jet wolf watches xena

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HI THERE WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FEELINGS

HOW ABOUT HOW GABRIELLE SAYS THIS WITH SUCH SINCERITY HOW SHE’S ALREADY PROMISING TO NEVER LEAVE XENA’S SIDE BECAUSE THAT’S HOW CERTAIN SHE IS THAT XENA IS A CHAMPION AND FORCE FOR GOOD

HOW ABOUT THE LOOK IN XENA’S EYES AS SHE TURNS AND YOU CAN FUCKING FEEL HOW DESPERATELY SHE WANTS TO BELIEVE THAT GABRIELLE BELIEVES IN HER HOW MUCH SHE WANTS AND NEEDS THE LOVE AND COMPANIONSHIP THAT GABRIELLE’S OFFERING DESPITE ALL HER GRUMPINESS AND BLUSTER

HOW ABOUT THE LITTLE SMILE GABRIELLE GIVES XENA THAT SAYS SHE MEANS IT

HOW ABOUT THE LOOK XENA GIVES HER AT THE END THAT SAYS HOW MUCH SHE ALREADY LOVES GABRIELLE AND IT’S BEEN TEN MINUTES

GIFTENING TAG LINKS

Want to catch up on the fun? Here is the list for you!

Things that were part of THE GIFTENING 2015

Things that were part of THE GIFTENING 2016

Things that were part of THE GIFTENING 2017 

I have five minutes left, and I wanted SO BADLY to get into this scene where Xena finally returns home and finds her mother, Cyrene. But I just know there’s no way.

I MEAN I’M GOING TO BE AT LEAST TWENTY MINUTES ON THIS SHIT ALONE

CYRENE FUCKING TAKES XENA’S OWN SWORD AND THREATENS HER WITH IT

AND XENA LETS HER

Look at all those townspeople huddled in the background, how terrified they are of Xena. She fucking grew up here, this is her home, the place where they should know her best.

But that’s entirely the point. They do.

And that it’s Xena’s mother alone who has the strength (and the anger, let’s not discount that) to stand up to her says so much about Cyrene as well.

BUT THE SCENE’S ONLY STARTING AND THERE’S NO TIME

I just adore this little inclusion. When Xena has her weapons in-hand and the bad guys are afraid of her, AND SHE JUST SMILES. So far, we’ve only seen her look morose, guilty, lost. This is the first time we’ve seen Xena ALIVE, and for all that she’s haunted by her past, the truth is that a part of Xena fucking LOVES IT. She LOVES fighting, she LOVES killing, she loves making people afraid of her.

Xena’s quest for redemption is true, she sincerely doesn’t want to be the person she used to be. This expression though, this stolen moment, lets us see more effectively than anything else just exactly what it is Xena’s giving up, and in turn, how much she must truly hate herself for knowing part of her loves and misses it.

For all that we joke about all of history happening in like ten minutes for Xena, the creators could be extraordinarily meticulous with their own continuity. At least emotionally, which I deeply appreciated. I always got the sense with Xena that words MATTERED, in a way that they didn’t always necessarily in all shows or serial storytelling. More than once, characters on Xena would say something, and it would pop up again literal years later, casting that moment, or perhaps even the previous one, into a new light.

We’ve already seen that once with Gabrielle’s “You have to take me with you, teach me everything you know” moment. And we just had it again where Xena’s talking to her brother at his tomb and says she she lost her way but she found it again. The entire idea of your purpose in life, your WAY (as it will repeatedly and specifically be called) is a major seasonal theme down the line, and I’ve always felt that was a call back to this moment. Xena says she’s found her way now, but as we’ll learn later, not really, or at least not entirely. And I love how we have the idea of that doubt right here in the first episode, with Xena talking to her dead brother, the brother SHE got killed, about how clearly she sees things now, with Gabrielle nowhere in sight. She’s SO CLOSE, but still hasn’t quite hit on things, and I love the idea that we’re getting a sense of that already, here in the first episode.

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Xena: What would you do if I let you go?

Gabrielle: What are you doing?

Xena: I changed, so can she.

Gabrielle: No, her heart has been eaten away by hatred!

Callisto: The sight – just the SIGHT – of Xena, Warrior Princess, arguing on my behalf amuses me so! Let me tell you, let me answer your question of what I would do if you let me go. You let me go, and I will dedicate my life to killing everything you love. Your friends. Your family. Your reputation. Even your horse. See, I am being so honest with you, because the IDEA of your pity is worse than death for me. You see, you created a monster with integrity, Xena. Scary, isn’t it? Take me to the mob.

Oh scene. Oh scene, you are SO SO GOOD.

I’ve talked a lot about Gabrielle so far today. This is taking those ideas further, it’s just so DELECTABLE how vehement Gabrielle is in this. She spoke so impassioned earlier about breaking the cycle of violence, but here she’s condemning Callisto without making any effort with her whatsoever. I mean Callisto did the shit people say she did, that’s not a question. BUT NOTE AGAIN THAT SO DID XENA.

Which Xena not only acknowledges that in this scene, but so did Gabrielle earlier when she reminded Xena that she turned away from it all. An opportunity Gabrielle is not currently willing to grant Callisto. Gabrielle’s seen directly the pain Callisto caused, she’s connected with it through the grieving father. IT’s real to her, it has consequence she can see, and she isn’t willing to accept even the IDEA that Callisto could reform.

Made all the more difficult because Callisto turns right around and basically proves Gabrielle’s point. Let me go, and nothing will ever change. While Gabrielle believes in the purity of goodness and forgiveness, Callisto believes in that same purity of hate and vengeance. They’re both really on the same page, though, and honestly, that should give Gabrielle a moment of pause.

It’s Xena who continues to embody the difficult ground between the two. She knows how hard it is to change, but she knows it’s possible. She knows the blood on Callisto’s hands is also on hers, but she knows there’s a point where it becomes Callisto’s choices. She knows Callisto is right and Xena never stood trial for her crimes, but she knows there’s no real justice to be had in those trials, and the punishment that matters comes from Xena herself.

What’s the right choice? Let the mob have their way? Show Callisto mercy and hope she learns? Take responsibility and end her here and now?

There are so many reasons that Callisto is a phenomenal villain, not the least of which is that she’s is the literal embodiment of everything evil Xena ever did, how those evils continue to have consequences, and how there’s no easy way to set it right.

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Joxer muscles past Gabrielle (LOOK AT YOUR SCENERY PEOPLE YOU HAVE ROOM), but it’s the indignant look Gabby shoots Xena that makes it all perfect. Caught somewhere between “Can you believe this guy?!” to “HE WAS MEAN TO ME XENA AND YOU NEED TO PUNCH THIS GUY.”

Meanwhile Xena’s just “SIGH The path to redemption is long and full of many trials.”

“She must be threatened. I can understand that, what with my masculine prowess and stuff.”

Memory is such a funny thing. Around this time, Hubby (then Boyfriend) and I were avid players of a particular MUD (think text-based MMO like World of Warcraft). I heavily customized the hell out of things, as we did, including setting up my client with a bunch of triggers that would play specific audio clips when fired. Because I am and have always been a giant nerd, and Xena was my main jam at the time, all my audio clips were Xena-related.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they were right now. Not the clips, not the trigger. But hearing this took me right back to the game. Including the sudden rush of context.

That clip? Hubby’s level-up sound.

And that concludes THE GIFTENING 2015

And it’s here that THE GIFTENING finally craws to a close.

Together, we:

Twelve days. Over 120 hours. 72 pages. Almost 1100 posts.

Please let me know whatever thoughts you have. Did you have fun? (Which was, after all, all I wanted.) Would you like to see this become annual event? Did it run too long for you, or just long enough? Is there something you think could use improvement? Do you have any suggestions, if we should do this again?

Or if you just want to scream at me about how much you liked it. I WILL NEVER SAY NO TO ANY OF THAT.

My gift, and all my love, to you.

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