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While we re-run the season 10 episodes in preparation for the release of the remaining episodes, LadyKate and Aurora will be re-reading the eps and discussing them via Instant Messanger. Below is that discussion. Enjoy!

April 12-13, 2012

LadyKate: I think it was a really interesting idea to bring in Najara. We had planned it for some time, I think, hadn't we?

Aurora: i think she was one of our characters we wanted to bring back from the past especially considering that Najara's story was largely unresolved after The Convert.

LadyKate: yeah, and there is a very widespread feeling in the fandom that The Convert butchered her characters. (in the last 5 minutes at least, where she seems to go totally nuts.)

LadyKate: I think we did the best we could in our handling of that -- basically going with the idea that the Djinn were evil spirits who were possessing her.

Aurora: yeah, we did. I guess that means that she didn't take responsibility for her actions but I could see that they were only posessing her at the end of The Convert (taking control when she goes nuts) and not controlling her at all points in her life. In Crusader, she really could see them as guides without knowing how evil they might be able to get.

Aurora: I'm glad that Najara died for Gabrielle, helping her. Part of me wonders, though, if we killed her off too quickly. Not that she would have appeared in later episodes but, I don't know, we really didn't learn a whole lot about her before she was killed. Then...I guess that's how it goes sometimes.

LadyKate: Yeah -- that's how I understood it too (that she was only possessed in those last minutes of The Convert). There was just no other way to explain that without making her a nut.

Aurora: yeah them guiding her and her following--until the moment when she doesn't do what they ask and who rejects them, then coming out and showing who they "really" are

LadyKate: Yeah. I'm not THAT happy with it, but again, there was no better way to explain the end of The Convert (without taking the position that Najara is insane).

Aurora: yeah

Aurora: so i'm glad Najara did what she did in the end (as I stated above)

LadyKate: yeah. I'm actually not sure we should have kept her longer. I mean….I think we did learn enough to understand that she was a good woman at the end.

Aurora: maybe if she had stayed alive and continued on in her work taking in those who need help it could have worked

LadyKate: I like that we had that ambiguity but it was resolved pretty firmly.

LadyKate: Hmm…

LadyKate: yeah, maybe -- I mean, she wouldn't have had to come back on the show again, just stayed alive.

Aurora: yeah, that's what i mean.

Aurora: I like the disagreement between Xena and Gabrielle regarding Najara--and how infuriated Xena appears (especially Ares' comment to her about seeing that they have a history). Though here, Gabrielle isn't following Najara like she had twice before. She just wants to believe the best in people because that is in her nature but has a very wary feeling herself. She's not ready to be used for a third time and puts up a lot of barriers against her.

LadyKate: Oh yeah. Najara had to prove to her that she wasn't back to her old ways.

LadyKate: I could just see their shock (first Gabrielle, then Xena) when they realize who the "Holy Mother" is.

Aurora: yeah

Aurora: and see Xena's anger and not wanting anything to do with her again.

Aurora: the plot point of the servant who turned out to be a spy for the king, who just happens to show up in the end to reveal the true story (that she was not killed by Najara) was kind of odd, though. Did it feel quick or out of place to you? I'm glad there was someone there to prove that Najara was doing good--Gabrielle needed to see it--but that part felt a little easy to me

LadyKate: Yeah, it was a real test for Xena -- to allow her to trust Gabrielle.

LadyKate: As for that plot… hmm.

LadyKate: Well, I think the idea was that we have Gabrielle get suspicious of Najara.

Aurora: no, I know.

Aurora: I liked that part of it

LadyKate: But yeah, it was resolved in a somewhat plot-devicey way, you're right.

Aurora: just didn't like the part where the person they all thought was dead just suddenly shows up. I think Gabrielle needed to know the truth but something just felt too simple. I'm not sure if we had any other ideas for how to deal with that in the end--too long ago to remember

LadyKate: I guess that was our way of showing that the charges against Najara were definitely not true.

Aurora: as we should have shown, yeah

Aurora: it was kind of cool that with all this talk about some king being against Najara and wanting to bring her down (sending people to ruin her), we didn't once deal with Xena getting involved in that aspect. We stuck to just Najara's side and point of view, never the whole story.

LadyKate: Yeah-well, it was a lot to deal with. true, though.

Aurora: i know. but it's not often that you mention something like that without seeing Xena get involved in all areas. I liked that we kept it simple because of everything else going on. mainly, the Gab/Haimon storyline

LadyKate: Yeah, that was the other bit of the story. I had forgotten that Xena lets Haimon go ahead on a false pretext so he can get to Gabrielle first, without her.

Aurora: yeah, that was really good of Xena. though I know quite difficult for her

Aurora: I love that Ares recognizes that Xena's doing it for the greater good (self-sacrifice, as he puts it) but that she doesn't particularly enjoy her decision. and Ares understands that. They are on the same wave length, sometimes.

LadyKate: Yeah, I really enjoy their interaction in this ep -- it's not much but they clearly understand each other.

Aurora: yeah, that's really nice to see that other side to their relationship

Aurora: i do love the scene in the desert when Ares feels like he's questioning if he really does have everything that's important to him, like he still sometimes worries that he will always come second place to Gabrielle. And Xena tells him that he's a part of her life and nothing will ever chance that. I like that admission from Xena.

LadyKate: Yeah. Oh, and I like the interaction between Haimon and Darion.

LadyKate: Darion being so angry and determined to prove that he can take care of Gabrielle.

Aurora: yeah, he has every right to feel that way. Haimon being gone he took on a lot of responsibility for Gabrielle.

LadyKate: I like how Darion hits Haimon thinking he's an intruder. We're sort of continuing this streak of Haimon getting clobbered by mistake every time he comes to visit Gabrielle, which is cute in a way but the fact that it's Darion rather than Gabrielle this time is kind of disturbing.

Aurora: oh yeah, I thought that was great. I liked bringing in the idea that Haimon always gets hit when he visits. But hmm, I don't think it's disturbing that it's Darion this time. I guess the fact that Darion has grown up this much is a little scary but also--it's good that he's able to stand up for Gabrielle as much as he is. Or at least, has the heart to

LadyKate: Yeah-well, not disturbing so much as maybe a little dark. I mean, Darion's growing-up process has been pretty rough.

Aurora: yeah. Darion has inserted himself as the man in Gabrielle's life. He needed to be there when Haimon was not. He's taken on so much responsibility because of that

LadyKate: Yeah, and he also resents Haimon for that.

Aurora: yeah, he definitely does

Aurora: and watching Darion lose what he's had because of what he's been put through is a little sad to see in terms of watching his childhood die. he's not even 13 and already he has to act so grown up

LadyKate: Yeah, exactly. It's probably painful for Gabrielle to see as well. Speaking of which, it's interesting to see her struggle with issues of violence specifically in the context of being a mother.

Aurora: yeah, very painful. just as Xena is painful for Gabrielle having lost her blood innocence due to their life traveling together, Gabrielle feels the same watching Darion lose his childhood. Though, I know, Gabrielle is partly grateful for Darion being there for her--as a true part of her family. He could have felt not as important with the birth of a new child in Gab's life and resented Samuel.

Aurora: yeah, it's natural for Gab to wonder about her warrior side so much more now that she's a mother

Aurora: and I like how we dealt with it

LadyKate: that's a really good parallel, Xena feeling pained by the loss of Gabrielle's innocence and Gabrielle feeling the same way about Darion.

Aurora: i like the way that Haimon just suddenly shows up, though and Gabrielle has to deal with it--sorting out all of her mixed feelings

LadyKate: oh yes, definitely. their meeting was very well done

Aurora: then the way that Haimon feels so guilty for the life he chose and how it could get Gabrielle killed because the Romans are after him. Had Najara not blocked the blow, Gabrielle would have been dead. just when you think things might get better for them, they get a lot worse.

LadyKate: Hmm, I don't think she would have been dead -- she takes a combat stance and has her sword ready. Najara rushes in to keep Gabriele from fighting rather than from being killed, I think

Aurora: well, she could have been dead. And Najara certainly thought she could have died.

Aurora: I didn't mean that Gabrielle couldn't have fought back against them but the real danger was there--and it made Haimon realize what his choices could have ultimately cost him

Aurora: oh and right, Najara goes in there to stop her from fighting

Aurora: you're right. I forgot that small detail

LadyKate: Yeah, she says " Gabrielle, wait"

Aurora: yeah

Aurora: i still think it really opened Haimon's eyes to the possible consequences of his actions, however

LadyKate: oh yeah, he definitely felt he had put Gabrielle in danger.

Aurora: and I'm glad that he made the decision to leave. i'm sure that was hard.

Aurora: glad in the dramatic nature of it, I mean, not that I want him gone

LadyKate: Yeah -- I think he felt guilty about getting Najara killed, too.

Aurora: oh yeah

LadyKate: Interesting that Xena continues to distrust Najara and Ares suggests that it's because she's jealous of her influence on Gabrielle.

Aurora: hmmm, yeah. and Ares wasn't even personally aware of all that went down in the past. So yeah, that's interesting

LadyKate: yeah, but I think Xena said enough.

Aurora: maybe he's seeing his own feelings in her, too, to parallel the previous conversation they had about whether he has all of her (and the one he had with Haimon in the campfire scene in the beginning of the ep about how Gab will always come first for Xena.) maybe he kind of understands that feeling of someone else possibly taking away what's most important

LadyKate: Oh yeah -- that's an interesting point.

Aurora: of course, I'm sure Haimon leaving yet again didn't make Darion too happy. Though he did seem quite indifferent. kind of like he doesn't feel he needs Haimon around; he can handle things on his own? or that he just can't rely on Haimon

LadyKate: I think it's more that he resents him.

Aurora: yeah.

LadyKate: he's pretending to be indifferent but he also wants to prove to Haimon that they don't need him.

Aurora: yeah

LadyKate: anyway, I think this episode definitely accomplishes several important things. It's a good wrap-up to the Najara storyline, and it's a good reunion for Gabrielle and Haimon (and a good way for them to part), plus the Xena/Ares interaction is very nice.

Aurora: yeah, it really did. It's a nice sort of conclusion to the premiere

Aurora: so yeah, I'm glad we got to do this episode

LadyKate: yeah, very much so.

Aurora: well, thanks for discussion. I enjoyed it

LadyKate: yeah, me too

Aurora: I forgot to mention that I do love how we were able to bring Petra into the show. I think the city is fascinating

LadyKate: oh yeah -- it's great