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Animal Attraction Reviewed

Xena makes a big discovery...but how to break the news to Gabrielle...?

The first comic episode of the season sees Xena finally realising she is pregnant. It also brings up Joxer`s love for Gabrielle again and her negative reaction to it. A far more handsome love features for Gabrielle as she finally gets her own horse, and a good looking stallion he is too!

The episode opens with Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice coming across the horse caught in a trap. After rescuing him, they travel to the town of Spamona, a sort of cowboy town complete with its own female sheriff, ex-Amazon Queen Melosa Alison Bruce who plays yet another old friend of Xena`s. I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again, Xena sure has a lot of old friends, considering what a bloodthirtsy warlord she was!

While in Spamona, Amarice and Arman(from last season`s The Convert) meet and sort of fall for each other, while Xena`s `condition` is confirmed by a healer. Gabrielle works with her horse trying to gain his trust. There is also the little matter of a dastardly warlord named Darcon, David Te Rare - another Xena regular, better known as Callisto`s leuitenant Theodorus. Plus, Darcon happens to be Talia`s estranged husband.

I really enjoyed this episode on a lot of levels. Firstly, the cowboy town was great fun. We had the saloon with swing doors, the big shoot out, and even the little jingle of spurs every time Talia and some of the other cowboys walked. The pregnancy storyline is obviously a biggie for the year, and once again, the producers have gone for an unusual way of developing the storyline. The actual scene where Xena tells the others is a scream...literally!

While some of Xena`s food cravings and vomiting are a bit over the top, it was all done in such a light hearted and fun way, that I thought it worked very well.

In a further development to her character, Gabrielle`s horse subplot showed how Gab tackles a challenge herself and doesn`t just turn to Xena for help anymore.

The one part of the episode that was a bit less thrilling was the supposed romance between Amarice and Arman. Clearly with Lucy`s pregnancy, the work load is having to be spread a bit, but the romance was fairly obviously a time filler. I am not a huge Amarice fan, although I liked Arman when we met him in The Convert, and the young man who plays him is very handsome. I do wish Ted Raimi would leave his shirt ON, by the way! His pale while skin is quite alarming in that bath house scene!

The final confrontations with Darcon was like many other bad guy fights on earlier seasons, but with some lovely touches, like the bullet ricochet sound effects for the weapons thrown. Once again Gabrielle gets to kick butt in a big way. Already Lucy Lawless is fighting much less, and her stand in can be spotted in a few scenes. Renee O`Connor is going to be busy for a while yet...



An enjoyable comic episode that brings the baby storyline to the fore.

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