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The Personal is Political

Lesbian Heros

All my TV lesbian heros have been created by men. Cool men like Robert Tapert and Joss Whedon. Okay, yes, I am referring to geek guys as cool, because to me, geeks have always been the coolest and least conformiest.

Both Tapert and Whedon created strong women characters who were more than strong women, they were women identified women.

Xena & Gabrielle and Buffy & Willow held their own as women in their respective male dominated worlds.

So I started thinking about what kind of woman heroic shows would women, lesbians, create on their own.

It occurred to me that a woman created show would be more likely a trio of women – either three types of women of a similar age that reflected some juxtaposing of the maiden, the mother and the crone

go through the series to say what you would have written differently

like when Valesca becomes a goodess, why didn’t most of the amazons bow down?

why don’t the background characters react more to what they see rather than going along with the hero character

the amazons were willing to follow Valesca in life, why wouldn’t they have followed her as a goddess?

When we see and experience those big movie moments, we have to be moved and impacted, changed course because of them, following the natural curve to the plot will lead to much more interesting higher stake stories.

Xena: Season Five

Season 5 opens with Xena and Gabrielle in Christian Heaven, which, as the series plays out – the coming of Christianity is the twilight of the Greek and Roman and all other gods – because in the Xenaverse, it’s the belief of the populace that makes a god a god – and Xena has travelled througout the known world and engaged in gods, goddesses, spirits, forces, demons and now angels.

In this season, Xena will become pregnant and the many gods will try to destroy her child as it is the messenger of the twilight – but the gods never learn, even from their own myths – that any prophesy is guaranteed to come true, the more you try to prevent it.

Episode 1: Fallen Angel

Xena and Gabrielle’s souls leave their crucified bodies and reach Heaven, where Gabrielle is captured and dragged down to hell by Callisto. Xena leads the Archangels in a rescue mission and rescues not only Gabrielle, but changes grace places with Callisto. Gabrielle rejects Callisto’s new purity and sanity and is determined to get Xena out of hell before hell can’t be taken out of Xena.

On Earth, Joxer, Amarice and Eli decide to recover Xena and Gabrielle’s bodies from the crosses where they died. Eli, the messenger of the god of love – clearly implicated as being the Christian god, brings

Episode 2: Chakram

Back in their bodies, Xena’s restoration to life was only of her goodness – like Callisto, Xena has no memory of her dark past.

Meanwhile, Ares and Kal, another god of war, are in a race to control the Chakram of Light, which has the power to kill gods, but can only be taken by an absolutely pure soul. Xena, purified, claims the chakram and her memories are restored.

Episode 3: Succession

Throughout the show, many women or warlords have tried to either replace Gabrielle and ride with Xena, or replace Xena to ride with Gabrielle, and from time to time, a warlord would want to replace Xena to ride with Aries.

A woman warrior wishing to be the new Xena causes Aries to set up a challenge – Xena and Gabrielle against the upstart warrior wannabe – with a catch – Xena and Gabrielle have to fight LadyHawk style with Gabby on the day shift and Xena on the night.

Episode 4: Animal Attraction

Spring is in the air! While in the town of Spamona, Amazon Amarice is attrracted to Arman, the scholarly son of a warlord that Joxer accidentally but for the greater good, killed several episodes previously.

Xena is revealed to be pregnant and everyone’s wondering how Gabrielle is the daddy. There was never any tv show with a wilder “I’m pregnant” announcement.

The spit take of everyone staring at Gabrielle should make any Top 10 List of Best Pregnant Announcements.

The baby is none other than Callisto, giving Xena and her another chance to be a different kind of influence than warrior Destroyer and Copycat Destroyer.

Episode 5: Them Bones, Them Bones

While Xena had adopted her son Solan, to the centaurs, she’s determined to raise this baby. But her nightmares about her baby’s future lead herself, Gabrielle and Amarice to the lands of the Northern Amazons, where they’ll have to face Alti in another of many showdowns.

Episode 6: Purity
Episode 7: Back in the Bottle

With Gabrielle and Joxer in tow, Xena returns to the land of Chin to bring about the destiny of the Dove and Hawk – Lao Ma’s twin daughters – one good like their mother and one evil, like their half-brother, The Green Dragon – already killed by Xena – and something of a sore spot with Gabrielle.

While the evil twin gets Lao Ma’s writings, Xena teaches everything she knows to the good twin, and they banish the evil twin to the other side – where she will unite with the green dragon, until finally defeated.

Episode 8: Little Problems

The goddess Aphrodite attempts to switch Xena and a catatonic young girl, but both end up in the little girl’s body – making the Xena physics of beating up the bad guys a visual delight.

Something that Buffy the Vampire Slayer would touch on in the final episodes of Buffy having Willow awaken the slayer in all girls – with a scene of an abused 10 year old, coming into her slayer powers in time to turn the tables on her abuser.

Grrrl Power!

Episode 9: Seeds of Faith

Xena and Gabrielle try to stop Aries from killing Eli – who asks them to honor his message of peace and no need for gods – by allowing Aries to strike him down – to die as a person of peace, as Eli was asking and inspiring people to live. In peace.

Episode 10: Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire

Xena and Gabrielle organize a musical contest in Melodia, musical capital of Greece, to decide who gets Terpsichore’s Lyre.

Xena has to cope with her mother’s attempts to marry her off and make the baby legitimate while Gabrielle tries to avoid the warlord Draco, who’s still under cupid’s spell in love with her. But Joxer has a bigger problem – another look alike brother who is as fabulous as Joxer is clumsy. Joxer learns to accept Jace and himself a little better.

Episode 11: Punch Lines

This story is a meandering tall tale of Gabrielle trying to make Lachrymose, the god of despair, laugh. miscommunication, misdirection, miniaturized Argo and a pie in the face finally does the trick. There’s nothing like experience to give concepts their meaning.

Episode 12: God Fearing Child

When Zeus learns that Xena’s unborn child is part of a prophecy that foretells the demise of the Olympians, he launches an attack against the pregnant warrior princess, prompting Hercules to fly to her rescue – and Aries to attack Hercules, as the cost of going along with Zeus’ plans for Xena.

This being the Xena show, Zeus is slain and the gods of all pantheons panic.

Episode 13: Eternal Bonds

The Goddess Athena steps up to lead the remaining Olympus gods assault on Xena.

Episode 14: Amphipolis Under Siege

Xena, Gabrielle and Eve arrive to Amphipolis, where the villagers decide to challenge their patron goddess, Athena, whose army has put the town under siege until Xena’s daughter is handed over or killed.

Episode 15: Married with Fishsticks

When she’s into a fight between Aphrodite and Discord, Gabrielle falls into the sea and when she wakes up, she’s a siren named Crustacea, and she’s married to a Joxer look-alike called Hagar, who’s a scheming municipal politician.

This is one of my favorite episodes, because of the playfulness of the story, and an interesting What If… world.

Episode 16: Lifeblood
Episode 17: Kindred Spirits

While not a true two parter – these episodes show an possibility for Xena – being able to be a homemaker and raise eve with Gabrielle as the Queen of the Amazons. But, as attractive as living in an Amazon village with an inexhaustible supply of babysitters – the idea of Butch Gabrielle and Femme Xena didn’t sit right – so the pair will resolve the conflicts and head on their way.

These short interval of peaceful existance and security will be something that will haunt Xena later – when she and Gabrielle wake up 20 years into the future – there was a few episodes that seemed to recall that if only Xena had been willing to let Gabrielle be the Queen of the Amazons, as she was routinely called upon, that their lives and Eve’s would have been a lot different.

Episode 18: Antony and Cleopatra

A snake hidden in a scroll kills Cleopatra in Egypt, so Xena disguises as the Queen and Gabrielle as her servant to save Egypt from the Romans, who are divided among the followers of Brutus, Marc Antony and Octavius (Caesar’s adopted son).

While they look for Cleopatra’s killer, something unrealistic happens: Xena falls in love with Antony.

In other times, like now, the show wouldn’t have had to engage in these periodic heterosexually reaffirming and pointless storylines, because the show is the Xena and Gabby show – and no man or woman can come between them and the show continue. It’s sad that the audience of the show gets that they are a couple, but the mainstream public, so quick to complain to advertisers about the content of shows that they don’t even watch, it’s sad that people feel entitled to control show content and what other adults choose to watch.

Episode 19: Looking Death in the Eye

This episode jumps the story line ahead 20 years and explains what happened that we skipped over Warrior Baby Princess.

Old Joxer tells his children the story of the last adventure of Xena and Gabrielle, when they tried to trick the gods into believing that the family of three was dead.

Xena and Gabrielle capture Death and Xena makes her cry – capturing her tears. Xena then allows Athena to recapture death – and with a slight of hand, hands baby Eve off to Octavious while Xena and Gabrielle take a wild wagon ride and tumble over a cliff – Athena and her minions watching as the wagon with baby burns, Gabrielle is apparently killed in the fall and Xena survives long enough to drink poison and die herself.

All well and good as the gods leave and Octavian shows up with baby Eve and finds Joxer stunned at the events and witness to Aries taking Xena and Gabrielle’s bodies and entombing them in ice coffins.

Episode 20: Livia

Xena and Gabrielle awaken in the ice tomb 25 years later than they planned. They get an update from villagers and hear about a Roman named Livia, a bloodthirsty warrior who is trying to eliminate the cult of Eli.

Episode 21: Eve

Livia refuses to accept she’s Eve, the daughter of Xena, and keeps killing the followers of Eli with increasing cruelty to please Ares so Xena has to tough love her daughter and show her that Aries loves only Aries… and Xena.

It’s funny how there’s so rarely an ick factor with the incestuous Greek Gods, who were all partway sibling to their divine spouses.

Episode 22: Motherhood

When the Olympian gods get into another tizzy about Twilight (and given what a terrible book it was, who can blame them?).

Athena sends the Furies to turn Gabrielle mad until she kills Eve – who accepts who she is and is initiated in the Way of Love. Xena, as the defender of the messenger, is given the power to kill gods.

Aphrodite, the goddess of love, remains true to her friendship for Gabrielle and, as much as a party girl with a I have more temples than you fixation, demonstrates the capacity for transcendent love that gods should have.