Hercules and Xena Banner Exchange
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Well guys, FINALLY got to see "DESTINY" tonight. Those of you who haven't seen it yet - you have an absolutely WONDERFUL treat in store for you. The RETURN of the drama we all LOVE - the emotion, the adventure, the darkness, the legend! I LOVE THIS EPISODE!! I am SOOOOOO glad they are telling this story in several episodes rather than just one (the reason they messed up with RETURN OF CALLISTO I think). This is the origin of Xena and very much deserves the treatment it is apparantely going to get over two or more episodes.
First of all - those of you who are squimish or who easily cry - get ready and stand strong. This one is going to KILL you. Just Gabby crying is going to kill you! The episode is beautifully directed with wonderful camera shots and HAUNTING music. The scene in which Xena is injured is painful to watch (lots of stuff is REALLY painful to watch in this episode actually). Gabby manages to drive the bad guy away (the BARD COMES THRU!!!!) but herself gets injured in the process - a knife to the thigh. There is blood on her hands, all over Xena's face, more blood in this episode than in most others I've seen. At Xena's request Gabby then starts on a long trek to try to get th warrior to Mt. Nesseus (spelling may be off on that). Remember those posts here in the Forum where we all wanted to see snow on the show - we get snow here, LOTS of snow, snow everywhere and an exhausted Gabby trying to get Xena to this healer on the mountain. The scenes come as close to what we've seen in those great fan fiction stories as TV will probably get.
All the while Xena is remembering the time before her full conversion to being a warlord. The Xena that is shown is what I would call a pirate queen. She determined to protect Amphipolis from all potential enemies, she's ambitious and she's strong but she hasn't surrendered to darkness yet. She's really rather endearing. When you see her falling for Ceasar you almost want to shake her because you KNOW the guy is going to break her heart. Around this time she meets that stowaway on her ship who knows the "touch" and almost single-handedly defeats Xena AND her crew. The stoaway turns out to be a young runaway Gaelic slave name M'Lilla who I must tell you HAS to be one of the most intriguing characters EVER introduced in this series! This is a character like Lyceus in REMEMBER NOTHING who you end up wishing we could somehow see again someday. M'Lilla is a mystery. Very young and innocent in appearance but DEADLY in combat. The best way I can describe her is that if Xena and Gabrielle could be combined in one human being - it would be M'Lilla.
After capturing Ceasar and having an affair with him in which she looses her heart, Xena ransoms him to the Romans but Ceasar returns, seems some months or years later. Showing a gullibility OUR Xena now would NEVER fall victim to, Xena lets him on board her ship which he and his men then take over. The scene that follows is GUT WRENCHING guys - the cruxificion. They chose not to use nails probably to tone down the blood, but the impact is still there. Xena's entire crew is also cruxified on that beach with her. As he walks away nonchalantly Ceasar orders one of his men to break Xena's legs. The woman lets out a scream of absolute agony.
M'Lilla ends up saving her. She beats up the Roman soldiers on the beach who've been guarding the dying prisoners and then takes Xena to Mt. Nesseus. There's a very definite spiritual connection between the characters of M'Lilla and Gabrielle. During this time, scenes of Gabby reaching the healer are also shown. Prepare yourself for the scene in which Xena's broken legs are set. Anyone who watches this and doesn't at least wince has a heck of a strong constitution.
The scene that follows *IS* I think the DEFINING one in the life of the warrior princess. A recovering Xena is shown talking with M'Lilla. They don't understand each other but through the healer and just through gestures they communicate. Xena is obviously very grateful to the girl for saving her life and very moved by the gesture. Despite what she's gone through, Xena STILL does not seem completely consumed by darkness. In fact, she seems warm in the exchange with M'Lilla. Then M'Lilla asks her *THE QUESTION*...does she hate Ceasar. The expression on M'Lilla's face is one of concern. It really adds I think to the girl's mystique - it's almost as if she somehow has seen into Xena's soul and recognized the POTENTIAL for darkness there. Xena doesn't get a chance to respond because the Roman soldiers who've been hunting them break in at that moment. M'Lilla, the healer AND Xena despite her broken legs (ouch!! More wincing here! BIG TIME!) start fighting them. Then M'Lilla sees a soldier aiming a cross bow at Xena and inexplicably, runs right into the arrow's path. As it plunges into her back she falls into Xena's arms. WATCH THE EXPRESSION ON XENA'S FACE AS THIS HAPPENS! Lyceus' death years before may have STARTED Xena on the path toward darkness but this moment, this instant in which M'Lilla dies in her arms having giving up her life to save her, this is the moment the Warrior Princess is born. The way this it is staged is absolutely FANTASTIC - you see on Xena's face a range of emotions - confusion, grief, shock all eventually merging into one terrifying expression of absolute rage that will be familiar to anyone who saw Xena's first appearances as the Warrior Princess in the HERC trilogy. With M'Lilla death and the healer unconscious, Xena finishes off the Roman soldiers. She doesn't just finish them off either guys - she RELISHES in the killings. Callisto has NOTHING on the Xena we see released here. As a matter of fact, one scene in particular is going to remind you of Callisto.
As the viewer you are then taken to the real time where ANOTHER GUT-WRENCHING scene awaits. Xena dies. Gabrielle...oh guys Gabby crying here is just painful to watch. MAJOR, MAJOR KLEENEX alert. The final scene is strange, almost mystical. Xena is shown on a crucifix in a lake of fire. She doesn't seem in pain. M'Lilla appears (talking English now) and tells her she must follow her destiny. Xena doesn't understand so M'Lilla tells her to listen because when the living think about her she can hear their thoughts. Then you hear Gabby's voice as a series of images flash on the screen - some of the most emotional and best-loved scenes from the series - ALL featuring Xena and the bard. You hear Gabby tell Xena that the world needs her...and so does she. Then Xena looks at M'Lilla and says simply that she has to go back. Part 2 is next week... OOOOOOHHHHHH and part TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SPOILER FOR PREVIEW OF "THE QUEST" FOLLOWS
WOW guys this one looks GREAT! Autolycus the king of thieves is back and to top it off it looks like the Amazons are too!! Gabby is in full Amazon Princess gear here with a great new outfit and even some armor! I read somewhere that they were planning on introducing an evil Amazon character and it looks like this is the episode in which it happens. Autolycus supposedly is carrying within him Xena's soul. It's funny because his soul is still in there too! Whenever he does something Xena doesn't like he hits himself!! :) Anyway - I have a FEEEEELING we're not going to see much of the REAL Xena in this episode (probably to give Lucy a WELL-deserved break) but Bruce and Renee definitely look great. The most promising scene in the preview - at the very end Gabrielle in FULL combat with that other Amazon - I'm not talking staffs here either! She's also shown throwing something. I suspect it miiiiiight be the chakram but I cannot tell for sure. It MIGHT be that Xena's soul jumps into Gabby and SHE'S the own fighting the Amazon but again, that's just conjecture on my part. I believe the episode after THE QUEST will be A NECESSARY EVIL which will have the Amazons again AND Callisto so the storyline may extend into that one. We have some FANTASTIC weeks ahead of us. The TV show is finally beginning to live up to the fan fiction I think! >:)
Now, did you guys actually read this whole thing??? You're as desperate as I am for spoilers huh?? :)
more by Lunacy
Lunacy's Fan Fiction Reviews
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Damn, that Xena even earns her frequent flyer miles the hard way. As if she doesn't have enough to worry about, now she's got to be on the look out for horizontal, gravity propelled, airborne logs. I don't know why our girl isn't afraid to go into the woods yet. Bless her metal breast-plated heart.
THE GIRLS ARE BACK IN TOWN
(or, Stand By Your Xena)
It's not often that the Xena babe needs saving, but I love that when she does, its always women who come to her rescue. In this ep M'Lila, gABrielle and the girl-child that Xena saves from the flying log, all do their part to get the Warrior Princess to her destiny check-up on time.
The scruggy little urchin that Xena saves is clearly in the M'Lila camp because she wears, and prominently touches, a necklace that is in the shape of the same symbol that appears on M'Lila's clothing. IMO, this child comes back to watch Xena fight, and knowingly causes Xena's accident, so that Xena can qualify for a free ticket to the post-death screening center where M'Lila awaits.
Upon arrival there Xena's all crossed up again, but M'Lila patiently instructs her on the finer points of destiny. And M'Lila has more than a passing interest in Xena's destiny. Recall that M'Lila rescues Xena from Caesar Cheeser's all boy beach party, and then later takes an arrow for Xena on the grounds that it isn't Xena's time to die.
Throughout M'Lila's destiny pep-talk we see flashes of gABrielle talking to Xena. gABS echoes M'Lila's sentiments when she tells Xena that she knows its not Xena's time to die. With two of her main girlfriends puttin' the squeeze on like that the big X knows that she has got to go back in order to fulfill her destiny.
(or, The Afterlife Fine Art Gallery Is Now Open)
I love the surreal imagery in Xena's afterlife scene with M'Lila. The image of Xena on the cross is straight from Salvador Dali's Christ St. John of the Cross. The oblong, oval and egg shaped bubbles roll scenes that are very reminiscent of his signature war painting, The Battle of Teton. The scene bubbles themselves take on an odd, just on the verge of oozing, shape that is a Dali trademark. The surrealist feel is complimented by the fact that M'Lila speaks to Xena without opening her mouth.
CHEESE HAIR, JULIUS CHEESE HAIR
(or, Divide A Man From His Shower . . .)
Well, if Cheese Hair were my dude-thingy, he'd be destined for the shower and a vigorous shampooing before dining and beddy-bye in my cabin. A Warrior Princess has got to have some standards and greasy hair doesn't bode well on silk sheets.
BREAK HIS LEGS!
(or, Divide A Man From His Ego...)
Even though much of this ep portrays the bad Xena in the bad old days, we see that Xena has always had significant episodes of sisterly goodness. I love the ease of Xena's lie to Cheese Hair about M'Lila running away, and Cheeser accepts the information as easily as its given. As it turns out M'Lila is Cheeser's downfall when it comes to murdering Xena. I guess Cheese boy's divide a woman's emotions blah blah drivel theory might need a little fine tuning. He may be destined for greatness in some war guy way, but his gig is definitely junior varsity compared to M'Lila's. Cheeser himself emphasizes this point best when he says, "Greatness is about achieving what's impossible to others, otherwise any thug with an army would be great."
Right, your Cheeserness, and since you're not on the Salvador Dali afterlife cafe guest list we'll just keep you seated in the thug section until further notice. The gals got the exclusive on greatness in this one. Or as Dali might have said, "Behold, The Kingdom of Gala is at hand." Ahhhhh, destiny.
c. 1997 Pursh
more by Pursh
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