Joxer Sticks His Nose, Etc. In Low Places
"Kindred Spirits" Plot Summary:
As Amazons bathe naked and discuss their hope that Xena and Gabrielle will stay, they realize someone is spying on them. It's Joxer, who is sentenced under Amazon law to lose an eye and placed in stocks at Cyane's order. Though she wants to stay with the tribe and has been encouraging Xena to settle there with Eve, Gabrielle is unhappy that her duty as queen may force her to blind Joxer, since she has been encouraging the tribe to maintain its traditions. The two women share their experiences with the young Amazons. Though Eris says she intends to stay a virgin forever, Rhea wants children but has no idea where to meet decent men.
Eris approaches Xena, asking if she can be the warrior princess' new sidekick now that Gabrielle has become the Amazon queen. Xena suggests that the girl help her clean the house, inadvertently leading Gabrielle to think she'll be happy settling down. When Joxer begs someone to let him go to the Little Warrior's Room, Rhea approaches him to ask if he'll help her have a child. Gabrielle finds a clause in the Amazon code declaring that she can pardon Joxer, so long as he swears allegiance to her as his queen. He does, despite her repeated slaps and nose-tweaking. But Xena announces that she is leaving; all the togetherness and domestic bliss is making her sick.
Rhea frees Joxer and tries to seduce him, though he argues valiantly that she should find someone closer to her own age to have a baby with. Cyane bursts in on the pair and demands that Joxer face to-the-death combat with the Queen. Meanwhile, Xena discovers some of Gabrielle's scrolls in her saddle bag and begins to read "The Return of Callisto" to Eve. Realizing she wants to be with Gabrielle more than she wants her freedom, Xena heads back to the Amazon camp. There, Gabrielle is trying to figure out how to save herself and Joxer from combat. She no longer believes she will make a good queen.
When Xena returns, Gabrielle chooses her friend to be her champion. After some body slams and thigh pinches, the warrior princess puts the touch on Joxer to cut off the blood to his brain. Once Cyane pronounces him dead, she reverses the touch, reviving Joxer. At Cyane's objection, Gabrielle insists that it is time for the laws to be changed, though she knows Cyane has the tribe's best interests at heart. Since Gabrielle now wants to travel again with Xena, she leaves Cyane in charge. Xena suggests cruising down the Nile for their next adventure.
"Kindred Spirits" has less to do with Amazon values than with the reasons the women avoid men, with hilarious results at times. While Joxer protests his incarceration by asking, "Why would I want to look at naked girls?", Xena brushes off Gabrielle's warning that Joxer could be blinded by saying, "It's just a myth, guys don't really go blind from doing that." Though the two friends disagree about whether gentleness and sweetness are desirable qualities in lovers, Joxer insists that all men aren't animals - he, for instance, can't put out on command, but needs "cheap hotel rooms and dirty pictures and lingerie" to get going. Fortunately for him, naive Rhea couldn't care less - after all, Joxer is not only the first man to see her naked, he's the first man she's met in ages who wasn't trying to kill her.
Not so fortunately for him, Cyane's an old school Amazon of the sort who'd rather slay a man than play with one. Gabrielle has a bit of fun torturing Joxer, and Xena's WWF-style antics championing her queen are hysterical. Joxer's halfhearted protest about being used as a sex object never ring true, and I can't imagine any men could actually be offended by the parodic male-bashing that ensues. On the other hand, the Amazons come across looking pretty silly as well, which is less amusing. Amazon history and traditions on this series have never been terribly accurate, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of respect for what historical women were up against - no one even seems to remember that a month previously in series-time (since we saw full moons in both last week's episode and this week's), these Amazons were nearly slaughtered by Samites.
The subtext was very strong in this episode, which made up for some of what could have been perceived as anti-feminist ridiculing of women's-only communities. Eris took it for granted that Xena and Gabrielle were a couple and referred to their separation as a breakup. For her part, Xena agreed to try domestic bliss for longer than I'd have expected, though she nearly let Eve crawl into a fire while whittling weapons. Having a baby on board is definitely going to alter the warrior princess' M.O.