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Gabrielle's Hope

Written by R.J. Stewart
Directed by Charles Siebert and Andrew Merrifield
Carmen S.

Anne on Gabrielle's Hope:

Ok, so I'm already experiencing XWS, even though I haven't seen the joxer extravaganza yet (like it will make a big difference), and amidst the other stresses of my life, I've been trying to figure out what on earth could have made Gabrielle behave the way she did in the end of Hope and the Debt.

A friend gave me a big clue in her brilliant analogy about parents of a child who insists on sticking pennies up its nose. Modern parents in such a situation tend to do the -- "No child of mine would, ... She's *your* kid" thing, in earlier days, the common reaction was "She must be a changeling."

A changeling... yup, that's my suggestion. The banshees are, after all, women of the sidhe (aka fair folk, fairies, elves, etc.) and the sidhe are often associated with stealing mortal children and leaving their own (nasty) progeny behind. So, in GH, when Gabrielle rode off with the banshees, our little bard was in a real quandry: "My daughter! O my Warrior! O my daughter! Justice! the law! my Warrior, and my daughter!" Seeing the distress plaguing the mother of their new god, the banshees made her an offer she didn't refuse. "We have the magic," they said, "we can rebuild you."

So off goes faux-Gabby with a little faux-Hope just for verisimilitude, and the real Gabrielle stays behind with the banshees to raise her daughter. Of course, Gabrielle will gradually realize that she's been had, that Hope really is evil, and that Xena was right. She'll escape, find Xena, kick faux-Gabby's sorry butt half across Europe, and travel back to England to save the world from the spawn of Dayhawk... It will be *great*!

c. 1997 Anne

M. Anne Vespry               *******   In this world, trying to define
maverick@vex.net              *****    "Woman"
http://www.vex.net/~maverick   ***     is like trying to define forest
outLAW: closets are for robes  *     having only ever seen Bonsai trees.

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Carmen S. on Gabrielle's Hope:

Well, this was not my favorite episode. Somehow when the baby was born, Gabrielle's brains were lost. Shortly thereafter, Xena's tact disappeared, too.

There were a few things I liked. For the first half of the episode, Xena and Gabrielle were very much a couple. I liked Gabrielle's pole vault. I liked Xena casually pulling Arthur's sword out of the stone to examine it, and seeing the knights in the background trying to get it back out again.

They are still in Brittania, so the different episode order proposed by somebody doesn't work. I hope they stick around long enough to clean up the mess they've made by letting demon-spawn loose.

Once the baby is born, Gabrielle feels ok again; presumably she is no longer bothered by the incredible guilt she has felt about killing the woman in Dahak's temple. This made me wonder if her thoughts were longer bothered by the incredible guilt she has felt about killing the woman in Dahak's temple. This made me wonder if her thoughts were being manipulated, both to make her feel worse before the birth and to make her feel good about the baby afterwards. Maybe Dahak is still with her. Anyway, she has no doubts about the baby. She isn't even willing to agree that it must be Dahak's, but even if it is, the baby is still a wonderful person. And the baby couldn't have killed the knight, even though they were all alone. It must have been someone else who snuck in and killed him, but left the baby untouched, even though it is the baby they want dead. Yeah, right.

It did not help matters that Xena made her distrust of the baby so obvious. Once her suspicions were substantiated and she decided to kill the baby, why didn't she just do it? She could have killed it (assuming that it would die) before Gabrielle could have done anything. At the end, I didn't buy Gabrielle's story either, but letting her know that wasn't too smart of Xena.

Gabrielle just wasn't believable after the baby was born. The way to resolve the rift may be to let the real Gabrielle back on earth and get rid of the Dahak imitation. Then it shouldn't be too hard to get things straightened out between Xena and Gabrielle.

c. 1997 Carmen S.

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DebR on Gabrielle's Hope:

At the point in Gabrielle's Hope where Gabrielle has just given birth to Hope, she is deeply relieved. Gabrielle had begun to believe that she was evil, that her act had judged her (K)ore, but as she sees the product of even the most heinous of acts to her, rape (Though I don't believe she has had enough time to absorb that concept at that point. It has only been minutes since she found she was pregnant.), and (in her mind) murder, her faith in redemptive action is restored.

That is, I think, at the heart of this episode, faith. No, I do not believe that the ends justify the means. I'm saying that Gabrielle believed that good could be found everywhere, even in the heart of the most ruthless murderer, and she believes it again. She is remembering the lesson of The Price; ask questions *first*.

Xena predictably does not agree where Hope is concerned, but, IMO, that POV is completely in character for Gabrielle. It is the same POV that has led her to both, believe in Xena's redemptive potential and stand up to Xena when their ideals clashed. Xena and Gabrielle, for the most part, share a similar set of values about life/morality, that good action is better/more worth-while than bad action. The difference between them is that Xena had to completely change her POV in order to come to those values and still struggles to do so, while Gabrielle started with those values early and has had them strengthen through conflict. Xena is more likely to 'backslide' because she believes them intellectually but has not fully internalized them. X&G are at this point floating in a fast current, searching for something familiar to slow them.

Gabrielle has just named the baby Hope. When she tells Xena don't come between me and my baby, it is also symbolic. 'Don't come between me and hope as I try to make sense of these earth shattering events' Gabrielle needs familiarity. (pun intended)

Xena is backsliding because she cannot now grasp Gabrielle's belief in innate goodness (or rather innate neutrality) in relation to herself. Xena believes in the core of evil here in the heat of the moment because she is in emotional turmoil, and she feels guilty, and she believes it about herself. She becomes a pawn of his-tory (as are the rest of the characters, except Gabrielle and maybe the Banshees, in this episode.) Xena has struggled through the entire series to incorporate the idea that if "you do good, you are good," (one of the Marcus episodes) into her psyche. Some days are better than others.

Then along come The Furies and her mother's revelation that she was spared by the act of her father's murder. Xena does not believe that she should have been the one spared; if she had been killed so many would have lived. She sees her mother as WRONG to have saved her; she is evil and should have died. Through Gabrielle she found hope enough to continue toward redemption until she is met with the evidence of her evil (Caesar, Boudicea) and fails to protect her hope (Gabrielle) because the evil is more enticing. Along comes Hope, and Xena, consciously or not, sees a way to make things right. Kill Hope. She is evil, just like Xena. Xena is trying to kill herself, again.

Why is Hope evil to Xena? All that Xena knows is what has been reported by those with suspicious motives or she has seen with her eyes. There is no true evidence for the child's inate badness. The motives of all the characters are so murky it is not impossible to credit the idea that Gwain died at someone else's hands. The door was wide open. Xena doesn't WANT to believe in hope/Hope; she is far more comfortable, after her unnerving encounters with old and new betrayals and her failure to show significant growth in such encounters, believing that she is hopeless and not in control of her actions -- that she is innately bad. (Though I'm glad that TPTB did not go the -Xena is Ares daughter- route, it does add diminsion to some aspects to include that possibility in analysis.)

In the way that the writers have re-written historic tales in so many episodes to include women or have changed the outcome of history by including a female perspective, so I believe they are re-writing the story of the transformation of the Earth Goddess inclusionary principle and masculine/feminine aspects of existance into the One Sky God exclusionary principle and the domination of masculine over feminine. Sears and Stewart have again created a history stew with many players of a very long story appearing on the same stage. A sort of poker game on the holodeck. (Think GJWHF.)

And disclaimers to the contrary from Krafstar, this is most definitely the story of Judaism and Christianity, and it is told in a very coherent and recognizable fashion, though it compresses at least 3 millenia.

The quotes below are from "The Myth of the Goddess: The Evolution of an Image" by Anne Baring and Jules Cashford

	"In the goddess culture the conception of the relation between
	creator and creation was expressed in the image of the Mother as
	'zoe,' the eternal source [Kore], giving birth to the son as 'bios,'
	the created life in time which lives and dies back into the
	source." (pg 274)

Gabrielle is called the source by the Banshees, who in appearing as a triad, may represent the goddesses of the Celts which often were grouped in threes. (BTW, triads were very important to the Celts as well as the Greeks and Christians.) Which leads me to one of my points about murky motives. Banshees belong to Gaelic mythology and so probably stem from the culture (who's last remanants are Irish) which most likely built Stonehenge. They were the messengers of death, and their need to worship Gabrielle, who was impregnated within Stonehenge (I still maintain that Stonehenge had been built over by the later Deihawk temple and was revealed after the explosion blew the weaker exterior away.), as the Source leads me to believe that they had nothing to do with Deihawk, but rather the ancient goddess in who's image Stonehenge was created. Death and new life were not separate concepts; the goddess contained both, and life came from death *within* the goddess. Did 'darkness' mean the same to the Banshees as it did to the Deihawkians (!) or the Mitheras/Jesus followers (Warriors of the Pierced Heart). It is the Banshees upon whom Gabrielle finally calls for protection.

Back to the same quote:

	"The son was the part that emerged from the whole, through
	which the whole might come to know itself.  As the god *grew
	up* during the course of the Bronze Age, he came to be the
	consort of the goddess and sometimes co-creator with her.  But
	in the Iron Age ["new metal" ?] the image of relationship enacted in
	the sacred marriage disappears, and the emerging balance between the
	female and male divine images is lost.

Now a father god establishes a position of supremacy in relation to a mother goddess, and he is gradually transformed into the consortless god of the three patriarchal religions known to us today: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The god is then the sole primal creator, where before the goddess had been the only source of life." (pg 274)

Which is what 'happened to' Gabrielle in her rape by Deihawk and her subsequent afternoon stroll of pregnacy and birth. The female was erased from creation almost entirely. It is Gabrielle and the Banshees who are not willing to let that happen completely as Gabrielle claims Hope as as much a part of her as Deihawk, thereby refusing to hand creation to the male principle.

	"But the god becomes the *maker* of heaven and earth whereas
	the goddess *was* heaven and earth.  The concept of 'making' is
	radically different from 'being', in the sense that what is made is
	not necessarily of the same substance as it's maker, and may be
	concieved as inferior to him; while what emerges from the mother is
	necessarily part of her and she of it." (pg 274)

Think of Xena trying to convince Gabrielle that Hope is not a part of her but just a thing that came 'through' her. This is where the very Christian concept of 'carnal nature' comes from, and Xena is the one promoting that view out of her guilt. In Christianity, in all denominations that I am aware, a baby is born onto earth (not out of earth) a sinner and in order to achieve heaven in the afterlife (as opposed to hell), the posibility of divine communion, or even to be 'good' some step must be taken toward God, be it baptism, being born again (there by completely eliminating the female from the psyche), or some combination of ritual. Christians are born 'defiled' and not of the stuff of God. In the fundamentalist religion I was raised in, even those things above, though necessary, were not enough. Beyond those was 'sanctification' by which the 'carnal nature' of the human self was removed and so even the desire to sin. This was as far from nature as one could achieve on earth.

The clash between those two ideas of relationship to self/morality is represented by our heroines. Gabrielle still believes that if "you do good, you are good." Xena, though when she is presented with the concept of innate badness and the promise of a delivering messiah (the Warriors of the Pierced Heart), she is presented with a way out of her life's struggle to 'be' good through balancing her bad with good. The 'good' messiah will be able to erase from her conscience what she wishes she had not done. Her crusade to kill Hope becomes a sort of holy war of its own, and as someone said, ends up with the result of Hope being lost without guidence.

Hope then becomes the representation of our modern female psyche--born evil by our very femaleness.

	"The importance of this change of imagery cannot be
	overemphasized, for it has influenced the Judaeo-Christian view of
	nature, matter and whatever else has been defined as feminine, and it
	has structured our paradigm images in mythology, religion, literature,
	science, and psychology.  Here, in its earliest formulation [the epic
	Babylonian creation myth of Tiamat and Marduk, "Enuma Elish"], the
	idea is precisely articulated and embodied in myth: that what is
	feminine is chaotic, destructive, demonic, and is to be feared and
	mastered." (pg 283)

The writers' stew takes this long and powerful female story and condenses it to myth. Its elements are those of that transformation of attitude: the Greeks and their gods, The Romans, the Northern Europeans, the mystery cults, the ancient goddess, the Jews and their God, the early Christians, the Celts, the resulting witch burnings, and the relentless pursuit of control of the female body. And yes, rape. I do not see how the story could be told with any credence without it.

The most powerful part of the story has yet to be told, though. That will be the way in which Gabrielle and Xena find their way back to each other. I hope.

(BTW, if you haven't already read it, I highly recommend baemer's "The Eleusinian Mysteries" and "The Pelopponesian War.")

c. 1997 DebR

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EmperorPenguin on Gabrielle's Hope:

A lot of folks have said that after seeing 'GH' they're ready for a dish of crow after all the negative comments concerning 'The Deliverer'.

So, am I among those ready for deep fried crow with hush puppies and cole slaw on the side:)? No. Not by a longshot.

But out of fairness, let me start with the good stuff, mainly seen during the first half of this ep:

Gabrielle's dream that quickly becomes her worst nightmare. All references to "fresh feeling" commercials aside, I though it was very well done, a moving and vivid look inside Gabrielle's wounded psyche.

You can see how the bard has let her feelings of guilt over the loss of her blood innocence-needless feelings of guilt, IMO-color her dreams. She goes from a reaction of profound relief and tender love at seeing Meridian alive and well to taking the dream knife and becoming death personified, ie betraying everything she once believed in.

Look at how Gabrielle sees herself in her dream/nightmare-ultra pale skin, bloodless, blue lips, the look on her face changing from horror and repulsion to cold rage as she repeatedly stabs the helpless woman in the stomach-then an almost disinterested look at the bloody blade-a neat mirroring of a similar scene in 'Remember Nothing'.

Gabrielle clearly sees herself as the "deliverer" of betrayal and death in her dream/nightmare. It's a disturbing and chilling scene, enchanced by ROC's facial expressions.

One thing I was glad to see was that Gabrielle wasn't so guilt ridden that it prevented her from acting in self defense. That was a very strong swing she took with her staff at one of the banshees.

I guess what struck me most positively in this ep was the depth of love, concern, and compassion Xena and Gabrielle showed for each other, at least up until the baby was born.

There were so many hugs, comforting words, and soothing caresses between them that I began to feel uncomfortably suspicious. Not unlike a condemned man who has been given a sumptuous "last meal" before execution. Perhaps we've seen the end of the Xena and Gabrielle subtext as we've come to know and love it in this ep;(?

Now onto the bad stuff, and there was plenty of it in this ep, IMO.

The scene where Gabrielle experiences some really heavy duty "maternal" food cravings was a thuddingly unfunny addition given the way this ep turned out. And really, hasn't that old chestnut about been used to death by now?

The birthing scene was ludicrous, IMO. The dark, rolling clouds, the thunder & lightning, the freaked out barn animals-except for the ram, of course, who was shown in close up SIX times-the ominous background music and sinister chanting were all way too much.

Heck, I kept expecting to see a cutaway shot of Satan himself, pitchfork in one hand, twirling his black moustache between his fingers, saying "Go, Gabrielle, go!", then breaking out in evil laughter;-)!

Either TPTB are driving home their point with a sledgehammer, or they're attempting to throw us off by making that scene so obvious in it's imagery.

OTOH, it's quite possible TPTB just thought it'd be "kewl" to film the birthing scene in that manner.

One of the saddest things about 'GH' was that Xena and Gabrielle both showed so many nonsensical-IMO-failures. Failure to fully listen to what was being told to them. Failure to truly listen and talk to each other. Failure to let over two years of traveling, trusting, and loving one another help to provide even the slightest chance of compromise.

Gabrielle fails by refusing to acknowledge what has happened to her at first. She is in complete denial. Then when she does realize she is about to give birth, she refers to the life inside her in these terms:

"It moved!"

"What is it?"

"I'm being punished."

"Something's making me pay."

"Ah! It's growing!"

So pre-birth, Gabrielle sees what is inside her as a thing, an 'IT' that she is being punished for.

Yet after she gives birth, she very suddenly, much too suddenly IMO begins talking very differently:

"I guess being a mother must agree with me. I feel like some power has just poured new life into me."

Wow. So Garielle finally knows what it's like to experience a woman's greatest achievement in life-motherhood.

Then, in a scene that is shot with Xena and Gabrielle sitting in two chairs directly opposite each other-and what a hamfisted way to drive home the point of what's happening in that scene-Gabrielle says:

"How could anybody ever think she's evil?"

Um, how about the banshees, Gabrielle? They told you earlier that you were carrying "the child of darkness". That's a major tipoff, IMO.

But Xena doesn't fare very well in the second half of this ep either. She has her share of failures, too:

I didn't like the brusque manner and disinterested expression with which she dismissed Gabrielle's admission of seeing herself as a peacemaker.

"Yeah, yeah. Now I want you to get some rest."

That was pretty cold, Xena. You could have at least listened and supported your best friend's hidden hopes and dreams with a bit more compassion than that.

And Xena never picked up on the many qualifiers that laced other's descriptions of Gabrielle's child:

One of the knights told her in regards to Dahawk: "If he were to become the dominant power in our world..."; that the baby is "the window through which ultimate evil wishes to enter the world"; even one of the banshees says: "One day [the baby] will bring to earth Dahawk's dark power."

Now consider how many "qualifying" words and terms we hear: IF, WERE, WISHES, ONE DAY, THE WINDOW. Also consider the baby is never referred to as the absolute incarnation of Dahawk, but rather as Dahawk's "window". It's never confirmed but only inferred that Gabrielle's baby is evil incarnate.

Xena could have listened more closely. She might have come to the conclusion there was a chance that Gabrielle was right-her goodness might overcome Dahawk's evil. Gabrielle could have seen Xena had a point that the child might be or become dangerous. IMO, they could have come to a compromise-sail to Greece with the baby and let Gabrielle take the child to the Amazon Nation for protection, guidance, and also to be watched very closely. That would still have provided enough material for the rift between Xena and Gabrielle to arise at a later date.

But RJ Stewart didn't allow that to happen. Instead we get the strangled knight and the baby toying with his neckchain. IMO that whole scene is simply a convienent plot point to allow Xena and Gabrielle to retreat to such extreme depths of their respective characters that any attempt at compromise is rendered impossible.

What we end up being subjected to is some truly saddening, heartbreaking scenes-Xena growlingly warning Gabrielle "I'll be watching her [Hope's] development very carefully"; Gabrielle snapping back "Don't come between me and my daughter"; Gabrielle running in fear from Xena; Xena suddenly becoming some kind of relentless "Terminator" who "must" kill her best friend's baby; Gabrielle using the only effective weapon she has-her wits-to forge a lie to finally "defeat" the warrior.

The writing in this episode, while better than 'The Deliverer', ultimately reminded me that as far as the rift arc is concerned, the plot will always come before the characters. Never mind that its dynamics at times don't fit what has been established over the past two seasons. When that happens, it's time for TPTB to say things were getting "stale" and it was past time to "deconstruct" the characters.

IMNSHO, TPTB could have come up with a better, smarter, more consistent way to achieve a rift storyline. It is difficult and somewhat discomforting to try and understand why a series that has rightly or wrongly, through design, chance, or circumstance developed a reputation for depicting strong, confident, independant women would deliberately introduce a storyline that involves rape, a forced pregnancy, and rift caused by a child-even if it is Gabrielle's. Hasn't this been done an infinite number of times before?

Please understand-I am not saying I want a rose colored depiction of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship. I am not against the concept of a rift. In fact, if handled properly, it would make for an emotionally challenging and satisfying storyline. I am also not against character growth and development.

No, my concern is HOW and WHY TPTB are handling and using these specific events, and how their insistence on presenting it exactly this way are 1. At odds with the framework they set up for this series the past two seasons & 2. Putting plot before and often at the expense of character.

Let me close on a positive note. The performances by Lucy and Renee in this ep were excellent. The confrontation between Xena and Gabrielle in the cave was just heartwrenching. Renee in particular deserves praise for her work during the opening dream/nightmare sequence and the scene on the cliff where she tells Xena the lie about the baby.

'The Deliverer' made me angry. 'Gabrielle's Hope' made me sad.. I hope 'The Debt' will give me some fresh hope about where this series is heading.

c. 1997 EmperorPenguin

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Lunacy on Gabrielle's Hope:

The roller coaster ride is getting wilder AND bumpier guys. GABRIELLE'S HOPE is an amazing experience. It will be a negative one for some, a positive one for others but I suspect this episode will affect us collectively as fans AND the TV series like none other ever before.

I have to agree with Carmen Carter who pointed out in her BRILLIANT critique of the episode [go to links page for link to Whoosh's episode guides] that the central issue in GABRIELLE'S HOPE *is* the baby - whether it is good or evil? Tied into this issue is the question of whether good and evil are innate qualities in us all or derived from the choices we make. Xena clearly takes the position that evil is a quality we are born with. This is perhaps not surprising since we have seen her in other episodes, most recently in THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN, refer to herself as different from Gabrielle. Xena seems to think there is a darkness within her that is simply a part of who she is. Gabrielle, on the other hand, believes that people can CHOOSE good over evil and therefore CAN change. It is the basis upon which she has built her unwavering belief in Xena's quest for redemption.

Given Xena's own experience with evil I find her behavior in this episode both sad and deeply disappointing. At the Valley Forge convention, Renee and Lucy asked the public not to hate Gabrielle in the coming episodes but to be honest, if there's anyone I'm upset with after GABRIELLE'S HOPE - it isn't the bard but the warrior. Gabrielle acted COMPLETELY in character. She is the same bard who has always searched for good in even the darkest of hearts. She names her baby Hope because she believes that even if the child has a tendency toward evil it CAN be stirred toward good. She loves Xena deeply but is willing to stand against her if she thinks the warrior is wrong. This is nothing new. Gabrielle did this very early on in the series in the episode TIES THAT BIND when she smashed Xena in the back with a pitchfork to keep her from butchering defenseless villagers. The difference in this episode is that Gabrielle knows she can't defeat Xena by fighting her with weapons or even by running away. She knows Xena is relentless and will not stop until the baby is dead so she chooses the one weapon that DOES make her Xena's equal - her wits. With no weapons of her own, a baby she sees as innocent and defenseless in her arms, and one of the deadliest warriors in the known world on her heels intent on killing that baby, Gabrielle creates a masterful deception which in the end redefines the one-time peasant girl from Poteidaia into an opponent worthy of Xena - Warrior Princess.

Xena's actions by contrast left me deeply disappointed in the warrior. If we remember that Xena was at one time immersed in evil but is now on a quest of redemption, it is PAINFUL for me to see her so easily condemning a child. Even ASSUMING that Hope is indeed evil (something which has NOT been proven in this episode), Xena refuses to give IT the chance SHE had to change. With Callisto, a full-grown adult who had clearly shown a penchant for evil, Xena was willing to take a chance, offering in the episode CALLISTO to let the blonde warlord go, not doing so only because Callisto made it clear she would simply continue to do evil. With Hope, on the other hand, Xena is ruthless - unwavering in her certainty that the child is evil and must be destroyed. Her actions are particularly hard to swallow considering this is GABRIELLE'S baby!

It seems to me that in going after that child she is motivated by much the same things the villagers and the knights are - superstition and fear - only in her case the behavior seems particularly disconcerting for a number of reasons. First, although Xena may not exactly see herself as good, she KNOWS that people CAN be stirred away from evil because she herself was. Second, as Gabrielle herself points out in the episode, the children of gods DO NOT necessarily take after their immortal parents. Hercules is living proof of that. Third, she goes after the baby only after one VERY circumstantial piece of evidence seems to incriminate Hope - the fact that the baby is in the same room as the knight who is murdered. Xena wasn't there when the act took place and Gabrielle was apparently asleep. ANYONE could have killed the knight starting with the banshees who had already been given permission to enter the castle, Dahak himself - here's ONE possibility - how about ARES! The God of War wanted Dahak's temple destroyed. It stands to reason that he wouldn't be thrilled at the prospect of Dahak's progeny being in the world. Murdering that knight and throwing suspicion on the baby would kill two birds with one stone far as Ares is concerned - it would motivate Xena to get rid of the child AND would undoubtedly damage her friendship with Gabrielle irreparably. Fourth and far as I'm concerned the MOST troubling reason why Xena's behavior is so disconcerting in this episode, is the fact that we're talking about GABRIELLE'S baby here! It is UNBELIEVABLE to me that Xena would launch on a course of action likely to destroy the bard emotionally based on the little knowledge she has gathered in a VERY short time about a previously unknown god or based on the superstition of a bunch of villagers who admittedly are simply acting on what the Knights of the Sacred Heart have been telling them - a group which in itself is suspect showing dissent among their ranks and harboring individuals who simply want power. In that scene at the castle when Xena confronts Gabrielle brandishing her sword, pointing it at the baby and insisting that it must die because it's evil - it almost seems as if the normally cool and level-headed Warrior Princess has been replaced by some frightened alarmist willing to sacrifice a child AND inflict whatever emotional pain she has to on a friend based on a SUSPICION. In my opinion, it isn't Gabrielle who betrays their friendship - it is Xena.

The events in this episode are particularly tragic because the deception Gabrielle is forced into at the end seriously jeopardizes the possibility that Hope will indeed turn out good. In that very poignant scene which concludes the episode, we see the bard quietly imploring her daughter to BE GOOD, but what better chance toward this would Hope have than if she had been able to stay with a mother like Gabrielle who loves her and would have tried to stir her away from evil. Alone in the world, who knows what Hope's fate will be, who will find her, how they'll treat her, how she'll feel about supposedly being abandoned. Gabrielle, meanwhile, is now forced to continue with a farce which in my opinion has to be a living hell for her. Despite her love for Xena I think with the events in GABRIELLE'S HOPE, the bard HAS to feel quite a bit of resentment as well. At this point she cannot leave the warrior to stay in Brittania (and search for her daughter) because this would risk Xena's suspicions. Moreover, for the first time in their relationship she is going to have to live every day hiding a lie. Personally, I see that rift growing wider and wider with the possible solution still very distant in the future.

I DO believe this episode is BRILLIANT. Yes some of us are feeling disappointed with Gabrielle, some with Xena, some with both but I think that IS the intent of the episode. The XWP production people are exploring something which action series don't generally consider - that being the possibility that their perfect heros COULD be wrong. They have two incredible characters and two OUTSTANDING actresses delivering performances which not only get us interested but get us INVOLVED. Right now I'm so involved I want to KILL Xena ;-)

Some minor observations I do have about the episode is that I wish they were just a tad more careful with continuity. At one point in this episode we have a sweaty Gabrielle, with her hair all wet, delivering the baby, then Xena carries her into another room and all of a sudden ROC looks like a model again - hair clean and glowing, perfect makeup. Cute but common guys! NO ONE looks that good after being dragged around the countryside and then giving birth!

I absolutely LOVED the scene in which we discover that YES, Xena *IS* the rightful ruler of all of England ;-) I wont say anymore on that. Suffice it to say that it was hysterical! Subtle comedy like that is one of the things I adore about the series and in my opinion MUCH more effective than the three-stooges type of gags we've gotten in episodes like THE FURIES.

One final thing, baby Hope...IS JUST BEYOND CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8-) She REALLY looks like a tiny version of ROC. PRECIOUS!!! I tell you one thing if she were my baby and she actually ended up being a demon child I'd BURN in Hell cause I'd spend all day OOOOOiing and AWWWWing even while she's killing people left and right! (OH look! Doesn't she just look darling holding that bloody knife! ;-) Personally - I hope she turns out to be good and the ancestor of Janice :)

Great episode guys. I would recommend a big case of Tums or something else for the stomach - but it is worth the angst!

c. 1997 Lunacy
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