Well, I've finally seen it. And I seriously don't understand what people could object to. I guess that nitpickers can always find something, but really, I don't understand. Even the small fighting bit between Xena and Hanuman that I hear was censored didn't strike me as some horrible monstrosity. I was amused by the number of disclaimers the producers threw in...
I like it. It's a nice little story filled with character development while also conveying some central Hindu themes, particularly dharma. Xena turns Arjuna (and Kali, for that matter), Gabrielle discovers ahimsa, Hanuman helps out "the new avatar"...
The episode makes a big deal about pointing out that no one way is right for everyone, that Krishna is within as opposed to a separate entity, that it is important to live one's life in accordance with the "way" that is right for that particular individual. Again, I feel that historical accuracy (which is impossible when dealing with stories diluted by time and oral tradition, anyway) is not as important as philosophical accuracy. I must say, though, that I'm not sure what I think about Krishna's repeatedly being referred to as the supreme form of God in Hinduism when Krishna, as Rama, was himself an avatar of Vishnu.
For all the commotion, I think that the scene in the temple is quite tastefully done as Krishna appears to Xena and explains that the path she follows is right for her. It's actually pretty powerful stuff since Xena doesn't ordinarily put her faith in a god. And it was nice to see how her uncertainties about herself and her role in life were resolved. Despite her pride, Xena often seems to struggle with the fact that she does not seem to possess the qualities that she admires most in others, but she learns from Krishna that her way of life is just as valid as that of Gabrielle and Eli.
And speaking of Gabrielle and Eli, their bit portrayed the power of ahimsa, nonviolence. Gabrielle's initial skepticism of Eli's seemingly impractical path is understandable, especially since giving up attachments to stick to a way of life is extremely difficult. But her eventual decision doesn't seem contrived; it makes sense in the light of the episode's events and the history of her character.
I like the portrayal of Hanuman, although the costume took a moment to get used to; his actions and words seem very Hanuman-ish. The flying carpet that Indrajit appears on seems bit funny, but towards the end, when both Indrajit and Xena/Kali have multiple arms, their forms actually appear realistic (although I must admit I didn't pay attention to half the fight; I tend to phase out during fight scenes...). And that scene at the end between Xena and Gabrielle was nicely done, from talk of their friendship to the river analogy that Gabrielle made, tying the show together.
The ONLY thing that irked me in this episode was that names and words were sometimes hideously mispronunced, and that's a tiny, insignificant grievance.
I still think that the Hindu protestors made a big fuss over nothing. It was nice of them to add that bit at the end about Hinduism, although the Indo-American representative's speech was too monotone; the first time I heard him talk, I couldn't understand a word he was saying. But it's good that they tried to inform people...
Xena: Warrior Princess is © MCA/Universal and whoever else legally owns it. This page is © 1999 shilpa.