I’ll be finishing this challenge up this week, I promise! The past week has been … interesting, to say the least. But I’ll be working on these entries for the next couple of days, so I’m hoping to be done with the challenge before Friday.
But onto the challenge, belatedly!
Not gonna lie, I am a sucker for the “what if” trope. It’s relatively low-stakes, and it gives actors a chance to break out of a role that they’ve been playing sometimes for years. That being said, I don’t really expect too much out of those types of episodes because you know that, by the end, everything is going to be back to normal. “When Fates Collide” is definitely a “what if” episode, but it just feels different to me. Despite being a different timeline due to Caesar fucking with the Loom, Gabrielle and Xena were still drawn to each other, Alti was always power hungry, and Caesar was always gonna crucify Xena. The episode does somewhat resemble Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Six’s “Tabula Rasa” and “Normal Again,” where the crew loses their memories of who they are and where Buffy may or may not be in an illusion, respectively – and I feel like, in some ways, it does it a bit better*. It’s more reaffirming than sad (Buffy’s depressed because she was taken from heaven by her friends, Willow cast a spell on Tara, Xander is having doubts about his relationship with Anya, Giles is leaving; OR Buffy can choose one of two pretty depressing lives, one where she’s a Slayer and the other where she is mentally ill), which I think is the draw of Xena. Sure, some of the plot points can be downers, but on the whole, it’s a very positive show about redemption and finding love.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think, now that I’m older, I prefer Xena over BTVS. Who am I?
Art Credit: Varese Sarabande
* I’m a huge fan of “Tabula Rasa,” but “Normal Again” wasn’t that great an episode.