ANIMAL ATTRACTION

Written by Chris Manheim

First Televised October 1999

Guest Stars: Ted Raimi (Joxer), Jennifer Sky (Amarice), Alison Bruce (Talia), David Te Rare (Darcon)

Synopsis Coming Soon!


This is a wonderful episode and certainly one of Season Five's best. It works well as a comedy episode because it's funny without getting into the realm of ludricrousness. There are actually four different plots going on in this episode. Xena's pregnancy, Gabrielle finding a horse, Amarice and Armon's romance, and Talia's fight with Darcon and his cronies. For the most part, each one plays out really well: Xena finding out about her pregnancy is hilarious, Armon and Amarice's love/hate banter is fun, and Gabrielle getting to know her new horse is enjoyable. The only weak plot is the one involving Talia and the bandits. The other story elements are so compelling that the final battle scene comes off as being tacked on. It feels like everyone is just going through the motions, as if the fight was inserted just because every Xena episode is supposed to have a fight scene.

It was a nice touch that Gabrielle and her steed were not instantly/magically bonded: she had to work at getting the horse to trust her. Gabrielle getting her own horse and riding off into the sunset with Xena seems to be symbolic of Gabrielle's evolution this season. When we see her ride next to Xena in the end, they are riding as warriors, partners and equals. At this point, Gabrielle may no longer be considered Xena's sidekick, but her equal.

It's worth noting that we finally meet someone from Xena's past that she is actually happy to see.

Extra praise should go to Joseph La Duca for an outstanding music score, especially for the scenes with Amarice and Armon. Wonderful work!

Alison Bruce (Talia) played Queen Melosa in Hooves and Harlots.

David Te Rare (Darcon) played Theodorus in Callisto and Return Of Callisto. He also played Marot, the boss slave-trader in Crusader.

This episode owes a debt to two films: High Noon - the deputy resigns rather than face the gang approaching the town, leaving the sheriff alone. Here, Xena waits on the sideline while Talia and the villain fight; she won't intervene unless it's absolutely necessary. Similarly, in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, John Wayne waits in ambush until Lee Marvin wounds Jimmy Stewart and is about to kill him before he shoots Marvin.

Blooper - When Gabrielle and Xena are in the steam-bath enclosures (and Amarice is ranting) they are shown facing each other in the long camera shot. In the close-ups, they are each craning their heads to the side when speaking to each other, as if they are side by side.

The end credits disclaimer: Although The Rabbit Died, No other animals were harmed during the production of this motion picture.


Season 5 Episode Guide

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