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After a really nasty premonition, Xena realises her unborn baby`s soul is in danger and returns to visit the Northern Amazons and Yakut to help sort things out. To prove you can`t keep a good woman down, Alti is back, and this time she is after Xena`s baby. Another trip to the spirit realm is needed as in Sin Trade, to defeat Alti there and prevent her stealing the baby`s soul.
Gabrielle mirrors Xena`s antics of Sin Trade part 1, as she hunts and kills a deer to use its spirit to pass over. Of course, Alti being as powerful as she is, even when dead, soon has Gab gasping. So now it is a group effort now involving Yakut and her amazons as Xena must battle Alti in the spirit world.
I love the character Alti, and I think Claire Stansfield is so deliciously over the top, she is wonderful. Many of the features of Adventures in the Sin Trade are here. Lots of women in buckskins - I want a set! The scenes of Gabrielle in her hunting gear as she follows the ritual to become a shamen are very moody. Lots of tiptoeing through woodlands looking sweet.
The spirit realm itself is a suitable spooky place with some wierd freeze frame effects used as Gabrielle realises she isn`t in Greece anymore. I especially liked the bizzare and hallucinogenic sequences used to denote the passing of a soul into the spirit realm. All those quickly flashed images that really were quite disturbing (but PLEASE...don`t put spiders in..I HATE spiders!)
Best of all in this episode was the inventive final fight between skeleton Xena and skeleton Alti. The effects people at Flat Earth did a marvellous job, and full marks to the producers for another ingenious way of getting Lucy out of strenuous fight scenes. While it was a slight shame not to see more of Ms Stansfield, I loved the Jason and the Argonaut style skeletons.
Steven L Sears has been involved with the show for a long time, and left recently to develop a series himself based on 'Sheena, Queen of the Jungle'. This is one of his last scripts, but it was changed quite a bit by new executive producers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Hence, the scriptwriter being a pseudonymous Buddy Williers. Sears has always written well for Gabrielle and for the amazons, and he will be missed. As much for his accessability to the fans as anything.
Not as good as Adventures in the Sin Trade but an enjoyable episode.
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