Whoosh! Issue 66 - March 2002

FACING THE DEATH OF OUR HERO
By Francisco Diaz
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
2189 words


Introduction (01-02)
Xena Facing Death: Reflections on Six Seasons of Xena (03-09)
Facing Xena's Death: Reflections on Xena's Last Episode (10-17)
Articles
Biography



FACING THE DEATH OF OUR HERO:
REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST SEASONS
AND XENA'S LAST EPISODE



Introduction

[01] For many of us, Xena: Warrior Princess is our obsession, our hero. We emulate everything about her. She manifests a goal to achieve. We have had her in our homes for six years.

[02] For those of us who have not had the opportunity to meet Lucy Lawless, we are merely happy because we have recorded her episodes and interviews. Very few have had a chance to meet her or to travel to New Zealand to see her as Xena. "All comes to an end and Xena is not the exception", as Lucy Lawless said herself in a Science Fiction magazine from last year. The magic and power of Xena and that hope of meeting her has vanished. It is true that Xena's TV series is finished, but why must Xena die?



Xena Facing Death: Reflections on Six Seasons of Xena

[03] Xena has faced death many times during the years. The first time was in the episode THE GREATER GOOD. She was shot by a poison dart threw by Callisto. In effect, she was dead. She let her body shut down, but somehow she found a way to come back. Why? She could not leave Gabrielle. She could leave all the people who the warlord would enslave. For the greater good, she had to come back to solve unfinished problems. However, before we knew Xena would be back, her scene fighting the warlord's men with that heart-breaking music in the background, when she fell to her death -- that was a toughie. While watching it, I suspected Xena would not die, but that scene nonetheless brought tears to my eyes. I worried that she really would die, and I was a loyal fan and collector. However, when she stood up and said, "Don't you ever touch my horse again", my heart brightened. She could leave this world because there were people who needed her, her friend Gabrielle, most of all.

After watching this scene, Lucy's chiropractor jumped up to order a Mercedes.
Xena is dying but not before bravely fighting her opponents.

[04] In the last episode of the first season, IS THERE A DOCTOR IN HOUSE?, Xena had to face a dead Gabrielle. She could not accept that Gabrielle was truly dead. She did not give up until Gabrielle woke up. Xena could accept anyone's death, except her beloved's. Therefore, Xena gave CPR to Gabrielle. Xena's face reflected real pain and an internal fear that her loved one would not come back. She cries to Gabrielle "fight!" "Come back", and punches Gabrielle's chest until she wakes up. Tears of joy come to Xena, laughing and smiling out of pure happiness. Xena never gives up when it is about Gabrielle. Gabrielle is her love.

Breastfeeding for Dummies
It is like a sunburst of happiness when Gabrielle comes to life.

[05] In DESTINY, Xena fights for her life. She visits Cirra, Callisto's burned town, and remembers her horrible deeds. When she is dying from a mortal wound, she remembers why she became an evil warlord. Realizing her evilness, she departs her own body and is crucified in Tartarus. M'Lila, Xena's first friend and the one who taught her the fatal pressure point, comes and reminds her of all the goodness she has done. M'Lila also tells Xena to listen for Gabrielle's voice. Xena knows that Gabrielle needs her, so she accepts it and decides to come back from the dead. When I saw Gabrielle crying besides Xena's inert body, it was not as heartbreaking as it could have been because I knew that Xena, somehow, would be back.

[06] Xena's real heartbreak was between SACRIFICE II when she saw Gabrielle fall into a fiery pit and ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE, where Xena set off to find Gabrielle. Xena refuses to accept that Gabrielle is dead, so she resolves herself to go to join Gabrielle for eternity in the land of the dead Amazons. She does not care about her own life; only her love for Gabrielle moves her. She is a true Romantic Hero, but when she remembers her past evil deeds, she decides to come back to life and defeat Alti to release the Amazon's spiritual bondage. She is stubborn when dead. It was heartbreaking seeing Xena moaning and crying for Gabrielle at the Amazon pyre. Xena's pain is strong for someone who loves her. When Xena focuses on an object, there is nothing that can change her mind.

I can't believe they're making me wear these antlers AGAIN!  (sob!)
Xena is heartbroken because Gabrielle is dead, but that will not stop her.

[07] Seeing Xena die beside Gabrielle in IDES OF MARCH scared us loyal fans. At that time, we did not know whether they would come back for another season. When I saw Xena, in slow motion, fall to the ground after the chakram broke her spine, and then saw the chakram break in two halves, I knew there were no more chances. The tears came to my eyes. My strong Xena, my hero, my role model destroyed by her own weapon and symbol, the chakram. It was as if a heavy dark cloud covered my heart. It became worse when I saw her crucified. I felt her death and I felt myself shut down. However, I knew somehow they would be back. Xena and Gabrielle appeared to be happy when they departed their bodies at the end of the scene.

Look at us--we're great big shining stars
Xena and Gabrielle are happy when they depart their bodies as a light from heaven takes them.

[08] Heaven welcomes Xena and Gabrielle in FALLEN ANGEL. It appears Xena has redeemed herself in Greece and surrounding areas. However, the machinations of Callisto and other demons do not allow them to rest in peace. Xena sacrifices herself because she does not feel free of her past demons. She exchanges positions with Callisto. She becomes a demon and Callisto becomes an innocent pure soul. Even in death, Xena must fight. Peace is a very distant goal to achieve. Eli, with the help of the good Callisto, brings back Xena and Gabrielle's soul to their bodies. Everyone is happy.

[09] Before the last episode of Xena, Xena faces the death of two good friends, Eli and Joxer. She accepts their deaths without attempting to bring them back from the dead, she only wants to avenge them. She was going to kill Ares but Eli's words come to Xena's mind and stop her. She was calm. On the other hand, facing Joxer's death was more difficult because the killer was her own daughter, so she had to debate between killing her own flesh and blood or allow Livia to continue her massacres. Xena's life has been a never-ending series of good deeds. This time, "the right thing to do" involves her own sacrifice. Fortunately Eli enters and shows Livia her mother's love and how she really is Eve. Xena was about to kill her own daughter but she could not. Love is the strongest emotion we know of. In a way, Joxer's death was avenged because although the killer's body never was killed, Livia's entity/identity dies. Xena accepted his death too, not trying to bring him back from dead. What use could Joxer be?



Facing Xena's Death: Reflections on Xena's Last Episode

[10] This is the most difficult part for me to write. Xena and Gabrielle go to Japan because Akemi, one of Xena's past friends, needs Xena's help. After saving the city named Higuchi, a Ghost Killer tells Xena that she is responsible for the death of 40,000 people. Xena says she did not kill that many people, but he insists, telling her that when she, forty years ago, spit fire at a man, the wind spread the fire, burning every living thing. However, the worst part of it is that a powerful evil ghost named Yodoshi traps and consumes them. The Ghost Killer could not terminate Yodoshi in all this years because only another ghost could get close enough. Hearing that, Xena has sealed her fate.

[11] Xena changes her Greek outfit for Japanese armor, a feminine version, and gets down on her knees and prays. This means that Xena does not know what to do. Gabrielle comes and Xena, in a very calm and peaceful way, teaches Gabrielle Xena's fatal pressure point. The way Xena teaches Gabrielle her skills indicates that Xena does not believe that she will be there anymore to help. Knowing that Xena would be dead in the last episode frightened me. It is a feeling of a very dark rainy day, cold and sad. Xena, in the second part, buries her classic armor while sad war music plays in the background. Why does she do this? Xena buries her weapons because she is giving tribute to someone, and/or giving the proper funeral rite so that the soul of the dead can go where it belongs. Xena, in the deepest of her heart, knows that she will not be back from the dead, so she wants to close her living hero memories by burying those things that represent it.

[12] Xena wants to die with honor and does so, as she always wanted, fighting. Xena sets off in a suicidal one against 20,000 fight. I could not keep myself in control. I was sick, my hands shaking, as I watched Xena shot, in pain, fighting with the last of her breath, and finally beheaded.

[13] For me, Xena is my role model, my mother, and my mentor for years. I love Xena as much as I can love a good friend who will always be with me. I have my collection of her stuff. Sometimes I take the chakram (the classic one) and throw it as Xena. That is something funny. I was very affected the day I saw the last episode. My nerves only calmed down after I went to sleep. It is not fair! She can die, but why beheaded? In a samurai's battle the one who wins stabs the opponent and lets him die, as I remember there is no obligation to behead. That is something Rob Tapert wants us to see to make us suffer.

Okay, so you couldn't come to terms with RenPics. This is a little DRASTIC, don't you think?
Xena's beheaded body is hanging, such a toughie that Gabrielle's stomach cannot handle it

[14] Later we saw Xena's ghost in a state that she remained in for the rest of the infamous episode. However, she was a ghost with human being-like physical skills, not like a traditional ghost. Meanwhile, Gabrielle climbed up Mt. Fujisha in order to revive Xena by adding Xena's ashes into the magical fountain. Before doing that, however, Gabrielle helped Xena recover and made Xena into a strong ghost capable of finishing off Yodoshi. When Gabrielle told Xena that she was going to retrieve her ashes, Xena began to tell something important to Gabrielle, but was interrupted. I knew what it was. At that point, Xena already must have known she could not come back from the dead. Xena beheaded Yodoshi and freed all of the 40,000 souls.

[15] When Gabrielle was about to put Xena's ashes into the fountain, Xena stopped her. Xena could not come back to life because the souls had to be avenged. What the h*ll!?! Was Tapert telling us that all of Xena's good deeds were meaningless? If Xena came back, the souls would be lost forever. Therefore, the souls could not be thankful for Xena saving them from Yodoshi. Their gratitude and thanks would not be enough. They had to be avenged as well.

[16] Moreover, Gabrielle did not have enough courage to throw the ashes into the water. Gabrielle preferred to respect Xena's wishes. I wonder why now? Gabrielle did not do so in THE RHEINGOLD or in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE. Gabrielle was satisfied with Xena being a ghost and only seeing her sometimes. The way in which Xena said, "I can't come back...I can't", made me cry. If the case were vice versa, Xena would not care and would revive Gabrielle anyway. Gabrielle was sad but she had to go on. Taking Xena's chakram and ashes, she decided to continue her hero journeys. Xena's ghost was happy to be beside Gabrielle.

The end. Fade out. Cut and print. Finito. Get it?
Xena will always live in our hearts

[17] Xena, you will always be my role model and teacher. I will not forget you. I love you.



Articles

Francisco Diaz. Callisto's Journey. WHOOSH #33 (June 1999)

Francisco Diaz. Subliminal Messages in ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE. WHOOSH #37 (October 1999)



Biography

a man of mystery Francisco Diaz
Francisco Diaz is a bachelor degree student in communications and marketing. This Puerto Rican Xenite is also a Web-Page designer. He made FXEE(1), a Spanish site for Spanish-speaking Xenites. Xena fan, collector, and critic, he has written several articles about her.


Favorite episode: THE DEBT and ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE
Favorite line: Lao Ma: "Would you kill a mosquito with an Axe?" THE DEBT
First episode seen: THE WARRIOR PRINCESS {Hercules)
Least favorite episode: KING OF ASSASSINS

 

 

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