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Drawing Blood

The Good:

-The return of Diana, Philemon, and Autolycus... even if they were only in the episode briefly.

-Yet another "huh?" moment is fixed: Artemis had a child for pretty much the same reason Ares wanted one in Season 5. I think the whole scene with Xena in Artemis' temple is one of my favorites since it was very dramatic and Artemis' character wasn't so one-dimensional.

-Athena as the hero instead of the villain.

The Bad:

This episode felt like two mixed in one. The first half is light and humorous, but once Autolycus leaves there's not much in the way of humor. I also wish Autolycus had a larger part instead of returning the statue and then leaving.

Elfrieda

I love the fact that we got to go back and see what happened to some characters from the earlier seasons (Diana and Philemon), for starters. And it was great to see Autolycus back in fine form, and the dialogue with him was as funny as ever. "I'm a big girl, Autolycus." "And in all the right places, too."

I also liked the fact that you brought the Olympian gods back into the picture - it's been a while since we've seen most of them. Giving Artemis and Apollo a story (even though they're meanies ) was a great idea, as was showing the more compassionate side of Athena. Adding on top of that the plot with Evander, Nemesis, and Ares could've turned out to be a giant muddle, but the way this was handled was excellent, and it all worked beautifully together. The interaction between Xena and Ares (and Autolycus ) was brief but very enjoyable.

I also liked how you recycled the Niobe character and gave her a really interesting development. Poor Amphion and kids! And poor Diana and Philemon!

And as always, the graphics were great - love the collage!!

Here's to another 5-chakram episode of the Shipper Seasons!


Aurora

I really did like how we're bring back the gods. We've not seen them since, I believe, season 7. So that was a nice thing to bring them back. And we finally got to bring Apollo into XWP.

This episode felt like a very classic Xena episode. I'm not sure what it was about it that made it feel that way but Xena and Gabrielle getting involved to help people with a problem felt like old times. Of course, the story was very dark, with all that happened to Niobe. Such as sad story.

I love that Auto was back again. I absolutely loved his line "And in all the right places, too". That's such an Auto thing to say.

The Ares/Evander thing was subtle but worked well in the episode. There is a lot of tension there. I'm really liking the Evander character, particularly because of the tension between him and his father. I'd like to see more develop. The ending of the episode was so poignant.

I also loved how Athena was presented in this episode. It's nice to see her being one of the "good guys". I always loved her character and I think this is a fitting role for her, as the only Olympian to really show compassion.


AglaiaWar

I can say this was a classic. Written like a true XWP Ep it really hit home to the original bad guy gets it. Though my one little criticism is that I don't see Artimis as an evil character.

My favorite part was when Artimis started telling Xena how it's not fair that her son had died and Eve got to live. Since she was evil her saying that I needed some insurance really struck me as villainy! LOL


CasualFan

very well-written, Ryan!

You know, this is the first SS ep I've seen that I don't think TPTB would have filmed - not because of its quality, but rather its subject matter. The Niobe legend is very dark and savage, showing the Olympians at their cruelest and most arbitrary - Apollo and Artemis are more fiends than gods here. Even the H:TLJ staff, who specialized in showing the gods as "petty and cruel," probably would have shied away from the scene of the divine twins slaughtering Niobe's family, or at least have framed it in a different light (i.e. Hera killing the family to "get at" Herc somehow). Apollo was already a designated 'bad guy," but seeing Artemis in the same light really does make you wonder if Xena did the right thing in resurrecting the Olympians, although Athena saves the day in the end. Evander's dislike of the gods appears once again to be very well-founded!

Great to see Auto and Diana again - the dialogue for both came off as completely in-character, and Diana's initial reaction to Xena and Gab was great. The plotting was fast-paced, and the story was tighly constructed with no real loose ends. I'd be interested to see how the Ares/Evander relationship develops over the season - it's obviously a minor element here, but there looks to be some good angst potential in it.

My compliments to Ryan, and to everyone else involved in the ep - well done!


Steph

Finally was able to read the episode and it turned out really great. It felt morel ike a season 2 or season 3 episode and I liked the return of Diana and Autolucus. Incorporating the Niobe myth into the story made it even better and I enjoyed how the story kept building up and building up. It was clever to trick the audience into thinking it was Apollo and Artemis who turned her into stone as punishment when really Athena did.

Seeing Evander and Nemesis again was nice as well. I would have liked to see some more interaction with Ares but I think the episode was handled well enough to not need it. I am curious as to if we will see anymore of the gods after this and how they will be handled.

Overall I thought it was a great episode. It wasn't as good as What Separtes Us 1 and 2 but it seemed like this story was tied together more. It enertained me so I give it an 8.5/10.

By the way this season is really off to a great start. The first five episodes have all been awesome and are a wide variation of stories. The only thing I am curious about is if their will be a season long arc like last season. I hope so.