Whoosh! Issue 17 -February 1997


IAXS project #406
By Michael A Deeds
Copyright © 1997 held by author
1044 words

The Fundamental Theme (02)
Synopsis (03-04)
The Unstoppable Enemy (05-06)
On the Brink of Madness (07-12)
The Heroes (13-14)
The Warcry (15-16)
The Villains (17-18)
Believability (19-20)
Reviews (21-22)

Xena & Picard: On the Brink of Madness
The Price vs. Star Trek: First Contact

Hey!  I'm up here!

Gabrielle and Xena have a difference of opinion in THE PRICE.

[01] At first glance, there would appear to be few similarities between Xena: Warrior Princess and the Star Trek universe. However, there are a number of remarkable similarities between the Xena episode THE PRICE (#44) and the film Star Trek: First Contact (1996, Jonathan Frakes).

The Fundamental Theme

[02] The theme of both shows is that if a hero is consumed by an irrational hatred of a seemingly unstoppable enemy (s)he edges toward the brink of madness.


[03] In THE PRICE (#44), Xena must defend an Athenian fort from the Horde.

[04] In Star Trek: First Contact, Picard must defend his starship (the U.S.S. Enterprise-E) from the Borg.

The Unstoppable Enemy

[05] The Horde is "an army of such brutality and skill that they won't be dazzled or diverted by a few Chakram tricks or backflips." They are "an almost symbolic force of evil power moving across the land." "Xena moves down the river into a strange violent world that's dominated by a palpable sense of fear and intimidation." (Spectrum magazine, Issue #11, September 1997)

The Next Generation of studio executives

You will be assimilated.

[06] The Borg are a humanoid race who have managed to combine themselves with artificial intelligence. They act as one collective mind with their only purpose to improve themselves. They do this by appropriating technology and transforming other species into Borgs. Due to their collective mind, they rapidly adapt to any attempt to defeat them. The Borg first appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) series in the episodes Q Who, Best Of Both Worlds part I & II, I Borg, and Descent part I & II.

On The Brink Of Madness

[07] At the start, the Horde earns the audience's respect (and surprise) due to Xena's reaction of fear. This is the first time in the series that Xena is ever shown running away from an enemy. After this, Xena makes a conscious decision to confront the Horde on their own terms.

[08] Once Xena assumes command of the Athenian fort, she begins to edge toward madness. After warding off a Horde attack, she throws an axe into a fleeing Hordesman in the back. She also shows little concern for the dying Athenian soldiers since they cannot help protect the fort. Finally, she is almost willing to let a Horde member die from her pressure point technique just to get information. She even explodes to her friend Gabrielle: "This is war! What did you expect?"

[09] These actions surprise the audience because Xena has not been this vicious since before her turn towards goodness. Obviously, her fear of the Horde has her teetering on the brink of madness.

[10] At the start of First Contact, the Borg earns the audience's respect due to Picard's nightmares of them. After this, Picard is shown making a conscious decision to disobey a direct order from Starfleet Command in order to confront the Borg. In the Star Trek universe, Picard's action is unusual (for him) as he has rarely disobeyed direct orders from superiors. This action is more like Captain Kirk from the original series.

Go ahead...Call me Ahab, one more time!

Captain Picard shoots first and doesn't bother to ask questions later in FIRST CONTACT.

[11] After the Borg invade his starship, Picard kills his own crewmen (who have been transformed into Borg) despite the fact that he had been freed after his assimilation. Possibly, he did this to spare them from nightmares.

[12] Once the Borg gain control of most of the Enterprise, he makes an irrational decision not to abandon ship and set it for self-destruct. He even angers his friend and fellow officer Worf by calling Worf a "coward" for disagreeing with his decision. This is especially ironic given that Worf comes from a warrior race (the Klingons). Obviously, his desire for revenge against the Borg has him teetering on the brink of madness.

The Heroes

[13] Xena, the hero, reverts to her old evil ways to defeat a vicious barbarian tribe of evil savages called the Horde.

[14] Picard, the hero, becomes a "man of action" to defeat a vicious cyborg-like race called the Borg.

The Warcry

[15] Xena's warcry for this episode is "We're going to kill them all!"

[16] Picard's warcry is "I'll make them pay!"

The Villains

And to think I gave up a chance to play Othello for this gig.


[17] The Horde are a tribe that attack "like a pack of dogs". Their strength lies in their numbers, not as individuals.

[18] The Borg are a race that operate as a collective with one mind. Their strength, too, lies in their numbers and not as individuals. Resistance is futile.


[19] Since Xena's past as an evil warlord is well established by previous episodes, it is perfectly believable that she could almost "lose it" when faced with a seemingly unstoppable enemy.

[20] Since Picard's past is well established by previous episodes as a diplomat, it is not believable that he could "lose it" even when faced with an old enemy. This is especially true when you consider that he had encountered the Borg twice after his assimilation and showed none of this rage. The storyline of the film would have made more sense with Captain Sisko from Deep Space Nine. After all, Sisko has a believable motivation for rage against the Borg (i.e. the death of his wife).


[21] THE PRICE (#44) is the best episode of XWP series so far. It is an "incredible episode" and "amazingly gripping". It "kept the basic Xena theme intact but gave it a powerful, horrific, emotional twist by building tension and adding an air or horror". (Spectrum magazine, Issue #10, July 1997)

[22] Star Trek: First Contact seriously botches a great villain. It diminishes the power and menace of the Borg. In the film, the Borg are too easily defeated.


Spectrum Magazine (Win-Mill Productions, 1912 E. Timberview Lane, Arlington, TX 76014).


Michael A Deeds Michael A Deeds
Mike Deeds works for a defense contractor in PA after a stint in the U.S. Army. He has authored over sixty letters-to-the-editor (mostly about politics) in his hometown newspaper. Additionally, he has written articles for the BACK TO THE FUTURE fan club newsletter. However, he has no plans for a BTTF/XWP comparison article. He also has had letters published in Starlog, Sci-Fi Entertainment, and Spectrum magazines. He finds amusing writers who don't use spell check or are paranoid that everyone is trying to steal from them. His favorite television shows are XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, THE X-FILES, DEEP SPACE NINE, EARLY EDITION, and THE SIMPSONS.
Favorite episode: THE PRICE (#44) (Of course!)
. Runner-up: A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39); BEEN THERE DONE THAT (#48); Favorite Joxer episode: FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (#40); KING OF ASSASSINS (#54). I also thought that #40 was a good parody of the Xena rip-off SINBAD. As for #54, I really like that Cleopatra was played by a black woman instead of a Elizabeth Taylor look-a-like. I can't wait for the spin-off series JOXER THE MIGHTY.
Favorite line: Xena: "We're going to kill them all!" THE PRICE (#44). I like this line as it illustrates that Xena has 'lost' it. What other show would have the hero say a line like that?
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (#01)
Least favorite episode: THE XENA SCROLLS (#34). I thought that this episode had a slow buildup and too many clips like a bad sitcom episode. I also thought that Renee O'Connor did a horrible Indiana Jones impersonation. However, I thought Ted Raimi did a good Inspector Clouseau (Pink Panther) impersonation.

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