The Path Not Taken
In this sad episode, Xena pretends to be her previous warlady self. Gabrielle gets herself and some Romeo-type guy locked in jail. There are a bunch of rape threats that are “softened” by this show never using the word “rape.” I know it was a different time, but maybe it would be better to have at least one person refer to is as “rape” and not just have everyone use innuendo all the time. Also it might be better to refer to consensual sex as just “sex” instead of using a bunch of similar innuendos for that.
Having said that, Game of Thrones exists, and proves that using the blunt words for things doesn’t automatically make an anti-sexual violence fantasy TV show. And so far, Xena: Warrior Princess is actually, textually, even without using the real word, anti-rape. Groundbreaking. Brave, even.
Xena’s friend dies doing one good thing, and she sings a sad song.
Whoever cinematographied this episode liked Lawless’s and O’Connor’s legs. Also, bondage. No judgement here, just observation.
Aries shows up and is a huge jerk. Why is every guy like “Xeeeena, don’t you want my dick and also to join me in killing indiscriminately?” And Xena says no, and they don’t listen, so she outsmarts them, they smirk and go on with their lives… it’s a pattern, is all.
Themes of violence still being discussed.
Gabrielle recites a poem and causes the entire plot. She gets called a virgin a whole bunch of times and is awkward. There’s a love triangle between titans that ends in tragedy. Xena saves some kids.
Hercules and Iolaus show up. The show tries to imply that the four of them are soul mates and it’s like, sure, Xena and Gabrielle, and Hercules and Iolaus, those are pairs I’d believe. Anyway. They save the day and no one has to die.
Death in Chains
There has been a lot of bondage lately, actually. Last episode was Prometheus, and him being in shackles meant humans could no longer heal themselves. This time Death is in chains and people can’t die.
I like that a show about a reformed warrior woman takes an episode to talk poetically about death and how death is OK and sometimes a release, and necessary.
I didn’t like that they had a bunch of rats in this episode. I’ve noticed a lot of the credits have little jokes about this or that being harmed or not being harmed in each episode – for this one it says “No Giant Cocktail Rats harmed in the making of this episode” and it’s like… can we please define “harm?”
There is footage of rats falling. Maaaaaaaaybe they used convincing fake rats for that, and if so, I take it all back… but it looked like it was real rats. “Oooooh, it’s the 90s, we can drop five or six rats onto the actors or into a tunnel, it’s fine.” And yes, the rats, if they were real rats and I think they were, would likely survive that fall, but just because they’d survive it doesn’t justify dropping the little guys. At best they were scared and bruised, and in my opinion that’s harm.
Also, according to the credit statement, which is really just there to be a joke, no one was actually monitoring animal action. This doesn’t mean much, because when someone is monitoring animal action, it’s still not great. Like that time in Life of Pi where the tiger playing RP for no reason since the CGI was good almost drowned.
There are so, so many other examples of animal “actors” being harmed (almost drowning counts as harm) (he saved himself, so, like, they had no contingency plan for the tiger they dropped into the water; he had to rescue himself) (=HARM). But I’m always just going to reference that one, mostly because they used a CGI tiger for so much of the film.
Of course the episode where they dropped rats got me to rant. Otherwise, it was another very good episode. The rats didn’t even need to be there. They were not relevant to the plot.