The Furies Take Another Victim
"Coming Home" Plot Summary:
When Ares asks Xena to meet him in the middle of a ruined Amazon forest, she stumbles upon his army fighting the remaining Amazons, and joins the fray to stop the soldiers. Queen Marga welcomes the warrior princess and former Amazon Queen Gabrielle, but her second-in-command Varia thinks Eve looks familiar. Though Eve is committed to the Way of Love and refuses to fight except to protect others, Varia convinces her to teach some defensive moves, then recognizes the former murderess from Rome and prepares to execute her.
Xena isn't there to defend her daughter because she's gone to meet with Ares, suspecting that he wants the Amazon's hidden supply of ambrosia so that he can be a god again. Because she owes him the lives of Gabrielle and Eve, she wants to make peace without having to fight him. But Ares, who's tired of being able to bleed and be humiliated, has already been visited by Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve, all of whom flirt and suggest they could become his new pantheon on Earth. It sounds too good to be true, and it is: the three women are not the courageous warriors Ares knows, but the Furies, whom he can no longer recognize.
One look at Ares talking to thin air makes Xena realize that her old adversary is being driven mad, just as Gabrielle was when she nearly killed Eve. She tries to convince Ares that he's being driven out of his mind, but Ares chooses to believe in the seductive Fury in Xena's guise who tells him to slaughter the Amazons. Xena stalls the army by causing an avalanche with her chakram, but returns to the camp to find her daughter bound for slaughter. Marga reveals that Livia burned the forest and slaughtered hundreds of Amazons, something Eve was afraid to admit to her mother and former Amazon Gabrielle. They both forgive Eve and demand that the Amazons put their rage behind them until after they have dealt with Ares' army.
Now neither Marga nor Ares trusts Xena, who decides that she must stop the coming battle which will surely destroy what is left of the Amazons. As the Furies taunt Ares, she challenges him to single combat, leading him away from the scene of the battle. Once the God of War is gone, his army disperses in confusion. Gabrielle rescues Eve from confinement and rushes to the icy ridge where Xena and Ares battle until both are bloody. "You might be immortal, but you will never be a man," she sneers, and he knocks her into an icy pond...though not before she has sent her chakram on a trajectory that kills the Furies.
Coming to his senses, Ares pulls Xena from the icy water, but it's too late. "I loved you," he cries. Gabrielle and Eve arrive with blankets, which they put around Xena while Gabrielle gives her friend mouth-to-mouth until she breathes again. Later, Xena finds a sulking Ares, who declares that mortality stinks, but it would be worth it if he could have Xena as a mortal. To his surprise, she kisses him, telling him he's always gotten to her, but he's not good for her. Delighted that there might be some small chance they could someday be together, Ares goes back to trying to recover his godly powers.
In a remake of the season premiere from three years ago, Ares and the Furies make Xena's life difficult...but in this case, they're not in league so much as insane together. Rumor was that "Coming Home" would resolve some of the problems with the end of last season, like Xena's nearly killing Gabrielle to save her daughter and Ares' apparently sincere love for Xena. While we got some lip service about the former -- Gabrielle tells Xena she has forgiven her for the chakram assault, Xena strokes Gabrielle's cheek as her friend tells her to forgive herself -- "Coming Home" barely begins to unravel the mess of the relationship, even forgetting the twists and turns of the Eli arc and the coming of Christian values to this series.
I'll buy that Gabrielle forgives Xena for everything. But the ease with which they both forgive Eve for atrocity upon atrocity, just because Eve has now accepted Eli as her personal savior, is really starting to grate. The rumored episode where Xena and Gabrielle have it out about Eve and Hope can't come too soon.
Then there's Ares. I thought he knew about Eve's conversion to the Way of Love, so how come he was so quick to believe the nasty Fury masquerading as Eve? Again, I'll buy that he'd believe anything Xena said to him, particularly one offering him his fondest fantasies, but though he's arrogant enough to believe that Gabrielle might secretly lust for him, he's not delusional. Maybe he's just overly weak as a mortal, but he's still mean -- too mean, even if he's upset about bleeding and being a wuss and having a terrible haircut. Once more I'll buy that Xena will forgive him...but kiss him and tell him he always did it for her? That sounded more like an Ares fantasy than anything the Furies offered him!
Next week Xena meets the Devil. If this show can make that work, it can probably pull off anything. If it can't, the warrior princess is going to look pretty silly chasing around the Norse gods in a few weeks. Let's hope it works.