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When In Rome...

Written by Steven L. Sears
Directed by John Laing
joan the english chick
Mika Ariela Epstein
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DebR on When In Rome...:

Well I enjoyed this one throughly. I may have to sweat it out for a while with our Greek Gals all out of sorts, but damn, I like what's coming of it. I got what I've been wanting, Xena and Gabrielle discussing their differences and the provocative, fascinating changes that Gabrielle is going through. She, IMO, is the center of the show's evolution in that she is the reflection held up to Xena. Xena's character may change, but she cannot be allowed to range too far for fear of losing the qualities that glue our attention to the screen, so it is through Gabrielle that our audience assumptions and expectations are met and challenged. Xena is Popeye. "I yam what's I yam." It's up to Gabrielle to find a self in the face of Xena's solid self. That's where we are taken again in this episode-- back to the two questions from THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN that have haunted the third season to date: "Am I who I am, or am I who you made me?" and "Does it really matter?"

Once the virtue and shiny goodness of Vercinix is established in the opening scenes in Gaul (What a tease that we never got to see Mendela again!), our first glimpse of Xena is in a remake of the beginning of THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN. Xena saves a condemned man from certain and immediate death in order to use him in a plan for the 'greater good'; a pile of weapons on a black cloth is given to not nice folk; she once again ropes and drags. We are given a "dose of the Warrior Princess" right off the bat lest any of our illusions about her willingness to do what works, without compunction, remain. She hauls Crassus up to the feet of a gulping Gabrielle in the same brutal manner she used to attempt murder on this, her soulmate.

Xena may be a character for whom change comes slowly and at high cost to those around her, but we are shown in this episode that she accepts who she is. We see this through Gabrielle's eyes. Through Gabrielle we look at the parts of our nature, the ruthless pragmatist, the selfish and non-caring, that refuse silence no matter how hard we want to believe we can civilize them away-- to believe that there is a personal solution to all our differences in which we all win. This point in the loss of innocence (And, yes, I do believe that Gabrielle retains some innocence to be lost here.) is a crucial turning point at which the stakes are high. Despair is a choice. Deliberate ignorance is a choice (next week?). We watched Gabrielle kneel and ask external forgivness in FORGIVEN. She is not making her choices out of self-knowledge as we see Xena doing.

Gabrielle's Choice, to let live or let die, is then based, not mostly in her internal values, but even more in her belief in the legitimacy of other's versions of the story. She weighed the external evidence. There were three versions of what went down in Gardenis(sp)(garden of Eden?)

Xena's: Crassus crucified them all after a bloodless surrender. Crassus': My men got out of hand while I wasn't looking. Vercinix': Crassus personally ordered the crucifiction of all, including women and children.

What is telling here, IMHO, is that, to Gabrielle, Xena's version and Crassus version held the same weight. The story is so similar to that of Cirrah. Gabrielle had found it in her heart to forgive Xena of her crimes against Cirrah, when Xena told her a similar story-- 'it must have been my men, but I didn't mean to.' That forgiveness was based in the belief that to end the cycle, the slate must be wiped clean and that a person's potential rests in every new choice made. Gabrielle's choice, to allow life or condemn to death, was made, this time, on what she decided Crassus deserved as punishment for his crimes after she had weighed the evidence, with the tie breaker being the word of Vercinix. She does not even seem to consider Crassus' potential for redemption. Xena's pragmatism here (She could care less whether Crassus lives or dies. He is a tool.), becomes Gabrielle's vengeance.

Xena has begun to internalize the concept of 'if you do good, you are good,' that let her start down her path of redemption in the first place. Gabrielle was her touchstone to help her remember that idea and reflect possiblity back to her. The Price for that arrangement was that, while Xena allowed herself to believe in her own self-determination, neither woman allowed it for Gabrielle. I mean that choice was not a possibility for Gabrielle. She was 'good' period. Her core was good. It was innate. Now Gabrielle, who said in a loving moment to Xena, "Someone has to say 'no' to this cycle of vengeance and hate," has lost her vision of action equaling worth. She killed Hope.

So in the end we see our beloved bard hanging over the side of the ship contemplating her innards rather than spewing them. We are back to those pesky THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN questions and there are no answers.

G: "I don't know what's happening to me Xena. I did something that I never thought I'd be able to do. I played judge, jury and executioner."

X: "You only did what I told you."

G: "You said Crassus living or dying wasn't the point. I had a choice. I made it."

What is hopeful for me is that Gabrielle realizes her own responsibilty in her life's direction. She is at the point of making informed choices about who she will be, as opposed to letting her 'self' be the product of her uninformed ideals and the whims of Xena.

G: "I'm here because I want to be here. I love you Xena."

X: "I love you too Gabrielle."

Xena is learning the hard lesson of letting another take responsibility when it is more natural for her to shoulder all the blame. This is the area in which her growth is most possible-- growing into the ability to allow Gabrielle to be her equal.

Also, there was much else about the show that I found intriguing. I really loved the shot of the ring dropping into the churning water. When those waters still, that ring will always be there. There in company with Xena's past and Solon's sword and the land of Illusia-- mixing with the water doled out by the priests of Apollo.

I liked the image and accompanying ideas of Xena being dragged in the colliseum. She was willing to withstand what she, herself, had dished out in order to accomplish her end. There might also have been a bit of the hair shirt of self-punishment in that act.

There were many, many tie-ins to other pertinent episodes. Xena telling Gabrielle that Crassus is no longer human was a throw back to The Price and recalled the images of Xena's use of dead human flesh as a tool of terror. The exchanges between Xena and Gabrielle in the hold of the ship seemed to me to be reworkings of the conversations in the fort during THE PRICE. The dragging. The above mentioned opening scenes. Divide and conquer. The troubled churning water discussed in DREAMWORKER. The scene of Xena exploding up with a knife in her teeth in order to assassinate parallels THE DEBT I.

WHEN IN ROME...'s closing vows of love repeat the end of THE DEBT II, but this time Xena's words seemed sincere. This is a different take on love-conquers-all stories than I am used to seeing. Love triumphing in the end here does not mean the disolution of their differences or the magical solving of their problems.

Another thing I find interesting are the comments made about Gabrielle in Herc that provide counterpoint. Her 'opposite' in STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD, is executioner. In ARMEGEDDON NOW PART 2 she is an unrelenting activist opposing Xena the Conquerer, and here she is ambiguous in her need to oppose Caesar. I got the feeling that she'd just as well let Rome hang and stay the hell away from Caesar.

c. 1998 DebR
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joan the english chick on When In Rome...:

What I liked about "When in Rome" in a word: everything.

Specifically, my first visceral reaction was that we are finally seeing Xena and Gabrielle as equals in their relationship. Although I personally also saw this in 1AAA and King Con, it's stronger here, and much of that is because of the other complexities in "WiR." But Xena clearly is no longer treating Gabrielle like a sidekick, and Gabrielle is no longer acting like one. Now Gabrielle is assigned the most dangerous and crucial of tasks (Xena leaves her to guard Crassus while specifically calling him "smart," but shows no sign of doubting Gab's capability) and her moral sense is given equal weight when Xena offers to let her out of the action, and even gives her an opportunity to suggest an alternate plan. Which of course Gabby can't do, because she hasn't considered and understood all the angles as Xena had; but that's a result of their different functions (Xena as planner and knower; Gab as thinker and understander and reteller) rather than an issue of lack of trust.

The Caesar subplot is fascinating to me. I've always said that one thing I love about XWP is the way it shows women shamelessly, exuberantly using their sexuality as a weapon. Xena's been doing same since Sins of the Past (and obviously before that, from her very first appearance) and Gabrielle, of course, is not new to it either. But Caesar presents a very different problem. Xena first encountered him before she had grown into her power; she hadn't yet gone through the maturation of the events of The Debt; she was really just a power-hungry, intensely angry young woman with a strong sense of her own sexiness and not much more. Hence, her attempt in "Destiny" to control Caesar with sex fails miserably, because he's that tiny bit smarter and he recognizes what she's doing and turns it against her.

However, it's been ten years. Xena's been through a lot, and she's smarter. Unfortunately, Caesar isn't. Or maybe he just doesn't realize; but either way, he thinks he can control Xena the same way, but now it's *she* who recognizes what he's doing and turns it against her.

It's clear that, just as the years have turned Caesar into a compellingly sexual albatross in Xena's mind, so too the reverse is true; they each have the same love-hate attitude toward the other. But now Xena has Gabby, and she can recognize the destructive nature of her fascination with Caesar; he, on the other hand, has no one (hehehe... except maybe Cleopatra... raise your hand if you think Gina Torres could eat Karl Urban for breakfast) and so his obsession with Xena is allowed to fester.

The scene where Xena bursts in on Caesar and Pompei is juicy with this. I had to watch it several times. Caesar's reaction when Xena walks in is classic infatuation: "Xena!" he shouts, half fearful, half delighted, all titillated. He stutters in his agony/ecstasy, and then resorts to halfhearted wit in an attempt to cover those emotions ("Friend, enemy... I forget where we left off") but it's far too late. His weakness is out there for all to see, and all are seeing.

Gabrielle's moral dilemma is kind of exaggerated, and we see her again contemplating the issues she's struggled with since the show began: when is it okay to kill? When does inaction equal complicity? Who decides when a bad guy is irredeemable? Do bad deeds done for the right reasons make the doer bad? Where is the line between committing an act that makes you re-form your view of yourself, and committing an act that goes against your basic nature? And of course, as others already pointed out, issues of self-forgiveness. This may yet be Gabrielle's biggest flaw.

Thanks to whomever pointed out that Pompei was Palamon. It was driving me nuts. And yes, I got definite "effeminate" vibes from him. I felt it was a deliberate choice by the actor and/or director, and not at all incompatible with what I know of the ancient Romans....

The piece of imagery I haven't seen discussed is the flash of light catching Crassus' ring on Gabrielle's finger as he stands pleading with increasing panic for his life. The ring, of course, is a symbol or metaphor for Gabrielle's painful decision; but it also symbolizes much more. To Crassus and the Romans, it's a symbol of rank and power; Gabrielle wears it and thereby flaunts that power, makes mockery of the Roman system of government. Especially as a woman, putting on the ring (although she doesn't actually intend to assume the power it represents) is a deeply subversive act.

Too, consider a ring as a symbol of matrimony. The ring is removed from Crassus' finger, consecrated between Xena's and then Gabrielle's breasts (powerful feminine imagery there? A ring is about as yonic as it gets), then transferred to Gabrielle's finger. Symbolically, Gabrielle and Crassus are "married," merged, made one. Symbolically, then, Gabrielle takes on Crassus' persona. As he killed (or caused to be killed) a number of people either deliberately or not, so she kills (or causes to be killed) him. His sins become hers; she must atone for both of them. (I mean to say that this is what Gabrielle believes, not what I believe....)

I also, odd as this feels to say, must agree with Laura's [go to Links page for link to LaLa's Xena Warrior Princess Episode Reviews] feeling that the repeated "I love you"s between X and G are getting somewhat.... overdone?
Laura writes:
>I'm at the point where I expect 'the
>declaration' each week. Too much of a good thing and it loses it's
>impact. I'd much rather *see* than *hear* expressions of love ....

I can't help but agree. Nicely said, Laura.


Incidentally, the historical accuracy as far as this goes: Crassus, Caesar and Pompey really were a trio, and they really did squabble -- although Crassus is portrayed in the literature as a compassionate man and a fine leader. He died in battle at Syria.

I'm pretty sure that Vercinix is supposed to be Vercingetorix, the Gaulish chieftan who defied Caesar and was eventually captured, held prisoner for several years, and finally killed.

The Gab/Caesar dynamic. Fascinating stuff. In "Deliverer" we see that Gab, although scared, is interested to finally meet the man who looms so large in Xena's past. But honestly, she doesn't see much to impress her. She's left thinking, as above, "is that all? What did Xena see in this schmuck?" But she recognizes the obsession X has for C, and vice versa. In Deliverer she treats it with respect, supposing it to be founded in a power struggle between equals; but by WIR she's realized that Xena is the more powerful, and she seems to have only impatience and contempt for Caesar.

Caesar, meanwhile, has recognized easily that Gab is important to Xena, but he doesn't know Gab well enough to judge what kind of a threat she poses. Which makes it all the more humorous to see him standing by Vercinix, demanding that his men find Gab, when in fact Gab is right behind him in his own prison! :)

c. 1998 joan the english chick
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Katrina on When In Rome:

Okay, this is just gonna be a short one I think.

This one was maintext definitely

Got some definite couple speak going on.

This was one of the better episodes. Certainly it was dramatically strong and character forming. Gabrielle makes some choices that are really kind of heart wrenching, yet necessary.

I liked the characters that were present in the episode.

Red looks good on Xena, but the scowl on her face certainly took away from the fun of it. LOL. I thought Lucy's portrayal of Xena was really interesting.

She really is there to rescue Vercinix, but has to deal with a common knowledge that she Hates Caesar. Still, somehow, Gabrielle (who evidences a brain of her own) has faith in Xena.

Gabrielle makes several ethical choices. All of them painful in a way. She really does look for the way out.

Xena is very focused.
Gabrielle is too.

Interesting Ending. Maintext Maintext Maintext definitely. Gabrielle is choosing to be with Xena and choosing the consequences of it. Xena loves Gabrielle, for real. There was hair touching (a bit awkward, but that could have been camera angle or just the hard part of the moment)

There was lots to see in this episode. I think I really like the Gauls.

I think, Ceasar had better start watching his Assets. Brutus (whose still mostly loyal) and another enemy were introduced. I can see this is gonna be an onrunning theme.

Xena kicks butt in Rome.
Xena does not kill for sport (except when she wants to.)

Strong Episode, pretty good content, strong acting from main and support cast, costuming Yes!, Visually interesting cinematography and hmm. . Maintext.

Liked it.

c. 1998 Katrina prosper4@ix.netcom.com
Katrina's Xena Fanfiction at: http://bearblue.simplenet.com/xenafic.html

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Mika Ariela Epstein on When In Rome...:

Okay, I LOVE Roman history. In HS I read Caesar in Latin and loved it. I liked the warefare, and I dressed up like a Roman Soldier for Halloween. *heh* Twisted individual. Anyways. As I was on the phone with my friend when the ep started I can give you my first coments.

1. Roman men HATED wearing pants, and saw it as a sign of weekness... Long togas, however, that went to the ankles were okay (and probably good when you got old and didn't have Mel Gibson Knees...)

2. Vercinix's squeeze, Mendela. (Gaulic names, darn those french) Now SHE was HOT, so why couldn't we have seen HER talking to Xena and Gabrielle....

So as I told my phone buddy "I'm not going to argue names or clothing, I'll just get mad." It falls, yes, under creative license... BUT PLEASE!!! Romans don't dress like THAT. Besides, Gabrielle really needs a new shirt....BGSB is nagging at me...

Kudos to Karl Urban tho, who depicts Caesar in the PERFECT light. Megolomaniac, Son of A bitch, prick. Now if he was going bald.... Still, "A hairy man who is scant of hair." (Robert Graves, _I, Claudius_)

*BLINKS* to Crasus... isn't that Palamon? They REALLY need more actors (tho the hair thing on Crasus was cute...)

The MAIN issue, as I see it, in this Ep is Xena and Gabrielle's relationship. And the horrible question: 'Does doing it because someone told me, make it allright?'

It, in this case, is murder.

Flashback to Nazi Germany, cause it's the best example I've got. Not ALL German soldiers were Nazis. Some were men dratfed, others joined becuase the had no where else to go. Some were Nazis. And yet, a montage of those people would be sent to Concentration Camps to govern over the prisoners. All types of Germans would have to make decisions daily as to treament. What it came down to, was that the German Soldiers were ORDERED to do what they did. Kill, maim, and beat.

So this isn't exceptionally elloquent... But if you've taken a 'modern' history course, you know what I'm talking about.

What does this have to do with Xena and Gabrielle? Well Xena orders Gabrielle, saying 'trust me' and using the whole love angle to get her way. Gabrielle TRUSTS Xena's plan, and she trusts Xena. So is Gabrielle at fault or is Xena? Gabrielle could have said no, she could have put the ring on the Crasus' hand... She could have done a LOT of things, but she didn't.

And it's not like Xena would have killed Gabrielle if Gabrielle had put the ring on Crasus' hand. It's not like ANYONE told Gabrielle she couldn't do it or she'd die.

Gabrielle made a concious decision, hearing the horrors Crasus had done, to let him die.

Gabrielle is a complete adult now, making her own decisions. Yes, she's an acomplise to Xena, but she's there by CHOICE. At the end of the ep, Xena said she shouldn't have brought Gabrielle to a point where she had to make that kind of choice. While this IS true, Xena's trying to take the blame away from Gabrielle, and make her feel better. This can't be done for one simple fact.

Gabrielle KNOWS it was her choice.

She's not taking the out. She's not looking for ANY reason why. She knows, in her heart, that decision was hers. Gabrielle has not fundamentally changed. She simply has grown and been forced to adapt to her surroundings. Xena is NOT the ultimate blame in all of this.

How many times did Xena try and get rid of Gabrielle? How often did Xena tell her she could go home? And Gabrielle ALWAYS came back. That may be love, I think it is, but Gabrielle has made the concious decisions to be with Xena, and she knows by now exactly what risks that entails. Gabrielle has adapted to her surroundings, and changed because of outside infulence. Those infulences are, yes they are, a direct cause of her being with Xena.

But who is to blame for Gabrielle wanting so badly to be with Xena, that she runs away from home and puts up with all the 1st (and partially 2nd) season harassments from Xena?

Gabrielle is.

So I put forth this thought.

Gabrielle is ENTIRELY to blame for her perdiciments.

The next ep seems to deal with that (I'll know a week from today). Too bad Gabrielle hasn't realized that blame and fault aren't always a good thing. I've made mistakes. Some which almost cost me my friends, some which have, and one which saved a life. I'm proud that I accept and take blame and fault for my actions. I'm not proud of all those actions, but I did them, and NO ONE can erase them. Personally, I don't want to lose the memory of them, because even if they keep me up at night, they've made me who I am.

You can always stop doing something. But Gabrielle choses to continue living with Xena, and following XENA'S path. If she can't handle what that path is, and she certainly knows many of it's pitfalls. Murder, lying, pain... It's time that our innocent and naive Gabrielle grows up.

She's living in a dangerous world and had better get used to it. So while Xena needs Gabrielle to remind her that death isn't always the answer, it was high time Gabrielle started listeing to Xena. Life isn't the only answer. Preferable to Gabrielle, but not the only answer. Is it Gabrielle's place to decide who lives or dies? Is it Xena's? That's a question Xena must face daily. Gabrielle and I would probably have been more comfortable if Xena had made the final decision. Yet then we'd never see Gabrielle grow up.

Happy Note: The next time Xena and Gabrielle run into Caesar they conviently forget to tell Ceaser about the Ides of March.... and brutus...

"Et tu, Brute'?"

c. 1998 Mika Ariela Epstein
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Pursh on When In Rome...:


Well thanks to Mr. uptighty war guy, the Breastplate and the Bard find themselves in another fine mess in this ep, but that ain't the half of it.

Cheeser! Sit up straight, smooth the wrinkles from your dress, and pay attention. The gold leaf crown doesn't deter the committed from noticing your ever-present scalp troubles, and your lack of remedial attention thereto. Everyone knows that you haven't washed your hair since Destiny, which had to be at least 10 years ago. If I may put it in terms that you'll understand: divide the shampoo from its container and conquer your fetid grease-ball blues.

(or, Let's All Do Our Part and Get Cheeser On The Road To Better Hygiene)

Speaking of blues, the royal blue and gold-trimmed cape and gown set that Cheeser wore to Xena's gladiatorial fight and Crassus' beheading was most becoming but, as previously noted, next time let's hope that the ego guy spares us the head foliage. And what's up with that pre-Myceanean motorcycle helmet and gold lame cape he wore to the final act of Cheesey's war thugs wax the Gauls? He looks like a thrift shop lamp, replete with an ill-fitting shade and overstated gold trimmings. And the red cock-a-doodle-do ostrich feather is just about a sword's length beyond acceptably bold. His handsome pony should toss his lampy butt and stinky hair, leaves, feathers and all, into Minya's hot tub, because let's face it, that bubba needs a good soak. And if that doesn't work we can pray that he finds his way to the Lao Ma Finishing School and Hot Tub Paradise Hotel. On second thought I redact that prayer. He probably wouldn't meet the admission requirements, being a piece of meat and all. Hmmmmmm. Maybe the Breastplate can capture his slick self and force his participation in one of Argo's free week-long grooming consultation seminars. She could then ship him off with Alecto on a field trip to frock tart and hair mart headquarters.

The purpose of this campaign, dear Cheese-wad, is to raise your consciousness in three areas of great importance to a so called nobelman. First, personal hygiene. Scrubba-dubba-do, makes pretty hair for war guy you. Second, accessorizing. Bye-bye head leaves. And third, your manners. When will you learn Cheesin' jerk, making a spectacle of Xena, just doesn't work. (Number 3 is to be read with the same tone and inflection that hAres' used during his Bitter Suite pontificating, wherein the god of sleeveless, high collar, black Elvis suits said, in relation to the seemingly slain gABrielle, "Well nothing more need be said, ding dong, the bitch is dead.") I gotta go to the bathroom. Are we through yet?


Yo, LoDuca. Give us a break with the tooo-da-doo-oo horn mantra every time we see a back angle side shot of Cheeser. And a front angle side shot of Cheeser. And a head shot of Cheeser. And a full frontal shot of Cheeser. And a shot of Cheeser's army. And a shot of a Roman Solider. And a shot of Rome. And a shot of Cheeser's horse. And a shot of Cheeser's head leaves. And a shot of Cheeser's pretty blue dress. And a shot of the Pope. . .

(or, Hey, I thought we left Las Vegas Last Week)

Imagine the lurch my innards did when "Caesar's Palace" floated, for what seemed like an eternity, on the bottom of the TV screen.

(or, A Play In One Act)

An unnamed bleary-eyed innocent who has once again managed to stay awake until 12:30am on Saturday night in order to watch first-hand the current episode of Xena: Warrior Breastplate, startles to attention when the words CAESAR'S PALACE roll across her borrowed TV screen. Her adrenaline surges. She begins a prattling soliloquy.

The Innocent (in a startled tone): Caesar's Palace! Whaaaaahhhhhh, help! Ratty, er I mean Rafe, cometh.

The Innocent (with growing terror): No, no, it can't be. Not Ratty and Cheeser in the same episode. We left Ratty in Las Vegas, just last week. Oh, by the goddesses, it isn't fair, it isn't right, to have Cheeser and Ratty together in the same episode.

The Innocent (desperate, almost whining, about to give up): As long as they've got Ratty and Cheesy in this one, why don't they just go ahead and really ruin the weekend and have Joxer come stumbling out of the out house with . . . oh for the love of Hestia don't finish that thought.

The Innocent (with a cautious but growing hope): No, no wait, wait. That's not the Caesar's Palace of Las Vegas fame. No, not at all. In fact, why, it's a house.

The Innocent (with near exuberant hope): A dwelling, yes, yes, it's a home! A very, very large home, grotesque in its ostentatious finery! Only the keeper of a grossly imbalanced ego and disproportionate sense of self worth would require such a dwelling space. Cheeser!

The Innocent (relieved and joyful): Oh, praise Hestia, praise Hestia. This oversized waste of acreage is the home of the egoed one, not the playground of the grifter one. We rea lly did leave Rafe in Las Vegas! We really did! It's the egoed one, just the egoed one!

The Innocent (after a pause, in a Callisto-like haze): One, just one. Just Cheeser. Not Joxer. Not Ratty. Just Cheeser. Just one. One at a time. That's all we ask. Just one at a time.

The Innocent (prologue): This was a test. It was only a test. Had Ratty, Cheeser and Jox-weenie all been scheduled to appear in the same episode you would have been notified by the appropriate West Coast spoiler officials who get XWP at a decent hour, a week before you do. Now, back to our regularly scheduled episode review.

(or, Are These Guys Sentient?)

For such a slick boy, Cheeser doesn't do a very good job in selecting the hired help. Are we to believe that Cheeser's prison guards are so short on gray matter that they never notice that they have the irritating blonde in custody? But I guess if they don't recognize Crassus, one of the Roman Triumvirate, and presumably one of the guys who signs their paychecks, they aren't going to recognize the Bard of Abs. If leaf-head himself would bother to check the conditions in his prison once in a while he wouldn't have been the victim of yet another crafty Warrior Princess caper. Heh, heh leaf-boy.

(or, Maybe Not)
(or, Don't Be Fooled By gABrielle, Herbs Are A Good Life-Promoting Thingy)

Well the leafy allies got a bad rap in this ep. First Cheese whip desecrates their sacredness by putting them atop his frightful mop, and then gABs has some pulverized plant derivative powder that knocks Crass ass out for the count. Hmmmmmm. I wonder if this is the same stuff Lao Ma used on Lao Tzu (in addition to pressure points, of course). In any case, gABS is developing a disturbing trend in her use of herbs. Yo sister, repeat after me: herbs for life. Ya know, life. Life. That thing you rev ere so much. You know what I'm talking about. Life! To life! As in, to us and our good fortune, be happy, be healthy, love life. Ring a bell sista?

The Warrior Princess Breastplate needs to improve her listening skills before her marriage goes straight down the well o' loneliness. She's so rude when she's Miss focus on the battle. gABS should sign her up for Lao Ma's latest ethereal correspondence c ourse, Listening for Love: The Gentle Art of Paying Attention When Your Girlfriend has the Floor.

But alas it seems that everyone's favorite soft-speaking, big stick swinger has more to worry about than Xena's dismissive interrupting in the name of focus. O' the Bard she is a changin.' And we're not talking about the BGSB here.

In Debt II while Xena and gABS are chatting in the wetlands jail cellar gABrielle apologizes to Xena because her actions precluded Xena from offing Ming Tein. In When in Rome gAB'S choices are causally related to Crassus' death, which she readily cops t o on the boat during her heart to breastplate talk with Xena. It seems that the good bard is now regularly qualifying the merits of the lives that she has a hand in snuffing. A mean, bad-dude murder boy (Crassus) and a girl devil (Hope) destroy rather t han preserve life, so they're toast. The Bard in Rome is not the same Bard that she was in Debt II. The Rome Bard would have helped place the Debt II's lethal hair brooch. The Debt II Bard did just the opposite. All this is weighing mightily on the li fe lovin' scribe, and has been since Forgiven, when she resorted to praying to the boy god for forgiveness. gABS has slowly begun to turn inward for self forgiveness, but she's still searching, unable to reconcile her deeds and forgive herself.

c. 1998 Pursh
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Tracey on When In Rome...:

Saw "When in Rome" earlier this evening, and I have to say that, IMHO, it is one of the better eps of this season in terms of Gabs' development, and it's definitely the best post-BS ep so far.

I think what I liked so much about it was that it was the first ep in which I saw real, concrete evidence that Xena and Gabs are equal partners. While it is true that they have long had their distinct (and possibly equally important) roles to play in the relationship, those roles often put them at odds with one another. Xena's plans often succeeded despite Gabrielle, not because of her.

Tonight was different. Xena asked Gabrielle to sacrifice her principles because she *needed* her participation for the plan to work. She didn't try to protect her from the consequences of the plan, nor did she offer Gabs an opportunity to sit this one out.

Of course, when it was all over, Xena apologized for asking Gabrielle to, in effect, take Crassus' life in order to make the plan to rescue Vercinix work. She regretted not having protected her. But Gabrielle made it quite clear that she has a mind of her own and decided for herself Crassus' fate. And the "I love you"s at the end were not those of two people who thought they were about to die, as in OAAA. They were those of two adults who've decided to make a life together, regardless of the ethical compromises their calling might require from time to time.

I tell ya, as romantic as that whole damsel-in-distress thing can be when two women are involved : ), two and a half seasons of it is enough. I'm glad TPTB seem to be moving beyond it.

c. 1998 Tracey
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