I learned three things after watching Family Affair - #1) Liz Friedman has a great way of keeping subtext 'sub' #2) ROC looks beautiful without a headband and her hair unruly and #3) Daisies are Gabby's favorite flowers.
With that said on to our tale. . .
Joxer is still all torn up over Gabs demise. He places fresh flowers at the 'former' lava pit. But he's not alone. Xena's there searching like a bloodhound for any scent of Gabby's.
When she comes up empty she knows just where to go - Poteidaia. And just like that they're in the market square. Joxer follows faithfully and he babbles about Gabby telling stories to kids and making them laugh. Of course at that moment they see an audience of laughing children (convenient huh?)
They both follow the sound, but instead of the bard it's a puppeteer. Joxer stays to take in the show but Xena gets this strange look on her face and starts sniffing the air (okay she doesn't sniff the air but she does get a strange look). CUE THE SLOW MO GUY. (g). She turns around and who does she see? Gabby!! Shopping. . .Of course.
That's all the bard ever does is shop. She's constantly spending Xena's hard earned dinars on things that are impractical and never gets any good use outta any of them - like that pink nighty that Joxer stole (okay, it wasn't stolen. It was a gift - for him or the world I'm not sure but it was a gift nonetheless). Anyway, they shoot the scene in slow motion. All they needed was Xena and Gabby running through a daisy field and into each others arms(bg) but that would be a little too trite. . .and too much 'maintext'.
Instead, as Xena steps closer, Joxer's big ole mug gets in the way. He beats Xena to the 'hug' and gets an enthusiastic kiss from Gabby (Now right there Xena should have known it meant trouble - you'll see what I mean later).
Upon receiving the kiss, Joxer does the manly thing and faints. With dimwit out of the way, Xena and Gabby embrace. Joxer comes to and tells the girls he'd let them 'catch up'. This proves that Joxer has some sense. (G)
Gabby explains how she fell into a nitch in the wall and climbed her way out. She doesn't talk too much about it because Joxer is back. He returns and leads the ladies to a dead body. Gabby said livestock have been mutilated lately but never a man. Xena knows something is up and they all go back to Gabby's house.
Ahhh!! The in-laws!! Anyone who's been married can attest to the torture this moment is when at last you meet the 'family'. Gabby introduces Joxer to her family (mom, dad, sis) and Lila (sis) seems a bit taken with Joxerand even Gabby's mom remarks on how 'gallant' Joxer is as she leads them all out of the room. All of them except for Dad and Warrior. I don't think I've seen Xena (the woman of many skills) more uncomfortable in her life.
Xena finally asks how Gabby's doing since her return and Dad makes it a point to show his disgust with the warrior. He tells her why by saying: ". . .Seducing her away from home with your heroics. Filling her head with strange ideas.. .She's changed forever because of you." Oh yes. . .Xena has created another lesbian in the world(VBG).
He walks away but Xena doesn't follow. Soon Xena and Gabby are in the family barn. They start playing a little game called 'evil warlord' and things get pretty hot and heavy. What they don't know however, is that Lila is in the loft watching all the action and . . .oh wait. . .that was an alt-story by Charmer called 'Lila's Little Adventure'. My apologies (VBG).
Where was I? Oh yeah! The barn. So they are in the barn waiting for the monster, leaving some fresh bait. The monster takes it and proceeds to beat the stuffin' outta Xena but leaves Gabrielle alone. Xena pulls Gabby to the family house. Lucky for them dawn is at hand (and comes pretty darn quick if you ask me(G)) and the monster leaves. Gabs mom notices Gabby skinned her knee and the whole family leaves to tend to Gabby while Xena sits down in a bloodied heap. Typical in-laws<G>. Anyway, Xena tells Joxer that the monster is Hopes little devil and Gabby is not Gabby but the apple of Dahak's eye - Hope. After some convincing Joxer believes Xena's reasons. Of course she left out the part about how Gabby had a 'headache' earlier in the barn and that was soooo unlike the bard to refuse a good roll in the . . .well, you get the point.(BG).
So Xena's gotta do what she thinks is best - lie<G>. She says she hit the monster and cut him up, knowing that Hope would go looking for him. Gabby/Hope tells Lila that she wants to do something special before she and Xena leave together so they decide to have a 'picnic'. What Hope really plans to do is fed her aunt to her son but Lila doesn't know any better.
Back at the house Gabby's folks have this exchange: Dad - "I appreciate that she (Xena) saved our lives but that doesn't give her the right to take our little girl." Mom - "Sweetheart, Gabrielle is not a child. If she wants to go with Xena we just can't lock her in her room."
I noticed some things. #1) Gabby is a lot like her mother (Listen to the tone of this exchange and the 'tude that she gives her husband. Sounds like Xena and Gab when they bicker. Gabby even has her mom's mannerisms) and #2) Gabby was daddy's little girl. I think her Dad loves Lila too but his concern for Gabrielle and his need to make her 'young' is overpowering. I'd like to do a psych work-up on this guy but he wasn't featured enough in the ep. (G).
Now back to the story. . .Xena walks in when he mentions something about Xena being a mistake. Xena doesn't back down and asked 'What mistake?'. He doesn't force the issue and neither does she. But Gabby comes back up again in the conversation. He says that she and Lila went to spend time alone without her. Xena bolts away because she knows that Hope is up to no good.
When Xena does catch up to them Hope's plan of feeding Lila to her kid goes array. She says she wants to take a shortcut. She knows that Xena knows that she knows who she is. Got all that? (g) In other words, both the demon kid and the warrior princess know who's who. Gabby/Hope goes out on a damaged bridge and breaks it with her 'super' powers. She asks Lila - not Xena - for help. Lila reacts and finds she's the one stuck on the bridge. As it starts to give way, Xena grabs hold and Gabby says she's going home for help. Xena knows better but she saves Lila and you can see that Gabby's sister has a new respect for Xena and realizes, in some regard, just what Gabby sees in her (besides the baby blues and the leather<G>). Xena sends Lila back home and out of the way as she hunts Hope down.
Hope, on the other hand, takes off to the cave and meets junior. That's when Hope sees she's been fooled but she's got a back up plan and gives that evil, demonic 'I'm as twisted as Callisto' smile. At this time Joxer is done with a simple task Xena gave him and he sees Hope. He decides to be a hero and kill her. Xena also sees Hope and decides she's going to be a hero and kill her since Ares canceled the debt (because he thinks Gabs is dead. Anyway. . .). As the two warriors, okay one warrior and one baffoon, charge Joxer trips and Hope captures him. As for Xena she rears back to strike but she stops and looks into Hope's eyes. She isn't sure but the more she watches the more she realizes it's the real Gabrielle. Here's the trick: Xena and Joxer were in different locations, tracking different people.
Xena and Gabrielle both start to cry and hug one another as Xena drops her sword. Xena also says something but try as I may I can't catch what she whispers. She sits Gabby down on a rock and kneels before her holding Gabrielle's hand. Gabrielle explains that she doesn't know how she got back but that she was in a hospice for a long time. When she was well enough she sent a scroll.
As she tells Xena the story, tears literally roll from the warriors eyes. Xena kisses Gabrielle's knuckles slowly and tells her she's going to be alright. She also has to tell Gabby that Hope survived the fall as well. As they walk back to the family farm they devise a plan. Gabby is mad as Tartarus and is worried about her family. But Xena calms her down and tells her to stay focused. As Gabby goes to the barn, Xena goes in to speak with the family.
As soon as Xena walks in, the family tells her to get out. We see 'Gabrielle' sitting on a bench - cuts and bruises over her face and shoulder with Xena to 'blame'. She tells Xena that she thinks she should leave, which makes ax welding poppa very happy. Even Lila thinks Xena better get outta town. 'Gabrielle' so subtly tells her that Joxer is all alone to face the monster.
In the onset, the real Gabrielle sees her mom come to the porch to empty a bowl, crying. The bard doesn't like to see her momma cry and decides to do something about it. Gabrielle sneaks into the bedroom and corners Lila. She tells her a story so Lila knows that it's really her and not her demon child. As Lila goes to use some lame excuse to bring the folks into the room as well, Hope shows up.
They have the usual mother/daughter debate. Hope still has 'Xena envy' and Gabby still wishes Hope was dead. You know?. . . The usual mother/daughter talk. At least it's not a corny 'I don't feel fresh' discussion we see for feminine hygiene commercials. . . but it's not that far off.<G> Gabby ends the conversation by flinging herself out the window. Lucky for her it's a ranch and not a Cape Cod or a two story dwelling.
Anyway, Xena goes to the monster cave to save Joxer who's tied up for a dinner engagement with Junior, courtesy of mommy dearest of course. Xena tells Joxer to go to town and tell them to light the torches. He does. (Sidenote: For a majority of the episode, Joxer is not a complete idiot. I actually admired him for trying to be a voice of reason to Xena and helping without screwing things up too much. Yes. He got captured but instead of being the usual goof, he actually made sense now and then. Maybe TPTB got a clue in this respect.
Now I return you to my OTHER ramblings)
Xena gets Junior to chase her and they go back to the barn but when Xena gets there her bard is missing. She fights the monster again and when things look really grim we see 'Hope' calling for her baby. The monster drops Xena from his choke hold and gets a hug from mom, who seems very limited with her amount of affection. He'll take love from this chick whenever he can get it; even if it's in the middle of a fight. Ares jr. just coos but Xena takes the opportunity to stab him in the back. Gabby runs away to the back of the barn with Xena. At that moment, junior sees mom walking toward him again and gives her the claw - except this time it isn't Gabby, it's Hope who's at the wrong place at the wrong time. They both fall to the floor in one lump of evil.
A little later we see Xena sitting down as Gabrielle comes over. They have a nice sweet 'life-partner' kinda heart to heart talk. I won't tell you what they say but I will say it's sweet. And notice as the camera pulls back we see Gabrielle resting her head on Xena's shoulder while her hand strokes the other shoulder (much like the last scene of the Quest when Xena came back from the dead). We know Gabby will, once again, leave Poteidaia for the woman who 'seduced' her years before.
All and all it was a pretty good ep. But I still want to know how Gabby got to the hospice. Could Ares have felt bad and helped her? Did Artemis look out for her chosen? Or did Gabby crawl her way until someone found her lyingin the temple? I've got a feeling we may never know and on that side, it's a downer ep. I've waited all summer damn it!!! I want to know!!!! Oh well, I'm just glad Gabby's back. Like Xena said - she's nothin' without the bard(VBG).
Next week is the comedy ep, "In Sickness and In Hell". The girls have a real hard time saving a village. Looks like 'zug-zug' is the last thing on their minds since Gabby could use a can of athlete's foot spray for her entire body. . .Confused? You'll just have to see it to understand. . .Actually I saw it but I'm not sure I'll understand. Gabby does, however, puke yet again. (No wonder she eats so much. She can't get anything down(G))
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