Whoosh! Issue 47 - August 2000


By Samira al Thores
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1369 words

Author's Note: This second part of the Redeemer Myth in Xena: Warrior Princess was inspired by Beboman in her commentary on LITTLE PROBLEMS (98/508) . She refers to Callisto as "a child in a weird sort of way". It was also inspired by Gur Arie Livni in his article "A Scene Close-Up: Callisto Kills Her Parents" for Whoosh! (Issue 39, December 1999, in which he shows, very elegantly, the deconstruction of Callisto's existence and her faulty dependence on Xena for the meaning of life (her salvation as it were).

Awakening (01-02)
The Nature Of Fanaticism (03-04)
The Sacrifice (05-07)
Missed Opportunities (08-15)
The Nature Of Redemption (16-17)

Myth of the Redeemer in Xena: Warrior Princess
Part II: The Final Redemption of Callisto


Whoa!  That henbane tea is really something!

Xena got to see things a little differently in THE FURIES.

[1] Imagine that you are mistaken about everything you hold dear. Suppose you wake up one morning and clearly realize that your long-held, day-to-day views of nature, social values, and self are obviously mistaken. Common things that you have seen for years take on a whole new light.

[2] The world has not changed, but your perception of the world has. Things you once adored are now utterly disgusting. Things you once hated now command your deepest loyalty. You can now see through your motives and rationalizations with a clarity that was unavailable before. How could you have been so naive? How could you have been so wrong?

The Nature Of Fanaticism

"Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."
   - George Santayana

[3] Some can easily write off "fanatics", but why cannot someone with a more mundane, common-sensical, middle- of-the-road view be equally deceived about the world? After all, most people with "sane", moderate views acquired those views in the same way that most "fanatics" acquired theirs - living in a community where those views seem obvious. Fanatics do not usually look like fanatics within their own communities. There, they appear rather mundane and average. To the masses, you are the fanatic, wildly at odds with reality.

[4] Most people hold the beliefs they do because they picked them up along the way from people they did or did not trust: parents, siblings, friends, enemies, demigods, and gods. But over millennia, many parents and zealous mentors have proven themselves terribly mistaken. Real deception never looks strange when you are on the inside.

The Sacrifice

[5] In The Last Temptation Of Christ, N. Kazantzakis writes:

"This was the Last Temptation which came in the space of a lightning flash to trouble the Savior's last moments.

But all at once Christ shook his head violently, opened his eyes, and saw. No, he was not a traitor, glory be to God! He was not a deserter. He had accomplished the mission which the Lord had entrusted in him. He had not married, had not lived a happy life. He had reached the summit of sacrifice: he was nailed upon the Cross.

Content, he closed his eyes. And then there was a great triumphant cry: It is accomplished!"

[6] Allow me to re-write this scene:

"And Arch-angel Xena descended into hell to save her friend, Gabrielle, from the clutches of demons and an eternity in torment. This accomplished, she faces her vanquished enemy, Callisto.

'Xena, I will continue to hate you for all eternity. For what you did to my family and me.'

Xena utters one simple, final word, 'No'.

The aftermath: Michael tells Gabrielle (with pride!): 'She gave up herself to save one of the damned.'"

[7] How great was the sacrifice?

Missed Opportunities

If you both don't shut up I'm gonna chak *two* blondes with one throw!

A trio at odds in CALLISTO.

[8] Upon discovering Callisto's vengeful little plot to stain and destroy Xena's reputation, Xena sets out to capture Callisto [CALLISTO (22/122)]. The guilt trip really starts at this point, since Xena sees, through Callisto's actions, what she (Xena) was and what she wrought for thousands of innocents. Xena offers redemption (to free Callisto if she gives up the destruction), and Callisto refuses. The life of so deep a hate and the desire for revenge is very hard to give up.

[9] In the end, Xena saves Callisto's life (accompanied by a scream of denial from Callisto) just to imprison Callisto and her followers for their crimes. Now Xena's crime is multiplied in Callisto's mind: Xena goes free, while Callisto is imprisoned.

[10] The questions in Callisto's mind are whose crime was greater, and why does Xena not pay for her crimes as I am forced to do?

[11] Callisto emerges from her prison even smarter than before [RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205)]. She is more aware of Xena and what is dear to her. Callisto sets off to destroy the "irritating little blonde". Would killing be enough? Callisto settles for spoiling the relationship by spoiling the Bard. Gabrielle refuses to go through with it. Xena allows Callisto to die. The unredeemable is destroyed. At least for a time. Obviously death is not the answer.

[12] An intimate stranger even in Tarturus, Callisto can reach out to Xena through her guilt, the guilt of the flawed savior [INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207)]. Another avenue is opened up to destroy Xena' soul (Argo, Xena's mother, then her Bard). The fact that Xena can use the same trick (by turning Callisto's loving family into a guilt trip for Callisto) is a telling sign. That Callisto CAN regret her actions. Xena sells out once again by simply taking the short view.

[13] A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214) features one of Xena's worst crimes against Callisto. Callisto has once again changed tactics. Instead of destroying Xena's soul externally, she tries for it internally by making Xena confess to her crimes with respect to Callisto and her family. Did you see Callisto's face? Did you see Gabrielle notice it? Only Xena, lost in her shame and hatred, squanders this opportunity to reach Callisto. Xena shows her regret for the actions that killed Callisto's soul, but what would have happened if Xena had reached out afterwards with a simple, "I'm truly sorry," instead of the flippant, "Let's go"? Perhaps the gesture would have been rejected, but it is an interesting "what if".

[14] In MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) Callisto once again savors vengeance by helping to kill Xena's son through Gabrielle's daughter's interactions.

[15] By SACRIFICE (67-68/321-322), Callisto is done with Xena. She is looking for that final oblivion. Xena obliges.

The Nature Of Redemption

If you sing that stupid 'coconut' song again Xena I *will* kill you!

Crucified in FALLEN ANGEL, and later instrumental in Callisto's redemption, Xena and Gabrielle are only begninning to suffer.

[16] The fanatical Callisto is saved by Xena. She has been made pure by a selfless act of redemption. Slowly she realizes what she was and who she was, and what she can become. Gabrielle learns another lesson of the redeemer: forgiveness.

[17] Callisto is the poster child for sadism. What is the opposite of sadism (its negation)? Think about it. Altruism. Selfless, unconditional love. Sound familiar? Is that not Eli's "Way"? Is that not Gabrielle's way? Is that not what Gabrielle, in embracing Eli's message of love, taught Xena? This is the function of the co-redeemer. The redeemer has fulfilled her destiny.


Samira al Thores Samira al Thores
Samira al Thores is a character created online to cover a host of personalities (no, it's not clinical schizophrenia) and to separate virtual reality from real life. In RL, Sami is a scientist with a government agency. She holds a PhD in chemistry and minors in history and psychology. Her hobbies include basketball, model railroads, and online RPG. She's currently contemplating a vacation to NZ to go gliding.
Favorite episode: ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313) - Body count: 41
Favorite line: Gabrielle to Xena: "You've got to take me with you - teach me everything you know. You can't leave me here in Poteidaia. I want to go with you. I've studied the stars, spoken with philosophers, and I have the gift of prophecy. I can be very valuable to you. Take me with you. I want so much to be like you." Xena: "And I want to be like you." [Cries] ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313)
First episode seen: TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)
Least favorite episode: KING CON (61/315)

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