Season three, episode 11
Maternal Instincts proved another challenge for the relationship between Gabrielle and Xena.
Maternal love must be as blind as the other sort. For Gabrielle not to have seen Hope for what she was proves this. The death of Xena’s child at the hands of Gabrielle’s child not only helped to deepen the rift, it makes you wonder if the relationship between our girls will ever be the same again.
The fact that Gabrielle is willing to poison Hope was too little, too late. Despite her grief, Xena found the strength to help the children and to trap Callisto once again. I thought it was extremely insensitive of Ephiny to seek out Xena’s help under the circumstances, but how else would they have defeated Callisto?
I tried to feel sympathy for Gabrielle’s loss, but I couldn’t. All along she was aware that Hope was possibly a vessel for evil. The circumstances of Hope’s birth, the events in the temple in Britannia. Do maternal hormones rage so much, they knock the reasoning out of a person?
This isn’t about Xena running off to Chin to repay a debt. This isn’t about whether she did or didn’t kill Mien Tien. This is about Gabrielle giving birth to an evil being and then lying about the child’s death. Putting the world at risk and taking Xena off her guard. All she had to go on was the hope that the child would be good, to overcome the circumstances of its birth.
When the child eventually shows up again, Gabrielle still fails to alert anyone to her evil presence. The rift has many parts but to apportion blame correctly the separate incidents need to be carefully looked at.
Gabrielle was very much at fault here. Xena had already found it within herself to forgive her for the betrayal in Chin. Even if we say that Xena was insensitive in wanting to kill Hope when she was a mere babe, even if Xena had handled it differently, Gabrielle would still have done what she did. Lets’ not forget that the Banshee’s told her EXACTLY what was growing inside her and she refused to acknowledge the possibility that they knew what they were talking about.
Just because she stuck her fingers in her ears rather than heed a warning, doesn’t make her blameless later on.
At the end of Maternal Instincts, when Gabrielle says “I love you Xena”, it left me cold. I guess it’s all she could say but I hope she didn’t expect more of a reaction than the one she got.