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Written by R. J. Stewart
Directed by Garth Maxwell
Ray Houser
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DebR on Forgiven :

Just got finished watching Forgiven and there are a few things that stick out in my mind. I get the feeling that 'the rift' will last the duration of the season, and I like that. Not that I like our gals at odds, I don't, but I like the story being told.

The thing that grabbed my attention immediately was the sun, not surprising as it was the first image. :) The sun is portrayed as firey destruction ala Callisto and.... Dahak and progresses to container for water doled out by priests of Apollo. Right away I'm thinking, we got ourselves another religion stew.

The next striking image (beside the Glory that is Xena and the Grandeur that is Gab) was the mark on Gabrielle's face made by Tara. That mark is a replica of the one made on Xena's arm by GoatBoy in The Deliverer and sustained in Gabrielle's Hope. Oh wait there were a couple more before that. This show is throwing symbols so fast and hard you almost need protective gear to play. Order? We don't need no stinkin' order! Anyway, I thought, 'this girl is Hope.' Whether she is intended to actually be Hope or not, she is the foil to play with the ideas left unsettled twixt X&G that were raised by Hope. (There's a pun in there somewhere.)

The sun sign on the jug o' sins-be-gone juice and on the priest's garb is the same as that table that keeps showing up, most notably in Gabrielle's Hope as the Arthurian Round Table/Boys Club for the One True God--Not Evil and The Debt as the back drop for the action at Lao Ma's Home for Wayward Headhunters.

Still in the temple, I thought it was totally eerie that the destruction displayed (Sodom and Gomorrah?) turned into angelic sweetness and light. And by means of my preconcieved notions, I was not surprised to find myself in the middle of Mass. So thinking back to Gabrielle's Hope, is the message here that if you destroy hope, you unleash fundamentalism?

The priest and his... sidekick were reminiscent of Is There A Doctor In The House, where the priests of Asclepius were grooming their acolytes. Asclepius is the son of Apollo.

I love the way I got jerked around on this one. I'd have offed her. I sure would have. She is pure D obnoxious. I even spared an evil thought for Xena for letting her tag along and mean-up Gabrielle. In GH, Xena was the one believing 'born' in the, apparently ancient, born or taught debate. She believed in that Kore of goodness in Gabrielle and in the absolute evil of Hope. Now we see that she has begun to believe in the power of nurturence, because she has been nurtured by Gabrielle. She has begun to forgive herself, while Gabrielle is now awash in bloody guilt.

Where are the Furies when you need them? They now reside in the Urn of Apollo. The Furies job was justice and once done, done. A price of some sort had to be paid. The idea of being given atonement by a sky god is a derivative (co-option) of that tradition. I was delighted at the end when Xena would not ask forgiveness of the Urn. I don't think that the look of concern on her face was guilt but rather, alarm at the irony that the Nurturer now hopes for external forgiveness while the Destroyer is being nurtured toward self-forgiveness.

Is external forgiveness just help along the way? A new start? Delusion? Beneficient delusion? I see it as another step in the removal of 'female creator' from the collective psyche and a natural outgrowth of the idea of female as vessel and not creator. Destiny is removed to the external whims. A creator has no need of external forgiveness. The past is recycled and re-creates. (Please note that I mean that as an abstract of human balance and not as a role definition.) All I could think of as I watched Gabrielle and Hope/Tara take absolution from a male priest, was that Dahak has won. Xena is framed by the sun which is increasingly brighter as it swallows her. Damn. Pun entirely intended.

Solon/Son, Solon/Solar, Solon/Sun card. Son/lover. Gabrielle. I don't know where I'm going with that yet.... In my many repeat watchings of The Bitter Suite I keep thinking of that scene where Solon disolves into Gabrielle. Apollo/Artemis? Just thinkin'.

c. 1998 DebR
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Katrina on Forgiven:

What I liked about forgiveness:
  1. The show did have a few (a few) interesting things to say about the nature of forgiveness.

    a. Does it come from within/without
    The shows answer seems to be from within. Mostly.
    b. Does one need another to tell them they are forgiven.
    The show's answer seems to be. . sometimes a body needs help on the path.

  2. Living by the belief of one's heart.

    a. The Consequence of Gabrielle's passivity was that she got whonked.
    b. The consequence of Gabrielle's getting whonked was that she learned she didn't like it.
    c. Gabrielle became less passive but. .more understanding.
    d. Gabrielle *really* didn't want to hurt Tara, but she was willing to . .at first for revenge, then to defend, and then for the lesson.
    e. Xena *believes* that forgiveness comes from within. She didn't need the urn, but that choice is a lonely path. Good thing Gabrielle is there with her.
    f. Tara changes her beliefs because of the belief of others and belief IN others. She comes to believe in Xena and therefore can not betray her.
    g. Xena tries to avoid hurting women (and children) She's lived by that motto even when she was the warlord, so while I expected her to wallop that kid when she caught her whacking on Gabrielle, I realized it was, in fact, in character for Xena to do what she did.
    h. I think Gabrielle has a very flexible set of beliefs. .at least in the sense that I think she is still exploring. I don't know that she was really seeking "forgiveness" so much as the experience of it. .If that makes sense.

  3. The cinematography was actually quite good. I really liked the color "sensitivity" of this episode. I liked the priests robes and the temple colors of blue and yellow. .sun and sky. .yeah that worked.

  4. I really liked the priests, actually. He really gave a sense of being "holy" feeling holy in his calling. Good acting! And the penitent. I thought they did pretty darn good too. I was convinced of the grief of their heart. Isn't that what repenting is about, turning from a grief/burden of the heart and moving towards peace and redemption. Actually, maybe Xena's been on that trail for a long time. .and she's come to peace with herself (see OAAA to see what I mean) so maybe, despite the wounds of her soul, she really didn't see the need. .it would be going back on what she'd said about focusing on Being with Gabrielle .wouldn't it?

  5. Xena's defense of Gabrielle has been "thought" based on this. It was about her "belief" in Gabrielle. (Did anyone else expect them to kiss after that heart to heart about being the first to believe in someone. .That felt like couple talk to me. .) Xena looks to Gabrielle. (across the burning fires her heart is called. . .) Xena is very clear on who she is going to be with from now on, no matter what a teen says to her.

    What I didn't like

  6. Things that didn't make sense: It made no sense to me that Tara thought she could get in good by beating up Xena's girlfriend. That was simply NOT logical

    It made no sense to me that Xena didn't pop that little chick in the nose, except later, when I realized Xena's first impulse towards women is to give a second chance. . .that women and children thing.

    It made sense to me that Gabrielle couldn't quite get it together after being whacked on the back by a chair. It made no sense that she turned her back on this chick. . no sense. .Gabrielle would know better by now.

  7. The oversimplification of "good" vs "bad" as a case of selfishness verses un. . .It's more than that I think. I believe there are cases of good "selfish" things. Then again, maybe that's not true selfishness. .which is an entirely different issue. True selfishness is wAY way annoying.

  8. Tara assuming she could sleep besides Xena. Now that. . that made no sense to me. If anyone should have been sleeping on the other side of the fire it should have been her.. .naw this was just another "they are Not subtexty. . ." ploy. That was annoying. :)

Well, that's the short of it. .but. .it was an okay episode. Had good moments and bad.

c. 1998 Katrina prosper4@ix.netcom.com
Katrina's Xena Fanfiction at: http://bearblue.simplenet.com/xenafic.html

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MDKNIGHT on Forgiven:

OK, I just have to get this off my chest. In 3 weeks time I have watched Gab be dragged over earth,fire and water, almost thrown off a cliff, stabbed in absentia by Xena, dragged to Dayhoks temple again to be menaced by doppleganger Xena with a knife, shot with an arrow, sprain her own ankle, get sexually harrased by alternate time line Xena (Xena's taking hold of Gab's face reminded me of women in prison movies), get crucified with broken legs and everything, get her face clawed, get repeatedly punched in the face, get crotch kicked, have her head repeatedly slammed on a table, be slapped repeatedly, and have half her ear bitten off. I CAN'T possibly be the only one who thinks this is just too much. I also found it very disturbing that Xena seemed to be insensitive to how emotionally cruel and insulting Tara was being to Gab and that after all that, Gab felt guilty for not understanding the "poor little girl". I know the idea was that Xena wanted to help the girl ( a good goal) but I think it was at the expense of Gab's physical as well as mental pain. It was obvious sleeping next to Xena means a lot to Gab and Xena accepted Tara usurping her positon without so much as a comment. There is something sadistic in that. Was I the only one who got a cold shiver when Xena's response to Gab's complaint that Tara had beat her was "Well she said she was sorry"? I couldn't help but think of the idea we are supposed to accept that Xena's attempted homicide of Gab is OK because Xena said she was sorry (and she didn't even say she was sorry about that but more because she'd lied).

Oh and AGAIN Xena knows something important (that Tara was stringing them along, planning to betray them) that she keeps hidden from Gab.

I'm actually saddened by all of this. I think there is SOOO much talent available to be used, ROC and Lucy and Hudson are excellent and some of the writing is so good but it gets hard to wade through some of this stuff.

I hope soon we will have an ep where Gab is pampered beyond belief, she deserves it:)

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Pursh on Forgiven:

(or a follicly impaired Joan Jett meets a pot-smokin' Marsha Brady Wanna Be)
(or Rodent in the Mists)

I've got an idea for Tara O'Rag Haira. Let's ship skunk girl to Potedia and marry her off to Lilla. That way Xena and gABreille can have a couple to double date with when they visit the ‘burbs, and the little rodent can seep herself in Po-dunk-a-dia's o ozing goodness until her roots grow out, or her rag inserts fall out.

(or, Who Are The New Gals?)
(or Character Continuity, What's That?)

Well, in spite of some itchy short-comings I liked this episode. In fact, I've never met a Xena episode that I didn't like. But then again I actively exploit spoilers so I have the benefit of missing gems like For Him the Bell Tolls, which seemed to inspire the closet she-devil inquisitor in even the most fawn-like among us.

The bard and the breastplate princess must have sent in two look-a-like replacements from Illusia for the opening fight scene in this ep. And the look-a-likes really pooched the character continuity thing. The are two questions I can't reconcile. First, why didn't Xena take immediate and corrective action in the tavern when gABS was clearly getting waxed. It's very un-Xena like to stay calm when her little buddy is in peril. Is the reborn, post-Illusia Xena a more hands-off kind of warrior princess? And second, why didn't gABS defend herself? Is the post-Illusia gABS a Potedia throw-back? Plus it was yukka-poo-poo to have to look at gABrielle's mulched ear all episode long.

(or, Reflections of a Xena Long Since Passed)

Xena clearly relates to the teenage menace on a soul level. In spite of letting gABS down in the tavern, Xena manages to stay likable in this episode, and her parenting skills abound. She really kept it together and brought out the best in Turda. Add quality time baby sitting to her list of many skills. No wonder Blondie sleeps next to her. No wonder rat child gave the boys back their Wal-Mart flower pot. Hey, if Xena believed in me, and I had a stolen Wal-Mart flower pot, I'd give it back too.

(or Be Smart For A Change And Stay Down)
(or, Finally!)

Remember gABby, thy quill may be mighty, but use thy staff when thee fighty.

(or, Xena: "gABrielle is my PARTNER")
(or, gABrielle: "I sleep next to Xena")

Enough said.

(or Honey You Ain't Gonna Find What You're Looking For Kneeling In Front o' That Oily Priesty Boy And His Magic Flower Pot)

This ep made some good post-rift self-reconcilliation movement on the theme of forgiveness. Xena stays true to character when she fails to fall to her knees and ask apollo's minions to lather some forgiveness on her handsome brow. The big girl knows that forgiveness from a flower pot (even if it's a pretty flower pot from the retail god) isn't the real deal.

Recall that Xena, clad in her best burlap mini, did get down on her knees in The Bitter Suite and sing to gABrielle for forgiveness. Our girl goes right to the source, fast forwarding over the consultation with the external diety, when she asks for forgiveness. IMO, Xena has been able to begin to forgive herself because gABrielle forgave her in Bitter Suite, and because gABrielle unfailingly believes in Xena's goodness. True to character Xena looks to the warrior princess within for her strength.

IMO, Forgiven shows us that the good bard still hasn't forgiven herself over rift events. Hope's murder is tops on my list of pesky unresolveds for gABS. Remember, Hope was a no show in Illusia. gABS has lost some of her belief in herself, ergo, she's sippin' from apollo's flower pot, looking for that illusive external forgiveness. What gABby needs to do, of course, is follow Xena's lead and look within.

c. 1998 Pursh
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Ray Houser on Forgiven:

Now, I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to the half full/half empty test, I have a tendancy to see the glass as 2/3rds full if viewed from the proper angle, so my comments should be seen in that light.

Forgiven is an important episode because it is so post "rift". When Gabby says that not everyone can be redeemed, she's obviously talking about Hope. Also this show presents Gabby's consistant inconsistancy. She has always had to balance her "sensitive chat" nature against her inner natural violence. Xena is not the only one in the world who is of two minds. Aren't all of us called to make choices between want to do and should do? Something that is a very consistant part of Gabby's character is that, as in Warrior, Princess, Tramp, she doesn't really fight in ernest until her hair gets pulled. To say, as some have done, that Renee has no vision of who Gabby is, is rather insulting and an example of only being able to see what you're looking for. The fact that Xena's a sucker for a hard-luck story has been seen throughout the show. Would Gabby be with Xena if that weren't the case? The Tara character wasn't meant to be sympathetic, she was a tool for Gabby's growth. After the "rift" she has faith in Xena and their relationship, but not that much in others. This seemed to be an episode that trys to rekindle Gabby's faith, and succeeds. The game at the campfire and the "The Waltons" parody as they went to sleep was priceless.

Like I said earlier, we see what we're looking for, so when I read that some suggest that TPTB are condoning , or even practicing pedophilia, child abuse, racism, sexism, and homophobia - all I can say is that's a pretty sad and dark glass to view this show through.

Well, that's my two bits.

c. 1998 Ray Houser
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