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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.

Xena: Episode 104, "Cradle of Hope"

Clare: This seer is not terribly good at her job, is she? She could have avoided this entire episode by framing Gabriel as the reincarnation of the king's deceased son or as fate giving him another chance or having him just straight up adopt the baby. It was a pretty obvious, if really nice, way to end the episode, but I suppose that's some of the charm of camp: knowing exactly where we'll end up, so we can focus on the character development. That's the appeal of procedurals (be they monsters of the week or hapless town of the weeks), as my love of Elementary can attest.

Renay: The could have solved some of the plot problems here by giving the Evil Advisor less screen time and trusting the viewer to connect more of the dots. Part of the problem with the seer is that she's spelling out the resolution in the very first scene of the episode. If the child had been more secret, i.e. if the servants had overheard the prophecy, then gotten rid of the baby, and then in a following scene the evil advisor goes "A CHILD WAS BORN HERE LAST NIGHT" it would've been way more dramatic. But what do I know about television writing, right? ;)

Clare: So this episode gives us a look at parenthood by having several different characters react to a fated child. Xena is, as you can imagine, not the warm and fuzzy type, but she takes a very protective role. She even names the baby, which, in the haphazardly Greek setting, could mean a lot. (I can't imagine why "Something about our baby bother you?" hasn't been used as a .gif whenever people make a fuss about ladies adopting babies together.) Gabrielle likes the baby, but she's relating to it in a bit of a sibling way—she specifically states that she always wanted a little brother and giggles when she tells Pandora that the baby looks like her. Pandora, obviously, is the one who takes to Gabriel, since it's implied that she doesn't want to have any biological children so she can end Pandora's Curse.

Renay: My favorite part of this episode was how very quickly Xena started playing parenthood matchmaker. As soon as she saw her chance, she got the baby away from Gabrielle and into Pandora's arms, giving her her own ball of poop-filled hope. Sometimes, she show does subtle! (Except when they're having Xena praise Gabrielle and Gabrielle grinning in response. Not subtle. NOW KISS.)

Clare: And Gregor never got to be a father and it really pains him that all his love has been translated into so much grief, which makes you wonder why he didn't scoop up Gabriel when he was born. (Gabriel's biological father is never mentioned, right? Oh my God, is he Nemos'? Is that what happened? WHAT A TWEEST!)

Renay: (I DON'T KNOW if the baby belonged to Nemos but now that's going to be my head canon for this forever. HE WAS TRYING TO COVER HIS SHADY TRACKS.)

Clare: This is a great example of how having more representation is really helpful. While their first interaction with Gabriel is pretty slapstick for their characters—Xena doesn't get it! Gabrielle loves babies!—seeing how even Gabrielle's love for Gabriel isn't exactly a mother's love lets us get more perspective and facets to not only the characters, but the idea of parenting in question.

And, of course, that's concluded with a round of baby dodgeball and the beginning of an epic domestic fic for Pandora and Gregor, where co-parenting leads to love. I was really heartened by the fact that Pandora becomes Gabriel's mother, not Gregor's wife, and the show doesn't bother to comment on that at all, making co-parenting very normal. Bless.

Renay: After the episode ended I was all, and now as Pandora begins to co-parent with Gregor, she will forget about the box until one day when Gabriel is sorting through the room after his father's death, and he finds a weird box. He'll ask her about it, and although it's opened, she'll realize it's been years and years and years and that her hope for the future is right in front of her. <33333

Clare: Xena's dancing costume makes her look like Wonder Woman. I demand that Lucy Lawless play Wonder Woman's mom from now on. YOU HEARD ME SNYDER.

FEMSLASH ALERT: Gabrielle talks Ophelia into helping them. Xena smirks "Good job." Gabrielle just lights up. Oh, these two.

Supplemental Material

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

The adventure continues:

Xena: Episode 103, "Dreamworker"Xena: Episode 105, "The Path Not Taken"


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