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This episode is the most wierd mix of delightful scenes and cringeworthy awful ones. The extreme low point for me was the embarrasing WWF style wrestling scene near the end. Xena has planned a way out for Joxer; she will temporarily "kill" him in a fight and then revive him. However, the attempt to make it look good results in this wrestling bout. Ted Raimi, Josh Becker and Lucy Lawless have said that it was unscripted and all their own idea. This often seems to be the case with Josh Becker - he makes up a lot himself. Sometimes this works very well. 'Fins Femmes and Gems' and 'If the Shoe Fits' are 2 of my favourite comedies. However, I thought this scene was excruciating! I know Lucy loves comedy, but her goofing and face pulling showed us a Xena without any dignity. Lucy has said before that Xena can be wrong, but she cannot be shown as stupid. Well I thought this scene committed the almost unforgivable sin of making Xena look like a total prat. Joxer is supposed to be daft, Xena IS NOT! I think someone somewhere should have taken them aside and said, "Sorry guys, too much over the top." I hate to criticise Lucy, but I do think she has to bear a fair amount of the blame. She knows Xena better than anyone. *She* should have been the one to say..."hang on, would Xena really do it like this?"
However, even in the embarrassment of that scene, there is a funny throwaway end line. Typical of the episode - a mixture of good and bad. A very odd mixture this episode. Many fans enjoyed the fanfiction-type story of Xena and Gabrielle considering settling down but Xena not being really into the Amazon stuff, and there were some nice domestic arrangements as they set up home together for a bit. However, the squabble between them that ended with Xena saying she and Eve were going to leave for a bit was frankly rather silly. Xena and Gab were acting like characters from a rather badly written fanfiction! These two are prepared to go to hell for each other, they aren`t going to split over a little tiff.
One of the fairly big problems with this episode was the acting. All three young Amazons we see are quite honestly terrible actresses. Josh Becker commented in a recent interview that some of them (not sure which) had not been in front of a camera before. Well it showed. For a small country, the talent of the New Zealand bit part actors has usually been impressive, but these young girls were just so poor that it made quite an imbalance when they were alongside Lucy, Renee and Ted, who are all experienced and know their characters so well.
I rather liked Joxer in this episode. While I have read some comments about how his storyline was silly, I thought he did fine. Joxer was either pleading for his life or flirting with the prettiest but most minimally talented of a bad bunch of young Amazons. Also, there is a funny scene where Xena practises some Amazon dance routines, which worked quite well, and Gabrielle displays a rather amusing line in head gear.
The final scene, a camp fire scene shot from above - like Fins Femmes and Gems - is cute too, with Xena playing with baby Eve, and even doing a kiddie style war cry. Probably the best scene in the episode.
The episode was written by cub writers Strayton and O`Neill, and maybe it was down to their inexperience, or the direction or...well I don`t know. But this episode was very very patchy, with some lovely touches and gruesomely awful parts, some appealing scenes and some crappy acting. It seems unlikely Josh Becker will be back, and on the evidence of the wrestling scene alone, that looks like a wise decision.
A passable episode with good things about it, and a lot of weaknesses too. Poor characterisations and guest star acting, and don't get me started on the wrestling again..
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