Ten scrolls are sent to various warlords announcing Ares' impeding retirement and his search for a replacement but this is not the case at all. Meanwhile, the mild and meek have become savage and violent and those with a warrior-like nature have become mild mannered. Well, except for those who have learned to control their anger like Xena, they are able to focus better.
HL plays the stoic Xena for the missing LL. Too bad HL's only character on 'Xena' was Callisto. She could have played a believable virtuous character such as an Amazon. I thought her portrayal of Xena was much better in this episode as compared to "Intimate Stranger". However, I missed the steely blue gaze of LL and the image of Xena as she tries to control her emotions.
RO with her comedic talents takes up the slack for physical absence of LL as the gentle and gregarious bard turned hostile spitfire. Gabrielle in her raging anger spits out the unexpected and humorous "irritating blonde" line at Xena/Callisto.
Ares, the God of War who is usually deceptive and self centered is now a mortal without his powers. Now he's approachable and seems all the more attractive somehow. Charles Siebert, the director of this episode plays Sisyphus (not King Sisyphus from "Death in Chain" as far as I know).
I would love to see the outtakes from this episode especially between Joxer and Gabrielle when Joxer snaps and they both are about to pummel each other.