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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 20, 2012

LadyKate: I thought this was a really strong way to wrap up the Artemis/Twilight arc, picking up strands from several earlier episodes including of course "The Dark Ages."

Aurora: yeah it was

LadyKate: Picking Ephesus as the location was a really nice touch and I really liked the idea (which was yours, I think?) of having worshipers of Artemis in this episode who are not blind but very aware of all her faults.

Aurora: yeah, i just think it was really important to show that side of the gods. I mean, worshiping the gods has been a lifestyle for so many people for so many years. Not all of them would have been delusional or simply doing what they were told like puppets. It was good to see people who understood the good and bad of their god and worshiped them despite their faults

Aurora: not even the gods are 100% perfect

LadyKate: yeah, and that was an interesting analogy the priestess made to Xena.

Aurora: yeah, Artemis is quite damaged that has made her appear evil. but she has other sides to her. like her discussion with her mother who's a ghost

LadyKate: well, I don't think she's just damaged -- I mean, we've certainly shown her do very evil things. but it was interesting to see a more vulnerable side to her.

Aurora: but she's changed a lot since the whole Twilight 2.0 started. the death of her brother, her mother. yeah, i do think she's damaged. obviously, it doesn't mean she's not capable of evil in her own right (which she is) but there are a lot of things working against her and a lot of choices she's made because of them that make her who she's been

LadyKate: well, she's changed in that she's more desperate obviously. but in "Set in Stone", for instance, we saw that she and Apollo cold-bloodedly killed the children of a woman who refused to worship their mother when it was really not a matter of survival but of ego. I still don't really have much sympathy for her.

Aurora: well, i can. which is why i do like the analogy to xena that the priestess made

LadyKate: well…. I think it's an interesting analogy, but I think there's a pretty easy rebuttal to it actually. Xena's evil acts are in the past and she has repented them and made an effort to atone. That's certainly not true of Artemis. I mean, she obviously has some vulnerabilities like her love for her family, but even so.

Aurora: ok

LadyKate: the scene with her and her mother had some interesting similarities to Callisto and her mother.

Aurora: yeah

LadyKate: and yeah, there was some interesting moral ambiguity here in that instead of people being brainwashed into supporting Artemis, they're basically brainwashed (by Evander) into abandoning her at least long enough that her powers may weaken

Aurora: a very gray area

Aurora: they were well on their way to doing things as they had done in the future, when desperate enough to stop Artemis

LadyKate: oh yeah, that's very true. and that was a great moment when Eve arrives and thinks that Gabrielle is dead and she was too late

Aurora: yeah, and that they can't always change the future completely with the belief that Ares dies in the end

LadyKate: oh yeah -- that was really good. them thinking that someone else (Ares) took Gabrielle's place.

LadyKate: it was good to see more of a real father/son relationship between Ares and Evander, too.

Aurora: if only brief, it was good

Aurora: first time Evander has seen Ares when he's been mortal

LadyKate: oh yeah-that's true actually

Aurora: good how so many things lead up to the events of what we believe started the future of "The Dark Ages": Eve and the others arrival in Ephesus, Evander, an ultimate battle with Artemis, Gabrielle doing the bard thing at the beginning of the episode

LadyKate: oh yeah, very true.

Aurora: only difference is that Gabrielle leaves, then Artemis' defeat, and that makes the future (as we saw it before) no longer possible

Aurora: it was good filling in those gaps and piecing things together to see the full picture

LadyKate: yeah, obviously -- though you kind of have to wonder why Gabrielle leaving rather than being killed would turn the course of the battle, or was that explained?

Aurora: it wasn't explained specifically but I don't think it needed to be. the main thing was that Gabrielle was supposed to die in that battle or in some way, die in Ephesus. once Gabrielle had chosen to leave, she's no longer a factor. perhaps her death could have changed the course of the battle, a distraction, and Artemis was able to overpower them and they were forced to retreat. we don't know for certain. but her death could have meant a great deal--Artemis could have done something more than simply kill her. we just don't know, but it's interesting to think about how that one event can make things change

LadyKate: yeah. it may even just be that when Gabrielle was killed Xena was so devastated that that in itself changed the outcome of the battle.

Aurora: that's what i think, too

Aurora: i love Ares' role, how he realizes the consequences of giving up the ring but Xena explains to him why it should never have been able to fall into someone else's hands.

LadyKate: yeah, that was dealt with really well, I thought

Aurora: and he wants to go to Ephesus to clean up the mess but Xena won't let him go alone. that's one of my favorite lines between them, about how he's got her now and he's stuck with her. they'll do things together

LadyKate: oh yeah -- that was a very good line from Xena.

Aurora: sometimes i just getting this feeling of how cool it is, how much they've grown. i love him as a mortal and their interaction and developments of their relationship because of it

LadyKate: they've definitely come a long way. and seeing Xena grieving for him when she thinks he's dead was a great moment too.

Aurora: yeah, it was. it was important to see that side of her. and it was a beautiful reunion. i just love how it's written, too, how she just enfolds him in her arms. it was better than a kiss could have been at that moment because of the connection, i think

LadyKate: I also like the idea of getting Athena to save him.

Aurora: yeah. i do like her a lot. she was the first one he hugged after they brought her back from the dead in season 7. i think it's quite fitting for her to extend her hand and do something for him when he needs it most

Aurora: (i mean, in addition to the few other times she's helped him out) I just like that she did come to save him

LadyKate: oh yeah, definitely. it's like her last gift to him while she still have powers. Actually it's been a really good aspect of the Shipper Seasons how we have gradually built up Athena as an ally to Xena and Ares.

Aurora: yeah, a place she deserved to be.

LadyKate: I think this is a really good way to wrap up the Twilight Arc. Good end for Artemis (well, not good as in things turned out well for her, but strong conclusion to her story), and really good for the other gods too.

Aurora: yeah, it is. it would be cool to see Athena one last time, though, just 'cause I like her. but things are concluded well here.

Aurora: i love how Eve acknowledges what Ares means to Xena as well. Somehow, hearing someone utter what we know Xena feels makes it more real, more like it's really happening. at least for me.

LadyKate: well, I don't think it makes it more real for me but it's an important step for Eve given her own issues over Xena and Ares. And yeah, I think it's now fully acknowledged by everyone around Xena that Ares is part of her family.

Aurora: i just mean that i like hearing someone else other than Xena or Ares say something like that. it's an accepted part of their lives is what I mean.

LadyKate: yeah, it is.