Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 18

Antony & Cleopatra

3
Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 17, 2000 on
8.3
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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When Cleopatra is murdered, Xena poses as the Queen of Egypt in order to find out the identity of the killer, while romancing Marc Antony. However, the plan is threatened when Xena seems to fall for Antony and Brutus suddenly appears, forcing Xena and Gabrielle to turn tothe young, idealisticRoman nobleman Octavius for help.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Xena once again falls for the Roman bad boy, but unlike Caesar, Mark Antony truly falls for the warrior princess.

    8.5
    In my opinion, this episode doesn't get the credit it deserves. Superb acting, writing, directing, and story-telling.



    Although Xena doesn't admit (at least to Gabrielle) that she has fallen hard for Antony, we can tell that she has indeed became smitten by the expressions on her face in almost every scene her and Antony are in together.



    Xena is a bad-ass, alright?. It takes her a lot to cry, and she was just so tearful throughout the episode, knowing she was falling in love with Antony. When Antony talks about Octavian being a good boy, but how he couldn't let him turn into a man, you could almost feel Xena's heart sink. She knew, even then, that their love affair would end at the end of her sword.



    You can take the Roman out of Rome, but not Rome out of the Roman.



    And although I do believe Xena and Gabrielle were in fact soul-mates, this episode, in my opinion, shows that they weren't lovers. Xena loved Gabrielle more than anything I can't imagine her betraying Gabrielle like that, and kind of throwing it in her face. "Your navel?" But, of course, we may never know the true nature of their relationship. Perhaps Xena allowed herself to fall for Antony without guilt Gabrielle did after all have her share of falling for people: Eli, Najara, heck, even Joxer and Ares for maybe a brief moment, and let's not forget when she left Xena to marry a guy she called dull and stupid in the very first episode.



    Who knows what went on behind close doors.



    But the sexual tension is undeniable between Antony and Xena. They feed each other fruit seductively, and for some reason the song being played is the only contemporary music used in the entire series, which was unnecessary in my book. Joesph LoDucca's brilliant music was almost another main character of the show. I didn't see the need to mess with it. It's like when they changed the opening credits for just the sixth season kinda random if you ask me. But those were the only things that bothered me about the episode.



    The best parts?



    The look on Brutus' face when he sees a very ALIVE Gabrielle is priceless. Fabulous actor, that David Franklin! Also, the moment he is killed by Gabrielle is just so epic. She came a long way from Amazon Peace Princess. I loved it!



    Xena killing Antony was another emotional scene, and I'll admit I shed a tear or two the first time I saw it as Mark Antony mutters, "I did love As he tumbles down the stairs, we see just the reason why this was such an amazing series: It managed to be artsy and heart-wrenching at times like these, and then also have episodes with slapstick comedy and such dark emotional turmoil that it really made you think about life.



    Oh, and Lucy Lawless played Cleopatra magnificently, and looked amazing doing it! The rug scene, to name a moment. I'm glad the show realized that they needed to show Xena in a more sexy role, after spending most of the season pregnant, covered up completely.



    This was definitely one of the best episodes of Season Five.moreless
  • A little bit of romance spices things up in Egypt, however, don't be too dreamy - it can't last!

    8.5
    This episode is such a guilty pleasure; deep down, you know its garbage, you know that we are being sucked into an essentially slim plotted episode, but it is just so enjoyable, and so easy on the eyes, that you can't help but have a great time watching.



    I realise that fans don't rate this episode overly well, and I can genuinely understand why, but for once that hasn't altered my sense of enjoyment of the episode overall. I think it has some really good parts, even though the scripting is fairly weak, and I think the acting is actually excellent. Manu Bennett is just gorgeous, and to be perfectly honest, he wouldn't have to do any other than appear on screen for me to appreciate him! Clearly Rob (Tapert) also liked him given that he has gone on to star in Spartacus: Blood and Sand.



    Putting aside my own attraction to Manu, I actually think he plays a fabulous role as Antony. He is easily a match for Xena's wit and cunning, and I enjoyed seeing her meet someone who takes her out of her comfort zone. I also thought Antony genuinely falling in love with Xena was a very good direction for the story to take. It is about time that Xena sees that her powers of seduction can have emotional results for other people. Realistically, this was a battle that Xena did not really need to get involved in. Yes, certainly, avenge Cleopatra's murder, but treating Antony as she did seems almost cruel. Yes, he was ambitious, but was he evil? And even if he wasn't a good guy, did he deserve to die in utter misery and despair? Perhaps I just have a soft spot for the lovely Antony.



    Putting all that aside (!) I actually thoroughly enjoyed Xena's seduction of Antony. It was very full-on, very sexy and a little bit naughty. I liked our walk on the wild side and, most particularly, I most enjoyed Gabrielle's reaction to the whole event. She reacts as anyone would: indignantly! I don't blame her for butting in every now and then to just remind Xena that they are enacting a plan, not playing kiss-chasey. I liked that Gabrielle spotted the dangers with Antony from a mile away, even when Xena was trying to pretend that she was oblivious to his charms. I was actually quite disappointed with Xena in this episode; sure, she started out with using the seduction as a decoy, but not far along the way she started letting her emotions rule. I thought it was quite disrespectful to Gabrielle, and I'm glad that Xena was suitably ashamed once she realised how she was behaving.



    Apart from the drawn out seduction of Antony, the other major aspect of this episode was the great ship battle at the end. This was very well presented; the costumes were fabulous and the multiple betrayals were so evil they were almost juicy! What a way for our old friend Brutus to go! I thought there was a beautiful irony to his demise; it seemed fitting that he should be murdered by the innocent woman he allowed to be crucified for his own personal gain. However, it was not an easy fight, and his brutal beating of Gabrielle was one of the most gruesome we have seen. I have little doubt that she would have walked out of that fight with a broken nose, broken jaw, broken cheekbone/s, possibly broken eye-socket, as well as several teeth missing. Amazing how quickly she heals though – not a mark on her the following day!



    I enjoyed the symmetry of the betrayals, with Brutus being murdered by a woman he felt he could trust, whilst his nemesis also suffered the same fate: death at the hand of a woman he felt he had a future with. I think that if more fans focussed on the last 10 minutes of the episode, rather than the first 30, then they would see this episode in a totally different light, as I really feel that the ending is fantastic. And having said that, even though the first part of the episode may not be the strongest ever, I still feel it is very neatly done, and ties the aspects together nicely.



    Given how weak season five is overall, I genuinely feel that this is one of the strongest episodes of the season. I think the direction by Michael Hurst is excellent, Xena and Gabrielle look hot in their Egyptian garb, and I actually don't personally fell like the seduction scenes are overdone. Combined with the really super conclusion, I think it is an episode that you can really get lost in, and actually forget that you are stuck in the worst season of all time.moreless
  • Michael Hurst directs. After Cleopatra is murdered, Xena assumes her identity and begins romancing Mark Antony as she roots out the killer. But the plan is in danger when Xena really starts to fall for Antony. I personally find this one really dragged outmoreless

    5.9
    After three lacklustre episodes ('Married With Fishsticks', 'Lifeblood' and 'Kindred Spirits'), I was really looking forward to this episode, as I thought it sounded promising and would be a return to form. Sadly, I found this one to be really dragged out and boring.



    Before she is killed by an asp in the teaser, Cleopatra is played by Josephine Davison, after being played by Gina Torres (better known as Nebula from 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys') in the silly season three comedy 'The King of Assassins'. Apparently Torres was unable to return to the role, as she was busy filming (ironically) 'Cleopatra 2525'.



    I haven't really got much to say on this episode, as I didn't really enjoy it that much at all. The single story of Xena inadvertently starting to fall for Mark Antony is stretched to breaking point across the whole episode. This is one of those episodes that could really use a b-plot to even things up a bit.



    There are some quite steamy scenes between Xena and Mark Antony in this episode. But it doesn't come as all that much of a shock – this is a season that has seen Xena getting up close and personal with Ares!



    The modern day song as Xena first starts to flirt with Mark Antony seemed quite out of place to me. They can maybe just about get away with it in a tongue-in-cheek comedy episode, but here, in a more serious fare, it struck me as very out of place and distracting.



    This is another episode that is noticeably low on action, particularly from the Warrior Princess herself. I know that Lucy Lawless was still recovering from giving birth, but previously in the season while she was still pregnant, they very much got around this by giving Gabrielle more action. But in the last few episodes, action from either of them has been noticeably lacking.



    I know some will absolutely love this episode. But for me, I just found it so very dragged out and uninteresting. One of my least favourites of the season.moreless
  • A Love Affair!!

    9.2
    Anthony and Cleopatra-When Cleopatra is murdered, Xena poses as the Egyptian queen in order to find out the identity of the killer, while romancing Marc Antony.



    Wonderfully directed by Micheal Hurst and very well-written!! This episode returns Xena back to what it does BEST! Xena takes on the role of Cleopatra to find out who the killer is. I love the Egyptian settings and costumes, not to mention Lucy and Renee look gorgeous in them! I love how Xena as Cleopatra falls in love with Anthony, it's a nice little spin on the tale! Both Lucy and Manu Bennett have some good chemistry. Just watching Xena fall deeper and deeper in with him but trying to resistant his affections is very well acted by Lucy. Anthony is also a really intersting character, his such passionate man yet he fights like a mad man, literally!! I also like Octavis, played by Mark Warren, who does a great job as the up and coming Emperor of Rome. The episode ends with a enormous ship to ship fight with Roman soldiers. The scene is incredible, yet very violent with blood everywhere. When Gabrielle kills Brutus....it's so brutal, I couldn't believe it. Then of course, Xena kills Anthony, but you can't help but feel bad for the guy. He really loved her and died of a broken heart..sigh! All in All, this is a wonderful episode with great direction and acting. This is the beginning of the last 5 glorious episodes of the season!







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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Brutus is killed by Gabrielle in this episode.

    • This is the only Brutus episode that does not have Julius Caesar in it.

    • Counting Xena's pregnancy, this is technically the only season five episode without Eve.

    • Nitpick: Xena and Hercules never agreed on what time period Egypt was in. This is the second Xena episode with Cleopatra, but in between these was the Hercules episode "City of the Dead" in which Nefertiti was queen. Nefertiti, of course, existed long before Cleopatra, in the 13th century BCE.

    • Where did the plug for democracy come from at the end of the show? Xena says that Cleopatra "died in the hope that the Egyptian people might, for the first time, choose their next great leader." Where is Xena getting her information? Or is she simply leading them in the direction she thinks they ought to go, to try and keep them out of Roman hands- even if they're Octavius'.

    • Nitpick: This is the second Cleopatra to appear on the show. The first was played by the multiracial actress Gina Torres in "King of Assassins." In this episode, the queen is played by a Caucasian actress, Josephine Davison, causing continuity problems.

    • Goof: During Antony's fight at the pyramid, you can clearly see his prop sword bend during the battle.

    • Cute touch in the pyramids scene: the sphinx still has its nose.

    • All of the events in the ep take place around 42 BCE, not long after Caesar's assassination, and the year which history records as Brutus's last.

    • Goof: Lucy's costume changed during the battle scene. You'll notice the goldlamé cloth is draped over different shoulders. It starts out one way, then switches once the battle starts.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Xena: (to Antony, as she wears nothing except a loose wrap around her body) Wait right here while I slip into something less comfortable.

    • Xena: (disguised as Cleopatra, wearing nothing but golden chains) Egypt is yours, Antony. Won't you free me?
      Antony: Is that what you want? Surely this is about you capturing me.
      Xena: If that were the plan I would have dressed for the occasion.

    • Xena: He's going to try to seduce me into letting him have Cleopatra's navy.
      Gabrielle: And then?
      Xena: And then I'll have him on his knees. Figuratively speaking, of course.
      Gabrielle: Of course.

    • Gabrielle: (warning Xena about Antony) I'm losing sight of your plan. Are you going to flirt him to death?

    • Gabrielle: I wish Eve could see this.
      Xena: No, she's better off in Alexandria with my mother.
      Gabrielle: Do you have a plan?
      Xena: First we become Egypt, and then we take on Rome.

    • Xena: (As Cleopatra) I am Cleopatra. Queen of Egypt! Slave of Rome.

    • Gabrielle: I'm alive. I'll handle this.
      Brutus: You survived the crucifixion.
      Gabrielle: You should have been there.

    • Antony: Both Roman fleets?! Xena! You win my trust, my love and then you betray everything?! (he attacks, but she fights him off)
      Xena: Antony-! (they fight again, and Xena stabs him through)
      Antony: (as he dies) I did... Love you.

    • Xena: Rome owes me nothing. Octavius, you'll soon be the newleader. It is you who must recognize and support this new alliance forged between Egypt and Rome. It cost Cleopatra her life. Make sure it was worth it. Cleopatra always put the well being of her kingdom ahead of her own. Repsect this. She died in the hope that the Egyptian people might, for the first time choose their next great leader. She was Egypt.

  • NOTES (11)

    • This episode is also known as "Love and Death in Alexandria".

    • Josephine was nervous about her scene as Cleopatra, because she had to disrobe completely and walk into a bath of warm milk. Unfortunately, the warm milk soon became cold milk, and by the end of the shoot she had to have a warm water bottle in her lap to help her from getting too cold.

    • DISCLAIMER: No rubberized snakes intent on destroying the Queen of Egypt were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

    • Cyrene and Joxer were supposed to appear in this episode, but only to babysit Eve. That's how Joxer and Octavian were meant to know each other for when they met on the beach in the next episode, "Looking Death in the Eye".

    • When writing the script Carl Ellsworth pictured Antony as Michael Keaton from the first Batman movie. He wanted him to be suave with a dry sense of humor.

    • Rob Tapert really wanted to use Karl Urban for the role of Octavius, but let everyone talk him out of it, since they said it would be too confusing. He regrets giving in, because he still thinks Karl would have been perfect.

    • Octavius wasn't added to the episode until they wrote "Looking Death in the Eye" and realized that Xena would need somebody unexpected to leave Eve with while she executed her plan.

    • One of the early versions of the script had Xena holding Cleopatra hostage while she took her place, but they decided that there was no story unless Cleopatra was dead, not just incapacitated.

    • They wanted Gina Torres to reprise her role as Cleopatra, but she was too busy on her show Cleopatra 2525 (no relation to this Cleopatra) to return.

    • Fake blood on Xena consisted of maple syrup, coffee, and red food coloring. The result was nauseating, and David Franklin had a particularly difficult time with it since he had to have so much of it in his mouth for his death scene.

    • Joseph LoDuca wrote a piece of music for the seduction scene of Antony, but the editor used Natalie Merchant's "Carnival" while he was working, and the producers liked it so much they kept it in the episode. The song by LoDuca, called "Honey and Wine", can be heard on the Lyre, Lyre, Hearts On Fire Soundtrack.

  • ALLUSIONS (6)

    • Marc Antony says "It's not that I love Caesar less; I love Rome more." This is a line from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, but in the play it is said by Brutus.

    • Brutus says that he has crossed "the Rubicon of blood". This refers to the Rubicon River, which marked the boundary between Roman Gaul and Italy proper to the south. Roman law forbade crossing it with an army. Caesar crossed the river with his army in 49 BCE, making war inevitable. He supposedly exclaimed, "Alea jacta est" ("The die is cast"). The expression "crossing the Rubicon" is still used to describe an irreversible decision.

    • The costumes Xena & Gabrielle wore in the sea battle were excellent copies of those worn by Theda Bara and Thurston Hall in the 1917 silent movie Cleopatra.

    • Cleopatra rolling out of a carpet
      The historical Cleopatra is said to have hidden herself inside a carpet so that she could get a private meeting with Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was fighting a civil war against her brother Ptolemy, and she wanted Caesar's help. She got all she wanted and more, becoming Caesar's lover and having his son Caesarion.

    • The Second Triumvirate
      The civil war between the successors of Caesar took place in a somewhat different way from the Xenaverse version. After Brutus' assassination of Caesar Marcus Antonius and Octavianus formed an uneasy alliance to defeat the Republicans lead by Brutus and his comrades. Once Brutus was killed the alliance between Antonius and Octavianus, cemented by Antonius' marriage to Octavianus' sister, crumbled. The two mens' navies fought a major battle at Actium, but when Cleopatra realized that the battle was lost she persuaded Antonius to escape with her back to Egypt. Octavianus followed, and Antonius commited suicide. Soon Cleopatra killed herself by allowing an asp to bite her on the breast. Some historians say however that her death wasn't suicide, but rather murder on the orders of Octavianus, who feared the seductive powers of the woman who had been the lover of both Caesar and Antonius.

    • When Antony is talking about the trip he wants to take with Cleo/Xena down the Nile his dialogue quotes William Shakespeare from the play Antony and Cleopatra.

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