June 29, 2001
Rob Tapert, President
Pacific Renaissance Pictures
Dear Mr. Tapert,
I apologize in advance for the content of this letter, although it is probably not that unexpected, and hopefully not as virulent, as most of the traffic you are receiving since the airing of the last episode of Xena. I guess I am kind of pretty mad about it also (there I said it).
As for my own self I was very disappointed in it. It makes one emotional part of me feel that the years of journeying of the characters have spent might as well not have happened. It was like the first episode: Xena preparing to die, and Gabrielle alone. That together with being killed by a nobody, and the desecrating of her corpse.
Although the rumors about ending have been swirling about for awhile, most people did not think you and Mr. Stewart would end the show with such finality. Did you really have to do it this way? Did anyone realize how negatively this ending world affect your viewers? One person has said, “Endings like this make viewers feel very foolish for committing time and emotions over many years to a series.” I myself would intentionally plan my day around first run episodes. I do not know if I can or want to watch the reruns of the show knowing that it all comes down to this. I personally had no problem with the prospect of Xena and Gabrielle walking off into the sunset. And through the seasons it was kind of promised (inferred) that’s how it was going to end. I imagine that the majority of your audience assumed this, preferring a happy closure, in lieu of this ending.
Additionally, the 11th hour refusal of Xena to be brought back, felt contrived and manipulative. I have never been entertained by the “Oh by the way,” plot device just to get to the desired end. It also contained the standard occurrence of Xena once again not sharing the entire truth with Gabrielle until it is too late, and not letting Gabrielle really make her own choices. If the roles were reversed, what would Xena do?
In the end we have Gabrielle becoming a tempered Xena, not just as her friend, but also like a daughter who has inherited her mother’s maternity. Xena could not prevent Gabrielle from becoming like her, as Xena evolved into a Gabrielle. How I wished for the jealous, angry, I’ll do this my way Gabrielle (“I don‘t care“). She should have been as selfish for Xena’s life, as Xena was to make amends. Can you make amends, while hurting your love? Doesn’t There seem to be a moral or emotional dichotomy there? Wasn’t she told she was redeemed? Even with 40,000 thousand souls in the balance, our two heroines, know from experience that they cannot save everybody. How could she just sit there and let Xena fade out of her life? No longer has she that necessary soul mate relationship, that made her “Gabrielle,“ the yin and yang are gone. For Xena it is a quandary between doing the final right thing, or staying with her love of her life, which is also the final right thing. And we all know what, we as human beings would chose.
Xena had learned all the right things from Gabrielle years ago. How do they measure, know, the true value of their lives, if there is not an opportunity, (as Ulysses), to rest their tried old bones before the hearth, and remember, as they watch grandchildren?
Love and friendship should have won over enlightenment. Both are now enlightened, but with the veil of worlds between them. Essentially all we have Gabrielle on a boat talking to herself. She is all alone again. The last shot said it all.
I really needed to say what was going on in my mind, since although I was “prepared” for ending it kicked me into depressive funk, and I just needed to vent my feelings in some direction. I do not know if it was intended to be uplifting, but it was not for me.
As always Lucy and Renee’s performances were breath-taking, with just the right emotional pitch. I have really enjoyed the series, and am glad that it took on a life of its own. It became lyrical at times. Thank you all for all the hard work, that has made such a deep impact on all of us.
I wish you only the best in your future endeavors,
All the best to Lucy, Daisy, and Julius, and Renee, Steve, and their little one to be,
I understand the producer/writer stayed within the premise of the series beginning, however, over the years I have become attached to the characters in the series and it was difficult to see Xena so brutally done in! I, like so many, would have preferred Xena and her sidekick going off into the sunset. But I still understand that Xena has been killed off more than once and returned, so perhaps it will happen again (I hope).
Sorry, my daughter and I were very disappointed at what seemed to be a cliche-ridden and too often used TV device: killing the main star.
We expected better.
I've no doubt that the series finale of Xena: Warrior Princess reflects the artistic vision of its creators and producers. Sadly, the series finale also reflects the cynicism and bitterness that plagues modern Western society. The series finale offered the faulty message that there is redemption in death to a culture that undervalues the living in so many ways.
Yes, there were plot holes a plenty, and certainly, there is the possibility of a made for cable/broadcast television "movie." But, in the meantime, an important role model for kids, women and gays has been destroyed. While I can easily imagine why the creators and producers might not care about women and gay people, how could they be so cavalier towards children? How can they have overlooked those kids who showed up at the Xena conventions dressed as their heroines, Xena and Gabrielle? Was the price kids paid really worth the thrill of going out with a "bang"?
While my questions may seem liberal handwringing, in a world where violence in schools stretches across the United States and beyond it would seem folly to champion the notion that suffering has a noble purpose. Yes, this was fine and well for Shakespeare and Aeschylus, but they were not playing to as wide or impressionable an audience.
Disappointed is the only word that describes me as a fan. I can't say it describes how I feel about the last show because I didn't watch it. I called it quits because of Soul Possessions and the one about the cannibals. You see I'm a Gabrielle fan and too me those shows were terrible.
I wanted a conclusion to the whole Hope thing. From a reason why stabbing two gods (Hope and her child) can kill them but no other two gods too where the hell was Gabrielle after she fell into the lava pit and every thing in between. And I got nothing!!! They never mentioned how implausible it would be for Hope and her child to be really dead. And I'll tell you about the lava pit "closure" later in this e-mail.
The Abyss I believe it was called really bugged me because I thought how in the world could Gabrielle never bring up the fact that with all Hope and Eve's similarities Xena always felt Hope was pure evil and Eve was a ray of sunshine. All we ever got though was a delirious Gab muttering about her dead daughter. PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!!!
Now on to Soul Possessions. Where or Where do I start. First of all I was mad that an episode about Gab being missing only had about five minutes of Gab airtime. That still baffles me. Second, I was hoping that they would discuss this when Lucy was on maternity leave but instead we got the episode about her being knocked out and behind a mermaid. I won't even comment any further on that. Third and most important this episode made no sense to me what so ever. Okay Xena hates hope when she is looking for Gab. and hasn't had Eve to soften her. So she finds out that Gab bargained with Ares to save her daughter and Xena never ever confronts Gab on it though Xena wanted to kill Gab the last time she did that. OK....Next when Ares tells Xena that she loves her while Xena is trying to save baby Eve and Xena is surprised. Yet in the time line that this show starts she should have already known that. Also if she signed the agreement and it was for the next life then why would Ares loose his God hood to save Xena. And why wouldn't he try to bargain with Xena the location of the hidden marriage agreement? And if to keep the agreement binding he couldn't harm any of her loved ones ever right?? Then why was he able to try and help stage Gab killing Eve? And finally why would he get so upset over Xena "dying" and freezing her body if he knew someday she would be his for eternity.
Sorry this is so long. But that is how I feel about this last season. The writers should have viewed a few past episodes before writing the last season.
I wanted to wait a few weeks before voting to see what the Xena production staff and actresses had to say about Friend in Need. Since that has not happened I've come to my own conclusions. Robert Tapert and company brutally killed off Xena and the franchise. Was it done out of spite?, being naive and not knowing how attached the fans were to the character?, out of stupidity?, or just because Robert Tapert and company aren't nice people? I am thinking it's all of these factors combined. They made the decision to kill her off in the worst way. It's obvious they never respected the character. Now I can make my decision and not support any of them in any past or future endeavors. I know they don't need my money but it makes me feel a lot better.
Thanks for providing a place to say a few words about the ending of Xena
While I think Rob Tapert had the right, freedom etc. to do with Xena and the show what he wanted .... I can only say that as a long-time fan of the show, and of the X & G relationship ... I was terribly disappointed by what he chose to do.
Instead of validating and celebrating the love X & G share as the closest thing to redemption that Xena's ever going to find -- RT kills Xena off in a profoundly disturbing way, then has poor Gabrielle confront her headless body (and the head itself), and finally, rips apart the relationship X & G have shared for six years in the last five minutes of the series .... I'm sorry, but seeing Gabrielle as the new Warrior with a Chakram, standing there alone with her little pot of ashes, was NOT the final image of XWP that I wished for ... nor deserved.
I am particularly bothered by the remedy that RT and others writing for the show imposed upon X & G at the end - the idea that a ghostly Xena was all that Gabrielle needed to be happy and content as she continued her life's journey. It seems to me that TPTB could not, in the end, truly respect the fullness of the love X & G have for each other - a love which season six indicated, IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE, was rooted in the physical, not just the emotional or spiritual.
XWP was not a two-hour "Casablanca," nor a three-hour "Romeo and Juliet." Many fans, both serious and casual, had invested YEARS in watching a show that, while dark, was not a tragedy. And over time, incredibly, it became a show about two women in love, who should have enjoyed a long life together in Greece, not the ignoble and grisly ending they endured in faraway Japan. Frankly, I don't think a send-up of "A Chinese Ghost Story" was the best way for XWP to go out.
Sure, being "soulmates" does give these two women a ticket to endless lives together - but the lives I cared about were the ones they were living as Xena and Gabrielle. I remain hopeful that LL and ROC will also want X & G reunited, and will choose to make a few telemovies together in the near future.
Put me in the VERY disappointed category. I did not like the ending at all. Actually, I enjoyed the first couple of seasons more than the later ones.
As unique a program as XWP was, it could have ended so brilliantly with a great script, some wit and humor so lacking in its final years, and some poignancy and hopeful good-feeling. It could have been CREATIVE, for pete's sake. But with its ending, its graphic violence and messy plot, XWP unraveled everything story-wise and character-wise that it sought to build. Too bad. It could have been so different, so memorable that it left fans clamoring for more. As a result, I say: time to move on and be glad for the first three years.
Extremely disappointing finale. It seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the show. Plus, I really really wanted to see Xena and Ares get together. This was a really lousy finale.
I wasn't violently unhappy about the finale, but there is no way that it could become one of my favorite episodes. I think, too, that "Friend in need" failed in some important ways.
Some of my objections are of the, "You did well what you intended to do, but I just don't care for what you are doing." This covers things like the Hong Kong style of combat. My son almost fell over laughing at the bit with the flaming forests on Mt. Fuji, and I thought that the bit where Xena and the villain were rotating around was spun out a bit too long for my taste. There was also way too much gore. I did not like the abuse of Xena's body any more than I liked the Gab drag. More important, In addition, I strongly dislike the Japanese warrior ethic. All of these things hindered my emotional response to the episodes. On the other hand, I thought that killing the hero in the first five minutes of the show was reasonably interesting, for about 10 minutes. More serious objections were of the, "You did poorly what you set out to do" school. Among these were the foreshadowing of the Xena's non-return, so to speak. From the minute that Xena said that they had gotten her back before, I knew that she was going to stay dead. The worst offender in this category was the total lack of preparation for any reason for why Xena should stay dead. I felt that the reason that otherwise the 40,000 souls would not be truly freed made no sense, except as a totally arbitrary and nonsensical requirement. The fact that Xena was only partially responsible for their deaths and entrapment by Yodoshi doesn't make the requirement any more convincing.
I don't have any particular problem with Xena dying and not coming back. She was a warrior, and warriors tend not to die of old age, as Xena remarked to Gabrielle in season 1 or 2. I would have preferred if they had just gone off into the sunset like Hercules and Iolaus. The reason for that is that the only way I have made sense of the show over 6 seasons is to view it as a cycle of many tales by many authors about a legendary hero. No one expects consistency in the Arthurian cycle or the tales about Theseus or Odysseus. I think that such an ending would have been a little more appropriate, but I certainly don't think it is worth excoriating Tapert certainly made a defensible decision.
I was not very happy about the way the Xena/Gabrielle subtext became main text because I think that someone broke a policy (almost an agreement) not to come down on one side or the other. This was a policy which both leads explicitly mentioned in interviews. I could see some argument that the relationship remained ambiguous if Lucy Lawless hadn't said to Conan O'Brien that she told her husband he had outed her character when she saw the final episode. Regardless of the merit of the arguments for and against subtext (and I can see both sides), I liked the inclusive approach better. Doing what the show did at the end seems disingenuous.
The biggest problem I have with the finale, however, is that, I simply don't understand how Xena ended up redeemed by her decision not to come back. She seemed at peace, but redemption is not simply a feeling, any more than guilt. Rather, it is a process which involves an individual or group changing their status or their relationship with themselves or others. I don't see how Xena's action did this, perhaps because it seemed so arbitrary. The notion that vengeance was necessary to accomplish Xena's redemption makes no sense. Some sort of return or pay back (redemption means buying again or buying back) might make sense, but in this case the proportions (1:40,000) is senseless. As many observers commented, the notion of vengeance just flew in the face of what the show seemed to be saying over the years. In this sense, I think that Tapert failed to do what he said he had. It would be interesting to hear how he thinks Xena has redeemed herself.
If I am not wild about the ending, I think it has been a wonderful six years. The inconsistencies in plot generally don't bother me too much, and I admire the way the cast and crew have consistently stretched themselves and not taken the easy choice. Even when the product was less than perfect, it was (almost) always interesting. I have never been so involved in a television show, and I don't think I will ever be so committed again. It's been a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about television, fandom, the internet and other things.
I was both surprised, entertained AND disappointed. (I didn't want Xena to die, though narratively, it made a lot of sense.) So there you go. Place me where you will.
It left a bad taste of cliffhanger in my mouth.
to say the least i was disappointed i was extremely upset!!!!! i was horrified at what they did to my xena i absolutely hated the way they ended the show with so many unanswered questions at that i am sorry but they could have done it so differently rob had to have known people would be upset WHAT was he thinking?
she should have just killed herself in sins of the past instead of saving gabby since her whole journey was ultimately for not.
IMHO there were way too many inconsistencies:
Per Michael in Fallen Angel, Xena had been absolved of her past sins by successfully completing the "trial by fire". I don't think just anyone gets to be an Archangel on a whim, and I'm not even religious. In FIN 1 or 2 we never heard Akemi say anything about "absolving" those freed souls and Xena needing to stay dead so they can achieve a state of grace...Bull! Personally I think the little lying tramp was lonely in the afterlife and figured Xena would be gullible enough to fall for her lies as she did the first time. While it is true, in the tradition of a warrior eventually Xena would have been happiest if she had died in battle, I just don't think we needed to see it in all it's graphic glory. I would have been happier just seeing them walk off to fight just one more battle, then hear the "legend" of how she died from Matty or Mel or something.
And actually I think the only thing that can REALLY kill Xena is the Hindsblood Dagger. I'm convinced Ares is her papa.
the fact that it was in two parts killed any momentum that was to be built.
one wants to feel a sense of closure after a series finale. just like star trek: voyager this did not deliver. only difference is that there were such low expectations for voyager.
you mean to tell me that they have traveled for years, been to hell and back literally and xena never once mentioned her ex who was very much like Gabrielle
continuity was an issue. decisions that were made seemed arbitrary. she teaches Gabrielle the pinch (she did this in the "haunting of amphipolis" mind you. did gabby 4get that quick?) then she says she wants to spend the last 30 seconds of her life staring into gabby's eyes. she abruptly changes her mind. was this just to manufacture a tender scene between them? she asks gabby's opinion about the inferno in the village. they then do a full on acrobatic scene to put out the flames. nice fx but did that bit of plot development have to be so clunky?
i actually don't understand xena's tie to the souls that were eaten by the demon. i remember them explaining it but i just couldn't put it together.
the whole plot was just way too convoluted.
where was Ares, aphrodite, eve, virgil, hell anybody who had anything to do with the series. i would have settled for a ghost of joxer. what kind of closure is this.
xena dies. big whoop. her and gabby died about 300 times. since she is a ghost and can visit her when she wants it's not like she's gone @ all.
nice art direction though.
More like devastated!!
I thought the finale episodes were wonderfully acted. I was very disappointed how the show ended however. Xena would not have accepted leaving Gabrielle. I was and still am depressed about Xena dying. I cried. But Xena lives on in my heart and in the hearts of fans everywhere. Xena and Gabrielle will be together forever.
I was very disappointed. The whole time all I could think about is how could they do this to us. I feel so crushed.
There were many beautiful moments, the apex of which was the scene where Xena teaches Gabrielle the pinch. But overall I was very disappointed by the end.
Story was OK, not sure how I feel about Xena being axed yet. Would have PREFERRED she not be, maybe "retire" from warrioring or something like that. (Just watched it on tape last night)
"If I have only 30 seconds left to" .... view a last episode, let it be one created by the fans.
I thought the ending was a let down for long time fans. Why is it that Hercules and Iolaus get to walk off into the sunset but Xena dies? I hope they do a movie to fix this mistake!
I was really saddened by the ending. I realize Xena died for a cause but I always assumed she and Gabrielle would ride off into the sunset together. I guess I was looking for a happy ending in the Xenaverse.
This is my third try at sending something. Wanted to reiterate what's been consistently communicated: Xena wound NOT leave Gabrielle, Gabrielle would NOT leave Xena: they would choose a path together. That is what I found (absolutely) Traumatic. I have to believe that whoever are The Powers That Be are thinking it's the lead-in to a movie . . . or they're truly sadistic.
Well, where do I start?
The plots this final season have frequently been weak but this was REALLY bad. Obviously a lot of detail was skipped or cut out so there would be more time for the kinds of scenes various fan groups like to see: action, lots of bare female flesh, and protestations of love between Xena and Gabrielle (not that I have any objections to the latter two). But it made for a truly threadbare story line.
Important details were frequently left out. In retrospect they became clear, sort of, but while watching I did frequently lose continuity. For example, during the fateful battle scene it was not clear at first whose side was shooting the arrows; nor was it clear who the samurai was who challenged Gabrielle. He was just one of the evil spirit's minions (cool word, huh?), but not to have him introduced or identified in any way was annoying. Both of these objections could have been remedied had they gone for a three-part finale, which they could easily have done.
As an historian, inconsistencies bother me. Presumably Xena first went to Japan before her encounter with Lao Ma, so why wasn't she limping through Japan?
And why go to Japan altogether?? I missed having Xena and Gabrielle in their familiar costumes, missed Argo and the ersatz Greco-Roman characters and locales.
Finally, yes, let's say it: I WANTED TO SEE A GREAT BIG KISS!!! They already did that trick with the water with Lao Ma. Granted, the brief seconds they did give us were pretty hot -- how many times have you replayed that scene on your VCR already? -- but they were only a tease. On the other hand, they were both, especially Renee O'Connor, a hell of a lot more convincing than Terry Farrell kissing Susanna Thompson in DS9's "Rejoined" ep -- Dax clearly looked like she would rather be anywhere else at that moment! But Xena and Gabrielle sure felt like lovers to me, not that I've been in doubt.
Having said all that, I must also say that the episode really affected me. I was away and just got to watch the video last night. I had trouble sleeping, and today as I was working, it kept popping into my head. I was very surprised -- and impressed -- that they actually let Xena die, and as silly as it sounds, I think I had a little grieving to do. I also felt so bad for Gabrielle; I have been worrying about how she will cope all alone. I don't think they gave us a deep enough grief from her. They smoothed it over too quickly.
Well, that's all.
I was very disappointed in the last show. Xena never should have been killed off. They had soooo many other ways of ending it. The fight scenes were decent but I wasn't totally thrilled with the story line.
What a copout! The guilt, the guilt! TPTB have used the guilt card once too often and have realllllly stretched our credibility. They think that we'll buy that a woman with Xena's insights and down-to-earth approach to life would think that she held totally responsibility for the burning of the town. Whoeee! The Xena that I've seen portrayed would see that what she did was nothing more than self defense. Where is the culpability of the townspeople? So Xena leaves all that she holds dear to satisfy some cosmic vengeance? TPTB must think that we're a bunch of dopes. Wait 'til Gab gets in trouble, Xena will find a way back--ooh, is that the movie script?
I found part one in particular derivative of previous programs. I appreciate the attempt to wrap up the key story themes, but if Xena can save all sorts of people all her life and not find redemption, how can dying to save 40,000 make a difference. The final lacked any kind of humour. The one scene was excessively gruesome and I was unmoved by the ending. THAT SAID I do appreciate the fact the show managed to offend so many people. When the show was at its best I was often shocked by how far it would go and to see it go out without any regard whatsoever for public opinion was admirable. Frankly, I would have been more disappointed had they walked off into the sunset trading one-liners. Face it, you can never win with a hyped-up series finale.
I am still in shock that Xena was killed - AND STAYED DEAD!! I thought perhaps both Gabrielle & Xena would be killed in a final *ss-kicking fight, but I never thought that one would die without the other. I found myself hoping that Gabrielle would join Xena at the end. It was so depressing I haven't been able to watch the episodes again. Also, the whole premise of Xena having this past that she never told Gabrielle about and that it included a woman who had such an effect on her was lame - been there and done that with Lao Ma. They could have come up with something more original for the series finale. The Ides of March would have been a better series finale.
At least they were together at the end.
I'm hurt and very disappointed at RT's insensitivity to younger fans.
I have very mixed feelings about FIN 1&2. I was pleased with the high quality of the staging and the production values. In my opinion, this was a theatrical gem for the small screen.
In addition, the acting was wonderful. Renee O'Connor was, as usual, superb. Her talent and skills are a delight. She has carried the show for most of it's run and she certainly didn't disappoint in the finale. Lucy Lawless demonstrated how much she has learned over the last six years. She gave a performance that was both subtle and strong. Again, it was a pleasure to watch.
BUT..... Big But..... The story was very flawed, and unbelievable, even by the standards of the Xenaverse. It strains credibility to believe an audience would be sympathetic to the drivel presented as philosophy. Whether one is a student of ethics or not, it defies logic to present an 'accident' as a justification for 'vengeance'.
Clearly the story does not make critical judgments about the intentions of the characters. Neither Xena nor Akemi is well served in this piece. Xena's feelings for Akemi are never explored enough that the viewer understands her 'broken heart'; nor are Akemi's feelings toward her father ever offered to explain why she would want to kill him. So, by the time Xena is returning Akemi's *ss*s to the family burial plot, the viewer has no sense of why or how Xena has 'sinned' when the fire starts. If there is blame to be placed for the death of 40,000, based on the story, it must be shared by Akemi and everyone in the mob. Of all the participants, Xena is the least culpable, yet she is made to pay the heaviest price. At some point, the authors realize how flimsy the linchpin for the plot is when the have Gabrielle exclaim, 'it isn't right', and Xena offers a lame justification for a plot line that simply doesn't work.
I found Xena's bloody death to be offensive and gratuitous. Never has the show needed to stoop to this level graphic violence. Again, I believe that it was done out of a desire to shore up a weak story that wasn't able to produce enough believable motivation for Gabrielle's actions.
To sum up, I was disappointed. A review I read recently summed it up perfectly; 'another big story with no heart'. I would add, it lost its brain as well.
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