LadyKate and I got together, and decided to choose our top ten favorite episodes and top ten favorite Xena/Ares scenes. Enjoy the results!
Top Ten Episodes
I'm proud of the episodes that we have been able to accomplish. Below are my current 10 favorites in no particular order (though it was very hard to pick!).
Worlds Apart/The Monarch (9.17, 9.18)
Alternate worlds are always fascinating, and the world of the Conqueror is nearly untouched territory except in the myriad of fanfiction out there (that all generally have a Xena/Gabrielle focus). As a mortal, Ares is faced with the life of "what might have been" for Xena had she followed him during his peace through power phase, and finds out that nothing can replace the good Xena he fell in love with.
Xena chooses to come to Ares and make up with him, Xena stands up to Hercules in Ares' defense, Xena rescues Ares from the tomb (an awesome scene, and kiss) and in turn, Ares ends up choosing a mortal life, not for Xena [necessarily] but to help Darion. His growth as a person really comes through in this story, I just love it.
The Power and the Glory I and II (10.05, 10.06)
I have a thing for Ares as a mortal especially a mortal who's faced with his God of War past. He faces his past and the consequences just as Xena has been doing for years. And, to top it all, he chooses to give up the chance at godhhood to be with Xena fully and always.
The Bonds We Choose (8.01)
I love the use of the Romans and Pompeii, the introduction of Agrippina as an ally to Xena, and the introduction of Darion, Gabrielle's little boy that becomes such an important part of their lives but Gabrielle's especially.
What was it like for Ares thousands of years ago? We finally get a glimpse of that, plus bringing in an awesome goddess/lover/nemesis: Enyo. Ares and Darion bond (the God of War does have a small soft spot for the little boy, I suspect).
The Inheritance (7.16)
Sabina is the best original character that we have developed and her debut is spectacular! So ruthless and edgy, yet a touch of intrigue that really makes me unable to hate her. The fact that this story ties in with a very important part of Xena's past--the baby she saved in The Gauntlet-- really brings the show kind of full circle from that day, understanding the very first event that led her to turn good and seeing that baby all grown up and involved in Xena's life now. It's the perfect blend of past and present.
Three Way Split (8.14)
Livia was always more intriguing to me than Eve, and watching her return while Eve has a crisis about where her place is in this world is a real treat. Eve almost has these three people living inside of her, and to separate her peaceful side from her Livia side presents so many difficulties to face. She needed to make that step to really move beyond who she used to be.
Behind Your Eyes (8.23)
I've always been fascinated by storylines that let characters do things they might not do normally, and this is definitely one of them. Switching Xena and Ares' roles is a great way for them to "see" what the other is and does, to understand each other better. It's a cross between a drama and a comedy but I think that's a perfect blend for an episode of XWP. Xena as a goddess is so much fun--the best part about the episode--and especially because Xena takes on not only Ares' role as Goddess of War, but Ares' lines as well, reusing things that Ares said to Xena in the past (like "I must have a certain presence around you.") and letting her take the lead in their relationship. Xena always has made Ares weak. It's heightened tenfold when it's Xena with the godly powers and initiative to seduce him. Sexy.
The Outlaws (9.12)
Rebel Amazons are fascinating. I really like hearing about their story, and tying in what Livia did to them long ago (as mentioned in Path of Vengeance). I just think it's a great action episode for Xena, Gabrielle and Eve, especially the way it is told, with flashbacks to the past.
Blood Feud (8.21)
Wars are always going to happen for Ares but the fact that he becomes involved in one when he and Xena are in a relationship I think is particularly interesting. It puts them at odds with each other, heightens that tension and push and pull to be on opposite sides while still retaining their relationship. Xena also learns a hard lesson, too, that 'the god of war may be able to change but war itself never will'.
There are so many favorites!
The Inheritance (7.16) which explores Xena’s canon past and gives it a new twist, and also brings in two excellent original characters.
This Is Your Life I & II (8.07-8.08), in which Xena, Gabrielle, Ares and Eve get to watch their alternate futures (“what if” scenarios are always fun, and it allowed the audience to revisit some classic Xena characters including Callisto and Season 3 Ares).
Judgment Calls (8.16), in which Xena and Gabrielle’s complicated relationship with Rome’s new leaders, Agrippina and Nero, comes to a shocking conclusion (Xena and Gabrielle disagree and, for once, both turn out to be wrong)
Ashes to Ashes (8.17), in which Xena deals with the consequences of her mistakes
Looking Forward (9.01), because it’s a “future episode” set in a space-age sci-fi universe for a change (think “Xena meets Firefly”)
Lost and Found (9.02), because it’s a great comedy in the tradition of A Day in the Life
Take Two, because it’s a comedy with a completely unique and quirky premise
You’re Only Young Twice (9.09), an exploration of Gabrielle’s path from a very unusual angle (partly because we get to see Season 1 “Baby Gabby” again, and interacting with Season 9 Ares and Xena)
The Outlaws (9.12), because it’s an unusual, morally complex Amazon story
World Apart (9.17) and The Monarch (9.18), our own Shipper Seasons version of a Conqueror Xena story (because Xena and Ares meet their counterparts in a universe where Xena never became good, with fascinating results)
- The Fall I & II (9.20 and 9.21), our own version of the fall of Jerusalem, because it’s a “Xenatized” version of a tragic and still-controversial historical event; and The Dark Ages (10.04), which explores yet another fascinating, and scary, alternate universe.
Top Ten Xena/Ares Scenes
It's so hard to choose just 10! There are just too many to count, and so many of those are great (now I know how the subbers feel with the XWP series :-D) The below are just my current picks in no particular order; in six months, this list could easily change. :-)
- Xena rescuing Ares from the tomb, Showdown
- Xena telling Ares she loves him, Love's Creation
- Ares opening up about his feelings to her when he thinks she can't understand him, Just Listen
- Xena telling Ares sorry and wanting to get back together, Showdown
- Ares telling Xena that 'he's not going to let anything come between them, not even a war', Blood Feud
- Their first real kiss, coming together the night in the shack, Of Love and War I
- The tense moment between them when Ares tells Xena that 'he will lose his immortality, everything including her' [because of the Twilight] and then he disappears without Xena being able to give a response (and he doesn't appear again when she calls), The Outlaws
- The Xena/Ares reunion hug after Xena thought Ares was dead, Eye of the Storm
- Ares apologizing to Xena for being with The Conqueror, A Crazy Little Thing Called Love
- Ares giving up his godhood for good for Xena, The Power and the Glory II
- The scene at the end of The Inheritance where Ares tells Xena she made the right choice
- Xena "saving" Ares at the end of Lord of the Wings
- Xena and Season 3 Ares in the alternate-past scenes in This Is Your Life I
- Ares talks about his feelings to Xena when he thinks she can't understand human language at the end of Just Listen
- Xena and Ares talk about Evander and his past at the end of The Rebel
- Xena and Ares share a moment in her tent in the midst of a war in Turnabout
- Goddess Xena seduces mortal Ares in Behind Your Eyes
- Conqueror Xena seduces mortal Ares in Worlds Apart
- Conqueror Xena and Ares quarrel in The Monarch
- The scene between Conqueror Xena, the real Xena, and Ares in The Monarch
TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SHIPPER SEASON SEVEN
This is an old top ten list done from when we first began the series 10 years ago. It's written by Sally. I think it's such a nice and fun top 10 list I wanted to include it in the anniversary.
10. You don’t have to worry about your cable dying
9. You don’t have to panic because you think you are out of blank tapes to record
8. You don’t have to worry about malfunctioning VCRs or TVs
7. If you really, really have to go to the bathroom, you can....after you take care of *ahem* business doing some important paper work, just start reading where you left off.
6. No more adjusting schedules so you can stay home at 7 pm on Saturday b/c you can't trust your VCR....or maybe it’s the person who programmed it
5. No annoying commercial breaks...damn those are long. Sometimes I think it's longer than the show
4. No misc. filler eps. like MWFS, DVAOA, SP, SITC...what was up w/ those anyway? (sorry if anyone really liked those eps.)
3. Unlike the TV series, it can't be delayed or interrupted by overtime on sports games or breaking news. I hated when that happened, breaking news my @$$...I'll tell u what's news: Ares is being chased by bounty hunters so he's gonna masquerade as a farmer with Xena's help!!
Due to the extension of the previous program, we will now join the current program already in session
2. There is not even a hint of subtext (well duh...hence the name of the season, but still..)
1. The obvious one......it's a season for shippers !!!! X/A rules !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!