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This episode is fondly remembered by fans, chiefly for the scene near the end when Xena invents CPR while bringing Gabrielle back to life. Lucy Lawless does brilliantly, showing Xena`s grief and desperation to save her friend. We have never seen Xena acting like this, but then this whole episode is quite a departure from the standard Xena ep. For a start there is very little fighting, although there is a lot of blood. Once again Xena shows her versatility by being a better healer than anyone else. She brings her strength of character to a job that is a hard one, and is not afraid to make life or death decisions. The resuscitation scene is an emotional one, but this is a dramatic episode all round.
For once the guest stars are excellent. I am a big fan of the Amazons, and particularly Danielle Cormack who plays Ephiny, and Ray Wolf is a gruff but effective Marmax, who Xena gradually makes realize that the war is a destuctive and futile one.
I did think Gabrielle`s injury, while providing the dramatic highlight, was unlikely, in that, why would a man, who looked OK ask a young girl to go out into a war zone to resue his son. Why her? She isn`t your typical saviour of young children, unless that man thought she would ask Xena. I did like the idea that the great Hippocrates, father of medicine, was a student of Xena`s. But it was amazing that no one had any clue how to treat injured people apart from praying to the gods.
I would love to know what this episode looked like before having the enforced edits imposed. Lucy Lawless has been quoted as saying it was one of the most exhausting episodes. I think there was quite a bit more of Ephiny`s labour and I bet there was lot of extra blood and gore. Still, an atypical but highly dramatic episode that worked well, and showed once again the special bond between Xena and Gabrielle.
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