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Friend in Need Review

by Laura


I began my journey back from London this morning, and as I pulled out of the station into the sunny morning I realized that things would never be the same again.

Gabrielle : "How am I supposed to go on without you?"

It seems like a question a lot of people are asking.

It's over. She is gone. Many people are outraged at what they have done to our favourite character, some refuse to even acknowledge it. I however, will let her pass in quiet respect. Although, I will happily admit that when I watched it, I did wail in grief.

But, even when I was crying like a child, sobbing heavily, I knew I was being selfish. I knew that I was sad because it was over for me, not because it was a bad or wrong thing to happen.

Xena : "Everything happens precisely as it should"

There was a purpose to Xena's death, just as there was a purpose in her life. It was a conclusion to this six-year long story in almost every way.

She was released, redeemed and at peace. She made her decision. Could she have lived with the souls of forty thousand souls on her conscience? No, not our xena, not the hero that we have come to respect, not the warrior who was tempered by the light of a bard from Potedaia.

Think back to One Against an Army. The tables were turned. It was Gabrielle's life on the line, she, as she put it, had accepted the consequences of their life together. Xena struggled with that decision, hard. But they knew, as we did, that this was their way.

"The first thing is the greater good-- you taught me that.
You taught me that there are things in life worth dying for-- things that hold a higher meaning than our own existence."

Xena had dedicated her life to righting the wrongs that she had committed throughout her own murderous career. But she has gone far beyond that now. She gave up her life, not because she felt she ought to, but because that was the person she was. much like the kind of person who would jump into a raging sea and risk their life to save someone they don't know. This was the person that Xena was.

She did with dignity, and honour. But moreover, she died as the person that she had always wanted to be.

Xena : (to Gabrielle) "..and I want to be like you"

Onto the form of Xena's death. Yes, it may have seemed brutal and harsh, but given the context, she was beheaded - that gave her an honourable death. Some people may find the actual scene where Gabrielle finds her body incredibly disturbing, but I would say it is necessary. If it hadn't been there, and it hadn't been brutal, I don't think that it would have felt quite right. The passing of the warrior princess is not something I would expect to be peaceful in any way. As many have said, you live by the sword, you die by the sword, and that is the way that I would expect her to die. I know I maybe find it easier because I am not easily disturbed by such images, but that is my own personal take on it, and not meant to represent or challenge anyone else.

As for Gabrielle. I was happy with the conclusion of her story. There may not have been a lot of plot development since To Helicon And Back concerning her warrior-ways, and that is a point I will touch on in a moment, however, it gave me a large feeling of satisfaction to know that Gabrielle was fully equipped to more than fend for herself. Xena set it up perfectly before her death. Asking Gabrielle what she would do in the fire (although it did set warning bells off in my head about the ending) was Xena's way of stepping back and making sure that Gabrielle was capable of looking after herself. The same goes for showing her the pinch.

Gabrielle is not a warrior in many people's eyes, but to me it appears incredibly fitting. In Sins of the Past, she was the one village girl who stood up against the soldiers never knowing that there was a hero just around the corner. Gabrielle is full of fire - a fire that is dedicated to doing good and helping those in need. She will do that with or without Xena's help. That's the reason she used to get herself into so much trouble at the beginning of the series - she didn't have the skills, knowledge or experience to resolve a situation. Xena gave her that, and apart from her own love, it was probably the greatest gift our life-loving bard could ever receive - the ability to help people. Gabrielle has not become Xena, or vice-versa, they have learned from the best of each other and have molded it into their own characters.

Gabrielle is now the girl with the chakram. She would continue Xena's legacy, and never let her name die, in that way Xena would always be immortal.

Another way I liked to look at their death, and this is something I thought of when I first heard the rumours, is looking back at Between the Lines. We see the girls in their next life (I believe anyway) and Xena is much older than Gabrielle. Presuming that someone is reincarnated when they die, then this would suggest that Xena was meant to die before Gabrielle. It's just a random thought, but something that lets my mind rest that little bit easier - knowing that there was a purpose, maybe another piece of the puzzle.

The subtext. I was thrilled with the kiss, as I'm sure you can imagine. But I was more thrilled by the ambiguity of it (bet you never thought I'd say that did ya?) How to make most people happy in one fell swoop. Was it a kiss? Was it an exchange of water? Was it both? You can see it anyway you wish, and I'm glad of that, because I did not want anyone to be disappointed on the subtext/non-subtext front.

One thing that I haven't seen anyone pick up on yet (and forgive me for this if anyone has because I've only just started reading all these millions of posts) was the significance of the title. Friend in Need - FIN - which means the end, as you see at the end of a film. Probably completely unintentional, but yet another thing that 'fit'.

My one reservation about both parts of Friend in Need was something that I mentioned a while ago. The storyline was very reminiscent of The Debt - i.e. messenger, old significant part of Xena's past discovered, must go back to right wrongs....

Which is all fine, but I felt that they were trying to get a little too much story into a very short amount of time. Everything about this story was new to us as fans. That may have made it easier to justify her death - different culture means different rules to play by, but I would have thought that the fans would already have too much to take in simply concerning the ending. Just a minor point, but something that is niggling me.

Overall, I thought it was brilliantly done. I've only seen it once, and I'm sure I will have a lot more to say on it (as many people will) for a long time to come after many more viewings.


Our journey is finite. The destination is unimportant. The path we take defines who we are. Those who travel the road with us, will change that path forever. Some will turn off away from us, some will join us and make the hills seem flat and the raging floods like streams. When we reach our destination, our message will live on in the journeys of others.

Take your losses and gain from them all you can.


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