...And I Feel Fine
"Armageddon Now Part Two" Plot Summary:
Iolaus tries unsuccessfully to protect Alcmene from Callisto, stealing the hind's blood briefly and covering a knife with it, but the fledgling goddess tracks Hercules' mother to a barn and torches it, killing her. Trapped between the worlds with his evil twin the Sovereign, Hercules witnesses these events in a mirror pool but is unable to do anything, much to the Sovereign's delight.
Iolaus moves forward through history to Cirra, Callisto's birthplace, where Xena's armies are about to slaughter everyone. A wealthy man gives Xena the Chronos stone as a gift, but the tyrannical Xena doesn't recognize it. Iolaus tries to explain that he's a friend from the future, and proves it by demonstrating that he can outmaneuver her typical battle moves; when that fails, he tells her that he knows about Solon. Xena wants him dead, but when he vanishes, she tells her troops to lay waste to Cirra. Meanwhile, as Iolaus pursues with the blood-soaked knife, Callisto tries to help her parents and the girl she used to be. But when they refuse her assistance, she accidentally kills her own father and mother.
As the Sovereign laughs to Hercules that watching him trapped for all eternity is a better punishment for the way the hero has influenced his life than killing him would be, Hercules erects lightning rods to try to open the portal to the world. Iolaus travels in time again to a future where a vicious Xena rules the known world, much to Ares' delight. The god has never heard of Hercules; history has been changed. Hercules implores Iolaus to think of the Chronos stone, and Iolaus gets the message. He steals the stone from Xena's scepter, travels back to Alcmene, and saves her from Callisto. Callisto destroys the Chronos stone in front of the temple near the portal, but just after she does so, Hercules comes through. His lightning rods worked.
Callisto fights Hercules first with her fists, then with bolts of flame. He tries to draw her fire in such a way that the portal is triggered, and when it opens, he hurls her through. On the other end, the Sovereign can't get through, and screams his disappointment. Hercules puts the knife covered with hind's blood deep in a rock at the temple, then tells Iolaus that he must stop the evil force which unleashed Callisto. Unseen, Hope watches the two of them walk away together.
Quite a satisfying end to the two-parter, though many questions were left unresolved, as were many plot threads. The Sovereign and Callisto, trapped together between the worlds - THAT ought to be interesting! And that knife covered with hind's blood sticking out where anyone can see it...interesting choice, Herc. I'm still betting we see that knife used on Callisto, either by her own hand or by Hope's, before this arc is over. I'm not sure why the young goddess didn't simply go back in time and kill Alcmene once again after she destroyed the Chronos stone, nor why she didn't try again to set things right in Cirra. Apparently time doesn't reset every time a change is made if one is traveling through it, since both she and Iolaus remembered the alternate timelines they created, though the god Ares never realized anything had changed.
Callisto's development was even more manic than usual. The scene in which she killed her own parents was surprisingly anticlimactic; I expected more rage at herself, more hysteria, and I was stunned that she didn't kill her young self to put her out of all her future misery. Her fistfight with Hercules was odd, considering that she's a full goddess and we're not even sure whether he's immortal - that would have made sense if she seemed to want to hurt him just for fun, but at that point she was beyond toying with him and should have just wanted him out of the way. I think the writers are burning out on this character, sadly, no longer seeming to know how to motivate her rage.
Though Kevin Sorbo did double duty as the two Hercs, this was really a tour de force for Michael Hurst's Iolaus. Lucy Lawless played typical Evil Xena to a brief appearance by Gabrielle, but Hurst was called upon to show a lot of range, from tears at Alcmene's funeral to rage at Callisto to some warm bonding moments with the mother of his best friend. I am looking forward to the resumption of this storyline, even though next week's Herc-in-Hollywood episode looks like a scream.