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Natty

And so, another score for those who hate Gabrielle for FIN. She could save Xena, but chose "Greater Good", while Xena forgets about GG if it's a question of her friend, both in "One Against An Army" and now. Though she worked out brilliant plan. Sure, we cannot rewrite the history, so Romans took Jerusalem, with or without Xena. Btw, what I especially want to mention is historical veracity of the whole episodes, both parts. Though I'm glad that you had left out some details like chopped-off hands by Titus' order or disemboweled refugees. Brr.

Honestly, the whole this ep was surprise for me. I was sure that Haimon would be in Roman army, and as the curtain fell, he and Gab would met. But I guess, we must wait for coming home. And also about Gabrielle - wow, she gave birth to boy. After "Ends and Means" I thought, that Gypsy Magda told about 'future' girl, not about Hope. Again surprise. And not to mention Naomi-actress (Alcmene, huh? ), and the name for Gab's son (cannot think about such to the last)

I also was surprised at Sabina in the end of ep, well, she obviously becomes "good maker". Btw, I wonder (after the first part), is it happen accidentally that warrior Sabina fights under the command of Titus or do you draw a parallel between her and Syrian Sabinus? (I half waited that she would be killed in part II like her namesake in reality). And Aurora, it's awesome work, I say about Sabina in Roman armour. Perfect!

Well, what also. Now my prime interest is if Xena and Ares will meet or fail to meet. I don't know how long does trip Athens-Jerusalem last in those times, but what if Ares will arrive to here, and Xena and Co will be on the other ship? Without his powers, telephones, telegraph... I hope, they'll meet.

Thank you, guys! You made my day!


Elaine

After I finished it I was left with a sense of anti climax. The first episode was so good, this one didn't quite match up. But I think some of it was because I expected there to be a cliffhanger ending and Haimon to appear, so in a way it was my fault. I thought the handling of Ares was good, he was frustrated he could not help more but decided to do what he could out of concern for Xena (and I like to think Gabrielle and Darion). Sabina was beautifully portrayed as were Samuel and his mother. I thought the clips chosen for Xena contemplating what to do were odd, I thought the legacy one might fit better, but in the end she had no choice. As Gabrielle said it was about living with yourself and Xena couldn't live with herself if she knew she could have saved Gabrielle. An interesting end to the series and roll on Number 10.


asere

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! IT was a fantastic episode but what about Ares and Xena!!!! Damnit! What happens when he finds them missing, they could never be together again! That's cruel and unusual punishment! Pleasepleapleapleasepleapsle let them find each other in the permier that's all i ask for. Please!


bunnykissinger

ok So...i agree with many of the peoples above...i would name you but that's a lot of effort!...giggles...the hand cutting, i agree that stuck out of the story...

And, lol...yes, yet another shippers without Xena and Ares being together...but at least Ares was in the teaser...lol...the teasing teaser!...and typical mortal Ares, drinking!...giggles!...but frustration! he was coming to help but then never showed up to help...grrrr...that was a plot twist!...but I gotta say, awww to ares giving up his gauntlet to pay for the trip...how sweet...but boo, cause that was one sexy gauntlet...

and to Gabrielle's baby...awww...a boy...and grrr.. Samuel...however it is spelled...yet another "Xena baby" being named after a 'bible' character...giggles! But i am glad she had a boy, because having YET another girl would have been excessive! Because logically, since neither of them, HOPE AND EVE, had a real father, the "had" to be a girl...but it is nice to have a real 50/50 chance!

but overall.... yay! and boo...it was a perfect season finally...a resolution with a cliff hanger!


sarinou

Finally having enough time to comment it.

First of all : I loved it! It's just one of those episodes that, once you start reading it, you just CAN'T stop. There's just so much going on at the same time that I almost went crazy with the stress...

I also thought we would see Haimon in this one but like toxic said, maybe it was better this way (although it's kind of sad that he wasn't there for the baby's birth ).

btw : Gabby' got a baby boy!!!!! I trully believed she was gonna have a little girl (because she already had Darion) but I'm glad she didn't. This way there won't be any bad Hope memories coming back to her (well, at least not as much as if she had a baby girl). Besides, it's good to see a different scenario from the ones we got in the show

for a moment there I thought Ares would be back in time to save the day (or maybe I should say save the battle) in Jerusalem but the historical facts can't be changed and unfortunately that's how it ended. But now I really can't wait to see him back with the girls.

I also wanted to say that you did some incredible work with all the strategy part. Don't know wether it was just your imagination or if you did look for it in some history books but it was both realistic and very interesting to read.

One last thing : Aurora, your pics were just wow


Ryan

Great to see this episode finally finished. It turned out great. While I did think the first episode was paced out a little better, I still really liked this episode. Great development for Darion...our little boy is growing up Also love Gabrielle in her vulnerable state, and now she has a new baby. Can't wait to see her growth next season!

Xena was great as usual. I love the Greater Good comparison, the reference to past episodes, and her decision...that we all expected. The birth of Gabrielle's baby, intercrossed with the fall of Jerusalem, turned out to be very intense. These episodes really turned out great for a historical story, and I think its so interesting to compare them to the Roman two-parter in the beginning of the season where they aided the Romans, and now they find themselves at odds again.

Loved that we saw Ares, but he never showed up (like we expected he would). These episodes were very much Xena and Gabrielle's story, and while much of the SS fans would disagree, they are still the center of the show. Its so fascinating to compare all of the changes they have went through over the years, and while they have changed, they are still very much the same in the fact that they always put each other first. The addition of baby Samuel should make things even more interesting for future episodes.

Also loved the further development of Sabina. She continues to evolve, and she makes the episode that much more interesting. Her role in the Roman Empire is interesting, and I am very excited to see her development continue on, because we know we haven't seen the last of her!

Overall, great episode, and great ending. While I would have prefered a little bit more of a cliffhanger, we are definitley entering the final season with a lot of open ends.

Xena and Gabrielle are left in the aftermath of a fallen Jerusalem, Ares is searching for them, Haimon is still MIA and doesn't know about his child (as far as we know), and Sabina's role with the Romans could continue to make things even more interesting. Not to mention, we have no idea what is going on back in Greece with Artemis and the remaining gods.

The final season should be an interesting one.


Daughter of Tiaran

This commentary will cover both parts of the ep, since I went back and read the first one after reading the second:

I enjoyed the weaving of actual historical events with events in the Xenaverse--I thought it was done really well and in the best Xenaverse tradition. To me it felt as if Xena and Gabrielle were caught up in events much larger than they were, beyond their control--the intercutting of the inevitable biological process of Samuel's birth with the final assault on the temple helped to add to this impression, and I also liked the juxtaposition of new life being born in the middle of a battle where so many were dying. We see that Xena's first choice will still always be Gabrielle, in that she was willing to leave the battlefield where she was needed when she heard that something was going wrong with Gabrielle's birth--that felt very true to the character, as did her repeated attempts to send Gabrielle away and get her out of danger. Sabina was excellently characterized--I enjoyed watching her very much, and her final decision to allow Xena and Gabrielle to escape was a nice touch of ambiguity. The casting choices were intriguing (actually, for those MiSTie fans out there, Bar-Giora reminded me of Sartoris in "The Final Sacrifice" but it worked). I also enjoyed the touch of making Josephus a Gabrielle-fanboy--that was a nice detail.

As for your question, LK, whether Xena was able to protect Gabrielle *and* do the right thing....all I'll say is that my feeling was that the events were larger than Xena. She could not control them, nor substantially alter the way they were going to come out. Possibly it was the use of actual history that added to this feeling, since we already know how the story ends, but if Rome was determined to crush Jerusalem, *really* determined, Jerusalem would fall. Xena might be able to stave off defeat for a while, but the endgame would be the same--the power disparity was too great for even Xena (at least, non-SuperXena) to affect. Furthermore, the Jerusalemites had their own problems with the power split between John and Bar-Giora--Bar-Giora's megalomania effectively helped cripple whatever defense the Jerusalemites could muster and like Aurora, I suspect that would have been the case whether or not Xena was on the battlefield. Given that, to me, Xena's going to help Gabrielle didn't seem like a question of the Greater Good so much as, In a chaotic and rapidly changing situation, where do your priorities lie? Xena's lie with the woman to whom she has devoted her life. Of course, she shouldn't have left the battlefield like that, and if a modern general were to do that he or she would probably be court-martialled, but in the end I can't see that it made much of a difference one way or the other.

(Actually, maybe just because I've been rereading Gone With The Wind, but that scene reminded me a bit of Dr. Meade during the fall of Atlanta, only in reverse--when Scarlett came to ask him for help with Melanie's baby, and then again when it turned out that his son Darcy had been fatally wounded. But in that case there was a clear service that Dr. Meade could render that only he could perform and that was directly related in a one-to-one relationship of saving lives).

A couple of little things: Josephus's defense of Yodfat, to me, seemed obviously doomed to fail--he's trying to beat the Romans at their own game with lesser numbers and probably less training and inferior equipment as well, and I would think that would be a strategy he should know wouldn't work. But OTOH, the fact that this is the strategy he would plan to me really seemed to help with his characterization--he admires Gabrielle and wants to emulate her, he admires the Romans' military organization (after all, aren't they the greatest warriors around?) and wants to emulate that. I don't know if it was intended that way, but it really worked for me.

I really liked the use of material from the show: The Price, Legacy, OAAA. In particular I thought it was interesting that Josephus was shown reading the scroll of The Price right before the attack on the garrison. Was there any significance to that choice?

Xena's split-second gut-level characterization of Josephus as a "survivor." That was a good moment.

I also wondered where Haimon was and was expecting him to show up somewhere--of course I had missed the ep where he and Gabrielle split up . I trust he'll be making a return later in the series?

At first I found it a bit strange that Xena was shown to be correct in her disagreement with John about whether or not Bar-Giora would attack the temple--Xena walks into the situation and instantly has a better handle on the culture and personality of the political scene than the person who has been born and raised in this culture since birth, has been dealing with Bar-Giora for months, and should by this time have an extremely good bead on the lengths to which he will go? But on balance it was okay--I feel the point being made was that it was Xena's very externality to the culture that enabled her to "think outside the box" and contemplate the unthinkable, whereas John was blinkered by his own cultural preconceptions and just couldn't conceive that anyone could be so ruthless as to attack this sacred temple. It did smack a bit of Omniscient!Xena from the later half of the series though.

Anyway, again all I have to say is that I'm really sorry this can't be filmed. It's a great story full of action, drama and excitement, fast-paced, and portentious. I can think of more than one ep from the actual series that I would be willing to trade in for this


Elfrieda

Great job tying up the ending of the episode. I like how Xena chose to be with Gabrielle rather than stay and fight in the battle. At least there was some good news even with the inevitable downfall of Jerusalem. Also, I like how Ares was incorporated into the ep.

As always, the graphics and the writing were top-notch. Awesome episode!


Scxin

Loved it!!!

I expected Haimon to show up, but I was actually pretty happy that he didn't; the story was "full" enough without him.

... loved the graphics... as usual... WOW!

Thanks for a great episode!


CasualFan

Fun read, with a lot of food for thought

One big question I started asking myself as soon as I finished reading this ep is whether there was ever really a “Greater Good” for Xena and Gab to serve here. Jerusalem is being besieged by Titus’s army, but it’s apparent that Judean factionalism and extremism would probably have destroyed the city even if the Romans had all stayed home. Beating Titus only to see the Sicarii seize power or trigger all-out civil war doesn’t look like victory to me. Xena puts her finger on it when she tells Gab that the situation is no longer one of winning, but survival. If there was ever any “higher” purpose in being involved, it may have been in trying to save as many innocents as possible before the city fell; in that respect, Xena’s involvement in detailed battle-planning to try to defeat the Roman army may actually have distracted her from the Greater Good.

Gab’s position is extremely questionable, not just for the sake of her unborn baby, but for Darion’s as well. This is a small boy who’s in Jerusalem, not because he has any burning belief in the Jewish cause, but because the two people he’s closest to are there. When Gab throws Josephus’s offer of safe-passage back in his face, by what right does she condemn Darion as well as herself? She’s seen cities sacked before; she knows what generally happens to women and children. This situation was tailor-made for Xena’s comment in The Price – “There are no good choices – only lesser degrees of evil.” It seemed to me that her stand was based as much or more by her personal revulsion at Josephus’s betrayal of his cause as by any considered principles, and that’s no way to make decisions for others as well as yourself. Xena was more susceptible – she’s had to make use of rats before to survive – but I think she allowed herself to be swayed both by her personal disgust with Josephus and her desire to stand by Gab.

In the end, Xena’s actions in putting Gab first were justified, because there was simply no way the Judeans were going to win this one – even if they were able to beat Titus’s army in this go-around, he’d simply call up his reserves and pen the defenders back up again. If Titus had given up, the factions would have been at each others’ throats in a heartbeat, and Judea would have fallen in any event. If anything, Xena spent too long trying to accomplish a political Greater Good when no such good was possible, interfering with her first duty to Gab and Darion.

Excellent writing, as usual – I though Josephus was very well-defined, and the battle scenes and their aftermaths were gripping. Nice tease with Ares; it should be quite interesting to see what role he plays at the beginning of SS10! Sabina is quite the tease as well – that was an interesting face-off between her and Xena at the end. I think that Sabina does want to deal with Xena on her own terms, not as part of the impersonal Roman apparatus and certainly not as a means of providing Titus with his tinsel triumph.

Thanks to all – LK, Sais, toxic and Aurora – a dynamic send-off for SS9, and one that leaves a lot open for SS10.


Aurora

This was a fantastic episode and a great way to conclude season 9. It was very dark but it really worked. My favorite thing about it (in both episodes) was how centered it was on Xena and Gabrielle. The closeness they share has always been one of my favorite things about the show and I like how it was emphasized in this episode.

There was so much going on this episode but everything fit so well together. I do feel that Xena became involved in a situation that she really would not have been able to do much good in. She may have been able to stop this particular battle if she had not gone to Gabrielle's aid but Rome was a much more powerful force than Jerusalem and the conflicts between Israelite and Israelite would have eventually been their downfall even with Xena's help. Xena and Gabrielle's only hope in the situation they faced in Jerusalem was really just delaying the inevitable. That's why, while Xena put Gabrielle over the Greater Good (helping Jerusalem) at this point, it wouldn't have not made much of a difference to the Israelite's fate if she had stayed and helped in the long run.

I loved Ares' presence in this episode. It was brief but very nice. He was willing to give up his gauntlet to find Xena and that was a very nice gesture. Plus, I loved his camaraderie with the Roman soldier who knew that he was no longer the God of War but still refered to him as Lord Ares. What a difference it made to the scene with both of them sitting there in a tavern as mortals and discussing the problems of Jerusalem. And what a telling moment when Ares confessed to Boccu that the God of War would have loved to be involved in the war with Jerusalem but how, as a mortal, things are different. Having him admit this to someone other than Xena was really very interesting and something I didn't expect from Ares, but it really worked.

The final battle intercutting with the birth of Gabrielle's son was so dramatic. The entire episode was very dramatic, actually, because I was on the edge of my seat the whole time while reading it, anticipating what would happen next. When Gabrielle went into labor and Xena wasn't there, I kept hoping that Xena would show up because she needed to be their for the birth of the baby. And the fact that Gabrielle had complications in her birth was also interesting--I had thought that something like that would be interesting to include and I'm glad we ended up with it (without having to cut Gabrielle open, thank goodness).

Overall, this was a great episode! Wonderful job LadyKate, Sais and toxic! I am glad that I was able to find/create a lot of good graphics for this episode. As the finale, I felt it should be expressed graphically as much as possible. Took me a couple hours to get all the images together but it was worth it.


secular atrophy

don't think there was a point at which I was certain that Xena would be able to beat back the Romans. With the little hints dropped here and there (like Bar-Giora looking evil) and the tension throughout the entire episode, I was pretty much sure that they'd lose anyway. While Xena didn't devote herself entirely to the Greater Good, I feel like she did everything she could on both fronts.

You know what I like best about the Shipper Seasons? You go all out in developing new characters into something three dimensional and almost alive. I've got this sort of hate/grudging admiration thing going for Josephus now, and he hasn't even been around for that long.

Now, how much prodding is necessary to convey my SS10 antsy-ness?