Editor's Note: CHANGING TIMES, a regular feature of WHOOSH!, examines episodes of the internationally syndicated television show, Xena: Warrior Princess, and considers the changes happening individually and between the two characters, Xena and Gabrielle, along with discussing the clues offered in each episode about their pasts.
The episodes will be reviewed in the order they were originally aired. The reviewer will approach her material as if she did not have knowledge of the upcoming episodes. Insights to subsequent episodes will not be made in the earlier episode but in the latter ones. The series, Xena: Warrior Princess, will be treated as a story where gaps must have explanation and what is there may be given more meaning than originally intended.
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (01-10)
The Changing Xena (02-0 5)
The Changing Gabrielle ( 06-09)
The Changing Argo (10)
RETURN OF CALLISTO (11-26)
The Changing Xena (12- 17)
The Changing Gabrielle (18-25)
The Changing Callisto (26)
The Changing Xena (28-3 1)
The Changing Gabrielle ( 32-35)
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
 GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204) shows how much Xena cares for Gabrielle and how much of a fighter Gabrielle has become.
The Changing Xena
Xena vamps out.
 In GIRLS, we learn that Xena fought Bacchus in the past, though there is no motivation given as for why. Also, Eurydice tried to befriend Xena when Xena was a ruthless warlord, and died in her apparently successful attempt. This is the weakness point of the entire episode. 'My evil past directly caused his/her hate' is becoming an excuse to have someone hate Xena. Since Xena had nothing to gain from fighting Bacchus, she should not have been fighting him. Not only that, the excuse is now adding on, '..and it really wasn't my fault, either, so they should get over it.' Yet the fact remains that she was a ruthless warlord and innocents did die because of her. What made Eurydice so special that Xena was willing to lose half her army to try and save her? We're never told why.
 During GIRLS, we pretty much see the standard Xena, but a few points have changed. Despite the fact that the telling of tales is Gabrielle's department, yet again it is Xena who knows how to use Dryad bones to kill Bacchae. Xena does not know, however, that she has to be half-Bacchae in order to kill Bacchus. Bacchus was counting on the fact that he could get Gabrielle and then Xena would follow. He figured Xena would not hurt Gabrielle and would be willing to risk turning into a Bacchae for a chance to kill him. It worked, except for the fact that Xena was only bitten by a half-Bacchae who had been resisting him from the start. Still, she was still able to overcome Bacchus by acting quickly when she still could resist.
 Also, when Gabrielle turned into a Bacchae, Xena's main objective was to find her. Orpheus even thinks that Xena's loyalty to Gabrielle is taking her away from the mission. Xena, for personal and probably some practical reasons, was willing to place Gabrielle's safety over the immediate mission.
 One final interesting thing to note is a comment Xena makes to Orpheus. He's willing to forgive her, saying it really was Bacchus who killed his wife. Xena tells him, "Let's go kill Bacchus and maybe you can have your peace." Despite all of Xena's progress concerning the revenge business in GIANT KILLER (27/203), she is nonetheless telling Orpheus that revenge will bring him peace. The only cause for this, I can think of, is that this is the same mysterious motivation that made her throw a knife at a tree when Orpheus at first would not forgive her.
The Changing Gabrielle
Gabrielle is attacked by a godly force, and not for the last time in the series.
 As always, Gabrielle gets to tell us the tales about the Bacchae and Bacchus, setting up the entire episode for us. Her stories are accurate, too, since everything she said about the Bacchae turns out to be true.
GIRLS shows that Gabrielle still is not very good at following directions. She was willing to stay behind while Xena went lyre-hunting, however, she heard a scream in the crowd below. Despite the fact she often still needs help in a fight, she runs down into the crowd trying to help the woman. Instead, several Bacchae surround her on the dance floor and use the music to put her into a trance-like state.
 Several times the Bacchae try to bite her. Apparently, they never get a good bite. This might be why it took so long for Gabrielle to change into a Bacchae, since a good long bite on Xena's neck turned Xena rather quickly. The bite also may be why Gabrielle is so calm and unbelieving about Joxer's theory that Xena is turning into a Bacchae.
 Still, in the end, Gabrielle shows her courage once more. Bacchus commands her to drink his blood, yet she hesitates. The other Bacchae drank immediately. Even in her Bacchae state, Gabrielle is resisting. When Xena jumps down to attack Bacchus, Gabrielle is pulled along, but she is ready to attack him. Some of that strength may have come from drinking Xena's blood, but she could not have come that far if she had not been resisting in the first place.
The Changing Argo
Argo is about to reach back for some fast food.
 Argo likes hay. Okay, maybe that is not such a surprise since she is a horse. Also, for the first time, she was not perfectly mannered: she was eating the 'body' of Orpheus, which is obviously rude. Argo rude? That is a change.
RETURN OF CALLISTO
Xena narrowly escapes being skewered -- again!
 In THE RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), Xena faces the loss of Gabrielle (in marriage and then in her hate) while confronting the deeds of her past through the person of Callisto. Gabrielle fights to discover if her codes are really true or not.
The Changing Xena
Xena looks on as Callisto sinks.
 Xena knew that Gabrielle had fallen in love with Perdicus back at Troy. She also knew that Gabrielle's priorities had always been different from hers. The Bard was always looking for adventure and love, while Xena's quest for redemption left no room for settling down. So when Gabrielle is worried about leaving Xena for Perdicus, she is willing to give up her happiness so that Gabrielle can be happy. Xena is finally giving instead of taking, which is a huge step.
 Despite her words to Gabrielle on visiting often and not saying goodbye, she knows everything has changed and that kids and husband are now of higher priority than Xena. That is why she says goodbye when she leaves with Perdicus.
 Xena goes hunting Callisto after the wedding. When Xena learns that Callisto is after Gabrielle, she rides up and saves the day - including Gabrielle. While fighting, Callisto suddenly turns and kills Perdicus. Again, Xena hesitates at a critical moment -- but is it really her fault? Callisto kills Perdicus in a split second, hardly giving any warning. Also, Xena's hand is filled with a sword, so she could not use her chakram. Yet, after Callisto kills Perdicus, Xena is still in shock and does not move until Gabrielle calls for her.
 Gabrielle wants to seek revenge and learn to use a sword, but Xena does not want her to. Yet Gabrielle pushes her into teaching her to fight. What changed Xena's mind? Gabrielle looked for a moment like the alternative Gabrielle did in REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202) after she had just killed. Gabrielle almost repeats the words the alternative Gabrielle said about not being innocent. Perhaps the RETURN OF CALLISTO Gabrielle for a moment plumbed a depth that only the alternative Gabrielle had previously reached. This could explain why there was so much physical prodding going on. Maybe Xena did not want Gabrielle hating her like the alternative Gabrielle almost did in REMEMBER NOTHING. Still, the lesson did not last long and Xena snapped out of it and went back to trying to stop Gabrielle. She wanted Gabrielle to stop hating, so she even believed it when Gabrielle said she was going home in the middle of the night.
 One interesting scene is Xena's prayer in the clearing. Xena says, "I was ready to give up once, and then Gabrielle came into my life. Please, don't let that light that shines out of her face go out. I couldn't stand the darkness that would follow." I immediately thought of the beginning scene in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101). Xena was burying her armor, and it seemed so final. Perhaps Gabrielle saved Xena from suicide. Perhaps that is part of the reason Xena was willing to give Gabrielle up to Perdicus. Yet we see here that Xena is willing to live without Gabrielle, but could not stand Gabrielle's darkness along with her own darkness.
 In the end, Xena had to let Callisto die. She did not know that Gabrielle had decided not to kill. All she knew was that Gabrielle was letting her kill Callisto rather than sacrificing her life to do it. Despite her conscience, Xena could not let Callisto live because she felt that Callisto's killing was on her hands, too. She also had promised Gabrielle she would kill Callisto, and Xena's code demands fulfillment of promises.
The Changing Gabrielle
Gabrielle hopes Callisto gets the point.
 Gabrielle started following Xena because Xena needed her. Now Perdicus comes back asking Gabrielle to marry him. He tells her how his dreams are haunted by his kills and how he almost killed himself when a vision of her face stopped him. Gabrielle loves him from Troy, but he walked away from her then. She is not sure he loves her so much as he wants to marry her ideals: someone who fights back, but does not kill. She is also worried about leaving Xena all alone.
 Xena gives Gabrielle her blessing, but still Gabrielle is not ready to say yes or no. They fight Callisto for some time, maybe a week, before Perdicus gives up in the middle of a fight and nearly gets himself killed. Gabrielle discovers that she loves Perdicus and that he needs her. Once she makes that realization, there is no resisting. She marries him.
 One interesting thing about the next morning is that Gabrielle is back to wearing her traveling outfit. We know she has other outfits, but she is wearing that one. When Callisto comes, Gabrielle is afraid and stands behind Perdicus. She wears her traveling outfit, but still fears Callisto enough to let Perdicus face her alone.
 When Perdicus is killed, Gabrielle seeks revenge for his death and the fear Callisto has caused her. It is interesting to note that Gabrielle chooses a sword to try to kill Callisto with. She knows that a staff can kill and chose not to use it, as she also did in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124). Yet Gabrielle is now good enough with a staff that she could at least have some chance against Callisto. Instead she picks up a sword, something she has refused to learn [cf. HOOVES & HARLOTS (10/110)] up until now, and demands to learn it so she can kill.
 This association that only blades are for killing came mainly from Xena. In DREAMWORKER (03/103), Xena tells Gabrielle to do anything else before fighting. Gabrielle picks up a sword during a battle, and almost immediately the bad guys are trying to force her into killing. At the end, Gabrielle punches the head priest and asks Xena, "Is punching okay?" and Xena says she is impressed. Gabrielle is reinforced that blades are bad and used to kill several times after that. Gabrielle even believes she is not a warrior in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201) because she carries a staff -- for defense.
 So Gabrielle is intent on killing Callisto with a sword, despite its risks. Gabrielle overhears Xena's prayer and realizes Xena is not just holding her back from fighting, but never intends for her to have her chance at revenge, so Gabrielle leaves. She lies to Xena and slips into Callisto's camp. She is good enough that she even manages to catch Callisto asleep and at her mercy.
 Gabrielle told Xena that her code and ideals were wrong and naive, yet she decides not to kill Callisto. She remembers how she made Xena swear never to revenge her death if she died at another's hands. She realizes, perhaps, that Perdicus came to her to help him because she fought and did not kill. Her codes held true and were what made her what she was -- what made her special. She realized she could not kill Callisto.
 Now Gabrielle's codes are her codes because she chose them, not because of naive belief of the teachings of Xena. Yet, despite all of this, she still tells Xena to kill Callisto. She takes the moral responsibility off her own shoulders and lets Xena take the blame and does not think about the wrongness of it or even the consequences of it. Perhaps someday she will have to confront that blip in her code.
The Changing Callisto
Callisto is at first confident that Xena will save her, but soon finds she is mistaken.
 At first we thought that Callisto merely wanted Xena to suffer somewhat before she killed her. Now Callisto has gone beyond that. She does not want Xena to die at all -- just to suffer as much as she can.
Joxer doesn't often get lucky, and certainly not *that* lucky!
 In WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206) Xena learns more about impersonating people while Gabrielle learns that not everyone that looks like Xena actually is Xena.
The Changing Xena
Meg or Diana couldn't do this!
 King Lias calls Xena for help to keep the peace in his kingdom. Xena is slowly becoming 'the hero to call for help' instead of the 'evil warlord.' Still, when Joxer grabs her rear end, she was ready to cause serious pain. She did control herself, though, and did not kill him, so that's progress.
 Xena is getting better at picking up personality traits quickly. She was able to pretend to be a tramp after only having heard her talk. Also, she was able to restrain her reflexes when the soldier tested to make sure she was Meg. Hey, Xena's even willing to kiss Joxer to maintain a role. [What dedication!]
 Still, she goofs once in a major way. Luckily, it worked. When Agis wants 'Meg'(Xena) to kill the king with poison, she comes up with an idea involving stabbing so that she can get her hands on the baby. One major problem is that they wanted 'Diana'(Meg) to become Queen and if Diana goes stabbing her father with guards right outside the door, she is not likely to become Queen. Maybe there is a limit to the number of details Xena can think out in a split second.
 Also, Xena is improving in her trust of people. She trusts Gabrielle enough to send her to keep Meg out of the way. She trusts Meg to watch the king because she got him to safety once. Though Xena has always been good at figuring out who to trust, she is starting to act on that trust more quickly now.
The Changing Gabrielle
Meg says, "Your little friend just kicked my b*tt!"
 Gabrielle is wandering around on her own, now. Xena was in Thebes and sent Gabrielle a message to meet at the inn near Diana's castle. So Gabrielle is now willing to stay behind when Xena goes on certain adventures. Not only that, she can now take care of herself well enough that Xena trusts her to be safe when left behind. This was not the case in CHARIOTS OF WAR (02/102).
 Not only is Gabrielle now good at staff fighting, she can also hold her own using other weapons and in a cat-fight. When fighting once without her staff, Gabrielle uses a mace like a staff. When cat-fighting, Meg holds a pair of scissors as a weapon, but Gabrielle kicks them away. They rollover and fight, yet Gabrielle still gets the upper hand over someone who has always fought that way. Well, maybe Gabrielle had practice with her sister, since in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101), her sister claimed to have beaten Gabrielle up many times. Still, when Meg tries to cry her way out of being punched, Gabrielle is not naive enough to fall for the trick.
 Then Gabrielle gets to do what she does best: talk. She is able to get Meg to stop following Agis' orders. She even gets Meg to open up about her past.
 Still, Gabrielle needs to work on her 'fake-Xena' identification. She could tell Xena was not acting normally and knew that Xena had at least one double, yet only thought that Xena had backslid and was treating her like a kid again. She still needs to work on seeing past the obvious.
 Just a quick note on this episode. I am a little concerned that kids are watching babies being thrown into the air like a ball [CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)], hung in baskets over a fire, and thrown out of a basket [WARRIOR..PRINCESS..TRAMP (30/206)]. Kids are careless enough around babies that I hope this is not giving them bad ideas.
 Perhaps I am getting a little picky, but a 14 year-old kid just opened fire and killed 3 class-mates in a school near here. The problem was he had planned doing it and did not see what the problem about his anticipated actions.
Debbie White is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and is currently studying Animal Science at Southern IL University at Carbondale. She is 20 years old, single, and has watched Xena since the first Sins of the Past (i.e., the beginning).
Favorite episode: REMEMBER NOTHING (#26)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "If you don't know, it must be Xena." ORPHAN OF WAR (#25)
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (#01)
Least favorite episode: GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (#28)