Xena Season Four

Season four continues with Xena post Gabrielle’s plunge with daughter Hope to a lava death.

Crazy with grief, Xena sets out on a journey to discover which afterlife Gabrielle’s gone to and eventually discovers that she’s alive. But how, we don’t discover until the final season and reckoning.

Episode 1: Adventures in the Sin Trade: Part 1
Episode 2: Adventures in the Sin Trade: Part 2
Anxious to know Gabrielle is safe in a good afterlife, more probably, figuring how where to join her,  Xena seeks Gabrielle in the Amazon Land of the Dead.

Xena and her allies must learn the new Holy Word in order to defeat the Shamaness Alti and release the Amazon dead to cross over to their Land of the Dead – and Xena replaces the afterlife password “courage” with the more powerful password of “love.”

Episode 3: A Family Affair

Xena and Joxer travel to Poteidaia, where they find Gabrielle. But, Xena realizes that it’s Hope, not Gabrielle – but while that means that Hope and her offspring with Aries is alive – that means Gabrielle is too.

Episode 4: In Sickness and in Hell

Joxer hires himself out as a village protector and enlisted the help of Xena and Gabrielle to fend off an army of Scythians. Meanwhile, Xena and Gabrielle experience a variety of stomach and skin aliments and Xena realizes that Joxer had the wherewithal to bring down the invading army already – his cooking.

One of the best comedy episodes that played with the show’s conventions, giving us insight into the more intimate relationship of Xena and Gabrielle.

Episode 5: A Good Day

The never ending war between Caesar and Pompey comes to a stalemate when Xena intervenes to save a Greek village.

Episode 6: A Tale of Two Muses

Footloose in the Xenaverse. Their protege Tara is dancing in a village where dancing and joyfulness is banish. Xena and Gabrielle arrive and promise to teach the children the art of war while Autolycus, posing as a morally upright preacher,  brings inquisition intolerance to their natural unintended consequences.

Episode 7: Locked Up and Tied Down

Xena agrees to be condemned to spend the rest of her life in Shark Island Prison for the brutal murder of a woman called Thalassa back when Xena was an evil warlord the Destroyer of Nations. Gabrielle knows the situation is unfair and travels to Shark Island disguised as a healer, where she discovers that Thalassa is the warden of the prison and works her Gabrielle magic to restore Thalassa’s humanity.

Episode 8: Crusader

Xena has to chose between her love of Gabrielle and her love for Gabrielle – when they encounter a woman warrior who’s fighting the good fight with divine inspiration. With the vision of their future crucifixion weighting on her mind, Xena tries to subvert destiny by finding Gabrielle a new butch warrior to sidekick for.

Except that you can’t alter fate nor accept that anyone on a divine mission is actually a force of good – making Xena the perfect partner for Gabrielle – a woman aware of her strengths and weaknesses, and chooses her better nature in situations, rather than one who follows blindly forces they can’t really understand.

Episode 9: Past Imperfect

Xena deals with more of her evil past and her relationship with Borias – how he changed from being just a barbarian into a man with a vision for the future.

Episode 10: The Key to the Kingdom

Meg, the slutty Xena lookalike, sets out to emulate Xena by doing good in the world and she kidnaps a baby being held as the key to the Crown of Athena – giving Autolycus his first real chance to steal the crown. But, unlike Xena who would have realized the connection between the baby and his elderly caretaker and left well enough alone.

It’s Meg’s loving heart that wants to treat the baby as a baby to love, that is the truest key and path to wisdom. No crown needed.

Episode 11: Daughter of Pomira

Xena and Gabrielle have to rescue the daughter of one of Xena’s former men, who was kidnapped and has lived most of her life with the Horde.

I found that I was not able to watch the Horde episodes, anymore than I could watch the Ceasar abuse of his authority episodes. The Horde shows required Xena to dig deep into her own barbaric past to deal with the barbaric Horde, and despite that understanding was eventually found between the Horde and the other groups of people, it was too much a retreat into darkness for me to watch these episodes, which served as reminders of the badness we are capable of as individuals and as groups – and maybe we can understand group behavior when we understand our own – but this barbaric and unfeeling behaviours needed to drive the episode were far too much for my current sensibilities, given the workplace conflict I’ve been subjected to.

Episode 12: If the Shoe Fits…

A delightful episode that highlights the different way the gods think about and are in the world, versus the priorities of living beings and what they are seeking to accomplish with their shorter lives.

It was these more playful episodes that really pushed the boundaries of the story world and told a variety of familiar stories in a new context, to show how universal the human experience, no matter the social context.

Episode 13: Paradise Found

Gabrielle and Xena find themselves in an alternative reality of total peace, that if Gabrielle takes that step, she will become a single consciousness moment of pure balance – while becoming a featureless blue statue.

Xena, less receptive to the stillness, reverts to a more primal animal state and has to save both herself and Gabrielle from the tranquility guru.

Episode 14: Devi

Xena and Gabrielle arrive in India and meet Eli – a Jesus character who is able to cast out demons and brings a message of love.

Gabrielle is possessed and is initially thought to be the Devi – but Xena realizes that Eli is the Devi and Gabrielle is being controlled by a devil.

Episode 15: Between the Lines

In India, Xena and Gabrielle save a woman in India from being burnt with her husband’s body as per custom – and she sends Xena and Gabrielle into their next life to fight the evil Alti – Xena is an older woman – the Mother of Peace and Gabrielle is the dashing young warrior who defends her – information that is critical to understanding the final episode.

Xena and Gabrielle defeat Alti in the next life and return to finish her in this life. Xena and Gabrielle learn that their lives are linked throughout time and that will always be paired to fight evil over many lifetimes and with this defeat of Alti at the height of her power, will ensure that Xena will always be able to defeat Alti.

And they battle Alti in many forms, in many lives, over the course of the show.

Episode 16: The Way

Xena, who’s never had a use for gods since turning good, appeals to Krishna for help while Gabrielle follows Eli’s path of love and no violence.

Both women will struggle with their desire to be on the path of love without violence, but the world in which they live, has too much fighting – might makes right mentality to be so on the path of love that they can commit to love or death – they are fighting for a world in which, love without fighting, can thrive.

We’re not there yet, is the sad part.

Episode 17: The Play’s the Thing

Xena does The Producers – Gabrielle is tricked into putting on her bad play so the producer can run a scam on Warlords who are investing in the play.

When Joxer adds sex and violence to Gabrielle’s Opus to Love and Peace, it becomes a sure fire hit – not to mention, bringing out the Thespian in all of us.

Episode 18: The Convert

Joxer kills for the first time, and Najara is back. Xena doesn’t beleive the fanatic crusader claim of forsaking violence, but Gabrielle considers it’s possible after Najara says she changed after meeting Eli.

When Xena’s instincts turn out to be true, Gabrielle has to wonder if Eli’s way is even possible in the world as it stands.

Episode 19: Takes One to Know One

Xena’s surprise birthday party for Gabrielle turned into an evening of a murder mystery – with a bounty hunter dead and every party guest having a reason to have done it – and the new Goddess Discord wanting to wrap up the punishment to show Aries how effective a goddess she can be.

Episode 20: Endgame

Ephiny, Queen of the Amazons, dies in battle against the Romans; leaving  Gabrielle the new Queen to the Amazon territory.

Xena and Gabrielle are again entangled with Caesar and his right hand man, Brutus, whom Gabrielle shows mercy despite that he killed Ephiny.

Xena plays the romans, and pits Caesar against Pompey.

Episode 21: The Ides of March

When Caesar, advised by Callisto, fixes a price for Xena’s head, the Warrior Princess believes it’s finally the time to kill him – even if that may lead her and Gabrielle to the death by crucifixion she saw in Alti’s vision – and it does.

But Brutus has begun to see Caesar as Xena sees him – and everyone is about to get a comic re-alignment – as Caesar overstepps his authority and is slain by Brutus, so Callisto is cast into hell and Xena and Gabrielle are crucified.

Episode 22: Deja Vu All Over Again

In modern-day America, a woman named Annie believes she was Xena, warrior princess, in a past life. Her husband, Harry, scoffs, but they both get a surprise when they visit a new age practitioner who takes them through their former lives.

Discovering that Harry was Xena, the Reincarnationist is Gabrielle and Annie is Joxer. Xena and Gabrielle are united as a married couple in the current day.

A small comfort against their Xena and Gabrielle existence deaths by the Romans.

Season 5 is where the world really gets rocked.

Religious vs Spiritual Redux

Religious people don’t like spiritual people because spiritual people are what they call cafeteria believers, you pick what you like and jettison the rest.

the problem with this is that religious people are also cafeteria believers, they just keep more and cling harder, especially when it’s something they can hold against others – like being anti-gay because the bible, a book full of slavery, polygamous marriages with concubines on the side and over 600 rules including that wearing poly-cotton blends will send you to hell for eternity

if they obeyed everything, they wouldn’t have so much time to be bothered about other people.

check out AJ Jacobs’ Year of Living Biblically.

that said, I think it’s worth investigating what spiritual really means to the people who call themselves that – particularly from geographical areas that are not culturally immersed in religions.

Like Shinto or Confucianism – something meditative and with a long multi-generational view – an understanding of the forces at play across generations of nations