This is the episode where Gabrielle learns to deal with things that she cannot change, and learns to not hold on to hate. And she learns the lesson in the best way possible, in my opinion.
Shout out to AngelBacchae’s wonderful site for providing many of the screen caps used in my blog posts.
We begin the episode with some Xenaception. Dream within a dream. Within a dream…? We need to go deeper.
Creepy Gabrielle is creepy. Which also establishes her lingering hatred and anger. it also establishes that Xena is wrecked with guilt over letting Callisto die without being given the chance to reform. I like this character development.
Somehow dreams are the space between realities (which makes sense) which allow the dead to jump from being dead to being back to the present (which again, makes sense) but what doesn’t make sense is how Callisto manages to jump-to-present and magically be in Xena’s body.
Oh. It was Ares’ plan? That makes sense.
No wait. It doesn’t. The god of war can manipulate the dead? Isn’t that Hades’ job? Lets go with it.
It’s a good ole body swap episode. I have high expectations: the body swap episode of Buffy is one of my favorites.
It’s just so much fun to watch actors play other characters playing their characters….yeah.
Callisto is roaming around in Xena’s body causing problems and convincing Gabs to give into the hatred she feels to Callisto. That way, if Xena does make it out of the underworld, Gabrielle will hate her guts. That would be heartbreaking.
Argo, however, is buying none of Callisto’s shit. Gabrielle is. Just a little bit. She’s suspicious at least.
Callisto decides to get rid of that pesky Argo… wait, NOOOO ARGOOOOO NOOOOO
Thank goodness! Xena to the rescue!
Cheesy blogging. Xena dealt her way past Hades and out of the underworld just in time to save her trusty steed and make allies with Joxer.
She then tracks down Gabrielle and Callisto and a fight commences. Callisto sort of wins because Xena’s not used to fighting with a twig body and Callisto totally calls Xena out on it, which is hilarious.
Now that the two actresses come face to face, it’s pretty apparent how good they both are. Blondie plays a very convincing Xena. She’s got the eyebrow raise down pat.
I also love how they’ve switched the war cries. It’s totally weird hearing Xena screaming madly though.
Callisto runs off and Xena manages to convince Gabrielle that she’s Xena and not Callisto, despite appearances. It’s hard on Gabrielle. She’s super super loyal to Xena though…. aw. This whole episode is testing their relationship and it’s really showing the strength of it.
Meanwhile Callisto has managed to trap Xena’s entire town in a cave and plans on burning them alive. Payback’s a bitch, Xena dear.
Ares tries to convince her it’s a bad idea, but Callisto really really wants revenge and doesn’t listen. Again, reinforcing the idea that revenge and violence isn’t the answer.
For some reason, Xena still has lasting tension between her mother and her?? Is that still a thing? Was that not resolved in the first episode? I can’t remember. Regardless, if there wasn’t tension before, there is now. “Xena” was about to bbq the entire village.
Callisto waits too long and Xena shows up and makes mother proud. Yay! Buuuuuuut….
The body swap fails to… swap back. Xena is trapped in Callisto’s body. So this is the infamous Callisto-Xena storyline. I guess I should have connected the dots earlier. I knew Lucy Lawless was injured for some of this season and not in some episodes, but I didn’t really expect Callisto to be a reality-jumping, dream-traveling gal this early in the game.
This will not go over well for poor Gabrielle.
Also that happened, which is super super sweet but probably traumatizing for Gabrielle.
To. Be. Continued.