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Livia Reviewed

Xena and Gabrielle are set to defrost, but 25 years have gone by. Will their clothes still be in fashion!!

The last episode left Xena and Gabrielle entombed in ice, after their attempt to trick the fates and the gods into believing baby Eve was dead went a little awry. The episode opens with a look at a fierce woman warrior, dark hair, blue eyes, a favourite of Ares...but a skinny little thing...now who does she remind you of?

Meanwhile, Xena awakes from her cryo-sleep and she and Gabrielle realize they have been gone 25 years. They get an even bigger shock when they just happen to be in the area of the Xena Theme Pub being run by old Joxer and old Meg! Xena is determined to find Eve, and they set off for Rome with Joxer`s hunky son Virgil. Turns out young Octavius is Augustus Caesar, and Eve is Livia, his wife to be, and Roman warrior - specializing in killing the followers of Eli. Xena is shocked to discover all this - and even more so when Livia and Ares are revealed to be rather ..close. Of course, Ares soon chucks Livia to get a quick snog from a plotting Xena. Livia gets the elbow from Octavius and after Xena beats her in the arena, storms off with not a glance backwards at the "to be continued" sign....

The leap to the future was a risky move, however, the only other option was a series about bringing up a baby on the road. I don`t think I wanted to see endless baby episodes, so this plot device was a pretty clever way to get round it. The irony of Xena`s child being a Roman warrior and a favourite of Ares was perfect. I only wish the early rumours about Hudson Leick playing Eve had come true. I think it would have been fantastic to have her come in at the head of a Roman army, with just her eyes visable (blue contact for Hudson), and have Xena up there in that little viewing box with Augustus, then have her sweep off her helmet to reveal a dark haired Callisto! What a moment that would have been.

Adrienne Wilkinson had an almost impossible job, playing the child of Lucy Lawless and Hudson Leick, and while she looks the part, I am not 100% convinced about her acting talents. Particularly in the scenes where she is supposed to be annoyed and angry, she just comes across as a teenager throwing a tantrum. However, she did get better at playing Livia in the following episode..and she's a really nice girl :)

The scenes at Joxer`s pub were fun. Lucy gets into the ageing make up too, as Meg makes another appearance, although its a very brief turn for Lucy. She gets the funniest line though. Looking at the stunned Xena and Gab she says to Xena, "you know you look a lot like her...(turning to Gab) Gabrielle wasn`t so butch."

The set dressers clearly had a ball with the theme pub, with models, costumes, little chakrams painted everywhere, really crummy paintings of Xena and Gabrielle and a really nice Argo statue! One thing I was worried about with this 25 year leap was Argo..but they manage to get round that, by having Argo II - daughter of Argo! I do hope Tilly isn`t out of a job, as this Argo has slightly different markings on her head.

Once again, much of the episode sees Xena and Gabrielle apart and working separately - Gabrielle is paired with the handsome Virgil and old Joxer, while Xena faces Ares alone - and gets yet more kissing scenes with Kevin Smith. He might be a god, but he falls for it every time. Here, she was trying to make Livia jealous and show Octavius that Livia was in love with Ares, but this must be Lucy`s top snog season by a mile! Still, who can blame her with Kevin Smith as Ares...

However, there is a lovely night time scene between Xena and Gabrielle where the bard comforts a despairing Xena, reassuring her that they can help Livia/Eve. The opening in the ice tomb is also a nice Xena/Gabrielle scene, but it is undeniably true, you have a tough time finding those Xena/Gab scenes this year.

I was impressed with Ted Raimi as Joxer. I was VERY impressed with the make up job for old Joxer. All too often it looks really fake, but I thought it was pretty convincing. Old Meg was a rather worrying sight! "If I were you I`d lay off the starches" says a smirking Gabrielle to Xena!

Old Joxer is a well thought out character. He has been bragging to his son about what a hero he is - not much change there, but he is still a good hearted person. However, he shouldn`t be THAT old! Its only 25 years...he should be about 55 or so. He looks about 65. Maybe people aged quicker in those days.

At the heart of this episode is Xena`s reactions and feeling towards her daughter. We see Livia as a pretty fierce warrior, and clearly Xena is not going to get a nice big hug from her little girl. This story line is continued in the next episode, Eve...

Pretty good episode that introduces Virgil and Eve, and sees Xena face an almost impossible foe - her own daughter.

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