Click here for Season One Review
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.
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.
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.