Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000
Letters to the Editor




October Letters

Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2000
From:
Ogami
Subject: Letter to the Editor

Perdicus wrote:

"One cannot discuss Season Five without first going back to Season Three's "Rift" saga and its' profound effects on the Xenaverse. Let's start out by comparing the kids."

Quite true. The writers of the 5th season don't agree, but thank you for agreeing on my point that these are comparable. Just one or two sentences between Xena and Gabrielle regarding their similar mysterious, magical pregnancies would have eliminated a lot of my concerns over how the 5th season played out.

"I see it differently. Hope clearly started out evil, strangling one of the Knights of the Pierced Heart only hours after she was born. I believe that this theme was supported throughout all of Hope's appearances; that she was, in fact, irredeemably evil. Granted, Xena and Gab didn't handle the situation all that well, but let's face it; they never had a chance."

Do we know Hope was born evil? No, we don't. We do know that Hope had a tendency towards evil, but that tendency could have been corrected with early love. Hope didn't get that, Xena forced Gabrielle to abandon Hope to the elements, where apparently Dahak's child-rearing then held sway. Xena never gave Hope the chance for goodness, only Dahak believed in her. (With the obvious results.)

Hope being born evil was Xena's opinion, as it is yours. I have no problem with that. But what did Xena know of Hope? She knew that Hope had a human mother (as was confirmed by Hope's physical appearance in Sacrifice), and that Hope had a godly father. Hope was half human/half god.

The problem is, there are many other precedents on Xena and Hercules for such a person. Hercules meets that description, Eve meets that description, as does Ares' infant son Evander.

Both Hercules and Evander were born with magical powers, powers that they could have accidentally injured or killed others with as children. Indeed, this very possibility was an important plot point in the Hercules' series finale Full Circle. Evander was born an infant with magical powers, he could have accidentally killed somebody, had the writers put him in such a position. The exact position they put Hope in, with the Knight of the Pierced Heart (Gabrielle's Hope).

We don't know if Hope killed the knight by accident with her powers, and neither did Xena. Xena assumed the worse. That was wrong by the writers to make that assumption. Hercules and Iolaus didn't try to murder the infant Evander because he was the son of an evil god (Ares), they gave him a chance at life. Just like Xena should have given Hope. Xena gave Eve this chance, making her (unintentionally) a hypocrite at best with regards to Gabrielle's own magical, mysterious pregnancy.

"And as for Eve, even Xena and Gabrielle gave up on her eventually. Xena was prepared to kill her own daughter--until she lost her nerve at the last minute. The main difference here, I think, is destiny. Hope was always destined for evil, but Eve was always supposed to be destined for good. As Xena said in "Motherhood", "I was chosen as the mother of the messenger."
I never said the writers didn't succeed in their goal here, boy did they ever. They succeeded in pulling off what you describe, I just found it a horrible message to send. I feel the writers were quite mistaken in making Christianity the focus of a fantasy show set in the Greek Age of Legends. I also feel Xena and Gabrielle were rewritten in drastic terms to make them wholly unrecognizable from the heroines we enjoyed before. (in every way that counts)
"Again, I disagree. Bringing up Hope and Ming Tien at this stage would only reopen old wounds. It took a lot of time and energy for Xena & Gab to get past that; they couldn't afford to let it cloud their focus. If you will forgive a trite epigram; that was then, this is now."
Which beggars the question: If the Hope rift was behind Xena and Gabrielle, why did the writers feel it a neat idea to make Hope the focus of Gabrielle's madness in Motherhood? It seemed a disservice to the character and the fans to place Gabrielle in this position, considering her pain didn't rate any mention this season. (Indeed, the crazed writers even had Gabrielle admit to Xena in Married with Fishschticks that she wasn't any good with children. And Xena just nods, yeah right.)

The way the writers ignored Hope in the 5th season reached ludicrous proportions. There were repeated humorous instances of the word 'hope' being invoked between Xena and Gabrielle with regards to Xena's UNIQUELY-experienced pregnancy. It seems Xena and Gabrielle could freely use the lower-case "hope", with never batting an eye that they were invoking Gabrielle's forgotten daughter. It was hilarious. The funniest use was in God Fearing Child, where Xena herself used the word hope to Solan, his very murderer. He didn't even blink. Great writing, guys. ;)

"All those in favor of rushing to judge your own daughter and condemn her to death, no matter how you feel about it personally and regardless of any mitigating circumstances, raise your hands. I thought so. Xena killed Ming Tien and Callisto when she was wild with anger. Both of them knew what she was capable of and deliberately provoked her to push her of the edge. Also, the "Gab Drag" was provoked by Ares and committed in a state of anger bordering on insanity. Eve was raised by a Roman emperor and seduced by the God of War. Given that, and her heritage, the result was understandable."
Many people are of the opinion that Xena had to Chak Gabrielle in the head in Motherhood. Fine. But many of us also noted how carefully Xena used her Chakram elsewhere in the episode when Eve was in mortal danger. Witness at the very start, Xena destroying two spears heading for Eve, by expertly clipping her two Chakram halves AROUND AND IN FRONT OF Eve. And not once, but twice, Ares appeared near Eve, and Xena disabled him without a lethal blow. Even Ares standing next to Eve with his sword drawn is only enough for Xena to disarm him, not to Chak him in the head like Gabrielle. Great aim, terrible writing.

As for seasons past, the counsel of Ares at the start of The Bitter Suite was exactly that, counsel. Xena was not under his mind control. However, I will say Motherhood confirmed a consistency with Xena: Gabrielle will receive the ultimate punishment if she harms one of Xena's children. I hope Gab got that through her thick skull. (Of course, the Chakram is what did that.)

If you feel Eve's character was fleshed out as far as motivation for her evil, that's fine. I feel she was as thin as cardboard, and I really don't see how being sent to rich boarding schools turns you into a crucifier of thousands. (But that's just me.)

"Xena tried to kill Eve when she (Xena) was more rational than when she killed Callisto or Ming Tien. It is not so easy to kill a helpless enemy in cold blood, especially when it's your daughter."
This might ring a bell with Gabrielle, and the crux of one of my points. I wonder why Xena was so cold-blooded and non-understanding of Gabrielle's pain in the 3rd season. Because this is what Xena expected her to do without question, without complaint, and without grief. Yet in the 5th season, Xena expects Gabrielle to agree with her total change of heart regarding magical children without question, without complaint, and without grief for her own daughter. The contrast was diabolical, moreso by their silence on the topic.
"Xena would never forgive herself for killing her own daughter without trying everything she can think of to save her. Even then, I don't think she could forgive herself. No matter what your child is like, it is never easy to lose them, let alone kill them yourself."
Then you've just hit on why the 3rd season Hope storyline was so wrong, and so badly handled. The Rift destroyed the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, and never put it back together. And your above paragraph sums up why. For the writers to duplicate the exact same storyline, yet have Xena act as all peaceness, pureness, good, and light, was utterly ludicrous and insulting.
"Yes, the circumstances Eve and Hope were in were vaguely similar; they were both conceived in unusual ways and born under extreme conditions. They were both separated from their natural mothers from extended periods of time, only to resurface as agents of evil. So why did Eve get saved and not Hope? I think there are three main contributing factors. In chronological order..."
My answer is poor writing. If it's Gabrielle's daughter, the writers consider Gabrielle a flimsy plot device, along with her blighted offspring. If it's Xena's daughter, that makes Eve more important, and every effort must be made to lead her to the light and goodness. That distinction may make sense to the writers, but not to a whole lot of viewers.

You offer three good reasons for Xena's behavior in the 5th season. I offer the following as to why Xena should have been suspicious at being impregnated without her knowledge or consent: (courtesy Nah-ah)

____________________________________

S3 - Hope was conceived through the power of a god (dahok) who wanted the Greek gods destroyed so he could fulfill his desires for the world domination (which requires a daughter) via the intermediate krafstar/the deliverer - to a human mom Gab without her consent or knowledge -

S5 - Eve was conceived through the power of a god (one god) who wanted the Greek gods destroyed so he could fulfill his desires for the world domination (which requires a daughter) via the intermediate Cal/touched by an angel - to a human mom Xena without her consent or knowledge -

S3/5 - Both offspring were born as their mothers were being pursued by those who did not want the child born - and both offspring were chased by those who would kill them and protected by their birth mothers - via deceptions

S3/5 - each daughter (hope/eve)ends up being raised by others due to their mothers schemes to save them - which also result in both daughters being influenced by gods who wished to use them - Hope/dakok -- eve/ares

S3 - gabs lies to xena about hopes death

S5 - xena lies to gabs that she can kill livia/eve

S3/5 - both daughters attempt to make war on the world and end up murdering friends of xena and gabs (hope - the centaur - eve joxer)

S3/5 - both daughters are involved in kids kill kids plots --- hope killed solan ....Joxers son attempts to kill eve

S3/5 - both daughters are seduced by Ares

S3/5 - both had their mothers attempt to kill them (gabs went through with it for the greater good and her love for xena - xena failed to go through with it)

S3/5 - both kids had the opposite "partner" X or G take a shot at killing them - xena attempted to kill baby hope -- gab awoke to find xena about to slice her kid up - and talked xena down --- xena comes in to find gab (driven nuts by the furies) stabbing eve -- and kills gabs with her chakram

S3/5 both daughters were seduced by ares

S3 - child (MingT) and mother (LaoM) face off - LM would rather die than kill her own child - later her protegee xena does it for her - brains the kid - and xena's the "hero"

S5 - child (eve) and mother (xena) face off - Xena would rather die than kill her own child - later her protegee gabs does it for her - gabs is brained - and gabs is the "goat"

S3/5 xena - kills gab over the death of her kid in both seasons - drags gabs over half the known world and then cries about it

____________________________________

That's just a partial list, the writers are illusioned if they don't see a single similarity here. There were massive similarities between the two storylines, and for the writers to ignore the opportunities in having Xena and Gab share a few words on the matter is beyond my ability to forgive.

Sorry to get long-winded there. I do agree on Robert Trebor, his presence would have been more welcome to this viewer than Joxer's slapstick excursions. (I certainly think Salmoneus would have made a more enjoyable Married with Fishschticks husband.)

And on that note, we can probably agree. :)

-John
(Ogami)






From: andrew.shaughnessy@talk21.com
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2000
Subject: Letter to the Editor

I have a few problems with the comments made by Perdicus in his response to John Baber's "Season Five in Review". In defending Eve he says, "Hope clearly started out evil, strangling one of the Knights of the Pierced Heart only hours after she was born." While it is true that Hope was Goewin's killer, it was never proven in GABRIELLE'S HOPE. Xena merely assumed Hope was responsible without considering any other possibilities. Her words in earlier scenes also made it abundantly clear that she was prejudiced against Hope from the moment of her birth, and would never give her the benefit of any doubt.

As for Hope being irredeemably evil, this cannot be stated with certainty. What if Gabrielle had been allowed to raise her from infancy? Had she done so, and failed to turn Hope aside from her dark path, this would have proved that the child was indeed beyond redemption. I still have my doubts, however, for in SACRIFICE II a clearly resentful Hope says of her mother, "There wasn't enough love in her to let me live." If Hope were entirely Dahak's creature, why would she care whether or not Gabrielle loved her? Would she even understand the concept of love? Even at this late stage, there appears to have been a spark of humanity left in her. What might she have become with Gabrielle's love and support to offset her dark nature? The "balance" between good and evil of which Seraphin spoke? We will never know.

Moving on to Eve/Livia (in my opinion the most gratuitously vicious character the Xenaverse has ever produced), Perdicus states, "Eve was raised by a Roman emperor and seduced by the God of War. Given that, and her heritage, the result was understandable." The first point would be valid had Eve grown up in the reign of Tiberius. Augustus, however, was one of the better Roman emperors and not noted for his murderous tendencies. His worst failing appears to have been marital infidelity. As for Ares seducing Eve, Xena had been a warlord for some time before the God of War took an interest in her. It seems logical to conclude that Eve had already shown evidence of her evil nature in order to attract his attention.

This brings me to Eve's heritage. Xena said of Eve in LIVIA, "She has my darkness inside of her. She has Callisto's spirit. Those are tough odds to beat." Past episodes show that this statement makes no sense. THEM BONES, THEM BONES makes it quite clear that Eve possessed a soul long before she was born. It may be assumed that she had one from the moment of her "conception" in FALLEN ANGEL. At that point, however, there was no "darkness" for her to inherit from her mother. Xena had been stripped of her knowledge of evil, and would not be reunited with her dark side until late in the following episode. The later merging of Callisto's angelic spirit with Eve's darkness-free soul should have resulted in a child who would grow up to make Gabrielle look like Alti. Instead, she became a bloodthirsty monster.

Anyone reading this will have seen the inconsistency between the last two paragraphs. Eve apparently became evil simply because she chose to, yet there was no reason for her to do so. Xena was betrayed by Caesar. Ming T'ien and Callisto were traumatised as children. What was Eve's excuse? Like much of the writing in Season Five, it seems to be another example of a character being twisted in order to fit the plot. The story arc required that Eve become evil, therefore she did, leaving Xena to defend the indefensible. After going to great lengths to persuade the "Thunderdome" Amazons that vengeance was not the way forward, she mortally wounded her best friend in an act of vengeance for someone who was, thanks to her unsympathetic portrayal in earlier episodes, hardly worth shedding a tear for.





An Interview with Alexandra Tydings

From: McSween747@aol.com
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000
Subject: Alexandria Tydings

I just read the interview you did with Alexandria Tydings in 1997. It sounds like it was a nice interview and she seems open and very friendly. She is one of my favorite characters on Herc and Xena. I just wanted to write and compliment on that.

Brian





6th Season Advertising

From: Mitchell Charles
Subject: Letter to the Editor
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000

Hey I was wondering why there has been no advertising for the 6th season. I havent seen anything on the tube or in the guides (including the fall season premier guide) about the 6th season. So of course I missed the first 2 episodes grrrrrrrrrrrr. (Unless the dates were changed and they havent aired here yet) Any idea why no plugs this season? Or have I been missing alot more that I thought?

Thanks
T. Mitchell









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