See the pretty caps.
TQIM is both a comedy and a difficult episode to watch if you're a Joxer fan. Joxer's character is there to provide comic relief most of the time, sure, but the amount of crap that got thrown his way in this ep was over the top, IMHO. Especially since Gabrielle was in the wrong most of the time, if not all. It was Joxer who kept pointing out that maybe she shouldn't use a scroll that had those kinds of powers, he was very skeptical of her ability to make those powers work for her, and he was right. But she didn't want to hear that.
Of course, the worst scene was when Joxer traded his scabbard -- the one object he owned that he valued above all others, because it came from his father -- for a necklace for Gabrielle. It's really a very touching scene, but Gabrielle can only see the fact that he accidentally traded the scroll as well -- note that she obviously never asked Joxer's permission to hide the scroll in his scabbard -- and attacks Joxer for it. As much as I don't like character bashing, there just isn't that much to bash here; Gabrielle was an insensitive bitch. It hurt to watch that scene, for Joxer's sake.
That's not to say that Joxer was mister perfect martyr through the ep, he used the scroll himself in a remarkable display of idiocy, to write a "poem." In his defense, all he wanted to do was express his love for Gabrielle through poetry, he just happens to be a terrible poet. On the other hand, how stupid did he have to be to use that scroll? Unfortunately, that action does fit in with his character. He does some incredibly thoughtlessly stupid things, sometimes. I don't blame Gabrielle for being angry with him over that, not in the slightest. But that's one incident out of many in which she was utterly wrong and Joxer really didn't deserve her treatment of him, or Xena's careless abuse, for that matter, during the end when he kept getting hit by the fish.
Aside from Joxer, this episode did have plenty of truly fun things to watch, namely Aphrodite and Ares. Both of whom provide great comedy on their own. Both powerless and mortal, it's Ares who just seems to take it all in stride, kicking back and waiting for things to resolve themselves while he has a good laugh along the way. Aphrodite...well, if someone would've taught her about baths, she probably would've been okay. But she really doesn't handle dirt well, a great source of amusement for the rest of us. Even dirty, though, she's still easy on the eyes. And when is Ares not a hottie?
For those who wanted caps of Joxer's scabbard, sorry, but #202 and 203 were the best available. I think that if you play with filters and contrasts, you can probably get more detail on it.
I ended up with far more caps than I wanted to, even with cutting out around 60. I did far better in "Bitter Suit" after deciding that I'd ignore Xena and Gabrielle and only cap the characters I really wanted. But in Joxer and Ares-heavy eps, that just doesn't work. I still end up with a ton of caps.
I have one other observation on Joxer, but I'm going to save that for after the commentary on "Bitter Suite." For now, previews:
Ares, at his manipulative best.
Yeah, that was about my reaction to Gabrielle using that scroll, too.
Forget raining men, it's raining ale!
I love my fandom.
He really tries, you know?
TBS, the first musical ep, was easier to cap than LLHOF. Yeah, the blur effect was still there, but people just weren't moving as fast in this ep as in the second musical. There was a very languid feel to much of the ep that was reflected in the characters' movements.
I was only interested in Ares, Joxer and Callisto in this ep (and the brief appearance by Caesar), so those are the caps I made. There are only around 120 as a result, which I like much better than the 200+ I've been doing.
Joxer starts out in this ep by being a hero, or as much of one as he can be when going up against Xena. He's so very worried about Gabrielle from the beginning; he's the one who carries her out of the hut/sweat house/whatever that was. And when Xena loses it, Joxer does his best to save Gabrielle. He really tries to protect her and gets taken down because of it. And we never have an aftermath to that. Xena and Gabrielle get their resolution and that's what the ep's about, sure, but what happened to Joxer? Xena probably only knocked him out, but she most definitely owes him an apology and we never see that.
The rest of the ep is set in the land of Illusia and while Joxer, Ares and Callisto are there, they aren't real and it can be argued that much of it is the product of both Xena and Gabrielle's minds. Which, actually, if that's true, brings up the question of why Gabrielle would be naked around Joxer, but in all honesty, I don't think that part was from her mind. It is interesting that Joxer would be her guide though. Callisto as Xena's guide makes sense, having to rely on someone she hates. But maybe Joxer was there to lull Gabrielle into accepting that it was her "village" she was coming back to? Into accepting everything that followed that? I don't know, but it was an interesting expression on "Joxer's" face when he led Gabrielle into the village. Like he was a little amused by her joy in being back home, and was anticipating seeing the other shoe drop. It wasn't very Joxer-like and was actually a little creepy, if you watch those tiny moments a few times.
As an aside, though, we got to hear Ted Raimi sing again, and once again he proved that he has an absolutely wonderful voice, when he wants to. You can see when he deliberately puts that "Joxer" whine into his voice, a deliberate transition. Back in "For Him The Bell Tolls," he showed that he can speak without that whine and sound damn sexy doing it, too. Just another interesting observation.
Ares.... Yeah, okay, um...after I wiped away the drool and quit melting into a little pile of goo from Kevin's voice, I rewatched that section a couple times and, well, it's about what you'd expect, actually. Ares is there as a reminder to Xena of what she was, and a temptaion of what she could be. It's an appeal to all the hurt and anger she's carrying inside and for just a few moments it works. She "kills" Gabrielle.
Joxer as a symbol of death is interesting. It's a big transition from The Fool tarot card which he represented the first time we saw him in Illusia, to Death. I'm not quite sure what he represents in the big picture here, but it's weird and very not Joxer. On the other hand, Ares and Callisto are still very much themselves, Ares more so than Callisto. Ares is seductive, smug and triumphant, and honestly? He's got the best lines in the ep, "What more need be said? Ding dong, the bitch is dead."
The last time we see Ares and Callisto, it's along with Caesar and some other guy I don't recognize and they're all representations of hate. Big shock there.
The ep was...eh, okay, I guess. I mean, I loved seeing Joxer and Ares and Callisto -- now that I've come to appreciate her and not hate her for killing Strife, but the Illusia thing itself was so twisted and weird that I could never come to totally like it. And it just seemed so...contrived. Let's all sing a song and have our deepest wounds healed. Uh...yeah.
A hero in his own way.
Callisto is still...Callisto, no matter how you dress her up.
These colors actually worked on Joxer.
I've mentioned how much I love my fandom, right?
Weird, man. Just weird.
One last observation on Joxer here. I saw this in a commentary on Whoosh! and after watching many Joxer eps, it's true. Any time Joxer is wearing his normal outfit (and I say that because it doesn't apply to KoA, Illusia in "Bitter Suite" and TQIM... when he was dressed in other things) and he takes his helmet off, something very serious is either happening or about to happen. In "The Quill Is Mightier..." his helmet is off when Gabrielle wakes to find the necklace he got her, and it's a touching/serious scene. In "Bitter Suite" he starts out without his helmet and he's Gabrielle's champion. In "A Comedy of Eros," at the end when he realizes that Gabrielle thinks his love is a joke, the helmet's gone. In the fifth season opener, he finds out that Gabrielle and Xena have been crucified and goes to get their bodies, helmet comes off. It's a repetitive pattern that I've yet to see an exception to, although I'll keep watching. Interesting though, and I've tried to incorporate that into my fic, too.
Enjoy the caps. :)