Celebrating the Past (01-03)
A FRIEND IN NEED Redux (04-17)
A Year Later (18-25)
A FRIEND IN NEED REVISITED
Xena and Gabrielle share a last moment together. Sort of.
Celebrating the Past
 I cannot believe a year has gone by already since the last episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Many things have happened since that time. The face of the world has changed, so has the Xenaverse with the loss of Kevin Smith. Therefore, what better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary than to watch the DVD Director's Cut of A FRIEND IN NEED.
 A week ago from this year's Mother's Day, I got the DVD. For me to get this DVD was a long process. Because of work, school, and a torn tendon on my ankle, I did not have the opportunity to sit down and watch the episode. I had watched the original episode, as well as the version of the director's cut on Oxygen. After watching the director's cut the first time, I enjoyed that version and was pleased all those extra scenes were added. They made the story flow better.
 Nevertheless, the day before Mother's Day, I was sitting in front of my TV set, DVD ready to go, and a hot cup of coffee in my hand. At first, the DVD did not work, and I was just about to put my leg, which was in a cast, through the television set, when I finally found what was wrong. After fixing what was wrong, I still had no image or sound. I continued to play with the darn thing until I got it to work. To my surprise, I still was not getting the commentaries by Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, and Rob Tapert. More frustration was added to my afternoon. I finally figured out that I had the commentary feature turned off. More coffee and once again I tried to watch the episode. Finally it all worked.
A FRIEND IN NEED Redux
 I sat back enjoying my cup of coffee and the episode. From the start, it felt as if Lawless, O'Connor, and Tapert were sitting in my living room, sharing with me their feelings and remembrances about the episode. Their commentaries flowed easily. You could hear when they got to areas that had caused frustration. You could almost imagine them together watching the show just like you and I and saying, as fans, what they thought was going on or what their opinions (key word "opinions") were about a particular scene or subject.
 Most of the time, the comments came from Lawless and O'Connor about a particular scene they liked, did not like, or had problems with. They commented about almost everything. Tapert would intervene to give us some pointer about what was going on regarding the filming, directing, and production of the show. Those comments were good and helped me understand why certain choices were made.
 I found myself many times agreeing with something Lawless or O'Connor said. I also found myself disagreeing with all three of them aloud. On a few occasions, I got upset at some of Tapert's comments that he was not sure if we (the audience) would understand a point he wanted to make.
 One of those moments was the scene when Gabrielle finds Xena's body. Lawless tells Tapert that one lighting flash might have been enough and he said something along the lines that he was not sure that we (audience) would understand that Xena had been decapitated. Then Lawless tells him when the second lighting shows Xena's body that maybe that was a bit too much. I found myself telling her, "Yeah, Lucy, I agree with you."
 Another thing I found interesting was that they all saw Akemi as the manipulative person she was. None of them tried to make excuses for why she was the way she was or explain that she really was not manipulative. Akemi found out which buttons to push when it came to making Xena do what she wanted and she was an expert at pushing those buttons. Tapert commented upon this.
 At one point, Lawless mentions that there was a scene where she did the worst piece of acting she had ever done on the show. When she pointed out that scene, it turned out to be one of the scenes that was added to the Director's Cut. I found her comments very open. It is rare to hear an actor say they believe they did a bad job with a particular scene. Most of the time, they will say something like: "I don't think this scene came out the way we thought it would."
 Rarely will you hear an actor say: "I feel I did a really bad job in a particular scene." Lawless later went on to say that she tried to fix it at the ADR. Tapert made no comment about her comments. The scene in question was the scene where Akemi tells Xena she has to stay dead and they turn into birds.
 Listening to them talk made the episode even more valuable to me. When they were talking about the final fight between Yodoshi and Xena, it was revealed that the actor who played Yodoshi was in a wheelchair because he had broken his ankle and Lawless was fighting his stunt double.
 The same was true when O'Connor was fighting the samurai. He had torn a tendon, and O'Connor was fighting his stunt double. Lawless mentioned that she felt he was just scared and that is why he had injured himself. She said that actors who were afraid of the physical part of the show were the ones who ended up injured most of the time. O'Connor mentioned it was interesting that in six years of filming they did not have as many injuries in an episode as they had in this final one.
 Lawless mentioned that during the end of the filming she felt like she was crazy. She said she was very tired and felt that way a good six months after the show ended. Those comments brought out a new aspect of Lawless, which made me admire her even more. It is that freshness and neutrality that she has about her.
 It was interesting to hear Lawless' take on the water transfer scene (better known as the kissing scene). It seems that Lawless saw it as a water transfer and not a kiss and Tapert wanted it as a kiss. It finally ended up being Tapert's version. I did not perceive that Lawless was against the kiss. I think she truly was not sure what Tapert wanted out of the scene. Once that was clear, things just went on and a very beautiful scene was created.
 The comments that O'Connor and Lawless made regarding the 30-second scene were also very interesting, both from Lawless's and O'Connor's perspective.
 One of the issues widely argued around the Xenaverse was if Xena was guilty of the death of 40,000 people. When Tapert asked O'Connor if she thought Xena was guilty, and O'Connor said she believed Xena was, Lawless said something regarding endangering a population. Then O'Connor said something very insightful. She said that after the 9/11 events in the USA, those events brought a new light to Xena's actions, which led to her end.
 At the end of the episode and during the credits, Lawless, as well as O'Connor, took time to thank the fans for their charity work and for staying with the show during its run. That made me feel good. You do not always see the stars of a show thank their fans for their support and the good work the fans do in the name of the show.
A Year Later
 After the episode ended, as I sat there seeing the credits roll, my mind went back a year. I remember a year ago this time, I was reading everything there was out there regarding the end of the show. A very dear friend of mine, another Xena fan, and I were planing her visit to my house, so we could see the end of the season and the series together.
 Boy, do I remember those days just before the episode aired here in my neighborhood. There was not a single thing that was written that I did not read. I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as possible, both mentally and physically.
 When my friend arrived, we talked about the show and then sat down to watch it. I shared with her a long, hard, and emotional two hours. This show had given me so much in the past years and now it had given me a very dear and true friend.
 I thought I was prepared for the scene when Xena died. I thought I knew all that was going to happen. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. It was not Xena's death that rattled me. It was the few minutes before her death, her fight, and her thoughts all for Gabrielle.
 A year later, I am still touched by that moment. Watching the episode again with the comments, I still get teary eyed when that part comes. How slow and personal the fight gets for us all, from the bomb to the arrows to the one on one to the end. A scene draws you to it, a scene that stays with you.
 There are certain episodes that I rarely watch, but I nonetheless watch all I can. I am one of the few lucky ones who get Xena: Warrior Princess on a daily basis on the Oxygen Channel. I think that it is one of the reasons I have not gone into Xena withdrawal. When the Oxygen Channel decides not to show the program anymore, that will be the time it really hits me that the show is truly gone.
 For the rest, I have not really noticed very many changes after the airing of the last episode. The Xena lists I subscribe to are still going strong and we are still talking about Xena episodes and commenting on them. It is true that the actors have moved on to do other things, but they are still in the news and we are still able to see them.
 Therefore, for me in particular, the world has not ended. Watching this DVD was a great moment. I was able to take a pause in my schedule, sit back, and finally truly enjoy the final episode. At the end, it brought back some memories that I will always treasure.
Xiomara Suro. A View of Xena: Warrior Princess. Whoosh! #42 (March 2000)
Xiomara Suro. A Pregnant Action Hero: What a Concept. Whoosh! #58 (Jul 2001)
Xiomara Suro. Why This Ending. Whoosh! #59 (Aug 2001)
Xiomara Suro. The Xena Oxygen Marathon. Whoosh! #64 (Jan 2002)
Xiomara Suro. Did We Say Violence? Whoosh! #68 (May 2002)
Ms. Suro also writes reviews for the Whoosh episode guide.
Xiomara Suro (Beboman) was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She retired from the military and a ten-year stint as a Coast Guard Special Agent and went to hide in Nevada and worked for a time in a casino, in the surveillance department. After a few years of watching others playing, she decided that was no fun, so she left the casino life behind. Now she just works on writing short stories, poetry and trying to get her romance novel published. She also enjoys taking long motorcycles rides in the company of her husband "Wolfman". She is the mother of two and the grandmother of two.
Favorite episode: WHEN FATES COLLIDE(130/618), ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE I AND II (69/401 & 70/402), A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) and IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: Xena: "Gimme, Gimme" FRIENDS IN NEED I (133/621); Xena: "Be Nice". THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
First episode seen: A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215) (after a bad spill on a Harley)
Least favorite episode: GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), and IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404)