heads for the village. The celebration is crashed by a mysterious masked warrior and his men, who ride in proclaiming "death to the Amazons!" Xena's battle cry suddenly fills the air and the masked warrior, recognizing it, easily blocks her chakram before kicking her. (Xena even gets a bloody nose..ooooo (VBG)). When Varia charges him, he knocks her unconscious and tosses her on his horse before hurling an axe at Gabrielle. As Xena dives for the axe, the warriors disappear with Varia. (Nope sorry folks, I didn’t see any axes heading that way. Xena and Gabby just ‘survey’ the damage after evil ugly dude grabs the queen and calls a retreat so ‘the amazons would come to them’.)

Looking for clues, Xena studies the masked warrior's axe and concludes that it's from Helicon. Determined to rescue Varia, the Amazons insist that Gabrielle lead them to Greece. Xena declares that she will battle the leader and disengage the catapults, but Gabrielle, anxious about Xena's safety, reminds her that the masked warrior was a tough adversary. Meanwhile, Varia is thrown in a castle dungeon (in truth it’s more like the castle tower but whatever) and approached by the masked warrior, Bellerophon (Craig Parker), who smiles smugly when she insists that her tribe will rescue her. In his command room, Bellerophon orders that the catapults be loaded and tells his Lieutenant to watch out for Xena. (Nope this part doesn’t happen).When Bellerophon is alone, Xena lunges out of the shadows and punches him. (Yes this does happen) Unfazed by her blows, Xena deduces that he must be half-god and he confirms her hunch, informing her that his mother was Artemis, the greatest Olympian who taught the Amazons all they know and then abandoned her. (Well they were close on this one – Xena deduces he’s half god when he punches her and sends her half way across the room.(LOL)) Bellerophon and Xena face off again, but he gains control and holding a dagger to her throat, vows that she and the Amazons will pay for murdering Artemis. Knowing she is presently no match for the warrior, Xena gives him a head slam, freeing herself from his grasp, and flees through the window taking one of his guards with her. (It should be noted here that Xena and the guard fall into the water below) Furious, he orders his men to arm the catapults.

Out in the ocean that night, the guard attacks Xena with a knife, but a shark takes hold of him and she is spared. (Again…doesn’t happen.) Relieved, Xena suddenly recognizes the Amazon boat burning in the distance. (Now here’s where we have something different. Gabs is with the amazons who are all scared on the boat. One amazon says feels like Joxer taking on the dryads (LOL). He’s a legendary coward!(LOL) Wonder why Vigil hadn’t heard these rumors. Oh well, Gabby tells her everyone is scared – some are just better at hiding it. The catapults start to fire and blow the back of the ship apart. Xena pops up out of the water to see the ship burning. And her first word is….yep you guessed it….Gabrielle(VBG). The warrior luvs her bard wery, wery much (VBG).

With many Amazons dead and others being eaten by sharks (yes their dead but no shark attacks), Gabrielle tells Gwyn-Teir (Kirstie O'Sullivan) that they are taking the beach. As the women step onshore, they are bombarded with arrows and catapult fire. Looking to Gabrielle for direction, she sends one of the Amazons out to clear a path and tells the others to stay close. The Amazon is hit, but the explosion clears the way for them. When Xena emerges from the water (yelling for Gabby of course), Gabrielle tries to relinquish leadership to her, but Xena declines insisting that the Amazons will not listen to her. Back at the castle, Bellerophon informs Varia of the bloodshed and threatens to execute her and the rest of her tribe unless she kills Gabrielle. (Well that’s what he does but we the viewers don’t see it. He says he has a plan for Varia) Scanning the beach, Xena notices a trench that would provide good cover and races towards it, deflecting a missile with her chakram. (Nope doesn’t happen – all the amazons stay huddled together) Gabby picks one to be the ‘diversion’ and everyone knows what it means. She’s gonna be the amazon they use target practice on. The amazon agrees to give her life to get her sisters up the hill. As she runs she’s struck with arrows and the catapults are fired. Now that they have to ‘reload’ the remaining amazons run up toward the hill.) On Xena's signal, the Amazons run for the gully, but Gwyn-Teir is wounded in the process and Xena grabs her and carries her to safety. (The firing stops and one of the amazons says they’ve gotta run for it. Gabby says no that’s what they want. Foolishly she doesn’t listen and runs. She gets arrowed and ‘flamed’. Xena says she’s got an idea and rushes up the hill. She throws her chakram and it hits the catapult blowing up the men so the amazons can move closer.) Just then, Varia appears blindfolded and joins them in the trench claiming that Bellerophon said a queen should die with her tribe. Varia insists that they retreat, but Gabrielle disagrees, fearing that they will be destroyed if they don't act now. Doubting Xena, Gabrielle agrees to go with her plan of building a raft to save the wounded (because they’ll have to go back into the water to get to the castle. Gabby thinks hauling around the injuried will slow them down but Xena says they can’t just leave them and Gabby finally agrees.) Meanwhile, Varia surveys her injured sisters and tells Gabrielle she has a job for her. (Nope doesn’t happen)

As Xena and Tyro (Madeleine Sami) finish the raft (actually it’s just Xena), they notice Gabrielle struggling to grab Amazon weapons at the water's edge. (Nope. Gab’s disappeared and Xena doesn’t know where. When she goes in search of Gab she finds Gabby trying to run up the hill Varia came from to find a way into the castle so they won’t have to take to the water. As Gabby slinks along Varia takes aim on her with a bow. Xena steps up and yells to Gabby to run. Gabby sees Varia then the catapults. She’s hauling serious @ss as the explosions go off behind her. Xena reaches Gabrielle and pushes her out of the way just before she is hit by a catapult. (Nope doesn’t happen. Gabby makes it on her own and boy is she PI*SED (LOL). With the Amazons on Gabrielle's side, she agrees to let Varia accompany them, but declares that she is no longer Queen. (Yeah but that’s not before Gabby says she’s gonna leave Varia there. Xena says they can’t do that and once more Gab reluctantly agrees.)

That night, after moving the wounded Amazons by raft, Xena stabs one of Bellerophon's soldiers with an arrow and he begins to groan. Gabrielle approaches ready to kill him, but Xena puts the pinch on him instead, silencing his whimpering. Shocked by Gabrielle's steely resolve, Xena rides to Bellerophon's castle and challenges him to a one on one brawl. Bellerophon agrees and the two struggle. He lunges a rock at Xena that hits a crossbow, releasing two arrows that shoot her in the back. (NONE OF THIS HAPPENED (LOL) Okay, yes they move through the water but that’s about it. Sharks begin to circle them and Gabby takes one of the dead/wounded off the raft. She says a little prayer and sends her floating on her way. The sharks eat her instead and Gabby doubts what she’s done. Xena cups Gabby’s face and asked if she’d want the amazons to do the same with her if need be. Gabby agrees she’d give her life/body to keep the other safe. Once on land, Xena tells Gabby that Gabby needs to ‘rally the troops for battle’. She tries to comfort Gabby but Gabby doesn’t want coddling. She has to stay strong to keep her amazons alive. Gabby gives a speech to motivate them and Xena goes to Bellerophon to put their plan into motion) After a one on one face off at the castle Xena lets him get the better of her. Seemingly stricken, she pulls herself up onto Argo, who carries her into the woods. Bellerophon and his men pursue her, unaware that she feigned her injury, and are suddenly ambushed by Xena and the remaining Amazons. With some fancy flips, Xena has Bellerophon at her mercy and the warrior begs for her to kill him. (Nope – Xena asks him to walk away with his life and stop the killing.) When she refuses, he secretly pulls out a dagger and lunges at her, but she turns just in time and he impales himself on her sword. (Seems he thought being half god made him unstoppable. Xena ‘reminded’ him the hard way that’s he’s half mortal and he dies). Stopping Gabrielle from any more killing, Xena tells her it's over and the two embrace. (Nope – Gabby is chasing down a solider and when he falls she gets ready to impale him. Xena yells and Gabrielle stops, letting him run away. ) Their moment is interrupted by a victory celebration, which Xena and Gabrielle happily join. (Nope – nobody is happy at the end of this one. Gabby’s forever changed by war, the amazon nation is about 15 women now and we fade to black).

I’m not sure if I like this one or not….well yes there were parts I enjoyed. It was their ‘war’ homage ep if you ask me, ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’, etc etc. Not a bad ep but not wonderful either. I think I’d still rather see that long awaited Sappho ep…even though I like my script idea better (VBG).