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2nd & 3rd SYNOPSIS ON
A FRIEND IN NEED II
(134/622)
First released: June 18, 2001





Synopsis 2 by Shana
SYNOPSIS 3 by John

SYNOPSIS 2:

This synopsis is by Shana.

I am absolutely numb right now. Up until five minutes fromt the very ending, I was taking everything in stride, but the last five minutes knocked me for a loop. It was a beautiful ending, and so poignant it took my breath away. But was it a happy one? I think it will be up to the viewer, but this viewer ain't very happy.

The episode starts with clips from last week, and then the first surprise of the episode. Instead of a teaser leading into opening credits, the regular opening was sacrificed, I'd assume to give us more actual episode time. Xena:Warrior Princess was superimposed over a foggy landscape. The first real shot of the episode grounded me pretty quickly. Xena's breastplate armor was being laid in the earth, on top of her leathers. "Starring Lucy Lawless" comes up on the screen, and we see Xena is burying her armor, bringing the scene from Sins of the Past full circle. She is on her knees, and her sword has been plunged into the earth by the hole she has made. Xena is dressed in that gorgeous golden armor as she was at the ending of last week. She pulls the sword from the ground, looks at it reverently, and places it on top of the armor. Then she pulls the chakram from her belt, and notices the ground is shaking. Rather than bury the chakram, she uses it to help pull some dirt over to cover the armor and sword. The whole time, she is reacting to the booming sounds and ground shaking around her.

There is an eerie stillness in the air around her...save the rhythmic pounding sound. Xena stands and peers into the forest around her. Her face changes from confusion to determination. We see that the noise is the pounding of some men on big drums. Xena seems to identify the sound, and closes her eyes slowly.

Cut to some men marching, with Kenji at the lead. Renee O'Connor's name comes up, and there's Gabrielle, still in her awesome armor, also from the end of last week. "It's too quiet here," she intones, studying the scenery around her. She is in a different part of the forest.

Suddenly, Gabrielle gets a headache with Excedrin written all over it as Xena's words replay in her mind..."Gabrielle, what would you do? Listen not to the sounds, but to what's behind the sounds. Always remember, I love you." It suddenly occurs to Gabrielle what I've been praying all week would occur to her. She has put two and two together, and suddenly realizes why Xena has sent her in a different direction. Screaming out Xena's name, Gabrielle takes off in a dead run.

Xena reacts as if she's heard Gabrielle, but in reality, she is hearing something else. As the drumming continues, the camera focuses in on her eyes, ever alert, and assessing the approach of many soldiers, dressed as samurai. Many are on horses, and there is at least one wagon. When the time is right, Xena throws her chakram at a payload she has apparently gathered together. Casks and pottery jars roll from their rope restraints and hit the ground. Liquid splashes. The chakram continues on its flight and hits a torch one of the soldiers is holding. The torch is severed in two, and when the head of it hits the ground, a flame quickly rises up. In no time at all, there are some roaring explosions.

I'm kind of surprised the censors let the show get by with the upcoming footage. An overhead shot shows the flame quickly radiating out of control...then the ground shots show the massive flaming wind a nuclear explosion creates. Soldiers and horses are instantly vaporized as the wind sweeps over them...Xena hits the dirt as the wave hits her, but somehow, the flames don't come near her. The same thing happens for Gabrielle, who must have moved a lot closer by now. She feels the pulling strength of the wind, but is unharmed. And then in the distance, she sees it...a mushroom cloud. Xena has somehow created the first atomic bomb, and used it in Japan. I'm still pretty shocked by that one!

Gabrielle regains her footing, and takes off running again. Meanwhile, Xena is on her feet again, and literally runs up a tree. From her high vantage point, she begins shooting arrows, one after the other, each one finding its mark in an enemy soldier. She does great, taking out all the close enemies, but pauses, when she hears the sound of many, many bows being drawn back. There are many, many more soldiers further back, and when they fire their arrows, the sky becomes black with the projectiles. They hit the ground in a wave, and Xena takes a step back as she realizes she is in deep trouble. She catches a couple of the arrows, and stands between the shelter of two trees as she deflects more and more arrows. But they keep coming.

The first one hits in the front of the left shoulder. Xena breaks off the shaft, and moves to get away, only to take one in the left knee. This one too, she breaks off, and now is hobbling in an effort to move to safety. The arrows are coming from all directions now, and one hits her right shoulder. She falls to her knees, her back against some wooden structure, and even as she is breaking this one off, another arrow gets her in the right forearm, and pins it to the wooden piece behind her. She is in substantial pain by now, as can be imagined, but she can hear the army closing in on her, and she stands haltingly, her face revealing she is ready for what is about to come. "All right," she wheezes, drawing the katana, which is at her side. "Now you're askin for it."

Blood is already pouring down her body, but as she staggers forward...another arrow hits her at close range, this time in the stomach. She yanks it out, and continues forward, taking out soldiers right and left. She looks like she's chopping down weeds the way her path is cleared before her. As she continues to battle, she screams out Gabrielle's name...the only thought on her mind. She begins seeing some of their sadder moments together...feverish Gabrielle in One Against An Army, and Gabrielle in Fallen Angel telling her "We're going to be together." We hear Xena's voice from last week..."If I only had thirty seconds to live...", then see Gabrielle from Ides of March, "You brought out the best in me." Then Xena completes the statement, "This is how I'd want to live them, looking into your eyes." Xena's movements are gettting a little less controlled, her vision is blurry, yet still she continues to kill soldier after soldier. Finally she stops, and looks into the eyes of the leader of the troops, a man I didn't recognize from last week, but quickly learned to despise. Xena's face is covered in blood, but her eyes are still defiant. He swings his sword, and there is a horrible splash of blood as the scene fades to the first break.

Xena is dead. There was no doubt in my mind that this was what she had gone off alone to accomplish...her own death. The only thing that sustained me during those moments between segments was the knowledge that I had fifty minutes to go in which to bring her back. The death I witnessed was valiant, no doubt about it, and Xena died the way she wanted to, as a warrior with a sword in her hand, but so soon into the episode?

As the next scene opens, Gabrielle is still running, calling out Xena's name. She stops still in her tracks, when she sees Xena's chakram, laying alone on a patch of open ground. It is covered in blood and gore. Gabrielle just stares at it.

We move to the teahouse, and Akemi is kneeling in the center of it. She looks to the side, and sees the sacred katana materialize on a display beside her. Slowly she folds her hand, and lowers her head.

Before her, a door opens, and Xena comes into view. She looks beautiful, and she is naked. Akemi is playing the stringed instrument of last week, as a hand takes Xena's and leads her into the room. Xena is being clad in a gorgeous red robe, as Akemi speaks. "You came to me in my dreams, and I thought it was reality...then you come to me in reality...and it feels like it's a dream...and I am filled with joy." Xena slowly and purposefully walks toward Akemi, the robe flowing around her.

Gabrielle and Kenji are watching the Ghost Killer of last week. Gabrielle wants to know what the Killer is doing, and Kenji explains he is spearing souls before Yodoshi can devour them. We see Ghost Killer do that, apparently releasing a soul to its true afterlife. Kenji tells Gabrielle, "Perhaps he sees Xena," and Gabrielle whirls on him. "Xena is alive! Do you understand? She is alive." Gabrielle has the chakram in her hand as she walks away, and I thought back to The Ring, when Gabrielle says the same thing confidently, and is correct. But this time...

Back at the teahouse, Akemi is telling Xena she is going to write a verse to express what she's feeling. In a wonderful contrast to Evil Xena's reactions to Akemi's writings of last week, this Xena just smiles sweetly, as if she understand and expects it. One of the other women in the teahouse is eyeing Xena, looking very angered by the sudden appearance of the woman in red.

Xena isn't paying attention to her, however. She is telling Akemi she has been in the underworld before, but it never felt like this. Akemi looks at the angry woman, who is flexing her calf to show that she is wearing the anklet that summoned Yodoshi on the previous week. Akemi looks back to Xena as Xena asks, "What's going on?" The news is not good. Their bodies our illusions, created by Yodoshi. They are under his power and must obey his will. The angry woman lifts her foot as Xena tells Akemi with a smile, "Funny, you're just the way I remembered you." She doesn't seem concerned by the news.

The woman drops her foot, and the bells sound. Something is moving very quickly toward the teahouse, and the women in the teahouse drop to their faces, one by one. Xena stands instead, as something that looks like a walking swarm of furiously moving locusts bursts through the side of the teahouse. Xena faces Yodoshi for the first time. He laughs at her, then with a strong exhaled breath, knocks Xena backward onto the floor. One of his arms becomes a whip of fire, and he flicks it at Xena's back. Her cries of pain reveal that even as a spiritual illusion, she can feel hurt. Yodoshi flings her against a wall, and then sends her spiraling across the room, her robe in flames. She hits the ground again. Yodoshis' flaming whip strikes over and over again, stripping Xena's clothes from her piece by piece, until she's lying facedown, naked before him. He growls and reaches down, jerking her up by the hair. She lets him. He lowers her head until her nose is at his boot tips, and I swear I thought she was going to lick them. But no, she just keeps her head lowered and tells him, "I am at your service, Lord Yodoshi."

"You most certainly are", he snarls back, looking pleased, "An eternity of playing the whore to service my appetite for souls." He releases her, and leaves the teahouse in the same manner he entered it, as a whirling swarm.

Xena and Akemi are sitting back to back on the little bridge outside the teahouse. Akemi tells Xena she is glad she was able to show Yodoshi respect, or he would have killed Xena. Xena's response is she wasn't showing Yodoshi respect. "I'm going to destroy Yodoshi." She is dressed in the red robe again. Akemi tells her that the angry woman is going to continue watching her. "She'll try to follow me," Xena replies, Warrior Princess veneer in place. "Let her."

Gabrielle is still searching, alone now. She is halfway across the stepping stones of a pool, when she looks around, catching a glimpse of something in red moving very quickly around her. She makes her way across the puddle, and slowly walks, moving her body in circles as she watches her surroundings. As she faces forward, we hear two gasps of breath. It is Xena, standing before her, and apparently, neither expected to see the other. "Xena", Gabrielle manages, and Xena responds in kind with a Gabrielle, a genuine smile, and the two embrace. Gabrielle's face reveals profound relief, but over her shoulder, Xena's is a mask of concern. "What are you doing here?" Xena asks, pulling back.

"I was so worried about you," Gabrielle answers. She reaches to her belt. "I found your chakram...there was so much blood." "I'm all right," Xena replies, and I couldn't believe my ears at first. Was Xena really not going to tell Gabrielle the truth, that she was now a ghost? Gabrielle checks out her partner. "What's with the robes?" Xena's expression changes to stoicness. "Gabrielle, I am going to kill the Lord of the Darklands."

Gabrielle doesn't seem surprised by this. "You'll need this," she says, holding out the chakram. Xena looks at it, hesitating for a second, then reaches out to take it. Her hand passes right through it. Gabrielle looks into Xena's eyes in horror, as Xena's expression changes again to one of discomfort. "I can't take that..." she says, then, "It's difficult to explain." But Gabrielle has figured it out, as she continues to stare, tears glistening on her cheeks. She shakes her head slightly, finally saying, "You're dead."

This is so hard to write about! I've got a lump in my chest that just will not go away. Anyway, after the commercials, Gabrielle makes the realization away again, "You're dead...how could you let yourself be killed?" The bard's tones are accusatory. "I'm sorry, Gabrielle, I couldn't tell you. You would have tried to stop me, and then we'd both be dead." Xena's words are harsh, but Gabrielle's expression has already softened again as more tears begin to flow. "That's supposed to make me feel better?" she asks. Xena is confident as she tells Gabrielle, "We've overcome death before." A faint glimmer of hope began to appear in me as Xena continues, "We will find a way to bring me back. Only by becoming a spirit can I kill Yodoshi and free those souls that I condemned to torment. Don't you see that?" Gabrielle's anger is gone now, and she steps forward for another heartfelt embrace.

Gabrielle is hanging on tightly. "You're my whole life, Xena," she whispers, and Xena's eyes close slowly as she feels Gabrielle's words. "I won't lose you," Gabrielle adds, and Xena echoes it, "You won't lose me." Gabrielle just continues to hold her, until she hears a sound behind her and turns, drawing her sword. It is the Ghost Killer, and Gabrielle warns, "Harukata, don't you come near her!" But Xena is calm, and she places a hand on the blonde's shoulder. Her expression says she is pleased with Gabrielle's courage. "Put down your weapons, Gabrielle. He's working with me," she says. Gabrielle slowly lowers the sword as Xena gives Ghost Killer a subtle head movement which points out there is someone else closeby. With a battle cry, Xena leaps to the bushes and grabs the bell wearing woman who is spying, and Xena chucks her toward Ghost Killer who catches her neatly on the end of his sword. The woman vaporizes in a bright light, causing Gabrielle to shade her eyes. As the woman disappears, the bells start to fall to earth, but with a cry of "The anklet!" Xena dives an impossible distance forward, and catches the jewelry before it can sound against the ground. With a relieved breath, she gets back to her feet.

Xena is approaching Akemi and another woman outside the teahouse. She holds out her hand toward Akemi, and opens it, telling Akemi with the anklet, they can bring Yodoshi to them when the time is ready. Akemi looks up at her in wonderment, until the sound of footsteps can be heard. It is Gabrielle, walking across the bridge, and her eyes are on Akemi. She has to be thinking about all Xena told her last week, and what this young woman had meant to Xena in the past. Xena's eyes are on Gabrielle, with a wonderfully adoring smile. "This is my soulmate...She's a poet like you, Akemi." With these few words, Xena revealed a whole lot. What an introduction! There is no doubt in Akemi or Gabrielle's mind who Xena chooses to be with.

As Gabrielle continues to look at the women before her, the Ghost Killer approaches behind her and claps a hand on her shoulder. Gabrielle turns to face him. "I have one question," he says soberly. "Would you risk your life, for the return of hers?" Without hesitation, Gabrielle replies, "Without hesitation." Kenji is there too, and as he begins to speak, Gabrielle turns her big, teary eyes to him. He tells her there is a way. She must find Xena's body, burn it, then sprinkle the ashes in the Fountain of Strength at the foot of Mt. Fuji. She has to do it before the second sunset after death. Sunset...of course... "That's tomorrow," Gabrielle returns, and Kenji continues that Harukata will say the incantations to make the sacred katana powerful against evil spirits. Gabrielle takes all this in, and nods, as Xena calls her name. Xena and Akemi walk out to meet the bard, and Xena introduces finally, "This is Akemi." Gabrielle and Akemi exchange smiles, and Akemi bows. "I'm honored to meet you at last," and Gabrielle answers, "And you, Akemi." Everyone else pronounces Akemi like "akimmy", but not Gabrielle. It is "akeymy" for her. Behind Gabrielle, Kenji speaks, saying that Gabrielle can't help with the work in the teahouse. She knows what she should do and must leave soon. Gabrielle sniffs, and then nods confidently at Xena. "Thank you," Xena husks sincerely, but as Gabrielle turns to go, Akemi tells her to wait. She has a gift she wants to give Gabrielle. It will protect her in her journey. Gabrielle sniffs again, and smiles.

Inside the teahouse, Gabrielle is laying on a blue sheet on the floor, and she is bared from the waist down. A pronged tool pierces her back, as the beginning of an intricate tattoo is formed. Gabrielle clutches at the sheet in pain, and Xena lays down beside her, placing a hand on Gabrielle's arm, to comfort her. There is something very sensual about this scene. Xena watches both Gabrielle and Akemi, as the elaborate artwork continues. By the time it's over, and Xena and Akemi are draping Gabrielle in some new duds, the back of Gabrielle's body is covered in symbols, the most prominent one being a large snake on her back. Someone hands Xena the katana, and Xena solemnly hands the katana to Gabrielle. Gabrielle takes it with pain filled eyes. "Good luck, Old Friend," Xena says, her hands folded. Gabrielle slowly nods, and with one last look, turns to move on to her mission. Very little dialogue has been spoken the last few minutes, but still, I feel as if I have learned even more about these two than I already knew. Just the looks, the subtle nuances both Lucy and Renee add to the scene are so incredible!

Gabrielle suddenly turns back, a bit of fire in her eyes. Xena reacts as if she's been taken by surprise. "I will get your body back, Xena," she says with dogged determination. "No matter where they've hidden it. Before sunset tomorrow, we will meet again by the side of Mt. Fuji." A smile flirts with Xena's face as she slowly lowers her eyes in a head bow. She looks as confident as Gabrielle that the mission will be successful. Gabrielle takes a couple steps away and turns again. Oh gods, the chakram is at her waist! It's disconcerting in a way, but at the same time, very, very touching. Gabrielle is now acting as a warrior...as her mentor. "See you there," Xena says softly, and this time, Gabrielle leaves.

It is storming...thunder is cracking through the night sky as lightning hisses to the earth. We are at the enemy's camp, and the only thing Gabrielle is missing is a warcry as she darts forward with a whip and takes out some marching soldiers before her. The lightning reveals the most feral expression I've ever seen on Gabrielle's face. Gabrielle is soaked to the bone as she moves through the camp, but her steps begin to falter as she sees the sight before her.

This is one of the images of the episode that will not go away for me. There are still arrows piercing Xena's body. It has been strung up, naked, outside, and as Gabrielle takes it all in, she sinks to her knees. She suddenly looks very young as she begins to retch, becoming ill at the desecration of her beloved friend's body. The shots of Xena's body are concentrated, not showing the whole thing at once, but the arrow wounds are very prominent in all of them. The most horrid sight of all, the one that is burned into my brain, is the sight of the headless shoulders, for indeed, Xena has been decapitated. It's shudderingly realistic.

Still on her knees, Gabrielle begins to regroup. She looks at the body, one more time, then stands and draws her katana. "Give me her head!" she demands to the air around her. She cuts down Xena's body, and begins to wrap it in a blanket, her expression full of purpose. Someone steps up behind her, and just as Xena would react, Gabrielle straightens in increments, aware of the presence behind her. She rises to her feet, and a sneer appears on her features, a sneer we've seen on the Warrior Princess so many times. Gabrielle turns and faces the man who killed Xena. "I've been expecting you," he says. He's a Japanese man with a Kiwi accent. It could be charming, but its not. "Your friend was a fine opponent. She provided me with one of the greatest trophies an honorable samurai could ever claim." "You call yourself honorable?" Gabrielle counters. "You outnumbered her a thousand to one. You're not a samurai...you're a fraud. You couldn't have killed Xena unless she wanted you to."

I have to stop and think about that for a moment. Is that true? After watching Xena dispose of the Persians in One Against an Army, I'm tempted to agree, but there were so many hidden opponents in the battle she encountered, I don't honestly know if she could have fought her way out of the situation. She may have been able to escape death by running from the soldiers, but they had her surrounded. At this point in time, I honestly don't know if Gabrielle's beliefs were true or not

The man is angry now. "I think it's you with the death wish!" he shouts, but Gabrielle remains calm. "I accept your challenge," she replies, as the scene fades.

The rain is still pouring as the two warriors hold their swords pressed together. Xena's words float through Gabrielle's brains..."Listen not just to the sounds...but to what's behind the sounds...behind the sounds." Gabrielle's eyes grow even larger as she does just that. There is a fire in the doorway of the one the structures, but its crackling grows silent. The rain hitting the ground bcomes mute. Even the sound of the gathering men around Gabrielle have disappeared. All Gabrielle is focused on now is the opponent before her...the man who killed Xena. His sword is raised, but Gabrielle suddenly looks far more confident than he is. The sound of his foot moving in the muck warns her of his attack, and she sidesteps his sword strike, her own sword falling to the back of his neck as he falls to his hands and knees beside her. With one movement, he has been defeated. He tells Gabrielle, "It has been the greatest honor of my life to send Xena to an early grave. If I cannot do the same to you, then I ask you, to grant me a noble defeat. Please remove my head in one stroke."

I'll be honest here...I really wanted to see her do it. But this is Gabrielle we're talking about, and angered and incensed as she is, rather than avenging Xena, she chooses to humiliate the man by not killing him. She clouts him with the hilt of her sword, and he collapses.

The remaining soldiers bow their heads, and part, and Xena's head is shown on a low table. Her eyes are closed, and her mouth is drawn down in a frown. The face is mottled with bruises. Yet another image that won't be going away.

Gabrielle continues on her mission, securing Xena's body on a horse. She rides away, Xena's body before her, as the soldiers all bow again.

Back at the teahouse, the Ghost Killer is fervently chanting, as Xena moves to put the anklet on. She is now disguised as the woman who previously wore the anklet. She is dressed in a white kimono, her hair piled on her head, and she makes a remarkable Oriental... The anklet is now in place, and with a nod from Kenji, Xena strikes the ground with her foot.

Yodoshi bursts into the house, this time as a rush of hot air, and smiles down at his bowed accomplice, who is looking at a man laid out flat on a mat. The smile fades though, when the woman turns, and he sees it is actually Xena. Ghost Killer finally gets his chance, and strikes a sword into Yodoshi's back, but the blow doesn't go in very far, and Yodoshi with a scream of anger, flips Ghost Killer onto the floor. The sword flies to land beside Xena, who immediately picks it up, and gives a mighty kick into Yodoshi's chest, sending him backward into the tub of water. The water begins to boil and churn, as Xena stabs at it, crying out "Where is he?"

Apparently Yodoshi ISN'T the Wicked Witch, as instead of melting, he changes to steam, and Xena looks up to the ceiling ominously as the water droplets rise and begin to collect there. Some of the water pools and drips back to the floor, and in flawless special effects worthy of Terminator 2, Yodoshi reforms moving from a liquid to a solid. Xena hears it behind her, turns and tries to strike him by the sword, which he grabs with his hands. As he inhales deeply, smart Xena turns to the others..."Duck!!" He breathes out fire this time, and Akemi's robe goes up in flames. Even as Xena continues to wrestle for the sword, she kicks backward at Akemi, and sends her flying backward into the tub, putting out the fire.

The struggle for the sword continues, and with a swing of his body, Yodoshi beheads Kenji. It is so abrupt, but is shown in grisly detail. Yodoshi turns his head again, and breathes out frigid breath this time, freezing the surface of the tub and trapping Akemi beneath the ice. Meanwhile, Xena finally wrestles the sword free, but is unable to land a blow on Yodoshi. At one point, he grabs her arm which bursts into flames. He sends her soaring across the room, the sword now in his hand, and he immediately turns and plunges it straight through the Ghost Killer. Yodoshi tells GK they've finally met, and then kicks the dying man off his sword. Xena meanwhile, has recovered, and she kicks the sword from Yodoshi's hand to her own. She chops off Yodoshi's right arm at the shoulder, and flames shoot out of his body. Then she stabs him through the abdomen, and releases the sword, stepping back to watch Yodoshi shiver and quake and turn into a column of flame that rushes through the roof of the teahouse and through the night sky. Is he dead?

Xena grabs the display the katana was on, and uses it to break through the ice, to release a gasping Akemi. Xena makes sure she's okay, then turns to face the carnage in the room. Kenji is dead, but Ghost Killer is moving a little. Xena and Akemi hear Yodoshi's cry from outside the teahouse. It is a cry of pain, but he is obviously not dead.

There is a full moon, naturally. Gabrielle starts a pyre, then stares into the flames...remembering. It's the same sad images we've seen before, with Xena's voice over of looking into her eyes for her last thirty seconds of life, then promising she will never leave Gabrielle, even in death. The most hauniting image for me from this, is of Xena's pain-filled eyes staring up at Gabrielle, in Ides of March, even as the bard cradles her in her arms. There is the shot of the silhouetted friends, Xena's arm around Gabrielle's in Return of Callisto, then the camera focuses on Gabrielle's face. "You will return to me, my friend," she says, through her tears. In her hands, she holds a black urn. She puts a lid on it, closing it tightly.

At the teahouse, Xena is still in the white robe, but now her hair is loose again. She is holding Ghost Killer in her lap, asking him what went wrong. Though gasping, GK manages to tell Xena that Yodoshi is drinking from the Fountain of Strength near Mt. Fuji. If Xena drinks from the fountain, and uses the katana, she will be able to finally destroy Yodoshi. Xena reacts with the realization that the fountain is the very spot Gabrielle is on her way too. I have to ask why all this didn't come out earlier in the episode. Ghost Killer should have told Xena all this a long time ago, but now he is telling her she has to finish the job he started. He dies in Xena's arms, and Xena proclaims, "I will not rest until it is done."

Gabrielle is galloping on a white horse, towards the foot of the mountain. She is dressed in a turquoise robe. An arrow pierces the neck of her horse, which collapses, and Gabrielle deftly rolls free and to her feet. She spots the enemy leader, the same man whose life she spared, watching her from some rocks. He jumps down, sword drawn. "I will not allow you to find the fountain...and revive your friend," he declares. Gabrielle draws her own sword, then picks up the urn that holds Xena's remains.

This is a great fight, albeit short! After Gabrielle gets a few shots in, the man kicks the urn from Gabrielle and sends it flying. Gabrielle watches the flight, dodges an attack, and then scrambles up the mountain to get to the urn. The man won't give up however, and leaves Gabrielle little choice. She pummels and kicks the man senseless. However, as the man hits the ground unconscious, he hits the urn and it begins rolling. Gabrielle screams "no!" and makes a dive for it, but the urn rolls off a cliff's edge, leaving Gabrielle grasping at thin air.

Okay, this is it...the last segment...get ready for some strong emotions. For those of you that have read previous reviews of mine, you know I wear my heart on my sleeve, and it's going to be on permanent display here, so beware. After the break, Gabrielle is assessing the situation. She sees the urn below her, but has to figure out how to rescue it safely. Meanwhile, Yodoshi is at the mountain now, and despite still missing an arm, he inserts a sword into some kind of lock at the foot of the mountain and turns it. The mountain begins to rumble, and then water begins to bubble up from the rock. As Yodoshi prepares to drink, Xena sounds her warcry, jumps into the picture, and tosses Yodoshi aside. She holds her head up like a baby bird waiting on its mama to feed it, waiting for the water with a "Come on, come on!" But Yodoshi sucks in his breath, and breathes out. Just as the water is about to touch Xena's lips, the water freezes, and Xena is caught up in the wind. It hurtles her backward, out of control for a long time, until eventually, upside down, she hits her upper back on a large rock and lands hard on the ground, within Gabrielle's hearing range. Three icicles fly twirl through the air, and land near Yodoshi. Gabrielle takes one last look at the urn, then turns to investigate the sound.

Meanwhile, Akemi (out of nowhere) has picked up a sword, and raises it toward Yodoshi. "What? My own daughter?" he gasps, sounding appalled. She killed him last week, why shouldn't she kill him again? With a short gust of air, Akemi is sent flying backward.

Xena is lying on the ground twitching and gasping. Her spine is injured again, and I don't know how Lucy does it, but she has the same pain filled, vulnerable expression as she did in Ides of March. Gabrielle has spotted her, and is running to her side, calling out Xena's name over and over. Yodoshi sees the icicles nearby, and snakes out an impressive lizard tongue to draw one into his mouth. He stands and regains his strength, as his arm regenerates itself.

There are two things going on here, and both are incredibly difficult to watch. The first is Yodoshi, taking a great intake of breath, and sucking Akemi toward that gaping mouth of his. Akemi hangs on to the sword which is dragging along the ground...doing her best not to be sucked in. She doesn't succeed. The other image, much more painful, is of Xena and Gabrielle. Xena is cradled in Gabrielle's arms, in an identical position to Ides of March. "Told you I'd see you here," Xena manages to smile. Gabrielle smiles back, but the tears are there again. Xena tells Gabrielle she needs strength, and tells her to get water. Gabrielle goes to the fountain to get a drink, and as she holds her cupped hand to her mouth, Yodoshi turns to her and breathes fire at her.

Thank the gods for the tattoo which glows brightly, and as the robe is burned off her back, the tattoo reflects the fire back at Yodoshi. Gabrielle feels the hit of the flames, but not the heat obviously, as the glowing tattoo turns back to normal. Xena is still convulsing on the ground, and I was knocked for a loop by the next part. Gabrielle turns, sees Yodoshi is out of action for a while, and she makes her way back to Xena. She falls to her knees beside Xena, grabs her face, and presses her lips to Xena's. I don't know why I was so taken aback by this...it wasn't because I was shocked by this, but this was a real kiss, not a "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty" kiss or "I guess I have to congratulate you for your wedding" kiss. Xena and Gabrielle's mouths move against each other, and although Gabrielle had opened her mouth on the way to Xena's side, I suppose we're too assume she's giving Xena some of the water from the fountain. There's a lot more to this kiss that though, and as Gabrielle draws her head away, her lower lip clings to Xena's upper one for a second, before their noses rub and they part. This was a kiss so many fans have been waiting on, and it was delivered so abruptly, it almost loses it's impetus.......Almost! Wow!

Xena's eyes open slowly, and she looks up at a smiling bard. "Gabrielle" she whispers, and as Gabrielle starts to pull her up, something catches Xena up and she's suddenly dressed in her leathers, looking very healthy. Gabrielle is amazed, but Xena holds her hands out, asking for the sacred katana. Gabrielle hands it to her, then notices the sky and tells Xena the sun is setting and she has to find Xena's ashes. I dunno why, but when I saw Xena revived in her leathers and armor, I thought she was already revived, but this is still Xena's spirit. Xena starts to say something very serious to Gabrielle, but is interupted by a "Come on!" from Yodoshi, who is on his feet again and ready to finish this.

Xena turns to look at Yodoshi, and Gabrielle darts off to retrieve the urn. Xena starts to call her name, but gets an expression that says she knows it's not worth trying, and turns to fight her nemesis. He has turned into a whirlwind of flames, and spirals into flames, hurtling through the sky. Xena does the same and as they rush toward each other, they set trees ablaze in their paths. They meet in the sky with an explosion, which Gabrielle has turned to witness. Xena returns to earth, and as she lands, the flames disappear and she stands unharmed. Yodoshi comes back in pieces of flaming rock, but he too, appears, unscathed. Gabrielle meanwhile, has scrambled over the edge of the cliff. Xena looks so much like classic Xena as Yodoshi barks at her, "Enough of this" and they begin to duel. It's a pretty traditional sword fight, but Xena finally delivers a kick into Yodoshi's chest which sends him backward and out of sight. As the camera focuses in on Xena's face as she tries to pinpoint where he is, Gabrielle is struggling at the cliff, hanging on by her fingertips and nearly losing her grip. Yodoshi finally swoops down again, to come to a skidding stop on the snow covered ground, and the fight continues. At one point, Xena and Yodishi's boot bottoms come together in an identical kick, which sends them both skyward again. They fly toward each other (I guess being a spirit does have its advantages), and clash in midair, then land back on earth.

Yodoshi makes a big mistake when he taunts Xena. He tells Xena she's about to join the 40000 souls she has condemned. "And the first thing I'll do, is take the head off your friend with the tattoo." There is new determination in Xena's eyes as she snarls, "You won't live that long," and outfights him, kicking him away again. She pointedly turns her back to him, and as he flies forward again, delivers a sword thrust to him with a cry of victory, not having to look back to know she had hit her mark.

Yodoshi screams, Xena does some impressive (and very cool) girmacing, and Gabrielle kicks the urn from it's resting place up into her free hand. She has it! Xena whirls around and beheads Yodoshi with one fell stroke. The souls he has consumed are released from his body, and swirl around Xena.

Gabrielle has climbed back to safety, and ahead of her stands the leader she has already defeated twice. He points to the sun, which is rapidly setting, and tells Gabrielle, " I deserve the dignity of a warrior." Gabrielle reaches to her side, and takes the chakram. "Dignity huh, like you showed my friend?" I swear I got goosebumps as Gabrielle let the chakram fly, and watched the trajectory of the weapon as it swiped across the leader's forehead, ricocheted off a couple of rocks and ended up back in Gabrielle's hand. Gabrielle's look of astonishment (she's got to be thinking...this is just TOO cool) should be joyous, but is overshadowed by her glance at the rapidly sinking sun.

Meanwhile, Xena is watching the swirling souls, a look of bemusement on her face. One of them hovers in front of Xena, and it is Akemi, whom Xena identifies. Akemi is radiant as she tells Xena, "You redeemed me...you've redeemed them...you've redeemed yourself." Xena's eyes are tear filled, but she is placidly smiling as she says, "Go in peace, Akemi. We'll meet again...one day." The spirits move skyward, as Xena walks off.

Gabrielle has made it to the fountain, and reverently takes the cover off the urn. I was breathing a sigh of relief, but the next moment, I felt the pain as if I had been pierced by a sword. Xena's arm comes down,and tries to take the urn from Gabrielle. "No, Gabrielle, no." She replaces the lid on the urn as Gabrielle says, "Xena, Xena, The sun is setting I have to bring you back to life." I was violently agreeing with her, but Xena says it again. "No." I've got to give Renee real credit for an incredible job in this scene. Her expressions and words mirrored all of my expressions and words perfectly. "Their souls are free," she tells Xena, not understanding. Xena explains, "They're free from Yodoshi's grasp. Akemi didn't want to tell me this, in case I wouldn't to come back to help." Gabrielle looks lost and confused as she studies Xena's face. Tears trickle down Xena's cheeks as she continues,"But for those souls to be able to enter a state of grace, they must be avenged. I must stay dead." Gabrielle hears it, but doesn't want to understand it. She shakes her head in denial..."But if I bring you back to life..." "Their souls will be lost forever," Xena finishes.

The emotions flood over Gabrielle, and she turns for a moment. When she looks back, she is crying. "That is not right," she says. She is correct. She steps forward and repeats what I had just said. "I don't care." Xena smiles softly, knowing Gabrielle is speaking her heart. The tears are really flowing as Gabrielle puts her hand to her own face, telling Xena, "You're all that matters to me."

"Don't you think I want to let you do this?" Xena replies."But if there is a reason for our travels together, it's because I had to learn from you. Enough to know the final, the good, the RIGHT thing to do." It's a beautiful sentiment, but by that time, I was so bitterly angry and disappointed, it almost seemed meaningless. Gabrielle lowers her head briefly, but when she looks at Xena again, Xena is shaking her head..."I can't come back," she says, her voice sounding as if she is really realizing it herself for the first time. "You can."

Gabrielle sits down, the urn still in her hands. "I love you, Xena," she says softly. "How am I supposed to go on?" Xena sits beside her. "I'll always be with you, Gabrielle." Gabrielle leans her head on Xena's shoulder, and Xena slips an arm around her back. Xena is smiling, her eyes sparkling as she looks into the sunset. "Always."

The two sit and watch the sunset they are supposed to ride off into, and Xena slowly closes her eyes and disappears. I don't know how to describe the pain from that moment...I don't have any words that could reflect the feeling I have in my gut. I don't think anyone will.

Gabrielle continues to watch the sunset, then notices Xena is gone. She looks back to the horizon, and whispers "Xena" with a shake of her head and Xena's face is superimposed over the horizon. My anger was rapidly building.

Gabrielle is on a boat, apparently returning home. She has on her regular clothes, and is smiling. In her hands, is the urn. She is alone. She speaks, "A life of journeying has brought you to the farthest lands, to the very edges of the earth. She looks down at the urn and the water, as a hand touches her shoulder. It is Xena, and she is smiling too, "And to the place where I'll always remain...your heart." Gods, the music throughout this whole episode has not helped any! It's so sad...so haunting... "So where to now?" Xena asks, her hand still in place. "I think we should go south, to the land of the Pharoahs," Gabrielle replies. "i hear they need a girl with a chakram." "Where you go," Xena whispers, "I'm at your side." Gabrielle's smile brightens. "I knew you'd say that." Xena grabs her head and gives her a kiss on the side of it, but as the camera moves out, we see Gabrielle is still alone on the boat, the urn still in her hands.

It was at this point I began my raving. I was and still am furious at the way this episode ended. The disclaimer, "Xena was permanently harmed in the making of this motion picture, but kept her spirits up" does not make it any easier to take. I feel betrayed and hurt. Xena is killed off in the first five minutes of the episode, and the whole episdoe focused on two things...Xena destroying Yodoshi and Gabrielle reviving Xena. Up until the very end, there was no doubt that both would be successful. Why did Xena let Gabrielle retrieve her ashes if she had no intention of being brought back? When did Xena find out she had to stay dead? There were no clues, no hints that SHE would be the one to say it couldn't be done. Her ending was noble, and she found the redemption she wanted, but I fell so cheated and angered. I do not see how The Powers That Be can feel they have made a final episode that will settle well with the viewers. Despite the kiss which was truly a wonderous moment, the bitter pain in my heart is what I am going to come away with. I am going to go scream now.



SYNOPSIS 3:

This synopsis is by John.

A Friend in Need II (or Xena's nostalgic adventure and Gabby's Looney Toons adventure)

[sigh] Okay, let's face it, nothing could justify the final ep of this show. No matter what, we'd be disappointed with the final ep. They worked in some stuff I was really glad to see, and left out a lot of stuff I really wanted to see. I guess that'll be true for most people. So ... what did they have?

After a quick recap of last week, they slap the logo over a spooky looking landscape. (surprised me a bit, they've never done that before), then we see Xena burying her sword and armour. Just a tad reminiscent of Sins of the Past d'ya think? When Lucy's onscreen, we get her credit.

Some big drums start beating, and we get a look at some Kodo Drummers. (I wonder if they got the actual Kodo drummers or just some guys dressed to look like them?) A whole lot of troops are moving through the fog, let by Rickshaw boy and Gabby. (Renee's credit comes on screen) She thinks a bit about what happened last ep, and the penny drops. Xena's gonna off herself. (We all picked up on that last week) So she runs off, abandoning her command to check up on her girlfriend.

Back to Xena and the drummers, out there somewhere is a Samurai on a horse, with troops of his own. (it seems like they actually got a lot more extras playing troops this time, I guess breaking the budget was alright)

Xena hears them have trouble with the wagons carrying those fire bombs from last week, and with a mighty chakram toss, sets the lot of 'em off. I didn't know the ancient Japanese had nuclear weapons, but these things generate a firestorm, and a mushroom cloud, complete with vaporization of those standing too close. Not the Samurai tho, he just gets knocked on his keyster. X&G get some closeups while staring into a wind machine and looking worried.

Before the troops can recover from this "unfortunate weapons malfunction" Xena's doing the sniper thing with a bow she pulled out of her .... out of thin air. It looks like a really nice modern composite bow, but we all know that TPTB would never allow any anachronisms on Xena, so I must be mistaken. Anyway, the WP is doing pretty well, one shot, one kill. Terrorizing the line troops. Unfortunately, eventually they get their own archers organized, and they do a little "reconnaissance by fire" or perhaps I should call it "ancient carpet bombing" Whatever you want to call it, it's a heck of a lot of arrows being shot at where they think she might be. The WP catches or deflects a lot, but it seems to me that we've seen her have trouble with less arrows than this. A few get through, she gets hit, she seeks shelter, she gets hit again, she breaks the shafts, she gets hit again. Eventually she's looking pretty rough (lotsa blood) and the Samurai (Who I do have a clever nickname in mind for, but I'll tell ya that later) sends in the swordsmen. Xena, in true WP style, chops 'em up, all the while thinking of her love for Gabby. The last thing we see before the commercial, is the Samurai, through a red haze (presumably Xena's POV) going for a decapitation. (In case you're wondering, he succeeded.)

So, the rumour came true before the first commercial break. Xena's been killed by a Samurai. But don't worry, they've got 35 minutes of screentime to fix this. (Or do they ...)

Normally this is where we'd see the opening credits, but they got the important parts of that out of the way already. This is the first and only ep where we don't hear about the Land in Turmoil. I suppose they're just maximizing the screentime for the plot, but I'm a bit miffed. Gabby runs up to the killing zone, and finds Xena's chakram on the ground, covered in blood. Meanwhile, in the teahouse (remember the haunted teahouse?) Lolita is relaxing. Xena walks in nekkid, and two geisha types dress her in a beautiful red kimono. (I know the colour red has some large significance in Japanese culture, but I don't remember what it is.) Lolita is glad to see her, and gets all philosophical and romantic again. Sounds to me like she's just been having the same sort of dreams about Xena that I always have. Back at the battlefield, Gabby and RB are watching the Party Killer at his work. Seems that some of the dead were thinking of whooping it up as ghosts, so he's stabbing them again. (Just doesn't seem fair, ya get killed in battle, then just when you think your done, this guy comes along and kills your spirit. Best of all, it's for your own good.) RB wonders if he's provided this service for Xena, but Gabby seems pretty sure that she's alive. (So much for that spiritual connection they're supposed to have)

Lolita and Xena are chatting, this after death experience isn't quite like what Xena's done in the past. (No kidding, it's never the same twice with this bunch) Lolita explains that the bodies they're using are just illusions provided by Kabuki guy. (remember Kabuki guy?) Speaking of him, the not so nice spirit woman with the bells on her ankle, rings 'em, cueing that Evil Dead effect again. This time, instead of the big, giant head routine, KG does a whirlwind of leaves. (I guess using the same entrance all the time would get boring.) He's glad to see Xena in a nasty kind of way. He blows on her, knocking her down, then morphs his arm into a fire whip. (I don't make this stuff up) He throws her around, burns her, and whips the clothes right offa her. Finally her grabs her by the hair and shoves her face at his boots. She says something subservient, and he gives her a new job description. (It's not very complimentary)

Afterwards, Xena and Lolita are busy scattering rose petals on the stream (interesting the sort of activity that goes on in this teahouse) and chatting. Xena=92s is planning to kill KG, so she runs off, fully expecting the jingly chick to follow her. Gabby, who is looking very butch, is walking alone in the woods, and thinks she sees things moving in the trees. Of course one of those things turns out to be Xena, and they embrace. Gabs is a trifle perturbed over the amount of blood that she found on Xena's chakram, but Xena reassures her that she's alright. (Liar!) Gabby asks about the new outfit (a bright red kimono not being entirely appropriate for a battle), and Xena avoids the question. Gabby gives Xena her chakram back and ... she can't touch it. (No, I don' understand how that works either, just smile and nod) Gabby realizes that Xena is dead and gets that hurt and betrayed look. (I can identify, you'd have thought that these two were past this)

After another commercial break, Gabby asks "How could you let yourself be killed?" Ya gotta like that kind of confidence in your partners capabilities. Xena figures that if she'd told Gabby, she'd have tried to stop her, and they'd both be dead. (Was that a threat?) Gabby comes back with the classic line from BS. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Xena reminds us that she's been dead before, and they can bring her back again. This is when I got really worried. I'd been telling people for a couple of weeks that Xena's been dead before, and it really doesn't matter, because she can be brought back at the drop of a new contract, but if the writers mention that in the ep ... they've got something up their sleeves. More mushiness, and another big hug, then Party Killer shows up. Gabby's very quick to defend, but Xena tells her to stand down. Xena ducks into the bushes, and pulls out jingly chick. For a ghost, jingly doesn't fly very well, Xena tosses her right onto Party Killer's sword. Then she has to dive for the anklet, so it doesn't ring and bring Kabuki guy running. (Or whatever it is he does) She catches it, and brings it back to the teahouse. Gabby comes along, and we have the awkward moment of girlfriend meeting ex-girlfriend. At least Xena introduces Gabby as her soulmate. Party Killer and Rickshaw boy have come along too, with a plan for bringing Xena back from the dead. No ambrosia this time. Gabby has to get Xena's body, burn it, climb mount Fuji, find a special spring, and pour the ashes on the water, all before tomorrow at sundown. (Actually, sounds pretty simple compared to some of the stuff these two have had to deal with over the years) She has to rush to meet the deadline, but first, Lolita has an idea. She'll give Gabby a quick tattoo. It shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks to finish an elaborate dragon covering her back. (The shot of Xena comforting Gabs as she gets the tat is worth the sillyness, and the shot of her in the silk cloth ain't half bad neither) Finally, she's ready to go, and Xena gives her the 'Grand Katana'. For those keeping track, this means Gabby has the sword that Xena got way back when, and the Kabuki killing crew are relying on Party Killer's blade. More brave declarations, and she's off.

Gabby's infiltrating the enemy camp. She uses Xena's whip to take out a couple of guards. (where did that come from? Did Minya take a vacation in these parts and lose it?) Then she spots Xena's body. It's been strung up by the wrists, and the head is missing. (Just part of why Global won't be showing this ep) It looks like she's gonna hurl, but she chews it back and yells at whoever may be listening. "Give me her head!" I'm a sick puppy, with a dirty mind, so you can guess what I was thinking. She cuts the corpse down, and the Samurai from earlier sneaks up behind her. I've been known to give them a hard time over the occasional Kiwi accent popping up in the show, but this guy isn't even trying. Did they run out of Asian/oriental/whatever actors who could do an American accent? The Kiwi Samurai is pretty proud of what he did, but Gabs isn't impressed. (Something about having a couple thousand guys backing him up making it an unfair fight) She manipulates him into challenging her to a fight. Cut to commercial

The two of them square off in front of his troops, by a fire, in the rain. Gabby's a little distracted, thinking about Xena's listening lesson, but the Kiwi Samurai telegraphs his charge by shifting his rear foot, so she ends up with her blade resting gently against the back of his neck. He asks her for an honorable death, but she knocks him out instead. (I guess Rob liked Karate Kid II) The troops part, and there's Xena's head on a table. It's got an interesting expression. Not so much peaceful as "Hurry up and get the shot, I've got a cuppa tea getting cold in my trailer". Gabby rides off with Xena's body.

The Kabuki killers are getting ready, and Xena rings the little bells. This time KG uses a cloud of steam looking thing. He figures he's in for a soul food snack, 'cause RB is lying there, but when he sees Xena where he expected jingly chick, he gets distracted, allowing Party Killer to get out of the tub behind him and stab him. It doesn't work. Party Killer gets decked, Xena grabs the sword .... lotsa action, in the end RB looses his head with a very artistic spray of blood. (Shoulda hung on to that Rickshaw, it might've deflected the blow) and Party Killer is stabbed. Kabuki guy got away, less one arm, but with the sword.

Off in the woods, Gabby burns Xena's body, and we see a bunch of touching flashbacks. Xena asks the dying Party Killer what happened. He's a little tough to understand, as dying people tend to be, but the upshot is that the spring Gabby's headed for will give the dead person who drinks from it the win. (Isn't it nice of the writers to bring everybody together for the climax?) As Gabby heads for mount Fuji, her horse is killed under her. It's Kiwi Samurai, here to play spoilsport. (For some reason he's upset about losing his honour.) C'mon dude, she kicked your ass without breaking a sweat, what do you think you're going to accomplish? They fight, he kicks the pot holding Xena's ashes, (fortunately, it's better quality than the one Lolita's ashes were in last week, it doesn't break), they fight some more. (Nice kickboxing moves from Renee) She kicks his ass, and the pot rolls away while Gabs chases it in a comical manner. Here's where it gets really silly. The pot rolls off a sheer cliff, and after the commercial, we find that it's landed in an eagle's nest, on the one branch sticking out of this entire cliff. (I was waiting for the road runner to come up behind her)

Kabuki guy already knows where the spring is, and how to turn it on. (There's a valve that can only be turned by sticking a sword in it. Not wonderful security considering how many swords we've seen floating around) Xena has followed him somehow or other, and she knocks him out of the way before the spring starts to flow. She's waiting for that nice, cool, refreshing drink, when he blows on her, knocking her away and freezing the water just as it starts. She flies a good ways, and bashes her face on a rock in the process, coming to rest over by Gabby. She's just a little surprised to see her late soulmate. Interestingly enough, three chunks of ice, which were blown free from the spring, land right next to KG. He's about to grab 'em when Lolita tries to stop him with the sword. He deals with her pretty easily. While Gabby is rushing to Xena's side, KG uses the power of his toad tongue (do I even have to comment?) and eats a chunk of the ice. Xena gives Gabby a very condensed version of the situation, while KG grows his arm back, and eats his daughter's soul. So he's got a sword, two arms, and a drink from the spring. Gabby runs to get a drink herself, but as she's doing so, he belches, and hits her in the back with a fireball. Good thing she got that asbestos ink in her tattoo. Gabby rushes back to Xena with a mouthful of water, and we get the most romantic and erotic drink of water ever captured on film. (I'm pretty sure that most of that lip contact was totally unnecessary to the tidy transfer of water.) It's not quite what we've been wanting for six years, but I guess it's the best we're gonna get. Xena is revitalized, and magically dressed in her classic armour again. (Thank the gods, It would suck if the show ended with her in anything else) Gabby gives her the katana, (this time she can take weapons), and goes off to see if she can still get the ashes from Wyle E Coyote. Xena tries to tell her something, but it can wait.

The big battle with Kabuki guy is really good. Lots of chop sockey tropes, some great camera work, still more CGI sprinkled in. Best of all, it ends with my favourite Xena move, that backwards thrust. Just to be sure, she lops off his head too. While all this is going on, Renee gets to show off her rock climbing skills and retrieves the ashes. She's heading for the spring, when Kiwi Samurai pops up again. He thinks he deserves the dignity of a warrior, but Gabs disagrees, she drops him with a glancing blow from the chakram. (Lessee, pinch, whip, sword, chakram ... yup, she's got all the skills now) She rushes to the spring, and holds the pot over it with the lid off for a second to build suspense. Xena stops her. She figures that if she comes back, all 40,000 souls will be lost for all time. I have no idea how that's supposed to work, but it's TPTB's way of making sure that Xena stays dead. She's got 40,000 reasons. Bugger. There is a nice scene between Gabs and Xena, and I have to agree with most of Gab's lines. "That's not right" "I don't care" etc. They end up watching the sunset arm in arm, and Xena fades away.

There's a final wrap up scene with Gabby on a boat with no crew. She's back in her red outfit, the better to show off her new tat. She's talking to herself, but she thinks Xena's there. Frankly, she's cracked. She echo's Xena's sentiments from last week

about going to Egypt, because they need a crazy woman with a chakram.

Like I said at the beginning, nothing could have satisfied, and this lived up to that prediction. On the bright side, we've got some killer fight sequences, some cool CGI stuff, some titillating eye candy, beautiful costumes, and subtext that is both blatant and romantic. Almost all of what I look for in a great Xena ep. On the dark side, it wasn't brilliant enough to satisfy me. I'm greedy. For the last episode of the show, I want to be blown away. I wasn't.




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