Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 6 Episode 21

A Friend in Need Part I (1)

2
Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jun 11, 2001 on
8.7
out of 10
User Rating
91 votes
3

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Episode Summary

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Xena is summoned to Japan by her friend, Akemi (who's actually a ghost), who needs her help to battle another evil soul-eating ghost named Yodoshi who plans to attack the city of Higuchi with his army of samurai warriors. After saving the city from Yodoshi's first strike, Xena is determined to battle Yodoshi. But the resident ghost killer tells her he can only be harmed by the dead...

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Xena heads to Japan with Gabrielle to help and old friend, now a ghost, fight an evil soul eating demon named Yodoshi. Xena tells Gabrielle of her past in Japan, and tries to make amends for a past mistake. A great first half to the series finale...moreless

    10
    This review contains spoilers.



    I wasn't sure what to expect for the final story of the series. Would they resurrect an old enemy? Callisto's story had been finished, but would it be Caesar, or Alti? Or a totally new enemy?

    In actuality, it was a new enemy as they set about to a great extent trying to recreate the magnificent feel of the third season fan favourite two-parter 'The' to some extent, albeit set in Japan this time rather than Chin.



    At first, I wasn't sure about so much of the episode being taken up by flashbacks, as I thought for a final story that I'd rather the action take place in the here and now (or should that be 'here and then'?). But I should not have worried, as the flashback scenes are wonderful, and very well told.



    I commented on 'Last of the Centaurs' a few episodes previously that I felt that Xena's back-story, especially that regarding Borias, had pretty much been done and there was little more they could do with it. This episode proves me wrong. Although Borias himself is only really along for the ride, we see (yet) another chapter of younger Xena's life, and it slots in with what we already know about her past perfectly. Whereas in the Valkyrie trilogy earlier in the season, good as it was, did feel to shoehorn in the whole Xena as a Valkyrie history, this episode easily sits with Xena's already established past. Michelle Ang gives a great performance as Akemi, the servant girl who befriends Evil Xena. In some ways she was a prototype Gabrielle in Xena's life, but is such an interesting character and really brings the story to life.



    Back in the present (well, past, but you get what I mean), we get the spectacular scene of Xena and Gabrielle stopping the city of Higuchi from burning. Xena lets Gabrielle solve the situation as she thinks best, setting Gabrielle up nicely to eventually fill Xena's shoes. We had already seen her fill this role to an extent in the fifth season, when Xena was pregnant, and here it is cemented in place even more.



    The effects and stunts of this episode are spectacular, and you really get the sense that they pushed the budget for this final two-parter.



    One thing that did niggle me slightly was Xena teaching Gabrielle The Pinch. She had actually already taught Gabrielle half of it (how to remove it) earlier in the season in 'The Haunting of Amphipolis'. I suppose here she's teaching her the full thing, and either way it makes for a nice scene as Xena says it's how she'd like to live her final thirty seconds, looking into Gabrielle's eyes.



    The episode ends with Xena preparing to take on Yodoshi, and out of all of the series' two-parters, this was one that most left me eagerly awaiting the second part. Apparently, they did consider at one point putting Eve in this episode, but I'm glad that they didn't; it would have made it too clunky and wasn't necessary. The character of Eve never completely worked anyway in my opinion.



    All-in-all, despite my reservations before I saw it, this is a classic episode, and a great start to what is sadly the final story in a great series.moreless
  • The beginning of the end: the final pieces of the puzzle fall into place.. and the tears start.

    10
    I absolutely adored this episode - the most incredible lead up to the final parting and goodbye to characters who will stay in our hearts and minds forever.



    Right from the first moment, the series final promised to be a very different type of story arc - if you can call the final two episodes that. The pace, the look and the feel is different, with a highly emotionally charged and very special atmosphere, perfectly fitting to such a dramatic point in the series.



    The setting is spectacular - 'Japan' is possibly the most beautiful set ever used on Xena, and it evokes such feelings of love, loss, longing and remembrance that you cannot help but be drawn into it.



    Most of this episode consists of flashbacks which, as everyone now knows, are a favorite story device of mine. I just love Evil Xena - I find her to be an incredibly endearing and fascinating character. Many of my favorite Xena moments are actually Evil Xena moments. In my opinion, it is her dark past that makes Xena who she is - it gives her her strength, her power and makes her so incredibly admirable... as Lao Ma once said "To conquer others is to have power, to conquer yourself is to know the way".



    Dangerous Xena just has so much going for her as a character - and she looks amazing too! It is also great to have Borias back for this episode, he played such an important role in Xena's life, the final would have been lacking without him.



    Finally we are introduced to the last major influence on Xena's life: Akemi. Michelle Ang is like a breath of fresh air to the series; she is just gorgeous, with a wonderful presence about her, and beautiful chemistry with Xena. Their story was so different to Xena's experiences with anyone else, and my only regret is that we got to see such a short snippet of their journey together.



    It is also interesting to notice the role that Gabrielle plays in this episode; at one time she is the (understandably) jealous partner having to sit through her lover's story about her ex, and at the other time she is a warrior of Xena's equal. I was quite shocked at Gabrielle's role in putting out the fire in Higuchi, I found myself wondering where Gabrielle acquired those skills! Of course, there is no doubt that she possessed them, but until now we had just not been privilege to them.



    What this episode brings out is the incredible relationship and bond between Xena and Gabrielle. Their teamwork in Higuchi, perfectly in-sync, and practically able to read each others' minds was awe-inspiring. This leads to the beautiful moment in the temple where Xena teaches Gabrielle the pinch, telling her: 'If I only had 30 seconds to live this is how I'd want to live them: looking into your eyes'. I was in tears. It is an amazing moment.



    A final mention goes to the scene of Xena, utterly transformed by grief, taking Akemi's ashes back to Higuchi - this was truly a haunting moment.



    Everything about this episode is special - I could go on for hours... just an amazing (start to the) end of the series.moreless
  • The Beginning of the End!!

    9.3
    A Friend In Need, Part 1-Xena and Gabrielle must travel to Japan to save the city of Higuchi. There is a group of samurai that stands in the way. Xena is determined to battle an evil ghost named Yodoshi, but he can only be harmed by the dead.



    A brilliant first part of the epic series' finale!! First off, the show has never looked so stunning and gorgerous. It's obvious the show's budget went through the roof for the final 2 episodes and it used very well, it's almost like your watching a feature film instead of a TV show. The Japanese setting, costumes and designs look breath-taking! My favorite sequence would have to be when Xena and Gabrielle are flying around the city of Heicuchi, it's all well choreographed and beautiful. Also for the final time we go into Xena's backstory and her story with Akemi is wonderful. Michelle Ang is great throughout and her chemistry is quite natural. Also the special effects are at their best ever with the visual of Yodoshi being amazing and life like. The scene that is most touching is Xena teaching Gabrielle the pinch and saying this line:



    Xena: "If I only had 30 seconds to live, I would want to spend them like this....looking into your eyes."



    The dialogue is strong with Lucy and Renee bringing tears to your eyes. You truly feel that this is the beginning of the end of the series and the final moments of the series is hard to watch. All and All, a superb start that leads into the final episode ever which is truly a fitting goodbye.moreless

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