This is the second ho-hum ep of season five. Seems they’ve hit a slump. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad, just not too great. Nothing was worse than that damn rift but that’s just my opinion (VBG). And as for being a great subtext ep, can’t say that I could see it.

Our tale opens with Xena, Gabby and Joxer round the campfire. Gabby wants to eat, Xena wants to achieve an inner calm (or something along those lines) and Joxer well he’s typical Joxer. Xena’s trying to cook a rabbit with her mind tricks but they keep turning to stone. After the third rabbit get Medusaized Gabby asks Joxer for some money to buy some food. Instead he gives her a pouch of black powder. Xena takes it and she has a vision – everyone is in battle and gets blown up during the fight. Xena says she has to go back toward Chin.

Meantime, Gingus Khan is speaking with ghost Ming Tien who is half himself and half his evil sister Xena recently killed. Ming is going to give Khan the recipe for black powder. On the way, back Xena and crew come across KalSing (good daughter) traveling with a group of people. She explains that warlord Khan now has the black powder. Xena says she can hide the people in LaoMa’s palace in the tunnels and sends Gabby ahead to warn the people in LaoMa’s palace of Khan’s arrival. Xena escorts the travelers to the palace underground. There at the palace Gabby meets tough warrior stud Chin dude named LinChi where she and he take on the advanced guards of Kahn’s army. It’s funny to see the ‘studs’ of X:WP because they are just as stereotypical of the T and A show in the portrayal of women. At least X:WP is an equal opportunity offender (LOL). Anyway…

Down in the tunnels Xena says she doesn’t think she can take on Kahn’s army. She goes to find Joxer’s traveling party but seems the area is mined with black powder. She tiptoes out to him but suddenly a strong wind covers her footprints. Kahn then shows up. And she then sees that Ming/Kal are working for Kahn. The army starts to throw grenades but Xena deflects them with her ‘power’. Xena decides to use her chakram to explode the land mines so the people can get to safety. The army then advances but Gabby and stud dude take them out as everyone runs to safety. Xena stops however to watch them fight – she sees stud dude is one of the people in her vision that dies. Xena calls a retreat and they all go inside the temple.

Xena is studying to break a vase but it’s not going quite as well as she hoped. KalSing tells her that her brother and sister will linger between worlds because of their anger. She also said the more they use the power the more powerful they ALL become. Kal won’t use the power because it will make her sister stronger.

Under the tunnels, stud dude apologizes for being an ass when Gabby and him first met. He says he heard of the storyteller bard that was companion to Xena and that she herself is a hero. Gabby likes what she hears and Joxer comes up to ask if he’s interrupting anything’ and tells her Xena needs her. Gabby smiles that cute little smile she smiles when she thinks about Xena (G) then they leave. Xena wants to go in and start destroying the black powder supplies. Gabby says it’s a good plan but Xena isn’t going – her and stud dude will go. Xena reluctantly agrees.

They get captured (go figure). However Gabby calls out to Xena and Xena hears her pleas. She can see what’s happening and takes away the air in the hut to put out the fire. Gabby picks up on it and tells stud dude to take a deep breath. They get their air back and make their escape but not until they finish what they came for – and they blow it up reallllllll good (VBG). Kahn, however, has many more huts of explosives but at least one of them is out of the way now (VBG).

Gabby gets back and Xena says she felt Gabby’s fear – seems the force uses her but it also protects the ones she loved. Kal says it could be possible to perhaps ‘love’ their enemies to death. Gabby said she once thought that love could conquer all but it didn’t seem practical. Meanwhile Joxer says he’ll help a young woman find her family.

Gabby finds stud dude again and he asks if Gabby ever thinks of settling down (LOL). And her reply?:

G: You know, sometimes people think that a home is a place but it can be a person.

SD: You know where you belong.

Joxer says Kahn’s army is over the ridge and has some villagers as hostages. Xena knows he’s going to use them as human shields. Xena says she needs absolute clarity and Gabby would be a distraction. Gabby accepts this and gets prepared to fight along Stud Dudes side against Kahn’s army. Xena moves out to the middle of the battlefield with 100,000 men in front of her. Xena deflects the rockets but she knows she can’t keep it up forever. A ground war starts and Gabby and crew take to kicking a little ass. Gabby loses her sighs but she manages to unarm a guy with a spear and uses it as a staff – and boy can she kick ass (LOL) the old bard is back baby (LOL). She’s even wearing green too (BG) but I still like the BGSB most (VBG),

When Xena tires she falls to the ground but realizes that she can use love to defeat them – she harness her love for Gabby and little by little anything that wears the Green dragon symbol turns to stone – just like the bunnies in the beginning (VBG). And since the army is wearing the same outfits they all turn to stone around her. Who’da thunk that Xena was the one to destroy Gingus Kahn’s army – one of the largest the world has ever known. So we can now add that to the list of Xena’s many skills. (VBG)

Kal, who’s underground with the remaining villagers, senses Xena’s victory. Joxer is later bragging to the young woman and her family as Gabby watches with a warm smile. When he notices her he stops. Gabby then goes to say goodbye to stud dude.

He asks her how this story is going to end. She says she hasn’t written it yet but she gives him little peck on the cheek and he says goodbye. Ahhhhhhhhhh . . . How sweet. (VBG) At least he didn’t die like the usual ‘red shirt’(LOL). And it was nice to see that the non-subtexters got thrown a bone in this ep. I think it’s the only one they are really going to be getting this year. And as for Xena she talks with Kal about how she used love as her inspiration to fight and not anger. And the curtain closes on another Xena ep.

I’m not sure why this ep was so hard to keep the subtext sub as Sears stated. I didn’t see anything in the episode that looks like it’s been changed. And since I was asked – writing credits were given to Sears and Tapert. So it must not be that different than what Sears wrote if his name was just attached. Anyway, I can’t really see what all the hoop-la was about. Over all it was a fair story, fairly written and performed. Nothing to write home about but not a huge sink bomb either (VBG)

And next week looks like we’ve got the first real comedy ep – Dite has put Xena’s spirit into a little girl’s body. Of course the little girl can soon kick butt just like our favorite warrior princess. AA was supposed to be a comedy ep too, I’m hoping that this one fairs much better.

CN Winters

Queen of Subtext