There are a couple of things about Prometheus' episode that I forgot to mention in my last post. First one is about what is depicted in this picture. (I posted a similar one yesterday. By the way, I get the pictures from Ausxip Media Library. Thanks a lot to them for putting together such a terrific collection!).
So I was thinking that, so far as I remember, this is the first time that Xena and Gabrielle hug each other! Am I right? I don't remember any other hug before... And this occasion is very special: Xena and Hercules are heading to a very difficult mission, that could cost the life of one of them. Gabrielle and Iolaus are staying behind, because he is badly hurt. Gabrielle asks Xena not to cut Prometheus' chains (because it could kill her), and she just hugs her and asks her to be brave... it is very sweet! I particularly adore how Gabrielle's hand stays on Xena's stomach for a few seconds, when they are saying goodbye after the hug.... Awww!!!!
Another thing I wanted to mention is that, according to Lucy Lawless, this episode (8 from season 1) had just aired when they first heard about the "brouhaha" from the lesbian community regarding Xena and Gabrielle's relationship... I like very much what she says about this: first they thought it was completely crazy (in a way, it was), and after a few minutes, they started saying: 'wait a minute... it is actually perfect!', which of course is very true!!
I would have loved to witness those very first conversations and comments about the Subtext in Xena... but well, at those times I was unfortunately completely clueless about Xena and the subtext... however, I have the chance now to offer my own humble thoughts on the issue and my own reconstruction of Xena and Gabrielle's love story.
So I wonder why episode 8 was such a milestone... maybe it had to do with those little details that had been hinted at in the previous episodes, which showed what a great and special friendship Xena and Gabrielle had... Maybe it had to do with the fact that there were, at those times (and nowadays) very few shows centred on a relationship between two women, let alone a lesbian relationship. Therefore, I think lesbians were particularly keen on finding representations of themselves on screen, and this little action show with such a charming couple of friends, who were travelling together and camping together and sharing so many adventures just proved to be the perfect show for them. And, for instance, the fact that Xena was shown to be just a tiny bit too jealous of Gabrielle and Phyleus sharing a bed in episode 7 could have helped a little...
Ironically, episode 8 was very straight. But at the same time, it showed one of the first goodbyes between Xena and Gabrielle, and one of the first expression of physical affection, and one of the first times that Gabrielle was afraid of losing Xena. Just too much for an avid lesbian spectator, waiting to discover any lesbian subtext out there! ;)