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One Against An Army

Written by Gene O'Neill and Noreen Tobin
Directed by Paul Lynch
Carmen S.
Mika Ariela Epstein
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Carmen S. on One Against An Army:

I liked this episode a lot. It didn't pack the emotional wallop that MI and TBS did, but I think that is a good thing. My nerves need some rest.

I liked the declarations of til-death-do-us-part love. I don't think Xena expects to spend eternity in the same place as Gabrielle, though.

I liked the references to The Debt. Since they didn't spend time fixing the relationship (besides the reference to China), I was glad they didn't refer to MI or TBS. This way I can ignore them if I like. Thanks to Missy, I became rather attached to Solan. I suppose it is possible that this was intended to air before MI and TBS, but a few things work better post TBS.

Xena says that she is not after redemption anymore, she is just responsible for Gabrielle. Given the horrible things that have just happened because she left Gabrielle alone while she went off to fix other things, I thought this fit. Xena never acknowledged her role in setting up the horrors of The Deliverer, Gabrielle's Hope, or Maternal Instincts. This bugged me about The Bitter Suite. If she is going to change her behavior, I'll feel a lot better. Then I can rationalize that she apologised off screen.

Xena and Gabrielle actually discuss their plans. Gabrielle doesn't just get pulled completely into Xena's plan (usually without much warning). Xena backs down and does what Gabrielle wants, staying to delay the army (and protect Athens) rather than saving Gabrielle. Maybe some of Gabrielle's complaints in TBS actually sunk in.

Once again, however, Gabrielle gets hurt by not following Xena's advice. If Xena had told Gabrielle that their tagalong was a spy, Gabrielle probably would not have gone to rescue him and gotten shot. I don't like this pattern. (Xena tells Gabrielle what to do, but not why. Gabrielle is given reasons to do something else, so she does whatever Xena tells her not to do. Gabrielle gets hurt.) At least one of them should have figured it out already. Xena should know that Gabrielle won't blindly follow orders if she sees a need to do otherwise. Gabrielle should know that Xena has reasons for her instructions, even if she is to pig-headed to share them.

I thought the flipping at the beginning was fun. I liked seeing evidence of practice on both their parts.

I liked the spying on the Persians and the discussions of the strength of the army. I approve of planning ahead. I especially approve of sharing information with your partner.

I don't really understand why the Persians bothered to fight. If I had an army, I wouldn't worry about one warrior hiding in a burned-out village. I'd keep right on going. Likewise, I wouldn't have bought Xena's boast that Greece had thousands more like her. I might have pulled out of this fight, but I wouldn't turn around and head for home. I did appreciate the sneak attack later.

I wonder when Xena realized that the army would have the antidote for Gabrielle's poison. I hope it wasn't until after she had given up on running with Gabrielle, because otherwise Xena doesn't really lose the argument. If the only reason Gabrielle wins is because Xena finds a way to get everything she wants while letting Gabrielle thinks she respects her feelings, we don't end up with a compromise. Xena needs to learn to compromise with Gabrielle.

Anyway, it was fun and pretty light. It seems strange to say that an episode where Gabrielle is poisoned is light, but compared to MI it is. I knew Gabrielle would be fine by the end of the episode, after all.

c. 1998Carmen S.
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EmperorPenguin on One Against An Army:

My bottom line on this episode: "Close, but no cigar."

After going through the bitterness and heartbreak of the "rift" and especially the horrendous opening sequence of "Bitter Suite", I found watching "One Against An Army" to come down to a battle between my heart and my conscience.

Looking at the tote board it would appear the majority of points go in favor of my heart, so let's go over what I liked about this ep, and there was a lot.

Even though this was yet another hurt/comfort story used to play up the Xena and Gabrielle subtext, it occurred to me most of my favorite episodes from the first two seasons fell into that category: 'The Greater Good', 'Is There A Doctor In The House?', 'Destiny', and 'The Quest' among them.

I would, however, like one day to see the X&G subtext come from a positive origin.

The opening sequence was wonderful, it looked like it came from a favorite piece of X/G fanfic and in fact the whole ep had that air to it.

Gabrielle's eagerness to "show off" her new found skill at doing Xena's flip was matched perfectly by the warrior's apprehension the bard would hurt herself.

And after she DID hurt herself, I liked that Xena never went into a "I told you so mode", especially when Gabrielle started blaming herself. The bard gave her a clear opening to admonish her, yet Xena never took it-that was nice to see.

Yet there was still too much of Xena's "omnipotence" in "OAAA"-she commits them both to saving Greece from the Persian army without really consulting Gabrielle-a bit too similar to her committing them both to help Boadicca in 'The Deliverer'.

Also, Xena catches on that the Spartan soldier is really a Persian spy WAY too quickly, although to her credit she does clue Gabrielle in on that fact before too much time has passed. Another good deed on her part.

But then as they're about to walk into the "ambush", the old, bossy Xena returns by telling Gabrielle "don't argue with me, I'll explain later" when the bard hesitates to do as she's told.

The scene where Xena pushes the arrow through Gabrielle's shoulder then cauterizes the wound was wrenching to watch, but was leavened by the look of pain and concern that was mirrored on Xena's face eveytime Gabrielle cried out herself. That was a nice, moving touch.

But why didn't she use a pressure point to ease Gabrielle's pain?

The characterizations of Xena and especially Gabrielle were dead on target in this ep-at least when taken in the context of the first two seasons, that is.

I think this is the first Xena script Gene O'Neill & Norma Tobin have written, and although it's basically a replay on 'The Greater Good', it does go much deeper into exploring the X&G relationship.

The dialouge X&G exchange is comfortable, confident, and knowing. It has a ring of authenticity to it-you could honestly believe, if not for the "rift", if not for the first 10 mins. of "BS", that these two were not only "best friends" but something more, something deeply profound and very meaningful.

It was just so good to hear them talking and listening to each other with care and respect again.

This was the best depiction of Gabrielle I've seen all this season. What a pity she was put through such character assassination by the regular writers during the "rift", but was caught so perfectly by two relative "newcomers" to the Xena canon.

The bard even gets several witty, wry lines to exchange with Xena.

And she shows a strength, nobility, and courage I've not seen since 'The Quest'. Gabrielle re-teaches Xena the same lession about the "greater good" that Xena taught her in the first season episode of the same name.

The X&G subtext was maintext in this ep, and I wonder if it was TIIC way of trying to make sure the pro-subtexters "stayed put" after the horrors of the "rift", because while some of it tugged at my heartstrings, some of it felt a little too "sweet" for my tastes.

The "good" subtext scenes:

Xena trying to focus her 'chi' again, desperate to use it so she could defeat the Persians AND save Gabrielle, then lashing out in frustration by kicking the urn aside when she found she could not do it.

When Gabrielle is delirious with fever and flashes back to that first night outside Amphipolis when she snuck up on Xena's campfire-she's reliving that scene all over and asking not to be left behind "again".

The vision/nightmare Gabrielle suffered where she "saw" Xena killed, then the look of utter relief on her face when she realized she was dreaming.

The immediate follow-up to that when Gabrielle lies back down very close to Xena and tentatively, then lovingly reaches out to stroke her hair as the warrior slept.

Gabrielle admitting she knows and accepts they constantly run the risk of losing each other, just so long as they stay together in this life and the one beyond.

The hand clasp they shared-it was deeply moving, loving, and yes, even erotic.

Now for the "sickly sweet", laid on too thick subtext scenes:

The numerous exchanges of, IMO, unbelievable dialouge between X&G given the events of the "rift".

Examples: The "I want to be like you", "who's the brave one now", "You're my source", "All I want to do is be with you", "Always looking out for me" lines the warrior and bard professed/exchanged.

Given the "realities" of the "rift" I just can't see this much "syrup sweet" dialouge being exchanged, unless they're both overcompensating emotionally for the events of the "rift".

And unfortunately, I didn't/couldn't beileve the exchange of "I love you" between them, mainly becuase those exact same lines have been spoken so many times during the "rift" and proven to be from a false hope or an outright lie that they no longer carry any real emotional "weight" with me.

One other thing I really did like was when Xena "spoke" to Argo and the mare "understood" and "listened" to her. I haven't seen that since the first season, and it was nice to see it again.

I didn't care much for the "return" of Gabrielle's "prophetic powers"-coupled with Xena's castle demolishing "chi" power, this-IMO-takes a lot of their very human qualities away from them and puts themcmore on a par with "superheros", a concept which I'm definately uncomfortable with.

The climax of the ep which featured the battle between Xena and the Persians-with Gabrielle's help-produced two different reactions in me.

At first I just tried to "go with it", to take it with the large grain of salt all Xena fight/action scenes demand.

And for a while it worked, and some of the action was truly rousing.

But when they had Xena bouncing around on that pike handle, acompanied by "cartoon" sound effects, they entered "Summer Blockbuster Movie" territory-once again TIIC didn't know when to quit, or how to rein things in properly, so they just kept going way over the top until I rolled my eyes and waited for Porky Pig to say "Th-th-that's all, folks!"

Even so, Lucy Lawless conveyed Xena's bloodlust and battle rage with cold efficiency as well as showing how her fear and concern for Gabrielle turned to burning anger towards her foes.

And when she leveled her sword at the dazed and defeated survivors of the Persian Army, her eyes wild and bright teeth gleaming in a feral grin, then snarled "Go home! There are thousands more like me!" I BELIEVED it!

Very good performance on Lucy's part during that scene.

Also, I think Renee O'Connor gave her best performance as Gabrielle I've seen during this season so far. She was just wonderful in this episode.

Finally, when the batlle was over and Athens as well as Gabrielle's life was saved, I did smile-a bit-when Xena laid down next to the bard to rest for a while, then Gabielle firmly told her she still owed her a nice, new pair of boots;-)

So, if you've made it this far down, you probably think I loved this ep.

No, I didn't.

I said my heart outscored my conscience, but my conscience knocked out my heart with one "punch".

I _WANTED_ to love "OAAA"-I _REALLY_ did, because it masterfully pulled every string that made me a fan of this series to begin with.

But every time Xena and Gabrielle exchanged a loving look, touch, or line of dialouge, one thing kept flashing through my mind:

Gabrielle's brusied, battered, and bloody body as it came to rest behind Xena's horse at the beginning of "BS", and then Xena hoisting the bard's limp body high above her head, murderous rage and hot bloodlust deeply etched into her face, all too ready to kill the woman who was her best friend/lover/savior.

How could I ever truly believe that any of those declarations of love, compassion, and committment were real when that sick image was burned in my heart, mind, and soul?

No, I watched "OAAA" and mourned for what was, what could have been, and what will never really be again where the X&G relationship/romance/subtext is concerned-at least for me.

As I watched "OAAA", all the time a part of me was calling myself a hypocrite for doing so.

Nothing short of a scene between Xena and Gabrielle where the warrior gets down on her knees and begs for the bard's forgiveness for the brutality she inflicted upon her will make me see their realtionship/romance/subtext in anything close to an accepting light again.

I think the fact that "OAAA" was written and directed by "newcomers" and not the usual Idiots In Charge helped me to "accept" it as much as I did.

What TIIC have done with the "rift" and the opening of "BS" is to force each and every Xenite into making a choice:

Find a way, any way, to "incorporate" the events of the "rift" into how they view the show, or let those events so haunt and taint all future eps of the series that some fans must take their leave of the show or at the very least never be able to look at it in the same way again.

That's a hell of a choice, and a totally unnecessary one, IMNSHO.

And sadly, I'm still struggling with my "answer":(

c. 1998 EmperorPenguin
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Kelly on One Against An Army:

I also wish, as other's have expressed, that the first 15 mins. of TBS never happened, but it did, so now I have to deal with it like our heroines have :-) For me OAAA works very well even after the Rift because I truly believe that X & G's relationship can be restored 99.98765% to the way it was before, provided that 1) Xena never goes into a homicidal revenge act against Gabrielle again and 2) it's going to take lots of time.

I just believe that much more time has transpired between TBS and OAAA than we're given onscreen... No need for self-delusion, and the sweet moments don't have to be "ruined" :) I also see both their forgiveness and continued commitment of each other as testimony to REAL love between them - if the love between them were that fragile, the Rift would've been the end of them. After all, it's easy to say you can love and forgive someone who hasn't done you much wrong, but X & G forgave each other despite everything (well, they shouldn't have done those things in the first place, but they're human). How many can say that we love someone to that extent?

As for Xena telling a delusional Gab that "I want to be like you"... all I can say is, that since Xena (rightly) should still be feeling guilty over events in TBS (and has opened her eyes to see that Gabrielle's heart *is* in the right place - she never intentionally had Solon killed; Gab truly believed the Hope had potential for good as well as evil), she would want to be like Gab, with that much capacity to forgive (and who without a second thought now willingly gives up her life for the greater good) despite everything that Xena (and Dayhok, Callisto, etc.) has done.

The rift happened, and they've wisened up. I'm a firm believer in the "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger" thing (It works in RL, why not onscreen?).

Oh and too, I love this episode - it's definitely one of my favorites now :-)

c. 1998 Kelly
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Lunacy on One Against An Army:

I am such a sucker for hurt/comfort stories. I am in LOVE with this new Xena episode ONE AGAINST AN ARMY. OAAA goes back to what many of us love best in the TV series - the emphasis on the warrior/bard relationship. The bantering between them is back, Gab's quiet heroism, Xena's utter refusal to give up even against the worst of odds, the warrior's fierceness in a scenario where we can just openly enjoy her talents without mindless violence dampening things. GREAT episode with some intense scenes and some really wonderful moments.

I loved the opening scene where the Gabster is trying to learn to do a flip. It goes back to the foundations of the Xena/Gab relationship when a young bard-wannabe from Poteidaia wanted to be like the hero- warrior she admired. Gabrielle may abhor killing but for a long time now she's been a young woman searching for ways to empower herself. Learning fighting skills in the world she lives in has always been an important part of this. She hasn't looked that enthusiastic about something since the days when she first acquired her staff and was practicing with it (remember the opening scene of TIES THAT BIND). It's fun to see.

The scene after the bard gets injured in which Xena removes the arrow and cauterizes the wound is harrowing. OUCH!!!!!!! I think that scene goes down along with the similar arrow scene from CHARIOTS OF WAR, the "setting bones" scene in DESTINY and a couple of others as just excruciating to watch (forget about the opening scene in BS - that was in a league of its own). How did people SURVIVE before anesthesia??? Kill me now! 8-| In any event, Renee does screaming REALLY well here and Lucy makes Xena look almost in pain herself.

Once they get to the armory it seems there was just one good scene after another - several really significant ones too. Gabrielle's insistence that they stay so Xena can at least delay the Persians mirrored Xena's stance in THE GREATER GOOD, showing that grasshopper did indeed learn the master's lesson. It was really nice to see the pride in Xena's eyes when she says "And you always said I was the brave one...look at you now."

Despite Gabrielle's insistence that they stay, Xena remains uncertain, at one point stating that the greater good isn't worth Gabrielle's life. They stay regardless but how nice it was to hear her say this :) Xena also notes in one scene that she's tired of trying to atone for her sins and considers Gabrielle her main responsibility now. I think this might be indicative not only of how much the bard has come to mean to her but perhaps also of a change in attitude for the warrior. I think Xena may be getting tired of beating herself up for the sins of her past. Doesn't mean she will abandon that quest for redemption but perhaps she's beginning to forgive herself which seemed to be one of the underlying themes in BITTER SUITE.

Subtexters (or maintexters as the case may be ;-) should love in particular the scene where Gabrielle wakes up from a horrid nightmare in which she's witnessed Xena's death. Asleep beside her is the warrior, very much alive. The bard just looks at her and softly touches Xena's hair, a gentle look of concern and love on her face. Ok all at once...ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... 8)

This episode definitely ranks up there among my favorites BUT now let me discuss it a bit in relation to some of the rift episodes we have been seeing. Once those come into play, OAAA presented some challenging problems for me. On the positive side it did bring closure to some things. The events in China are referred to. We learn that no Xena isn't going to be using the powers she exhibited there on a regular basis because she can't seem to achieve the required purity of essence any more. Gabrielle tells Xena she never meant for her to get hurt over there. Personally, I would have liked a detail explanation of why she stood like a statue during the execution scene but alas I don't think Gabrielle knows herself - some mysterious figure with a pen made her do it ;-)

There was a nicer sense of partnership in this episode than we've seen in a long time, if ever. Xena was actually LISTENING to the bard in many of the scenes, considering her opinion. The bard's characterization for the first time in a long while didn't appear like an assassination attempt. She wasn't making stupid decisions like she has been in most of the episodes this season. This was the bard we saw in THE PRICE and THE QUEST. That mysterious figure with the pen took pity on her at last.

On the negative side - if you can see this episode after BITTER SUITE without cynical thoughts you are a FAR far better Xenite than I. I kept having to stop myself from thinking of the rift throughout the episode. At the beginning after Gabrielle hurts her ankle the deserter they find makes some comment about killing his horse because it went lame. Gabrielle looks at Xena and tells her not to get any ideas. I gulped. Brave bard. This lunatic would NEVER have made a comment like that to someone who once just recently dragged her behind a horse and was ready to throw her over a cliff.

When they first get to the armory Gabrielle wants to tell Xena her last request because she's pretty certain she's gonna die. The warrior points out that they've been through worse. The thought which raced across my mind - boy have you ever Gabrielle! Later Xena has this stricken look on her face when Gabrielle coughs up a little blood and it becomes evident that the arrow grazed her lung. Great stricken look but what did I find myself thinking?..."There was a LOT more blood after you dragged her to that cliff and you just grinned then."

There's a scene with Gabrielle delirious from the poison in which she thinks herself back in that moment when she first asked Xena to let her travel with her. The bard repeats the original lines from the SINS OF THE PAST script telling Xena that she wants to be just like her. In a poignant admission, a crying Xena whispers "And I want to be just like you." On the one hand - I loved this scene, but in the back of my mind a little cynical voice was saying - "Oh sure - you want to be like the gullible tag-along who recently betrayed you, whose belief in the power of goodness made it possible for the evil of Dahok to enter the world and later destroy your son. Sure Xena! I believe you want to be just like her." ;-) When Xena tells the bard later on that she loves her and that Gabrielle is her family I should have been delighted. Instead I cringed and thought - about the only family she has LEFT. Anyone get the impression the rift has made me a tad skeptical about this relationship?

To be honest - I can enjoy this episode if I assume MATERNAL INSTINCTS and BITTER SUITE never happened. I can see this episode fitting in perfectly after THE DEBT and BETRAYAL. I would have loved for this one to have aired after them - THEN we could have gotten the return of Hope in some other scenario that didn't involve Solon's death or Xena's attempted murder of Gabrielle. Those two events at least for now are ruining for me all sweet moments. I want to go ahhhhhh... but another part of me is saying...oh PLEASE.

Some final comments - OUTSTANDING fight scenes. They do feature some of that over-the-top outlandish stuff (would not be Xena without it) but they're also VERY well executed. You can't tell where Lucy stops and the stunt person begins. Xena is in a warrior-frenzy as she cuts and dices and kicks and slashes. They use enough men that it actually looks like she's up against a big force and she even breaks a sweat toward the end. Nicely done.

All in all - a thoroughly enjoyable episode for me as long as I try not to think about the previous two episodes which isn't actually toooo hard since things seem to be pretty much as they were BEFORE the rift. Gabrielle is still a bit on the gullible side - believes in the deserter's story right away - which is sort of ok with me since I don't want the bard to become a cynic like I seem to have become now ;-) Xena is back protecting the bard and agonizing over the possibility of losing her. I can live with that. Rift? What rift? The Lunatic (deep into self-deception now :)

c. 1998 Lunacy
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Mika Ariela Epstein on One Against An Army:

Water has a perfect memory.
But still water runs deep.
Look deep inside the water of your mind;
ignore the rapidly firing synapses
of your overactive cerebrum.
That is useful to begin,
but to continue,
trust your memory.
Trust your inner-self.
Trust the watery world,
deep inside you.
(Poem by me!)

Okay, first let me say that watching Xena with my dad and his girlfriend is ALWAYS an experiance.

It starts out with the backflip. Have they been reading fan fiction again? It was too cute, I thought. Not to mention Gabrielle and that little Xena Doll (I'd keep mine there too, if I had one). That long suffering look of Xena's, the 'dear Zeus, here she goes again' one had me giggling. very cute. And (of course) gabrielle stepped off on the wrong foot and blasted her ankle. When we get to LOOK at the ankle (peer) I cringed, it was all purple and ugly and looked like mine when I broke it.

Of course, Xena gets Gabrielle's boot (and pride) off by being... well Xena (whahoo! Many skills includes 'Boot removal'). They sit down and see an Athenian show up, Pheidippides (sp), who says he's coming from Marathon, and Xena tells him to run ahead with her message.

Okay, 'Mythstorian' Knave showing up says:
Athens DID fight Persia at Marathon (battle of Marathon) Pheidippides was REAL, and he ran FROM Marathon to Athens to get more troops. Then Pheidippides ran BACK to Marathon with the troops, and after Athens won, Pheidippides ran BACK again to Athens, said 'Rejoice, we won' ('something, Nike' in greek) and died. Ledgend says it was over 100 miles. He happens to be the fellow who 'invented' the marathon... or at least the term.
And Xena and Gabrielle move on and meet up with a Spartan who says he was at the battle [Spartan's don't wear /armor/ like that... tho they were rather kinky]. And we also learn that he's a coward and ran. Obligitory Chackram-throwing fight scene, Coward Spartan freezes up, Gabrielle goes to help. WHAP with the arrow... Minor goof, that arrow went IN where Gabrielle should have had a shoulder plate... Oh well. Xena does the right thing, shoves it out, get's Gabrielle up on Argo, and sends Sparta Boy off to get help.

Then Xena says he's NOT really a Spartan. No waterfall. Of course, she forgot the other biggie. SPARTA DIDN'T FIGHT AT THE BATTLE OF MARATHON!!!!! They fought at the SECOND persian war, which was much later... Of course... The Trojan War was ten years (First Season). Ulysses was 'lost at sea' for ten years (second Season). The battle of Marathon was over 300 years later (3rd Season)... I try not to look at that, I really do.

Other bits... Xena trying to shatter the pot with her 'chi' skills gave me a giggle fit. So sue me, she's VERY amusing when she gets that pissed at herself. Gabrielle's dream. HAH, forgot about that, didn't you? Way back when, Gabrielle professes to Xena that she IS a 'seer' and has 'visions'. Actually, I missed those eps *cower* but I read the scripts. Anyways, Gabrielle has a vision in her poor little deluded mind....

It occurs to me (while I re-read this) that Gabrielle seems to always tell Xena how wonderfull she is when she's doped up.... "Altared States" with the nutbread... "Betrayal - The Debt pt. 2" with Post Partum Depression... HEY! That's the answer to "The Debt"!!! Gabrielle had Post Partum!!!!

<tangent> (Okay okay, so it was a BAD reason, and it's sexist, but really... When my Stepmom (the afformentioned Donna) started sending my brother to day care (I was 14), she got REALLY moody and weird. Not that she WASN'T really moody and weird before the pregnancy, but this was worse. It involved a plate thrown like a chackram and nearly hitting my head, and one of those meat forks (the two pronged ones, you know?) being shoved into my face, among other culinary objects which should NOT be flying across a room.... No no, I was fine. Physically. But I think most people who knew me then never ask why I'm reticent about having kids...) </tangent>

Back to cool bits...

Gabrielle's nightmare/vision being comforted by Xena's presence... As a sufferer of nightmares, I know how comforting having people can be, but not just ANYONE chases them away. I've only got two friends I feel comfortable spending the night with, and everyone else is scratched, cause I don't wanna explain my fears. It'd take too long.

The Fight Scenes against the Persians were great, I was hooting. The 'I love you' scenes were touching, I was sighing (and wondering "Are they reading Missy?" for the second time in two eps). The end scene, with a hurt Xena saying "there are a million more like me" (don't we wish, gals!?) and then going up to save Gabrielle... And THEN Gabrielle asking "are we dead" followed by "You're hurt" and "You still owe me a pair of boots" had me captive. Hey... does this mean Xena MIGHT buy Gabrielle a new top? Down with BGSB!

I LIKED this Ep. It was well done (not from a historical aspect, but still), it flowed right, and one thing blew me away. Xena KNOWS she doesn't need to keep making amends for her old life. She's DONE with that. *sigh* THANK you, how sweet.

I don't know what to say about the rest of this ep. It was a TOTAL first season episode, with the long chats of the gals. But also, second season (with those longing looks and ADITL chummy feeling). I felt like it was what ALL of the third season should have been. But we can't get everything we want, and I'll just say I've enjoyed the show.

Okay, I've lost my train of thought (Dad asked me something....) so I'll leave this now, and email it off later tonight.

[Went and skimmed the spoilers, and all I can say is "Joan, I agree." and "Lala, you ROCK!"]

Mika, who may be a dark blonde now, but believes in love
(And rose colored TV screens)

c. 1998 Mika Ariela Epstein
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Pursh on One Against An Army:

(or, It's Official, I'm carrying Xena's Love Child)

She sings, she dances, she beats up many pointy-headed bad guys all by herself, in a one room armory. She carries a huge cauldron full o' hot oil up a rickety wooden ladder without burning herself. She knows her geography right down to the placement of waterfalls. She takes arrows out, she puts arrows in (no bow necessary). She'll die with her girlfriend or die trying to keep them both alive. She loves her source. Her source loves her back. I want her on my bowling team. I'm having her baby.

(or, One Amazing Aesthetic Adventure)

Everything in this episode is beautiful, well-filmed, well-framed and most appropriately perfect. Hair and that gorgeous portion of Mother Earth, currently known as New Zealand, included. Marathon boy is as pretty as Xena is handsome. Flippy gABby is th e cutest, and the G.I. Xena doll is precious! Oh joy! gABs even has great post-scary dream sick hair. Three cheers for creativity, aesthetics, beauty, sweeping lush green landscapes and leg musculature.

(or, Welllllllll, I Take That Back, Not Everything Is Beautiful)

Gross-ola on the up close and personal shot of gAB'S twisted flippy ankle. And what about spy guy's open flesh wound? Gag-fest! Does Xena mind being so casual about that? And then she removes gAB'S poison arrow with nary a wince. She must go off into the woods and barf in secrecy during commercials.

(or, Who Broke The Bottle Of Mama's Little Helper)

"And Thou, waybread, Mother of worts,
Open from Eastward,
Mighty within."

--The Lacnunga, 9th century.

The Anglo-Saxons called Plantain Waybread, and they prized it as a powerful healing herb. Although the deep green leafy herb that Xena uses in her poultices goes unnamed in this episode, I'm quite certain that the Warrior Princess Babe is using Plantain to tend to gAB's flesh wounds.

Plantain leaves are a great choice in this situation because of the plant's fantastic antiseptic qualities. By placing the plant in her mouth and chewing it before she folds it into the muslin poultice, Xena is actually breaking down the cellular walls o f the plant, thereby releasing its antiseptic properties. This is yet another excellent realistic XWP portrayal of traditional medicine use in action. Also, Xena did a great job frequently changing and washing the poultices.

When Xena retires from the warrior princess biz she should start her own herb company. Everyone else is, and besides she knows as much about healing wounds as she knows about inflicting them. Brava Xena! Brava Plantain!

(or, Xena: Warrior...Bard?)

That Xena! Though she's no slouch in the high functioning gray matter department, the big gal isn't known for her fast on her feet fibbing, so when she came up with "go home, there are thousands more like me" I had to smile. And what on Earth is wrong w ith those Persi-poos running in the opposite direction? A lush, remote, Mediterranean island, formerly the home of Sappho, with thousands like Xena? Where do I sign up? When do we leave? How long does it take to get there? Can Ephiny come too?

c. 1998 Pursh
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