Group Therapy #151-162
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2001 6:58 PM
Subject: Series Ender
First I want to thank-you for giving me some place to vent my feelings about the lousy ending of XWP.
I could never express in words the way this last episode affected me, but I'll give it a good try. Thank the Gods I didn't go blind into watching this last episode or I don't think I would have been able to keep my feelings in check - as it was I cried all over my lover's shoulder Sunday night. I was one of those ones who couldn't wait to find out what happened at the end of FIN 2 - so I peeked into the Whoosh episode guide--just at the ending, to see how the show turned out. What I found there hurt me more than anything I could have watched on the show.
But unlike other people, I want to place the blame where the blame should go. Everyone seems to be lashing out at Tapert and Raimi... and while I agree they probably had their hands in it, I don't believe they were the deciding factors here. How many times did we hear Lucy quote she'd like to see them go out in a blaze of glory? Let me tell you I was a solid Lucy & Renee fan before this all happened. But I believe in all honestly that Lucy Lawless is the one who takes the blame for the end of her character. She was the one who wanted Xena to die and isn't that exactly what happened?
And now that the series is over... where are Lucy & Renee now? Lucy was all over the place advertising the last show like mad. Making everyone believe they 'outed' her character. But none of that happened. Sure Xena said, I love you. Sure Xena said if I only had 30 seconds to live, this is how I would want to live them... looking into your eyes (said to Gabrielle). But that's nothing new to what Xena or Gabrielle did or said to each other before. Did they kiss without having a reason for it? NO. Gabrielle kissed Xena by placing water into her mouth. If when Xena stood up from getting that water and they just kissed... that would have been a different story... but NOooooooo. And you'd think they'd make a public appearance apologizing to their fans for the hurt they caused, but again...Noooooo. They don't need us now. We're nothing to them now. They got exactly what they were looking for.... the lesbian community supporting them until the end. Now it's the end and they don't care if they have our support or not.
And who was it who thought Xena's demise was so heroic? I'd almost call it stupidity. Going into a battle she knew she couldn't win by herself. Pushing Gabrielle and everyone else away so she would have to fight the army by herself. She went into that last battle knowing she would die... and yes I know she wanted to die. And in my book, that's the coward way out. Gabrielle put the pinch on her in the Haunting of Amphipolis' - why couldn't she do it this time too?
But I did love it when Gabrielle told that Sumerian b*tth**d... you couldn't beat her unless she wanted you to kill her. And I believe that. Xena had so many tricks up her sleeve... when the going got tough and she really truly wanted to live... she would have ran up a tree or did backward flips out of there. Anything to keep herself alive... but no, she plugged on. I remember thinking, look at her go.. All those arrows and still kicking b*tt. I have to admit I loved that characteristic about her. At the same time it hurt cause I knew she was dying and wasn't coming back in the end. That's why it hurt so bad when she started crying out Gabrielle's name. I knew this was Xena's final stand and all I could do was cry as it happened. As I'm writing this, I'm crying at just visualizing this as I'm writing it.
I think of and feel the pain Gabrielle went through from the first moment she realized Xena was dead and then again at the end when she realized Xena wasn't coming back to her. Ok, so I know these characters are not real... but d*mm*t fanfic made them real... In my heart and in my mind, a little of Xena exists in all of us (the romantic part) and when Xena died, a little of us died along with her, knowing they could no longer be together.
I do believe the character Xena hit home with so many of us lesbians, but not solely for the reasons Lucy or Tapert thought. They always figured it was the lack of lesbian heroes. Or we don't have many role models in the lesbian community. But they were only in part right. In our mind, in our heart, and especially in our fantasies, there was a little bit of the hero/warrior in all of us. So many of us related with that stoic tough persona and so many of us could picture ourselves with a sweet young girl such as Gabrielle.
They were so much more than just something on a movie screen or piece of paper to us. I believe each and every one of us fell a little bit in love with who Xena & Gabrielle represented to each other. And it wasn't all the show. I remember so many times being disappointed in how the show went, but the fanfic took care of the disappointment I felt in the TV characters. Just thinking back over some of the characters of fanfic that have been built just because of the love everyone hopes is inside all of us. That's all we wanted. To believe in something more powerful than anyone of us have ever known or felt in our lifetime. And they destroyed it, as surely as if they were the ones who shot those arrows into Xena.
It was especially painful for me to watch Gabrielle during this episode. I knew she was fighting a losing cause the whole way a long. Xena and those monks made her believe she could be brought back and Gabrielle fought tooth and nail to do just that...to get her soulmate back by her side. Only to find out she would never get to hold or see her again, except in her dreams and memories.
They might have left it off with the viewer believing Xena would always be by Gabrielle's side... but we all know what death is about. Yes, she would always be by her side... but not as a lover, friend or soulmate, but as a memory to be cherished, thought about, cried over and missed dearly.
If I could explain the amount of times this last episode alone brought me to tears... maybe just maybe Tapert and Lawless can see what they've done to us.
They killed Xena - our lesbian hero - and I don't think the hole they left with doing that will ever be filled. Not with any promise of a movie... especially after listening to Tapert explain his idea of a movie. Nor with another duo paired together like Xena and Gabrielle. They were one of a kind. Lucy never gave herself credit for that and neither did the producers of the show. They had a chemistry that we all saw and felt deeply in our hearts.
And after listening to a radio interview with Tapert, I don't believe this movie thing he is promising is going to work for the viewers either. Who believes him anyway after the stunt he pulled?
I listened to him talk about this movie vision. Envision this... he sees Hollywood creating a movie based on the show in about 5-10 years from now with Lucy sitting in on a cameo guest appearance as Xena's mother. Not Lucy & Renee coming on the screen satisfying us all by bringing the warrior back to life... no... they plan on letting another actress attempt to fill their shoes. And if they haven't learned there lesson yet... no one can fill Lucy or Renee's shoes. No one.
I can't even bring myself to watch another episode. And trust me when I say, I'm one of those people who love to watch the show over and over again... catching all the subtext messages and such. Now I've packed them all away and I've done away with all the fanfic I had stored on my hard drive. I tried reading a story... any story about the pair and all it does is make me think of that last show.
Some want to pretend that last show doesn't exist... that the last episode was 'When fates collide or Many Happy Returns... But how can anyone get a headless Xena out of their minds? I can't pretend about something like that.
Another thing... I've seen several TV critics say this last show was great work. What do they know? Well they've obviously not seen this show before. How often has this been done anyway? Let's recap a little here... Wow... as I'm thinking of this... how many times has this duo died or almost died on us?
First we thought Xena was dead in 'The Greater Good' when Callisto hit her with that dart. Then shortly after that Gabrielle dies in 'Is there a doctor in the House' and then in season two with that ever popular Destiny/Quest episode where Xena is killed by that tree hitting her. Season three is marked by Gabrielle dying in the end for the season finale. Then Xena is almost near death in 'The Way and they both bite the dust at the end of season 4. In season 5 they fake their own deaths and get stored away in ice for 25 years... and Xena hits Gabrielle in the head with her chakram... almost killing her until Ares saves her.
And let's not forget season six... it started off with Ares killing Xena and Gabrielle bringing her back to life via mouth to mouth. Then Gabrielle puts the pinch on Xena and sends her into the spirit realm... in 'The Haunting of Amphipolis' Then Xena dies on the cross again in 'When Fates Collide' and then beheaded in 'Friend in Need'. So how can anyone say the plot was original or even close to it?
So here I am, a full week after I first read about Friend in Need II and I'm still numb and still crying a little from time to time... when I let myself really think about this show. I try really hard not to do that though. I feel angry, betrayed and mostly hurt. I hurt for the characters we so obviously loved more so than the creators.
Okay... so they left it open for a movie. So what. I don't think by then I'll have an interest in Xena or anyone who worked on that show. Right now it's hard to just look at their faces. I've tried to read one of the new stories based on the series ender and I found I couldn't do it. I can't get the last episode out of my head and that makes me not have the heart to read about those two any longer. To me they not only killed off our beloved warrior, they also killed off a part of our love we carried for Xena.
I wonder how Lucy would feel if we shot Tapert full of arrows, beheaded him and tied him to a tree naked. Then maybe she'd have an idea of how Gabrielle felt finding Xena that way.
I'll leave it off with this... God Bless Xena, Gabrielle and all the women who saw themselves fitting into the molds these characters created. And lastly, may Gabrielle's tortured soul find peace one day by the side of her soulmate.
From: Paul D.
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 6:36 PM
Subject: Final Episode
Very disappointed. This season started well enough, but it seems that ever since the announcement of the cancellation, the spirit wasn't there. It seems fairly obvious that some extra scenes were filmed and some changed to accommodate the Japan episodes as the series finale.
We felt that the finale reached for some simple solutions to the major problem: how to see Xena and Gabrielle riding off into the future. In a way, it seems that killing Xena off was the only solution since obviously, she'd continue doing what she'd been doing for the previous six seasons, namely being a hero. The dutifully Gabrielle would certainly have continued to write her scrolls and hence, where are they? An obvious solution would have been to kill off Gabrielle. No bard, no scrolls.
The obvious problem with both these scenarios is that Xena and Gabrielle have both been dead and come back, in Xena's case more than once. It seems unlikely that Xena, who's tricked or bested just about every opponent, be they mortal, half-god, demigod or god, would suddenly be stymied by some Japanese spirit or cultural idiosyncrasy. The, "I have to stay dead in order for the 40,000 souls to be redeemed," line just doesn't wash. I have to believe, based on her previous performance, that Xena, quite probably with Gabrielle's help, would have found some solution.
It seems equally as unlikely that Gabrielle would calmly roll over and be happy with this since she's shown a remarkable tenacious personality in the past.
Finally, there's Ares. Like it or not, in time, it seems unlikely that he would have allowed Xena to stay dead, if for no other reason than to give himself one more reason why she might be indebted to him. Being a god, the whole "40,000 soul" thing doesn't seem like it would be a problem.
I think that perhaps the best way to end the series would have been to find some inventive way to remove Xena and Gabrielle from the circles of mankind. Perhaps in a world without gods, great heroes like Xena might throw the balance of the world out of whack somehow, or maybe some great evil villain needs looking after to see that he doesn't return and cause more mischief. Those are just two ideas and I came up with them in the time it took to type this so maybe they aren't the most ingenious and original.
No matter, it just seems that the last few episodes were kind of the bottom of the barrel. I think the finale deserved more, even if it turned out to be nothing more than Xena and Gabrielle going out in a blaze of glory side by side on some battlefield, or perhaps, spilt up because of some deep seated conflict they hadn't resolved which now reared its ugly head.
Oh, well, that's just one fan's opinion.
PS. Where were all our favorite characters? Where's Joxer and Ares and Aphrodite and, for that matter, Livia and Callisto? It seems that they should at least have made some sort appearance. Maybe it's time to give in and admit that Xena and Ares would have been one hell of a couple, in some way shape or form.
From: Kelly Graham
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 8:06 PM
Subject: Bye...the Gods.
Though this is not a draft of my final feelings towards XWP's final episode, (and I'm all agog with emotion over it anyway) a great epiphany overcame me while watching the Kiss sequence during that episode. Listen to Sarah Mac's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy/a.k.a. Take Your Breath Away and note how perfectly it plays to their relationship. I was breathtaken, if I may be so bold (or sappy) to say. So, with that churning in my heart, I may yet think to write out how I feel about the ending of the series... when and if I can find my reeling mind again.
PS. Are the therapy sessions free? [We would have it no other way! -Ed.]
From: Sue Foust
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 8:08 PM
Subject: Saying Farewell To 'Xena Warrior Princess'- A Final Tribute
I think that one of the things that made the show such a huge success was the fact that it came along in the mid decade just before the turn of another century. At a time when we were having our brains hammered with horror stories about the Y2K bug and how it was going to cause all the computers to crash and how that would somehow trigger all the nuclear warheads to go off and how we would be blown to smithereens, and that there would be only a handful of survivors if any. And then of course there were all the Nostradamus predictions. I think we all begin to wonder if we weren't going to have to go back and live that way. Those of us that survived anyway. And so with Xena and Gabrielle we were able to hold on to a sense of humanity. And I think we all felt a comfort in that.
From: Brian Glen Palicia
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2001 11:01 PM
Subject: group therapy issue
I thought the ending was stupid. To me, a TV series needs to look like a movie when overviewed from episode one to the series' finale. It should show a particular theme with a good wrap-up. A good way to demonstrate that would be to unravel a movie into a TV series over several seasons.
Let's look at "Ghostbusters" as an example. If this film had been a TV series, the meat would be the catching of strange ghosts. The subplot would be disputes with non-believers. The MAIN storyline would be the source of these ghosts. From the movie we learned it was the skyscraper and the architect who built it to worship an evil god. In series' form, we would reveal aspects of this from time to time. For example, a season could end revealing the mysterious building. A big episode could introduce the stone dogs and the gatekeeper and keymaster. The series finale would be, of course, the encounter on the top of the skyscraper and the defeat of the evil god. With the source removed, the ghosts haunting the city all vanish. Series over.
Conversely, let's take the series "Xena" and fold it up into a 90-minute movie. Does it hold up to this treatment or fall apart? The ending really looks out of place when we do this. It ends on a tangent to almost everything that happened. The characterizations are so different that the series finale could almost be a movie on its own, unrecognizable as a part of X:WP. What turns out to be the main story? And is it worth the trip? It looks pretty lame to me.
I have an idea for a better ending that holds up worlds better. I focus on common themes.1. Ares keeps trying to marry Xena
2. Xena helps defeat evil all over the world
3. Gabrielle acts as a stabilizing force in Xena's life
4. Xena wishes that people would stop worshipping gods and rely on themselves
5. The people seems to be slowly forgiving Xena as a whole, even developing adoration (giving her titles like "Xena: Slayer of gods")
My finale would show a world that is increasingly pro-Xena. Word of her heroism has spread far and wide after all these years. People begin to want to return the favor, to appease her. They start building statues in her honor. Some even build temples. People begin to worship her, not as a goddess, but as THE goddess.
To Xena, this is maddening. She is trying to get people to rely on themselves, but any further action on the course she is on takes her further from her goal. They now rely on HER.
This is where Ares steps in. Revealing that this is moment he has foreseen and awaited, he tells her she must accept her destiny, the will of the people, and become a goddess. Join Ares at his side in marriage.
And Xena accepts. To the shock of Gabrielle.
But Xena is playing for time, trying to figure out how to handle the situation. For it is her bond with Gabby that makes her realize her place is not among the gods but with her soul mate.
In the end, she convinces the people to stop worshipping her, turns on Ares, and puts her chakram away forever realizing her sins have finally been atoned for and there is nothing more she can do.
From: Lisa Mayo
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 6:30 AM
Subject: thoughts on Xena ender
I've just read Rob Tapert's interview at E! On-line because I wanted to hear what he had to say about his finale and this is what I read: "I...me...I...me..."
It is obvious that Mr. Tapert had a personal vision that he wanted to realize in wrapping up the Xena: Warrior Princess series. It is also obvious that his vision had absolutely nothing to do with the fans - and that, in my humble opinion, is the major problem.
The Xena fandom is, without a doubt, the most loyal and generous fandom in television history. Throughout the show's history, the Xena fandom showed repeatedly that, in spite of numerous ups and downs, it could stay loyal, supportive, and enormously generous. But when it came time to pay back the many fans who have put Lucy and Rob where they are today, Rob chose to ignore everyone else's hopes, and instead chose to pursue his own private agenda. As a six-year fan, I am insulted by his selfishness.
Aside from the numerous problems I had with the finale (the insensitive mushroom cloud over Japan, the beheading and defiling of our hero, the idea that she achieved redemption for what was clearly an accident, the permanent mutilation of Gabrielle's body, the insinuation that Gabrielle will now "take over" for Xena - losing even more of her soul to war and conflict), I also had problems with Rob Tapert's assertion that "this is the only way it could end." Lucy, Renee, RJ, Sharon, and most of the Xena fandom had envisioned a very different ending for Xena. If all these people could envision them happily riding off to further adventures, then why couldn't Rob Tapert? Simply because he is selfish and selfish people only see what is in their own mind's eye.
Yes, Xena has died many times - so many times that it is now clearly a cliche. So how does killing her, yet again, make for good entertainment, especially when that killing is done in a brutal and degrading fashion. There is no guarantee of a future movie project - all the fans have for now is this finale, so intimating that she may come back again just doesn't cut it. I won't be participating in any future Xena projects even if they are realized, because I no longer have respect for its creator.
In my opinion, Rob Tapert screwed over the people who put him where he is today, yet in the process, achieved his creative vision. Well, bully for him!
Germantown, MD USA
From: Rob Fleming
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 7:49 AM
Subject: Sunset in moondark
FIN, darkest point on an endless cycle of return
The logic of myth says:1. Kohai (student) shall become Sensei (master = one who comes first).Consequently,
2. Internal states (like conscience) or events "unintended" or "chance" (like the conflagration at Higuchi) are irrelevant to a determination of "guilt." Only the initial act matters. There is no accident in myth.
3. Deeply reciprocated love can (and sometimes must) be broken. There are no logical contradictions in myth, only paradoxes.
4. Love can (by strength, by subterfuge, by mighty song, by dance) overcome Death and restore the beloved, body and soul.
5. The circle is unbroken. The young master undertakes "labors" to restore order and the fruitfulness of Nature. Now tested and seasoned, she redeems her beloved.1. For Gabrielle to develop her newly achieved mastery, Love (at-one-ment) must be broken in the ordinary world. (Gabrielle is a lunar goddess, just as Xena is a solar goddess. "A FIN" is bleak. Like sunset at the dark of the moon.)
2. Xena must suffer for "what had to be" given her innermost nature. Ultimately she takes on a persona like that of St. Sebastian (martyred and mutilated by arrows). Her's is an atonement symbolic of Love-Death, sexual pleasure and self-sacrifice, "dying" in the beloved's arms. (Pleasure and pain "pierce," and can be transformed into their opposites. A paradox of experience.)
3. And (movie hint, Mr. Tapert!) after 3 years of seasoning (= moon goddess darkness), Gabrielle will "descend" to the Kingdom of Death and bring Xena back to this world. Love will be restored. A new relationship of two masters created. (To the Ancient Ones, sun and moon ruled over all growth in an ever-recurring cycle of death and rebirth.)
4. "FIN" is not the end, only the end of the beginning. A dark and periodic loss, an interlude of which only women can have knowledge. Gabrielle is the most recent mythic "avatar" of Sumer's great horned (moon) goddess, Inanna.
From: Irene Tocimak
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 2:30 PM
Subject: What I really felt - Xena finale For August report
I had read the rumours and the episode reviews from others who had seen it one week prior by satellite feed. I am glad I knew beforehand as I don't think I could have dealt with sitting down in front of the TV "thinking" I was going to view a nice story that would end on a high note in celebration of six years of growth.
Since this finale was promoted as motion picture quality. I assumed the "best" in special effects. I expected consistent quality of characters and their portrayal and a storyline that was believable. In fact I expected top notch from their advertisement promotions.
I have to say upon viewing, I did not have my expectations met in any of those categories. Not in storyline, not as a series finale, not in filming, special effects, character development. The entire scene of the burning village that Gab and Xena saved was hokey in reality. And the dialog was something of a Batman series. "What would you do, Gabrielle? Show me." When has Xena ever asked for Gabrielle's opinion on how to do something to prepare her to take over as a warrior? Maybe except earlier this season in To Helicon and Back, but Xena was really still in charge. The Ghost eater (Akemis' father) was a joke! He was so out of place in this story as believable and the special effects were silly! The Samurai Kiwi accent guy was out of place badly. This should have been top notch stuff and it just fell short.
I guess I would have preferred a dialog driven 2 hours more in tune with The Debt I & II or Back in the Bottle. The quality in those episodes was much higher all around.
I was never able to view the beating of Xena in Who's Gurkhan. So knowing what was coming in this sickened me to no end. And then Xena won't come back to life. It wasn't her fault to begin with. It all began with Akemi. Those souls where her responsibility and her father's. It is believable that Xena release the souls but Akemi and her father needed to avenge them, not Xena. Silly reason for Xena to stay dead.
As I watch the scene at the end with Gabrielle alone on the boat as a tribute talking to xena and the urn--I'm sorry. That's not real life. She really would have been crying in her loss and with a heavy sense of grief for the one she loved, warrior or not. As I rewatch that scene since the viewing, it has become laughable. It's like a little child talking to their imaginary friend in the pot. This finale was in dire needs of a woman's loving perspective and it shows, badly.
All in all the warrior princess went out with a bitter taste left in my mouth. Renee and Lucy did the best they could with what they were given. So I can't blame them for not doing their best, because they did. Renee gave a wonderful performance as she always does.
TPTB didn't do good by the fans as a "FINALE". It is disturbing. As disturbing as their minds have obviously become.
From: Edith Pagan
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 3:24 PM
I have been faithfully watching Xena from the beginning, and I found the show has given me strength to go on with the problems I have and now that it's gone ( the ending was verrrrrry predictable ) I feel like I have been left standing in the street with no friends and no place to go. No one to help me gather my strength and to be brave to go on. Buffy the Vampire Slayer will have to do BUT NO body kicks *ss like Xena Warrior Princess and I will miss her
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 1:34 PM
why women heroes do have to die at the end? I really hope the things change in the future.....
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
From: James Black
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 4:10 PM
Subject: last xena
I THINK THE ENDING WAS GREAT NOT THAT THE END WAS BLOODY BUT XENA REDEEMING THE 40,000 SOULS BUT DIED A WARRIOR DEATH I WILL MISS THE SHOW BUT WHEN YOU GET TIRED AFTER 6 SEASONS THEN IT TIME TO GO SHE WENT OUT FIGHTING AND THAT WAS A GREAT WAY TO GO SO PEOPLE MUST NOT BLAME HER HUBBY ROB ERT OR THE WRITERS IS WAS DONE WITH GREAT ACTING AND EFFECTS NOW GABRIELLE IS THE MASTER AND WARRIOR PRINCESS PS BATTLE ON IN RERUNS
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 4:57 PM
Subject: Xena Finale
I sneaked a look at whoosh a week ago and they had the whole show written down. From what Lucy had said I thought it would be O.K. but it sure was not.
I'm glad I read the story first because it got me emotionally ready to see and feel it, when I did watch. I cried when I read it on whoosh. I spent the rest of the week reading the pain of everyone else. I needed to feel in touch with people who were as upset and hurt as I was.
I felt betrayed by the whole story behind why she had to stay dead. I've been fighting some heavy depression. Trying to remind myself that it is a show. Not working very well. The evil dud was cool. But the show was a bit choppy. Making Xena responsible for the 40,000 souls did not make sense. There are a lot of hurting ladies out there like me.
Some have written some great stuff. One girl said. Rob said to whoosh " he would not kill off Xena." but then he said "he planned on Xena dying the whole time." So he lied? Also, when Gabrielle killed the young boy in Legacy, she thought the only way to make up for it was to die. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it was Xena that told her that her death would do nothing to right the wrong that had been done.
Another girl said something like this. That the final price for Xena's redemption was Gabrielle's pain. There was some stuff written on whoosh that was really good. For me, I thought redemption for the people that Xena had hurt came, as Xena herself changed. Rob just said, ( to me that is,) everything I've been saying is Crap, redemption can only be found in death. This show has destroyed the foundation of his show for the last 6 years.
Before Xena and gabby died they go to heaven. I mean she did die and get throne into the pool up in heaven, which I thought cleansed her soul. Or was it just a bathtub for sweaty Angles.
There was some other great stuff said on the message board. So maybe you read it so I will not repeat it. As you can tell I have Issues. They said, well we can't just ride off into the sunset. Can I ask why not? I did not want to see a six-year tragedy being played out. If I wanted to watch a tragedy, I would have picked a different show. For me Love conquers all and the bad guys get that asses kicked. For me that was what Xena was all about (well Mostly). I've had enough sorrow in my life. I want something to feel good about.
Xena up North.
This was from my friend up north she asked me to send it to you I'll add to it from my part: WHAT SHE SAID!!!
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