Xena: Warrior Princess 4.3 – A Family Affair

We’d crossed our fingers that Gabrielle had survived the end of season three, and she did, but we also crossed our fingers that Hope died, and not only did she live, she gave birth to a big monster covered with spikes. There’s honestly not a lot to this story; Xena and Joxer head back to Gabrielle’s hometown, hoping that she somehow survived and made her way there. She did, but so did Hope, who got there first and is pretending to be Gabrielle, and there’s a monster in a cave that comes out at night to eat people.

This is definitely a show that blew all its budget on the location shoot and wire-fu of the two-part opening and is down to a small cast and very familiar sets for this one. We’re watching fewer than half the episodes and I swear we’ve seen that bridge at least twice before. The beast is quite well-designed and the animatronic face is excellent, but the spikes are comically rubber and bouncy in an Ultraman monster way. It ends with a deeply, deeply cheesy coda with our heroines talking about how much they missed and feel lost without each other. Our son was reasonably impressed until their conversation, which he dismissed as corny. I think the writers needed to end on something with some emotional heft, after all the angst of season three, so you can dismiss the criticism as coming from the mouth of a monster-crazed nine year-old boy. Fighting, dopplegangers, and skeletons: that’s what he’s here for.

Hope might really be dead this time. Fingers crossed, again.

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