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Why is it that poor Xena can`t get a decent man! The few times she has had a love interest they always seem such idiots. Gabrielle too, for that matter, hardly seems to attract good men. Maybe this is the writers fault. Any love interests seem to lack character or personality. After all, they usually only last an episode and that isn`t long to establish a character and sweep one of the women off their feet. Rafe is one of the worst! Even more than that, there doesn`t seem to be anything that would attract Xena. He isn`t a good man, he isn`t handsome, he isn`t all that clever. Not one of the better romances on XWP. I also found the whole scam idea a bit weak. Why take the bad guy for his money? Surely Xena could come up with something better? And if she is such a whizz with the dice, why not just bankrupt him? There are more plot hole than you can count in this one.
Gabrielle hops around during this episode as Reneé O`Connor had an onset accident and sprained an ankle while filming One Against an Army. Joxer spends virtually the whole episode unconscious after another vicious beating - Gabrielle last week, Joxer this. However, the episode bowls along merrily enough. The bad guys are poor actors to be honest, and for some reason the fight scenes seemed sort of flat to me - not the usual high energy and highly improbable stunts that make Xena fun.
The scenes between Xena and Rafe were embarrassing for the total lack of chemistry between the actors. Lucy Lawless does her best, but while the scene where they are getting dressed up has the funniest line -(Xena: Get me that hat will you Rafe:(reaches for it then hold it back teasing her) What do you say? Xena: Or Else!(snatching it)) - the later scene where he is hiding cards in her hair(?) and then giving her a massage is just silly. Why would Xena go for this creep? Frankly Patrick Fabian`s acting stinks! He has a very inexpressive face, he stoops and he is like a downmarket Autolycus with all the charm removed. No charisma at all.
We do get to hear yet another of Lucy Lawless` accents in the dressing up scene - it`s a funny one, sort of Betty Boop and Katharine Hepburn. She also gets all playful, hiding her valuables in her cleavage. There is also a nice Xena/Gabrielle scene at the beginning where Gabrielle does a bit of mind reading on Xena. However, the episode is a weak one chiefly because of the supporting actors and the silly plot. You even feel sorry for Ted Raimi, who has a very weak role in this episode. Women directors are rare on XWP, and with a woman writer too, this episode is, sadly, not a great advert for women behind the scenes on XWP.
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