Whoosh! Issue 58 - July 2001
Letters to the Editor

Page Twelve

Surprised and Entertained #141-193


I thought it was a heart-wrenching, but appropriate ending. This show has never been about taking the easy road - Xena was a warrior and she lived and died like one. All heroes die young, don't they? The acting was incredible!!

El Paso, TX


Although, I would have killed off Gabrielle, too.






It's hard to respond to this poll, because part of me is grieving for a character I've loved for six years. I'll be grieving for quite a while. The whole way through FIN2 I found myself saying, "Oh, my God! I can't believe Gabrielle is dealing with this!" She (and the fans at her side) went through the wringer more in this episode than in any other--including "The Bitter Suite" and "Ides of March." I've been depressed for days. But FIN2's ending is part of what makes this series not only great television, but also great entertainment.

With this ending, TPTB have given the fans new challenges and new possibilities. We've been given a kick in the pants, and I hope the result will be some amazing fan fiction.

Someone out there has already suggested FIN2 makes a great season ender, but a horrible series ender. I think a season ender is just what it was intended to be. The catch is it's up to us to write the next season(s). We've been left with an incredible set-up:

We can explore Xena's interactions with the dead. She's killed or lost a lot of people over the years. Now she has an opportunity to interact with them on a different plane. So many great characters, like Lao Ma, Athena, Caligula, Caesar, Borias, Najara, Alti--now can come back.

When Xena and Gabrielle died at the end of Season 4, there was part of me that was disappointed that they didn't stay dead a while longer, to explore that other plane. In a way, however, the FIN2 set-up is even better than Ides of March, because with one partner dead and the other living, we have the opportunity to explore the relationship between the underworld and "real" world. How does a partnership work with one foot in the grave, so to speak?

Gabrielle as a warrior in her own right is its own fertile ground. Add to this the emotional scarring of her friend and partner, and there is some real drama in the makings. At the end of FIN2, before slipping off into the ether, Xena asks Gabrielle where she'll go next. I found myself wanting to know, too. I want to go with her! Gabrielle is, at heart, a remarkable young woman who's grown up before our eyes over the past six years. I feel both extremely sad and excited for her.

There is room for exploring the spiritual--and I don't necessarily mean the supernatural. Gabrielle has a lot to make sense of, and she's shown herself to be open to spiritual exploration. That was much of the underlying premise of Season 4 as Gabrielle sought to discover her "Way." In seasons 5 and 6, Gabrielle understood herself to be rooted to Xena, their souls and destinies intertwined. Her "Way" became the "Way of Friendship." What does it mean when your soulmate is a ghost? What will be Gabrielle's compass, and how might her work strengthen the bond between her and Xena? We've just been given a broader definition of Gabrielle. She's not merely the one who lives and dies with Xena--whose life is defined by Xena's.

Xena has a lot of territory to explore, as well. How does she cope with being a step removed from Gabrielle? I imagine that because she's told Gabrielle she'll always be with her that Xena is going to stay a ghost and not pass on to Paradise, Hell, or wherever else she might go off to. Maybe she needs Gabrielle's soul to be with her in order to be complete and to "pass on." In the meantime, what might it be like to be a ghost? How will she feel helpless? How will she feel powerful? What will threaten her? What might fulfill her?

Finally, perhaps it goes without saying that there are probably countless ways that Xena and Gabrielle can be reunited. What if Gabrielle strikes a deal with Ares? What if she heads back to the Fates' loom? What if she runs headstrong into her own last stand? There have got to be scads of ways this intrepid duo can overcome Heaven and Hell to be with each other.

So many story concepts start with the words, "What if..." Rob Tapert and TPTB have just given us a mighty high precipice as our "What if" jumping-off point. It seems dizzyingly high up here right now, nursing a broken heart for a dearly departed hero and friend. But when were Xena or Gabrielle ever afraid to just shut up and jump?

I'm already outlining my fan fiction story, and I can't wait to read others. Instead of being given a series ending that makes me feel fat and happy and ready to put Xena and Gabrielle away, I've been inspired to join the fray.

Battle on.



With regard to Xena's final episode I have to say that I truly loved how it ended. Both Xena and Gabrielle were allowed to come full circle from the events in "Sins Of The Past". In the series opener, we saw Gabrielle plead with Xena to "teach me everything you know". In FIN, Xena finally did just that. We knew ever since that 1st episode that Xena was pretty much on a quest for redemption. In this series finale, she at last found it. Yes, I'll admit that I would have preferred that Xena could live and attain redemption, but I have to honestly say that I was more deeply touched by the way the episode actually played out. In sacrificing herself for 40,000 strangers, Xena demonstrated the most noble and selfless act of love that a person can show. I know that for myself, making a sacrifice for people I know and love is relatively simple. To do the same for total strangers requires true courage, strength, and love. I believe that it also requires a purity of heart. Xena's ultimate sacrifice in this finale was amazing. To see how far this flawed character came in 6 years was awesome! I also found it to be a ray of hope. Perhaps this episode is attempting to teach us that no matter what our past mistakes, we can always aspire to change and better ourselves. Sometimes the most profound lessons can be learned from a "mere television show".

I do realize that many fans feel betrayed by the ending. I am not among them. It dared to challenge and be different. It did not cheat death again. I'd seen death overcome so many times before in this show, and while I found those occasions entertaining, I would have considered it a cop-out in this particular instance. To cheat death again would have lessened and ultimately cheapened Xena's selfless, noble act. And let's not forget Gabrielle's sacrifice. She could have ignored Xena's request and brought her back anyway. She chose to honor her friend's wish in spite of her own feelings and desires. Sometimes doing the right thing can be agonizing, but in the end, it is freeing, liberating, and ultimately rewarded.

The final scene on the boat is probably my favorite. I have always believed that the human soul is immortal, that death is merely a doorway leading from one form of existence to another. This scene echoed that belief. True love endures and goes on for eternity. I guess another way to look at it would be to say that Gabrielle has her very own "Guardian Angel" watching over her. As Xena said, "Wherever you go I will be at your side." Enough said! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to voice my opinion!

My husband cried at the end. Then again, I can't blame him. I think the two of us went through an entire box of Kleenex in about ten minutes!



Hi, But disappointed too. I didn't think they would kill off Xena permanently, why in hell did they do that? I really feel grief at having lost one of the greatest woman heroines in the history of film and television. Are we sure the Christian Right wasn't behind this shortening of the life of the series? I'm only half kidding. I guess I just will miss these heroines and their fascinating, complex and deep "soul mate" relationship. It will really leave a void now that they are gone into TV history. I can only hope they figure out a way to bring them back. Barring that, I guess I'll just have to watch reruns,but I sure will miss looking forward to that next episode, with all its subtext and playfulness. The final episodes made me feel cheated, robbed, and angry. They left Gabrielle alone? What sense does this make. If they had died together we might have been able to accept this more, but better still would have been that neither of them die at all, but perhaps go into suspended animation for a century or so, and cannot be awakened except by some goddess who hasn't yet been manifested in the earthly universe. I just can't accept that they are gone. I'm the kind of person who never gets hooked on a series, but I fell for Xena hook, line and sinker. My favorite episode from season six was When Fates Collide, now that was classy. The final eps left too many loopholes, and we had to apply too much suspension of disbelief. How could Xena leave Gabrielle alone. How could Gabrielle listen to Xena who is obviously being totally irrational about souls who will not attain a state of grace unless she remains dead, that is utter nonsense. No human being has the power to keep souls from attaining grace no matter what the religion. I guess the producers were just looking for a way out, and chose any port in the storm. They have given us a great and memorable season however, and I just wish we had number seven to look forward too. I wonder if there is any chance however slim that a full feature fill might not be in the offing some time in the future. After all Gabrielle still has the ashes, she did not throw them into the sea. What do you all think out there, am I the only one really upset with this finale, and does anyone see a way out and back to our girls.



Enough said. :)



I'm not sure if "surprised and entertained" is the right phrase for how I felt about the show's ending. "Impacted and drained" might be more accurate.

I have always loved Xena, from the moment I saw my first episode. I have enjoyed watching her relationship with Gabrielle mature and deepen. I have appreciated the ambiguity of the relationship; I always felt that they straddled the line of "are they or aren't they?" well enough that it could go either way, lovers or deeply loving friends, and it would be good and fine.

As far as the season ender, I thought it was the right way to end. Xena's past crimes were such that she really couldn't walk off into the sunset. At some point there would need to be the ultimate atonement. I thought that her statement to Gabrielle, that if she learned anything in their long travels together it was when to do the right thing, was poignant and ultimately true. I thought that Gabrielle's feeling of not caring about the 40,000 souls rang true of someone who was faced with losing someone they loved greatly and I enjoyed Gabrielle's final maturation into a true warrior and Xena's equal.

I wept that Xena died. I was disappointed that Ares was not a part of the finale, his love for Xena was something that I enjoyed and in truth, I wouldn't have minded seeing them get together. I was surprised that there was no mention of Eve, and I was somewhat comforted to see Xena's presence remain with Gabrielle, nonetheless, I felt so greatly saddened that Xena was gone forever, with no hope of resurrection in another series, a movie, what have you.

In the end, I did like the finale, though I am deeply sorry that the series had to end. It is a show that I will miss very much. I've never gotten so attached to a show before or to the characters.

Good-bye Xena, you were great while you lasted. I'll see you in reruns.



I didn't think they would let 1 and not the other live,,,,,,,


I thought it was a worthy ending, not only for the series, but also for the character. It was fitting for Xena to make the ultimate sacrifice under the circumstances. I was pleased and satisfied, and felt a certain "relief" for the character in that she could finally rest in peace...well, until the next reincarnation.



I just cannot believe Xena is gone



Not only was I surprised but also very suspenseful.



I see where a spin off , or a movie can be made. I believe we all would like to know about Gabrielle life and how she excepted the lost of her friend. I think it would be a great idea to have Xena talk to her as she goes on with life.



I thought the last episode was one of the best I've seen!! Really great acting jobs by Renee and Lucy! This series rocks -- so sorry to see it go off the air!



Saddened by Xena loosing her life, but she and Gabrielle will always be together...when is the movie!!!



That's me!



Truly a majestic and mythic ending to a great story of profound love and heroic journeying. Serves as a beacon in the murk of today's sensibilities that anyone can be a hero, can make changes, can have a profound impact on another human being's life, in the most significant of ways. May all such potent turning points in our lives be made in the presence of love.

Though grieving and at a loss, I am nevertheless touched by the powerful message in the finale... that even for the "wrong" reasons, we can make a decision that is "right." We all live with symbolism everyday, whether we recognize it or not. Xena and Gabrielle made a decision together that not only had a temporal effect, but a spiritual and symbolic one as well. Myth and Legend indeed.

Kudos to a wonderful six-year ride, and my personal thanks and well-wishes to Lucy, Renee, Rob, RJ, and all the other wonderful contributors to this great show. What an experience!



Yup. And disappointed too, but let's go w/this.



a masterpiece!



So I guess it's me and that guy from the NY Daily News in this category. Repeat the mantra: "It's just a TV show, it's just a TV show."

Decatur, GA


I first I would like to say I love the show from the start. The season ender explained it all. To me Xena spent the whole show trying to make amends for past wrongs. I feel that couldn't end any other way, but by giving her complete peace. Gabrielle to me learned and experienced everything she needed to grow into the person she became. I didn't like the fact Xena did die, but I also find comfort in the fact that they are soul mates that will have a a eternality together hate to see the show end. I see a spin off with Gabrielle carrying on Xena legacy. Well I hope to wait and see what develop. The season ender to me did just that ended will miss this show very much. I'm grateful for the experience.



I was in tears most of the last half. The love between Xena and Gabrielle was so real I could feel their heartbreak. Incredible acting. When Gabrielle gave Xena water from the Fountain of Strength my heart swelled. The Gabrielle's lingering lips on Xena's was so true to heart.

Dubuque, Iowa 52003-7985


I've been watching XWP since the middle of season one and loved just about every minute of it. I was surprised at some of the final moments and yet not. When you've been into a show for so long its never easy seeing it pass on But in the the end the show lives on in our hearts and minds. I will think of Lucy and Renee as two wonderful actors and hope their futures in the profession keep rising. Hopefully they can now enjoy some downtime and the joys of motherhood and raising their families and family-to-be in Renee's case. They'll be missed each week by me and I know many others and I hope they know what a special show they turned out. It was a fitting end for the "warrior princess" and yet a sad one for Gabrielle. Though I wish they would have written the last episode to have them both die together it was great to see that Gabrielle came full circle toward her future life as a warrior. She learned from the best and as a true soulmate she will never be alone.

Kudos to the entire staff for a great 6 years! [Thanks for the kind regards. -Ed.]



I think "surprised and entertained" is a fair summary. My wife and I have watched Xena for years, backtracking to Season One. The series always seemed at its best when it was willing to take some risks with the Gabrielle & Xena relationship. The only problem I had with the series finale's premise was that Xena's accidental killing of the 40,000 (a bit of overkill, no pun intended) didn't seem nearly as egregious as some of her deliberately murderous acts in the past (just ask the northern Amazons) but this time, when Xena was responsible for the deaths, she had to die to keep the souls "in a state of grace". Why this time? Why not when she killed the Amazons? Or other towns? This could have been developed or foreshadowed a bit more. Aside from that nitpicking, we found the final scenes very true to the heart of the series and extremely moving. For a show that seemed to spend it best fuel in Season Three and spent some time limping along unevenly afterwards, the ending was as poignant as any classic love story. Congratulations to the creative team and the cast. And farewell.



yes, valid storyline, interesting Japanese ghost mythology, although i wouldn't have minded if Xena lived. i guess she just had to die for our sins.



The perfect ending. Xena finds redemption and gives the ultimate sacrifice...her life for others. Gabby's skills as a warrior are realized and she kicks butt. I did find it to be very violent though. Also, the whole staying dead thing is a little fuzzy. But, that said, it was very entertaining. I laughed, I cried, I cheered...I loved it.



I thought the finale was well crafted and beautifully acted and directed. Though sad, the ending did provide closure to the two main running themes of the series, Xena's redemption and Gabrielle's development as a warrior in her own right.



Yep, I was surprised. I wish Xena had been allowed to go of into the sunset with Gabby. But maybe there will be a movie!



It was a great ending. Now we can have Gabrielle the Wandering Bard as a spin off! (:



I'm finding it hard to read the comments concerning Fin 1 & 2. There is such anger concerning the death of Xena. While horrific for us to watch, heart wrenching in it's gory detail, I didn't find it misogynist. As they were in Jappa, (and when in Jappa do as the Japanese do), Xena's death was honorable in the extreme.

She fought bravely against overwhelming odds. Knowing that she had to die, she didn't just let the first arrows kill her. She fought on and laid a swath through the opposing army. When she was finally faced with the leader, she faced him with honor and bravery. He did what any samurai would do. He ended the suffering of a noble opponent with a quick stroke, beheading her.

The bushido he followed wouldn't allow a worthy opponent's body to be left in the muck for animals to pick over. He displayed her body up out of the dirt, and her head in a place of honor, as she so rightly deserved. Bushido is everything to a samurai, and when Gabrielle defeated him to regain Xena's head, she didn't honor him with a killing stroke. She left him shamed in front of his army while they bowed to the new master. No wonder he went after her. His life was over in the face of his defeat and it was either regain his honor by killing Gabrielle, then committing Hari Kiri, or being defeated by her again, but receiving a killing stroke. I'm not saying that Gabrielle deliberately shamed him, but that her grief and lack of knowledge of the ways of bushido caused her to overlook this fact. Either that or she did know and was just so mightily aggrieved and p*ss*d that she let him life with his shame.

How is crucifixion, being felled by a poison dart, or drawing and quartering any more honorable? All those methods had been tried on Xena, although Argo did refuse to move in the drawing and quartering scenario. The show ender didn't live up to our expectations. But I remember people saying that if the relationship was finally acknowledged they'd be happy. Or if they got the Kiss in, they'd be happy. We got both, but no one seems happy. Perhaps we have started mixing up fan fiction expectations of the happy ending with the show. Rob Tapert had a vision for the series, and I think he did a marvelous job with the ender, even down to finally explaining where the scar on Xena's breast came from.

The circle is complete. The young girl who said she wanted to be like Xena, has become a warrior with skills that are equal to her teacher. The teacher asked the student how she would solve a problem, then they implemented that plan. Instead of being left behind, as in the beginning,Gabrielle finally got to lead. She knows everything that Xena could teach her, she is no longer the side kick. In the closing scene she is off to continue the work that they both started, albeit physically alone. And isn't that what Xena was in the first episode?

I can't think of a single loose end that was left in this series. Not even the great Trek shows can say that, and they've had 30 plus years to get it right.

Well done Rob, and thank you.



I admit it. I liked it. But I have a feeling Xena will rise again. Somehow. ;-)



Not too surprised, but I enjoyed it just the same.



Hello, Yes I was "Surprised and Entertained" by the finale. I was a late comer in getting into Xena, so I have years and hundreds of episodes to catch up on! All the same I love show. I have to say the finale was great but at the same time a little hard to except. Didn't quite get why Xena was held solely reliable though for 40,000 deaths, when really she was being taunted by the Villages whom she in turn fought back in self-defense. And as far as the fire (in which she didn't even know she started) it was an accident. She didn't kill these people with intention or by her own hand. Interesting, I thought she'd done worse things in her past with harmful intent. But if there's any truth to the shows "Soul Possession" and "Send In The Clones" than Xena and Gabe are ALIVE and well in the 21st Century, so it makes all the difference. Anyways, it's a great show but "All Things Must Pass"



Not really surprised, but entertained. Here's my take on it. I think that the reason that so many people were fascinated by these two characters (Xena and Gabrielle) is that they represent parts of our own psyches. After all, who among us isn't tortured by some dark past that includes being on both the giving and receiving side of raping and pillaging of something or someone...Xena's character, of course.

On the other hand, those of us who are not sociopaths or psychopaths, also have that side of our psyche that seeks to heal through the power of love...Gabrielle's character.

In the final episode, we see those two sides come together to be integrated into one remaining character. The healing has taken place for Xena and Gabrielle establishes herself as a formidable warrior complete with the chakram and "the pinch" (couldn't they come up with a better word...). There are some philosophies that maintain that one only achieves warriorship when one has experienced a genuine heart of sadness. And so, as Gabrielle is left with Xena only in her heart, she now carries that sadness with her.

That we all desire to see the two characters walk off into the sunset together only mirrors our own desire to see these two sides of ourselves come together. I would argue that, dead or alive, the two characters are ultimately joined together...as of course are the two sides of our own personalities.

Then again, maybe it was just intended to be entertainment...in which case my rambling psychobabble is meaningful only in my own splintered kingdom.



I thought it was a good end for a great show.



The series finale was everything I wanted it to be! I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding in anticipation. Any other ending would not have done justice to the characters. Bravo!



The ending totally rocked



I loved the final episode! Like most Xena episodes it wasn't a copout and even though some information leaked out and we knew Xena would die it was automatic to assume the second part would be dedicated to bringing Xena back to life which didn't happen. It was especially surprising that the ending is so definitive with rumors of a movie in the making. If a made for TV movie or regular movie are made the writers and directors will have to work especially hard to convincingly bring back Xena, in fact maybe the actresses would even make their comeback a musical.



The site is great!



I was actually little both surprised, entertained and disappointed that it had to end that way. Thought Tapert was planning on a Xena movie?!



Surprised and entertained but with some sadness, regardless.



I thought it was a great ending !



I was more surprised and entertained than disappointed, on 2nd viewing.....



It was awesome!! A great ending to a great show.



Loved it! Though I will greatly miss Xena, they did an excellent job ending the series.



Of the the three choices, this suits me best. Both Xena and Gabrielle came full circle.



"missing by the width of a hair is the same as missing by the height of a mountain." -Lord Krishna



I was sort of surprised. I was definitely entertained. I thought it was an appropriate ending for our Warrior Princess. If she had to go, then she should go as a warrior would



Loved it. Sad about the ending and loss of Xena, but still loved it.



I agree with Tapert's ending and feel the series came full circle. I will miss Xena greatly.



I enjoyed the series finale, although I was disappointed that Xena didn't come back. I felt it was the right thing to do with the series, but I just didn't want it to end.



I loved the last show. It was bittersweet and made me feel a range of emotions. I'm glad it wasn't a "happy" ending - I would've been disappointed that they didn't take the same kind of risks in the last show as they did throughout. And I think it was left with a lot of possibility for continuation (as in a movie?!). I feel the same way I do after finishing a great book - I'm sad, but I always knew there would be an end.



That last scene of Xena and Gabrielle watching the sunset was the best. I was crying so much because of that whole shot of Xena's face over the sunset, and it was like it was all over...


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