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Forget Me Not

Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Charlie Haskell

Mika Ariela Epstein

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darroy on Forget Me Not:

FMN was a real defining ep for Gabrielle as most of this season has been. Almost every week we are learning something new about the bard, and this ep certainly didn't disappoint. TPTB have spoken about this season involving the "deconstruction" of the h eroines, but looking back on what we've seen, this season seems to be more about the deconstruction of Gabrielle. We've learned in previous eps and seasons that Xena has a "dark" side, that she can be vicious and war-like and resort to any means to obtai n her goals ("The Price" especially is the ep that brings this forth). So, what have we learned new about Xena this season? That she's fiercely loyal? (as in her "debt" to Lao Ma) Well, I think we had already guessed that about her. Have we really lea rned anything new about her...except for getting more insight into what made her who she is?

Gabrielle, OTOH, has been completely changed as a character. We enter season 3 with a Gabrielle who is blood innocent, pure in her thought that love is stronger than hatred and that one shouldn't resort to violence, utterly devoted unquestionably to Xena ; in short, a naive woman. The 3rd season completely deconstructs her. Gabrielle loses her strongest defining characteristic: her refusal to kill. Sure, she may have been "tricked" into killing Meridian, but she made a conscious decision to kill Hope and she certainly was the "judge, jury, and executioner" for Crassius. She has played a direct part in killing. I love the line in WIR when Gabrielle tells Xena that she doesn't know what's going on with her. Gabrielle realizes that she has changed dra matcially.

Besides the blood innocence, we also see a Gabrielle who no longer accepts blindly what Xena tells her. She questions Xena's motives and even lies to Xena about Hope because she feels that Xena is wrong.

Finally, in FMN, we learn a really shocking tidbit: Gabrielle's motive in going to Chin was not to "save Xena's soul" but rather to punish Xena for loving another. The Gabrielle we came to expect is not there. We would expect Gabrielle to act out of he r noble belief that she was preventing Xena from once again going down the path of murder. We do not expect Gabrielle to be "petty" and act because she feels that Xena has betrayed their relationship and love. This Gabrielle is motivated by jealousy and anger and wants to betray Xena to make Xena feel pain. So, we have learned that Gabrielle is human and has allowed a very human emotion, jealously, to corrupt her noble vision.

The Gabrielle that existed at the end of season 2 is gone forever. Season 3 has redefined her. Is the change for the better? She's grown and now certainly has become a much more complex character. She no longer exists purely to contrast Xena's darknes s. Gabrielle's motives are much more complicated now and we can no longer blindly believe that Gabrielle will always be motivated by a higher purpose than Xena. Gabrielle has shown us her "dark" side. The "little, innocent" Gabrielle is truly gone.

c. 1998 darroy
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DebR on Forget Me Not :

I can hardly stand it. This episode is so unbelievably sexist that I was back to putting my hands over my eyes everytime that fucking asshole was on screen. I just felt so... disrespected.

IMHO, Joxer is not funny. He will never be funny to me. Not because he is a man. I find an extraordinary number of men funny. :) Not because he is a bumbler. I'm a big fan of slapstick. Joxer will never, IMO, be funny because he is a hair's breadth from rape and he rides that line so close that it is only semantics that keep him from the definition. There is a hard sneer just below the verneer, IMHO.

In this episode he took sexual advantage of a woman during her diminished capacity, against her expressed objections before that capacity was diminished. That he stopped at the last possible moment before actually fucking her, did nothing to appease my churning gut.

Gabrielle chose to enter the temple and after considering her options chose to go through the ritual. She was in the midst of that ritual, a ritual in which women were ministering to her. She had gone to the Goddess for help. It was a beautiful scene. Joxer then tried repeatedly to interupt her choice and her ritual. He spied on her in a private moment. He then rushed in and broke up the ritual in progress, and with out regard for her safety and against her will, kidnapped her from the ritual and the attending priestesses.

When he had her at his mercy, he not only denied her the knowledge of her real love, but filled her head with lies that apparently included tales of explict sexual encounters with him. HE KNOWS SHE DOES NOT WANT HIM. That is a kind of rape in my opinion. If I had amnesia and later remembered my past only to find that I had been fed these sorts of lies by someone I had cared about before, by someone I had made it very clear that I did not want a relationship with, after I got done vomiting and bathing repeatedly, I would head for a restraining order and shoot on sight if that person ever came near me again. Ok, I wouldn't shoot, but I'd want to.

And they didn't even acknowledge it. It was totally denied. There were no consequences.

I hate him. He is not funny.

He is not a plot enhancer. We are not expected to learn anything from him. (Goddess, I dread what IS being learned from him.) He does not change, so we are not expected to follow his character development. His purpose seems to be to provide heterosexual credentials to a queer show. That his brand of heterosexuality blithely includes rape and huge helpings of disrespect for the choices of his object of... GAG!... love about her own body, is so profoundly disturbing to me that I truly don't know what to do.

The character is such an insult, to men as well as women. Why slap the audience in the face?

The rumor is that Joxer will appear in all the episodes next season. That effectively means that Gabrielle will be living with her rapist. How can that possibly be. Even the large amount of lesbian love that was ALMOST in this episode could not redeem it for me. "Best friend" sounded ridiculous in the context of the jealosy being described. It felt as though it was too obviously queer so a good dose of the worst stereotypes of men would straighten things out. Why could Xena and Gabrielle not declare their feelings to each other? Strange as it is at this point that they do not kiss, even that would not be required. All that was required was that they be alone. It seemed stupid that they weren't. And a huge waste of dramatic potential.

So the price to be paid for watching a show about powerful women is that there must be a constant denigration of women built into a male character. How unique.

Who is being served by this disruption, this gleeful reminder that men run the world not women? It is not the viewers or the advertisers. The subtext of the show has increased viewership not decreased it. What demographic is being grabbed by showing disrespect for women on a show about a powerful pair of women? I don't buy that it is to appeal to children or teens. Children are force-fed that kind of crap. They don't ask for it. It is not necessary to gain or retain viewership. Even if the producers did feel the need for a chaperone, that chaperone does not need to be a rapist! The only answer I can come up with is nepotism and a sexist actor and sexist writers. I used to go light on Raimi himself and blame the writers for Joxer. But when he makes statements like those in the Topps mag I know that as an actor he is playing himself. In that interview, when asked about the negative reaction to Joxer he says, "I think that it was because Joxer is a man. He really threatens that world." (paraphrased)

What world do you suppose he means?

c. 1998 DebR
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Helen on Maternal Instincts:

DebR wrote an anti-Joxer piece based on this episode. I understand her point of view although I only agree with part of it. The rest of this is IMO only:

To me, Joxer is not any gender, male or otherwise. He's not there to be that. He is the classic bumbling idiot that most shows are afflicted with, and have been since time immemorial. The person who is different, and therefore it is ok to laugh at them. I find it distateful having this type of character on any show, by the way, but we are stuck with this individual, until humanity grows up. Maybe in a millenium or two.

I didn't find this episode any more sexist than any other. (In fact, on a sexism scale I found the dirty 1/2 dozen far more sexist than this episode.) Joxer's actions in attempting to convince Gabrielle that she loved him were not honorable, by any means, IMO. But I, personally, did not find that his "reprehensibleness" (doubt if this is a word, and I'm too tired to check, hence the quotes)did not stand out against the general background static of sexism that permeates tv. Any day I can click on the set and see kids being told which toys are for girls and which for boys, and never the twain shall meet. I can see smiling/laughing males grabbing food/chewing gum/place-product-type-here from "smiling" females. I can see Dr Mom ministering to her brood - where the heck is Dr Dad? Oh, he's the one being ministered to first.

On any show from decades past I can see sexist behaviour that makes me want to scream - on a "recent" Lost In Space" episode, for example, Will and Dr Smith (the L in S answer to Joxer) discover a strange machine, and although all the Robinsons, females included, discuss what it might be, when it comes to examining it in the lab, the participants are Dr John Robinson, Major ____ (can't remember his name), Dr Smith - the cowardly, lazy, vain, idiot, and Will Robinson - 10 year-old boy! Presumably Mom Robinson and the girls were too busy whipping up a chocolate cake for their men to take an interest in something that might threaten their lives. The series might have been made 35 years ago but its sexism, which, in my opinion, is reinforced by the good looks of Guy Williams and the guy who plays Major ____, is still warping minds today.

I'm not a Raimi fan. I have no doubt that nepotism figures heavily in his increasing appearances on Xena, but I object to this increase first on the grounds that Joxer is a character we can do without, or in much smaller doses, and second, that T.R. is not much of an actor. I, like DebR, was also appalled to read the quote that she paraphrased from Raimi. If he believes that, he really *is* living on another planet, certainly not this one.

Overall, however, I have to say the sexism in this episode did not offend me nearly as much as what I see on tv every day.

c. 1998 Helen
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jkirk on Forget Me Not :

Actually this is probably as much a rant as it is a spoiler. Beware. Not very nice things will be said about Joxer as well as TPTB.

I couldn't believe it when I read that Joxer was to be in all 22 episodes next season. At first, I thought it must be some kind of sick joke. But no, apparently it is true. Although I am still hoping for it to be a sick joke.

Forget Me Not should have been and was in some respects a powerful episode. But to say that Joxer severely undermined this ep is putting it mildly. His Three Stooges antics were grossly out of place in this ep. If Tapert is so enamored of the Stooges, and Sam really needs to give his relative a job, why not give him his own series. They could team him with two other boobs and do an ancient Grecian version of the Stooges. Or put him on HTLJ and let him ruin that show. Anything but having him be a regular on XWP.

ROC's performance in this ep was excellent. The scenes of her going through the three rivers in the temple and confronting not only her memories but her motivations as well were extraordinary. We found out that Gabrielle's motivations in betraying Xena weren't as holier-than-thou as we had thought. She wasn't trying to save Xena's soul, she was motivated by jealously. I think it was good for her to realize that she is not the source of goodness that she once thought herself to be. That got to be a little hard to take for me. Her recognition of acting out of anger and spite could lead to her being more realistic about decisions she and Xena will be forced to make in the future and should also continue the maturation of her character that we saw in WiR. While I do not think she personally was responsible for the death of Crassus, she, for once, did nothing to help. Gabrielle finally is beginning to see the world in shades of gray instead of the black and white she only saw before.

Then we have Joxer. What an asshole. His unseemly manipulation of Gabrielle, trying to make her believe that she was madly in love with him, was disgusting. Yes, I know he eventually told her the truth, but it was still treacherous considering his supposed love for Gabrielle. Or maybe it's more lust, I don't know. At the end Xena(finally!) appears and Gabrielle's face lights up. Xena's "Welcome home", was perhaps more compelling then the rather hollow "I love you's" they have been exchanging lately. And Joxer managed to totally detract from that by whining while they were hugging, "What about me." The self-centered, puling, phoney, boorish bastard Joxer sucked the life right out of this ep. If this is a taste of what we can expect next season, count me out. If this idiot of a character can decimate an ep like FMN, just think of what his presence will do for the lesser eps.

I realize that if he is to be a regular, that we can expect some character development for him. Quite frankly, I do not care. This show is not about developing Joxer's character. It is about Xena's quest for redemption and the relationship between her and Gabrielle. Well, actually, I guess the show is about whatever TPTB want it to be about. This was the year of the rift, maybe next year is to be the year of Joxer.UGH!
Think I will pass.

Can you imagine the insufferable in Joxer some of the really good, even great, eps like Destiny, The Quest, A Necessary Evil, A Day in the Life, The Price, One Against an Army, and When in Rome? Well, start imagining, because if he is truly in all 22 eps next season, he will be there. Maybe, since TPTB have said they will do another ADITL, we will have the joy of seeing Joxer in a hot tub with Xena and Gabrielle. Can't wait for that one. As for the subtext, at best he will detract from it.

Although, as has been pointed out, this season has been "disquieting" and the loving exchanges seem "fake" and "staged." This time last year if they had exchanged "I love you's" in The Quest, ANE or ADITL we probably would have been dancing in the streets. But now, it seems _so_ out of place. If anyone I know had done any of the things these characters did to one another, I would never have anything to do with that person again. It would irreparably damage whatever relationship we had. This has turned from being a wonderfully loving, trusting relationship into a severely dysfunctional one.

c. 1998 jkirk
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Katrina on Forget Me Not:

Despite the fact that this was a clip episode, it remained one of the more powerful of the season. In this one hour, we find out the depth of Gabrielle's love for Xena. Her mouth says, "best friend," Her heart says, "all that I am."

I can understand Jealousy as motivation. I know I write from a bipoly perspective, most times, but I too experience that chilling and fiery emotion. The power of this episode, is not so much in its revelation, but in the fact that Gabrielle chooses to remain cognizant of the choices, and consequences of her decision.

She accepts. .not only the blame, but the pleasure of existing.

This woman loves Xena, with all of her heart. Enough to hurt her, enough to save her, enough to remember the very worst and not just the best.



Powerful episode.

Then there is Joxer. In this episode, I believe that we get a glimmer of the "relationship" that Joxer and Gabrielle have.

He thinks he wants her as a lover. He builds fantasies around that idea. They sound fabulous, wonderful, but when the time comes that his "fantasies" could be played out. .he finds they lack the substance of truth behind them.

The truth is, Gabrielle is his chosen kin, a sister to him. He might retain the fantasy of lover, but he wants the sister. The one who'll "gouge his eyes" (make him see the truth) and "lead him by the nose" (direct him in the way). His love, in this episode, seems to mature a notch, as he admits who Gabrielle's Hero is: Xena. Gabrielle's Lover? Yes. It's implied. She's the one who rescued Ulyses. .and those fantasies had to come from somewhere (that one about centurians and gladiators sounds intriguing and. .interesting choice. .or did I mishear that. .doesn't that imply a homosexual relationship more than a heterosexual relationship?)



who'd been hearing Gabrielle's confession in her dreams. The lover hearing the loved, who'd felt so rejected that she'd resorted to a spurned lover's quest. To wound.

Xena's been there, done that, has she not? So, she knew, and understood and heard it all and forgave it all.

She'd have been jealous too? No?

There's a moment of sanity for Gabrielle. She might have escaped the jealous lover's rage, but Ares was there. OH so conveniently there and he put a bug in her ear and wouldn't let her continue with the notion "Xena can make her own choices. . ."

He knew exactly the buttons to push.

The question: who owe whom?

Interesting the mention of the Quill is mightier: The doppleganger mentions a softening of Ares towards Gabrielle. The doppleganger, though hider of truth was also revealer.

Oh. .there were a lot of levels to dig through on this one.

Good episode!

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

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MDKNIGHT on Forget Me Not :

I was deeply disturbed by this episode. First to be fair I have to say there was alot to like about this episode. For a clip show this episode was much more cerebral and complex than anticipated. It, like When in Rome was written by someone who paid attention to the detailed past of the show. As I've complained in the past about episodes that do not fit into the overall storyline in which characters act as if none of the tragedies that have occured to the protagonists in the prior episode happened it is then only fair to laud the writers when they do show a knowledge of the show's history. (The little reference to Gabrielle's shrinking bilious green sports bra seems a tip of the hat to a detail we fans have given importance to for a long time. A joke between them and us as it were.) Finally we know how Gabrielle got to Chin before Xena. I can't help wonder though whether the answer had been decided on at the time the Debt was written or only afterward when this seemingly illogical plot development had been the topic of much conversation.

All these things are positive aspects of the show but for subtext fans probably the most powerful development of the episode is the revelation that Gabrielle would be jealous of Lau Ma to an irrational,vindictive level. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned after all and certainly, one is not used to this kind of a reaction from people who are "just friends". Why then am I left with a somewhat disquieting feeling after this, my first watching of the episode? While some people had vilified Gabrielle at the time of the DebtI+II, I had accepted Gabrielle's good intentions in trying to save Xena from murdering in cold blood and possibly starting back down the path to evil. I had "faith" in Gabrielle's basic goodness. In a sense then I am disappointed and disillusioned. Ironically the object of her betrayal seems to be taking this event (having been informed of it through Gabrielle's talking in her sleep) in stride. I suppose you could look at this as a further testament of Xena's love for the bard but similar to my reaction to the dragging scene in Bitter Suite I can't help thinking that SOME things really SHOULDN'T be forgiven. We are left to root for a relationship in which both members each in their own way are capable of barbaric cruelty fueled by selfcenteredness. Quite frankly, if these were real people the only healthy advice that any friend could give them would result in thier separation. I guess we have to be grateful it IS a tv show and unlike Gabrielle's all or nothing situation, we can "forget" or at least ignore what we don't like. I will try to take refuge in memories of One Against An Army, that's how I like to think of our protagonists.

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Mika Ariela Epstein on Forget Me Not :

I'm trying to tell you something 'bout my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
And the best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously
It's only life after all. Yeah.
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fears around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of saftey till I sank it.
I'm crawling on your shore.
Indigo Girls _Indigo Girls_ "Closer to Fine"

Well I've not read any other spoilers. But may I say this... Wow. Renee O'Connor can carry an entire episode by herself, which I knew, but this... was great. I didn't cringe in the normal upset stomach roil of annoyance that I get with most TV shows.

Firstly, I've always wondered how the hell Gabrielle got to Chin so damn fast. (When Xena said she wondered, I yelled out 'Me too!'). The interlude bits with Joxer were annoying at first, but I actually liked the end, when he realized he WASN't that importaint (in the love sense) to Gabrielle. Recapping the bits from otehr eps, to remind us of all the pain and suffering...Gee THANKS *sniffel* Tho I do like that I know about Illusia now (always been bugging me in the sense that /I/ knew only from XCG, and what about my poor email-less friends!?)

It's nice to see that what I said last week ("When In Rome") was true. It's GABRIELLE'S fault! And she accepted it! She betrayed Xena, she even WANTED to do it. But she understands that this was her decision, and no one elses. Pretty much, Gabrielle has finally accepted her past. It's not an easy thing to do, but her little relm of 'forgetfullness' seemed about as pleasant as the therapy I took with my mom...

You can't know the light until you live the dark, and dark's call is so much easier... Total Star Wars bit... "The dark side is easier, Luke" Ares goaded her, he wanted Gabrielle and Xena to break up, becuase a lonely, lovelorn Xena would be more likely to follow Ares. Well... he THOUGHT so. I mean, this God tried to get Xena to KILL Gabrielle ("Bitter Suite"). He really wants them apart. I wasn't surprised when he nudged Gabrielle.

BTW, Nice use of 'out-takes' from "The Debt: Part I" to flow our story. So to paraphrase Ares "You gave up your life, your family, your blood innocence and your child. ALL for Xena. And she runs off to help some woman in Chin? She'd never do that for you."

It all clicked in my head. if WE saw subtext between Lao Ma and Xena, so did Gabrielle! Remember, Xena told this story to Gabrielle, and at one point Gabrielle asked if it was all about hate. To whit Xena replyed in a sotto voice "No, it's about love" or something to that effect. Imagaine...

X : I was hiding under the water in the tub, and I was running out of breath. Ming Tzu just wouldn't leave.
G : So what did you do?
X : *distant look of rememberance* Lao Ma stuck her head in the water and breathed air into me....
G : *Giving her version of 'the look' and speaking dryly* She what?
X : Err... she *waggels a hand* you know, blew air from her lungs into mine.
G : Uh huh... and ... how long did this, air sharing thing last?
X : *distand look again* 10 heartbeats.
G : *glareglareglare*
X : What!?

Gabrielle was totally and completly jealous. Course she didn't know the whole story by then. Xena really needs to start telling Gabrielle everything, because everytime she doesn't, the Dynamic Duo get in trouble.

There's a lot I could say about this, but pretty much it firmed up a bunch of things in my head. Ares took Gabrielle to Chin, Gabrielle was pissed at Xena and wanted to 'betray' her... But there's one importaint aspect. Gabrielle listed all the general things, at the end, that she'd lose if she lost her memory. And 'Ares' (what to call him...) said she'd lose all her pain. I was expecting a rant THEN about 'knowing the pain to recognize the good' but no... She said "Xena" and that was powerfull.

Gabrielle gave up the chance for ALL pain becuase of Xena. She'd still do anything for the Warrior Princess. And I don't blame her. Love's like that I think. It knocks you down, it beats you up, it makes you hurt. But in the end, no matter how pissed you are, you're still in love. The question is, "Is that love enough to build on?"

I think it is.

(PS, Happy bits : Xena sniffling and hugging Gabrielle, saying she's forgiving for hating Xena. Gabrielle talking in her sleep. Joxer getting beat up.)

c. 1998 Mika Ariela Epstein
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Pursh on Forget Me Not:


In the late hours of the Amazon night under a brilliant, billion star sky Solari snoozes like a big baby in the cozy confines of her Regent Queen girlfriend's well-apportioned grass hut. The Regent Queen snuggles the big lug, unconsciously aware of the steady breathing of her four- legged son who is visiting for the weekend and sleeping on his hay pile in the next room. Just as she begins to dream about she and Solari playing the Centurion - Gladiator game that her best friend gABrielle told her about over herb tea the week before, she is tragically awakened by the shrill, tinkly cry of Xenon's new cell phone.

Ephiny: Merdre!

Xenon: Mama?

Ephiny: Xenon, I thought I told you to tell Hope not to call here after midnight.

Xenon: I did Mama.

Ephiny: Well what did she say?

Solari (groggy, and still mostly asleep, mumbles): Baby, answer that phone would ya.

Ephiny (shooting Solari a quick sideways Caesar-like glance): Well Xenon?

Xenon: She said did I know who her daddy was.

Ephiny (annoyed): Did you tell her "daddy" is not a relative concept to the son of an amazon?

Xenon: Yes mama.

Ephiny: Well, what did she say then?

Xenon: She said her dad was dahak, the randy fire clothesline, and that he could just as easily be dahak, the randy fire telephone line and that she can call here any time she curse-word pleases.

Ephiny: By the Mother's hand! I thought they were going to send that child to Lao Ma's Reformatory and Charm School for Pre-Pubescent Problem Devils.

Xenon: I don't know anything about that Mommy.

Solari: (only slightly more alert than her last speaking part): My sweet little love marshmallow, are you going to get that phone or what?

Ephiny (ignoring Solari): Xenon honey did you, uhhhh, by chance, tell Hope Mommy's special name for her daddy?

Xenon: No, Mommy, I didn't tell Hope that you call her dad Gray Sock, the tacky fire clothesline, if that's what you mean.

Ephiny: That's Mommy's good boy.

Xenon: Mama?

Ephiny: Yes dear?

Xenon: Are you gonna get the phone?

Ephiny (rising, picks up the phone and answers, certain that the caller is Hope): Amazon Bar-b-que Beef and Deviled Devils Emporium, may I help you?

Woman's Voice: Oh, sorry. Wrong number. I'm trying to reach Ephiny and Solari's. You wouldn't happen to have that number?

Ephiny: Pursh!

Pursh: Ephiny?

Ephiny: Pursh! Is something wrong? Why are you calling so late?

Pursh: Sorry. I really need to talk to someone and Xena steams her leathers if I call gABrielle this late when they're on the road.

Ephiny: What's going on?

Pursh: Well, I just finished watching Forget Me Not, and as you know Xena airs from 12:30am until 1:30am here in the south eastern part of the U.S. It was so upsetting that I've been on the phone with the Webmistress for the last two and a half hours trying to figure out why this one particularly obtrusive, obnoxious, obstructionist, clearly extra baggage, pea brain was written into this ep.

Ephiny (sympathetically): Uuummmmm.

Pursh: It's really bad Eph. I'm all fired up. I can't sleep. It's such a mystery. Why was he in this episode? It just doesn't make any sense. I'm beside myself. I feel so blocked I can't even write my episode review.

Ephiny: Sounds like you have a real bad case of Joxer itch. I know. I've had it myself.

Pursh: Ohmygoddess! Is that what it is? How do I shake it?

Ephiny: You need to get over here quick. The only thing that cures it is a good, long, uninterrupted dose of the ol' Amazon purification hut.

Pursh: You mean sweat, smoke and a thrash or two with the sacred willow switch?

Ephiny: Yep. It's the only way to cleanse and clear your mind so that you can move on. But you better hurry. That itch gets worse by the second.

Pursh: No problem. The god of war owes me a favor. I'll have him zap me right over.

Ephiny: OK, see you in a few minutes. I'll go fire up my whippin' stick in the sacred hut while I wait for you.

Pursh: Great! Thanks, Eph!

A few minutes later Solari is awakened by a knock at the hut's door.

Solari (muttering to herself as she gets up to answer the door): Goddess bless, ever since Ephiny became the Regent Queen this place gets more action than Xena and Borias on the back of a horse.

Xenon (alarmed, but curious): What? Momma Solari, what did you say about Xena and Borias and the nice horsy?

Solari (under her breath): Oh shhhhiiitttt.

Solari (outloud): Nothing pumpkin. Now go to sleep.

Xenon: How can I? This hut is louder than that echoing tower Mr. Tapert put Xena and gABrielle in when they traveled to the card deck.

Solari: Xenon, please try to sleep.

There's another knock at the door.

Solari: Hang on, hang on, I'm comin.' Shhesh. Damn impatient Amazons.

Solari (opening the door): Pursh!

Pursh: Hi gal. Sorry to wake you. Ephiny needs to whip me so I can get on with my life.

Solari: Lucky duck. Ever since Ephiny became the Regent Queen we don't have much time to... well... nevermind...

Pursh: Is Ephiny here? I just spoke with her.

Solari: Yeah, yeah. She's out at the purification hut, tending the fires and creating smoke as we speak.

Pursh: Great!

Solari (eyeing Pursh up and down): You better get out there fast. That's the worst case of Joxer itch I've ever seen.

Pursh: I know, I know. Where's the hut?

Solari (pointing): Just down Hypolita Boulevard, thata way. Hang a right at Velasca's old place, you can't miss it.

Pursh: (being careful not to touch Solari, so as not to spread Joxer itch): Thanks Solari.

Solari: Good luck.


Ephiny and Pursh sit in the purification hut chatting while they sip raspberry leaf and nettle tea and munch red dumplings encased in a light, flaky crust.

Pursh (periodically coughing from three solid days of non- stop smoke inhalation): These things are awesome. What are they?

Ephiny: Red dumplings in dough. I got the recipe from gABrielle. How are you feeling?

Pursh (coughing): I think I'll be fine as soon as my lungs clear out.

Ephiny: I mean how are you feeling about your Joxer itch. Has clarity of mind been restored? Do you have any answers? That was one of the worse cases of Joxer itch I've ever seen.

Pursh (coughing): I know, I know.

Ephiny: Well did the ritual whipping help?

Pursh: Eph, I think the ritual helped. I have enough clarity now to know that I'm supposed to spill my ceramic memory water bowl in relation to the itch-bringer and this episode. The problem is I just can't put my fist, errrr, finger, on exactly how to do this.

Ephiny: How will you figure out what must be done?

Pursh (contemplative and coughing, spits a huge hocker on the floor of the hut): Hock, pheh. Splat. . .

Ephiny: Puuurrrrrsh! Gross! You just hacked a huge hocker on my clean dirt floor. Geeze. What good does it do me to be the Regent Queen? I swear I get no respect. Xena beats me up and steals my horse like its nothing. gABrielle only comes over when she wants something. Solari and I never have time to... well... nevermind. I've just spent three days curing your Joxer itch, and in gratitude you hock one on the sacred floor of the ritual whipping hut. Women are pigs.

Pursh: Ephiny! That's it!

Ephiny: Well it may seem like "it" to you, but being the Regent Queen isn't all its cracked up to be.

Pursh: No, no, Eph. I mean, I'm sorry about your floor and your Queenie problems and all, but I've just figured out how to finally purge Joxer from this episode, and restore and unblock my center of balance.

Ephiny: Great Pursh! What must be done?

Pursh: First, I must rewrite the Joxer the Mighty song.

Ephiny: That's a great start. And then?

Pursh: I must rid this ep of all idiots.

Ephiny: Which means . . .

Pursh: Getting rid of the so-called guards who allegedly protect the Temple of Nematode.

Ephiny: Uuhhh, I think you mean Mnemosyne.

Pursh: Nematode, Nemesis, Mnemosyne, whatever.

Ephiny: O.K. Great! And then?

Pursh: Rewrite what should have been a gAB-focused musical! Kind of the gABrielle parallel to The Bitter Suite. I'll call it The River Feat, an understated, underrated, undergraded, underbudgeted, sequel to The Bitter Suite! The potential is there Ephiny! This episode could have been so much! Just imagine it the gorgeous voice of some professional voice-over gal cranking out meaningful and memorable tunes to live by! Think of what it could have been!

Ephiny: You got all that from expelling a hocker on my floor? You '90s gals are so weird.

Pursh: It's kinda hard to explain... but yes.

Ephiny: Sigh.

Pursh: Eph I gotta run. You're the best.

Ephiny: Bye dear. Glad I could help.

The friends hold one another and maintain uninterrupted, deep, heart-felt eye contact in much the same manner that Xena and gABrielle should embrace, but never quite get around to doing.

Ephiny: Will you be here for the summer solstice fest?

Pursh (still looking into Ephiny's eyes): Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Ephiny (as the friends separate): Bye...

Pursh (waving): Bye doll. Love you, love your hair!

Ephiny (waving): Good luck.

Having exhausted all of her favors from the god of war, Pursh gallops off to the airport on a stolen amazon horse.

(or, Hockkkkkk, pheh!)
(or, The Unnecessary Evil)
(or, Hockster Me Thinks Dost Behave Most Foul)

Hockster the Blighty
Roams through the countryside
Looking for a place to hide
gABs isn't his side-chick
She should give him a swift kick
Or a hard whack with her big stick
He's a full-on idiot,
sure to get his ass kicked
He's Hockster, Hockster the Blighty

Hockster the Blighty
Makes lotsa girls uptighty
Very few admire him
His helmet's so pointy it's a pin
His motives are overtly thin
He's so pervy it's a sin
Let's ship him off to Chin!

If you want to ring his neck,
don't hold back, what the heck!
Xena is too nice to him,
he totally lacks a brain stem
Let Cheeser have him!

He's every man's reflection,
lacking introspection
He's every woman's nightmare,
plus he needs to wash his hair
Look out,
head for the trees!
It's Hockster,
Hockster the Blighty

(or, Duuuhhhhhh, Part I)

What's with the twin statue boys turning into gentle giants after Hockster throws sand in their faces? Hello, Mr. and Mr. statue of liberty under-dressed drag queens, you're supposed to be protecting Nematode and her nymphs and their customers. Just one sec here while I make a note to remind us not to put you two twinkies in charge of guarding the pre- Myceanean abortion clinic.

You boys have been outsmarted by Hockster, wearer of the handle-less garbage lid chest protector. Not one, but two of you, tricked by Hockster. Shame are thy middle names, thy first names, and thy surnames. And on top of that you let king pointy head physically walk out of Nematode's temple with the body of woman who is defenseless and completely without her senses. Your stone asses are fired. You'll never work in this town again. You better catch the hAres express to Gilligan's Island, like right now. There's a really nice girl there named Tara O'Rag Haira, or Tara for short, or Tarta to her inner circle. But a pair of special statue guys like you should just feel free to endear yourself by calling her Turda. That way she'll know that I sent you, and that you're entitled to the oatmeal breakfast special.

And now our feature presentation.

(or, The River Feat, an understated, underrated, undergraded, underbudgeted sequel to The Bitter Suite)

gABrielle stands on the bank of a river with suspicious looking greasy air bubbles, which bear uncanny resemblance to the air bubbles that appeared in Minya's hot tub, Lao Ma's bathing pool and Ming Tein's jail cellar. Callisto appears next to her, looking bored with her arms crossed and tapping her foot. She sports her normal stringy Callisto hair, and her basic high priestess of dementia black leather mini replete with attendant studded black leather bra. A tune mouthed by gABrielle and sung by her voice double fills the air around the two women.

Voice over (sung to the tune of Barbara Streisand's "The Way We Were"):

Memories, misty flaming water memories...
of the wench I was

Scattered pictures
of the dead bodies we left behind

Scars we gave to one another

The way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple, Chin
or has hAres rewritten the time line?

If I had the chance to do it all again, tell me would I... could I...


Callisto (singing to the tune of her opening Bitter Suite number):
gABby be warned
gABby don't sob,
You won't be singing on this job

There's no musical score here
written just for you
No need to be sore dear
This here substitute will do

There's no sexy dance!
Hey Blondie, fat chance!

No elaborate card deck,
but, oh well, what the heck!

Holograph am I
OK, I'm Callisto, so I lie

See you've chosen the three river path
Emerge thy self in this, the first greasy bubble bath

gABrielle: Look Callisto, don't boss me around.

Callisto (speaking): Hey! The name is Holograph.

gABrielle: Holograph, Callisto, whoever you are, call my agent and see if you can do something about this recycled greasy bubble bath water that keeps turning up. I know Xena and I bathed in this at least a year ago...

Holograph/Callisto (speaking): You aren't the only ones. You should have seen Xena and that Chin babe in these waters. I was jealous myself...

gABrielle: Look, if I'm going to call you Holograph, you're going to speak and sing in rhymes for the remainder of this episode review. A deal's a deal.

Holograph/Callisto (singing):
Okay, Okay,
have it your way

gABrielle (lets out a slight scream as she enters the murky current of the River of Xena's Past Lovers): Ahhhh! Gross. How many other women have been in this water with Xena?

Holograph/Callisto (singing):
I am but an annoying guide dear
Here to feed your insecurities and fear

gABrielle (exasperated): I am the mortal demi-goddess of abdominals and the sometimes wife of Xena! Doesn't that count for anything around here!

To progress in this place
Splash thee greasy water on thy face gABs splashes the air bubble grease balls on her face. An image of Cheeser rolls across her brain cinema.

gABrielle: AAAkkk! This sucks. I'm going back to Nematode's for a refund.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
Her name is Mnemosyne
It rhymes with your Mother-in-Law, Cyrene

This is a government service, provided for free
To help gals like you, befriend memory

gABrielle: Duhhh, Hologram...

Holograph/Callisto (singing):
Now don't get me pissy,
It's Holograph, missy.

gABrielle: Whatever. Look, I know my Mother-in-Law's name and I know why I'm here. I chose to be here, remember.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
Hockster is the one who doesn't recall
That coming to the Temple was totally your call
He's just stolen your body from Mnemosyne
Better hold on to that top, so biliously green

gABrielle (still standing in the River of Xena's Past Lovers): That's it I'm outta here.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
Two more rivers await,
care you not about your fate?

gABrielle: If Hockster messes with me I swear I'll sue.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
A very good plan,
A very stupid man
With a helmet like a pointy-pan,
You've told him, he'll never be your man
But he's just too thick to understand...

gABrielle (ignoring Callisto): Ohmygoddess! Look! Over there in the third river, it's Gray Sock, the randy fire clothes line, errr geeze... he's put on some weight... looks more like a randy fire telephone line these days...

gABrielle starts running toward Gray Sock.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
gABrielle!? Wait!
Don't pooch your fate!
You must enter river two before river three
To fully set yourself free!

gABrielle: No way Holobrain. I'm gonna kick that bastard's ass! I owe him one!

Holograph/Callisto (singing, as the horn heavy musical accompaniment crescendos):
gABrielle, listen to me!
Two before three!
Two before three!

gABrielle (ignoring to Callisto, yelling at Gray Sock): Get your Bunsen Burner butt outta my river this instant, you flaming flea-bag!

Gray Sock (flickering): Me Gray Sock! Mwaa ha ha ha!

gABrielle (walking toward Gray Sock): Grrrrrrrr...

Holograph/Callisto (singing):
gABrielle, listen to me!
Two before three!
Two before three!

gABrielle: (pauses and heads back to the second river): Awwwright, awwwwright. Damn you've been pushy ever since you snarfed that Ambrosia. But I'll get that multi-flame day-glo worm. Just make sure he doesn't go anywhere.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
He'll stay in place
No need to race
Step on the ice
And go under twice
Keep your ears open, too
While hAres sings for you

gABrielle: hAres! What?! Holohead don't leave me now! You can't! Who will guide me through the three cess pools of life, or whatever it is that I'm supposed to be doing here while Xena is back in the U.S.S.A strokin' around some fan fest, being revered and adored.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking):
The Creation convention I too must attend
With dear Xena, my close friend

For now, I'm done with you
The rest of the way, hAres will see you through

gABrielle: Great. I get to wade through the three rivers of recycled hot tub waters while Hockster manipulates me and hAres sings for me, and you and Xena get to vacate and make millions promoting yourselves in the land of the retail inspired.

Holograph/Callisto (speaking with a mock frowny face):

Don't worry dear, it'll be a good time
At least hAres isn't required to rhyme...

Holograph/Callisto disappears. hAres stands in her place wearing his sword earring, a purple poly-rayon blend wide- collar button-down shirt and John Travolta's white Saturday Night Fever suit. gABrielle steps onto the ice river to create a socially appropriate distance between herself and hAres.

gABrielle: Oooooooh what fun! I haven't been ice skating since I was nine, when El Nino blew through Poteidaia and froze all the horse troughs. Wheeeeee!

hAres: Ahem!

gABrielle: Oh, hi hAres! Say, would you mind looking through my bag and tossing me my hockey skates, helmet, mouth protector and shin guards? They should be right under Xena's feminine hygiene products, just next to that damn I, Ching book of Lao Ma's that I've been hauling around all season.

hAres (tossing gABrielle the hockey equipment): Ha! So you think you can just skate over the frozen water of troubled bubbles without going in, eh? Well, you're wrong!

hAres unwittingly chucks Xena's size 16 hockey skate to gABrielle, mistaking it for her size 6. The skate hits gABS in the abs and rebounds, sailing just over hAres' head and ricocheting off the cavern wall and back again, where it lodges into the ice she's standing on. The ice begins to creak and giveaway.

gABrielle (looking up a hAres for the first time): Aaaakkkkk!

hAres: HaHaHa! HaHaHa! Pretty scary, huh, standing on thin ice as it gives way to the troubled grease bubbles below.

gABrielle (slipping and sliding and trying to maintain her balance on the ever shrinking ice patch): Well, uh, actually it was your outfit that frightened me. But now that you mention it, this ice is a little problematic at the moment. Whoooaaaaa!

hAres: That's right gABrielle. This is the river of whoa and I warn you the grease bubbles run steep.

gABrielle (as the ice cracks all around her): Whooooaaa! Hurry up and help me you nattering goof ...well, hold it a sec... could ya go put on your sleeveless black leather Elvis jumper first ... that bell-bottomed leisure suit... well, it just isn't you...

hAres (singing to the tune of the Bee Gee's Stayin' Alive):
Ooooo the cave is shakin'
And all the ice is breakin'
And you ain't stayin' alive, stayin' alive

gABrielle realizes that she has but two choices: either remain afloat listening to hAres sing the Bee Gees, or dive into the freezing, dirty bubble river. She draws a deep breath, holds her nose and takes the Nest-tea plunge.

gABrielle (thinking aloud underwater): For the love of the Mother! This is the exact same water that was in Ming Tein's jail cellar. I recognize that very fish! She brought me a tissue when I was overcome with emotion when Xena and I were making up.

gABrielle (waving to the friendly carp): Hi fishy! Yea, it's me again.

Having made all of her necessary underwater social calls, and nearly out of air, gABrielle bounces back to the surface, praying to Artemis that hAres has finished singing.

hAres (still singing):
...Been kickin' people around since I was born
Stayin' alive, stayin' alive...

gABrielle (diving back under): Argh!

gABrielle (thinking aloud underwater): Well, at least Xena's movement from Cheeser to Lao Ma, not counting the miscreants in between, bears some indication that her taste in lovers has evolved somewhat over the past ten years.

gABrielle emerges. hAres has quieted himself while he prances about the river's edge, periodically pausing to execute the steps to a deceptively simple dance routine that involves a series of ridiculous arm movements. To the left of hAres gABrielle notices that Leah is directing a choir which consists of Jan Brady, Ginger, Mary Ann and Mrs. Howell. John Lennon, Sylvia Plath and Iolas converse thoughtfully in the corner, trying to ignore the would-be singers.

gABrielle (to herself): Good Goddess! This show really goes to pot without Xena! And just look at all of Xena's ex- lover's! All these people in the hot tub before me, and she never bothered to tell me about any of them. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

gABrielle suddenly realizes that a putrid stench has filled the cavern.

gABrielle: Yuk! I hate the smell of a burning scum bag in the morning...

gABrielle turns toward the stench.

gABrielle: It's Gray Sock! He's inadvertently caused a grease fire and burned himself up while bathing in the third grease bubble river!

gABrielle sticks out her arm, and her trusty staff appears. She runs over to the singed and smoking Gray Sock, and brings her staff up in the air and thwacks it down hard on his smoldering remains, as if he were one of the many trees that have routinely been the subject of her misplaced derision over the past three seasons.

gABrielle: Damn that felt good. I need a smoke.

gABrielle reaches into what is usually the BGSB to retrieve her cigarettes, but realizes that she's wearing her river toga, which lacks a handy inner breast pocket.

gABrielle: Drats!

Meanwhile, back in the forest so green gABbrielle tweaks Hockster's nose, fatally knocking him out forever.

Xena: Welcome home hon!

gABrielle (running toward her sweet pea): Hi baby, how was your trip!

Xena (embracing gABrielle): Fine. Same old same old. How was yours?

gABrielle: Xena, I just wanted to thank you for letting me have the pleasure of thwacking Gray Sock without your help.

Xena: I knew that was one trip you had to take alone...

gABrielle: Xena, I want you to know that I've forgiven you for not being forthcoming about all of your previous lovers.

Xena: I knew that was one trip I wanted you to take alone...

gABrielle: I understand now that Lao Ma is in a class by herself, and that without her influence in your life right now you'd probably be married to the Skipper, or something worse. Without Lao Ma to show you the way, you and I would have never gotten together.

Xena: I knew you'd understand.

gABrielle: Xena?

The lovers begin walking away from the Temple hand in hand.

Xena: Yes dear?

gABrielle: Xena, Jan Brady??

Xena: gABrielle, that was in high school. We all made mistakes we'd like to forget in our teen years.

gABrielle: Ginger and Mary Ann?

Xena: Uh-huh...

gABrielle: Oh, Xena! At the same time?

Xena: Well, it didn't last very long. Ginger started accusing me of paying too much attention to Mary Ann.

gABrielle: Well were you?

Xena: Yup.

gABrielle: Sigh.

Xena: Mary Ann had that salt of the Earth, good farm girl appeal that Ginger just flat lacked.

gABrielle: And Mrs. Howell!?

Xena: No! Never! She wanted to, but I never did, I swear.

gABrielle: John Lennon?

Xena: Well, the real attraction there was Yoko.

gABrielle: And the Grande dame of bards?

Xena: Who, Sylvia?

gABrielle: Uh-huh...

Xena: Only in my dreams, gABrielle, I promise.

gABrielle: Iolus?

Xena (chuckling softly): Oh, that was just to tweak Herc a little. Heh, heh.

gABrielle: Leah, Xena?

Xena: Oh that. Well, that was sort of a curiosity thing. I wanted to see what it would be like to be with a virgin me.

gABrielle: By the Goddesses Xena! Well?

Xena: Well I never found out.

gABrielle: I don't believe it! You lost your nerve?

Xena: No, gABrielle. Leah said no. And when a gal says no, no means no.

gABrielle: Such a simple concept. Too bad Hockster and Gray Sock didn't get it.

Xena: Well, it looks like you took care of them. gABrielle: Heh, heh.

Xena puts her arm around gABrielle's shoulders, and the Bard puts her arm around Xena's waist. A steaming hot tub with clean water appears out of nowhere in the near distance.

gABrielle (taking a three step running head start toward the tub): Last one in has to give the other one an hour long full body massage with high quality organic essential oil of lavender...

c. 1998 Pursh
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Tracey on Forget Me Not :

I don't have *quite* the hard-core hatred for Joxer some might, but his appearance on "Forget Me Not" last night *really* got on my nerves. At the beginning of the show, we had Gabrielle struggling with her memories and her guilt, and it could have been a very *nice* moment if not for Joxer stumbling and tripping through the forest to interrupt. Similarly, at the end of the show, Xena and Gabs were having a nice little moment of reonciliation that *could* have been pretty profound if not for Joxer's "Hey, aren't you forgetting about me?" So maybe the writers are trying to avoid *too* much intensity between our heroines, but damn, after what they've been through this season, it certainly wouldn't hurt to let them hold each other in peace every once in a while, you know?

There are times when Joxer doesn't necessarily detract from the show, but there are times when he seems to be there strictly to keep things from getting too heavy. Sometimes things *need* to be heavy. "Forget Me Not" would have worked just as well without Joxer. There was more than enough going on with Gabrielle and the three rivers; the scenes with Joxer lying to the "other" Gabrielle about her past were unnecessary and served only to make Joxer look more like a jackass than he did already.

Ooh, wouldn't it have been sweet if Xena, not Joxer, were teaching Gabs, in the event Gabs decided to empty the bowl?

c. 1998 Tracey
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