Whoosh! Issue Eight - May 1997

By Debbie White (horse@prairienet.org)
Copyright © 1997 held by author
1408 words


CHANGING TIMES is a regular feature of WHOOSH. It looks at episodes of the internationally syndicated television show, XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (this month, THE TITANS #07 and PROMETHEUS #08), 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.



[01] In this episode, Gabrielle shows her good-hearted ignorance and Xena shows her one-mindedness in her quest for redemption.

The Changing Xena

[02] THE TITANS begins with Xena hunting down an old trouble-maker she knew. She is physically trying to clean up her past by getting rid of the trouble-makers still around. Xena is rather harsh to Gabrielle when Gabrielle brings Argo to Xena slowly, which shows how Xena can get rather one-minded when on a 'quest', e.g., the chase and forgetting the feelings of her friend. This is again shown later when Xena tells Gabrielle she does appreciate her, but she does not have time to prove it "right now."

[03] Xena several times shows how quick thinking she is. She figures out how to save the barkeeper's life and captures Hesiot within seconds. She also knows what to do to save Gabrielle when the Titan, Hyperion, blows Gabrielle over. Xena also shows her leadership ability when getting the villagers to make the hand-clamp to catch the Titan.

[04] Xena has also let her guard down when it comes to villagers. She walks right into the net-trap Hesiot has the villagers make because she was not prepared for an attack from that quarter. Part of the reason she let herself get caught might have been that some of the villagers could have been hurt. That does not stop Xena from escaping, though, once she was caught.

[05] Xena, despite her harsh words, does care about Gabrielle. Xena tells Gabrielle at the end that she could not hate her because Gabrielle's heart is always in the right place.

The Changing Gabrielle

[06] Gabrielle shows again and again how innocent, but good-hearted, she is. When left with Argo, she undoes the reins so that Argo can eat, but also keeps Argo from going to Xena when she is whistled for. She frees the Titans to show she, too, can do things to help out the world, but ends up losing control of them. She goes alone to turn the Titans back into stone, but gets caught. Still, she does it all with the best intentions.

[07] Some of Gabrielle's actions are inspired by her feelings of uselessness to Xena and wanting to prove her worth. She listens to the temple boy-priest because he keeps saying she is the greatest thing in the world. She runs off to face the Titans alone because she thinks her plan is good and she is willing to take the risk, but Xena will not even let her prove her worth.

[08] There are a few 'firsts' in this episode. This is the first time Gabrielle has saved Xena (using the Titans to 'disperse the ruffians'). This is the first time Gabrielle has had the feeling of power (the Titans doing her will). This is the first time we hear she is a virgin.

[09] We also get to see several skills she has in use yet again. Her bard skills lead to her being able to read the chant right to free the Titans. Also, it provides a way to delay the Titans from forcing her to free the other Titans still entombed. Gabrielle also works well under pressure and is a quick thinker in her own right. She thinks of lines to keep the Titans believing her to be a goddess within seconds and tricks the Titans to listen to her story instead of freeing the other Titans.

[10] In the end, though, Gabrielle played a crucial part in saving the day, working hand-in-hand with Xena. Gabrielle may have been the one to cause the whole mess, but they are now finally working as a team.

[11] Gabrielle: She saved the day, as usual. Philius (boy-priest): But she couldn't have done it without you.


[12] Xena and Gabrielle make some hard choices, or at least choices, in this episode. It brings out how much they care for each other, and for others.

The Changing Xena

[13] The episode starts off with Gabrielle sleeping through a fight where Xena proceeds to trounce the bounty-hunters, and then save the life of one of them. Xena shows her love of the fight during this scene, but she also shows she now cares enough for other humans (even those trying to kill her) that she will save their lives. She also uses a breathing-hole to save the man's life, showing off her deep medical knowledge again.

[14] When they are at the inn and everyone sick starts dying, Xena immediately knows Prometheus has been captured. She also knows exactly what temple to go to, because Hercules told her. This seems to imply a certain amount of correspondence, or semi-frequent meetings, where they give each other information and updates on each other. When we last saw them together in an episode, it was in UNCHAINED HEART (HTLJ, #13) and there was little time to speak, especially about something Xena was not going to use right away.

[15] At the temple, Xena is willing to lose her hand in the test-trap the oracles gave her. This implies she is now willing to give up her fighting skills (and later we learn her life) to save people she has never even met. This is a vast change for the selfishness of her Warrior Princess days.

[16] In fact, her reasoning for her being the one to 'strike the (freeing) blow' is that she was evil and deserves to pay for it, while the world needs Hercules, who never was evil and is already a hero. She still has not forgiven herself for any part of her past and does not seem to think she ever can repay it.

[17] Here we also see a choice between Hercules and Gabrielle. Xena has the chance to stay with Gabrielle, who is her friend and needs her, or stop Hercules so that he may live. There are also other forces influencing her decision, but Xena very clearly chooses Hercules over Gabrielle, here, too. She loves Hercules enough that she picks him and leaves Gabrielle to cope with the loss as she might.

The Changing Gabrielle

[18] Gabrielle may be a heavy sleeper, but she sure wakes up clear-headed. She also helps bandage the bounty-hunter's wound, so she has been learning some medical skills from Xena.

[19] When at the inn she knows the story of Prometheus, yet again showing her story knowledge. When Xena asks Gabrielle what she would do if not traveling with her, we learn her dream of going to the Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards to get official schooling. Xena was at least caring enough to find a place to send Gabrielle if she died on the mission.

[20] Yet again, Gabrielle is worried Xena might not come back (from the oracle-temple), but once again the worry proves false since Xena 'always comes through.'

[21] At the merchants tent near the cave, Gabrielle shows her love of knick-knacks, but also that she is a smart shopper and not fooled by imitations. She also meets Iolaus and there is an immediate attraction between them. She learns from him that he fights beside Hercules, not just lets Hercules fight alone, and says she might just try that sometime. She even picks up a pitch-fork during a fight soon after, though she does not get to use it.

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