Xena and Gabrielle encounter their old friend Eli who has been targeted by Indrajit, the King of Demons, and his dark minions. However, when both Eli and Gabrielle are captured, Xena is forced to seek help from a higher power: Krishna, a Hindu God who transforms her into an avatar of the Goddess Kali. Meanwhile, Eli helps Gabrielle embark on a new path and Xena, after her glimpse of her future life as a peace maker in "Between the Lines", fears her warrior's actions in this life might prevent that from happening as it should.moreless
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Indrajit/King of Demons
This is the last time we ever see Gabby's staff. Just as well since it probably doesn't work too well anymore after being broken in the previous episode and burnt in this one.
Krishna transforms Xena into an avatar for the deity Kali for her fight scene with Indrajit.
Goof: In the last scene by the river, keep a close eye on Gabrielle's scarf; it switches from being across her shoulders to wrapping around her arms.
Nitpick: Indrajit grabs Gabrielle's staff and sets the cloth on both ends on fire... except that Gabrielle's staff only has cloth on one end.
Gabrielle: This is an evil man!
Eli: He's not a man at all, Gabrielle. He's the incarnation of evil itself.
Gabrielle: Is that supposed to make me feel better?
Gabrielle: All rivers run to the sea. We'll end up in the same place. I'm sure of it. Thank you.
Xena: For what?
Gabrielle: For not mentioning dams.
Xena: You're welcome.
Gabrielle: Eli? I failed my first test.
Eli: It's hard, the way of love. It may not be right for you. But if you choose to follow it, you must do so with all your heart. You'll fail more than once. But don't give up hope. In the end, you'll redeem the world.
Indrajit: (referring to Gabrielle) You, uhhh, like her. Don't you? Well, congratulations, Eli. You have your first real disciple. How passive and serene will you remain while she's being tortured?
Hanuman: (to Xena) My way is the way of obedience, and loyalty. I can see it's not your way. You're too proud.
Gabrielle: So, if someone were to walk up to you, and knock you down?
Eli: Then I'd get up.
Eli: It's life. That we must revere it, wherever we find it. To bring peace to this world, I have to teach mankind a reverence for life.
Eli: It's not as wonderful as you might think. People suffer so, Gabrielle, it breaks my heart. And they look to me for salvation.
Gabrielle: Xena, you're only human. Everybody loses focus sometimes.
Xena: It's not just that I lost focus. It's why. A few days ago, I saw my future life. You saw it, too. I'm destined to be reborn as some kind of a saint.
Gabrielle: I love rivers.
Xena: They're all right, if you don't have to get to the other side.
Xena: So, it's the way of love for you, huh?
Gabrielle: Yeah, yours is the way of the warrior. I think I've always known that.
Xena: And I've always known that it was wrong for you. I'm sorry I took you so far from your truth.
This episode was pulled from syndication after protests from Hindu groups. It was finally allowed to be reshown with the addition of a public service announcement at the very end by Lucy, Renee, and a spokesman for the Hindu community explaining that the producers took liberties with the Hindu religion. As a side note, the public service announcement was made while they were filming season five, and it gave fans their first look at Xena and Gabrielle's new costumes.
Any similarities between Hanuman and a major character in the motion picture classic "Planet of the Apes" is purely coincidental.
(Note: This disclaimer does not appear on the updated version of the episode with the closing message from Lucy Lawless, Renée O'Connor and the Hindu representative)
Although 'The Way' is available on both video and DVD this episode has never been shown on either satellite or terrestrial television in the UK (Although terrestrial Channel 5 had very much stopped running the series by this point anyway).
The plot takes elements from both the Bhagvad Gita and the Ramayana. The Bhagvad Gita tells the story of a warrior Arjuna and his charioteer, who is the god Krishna, incognito. Arjuna questions whether he should continue to fight, especially given that the enemy he will be fighting against are his kinsmen, and Krishna convinces him that he should fight, because that is his dharma for this life, his 'way'. In the episode's version, Xena is Arjuna, and Krishna is himself - but the internal struggle takes place within the context of a different story, taken from the Ramayana. The Ramayana is the epic which tells the story of the life of the god Rama. Both Rama and Krishna are avatars of the god Vishnu. One part of the Ramayana tells the story of how Rama's consort Sita is kidnapped and taken to Lanka by the demon Ravana. Rama, aided by the monkey god Hanuman and an army of monkey soldiers, wages war on Ravana and his son Indrajit, who is his chief lieutenant. Rama triumphs, killing Indrajit and Ravana, and rescuing Sita. In the episode's version, Xena is Rama, Gabrielle/Eli is Sita, and Indrajit is the ruler of the demon army instead of his father Ravana. Hanuman plays his own role, and the monkey army was omitted.
Eli may be an allusion to Jesus - with his pacifist stance, the frequent stars of David in his vicinity, and his power to heal - as has frequently been proposed. However, it seems more likely that the writers are alluding to Elijah, an Old Testament prophet who defeated the prophets of Baal at Carmel (analogous to defeating Indrajit in India) and raised from the dead a young boy who had stopped breathing (analogous to the young girl scene). He was never at ease with the gift he had been given by God because he was to use it to destroy the Israelites who had turned away from God. Thus, the character portrayed looks a lot more like Elijah than it does Christ.
Hanuman is an extreme devotee of Rama, and an important character in the Ramayana. He is supposedly part ape. He led a monkey army to fight against the demon king Ravana (father of Indrajit).
Krishna is, of course, a Hindu deity. Some traditions view him as an avatar of Vishnu, while others worship him as the supreme being.
Kali (who Xena becomes in this episode) is a Hindu goddess of death and destruction, but can also be considered as a goddess of time and change. She is the consort of Shiva.
Indrajit was a warrior and king, the son of Ravana, the king of Sri Lanka - both evil characters in the Ramayana. Indrajit got his name by defeating Indra, the Hindu king of the gods. Ravana was killed by Rama, the avatar of Vishnu, as mentioned in the show.
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