Forgiven 3.14 Forgiven
1st Airdate:
February 16th, 1998
Writer: R.J. Stewart
Editor: by Jim Prior
Director:
Garth Maxwell
Guest Appearances:
Tara ~ Shiri Appleby

Summary

Review By Beverly

While trying to find the stolen Urn of Apollo, Gabrielle is attacked by a young girl who wants to be Xena's new sidekick. She kicks Gabby's butt, but not before Xena arrives and tells her she doesn't want a new partner. Tara convinces Xena that she needs help and that she deserves a chance. Gabrielle disagrees at first, but then reluctantly agrees. As they travel to the theives hideout, Tara & Gabrielle battle the entire way. When Xena attempts the scout the theives camp, Tara follows. There, she tricks a guard into Xena's trap and watches as the does 'the pinch'. Later, Tara chases after the theives without Xena knowing and Gabrielle tries to stop her. Both are caught and almost killed, if not for Xena catching up. When Xena leaves again, Tara pushes Gabrielle too far and gets the snot beat out of her. Xena returns to clean up the wounds and here of Tara's dead mother and abusive father. After gaining their trust, Tara sneaks off to find her boyfriend in the bushes, one of the leaders of the thieves, and she kisses him. They arrive the next day where the Urn will be traded for gold. When they get in the castle, Tara steals the Urn to give to her boyfriend. When she tries to convince her boyfriend that they should return it, he tries to kill her, and Xena steps in, knocking him out. In the end, the Urn is returned and both Tara and Gabrielle are forgiven of the past misdeeds and wished a life of goodness, but Xena doesn't partake in the ceremony; she just stares into Apollo's sun. I know there are some Xenites that can never see anything bad in any X:WP episode. I wish I were you. Don't read on if you fall under that  category.

Why Forgiven is so bad:

Number 1: The fight in the bar between Gabrielle and Tara was not only unbelievable...in that Gabrielle could have and should have beaten the snot out Tara...but it was also way, way over the top. The writer, R. J. Stewart (the same man who wrote Sins of the Past and Mortal Beloved???), and/or the director, Garth Maxwell, made a very bad call here, insisting that Tara be as violent as she was. No doubt fans hated Tara for pummeling our hero Gabrielle. And, therefore, it is hard to believe Tara from that point on, and nothing, not even the end when she knelt in from the the urn, redeemed her.

Number 2:

When Xena stopped the initial fight between Tara and Gabrielle, she was much too calm considering the beating Gabrielle took. Totally  contrived. What was probably written: "Xena comes in and stops Tara." What  should have been written, "Xena comes in and gut-kicks Tara across the room. Xena and Gabrielle leave without her, never to see her again."

Number 3:

It was almost impossible to believe one word Tara said after her opening scene. She later crys, "Oh, I'm sooo baaad." And "my father said I was born bad." Yeah, right. And if you can't believe Tara, than Xena is misguided and a stooge. And once Gabrielle starts to swallow this swill, the whole show is lost. (It may or may not be swill. We don't know. Because of that opening Tara/Gabrielle scene, the viewers are left lost about this girl.)

Number 4:

She didn't follow Xena's directions and was rewarded. Huh???

Number 5:

Xena doesn't balk when Tara sets her bed roll down next to hers while Gabrielle sleeps across the way. Stewart could have a least given Xena a double take, and then an understanding "let's tolerate the little tyke" look between Xena and Gabrielle.

Misc:

Beth Gaynor at Whoosh.com says: "The actress who played Tara was on target. Tara was an obnoxious, annoying kid, and if the actress who played her wasn't on top of her game, this would have been a painful episode to watch." Well, she must not have been on top of her game, because it was a painful episode to watch.

What was good about it:

Sitting through 40 minutes of a poorly written and directed show is not worth finding these few gems:

When Tara asks Xena how she knows what is good and what is not

1. Xena explains Gabrielle's importance in her life. "I usuaally go with my gut, and when I doubt I would ask (Gabrielle)...her first instinct is usually an unselfish one.”

2. The last scene when Xena won't except that the urn could expunge her of her past deeds. Very nice touch.

3. One of the best lines of the series: After Xena explains to Gabrielle that Tara reminds Xena of her when she was younger, Gabrielle says, "Oh no. I knew you were evil, but obnoxious too." Priceless.

4. Gabrielle invents charades, to which Xena says "it will never catch on."

5. Gabrielle beating the tar out of Tara, finally!!

6. Xena philosophies abound here:

“If you want to do good, just do it.”

“You are what you do. You can recreate yourself every second of your life.”

You don't kick a man when he's uncounsious. (This is a no-brainer; it's just interesting to hear Xena's fighting codes.)

Conclusion:

The only reason I can think R.J. Stewart wrote this episode was to   hint at a possible spin-off series--either the Young Xena played by Shiri Appleby, or a whole new show with this little brat out on her own. As you can tell, I'll never watch it. Nothing against Shiri; Tara was just too rotten to take.

All reviews are the opinion of the writers who are members of the Xenaversity of Minnesota, and not necessarily endorsed by the Xenaversity of Minnesota Fan Club.