"It’s ironic isn’t it? How a single step can change the path of ones destiny." – Julius Caesar.
Sure is buddy! So Caesar decides he’s going to chain up the fates since he escaped from Tartarus. He goes back to the time he and Xena did the horizontal bop. He realizes that he’d ‘still be ruling Rome today instead of getting stabbed in the back by Brutus while Xena rides off into the sunset with her girlfriend’. Pretty strong words but very much on the money.
The fates warn that tampering with the loom will not only change Caesar’s destiny but everyone else. He doesn’t seem to care because he’s still a selfish pig. He’s going to make it so he never betrayed Xena.
Next we see him talking with some Romans. Brutus arrives and tells him that the Chin ambassadors have arrived. As they open the gates a horse rider dressed in black comes barreling through. They kick out a few guards, sends some arrows next to Brutus as Caesar looks on. With a little yiyiyyi and a flip Xena lands in front of them. She says ‘My emperor’. He says ‘My emperoress’. Looks like they got hitched somewhere along the way and she likes to work out by tormenting Brutus.
Next the duo are seen walking arm in arm. Caesar says he’s scheduled some entertainment for them. Xena asked if it’s wrestlers from Thrace but Caesar says it’s a play from Athens. Thought she might enjoy a little bit of her hometown flavor. Xena teases saying, "More dribble from old men with tricky names. How thoughtful?" They share a smile until Brutus arrives with the representatives of LaoMa.
Xena leaves saying she has to address the senate about more weapons for her men and Brutus joins her. The Chin fellows give Caesar a treaty, which he reads. He says he accepts Chin’s offer to join the empire. He tells them to enjoy the Roman hospitality. Suddenly Alti comes out of nowhere and grabs them by the neck. Caesar introduces her as Alti, high priestess of Rome. Caesar watches her kill the men by showing them all the pain in their life. Caesar tells Alti that Xena’s right, ‘Alti is ambitious’.
Next we see the happy couple at the play. Caesar is yawning to stay awake. Xena is riveted<LOL>. And I’m sure you’d all like to know what the actors are saying right? Right.(VBG)
Man – "Our love is strong than the Elysian Fields or Tartarus"
Woman - "We’re going to be together for Eternity"
Man – "I wouldn’t have it any other way."
The performers hug and the applause begins. (Now keep in mind that if this was a REAL play in this time there wouldn’t be any women on stage and I’m sure Gabrielle would have to be the best of the best…a la Sappho…to be taken seriously in the Arts but let’s just pretend shall we? Okay, good (VBG) ). The young man says ‘let me introduce to you the writer of ‘Fallen Angel’…Gabrielle, the visionary of Athens.
Gabrielle, long hair wrapped up high, comes to the stage and she begins to get bombarded with roses. Xena watches her intently and Caesar has that ‘Oh Sh*t’ look on his face (LOL). Xena rises and throws her rose down to Gabrielle. Talk about some heavy looks. Xena is in the ‘box seats’ looking down at Gabrielle and without saying a word you can feel the Romeo/Juliet, Cyreno connection going on. Gabrielle feels the magnet pulling and gives a small shake to look back to the rest of the audience when she realizes she’s staring at Xena too. Alti, who’s down front, can see what’s going on between them. So can Caesar but there’s very little he can do.
They are all at a reception afterward and Caesar watches Xena and Gabrielle talking where Xena says she found Gabrielle’s play very moving. Alti comes up to harass Caesar asking what did he think Xena and Gabrielle are discussing. Before he can respond Brutus arrives and says he needs to speak to him about the Chin representatives. We get to go back to see X and G’s conversation.
X – What inspires you?
G – It’s like the words come from somewhere else. I just write them down. But you emperoress…all of Rome talks of you. The country thrives. The people adore you. They say the army would follow you through the gates of Hades.
X – Well everything has its price Gabrielle.
Brutus and Caesar are together and Brutus asks if he had the representatives killed. Caesar said yes that Alti advised it. Brutus fears there will be assassins sent. Caesar tells him not to worry. He knows how to deal with assassins. (Yuck, yuck, yuck…Oh yeah – Brutus is gonna buy the farm in this one.) He goes back to watch his wife conversing with the playwright.
X – In the third act you had the hero throwing himself off the cliff with no fear of dying. All for her. Do you really believe that kind of love exists?
G – It’s what we all dream about isn’t it? Someone that looks so deeply into our souls that they find something worth dying for.
Well I guess we now know who’s the butch and who’s the femme in this relationship huh? (LOL) Anyway, they don’t have a chance to finish their discussion. Caesar comes over to remind Xena that they have to address the troops first thing in the morning. Xena excuses herself and Caesar offers her his arm leading her away. Man O’ man (LOL) is Gabby checking out Xena big time as she goes (ROTFL). I love Gabby. Have I mentioned that? (VBG)
Next we see the happy couple getting ready for bed. Caesar asks X what she and that playwright talked about. (Jealous much Caesar? (LOL)) Xena said ‘her work, her life. She interests me.’ (WooHoo – and I’m sure it’s not just her mind either from the looks Gabrielle was getting). Caesar puts on the moves but gets the cold shoulder. He leaves saying since he’s not needed in the bedroom he’ll go over some things with Brutus. Xena goes out to her terrace and looks over the city but the only thing that catches her eye is Gabrielle who’s stepped out onto her own terrace. Xena quickly moves back into the shadows so she can admire Gabrielle without her seeing. When she decides to make her presence known, Gabrielle looks a bit uncomfortable but gives Xena a respectful nod before heading back in.
Xena hears Alti behind her and turns around.
A – I had the most interesting vision tonight of you and the writer.
X – You take liberties Alti.
A – Really?
X – The high priestess has no business in my bedchamber (Hmmm…I thought they were talking about Gabrielle there for a minute and not X’s bedchamber. I…awww…some subtext in the maintext ep – I get it).
A – It’s Caesars bedchamber too. I saw the way you looked at her tonight at the play. Wouldn’t Caesar give anything to have you look at him that way?
X – What do you want?
A – You’re in my way Xena. Now it’s time I did something about it.
The two of them fight and Alti starts to show Xena clips of her ‘real life’ when she puts the ‘death grip’ on her. She doesn’t get to finish the job because Caesar and Brutus come in. Caesar says he wants to kill her now but Xena says she wants to do it herself in the Forum, before the public. Caesar orders Brutus to interrogate Alti and lock her up. Caesar hugs Xena and catches Gabrielle back on the terrace again watching them embrace. Xena looks uncomfortable in Caesars arms and the vision isn’t lost on Gabrielle.
Next day Xena watches the royal guard walk off. She asks Caesar where they are heading. Caesar said that Alti confessed that the playwright and she were working with Chin assassins and that he hopes Xena wasn’t too fond of the young woman. Xena smiles and plays it off but you can tell she’s not too pleased.
We see Gabby being led away saying she’s committed no crime against Caesar, passing Joxer in the hall. They cut Gabby’s hair, as a means to break her morale I’d assume, getting her ready for the good ole cross. Next we see Joxer walking with Xena, saying it’s an honor to escort the emperoress because she called in her own personal healer to save his daughter. He’s indebted to her. He leaves Xena and Gabrielle alone.
Xena asks if Gabrielle is an assassin. Gabrielle says she never harmed anyone in her life but why should she take her word over her husbands. Xena says she believe her because if anyone believes that love is worth dying for can’t be an assassin. Gabrielle says she hears hammering. Xena tells her you can’t have a crucifixion without crosses. Gabrielle sobs slightly and says she doesn’t know why Caesar wants to kill her. Xena says she’s going to get to the bottom of it.
Xena leaves the cell and goes to Alti. She makes Alti do the death grip to find out what’s going on. Alti agrees if Xena sets her free. Xena and Alti are both unsure of what’s going on but they begin to piece things together. Caesar somehow changed their lives. Joxer comes back and says they are taking Gabby to the cross.
Xena comes out and stops the execution telling Caesar she knows what he did and how he changed things. He confesses it was a regret he changed and that they are now getting ready to take over Chin. Xena says if Caesar sets Gabrielle free she’ll lead the take over of Chin. (Essentially, she’ll kill the one woman that she left Gabrielle for on the docks in the ‘former life’ if it means keeping Gabrielle alive in ‘this’ life.)
Caesar agrees and tells them to release the prisoner. Xena rushes down and starts tossing guards around telling them to keep their filthy hands off her (LOL). Nobody’s touchin’ her bard…I mean playwright. (VBG).
Gabrielle tells Xena, "I’m in your debt my emperoress."
Xena says I’m not your emperoress. I’m your friend. She puts her wrap around Gabrielle to cover her and Gabby snuggles into it (Ahhhhhh…isn’t that sweet (VBG)). She shouts for the guards to bring her a horse before they have this conversation:
X – Gabrielle, go back to your little vineyard by the sea. Be happy. Write all those great plays you got inside you.
G – Xena….Xena…When I thought I was going to die . . . it all became so clear. My life is empty despite my success. I write about love but I never felt it before.
X – (wipes away Gabrielle’s tears) Rome is not safe for you. Leave now.
G – I will never forget you.
Caesar then goes to Alti and tells her if she wants to prove her trust go find Gabrielle, who he just pardoned, and kill her. Alti shows up with super sonic speed(LOL) and puts the death grip on her, showing her the life she had with Xena. Xena on the other hand shows up to stop her. She goes to Gabrielle who’s still shocked. She starts to get the better of Alti but the Caesar reinforcements arrive and shoot arrows at Xena. Xena gets stabbed but Joxer grabs Gabrielle. Gabby’s snapped out of it by now and tries to break free to help Xena. Joxer says she can’t help Xena but he can help her (Gabrielle). Xena tells Caesar he’ll always betray her because he’s scum and they tie her up and drag her behind a horse (the Xedrag?).
Later that night Brutus goes to advise Caesar that killing Xena wouldn’t be a good thing because the troops love her. Caesar announces that Alti will be joining them on their campaign east. He then knifes Brutus unexpectedly taking care of that little problem. Next we see Joxer saying he couldn’t believe they were willing to kill her over that bad play. He says it was okay but he could use a few more fight scenes (LOL). Gabby grins and says she’ll keep that in mind as he opens the door to let her out of the cell.
He takes her to Xena’s cell where they have this chat:
G – Alti showed me something – an altered time.
X – It doesn’t matter now.
G – I’m sorry. Xena, when I’m with you this emptiness I’ve felt my entire life is gone. You have to tell me what’s going on.
X – Caesar changed our fate giving us this god forsaken world.
G – There must be something I can do.
X – No. What you can do is get out of here alive. I have to go through this alone.
G - I can’t let you die.
X – Some things are worth dying for. Isn’t that what your play was about? Being prepared to sacrifice all for love?
G - (nods) For love.
X – In the other world my destiny was an end to Caesar, that cross. I hated them both. But now I realize everything happens precisely as it should. Precisely.
G – Xena?
X – (guards approach) Go now Gabrielle.
G – I can’t.
X – Go now. Get out.
G – No.
X – Get out.
G – Don’t.
Joxer – Emperoress, it’s time.
X – I’ll love you forever.
G – (guards round up Xena) Don’t touch her!
X – (side to Joxer) Get her out alive.
Yep. Doesn’t matter which life – the gals were always meant for each other.(VBG)
Next we see Xena getting ‘crossed’ and Caesar making out with Alti. Gabs is racing along on a horse out of town. Alti and Caesar are doing the nasty (which will probably be edited at most stations (VBG)). As they strike the first nail into Xena outside, Alti strikes the first stab into Caesar a la ‘Basic Instinct’. Moments later Caesar is dead and Xena is on the cross telling Gabrielle, whose nowhere around now, that she loves her. Gabby in the meantime runs into the temple of the fates to find them locked up. She wants to know how to undo this world but they say it’s impossible. (Sidenote: As you watch the last 15 minutes make sure to note the comparable to Ides of March and see how many you can spot.)
Anyway, Gabby says BS! She’s gonna do sumthin’ bout that. She’s gonna burn the mother luvin loom. The fates warn her against it but she doesn’t care – hell how could it be worse right? Besides, ‘their loom destroyed what was meant to be’ she says. With a mighty toss she sets the baby ablaze and the world that had come to be explodes. We see a mist and watch Gabrielle AKA Red bikini top Gabby, walking through a forest. Xena comes riding up, both still obvious of the other world.
X – Hey
G – Hi
X – You brought the world back to us.
G – (cutie smile) I like this one better
X - (tad of guilt) Even though you’re not a famous playwright?
G – (cutie grin this time) Fame, who needs it? (Xena reaches out her hand and helps Gab up behind Argo) Did you really like my play?
X – It was alright. Maybe it could have done with a few more fight scenes.
G – Everyone’s a critic.
Fade to black.
Was this the GREATEST XENA EP OF ALL TIME? No, I don’t think so. Does it cement the fact that these two are a couple? Oh yeah. (LOL) If you ask me, which I know you didn’t(BG), this is the episode that Missy Good should have wrote. By that I mean that Katharine (who’s also a Xena fan) wrote it so close to that subtext line. She even stepped over it without stepping over it. Confused?(LOL). Let me explain.
Xena didn’t confess she was ‘in-love’ with Gabs but hell you HAVE to see it when you watch this ep. Perhaps in Ms. Good eps she wanted to stay so far away from the ‘subtext issue’ that she didn’t broach it since she’s an alt author. I think that’s a shame. If you stack this episode against Coming Home and Legacy (which weren’t bad – still can’t see how a bathtub just happened to pop up out of nowhere when they can’t see a damn thing (LOL) but anyway…) I think you’ll see a glaring difference. Missy seems…I don’t know…scared. Katherine just wrote a good soulmate story regardless of how anyone took it. As I said I still don’t think it’s the best Xena episode for Drama – that goes to OAAA still in my mind. But I’ll tell you what (LOL) it sure is a close second that’s for sure.
Is Tapert gonna let the leads kiss this season? Yeah I’m thinking it will happen but I’ll keep my promise and not say ‘told you so if it does’. (VBG)
Queen of Subtext..erhh…Maintext(VBG)