Whoosh! Issue20 - May 1998


Whoosh! Series
By Debbie White
Copyright © 1998 held by author
1752 words

Editor's Note: CHANGING TIMES, a regular feature of Whoosh!, examines episodes of the internationally syndicated television show, Xena: Warrior Princess, and considers the changes happening individually and between the two characters, Xena and Gabrielle, along with discussing the clues offered in each episode about their pasts.

The episodes will be reviewed in the order they were originally aired. The reviewer will approach her material as if she did not have knowledge of the upcoming episodes. Insights to subsequent episodes will not be made in the earlier episode but in the latter ones. The series, Xena: Warrior Princess, will be treated as a story where gaps must have explanation and what is there may be given more meaning than originally intended.

     The Changing Xena (02-06)
     The Changing Gabrielle (07-10)
     The Changing Xena (12)
     The Changing Gabrielle (13)
     The End Times (14-16)
     The Changing Xena (18-22)
     The Changing Gabrielle (23-25)

Changing Times:


[1] A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209) shows Gabrielle creating the plan 'of attack', and Xena ends up being the one following another's plan for once.

The Changing Xena

Care to buy a candle, little

Xena is the Spirit of Solstice... Something... in SOLSTICE CAROL.

[2] In the beginning of this episode, Xena's chakram is stolen by a boy. She and Gabrielle take off after him and they all wind up at the boy's home: an orphanage. There are two points of interest about this beginning scene. The first is that Xena does not appear to be very concerned about the boy's theft. When she does catch up with him, she is not mad at him. The second an adult gets on her nerves, though, Xena will punch him. Xena either does not take children seriously as threats or they are the one group of people she does not use violence against to solve her problems.

[3] The second interesting thing is that Xena simply tells Gabrielle to meet her 'out back' and she expects Gabrielle to understand what she means. Her confidence in Gabrielle is growing. Later, she even lets Gabrielle play an active, potentially dangerous role. Gabrielle dresses up as the ghost of the King's wife and actually comes into the castle, which is full of guards, and Xena lets her do this. Usually, Gabrielle is relegated to a role of scouting or hiding unless she disobeys Xena's commands.

[4] Another large step for Xena is seen in this episode when she agrees to a plan that Gabrielle devises. She protests at the plan at first, sure that it will not work or move quickly enough to save the orphanage, but when Gabrielle pleads, she gives in. Either Xena gave in to a plan she was not confident would work, which does not seem likely, or she really did think it was workable, and finally allowed someone else to make the decisions about what to do.

[5] Xena goes about the plan, but does not get into it. While she is willing to play the Fates, her effort only seems to include changing her dress and the pitch of her voice. She even hits the King whenever he is not cooperating quickly enough. That seems slightly ironic, since Xena is obviously amused that Gabrielle thinks that violence is her only method of solving problems. Still, Xena does go through with the plan and it pretty much works.

The Changing Gabrielle

The washboard ab exerciser! Buy it

Gabrielle proves a significant... distraction.

[7] When Xena and Gabrielle learn about the King closing down the orphanage, Gabrielle immediately tells the kids a similar story to cheer them up. She gets an idea from it, and is willing to stand up to Xena to try to get her to use her plan instead of violence. This shows that Gabrielle is getting more confident in her fighting and planning abilities.

[8] Gabrielle also shows her forgiving heart several times. The first is when she spends all of her money to buy Tobias instead of the costumes they need to pull off her plan. To Gabrielle, the life of the donkey was important too. It also shows her confidence in Xena's abilities to find the clothing without the money since Gabrielle did not talk about calling off the plan when she apologized.

[9] She also forgives and tries to change Senticles. Xena merely scorns and manipulates him by using his own fear against him. Gabrielle takes the time to see Senticles as more than a coward and tell him, "Don't you see, the thing you're most afraid will happen, has happened"? Gabrielle is still the one who can see and inspire the best side in people.

[10] Also, a minor but interesting point is that, during the final fight scene, Gabrielle briefly uses seduction to distract some soldiers. This is the first time she does that.


[11] THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) reveals some things about Xena and Gabrielle and their fates.

The Changing Xena

Mel, finding out the cost of her little

Lucy puts the 'geek' in 'Greek' for this role.

[12] In this episode, Xena has a descendent named Melinda Pappas, so she must have an heir who survives. Also, the quality that Xena seems to pass on to her descendants is intelligence.

The Changing Gabrielle

Play it again, sweetheart...

Indiana Gabby.

[13] Gabrielle also has a descendent, so she must eventually have a child that survives too. The quality that Gabrielle seems to pass on is feistiness. Also, we learn that Gabrielle really has been writing down all of her and Xena's adventures.

The End Times

[14] Gabrielle loves to tell the stories of Xena, which is why she writes them down in the first place. That Gabrielle has left all of those tales in the tomb seems to show there is no longer a use for them or that they are done. It almost seems like a grave offering cleverly hidden from grave robbers. Gabrielle would not leave the scrolls in the tomb for Ares, though, so it almost seems to show that Xena dies there.

[15] Another indication of Xena's demise, is Xena's chakram. It remains in the tomb, broken. The chakram is Xena's symbol, so why would she leave it somewhere, especially since it is the key to unlock Ares' tomb? Not only that, but Xena's spirit comes back and takes over Melinda when the halves are joined. Xena's spirit appears to be connected to the chakram while in the tomb, but we have not seen that to be true in any other previous episode.

[16] This left me to hypothesize that perhaps Xena somehow got Hephaestus to help trap Ares (since the Eye of Hephaestus is the lock), and then she died fighting Ares. Her chakram breaks to trap Ares in the tomb, but also ensures that she will forever be there to guard against Ares' return. It will be interesting to see how these clues actually do play out.


[17] In HERE SHE COMES...(35/211), Xena shows her priorities and Gabrielle shows her own controlling side.

The Changing Xena

The only way I can breath in this thing is through
my eyelids...

Xena -- the first Barbie?

[18] Xena and Gabrielle have come to help Salmoneus when he asks for aid. Xena is willing to play the bimbo to help stop a war since "war makes everyone a victim." Xena has become more and more willing to play at being someone she is not since she met Princess Diana in WARRIOR...PRINCESS (15/115). She is also willing to go along with Salmoneus' plan instead of finding another way to help him without joining the contest.

[19] She also demonstrates her confidence in Gabrielle again. While Xena is playing the bimbo, she trusts Gabrielle to convince a bunch of dangerous and controlling warlords that she is a sponsor and equal to them. Again, Xena is letting Gabrielle go into danger, but this time Xena will not be with her to bail her out.

[20] Of all of Xena's many skills, she cannot find a skill for the talent contest. She will not sing because singing is special to Xena. She sings for the dead, sang for Borias, and was willing to sing for Solan in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), but she will not sing for the contest. She is only willing to sing when she is moved and there is something behind it.

[21] Xena also seems to be getting pretty good at empowerment speeches. In BEWARE GREEKS BEARING GIFTS (12/112), she tells Helen to leave the men to war and get a life of her own doing whatever she wants to do. Now she tells a contestant, "Tell him how you feel, you're entitled".

[22] Another contestant is using the pageant as a way to leave the area. Xena tells her she does not need the pageant to do that. That seems kind of odd since Xena never has had a problem with using her body to get what she wants and no one was forcing that contestant to be there.

The Changing Gabrielle

Hmm...veddy, veddy

Gabby attempts class, style, and sophistication as the 'Contessa'. One out of three ain't bad.

[23] HERE SHE COMES...(35/211) starts off by showing us a few interesting facts. When Xena and Gabrielle save the women running down the beach, they are now working together as a team.

[24] Also, Gabrielle was the one Salmoneus thought of as the 'beauty,' or at least the one willing to play the bimbo. Instead, Gabrielle is unwilling to support victimization by following Salmoneus' plan. Once inside with Xena as the contestant, Gabrielle keeps pushing Xena to try to win the contest. She gets trapped by the very mentality she refused to support.

[25] When Gabrielle is playing a sponsor, she has the confidence to stand up to and even lightly insult the other sponsors in an effort to get them to see what they are doing. She also manages to eventually get them to focus on the contestants' wants as well as their own. She does this by playing on their pride. Gabrielle is getting pretty good at manipulating people with words.


Debbie White Debbie White
Debbie White is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and is currently studying Animal Science at Southern IL University at Carbondale. She is 20 years old, single, and has watched Xena since SINS OF THE PAST (01/101) (i.e., the beginning).
Favorite episode: REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "If you don't know, it must be Xena." ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201)
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (01/101)
Least favorite episode: GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204)

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