The original is fairly grim, lacking the deft interweaving of drama and humor that characterizes the best of Xena. It’s like a dish missing an essential ingredient – instead of imitating life, with all its angles, it focuses sharply on one aspect and is worse for it. That it leaves things unresolved at the end is a lesser crime.
The 2.0 version mixes things together and makes for a better story. We open with typical Xena and Gabrielle banter and segue into the more serious stuff. Adventure should be fun, scary, and exciting; too much dark or any other color ruins the experience.
The Horde is not far from the surface, looming over everything. Yet the heroines go on, doing their thing. After transporting into the forest, each does what they are best at: Xena plans and Gabrielle scouts and snoops. They share a personal moment and end on a happy note.
The run to the fort is trilling and the aftermath is funny; balance in things. The scene inside the quarters appears comedy on the surface, yet once again, serious things are discussed. Battle and foreshadowing follows before Xena asks Gabrielle to break the siege by imitating evil spirits. The conversation is full of flirting and innuendo, yet it strikes the right note, smoothly arriving at the desired conclusion.
The cheer and brightness in the first three parts lightens the heavy last act. And even among the black the scene of play in the river brings us back. We are ready for the final, dramatic campfire scene.
The whole thing works because, like life, the ups and downs even out at the end. And not to forget, the conclusion provides the proper resolution that the original lacked. Gabrielle pays the price. Discuss in FORUMS.
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