Group Therapy #240-250
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 9:19 PM
Subject: Group Therapy Issue
I suspect by now you have some notion of the way 99% of XWP fans feel about A Friend In Need ... betrayed comes readily to mind but the lasting effect is heartache. Nothing in six years of the series could have prepared me for that final wrenching moment when Xena fades to nothing, gone forever, leaving her grieving soulmate behind. I never knew how deeply impacted I was by this TV show until that moment. I never want to hurt that bad about fictional characters again ... that kind of pain should be reserved for the loss of a real life loved one. I'm so sorry that the person in charge could not have seen fit to allow these characters to find the peace and happiness they had earned and left the fans with a warm glow instead of heartache. It will take awhile and no small effort on my part to reclaim my X:WP but when the process is finished there will be no episode 134. That is not their ending, that is not my ending and no one can make it so if I chose another.
From: Wendy Milazzo
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 11:21 AM
Subject: "The world cried out for a hero..."
If you had told me six years ago, that I would be so distraught and heartbroken over the outcome of a TV show, I would have laughed in your face. Especially Xena! I remember commenting to my partner, "come on, they're budget is so low, they have to use compound bows!" My problem is I believed EVERYTHING else!
I believed that somehow, a woman who looked remarkably like Lynda Carter popped up out of nowhere, and laid waste to everything little girls were previously told to aspire to. I believed it was O.K. to want to lead and be cheered on. I believed it was O.K. to go out in public without troweling on make-up. I believed it was O.K. to vanquish your enemy. I believed it was O.K. to use your gender if it got you closer to victory. I believed that two women who obviously cared for one another could ride off in the sunset without having to "straighten them out" or killing one of them off because their relationship was "sinful!". I believed women and men were equals on this planet, even when everything around us tells us we're not. I KNOW Lucy's husband screwed us with this ending, and I know Oxygen's owning all the syndication rights will keep me from seeing Xena from here on out!
I don't care that throughout those six seasons we were forced to live with beatings, tortures, crucifixions and deaths, although her crucifixion/death with Gabrielle had me screaming mad! (I really didn't see how they were going to resurrect our hero.) I care more that the producers squelched an idea! When Xena took Gabrielle for a ride with the helmet of Hermes, THAT was the ending WE should have had for OUR role model! Seven arrows, a decapitation and a big fight scene, and we're stuck with "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir"! Gee thanks guys!!
One last comment, last year I noticed there was a Xena contingent marching in the New York City Gay Pride Parade. I was planning on seeing them this year too, but Saturday the season finale aired and Sunday I didn't have much to be proud of so I didn't go. My community is still "crying out for a hero", a girl with a chakram need not apply.
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 11:25 AM
Subject: Somebody slap me
Thanks for allowing us to take part in some group therapy.
I'm a relatively new fan. I discovered xena about this time last year, but was able to catch up on the story with a lot of reruns. I caught the show at a very low time in my life, and in some strange way it lifted me back up on my feet again, teaching me to be brave, have hope, and seek adventure in my life. Even my closest friend doesn't know how I feel about the show. It is just a show after-all, and I couldn't bear to have someone laugh about it after it saved me from despair.
I can't blame Lucy Lawless is she doesn't understand the impact of the show. Let's remember she's the actress playing a part. She isn't able to be absorbed in the show like we are. She's thinking about hitting her mark and doing a good job. I do think that the writers could have just given us what we wanted: a happy ending. If it must be sad, why couldn't they let it be sad in a wistful way, like memories of good times that can't be recaptured? Instead, we feel like our best friend was murdered. A punch in the gut. I don't understand their decision.
However, I don't want to go away without thanking you for this much needed place to vent, and the cast and crew of Xena for a truly terrific and ground breaking show. It hurts, but THANK YOU!
From: Dwanna Caldwell
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 12:37 PM
Subject: Xena should Live.
I know what she did was great. But, she should have been aloud to live guilt free because she helped release them. I can't wait for her movie!
From: Aramoix S
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 1:19 PM
Subject: Group Therapy
10 Things I Hate About You
What??? Why???!!!, Don't listen to her!!!, Do it Gab, do it!!! Those were my first words after watching Xena telling Gabrielle not to bring her back to life. I could not believe that Xena had left Gabrielle all by herself. I guess the feeling that would best explain my reaction at the end of the show would be sadness, total, 100% sadness (+ a few ounces of shock). For the first minutes after the end I wasn't even thinking about Xena's redemption, I was all focused on the fact that from now on Gab would be all alone. I could not believe that TPTB had given such a tragic ending to the series. Shocking and sad, that is what I thought about the ending.
Oh, but we are supposed to be satisfied because Xena found her redemption, Gab gets to be a mini-Xena warrior, and the theme of the greater good lived on. FIN2 reminded me that all these things were the themes of the show. At this point in the series I thought Xena had already found her redemption, Gab didn't wanted to be a warrior (since she has learned what comes with the title), and that the words greater good had been given a new meaning. I thought the theme of the series had shifted from this to the love between Xena and Gab. I really thought their relationship was the new focus of the series. I guess I was wrong, or was I?
Xena tells Gab that she has taught her the right thing to do, so Xena, of course, is doing all these for the greater good. I thought we were past this greater good thing. I'm not saying is wrong to do the greater good, but wasn't Xena the one that put Gab before the greater good in One Against an Army and in Legacy? In OAAA, Xena is willing to leave the battle in order to save Gab's life, but Gab convinces her not to because of the greater good. Remember, Xena tells Gab that she is done paying for her past mistakes and that her responsibility now is her (Gab). The thing in Legacy is kind of weird because Gab's death would had served not good, in fact, it would had been ridiculous, but at the end Xena told her that she saved her because she is more important to her than the greater good. So, months later, or should I said, a year and a few months later, the greater good is more important than anything.
And what can I say about Xena's redemption. It is just so pathetic for Xena to find redemption only in death. I know the point of her death was not dying but saving those millions of souls. I just don't understand the point of view on redemption of TPTB. Six years of risking her life in order to save others wasn't enough for her to find redemption. Even thought six years might not seem enough to make amends for all those years of evil-Xena, in a lot of episodes she gave the impression that she was happy and in peace in her new life with Gab. I thought that Xena kept trying to fix some mistakes of her past not in order to find redemption, but simply because she was a decent person and she was not going to let something horrible happen to a group of people if there was something she could do about it. I thought that someone could find redemption and LIVE happy and in peace. Well not in the Xenaverse. How ironic is it to have the evil-Xena do horrible things and kill a lot of people on purpose and then having her dying for something she did by accident. And by the way, was Xena's death honorable? She committed suicide!!! When I first heard the rumors of Xena dying in the final episode, I didn't believed them because the series had portrayed Xena as the best warrior in the history of the world, so who would had been capable of beating her in battle? I never thought about suicide. So after thinking about all these, I started thinking about Akemi. What a manipulative little b*tch . First she makes Xena take her away and she talks about all that mambojumbo about Xena being her teacher, all these so she could learn how to kill her father. So she completely uses Xena for her own good. Then, she asks Xena to go to Japan but she doesn't tell her all the truth in case Xena doesn't want to go there. Even the title of the show expresses how needy she is (she is a friend in need, right?). After the end of the show we don't know anything about this Akemi girl (who, by the way, is responsible for the mistakes that Xena ended up paying for with her life). And the worst thing is that the show gives you the impression that Akemi is all good and so sweet that she even reminds you of Gab. There were no signs that would let you to believe that Xena and Gab, specially Gab, saw Akemi's actions as manipulations.
All of these feelings represent my first reaction at the end of the show. As I watched the episode two more times, I began to stop feeling so bad. I guess my big disappointment was the fact that I was so sure we would get a happy ending, specially after all the maintext episodes of season 6. After watching the episode a few more times I was left with some (actually, a lot of) questions that are never going to be answered to me, but I just can't let them go. Here are some of my questions (and some possible explanations):
-Did they only wanted Xena in Japan just so she will get killed so the souls could be saved? I mean, during FIN1 and the beginning of FIN2, they gave us the impression that only Xena could kill Yodoshi. Of course this is not what the ghost killer told her, since he had not been able to kill him because he wasn't quick enough. The ghost killer even says that only another ghost could kill Yodoshi. In FIN2 the ghost killer failed to kill him not because he wasn't quick enough or because he wasn't a ghost, but because the lord had drank from the fountain of strength. All these let me to believe that everybody manipulated Xena, since it looks like the ghost killer lied to her so she would think that she needed to be dead.
-Since we are talking about the ghost killer: Did he knew that Xena needed to be dead in order for the souls to reach the state of grace? I know that I just stated above that I believe he did, but there are some things that make me rethink this. He and the monk told Gabrielle that there was a way to bring Xena back. If the ghost killer knew that Xena needed to be dead, then why take a risk of having the souls be lost forever by having Gabrielle trying to bring her back (since he knew that she was going to do just that). If the ghost killer didn't knew that Xena needed to stayed dead, then how can he call himself a Japanese? I thought that whole vengeance thing was a cultural one.
-How did Xena find out that she needed to stay dead? More importantly, WHEN?
-Why didn't Xena put the pinch on herself, killed Yodoshi, and then came back from the dead (like in The Haunting of Amphipolis)? One possible theory: Xena already knew about the vengeance thing and she knew that Gab would had tried to bring her back with the pinch (in the final scene of FIN1), so she choose the more tragic death because that way it was going to be very difficult to bring her back if not impossible. However, I find it hard to believe that Xena would had let Gab risk her life trying to recuperate her body if she thought it was all in vain. All these brings me back to my question: When did Xena find out she had to stay dead???!!!
-Did the samurai warrior worked for Akemi and the rest of the gang? Why he would care if Gab brought Xena back? Just so he could still be remembered as the guy who gave Xena an early grave? But since he was part of Yodoshi's army, wasn't he supposed to be in favor of the souls been lost forever? So why stop Gab?
-And what about this samurai's honor? Gab had beaten him, so I thought that the honorable thing to do was to commit suicide if he wanted his honor back.
-Since when can Gab see dead people? Was it something to do with the Japanese atmosphere?
-Are we supposed to be happy because the ghost of Xena is going to stay by Gab's side? Wasn't Xena supposed to be reborn so she can meet Gab in another life? What is she waiting for? Maybe the TPTB think that the ending wasn't so sad because we all know that X&G are going to meet again and again, but that ain't going to happen if Xena is still hanging around. Or does the person decides went to be reborn?
-And why did Xena said to Akemi that they would see each other some day? Is this because this day Xena is busy watching over Gab? But that still doesn' t make sense because Xena is going to be reborn, so I don't know when she is going to see Akemi (hopefully never).
So, what did I liked about the series finale? I liked the pinch scene (FIN1), the Xena ghost trying to take the chakram, almost every Gab scene in FIN2 and the two last scenes of FIN2 (not necessarily what they meant but how they were done). Both parts of FIN were not worse than the average Xena episode. If I credit my doubts to bad editing and to the need of contributing to the YAXIs, I can say FIN2 was an entertaining episode. FIN1 was less entertaining but in many ways better than the second part since the majority of the events make more sense (ignoring the acrobatics to stop the fire) and I also think this episode was better put together than the second part. When I watched FIN1 again after watching FIN2, I really felt the sadness in the air. The shocking and sadness of my first reaction to FIN2 are supposed to be a good thing. The producers of a show want to leave a big impression on the viewers, so TPTB fulfilled their mission in that area. I don't like the discontinuity in terms of the theme of the series. If the series had ended three or four seasons ago with these two episodes, then this finale would had been fantastic. But at this point, come on! I don't know if I was completely mistaken about the theme of the series or if TPTB decided to change it at the last minute just so they could make a cool episode with a shocking ending. I prefer to think the latter, since it is hard for me to think that I was so mistaken about a show that I watched religiously for all these years. My biggest problem with Xena's death is not the death itself but the circumstances surrounding it. It's going to be hard to watch the reruns during the summer, since I know that no matter what X&G say to each other, they are not going to end up in the same plane of existence (at least not in the near future). So, I had to say all these so I could let it out of my system and move on after Xena. Battle on Gab!
From: Anna Natille
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 1:30 PM
Subject: Group Therapy
I was saddened to see X & G separated by death. I wish TPTB has wrapped it up on a lighter note. The final 2 episodes were dark and disturbing and Xena was sad and brooding. When it ended I just screamed inside...."How much more can she possibly atone?" Not only must Xena give up her life for all those souls, but she willingly goes into battle alone, intending to get herself killed. That battle scene is just unbearable to me. All those arrows piercing Xena's beautiful body. A body that everyone loves and admires for its great symmetry strength and classical proportions... mercilessly murdered, strung up and beheaded. How much can a true fan take? Xena is now a saintly figure, sacrificing her own soul so that other souls may rest in peace or (as with Callisto) dwell in heaven. Of course, that was her karma and what made her character so appealing...the constant reckoning of a wonderful, kind person with her evil past.
But I would have preferred to see her entirely forgiven due to all the good works she had performed and how her heart was truly changed. Xena should have lived to a ripe old age with Gabrielle, enjoying the fruits of her labor and fishing peacefully for the rest of her days. Instead she now dwells in Gabrielle's heart. She is dead and gone. In the end Gabs seems to have come to grips with this and celebrates Xena's life. But! Gabrielle did not pour Xena's ashes into the sea. I thought she was going to scatter them when that scene opened. The fact that she did not leaves me wondering, will the movie pick up right there and have Gabs go back to the magic fountain to bring Xena back? Gabrielle has the power to do many things now that she knows "all that Xena knows". Why did Xena teach her the pinch, why did Gabrielle kill a man with the chakram and in that scene, when the chakram returned to her, the light blazed around her as if she had a revelation of Xena's power transferred to her. It was a passing of the torch in my mind. Gabrielle now will apply the pinch and will use the chakram as she journeys through the world alone making the world safe for democracy. Of course that's in TV land. Thank the gods for the Xenaverse in cyberspace, where Xena will live on forever. I will find comfort in the fan fiction that I am sure will aright this wrong.
No, I did not like the final episodes when all is said and done, because I did not want the series to end in the first place, and I certainly did not want it to end on such a violent, sad note. The Japanese setting, the beautiful Akemi and the Lord of the Dark, all these were mere backdrop to me while Xena and Gabrielle and their love were the foreground. Gabrielle's heroic struggle to save Xena just broke my heart. She fought her heart out that Gabs. She went on the classic hero's journey, overcame every obstacle and should have won the prize, her beloved Xena brought back to life. So I am way unhappy! That ending made me cry bitter unhappy tears. Believe me, I ask myself...what would make a grown woman with family friends and career cry over a couple of TV characters? Two Hearts One Destiny. Xena and Gabrielle, the best show ever in the history of television. It rocked my world. Save us Missy Good!!!
P.S. The "water kiss" was strangely satisfying but also (for subtexters) frustrating. Something better than nothing.
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 3:07 PM
Subject: Group Therapy Issue
Liar, Liar, Fans On Fire
Friend In Need failed not because many of us may have been angry, unhappy, disappointed or hurt but because it was untrue to the series. On the other hand, love, hate, feel ambiguous or indifferent about it, Ides of March could and should have been the end of the series.
Even before Sins of the Past, beginning with Xena's origins in Herc, the series premise was clearly foreshadowed. It isn't the act of sacrifice that brings about redemption. It's the unconditional willingness to sacrifice. That willingness results from Xena's and Gabrielle's love for one another. In principle, there's nothing wrong with killing off the hero(es). That happens in many myths. But it needs to be done in a way that's consistent with the values and insights that the myth seeks to express. In The Greater Good, Xena emerges from a death-like coma. In the Destiny/Quest/Necessary Evil trilogy, Xena has a prolonged near-death experience. In Is There A Doctor In The House, Gabrielle almost dies but doesn't. Sin Trade waffles when it comes to Gabrielle surviving the plunge, but fans have looked the other way to cut the series some slack. In Ides, the heroes really die and die in a way that brings the series' premise to a close with integrity. Love doesn't prevent or negate death, it triumphs over it. Xena and Gabrielle died as they lived, bravely and nobly, and then entered larger life together.
After Ides, the death of the heroes is no longer a valid option because once they come back, death has no finality and offers no closure. Any subsequent death, Xena's or Gabrielle's, proves nothing, settles nothing, resolves nothing, means nothing. Death becomes a way of saying, "See you next week." or "Be back next season." I think this may be one reason why so many fans feel disappointed and betrayed. We expected an ending. What we got was a final episode that some people liked and some people didn't like in which Xena dies and doesn't come back unless, of course, she comes back, which she won't do for the simple reason that they're not making any more episodes.
With the death of the heroes foreclosed as a legitimate option, the only ending that could have been true to the series would have been some variation of Xena and Gabrielle riding off into the sunset separately or together.
I would like to have seen them hang up their chakram and sai and settle down with the Amazons or re-connect with the spirit of Lao Ma so that Xena could have introduced her mentor to her soulmate. I would have wanted Eve and Lila and Herc to have been there; Cyrene and Joxer in spirit and a curtain call for Argo. There could have been any number of potentially satisfying sunset scenarios.
Rather than bring the series to a natural and credible close, the creators resorted to the superfluous expedient of a Xena ex machina. It's too late in the day for Xena to be saying to Gabrielle, "By the way, there's something else about my deep dark past that I've never told you..." That gambit wore thin when it served as the lead in to the Ring cycle. It's an outright ploy when invoked, in the finale, to set the stage for what amounted to an encounter with the Green Dragon redux. What else did Xena do that we haven't heard about during the "forgotten years" after she left Chin? Paddle to America, cross the plains on a covered wagon to become a Lakota chieftain?
Xena and Gabrielle have been equals for a long time. Yet at the end, for no discernible reason, they revert to outmoded roles that they've quite outgrown. Gabrielle lapses into faithful sidekick mode, compelled to acquiesce in Xena's unilateral decision. When it comes to making decisions, it doesn't matter whether they're dickering over something as trivial as the gear they'll take with them on a weekend fishing trip or debating something as significant as the means they choose to liberate forty thousand captive souls. That decision needs to be made together, as partners, thrashed out until they've reached consensus. And when it comes to the greatest decision of all, how to effect a separation that may well be permanent, at least on this side of the grave, it beggars belief to suppose that Xena and Gabrielle will make that decision in a way that leaves one of them having to resign herself to it. Gabrielle gets patronized, however lovingly, by a Xena that has neither the need nor the desire to patronize her. This gratuitous throwback to a less mature stage of their relationship is out of character and unpersuasive.
Xena tells Gabrielle that Akemi broke her heart. Akemi was lovelier and more powerful than Anokin or M'Lila; and we know that the unrepentant, pre-Gabrielle Xena had a fondness for sweet young things. But what loving, compassionate heart is Xena talking about? Xena didn't have much of a heart in those days. Her heart opening came later. She courted Akemi for the dinars, not the dowry however much Xena may, in retrospect, admire Akemi's courage and determination seasoned, to be sure, with a dash of ruthless duplicity. When XWP anachronizes contemporary culture, it's spot on. When it anachronizes itself, it's sloppy and careless.
The ending that isn't an ending is saddest when it reprises the "Oh, Xena, you are my love and my life. Oh, Gabrielle, I will always be with you." theme. What was once the heart and soul of the series here becomes cliché. It's sorry fare from those who brought us the many episodes that inspired us to strive to be more giving, caring, loving and committed to the people and things that matter most. Do we need one last goon squad to go ".oof, argh, gahh." as Xena biffs and bonks them hither and yon? Do we need one last demented demon trolling the ether for souls to feed on, doing its otherworldly version of the monster mash? Do we need a half-baked Ming Tien throwaway to leap out of nowhere and lop off Xena's head so that Gabrielle has to tote Xena around in two pieces instead of one? Ares and Aphrodite would roll over in their Olympian graves if they were forced to witness such nonsense.
I appreciate what the creators of the series have done, though they haven't done it for free, and it's made for some very nice careers. Still, it's a shame when creators play false with their creations. Rob Tapert has been quoted as saying, ".the finale was really based on where the series started, and it seemed to complete her journey looking for redemption."
That may have been true of season four, perhaps of season three and even of season two, but it was no longer true of seasons five and six.
"I thought Xena dying in the midst of battle worked for me. People would say it was too ignominious to have her dragged around like a slab of beef, but I think it was what fueled Gabrielle to take the steps to be motivated."
To do what? This is mere cavil.
"This is about the fifth time that Xena has died in the series, so I'm not worried about the franchise ending."
I don't see how Rob Tapert (or anyone) can hope to be taken seriously when he or she informs the public that his or her work is a bagatelle. The Myth of the Hero packaged as a media franchise may be appropriate to a marketplace culture in which people and things are commodities subject to fluctuating exchange rates. But this is not what the series has been about. Rob Tapert claims to be inspired by the works of Joseph Campbell. He should re-read them.
Better to acknowledge that the creators milked the series until they ran it into the ground. A relationship of the depth and profundity that Xena and Gabrielle were blessed to share deserves a better R.I.P.
Tacky though it may have been, there could have been a coda in the final episode in which we might have seen Gabrielle, at some future time, in some distant place, having just performed some heroic deed, being approached by a troubled ingenue with stars in her eyes. "I'm not cut out for village life. I can be so much more. I see that you need a friend. Take me with you. Teach me what you know. For the sake of the greater good." Gabrielle could hem and haw and finally, with memories of Xena bringing a tearful smile to magnetic eyes that have always spoken volumes, she could say, "Come on, then." The girl becomes the woman, the student the teacher, the novice the master, Xena's legacy is fulfilled, the wheel turns and the myth comes full circle
For all that, Gabrielle sails away with the power of the chakram and the knowledge of the pinch, with Xena's ashes and the gift of a love that elevated this daring young woman from Poteidaia to a pinnacle of grace that exceeded her wildest blue-bloused, brown-skirted dreams. That much, at least, seems an appropriate ending. We can weep for her as we whisper, "Would that we might have the faith, courage and strength to give it all for a love like that."
From: Claudia Naber
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 4:51 PM
Subject: The last episode
After seeing the final two-hour movie, I felt very sad. The show was so touching that not only did I feel for Gabrielle (the image of Gabrielle close up, her eyes filled with tears, her nose red from crying stayed in my mind). I was also reminded of losing my beloved. Oh, I felt pierced in the heart at remembering. Yet sadness was not all I felt - I also remembered the deep, glorious love I still had, will always have for my love. The mingling of the deep feelings of love and loss was delicious because it is so much of what life is all about.
How fitting that Xena and Gabrielle experience a sad and difficult parting, just as we are parting from our favorite show.
It was even more fitting that this emotionally resonant action show, which was so grounded in both the physical and imaginative worlds, would present to its heroines one of the hardest physical challenges of all. This is the true challenge of the physical world. For as hard as it is to continually battle demons, it is harder still to go forward without the certainty of one's beloved at one's side.
Because death is so much a part of a warrioress' life, it was crucial that we see these heroines struggle with it. Once again, that's true, but this time more as we mere mortals experience it: as unbearable loss and separation from the one(s) we love. Death really is the meaning of the physical world, and asks whoever experiences it to become a warrioress: to feel the love and loss deeply, yet have the strength and courage to keep going with an open heart. The scenario depicted in A Friend in Need brings the incredible world of Xena to a level that we all can relate to emotionally and physically. And that's a gift - feeling deeply always is.
So now Gabrielle, carrying Xena's legacy, will go forward to find out what she is capable of. (She looked so radiant on the boat in the last scene, didn't she?) And Xena, knowing that she has resolved her quest for redemption, can feel good about herself all the way to the bottom of her soul. She deserves that kind of peace.
--until they are ingeniously reunited in the first Xena movie.
P.S. Thanks, Kym, for such a devoted website!! We who loved Xena and Gabrielle loved your efforts!
Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:18 AM
Subject: Xena's End
Killing off the hero sure will put a damper on the popularity of reruns. What genius thought up that ending.
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 5:59 PM
Subject: Last xena episode
I hated it. Still hate it. It has killed something in me. The only redeeming value it could have if it is the leap for a movie. As Gab took the ashes...maybe when she gets to Egypt, and the souls of Japan won't be harmed, they can bring her back! and go on...
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2001 4:12 PM
Subject: (no subject)
it was well choreographed and oh so noble but hello!!!!
where is the sex.. and the drama.. and the lust? no references were given to the hot hot Ares.. and nothing was said regarding her daughter.
no hints about what Gabrielle would do... nothing..
lets just hope they get bored and do a movie about it!
Table of Contents