Whoosh! Issue 60 - September 2001

By Lynn Roberts
Group Therapy Project
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
1969 words

Introduction (01)
My Emotions Run The Gamut (02-05)
I Felt Deceived (06-11)
A True Nutball? (12-13)
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (14)
Right Idea, Wrong Order (15-18)



I don't know about you, but I'm glad *I'm* outta here!
Xena and Gabrielle don't exactly sail off into the sunset together.

[01] It is over. The final episode and the final season of Xena: Warrior Princess has come and gone. This show made me laugh, cry, think, and have fun. It was a terrific show with exceptional actors, writers, and crew. I have been known to sing it praises to anyone within earshot. Yet, why do I feel so rotten? Because of ten emotional minutes, that broke my heart. How do I write what I feel and tell it in such a way to make you feel it too? To say, "I cried" at the last episode says nothing of the deep pain in my heart.

My Emotions Run The Gamut

[02] Yes, I cried. I cried buckets of tears. I cried until I was wailing. I cried until no more tears would come. I had an empty burning in the pit of my stomach that would not go away. I felt shattered. For a few days I could not even look at the picture of Xena and Gabrielle I have hanging in my room without getting that hollow burning again as I passed by. Visions of that one moment when Xena stayed Gabrielle's hand as she went to pour Xena's ashes into the fountain and Gabrielle's confused and pained look haunted me for days. I felt compelled to put a good portion of my Xena collection in a box out of sight. For seeing the reminders hurt.

[03] When I hurt, I write. In the same way that Akemi explained to Xena, when an emotion overcomes me, I write poetry. Just a day after FRIEND IN NEED, I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper my own senji:

So empty
So cold
My heart is
like ice
that will not

[04] Yet, after awhile the tears turned to anger. HOW? How could you DO that? Turn everything into a lie in a few short minutes? Yes, that is all it took. It seemed the last six years were all for naught. I had no qualms about Xena going into battle without her armor. She had a job to do. She knew it and we knew it. Even then, she did not go as a sacrificial lamb. She went taking out as many of the soldiers of the invading army as possible. She went out fighting as a warrior to the end.

[05] Xena said at the end of the episode TSUNAMI that she could do no less. I would not have expected any less either. I understood her motive. No, it was not FRIEND IN NEED I or even most of FRIEND IN NEED II that troubled me, that broke my heart. It was last ten minutes that made me angry. Angry at what I see as two great lies.

I Felt Deceived

Lie #1. Xena had to stay dead.

[06] So love *is not* the greatest redeemer? It is death? Wow. Now there is a smack in the face. Therefore, no matter how good you are in life it does not matter. No amount of turning your heart around, no amount of forgiveness from those you have wronged, and no amount of others believing in you is enough? Only by death are you redeemed? Then what is the point of trying to better yourself in life? Then what was the point for Gabrielle to climb down the sheer wall of a cliff at the risk of her own life to save the urn of Xena's ashes?

[07] I do not see where Xena's decision to stay dead helps these souls she has freed. It was not out of ultimate love. She acted out of guilt of being responsible for a tragic accident. The same guilt that Gabrielle had when she accidentally killed Korah in LEGACY. Xena did her best then to talk Gabrielle out of accepting her death as a way to redeem his. So how is this different than that? Death as the ultimate redeemer? I do not accept that.

Lie #2. Gabrielle the Warrior

[08] I have heard many people conclude that Gabrielle has now come full circle, that she got what she asked for in the first episode, SINS OF THE PAST, which was to be like Xena. I, myself, have never seen it that way. Think back to when you were a teenager. Did you ever make up whatever you had to in order to get out of something you did not like or want to do? That is how I viewed season one Gabrielle. She was dying to get out of that suffocating town of Poteidaia. She could not bear to think her life would only be that of a farmer's wife. She yearned for adventure, to see the bigger picture, not necessarily *be* a warrior.

[09] However, her chance comes on that fateful day when she is rescued from slavers by a warrior. She knows this chance may never come again. So, what do you say to a warrior? You appeal to the ego. "I want to be like you. I want to know everything you know." Gabrielle even then knew how to use words to get what she wanted. From that point on, repeatedly it was clearly shown to us that her beliefs in love, compassion, and forgiveness rang more true for her than the way of the sword. Even as far into the series as the episode LEGACY, Gabrielle repeats the words "a warrior like me" with such pain and regret in her voice.

[10] Lucy Lawless recently remarked this show has always made the bold choice. Bold choice? I will show you a very bold choice. In RETURN OF CALLISTO, Gabrielle had the point of a sword at Callisto's throat. Watching, I was thinking to myself, "here we go again, taking a character that has is good in heart and soul, and having them kill because it is so much easier to write". My jaw dropped right along with Gabrielle's sword as Gabrielle said, "I won't kill, not even you". Wow! I cried then, too. I cried because The Powers That Be dared to write a compassionate and forgiving character. It was at that point that Gabrielle became my hero.

[11] So, what did it mean when Xena in FRIEND IN NEED I, finally taught Gabrielle the pinch? I saw it as Xena, a person knowing she was about to die, giving away all her possessions, as you will, to someone whom she loved, and in turn, making sure a part of herself would live on. She wanted to give the last bit of herself to Gabrielle. By doing this one act, Xena came full circle. I will always hold to the thought that Gabrielle goes on helping others. That the "light that shines from her face never goes out".

A True Nutball

[12] One may wonder as they read this if I somehow have lost my senses. Crying, mourning, and getting angry over a TV show? Do I not know the difference between fantasy and reality?

[13] Of course I do, most emphatically. I also know the reality of emptiness and loneliness. I know the day to day struggle with a disorder of the mind. I know what it is like to see someone you care about move away, to see someone as they are dying, and to see someone you love carried out of their home on a stretcher, dead. Did I cry buckets at those times? Of course. So, what is the difference with those tears and these I cry now?

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

[14] The difference is that I looked to Xena: Warrior Princess as a fantasy to take me away from reality. It was a place I could go to once a week and fall into stories of courage and forgiveness. I could watch someone battle the odds and win. Most of all, I saw it as a place that told me that love was the strongest force in the universe and forgiveness was the key. It was a dream where people could change no matter what their past. A dream that you could do anything if done for the greater good. All I wanted from that dream was a happy ending. It did not come. It left me empty. I cried for that loss. And you know what? It could have so easily ended differently. With just one simple change.

Right Idea, Wrong Order

When do *I* get to drive?
WHEN FATES COLLIDE offered a much happier outcome.

[15] I have read some comments from other Xena fans that the finale disappointed them so much that they consider another episode, WHEN FATES COLLIDE, to be the finale. Ironically, with one simple change, FRIEND IN NEED could have been remembered as one heck of a great episode as it rightfully should have. The change would be to have aired WHEN FATES COLLIDE as the final episode, following the two parter of FRIEND IN NEED.

[16] Think about it. How much more sense it would have made. How much better the closure. How much stronger the meaning to the look of determination on Gabrielle's face when she marches into the Fate's temple and destroys the loom. There are two ways you could view it. First, although Caesar changes the reality, the original reality happened. Xena rescues the 40,000 and remains dead. Her coming alive again in Caesar's new reality does nothing to change that. Or second, the fact that Caesar clips the threads back when he first met Xena and re-weaves them means that Xena never went to Chin or Japa in the first place. The death of those people never happened. In addition, when the loom is destroyed we see Xena and Gabrielle together again, but we are never told and are not quite sure what reality they are now in.

[17] Did they go back to *exactly* the way everything was before? Maybe, maybe not. That is the beauty of having it end that way, them together, riding off into the mist. The ending was left open for each of us to finish in our own way. In addition, that would have been the greatest gift The Powers That Be could have given us. Not to kill our dreams, but to let them always go on. However, it did not happen that way.

[18] Now I am the friend in need. On her own search for a happy ending.


Lynn Roberts Lynn Roberts

Lynn, a very artistic person, evident by her many drawings, paintings and her recently published book of poetry, has worked 20 years in the same bookstore at a University in the deep South. Her on-line name of Songkeeper is because as a friend once said..."she knows almost every song known to mankind" Her music collection spans the eras from before the turn of the century to the present in almost every style. It is rivaled only by her comic book collection. Of course, her collection includes every Xena CD and Xena comic book issued.
Favorite episode: THE PRICE, THE BITTER SUITE (for the guts to do a full fantastic musical in one hour!), and ONE AGAINST AN ARMY
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "You wouldn't be here in the first place if you had kept your hands off of my tomatoes." THE BLACK WOLF; Joxer trying to cheer up Gabrielle: "Aw Com'on. They can't all be...mediocre" LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE
First episode seen: DREAMWORKER
Least favorite episode: MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS

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