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Forgiven Reviewed

This episode marked a return to more regular XENA episodes, but this one was not a big favourite with me and many other fans. It deals with the theft of the Urn of Apollo from a temple that is used by the priests to forgive sins. Xena and Gabrielle agree to help retrieve the urn, but before they start out, Gabrielle is viciously attacked by a teenage girl at an inn. She is Tara, and she wants to be Xena`s new sidekick. She claims to have information about the gang who stole the urn and persuades Xena to let her join them, much to Gabrielle`s annoyance. The girl repeatedly disobeys Xena and almost gets Gabrielle and herself killed. Gabrielle gets so fed up that she gives her a beating with her staff. Tara eventually helps them track the gang, but it turns out she is working with one of them. When she is reluctant to hand over the urn, after considering what she has learnt from Xena and Gabrielle, her boyfriend turns on her and Xena comes to save her. The episode finishes with Tara and Gabrielle receiving absolution from the priest of Apollo, but Xena remains at the door and turns away.

The chief objection many had to this episode was the nasty beating Gabrielle took. Gab is having a traumatic enough season, but the attack on her by Tara was vicious. It was supposed to be amusing as she did a Mike Tyson and bit a chunk out of Gabrielle`s ear, but frankly it was nasty. Xena was amazingly unconcerned about Gabrielle - not even looking at her injuries and having little regard for her feelings about Tara when allowing the girl to join them. I suppose you could say Shiri Appleby did her job well as she was totally obnoxious. She screamed and whined her way through the episode and made you wish for Joxer! Her sob story was poor, and when Gabrielle did get her own back, she was made to look like a bully and a weakling, having to use a staff to beat up the little mixed up kid. I also didn`t like the heavy handed ending, with Xena refusing the offer of absolution but made to look all pained about it. Xena has no time for the gods and is clearly shown to be a non-believer in the supposed power of the urn. It would have been more realistic to have her just scoff or roll her eyes rather than making it all misty eyed and pained. The story was OK, a fairly standard bad guy chase. There were a few good moments. Gabrielle invents charades in a rather nice campfire scene and Gabrielle has the funniest line when Xena admits that Tara reminds her of herself.."oh no Xena, I knew you were evil, but you were obnoxious too!" But generally this episode was one where Xena seemed to act very un-Xena like in her lack of concern for Gabrielle, and even Argo - letting Tara take care of her when they have only just met, and again later sending her for Argo. Tara was in intesely irritating character and I sincerely hope she never returns! (However she did return in S4`s A Tale of Two Muses.)

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