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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!

May 11, 2012

LadyKate: I had forgotten a lot of things about Part 2 that were really interesting, like Zarek challenging Ares and Ares killing him (and just generally the whole aspect of Ares being hardened by his new role and Xena being bothered by it).

Aurora: he sees a glimpse of what he always was as the GOW but he's seeing it from another side now, too. I do love how he tells Xena (his reasons for killing Zarek) "no one defies..." and Xena finishes for him "...The God of War?" For that moment, he got caught up and felt the way he always used to feel. those parts of being the god of war will always be a part of him with or without powers/immortality. he's just finding new ways of dealing with it

LadyKate: yeah, that exchange is what I was thinking about. Really like the way that turned out.

Aurora: Brygus' history with Ares (explaining some of what happened during the time Xena and Gab were on ice) is interesting

Aurora: that he takes Ares hostage and gives him a taste of his own medicine, so to speak. Ares living the consequences of what he'd done to someone

Aurora: i think that was a nice thing to try now that Ares is mortal. like OAHAF but further (and more serious)

LadyKate: Yeah, though I was wondering if it should have been done differently, like Ares simply double-crossing him because he had found another favorite. Just because in this case we're almost presenting Ares in too sympathetic a light, so to speak (the past Ares I mean) -- he didn't help out Brygus because he was depressed, basically. :D I'm sure there were plenty of times when he promised someone his help and then abandoned them because he had another agenda. (Like he did with the warlord in "Ties That Bind," Kirillus.)

LadyKate: But yeah, having him take Ares hostage for revenge was good. And it was an interesting twist that then he let him go (to lure Xena into the trap).

LadyKate: By the way, really good illustration of Xena tending to Ares' cuts. :)

LadyKate: I love how it sort of recalls "Ten Little Warlords" but it's a different image.

Aurora: i don't know. i don't think it has to be seen as him being depressed. i think of it more that he looses himself in war (the fighting). he also goes off and basically becomes well-known in Rome, even early on. I think it's just a matter of him leaving which isn't hard to imagine (the woman at the beginning of "Livia" did tell Xena/Gab that Ares hadn't been seen in those parts in 25 years.) So clearly, Ares did leave somewhere after he put their bodies to rest.

Aurora: and basically i think he could have put another life behind him and dealt with more outside of Greece (also because he was probably still on the outs with the other gods, more or less)

LadyKate: Oh yeah, definitely. The part about him leaving was an interesting touch (I can't remember, did we mention that before at some point? the part about him basically abandoning Greece and relocating to Rome).

Aurora: i know i had tried to make it clear in an early version of the episode. but that was my specific thought process behind him ignoring or not hearing Brygus' prayers. there is a flashback in the ep that shows him looking out over Rome. what I really did want to show was that Ares basically re-locates himself to Rome, which is why he becomes so popular there (as shown in "Livia") as well as gets involved with Livia. He could have just basically turned his back on Greece, because of Xena, because of his family etc.

LadyKate: Oh yeah, him looking out over Rome. That was good. I guess I was thinking about the part where he watches the battle in the portal but isn't showing much interest in it.

LadyKate: The relocation to Rome, I like. :)

Aurora: okay

LadyKate: Oh, and nice touch when Xena sees the devastated village and then the army with the same banners Ares had in Coming Home.

Aurora: the shock value of Xena thinking Ares could have been back to his "old ways" was quite fun to do

LadyKate: Yeah, definitely. Also, having Brygus's powers be in the ring (rather basically being made a permanent part of him) was a nice twist.

Aurora: yeah. took a similar idea to The ring trilogy that way. it was the best way to have Artemis give Brygus Ares' powers (also another great twist)

Aurora: you know, i just had a thought

LadyKate: To be honest one thing that I kind of wish we'd done differently was the way they find out (Brygus briefly losing the ring when it slides off his finger after he's slammed against the wall). That just doesn't seem very probable, a ring sliding off that way. Just wondering in retrospect if we could have done something different there. Like have it be a pendant instead of a ring (which could come off more easily), or even have Xena or Ares accidentally wrench it off his hand while wrestling him.

Aurora: okay

LadyKate: and yeah? go ahead

Aurora: yeah

LadyKate: I mean, it's not a major thing, just could have worked better, I think.

Aurora: it would have been cool if it were a pendent. (i might have even thought of that idea at one point). the idea that it's kind of connected with the person though through the use of a ring works. he could have struggled with Ares and it came off.

LadyKate: Yeah. Or actually, another way that could have worked out is if they'd figured it out without him losing it -- like if Xena or Ares had noticed the ring glow while Brygus was using his powers, and put two and two together. That would have been really great because then Brygus would be totally off-guard (not knowing that they know his power comes from the ring).

Aurora: yeah

LadyKate: I do love the scene where Ares gets it off him (and Xena sets it up by causing Brygus to throw fireballs at her).

LadyKate: the "That's the end of Ares, God of War" and "More like a new beginning" exchange.

Aurora: i like that exchange between Brygus and Ares, too, when Ares becomes a god again (which is really great to see--really have missed that).

LadyKate: Yeah, that was really cool (though for a brief time). I prefer mortal Ares, overall, but it's really great to see him with his powers.

Aurora: i like mortal Ares, too. but i do miss the GOW sometimes (mostly because of his powers)

Aurora: okay, let me say what I wanted to say. then we'll continue

LadyKate: sure

Aurora: you mentioned that in the past Ares could have simply turned his back on Brygus because he found someone better. We really missed a great opportunity by making him leave because Livia was more interesting to him (and also bring in those xena connections and the fact that Ares likes female warriors most of all).

Aurora: it would have had to have been at a different point in time than what we have in the flashbacks but it definitely could have worked.

Aurora: (different in terms of the year it happened, and Brygus would have probably been a different age) since when Ares first meets Livia it was when she was like 15/16, and she probably didn't become a great warrior in Rome until a few years later.

LadyKate: Oh yeah -- that would have been great.

Aurora: i wish we would have done that.

LadyKate: great idea. It's too bad that sometimes one only gets great ideas looking backward, lol.

Aurora: yeah, i guess. I really loved this episode. i hope it's still as good even if we're second-guessing ourselves. i do wish we'd thought about it more then, i guess

LadyKate: Oh, it still has a lot of really good things - like I said, I love the way Ares gets the ring from Brygus, and how Xena sets it up by provoking him to throw fireballs at her. And her line "What a waste of firepower. Typical god." LOL.

Aurora: okay

LadyKate: Ares throwing the ring into the fire was a nice touch, though.

Aurora: yeah

LadyKate: One thing I was kind of wondering about too (sorry to do more second-guessing here….) is whether it makes sense for Ares to throw away a ring with such powers considering that they're up against Artemis.

Aurora: that's dealt with in the next ep

LadyKate: Oh, okay -- yeah, I remember us discussing it at the time.

LadyKate: Anyway, as long as it's dealt with I have no problem with it. I mean, I can understand why he'd want to throw it away.

LadyKate: Ares getting those gauntlets back was another nice touch. He had to get them back sooner or later, lol.

Aurora: the reunion scene between Xena and Ares is one of my favorites (how she comes to him on the side of the road). the bedroom scene (with the use of the TLW image) was a favorite. I like the Xena/Ares interaction in this episode a lot, especially how he gives up the powers completely in the end. he's fully committed to mortality now and i think that's interesting to see. and i do like the idea of him possibly making the wrong decision giving them up so easily. i like that he could have consequences

LadyKate: And yeah, their interaction was good. I like that Xena has her doubts about Ares when she sees the army, but she's not overly paranoid, so to speak.

Aurora: i'm glad he gets his gauntlets back. i also like that Xena puts them on him (reminds me of her wearing one of them in OAHAF before she hands them back).

Aurora: anyway, it's a great episode in my eyes. still one of my favorites of the series

LadyKate: The illustrations were great, I love Ares in the armor. And also the image from his conversation with Xena that uses the LDITE screencap.

Aurora: yeah

Aurora: thanks for reading and discussing

Aurora: I hope you still enjoy the episode even though you're disappointed about some of those points now.

LadyKate: Oh, I did enjoy it. To be totally honest it's not one of my favorites (I think my favorites of this season are "Quite a Tale to Tell" and "Dark Ages"), but there was still some really good stuff here and I enjoyed rereading it.

Aurora: well, it's my favorite

LadyKate: okay -- well, we don't have to have the same favorite episodes. :)

Aurora: i consider it the best one i ever worked on, and i enjoy it most because it represents so many things i've always wanted to see dealt with. so yeah, it's one of my favorites of the series

Aurora: so i'm very proud of the episode (I and II).

LadyKate: okay, cool

Aurora: thanks

Aurora: i did love the final battle with Ares, Xena, and his army against Brygus and how he's forced to kill Brygus in the end, kind of with the feeling that he doesn't want to/shouldn't but must.

LadyKate: Oh yeah, definitely.

Aurora: with the same dagger that he gave Brygus many years ago

Aurora: there's a lot of great development for Ares over the two episodes.

Aurora: and i still think the scenes between Xena and Ares in the end are sweet

LadyKate: yeah, very much so. and him giving her what's left of the ring is a great idea.

Aurora: just a chunk of rock but still very special. some of the best shipper scenes, IMO

LadyKate: And the "no regrets."

Aurora: yeah, very much so

Aurora: the ideas with the town and them realizing Artemis for what she truly is, while good, do take a back seat to Ares' storyline. i think it works well.

LadyKate: well, it's fine - it's meant to be a background storyline.

Aurora: leading into the next ep, too. so we just get a taste here

LadyKate: Yeah. Okay, I think that wraps it up pretty much. :)

Aurora: anyway, thanks very much for taking the time to read the episode and talking about it with me. one more season 10 re-run episode to discuss and i'm looking forward to it.

LadyKate: okay, cool. :)