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In this musical episode, Xena and Gabrielle confront one another and they find redemption through song. The idea, conceptualization, music and production values were all excellent, so what could I have a problem with? The hypocrisy.
I thought this episode would be about Xena learning to deal with her hate and anger - long-term issues for her - and to forgive Gabrielle. Or maybe about both learning to deal with their inner pain. But Gabrielle has to deal with her hate for Xena?...Why? What for? For taking her to Brittannia - which Gabrielle chose to go to of her own free will - and then not babysitting her while she goes off with people they both trusted somewhere both thought was safe? So it's Xena's fault for everything with Daehak? Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. I concede blame where blame is due, but making Gabrielle blame Xena for not only her own past mistakes but having to deal with the consequences of those mistakes just stinks of hypocrisy and petulant whining. I was pretty thoroughly disgusted. Gabrielle's petulant 2-D hatred and accusations being put on the same level as Xena's just trivialised Xena's own deep-seated suffering and hatred, making what has been a real issue for her seem as stupid and silly as Gabrielle's.
Instead of a deep diatribe on the complex issues of hate, Gabrielle's own laughable blaming of Xena and the writers' handling of it made the entire episode seem childish and utterly idiotic. Oh yes, don't work through your issues by listening to each others' grievances and talking them out, just sing that you forgive without any acknowledgement of the guilt or discussion of the issues. What should have been a touching reconciliation basically looks like the writers ran out of ideas. I more sympathised with Xena after the prior episode, but I still thought that what Gabrielle went through was horrendous... now my sympathy for her is gone completely and I'm seriously wishing Xena would go dark side and behead her just to shut her up.
The fact that XENA of all people sung the "yes, I lied, please forgive me" song had me screaming in anger and vivid hatred at the episode writers. Not ONCE did I hear Gabrielle offer any apology for what she did to Xena and XENA is the one who is apologizing. Well, in one episode I went to hating at the very least the episode writers, which is just wonderfully ironic.
Of all the plots and arcs in the Xena series, the 'Twilight of the Gods' is the most infamous. A good question to ask would be: why?
I mean, the things I listed were all bad, but I love this series and would gladly sit through said bad for the good... So what crossed the line?
Well, that's not exactly right. Eve's actress. The character of Eve is weakly written (needing Deus Ex Machina to give character growth), but considering this is Callisto's reincarnation, her personality and essence should be the same, giving a huge canvas to work with. Instead, it was painful to watch Wilkinson's acting. She wasn't eye-gouging terrible exactly, but after the brilliant acting of Hudson Leick, I found myself unable to reconcile who Eve was in-universe with what I was seeing on-screen.
Disappointing, idea-starved and pretentious. Without strong acting to hold this sketchy arc together, it fell to pieces. Luckily it was self-contained...Wait.
Once one of the most popular shows in the World, Xena still holds some value almost 15 years after it's beginning. The themes are sweet and the action scenes never disappoint. For a live-action show set in the mid-nineties, the fighting is well-choreographed and consistently fun.
Also, there is Les Yay. Dear Lord, the Les Yay. Gabrielle and Xena are inseparable and the subtext is astounding.
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