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REVIEWS  802 - Children of the Forest

If you would like to send in a review of this Virtual Episode, please submit it to:  theofficialxwpvs@hotmail.com

Review of 8.2, Children of the Forest
By: Gail Futoran

In the New World, Xena and Gabrielle help rescue a native child from a river, and get a glancing look at a large, shaggy creature that turns out to be Sasquatch (Bigfoot). 

Some of the natives have heard of the two warrior women.  The Shaman, Striking Eagle, doesn’t like them and attacks.  Chief Eagle Feather’s son, Hunting Elk, is on the side of the two women.  Striking Eagle continues to push Xena and Gabrielle, treating them as worthless women rather than as warriors. 

We learn about the Sasquatch and local legends about it and as Act I ends, the warriors are preparing to go after the creature. 

The hunting party captures a young Sasquatch and Striking Eagle goes after the adult; Xena and Gabrielle follow. 

They discover cave paintings that show the creatures and the natives living in harmony, and evidence that Striking Eagle killed his own son and blamed it on the quiet giant.

Back in the village, Gabrielle visits the young, captive Sasquatch and protects it when several warriors try to harm it. 

Xena and Gabrielle take the young Sasquatch back to the forest, but Striking Eagle is still a threat. 

Xena and Gabrielle fight Striking Eagle and his followers, then return the young Sasquatch to its parents. 

Chief Eagle Feather makes peace with the Sasquatch family.  Hunting Elk replaces Striking Eagle as shaman.

Comments:  I like that Xena and Gabrielle are portrayed as equal partners, if not equal in all skills (and why shouldn’t they be?)  Xena no longer dominates every scene, but it’s clear she is still the senior partner in the relationship.  On the other hand, there are still too many occasions where Xena tries to protect Gabrielle.  She may have given up weapons, but she is skilled in defending herself and others, as she does quite effectively several times in this episode. 

I enjoyed the plot.  It isn’t terribly complex, but it supports a fair amount of action, and draws Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship in a thoughtful way.  The supporting characters are sufficiently complex to be interesting.

I enjoy the references to their earlier experiences, such as Xena’s comment in Act III that the Sasquatch is shorter than Goliath.  These references come naturally, as they would between two people who have shared so many experiences.

Nitpicks:  In Act II Xena compares the Sasquatch to the Horde: “They wanted to be left alone and killed thousands of innocent settlers.”  First, she would refer to them as the Pomira, rather than the Horde. Second, she understood why the Pomira killed settlers.  The analogy could have worked if Xena’s comments were written to show her later understanding of the Pomira.

Rating:  8.0/10



802: Children of the Forest Review
By 41Cyg


Is the VS writing getting better or am I just getting softer in my ratings? This is the second episode in a row that I think is worth an 8 (1-10 scale) and maybe a bit more, 8.4-8.5. Of course, I do have some comments (If I didn't I'd know my mind was turning to mush.).

Teaser: In an actual filmed episode, the initial stage directions (During their travels....) would not, of course, be seen by the viewers. Using a narrator to bring us up to date would work, though (with maybe a map onscreen to mark their path).

Interesting idea - using paint for ink. It might be hard to make fine lines, but at least Gabrielle could keep a record of their travels.

When Xena and Gabrielle reach the river, the script says they are a half mile away from where Little Feather fell in. That seems a bit far to see the details in the scene description.

I originally thought the sign language dialogue was too complex, but when I tried to picture how it `should' be, I realized that the person being spoken to would almost automatically expand the few signs (if they understood them) into the complete sentences shown.

Xena's CPR technique seems backward. The currently taught method uses five chest compressions, then a breath, which is then repeated, not five breaths, then a chest compression. It also works better with a team (Xena could press the chest and Gabrielle give mouth-to-mouth.)                  

By the way, Toa (aka Richard B. Kloesterboer, the author of this episode), it's too bad you didn't mention which direction the river was flowing. With a little clue like that I might be able to figure out roughly where, within Bigfoot's generally proposed territory (northern California to southern British Columbia, in the Cascade Mountains and west, maybe somewhat farther east in British Columbia) the story is set (Bigfoot is the name used for the creature in the U.S., while Sasquatch is more common in British Columbia (I believe it comes from a Native American language in the B.C. area.), but both are recognized in both places.)

Act 1: Hunting Elk's creation story is an interesting parallel to Genesis 1.

Act II: I think all the warriors would be wearing moccasins (hunt scenes), rather than going barefoot, and `well made' would be a more accurate description of them than `roughly tanned'. After all, they've been using them for centuries, at least.

Act III: I don't think Gabrielle would refer to giants as `commonplace' in her land. She might say `We have giants in our land, too, though not as hairy.'

Gabrielle's line `You won't like me when I'm angry.' Isn't that what David (or Bruce) Banner says just before he becomes The Incredible Hulk?

Act IV: I've never heard of any creature that has a flower scent - no matter what its emotional state.

Disclaimer: There is no need for the apologetic tone toward Native Americans here. They are depicted as real people, some good, some bad, but altogether, completely human, which is the best any of us can hope for. Here's an alternative:

No Sasquatches were harmed in the making of this motion picture.                  

The XWPVS team would like to thank Harry of Harry and the Hendersons for his cameo appearance in this episode.



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