1 Whoosh! Episode Guide: ANIMAL ATTRACTION
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Season 5, episode 04
Series 504
1st release: 10/18/99
2nd release: 01/03/00
Production number: V0905
Script number: Season 5, episode #4
Approximate shooting dates: Late May 1999
Last update: 10-18-00

SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 BY Beth the Gaynor
COMMENTARY 3 BY John Wignall
COMMENTARY 4 BY Jill Hayhurst

Ted Raimi (Joxer)
Jennifer Sky (Amarice)

Alison Bruce (Talia)
David Te Rare (Darcon)
Mfundo Morrison (Arman)
John Smith (Stablehand)
Michael Howell (Deputy)
Ric Chan (Healer)
Norman Potts (Gang Member)
John Lawler (Barkeeper)
(Masseur) - non-speaking
(Candy Vendor) - non-speaking

Written by Chris Manheim
Directed by Rick Jacobson

['Dance of the Hours' by Amilcare Ponchielli played in background]
(Xena holds a flower and coos at a teddy bear)
Xena: Woooo, cutey!
(She looks around guiltily)
Talia: The cravings, the nausea?
(Xena looks at Talia, who gulps nervously)
Xena: Gabrielle's gonna freak.
(Gabrielle looks at Xena, stunned and silent)
Gabrielle: When did you...? WHO did you....?
Gabrielle: Ares. Maybe he did a god thing....
(Xena shushes her with a finger)
Gabrielle: When's the last time we saw Hercules?
(Xena shushes her again, more aggravated)
(Amarice looks hilariously stunned)
Joxer: I always wanted to be an uncle!
(Xena gasps)
Talia: Wake up and smell the diapers.
(Xena looks down at her stomach)

Xena visits a healer in the town of Spamona to uncover the source of her lethargy and odd cravings. TVNow

Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, and Amarice travel to the town of SPAMONA where Xena is shocked to learn that she is pregnant. Log Line.

Xena's been exhausted, irritable, and craving pickles, raw fish, and strawberry jam. Hmm... Entertainment Weekly.

The plot thickens and so does the heroine's waistline. This is the episode in which Xena learns she's pregnant (because the star who plays her, Lucy Lawless, was likewise). Daily News (NYC)


Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice are traveling down a wooded path. Gabrielle tries to point out to Xena the covert looks Joxer keeps giving her, but Xena, who is riding Argo, is fast asleep. Concerned, Gabrielle wakes her up and asks why she's been so tired lately. Suddenly, the group comes across a mare caught in a trap and they free the animal. Even though the horse is wild, Gabrielle wants to take it to the nearby town of Spamona to receive proper medical attention. Upon their arrival, they are greeted by Talia, the town sheriff who is an old friend of Xena's. Talia and Xena catch up on the past while Xena satisfies her craving for raw fish and strawberry jam. The town deputy then informs Talia that the warlord Darcon is on his way to Spamona. Meanwhile, Gabrielle tries to comfort the mare, but Joxer interrupts and upsets the horse. Amarice goes to one of the town spas and meets Arman. It's obvious from the start that the two are attracted to each other and Amarice isn't quite sure how to process these emotions. But Amarice's affections fade away after she falls into a pile of towels and Arman laughs at her. Embarrassed, Amarice runs out of the spa. Later, when Xena goes to see a healer because she just isn't feeling like herself, she is completely shocked to learn that she is pregnant, claiming that it's been a long time since she's had any kind of a love life at all. She munches on a huge pickle and goes to see Talia.

Talia tells Xena that Darcon, who is about to arrive, is actually her husband but she doesn't love him anymore. In fact, she's afraid of him. Xena tells her not to run away and insists on helping her fight the evil warlord. But Talia tells Xena she won't let her fight her battles, especially pregnant. Xena tries to protest, but Talia sees right through her. Meanwhile, Arman tries to make amends with Amarice, which leads to another fight. But the two can't escape their attraction for one another and they lock in a passionate kiss. Joxer interrupts them and the couple starts to bicker again. Everyone rushes off to find Xena, who is in the barn watching Gabrielle break the mare. Gabrielle is about to make contact with the horse when Joxer, Amarice and Arman burst in, all clamoring for Xena's attention simultaneously. Her nerves frazzled, Xena blurts out that she's pregnant. Her friends rush to congratulate her, but Gabrielle becomes concerned when Xena says she doesn't know who the father is.

Joxer is so excited that he almost forgets to tell Xena that Darcon will be in town by sundown and that Talia has disappeared. Everyone helps to secure the town from Darcon. The warlord and his gang ride into Spamona and Xena is about to fight him, but Talia arrives and insists on fighting her own battle. Gabrielle rushes over to the barn when one of Darcon's men tries to torch it. But right on cue, the mare bursts through the stable and tramples the thug. Talia defeats Darcon and thanks Xena for her help. Xena and Gabrielle leave town with their horses in tow, thinking of the future.
1st RELEASE: 10/18/99

X-Files 4.2
Xena/ER 3.9
Stargate 3.4
3rd Rock 3.3 
Herk/VIP/Baywatch Hawaii 3.2
Earth: Final Conflict 2.8 
Beastmaster/Profiler 2.5
Peter Benchley's Amazon 2.1 
Relic Hunter 1.9 
Voyager 1.7 


This synopsis is by Bluesong.

Xena, on Argo, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice, seen from a distance, are walking on a snowy road. Joxer and Amarice are a fair distance ahead of Xena and Gabrielle. Joxer and Amarice talk. Joxer keeps looking back at Gabrielle, and Amarice says if she ever acts like that, kill her. Gabrielle is uncomfortable with Joxer's glances. She says something about it and wakes Xena, who has been dozing in the saddle. Xena and Gabrielle talk a little about Joxer and Xena's sleeping habits. Xena dozes back off. A weird noise startles everyone. Xena snaps to and charges forward on Argo, with Gabrielle running behind. Amarice joins in, Joxer follows. Xena finds a big brown horse raising a ruckous because his foot is caught in a trap. Xena throws a rope around the horse and tries to calm him. When Gabrielle arrives, she and the horse commune or something, and Xena tells Gabrielle to talk to the animal to calm him while Xena frees him from the trap. They take the horse with them. They arrive in a town and head for the stables. They put the horses up.

A cowboy appears and tells them no weapons are allowed in the town. Amarice says well, so, hey, this is Xena, who's got the guts to take her weapons? A woman in chaps and a cowboy hat appears and says she does. She pulls out a sword. The woman and Xena fight. Xena takes her down, then offers her a hand up. Seems she and Xena and old friends, and her name is Talia. They "rode" together. Talia is the Sheriff if this town. Xena says she's hungry for raspberry jam and raw fish, and she and Talia head for a bar.

In the bar, the deputy shows up with a dagger which belonged to Darkon, and the deputy resigns because he is scared. Talia says Xena can't help her in this matter.

Amarice goes the hot springs the town happens to have. She knocks a guy into a big tub and nearly drowns him. She pulls him up and gives him mouth-to-mouth and he revives. Lots of looks between Amarice and the guy. Joxer comes in and realizes the guy is Armond (I think that's the son of Joxer's first kill?), they chat, and then Amarice falls down. The guys laugh at her and Amarice curses at them (which is blanked out). The guys get massages and complain about Amarice while Amarice watches Xena and Gabrielle in spas and she complains about Armond and Joxer. Gabrielle and Xena talk a little about Xena's not feeling well. Gabrielle suggests a second opinion.

Xena goes to a healer, who tells her she's in excellent health except that she's pregnant. Xena looks shocked. She attacks the healer and calls him a quack. She says she hasn't been with anyone in a very long time and that she's a "love free zone" and there's no way she could be pregnant.

Joxer and Gabrielle talk about handling apples and fight over a bag that Joxer wants to carry for his beloved. They spill the apples.

Xena examines her stomach, calls the doctor a quack again. Gabrielle takes the horse an apple. Argo talks to the horse but the horse doesn't want anything to do with Gabrielle. She leaves the apple.

Armond goes to the stable and talks to Gabrielle about Amarice. Gabrielle says Amarice's pride was hurt, and suggests flowers.

Xena smells flowers, looks at a teddy bear, and puts it down.

Armond tells Gabrielle he's going to talk to Amarice. Gabrielle wraps up her foot and limps around, trying to gain empathy with the horse and his sore foot.

Talia and Xena talk about Xena's helping Talia with Darkon. Xena learns Darkon is Talia's husband. Talia says she doesn't love him anymore, but she once did. Xena says the trouble has to end and Talia needs help. Talia tells Xena she doesn't want her help, and she especially doesn't want the help of a pregnant Warrior Princess. They discuss Xena's pregnancy symptoms.

Xena goes to a bar and orders milk. She talks to Amarice a little about Armond. Xena leaves. On her way out, she sees Armond and tells him if he hurts Amarice she'll have his hide. Armond goes to Amarice with flowers. Amarice says no one has ever given her anything like that before. Armond says Amarice needs a man to protect her and Amarice freaks. They argue. They kiss. Joxer comes in the bar, looking for Gabrielle. Amarice punches Joxer. Amarice and Armond argue some more.

Gabrielle continues to attempt to commune with the horse. Talia gets on her white horse and rides off.

Xena talks to Argo and tells her she is pregnant and she has no idea how it happened. "Gabrielle's gonna freak," she says.

Xena talks to Armond. Armond tells Xena he kissed Amarice. Amarice thinks romance means weakness. Xena tells Armond that "Any fool can risk his life. It takes a hero to risk his heart." Armond returns to Amarice in the bar.

Xena vomits.

Amarice and Armond talk. They argue. Joxer comes in looking for Xena. Gabrielle is with the horse. Xena enters and watches Gabrielle with the horse. Joxer, Amarice, and Armond come in, and everyone is talking at once, it's very noisy, the horse is quite upset, and Gabrielle is asking everyone to be quiet. Xena keeps muttering "I'm pregnant" louder and louder and finally yells it out over top of everyone else's chatter. Dead silence. Gabrielle looks totally stunned. Gabrielle asks when and who. Xena says she doesn't know. Xena says there's life within her and it's good. Xena and Gabrielle hug. Gabrielle says congratulations. Amarice and Xena hug. Joxer says he always wanted to be an uncle. Joxer says that Darkon is on his way into town and Talia can't be found. Xena says it's up to them to protect the town.

Amarice and Armond, guarding the rear flank, talk some more. Amarice tells Armond her feelings scare her. They kiss.

Gabrielle and Xena arm themselves, chakram and sais at the ready. They wait. Gabrielle asks Xena again who the father is. She says she finds it hard to believe that Xena doesn't know who the father is. Gabrielle suggests Ares. Xena says no. Gabrielle asks about Hercules. No answer; instead the sound of hooves and thunder and the ground shaking as the "gang" rides into town.

Talia walks out into the middle of the street. Darkon says Hi Honey, I'm home. Talia and Darkon face off. Darkon's men scatter. Xena watches. Talia and Darkon face off still. Xena watches. Talia and Darkon throw knives at each other, which miss. They pull their swords and fight. A guy with a crossbow appears on a roof and Xena tosses her Super Chakram at him. Talia and Darkon fight.

Gabrielle takes on two bad guys in the alley. Talia and Darkon fight. Xena grabs a guy with a crossbow and takes him down. Talia and Darkon fight. Gabrielle does a cool flip during her fighting. But she gets hit on the head and knocked down. Armond and Amarice come to her rescue. Gabrielle sees another bad guy with a torch running in the direction of the barn. Gabrielle goes after him, and tries to talk to him, telling him not to torch the barn. The horse breaks down the barn doors and knocks over the bad man.

Talia and Darkon fight. Xena watches. She unsheathes her chakram, fingers twitching. Talia and Darkon fight. Talia takes down Darkon, tells him it's up to the jduge now.

Amarice and Armond kiss as Amarice packs up her stuff. Gabrielle halters the horse. They have a new horse, a new "family" to take back to Greece with them.

Xena and Gabrielle ride out of town.


10-28-99. This commentary is by Beth Gaynor.

OK, I like westerns. The absurdity of an old west XenaVerse town cracked me up. I laughed every time people jangled as they went by without a spur in sight (especially in bath rooms). So this episode got instant points from me from the start.

There were five - count 'em, five - stories going on in this episode. Xena's pregnancy, Gab and her horse, Amarice and Armon's romance, Talia's fight with Darcon and his cronies, and Joxer... well, being a pain, especially around Gabrielle. That's too many threads unraveling at once, and I only cared about two and a half of them. It's cute that Amarice has (had?) her first boyfriend, but I might have cared if the character was more important to me. And Joxer seemed to be there just to yell "Kids!" every once in a while. (Even though he and Amarice were both acting like 12-year-olds.)

We found somebody from Xena's past that she was actually happy to see. There's a switch!

One big difference between Spamona and other Old West towns: coed bath houses! Progressive little spot.

The doc could tell that Xena was pregnant just by looking down her throat? Wow! (OK, I know - looking down her throat was the END of the exam. But it still amused the heck out of me.)

Xena's rabid reaction when the doctor told her she's pregnant was hilarious, especially the "I am a luuv-free zone!" (That could be the most non-subtext statement of the past season and a half.) No one, zilch, zippo...

Gabrielle's "Joxer, get your hands off my apples!" line was funny, but we did that joke with "This wouldn't have happened if you'd kept your hands off my tomatoes" waaaayyyyy back in first season's Black Wolf.

It's amazing the difference that a cut makes. In the previews for this episode, I saw Xena holding a flower and cooing over a bear. It wasn't funny. In the episode, she sniffs the flower, coos over the bear, and then guiltily looks around to see if anyone had caught her. Now THAT was funny.

Xena's bar scene when she orders milk made me wonder if the writers are Bill Cosby fans. If some dingy guy had told her that she'd have to drink RedEye and like it, I would have lost it.

Gab's outfit gets spiffier and spiffier. Dusters may have just taken the place of cloaks in my fashion statement heart. Everybody gets a little warmer outfits, and Joxer seems to have totally traded in his old duds for more old west-ish ones. He still has a dippy hat, though.

I realize that part of the point of a comedy is to introduce Xena's pregnancy without too much angst or overanalyzation. But wow, once they got over the shock, everybody went with the unexplained part pretty easily. No hitting up oracles for information? No shaking the doors of the gods to get an explanation? I guess once you've been raised from the dead, it's pretty hard to faze you.

I hate when characters spend an entire episode arguing what should be an obvious solution. Talia and Xena have two whole arguments about whether Xena should help in the fight against Darcon and his boys, when the answer should have been simple: deputize the whole XenaGang to get rid of Darcon's cronies while Talia fights Darcon. Which is, of course, what happened. I did like Xena's twitchy watchfulness as her friend fights the bad guy. (Let the creative ways of minimizing the pregnant star's physical stunts begin!) But she did keep her promise It's a shame they didn't go right for the solution: I was kinda looking forward to the XenaGang sporting deputy badges.

All that shaking of the house was from six horses riding into town? Do these guys weigh 500 pounds each? Looked like the Persian army was about to arrive.

The showdown between Talia and Darcon was a classic spaghetti western gunfight all the way, right down to the bullet ricochet sound effect for a thrown dagger.

The ending battle was a pretty spiffy one. Nice "Well, here I am, how's about a fight?" look from Gabrielle, and SWEET flip she did up that wall! You go, bard! (Was that really Renee doing that stunt? It sure looked like it!) Impressively-scary snarl and sword twirl from Xena, too.


The plotline I loved the best? Sorry Xena, but it was Gabrielle getting her own horse. I loved every scene of it, it was all so danged cute. The moment the horse calmed down with the appearance of Gab, I started cheering. Xena spotted it instantly, too - she was beaming with pride every time she watched Gab and the horse getting to know each other. It's great that Gab and her steed weren't instantly/magically bonded: she had to work at getting the horse to trust her, and she mounts and rides pretty gingerly in the ending scene. Great crack from Xena, as she and Gab ride off into the sunset, that if they do too much riding Gabrielle's not going to be able to walk straight for a month. Welcome to the show, horse! I'm looking forward to seeing what Gabrielle decides to name him.

Best line of the episode: "Gabrielle's gonna freak!" Amen.

Xena breaks the news of her pregnancy to everyone by screaming it in the middle of a free-for-all argument - definitely the LAST method I pictured. Gabrielle's response, and Xena's concern about it, were the heart of the episode. I know this was a comedy, but nobody mentions Hope or Solon. Xena's line about "there's life within me, and it's good" sounded like a near-mirror of Gabrielle's misguided declarations about Hope. That HAD to have been in the gamut of reactions that ran across Gabrielle's face. Despite all the questions and worries, though, Gab dispensed with words and went straight for a hug as her show of support, which gave me a near-fatal case of warm fuzzies, and reminded the rest of the XenaGang that a round of yippees were in order. Gab's "Congratulations" line was bittersweet and tentative, but it sure worked.

Best gag of the episode: Xena's "don't talk to my stomach" poke at Joxer.


This commentary is by Beboman.

Well guys, when I stop laughing I think I will be able to write this commentary. After "A Day in The Life", this is the funniest show so far. I know it is going to make my top ten for this season.

The way the writers intertwined several storylines in a very good show was just magnificent. Everything about this show was fabulous (my very personal opinion, of course). Well, not everything. For a moment there I thought we had gotten rid of Americe, but I could not have been so lucky. That did not happen. (I wonder; do I have to bribe the writers to be able to get rid of her. I know, get over it.)

So, Gabrielle is not a tag-along any more. She finally grew up and got her own wheels, I mean her own horse. Way to go, Gab. What made this storyline interesting was the fact that Gabrielle had to fight to get the horse to trust her. She had to develop the friendship with the horse. It was not something that came easy and that made it special. Looking at Gabrielle and her horse sort of makes me imagine that this might have been the way Xena and Argo got together. Another thing that made this moment between Gabrielle and her new friend special was Argo's acceptance of this new member of the family. Xena's reaction to Gabrielle's new friend was just priceless. You could almost feel the pride Xena felt when Gabrielle and Horse (for lack of a name) made contact.

What I most liked about the show was the difference between how Gabrielle found out she was pregnant in "The Deliverance" and the way Xena found out in this episode. The whole issue of Xena's pregnancy was handled excellent. Once again, Xena has the tact of an elephant. The way she told everyone she was pregnant was so "Xena" I could not stop laughing, and the reactions of the gang were just so timely. No one said anything until Gabrielle acknowledged and congratulated Xena. Well done, very well done. (Even by Americe, as much as I hate to admit it.)

It was interesting to see that Xena had friends surrounding her when she found out she was pregnant. When Gabrielle found out she was pregnant, she was chased by dark creatures and townspeople who wanted to kill her. Gabrielle's only friend and ally at the time was Xena. This was very interesting. Another thing interesting about Xena's pregnancy was the town. That spaghetti western town was just great, complete with a sheriff and a showdown at the town corral. The whole setup concerning Xena's pregnancy lets we, "the audience", know that this is a light and welcome pregnancy. Conversely, all the darkness that surrounded Gabrielle's pregnancy was a true sign that the child to come was surrounded by darkness.

Well, I guess that on the way to Greece Xena and Gabrielle will have a lot to talk about, especially who the father might be. It was fabulous how Xena rejected so vehemently the fact that Aries could be the father, but was not so anxious to dispute the idea that Hercules might be the father. However, we will not find out until January and, to tell you the truth my friends, I' m not going to even beginning to guess whom the father might be. Every time I try to second-guess the writers, I end up losing. Call me chicken if you like, but no more second-guessing the writers for me.

Another thing that was interesting was the way two storylines linked with the title of the show; the attraction of Gabrielle to her newfound friend and ride and the attraction between Americe and Armond.

I have to applaud the writers and producers of the show. The way they have handled Gabrielle growth has been very smooth and seamless. Gabrielle has finally come into her own. She has developed into a fantastic character, and she has gradually progressed from a tag-along to someone just as strong and forceful as Xena. This was very well done. Also this season, we can see that Gabrielle really means what she says at the beginning of the season; that she will stand by Xena no matter what. It is so refreshing to see that Gabrielle is keeping her word, that there is no more doubt in her mind and no more questioning of Xena's dark side.

It seems that Gabrielle has finally realized Xena will go to hell and back to be with her, to protect her and care for her. She realizes their friendship is a very important relationship for Xena and no matter what happens, Xena will always be there for Gabrielle. Even in a light-hearted episode like this, when Xena is telling Argo about her pregnancy, we can see that Xena is worried about Gabrielle's reaction to the news.

It was interesting when Xena screams out that she is pregnant, everything stops and all the attention centers on Gabrielle. The anxiety on Xena's face waiting for Gabrielle's reaction was priceless. We (the audience) could see in Gabrielle's face everything going through her mind at the time, the pain, the tears, a lifetime of sorrow as a result of her own pregnancy and failed motherhood. But Gabrielle overcame it all and congratulated Xena. The sigh of relief from Xena and the hug was one of the best moments (serious moments) of this show.

When Xena and her old friend meet again, it reminded me of "The Path Not Taken" when Xena meets up with Marcus. The same with the little bit between Joxer and Gabrielle with the apples; it was very close to the bit between Gabrielle and Salmonious and the tomatoes.

To conclude, the final lines from Xena about, "We are a two house family" and the camera zooming in as she patted her stomach was an outstanding touch for the ending of the episode.

All in all, the show was wonderful. This is the third episode of the new season and they have not let us down yet. I really hope the season continues to be just as good. The show has gone back to basics and, by doing so, has picked up what attracted we, the audience, to it in the beginning.


This commentary is by John Wignall.

Animal Attraction (or: Showdown in the town of recycled actors)

Ya had to know that with a sidekick named Gabby, there was going to be a western in there somewhere. I s'pose we should just be glad that Joxer handled the silly hat duties.

We start with Joxer and Keebler bickering. Seems Keebler doesn't like men. I've met women like that. ;-) Was I the only one waiting for these two to ask Xena; "Are we there yet?" BTW, where did they go last week? This is a pretty direct continuation from Chakram, but Succession doesn't fit. Gabby is a trifle uncomfortable with Joxer staring at her, and trying to share her feelings with Xena, who is a little under the weather, distracted and sleepy. Fortunately, when she hears a horse whinnying up ahead, the ole adrenaline starts pumping, and the WP is all business. She's off like a shot, with Gabby running right behind her. Jox just stands there looking confused, and Gab has a line that kinda sets the tone for Joxer's whole presence in this ep. "Later Joxer, C'mon Amarice" Yup, he's lost all the character development he's gained again. I hate when that happens.

Xena rides ahead and finds a horse with it's leg caught in a bear trap. Needless to say, it's not too happy about this turn of events. Xena ropes him (her?) and ties him off to Argo. By now the rest of the merry band have caught up. Xe gets Gabby to do her Dr. Dolittle impression, and crawls under the horse to get the trap loose. Gabby takes something of a shine to this horse, so they take him along to some place that Jox can't pronounce which is famous for it's hot springs. (Is it me or have TPTB picked up on a few fanfic cliches somewhere along the line?) Gabby gets her new friend settled in the local stable, and an old timer tells the group about the law against carrying weapons. Keebler cops an attitude. (Surprise, surprise, I guess Jox isn't the only one regressing a tad) A 'Mysterious Figure' shows up in the doorway, and threatens to take Xena's weapons from her. Seems the local sheriff has taken to overcompensating because she keeps getting mistaken for some amazon queen. She draws, Xena draws, fade to commercial. Now, I noticed that Xena hadn't said anything here, and figured that Xena being the peace abiding sort she is, she'd just hand over her sword. I guess that's why I'm not writing for the show. I will mention here that Melosa/Talia looks great in this outfit, better than Sharon Stone did in that Rami flick. They fight, Xena wins, and it turns out these two are old friends. With friends like these .

Xena is peckish, she's got a taste for some raspberry jelly and some raw fish. For some reason her friends decide not to join her. [shrug] No accounting for taste. Talia's deputy brings her a fancy knife, which she left in some guy named Darkon. I dunno about you, but if I had a nice knife like that, I'd tend to pull it out of people. The deputy develops a sudden case of yellowbelly fever, and turns in his badge. Xena offers to help out, but Talia doesn't want any help. I still say she's overcompensating.

So let's check out these 'famous' hot springs. There's a bathhouse, filled with attractive young people, well except the one fat old guy, and Keebler is wandering through checking out the scenery. (Doesn't like men my ass!) Somehow I got the feeling this wasn't the sort of place she was going to have any luck, but we all know how good I am at predicting this show. She bumps into some guy who's trying way hard to show off his physique, and knocks him into a tub. This guy is a real brain surgeon, standing up just doesn't occur to him, he lies in the water and tries to breathe the water. Eventually Keebler pulls him up and tries that mouth blowing thing that Xena told her about. He comes to, and hey, it's our old friend, whatshisname. He gets a good look at Keebler and likes what he sees, she OTOH, is obviously having a crisis, probably because of what she sees. Just as she's about to make a run for it, Jox wanders in and makes introductions. Jox and Armand have a quick little exchange about their history together, which I'm pretty sure Keebler misinterpreted. (I know I would've) She walks away, and finds a banana peel. The boys laugh, and well, let's just say that laughing at an amazon warrior is not a good way to make friends. So, while the guys get a nice rubdown, and complain about women, Keebler hooks up with X&G in the steam room and complains about men. I check my dial, yup, this is Xena, not Sienfeld.

The WP is having some, ahem, gastro-intestinal issues, so her close companion and travelling partner encourages her to seek advice from the local healer. Cue the goofy doctor scene. How in Zeus name does Lucy manage to look so good with her mouth open and a tongue depressor in? Did that healer guy look familiar to anyone else? I can't place him. He tells Xe that she's got one in the oven, Lucy gets to mug for the camera, and fade to commercial. When we get back, Xena has the doc up against the wall. Here comes the line that everybody heard, and nobody agrees on. "I am a love free zone" Me, I figure that the writers and Lucy both just figured it was funny. I liked the Doctor's secondary diagnosis too; "Mood swings".

There was another scene in here too, something with Jox, and Gab, and apples. But it was so very pointless, that I'm not going to comment on it.

So Xe leaves the healer, and starts to finally notice that she's big as a house. Meanwhile, Gab is trying to make friends with the new horse, with the help of an apple and Argo. Armand comes in, and they start chatting about Keebler. He finally figures out what he did wrong, and Gabby explains that all women love flowers, (are we taking notes guys?) well except Xena. Quick cut to Xena, admiring some flowers and cooing over a teddy bear. Is it just me, or is that kinda silly? I mean, I know that pregnancy screws with your hormonal balances but . Nah. Back to Armand, who is going to try the flower thing, and gives Gabby a really stupid idea. I, for one, wouldn't want a horse that would fall for something that lame. (so to speak)

Xena still wants to help with the baddie, and Talia doesn't want the help. She reveals that in a typical Xenaverse twist, Darkon is her hubby. She wants to deal with this alone, and she certainly isn't taking help from a pregnant woman. (Denial ain't just a river Xena.) I did like the 'wake up and smell the diapers' line. So Lucy gets to put on her shocked look again. Like any good warrior faced with a life problem, Xena makes a beeline for the tavern. 'Course given the nature of the problem, port would be a trifle inappropriate, so she orders milk. The bartender starts to laugh, then learns what a bad idea that is. Amarice comes in, worried about her relationship with Armand. I loved Xena's little one liners in here, it's just the sort of humour that appeals to me. [grin] So anyway, Xena doesn't really have all that much of use to say here, except that you can either kiss 'em or kill 'em, it doesn't seem to matter. Hmmm. Excuse me? But as one of the Y-chromosome carrying portion of the species, I'd like to say that of the two, I really prefer the former. Armand comes in and says hi to Xena, so she threatens his life. Um . Okay. Seems this whole pregnancy thing has her in a bad mood. Armand starts out just right. Shy hello, flowers, chocolate, compliments, then he blows it. "A man to protect and pamper you" I winced, but he didn't pick up on it. He just kept digging his hole deeper. They start to fight, then in a perfect forties movie moment, fall into a passionate kiss. Somebody tell me how to do that? It would make life so much easier if women who were mad at me suddenly fell into my arms. After the commercial, Jox shows up in time to get hit, and screw things up for the happy couple, y'know there are times I almost regret being a Joxerphile.

Back to the stable, where Gabby is finally making a connection to the new horse. Outside, Talia is leaving town. (And I'm told that she mounted from the wrong side of the horse) Back inside, Gabby has made a hasty exit, and Xena is chatting with Argo, explaining her delicate condition. (Like the horse that's been carrying her around hasn't noticed) Nice line as she's leaving. "Gabrielle's gonna freak" She goes out into the street, and finds Armand. He's a trifle wary, as he should be, but she apologises and plays matchmaker. Amarice is settling down in the tavern with a mug, and Xena shoves Armand into the room behind her. They start to chat, and we take a quick moment for a puking gag. NOT Lucy's finest comedic moment. A&A are both trying to get things together, but Keebler is doing this girley thing. Y'know, smile at everything, agree with everything, be a perfect little brain-dead automaton. I've had women pull that on me before, and I really don't blame Armand for being irritated. They storm out, past Jox, who is looking for Xena. Gabby OTOH, is making the most of her new-found connection. Xena wanders in on this touching scene, and smiles gently. Just as we're waiting for the violins, Keebler, Armand, and Joxer come trooping in yelling at each other, Gabby starts yelling at them, and .. Xena blurts out her big news. That kinda shuts 'em up.

Gabby is doing a lovely betrayed girlfriend here. I wonder if Renee put in hours of watching Springer to come up with this performance. At least she doesn't bring up the whole demon-spawn issue. Congratulations from everyone, and Jox is suddenly Yiddish. "Hello 'dere little fellah" If Xena hadn't hit him I would've wanted to. Anyway, he does have something useful to say, seems Darkon is on his way, and Talia is missing.

Xena assigns Keebler and Armand to the same sentry post, and they do another forties moment. X&G work on their cool gunslinger moves, and discuss who to sue for paternity. This Darkon either has some awful big horses, or one heck of a sense of timing, 'cause there's an earthquake as he and his black-garbed minions ride into town. Talia, who is back in town all of a sudden, strides out into the middle of the street, and acts butch. Darkon, who's anti-social behaviour apparently started when his twin brother Theodorus ran off to join up with Callisto, and who really has no established motive here, sends his men off into the side streets, dismounts and sets up a classic gunfight. Um. all they need now is guns. I guess throwing knives will do in a pinch. With that preamble out of the way, they have at it with swords, as X and crew go about eliminating the guys with the crossbows. BTW, little tip for those of you who may find yourselves using a crossbow at sometime in the future. If someone comes up behind you with a pair of sais, do not throw your crossbow down. Not only do they have a nasty habit of going off from that sort of treatment, but very, very few people can parry a quarrel. In the midst of all this, Armand and Keebler get to do a little teamwork stuff. One of the baddies tries to set the stable on fire, but is stopped by Gabby's new horse, and knocked into a trough. (Counting on fingers) I think they've covered just about all of the traditional clich‚s. Eventually, Talia manages to beat Darkon, and she's gonna send him to jail instead of killing him. Keebler and Armand get a touching farewell, and flirt a bit, and X&G have a cute goodbye scene. Including a slightly raunchy 'walking funny' joke.

A pretty good ep, although I do wish Jox had been written better. This one gets a thumbs up from me.


This commentary is by Jill Hayhurst.

I had a horse out in the country, he used to come when I called-- yeah, he knew his name... which is more than we know about the new bit player in this ep. Our story opens in a winter wonderland (snow's back, what kinda revolving lazy Susan is the climate of New Xenaland sitting on, anyway?) with Amarice and Joxer shivering their way up a path and Gabrielle and Xena (on Argo) hanging behind. Our bard today is sporting a *very* fine white and tan suede duster, just thought you'd like to know that. In this show, you take your fashion reviews where you can find them, and frankly, boys and girls, Xena ain't it these days. She's scrapped the maternity leathers for a hall carpet. Looks like a funeral barge under full sail, she does, and that's just as tacky as I get, so moving on, Amarice and Joxer are sniping like a pair of eight-year-olds in the back of a station wagon on a five hour trip across Kansas when Dad's flung the map out the window somewhere back in Missouri and Mom's not said a word since Alabama and everyone knows, in their heart of hearts, that they may someday see Disneyland but they won't like it much by then. Joxer keeps turning around to not-look at Gabrielle, with an expression on his features reminescent of a basset hound that, having eaten an inner tube, is starting to regret it.

I gotta warn ya right off, this is one of the busier eps, so far as plot is concerned, it's another spaghetti western homage thing, like DHD, even reuses the "women don't need men? oh, yes they do" theme but without the apple eating thing, thank goodness, and Xena carries, right out in plain view on her saddlehorn, a sure 'nough lasso.

Xena: Cowgirl Princess? Hm. Anyway, bearing all that in mind, and realizing that when Chris Mannheim was hunting up inspiration for this ep, her local Blockbuster Video was having some kind of 'rent five, get a sixth free' special going on, and that if nothing else, Argo is in this ep, which has to be a point in its favour, still and all, I'm sure that somewhere in all of this is one of them there unifying theme things that most storytellers feel is essential. It is here, and I will find it.

So they're trundling down the dirt road, like I said, and Xena's on Argo... where the heck has Argo been all this time, anyone know? And how come she's never around when Eli is? Anyway, Xena's nodding off every other step, very strange behaviour for her, but she wakes up when she senses a disturbance in the Force nearby. She and Gabrielle take off at a run to find its source, gathering in Amarice as they go and leaving Joxer to cool his heels. They find a horse in a clearing, its left foreleg caught in a trap! Oh gosh, don't let the kidlings look-- its hoof is all bloodied and the poor thing is crazed with the pain, yet with minimal fuss, Xena lassos it and ties the free end of the rope off on Argo. Then, with Gabrielle making soothing noises in the beast's face, Xena bends down and opens the trap. I'm going into this in such detail cos I think the stuff with Horse is a heck of a lot more interesting than lots other stuff in this ep, and there's an excess of plot anyway, so why not pick and choose? Just because Xenastaff didn't is no reason why I can't.

Xena wants to turn Horse loose, but Gabrielle's already in severe horse-lust, so they wrap up its owwie and lead it off to the nearest town to recuperate. The nearest town is Spamona, a hot spring haven, just like every other town in New Xenaland, and there's a cow skull adorning the arch over the main road, testament, no doubt, to the temperature of the local springs, and some pre-Mycenian frontier-type props (including a bbq pit, I'm hungry, but why they'd need that when they can just flash-boil entire cows) hither and yon, otherwise it's pretty much the same as when it was known as An Indian Village. They check Horse into the local stable, where the stableman who took acting lessons from Tor informs them that there's a law against carrying weapons in town. On his heels is the local sheriff, ready to enforce it, she gets to carry all kinds weapons, hm, maybe the unifying theme is inequity in social class structure.

It's time for the titles and a bit of reflection on the dim and distant past, when the Xenaverse was chock full of Cyclopses and warlords and Max Factor outlets in every village. When the Way-Back Machine lets us out again, Xena and the sheriff go at it, Xena wins of course and it turns out they're old buddies from back before even the titles were filmed. It's happy reunion time, and they go off to the local tavern (it's got them swinging half-doors, one of the many little authentic pre-Mycenian frontier touches we'll see in this ep) to catch up. Gabrielle, Amarice and Joxer decline to go with them, Xena's proposed menu of raspberry jam and raw fish doesn't strike them as particularly nummy, (okay Gabrielle thinks about it for a second) and while they're at the tavern the deputy comes in and says traces of the indigenous Bad Guy Gang been seen in the hills, he resigns right there and then by leaving his silver sand dollar star on the table, talk about your wimps, it's okay being deputy when there's no one to push around but the locals, but let real trouble rear its nine-headed hydra self on the horizon, and he's checking the want ads in the next county.

Xena wants to help but Thalia is emphatic about Dartcon and the Dartcondidos being her own personal iss-ewe, and the one thing I really really wanna know, as Xena gives a two-fingered salute to indicate she'll no-fooling let Thalia do this her way, is when in Tartarus or Hell or Parrot Perch Purgatory did Xena have time to be a Scout? Hey, innkeeper's daughters are kept at the job from before dawn to well after dusk, so it can't have been in Amphipolous. And after, well, one could say she was always prepared, yeah, but true in thought, word and deed?

The scene changes abruptly to a unisex bathhouse, filled to the rafters with beautiful bods clad only in artfully draped white linen. One of them has added his own special style, in the form of a cowboy hat and spurs, which puzzles Amarice as it would any right-thinking human outside of Austin or maybe Calgary and she's so bemused by this that she backs into a young man by a hot tub. The young man goes ass over teakettle into the tub and whacks his head, so Amarice has to haul him out and resusitate him. He is smitten. She is smitten. In the middle of this touching flow of pheremones comes Joxer, who recognizes the young man as Armand, whose daddy Joxer killed late last season, it was an accident, Joxer couldn't peel gum on purpose and a man like that is let to run around New Xenaland with a sharp sword, go figure. They do their boy-bonding thing, no hard feelings, dad was scum, and to cement it Joxer starts digging at Amarice, who tries to leave rather than kill them both, she's more mature than that, but she slips on wet toweling and falls flat backward.

Do they jump to her aid? No.
Do they call for help? No.
Do they do anything remotely useful? (she did just revive Armand, you'd think he might have some similar impulse here, but boy-bonding is severe in its excesses) No.
They laugh uproarously, well before they could have any clue that she hadn't smacked her head open on the flagstones. No inkling of any possiblity of concern for her wellbeing crosses the minds of these two cretins-in-training. If I were male I would be screaming to TPTB for this dissing of my sex. It is, all in all, a true-blue directorial faux pas.

So that sets up the mega-contrived love-interest of the ep, in time-honoured comedic fashion, where it's obvious to all that these two hearts have been sundered by fleeting circumstance only and that underneath the side-splitting antics of the pair in question, cry out two voices that speak as one, two souls split in the training-pants phase of the Universe, two hips carved apart where before in another life they were joined so that no one, not even their best friends, could tell them they really need to develop outside interests, maybe yoga or tai chi or fly fishing.

Member when I said I wanted to find that unifying theme? Right, then-- let's tally off what we got so far:

-- band of bad guys threatening town, with whose leader the local sheriff once dallied.
-- Gabrielle in throes of serious horse-lust over hurted Horse.
-- Joxer is still in unrequited Gab-lust.
-- Amarice and Armand lust in unison, but not in harmony.
I'm seeing a pattern here, anyone else?

Okay, so after a session in the sauna, Xena goes to the doctor. She's been feeling peculiar. He says she's fine, considering she's pregnant. Uh-oh, something else to add to the list:

-- Xena: Immaculate Princess

Damn, spring's just bustin' out all over. But hang on a second-- Xena didn't lust after no one, she's real clear on that point, but she's the one what's knocked up? Lesson there for the kidlings: use protection, even in Heaven.

Meanwhile, Gab can't swing a bag of apples without finding Joxer at the other end, on the bright side, though, she's making good time with Horse. Armand manages to screw up saying it with flowers to Amarice; of course, he has help from Joxer.

Xena finally (after chatting with Thalia) accepts that she's tossing her cookies for two now. Armand has another go at Amarice, with no better luck than he's had before, since he's still too busy being a guy to really listen to what she says. They all end up in the stables, where Gabrielle has finally managed some real rapport with Horse, it's so sweet, I let slip a tear or two when Horse finally took the apple from her hand, and Amarice and Armand and Joxer are all sniping and picking and shouting, Horse is upset, Gab's upset cos Horse is upset, Xena finally shuts the lot up by shouting her news. Close-up on Gabrielle, frantically pondering when this could have happened.

Did I say this was a busy ep? You have no idea how much I'm condensing here. Gabrielle congratulates Xena, so does Amarice, Joxer makes a smart remark and Armand pops him for it, whereupon he behaves slightly better, but not enough better to avoid being slapped away from her belly by Xena. The whole reason he was looking for Xena now comes out: seems Dartcon and the Dartcondidos ('member them?) are approaching town and Thalia's nowhere to be found. So it's up to Our Gang to mount a defense, which they do, severally, but there's no time left in the ep for stuff like this. Xena and Gab go somewheres to survey the area and have a sensitive chat about where this kid came from, Xena don't know, but she's sure it ain't Ares and pretty sure it ain't Herc. Armand finds Amarice alone, and for once they manage to communicate with their hearts rather than their gonads, and actually reach an understanding, and then Dartcon rides in.

Before Xena can do anything about it, Thalia strides out from wherever she was, whyever she was there, and confronts Dartcon. You know, I think I've seen him somewhere before, maybe in a temple shouting about being the Deliverer, and if so, I can also see why he would have been cast as such, since the Deliverer's head had been dipped in about an inch of latex and they needed someone who could wriggle his facial features through all of that, and boy, this Dartcon dude is a face-wrigglin' fool. His band disperses throughout the town, where Xena and Gab and Armand and Amarice (Joxer's done for the ep, we don't see him again. The serious stuff has started, and the Gab-lust thing is going nowhere anyway.) can do mop-up while Thalia and Dartcon engage in prime showdown style. The real high point of this fight (Thalia wins, surprise) is when Gabrielle is pleading with a Dartcondido to not set fire to the stable, when he's trampled by Horse breaking out to come to Gabrielle's aid.

I do think horse-lust must be one of the purest states of a grrl's life. It's just so beautiful, watching those two nuzzle and bond, sharing apples and maybe the odd nudge to the flank...

Anyway, Armand and Amarice part on very friendly terms, and Gab and Xena ride off into the sunset together. I'm not sure where Armand is going, or Amarice, but I guess it would be a bit much, even for an ep named "Animal Attraction", for Amarice to ride off behind X & G mounted on Armand. Though it would have helped with the unifying theme thing.


This commentary is by Philip Teo.

Sometimes, as I watch Xena, I am beginning to feel that the story and the characters are becoming to be larger than life. Was such a westernized setting in town seen in those days? In the time of the ancient gods?

This was a rather light-hearted episode as we got to see several sub-plots. The biggest one of all is of course Xena's pregnancy. We will be seeing a lot of Xena in that new sweater of hers, that suits her new dark blue warrior costume. Gabrielle looked great in her own sweater too.

Other plots include Gabrielle's fondness for the new horse Xena rescued, Xena's run in with old friend, Talia and of her battle with Darkon and then, there's also Armand and Amarice's romance. With the proper plot and comedy, this episode was very watch-able.

Amarice, trained as an amazon, was finally beginning to eat her words about men, as she had an instant attraction to Armand. For the first time, there is someone she is really afraid of, but like what Armand said, afraid but yet willing to face it, is a rare thing, and takes courage.

How did Talia know that Xena was pregnant? Just by a few symptoms? I mean, they have just met and Talia could already tell? Gabrielle had seen Xena sick for the past few days and she couldn't tell?

It was nice to see Alison Bruce back, but as another character. As Talia, she maintained her headstrong attitude, however, Talia isn't exactly an excellent fighter. I think that Callisto, or Najara could defeat Talia. You could see Talia appeared really scared even when she was fighting her husband. When Alison played Queen Melosa back in Hooves and Harlots, she played an excellent fighter who managed to beat the craps out of Xena, although she was eventually defeated by our warrior princess.

I am proud to say that Xena had an understanding with Talia. Xena respected Talia's decision and stayed out of the entire fight, helping only when necessary and letting Talia achieved her goal, which she eventually did. But Xena was there to let Talia know that she would always be there as a friend if she needed help.

Now that Xena is pregnant, I can anticipate a huge story arc coming along, as we will come to ponder upon how Xena got pregnant, who could the father be, etc. Stay tuned, folks.


By Xorys.

So who was who in Animal Attraction?

Joxer was, of course, played by Ted Raimi. I won't go over Ted's *many* roles again, since I went through them at length not so long ago, when he appeared in If The Shoe Fits.

Likewise, Jennifer Sky appeared again as Amarice, and I won't recap her resume either, since I covered it just a couple of weeks ago when she appeared in Chakram, and there's nothing new to add.

Arman, son of the late warlord Kryton, was played by Mfundo Morrison, who originated this role in The Convert. Mfundo played Liardus in the pilot 'movie' for the Young Hercules series, and appeared as Theseus in the Young Herc episodes Adventures In The Forbidden Zone and The Beasts Beneath (thanks to Miltiades for the tipoff re the Theseus role).

And what about that Sheriff, Talia... did she look familiar? She sure should have. (Now they've got me talking like that...) Talia was, of course, played by none other than Alison Bruce, the original Amazon Queen herself. Well... original on XWP anyhow - Alison played Queen Melosa in the ep Hooves And Harlots. (The first Xenaverse Amazon Queen of all, I guess, was Hippolyta, played by Roma Downey in Hercules And The Amazon Women... whose lieutenant Lysia was played by one Lucy Lawless...)

Besides the role of Melosa, Alison also appeared as Postera in the HTLJ ep Gladiator.

Outside the Xenaverse, Alison has been quite active. She appeared in the movie Alex, an Australia / New Zealand co-production, along with Elizabeth Hawthorne, who we saw as Jocasta in last week's HTLJ ep Rebel With A Cause. She did a stint, in common with most of the NZ acting profession, on the NZ soap Shortland Street, playing Lindsay Maguire. She was also in the NZ film The End of the Golden Weather, which also featured Andrea Kelland (Factory Worker in Greece Is Burning), Paul Gittins (Kaleipus), Andrew Binns (Hippocrates in Is There A Doctor In The House), Alistair Browning (the Irish chieftain Bronagh, and more recently King Melos in If The Shoe Fits), and someone called Lucy Lawless (credited as "Joe's girl")...

Alison also crossed paths with Lucy Lawless on the movie The Sinking Of The Rainbow Warrior, which also showcased many other actors who later brought to life inhabitants of the Xenaverse: Stephen Hall (Hector in SOTP, Thelonius in TQIM, the Captain in Tsunami, Therax in The Play's The Thing, Purces in The Fire Down Below), Stig Eldred (Titus in King Con, Minion Leader in Hercules In The Underworld, Belus in The March to Freedom, Maceus in Cast A Giant Shadow), Mark Ferguson (Krykus in H&H and RN, Dagnine in OOW and PI, John Smythe in TXS, Prometheus in Hercules And The Circle of Fire, Hades in Hercules In The Underworld, Craesus in As Darkness Falls), Nigel Harbrow (Koulos in TBW, Basculis in LM, Patrol Centurion in AGD, Turkos in Gladiator), Donogh Rees (Frigga in Norse by Norsevest and Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge, the voice of Mnemosyne in Let There Be Light), Simon Prast (Nemos in COH, First Soldier in What's in A Name, Patronius in The Wedding of Alcmene), and (naturally - he's in almost everything..) Bruce Allpress.

Alison was also in the NZ film Mon Desir, along with Kevin Smith. And she had a role in Jane Campion's An Angel At My Table, in which you can also see Willa O'Neill (Lila), Andrew Binns (Hippocrates), Sarah Smuts Kennedy (Kara, Leandra), Mark Clare (just seen as Cleon's weaselly vizier in Rebel With A Cause), and Paul Norell (Falafel).

Alison was also in the NZ movies Old Scores and User Friendly.

The sheriff's errant and villainous hubby, Darcon, was played by David Te Rare. We last saw David as Marot, the boss slave-trader in Crusader, and he was previously well known in the Xenaverse for his appearances as Theodorus (Callisto's, not Xena's) in Callisto, Return Of Callisto & Intimate Stranger.

David can also be seem in Once Were Warriors, a NZ film worth checking out, if you haven't already seen it. Stephen Hall (Hector in SOTP, Thelonius in TQIM, the Captain in Tsunami, Therax in The Play's The Thing, Purces in The Fire Down Below), Taungaroa Emile (Ximenos in Ares, Linxus in Sky High), George Henare (Hidsim in LM, Zarathustra in Let There Be Light and Redemption) and Ian Mune (Menas Maxius in Gladiator, King Sidon in The Apple) also appear in this feature.

Talia's lily-livered deputy was played by Michael Howell, who we previously saw as a guard in A Solstice Carol. Mike (as he was previously credited) also appeared on HTLJ a couple of times, playing Pelops in The Green-Eyed Monster and Jargos in Hercules On Trial.

Now then... the stable hand - how many bells did he ring? He was played by John Smith, a real stalwart of a Xenaverse supporting actor. He first appeared on XWP as Thersites' ill-fated employer Marleus in the ep A Fistful Of Dinars. He subsequently reappeared as the Boat Captain in Ten Little Warlords, and as the ill-fated Shepherd in A Family Affair (so he's got killed in two out of his four roles on XWP...) He's only had one credit on HTLJ, as Socrates himself, in the ep The Apple (although I must admit that although I recall the ep quite well, I don't remember that titan amongst philosophers being in it, so perhaps they didn't exactly build up the role (or perhaps I'm just getting more forgetful...)).

I'm not really sure about John's work outside the Xenaverse - unfortunately with a name like John Smith, searching for credits becomes unfeasible. (There are *lots* of 'John Smith's in the business - but how to tell if any of them is our man??)

And did you think you'd seen that healer who revealed Xena's condition to her before? Guess where? You'd probably guess right, too - the healer was played by Ric Chan, who previously appeared as Jiu in part two of The Debt.

Norman Potts appeared as one of Darcon's Gang. We previously saw Norman as a guard in Past Imperfect.

And this week we had a perfect run - every single credited cast member had previously appeared in the Xenaverse. Our last entry is the Barkeep, who was played by John Lawler. Now admittedly we haven't seen John on XWP before... but he did make an appearance on HTLJ, playing Hawtis, an unfortunate victim of the playful tendencies of Gina Torres' Empress in the ep Stranger And Stranger.

The ep was written by Chris Manheim, whose previous writing credits on XWP are for The Prodigal, Altared States, Remember Nothing (with Steven Sears), A Solstice Carol, Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis, The Quest (with Steven Sears and R. J. Stewart), A Comedy Of Eros, Maternal Instincts, The Bitter Suite (with Steven Sears), King Con, Tsunami, A Family Affair (with Liz Friedman), Paradise Found, Devi, The Convert, and Chakram.

The ep was directed by Rick Jacobson, who also did last week's ep, Succession, and previously directed The Dirty Half Dozen, Sacrifice 2, A Good Day, Locked Up And Tied Down, and Between The Lines, and the HTLJ eps My Fair Cupcake and Love On The Rocks.


06-17-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram (#11), the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, actor Renee O'Connor talked about about the show,

"Does your horse have a name yet?" I asked.
"The poor guy never got a name," Renee responded.
"That's past tense. Do you still have him?" I wondered.
"Actually, Sharon, no," she said.
"Don't they have horses when you jump 25 years into the future?" I said, puzzeled.
"If you think about it," Renee said patiently, "twenty-five years later, they've all died."
"Oh, my God, that's right. No Argo either!" I realized belatedly.
"That's right."
"Are you going to walk through the sixth season?" I asked.
"You know, it's funny. I don't think anyone thought of that. I thought of it," Renee laughed [bitterly]. "Actually, I'm on, as they call them in the script, a 'Gabrielle non-descript horse.'"

06-11-00. In the June 2000 issue of Chakram, the newsletter of the Official Xena Fan Club, writer Chris Manheim stated about the show, "It flowed very smoothly. No pulling teeth with this one. I really enjoy writing an episode where there are multiple story lines. Every character has their own thread and somehow they have to weave together to make a tapestry that's complete at the end. The only lost thread was the Joxer story. I'll always be sorry we had to cut for time scenes that fleshed out his relationship with Gabrielle."

08-25-99. The 07-28-99 E! interview was during the filming of ANIMAL ATTRACTION.

06-24-99. This episode might be a renamed and reworked WILD HORSES, the "Argo" episode which was pitched during the fourth season.


These things are by Beth Gaynor.

It's old home week around the Xena set! Melosa is back as Talia, with hair extensions that don't come close to matching her hair color. And Theodorus returns as her smarmy hubby/nemesis. When Armon showed up, I wasn't sure if he was supposed to be Armon or if he was being recycled, too.

Where is Gabrielle when Xena breaks the news to Argo? (I thought she was practicing on Argo at first, but it turns out she really is telling her - ha!) Gab lives in the stable except for that one scene.

Come to think of it, though, a lot of characters pull disappearing acts in this episode. Talia mysteriously dashes off and nobody can find her... but she shows up in the middle of the street for the big showdown with no problems and no explanation. Joxer's gone for the big fight. And Xena and Gabrielle leave without their two tagalongs. Is everybody dashing off to the baths at all hours?

Watch the bad guy who gets kicked into the trough by Gab's horse: he falls, thrashes and sputters, and THEN remembers that the reason he was knocked into the water was because he was carrying a torch, and kindly puts it into the water for everyone.

The closing credits have changed! I like getting some new footage in there, but WHY do we need two different shots of Xena from Miss Amphipolis? Blech.


11-07-99. From Jack. Tonto, the Lone Ranger's partner, always rode a paint or pinto horse, and wore brown buckskins. In "Animal Attraction" all of a sudden, we get the Gabs wearing a pinto coat, and mounting herself on a brown horse... Nah, that bunch of directors/writers/producers/Stars/leg-jerkers over there in Auckland wouldn't do somthing like that, ... would they??

11-07-99. From Mirrordrum.

  • The bullet ricochet sound of the second knife after talia's hits the wooden post.
  • Nods to classic westerns
  • The sundials (high noon), darcon & the boys ridin' hard wearing their long coats (i thought it was the clantons from "my darling clementine," someone else said "gunfight at the ok corral"--could've been either).
  • There was also the obligatory western stunt of the gunman, in this case crossbowman, falling off the roof and through a porch roof when xena does her quick chacky draw on him.
  • The sundial
  • First of all, it's a tip of the hat to "high noon" with all the clocks. also, they showed it changing time. it first appears right before the showdown and it's spot on at 12 out of 14 notches. i have no idea what time that is, but since the gnomon (shadow-casting device) has to point to true celestial north and the shadow falls to the right, the sun is obviously westering. since we know the showdown is at sunset and it's obviously not much later than march, presumably late afternoon. in the second shot of the sundial, right after the guy falls off the roof, the shadow cast has moved a jot--15 mins, maybe? so they didn't just use the same shot twice. love it.
  • Lighting
  • The sun is casting clear shadows thither and yon during the ground level shots of the gunfight but is absent during the overheads when the gang rides into town.
  • Darcon and the boys ride in from the west since they are backlit and we know it's near sundown. they ride into town and encounter talia (overhead shot--no sun--2nd unit?). close up of talia is backlit so somehow she's now facing east and they're facing west. naturally, being a cool dude she'd want to get the sun in darcon's eyes. trouble is, he rode in from the west, dismounted, and now has the sun in his face while she has sun at her back.
  • Miscellaneous
  • Do my eyes deceive me or does the sheriff of spamona carry a pearl-handled sword? nifty.
  • Take note of the raised two finger salute when xena says to talia, "promise." is this perhaps the true origin of the variously fingered salutes as we know them today? indeed, from this very gesture may have evolved things as diverse as the V for victory, the peace sign (probably invented by gabrielle), and the girl scout salute. 'struth, i expected her to say "scout's honor." of course, it's also the ASL sign for "U" which would have been the greek letter "upsilon" which would be the equivalent of the roman "V" which could thus stand for "vow" (derived from the latin "votum"). xena *had* been hanging around w/ the romans a lot.
  • I also notice that even after meeting mike and the hosts, gabrielle *still* says "by the gods." it's nice that some things haven't changed.
  • The hanging sign above spamona's main street shows the bathhouse (spa). i'm not sure but it looks as though it may be advertising that it's co-ed. the tubs are clearly couples only.
  • Darcon's ambidextrous: draws and fires his cuttin' iron w/ his left hand, draws and wields his sword w/ his right.
  • 11-07-99. From Jack. Another minor point about Animal Attraction; , I really liked the way Renee easily hopped up on her horse in the last scene, and then remembered that she was supposed to be a horse dork! Her mounting was perfect, as it should be in a gal brought up on horseback in Texas fer Crise-sake!! But she then remembered to do a horn-grabbing ride out of the picture - almost! Watch the last little bit, with the two gals uncomfortably bouncing off stage on their horses, and you will see both of them start to do a posting trot - sensible, but not something usually done in Archaic Greece, methinks.

    I will bow to the whims of XWP's versions of history, and ignore the point that Greeks didn't have stirrups. Particularly since I am also sure that both gals have been well schooled in classic horsemanship, and therefore are able to post without using them anyway.

    By way of explanation, I have ridden a number of horses over time, and fallen off of more than a few in the process, and I also worked as a judge on the International Equestrian Trials in Kentucky for 6 years. Therefore it is second nature for me to flip over the XWP horsy scenes, such as when LL rode Argo at the charge in "A Good Day". Kowabunga! did she look good!!


    Click here to read a transcript of ANIMAL ATTRACTION .


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

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