Online Edition

aka Friend in Need
aka Japan II
(series finale)

Episode 134
Season 6, episode 22
Series 622
1st release: 06/18/01
2nd release: 09/17/01
Production number: V1425
Script number:
Approximate shooting dates: March 28 - April 12, 2001
Last update: 11-09-01

Previous Episode |BACK TO THE EPISODE GUIDE |No more episodes. Nada. Gone. Xena be dead

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SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Shana
SYNOPSIS 3 by John
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 7 BY Joss Harrison
COMMENTARY 9 BY Nicolette VanBrabant

Lucy Lawless (Young Xena)
Michelle Ang (Akemi)
Marton Csokas (Borias)
Mac Jeffery Ong (Kenji)
Adrian Brown (Yodoshi)
Yvonne Tan (Ayako)
Shiori Terada (Miyuki)
Venant Wong (Morimoto)
Gary Young (Saburo)
Travor Sai-Louie (Kao)
Ric Chan (Master Swordsman)
Gregor Mclennan (Captain)
Kazuhiro Muroyama (Harukata)

Story By Rob Tapert & R.J. Stewart
Teleplay By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Rob Tapert

A two-parter taking place in Japan. Creation Entertainment.

Xena and Gabrielle face the greatest threat they've ever known when they go up against the evil Yodoshi and an army of 20,000 elite Samurai warriors. Logline

Xena and Gabrielle must battle an army of samurai warriors and the malevolent ghost Yodoshi.

Xena battles to defeat the evil Yodoshi while trapped in the spirit world, and Gabrielle ascends Mount Fuji to perform a ritual that will free Xena from her bondage.

The only things standing between Xena and a walk off into the sunset are 20,000 samurai warriors and a nasty ghost. Entertainment Weekly

The two-part series finale concludes with Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) entering into battle against a samurai ghost (Adrian Brown) and his army of 20,000 warriors. As the adventure series draws to a close after six seasons, two questions loom for fans. Will Xena and Gabrielle share a meaningful kiss? And will Xena die---again? Neither Lawless nor her husband, executive producer Rob Tapert, will reveal the answers. Instead, Lawless notes that the series strove to leave Xena and Gabrielle's relationship “as open to interpretation as possible.” And what about Xena's future? Tapert only admits he'd “love to do a movie.” TVGuide.com


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Previously on Xena: Scenes from A Friend in Need I

Xena, in a new outfit, buries her old breastplate. She listens. She hears lots of sounds; drums, horses, soldiers walking. The cinematography is intense and breathtaking.

Gabrielle listens. She is with the Monk. She says it is too quiet. She remembers Xena's voice saying "Always remember I love you. She yells for Xena and starts running.

Xena listens. The army moves. She grabs her chakram and tosses it into a couple of wagons, spilling their contents. Then she knocks fire onto the spilled items. There is a huge, vast firebomb, a wind of fire, rushing over the land. The fire wind knocks Gabrielle to the ground. There is a mushroom cloud.

Xena runs up a tree, Amazon-style, and begins shooting arrows at soldiers. Gabrielle runs. Xena continues to shoot arrows. The drums beat. An army shoots arrows at Xena. Thousands of arrows. Xena catches a few. She deflects more. She is shot in the shoulder. She runs. She moves. She is shot again. She manages to get behind an overturned wagon, she is shot again in the other shoulder. She is shot in the arm. She pulls her sword. "Now you asked for it." She moves forward. She is shot in the stomach. She fights the men as they advance. Lots go down. Xena yells for Gabrielle. There is a montage of Xena/Gabrielle shots from past episodes. Xena kills more men. She turns around. A samurai chops her head off.

Gabrielle runs through the forest. She finds the chakram, covered with blood. She looks at it.

At the tea house, Akeme sits playing her instrument. The sacred katana appears. Xena, naked, enters. Akeme tells Xena she dreamed of her, and now she is there in her reality. Xena puts on a red robe; other women attend to her. Akeme says she is filled with joy at the sight of Xena.

Gabrielle, still looking for Xena, sees the Ghost Killer on the battlefield. He is stabbing souls as they depart the bodies, to keep Yodoshi from swallowing them. The Monk tells Gabrielle to ask him if he's seen Xena's soul. Gabrielle turns on the Monk and tells him Xena is alive. She is alive!

Akeme tells Xena she is so happy to see her that no poetry can express her feelings. Xena tells Akeme she's been in the underworld before; this feels very different. Akeme says it is an illusion, projected by Yodoshi. One of the women, with an ankle bracelet on, stamps her foot, and Yodoshi appears, a whirlwind of darkness. The other women all bow. Yodoshi blows an evil wind at Xena, blowing her around. His arm turns into a lariat of fire. He grabs Xena, tosses her around. He tears the clothing from her, leaving her lying prone and naked upon the floor. He beats her back with his lash of fire. He pulls Xena up. She bows, and tells Yodoshi she is at his service. Yodoshi laughs wickedly, and leaves. Akeme tells Xena she is relieved that she showed Yodoshi the proper respect. Xena says she is going to destroy Yodoshi. She tells Akeme not to follow her, and Xena slips away.

Gabrielle walks through the woods. She is at a pretty spot, with a creek, and rocks. She hears something. She catches a glimpse of something white. She sees a flash of red. Gabrielle eases across the stream, and runs directly into Xena. They see each other, and hug. Gabrielle asks Xena why she has on robes. Xena says she has to kill Yodoshi. Gabrielle holds out the chakram. "Then you'll need this." Xena reaches her hand out, and it goes directly through the metal. Gabrielle's face is filled with emotion. "You're dead!" she says. "How could you let yourself be killed?"

Xena tells Gabrielle that she had to go into the battle alone; otherwise, Gabrielle would be dead, also. "We'll find a way to bring me back," Xena says. After all, they always do. She says she had to die to kill Yodoshi and end all the torment. Gabrielle hugs Xena. "You're my whole life, Xena. I won't lose you," she says.

The Ghost Killer arrives, and Gabrielle pulls her sword. She warns the Ghost Killer not to come near Xena. Xena tells Gabrielle it's okay; they are working together. One of the women from the tea house is behind Xena. She moves forward, and the Ghost Killer stabs her. Before she vanishes, Xena grabs the ankle bracelet.

Xena returns to the tea house with Gabrielle. She introduces Gabrielle to Akeme. "This is my soulmate," she says. "She's a poet like you, Akeme." The Ghost Killer and the Monk walk up. The Ghost Killer asks Gabrielle if she would risk her life to bring Xena back. Gabrielle says of course. The Ghost Killer and the Monk tell Gabrielle that if she burns Xena's body and takes the ashes to a special fountain on Mt. Fujisha before two days pass, Xena will come back.

Gabrielle and Akeme meet, awkwardly. Gabrielle, looking very sad, prepares to leave on her journey. Akeme stops her. She says she wants to give Gabrielle a gift, something to protect her on her journey. She takes Gabrielle inside and gives Gabrielle a large tattoo all over body. Xena lies beside Gabrielle while the work is done. Xena gives Gabrielle a sword. "Good luck, old friend," she says. "I'm getting your body back, Xena, and before sunset tomorrow we will meet again on the side of Mt. Fujisha," Gabrielle says.

Gabrielle, at dusk, with a storm rages, searched the war camp for Xena's body. She knocks out a few guards. She finds Xena's body, strung up, hanging. Gabrielle drops to her knees, vomiting and sobbing. She stands. "Give me her head!" she cries. She cuts the body down and covers it. As she works, the samurai moves behind her. Gabrielle faces him. He tells her that Xena died with honor. Gabrielle tells him he knows nothing of honor; he bested her 1000 to one. He tells Gabrielle she has a deathwish. "I accept the challenge," Gabrielle replies.

Gabrielle crosses swords with the samurai. She hears Xena's voice telling her to listen. She hears every movement the samurai makes, every nuance. The samurai raises his sword; Gabrielle sidesteps, and the samurai is down. There is a collective gasp from his watching army. The samurai, kneeling, asks Gabrielle to kill him honorably by beheading him in one blow. Gabrielle knocks him out with the hilt of her sword. The men move aside as Gabrielle strides to Xena's head, which rests on a place of honor. She covers the head, puts everything on a horse, and rides out into the night and the rain.

At the tea house, the Ghost Killer chants. Xena, dressed as the maiden who once wore the ankle bracelet, eventually stamps her foot and calls Yodoshi. He immediately arrives, and then realizes something is amiss. The Ghost Killer rises and stabs Yodoshi. The Ghost Killer if flung about. Xena grabs his sword. Yodoshi falls into the bath water, which bubbles and bubbles as Xena stabs the water many times. Yodoshi disappears. Steam rises, and Xena looks for the soul swallower. The steam turns to water, and Yodoshi reforms. Xena and Yodoshi fight. While they tussle, the Monk gets slashed and killed. Akeme falls into the bath, trying to help Xena, and Yodoshi breathes on the water, freezing it over and trapping Akeme beneath the ice. Yodoshi then stabs the Ghost Killer. Xena attacks Yodoshi, and cuts off his arm. She stabs him, and he implodes in a blaze of fire. Xena frees Akeme. They hear a mighty scream.

Gabrielle lights a fire. She tells Xena that can't let her die. She remembers many times together with Xena. "You will return to me, my friend," Gabrielle says.

Xena holds the Ghost Killer. In his dying breaths, he tells Xena that Yodoshi has gone to Mt. Fujisha to drink from the Fountain of Strength. He tells Xena that the job is not finished. Xena swears she won't rest until Yodoshi is done away with.

Gabrielle rides through the hills. The samurai attacks her. He says he won't let her revive Xena's body. He knocks Xena's ashes away. Gabrielle goes after the urn, trudging through the snow, slipping over rocks. The samurai catches up with her, and they fight. Gabrielle knocks the samurai down, and his hand hits the urn, knocking it on over the cliff. Gabrielle races after it. She drops to the edge, and sees the ashes have landed in a bird's nest.

Yodoshi, with one arm, tries to get the Fountain flowing. The water gurgles. Xena runs up and hits him, knocking him away from the flow of water. Xena attempts to get beneath the water as it begins to flow down, but Yodoshi makes the water freeze as it falls, and he knocks Xena backwards with a mighty blow that knocks the Warrior Princess senseless. Pieces of the frozen water lie all around. Akeme appears. She grabs the sword and tries to behead Yodoshi, but fails.

Gabrielle, on the cliff, realizes she hears Xena fighting with Yodoshi. She runs to Xena. Yodoshi eats a piece of ice from the waters of the Fountain, and his arm grows back. He then takes a very long time to suck up Akeme, who tries to stab the sword into the ground and anchor herself, to no avail. Yodoshi swallows her soul. Gabrielle, at Xena's side, tries to figure out what is happening, but Xena is too weak to tell her much. Gabrielle runs over the water falling from the top of the mountain, and stands beneath it. As she does so, Yodoshi tosses a ball of fire at her back; the fireball hits the dragon tattoo and the flames bounce back into Yodoshi, knocking him aside. Gabrielle runs back to Xena and kisses her, several times, and droplets of the water from the Fountain of Strength go into the Warrior Princess. Xena reemerges, a strong, healthy ghost, dressed now in her Warrior Princess brown leather fighting outfit and breastplate. Xena tells Gabrielle she needs the sacred katana to finish Yodoshi off. Gabrielle gives her the sword. Gabrielle says she has to get Xena's ashes, and rushes off.

Xena whirls around and turns into a cloud of fire. Yodoshi does the same. The two fires race across the woods, and then run into each other. Xena emerges. Pieces of Yodoshi fall around her, and then reform. They fight each other, swords clashing, as Gabrielle begins her climb down the cliff after Xena's ashes. The woods are on fire; the swords clang as Yodoshi and Xena fight. Yodoshi vanishes; Xena listens, hearing everything, ready for Yodoshi when he attacks again. They fight some more. Yodoshi tells Xena she is going to join those 40,000 souls she is worried about, and then he is going after Gabrielle. Xena turns around, and stabs Yodoshi just as Gabrielle gets Xena's ashes. Xena whirls around and beheads Yodoshi, releasing all the souls, which whirl around Xena.

Gabrielle goes to the Fountain, and the samurai again is there to stop her. Gabrielle tosses the chakram and hits the samurai in the head. Gabrielle catches Xena's weapon, and looks at it. She puts it back on her belt.

Akeme appears to Xena, thanking her. She tells her that all are redeemed, including Xena.

Gabrielle begins the ceremony to bring Xena back. Xena puts her hand on her arm and stops her. She tells Gabrielle that even though the souls are released, their deaths must be avenged. Akeme didn't want to tell her that, she says. Xena tells Gabrielle that she must stay dead. "If I bring you back to life, the souls will be lost forever," Gabrielle says. "That isn't right!" she cries. She says she doesn't care. "You're all that matters to me!" she says.

Xena looks very sad. She tells Gabrielle that it must be. "If there is a reason for our travels together, it's because I had to learn from you .... to learn the good, the right thing to do. .... I can't come back," Xena says.

Gabrielle cries. "I love you, Xena. How am I supposed to go on?" Xena tells Gabrielle she will always be with her. They sit beside the fountain, Gabrielle resting her head on Xena's shoulder, holding her ashes. They watch the sun set, and as the last remnants of light begin to fade, Xena vanishes, leaving Gabrielle alone. "Xena," Gabrielle whispers.

Gabrielle, on a boat, holds Xena's ashes. Xena the ghost appears, and tells Gabrielle she will always be alive, in Gabrielle's heart. She asks Gabrielle what will happen now? Gabrielle says she will go to the land of the Pharaohs. "I hear they need a girl with a chakram," she says.

"Wherever you go, I'm always at your side," Xena says. "I knew you'd say that," Gabrielle replies.

Gabrielle, standing alone on the boat, drifts over the water as the sun sets.



SYNOPSIS 2 by Shana


SYNOPSIS 3 by John


COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor












COMMENTARY 7 BY Joss Harrison




COMMENTARY 9 BY Nicolette VanBrabant




11-09-01. From deuce92. The following is a list of the changes made for the Director's Cut airing of Friends in Need Part 1 and Part 2. There wasn't anything that I would term a "major change", but there were a couple scenes that made me feel a little better about the ending.

  1. There is no teaser for part 1. The episode starts with the opening credits, then moves into the action.
  2. After Xena and Gabrielle confirm there's someone looking for them, Xena whistles to give off their location.
  3. Kenji's friend gets a little added attention in the hot tub.
  4. Kenji holds out the katana to Xena. "Xena, you must save Higuchi from destruction. Gabrielle says, "The Land of the Rising Sun...that's beyond Chin. I didn't know you were there Xena." Xena looks sad and regretful as she says, "Yes, I was there, I was there. Gabrielle, this is not going to be the trip that I promised you, but if Akemi calls, I must go."
  5. There is a little added footage of Gabrielle's sparring with Kenji.
  6. On the boat, while Akemi is writing, Borias gives her a very long look. Akemi just smiles sweetly at him.
  7. There is another short distant shot of Xena and Akemi traveling towards Grandpa's house.
  8. When Xena enters the forge to get the katana, first she just stands in the doorway with her head lowered.
  9. After Xena and Gabrielle jump in the water, there is a shot of Yodoshi doing one of those "camera rushes" to the house. Akemi isn't disturbed at all by his sudden approach. Yodoshi says, "The katana. You sent it to the foreign whore. Thank you." He laughs evilly, then "She's traveling now to the city of Higuchi. My general awaits her, and when he captures Xena and MY katana, she'll lose her head to the sting of its blade. So thank you, Daughter." NOTE: This segment is particularly revealing...we learn that Yodoshi is Akemi's father, and he gives a "prediction" as to Xena's demise.
  10. After Xena and Gabrielle release the water from the tower, the General with the strong Kiwi accent stops his horse and looks up at Xena: "A wise general knows when a fight is lost, but I think we will meet again soon." He gives a slight bow to Xena and she nods back.
  11. There is much more footage of Xena fighting with her emotions as Akemi's ashes blow away. She screams out her pain.
  12. Gabrielle listens a little longer to the sounds around her.
  13. After they discuss Gabrielle's listening to nature, Xena says, "At least three armies are gathering. The general we met at the water tower was right. We will meet again." NOTE: Once again, a precursor to what will be happening.
  14. While Xena and Gabrielle are still kneeling in the room after Gabrielle learns the pinch, Ghost Killer enters with a "Are you ready?"
  15. There is a long, brief shot of the fortress.
  16. There is a slow motion silhouette of Xena running through the woods toward the battle.
  17. There are lots more shots of Xena shooting arrows. She does an amazing kick and cuts a bunch of the bad guy's swords into two pieces. The tops stick in the ground and Xena kicks them one at a time, sending them into bad guys' chests. She sends one flying at the Kiwi general, but he catches it.
  18. There is another shot of the bloodied chakram, and Gabrielle's eyes looking around it.
  19. While sitting on the bridge, Xena tells Akemi, "I have a job to do; the job that you called me for."
  20. A moment later, still on the bridge, Akemi says about Yodoshi, "He seems to be getting mightier every day." Xena says, "You're going to have to trust me, Akemi. There's someone I have to meet, who can help us.
  21. When Akemi asks if Xena knows she's being followed, Xena replies, "Akemi, I can still hear your heart beating. And I can hear every one of Miyuki's clumsy footfalls."
  22. There is a brief look from Xena when she hears Miyuki following her.
  23. There is a shot of Ghost Killer and Kenji in meditation while Gabrielle gets her tattoo.
  24. There is a shot of Ghost Killer handing the katana to Kenji, who hands it to Xena, who then hands it to Gabrielle.
  25. There is a flash of lightning. Gabrielle and the Kiwi General slowly bow, then draw their swords.
  26. There is a slightly longer shot of Xena comforting Ghost Killer as he dies..
  27. As they are preparing to head to Mt. Fuji, Akemi tells Xena, "Xena, my soul will soon join the other's trapped in Yodoshi's grasp. You must finish the job, and release us all."
  28. This is the most important addition of all, at least to me. Still out in the open, getting ready to find Yodoshi, Akemi says, "Yodoshi is very weak." Yodoshi spots a hawk, turns himself into a vapor, and enters the hawk. Yodoshi flies off. Somehow, Xena knows what he has done. Akemi tells her they don't have to stay in the forms they're in. Xena asks about a snow owl and another smaller bird she sees nearby, and Akemi confirms they can take those forms. Akemi starts talking about Gabrielle succeeding on her mission. Xena says with a confident smile. "She'll succeed, don't worry. She's very good at what she does." Akemi then says she has to tell Xena something. She feels she may have doomed her own soul. The camera focuses on Xena's concerned face. The scene cuts to a moment later. Xena says, "I know you did what you thought you had to do, Akemi. Perhaps by releasing those souls, we'll all be redeemed." Xena looks shocked, but is still willing to forgive Akemi. NOTE: Of all the emotions I felt after watching the finale, the strongest one was anger at Xena for allowing Gabrielle to go to all the trouble to retrieve her body, only to have Xena tell her she couldn't be revived. After viewing this scene, I felt much better about the situation. Up until that point, Xena had every intention of allowing Gabrielle to save her. It doesn't make me any happier with the resolution of the series, but DOES make me feel better in Xena's actions and motives.
  29. There is a short of Gabrielle's horse rearing up on her.
  30. The camera shows the hawk flying then landing on Mt. Fuji, and turning back into Yodoshi, followed by the owl and the smaller bird landing.
  31. The little bird lands and turns into Akemi. Obviously, the owl was Xena.
  32. Xena stretches really hard to reach one of the icicles, and Yodoshi spits a fire bomb that knocks her backwards quite a distance.
  33. In the very final shot of the episode, as the camera pans upward, there isn't the shot of Gabrielle standing alone. The viewer is left with the impression that Xena will always be by Gabrielle's side. NOTE: This scene really didn't do much for me, because the original is still very fresh in my mind. However, just seeing the scenes we weren't shown when FIN first aired whet my appetite for more Director's Cuts of other episodes. Let's hope TPTB decide to show us more!


10-28-01. Lawless finally apologizes for FRIEND IN NEED. From Entertainment News Daily,

"... So it's time to revisit ``Xena,'' which ended last June with ``A Friend in Need,'' a two-parter in which Xena was crucified and then viciously beheaded. The controversial denouement, though true to the risk-taking nature of the series, infuriated many of the ``Xena'' faithful to a degree which Lawless seems only now to be fully grasping.

"``Talking with a friend of mine, I finally understood what that might be about,'' Lawless says. ``For her, it was that so many people in this world have never been in love, or they were in love and lost the other person. They want to believe in the soul-mate concept.

"``Our show kept talking about `the soul mate, the soul mate' for all those seasons,'' the actress says. ``And I personally don't really believe in the soul-mate idea, but it never really occurred to me that other people could so need to hold onto that, that that's what they loved about the show.

"``At the end,'' she says, ``what we did was take Gabrielle's soul mate away from her. Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) and Xena were split up. And I think that had a dreadful resonance for very many of our fans.

"``For that I'm really sorry.''"

06-18-01. Since the release of the final episodes of Xena, synopses and such have been flying all over the Internet and there has been a lot of activity by fans stating for the most part, dismay over the episode. However, there is still 5 days before the audience of the largest markets get to see it. Perhaps the tide will change after more people have actually got a chance to see it. Until then, it seems the vast majority of fans are disappointed by the ending.

04-21-01. JAPAN II was renamed FRIENDS IN NEED I and pushed back two weeks to accommodate some extra shooting.

02-26-01. 02/03/01, Renee O'Connor interview at Upbeat Magazine by Bridget Petrella with additional editing by Sonia Satra. Title: 'Xena' Star Renee O'Connor: Deeply Soulful And Subtly Engaging. Check it out at http://www.2upbeatmag.com/TUBE-FILE/tube_file_renee-oconnor-feature-intervie w.html. Here's some selections:

UPBEAT: Okay we're going to have to ask the "obligatory" subtext question... There are numerous, which is an understatement if you've been online lately, ongoing "heated" discussions and debates as to the sexual preference of the two characters, you have been quoted as saying something to the effect of, "They're soul mates who just happen to be women." Let me preface this by first saying that I agree with you, I personally do not think the relationship between these two characters is about being gay or straight, I think it goes much deeper than that... That being said, would you be willing to elaborate on your thoughts about the nature of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship? Can you perhaps define it a bit in more detail?
Renee O'Connor: "(laughs) No (laughs)... not yet_ you'll have to wait till the show's over, or at least near the end.
UPBEAT: So they're going to define it?
Renee O'Connor: "Well you know, I don't really know honestly, how we're going to end the show_ I mean, every episode is so organic in that each story actually takes on a life of its own. It's still being developed right up until the time we finish filming it. It's obviously written beforehand, but we're always finding new ideas and new acting beats or moments, so it's just constantly evolving. I`m sure in some way we`ll try to resolve it, I would think so. It would be kind of a let down to all of the fans if we didn`t, I`m sure."

02-15-01. On February 10, 2001, Kevin "Ares" Smith mentioned at a New Zealand SF Convention that he would be in the JAPAN episodes of XWP. He also mentioned that the working name is JAPAN and he has no idea what it really is going to be named or what it is about.

02-15-01. Conjecture that Alti would be in the JAPAN arc has been dismissed since Stansfield has stated that FATES will be Alti's last episode. There had been rumors that the JAPAN episodes would use either Alti or Callisto as the main "bad guy" or even both, but those rumors have been denied by both Claire "Alti" Stansfield and Hudson "Callisto" Leick.

02-06-01. The Tedster (Ted Raimi) is back for three or four episodes of XENA. He had SOUL POSSESSION written for him, and now he is being written into WHEN FATES COLLIDE (the episode which will be airing when the Pasadena Con is going on) and the season-ender, the "Japan" episodes. It is unclear whether he will be in one or both of the "Japan" episodes. Also, since the "Japan" episodes are supposedly to be be kept hush-hush, who knows, maybe he will be in the season-ender, maybe not. There are supposed to be a lot of red-herrings released about the "Japan" episodes so we are not even sure that it is taking place in or has anything really to do with Japan. We'd like it to be about Japan or touch on something "Japany" since we at WHOOSH have been calling it "Japan" for a godawfully long time. However, if the rumors of lots of fake info being released is true, then who knows what will happen. All we can be sure of is that RenPics is contractually obligated to produce episodes #21 and #22.

12-18-00. What a difference a week makes. Last week the telemovie deal looked pretty darn good and now this week it looks like its a proverbial longshot. So much a longshot that JAPAN is once again in the running for the season ender. The odds are favoring a two-parter season ender but that will make the show have too many shows in production (at least on paper). There is the chance that one can be dropped or merged into another show. There is also that old old rumor from way back that the show was planning on producing 23 hours this season instead of 22. That would solve the problem as well, especially if they were planning on airing the last two episodes as one two-hour episode. I often wonder why these things concern me, too.

12-11-00. The JAPAN I & II episodes have apparently been tabled (probably for the upcoming telemovies?). In their stead will be two new episodes (duh!).

12-06-00. The show-ender (at least to our knowledge at this time) is tentatively the JAPAN double-episode featuring that "Maiden" chick.


We have opened this forum for attempts at justifing or making any sense out of this ending for an otherwise highly enjoyable show

06-27-01. From Lily Barney.

When I first 'read' the synopsis & commentaries I was ambivalent about the ending. The show has had a recurring theme of self sacrifice, & tragedy in the characters that have influenced Xena. i.e. M'Lila, Lao Ma, Borias, & Gabrielle to name a few. Then we have Xena's statement from The Greater Good to Gabrielle, "It is not about me, it is about these people. That is why we are here. People like this used to be my victims. I keep that in mind every time we come up against a warrior like Talmadeus.. It is the Greater Good, remember that."

Xena's death seemed fitting. . My moment of truth came when I 'watched' the final scenes. I realized then how much I didn't appreciate that there was never any mention of the need to avenge the death of the lost souls. I believe that 'if' Xena would have known of the need for the vindication of the souls of Higuchi she would have still gone through with 'everthing'. To withhold that vital piece of information from Xena, Gabrielle & the viewers was quite a piece of manipulation.

Would Gabrielle have fought as valiantly for the return of Xena's body if she had known there was no return for Xena? Would she have followed Xena to Mount Fujisan to learn the outcome of the battle? Of course she would have! Gabrielle would have seen 'it' all to its final end.

There was no need to add the Race for Xena's Life to the story line... So why this plot device?

My bet is on the Debate which have been created by this ending. If we where not ready for The story of Xena & Gabrielle to come to an end before...now the demand for a new Xena story will be all the greater.

06-24-01. From Morgan.

OK everybody—I feel the pain of the Xenaverse. I have read it in the responses so far and I feel it myself. I have never written about Xena in all my years as a fan but I have to say something now.

Rob Tapert has just proven himself. As a genius.

First, understand a little about me in order to understand how I came to this conclusion. I am a thirty-something female oncologist, who deals with life and death and grief on a regular basis. I also remain an incurable romantic, a butch warrior in spirit who always felt out of place in a culture that makes billion of dollars glorifying stereotypes of women I could never relate to. Xena became the ultimate escape from this, the first time in my short life a mainstream medium was supportive of my inner nature, a nature I had learned to conform outwardly to the expectations of society, albeit painfully. These characters and the people who made them inspired me. I believe in the love portrayed. It gave me strength and comfort during the dark days of my journey out of a marriage and out of the closet.

Truthfully, I had the same initial reaction to the end as many of you. I was shocked, disappointed, confused, sad, and angry. Then I had to step back, in wonder at my reaction. All of this, about a TV show? Consider what I do for a living! What was going on here? What is going here, I am coming to realize, is a gift of art and genius.

We have not been abandoned by TPTB. This was not meant to disappoint or betray. It was meant to move us. I believe it has.

I believe that as a collective consciousness of sorts we have been given a gift in this ending—a chance to face the pain that lives in all of us. A chance to feel past it, past the illusion that love for another is the answer, the supreme meaning in life. To understand the existential truth behind the curtain--that we are all alone. All of us, together, Al-one. This is an opportunity to reach inwards towards the completeness that comes with transcendence of this fear and pain, and come into the knowing. The knowing that IS the experience of the god(dess)hood, the unconditional love of the universe, the forever connected spirit, which is in all of us. We have only forgotten. We look for it all around us—in others, in Hollywood-inspired fantasy, in the illusion that love conquers all. Loving oneself IS all. There is nothing else.

Redemption and freedom come from loving oneself enough to be true to who you are, no matter what the cost.

When you look at it from this perspective, there was no other way to end this, without it being nothing but fluff. Giving into the “happy-ever-after” superficial ness that characterizes most of the entertainment media today would have been beneath a show that took so many risks and broke so many barriers like this one.

There is oftentimes a painful emptiness and longing I feel in people who are “fanatic” about anything. Mr. Tapert and crew have given all of us a wake-up call. This is the highest form of art, and of respect. Thank you, all the creators of the “Xenaverse” for such a wonderful gift. You will be missed.

06-24-01. From Jason Boaz.

"Why did the Series End This Way" I know, that for most of you Xena fans, this series finale was a downer, filled with doom and gloom for Xena, Gabrielle, and Xena's redemption, as seen in a few people's submissions. However, your tunes may change, when I read to you an excrept from Page 69 of this week's TV GUIDE close-up on Xena.

"As the adventure series draws to a close after six seasons, two questions loom for fans. Will Xena and Gabrielle have a meaningful kiss? And will Xena die-again? Neither Lawless nor her husband, executive producer, Rob Tapert, will reveal the answers. Instead, Lawless notes that the series strove to leave Xena and Gabrielle's relationship "as open to interpretation as possible." And what about Xena's future? Tapert only admits he'd "love to do a movie."

Hear that, Xena fans, from all over? And everyone, from WHOOSH! It might not be over yet...not by a longshot. There might be hope for a better send-off for Xena yet. A few questions fill my mind. Will Ares pull anything to bring Xena back? How will Eve cope with Xena's "Permanent" death? Will Velasca, Najara, Hope, Satrina, Draco and Callisto return? What about Meg, Diana, and Leah shall they come back? Will Bacchus want revenge? Will Despair, champion of Dahak, become an actual Xena character, and be more just than an N64 baddie in "Xena: Talisman of Fate?" When will the movie come out? Will it be on the big screen, or exclusively on videocassette and DVD? I feel a petition from Whoosh or someone should tell Rob Tapert what we want in this movie he's planning. He should give the fans what they want in an action-packed movie which picks up where the series left off, and maybe give Xena a better send-off. In the words of Shao Kahn, from Mortal Kombat; Defenders of the Realm episode, Familiar Red, "It is FAR from OVER!!"

06-24-01. From Marit.

Yes, I would have done it differently. But my version of the story isn't RT's.

I like seeing two women traveling the roads alone without help from any man. I take it as a lesbian love story in the old-time definition of "woman-identified-woman", which is broader and more subversive than only sexual partners.

RT sees it as a female action hero that breaks the mold/stereotype of that genre. Again, no male helpers or side-kicks. To my knowledge, no other program has yet tried this formula...not even BTVS or Dark Angel. Besides the Hong Kong genre, RT has modeled the series on Star Wars with Gabrielle as Luke Skywalker and Xena alternating as Obi Wan and Yoda and maybe even Darth Vader (The Price?). Following that model, it's absolutely logical that Xena would die on the physical plane...as a warrior she has to die sometime. (Isn't that what Krishna implied?) And what more logical place than the series ending?

Yes, I too would have preferred to see them walk into the sunset as Hercules and Iolaus did...but then we already got that in several of the stories didn't we? And HTLJ was the light side of the coin.

Xena was the dark side -- from the beginning this series was different. It was about her redemption. And what better way for a warrior to be redeemed than to give her life so that thousands of other souls would be saved from destruction?

It is a dark ending -- with touches of hope -- that fits a dark series.

06-18-01. From Shelley Sullivan:

Disclaimer: The author's dislike of the ending was not changed in an attempt to justify the reason for it.

Anyone have any idea why Tapert chose to finish this way? I can take a crack at it. I don't necessarily agree that this is why he ended it the way he did, but I think it's a viable theory, at least in part.

I remember a number of posts over the years (on the forum) that said Xena deserved the death penalty for what she'd done, that she was a mass murderer who was escaping just payment. Early on, one of the running characteristics Xena had was an acknowledgement that she could never make up for her past, all she could do was try and do the right thing in the present.

TPTB got pretty vague about all this because, as the backstory gradually unfolded, it was clear that Xena did do terrible things. Obviously, they weren't going to kill their hero in mid-run, so they let the idea of ultimate payment slide back into the mists, but it never really left, I don't think. It's accurate to say, I believe, that in terms of the internal story, Xena was living on borrowed time , so to speak.

Meanwhile, Xena was defeating death with almost boring regularity, hanging around with Jesus, er, Eli, killing gods, giving birth to the second coming of Saul of Tarsis, creating Lucifer as King of Hell and so on. Her past ceased to be an issue, partly because they couldn't find a way to deal with it, but it didn't vanish.

In order to give finality to Xena, which apparently both LL and RT wanted, and to keep Xena "forever young", they came back to the idea that Xena had indeed escaped "just punishment" and that there was a price to be paid. If a dozen murders are committed, it hardly matters which one you're tried and convicted for, as long as the price is paid. In this case, it's ultimately not the point that Xena didn't directly kill 40000 people, even though that's the plot point. I think they went for large numbers in an attempt to make it more "fitting" than only a single death from a fire (to choose a number). It heavily weighed the scales in terms of a convincing element for Xena's choice. Had it been one on one (a dead soul from the fire vs. Gab), Xena might have chosen differently.

The theme of the ultimate price isn't a new one. It was in CALLISTO and, to a certain extent, LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN. Unfortunately, they pretty much dropped it, and I've seen posts around the Xenaverse that have absolved Xena of "mass murder" on the flimsiest of pretexts. She did what she did, and did achieve a chance for atonement, which she received, as we see in FALLEN ANGEL. Had Xena died earlier, in DESTINY, for example, she would probably gone straight to Tartarus.

I think it was purely shock tactics in the way they suddenly snatched the offered lollipop away from the kid's lips when this "I can't come back" thing came out of the blue. It wouldn't have negated Xena's actions in the slightest, had she or Gab known about it, because I believe that Xena would have gone through with her death anyway.

What I find p*ssy about the whole thing is Akemi's deception, both originally in summoning Xena, and continuing on when Xena introduces Gab. As she's already dead, I guess no consequences for Akemi. No way do I want to believe that Xena has to spend eternity with Akemi's ghost, so I'm for WFC as a series' ender. I'm wondering in the back of my mind of that's why it aired, then SP to show them in the future, and then FIN.

FIN is beautifully crafted, I understand, and will be an interesting resume film for RT to go calling with. He has the right to control his creation, but I have the choice to decide whether or not I'd want to involve myself again in what amounted to blindly fumbling through a maze to get from beginning to end with the characters and the themes.

06-18-01. From Ariana:

What bothers me so much about this ending?

That's easy. It took a show that glorified life and the struggle to do what's right, the power to reinvent yourself despite the wrongs of your past, the power of love and redemption, and cut the legs out of all those things (or I suppose that should be cut the head off). In the end the moral is that there is no redemption in life. There is no forgiveness, no true atonement other than suffering as much as possible.

And maybe, if you suffer a whole lot and give up enough, give up everything, that will somehow honor those who might have been hurt by you. Even if the hurt was not intentional. Or maybe especially if the hurt was not intentional.

So for a show about the power of courage and love, we are left with the idea that honor, redemption, and forgiveness can only be found in death.

Xena died as she chose to live, a great warrior taking on a foe which she would never be able to defeat: The ghost of her own past. And her honor came in facing it bravely, destroying as much of it as she could before it could claim her.

And Xena's ultimate legacy to Gabrielle is to curse her to the same fate. To the knowledge that the one thing she desires most is something which will always elude her in this world. Xena will always be there with Gabrielle, just within her grasp yet forever out of reach, just as Redemption was for Xena.

And so Gabrielle will fight, and live by the sword for two reasons. To make use of the skills she has paid so dearly for, and in that maybe to give some meaning to the sacrifices she has made. But also because she will now crave death just as Xena always has, because now it is the only thing that can bring her what she wants the most.

She'll be a warrior and chase death because deep down she wants it to catch her. She won't do it in spite of the fact that one day it will be her head rolling around on a forest floor. She'll do it because of that fact.

Maybe the message is that is what makes a truly great warrior. Being in love with death, itself.

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Or, as Callisto understood so well, "It'll bring you peace if you let it."

I suppose what bothers me, and what I didn't understand about the story they were telling up until now, is that death is the only thing that can bring any of them peace. Love can only help by raising the stakes of sacrifice.

Gabrielle was both the reason Xena chose to go on in the beginning, and the thing Xena had to be willing to lose to buy her redemption in the end. That means, in retrospect, that all those times Xena said she counted Gabrielle in her life above the greater good, it was wrong. That the fact she loved so intensely meant that sacrificing it in this life is the only price she could pay that would be great enough to make up for those sins of her past. The ultimate price of Xena's peace was Gabrielle's pain.

I think they intend the inherent tragedy in that idea to be muted by the fact that we know their spirits will go on, and be reunited eventually. Love endures.

Doesn't seem like much of a comfort, really, in the face of such relentless tragedy.


This commentary is by Bongo Bear.

In the case of the ritual suicide, the act is a semi-private event. Everyone, meaning friends and family, in attendance dresses in white. The blades are all purified with water. The act is preceded by a death poem. The person then takes his short sword, wraps most of the blade with paper so he can cut himself across the belly without cutting his hands, then he plunges a few inches of the razor sharp tip into his side and drags it across his abdomen. If he falters or begins to show distress, his best friend stands ready to cut his head off cleanly before he embarrasses himself with a bad death. Women kill themselves by cutting their own throats. I don't know if anyone stands ready to cut a woman's head off. It would most likely be a male friend or relative, if it's done.

In the case of the battle field, the heads of defeated samurai are taken to prove that they were killed. The ferocity of a battle is sometimes described in terms of how many heads were taken. Sometimes famous samurai call each other out during the midst of a battle. The winner takes home his opponent's head as a trophy. So I don't consider taking heads after a battle to be particularly respectful of the deceased.


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

One confusing moment in the tea house slaughter: can you drown a ghost? What the heck was Akemi so worried about?

Is this really Xena's permanent end? Of course not; I still don't buy that. There's no such thing as death on Xena. Maybe six months from now, Gab will find a way to bring Xena back anyway. And it's certainly not the end of Gabrielle's story, regardless. So I don't see this as the end-all book-closing event. Just another chapter. A major one, but a chapter.


08-01-01. From A. Sathe. I just loved how Xena felt guilty because a little fire that she started MANY years ago ended up killing a whole bunch of people, but felt no remorse at all for the little critters she killed when she and Yodoshi created that ENORMOUS forest fire before their final battle.

07-26-01. From Nikalaos. I was watching my Helicon tape and began to realize a similarity to Friend in Need as far as Xena being prepared to lose Gabrielle. In FiN, LL plays Xena's intentions much more obvious than in tHaB. For instance, in Fin, Xena says stuff like "What would YOU do, Gab?" and "Jus' wanted you to now everything I know", etc, playing pretty obvious that she plans on becoming a ghost, etc. (the whole *remaining* as a ghost thing is a seperate issue). Anyways, the point? LL played Xena's preparedness to lose Gab in tHaB much subtler, less obvious, and in my opinion, much better than in FiN. Xena was not prepared to lose Gab to death, but to lose her as a companion to the Amazon Nation. Such stuff like, "You're it, Gabrielle, you're it." and "Your people need you." etc, and the look in Xena's eyes when Gab is cheered as queen and inspires her troops, being a leader the Amazons are loyal to and love, etc. . . . all suggest that Xena is preparing herself to lose Gab to the Amazon cause. Perhaps this is more subtle because I've misinterpreted Lucy's lines, etc. Perhaps FiN was not too obvious, but it was a significant part of the plot to have Xena behaving in ways that suggested her seperation from Gab. Either way, just thought I"d share. :)

07-25-01. From Kris. Did anyone else feel like they were watching an episode of Highlander during the series finale of Xena? I mean with the katana, the beheadings, the quasi light-show when Xena received the water from the Fountain of Strength from Gabrielle, as well as and especially when the captured souls left their prison from inside of the evil Yodoshi when his head was removed, and Xena's reaction to them flying around her body, and then the real clincher..."there can be only one!" Of course, who knew it would be Gabrielle?

07-10-01. From srtidrick. Why didn't Xena just stand behind a large tree and stay there? She kept coming in front of the trees, and later in front of a large board, so she could get hit. (Almost as if she wanted to?) It was cute she could catch some of the arrows, but considering what she's done in previous episodes, it would have been plausible if she'd caught all the arrows.

07-10-01. From srtidrick. How come Xena's solid enough to hug Gabrielle but not solid enough to hold a weapon?

06/27/01. From alwayslooking. ... that the ship Gabrielle was sailing on at the end had no sails up? Here it was beetling along at a goodly clip, but what was powering it? No sails, no oars... Japa invent the powerboat or something?

06/27/01. From Stephen Mendenhall. At the very end, they're sailing toward the sun...can we assume that's the dawn of the next day? Or did she wait a day to rest and hire a ship, then she sails at dawn? In either case, she's going east, into the Pacific Ocean, away from Egypt, where she says she'd like to go. Shouldn't she be sailing south? Also, for a moment I thought she was going to explore Australia, the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, and eventually America. Well, maybe she will in future adventures.

06/24/01. From Bongo Bear. A Friend in Need 1 & 2 - The List

A porno moment - Teahouse maids falling out of their kimonos.

A architectural moment - The biggest d*mn teahouse I've ever seen. They are usually small intimate buildings. A very low entrance requires the guest to crawl in on hands and knees so that all who enter are on equal terms for the tea ceremony. The XWP teahouse is more like a roadhouse for wandering monks.

Cultural faux pas - Japanese women not wearing their under-kimonos and *trying* to show cleavage. The breasts are not considered a woman's most attractive feature. The nape of her neck is. Everytime Akemi moved aside her hair to reveal her neck, I kept thinking, "Look at the little slut. She's flirting with Xena again."

A major no-no - touching the blade of a katana. I wouldn't expect Xena to know that, but Akemi should have known better.

A cool scene - Fencing practice with Kendo shinai (four polished bamboo staves tied together with leather strips)

Seen before - Xena with bad warrior hair

That b*tch - Haiku writing manipulative little Akemi -- how did Bad Xena ever fall for her wiles?

Accents - Renee says Higuchi like a true Texan - HIGH-goochi.

Plot premise - Laying a guilt trip on old Xena is easier than it's ever been. A little bad sake and some flame breath, next thing you know, Lord Yodoshi has 40 thousand captive souls. And IT'S ALL XENA'S FAULT? If AKEMI hadn't offed her father, none of this would have ever happened.

Gagamatic - Xena's headless dead body hung like last week's deer kill. Lightning flashes highlighting the bloody stump was more gory than necessary.

Another porno moment - Xena stripped naked and her modesty protected by a carefully placed hand in the foreground.

Instant Powdered Xena - Add ashes to the Fountain of Strength and stir.


Click here to read a transcript of FRIEND IN NEED II .


Xena was permanently harmed in the making of this motion picture, but kept her spirits up.


A .mov file of the kiss, BACKWARDS. abbuh! abbuh! 1.5 megs.

Love is a Battleground webpage analyzes the kiss frame by frame.

A review by Tenderware

The following clips are MOV files and can be viewed with Quicktime so download Quicktime here):

to download a clip (3.3 meg file) of the kiss in
to download a clip (5.2 meg file) of the ending of

MaryD's screengrabs

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