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Purity Reviewed

..or The Debt III as Xena returns to Chin

Messengers from Chin have about the shortest life expectancy in the Xenaverse! Another one dies before the opening credits as Xena receives a message again. They travel to Chin and are attacked by an army wielding an explosive black powder. After being helped out by a young woman, Xena realises it is Lao Ma`s daughter! She is looking for her mother`s book of wisdom to try and carry on her work, however, Pao Ssu is not all she appears. She has twin sister K`ao Hsin and it soon becomes clear that Pao Ssu controls the army with the black powder and wants her mother`s powers too. Xena must team up with K`ao Sin to defeat her.

In an episode that is almost 'The Debt part 3', we return once again to the east in an entertaining episode. The Debt is probably my very favourite Xena episode. Partly because I felt Jacqueline Kim was fantastic as Lao Ma. I was a little disappointed with this episode as I did not like the actress playing the twin daughters. I seem to be alone on this as most people I know thought she was excellent, and indeed, she was good at playing two very different roles. You really do not believe it is the same actress. She doesn`t even look like herself! However, I thought she was too manic and nutty as the bad daughter, and too sallow and wimpish as the nice one. I think this would have been the perfect opportunity to bring back Jaqueline Kim. She could have played both roles easily I think. Oh well.

Joxer is mostly very annoying in this episode, and he and Gabrielle are together quite a lot while Xena interacts with the twin daughters. I think we need to see more of Xena and Gabrielle together for the series to work at its best. Having said that, I thought the scene where Gabrielle and Joxer are captured and Gab uses Xena-like skills to free them was VERY amusing. It is the incidental humour that has always been a big attraction of the show to many fans. It was also nice to see that Gab did not have to rely on Xena to save her. This season has seen Gabrielle do so much more fighting. I wonder what was originally planned for her character before the pregnancy storyline was developed.

The final sequence that sees Xena and K`ao Hsin use the powers that Lao Ma had against Pao Ssu was a touch gimmicky, with lots of explosions and arm waving. There were also a few errors that I noticed. Pao Ssu sets a trap with explosives and lights the fuse then rides away. We see it takes about 20-30 seconds to burn, yet when she turns to see the explosion she is miles away! Can she teleport? Also, Xena remembers when she first met Lao Ma in the woods (And we even get some flashbacks to The Debt), yet we Debt Fans know she met her out at Borias` camp on the plains.

While this was an enjoyable episode, it was not as good as it could have been with more careful checking of the script.



An opportunity wasted in this weak follow up to The Debt.

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