Originally published in 2010.
Edited and republished at Sharonda.net on March 22nd, 2017.
Why start at the start when you can start on an alternate timeline? Hell, let’s go one step further, and start on a different show, altogether. Oh, sure, the Warrior Princess’ first television appearance was on the aptly-titled “The Warrior Princess”, but that Xena — for all her purported evilness and half-hearted badassedness — was nothing like the Xena from “Armageddon Now, Part 2”.
Let it be known that up until Xena’s first bit of screen time, I had trouble paying attention to this episode. One reason is that I’m not a huge Hercules fan. That’s not to say that I don’t like the show, but these days, I’m busy; and if I’m going to really pay attention to a TV show, I need to be a huge fan. The other reason for my distraction is that I kept waiting for the scene where Xena battles Callisto in order to save Herc’s momma! Guess what, kids! Cool as it sounds, that doesn’t happen in this episode. That happens in a bit of fan fic that 2017 me is far too old, married, and embarrassed to share with you!1
What actually does happen in this Hercules ep is that Callisto’s flaunting her fire-shooting godhood. She made some deal with Hope, yada, yada, back in time to kill la madre de Herc while the halfling’s still a bit fetal. Eo.. Aio.. Iolaus goes back in time, too, so he can stop Callisto. They fight and stuff. Oh, noes! Failure! My attention was finally captured when Iolaus managed to find himself standing before the throne of the pre-Cirra Warrior Princess:
Iolaus tries to talk Xena out of ransacking Cirra, thinking that maybe, minus the big ol’ dead family bit, Callisto might not be starkers. Pfft. Xena’s not going for that, but she does give her men orders to get the women and children out, ’cause, let’s be honest, guys, it wouldn’t take all that many of you to repopulate the planet if Armageddon really did happen. That, or Xena figures the chicks and children won’t fight so much. Or something. In the midst of this conversation with Iolaus, Xena manages to say, “A hero? Me? Maybe I’ll even find true love, huh?”
Now why the Hades would badassed, known-world-conquering Xena bother to mention love, even in a disdainful way, to this little blond guy she doesn’t know from Atlas? Oh, yeah: subtext! Could this be a sly reference to the undying love formed by the couple of times she hung out with Hercules in the regular timeline? Well, maybe. ‘Cept she never has contact with him in this ep; so, like their “relationship”, that’s just a loose end. Keep reading, though, for Fate’s very much afoot!
Xena’s army attacks! Growed-up Callisto goes into the barn where young (and blue-eyed??? WTF???) Callisto is hiding with Mommalisto. Goddified Callisto ends up killing both Mommalisto and Daddilisto. What’s that, Caesar? Did someone mention destiny?
Ahh, destiny! So, we know from “When Fates Collide”, that Xena and Gabrielle would’ve eventually hooked up, even if Caesar had never betrayed Xena. ‘Cause it’s Fate, with a capital “F”. And, now, we learn that, even if Herc were never born, and Xena never turned “good”—oh, you just wait ’til we talk about Lao Ma!—Xena and Gabrielle would’ve still met up, ‘cept the only hooking would be hooking Gabrielle to a cross. And then having her legs broken. All while having the sort of hair day that just screams “hooking” of another sort.
No, kids, this just isn’t the Gabster’s timeline:
And it’s not mine, either, once Hercules escapes from his extra-dimensional holding cell.
Damn you, Hercules! I hope you like rendering Rome to Caesar!
1.This is what I like to call a “major edit”, y’all. It may or may not be good for you, but it’s certainly good for me!↩