Whoosh! Issue 27 - December 1998

Letters To The Editor





The Problem With Anachronism

Wed, 04 Nov 1998
Subject: Letter to the Editor: "Anachronism": Pompey's death

Caroln Bremer's article "Anachronism Be Damned" in issue 26 had an error in para. 39. "Pompey was killed in the Battle of Pharsalus, when betrayed by Ptolmey XIII (Cleopatra's brother) who had decided to side with Caesar."

Pompey escaped after being defeated by Caesar at Pharsalus in Greece and fled to Egypt, hoping to continue his war against Caesar with the help of the Egyptians and pro- Pompey Roman forces in North Africa and Spain. He was killed as soon as he landed in Egypt in the midst of a civil war between Ptolmey and Cleopatra. The Egyptians decided he was a spent force. The decision to kill him may have been made by the 16-year-old Ptolmey, but was probably made by the adult advisers who controlled Ptolmey. In any case, Egyptian troops had no part in the battle of Pharsalus and Pompey was not killed there.

Michael Klossner
mklossne@asl.lib.ar.us




Love In The XenaVerse

Subject: Letter to the Editor
Sat, 24 Oct 1998

The humans of the known world have many words for the substance known as hydrogen oxide. For example, in just one language, there is: water, ice, steam, fog, mist, cloud, rain, rain drop, pool, puddle, pond, lake, stream, river, creek, runnell, delta, sea, ocean, tide, current, ripple, wave, tsunami, and so on.

Likewise, in ancient Greece, there were many words for the state(s) of being rendered by the makers of XWP as the single word, "love". Is there an article in the pipeline (or perhaps in a back issue, and I have just missed it) about the many original meanings of that single word?

Please find under separate attachment, two dinars (embossed at the mint of King Gregor) as a small contribution to your treasury.

Your humble reader

Edward Mazzeri
epam2@hotmail.com

Tails, I do the cooking for a week Heads, Gabrielle makes those things with the red centers


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
Dear Mr. Mazzeri, there is nothing that I know of which currently delves into this topic. Please feel free to research away and share your findings with us.




Sex Lives In The XenaVerse

Subject: The "Sex" lives of Xena and Gabrielle
Sunday, October 25, 1998

To begin with, I happen to be a gay woman in a very happy and stable relationship (going on 9 wonderful years!). I would LOVE for there to be a non-platonic relationship between the two women. HOWEVER, I would rather it NOT be shown BECAUSE of what happened to the Ellen series. The sexuality of the players is NOT important. The friendship is. And THAT, above all, makes the series work. The heated letters and debates that I have seen on this site and others make me feel somewhat angry. Just enjoy the show for what it is. A fantasy-adventure story of two good friends, a female Damon and Phythias story. I even like the timeline quirks. Who knows, maybe Xena and Gabrielle will meet Jesus on their travels. WWJD about these two? Why he may enjoy their company? 'Enuff said. Just needed to chide and complain about the other complainers...

Angie Cabrera
acabrera@cedar.netten.net


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
Hate to break it to you, but there is a good chance that the gals have already met Jesus in utero. Check out the scene in A SOLSTICE CAROL where Gabrielle gives Tobias the donkey to some passing strangers.




Fan Fiction Issue

Mon, 12 Oct 1998
Subject: fan-fict articles

The Whoosh! page remains fun, but the most interesting thing so far has been its feature on the Xena fan-fict phenom. The article on its history was the most compelling of the group. The lore and history of such things intrigue me. So, pat yourselves on the back for coming up with these offerings.

Lou Mougin
lomougin@wf.net


Fri, 23 Oct 1998
Subject: Oct 98 Edition

I have to say, guys, that I was sorely disappointed with your October 1998 edition o Whoosh! magazine. Although I understand that fan fiction has a definite spot in the Xenaverse & should therefore be acknowledged, I think an entire issue dedicated to it was somewhat overly excessive. I don't read fan fiction, & I wish you had at least included a few articles on the show, especially now that the new season is underway.

Greg
ThundrGod1@aol.com




More On The Shakespeare Debate

Subject: Chris' letter
Monday, November 02, 1998

First, I'd like to thank Chris for taking the trouble to read my letter carefully. I suggest, however, that reading the first paragraph again, with the word irony firmly in mind, might be a good idea.

Chris attempts to suggest that season three was not more violent and (I think) that it did not encourage viewers to approve of the violence, especially that visited on Gabrielle. However, the very fact that only one minute of the notorious dragging was broadcast in New Zealand deals nicely with the first contention. Evidently, the full version was deemed too violent for audiences in that country.

I might add that violence in Shakespeare is always there as a sign of the breakdown of society and its values - not as an index of the hero's worth. His most successful men of violence - Coriolanus, Macbeth, Othello, for example - fail because they are lacking in the more unwarriorlike qualities. Indeed, this regard for more peaceful qualities used to be a strength of XWP. Both the series and Xena herself valued Gabrielle because she represented an alternative to mere force of arms.

As for the second point: Chris may have been more lucky than me, but I clearly remember having to pick my way through a large number of letters to various lists in which writers declared variously that Gabrielle had it coming, that they cheered when they saw the dragging, that they would be happy to drag those they did not like behind their cars. Leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, I must say, and certainly does not indicate disapproval of Xena's violence.

As far as the comparison to Shakespeare goes: it is possible to argue that Cordelia, Desdemona and Ophelia all contribute to their own deaths and to some extent "deserve" them. For example, Cordelia should have swallowed her pride and told her father how much she loved him. Desdemona should not have lied about the hankerchief. Ophelia should have resisted her father's efforts to turn her into an informer.

No one in their right mind, however, would therefore argue that Lear, Othello and Hamlet were justified in their behaviour towards these innocents caught up in their tragedies. Indeed, these tragic outcomes were instead a just consequence of their own flawed behaviour.

In other words, Shakespeare excused nobody just because he was the hero of the play. The message of XWP in recent seasons has been quite different. In the Xenaverse, it appears that being the hero means never having to take the blame. Even if she does end up "facing the music", somehow Xena manages to apologise only for the minor error of having lied to preserve innocence and youth rather than for anything more serious.

Before anyone says, well, it's her series and she's the only one who counts, I urge them to consider. We value people according to the way in which they respond to the challenges of their environments, and especially the way they relate to those with whom they interact. So, what would they rather see? Their hero shouldering her responsibilities in a convincingly textured, genuinely relevant situation? Or do they prefer it when she refuses to do so in a two-dimensional, comic strip world where the absence of any character with whom she can have a real relationship reduces her to nothing more than a wildly animated ikon?

Good plays need more than hero-worship to sustain them.

Inga
imh@gardencitynet.co.uk




Thoughts On CRUSADER

Mon, 23 Nov 1998
Subject: Letter to the editor

I thought this was a fantastic episode. When you view the last three "serious" episodes in the order in which I understand they were originally meant to be aired (that is; AGD, then Crusader, then LUATD) the "personal growth" arc makes a lot of sense. Some things really jumped out at me:

Firstly, Gabrielle FINALLY (right up front and in our presence) admits that Xena's dark side scares her. I do not see this as in any way negating her love for Xena. It is, however, a profoundly sane and logical admission. The Xena who emerges when she is extremely focused on either saving Gabby's life or the greater good (The Price, OAAA, AGD, to name a few) is scary indeed. It would also be very scary to realize that you have to accept this, and learn to behave that way yourself, in order to commit fully to your life with this person. This theme developed wonderfully in AGD, then explored again in Crusader.

Secondly, the parallelism of the crusader to the evil Xena is amazing. Both had armies and were able to elicit unquestioned loyalty from their men. Both are focused and expert fighters. Both scoured the countryside, entering villages to get what they want, and will brook no opposition. Both killed as much as necessary to crush initial resistance. Xena gave those who opposed her 24 hours to meet her demands (money, supplies, and sworn fealty) before she killed them all. The crusader gave those who opposed her three days to meet her demands (sincere sworn fealty to the light) before she killed them all. Both were totally focused on getting their own way.

It would appear that the evil Xena was dedicated to Ares and the dark while the crusader is dedicated to her Djinn and the light, but the end result is still the same. Xena has changed and now kills only when necessary to protect the innocent. The crusader still kills them all.

Thirdly, it was great to see Gabrielle once again using her brains and her words to save the two. She threw herself over Xena's body and TALKED the crusader into sparing Xena with full confidence that Xena would come for her as soon as she could. When Xena did, almost her first words to Xena were, "We have to get out of here." Gab's faith in Xena's judgement also gets full marks in this episode.

A quick look at Xena: She relives her vision, is told that yes it can be changed, figures that the only way to change Gab's death is to not be around, and leaves. Twice. Once in Crusader then again in LUATD. In both cases, the greater good (protecting the innocent) brings her back to Gabby's side.

I love this season so far. It is action packed and full of depth to explore, and the deep love between our girls, however one cares to define it, is rock solid.

ladysmee@hotmail.com




Thoughts On A GOOD DAY

Wed, 04 Nov 1998 17:33:37 -0900
Subject: A (supposedly) Good Day.

What has become of our Gabrielle? In each episode I see how different--how much she has changed. What happened to the Gabrielle who balked at the idea of weapons? What happened to the bard who knew nothing of war and wanted to keep it that way? Even the Amazon Gab was an innocent. But this Gabrielle seems empty. Tired. Worn. I felt a sinking feeling in my gut as I watched her; the battle fury enveloping her as tightly as the leather armor that protected her body. Well, it did nothing to help protect her from the emotions that accompany war. I saw something very familiar about the way she unfeelingly attacked the Roman soldiers. Not defend, really. It seemed she was consumed. I saw Xena within her. We don't need another Xena. The show doesn't need two--Gab is supposed to be a sort of character foil for Xena.

Perhaps the title, "A Good Day" is supposed to be ironic. Fighting, war, hurting, destroying, defiling... These are not good things so how can one have a good day of destroying and killing? Unless that person is themselves corrupt and enjoy that sort of thing but we pray the gods that out Gabrielle is not corrupt. She may appear like she's turning out that way but I know I'll not lose hope. (The word "hope" just does not sit well with me anymore).

Yet even if one wins a battle, even if they did not start it or are defending, war can never fall on a good day. Someone always looses, someone has to start and join in. If the whole argument can be prevented... then it is a good day. I do recall a few episodes where Xena and Gabrielle choose to prevent the fights...

Another thing that struck me. The young archer-boy. The old Gabrielle would have stopped him; would've vehemently refused he walk into battle to prevent the loss of innocence. I sometimes cannot believe she's become a bystander to corruption. Something has to be done! People can change and redeem themselves!

Don't get me wrong--I liked this episode. It was performed wonderfully by Lucy Lawless and Ren‚e O'Connor. Ren‚e can be so versatile with the same character to the point where I am left in awe. Yet I wish the people behind the scenes would make up their minds. Here we (the viewers) go again with a roller coaster of serious/silly/serious/silly episodes. Nothing from the serious episodes ever gets resolved-- the characters go on as if nothing ever happened and problems are mended off-screen. Does the vigilant viewer not have the right to know what happens to their favorite characters? It is no wonder Gabrielle is currently so messed up. She leaps from solemn and torn to carefree (almost) and silly every other episode! She is going to have a serious case of split personalities pretty soon if the writers do not make up their minds and actually resolve something soon!

Raven of the Clan MacConnor
kkss@alaska.net




Lauda Whoosh!

Tue, 20 Oct 1998
Subject: Great Page!

Whoosh is the bomb! It is probably the best Xena site I've found. I don't think there is anything concerning Xena that you guys have missed. It's all here! I've bookmarked it under my favs and plan to make many more returns. I want to share a funny incident with you, ready? Here goes (this is true; it really happened).

I went down to the local college to sign up for classes (after 36 years I've finally decided what to do with my life). I told the counselor I wanted to major in education and be a high school teacher. After running our mouths for a while, she turned to me and said, "So you want to be a teacher when you grow up." I replied, "No, I want to be Xena when I grow up, but until then I will be a teacher." Of course, we both got a great laugh out of that.

I just wanted to share this with you and tell you I think the site you guys have and are obviously continuously working on does the warrior princess justice. Xena would be proud. Keep up the great work. I can hardly wait to come back and see the new things. My life has new meaning. Thanks for being here for those of us that all the normal people say are crazy.

Earlene Cook,
e-cook@usa.net
North Carolina


11/3/98
RE: Whoosh!

My name is Kimarie and I just recently found this site. I have totally enjoyed every minute I spent and continue to spend on it. I love being able to read in depth about the upcoming episodes and all of the commentaries. I am just a women who lives in the country in Oklahoma who happens to love Xena Warrior Princess and your site has been one of my favorites, especially for information about the eps. Thank you so much for providing the great site!!!!

Kimarie
KimMcAbee@aol.com
Oklahoma


Fri, 6 Nov 1998

One general comment to the Whoosh! staff: As a writer, I have found your editing of my articles and presentation to be excellent and first rate. Thank you.

Virginia Carper
carperv@Frb.GOV


Mon, 16 Nov 1998
Subject: Ya done good!

I've stopped in from time to time and thought it was high time to tell you how great it is to have the Whoosh to go to whenever I want and that there is always something new. Sometimes I visit to remind myself of something that has been rattling 'round in the brain. It's a great site!

Julie Evans
woodstrekkr@earthlink.net




Violence In XWP

Subject: Response to Chris's Letter on Shakespeare & Violence 11/98 Whoosh
Monday, November 16, 1998

To The Editor-in-Chief:

I agree with you that there has been a change in the violence depicted in XWP -- and I think it's for the Greater Good.

Humorous depictions of violence such as those in the first two seasons that allow one to "split" from the actions and the participants -- to objectify both and not take any of it as the serious business it is -- are to me the height of "voyeurism".

I believe depictions of the true brutality of violence, as have been shown since the third season, force one to confront the horror and not turn it into escapist fun. My heart ached for Gabrielle and Xena through most of the third season. I did not feel like a voyeur; I felt like a friend and confidante sharing their grief.

Xena was not pretending to be The Three Stooges in The Furies -- she was Mel Gibson in all those Lethal Weapon films.

While I'm not a Joxer fan -- and this was not one of my favorite episodes -- his brutal beating in King Con was taken quite seriously by all participants. I believe it was not a funny episode because it was not intended to be one...not because TPTB failed in their efforts to pay homage to The Sting, but because they wanted to continue demonstrating the true nature of violence.

Now in Season 4, Gabrielle is confronting her own Darkness and is forcing herself to make terrible choices in pursuit of her spiritual quest. Xena is no longer infallible (even when doing the occasional miracle stunt). Starting at the end of the third season -- and clearly demonstrated in Sacrifice 2 and Crusader -- Xena can be staggered (and even overcome) by zealots dedicated to a cause they believe to be righteous.

I don't know where they are going to end on this journey, but it is a deadly serious trip, not for the faint-hearted.

Diana Kunkel
aka Marit47
maritco@erols.com




Love That Herk

Tue, 20 Oct 1998
Subject: Whoosh Re: HTLJ

I had heard about Whoosh! and finally got browse for the first time. I send all connected a huge thank you and job well done! I have been a fan of HTLJ since the beginning and enjoyed the HTLJ section very much and will be back when time allows.

Tina
deaton@webzone.net
www.safarijoes.org




Haiku Appreciation

Mon, 9 Nov 1998
Subject: Liked the Haiku

I just wanted you to know that I loved your poem, "A [Canadian] Dahak Haiku." [Editorial Whoosh! #26, November 1998]. I read through the rest of your editorial, and I agree that the third season was not the best one so far. However, I was interested to hear what you think about the 4th season so far. I have watched the episodes up through "Tale of Two Muses." Overall, I like what has happened so far. I was a little disappointed with the follow up to "A Family Affair." After losing Gabrielle for the whole summer, I was ready for more "talk time" between characters. I guess that fanfic will have to fill in the blanks here.

Keep up the good work. I know that you must be overwhelmed with all the work that goes into the Whoosh issues, but please know that your work is valued and very appreciated.

Karey
KFaith2222@aol.com


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
I discuss my views on the 4th season in this month's editorial. Thank you for your kind words. Luckily I am not too overwhelmed because of the dedication and obsessiveness of the Whoosh! staff.




Origins Of The Name Xena

To: ktaborn@lightspeed.net
Subject: Letter to the editor Monday, October 12, 1998

One right-winger that comes to mind about this Xena- xenophobia link is Pauline Hanson (Australian politician). In response to being asked if she were xenophobic in a tv interview, she replied that she didn't understand and asked the interviewer to "please explain", probably her most infamous quote.

A few things have picked up on this link. One example of Xena-Xenophobe punning is "Xenophobe: Worrier Princess"

I wonder how she would respond to being compared to a tv character believed by some to be a lesbian?

Andjam@geocities.com




That Darn USA Channel!


Subject: Letter to the editor Wednesday, October 14, 1998

I sent the following message to USA. Maybe they will respond...I'll let you know.

Why aren't you airing the most dramatic and important episodes in the character's development for Xena?? You have missed "The Quest" and "The Debt I" and "The Debt II". It appears you don't plan to air "Maternal Instincts" or "The Bitter Suite". Heck, I watch your station - why don't you show the episodes I want to see?? The latter ones are referred to many times in subsequent episodes, but I Haven't seen them. From my view point, you are withholding the episodes I most want to see. Don't you want to show high ratings episodes??

Bhapperset@aol.com


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
The mystery is now solved. It turns out that most of the episodes withheld are being rerun on the syndicated schedule. THE DEBT, MATERNAL INSTINCTS, and BITTER SUITE are airing in the regular XWP syndicated timeslot in the month of December.




Episode Guide Lows And Highs

From the Editor-in-Chief:

The Whoosh! Episode Guide is as close to a crown jewel that Whoosh! will ever have. It is a monster project and has evolved into our most popular area on line. The episode guide, also, is the last area on the Whoosh! site to be completely dominated by me. All the other functions on Whoosh! happen because of the blood, sweat, and tears of many people (I am thinking specifically about Darise Error, Beth Gaynor, Bret Rudnick, Marian Pappaceno, and Betsy Book right now, but I could just as easily be thinking about about Cynthia Ward Cooper, Deb Cassetta, Dinah Malone, Lydia Woods, Stacey Robillard, and I know I am missing someone important, but I hope you get the point), but the Episode Guide has been blessed (or more appropriately cursed) by my sole attention. In the past month or so I have trying to update it, get all the files standardized, and I realize this task is going to take a long, long time.

I am proud of our regular Episode Guide correspondents (Bluesong, Beth Gaynor, Deb McGhee, Missy Good, Carmen Carter, L.N. James, Liz Sheppard, KSZoneW, Deb Roche, XWP1113@aol.com, and again I know I am missing important people), I am proud of our "ireegular" contributors, and I am proud over all to be associated with such a chaotic but intense project. I look at the episode guide perhaps too sentimentally but I cannot deny it is one of the most interesting projects I have ever been involved in.

Why this sudden introspection? This month we received quite a bit of mail regarding the episode guide. I also finally took on an assistant to work with me on the guide (so you have someone else to blame for the boo-boos), Lydia Woods. She worked with me in my Xena Media Review days and I look forward to this new partnership.


Tue, 13 Oct 1998
Subject: eps

Just a very quick question. Unless I counted wrong, you have ep names for 23 episodes for the fourth season. Is that my faulty math, a misprint, or wishful thinking?

Darryl
featherman@geocities.com

Editor-in-Chief Responded:
When you viewed the episode guide we had information on 15 scheduled titles out of 22 possible slots. The seven remaining slots we had listed 8 possible names. There are usually anywhere from 2 to 4 unproduced scripts in XWP per season. Also, it was in the past, a habit of RenPic to produce 24 episodes a season. They would then choose two of the 24 to run the next season, as they did with FURIES and BEEN THERE last year. Both episodes had season 2 production numbers, but were aired in the third season. Thus, it is neither faulty math, a misprint, or wishful thinking. It is just reporting the information when we get it. Since then, we have received news that WEEKEND AT JOXERS has been dropped from production, so our production name list sits at 22 exactly.

And the same goes for the news and information we pass along, especially in the case of episode spoilers. I will share an example of what happened with our information regarding the episode THE PEARL AND THE BOOK. We were told that Renee O'Connor was going to direct the clip show, and we were also initially told that PEARL was going to be it. Obviously there was a mix-up in episode names somewhere along the line, and subsequently, it has been clarified the clip show is DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN and yes, that is the one Renee is directing. We get our episode information directly from the source in most cases, but sometimes it is inevitable there will be a miscommunication along the line. We endeavour to clear up any and all info glitches just as soon as we're made aware there's a problem, and we try to get that out to the general public just as soon as we're able. And by the way, PEARL AND THE BOOK has been retired as a possible episode.


Sun, 11 Oct 1998
Subject: The synopses that are given by "Missy Good"

I have a question regarding the synopsis of the episodes. I enjoy reading the synopsis by Bluesong. However, the synopsis given by Missy Good is very different from what I am use to seeing on the Whoosh site. This site has been known as the site where you go for series synopsis (by Bluesong) that is unbiased and based on the storyline. Missy Good's synopsis is often very critical of Lucy Lawless and the Xena character and in constant praise of Renee O'Connor and the Gabrielle character. Scenes in the play that many of us take seriously, Missy Good is cynical of and often states how "silly" the scene was or how it was hard to take seriously. I love the Whoosh site and will always be a fan of this site, but I am disappointed to see material which seems to laugh at what many Xena fans take seriously on a site in which the material has always in the past taken into account the feelings of the viewers.

Videntur@aol.com


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
As to your concerns, at Whoosh! we are trying to exhibit as many different viewpoints about XWP. I find that Missy Good's synopses capture a bit of the campy humor that is implicit in XWP. I almost considered putting it in the commentary area, but then I realized the majority of what she writes is just description, not real commentary. I also found it reminiscent of some of the off-the-wall synopses we had at the beginning of Whoosh!.

We are still going to continue the Bluesong synopses. If you do not enjoy Missy Good's synopses, I'd suggest you stop reading them. We indicate who writes what in the content area of the episode guide file so it can either be easily avoided or quickly found.

I always invite people to offer their opinions of the shows and endeavor to publish as many as I can, just as long as they are not studies in invective and contribute something new to the presentation. So very few people go to the trouble to write complete reviews. I feel the more one reads about a topic the better that topic is understood and seen in its historical and sociological place. I view Whoosh! as more than just a cheer leader for either RenPic or fans, I see it as a repository of the reaction that human beings have had to this show. All critics bring their prejudices to what they are criticizing. That is what makes it more interesting. If you feel that Whoosh! is lacking in representing a viewpoint or approach to XWP, then I encourage you to contribute to it. I cannot publish what I do not have, I can only publish what I do have, and Ms. Good is kind enough to let me reprint her thoughts on XWP.

After all that, I hope you can still enjoy the site and I appreciate your concern. Thank you for writing, and I am sure you represent more than yourself in this concern. I hope my explanation of what I am doing makes it easier for you to continue enjoying the Whoosh! website.

Note to the Readers: Videntur took me up on my offer and has started submitting reviews for the episode guide.


Subject: AITST: Commentary on Whoosh!
Sat, 14 Nov 1998

I have but one thing to say to you [Regarding Deb E McGhee's episode commentary on ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE]:

The producers have 48 minutes in which to put a story together. The remaining 12 minutes are for commercials.

You try and cram all the stuff you were complaining about into that 48 minutes, in addition to what the producers and writers did get in. It's not easy when there's only so much money and a freaking deadline to contend with.

There are legitimate points you raised, but I cannot help but wonder if your "ideal" is too far apart from "reality." Perhaps there are writing/editor positions open that you can apply to so RenPic and THEIR bosses, Universal, can get the "ideal" episode.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not trying to be nasty -- but I work under a deadline constantly and have a great deal of sympathy for others like me. I can assure you, they try their d*mnd*st to put out good work ... because if they don't, they get fired.

Unless you're in their shoes, please refrain from passing judgment so early in the season.

M. Keck
storymaster@mailexcite.com


Deb E. McGhee Responded:
Actually, it's 44 minutes, but who's counting, right?

[I]f you want to read a simply happy-happy, joy-joy cataloguing of all the wonderful things in the episode, look elsewhere. Seems like a rather pointless thing to do, if you ask me. I call 'em like I see 'em, good and bad; that's the way criticism works.


Editor-in-Chief's Note:
M. Keck has requested that it be mentioned that "Deb and I exchanged a series of respectful follow-up e-mails in which we came to a mutual understanding (i.e. we're still on friendly talking terms)."

Also personally, I want to state that I find Deb E McGhee's episode analyses to be highly thought-provoking, intellectually challenging, and respectful of her subject. I am honored to have her reviews published in Whoosh!.


Fri, 6 Nov 1998
Subject: Whoosh! Letter to Editor

A bit of praise, and a bit of criticism. (The old carrot and stick routine. Still works after all these years.)

First off, I really like Whoosh. I think the whole concept is fantastic. I'll be reading back issues for quite some time to get caught up on things. Plus, your episode guide allows me to get the info on episodes I missed because I didn't get into Xena until season 3. Kudos to all of you for your hard work.

Now, the criticism. In your commentaries on the recent episode "A Good Day" everbody is of the opinion that Gabrielle deliberately missed the Roman soldier that killed the Greek mercenary (whose name escapes me at the moment). I disagree with this assessment vehemently.

Gabrielle intended to kill the Roman. She merely lacked the skill to do so.

Earlier in the episode, Gabrielle tells Xena that she cannot command the forces. She cannot send those men to their deaths. And yet, when the time comes, she does just that, fighting alongside them. There is a job to be done, and as Xena is unable to command (for as far as I'm aware, the first time she isn't there to command a battle), Gabrielle, the student, must fill the role.

Gabrielle's Blood Innocence has been lost. While she is certainly in no danger of viewing life callously, and becoming a murderous psychopath, she learns in "A Good Day" that sometimes, killing is necessary. Her guilt at the end of the episode is twofold. First, she is shocked that for those few moments, she was willing to kill. Second, she feels guilty because, having resolved herself to the action (at that time) she was unable to follow through with it, and a man died.

Gabrielle's loss of Blood Innocence in "The Deliverer" is not the only time she has killed. In "Maternal Instincts" she poisons Hope - her own daughter. Also, one could argue that she was responsible for the death of Crassus in "When in Rome." While she did not hold the sword that killed him, she did have the means to see that he lived.

Gabrielle is becoming less of a sidekick and more of a partner. Indeed, the idea that many people have put forth that Gabrielle is the true "hero" (at least in the classical sense) of the series has a lot of weight in an overall analysis of the series. Particularly in the deconstruction episodes of the third season.

It surprised me that nobody else there at Whoosh! shared this opinion. I can see the validity of the "opposing" view, but I don't see it as backed up by "textual" evidence.

And once again, keep up the great work!

Josh Harrison
mataxes@yahoo.com


Editor-in-Chief Responded:
The episode guide is a work in progress. Since this letter, a commentary has been submitted which explores the theory you share above. Nevertheless, as I always harp on and on, I can only publish what is sent to me. As to A GOOD DAY, this specific scene is problematic though because it is ambiguous as too what the problem Gabrielle was having: a crisis in decision, a lack of skill, or she was psyching herself out. Whatever it was, I am sure it will be the topic of debate for quite a while, or better yet, resolved in a future episode.



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