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I was incredibly impressed with Renee O`Connor`s acting in this episode. She has a number of monologues to Xena`s coffin, or talking about Xena that she pulls off with real feeling. She also fully convinces as the Amazon princess, being persuaded to take on the mask of the queen. It is she that holds this episode together. I am a big Lucy Lawless fan, but thanks to a good story and excellent script, Lucy`s virtual absence is barely noticed - although we hear her voice quite a lot. It is interesting to notice how even though Lucy is in this episode for a couple of scenes, she barely moves at all! This must have been soon after that accident.
There are so many memorable moments in this episode it is hard to pick some out, but Gabrielle`s meeting with Iolaus is a nice crossover between the series (which I was delighted to see was mentioned when Xena and Gab guested in a recent Herc episode and Xena thanked Iolaus for looking after Gabrielle while she was dead.) Gabrielle`s crowning ceremony, complete with Velasca`s attempt to abort it is notable for Gabrielle showing her teeth as queen, and the following scene where Gabrielle talks to but refuses to say goodbye to Xena is a real tear jerker. Have your kleenex ready, as it always gets me(sob!) Then we have the hilarious sight of Autolycus disguised as an Amazon - still with beard mind you!
For many of us the scene between Gabrielle and Xena in the dreamscape sort of setting is a beautiful one. Subtext fans really liked The Kiss, but that whole scene is another wonderful one. I know many male fans that greatly appreciated Gabrielle`s new Amazon outfit- little more than a suede bikini really, but I liked the necklace and jewellery. This is one of my all time favourite episodes.
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