Editor's Note: This article was written prior to the conclusion of Season Five.
Episode Breakdown (03-14)
Turning Into A Family (15)
A Gift (16)
Hera and Zeus had family issues too, but were early casualties in the 'Twilight of the gods'.
 Season Five has had more changes than any previous season of Xena: Warrior Princess. Perhaps this is why many fans are currently unsatisfied with the show. Personally, I have wondered why I am enjoying this season more than other fans have. I see many changes, less subtext, and significantly fewer scenes with Xena and Gabrielle. However, I love the relationship, regardless of how it is characterized, so I know that has not affected my enjoyment of the season. The numerous changes in costumes and the addition of more graphics are striking and are clearly the show's way of being more creative. Technology is a challenge, and the show's editors and many other people are working very hard to offer new things.
 As for Xena and Gabrielle, they are going through continued adjustments this season. First, coming back from the dead, Gabrielle encountered a quick challenge to protect Xena until her dark memories were restored and she was whole again.
Episode Break-Down SUCCESSION (93/503) revealed that, even when separated, Xena was able to communicate with Gabrielle. Gabrielle had to remind Xena she was able to fight on her own, and Xena realized she no longer needed to be the only protector.
 THEM BONES, THEM BONES (95/505) demonstrated that Gabrielle loved Xena's child as her own. Because of this, they became a family of three. There was much emotional change and adjustment. Both Xena and Gabrielle had regrets about their first child (Hope), and now they were trying to focus on the new child and its safety.
 Many fans found some loss of the relationship in PURITY (96/506). I never saw any loss because of the subtle indication that Gabrielle felt that a person was a home. Gabrielle's grin as Xena emerged from the fire was brief but one of relief and amazement. Gabrielle never ceased to be amazed by what Xena could accomplish.
 In BACK IN THE BOTTLE (97/507), Xena fell weak to her knees as if she had no more strength to fight. Xena saw Gabrielle in the fight, and as she had said in ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313), Xena reached down inside herself and did things she was not capable of otherwise. She got the strength from Gabrielle. Yes, that was still part of the relationship: a VERY strong relationship between two strong women.
 Gabrielle fulfilled the role as partner who protected Xena in LITTLE PROBLEMS (98/508). It was nice when she whispered to Xena, "I wish you could've seen that". One could sense a little self-pride growing in Gabrielle that she could and would be able to care for Xena and her child.
 Just as Gabrielle saw changes, it was difficult for Xena to fully accept at face value that the once non-violent Gabrielle would charge and learn to fight so quickly in SEEDS OF FAITH (99/509). Xena was upset that Gabrielle was so quick to fight. Some have mentioned that Xena throwing the scarf was cruel; however, that was her own emotional reaction and one that happened because she cared. It was an amazing switch to hear Xena cautioning Gabrielle about being too quick to fight. That was something Gabrielle had pointed out to Xena for so long. This coincided with the pains of the many changes in Gabrielle becoming the protector, rather than Xena. It all seemed to be leading to something where each took on a part of the other. That was exactly what one would expect of two people closely involved in a relationship of any kind for so long.
 They used a musical episode, LYRE LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510) to allow Xena to subtly discuss being a single mother. The little goings on of Cyrene sending men to Xena led Xena to tell Cyrene that she, Gabrielle, and Joxer would be enough family for her child. This statement caused one to think. The pregnancy was a total surprise to Xena and Gabrielle. Certainly there would be adjustments, frustrations, and mixed emotions about that. Yet they consistently presented the idea of family as the season moved on.
 GOD FEARING CHILD (102/512) was an emotional episode. Gabrielle stated that both she and Xena had regrets about Solan and that they would not let Eve face the same problems. The episode opened with Gabrielle feeling the baby kick and then telling Xena of her dream she had of the child. Xena then said that if she could share the labor pains, she would.
 ETERNAL BONDS (103/513) set off fireworks as Ares played with Xena's mind and imposed upon her a sexual dream. He offered himself to protect Xena and her child. Xena struggled with the dream, all the time talking to Eve, and even though it seemed to affect her, she faced Ares and turned away his offer. Gabrielle was upset to have to deal with Joxer being poisoned because she wanted to be with those she loved to protect them. This had been the theme all along for Gabrielle, and I saw no change in that respect. At the end of the episode, Gabrielle and Xena walked together and discussed their lives and exposing Eve to violence. Gabrielle explained there was no better way to fight for the greater good, and Xena seemed to settle on the idea that taking a stand was better than not doing so. Again, they looked like a family discussing their lives.
 In AMPHIPOLIS UNDER SIEGE (104/514), Athena affirmed Xena and Gabrielle's relationship by recognizing that Xena would not put Gabrielle in battle without some secondary plan. Xena and Gabrielle plotted to trick Ares hoping he would be of use to defend Eve and Amphipolis. This was a great episode because in many different scenes, Xena and Gabrielle worked intelligently together and beat Athena, Ilanius, and Ares. Cyrene seemed to give a subtle hint of the relationship when she remarked, "What am I going to do with you two (grin)". Just like any pair in a relationship, the closing teaser of Xena saying she felt something for Ares was typical jealous female teasing.
 LIFEBLOOD (106/516) was difficult to sort out at first, but the message of Gabrielle strongly wanting to give Eve her Right of Caste and to make her an Amazon Princess was nice. As for Xena not responding well when Gabrielle first mentioned it, it seemed quite in character. Xena has never thought of herself as an Amazon, and she must have had to think twice about Eve becoming one. Again, she listened and concluded it would give Eve something to feel a part of, and she allowed the ceremony. It was very Xena-ish that she was not concerned about not attending, since she has never been much into rituals. Xena most likely would never have thought of this on her own for Eve, but once Gabrielle explained her reasons, Xena found a basis she could relate to, mentioning that she gave up home and family. This hinted at the family theme again.
 KINDRED SPIRITS (107/517) had Xena, Eve, and Gabrielle considering settling down with the Amazons. This episode brought more to light that Xena and Gabrielle were dealing with the challenge of raising a child. Things changed and like any family there were some "growing pains".
Turning Into A Family
Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve on the road to 'family'.
 I have enjoyed this season more than many others have because gradually and very subtly the show has turned Xena and Gabrielle into a family unit. Xena and Gabrielle have changed their focus from events of the past, such as the tragedy of Hope and the death of Eli. Even with all those struggles, the temptations of Ares and the continued need to protect those that cannot protect themselves, they are now bonding with Eve. It is telling that the season finale changed its name to MOTHERHOOD (112/522). I have no idea what that will involve, but in keeping with the overall idea of a child and family this season, I will not be surprised if that episode does not offer something less subtle about both Xena and Gabrielle being Eve's mothers.
A Gift Just think of the irony of the many fans who wanted Gabrielle to be the father, but instead, she and Xena have become dual mothers of this child. I have enjoyed the season because there is nothing greater or nicer than the idea of family. This does not mean that Xena or Gabrielle care for each other any less. It does not mean there is no relationship. It means they have grown, and, after over four years, they are sharing something wonderful: a child, a gift from Angel Callisto, and maybe a gift to Gabrielle as well as to Xena, to give back something each lost: a life. Eve is someone Xena and Gabrielle can love together. What a gift!
Jackie Henry. 49. Tennessee. Graphics & camera operator for local TV Production Co. A XWP obsessed fan for just over 4 years. I believe this is the most unique and creative show I've ever been lucky enough to watch.
Favorite episode: DESTINY (36/212)
Favorite line: Xena: "Watch me -- I have many skills." TIES THAT BIND (20/120)
First episode seen: DREAMWORKER (03/103)
Least favorite episode: ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS (13/113)