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Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Renay: Continuing its tenuous relationship with history and mythology, Xena: The Warrior Princess reaches into the Christianity grab bag again and pulls out the story of David and Goliath. Oh, writers, never stop telling your wild Bible fanfic! I am vaguely familiar with this story from my aborted adventures into Sunday School, but I have more of a secular background with David as the teeny underdog and Goliath as a tough adversary David has to defeat to show the even the little guy can triumph! So it was neat to see the show embrace the part of the story that I came to later, that the fight between David and Goliath was more about David's divine right to become King. Predictably, a lot of the religion stuff went over my head!

Clare: And mine, as I was raised… unchurched? By Catholics who didn’t want their daughter growing up Catholic but never settled on an alternative. So we’ll be muddling through all the Biblical fanfiction together without the benefit of any religious education on my side.

Renay: What did not go over my head, however: how smoking hot David and Gabrielle's scenes were as David reads psalms to her in a husky, low voice. I'm not sure seduction is the intended use of a psalm. Control your bedroom eyes, y'all, God is watching.

Clare: The minute they started chatting in the prison, I began wondering if Xena was the kind of the show where they would let Gabrielle bang the Biblical David. They don’t, ultimately, but I think it’s a tribute to how out there the show is that I thought it would be a reasonable place for them to go.

Instead, David’s fiancee Sarah shows up, leading Gabrielle to go talk to Xena as Xena stares out into a storm. And then she touches Xena’s lower back, and I kind of passed out a little. Gabrielle touching Xena’s lower back is primo girlfriend behavior, and I love it.

Renay: This moment wasn't even a femslash alert, it was the femslash klaxxon. Be still my heart.

Clare: The main Xena twist on the story of David and Goliath is that Xena used to be best buds with Goliath, back in her warlord days. He’s vowed vengeance on the man who killed his family, and taking this job for the Philistines means that he’ll finally be able to do it.

You’d think this would make for really good material regarding Xena’s evolving sense of morality and the hollow victory that is vengeance, but the episode sort of ends up getting distracted by making sure David is the one to kill Goliath. We’ve seen some episodes so far that were rough, but I think this was the first episode that actually kind of bored me. Even though I really like the giant effects, which are some of the better special effects in the series.

Renay: This really felt like it should have been a two part episode to develop Xena's failing relationship with Goliath due to their experiences with vengeance on top of the David versus Goliath stuff. More could have definitely been done to develop Xena struggling to communicate what she's learned to Goliath, but I guess they thought it didn't matter because he was going down no matter what. Given that they did so much hella Gabrielle/David UST I don't see why he had to die. Maybe David could have defeated him without terrible death and everyone could have had a learning experience. As it stands, this episode ended with Goliath dying in battle and Xena never really getting through to him.

Who knows! Maybe that was the point of it all—that vengeance blinds you to the reality of your actions. Too bad it wasn't more interesting.

Supplemental Material


Much like Xena herself, Renay and Clare have powerful allies in their quest.

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Queer lady geek Clare was raised by French wolves in the American South. more? » twitter icon webpage icon

Ira is an illustrator and gamer who decided that disagreeing with everyone would be a good way to spend their time on the internet. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

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