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 26, 2012
LadyKate: Re-reading this, I was really reminded of what a strong episode this is. I've always liked "alternate history" storylines but this one was different in that it wasn't a timeline that COULD have happened, it's one that may still happen in the future unless it is averted.
Aurora: "what ifs" are always a favorite of mine. This episode was strong in that way and I loved seeing where their lives would be in 7 years from now. the bleak future is intriguing because of how dark it is and you really feel how hard life is and has been. I'm glad it's seen through Eve's eyes, someone who hasn't been around since... mid season 9?
LadyKate: Oh, that's true -- Eve really hasn't been around a lot. I can't remember, what was the previous episode in which she appeared?
Aurora: I think it was Crossroads, where she helped with letting the Amazon's baby boy stay with his mother.
LadyKate: oh yes, that's right. Yeah, and it was an episode where Eve was dealing with the legacy of her past as Livia and was quite troubled, so it would make sense that she'd go to the Fates in this ep.
Aurora: often times it would be Xena who'd take a journey like this but having Eve do it made it a whole lot different.
LadyKate: Very true. Though I think with Xena it was more trying to find an answer to a specific question (about the Twilight prophecy, for instance).
Aurora: I mean, having Eve learn of the future and the burden being on her shoulder, instead of xena ending up in the future trying to stop it. Eve's a more minor character but I like that she gets the focus here.
LadyKate: Yes, I'm generally quite happy with how we've developed Eve on the Shipper Seasons (since I think she was somewhat shortchanged by the show). You know, one thing that occurred to me -- we got to see how all the other characters developed in this alternate future, but we never got to see how Eve developed because the Eve in this episode basically replaces her future self.
Aurora: I think we got the gist that she'd become harder. I always imagined that she regained more of a Livia personality.
Aurora: I remember at one point we discussed making Eve transport into the future and instead of taking the place of future Eve, she interacted with Future Eve (so there would have been two Eve's, past and future). I like that she's thrown into the chaos that is the future as Eve and having to learn things along the way, things she should have already known.
LadyKate: Yeah, I think it worked out really well this way.
LadyKate: Plus we had already had an episode with three Eves in it.
Aurora: i think it was more that we wanted to do something different instead of her interacting with herself (like the conqueror eps, for instance). I like that she's thrown into the future like this, yeah.
LadyKate: And yeah, it was interesting to see everyone's reactions to her when they don't quite know what to make of her.
Aurora: oh yeah
Aurora: I like how her desperate need to fix things is even able to make Xena of the future see a glimmer of hope that life really could be better. Though it's hard, given all she's been through.
LadyKate: Yeah, though it's interesting that she doesn't really quite buy it as real.
Aurora: she has a very jaded view of life.
Aurora: Xena's darkness really interests me. Kind of similar to the Xena we saw in The Price--desperatly needing to keep their lives together while she continues to die inside because of the loss of Gabrielle and other important things in her life (like the inability to raise her daughter).
LadyKate: Oh yeah, very true. The Price is a good analogy, though obviously this Dark Xena has gone much farther -- she's willing to slaughter defenseless people who won't abandon the cult of Artemis.
Aurora: yeah, she is. i just find that line very interesting. she's definitely not EvilXena becuase she doesn't truely relish what she does but knows it's necessary. she's lost a lot of faith and is very troubled.
Aurora: It is good seeing Xena and Ares working together for this long. I'm sorry we killed Gabrielle but I wanted to see what Xena's long-term life could be like without Gabrielle in it. That was important; something we never really had a chance to see, only glimpses. (same as it would have been cool to be able to show how Gabrielle's long-term life could be like after Xena's death in Japa before the resurrection)
LadyKate: Well, I think killing off Gabrielle was important to the plot. I'd like to think that there are other scenarios in which Gabrielle is dead that wouldn't be quite so bleak for Xena (obviously, not saying that Gabrielle isn't very important to her!). It's not just that Gabrielle is dead, it's what's happening to the world, the nearly hopeless struggle against Artemis. But Gabrielle being dead is a big part of it.
Aurora: i know
LadyKate: You kind of have to wonder what would have happened to Gabrielle in this world had she survived.
Aurora: if she would have become dark too
Aurora: that would have been quite interesting to see
Aurora: unless, of course, Gabrielle choose to give up fighting to raise the kids as Aphrodite is doing here. I'm not really sure
Aurora: maybe she would have
LadyKate: Hmm. I don't really see her doing that.
Aurora: i don't know
LadyKate: I like how we brought some echoes of Xena/Gabrielle dialogue in the scene with Samuel at Gabrielle's grave.
Aurora: I love Samuel here
Aurora: and I love how Darion grew up to be a fighter like Gab especially taking up Gab's sais
LadyKate: Oh yeah. It's also interesting that he's a follower of Eli and Klymene keeps scoffing at that.
LadyKate: really interesting too how more and more things are revealed about this world gradually until we get more or less a full picture.
Aurora: yeah, that was good
LadyKate: Haimon and Virgil are both dead, and all of the Amazons except Klymene and Lykia.
Aurora: yeah, quite sad. though necessary to show, too
Aurora: i guess Haimon and Virgil would have to be dead--otherwise, we'd wonder where they are in the middle of all this
LadyKate: well, theoretically they could have been off fighting somewhere else -- but I think we wanted to make the point that the toll of this war had been so heavy.
Aurora: yeah. i actually always thought it would have been better if Athena hadn't been killed but that she was the last remaining god who's gone into hiding or something like that
LadyKate: Hmm, that might have been interesting though I kind of like the idea of Artemis being the only god left.
Aurora: i know the circumstances were bleak, but i like that Xena and Ares had a child. She's a sweetie and the scene between them and then when Xena gets back to talk to Ares about it are some of my favorite scenes.
Aurora: it's interesting how Ares does kind of take up Gabrielle's role in Xena's life. at least, as a constant support for her. she needs that and I'm glad Xena had someone close to her still.
LadyKate: Yeah, he does. And I agree about the child but it's also pretty heartbreaking, especially since it's pretty clear that in this future both Xena and Ares die.
Aurora: yeah, it is. still, for the moment, it's just nice to see that not everything in Xena's life is horriable even if she can't spend as much time with her daughter as she would like.
Aurora: and it's sad how it appears that Ares rarely gets to see her ever. She gives Ares' pendent to their daughter for her birthday; I have to wonder just how long it has been since he'd seen her.
LadyKate: Yeah, I have a feeling it's been a pretty long time.
Aurora: so it's not just Xena that's been cut off, she's just the one we see react to it. Ares cares as much.
LadyKate: Oh, of course -- it's heartbreaking for both of them.
LadyKate: But I think may be more so for Xena because she already had the experience of not being there to raise her child twice.
Aurora: yeah. though Ares having a child with xena was probably quite an important thing for him, too. I like that he tries to cheer Xena up by telling her that even with everything against them, they still had a child. so in a way there is still hope.
LadyKate: Oh yeah, very true. I think that to him the very existence of this child matters a great deal, the fact that he had a child with Xena that is a part of them both.
Aurora: oh yeah
Aurora: it's quite interesting to see Sabina as Empress of Rome yet she's doing Artemis' bidding. above all else, she wants to keep the power she's been given even if she doesn't enjoy following orders. shows her where her priorities are and what's most important to her. what things would have been like had she just taken Eve up on her offer and left Artemis...
LadyKate: Yeah -- well, I don't think she would have because she's too pragmatic. She doesn't think there's enough of a chance they can win.
Aurora: i know.
LadyKate: but yeah, Sabina was interesting here (as always), the way that she's still trying to preserve some independence.
Aurora: very interesting to think about how she would have stayed powerful once the rebellion is over
LadyKate: yeah, that is a good question.
Aurora: you know, not speaking of the story for a moment, i really enjoyed being able to create the visual world of this future through the graphics. it was a lot of fun making their armor and adjustments. would have been a great visual episode to watch for real especially with the gray-ish tone. really sets the mood
LadyKate: oh yeah, definitely -- I would have loved to see this one played out.
LadyKate: and yeah, the illustrations really created this sense of a very bleak world.
LadyKate: It's interesting how many characters we managed to bring in without making it feel too crowded (at least I didn't think it was). Good appearances by Evander and Zenobia.
Aurora: thinking back, i'm not sure how important Zenobia was but it did really show our viewers that she really didn't die in What Separates Us. I liked that Evander was involved
LadyKate: Well, I think it also showed that Xena was willing to ally herself with just about anyone to have at least a chance of beating Artemis.
Aurora: oh yeah. right, that was good
LadyKate: Also, the plan to destroy Rome was an interesting twist. I like that it wasn't a complete suicide mission.
LadyKate: There was a high risk that Xena, Ares, or both were going to die, but it wasn't completely hopeless.
Aurora: i agree, having them go against Rome was quite interesting. i like, too, that in the end, Ares and Xena have to separate to do what must be done
Aurora: to stop Artemis
LadyKate: To see them knowingly going on a suicide mission with absolutely no chance of making it out alive would have been too bleak
Aurora: yeah, there was always a chance
Aurora: it's one of my favorite eps. very strong and thought-provoking.
LadyKate: Oh, yeah. one thing that really showed how desperate Xena is was that she'd consider sacrificing Eve to carry out the attack on Rome.
Aurora: and how ironic that was when Ares brought it up, how years ago she'd kill the gods to protect that same daughter
LadyKate: Yeah. And interesting that it's Ares who goes in to save Eve.
LadyKate: Oh, one really nice touch was when after rescuing Eve, Ares spares the life of the guard who releases her, and then after the guard mutters "Praise Artemis!" Ares runs him through with a backward thrust.
LadyKate: Again, very dark, but really shows how hardened they have been by their struggle.
Aurora: yeah, that was good
Aurora: Ares had a hard time believing that Eve was really there to change things but I think when he sees that maybe Xena has hope (though small), he's more willing to do what Xena can't and that's why he goes to rescue Eve
LadyKate: Yeah, that was interesting
Aurora: he probably doesn't want to see what happens if xena loses someone else that is important to Xena even if she seems to feel she has to do something as dark as letting Eve die. he doesn't want her in more pain and regret than she already is.
LadyKate: Yeah--I don't think it's that he himself cares so much about Eve.
Aurora: that last moment in the final battle when Xena and Ares are fighting side by side and Xena goes straight into the danger, sharing a look with Ares before she goes, is really powerful. You kind of see that that look is the last look they will ever share.
LadyKate: Yeah, that's very true. You know, for some reason I had the idea before I re-read the episode that we see them crawling toward each other when they are already mortally wounded, but then I realized that doesn't happen.
Aurora: I always get confused by the placement of that, too. that happens in Eye of the Storm (Eve's dream)--what happens after the screen goes black at the end of The Dark Ages
LadyKate: Ooh, THAT's where! Thanks. I was confusedů.
Aurora: yeah, it worked to have Eve later see what happened that we never saw. makes things even more tragic--and Eve more determined to stop it.
LadyKate: Yeah, I'll have to re-read that part now. Anyway, as you said, extremely powerful episode.
Aurora: i really enjoyed re-reading it
Aurora: also, the cameo of Hercules was a little random but not too bad. i have to wonder if he's spent much of the last 7 years as a gladiator or prisoner. I'm sure he never would have been a part of Xena's force, killing people for not joining the rebel cause
LadyKate: Actually I was going to say that the Hercules cameo, while a good idea, sort of disappointed me a bit because we hardly had any idea what he's been doing (and if he was a prisoner why did it take 7 years?). Does Xena know what happened to him? it's kind of odd because the killing of Hercules would be a pretty big event and here it's just this random incident that goes unnoticed.
Aurora: perhaps he chose to stand with his family and when they went down, he was taken and spent whatever time as a prisoner. though i don't know why Artemis would wait to kill him.
LadyKate: yeah, me neither
Aurora: actually, it would have made sense if killing him was Sabina's ticket to becoming Empress (like the last thing Artemis intended). it could have been a mention as a brief flashback by Xena. that might have been cool, and would have given his death meaning and purpose
LadyKate: Yeah, it would have. I was just going to say, this might have worked better as a flashback.
LadyKate: Well, what can you do - even a good episode is never perfect. you always look at it later and think what could have been done differently.
Aurora: that's what fanfic is for. ha
Aurora: at least it's fairly small so easily overlooked