Group Therapy #251-260
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 5:35 PM
Subject: RE: series ender comments
Although I was sad (OK, make that distraught) after watching the final ep, upon reflection, I truly feel that the ending was appropriate. Were there plot problems? You bet. Was I cranky that Akemi apparently got off scot-free while Xena paid the ultimate price? Absolutely. HOWEVER, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the ending - Xena's death - while painful, made sense. Here's why:
Many people have said that we thought we were over the whole "Xena's guilt about the past" thing. I had that impression as well. Nevertheless, I think it is entirely within Xena's character to sacrifice herself for the greater good - not out of some old sense of guilt, but because of the strength of her convictions. 40,000 innocent souls would be lost if she came back to life? You just know she's not going to take the easy way out on that one.
I don't believe that Xena and Gabrielle are truly separated by this death. We have seen time and again how their relationship has endured through all kinds of crazy situations - the most comparable in this instance was when Xena was in hell and Gabrielle was in heaven in "Fallen Angel". I believe that their relationship will continue to give Gabrielle strength and comfort, even as she goes on alone.
For me, the most disappointing thing has been reading all the comments about why the ending was so terrible. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I would rather see fans joined together in celebrating Xena's life and mourning her death -- in ongoing hope for Gabrielle (who can now throw the chakram - what a sign of growth that is for her) -- and in appreciation for 6 years of incredible storytelling -- rather than complaining about the final artistic choices of TPTB.
Amy Skalinder Anich
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 7:23 PM
Subject: letter to editor
When I think about the final episodes and your poll I wonder if there should have been a forth choice of, "all of the above". Yes, I was surprised and entertained on a certain level. I confess I am a real fan of the Warrior Princess and Gabrielle. I confess I even respected Joxer- though please don't quote me on that! Sometimes on first viewing I feel some of the episodes are silly or weak, yet on second viewing or thought I always seem to find redeeming qualities. I even enjoyed 'Married with Fishcakes' which proves what a fan I am! So of course I was touched and shaken, surprised and entertained, by the final two shows. I hated that they killed Xena though. I hated the fact that Gabrielle was left behind. I would have rather they go together, either in death or life. I guess on a certain level Xena left us all behind and it is something we all have to deal with. The void must be filled with our own strength and wisdom and skill still, who wants that?
What strikes me is one of the interviews I heard from Ms. Lawless. She said she thought the fans would be pleased with the ending. Hum, that really made me look at all of this deeply. Why would we be pleased that Xena offered herself in sacrifice? True, it was noble and by this she did indeed gain full redemption for all her past deeds but gee, did this death really have to be permanent? Yes, Gabrielle ended up being a whole human being. She contains within herself the completed being with all aspects of the yin and yang, (you go for it girl), but how sad that she has to walk the path alone. Yes, she will go on, but frankly, why? What's the point?
The second choice was 'disappointed'. Yea, I was. As I said, they killed Xena. I guess the good news is that we have so many skilled writers that someone like ms good or ms miller, ms novin or ms mass will figure out how to justify a rewrite to the end and bring her back. Or perhaps they will kill off Gabrielle and bring them both back in the uber realm, but it is still a drag. It also felt like Xena had become a little too soft in her bid to help Gabrielle become strong. I understand that a great legacy was passed on but it seemed a little too mushy at times. Still, I did enjoy the bulk of it, and I do understand the meaning behind much of it. It just seemed sometimes like we were being spoon fed instead of assuming we were an intelligent audience who could intuit and understand the more "subtle" aspects of relationships.
The third choice was, "you want to cut the cord". Yes, I think it is time to move on with my life. From my relationship with the show and the fans I have become a different person. I believe a better person. I have found a renewed connection with my body. I have become more skilled in physical things. My spiritual practice, which for the past 2 decades has been my main focus, has evolved. I have discovered and allowed myself to manifest many new aspects of myself and I like the person I am. My heart is more open and I find myself smiling more. These are good things and with this ever evolving self I feel it is time to move on. Still, this does not mean I don't still love the show and I hope to get the "Dish Network" to add the 'Oxygen Channel' to the lineup. I would actually like to do a little fan fiction in the future. I still want to play nice with the other kids even if the attachment is freer. So yea, cut the cord but still be a part of the family would be great.
Anyway, there are things to do and places to be so I will wrap this up. I just want to say that all of the above would be my answer to the poll. I did not answer the poll because frankly, I really could not give just "one". If Lucy or Renee are out there, thank you thank you thank you! To all my cyber friends my best to you folks too. PS, I do believe in soul mates, so if you are out there my love- find me soon!
From: C.-J. Kaller
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2001 5:18 AM
Subject: XENA - Big in Japan? / Group Therapy
All things must come to an end whether I like it or not. So let's end it together... And now we all know the end or didn't we? Is 'Cleopatra 2001' in need of a girl with a chakram or can we look forward to see 'Gabrielle the Warrior Bard'?
Okay, you asked us to write about feelings, so here is my contribution to it:
After the awful 5th season (which only recently ended in Germany/Sorry,we are always years behind on tv) I couldn't wait to learn everything about the final season. The only person now who is really happy is my internet provider. I am certainly not.
Am I angry? No, not anymore because I've already been it about the unspectacular end of the gods in 'MOTHERHOOD'. Not to mention the bizzare origin of Eve...
Am I frustrated? Yes, definetly yes! (P*ss*d off comes closer to my first reaction) About the kiss? No! Hey, folks we are in the year 2001. Are they or aren't they? was never a fundamental important question which attracted to turn on XTWP.Love is always a curious thing and this wasn't an outcoming after all.
Am I disappointed? Yes, because I think finals should be dedicated to the fans,all of them. Where were all those cusious,mean,funny and special characters? I missed the singing nerd,the war god,etc. Where was the fun of a final hooray for us, the people who supported XTWP for 6 years?
Do I feel betrayed? Yes, after 6 years I think I deserved something else than a season of recylcing episodes and so many questions not answered. I already missed the magic in season 5, but who wrote the stuff (shit) in season 6.
The major mistake was this twilight stuff. The greek gods died because the Romans created their own gods and the old gods were not allowed to worship. What stories lines could that have been...
Hopefully the people in the net will do a better job. I am looking forward to read it!
So what now? Well, I take my bow, the show is over and I have to say good-bye!
P.S. To Mr. R. Tapert"Pride becomes before a brawl!
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 7:53 PM
Subject: Re:group therapy
The series finale, instead of bringing everything together into a full circle, has left a big, open hole in my heart.
I am quite distressed and upset even though I must honestly say that I am not sure of the cause of all these negative emotions that arose and have lingered for several days now. Maybe the mere fact that my favorite show is coming to an end is enough to depress me for an unknown length of time. Maybe the idea of Xena dying is still hard to come to term with, although it seemed highly predictable. I don't know. I guess the seemingly foolish circumstance under which Xena "has to" die just really exacerbated everything and slapped me in the face.
I started watching X:WP in 1996. I remember one night, after viewing yet another exciting episode, I smiled and thought,"Wow, just imagine what's gonna come up in the future years!" I thought about how the friendship between Xena and Gabrielle would grow, and how one day our warrior would finally end her path of atonement... I've always believed that at the end Xena would be able to come to term with her dark past and really free herself from this moral burden. No one can save, redeem, Xena. Only through her own spiritual salvation can she transcend everything, put the guilt aside, and forgive herself.
This does not happen, however. I am not anal-retentive enough say that it has to go exactly "my way", but the whole self-sacrificing Xena insisting that "I-must-die-so-that-the-souls-I've-just-released-from-the-bad-guy-can-move-on-and....still be souls" thing did not work for me. I mean, it's not like she could bring all those people back to life or anything by doing so. It's been five days since I first seen FIN II now, and I still cannot convince myself (I've tried. Really.) that based on this flimsy reason that Xena would choose to blindly abide by this "rule" and just leave...
So Xena "redeemed" herself through vengeance. Is that what the whole thing was about? I'm disappointed in that there never came the true "redemption". I think at this point it is fitting to say that while Gabrielle has grown a lot more mature and darker, Xena has not been changed as much as she has changed Gabrielle. No matter how hard she has fought, Xena was not able to make that final leap of faith. Think of all the battles that she has fought and all the other attempts Xena has made to do good.... TPTB, I think our warrior deserves an epiphany instead of the "oh let me stay dead" solution.
And let me add that as much of a cliche it may seem to be, I still prefer having them "walking into the sunset".
What becomes of Gabrielle? We all know that without Xena she could never be whole. Is that the price for Xena's so-called "right thing to do" and her peace? And Gabrielle takes on Xena's role? Fighting for what cause? In a way, Xena has selfishly imposed her burden onto Gabrielle in the battles... and for some unjustifiable reason, that has always bothered me.
As I read in the newsgroup, the saddest thing of all is that there is no more new episodes to look forward to. Frankly, that might be the hardest thing to cope with...
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 8:40 PM
Subject: A Friend in Need....
What an appropriate title!! Is that not how everyone has been feeling since this terrible tragedy called a final episode has aired? While watching I over looked all the gore and bizarre backstory just to see Xena and Gabrielle one last time. Much to my dismay there were very few scenes between the two. Instead we had all of these new characters and this new villain, Akemi That is the way I see her because it was totally her actions that brought an end to Xena.
This is truly the worst ending to any TV show that I have ever viewed. It was such a betrayal to all of the loyal fans. If not for the fans the show would not have even existed. What kind of thanks is this for six years of support?
It has been almost 2 weeks since the finale and I still can't quit thinking about it from time to time. How can I really enjoy watching the reruns knowing the horrible fate these two wonderful characters meet? Of course I will watch them and probably as soon as I finish writing this, but it will never quiet be the same. It would have only taken just changing the last couple of minutes...everything can't always be for the greater good. We heard these words from Xena herself. The real Xena would never have left Gabrielle..maybe we will all wake up to find out this has all just been a dream....the strangest dream and the final episode with Xena and Gabrielle riding off into the sunset together and ALIVE will be on the tube next Saturday night.
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 9:10 PM
Subject: group therapy: positive reaction to FIN
FRIEND IN NEED: a minority opinion
Hello, my name is Meredith, and I loved FRIEND IN NEED.
I'm starting to feel like I'm the only one. All of the vitriol I have seen spewed around the Xenaverse in the days since part 2 aired across America has alternately made me embarrassed to be a Xenite, and wondering if I'm insane. But that's a topic for another essay.
To understand why I liked the episode, one must understand two basic facts:
-- One, I love it when a creative team takes a risk. Rob Tapert et al. knew exactly what they were getting into when they put this episode together, and I applaud them for having the cojones to go ahead with their vision anyway. Kudos to TPTB for putting together a visually appealing, thought-provoking two hours of television that, for better or for worse, none of us will soon forget.
-- Two, I have been tuning in for the past several years to see the continuing adventures of Gabrielle on Xena, Warrior Princess. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed watching Xena in action, and I'm a huge fan of Lucy Lawless, but when it comes right down to it, Renee O'Connor's portrayal of Gabrielle is what kept me coming back every week. The character of Xena remained relatively constant over the six years, but over the seasons in Renee O'Connor's portrayal of Gabrielle we got to see an actress grow right along with her character. Just as Gabrielle blossomed from a naive, annoying farmer's daughter into a warrior fully equipped and ready to assume Xena's role, we saw Renee O'Connor progress from an at times painfully bad actor into a brilliant one. In FRIEND AND NEED, she gave her best performance ever.
Was this the ending I would have written for the show? Not by a long shot. But did it provide a satisfying ending? To me, it did. Lucy Lawless always said that the day Xena found her redemption would be the end of the show, and it turns out she was right. Everything came full-circle, and the events at the episode's end were perfectly reasonable and sensible when looked at in the context of the entire series.
Gabrielle, the kid from Poteidaia whom Xena saved from slavery, who followed the Warrior Princess exhorting her to "teach me everything you know", now indeed knows everything Xena knows. She can match Xena flip for flip; she knows how to put on and take off the pinch; and the chakram is hers (it even comes back to her, amusingly to her surprise). In Higuchi, she passes her final exam literally with flying colors. But instead of being a mere clone of the Warrior Princess, Gabrielle tempers her warrior knowledge with the compassion she has always displayed. She won't even kill the samurai who took Xena's life, despite having a clear opportunity more than once. This is the culmination of everything that she has seen and experienced since the day she first met Xena. She has many skills that she could never dream of having as a kid in Potedaia and is capable of holding her own in any situation, yet she remains very much herself and won't kill unless it is absolutely necessary.
Gabrielle has come far enough that when faced with the prospect of losing Xena forever, she realizes that the greater good once again has to come first. She believes in Xena when she tells her that she will never leave her. And as we've seen in episodes ranging from BETWEEN THE LINES to SOUL POSSESSION, these two soulmates will keep being reunited in lifetime after lifetime, so as far as Gabrielle is concerned Xena's not really dead, is she? So it is that at episode's end she heads off on new adventures with Xena by her side, if only figuratively speaking.
Xena has come full circle as well. In SINS OF THE PAST, she buried her armor and weapons, presumably in preparation to let the Fates do with her what they will. I have always maintained that she was suicidal at that point, and only running into the slavers trying to take the girls from Potedaia gave her a reason to go on. Now, she buries her armor and weapons (but not the chakram), and walks willingly into what she knows will be her final battle. But this isn't the suicide of a broken, self-pitying ex-warlord. This is the act of someone who knows exactly what she must do to right what she perceives to be her greatest wrong.
I found the scene where Gabrielle first realizes Xena is dead to be incredibly moving. Xena can touch and interact with every solid object around her, yet her hand passes through the chakram: it is as if her signature weapon has decided that it doesn't belong to her any more, but to Gabrielle. Gabrielle's reaction is further evidence of how far she's come: we have seen her mourn Xena twice now, but this time her reaction reflects her maturity and worldliness. She will mourn, but not while there is a battle to win.
The scene where Gabrielle discovers Xena's body was affecting, but I wasn't as shocked and horrified as many of my fellow Xenites. It made sense to me: the old adage "live by the sword, die by the sword" came immediately to mind. We had already seen in the episode that to be decapitated is to die with honor. As Xena stumbled further into the battle pierced by ever more arrows I cringed, but I was also cheering her on. This is the way a warrior wants to go out, showing no pain and in a blaze of glory. If the Warrior Princess had to die, this is how I'd want to see her go.
In the end, we find that the master was also the student, and Xena has learned everything Gabrielle knows. Her final act, the decision to forego getting her corporeal existence back is the most selfless she has ever committed. In that, she finally finds her redemption, and for now at least, her story has ended.
Gabrielle's story, however, will go on. And that is my biggest problem with FRIEND IN NEED: I want to see the spinoff! I want to see the continuing adventures of Gabrielle, Warrior Bard of Potedaia and her Amazing Talking Chakram!
Is FRIEND IN NEED a perfect story? No, far from it. I still have no idea why Higuchi was on fire when Xena and Gabrielle arrived, nor just what that nuclear-style explosion was at the start of the battle with the samurai. Akemi was incredibly manipulative, which made her a weak character, though her interaction with Xena in the flashbacks was instructive. Now we know that Xena had heard the "teach me everything you know" line before she met Gabrielle; we also know why she never taught Gabrielle how to put on the pinch, not to mention where that little scar on her breast came from.
But the quibbles don't matter much to me. I'm a Xenite -- I've become inured to chariot-sized plot holes and "huh?" moments. I can put all that aside for the enduring images of Xena and Gabrielle's last lingering kiss, and Xena standing by Gabrielle's side as they sail off into the sunset together.
As I compare FRIEND IN NEED to other series finales, I find myself not so distraught as I thought I might be. When Babylon 5 ended I was a mess, because that was definitely an ending -- the station was gone, everyone was scattered to the far reaches of the galaxy, and we were all left with the definite undeniable impression that it was very much over. The ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was also along those lines, though not as intense. But with the ending of X:WP I find myself feeling strangely hopeful. Thanks to the reincarnation/cloning setup we've gotten from various episodes of the show, and the reams of post-FIN fanfic that are already proliferating across the Xenaverse, not to mention the prospect of Gabrielle going on to continue fighting the good fight, I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of the Warrior Princess and her battling bard.
So now all I have are the shelves full of episodes on tape, the action figures on my mantlepiece and the chakram on my wall, the fanfic sites in my bookmark file, and the piles of tchotchkes I've won from the trivia contests at Xena Night at Meow Mix. I'm sure that come September, when there are no new episodes to look forward to it'll hit me and I'll be very sad, but for now I'm satisfied with how things turned out.
Thanks, Lucy, Renee, and everyone else who made this show what it was. I can't think of any more eloquent way to put it than that.
New Haven, CT
Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 9:26 PM
These past six years with the Warrior Princess have been great. I am sad to see the series end, but hope for the return of the Warrior Princess. After being sad, then mad... I took time to reflect. Here is my input. By the way Whoosh, it has been great to have you right there along with this series. I can't imagine one without the other. Congratulations on your accomplishments. A grateful fan.
To therapy or not?
OK Xena Fans; let's not despair over this last episode. Actually, I thought it was absolutely wonderful until the last 2 minutes. No one likes to see their hero die, but Xena has been dead before, and actually so has Gabrielle. If you listen closely to their words, you know the two soul mates will find a way back to each other when they are ready, or should I say, when the creators are. I will admit that this death seems a little more final (removing Xena's head) than the others do, but don't think of it as the Warrior Princess' decision to remain dead, that really belongs to the creator, Mr. Tapert. If you never met this man, you might think that he is really twisted and cruel. He did kind of betray Xena fans with this ending as well as Gabrielle, but he is in fact a very nice and kind person…perhaps slightly obsessed with the darker side of the ancient eastern philosophies and beliefs. After all, he has given us a wonderful six-year run with the Warrior Princess; maybe he just needs a little time for family life and a break from celebrity status.
Besides the ending being a bit final, there were a couple of things that did raise questions from this fan. Xena's relationship with Akemi just didn't seem all that special or sincere. It certainly did not have the flavor that Lao Ma's relationship had, and can't really compare to Xena's and Gabrielle's. I had the feeling Akemi deceived Xena all along just to get her to teach her the death pinch, then to restore her honor. Actually, Akemi used Xena to get revenge. Where is the honor in that? Then while Xena tried to fulfill a dying wish by taking the ashes to Akemi's family burial spot, the town folk attack her. She had no recourse except to defend herself. Though Xena had no problem killing people during her dark period, this was really not directly her fault, and to take responsibility for this and not the death of the Amazons, that she most certainly did intend to kill…well, this just doesn't quite click. If anyone were to blame, I would have to go back to Akemi. And though crossing those lines that Mr. Tapert likes to, I really find it hard to believe that there were even close to 40,000 people in a village anywhere back then. But that is really not the point.
Xena stayed behind for what reason? To avenge the 40,000? The word avenge comes from vengeance, and that isn't it good thing. How many times did our two heroes tell us that in the past six years? Once more, I don't really think you can find redemption in death. Look what kind of trouble Akemi caused by avenging her family? And didn't Cecrops find redemption in love? Come on soul mates, you can figure this one out. Xena was redeemed the very moment she saved that baby in Hercules. Every time she did a good deed, she redeemed herself a little more. Could she ever make up for the good old dark days? No, but turning her life around and trying to do good things gave us all a wonderful hero that we admired. It gave us hope and inspiration…and lets face it, we all need heroes. I think she will be back, it's just her way.
Before I close, I just want to mention that I appreciate all the hard work and creative juices that went into making this series. I particularly want to thank Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor. Your synergy with each other and powerful performances has created two characters that cannot be replaced by anyone else. Your loyal fans will be just that, loyal. Here is wishing you all happy and full lives and of course the return of our hero.
From: Jackie Weiss
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2001 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: The Ending and Afterwards
After sending in my reactions of course I pick up a book, The Quest of the Woman Warrior by Christina Feldman, that speaks to my frustration with the show and the ending in particular-male writers writing about a female warrior and always falling short because they don't really know her experience.
Just on the cover it says-"Throughout history women have traveled the warrior's path cultivating and manifesting courage,passion,integrity and vision in every area of their lives. It is a path of transformation which embraces the inner and outer worlds. It's goals are freedom and wisdom...(these women) value dignity, life, freedom and vision above all else."
Inside it refers to the powerful women warriors in Buddhist, Hindu and pre-Christian societies. Sadly, I believe the show could not get past some very limiting views of life and women found in Christian tradition.
It was a catalyst, though, and clearly from your incredible web-site it has rallied hundreds of women to reclaim our warrior identity and move forward. We just need to write the rest of our stories ourselves!
From: Lorrie Stillings
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2001 12:32 PM
Of course, I went through a grieving process. It wasn't what I wanted, but it was the right thing to do. We always knew that her only path to redemption would be through true sacrifice. The ending gave the whole series credence. I was shocked and deeply saddened. The gift we have been given is not just the wonderful portrayal of a true hero, but the inspiration that has manifest throughout the media. There are more strong women than ever. Xena began a tsunami expression. I will miss her. I wrote a song for the show called "You Will Never Come Again". No, she will never come again, but she blessed us with a whole new way of thinking about women on film. This I will treasure.
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2001 1:17 PM
Subject: Xena's Finale... my 2 dinars
My two dinars on the finale.
First, never has any program, book, or other media captured me so completely as Xena: Warrior Princess. I don't think TPTB really had any idea about the effect of the show on the fans. Just look at what props of the show are selling for on the on-line auction houses. I don't really understand the magic that it did to me, but I am a better person for it. I'm kinder and I look for the larger meaning in things. I'd like to think I'm strong like Xena, but the reality is that the best I can do is try to emulate such a strong personality. When she winks and says, "come on," I know I'd trust and follow her just about anywhere.
On line I've come across several very disappointed fans. The only painful part for me was that she decided to leave Gabrielle by staying dead. What's with the people of Higuchi? Wasn't Akemi's death enough? Wasn't freeing them from the evil Yodoshi enough? Is death is the only way redemption can come to Xena? NOOOO I don't think so. That is why, in my mind, she'll go on, being freed by the people of Higuchi. Gabrielle will get her soulmate back. Things are out of balance here.... good for making us want more... good business sense... but awfully disturbing to the fan.
Surprised and entertained.... oh yeah
Disappointed... oh yeah
Leave the Xenaverse... not a chance
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