I really enjoyed it, and I have to admit that while I was never a really big fan of the Eve/Virgil relationship in any way, I like the friendship that's developing here, and I really want to see what happens with them next! I liked Ares' helping Xena and the Athenians win the war, despite the fact that the Athenians were loyal to Athena. More about him is revealed with each episode, I guess! I can't wait to read more!
So how did Xena know about the government of Athens by reputation? I suppose she’d had time to catch up in her year-or-more back after the 25 year freeze… It was a nice touch introducing Pericles.
I enjoyed the way you brought up the Sparta/Athens conflict. For some reason, I’ve always been a fan of the Spartan culture. I was disappointed that X:WP didn’t bring them up in more than just OAAA, so it’s good to see the Spartans again here.
Ooooh, Virgil’s back! Meg’s not, though—wow, I feel bad for Virgil now. He’s lost both parents in such a short time. Cool makeup scene between Eve and Virgil. That’s another thing I wish I’d gotten to see onscreen: Virgil forgiving Eve. He wasn’t ready right away.
Some Ares/Xena interaction! It all works, but I’m looking forward to what’s to come, because it’s still the basic tension: Xena leading an army for the greater good, and Ares protecting his temples and his image. Great pictures.
Cool, battle scenes work just fine in script form. It’s nice to see human Xena again.
Again, not to bad of an episode. The only problem I had was that it seemed kind of short so it was rushed a few times (Eve brought up about going to Indus a lot) It was good to see Xena leading an army again and I liked the moments between Xena and Ares, I like how you can see their relationship slowly building up. I liked how he only had one temple, he basically just helped because he was watching out for his "girl." I feel bad for Virgil though, first his dad and then his mom, now he is stuck raising his brother and sister on his own. I didn't like how he just kind of forgave Eve, I think their relationship should have been built up a little more before he just forgave her. Other than that it was good in the end when they decided to take a vacation in Potedia, although I think they should have stayed with Virgil or invite him to come.
But because I like episodes with a good battle, the good out weighs the few problems I had so overall it was still a good episode.
When King Pericles falls very ill, out of his dying breath, he sends his man to get Xena to Athens as quickly as possible, in hope of preventing Athens to be destroyed. This scene is done in a very traditional Xena-style, which I've grown to love! Soon, the warrior princess discovers that there is a war going on between Athens and Sparta for years. She takes control of the armies and goes into the battle field with the best chance the people have...
In the meantime, there are emotional scenes that deal with the plague that is threatening to wipe out all Athens... including Virgil's younger brother and sister, Theon and Kara.
I like the idea that someone actually explored a real emotional crisis of a plague, because it hasn't been done much before. This time of need makes way perfectly for the interaction between Virgil and Eve. I have always felt there were a lot of unresolved feelings there and it's nice that it's all brought to a nice conclusion. At the same time the writer keeps them completely in character.
But of course with Xena you can't make a good story without it being a double-crisis! That is where the war against Sparta is brought in. And I think every shipper knows this: Where there's war there's also the god of war! Ares is brought into the situation and I must say that his conversation with Xena is very in character...for both of them. His reasons to help are somehow very convincing.
I was joyfully surprised at the end to find he saved her unconditionally. May be that is when he finally understood something about him and Xena. That he has to give in order to get anywhere. It is done really beautifully there and at the end, you get the sense that Xena's feelings changed towards him...at least by a bit!
All in all, I must say that it was a great way of involving all the characters we love in a time of need and creating an entertaining tale!
The episode starts off with the acknowledgement that Athens is in war with Sparta. The King of Athens, Pericles, is dying from disease and asks one of his loyal men to find Xena and ask her to take over the army; he then dies as the man accepts to fulfill his dying wish.
That night, Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve are at a campsite and all is well. Xena is sharpening her sword while Gabrielle and Eve finish eating their dinner. Hearing a rustle in a nearby bush, Xena quickly has her guard up. The same loyal man from Athens reveals himself as Delemus and informs her of the current situation at bay. Gracefully Xena accepts taking charge of the Athenian army against the war with Sparta; and begins her journey to the awaited country that desperately seeks her help.
The next day all four of them finally arrive at the city gates and are shocked to find out that a plague has depopulated half of the population. There they are reunited with Virgil, and it is only then that Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve learned that his mother, Meg, died and his siblings are very ill. Eve offers to help heal them, and Virgil agrees and leads her to them. Gabrielle, learning that the plague has hit her home town, Potedeia, rushes off to see how her sister and niece are going, this leaves Xena all lone.
Meanwhile she [Xena] goes over the battles plans on a map with Cleon, second in command of the army. When the plan is stabilized, she is left alone, watching the night's sky that is displayed out her window. Ares then materializes. Both then have a conversation about her being the head of the army and Ares, just being his cocking old self. This is one great moment during this episode because the author did a great job in writing and developing this conversation just the way it would have taken place. She pinpointed both characters well.
We are then cut to the battlefield. Now, Cleon then takes half the army to the east and Xena takes the other half to the west. With the Spartans in the middle, they hope to crush them between the two sets of Athenian troops. Cleon is faced with the Spartan leader, Barsidas, and then involved in a battle. At the end Cleon is killed.
Meanwhile, Xena is in battle and sees Cleon being killed. She rushes to his side and sees that there is nothing she can do, he then dies. Furiously, Xena wants to get revenge, and directly heads for Brasidas. Here, the episode could have used a little more detail in battle between the two. Brasidas grabs a crossbow and hits Xena with one, falling off of Argo, and charges at her. We then see his sword "run into a some invisible obstacle in the air", and Xena uses this chance to stick her sword through him, and of course, he dies. Xena, solving the mystery, realizes that it's Ares who did this and he in return shakes it off and answers "What's a God without temples?"
The next morning Xena is reunited with Eve, both say their goodbyes to Virgil, and reunite with Gabrielle in Potedeia.
This episode is well done however, it could have used a little more detail in one area in particular. The battle between Xena and Brasidas. We could have seen a little more fighting between the two instead of Xena getting knocked off her horse right away. Besides that, Aurora did a good job in writing this episode.
The interaction between Virgil and Eve was sweet and heart-warming. And the realisation that Ares didn't do it for the temples... *oooooh!* I always wanted him to do something like that! Oh and Aurora, you did a great job writing it!!!