Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 22

Motherhood

1
Aired Monday 8:00 PM May 15, 2000 on
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
81 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

Eve is initiated into the way of Eli, freeing her of her past sins. A by-product of this gives Xena the power to kill Gods; she uses it to face the Gods of Olympus in a battle to the death. Meanwhile, Gabrielle is tortured by the Furies, causing her to turn on Eve.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The Twilight is upon us...

    9.0
    Despite the many problems with this episode (and, for the record, there are a lot), it somehow manages to pull everything together to create an epic, teary, powerful final to season five. I'm not quite sure how it manages to present as well as it does, yet I walk away from this episode very emotional and very touched, with a lovely sense of closure combined with sadness.



    It is hard to talk about this episode without mentioning the gaping plot holes: the absolutely ridiculous situation where the gods are so utterly inept that they manage to be wiped out by a single woman, the incredibly unbelievable overnight transformation of Livia to Eve, and murdering warrior to messenger of Eli, the lazy choice of the Furies… Suffice to say that there are a lot of problems. But rather than dwell on these as other people seem to do, I'm going to discuss the good points of this episode that make it so successful and so emotive.



    Firstly, unlike the previous offering, I actually believed the emotions in this one. I could really sense Xena's joy in finally having made that connection with her daughter, and the fact that this love was so tangible makes her selfish behaviour much more understandable and acceptable in the circumstances. I also could completely understand Gabrielle's frustration with the situation, and it is no wonder it was so easy for the Furies to turn her – all those thoughts that they cashed in on were already present in Gabrielle's mind.



    I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of all the Gods together. I actually wondered though, what happened to Apollo, Hestia and Hermes? To make up for it they included Discord and Deimos, so I suppose it evens out in the end. I thought the battle at the end was sufficient, if a little unrealistic, and while I'm not disputing that there are serious issues with the gods and their fighting abilities, this is not news. This has been the case since the Twilight saga first began, and I really don't feel like we achieve anything by continuing to bag it out. Thus, I have nothing further to say on the matter.



    I thought that Olympus was the ideal place for the final confrontation to take place. I liked the setting, the fog and the atmosphere of the main hall, and I liked the sense of despair that hung in the air. I also loved the performance given by Alexandra Tidings in this episode. Aphrodite's clear love for Gabrielle as her friend, and her beautiful demonstration of loyalty by protecting her until the end, knowing that it would spell her own doom was enormously touching, and such a clever choice by the writers. She also looked just amazing in black, knowing that her death was inevitable.



    I must now mention my single favourite moment of the episode, and perhaps of the whole season: Ares' sacrifice. At the eleventh hour, despite the risks involved, Ares chooses to sacrifice his own immortality to save Gabrielle and Eve, returning to Xena the power to kill gods, and allowing Xena to finish the last remaining Olympian, Athena. After having Xena's sword plunged through her stomach, Athena looks on Ares in shock and disbelief, and asks him why. Ares, with all the coolness in the world, answers in an offhand tone "I'm sorry. But I've got a thing for her". Classic moment. They don't get any better than this.



    So, with that all said, I'm going to leave the review there. Sometimes it is not the individual points that matter in an episode, but the sum of all the parts. In this case, despite the many problems I leave this episode feeling powerfully touched, so it gets a good score from me. It is a momentous episode, the conclusion of the most drawn out story arc in Xena history, and it is an episode that changes the show forever.



    Season Overview



    Well, where on earth do you start with this season? Absolutely, without a doubt, the weakest and most unpredictable season of all, and yet, it has many fans who rave highly about it. From episode to episode you are dragged through several of the worst episodes ever made, and yet, there are some gems thrown in there as well. We endure the most drawn-out story-arc even created in the show, and have our loyalty to the show tested again and again.



    This season suffers, sadly, because of Lucy's pregnancy. I feel like the limitations it created dragged the season down and made it impossible to capture the essence of the previous four seasons. It gave Gabrielle and Joxer the opportunity to shine, and in many episodes they did, yet they were often underused, or misused, which makes no sense. The season borrowed from concepts that worked successfully in previous seasons, only to butcher them and have the resulting episodes turn out as failures.



    No episode in this season receives more than a 9 out of 10 from me. No episode deserves more than that, and I almost feel that those scores may be slightly underserved. The high points of the episode are "Succession" and "Motherhood", two completely different episodes, one that is almost completely inconsequential, and one that is epic and momentous. The low points are easily "Lifeblood" and "Married… With Fishsticks", the only two episodes to ever receive less than a 6 out of 10. The mish-mash of episodes in the middle range from the excellent "Eternal Bonds" and "Amphipolis Under Seige", to the horrendous "God Fearing Child" and "Little Problems", and the bizarre "Lyre, Lyre Hearts on Fire" and "Them Bones, Them Bones". It is such a strange mess of ideas and themes and it never really pulls it together.



    I reach the end of season five with mixed feelings. One is a sense of relief that finally this uncomfortable season is over. Another emotion is melancholy, knowing that I am now heading into the beginning of the end of Xena in season six. A third emotion is disappointment, realising that there is now no more opportunity for season five to redeem itself. As fans we take the good with the bad, and (for me) season five is the 'bad' of the Xena-verse.moreless
  • One against an army...of GODS!!!

    10
    a truely fantastic end to a thrilling set of four episodes that bring the whole season arc to a magnificent closure,the body count is high and so is the action.

    Lucy is absolutely fantastical on every level,Motherhood is a magnificent finale of an epic scale.

    this has to be one of the greatest episodes of all time,its a corker of a finale from the word go.

    and absolutely everyone is in for the ride(even Hope and Joxer !!).

    Motherhood is one of the best episodes of season five,and its definately in leagues with Ides of March,Sacrifice and Fallen Angel.

    not only does it bring an end to the seasons story arc it in an indirect way brings our characters stories to a closure(until seaon 6).

    truely unforgettable.moreless
  • ALL I CAN SAY IS....AWESOME!

    9.7
    Truely an epic episode, with many great battles in one episode. This is a worth watching episode for anyone, despite being a fan or not. One of my favourite episodes ever made. Though the deaths of the gods was a disappointment, it was the season finale that could have ended it all. Great storyline that continued through most of the season leading up to this event. This episode finished off season 5 as good as it could get, building up much hype for the following season and how a 'good' eve would impact on it. Very awesome episode well recommended !moreless
  • When Eve is baptised into the way of Eli, forgiving her of her past sins, a side-effect gives Xena the power to kill Gods. Meanwhile, the Gods send the Furies to torture Gabrielle and try to lead her into killing Eve. A great conclusion to the season...moreless

    9.3
    This review contains spoilers.



    This is a conclusion to the Twilight of the Gods storyline that has been building up all season. While not quite perfect, it does make for a mostly pleasing episode.



    It's quite a team-up as we see all of the Gods together plotting against Xena and Eve. They're all there, except Cupid, due to Karl Urban being busy filming for 'Lord of the Rings' at the time.



    A nice little moment comes as Aphrodite asks if they can't spare the bard (Gabrielle) as she's "my friend", reflecting the relationship that she and Gabrielle had built up earlier in the season in 'Little Problems' and 'Punch Lines'.



    Although it didn't spoil the episode for me, I do agree with some others that the Gods don't really seem all that powerful. The most they seem to do is throw fireballs, which can easily be dodged.



    I also like the plot of Gabrielle being tortured by the Furies. This works much better than the disappointing third season opener 'The Furies', where they are set on to Xena. Of course, there's only so much they can fit into 44-odd minutes, but I would have liked to have seen even more of this.

    As part of her torturous insanity, she is visited by the ghost of Joxer, and evil daughter Hope (in a terrible long-hair Gabrielle wig).



    When the Furies finally lead Gabrielle to try and kill Eve, I really thought that Xena's chakram throw had killed her. It really should have, as it gouged her right across the back of the head. But miraculously both she and Eve seem to escape their injuries.



    The conclusion is explosive and exciting, and Ares pulls an unexpected move which I won't give away here.



    The whole Twilight of the Gods plot had originally been designed for 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', but when that series came to an end, it was transferred to 'Xena' instead. It's hard to imagine it being done much better on 'Hercules', as it fits 'Xena' perfectly.



    The only thing I was left wondering at the end was how long Eve will be around for. Now that she's been 'turned good', she kind of feels like a fifth wheel. I hope they will at most have her as an occasional character, as I think it will be too much for her to appear in every story.



    ---Fifth season overview---

    This season seems to be one that splits the vote with fans. Some do not like it as much, but personally I really enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed it more than the (in my opinion) weak season four, and probably more than season three as well.



    Lucy Lawless' pregnancy is handled and incorporated well, not only working around it, but making it the running story of the season.



    Far from the early, very stand alone episodes, much of this season plays like an ongoing serial, with stories running across many episodes.



    Although there are weaker stories, and there is a run of weaker episodes about three quarters of the way through the season, I found this miss rate to be much lower than in the fourth season, with most episodes offering up enjoyable and re-watchable tales.



    All-in-all, a really enjoyable season.moreless
  • If an episode's quality is measured by the strength of the emotions it manages to stir up in the viewers, this was one of the best. A shame that the most prominent emotion it stirred in me was unspeakable annoyance and frustration.moreless

    6.0
    Very rarely do TV shows manage to make me really feel something. That honor is usually reserved for the most brilliant ones, the best-written, and so forth. In the case of this episode, and the previous one, however, it was the stupidity in parts that provoked powerful emotions in me. Namely, seething anger and unbearable frustration.



    Many of the issues that annoyed me so in this episode, are common in the series as a whole.

    The "gods" being incompetent beyond words is one, them lacking any real power other than throwing "fireballs" (that barely scratch Xena), teleportation (which they fail to use even while falling into rivers of magma, or while a chakram is heading right at them), and "immortality" (that keeps being overcome time and time again). The so-called "god of war" can't even fight, and doesn't think to mention that when a dozen gods attack at the same time, it might be good tactic to throw the fireballs all at once, rather than one at a time, giving Xena time to parry at her leisure. To the so-called goddess of wisdom it doesn't even occur that it might be a good idea to hide at times, given if she had just teleported out of reach, there'd have been absolutely nothing Xena could've done about it.

    And yet, all these ideas are just too darn complicated for the "gods", whose most novel idea was to use the Furies, an idea they couldn't even stick with long enough not to have some of them killed while waiting for it to work. Clearly, the thought of just teleporting near Eve's throat while both Xena and Gabriel were away from her in the hut, and slitting it, was waaay beyond their grasp.

    This patheticness of the gods has been evident pretty much since Eve was being born, when Zeus was trying to kill her. Like so many antagonists in class D shows and movies, it's not that the hero is particularly smart; it's just that the bad guy is THAT dumb. When Hades started grinning and walking slowly at Eve, at some point even talking, instead of just sending the already-charged fireball right at her face and ending it all, I practically went red with annoyance. As the famous phrase goes: "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."



    Another gripe is the fact Ares isn't dead yet. I've lost count of how many times he's betrayed his fellow gods by now, without any response on their part. This time, he single-handedly brings about the death of all Olympian gods. But oh well, no way punishing him would ever be a good idea. He's family, and oh-so-cuddly, so we'll just let it slide.



    Then, there's the apparent immortality of anyone Xena cares about (Joxer doesn't count, of course, since she never did seem to care much about him). Eve took a direct stab wound to the heart, and managed to keep walking, talking, and being her normal cheery self for hours, while a simple stab to the stomach by Xena's blade to Athena killed her in about 7 seconds. Gabriel's head was nearly cut in half by Xena's chakram, and yet she lived for a pretty long time as well. And of course, they just had to stay alive long enough for Ares to somehow resurrect them. I guess I would've understood him healing them, but it seems he now has the power to bring back the dead by giving up his immortality, too.



    Of course, lest we forget the issue of Xena becoming the most self-centered, hypocritical person on the fictional planet, killing without a thought dozens of the people who went after Eve, seeking only to avenge the hundreds (or was it thousands?) of loved ones of theirs that she killed. Obviously, now that she's had a sudden epiphany (in a scene that was the very definition of Deus Ex-Machina), it doesn't matter that she spent her entire life slaughtering innocents. She's Xena's cutesy little girl, and that makes it all okay to sacrifice the lives of every other person on earth for the chance of her redeeming herself. As long as she liked playing with spiders, and sprays some water on herself, she can go back to being a likable, innocent little girl.

    I would actually go as far as to say that on these last two episodes, Xena has been fighting on the side of evil. She didn't mind killing who-knows-how-many people going after Eve, as well as the creators of the earth, so she can have some quality mother-daughter time. In my book, that extent of selfishness qualifies as right-down evil. Don't get me wrong, it was very obvious Xena felt bad about letting Livia keep on killing people, but the fact is that it didn't stop her from first stopping that villager who tried to assassinate Livia, and later from slaying those who came after Eve. Just as long as Xena believed she could reach Eve, thanks to some immaterial mother-daughter bond that she believed she had (despite Livia constantly spitting at her efforts), she couldn't bring herself to stop Livia, or even let anyone else stop her. It was wrong of Xena to put Livia first, before all the other innocents she knew might be killed, just because she was her daughter.



    Eve was really forgiven far too easily in this episode, and it seems to be expected of the viewer to sympathize with her as well. When she quietly told Virgil that she didn't expect him to forgive her, the understatement of it all was beyond ridiculous. When she snapped at Ares for being a liar, I couldn't believe she was actually accusing anyone else of anything. At the end, when she just about mutters a sort-of-kinda-almost apology about murdering one of Gabriel's best friends, Joxer (and doesn't even get to actually apologize, as Gabriel cuts her off), it seems more like she's trying to apologize for something along the lines of stealing someone's lunch. And of course, after being baptized, she actually seems to become... "cheery", almost, supposedly being reborn a new person with a clean slate, because she said she was willing to accept love. Well gee, I bet if all her victims heard that, they'd forgive her in an instant. Shame they can't, what with them being dead and all. Well, she did live with her guilt for like a day before being baptized and forgetting about her troubles, I guess that makes up for it. If Eli can find it in his cold, dead heart to forgive her, I guess so should we.



    Another small annoyance was when Virgil, who's had his father butchered before his eyes, just suddenly decided to stop going after Eve once Xena told him so. And anyway, where does she get the right to tell a man whose father's just been murdered, that he should just relax and follow the way of love and compassion, or some such load of crap? Throughout these episodes, she talks as if she cares about Livia's victims, but when it comes right down to it, she always cares only about her daughter, not seeming to really feel anything, or even understand the feelings of the victims. She feels very bad about it all, but what she's really feeling bad about is that her daughter did such things and has to live with such guilt, rather than really feeling for the people who were hurt by her.



    Now that I've listed most of the major idiocies I could think of (in fact, these are just a few of many, but I reckon the message got across by now), moving on to the good parts: Xena was beaten, Gabriel slipped into a coma, Eve suffered and died. They all got out of it okay, of course, but the amount of hope I felt through certain parts of this episode were certainly incredible. Mind you, I have nothing personal against Gabriel, nor against Xena, most of the time. And yet, it just felt so right, watching Eve contort in pain and seemingly die, and Xena realize both her daughter and best friend may be dead because of her actions. I don't like to think of myself as a cruel person (not very, anyway), but when you commit genocide (Eve), or become self-centered enough to kill people for trying to avenge their loved ones and still feel justified (Xena), it's only just that you shouldn't get away with it. In retrospect, I should've probably just turned off the TV at that point, and went to sleep thinking that's how it ended, with everyone getting what they deserved. What pleasant dreams I'd have had. Reality, of course (fictional, TV-show reality, anyway), slapped me pretty hard in the face.moreless
Renee O'Connor

Renee O'Connor

Hope

Guest Star

Rick Jacobson

Rick Jacobson

Poseidon

Guest Star

Joel Tobeck

Joel Tobeck

Deimos

Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi

Joxer

Recurring Role

Adrienne Wilkinson

Adrienne Wilkinson

Eve

Recurring Role

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)

Ares

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (11)

  • QUOTES (7)

  • NOTES (9)

    • Adrienne Wilkinson (Eve) explains that the production office had called her up prior to casting regarding any allergies or phobias she has with spiders since she had to do a spider scene at the end of the episode. She said that she doesn't like them, but it's not like she had any phobias. She was surprised, however, at the sheer number of crew members who just couldn't be anywhere near the set when they shot the spider scene.

    • Karl Urban was originally supposed to appear in this episode as Cupid but was unavailable due to him filming The Lord of the Rings at the time of production.

    • This episode was originally 57 minutes long. Scenes cut for time include two scenes involving the Furies, one with the Gods discussing Aphrodite protecting Eve and Gabrielle and one of Xena/Ares on the beach in the end of the episode. In this final scene, Xena asks Ares where he will go now, and he responds that he will wander the earth. The scene of Xena attacking Gabrielle was also heavily edited; originally, Gabrielle was repeatedly stabbing Eve and Xena yelled at Gabrielle to stop and only attacked as a last resort. Because of this editing mishap, "Coming Home" had scenes added to it that would address some of these unresolved issues.

    • Renee O'Connor almost passed out several times during this episode due to inhaling carbon dioxide fumes while being dragged in the fog that was used to give Olympus a cloudy look.

    • They originally planned to have Xena, Gabrielle and Eve face the Gods together in the final showdown, but it was too expensive, so they changed it to Xena fighting alone. It would have more expensive because they would have had to film it outside to have enough room to work as well as requiring a great deal more shots to get all of the angles for the different characters.

    • The original script for the scene where Xena chakrams Gabrielle in the head had Xena just seeing the silhouette of someone stabbing Eve and her tossing the chakram before realizing that it was Gabrielle. But the location didn't have a window in the right place, and they were forced to improvise the scene as they did.

    • DISCLAIMER: All the gods were harmed during the production of this motion picture

    • Missing Scenes: There was originally a kiss between Xena and Ares in this episode which was cut for time and can be seen in "Coming Home". Also, originally after the furies left Gabrielle's head, Xena killed them off. Had this happened, "Coming Home" would have been a lot different.

    • The original title of this episode was "Twilight of the Gods".

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The baptist in this episode is a clear allusion to John the Baptist of Christian mythology. He was a preacher who lived during the time of Jesus. He led a movement of baptism, which was was a purification rite for repentant sinners. He followed the example of previous Hebrew prophets, living austerely, challenging sinful rulers, calling for repentance, and promising God's justice. John predicted the coming of a messiah greater than he. He baptized Jesus, who could be considered his follower.

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