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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 101, "Death in Chains"

Clare: And just after Xena saves humanity from needless death, Xena proves that we don't need to fear the Reaper. Who, luckily, is personified by a calm woman with a candle that can kill with a touch. Having an episode begin with a woman responding to threatening sexual overtures by killing a man? It can only be XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS.

Renay: I couldn't get over how Death could be trapped in a chair with some arm clamps. You're death, lady! Have you never been cheated before? Is this your first rodeo? Where is your risk management?

Clare: I like the idea of Sisyphus, the mechanical-minded man, in the Xenaverse, especially since we're skewing way medieval with his costuming and his wife's costuming. Magic versus technology is always a rich theme to mine for conflict, but I don't think this show is going to go into that too much. Sisyphus even gets off easy with no punishment for trapping Death and almost dooming the world to eternal life, which I was much more ambivalent about.

Renay: I couldn't believe he faced so little consequences. I wanted him to drop dead immediately.

Clare: Death not sticking forces Xena to be more creative, like Gabrielle, which is a nice touch. (Although the chakram can buzz saw through wood? Okay, show. Whatever.) But the episode is, besides more dungeon crawling, about Gabrielle. She enters in a brand new outfit (hey, Gabrielle has knees!) which will actually be explained in the next episode, which features Amazons and centaurs. (I cannot wait to see these centaurs. I anticipate hilarity.) But it still works, because Gabrielle is positing on how, while she does yearn for romantic love, she can't life a life without adventure and meeting new people.

Renay: This episode has some really good work in the side characters as they explored the reality of not being able to die. It could have been a really morbid episode, but it turned out really well in that we see all sorts of reactions to death—fear, avoidance, optimism, desire—and how everyone treats it very differently, and none of those emotions are necessarily wrong or right. Except for Sisyphus, who is kind of a bonehead.

Also, why were those bandits not in pain when everyone else was? Do they just have GREAT pain management skills? I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Clare: Gabrielle immediately falls upon a mythology-spouting dude and snaps him up for being kind and sensitive and good with dying people. And Xena even likes him, which is a nice step for her. But, of course, he's dying, and I like that the episode deals with his dilemma of whether or not to tell people he's terminally ill. He doesn't want it to color every interaction he has, so he hides it, even though he himself is at peace with this. And Xena understands this; it's Gabrielle who has to learn that it's his decision to make and lets him go. Aww.

Renay: Alas, they took the fresh faced young lad, who Gabrielle wanted to adopt and take with her on her adventures, proving that once again, death is unfair and random. It's the worst lightning strike ever.

Also, seriously, the rat scene.

Supplemental Material

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


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