Xena and Gabrielle: From Subtext to Well Duh

Watching Xena Warrior Princess on DVD from the Hercules three episode origins to the final episode.

From their first almost kiss – Xena was in Autolycus’ body  – across the astral to the moral plane to their last kiss:

When you watch a weekly program, you tend to pay more attention to the episode, but watching on DVD uninterrupted by commercials or week-long breaks, and watching one episode after another in marathons, you start to pay more attention to the seasonal arcs.

Each episode has some challenge to get through, but the cumulative changes that happen to the characters throughout the episodes and that impact their decisions are the seasonal arc.

Season 1 of Xena begins with Xena making a decision to leave the warrior life for a life of good, but this resolve is challenged when Xena saves Gabrielle and her village from slavers. Xena realizes that to be good doesn’t mean not being a warrior, but being a different kind of warrior.

The first season perhaps didn’t set out to make Xena and Gabrielle the first adventuring TV lesbian couple, but I think that Robert Tapert had planned to make Xena change the world by showing us how hard Xena and Gabrielle were going to work to be together, despite past loves and potential future loves, that they fought to stay together in live and beyond.

Knowing how the show ended, it’s quite different to watch their story unfold than to watch to determine when the relationship stages could have occurred. By the end of the show, it wasn’t deniable that Xena and Gabrielle were a couple and there were far too many thesbian jokes – Xena bought Gabrielle Sappho tickets for her birthday in the final season.

So watching the show and “netflixing it” time, watching to see when certain relationship miles stones – like when is the earliest episode that they would be having sex by and when can there be no more doubt that they are a couple in every meaningful meaning of the word.

Whether people choose to ignore the sapphic subtext and even overt text and even in your face text to beleive that they were just friends, no one doubts the love and the bond between the two women. It’s ridiculous to think back on the show and pretend that they were anything but a couple.

Xena the Bad Girl was a three episode arc on Hercules and spun off as a Want to be Good Warrior with The Bard with the Biceps Sidekick: a budding Amazon Queen.

Season one of Xena broadcast from September 1995 to July 1996, back when a TV season lasted the school year. So summarizing as the seasonal arcs, rather than the episode stories:

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SEASON 1

Episode 1: Sins of the Past

Xena rescues Gabrielle from slavers and Gabrielle follows Xena into the wide world.

Episode 2: Chariots of War

Xena and Gabrielle resist the temptation of male versions of each other as potential mates and continue their travels together.

Throughout the series, Xena or Gabrielle would met and have feelings and maybe even sex with a man, but there was never a doubt that ultimately, Xena and Gabrielle would chose each other over anyone else. And not just because doing so would have ended the show, but from the characters themselves even to the various descendants and occupying other bodies.

Episode 3: Dreamworker

Xena undergoes a Dreamscape Passage of confronting her demons to rescue Gabrielle from Morpheus worshipers interested in her blood innocence. (Gabrielle hasn’t killed anyone yet)

Episode 4: Cradle of Hope

Xena revels her pragmatic romanticism to Gabrielle when she plays matchmaker for a King with a problematic prophesy baby and the granddaughter of the original Pandora, who has been doomed to wander the earth carrying the hope of all mankind.

What greater hope can there be than finding a home to belong to or for Xena and Gabrielle, someone to belong to.

Episode 5: The Path Not Taken

Xena fights for true love and romance again when she prevents an arms dealer from interfering with the marriage alliance of feuding kingdoms. Xena kisses the last of her heterosexuality goodby with the death of Marcus, although, she does have the odd falling back on old habits in future episodes; but nothing that Gabby has to be concerned over.

Episode 6: The Reckoning

Xena thwarts Aries attempt to recruit her back into his fold, while Gabrielle fights to save Xena from villager’s blood thirst.

Episode 7: The Titans

Gabrielle releases three Titans and demonstrates her mettle to be as strong as any warrior. Xena can’t look at Gabrielle as just some kid anymore, but as a strong and capable woman in her own right. They are starting to become equal partners.

Episode 8: Prometheus

Hercules and Iolaus pair up with Xena and Gabrielle, reinforcing the coupleness of each TV pairing as they return to their respective shows.

Episode 9: Death in Chains

Gabrielle falls for and loses another sensitive male while Xena restores death to the world.

The series would have several episodes of Xena or Gabrielle falling for a man who would then die in the finest of TV Girlfriends tradition. It was as if they did one periodically to keep the TV Morals Police at bay, plausible deniability that didn’t fool anyone who really paid attention to the show.

Episode 10: Hooves and Harlots

Xena prevents a war between Centaurs and Amazons, while Gabrielle becomes an Amazon Princess.

We also get some interesting back story, as Xena is strangely an expert on Amazon customs despite having never been a member of the tribe….

Based on their devotion and body language, this is the earliest episode that Xena and Gabrielle were having sex.

Episode 11: The Black Wolf

Xena rescues a former apprentice turned rebel leader while Gabrielle demonstrates some near Xena caliber strategies.

This is not an episode that I care for, I always found it a little preachy and the only saving grace in the show is Salmoneus.

Salmoneus and a handful of other colourful characters are under the radar gay characters who’s main role is to turbo charge the female heros or play mother/wife to the male heros.

Episode 12: Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts

Xena and Gabrielle face their biggest threat: Perdicas, Gabby’s ex-fiancé, who’s fighting for love in Troy, which is just fighting the Greeks because they’ve been fighting for so long that love is a hollow ideal.

Episode 13: Academy of the Performing Bards

Gabrielle reaffirms her place by Xena’s side when she takes a side trip to bard school and decides that living adventure is better than telling about someone else’s adventure. But not before she teaches the male bards to honor the heart of the story and not focus overmuch on the adventure.

Episode 14: A Fistful of Dinars

Xena and Gabrielle work out some tension, when an ex-fiance of Xena’s is one of the scoundrels they temporally join up with to prevent treasure from falling into bad guy hands.

The sexual tension between Gabrielle and Xena’s ex as a Xena proxy was quite delicious, as it’s clear that this was not a man that Gabrielle would have had any interest in, if not for his past with Xena.

Episode 15: Warrior… Princess

One of the funnest premises of the show was that the gene pool of the ancient world was much smaller and so characters often met dopplegangers, which is a delightful way to play what if with the characters. What if their life had been different.

In this episode, Xena’s double is a pampered Princess, whom Gabrielle has to teach to be a credible Xena, while Xena stops a plot to kill the princess and end slavery in the kingdom.

Xena gets a taste of the high life and Gabrielle discovers how annoying sheltered people are.

Episode 16: Mortal Beloved

By this point, Xena and Gabrielle are well established as an unbreakable duo, but while it’s not clear that they are definitely having sex, the sexual tension and subtext is well established.

This episode reunited Xena and Marcus so that Marcus, who’s last action in life was to save a princess, could rest in the nice part of the Greek afterlife.

Episode 17: The Royal Couple of Thieves

I think that the producers wanted the heterosexual deniablity  so that whether they were lesbians could be the public debate, rather than the religious people realizing how effective that the program was at dealing with Christianity, putting it in the context of being an upstart cult of monotheists among several such cults over the span of the show and actual history.

Xena drafts Autolycus to steal the Ark of the Covenant.

Episode 18: The Prodigal

This is my least favorite episode and I skip over it on DVD.

Gabrielle takes the lead in the episode and restores a fallen warrior to honorableness.

Episode 19: Altared States

Xena and Gabrielle rescues a young boy who’s father is going to sacrifice him on the orders of his one god.

Episode 20: Ties That Bind

Like Gabrielle working out father issues in the prodigal, Xena works out her daddy issues in this episode.

Episode 21: The Greater Good

Xena gets poisoned, and Gabrielle must take her place in fighting a warlord and protecting a village and the merchant Salmoneus, a.k.a. Lord Seltzer.

Gabrielle puts on Xena’s clothing in a wonderful tribute to the show’s opening montage, and ups the subtext of Gabby being under Xena’s skin.

There’s something intimate about wearing someone else’s leather clothes.

Episode 22: Callisto

Xena’s pass comes back to haunt her in the person of Callisto and Joxer becomes the male comedy relief and a reminder that none will come between Xena and Gabrielle. No matter how kindly or decent the guy is, lesbians are lesbians because they love women, not because they fear or don’t like men.

Episode 23: Death Mask

Xena confronts Cortese, the warlord who burned her village and turned her into a warrior; as Callisto faced Xena in the previous episode.

Although, Xena has no pretense about personal responsibility, unlike Callisto who blames Xena for Callisto’s destructive force.

What’s the brilliant part in this episode is Cortese – living as the legal king of his kingdom and being the region’s warlord bandit – he has the best of both worlds, plundering as a side job to the far more enriching position of being king. He’s a warlord with the long vision and one of the more formidable foes for Xena – after all, it’s good to be the King.

Episode 24: Is There a Doctor in the House?

The season ends with Xena teaching field medicine to Hippocrates and healing priests who limit treatment to prayers and, well, faith healing.

Gabrielle dies and Xena refuses to let her go, inventing CPR from sheer desperation, and restoring Gabby to life.

After this, each season would end with Xena dying and every season opener would be Xena or Gabby or both, restoring Xena to life and to Gabrielle.

Xena and Gabrielle, as obvious as the affection and attraction was in the first season, the second season is when the show really began to grow and play in the Xenaverse.

Despite the episodes where Gabrielle and more rarely, Xena’s head is turned towards a man, more often, it’s because of the god’s messing about or as a distraction to something else in the episode that wants to be less noticed than are they lesbians or not?

Yes, Xena and Gabrielle were a couple from the beginning and were a couple in any meaningful sense of the term – always returning to each other, even from death.

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Episode 1: Orphan of War

Xena reveals her deepest secret to Gabrielle: Xena has a son – Solan.

Episode 2: Remember Nothing

The Fates change the world to one in which Xena never lifted a sword in defense or anger, but only for as long as Xena can resist the sword – in this episode, Gabrielle is a bitter slave, because Xena wasn’t there to rescue her, but naturally, she saves Gabrielle in the alternate world.

Nothing stands between them, not even alternative selves.

Episode 3: The Giant Killer

Another of the under the radar religious episodes, Xena helps David defeat her friend, Goliath. Xena and Gabrielle are back burned during the episode.

Episode 4: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This episode turns up the teasing of the lesbian audience, by turning Xena and Gabrielle into Baccus following vampires, putting the bite on each other.

It’s as if this was the nod to the lesbian fans by throwing us a nibble – watching now in 2011, it is not entirely clear when Xena and Gabrielle were sexual, this is the last episode where it’s possible that they weren’t yet having sex, because they certainly were a sexual couple after this episode.

Episode 5: Return of Callisto

Gabrielle’s childhood sweetheart, Perdicus returns and separates Xena and Gabrielle with marriage. Fortunately, destiny has other plans, Callisto escapes from prison in time to slay Perdicus and return Gabrielle to Xena.

I remember the kiss between Xena and Gabrielle following the wedding to be really racey, and it probably was in 1996. It seems chaste in 2011.

Episode 6: Warrior… Princess… Tramp

A favorite episode that reunites Xena with her Princes Diana doppleganger and introduces a second doggleganger – Meg – the one who never got a break and is getting by as best she can, which is mostly to play duplicate patsy to the episode’s bad guy. Meg comes into her own in the final season.

This episode has Meg running a bawdy house where Joxer is a regular, and features the first true musical number of the show when the brothel babes sing a rousing and non-warrior version of Joxer’s theme song.

While there’s not much action for Xena and Gabrielle, this is one of the bawdier episodes with Hestian Virgins doing untraditional things with vegetables and what we hope but know isn’t a petting zoo inside the brothel.

With sexcapades like that, mere lesbianism is so pedestrian.

Episode 7: Intimate Stranger

Callisto escapes the afterlife and changes bodies with Xena, so the running theme of this story arc that saw Lucy Lawless in hospital following her horse fall – was could Gabrielle still love and remain with Xena, even though she was in the body of her worst enemy?

Love conquers all, even death and body transfers.

Episode 8: Ten Little Warlords

Xena is trapped in Callisto’s body until she can restore Ares’ godhood so he can make the body switch.

Episode 9: A Solstice Carol

Xena and Gabrielle retell the Dickens classic Christmas story, reimaged in a pagan solstice context, throw in the Santa Claus origins and a splash of born in the manger for good measure.

We don’t know, it could have happened that way.

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Episode 10: The Xena Scrolls

The first of the “descendant” stories. Set in 1940, the descendants of Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer located Gabrielle’s scrolls and keep Aries from getting loose in a world at war.

For a playful reversal, Gabrielle is a female Indiana Jones and Xena is a slightly repressed librarian type.

Episode 11: Here She Comes… Miss Amphipolis

One of the best and edgiest episodes.

Xena enters a pagent for peace as Miss Amphipolis (her home village) and Gabrielle poses as her sponsor. Gabrielle chastises the other sponsors – all warlords – to treat their girlfriend/contestants as equal partners – while Xena teaches the other contestants to be their own women.

Episode 12: Destiny

Xena returns to the site of Callisto’s village ruins, confronting her path to becoming the Destroyer of Nations and her past encounter with Julius Caesar. While Xena’s comas provides the back story for upcoming episodes, Gabrielle struggles to save Xena’s life by bringing her to a remotely located healer, who is unable to help Xena.

Episode 13: The Quest

Gabrielle’s attempst to take Xena’s body home is complicated by would-be thieves, Amazon dynasty squabbles, and Xena’s attempts to return to Garielle by possessing Autolycus.

This episode had the first true love kiss between Xena and Gabrielle and set off a firestorm of does it count that they kiss in the spirit plane, but it was Autolycus’ lips in real life.

To which I say, it was a kiss between Xena and Gabrielle, who loved each other – because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have kissed at all, regardless of who’s body Xena was present in.

It wouldn’t be the last of the great love teases.

Episode 14: A Necessary Evil

Xena and Gabrielle take on two mortals turned goddesses who are determined to destroy them. Love is a great motivator to conquering all.

Episode 15: A Day in the Life

After the high stakes and excitement of the previous episodes, this episode provided a glimpse into the every day life of Xena and Gabrielle, and it shows what an integrated couple they were – fighting over chores, teasing each other over the mundanities.

Of particular interest are the bathing sequences, but more than that, the introduction of fannish characters within the Xenaverse.

Episode 16: For Him the Bell Tolls

A Xena light episode, Gabrielle resolves some Aphrodite hijinks that turned Joxer into a Xena class warrior.

Episode 17: The Execution

Gabrielle and Xena rescue a warrior from a wrongful execution.

Episode 18: Blind Faith

Temporarily blind, Xena rescues Gabrielle from a plot to see her married off and buried with the King.

This episode is one of several where a gay man character is on hand to teach all about queenliness – in addition to being the sole representative of everything civilized and cultured.

Episode 19: Ulysses

Another episode that I normally skip. The show gets it’s Greek on with the classic Ulysses tale, but is another throwaway episode of Xena being attracted to a man she will never leave Gabrielle for, but are periodically done to preserve the appearance of heterosexuality for the network or for the censors.

Episode 20: The Price

Xena as to think like Evil Xena to save a beleaguered Athenian outpost under siege; putting her at odd with Gabrielle’s desire to care for the wounded.

Episode 21: Lost Mariner

Xena rescues Gabrielle from the the cursed ship of Cecrops.

Episode 22: A Comedy of Eros

The baby of Cupid & Psyche, on the loose with Daddy’s love-bow, complicates Xena’s attempt to stop Draco from attacking a temple of Hestian virgins.

We are again teased when Gabrielle is struck by a love arrow and the action slows down for every agonizing moment of Gabrielle seeing Joxer, not Xena, and falling in love.

Hi comedy and jinks ensue with Xena in love with Draco in love with Gabrielle in love with Joxer, who returns her love with true love.

I think that it’s true, if you go looking for something, you tend to find it – and Xena was wonderful as a tease for lesbians with just enough plausible doubt to keep the censorship forces at bay.

It’s funny/sad to think about how hard that show had to work in the pre-L Word days to hide the central relationship of the show in plain site in order for people to focus on the show and not get hung up that it’s a show about a lesbian couple.

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Season Three

Episode 1: The Furies

Ares convinces The Furies to drive Xena insane as part of his plan to get Xena back, but even crazy Xena is too clever for him – and it’s her love for Gabrielle that keeps Xena fighting.

Episode 2: Been There, Done That

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer are trapped in an endless repeating day, until Xena figures out how to prevent True Love between a Romeo and Juliet being lost in a town erupting in a blood feud.

In any episode where Xena or Gabrielle come close to death or actually die, we see their true relationship – complete love and devotion beyond death, nothing comes between them.

Episode 3: The Dirty Half Dozen

Xena provides an opportunity for four prisoners slated for execution to redeem themselves by doing a good service by stopping a warlord that Aries has provided magical Armour for.

Xena, as much as she wants to be a force for good in the world, many times over the series, had to draw on her dark side to carry the battle – and her commitment to good deeds, is largely down to wanting to be worthy of Gabrielle’s love.

Episode 4: The Deliverer
Episode 5: Gabrielle’s Hope

Xena’s hatred of Caesar takes the duo to Britannia; where Xena helps Boadicea  against Caesar and Gabrielle falls into the clutches of a religious cult, looses her blood innocence by taking an innocent life and becoming the vessel for the evil god Dahak’s offspring, who Gabrielle names Hope.

And, with many lesbian couples, it’s hard on the non-biological parent – and Xena demands that Gabrielle kill the baby. Kidding – Xena knows that Hope must die to prevent Dahak from entering the world, it’s not because Xena has issues not being the baby daddy. Lesbians are blended family tolerant, but offspring of evil gods, changes the perspective a little.

The important thing that comes back later is that Xena lost sight of what was going on with Gabrielle because of her hatred for Caesar – if they hadn’t gone, if Xena hadn’t left Gabby to her own devices, if Gabby could have listened….

These episodes sets up all the future relationship unraveling.

Episode 6: The Debt: Part 1
Episode 7: The Debt: Part 2

Leaving Gabrielle behind, Xena travels to the Kingdom of Chin to assassinate an evil ruler to ensure the good done by Lao Ma, the woman who put Xena on the path to The Way.

Furious that Xena would abandon their shared path of good, Gabrielle makes a deal with Aries to get to Chin first, planning to stop Xena from murder and mostly, to find out what Lao Ma had that Gabrielle didn’t.

These episodes add more fuel to the break up and hatred that is rising between our girls.

Episode 8: The King of Assassins

A Xena light and humour episode after all the darkness, Gabrielle, Autolycus, and Joxer stop Joxer’s identical appearing but completely bad ass brother Jett, a cold-blooded assassin, from assassinating Cleopatra.

In this episode, we also discover that the Might Joxer song began as a childhood taunt – Joxer the Tidy instead of Joxer the Mighty; giving us a glimpse that Joxer’s delusions of competence are a childhood dream of belonging – and you wonder how much better his life would have been, had he settled down with a trade – because in season six, we find out that he ends up married to Meg and operating a tavern – a Xena and Gabrielle Hard Rock Tavern, but a tavern nonetheless.

Episode 9: Warrior… Priestess… Tramp

Xena and Gabrielle discover another Xena-lookalike – this time, Leah, the Hestian Virgin Head Priestess and that Meg impersonating her, but this time, Meg’s been duped into thinking she’s doing good by taking over for a priestess that she’s been told has run away.

This is one of my favorites and it’s certainly the most raunchy episode ever.

Between Leigh chastising Xena and Gabrielle for not being virgins – even Gabrielle’s protest of being married has no impact; as, Leah replies, we all have our little excuses.

Meanwhile, Xena impersonates Meg impersonating Leah and has a battle with the bad guys while the Hestian virgins are confessing to sexual feelings and encounters with garden vegetables.

Also in this episode, a bawdy brothel version of the Joxer song.

Episode 10: The Quill Is Mightier…

A miffed Aphrodite charms Gabrielle’s scroll so that anything written comes true, more or less. More less than more.

Gabrielle tries to write a fictional adventure of her own, sending Xena off for a spot of fishing – Xena fishes a lot in the series, catching fish by hand more often than by pole. If you get where that’s going….wink wink nudge

The highlight is when Joxer, full knowing the scroll shapes reality, brings three Naked Go Go Gabrielles.

Episode 11: Maternal Instincts

Xena and Gabrielle travel to the centaurs’ lands and visit Solan.

Gabrielle’s not dead daughter, Hope, returns Callisto back into the world and kills Solan with poison.

Xena and Gabrielle rage at each other over the loss of their children and at each other in a power struggle of relationship dominance and recrimination for errors in judgement. Everything that’s been pulling them apart finally succeeds.

Episode 12: The Bitter Suite

Predating the Buffy Musical episode by three years, Xena and Gabrielle face their betrayals in an alternate world of Illusia – a magical and musical place.

The most brilliant episode of the series, it dealt on an epic operatic scale the betrayals of the past episodes; subverting the usual roles of the support casting – Callisto instead of being a crazy murderer is a crazy singing guide to Illusia.

Only the most dead inside of person could not be affected by the declaration of purest love and forgiveness that Xena delivers to Gabrielle and Solan.

Episode 13: One Against an Army

Who needs 300 Spartans when just one Xena and an injured Gabrielle can hold off the Persian army of100,000 strong?

Episode 14: Forgiven

With Gabrielle and Xena completely a couple, sidekick wannabes start to show up – seeking to separate the two. Oh, and recover the Urn of Appollo which gives people second chances by purifying them of past deeds.

I never thought of it then, but this is something that seems to happen in Lesbianworld – you form a couple and all your friends want to be in a couple just like you – and the easily way to get that is to poach someone already in such a couple. Seriously, it’s messed up and it’s wrong – if you can steal one of a couple, then they weren’t that much of a couple to start with and it’s not a solid foundation for your own couplehood status, by poaching, you’re basically saying we’re together until one of us is lured away. And you start knowing who’s stealable and who doesn’t respect boundaries.

Episode 15: King Con

A humour episode wherein Joxer is beaten by thugs who operate a gambling  palace to steal back his winnings; which Joxer had lost to con artists.

Xena forces the con artists to make things right by helping to shut down the gambling palace. The con artists have a side bet where one is trying to get Xena to kiss him – but unlike other episodes where men are temptations, there is no sense at all that Xena is falling for this inside con game.

As funny as some of the episode was, and the cons inside cons, it fell down for me at the begining – after all – who is going to gamble, given that the house normally wins coupled with a gambling palace that has no qualms about beating or killing you to regain what you’ve won from them.

Gambling is about winning, no matter how remote the odds and probabilities – but even the most dedicated gambler is not going to patronize a place that literally beats you.

Episode 16: When in Rome…

Xena keeps her wits about her in this Julius Caesar encounter while Gabrielle learns why Xena hates the Romans and their political machinations. Gabrielle causes the execution of a Roman.

Episode 17: Forget Me Not

Tortured by the things she has done and suffered in the last months, Gabrielle decides to come to the temple of Mnemosine, the Goddess of Memory, where she could forget all the bad memories along with her good memories – including Xena.

Episode 18: Fins, Femmes and Gems

Aphrodite has her pet thugs deliver a stolen diamond to her temple at Parnassus, and distracts Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer with am obsession potion – making Xena obsesses with fishing (again!), Joxer with an ape man legend and Gabrielle with herself.

The Story of Gabrielle, a musical series classic!

Episode 19: Tsunami

Xena the Poseidon Adventure  – trapped on an upside down and sunked ship, Xena has to figure out how to escape a watery death while preventing her fellow trapees from killing each other to conserve air.

Episode 20: Vanishing Act

When an enormous statue commemorating Peace is stolen from a seaside village, Autolycus fears the loss of his title of King of Thieves and recruits Xena to help him steal it back.

Episode 21: Sacrifice: Part 1
Episode 22: Sacrifice: Part 2

One of Gabrielle’s friends, Seraphin, is about to be sacrificed to bring forth a goddess. Xena and Gabrielle stop the sacrifice, fearing the goddess to be Callisto when it’s Hope, whose rebirth would be another attempt for Dahak’s entrance in the world.

Hope, appearing exactly like Gabrielle, prepares with Ares the sacrifice which will bring Dahak into our world.

Callisto, frustrated that Hope won’t give her the longed for oblivion, joins Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer, on the condition that Xena kills Callisto in a manner where there is no afterlife.

Season four continues with Xena post Gabrielle’s plunge with daughter Hope to a lava death.

Crazy with grief, Xena sets out on a journey to discover which afterlife Gabrielle’s gone to and eventually discovers that she’s alive. But how, we don’t discover until the final season and reckoning.

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Episode 1: Adventures in the Sin Trade: Part 1
Episode 2: Adventures in the Sin Trade: Part 2
Anxious to know Gabrielle is safe in a good afterlife, more probably, figuring how where to join her,  Xena seeks Gabrielle in the Amazon Land of the Dead.

Xena and her allies must learn the new Holy Word in order to defeat the Shamaness Alti and release the Amazon dead to cross over to their Land of the Dead – and Xena replaces the afterlife password “courage” with the more powerful password of “love.”

Episode 3: A Family Affair

Xena and Joxer travel to Poteidaia, where they find Gabrielle. But, Xena realizes that it’s Hope, not Gabrielle – but while that means that Hope and her offspring with Aries is alive – that means Gabrielle is too.

Episode 4: In Sickness and in Hell

Joxer hires himself out as a village protector and enlisted the help of Xena and Gabrielle to fend off an army of Scythians. Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle experience a variety of stomach and skin aliments and Xena realizes that Joxer had the wherewithal to bring down the invading army already – his cooking.

One of the best comedy episodes that played with the show’s conventions, giving us insight into the more intimate relationship of Xena and Gabrielle.

Episode 5: A Good Day

The never ending war between Caesar and Pompey comes to a stalemate when Xena intervenes to save a Greek village.

Episode 6: A Tale of Two Muses

Footloose in the Xenaverse. Their protege Tara is dancing in a village where dancing and joyfulness is banish. Xena and Gabrielle arrive and promise to teach the children the art of war while Autolycus, posing as a morally upright preacher,  brings inquisition intolerance to their natural unintended consequences.

Episode 7: Locked Up and Tied Down

Xena agrees to be condemned to spend the rest of her life in Shark Island Prison for the brutal murder of a woman called Thalassa back when Xena was an evil warlord the Destroyer of Nations. Gabrielle knows the situation is unfair and travels to Shark Island disguised as a healer, where she discovers that Thalassa is the warden of the prison and works her Gabrielle magic to restore Thalassa’s humanity.

Episode 8: Crusader

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Xena has to chose between her love of Gabrielle and her love for Gabrielle – when they encounter a woman warrior who’s fighting the good fight with divine inspiration. With the vision of their future crucifixion weighting on her mind, Xena tries to subvert destiny by finding Gabrielle a new butch warrior to sidekick for.

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Except that you can’t alter fate nor accept that anyone on a divine mission is actually a force of good – making Xena the perfect partner for Gabrielle – a woman aware of her strengths and weaknesses, and chooses her better nature in situations, rather than one who follows blindly forces they can’t really understand.

Episode 9: Past Imperfect

Xena deals with more of her evil past and her relationship with Borias – how he changed from being just a barbarian into a man with a vision for the future.

Episode 10: The Key to the Kingdom

Meg, the slutty Xena lookalike, sets out to emulate Xena by doing good in the world and she kidnaps a baby being held as the key to the Crown of Athena – giving Autolycus his first real chance to steal the crown. But, unlike Xena who would have realized the connection between the baby and his elderly caretaker and left well enough alone.

It’s Meg’s loving heart that wants to treat the baby as a baby to love, that is the truest key and path to wisdom. No crown needed.

Episode 11: Daughter of Pomira

Xena and Gabrielle have to rescue the daughter of one of Xena’s former men, who was kidnapped and has lived most of her life with the Horde.

I found that I was not able to watch the Horde episodes, anymore than I could watch the Ceasar abuse of his authority episodes. The Horde shows required Xena to dig deep into her own barbaric past to deal with the barbaric Horde, and despite that understanding was eventually found between the Horde and the other groups of people, it was too much a retreat into darkness for me to watch these episodes, which served as reminders of the badness we are capable of as individuals and as groups – and maybe we can understand group behavior when we understand our own – but this barbaric and unfeeling behaviours needed to drive the episode were far too much for my current sensibilities, given the workplace conflict I’ve been subjected to.

Episode 12: If the Shoe Fits…

A delightful episode that highlights the different way the gods think about and are in the world, versus the priorities of living beings and what they are seeking to accomplish with their shorter lives.

It was these more playful episodes that really pushed the boundaries of the story world and told a variety of familiar stories in a new context, to show how universal the human experience, no matter the social context.

Episode 13: Paradise Found

Gabrielle and Xena find themselves in an alternative reality of total peace, that if Gabrielle takes that step, she will become a single consciousness moment of pure balance – while becoming a featureless blue statue.

Xena, less receptive to the stillness, reverts to a more primal animal state and has to save both herself and Gabrielle from the tranquility guru.

Episode 14: Devi

Xena and Gabrielle arrive in India and meet Eli – a Jesus character who is able to cast out demons and brings a message of love.

Gabrielle is possessed and is initially thought to be the Devi – but Xena realizes that Eli is the Devi and Gabrielle is being controlled by a devil.

Episode 15: Between the Lines

In India, Xena and Gabrielle save a woman in India from being burnt with her husband’s body as per custom – and she sends Xena and Gabrielle into their next life to fight the evil Alti – Xena is an older woman – the Mother of Peace and Gabrielle is the dashing young warrior who defends her – information that is critical to understanding the final episode.

Xena and Gabrielle defeat Alti in the next life and return to finish her in this life. Xena and Gabrielle learn that their lives are linked throughout time and that will always be paired to fight evil over many lifetimes and with this defeat of Alti at the height of her power, will ensure that Xena will always be able to defeat Alti.

And they battle Alti in many forms, in many lives, over the course of the show.

Episode 16: The Way

Xena, who’s never had a use for gods since turning good, appeals to Krishna for help while Gabrielle follows Eli’s path of love and no violence.

Both women will struggle with their desire to be on the path of love without violence, but the world in which they live, has too much fighting – might makes right mentality to be so on the path of love that they can commit to love or death – they are fighting for a world in which, love without fighting, can thrive.

We’re not there yet, is the sad part.

Episode 17: The Play’s the Thing

Xena does The Producers – Gabrielle is tricked into putting on her bad play so the producer can run a scam on Warlords who are investing in the play.

When Joxer adds sex and violence to Gabrielle’s Opus to Love and Peace, it becomes a sure fire hit – not to mention, bringing out the Thespian in all of us.

Episode 18: The Convert

Joxer kills for the first time, and Najara is back. Xena doesn’t beleive the fanatic crusader claim of forsaking violence, but Gabrielle considers it’s possible after Najara says she changed after meeting Eli.

When Xena’s instincts turn out to be true, Gabrielle has to wonder if Eli’s way is even possible in the world as it stands.

Episode 19: Takes One to Know One

Xena’s surprise birthday party for Gabrielle turned into an evening of a murder mystery – with a bounty hunter dead and every party guest having a reason to have done it – and the new Goddess Discord wanting to wrap up the punishment to show Aries how effective a goddess she can be.

Episode 20: Endgame

Ephiny, Queen of the Amazons, dies in battle against the Romans; leaving  Gabrielle the new Queen to the Amazon territory.

Xena and Gabrielle are again entangled with Caesar and his right hand man, Brutus, whom Gabrielle shows mercy despite that he killed Ephiny.

Xena plays the romans, and pits Caesar against Pompey.

Episode 21: The Ides of March

When Caesar, advised by Callisto, fixes a price for Xena’s head, the Warrior Princess believes it’s finally the time to kill him – even if that may lead her and Gabrielle to the death by crucifixion she saw in Alti’s vision – and it does.

But Brutus has begun to see Caesar as Xena sees him – and everyone is about to get a comic re-alignment – as Caesar overstepps his authority and is slain by Brutus, so Callisto is cast into hell and Xena and Gabrielle are crucified.

Episode 22: Deja Vu All Over Again

In modern-day America, a woman named Annie believes she was Xena, warrior princess, in a past life. Her husband, Harry, scoffs, but they both get a surprise when they visit a new age practitioner who takes them through their former lives.

Discovering that Harry was Xena, the Reincarnationist is Gabrielle and Annie is Joxer. Xena and Gabrielle are united as a married couple in the current day.

A small comfort against their Xena and Gabrielle existence deaths by the Romans.

Season 5 is where the world really gets rocked.

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Season 5 opens with Xena and Gabrielle in Christian Heaven, which, as the series plays out – the coming of Christianity is the twilight of the Greek and Roman and all other gods – because in the Xenaverse, it’s the belief of the populace that makes a god a god – and Xena has travelled througout the known world and engaged in gods, goddesses, spirits, forces, demons and now angels.

In this season, Xena will become pregnant and the many gods will try to destroy her child as it is the messenger of the twilight – but the gods never learn, even from their own myths – that any prophesy is guaranteed to come true, the more you try to prevent it.

Episode 1: Fallen Angel

Xena and Gabrielle’s souls leave their crucified bodies and reach Heaven, where Gabrielle is captured and dragged down to hell by Callisto. Xena leads the Archangels in a rescue mission and rescues not only Gabrielle, but changes grace places with Callisto. Gabrielle rejects Callisto’s new purity and sanity and is determined to get Xena out of hell before hell can’t be taken out of Xena.

On Earth, Joxer, Amarice and Eli decide to recover Xena and Gabrielle’s bodies from the crosses where they died. Eli, the messenger of the god of love – clearly implicated as being the Christian god, brings

Episode 2: Chakram

Back in their bodies, Xena’s restoration to life was only of her goodness – like Callisto, Xena has no memory of her dark past.

Meanwhile, Ares and Kal, another god of war, are in a race to control the Chakram of Light, which has the power to kill gods, but can only be taken by an absolutely pure soul. Xena, purified, claims the chakram and her memories are restored.

Episode 3: Succession

Throughout the show, many women or warlords have tried to either replace Gabrielle and ride with Xena, or replace Xena to ride with Gabrielle, and from time to time, a warlord would want to replace Xena to ride with Aries.

A woman warrior wishing to be the new Xena causes Aries to set up a challenge – Xena and Gabrielle against the upstart warrior wannabe – with a catch – Xena and Gabrielle have to fight LadyHawk style with Gabby on the day shift and Xena on the night.

Episode 4: Animal Attraction

Spring is in the air! While in the town of Spamona, Amazon Amarice is attrracted to Arman, the scholarly son of a warlord that Joxer accidentally but for the greater good, killed several episodes previously.

Xena is revealed to be pregnant and everyone’s wondering how Gabrielle is the daddy. There was never any tv show with a wilder “I’m pregnant” announcement.

The spit take of everyone staring at Gabrielle should make any Top 10 List of Best Pregnant Announcements.

The baby is none other than Callisto, giving Xena and her another chance to be a different kind of influence than warrior Destroyer and Copycat Destroyer.

Episode 5: Them Bones, Them Bones

While Xena had adopted her son Solan, to the centaurs, she’s determined to raise this baby. But her nightmares about her baby’s future lead herself, Gabrielle and Amarice to the lands of the Northern Amazons, where they’ll have to face Alti in another of many showdowns.

Episode 6: Purity
Episode 7: Back in the Bottle

With Gabrielle and Joxer in tow, Xena returns to the land of Chin to bring about the destiny of the Dove and Hawk – Lao Ma’s twin daughters – one good like their mother and one evil, like their half-brother, The Green Dragon – already killed by Xena – and something of a sore spot with Gabrielle.

While the evil twin gets Lao Ma’s writings, Xena teaches everything she knows to the good twin, and they banish the evil twin to the other side – where she will unite with the green dragon, until finally defeated.

Episode 8: Little Problems

The goddess Aphrodite attempts to switch Xena and a catatonic young girl, but both end up in the little girl’s body – making the Xena physics of beating up the bad guys a visual delight.

Something that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would touch on in the final episodes of Buffy having Willow awaken the slayer in all girls – with a scene of an abused 10 year old, coming into her slayer powers in time to turn the tables on her abuser.

Grrrl Power!

Episode 9: Seeds of Faith

Xena and Gabrielle try to stop Aries from killing Eli – who asks them to honor his message of peace and no need for gods – by allowing Aries to strike him down – to die as a person of peace, as Eli was asking and inspiring people to live. In peace.

Episode 10: Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire

Xena and Gabrielle organize a musical contest in Melodia, musical capital of Greece, to decide who gets Terpsichore’s Lyre.

Xena has to cope with her mother’s attempts to marry her off and make the baby legitimate while Gabrielle tries to avoid the warlord Draco, who’s still under cupid’s spell in love with her. But Joxer has a bigger problem – another look alike brother who is as fabulous as Joxer is clumsy. Joxer learns to accept Jace and himself a little better.

Episode 11: Punch Lines

This story is a meandering tall tale of Gabrielle trying to make Lachrymose, the god of despair, laugh. miscommunication, misdirection, miniaturized Argo and a pie in the face finally does the trick. There’s nothing like experience to give concepts their meaning.

Episode 12: God Fearing Child

When Zeus learns that Xena’s unborn child is part of a prophecy that foretells the demise of the Olympians, he launches an attack against the pregnant warrior princess, prompting Hercules to fly to her rescue – and Aries to attack Hercules, as the cost of going along with Zeus’ plans for Xena.

This being the Xena show, Zeus is slain and the gods of all pantheons panic.

Episode 13: Eternal Bonds

The Goddess Athena steps up to lead the remaining Olympus gods assault on Xena.

Episode 14: Amphipolis Under Siege

Xena, Gabrielle and Eve arrive to Amphipolis, where the villagers decide to challenge their patron goddess, Athena, whose army has put the town under siege until Xena’s daughter is handed over or killed.

Episode 15: Married with Fishsticks

When she’s into a fight between Aphrodite and Discord, Gabrielle falls into the sea and when she wakes up, she’s a siren named Crustacea, and she’s married to a Joxer look-alike called Hagar, who’s a scheming municipal politician.

This is one of my favorite episodes, because of the playfulness of the story, and an interesting What If… world.

Episode 16: Lifeblood
Episode 17: Kindred Spirits

While not a true two parter – these episodes show an possibility for Xena – being able to be a homemaker and raise eve with Gabrielle as the Queen of the Amazons. But, as attractive as living in an Amazon village with an inexhaustible supply of babysitters – the idea of Butch Gabrielle and Femme Xena didn’t sit right – so the pair will resolve the conflicts and head on their way.

These short interval of peaceful existance and security will be something that will haunt Xena later – when she and Gabrielle wake up 20 years into the future – there was a few episodes that seemed to recall that if only Xena had been willing to let Gabrielle be the Queen of the Amazons, as she was routinely called upon, that their lives and Eve’s would have been a lot different.

Episode 18: Antony and Cleopatra

A snake hidden in a scroll kills Cleopatra in Egypt, so Xena disguises as the Queen and Gabrielle as her servant to save Egypt from the Romans, who are divided among the followers of Brutus, Marc Antony and Octavius (Caesar’s adopted son).

While they look for Cleopatra’s killer, something unrealistic happens: Xena falls in love with Antony.

In other times, like now, the show wouldn’t have had to engage in these periodic heterosexually reaffirming and pointless storylines, because the show is the Xena and Gabby show – and no man or woman can come between them and the show continue. It’s sad that the audience of the show gets that they are a couple, but the mainstream public, so quick to complain to advertisers about the content of shows that they don’t even watch, it’s sad that people feel entitled to control show content and what other adults choose to watch.

Episode 19: Looking Death in the Eye

This episode jumps the story line ahead 20 years and explains what happened that we skipped over Warrior Baby Princess.

Old Joxer tells his children the story of the last adventure of Xena and Gabrielle, when they tried to trick the gods into believing that the family of three was dead.

Xena and Gabrielle capture Death and Xena makes her cry – capturing her tears. Xena then allows Athena to recapture death – and with a slight of hand, hands baby Eve off to Octavious while Xena and Gabrielle take a wild wagon ride and tumble over a cliff – Athena and her minions watching as the wagon with baby burns, Gabrielle is apparently killed in the fall and Xena survives long enough to drink poison and die herself.

All well and good as the gods leave and Octavian shows up with baby Eve and finds Joxer stunned at the events and witness to Aries taking Xena and Gabrielle’s bodies and entombing them in ice coffins.

Episode 20: Livia

Xena and Gabrielle awaken in the ice tomb 25 years later than they planned. They get an update from villagers and hear about a Roman named Livia, a bloodthirsty warrior who is trying to eliminate the cult of Eli.

Episode 21: Eve

Livia refuses to accept she’s Eve, the daughter of Xena, and keeps killing the followers of Eli with increasing cruelty to please Ares so Xena has to tough love her daughter and show her that Aries loves only Aries… and Xena.

It’s funny how there’s so rarely an ick factor with the incestuous Greek Gods, who were all partway sibling to their divine spouses.

Episode 22: Motherhood

When the Olympian gods get into another tizzy about Twilight (and given what a terrible book it was, who can blame them?).

Athena sends the Furies to turn Gabrielle mad until she kills Eve – who accepts who she is and is initiated in the Way of Love. Xena, as the defender of the messenger, is given the power to kill gods.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, remains true to her friendship for Gabrielle and, as much as a party girl with a I have more temples than you fixation, demonstrates the capacity for transcendent love that gods should have.

By season six, Xena and Gabrielle were dedicated to The Way of Love and fighting for all the good things associated with it.

Their relationship didn’t need a label other than friend, because there was and is no word that could accurately capture the 360 degree encompassing love that they shared, transcending physical bodies or any one lifetime.

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In the final season, when there was no longer any pretending about Xena and Gabrielle’s couple state – heck, even the Valkyries in the the Norse Cycle, recognized Xena and Gabrielle as soul-mates, when one Valkyrie protected Gabrielle’s body as an eternal flame that could only be crossed by her soul-mate, Xena, to restore Gabrielle to the living and undo the damage that Xena wrought.

Episode 1: Coming Home

Xena, Gabrielle and Eve arrive to the Amazon lands, where they meet the new Queen, Marga. The Amazons are under attack by Aries, because he wants the ambrosia he thinks they keep hidden, to have his godhood restored.

Aries is also tasked by The Furies to kill Xena for destroying most of the Olympian gods, but Aries soft spot for Xena leads to some tense moments with the adult Eve, given that Aries had been her lover until Xena returned and Aries pined for the only warrior he could never win.

Episode 2: The Haunting of Amphipolis

Xena arrives home in Amphipolis with Gabrielle and Eve, only to find her home town deserted…and haunted. A Buffy style hellmouth was opened and Xena has to defeat the forces of hell to restore her home town and allow her mother to move on.

Episode 3: Heart of Darkness

An archangel called Lucifer is sent to Earth to force Xena to go to Hell as the new Queen and thus close the portal to Hell before too much evil takes control of the people. But the Warrior Princess has no intention of being Queen of Hell, in some small part because she knows that she’d be able to overrun heaven, because as Queen of Hell, there would be no checks and balances on Xena’s dark brilliance and former barbarian ways.

Thus, Lucifer, a prideful archangel with a chip on his shoulder had no chances against a woman who was so desirable that even the God of War was helpless before her.

Episode 4: Who’s Gurkhan?

With Xena’s home town sorted out, they travel to Potedaia, where Gabrielle surprises her sister Lila by returning after 25 years, unaged. Lila explains that she had a daughter, who was captured and sold as a slave and that her husband and parents tried to get Sarah back and were killed for their efforts.

Looking for revenge, Gabrielle sets out for the slavers, pretty harem costumes, a beheading and an inventive escape  to follow.

Episode 5: Legacy

Leaving the slavers to their fates, Xena and Gabrielle explore the deserts of North Africa as guests of a group of nomads being threatened by Romans.

Gabrielle accidentally kills the gentle son of the nomad leader and Xena uses the anguish of the death to inspire the nomads to fight the Romans – but Gabrielle is too wrack with guilt – and her confession makes the nomads not trust Xena’s military skills against the Romans.

Episode 6: The Abyss

While fighting a tribe of scary cannibals, Xena and Gabrielle declare finally in plain words their love for each other, as “soul mates”.

Episode 7: The Rheingold

Beowulf, the Norse hero, brings Xena a raven padlock, which Xena understand to mean that evil that she wrought needs to be nullified.

Gabrielle follows them and in Norselands, she meets Brunnhilda who tells her about Xena’s previous visit to the North – and Brunhilda falls in love with Gabrielle and tries to be worthy enough to replace Xena in Gabrielle’s heart.

Episode 8: The Ring

Gabrielle, Brunnhilda and Beowulf find Xena alive after the Grendel’s attack.

Xena reveals the monster was once the valkyrie Grinhilda, who put the Rheingold Ring on her finger as a desperate attempt to stop Xena’s reign of terror, and because Grinhilda hadn’t forsaken love, the ring turned her into a monster.

Except that Grendel is Grinhilda’s offspring.

Meanwhile Brunnhilda finally understands that Gabrielle and Xena are inseparable and she used her Valkyrie magic to become an Eternal Flame barrier to protect Gabrielle until Xena’s memories are restored and Xena returns to reclaim her.

Episode 9: Return of the Valkyrie

A year later, Beowulf visits King Hrothgar and is shocked to discover the memoriless Xena, now called Wealthea, married to the King.

Beowulf persuades Xena about who she is and what she has to do: come back to the swamp to awake Gabrielle and return Grinhilda to her pre-monsterous state, returning honor to the Valkeryies.

Episode 10: Old Ares Had a Farm

Xena, Gabrielle and Ares enjoy the country life while hiding from a bunch of angry warlords pursuing the former god of War.

I would have thought Xena would have been in the middle of the Aries and Gabby sandwich, if only to keep Gabby to herself.

Episode 11: Dangerous Prey

A prince named Morloch is hunting the Amazons as if they were animals. When he kills Marga, Xena must teach Varia what she needs to know to succeed the Queen. Gabrielle stays at the Amazon village, and Xena and Varia, who learns the hard way to accept the Warrior Princess’ help, go their way to kill Morloch.

Episode 12: The God You Know

Archangel Michael asks Xena and Gabrielle to kill Caligula, Emperor of Rome turned into a god, who is pursuing Eve and the other Elijans. When Xena arrives to Rome, Ares prevent her from killing Caligula, because that would mean Aphrodite’s death.

Xena seduces Caligula into thinking she’s a Gallic Goddess who’s moving into the territory, then manipulates him into killing himself, freeing Aphrodite from being his god-recharger.

Episode 13: You Are There

One of the strangest and funniest episodes ever.

A modern day reporter arrives in the Norse country to find the truth behind Xena’s recent return, Odin’s paranoia about Xena’s plans regarding restoring Aries as the God of War and also to discover if she really is a hero or a villain.

We already know that most of the Olympic gods are dead and the universe is titling under the pressure of the change in competing religions. Xena needs the Norse Golden Apples to turn both Aries and Aphrodite back to gods, because without them, there was no love or hate in the world.

And finally, this episode gets to the series’ eternal question. Are they or aren’t they lovers. Asked just that bluntly. As Xena agrees to answer the question, she leans forward, says “Technically…” and then the reporter’s camera runs out of battery power and the credits roll as the reporter bemoans missing an on camera exclusive that he doesn’t even listen to what Xena’s fading off voice is saying.

Episode 14: Path of Vengeance

Eve comes to the Amazon lands, where she’s captured and judged by the Queens. While Gabrielle joins her sisters to try and save Eve, Xena discovers Varia has made a mistake once again by allying herself with Ares.

Xena demonstrates again that Aries cannot be trusted, and the Amazons agree that Livia is dead but that Eve is welcome among the Amazons.

Episode 15: To Helicon and Back

Varia is kidnapped by Belerophon, the son of Artemis, and Gabrielle leads the Amazons to his fortress in Helicon to rescue the Queen.

Episode 16 Send in the Clones

The nth reincarnation of Alti clones Xena and Gabrielle to make havoc in present World, helped by a trio of nerds with strangely known faces.

When a modern incarnation of Alti creates clones of Xena and Gabrielle, three Xena fans, two lesbians and a lesbro, prepare a variety of clips from the show to download into their memories.

When the Gabby clips are played – kissing, bathing, and general fooling around, the more butch than usual Xena makes a porno face and says: “All right”

This episode answered the are Xena and Gabrille lovers, in addition to soul mates, very well with the newly awakened Xena and Gabrielle watching clips from the show – Xena, slouching and eating pizza, looks at the scene of Xena and Gabrielle kissing and gets a porn boom chicka bow bow body rhythm and leer on her face as she nods and says “all right….” to the kissing shots.

But Xena and Gabrielle, brought back from the dead, thwart Alti, fake their deaths and ride off in a taxi cab with a champagne toast.

Episode 17: Last of the Centaurs

Ephiny’s ghost asks Gabrielle to help her son, Xenan, who is in danger from Belach wants to kill him because Xenan has kidnapped his daughter, Nicha.

But things are not what they appear, Xenan and Nica are in love and she’s going to have a baby.

Belach, is the son of Xena’s former lover Borias; and she feel respionsible for having taken his father away and worse that Borias has fought with the Centaurs against Xena and was a hero to them. While his son, in his anger, slaughters all but Xenan. And has to come to grips with a centaur granchid, who’s people he slaughtered.

Episode 18: When Fates Collide

Julius Caesar escapes from the Underworld and changes the loom of the Fates, so he changes destiny. He now is married to Xena and rules a powerful Roman Empire with the Shamaness Alti for help.

Gabrielle is a successful theatre writer who’s life is empty of the emotions her plays are drenched in. Xena, the empress, is discontent with her life and fascinated by Gabrielle.

Caesar realizes that you can only change the fates so much – so he decides to execute Xena and Gabrielle so Caesar and Alti can march on Chin and gain Lao Ma’s wisdom and magic.

Joxer returns as a competent and compassionate Roman soldier.

Episode 19: Many Happy Returns

The fantasy ending show, where Xena and Gabrielle literally fly off into the sunset together.
Happy birthday again, Gabrielle! This time the girls fall victims of their reciprocal practical jokes, but with the help of Aphrodite and a lovely poem by Sappho the couple makes peace and with Hermes Helmet on her head, Xena flies Gabrielle off into the sunset.

so romantic!

Soul_Possession_TITLE

Episode 20: Soul Possession

A follow up to the Season 4, episode Deja Vu All Over Again, a new scroll is revealed at a Xena convention that explains why Gabrielle didn’t die in a fire chasm at the end of third season.

Aries saved both Hope and Gabrielle, but forces Xena to agree to marry him in exchange for Aries helping Xena find Gabrielle.

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But the modern day counterparts prevent Aries from claiming Xena as his bride – and Aries magics Xena and Joxer out of Annie and Harry and puts Xena in Annie and Joxer in Harry – leaving Xena and Gabrielle to be together again as a lesbian couple.

So, the last three episodes before the final two parter, show Xena and Gabrielle getting to live a life together in many forms – and we know from past shows that they live many times, are always together to fight the good fight for love.

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Before I really understood that that was what the show was really about, I didn’t watch, because I felt cheated by the way the series ended – but when I look at it as a whole it makes sense, as you’ll see:

Episode 21: A Friend in Need: Part 1
Episode 22: A Friend in Need: Part 2

When I first watched this final pair of episodes, I was heart broken, but hopeful that once again, Gabrielle and Xena would triumph over death and be reunited, as they were over other season endings. But this was the series ending and I was heartbroken.

But then I realized from the India cycle – Xena must complete the saving of 40,000 souls in order to be re-born as the Mother of Peace in India. Where Xena is the woman of peace and Gabrielle her warrior defender – and a much younger man.

IF we die and are reborn, then the age difference for their next lives, can only be accounted for by Xena’s early death and Gabrielle coming into her own as a warrior and Amazon – because Xena held Gabrielle back from that life, that they could have had, if they’d stayed with the Amazons’ after Eve was born.

We know from all the episodes that had gone before that Xena and Gabrielle would spent many lifetimes bringing about The Way of Love – so that this particular incarnation ended with Xena dying and Gabrielle carrying on as a girl with a chakram.

One of the things that made Xena unique is that the show moved from a hero/sidekick buddy series to being a show with two heros in their own rights.

The Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen.

When Xena accepts that she must to fight Yodoshi as a ghost, she teaches Gabrielle The Pinch and spends her last 30 seconds of life staring into Gabrielle’s eyes – giving Gabrielle her love to carry always.

Xena then removes the pinch and she and Gabrielle go off to their separate missions. But from that moment on, Xena’s life is over and while she knows that she won’t be coming back, Gabrielle hasn’t figured it out yet.

But knowing that Xena will remain dead, makes the show more poignant from a simple understanding of having seen it before – but moreso – elegant and epic, to understand the why and the Way, this time around, the series, instead of feeling cheated of a happy lesbian ending with a one must die ending that touches on the epicness of the Well of Loneliness and countless cautionary lurid pulp lesbian novels – instead, there is a cosmic rightness, because it’s not about this incarnation or this life.

But rather bending to the will of the universe, the way of love – with the assurance of being able to be together throughout time and transcending time.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Xena and Gabby meet in Greece and hero, they are reborn in India as the Mother of Peace and a Warrior, and they are reborn again in California in the modern era…..tumblr_l6r0f5Stcs1qafebso1_500

 

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14 Responses to Xena and Gabrielle: From Subtext to Well Duh

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  3. I just learned (and re-blogged from an Alternet article, adding one of the photos from your post) that the new reboot being made will finally drop the subtext and picture the two characters as in a relationship:
    In an interview with Lesbian News in 2003, Lucy Lawless said of Xena’s relationship with Gabrielle, “It wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda like her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was “Nope, they’re married, man.” And speaking with After Ellen eight years ago, actress Renee O’Connor, who played Gabrielle, said that “It was very clear that we were together. They are so in love with each other, they love each other so dearly; there’s no way you can say that’s not true. Anyone can see that from watching the show.”
    http://stanflouride.com/2016/03/17/cult-tv-hero-xena-warrior-princess-finally-comes-out-of-the-closet-alternet/

    Like

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