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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 105, "The Path Not Taken"

Clare: Okay, that's it, I'm totally in. Xena and Gabrielle's comedic patter is a lot of fun—"Did you ever notice that we never have a problem getting a table?"—as is Xena casually punching out every dude who looks at her funny in the tavern. I continue to be astonished by Lawless' firebreathing.

But we don't get much Xena and Gabrielle this episode, because Xena is off to connect with an old flame, as she must play mercenary in order to rescue a princess and stop a war. At first, as Gabrielle fears, I thought this was going to be about Xena's newfound resolve being tested by being back in her element, but it's not that at all.

Renay: When I first started this episode I wondered if it was going to be Xena leaving the boyfriend and Gabrielle behind to rescue the damsel, but them following her and the entire plot be about the resulting hijinks. BUT NO, instead we got some really nice backstory and character-building, which proves that just because it's questionable 90s camp doesn't mean it can't surprise me! I like your point about how interpersonal relationships are the key to moving forward in positive ways. It's nice to see that even when she's absent, the good parts of Gabrielle are rubbing off on Xena. She's so casual in her talk—it's different than Gabrielle's fast talk to get herself out of a jam—but Xena is cool and calm and fights a verbal battle that would make Gabrielle proud.

Clare: It's much more about the struggle to stay out of this lifestyle. When Xena agrees with Marcus that she's not better than him, it's incredibly true. He quite obviously thinks she's the greatest, be it as a warlord or as a lover, but everybody tackles leaving something like this behind the same way. It's never pointed out, but Xena has Gabrielle to center her. Marcus only gets his second resolve to leave this all behind when Xena comes back into his life. And, of course, it's really telling that there's no trust among the cutthroats of the Walled City. Salvation, Xena: The Warrior Princess posits, will come through interpersonal relationships.

Which takes only a little of the sting of Marcus' death, as both a black male character and as Xena's lover. He's not fridged to give her pain (womanpain?); his death is his redemption. And he gets a very touching funeral scene. But patterns like this are about the greater pattern, not the individual case.

Renay: I was incredibly sad that Marcus died, but happy that we got to see that even before she quit war lording around burning things and killing people, she did form very human attachments, and that it was only a matter of time before she realized what she was doing was destructive. I may be projecting, but her care for Marcus felt 100% genuine and it didn't come out of nowhere, so what does that say about the person she was before we meet her? You don't fake emotion like that; it makes me wonder what other people from Xena's past we might meet, and what their relationship will be like.

Clare: The action continues to be delightfully camp, and we get a wet... outfit scene with the princess.

Renay: I really liked the banter between the princess and Xena: "slitting your throat AND jumping off the balcony?"

Clare: Otherwise, the kid who plays Agranon looks like Bolin from The Legend of Korra and I am super into that.

Renay: This is where I admit I didn't watch Korra and don't know who Bolin is! I'M A BAD FAN.

Supplemental Material

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

The adventure continues:

Xena: Episode 104, "Cradle of Hope"Xena: Episode 106: "The Reckoning"

Date: 2015-04-02 01:34 am (UTC)
frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Xena: Xena&Argo <3)
From: [personal profile] frayadjacent
My homework for the weekend is to rewatch this episode and comment with something intelligent! And now that I've left this comment I'm more likely to do it. :D

(I'm still really, REALLY excited that y'all are going through the whole show. Oh my heart.)


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