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Gabrielle's Hope Reviewed

Following on from where The Deliverer left off, Xena and Gabrielle are still in Britannia and Gabrielle is suffering nightmares and sickness that Xena attributes to her reaction to her first kill. However, an encounter with the Banshees and an attack by villagers soon make them realize that Gabrielle is pregnant. Taking refuge in a barn, Xena delivers a baby girl who Gabrielle names Hope. The castle of the Knights of the Pierced Heart provides them with some shelter as Xena becomes convinced of the evil of the baby. Gabrielle is similarly convinced that Hope can overcome her dark side- as Xena has. When two of the knights who were helping them are killed, Xena determines to kill Hope. Gabrielle enlists the banshees to help her escape and a pursuit across the countryside follows. Gabrielle, realizing that Xena will not stop, puts the baby in a basket and sends her down the river while telling Xena that she fell from a high cliff. This deception WILL have future consequences.

The whole Hope question is another tricky one. Who is it that is in the wrong in this episode? Gabrielle deceives Xena quite deliberately, but isn`t it understandable that after the trauma of her first kill, she would protect her own child at all costs? Gabrielle is surely the perfect person to be mother to a demon child as she always looks for the good in everyone. Xena is more dispassionate, and in her view, the extremely accelerated growth of the baby and the deaths of the knights are a sure sign that the child is evil. Also there is the question of Hope`s conception and the banshees protection of Gabrielle. These clues indicate to Xena that Hope IS a demon spawn that she must kill. I do think that Xena is very harsh with Gabrielle. She does not try to explain it to her, and she seriously expects Gabrielle to stand aside while she kills the baby that Gabrielle delivered from her body? The debate could go on and on.

A very dark episode in many ways, that shows the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle at its best and worst. In the opening section, Xena comforts Gabrielle and her words to try and help her get over her guilt are genuinely touching. However, there is real animosity between them over Hope, and it is hard to see how they could return to normal straight afterwards. How can Gabrielle go back to their previous closeness when this woman was intent on murdering her baby? I thought those banshees were awful- even worse than the Furies. Bad acting, and worse make up. Xena`s attempts to fight them had a strange out of place humour as she is frustrated in her efforts. The scene where Gabrielle eats all manner of odd things- a pregnancy giveaway- is another humourous scene that breaks up the grimness of the rest of the episode, but sits rather uncomfortably with it. This is another gruelling episode that widens the rift to a positive canyon, and will not be resolved for a while.

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