To whomever has been sacrificing Xena DVDs to Sappho: you can stop now, the mission is accomplished. On behalf of GeeksOut and the greater universe, I’d like to thank you for your perseverance.
That’s right friends, readers, countrymen; the heavens have opened, the clouds have parted, and we have been partially rewarded our just dues. Lucy Lawless will be joining Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
She will be playing Isabel Hartley, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and on-again, off-again girlfriend of Victoria Hand in the Marvel-616 Universe.
You heard right: Xena and Victoria Hand have hooked up. It’s canon.
There is a catch, though: last season, in episode 17 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled Turn, Turn, Turn, Victoria Hand was killed after being a stone-cold badass the entire episode. This came as a shock to many, and was a double punch in the gut for fans of Agent Hand, since this is the second time she’s died in a year and a half.
Victoria Hand is one of the few openly queer characters in Marvel-616, and until bisexual Captain America is confirmed by writers, the first queer character in the MCU. The problem with her appearance is that despite being played by the gorgeous (and bisexual!) Saffron Burrows, Victoria Hand’s queerness was never addressed, not even in passing. She did totally have sex with Melinda May in episode 11, though that has yet to be officially confirmed by the actors or writers.
The appearance of Isabel could spell one of two options for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: one, that Victoria Hand will be receiving posthumous queer confirmation, or two, the show will bring Agent Hand back to life. Why not go with option two? The entire series was built on the idea that Coulson could be revived. We’ve got a precedent set by the series that death is not the end (hey, that was a True Blood episode I say before bursting into tears.)
I’m not going to go into ways they could revive Victoria Hand. This is a comics universe, and so while I could go on for days about the importance of queer characters in fantasy/sci-fi universes, worlds where everything but homosexuality seems possible, it wouldn’t be telling you something you don’t already know. So I’ll keep it simple. As an audience, we deserve better than queer representation through posthumous confirmation. Victoria Hand as a character, for one, deserves to have Xena as her girlfriend, and secondly doesn’t deserve to get shafted in a show based on the premise of resurrection. Maybe she’s been a vampire this whole time. Vampires are canon in 616, and if Victoria Hand was a lesbian vampire it would just mean she’s probably BFF with Pam Swynford De Beaufort. I mean, I know I said I wouldn’t go into the ways they could revive her but that’s, you know, a possible answer.
SDCC was a really good weekend for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans, but I’d like to encourage all of us not to rest on our laurels, but to look to the #savevictoriahand campaign going forward. This next season is going to be all about aliens, probably, but you know what’s also important? Not having representation dangled in front of our eyes, only to have it snatched away. Now, it’s no secret that I love Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., since I usually preface it with “my beloved.” And it is, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give it a free pass on the same issue I’ve been yelling about in my past five True Blood recaps. So take to twitter, friends, and #savevictoriahand. And while you’re at it, maybe tell Lucy Lawless how psyched you are that she’s going to be on the show. I would, if I could put shrill fangirl screaming into words. Until then, I’m just gonna go with Xena’s battle cry.
Please don’t tweet Xena’s battle cry. Unless you also tag it #savevictoriahand. In which case, you totally should.