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Paradise Found Reviewed

Pile of pretentious crap or deep and a meaningful spiritual quest for Xena and Gabrielle? This one kicks off the India episodes, although the voice over at the start letting us know we are in India sounded as though it had been added on later. Xena and Gabrielle(with her mini BGSB back :-(), are in a cave after a fight. Xena has a nasty gash on her leg while Gabrielle is straight out of the bath. Hearing a strange noise, they soon do an Alice in Wonderland, falling down a hole into a strage and colourful world, that they comment looks a bit like Illusia. They meet a funny little man, who directs them to Aidan`s house. He is a guru type who soon offers to help them - or more particularly Gabrielle - find inner peace. However, it soon becomes clear that while Gabrielle learns yoga and stillness, Xena is getting more and more jumpy and aggressive.

The chief feature of this Rob Tapert directed episode is the lingering camera work on Renee O`Connor. I don`t know if Lucy felt like a she wanted a bit less attention, but this episode certainly seems to be pushing Renee as Miss Body Beautiful! ROC-fans rejoice! Gabrielle also gets into a very flattering rust coloured silky halter top and loose trousers that look great on her and the poses seem designed to show off her muscle tone! Renee has never looked more lovely. Meanwhile Xena ends up with one of the daftest over the top make up jobs ever for her final `I`ve gone nuts` scene. Oddly, her husband seems to shoot her less than lovingly! Xena looks tortured, mean, hard faced; very few of those heroic poses showing off her cheekbones in this ep. Wierd.

While all those lingering shots of Renee O`Connor might be pretty enough, I found the gradual break down of Xena`s control more interesting. There is a wonderful scene in the bathtub - again! Xena is beginning to feel her self control slip, and Gabrielle comes in to talk. Xena has a weird fantasy about hurting her that is quite disturbing, but Lucy Lawless is just so good once again. We can see so clearly in her face how dangerous Xena is feeling. Which makes the decision to give her wild hair and rabbits teeth for the maddness scene all the more ridiculous. Lucy Lawless doesn`t need daft props like this, and the wild hair thing is just getting SOOO over used!

The other scene you might have heard about is the one where Gabrielle has a bad back and gets a massage from Xena. At this point, Xena is losing it, and a sign of it is a recurring nosebleed. The drops of CGI blood reminding her of the blood on her hands, and of that crucifixion vision that Alti told them about. However, in Xena`s wild imaginings, SHE is swinging the hammer....

The final 5 minutes are rather poor as Xena:Warrior Rabbit battles - "guess what? He`s a baddie", Aidan, although the special effects are very impressive as this weird world just sort of melts away.

The theme of Gabrielle`s search for answers and inner peace will continue, but its a shame all the people she believes in turn out to be nutters. This story was visually excellent, but rather pretentious. The sight of Renee O`Connor performing her yoga in skimpy outfits isn`t enough to convince me this was a great episode, but it was quite enjoyable.(Again, many fans really liked this one a lot more than me.) No more rabbit teeth though.

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