|4.20 End Game
1st Airdate: May 9th, 1999
Ephiny ~ Danielle Cormack
Brutus ~ David Franklin
Amarice ~ Jennifer Sky
Chilapa ~Nicole Whippy
Pompey's reign came to a head during the production of this motion picture.
Summary / Review
The Perdicus Perspective
I'll get right to the point; I'm pissed. Ephiny dies in the first few minutes of the episode, losing to *Brutus* of all people??? Still, in those few minutes of battle, he seemed to be a very capable warrior, killing several Amazons and not cheating (read: using dishonorable moves, Gabrielle's pepper spray, etc.) at all. Oh geez, and Solari too (remember "The Quest")? Ouch; that hurts. Too bad they didn't have Eponin in this episode.
O.K., so Ephiny dies and the young, rebellious Amazon that was with her (let's call her "Suzy"; I forgot her real name) goes to find Gabrielle. She finds our heroine in the process of fishing (and fooling around) with Xena (low subtext factor; really!). "Suzy" gets a great line: "I thought you'd be taller." Sadly, she is the bearer of bad tidings; Ephiny has died, and left Gabrielle to take up the Mask of the Queen once more.
The tribe is in turmoil; Caesar an Pompey's attacks have killed many Amazons, and many others are now P.O.W.'s, to be sold as slaves (proceeds to fund Pompey's conquest of Rome). Xena takes charge, and Gabrielle stays at the village, viewing Ephiny's body and trying to act, well, Queen-like.
Xena captures Brutus, takes him back to the village (kind of re-does "The Gab Drag" from "The Bitter Suite", only Brutus doesn't hit a lot of stuff along the way), and interrogates him ("You know the drill..."). She catches an arrow that was meant to kill him; it was shot by "Suzy". Xena gets the info she needs, and "Suzy" and Brutus are locked up. After some debate among the Amazons (which Gabrielle quashes with her authority as Queen), Xena releases "Suzy" but leaves Brutus. She gives "Suzy" a real dressing-down about her attitude and her disrespect for Gabrielle.
Xena takes the young Amazon (see above) and several others with her to rescue the P.O.W.'s. At first, it looks bad for Xena & co. when her ambush of the Roman column appears busted. Still Xena shows no fear, using her carefully hidden chakram to create a distraction, allowing the Amazons to attack. It seems that the rescue party got well ahead of the column and hid weapons (including the chakram) all around the spot of the ambush. The P.O.W.'s are freed, but the leader of the column escapes. Several Roman P.O.W.'s are captured by the Amazons.
We see Pompey & the column leader. Pompey is furious at Xena's interference, and decides on a full-scale frontal assault on Amazonia. Xena prepares a brutal but effective defense against Pompey's oncoming legions. Gabrielle is horrified (shades of "The Price"), but Xena is adamant and "Suzy" is practically ecstatic. But there's more bad news; a Roman legion loyal to Caesar (Brutus' unit, in fact) is approaching from the rear. There's not enough time or Amazons to fight them both.
Gabrielle negotiates a peace treaty with Brutus while Xena watches and listens from concealement. After he leaves, Gab & Xena confer; they are hopeful that the treaty will work, but uncertain.
Brutus is released, goes back to his unit, and takes command (I think the Roman P.O.W.'s were also released, but I'm not sure). He orders them to go *around* the Amazons and hit Pompey from the flank.
AMAZONS ATTACK!!!! I *love* saying that. "Suzy" stays behind as part of Gabrielle's personal guard, while Xena & Argo go on one AWESOME cavalry charge against Pompey's forces. GOOOOOOO HORSIE!!! "Suzy" saves Gabrielle from getting skewered by a spear. Xena eventually dismounts (with a nifty front flip; way cool!) and fights her way to Pompey himself. By now, Brutus' forces have hit from the flank, and it looks very bad for Pompey. Xena has Pompey at her mercy, but he begs her not to kill him, saying that she needs him to balance Caesar. She turns and walks away; Pompey looks very smart at this point (and lucky to be alive!). Alas, he then does something very dumb; he attacks Xena from the rear. SLASH! No more Pompey (Wotta maroon!). May he burn in Tartarus forever.
Xena delivers Pompey's severed head to Brutus, and warns him not to trust Caesar too much. She also tells him not to mention her name to Caesar; as far as he knows, Xena was never there. If Brutus tells him the truth, Xena warns, Caesar will kill him. Brutus & Co. move out, scrupulously avoiding Amazon territory.
Brutus returns to Caesar with Pompey's head; Caesar does not mourn him. Brutus delivers Gabrielle's treaty; Caesar burns it, saying that if they're not under his control, they're a threat. Caesar asks Brutus if Xena was there. Brutus says she wasn't. He looks very disturbed.
The Amazons mourn their dead and light the funeral fires. Gabrielle hands over the Mask of the Queen to another Amazon (*not* "Suzy"; let's call her "Oriena"). "Suzy" tells Xena and Gabrielle that she wants to travel with
them, to see more of the world. Xena doesn't look too happy about it, but Gabrielle is more upset about losing Ephiny to give it much thought. She breaks down and cries on Xena's shoulder.
Now, some personal comments:
Xena--somewhat uncomfortable deferring to Gabrielle (at first), but that old take-charge, kick-butt, that's-my-Warrior-Princess, I'm-the-Destroyer-of-Nations-and-don't-you-forget-it spirit comes through. She also shows awesome tactical brilliance with that ambush; nice work!
Gabrielle--Still refuses the mantle of Queen of the Amazons; prefers to let others rule in her stead. Still has a problem with the horrors of war, and doesn't pick up a weapon; not even a staff. Also, sticks with the "India" outfit to the bitter end. A whole episode full of Amazons, and we don't get to see those oh-so-cool Queenly leathers even *once*! What a gyp! However, she managed to adjust to her position of authority (she isn't *in command* very much; defers to Xena an awful lot) and gave the order to attack. Her battlecry: "FOR EPHINYYYYYY!!!!" A fitting tribute.
"Suzy"--young and restless, she needed to unwind (or better yet, chill out and follow orders). Goes on the road with Xena and Gabrielle??? Very
Ephiny--Dies a warriors' death; Brutus defeated her fair and square (that is *so* hard to accept). Did she know that Gabrielle would pass the mask on to another, or did she hope that Gabrielle would return for good? Only Hades knows for sure (oh wait, he doesn't get Amazons; SEE: "Adventures In the Sin Trade I". Oh, well...).
Rest in peace, Ephiny, Queen of the Amazons; hail and farewell.
"Oriena"--the new Queen of the Amazons. She seemed fairly competent and level-headed. A good choice. I wish we could have gotten to know her better.
Brutus--a surprisingly good warrior and commander, and an honorable man. "...That's rare in a man.". Sets the stage for "Ides of March" (Callisto returns! Wow!). Somewhat disenchanted with Caesar after getting "a large dose of the Warrior Princess". *That'll* change your perspective in a hurry. He looked suitably shocked--and fearful for his life--when he learned that he had just killed the Queen of the Amazons.
Caesar, Julius Caesar--Same old-same old; forgives Brutus for not capturing Pompey alive, burns Gabrielle's treaty, and seems confident of his eventual success. *As if* he could be anything else.
Well, that should about cover it. I may have some more stuff for you later; I'll let you know. Until the bitter end, I remain... your pal,