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The Furies

Written by R.J. Stewart
Directed by Gilbert Shilton
James Fadden
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DebR on The Furies:

I'd like to see this episode after a good re-edit. I don't know enough about the process to comment really on who should have done what, but I think some of the problems with the jerky nature of the slapstick (and other parts) may have more to do more with the producers and the director/editor end than the actors/writers. The Stooges scene did seem out of place, but it was the scene used in every promo for the new season that I saw. That suggests to me that it was filmed more for a promotional role than because it was vital to the story.

The technical problems were bewildering and made the production seem a little slipshod. For example, in the Stooges fight where Xena kicks the sword out of the guy's hand and says she didn't mean to do that, she is not using her sword, but the sword that falls from the guys hand is hers. When she picks it up and gives it back to him it is a different sword. That may soumd nitpicky, but it was very distracting since they had made such a point that Xena was fighting without her sword.

A worse moment of that sort was in the climatic fight scene with Xena and Ares. We get a long shot for context of the wall with one row of banners hanging from spikes. At the point where Xena and Ares are hanging from a spike each, Xena wraps her legs around around Ares and headbutts him sending them both plunging down to land on... the spikes they were just falling from. Huh? Where'd the second set of spikes come from? We'll never know cause they disappeared as quickly as they came. That was an awful lot of set up for suspense just to blow it so badly.

So what's the deal? This episode was in the can a while, right? Seems like they had plenty of time to get it right. Saying that though, I still liked this episode alot. I do wish that they had made it a two parter so the episode could have had the time to realize its ambitions.

c. 1997 DebR
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EmperorPenguin on The Furies:

This was a very uneven episode. There were many things in it I liked, and just as many I disliked. I'd have to rate it as just slightly above middle of the pack status. It's too bad, because this could have been one of the all time great entries in the series history. But the writing and acting faltered at times, and so weakened the overall structure of a great storyline.

First off, the depiction of The Furies annoyed me. Putting these relentless avengers on a runway performing an exotic/erotic dance as Ares looked on, then having Alecto give the God of War a "lap dance" while running her hands and lips all over his face made me think the director was going for some kind of 'Showgirls' inspired fantasy. IMO, The Furies should be chillingly menacing. And unfortunately the actress who played Alecto danced a lot better than she acted.

Like many others, the slapstick fight scenes and attempts to portray some elements of Xena's madness in a "humorous" manner pretty much turned me off. From the moment Xena's madness was annouced by the sounds of chirping birds, through her fight choreography inspired by Curly from The Three Stooges, accompanied by silly cartoon sound effects, up to her flailing limbs, silly walk, and rooster crow, I kept waiting for the following credit to flash on screen:


Look, I understand that some humor might have been effective in showing just how "out of her mind" Xena was. And truth to tell, there were some humorous moments that didn't really bother me that much, such as Xena spinning her chakram on one finger, juggling her chakram, knife, and an apple, putting daisies in her hair, even flipping backwards into Argo's saddle the first time and calling Gabrielle "Mavis". Heck, I liked the little headbutt/nuzzle Xena gave Gabrielle in the temple as they talked to the priest:) But the writer/director/actors just couldn't resist going "over the top" too often; laying on the comedic elements with a trowel, including such crude scenes as Xena smelling her armpit and picking her nose. The constant shifting between slapstick comedy and dark drama was jarring, to say the least, and kept the episode from coming together as a fully realized, coherent , satisfying whole IMO.

So, what did I like? Quite a few things-the bet between Xena and Gabrielle-Xena loses and collects firewood for a week, Gabrielle loses and has to cook Xena "those little dumplings with the red stuff inside." I LOVED how Xena said "Oh, please!" when Gabrielle appeared to waver on accepting the terms of their bet. That was sweet and funny, a nice little look at the domestic side of their lives:) I also LOVED how the bard went four-not three-paces ahead of Xena then took off running before she yelled "Go!" :)

And for all the criticism I've heaped on the off key nature of the comedic portrayal of Xena's madness, I must say how moved and impressed I was with the more quiet, very scary depictions of what the warrior was going through and how Gabrielle dealt with that.

First is the scene where Xena is nude, holding a torch, ranting at the group of frightened women and children. Is she totally demented, or is she recalling a past incident involving her army? Either way, it's a chilling scene, and you feel so badly for Xena. Then Gabrielle comes up to her, her voice low and gentle, her touch soothing and reassuring. And Xena's tortured mind follows the bard's words and touch; she comes back to herself, bows her head and whimpers, almost crying. Then this wonderful, touching exchange:

"I'm in trouble, aren't I, Gabrielle?"

"No. We'll get through this."

The latter is said as a flat statement of fact. Gabrielle isn't about to lose Xena, and she'll do anything to help save her.

Then, later on, Xena is running head long into the forest, in the full grip of her delusions/madness, seeing old foes and monsters, swinging her sword wildly when Gabrielle catches up to her. Deeply concerned yet wisely afraid all at once, Gabrielle warily circles Xena, her voice by turns pleading, soothing, hopeful, demanding, and despairing. And all the while she's trying to reach out and touch Xena, to hold Xena, yet all too aware just how dangerous such a move could be. But she never stops, never backs down, not even when Xena's sword is at her throat. And then Xena comes around enough to know she's a threat to the person she cares for most in this world-and ties Gabrielle down so she can't follow.

And finally, just before Gabrielle leaves for Andreas to see Orestes, she walks up to Xena who is still frozen in place, brooding over Cyrene's confession about killing Atrius, and speaks.

"I know you're in there. Hey, we're going to get through this, you know we always do."

She says all this while gently stroking Xena's left shoulder. Subtexter that I am, I'd have preferred a hug between the two, but the three scenes I've highlighted in this ep really emphasize the strong bond and deep commitment between Xena and Gabrielle. In fact it's Gabrielle who has to be the strong one in the relationship for most of the ep-a refreshing, rewarding change of pace. It's really too bad that strength was watered down in the last segment-but more on that later. I just want to say this is the best portrayal of Gabrielle by RJ Stewart I've seen since 'Callisto', and laud Lucy and Renee for yet another stunning example of the magic chemistry they have together on screen.

I also want to note that when Lucy restrained her acting, became more serious in her depiction of Xena's madness, THOSE were the moments that made an emotional impact with me, that helped me understand the turmoil the warrior was going through. Lucy had some terrific lines in this ep, and when she reined herself in, they were delivered with chilling effect:

"To the Gods we are nothing but dirty little beetles and they'll kill us for their sport."

"Did you know that sanity is just a veil the Gods throw over our eyes to stop us from seeing the truth?"

"...life is a joke. It's a barroom joke at that! ...The punch line is that no matter what we do, we still end up as food for the worms."

Brrrr! Is it cold in here, or is it just me:)? Good job Lucy!

And though Kevin Smith turned in another fine performance as Ares, I found it hard to believe that Ares would "casually" utter the one line of dialouge that gets Xena's attention-about a jealous man punishing his wife by hurting their child-and at that exact moment, Xena's mind is clear and sharp enough to seize on it and begin forming a plan that may save the day. Coincidence theater, anyone:)? Or is Ares like every other grandiose villian, all too willing to let his one weakness accidently "slip" out while gloating over the helpless hero:)?

Which leads to Xena confronting her mother, demanding explicit detail about the night she was concieved-some have called that scene crude, but I tend to look at it in two ways. First, Xena could have slipped back into her madness, and was indulging in some Shakespearean cruelty-or-perhaps she was "clear headed" and still putting her plan together. In this case she may have "acted" mad because Ares had also let Xena know he'd been listening to her earlier conversations with Cyrene. She had to keep playing the madwoman so as not to make him suspicious. This could also account for her calling Gabrielle a "pissant", as well as her callous treatment of Gabrielle in the temple. Yet even taking that into consideration, I still felt the young bard got pushed, slapped, pulled, and insulted far too much in this ep.

And that leads to a host of problems I had with the final segment of the episode. IMHO though she acts mad, Xena is all too clearly back in control. Far TOO much in control to logically jibe with what has gone on earlier, IMO. Again I'm reminded of convenient coincidence.This could have been a grand opporunity for Gabrielle to continue being a source of strength in this ep, but instead she's tugged by the hair into Ares arms with his hand clamped over her mouth. It's Xena who has to remind her to "do the bard thing." Wouldn't it have been better if Gabrielle had been allowed to catch on early to what Xena was doing, without needing a cue from the warrior? Come on, even Cyrene had to be "coached" by Xena! I know, the name of the show is Xena: Warrior Princess, but Gabrielle is Xena's partner and deserved to be a more integral part of the conclusion. I also felt Lucy overplayed things too much during that last segment.

The actual fight between Xena and Ares was actually pretty good, very much in line with the stuff we've come to expect in a Xena action sequence. But I never got the feeling that Xena truly "won" the fight. She more than held her own, to be sure, but knocking Ares sword out of his hands and flipping him into a chair didn't make it appear he was decisively beaten. It was almost like Xena unilaterally declared victory. In past episodes such 'The Reckoning" and 'The Greater Good' it's pretty much been established Ares is as good as or better than Xena in battle. So did she win because she really is a demi-god, or did he "let" her win? That scene played out very unconvincingly to me.

In fact, looking back on the entire "last act" of 'The Furies' set in the temple, the only scene that gave me any kind of satisfaction at all was when Ares tells Xena he still doesn't know what she sees in Gabrielle, and Gabrielle giving Ares that knowing smirk as he vanishes. Nice;-)!

So, what's the answer to the 64,000 dinar question-is Ares Xena's father? Thanks to the help of Mickisix, we know that in the "epilouge" of the script it's confirmed he is. We also know RJ Stewart put a clumsy and distasteful spin on the whole matter in a failed attempt to "lighten" the mood. All I can say is thank God someone somewhere along the line decided to scrap that ending and go with the touching one where Xena and Cyrene reconcile, with Xena holding her mother, assuring her there was "...nothing to forgive. You saved my life. I owe you my thanks. I'm sorry you had to carry this alone all these years. We'll go on. We'll be stronger than before." It was VERY important to close the story on that scene, with those words, as well as leaving the question of Xena's parentage in doubt.

Personally, I hope Ares isn't Xena's father. I know that according to Greek mythology being a child of a God and mortal doesn't automatically mean that child has extraordinary powers and skills. But if Ares IS Xena's father, there will always be a question of just where she got her "many skills". I prefer to think of Xena as an extraordinary human being who forged herself into such a potent force that she attracted the attentions of the Gods themselves-Ares in particular-then when she realized the error of her ways, she found the strength, with Gabrielle's loving help, to turn her back on that God and that evil way of life. I like my heros human and flawed, and I hope that's the way TPTB will keep Xena.

I also hope this episode isn't a portent of how TPTB are planning on approaching the dark themes that will be prevalent during this third season. They're going to tread into serious territory, and had better realize they need to handle it in an adult, responsible manner.

One last thing-I think this ep should have closed out season two. Just think how much nicer this past summer would have been discussing and debating 'The Furies' instead of 'Comedy of Eros':)!

c. 1997 EmperorPenguin
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James Fadden on The Furies:

Few television programs attempt tragedy in the classic sense of the term. Melodrama, comedy, documentary, yes, but rarely tragedy. Xena: Warrior Princess is one show that has explored the tragic side of human nature--Xena's so-called "dark" side setting the tone for this from the beginning of the series. The approach to tragedy has always been tempered by the serial nature of the show--Xena always comes out all right in the end--but the writers have not been afraid to engage at least temporarily with the tragic side of human existence.

The Furies takes an even more classical approach to tragedy. Its plot is a purposeful variation on the Oresteia of Aeschylus, of which the third play is called the Furies. (Side note: actually it is called The Eumenides. That is ancient Greek gallows humor. The Eumenides means "The Even Tempered Ones," which was a nickname for The Furies. The Furies were far from even tempered but the Greeks thought that if you actually called them The Furies you might piss them off. Hence one referred to them as The Eumenides)

Greek tragedy had specific characteristics, which are described by Aristotle in The Poetics. For Aristotle, unity was the basic property of tragedy: Unity of plot, emotion, time and space. Greek tragedies were highly focused,aimed at bringing out a single emotion of pathos--horror and sympathy--for the tragic hero. There were no side plots, no comic relief. The plots and dialog were tightly structured. Unity was so prized that Aristotle insisted true tragedy should take place within a time span of 24 hours.

This tradition has influenced playwrights ever since, and has been the dominant tradition of continental Europe, influencing writers from Racine to Ibsen. But there is also another tragic tradition, that whose foundations were laid by Shakespeare. Shakespearean tragedy breaks all the rules of dramatic unity. Comedy is mixed with Tragedy. The emotional tone is not focused on one overriding emotion but goes through fugue-like changes. We have Lear and the fool. We have Hamlet, at one moment joking and the next in deadly earnest.

That the Furies draws from the Greek tragic tradition is obvious. The influence of Shakespeare may be less obvious, but the portrayal of Xena's madness seems to me a direct descendant both of the madness (whether feigned or real) of Hamlet and of the madness of Shakespeare's fools. Hamlet, too, went from silliness to horror to nihilism as he was trapped between patricide, matricide and the need for revenge.. Xena's revelation that we are all destined to end as food for worms is also Hamlet's insight. Xena's obsessive focus on the details of her parents coupling is also present in Hamlet.

Other Shakespearean echoes are also present. We see Ophelia's madness when Xena puts the flowers in her hair. In both Lear and Hamlet there are scenes in which a character in the midst of madness falls or nearly falls from a cliff. We even have in Xena a nearly direct quote from King Lear:

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport."
-Gloucester, King Lear

"To the gods we are nothing but dirty little beetles And they'll kill us for their sport."
-Xena, The Furies.

So Xena's The Furies is a hybrid tragedy, drawing from Aeschylus for its plot, but introducing the mixed comic/tragic elements of Shakespeare. This is both the strength of this episode and its weakness. Its strength is its boldness, in trying to deal with strong elements of plot and emotion. But this hybrid form has a price. The demands of the two forms are sometimes at odds. The unity essential for the impact of such a stark tragedy is at times undermined by the attempt to encompass the broader scope of Shakespearean comedy/tragedy. This is no shame: only the poetic genius of Shakespeare is able to hold together his divergent plots--and there was only one Shakespeare. But it does mean that there are some weak or distracting moments in the episode.

Still the basic power of the themes is impressive. Caught in the bind between revenge and family, between madness and mother-love, Xena's dilemma is tragic in the deepest sense. Here is a vivid example of the way in which the writing of Xena:WP transcends traditional gender limitations. As has been stated before, one of the innovations of Xena:WP has been to have a woman as a universal, normative hero. The stories are not "women's" stories in the usual sense of the word. (Or at least in most episodes: A few of the less satisfactory episodes such as Ulysses do follow the traditional "women's story" that revolves around conflict over a man.) Within the universe of Xena, the traditional conception, enshrined in our very language, that "man" includes "woman" as a subset, has been reversed, so that Xena is both clearly a woman, but also a universal hero. This is particularly interesting in this episode, because of the way Xena steps into the role of Orestes/Hamlet as avenger of her dead father. That is not to say Xena is genderless. Obviously not. But her central role as the tragic hero is beyond gender.

Madness is a fate as frightening as death, especially to someone as proud and self-controlled as Xena. The depiction of madness in this episode has both successes and failures. Two scenes are especially striking. The first is that of a naked Xena confronting a woman at the campfire. Evoking the dark past of Xena ("they've crucified the women and children") it shows the depths of her despair poignantly. The blanket that Gabrielle wraps around her echoes a similar scene in Intimate Stranger. A second successful scene was that of Gabrielle confronting a hallucinating Xena--a scene also remarkable for a neat 360+ degree camera revolution. It is no coincidence that these scenes both involved a meeting with Gabrielle. The scenes were able to build on the viewers knowledge of the depth of that relationship--a depth made vivid by a first rate performance by Renee O'Connor in those scenes.

However,in some respects the portrayal of Xena's madness was uneven. I have mentioned how the episode used a comic approach to some aspects of madness, which I have compared to the tragicomic depictions of Hamlet and King Lear. However, for any writer who is not a Shakespeare, this attempt at tragicomedy is a risky one. I do not think that showing a comic side to madness was, in itself, an invalid approach. It might have worked. There can be a kind of desperate, sad humor in madness. But the way it was done here didn't always work. In part this was the choice of a Three Stooges/Monty Python approach. In a comic episode that might have worked, but here it was a bit too silly and without poignancy. And what is worse, the clear 20th century pop culture mimicry made me immediately think, not "there's Xena going mad," but "there's Lucy doing the Three Stooges." Funny, perhaps, for a moment, but also distracting.

It might have been more effective if the comedy been confined to the beginning of Xena's madness, which then would follow a downward spiral to terror. That would have satisfied the demands of tragic unity--it might have started out comic but the path to tragedy would have been continuos. Instead we had an emotional see-saw between the comic and tragic. Thus the powerful scene of Xena's naked madness at the campfire was undercut by the later silly walk scene.

Lucy is a talented physical mimic. It must have been tempting to just let Lucy loose to do her thing. But there are times when less is more. And there are times when even the best talents can go awry if those talents are not focused by the director to the service of the overall dramatic unity.

Having said that, I did find that the comic scenes, while distracting in the first viewing, were less of a problem on reviewing the episode. It was their unexpected appearance in a tragic episode that was initially distracting, but I did not find them fatal flaws in the episode.

The portrayal of Xena's madness was uneven in another way as well. The transitions between insanity and lucidity might have been handled a bit better. It is true that mental illness may be interrupted by moments of lucidity, but without some further clarification, one couldn't help seeing these moments of sanity as simply put there to allow the plot to proceed.

Despite these reservations, Xena's reaction to her madness was in character. Realizing that her loss of sanity meant both the loss of her real self and a danger to others, Xena, who is perhaps the most logical and stoic pop television character since Mr. Spock, decides on suicide as a last rational act. It is a desperate act, but one that is logical in the circumstances. And by upping the ante so to speak, she does draw Ares out into the open--a stratagem which she may or may not have had in mind.

Xena's attempt to cope with her madness and with Ares resulted in several strong scenes. The scene in which Xena is dissuaded by Ares from jumping from the cliff has resonance in many ways. It is reminiscent of the biblical temptation of Jesus by Satan (offering him the world from a mountain top), of the scenes of Lear and Gloucester at the Dover cliffs and of Hamlet almost lead to fall to his death by his father's ghost. We also saw an apropos allusion to Nietzsche in Ares' call for Xena to go "beyond good and evil" and master her fate. This was an interesting philosophical dimension to Ares' world-view and goes far to explain how he sees Xena.

However the heart of the story was not Xena's relationship to Ares, but Xena's relationship to Cyrene. Cyrene was played with a quiet dignity. And Xena's interactions with her were moving. But perhaps not as moving as they might have been. The decision to portray Cyrene as a self-sacrificing mother limited the emotional scope of her dialogue with Xena and with Gabrielle. It is hard to say if this was a weakness of writing or of direction. I think the script had some weaknesses; but this was exacerbated by direction that sometimes buried the most dramatic moments. For example the scene in which Cyrene tells Gabrielle that she killed Xena's father could have been played for much more emotional impact. Instead it felt like a matter of fact announcement by Cyrene, after which the scene ended.

And while the natural emotional focus would seem to be on Xena and Cyrene, the actual physical climax of the episode was a virtuoso sword fight between Xena and Ares while Cyrene lay immobilized not just physically but emotionally. It was an impressively athletic scene, but it took the emotional focus away from Xena and Cyrene.

But what Xenite would really object to an all out duel between Xena and Ares. Especially with the two standing upon those flagpoles. It was almost as good as her duel with Draco on the heads of the villagers. And of course, ending the episode with a duel does emphasize the comparisons with Hamlet that I mentioned above.

The weaknesses I have mentioned are just relative weaknesses; areas of the episode that arguably could have been better, but nonetheless came out pretty well as written and produced. It is an impressive painting with a few errant and distracting brush strokes.

Their were some other ways in which the attempt to write a broad ranging tragicomedy caused some jarring notes. For example, the joking in the final scene about Gabrielle being predictable was an attempt at humor that was unfair to Gabrielle, whose contribution to Xena's struggle was very positive in this episode. However, in general I thought Gabrielle's part was well written and, as I have said, very well played.

The other joke, at Gabrielle's expense, Xena's line about shutting her up, is a bit problematic. On the one hand, the repeated depiction of Gabrielle as too chatty can be see as a negative stereotype about women, intellectuals and particularly intellectual women, and shutting her up by force is hardly an admirable act. However, in this context we should note that it is done by Ares, who is after all, *supposed* to be a bad guy, and Xena's agreement with him is either an aspect of her madness or of her playing along with him. It's an unfair statement to be sure, but no more so than Xena calling her a "piss-ant". Madness makes people say unpleasant things, and see the negative side of people, even people the mad person loves. It was a joke I might have done without, but did not outweigh the positive sides of Gabrielle shown in the episode.

The Furies was an ambitious attempt at combining classical Greek tragedy with Shakespearean tragicomedy. This was an ambitious attempt, and so some flaws in the writing and production may be expected. However none of these were fatal errors. They may have reduced the impact of certain scenes, but the overall conception of the episode was sound. In any drama, and especially in tragedy, the key is integrity of characterization and a plot that grows out of character. The Furies is based on a solid plot and character base. It was an episode worth watching, and worth rewatching.

c. 1997 James Fadden
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Pursh on The Furies:

Yes you are darling, and me and Mavis and all of the other girly girls just love it when you kick hAres' ass. Behold the brilliance of Xena: Even when she's being challenged in the inner-cranial clarity department, she can still out think the god o' sl eeveless leather jumpers

(or, You Know I Can't Write One Of These Without Cuttin' Someone's Hair)

The Furies? How about the Furries. Peroxide Fury could be a direct descendant of the Toto dog in The Bitter Suite, except that she has a more palatable accent.

The fact is that peroxide Fury, Toto and Callisto a la Illusia all need to consider cultivating the heroic and making the leap to a new stylist. While they're at it they should take Xena's blonde Miss Amphipolis wig in for a trim. That hair cap recently got a second run in King Con, and if they're going to keep using it, they ought to style it up a bit.

(or, Argo: Style Princess)

gABS made a successful leap from Cindy Brady bouncy hair to the wizened young bard look, picking up a pre-Mycenean lace-up bikini top in the make-over. Peroxide fury, Toto and Illusia Callisto should follow her lead and schedule a trip to frock tart (and hair mart) headquarters as well. Truly, Argo is the show's only blonde who has been consistently well groomed from the start. Even when she was a boy, (Sins of the Past) she looked good.

And who turned the Furies' into lap dancin' hussies? And what's with the frock tarts giving them each one sliced and diced leather belt for clothing? These are the Furies ferthegawdssakes! They oughtta command a little more respect. At a minimum hAres should be dancing for them.

Plus the thumbs up thingy ain't gettin' it. These are Furies! Furies! They should be tossing their powers around in a memorable way. We are afterall talking about the big three here, Retaliation-Destruction, Grudge, and the Unnameable. Hey, that sounds like a law firm I used to work for...

(or, I Love the Smell of Warrior Sweat in the Morning)

It's 8:00am in urban-high-rise-fluorescent-light-office-hell. An herbal tea drinking, panty-hose clad minion of justice picks up the phone and dials the bad guys. After ringing twice, the phone is answered by a caffeinated male voice.

Pursh: Hello, this is Pursh with Retaliation-Destruction, Grudge and Unnameable. We represent the Furies in Furies v. TIIC. Is this TIIC?

CIIC: This is the Chief Idiot! May I help you?

Pursh: Mr. Idiot, I'm calling to let you know that we're unwilling to talk settlement in the Fury defilement case until you change a major bonerism in your depiction of the Furies.

CIIC: Care to clarify your position Miss Puss?

Pursh: It's Pursh.

CIIC: Er, Pursh. You were saying?

Pursh: My clients never agreed to the "Aaaayyyy, man I'm da Fonze" thumbs up gesture to inflict madness and persecution on unsuspecting mortals.

CIIC: Oh, that. Well it could have been a lot worse. You should have seen...

Pursh: Look, even I dream of slave girl in a bottle Barbara Eden got to cross her arms and nod forcefully as her show of power, and that was in the '60s. It's clearly written in the contract that the nearly new millennium Furies will throw around their bad moods with attitude and verve. Frankly, we were thinking of something along the lines of Callisto's fire finger, or hAres'palm of the hand lightening bolt throw.

CIIC: Sorry, Velasca beat you to that one, and there's only one Callisto.

Pursh: True enough, but even that mangy, low-life perv, Dahak got a respectable gig with the randy fire snake. And winged baby Bliss has unchecked random access to Eros' bow and arrow set, so why can't my girls have some showy power move?

CIIC: Well, I see your point...

Pursh: And while I have you on the line, I hate the three stooges. HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM HATE 'EM.

CIIC: Look lady, that's Joxer's Department...

Pursh: Well, before you transfer me, may I remind you that my clients are not desperate for this job. Surely you know that The Furies have enjoyed a couple centuries long run as the Eumenides in their pal Aeschylus's drama of the same name.

CIIC: Oh, I wasn't aware.

Pursh: You're out of the loop Mr. Idiot.

CIIC: Look, if all I had to do was keep up with contemporary theater...

Pursh: Never mind. The fact is that my clients only agreed to this XWP Fury gig to settle a debt with their best drinking buddy, Xena.

CIIC: What?!

Pursh: By the Mother's Hand! The other IICs don't let you out very often do they?

CIIC: Well, as difficult as it is, I do try to stay out of the employees' personal affairs.

Pursh: Let me fill you in.

CIIC: Please.

Pursh: Xena (Warrior Princess) and gABbrielle (Bard thing, Amazon Queen) and Alecto (Unnameable), Megaera (Grudge) and Tisiphone (Retaliation-Destruction) were out drinking one night when gABrielle got a little lippy with Alecto. Seems Xena was paying t oo much attention to the Unnameable peroxide beauty and gABS made some flip comment about the lacking merits of girls with chemically altered hair.

CIIC: Why would she do that? Even Xena isn't exactly immune from a little fake hair, every now and then.

Pursh: Well, that's for gABrielle to know, and the rest of us to endlessly ponder.

CIIC: I can't believe gABrielle said that to Alecto, especially knowing...

Pursh: ...how sensitive Alecto is about her hair.

CIIC: Right. Did you know that she was known as rooster girl growing up, and that this peer-group cajoling inspired the development of a, er, shall we say, somewhat difficult aspect to her personality.

Pursh: Right. But more importantly, in response to the teasing she started hangin' out with three local rogues, Grudge, Retaliation-Destruction and some other little scaintch, Tara, who they eventually buried alive in a burning oil slick, just outside of Potedia.

CIIC: Oh, I hadn't heard about Tara.

Pursh: Yeah well, most of us, including gABrielle, wish we hadn't heard about her either.

CIIC: I see...

Pursh: Anyway, the young Alecto cultivated these new friendships thinking that any sucker who poped-off with the rooster hooey would get pummeled by her new buddies, and sure enough before you know it, a life-time habit developed and these three were rum bling all over Greece, raising cain and covering each other's backs like Xena and gABrielle in a hot tub.

CIIC: Ahhh, I see. But that doesn't explain why they owe Xena a favor.

Pursh: Oh! right. As I was saying, they're in this tavern and they've all had a few and everything is fine until gABS makes this smart-fart remark to Alecto. Well the old habits kick right in and boom, just like that, Tisiphone is all over gABrielle. But before you can say I used your scroll for toilet paper, Xena's got the pinch on Tisiphone and Alecto is negotiating like a ribald rooster for Tisiphone's life.

CIIC: Ahhhhh, so the deal was made.

Pursh: Yep. Xena figured that three basically naked dancing hair babes would help boost ratings.

CIIC: Sounds good to me.

Pursh: Yea whatever. Megaera never really got behind the deal. She, uhhh, grudgingly, went along with it, but refused to have any speaking parts during her appearance on the show. She hates gABrielle to this day.

CIIC: Now that you mention it, I did notice that the speaking parts for all three of the Fury gals were pretty limited. What about all this kin murderer stuff? Was that part of the deal too?

Pursh: Oh that's vintage Aeschylus. A few millennia ago, or perhaps it was ten years ago, I forget... anyway, he and Alecto cranked that kin murder fluff out after a four day bender in Athens.

CIIC: Oh, I see.

Pursh: Now, what about rectifying the Fonz problem.

CIIC: Don't be ridiculous, Mavis...

Pursh: Hey, its Pursh.

CIIC: Er, Purse...

Pursh: Pursh!

CIIC: Right. Look, take a number and get in line. I've got more problems than gABrielle in the Deliverer and Maternal Instincts combined.

Pursh: That sounds serious.

CIIC: You don't know the half of it. Minya won't give Xena's whip back; Melosa wants to come back from the dead; Caesar refuses to wash his hair; Meg is stalking Joxer; Joxer is stalking gABrielle; Argo is stalking Toto; Solan's ghost is stalking Hope; C allisto is stalking everyone, and Ephiny wants a girl friend.

Pursh: Sheesh. Uhhh, maybe I can help, with Ephiny that is...

CIIC: Velasca wants new accommodations; Salmoneus wants a raise; Draco wants slim-fast; and hAres wants Hercules' leather outter-wear jock strap to call his own.

Pursh: Oh dear. Well, I don't think that's really necessary.

CIIC: Iolas wants Autolycus; Tara wants Xena; Xena wants gABrielle and gABrielle wants a new pair of boots and some poo-free papyrus.

Pursh: Goodness!

CIIC: Gareth needs orthodontic work; Hercules needs a bath and Xena is constantly clamoring for new skills.

Pursh: My, my. The lives of the rich and famous...

CIIC: Lao Ma has been dancing in the ethers for months, tossing around Xena's silk sheets and trying to get in the Salvador Dali Afterlife Cafe to see M'Lila. She flat refuses to come back until Ming Tien cleans and returns her hair brooch, and Xena retu rns her handwritten copy of the I, Ching.

Pursh: Well, you can hardly blame her.

CIIC: The Amazons are threatening a walk-out, and now you're telling me that the Furies refuse to persecute and confer madness with hitch-hiker's thumb. As you can see, changing the Furies' thumb show is impossible right now.

Pursh: Sigh. You mean to tell me that Xena can defeat an entire pointy-headed army in a shack, using a pot of oil, her feet, her sword and a pogo stick, and you can't change a hand gesture?

CIIC: Sorry, we've got enough continuity problems as it is.

Pursh: Well I'll be a lunatic with lethal combat skills.

CIIC: What's that? What did you say? Purr? Miss Purr?

Pursh: The name is Pursh, you Idiot.

CIIC: Hey, that's Chief Idiot to you, pissant. And what did you say about lunacy andcombat skills? Are you threatening me?

Pursh: No, no, just struggling to call upon my inner Hope.

CIIC: Oh, never lose hope. Hope is a good thing.

Pursh: Riiiiiiiiiight. Say, I know this great secluded cave...whaddya say we discuss this over goose eggs and dumplings filled with red stuff? CIIC: Hmmmmm...

c. 1998 Pursh
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