Whoosh! Issue 58 - July 2001
Letters to the Editor



Page Ten




Group Therapy #035-050

[G035]

From: Kim Borgen
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Thoughts on the Xena Series Finale.......

What did I think of the Xena: Warrior Princess Series Finale? Such a simple, yet painfully agonizing question. The truth is, I'm still waiting to see "Friend In Need III", which obviously hasn't made its way to my area yet. You know the episode I mean...... The one that cements six awesome years of friendship, love and adventure with a sense of "immortal destiny". The episode that once again reunites two soulmates, who have sacrificed everything to stay together, as we watch passionately from the comfort of our living rooms. The episode which wipes clean the vision of our favorite Bard holding the other half of our Dynamic Duo in an urn. The episode that once again restores our undeniable faith in the triumph of good over evil and the innate knowledge that ALL Superheroes live to fight another day. Oh, it hasn't aired in your area either?

Then here's the crux of my problem with the finale. Over the course of 6 years, Xena has become something of a "super hero" identity whether Rob Tapert meant it that way or not. Perhaps it's because she was initially linked to Hercules and in a way, took up his battle against evil? Perhaps its because our Warrior Princess was never truly defeated, defying all odds, as only true Superheroes can do. Regardless of the reasons, Tapert created an Icon, a Superhero, who not only captured our hearts but our imagination as well. We cried for her, we cheered for her, and I'm sure there are those who were willing to die for her. Xena is our heroine, our Superhero, who was able to do battle with even the best of the Olympian gods, or in fact, all of the Olympian gods and then some. So why did Hercules saunter into the sunset, while our blood, sweat and tears Superhero was left in an urn? I have no possible explanation other than Mr. Tapert and Mr. Stewart either forgot, or just never knew, what a true Superhero is.

For me, this finale missed an opportunity to accomplish what no other Superhero show in history has ever been able to do. For six years they have cleverly woven a "youthful" appeal with some of the most pertinent and passionate adult centered themes and dilemmas we've ever seen. They captured the hearts and minds of what undoubtedly could be called the most diversified audiences of all time and lit up the media week after week. They had the opportunity to give all people of all ages, race and sex a Superhero, who they not only fell in love with, but one who would live on in their minds and hearts forever. But they blew it. Plain and simple, and in my honest opinion, they blew it.

Their attempts at bringing things "full circle" in the finale could clearly be seen and I thought Lawless and O'Connor were flawless. Their acting, passion and ability to deliver one superb performance after another has never been called into question, and this finale was no different. No matter the outcome, I love these two women! They take every script, good or bad, and somehow make me love it, even when I hate it. And there lies the rub........

I loved everything in this finale that allowed the fans a chance to once again submerse themselves in the love and friendship of the Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard. Unfortunately, I will forever remain a loyal fan of the true Super Hero mentality. The mentality behind every hero or heroine that ever invaded my home as a child and that I still long for today. I'm the fan who fundamentally believes that my "Superheroes" should always 'live to fight another day'; they should not be carried around in an urn. The faithful viewer who always believed that I should "Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel...."

For me, the Xenaverse ended in a world I would rather not acknowledge. A world where Shaggy eats 'Scooby Snacks' without Scoob. A place where 007 makes his way into an 'urn' rather than a bed. Remmington Steele is solving crimes without Laura Holt. Apollo found his "shiny new planet known as Earth" without Starbuck. Robin looks sadly at Batman's unused utility belt, while Lois tries desperately to find a way to leap a tall building in a single bound..............

I can honestly thank Rob, Lucy, & Renee for 6 excellent seasons of non-stop fun and unbelievable acting, but as far as the final taste in my mouth concerning the Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard? I truly believe there are large and small screen personas that should always be left "just as they are" (or at least with a pulse) - Xena and Gabrielle are two of them.

So, is this truly the end? No movie to bring back our heroine? No "Friend In Need III"? If that's the case, I'm honestly glad Tapert & Stewart aren't in charge of "redeeming" any more of my heroes, from the looks of the news, I don't think the world can afford that kind of redemption. Perhaps Mr. Raimi got out in time and "Spider-Man" will make it........ then again, maybe not.....?

Thanks for six amazing years, but I'll thank you more if I get my Superhero back!

Kim Borgen






[G036]

From: Graz
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2001
Subject: my thoughts on the finale

I have not seen the finale. And living in Australia I probably won't for a long time to come. And what I base my opinion on is the hundreds of posts, spoilers and emails that I have read regarding this ending.

The reaction to the finale has been nothing short of fascinating. I have been a part of the Xenaverse since 1998 and I have never seen anything like this before. This surpasses all previous debates and we all know that Xenites argue of EVERYTHING!

I love Joxer!
Are you insane?
The Rift was great.
It was the beginning of the end.
Season five isn't that bad.
Are you serious?
Xena and Gabrielle are lovers.
No! They're close, like sisters! (If my sister acted that way to me....)

I think, for the very first time in Xenaverse history, every Xenite agreed on the same thing. The wish to see, at the end of Friend in Need, Xena and Gabrielle walk off into the sunset and onto their next adventure.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

I look forward to seeing FIN. From what I have read there are many beautiful moments. It was wonderfully filmed and Lucy and Renee (particularly Renee) somehow managed to take their performance to another level. But I will NEVER like the ending. NEVER. Nothing anybody says could ever get me to change my mind.

Coming full circle, achieving redemption, fighting for the greater good, fulfilling their destiny, continuing one of the GREAT love stories...all this could have been achieved with Xena and Gabrielle battling on to fight another day. The finale did not need Xena's death to make it unforgettable. And my opinion of Mr Tapert's vision? That redemption can only be found in death?

What a crock.

On Sunday night, the 18th of June, I visited the Netforum to see how it all ended. Xena dies. And stays that way. Tears immediately sprung to my eyes. I couldn't believe it. I continued reading and found out the exact nature of Xena's death. She is shot with multiple arrows, beheaded, stripped naked and left hanging from a tree. I stared at the screen in disbelief. And I cried. Xena may have died the way of the warrior, but she deserved a better send off than that. Throughout the episode, it is said that death by decapitation is an honourable death.

Honourable my *ss.

What was even more horrible to read about was when Gabrielle found the body. She fell to her knees and vomited. Then fought to retrieve the head. Again, tears fell, and I hadn't even seen the episode. I cannot begin to imagine how I would feel watching this happen.

But the one thing that I can never accept is the physical separation of Xena and Gabrielle. Xena doing the "even in death I will never leave you" ghost thing is a very small comfort. They have been together for 32 years! Twenty five years sleeping in ice, one year with Gabrielle sleeping in a circle of fire, Xena without her memory. And the remaining six years saw Xena and Gabrielle go through every heart ache that could possibly be imagined. They literally went through hell. The least they deserved was a happy ending. And so did we.

Rob Tapert said they wouldn't be killed off.
He lied.
He also said that he wanted the finale to be uplifting.
He failed.
Lucy said that we wouldn't be disappointed with the ending.
Bzzzzz! Wrong!
Lucy also stated that the ending is good for Gabrielle.
Heh? HOW???

Will this ending destroy my love for the show? No. I love it too much. I doubt that there will ever be a show that could affect me as much as Xena has. And I will forever be grateful to Rob, Lucy, Renee (especially Renee) and all the cast and crew who worked so very hard over the past six years. This show has changed lives and that will be it's legacy. It was NEVER just a television show. Xena, and the Xenaverse, will never die.

Rob Tapert wanted to shock. And be remembered. For years to come, television history will speak of Xena and THAT finale. Unfortunately, this claim for immortality (not that Xena needed it anyway) came at the disappointment of most fans who followed the show passionately for six years.

*Sagittarius*






[G037]

From: Valerie Brown
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: My opinion

Please let me preface my statement by noting that the ending of Xena: Warrior Princess made me sad. Sad as in weeping my eyes out sad. It was hard to watch as characters as fabulous as Xena and Gabrielle finished their glorious run.

That being said I have to admit that I grudgingly thought the ending was a fit one and as more time passes I think it was the only ending possible...for now.

For me, everything hinged on how Gabrielle reacted to the loss of Xena and that leads us to the last scene on the boat. First, Gabrielle is smiling. Renee O'Connor, with her usual outstanding acting, didn't make it an "I'm going to be brave about this" smile. When the hand appeared on her shoulder and Xena was there speaking to Gabrielle it became apparent that lack of a physical body wasn't going to stand in the way of the closest of all relationships between these two.

Now here is a crucial point for me that I know will be debated. After Xena kisses Gabrielle on the head and they are both smiling, the camera pulls back and we see Gabrielle by herself. Call me screwy but I didn't interpret this to mean that Xena wasn't there but rather this was the way the world would see Gabrielle-- alone. Gabrielle, and all true believers in the Xenaverse, know that Xena is there and always will be. To me, it was like being let in on a beautiful secret. This scene reminded me of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir". (The classic movie not the hokey TV show.) In that movie the Captain could only be seen by Mrs. Muir but that didn't diminish his presence at all. Soulmates destined to be together will be together, one way or another.

I know some viewers will be upset that Gabrielle and Xena aren't together physically but even those of us who believed in subtext (count me in here) knew that their relationship was something even MORE meaningful and wondrous that that. It will endure.

So Xena boldly went out the way a true warrior should, doing something noble and heroic. It was a sad and fine thing at the same time.

I'm fairly sure my viewpoint will be in the minority but that's okay. If Xena taught us anything it's that it's okay for Amazons, gods, centaurs and humans to exist together. Let us now hope that the ending spawns a million "Return of Xena" fan fiction stories and that we will see Xena and Gabrielle together again soon. Until that time we will miss them like h*ll.

Respectfully,
Valerie Brown






[G038]

From: Sabine Mitchell
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Final Episode

I am still numb from the final episode. Angry and numb. I can't even begin to explain my feelings at this time, except for angry and numb. This was not now I expected a show that has given us so much in the past 6 years to end. It is such a disappointment.






[G039]

From: Fran Heckrotte
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Xena Final ending

The success of movies and television series are based on the ability of the producer and actors to bond with the public. Such a bonding is an emotional attachment that usually involves hating or loving the characters. (The supporters of Xena and Gabrielle loved them.) Producers have a responsibility to the public to recognize such attachments. For six years fans peered through the window into the lives of these two women, watching them experience life at its best and its worst. Mr. Tapert was the creator of these characters and as such may have felt entitled to do with them as he wished. I feel, however, he forgot that he was not the only one who had investments in their creations or success. Had not the public taken these ladies into their hearts, Mr. Tapertís Xena would have been but a flicker in the candle he lit... and then extinguished. Instead, millions of supporters fanned his flame (and dream) into a burning inferno. It was their time, money, enthusiasm, donations, devotion and, yes, lives that made Mr. Tapert, Lucy Lawless, Renee OíConnor and others household names. Mr. Tapert either forgot that or didnít care. To have given the viewers a happy ending would have cost him nothing...it would have fulfilled the fanís dreams. I donít begin to fathom the mental processes of an individual that had so much power to make people happy and chose to devastate them. I will always wish success to Mr. Tapert and the rest of the participants of Xena. I just will not get too involved in any future projects of his lest he feel the need to once again play God with our emotions. I have no ill feelings towards him...He brought us almost six years of great entertainment. So how, do I really feel about the ending? I HATED IT!. I feel hurt, betrayed, nauseous. I recognize they are not real characters. I do not live in a fantasy world. I am very well grounded in reality and still I feel I have lost two well-loved friends.

Fran Heckrotte






[G040]

From: Peg Steigerwald
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001

It's taken me this full past week to really sort out what bugs me about the chosen ending and I think I finally have it.

We have Xena, a female warrior, who wants to fully repent for past violence. This will be her unwavering path for 6 years and she will stumble plenty on that path as she tries to figure out how to achieve redemption while continuing in the only lifestyle she knows: warrior. She soon meets someone who has that answer. And we, the audience, happily watch as that answer is played out over time in a 'seemingly' satisfying way.

She meets and gradually befriends, at a critical time, Gabrielle, a 'gabby' yet overly-intuitive-for-her-age girl, who initially wants to become a warrior upon seeing Xena in action. Xena is her ticket to adventure and away from boring village life.

In their travels, Gabrielle sloooowly becomes privy to the immense depth of Xena's pain and reasons for it and, up until the finale, is increasingly successful in attenuating Xena's mental, physical and spiritual angst in ways that Xena doesn't seem to be able to do for herself. Gabrielle is Xena's salvation -- accent on salve. Their respect and love for each other's strengths grows as expected between true friends.

But herein lies a tricky problem.

To be balanced, and therefore life-enhancing, the world needs both Yin (the female principle) and Yang (the male principle) to be afforded equal respect. We don't want a world of sheep, but neither are we thrilled with our recently acquired power to devastate the planet with one well-placed thermonuclear device. Xena's path is fully Yang-centered, and Gabrielle's path is, at heart, Yin. While Xena teaches Gabrielle the way of warfare and self-protection in a world she perceives as primarily dangerous, Gabrielle teaches Xena the way of peace, love and forgiveness in a world she will always view as fundamentally good, just as she sees Xena as fundamentally good and deserving of forgiveness and all the good things life has to offer.

Through the 6 years it seemed to me that Gabrielle's ways would eventually win out; would help Xena find balance and peace. This was a show that pushed the proverbial envelope. I sat back, fully expecting Xena to balance the Yin and Yang within with Gab's help. If Xena did not want to put down the sword entirely (after all she's d*mn good with it!) at least I felt encouraged that she would eventually rise above the strange need for daily redemption not to mention the even stranger notion of vengeance that ultimately consumed her on her last day of life. Wasn't the need for (A)vengeance one of the things she'd been working to unload over the last 6 years?

In the end, the script caved in to its Yang beginnings, which should come as no surprise in our world. Look at your history books. Hell, look at today's newspaper. Look at the movies. It's much easier to write Yang. And it sells much better.

To be truly innovative, really courageous -- to really push the envelope and be 'defiant', this series needed to have Gabrielle win in the end, because that was the only way Xena could truly, spiritually win. Instead we have one young crippled warrior and one misguided dead one; misguided by falling off the wagon one final time and not getting back on because the pull of murky notions of redemption and vengeance as foundations of The Greater Good suddenly, oddly, inexplicably carried more weight with Xena than did the enlightenment afforded by unswerving love.

To make this ending work, I had to convince myself that Xena was oxygen-deprived too long up on Mt. Fuji and, therefore, temporarily insane in her decision, because she would not intentionally hurt Gabrielle at this stage of the game, especially considering what they had already learned only too well about inflicting grave pain on each other.

Gabrielle's fault in this ending was in not remaining true to that wonderful, gabby, litigation style that would put Johnny Cochran to shame. She could always change Xena's mind. If she didn't downright disobey (I would) and resurrect Xena, she should have at least put up one of her brilliant defenses. What happened to the Gab that said in The Ring "I never listen!!" and ran off to save Xena's life? The script wouldn't let that Gabrielle speak or fight for Xena's life.

Unfortunately, not only does Gabrielle lose in Xena's personal redemption war, but she too is won over to the Yang side. She is now a warrior. We have a script where Xena's lessons about violence and her ultimate caving in to Yang notions of honor and vengeance shove aside Gab's endless lessons about love. So Gabrielle loses on two fronts. She loses herself and she loses Xena.

Xena's death bugged me enough. Gabrielle's living death is totally unacceptable.

So, for me, Yin and Yang remain unbalanced in this script, in this series, just as they do in our time and through time. And where's the storytelling 'defiance' in that?






[G041]

From: Terri Thompson
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Group Therapy issue

It's been a few days since the overwhelming shock, and I am finding myself coming out of my comatose state. I have vented hard in here how I would not watch the Finale, and believe me I meant it every time I said it, yet now, after battling within myself what really happened here, I have to have closure with Xena.

How can I have that without seeing it through? I can't have watched all episodes in the past 6 years and have closure if one is still left hanging there, silently calling at me to get over it and get on with it.

No, it is not how I or most of us wanted it to end, yet after reading Tapert's words, the end was the end from the beginning. And after reading the Episode details, and I believe this is what was bothering me the most in the past few days, I felt that they left Gabrielle alone in the world without Xena. That is not totally true though is it? Xena is at her side forever. Gabrielle can see, feel and love her, yet no one else can, as long as she can, that's something that I feel I can come to swallow.

Redemption....O.K.....Redemption....That I have trouble with still, but yet...I probably can deal with it, for she was a Warrior, she died a Warrior, a brutal death I know...but death is brutal...I have to look at it this way...Xena took thousands of lives more brutal than her death and much less brutal than hers, but in any case she did slaughter. She sought redemption for all her years with Gabby...she got what she sought, not the way she probably wanted it, yet wanted it all the same, and, I guess diers can't be choosers.

I will tell you the most important reason why I changed my mind now. Lucy and Renee did give their blood, sweat,tears, time away from family, brutal weather conditions, 16 hour days seven days a week for 6 long years. She broke her pelvis for God sakes falling off Tilly, learned martial arts and fighting techniques quicker than most actors can and they also pulled off the hardest thing of all, and that is the Greatest love of all.

I come to the bittersweet moment now within myself that asks this question: Because it did not end the way that "I" wanted it too, am I going to reach my hands through their chest and rip their hearts out and stomp on them and make their VERY hard efforts to entertain us all for nothing?

I know we feel slapped in the face by Tapert and R.J.---But I refuse to slap Lucy and Renee in their face when it was never their decision in the first place. I wouldn't mind sinking Robert's Folly, but I refuse to be a part of taking the wind out of my 2 favorite actresses sails at a milestone in their lives.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts, I hope you all can come to closure with this in any way you can to feel better.






[G042]

From: Troubadour99
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2001
Subject: therapy

I certainly need some sort of therapy over the way the series ended. If Rob T. wanted to kill them off and end the series/franchise, he could have let them be in the spirit world together. The fact that one is alive and one dead tears me up. The way Xena died was so brutal I could hardly watch the episode. I'm terribly sad without them.






[G043]

From: Gary
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: THE PROBLEM WITH XENA'S REDEMPTION

the thing that i didn't buy at all was ' xena's redemption'. well, let me cut to the quick,... xena states at the end "for those souls to reach a state of grace, they must be avenged." for me ' grace' is never achieved by any act of vengeance, i.e., in this case, xena having to stay dead for them to be avenged in order for them to attain "grace". ' grace' doesn't demand anything to be "avenged" -- like love and forgiveness doesn't require or seek any act of vengeance. but that's just it; xena's redemption is not based on love and forgiveness but on a misdeed being "avenged". ( xena's words, not mine). after six years xena is left as a ghost and a cup full of ashes in gabby's hand -- a female ' obi-wan-kenobi'. I just feel ' it' (xena's redemption) was better handled in ' adventures in the sin trade' or the ' ring' trilogy -- note, both in these stories "love" & "forgiveness" are words directly mentioned by xena in how salvation/redemption is achieved -- and how they are never mentioned in the ' friend' episodes in relationship to the 40,000 souls. ( yes, ' love' is mentioned in reference to xena & gabby, as it has many times before, i.e., nothing new). for me, when it comes to"a state of grace" & " redemption" it is through love & forgiveness, not by avenging anything. ghandi was right.






[G044]

From: Fran Watson
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Submission for Whoosh

Sins Of The Past
Toxicity for the Now Good Heart

I have never in my almost 50 years become an obsessed fan of a TV show until Xena WP. I have as much of a sense of loss now has I had excitement when I discovered the show when I viewed my first episode, The Greater Good. I was spellbound, emotional, absorbed and it changed my life for the next 4 years. I went to too many conventions, read Whoosh obsessively, bought the original Chakram, Xena's sword and all the video collections except the heart empty Season 5. I will buy Season 6 and after a roller coaster of feelings this week, I finally understand the ending.

As a physician I have seen people get to a point in life when they cease to be strengthened by the enormous challenges they have to face and instead, they get weakened. Xena had faced one too many sins from her past and the toxicity of the death, corruption and destruction she caused as Evil Xena finally wore her down. She was able to right this tremendous wrong in Japan by her sacrifice but knew her end had come. She was to blame for the fire. She was drunk and by doing the fire breathing trick, she cause the town to go up in a blaze. No amount of love, understanding or depth of friendship could keep her here on Earth to face another dark chapter from her past. Xena knew that by this sacrifice, she was also sparing Gabrielle. She gave Gabrielle the best part of her and kept her promise to not leave her, even in death.

Gabrielle still has Xena and has her in the best possible way. No one will be coming after Xena to kill her. No one will accuse her of yet another wrong deed from her past. (I know she did a lot of horrible things but I thought some of the people from her old days did not take enough responsibility for their own choices in life.) Gabrielle has Xena at her side and in a form with deep love and commitment. I hated to lose the physical Xena as much as anyone, but in this lifetime, Xena belongs to Gabrielle now. Those of us who have taken from her have to give her up temporarily. We can keep the part of Xena that we have incorporated into our lives and go on with what the fates have in store for us. Xena will be back, but for now, she needs to get replenished in the spiritual world in the company of the one person who will take care of her heart, mind and soul.

Fran Watson
Minneapolis, MN






[G045]

From: Xena fan
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: Xena

Man oh man, why in all the world was Xena killed off???????????? That was the wrong move!!!!!!!!!!! The season finale was made very well. I was very pleased to see Gabrielle becoming so strong so fast. That was amazing to see. And I did like the episode as a whole.

But I would be lying if I did not admit to going into a bad case of depression after the part two!!!! I could not sleep!!! All I can think about is that Xena is dead and Gabrielle is traveling with the spirit of Xena not with Xena being alive traveling with her.

I was overwhelmed with sadness.

xena fan






[G046]

From: Michelle
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: xena

i think the end was terrible.

she's a fictional hero. no reason to have such a brutally realistic ending. people get massacred all over the world for pete's sake. i don't watch these fantasy shows to think about that. i watch the news for that.

and why it is very suspicious that it is a woman hero who gets this treatment. i don't know of any other male heroes who ended this way, although their might be some. it is even more suspicious that she (seems to be) a lesbian (bisexual) hero.

also no kiss for the sake of kissing.

and gabrielle should have died with her. at least that i could see. like Romeo and Juliet.

although the ending is feasible. i think its a load of crap

and i won't be watching anymore tapert productions.

michelle






[G047]

From: SHADOWF682
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: xena

I can't even begin to express the pain I feel over the way this show ended....what can I say...it makes no sense...it feels as if none of it was work while...I really can't even talk about it.






[G048]

From: Richa
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001
Subject: About the season-finale

About the season ender, I have to say that I was already sad that the show was ending. But by the end of the 1-hour finale, I was sad *AND* disappointed. A little disappointed by the fact that Xena died but a lot more disappointed by the fact that Xena and Gabrielle got separated and Gabrielle would live the rest of her life without the other half of her soul. Now that's terrible! I mean she just lost the most integral part of herself. That, I believe, is the most horrible part of the ending.

Although it is clear to see the cast and crew of Xena:Warrior Princess, have put a lot of effort in the season finale. What with the large number of samurai, the setting, etc. I appreciate that greatly as it has all been done for us, the fans. But I can't help feeling disappointed over the ending. It would have certainly been better, in my opinion, if Xena had stayed alive, received her redemption and, so as to speak, rode away into the sunset with Gabrielle. Or I would have preferred if Gabrielle had also died with Xena. And I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who is upset by the season-finale.

Yours sincerely,
Richa






[G049]

From: Linlouro
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001
Subject: Final Xena Episode

Didn't like the idea if Xena dying. I was hoping the last episode would end on a happier note. That they would just go on, with each other to another episode in their lives.






[G050]

From: Scifi1
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001
Subject: Xena Finale Very upset and disappointed...It left young women without a hero to look up to...








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