Review: Episode 8.4 - Wampum
by: 41 Cyg
Rating: 8 out of 10
Another great episode! The writers are giving this nitpicker very
few nits to pick, but I do enjoy the stories, so I guess it evens
I give this one a solid 8 (out of 10).
There are a few points I would like to discuss, though.
Title: Why is this episode called Wampum? There is no reference
`beads made of shell' or the modern meaning, money.
Teaser: Why didn't Xena recognize the animal footprints (I'm
assuming they're the bear's.)? There are bears in Europe and Xena
and Gabrielle would probably at least have seen the tracks. The
North American Grizzly bear is now considered a subspecies of the
Eurasian Brown bear, which would be the one known to Xena and
Gabrielle, and the Black bear's track, though smaller, is not much
Different (After this review was posted on the XWPVS forum, Chris S. suggested
that since Xena was in a strange land, she could not be sure the tracks were a
bear's and kept silent, rather than be proved wrong later.
I answered that
Xena could have said the track looked like a bear's (I've used that dodge myself.).
Act 1: After having camped under the stars with Xena for several
years Gabrielle should know the sky better. The Big Dipper - Ursa
Major was mentioned in the series and is easily recognized -
Gabrielle should be able to find it almost automatically, if enough
of the sky is visible (I can, in spite of living in a light polluted
area for several years.). And what is the star they've been
following? If the North Star is meant, the description is wrong.
Polaris is easy enough to see, but is no brighter than the stars of
the dipper. Any time the dipper is visible, there are other stars
that stand out more.
Act II: Talon says he will prove Falcon wrong `tonight', but nothing
happens until the night after.
Act III: The picture of Xena and Gabrielle laughing is great! If
that contest that Nando's picture (Gabrielle on Fire from 7.21, Mayan Madness)
was entered in last season (without his knowledge) is still going on, the artist,
Kathy Austin, should enter this one.
Act IV: The `Exploding Gabrielle' picture is very good, too, though
`slightly goofy' may be an understatement. How did Gabrielle make
the exploding pouches? Fine sawdust might burn easily, but it would
not explode. Did Gabrielle make the Chinese black powder? Carbon
(charcoal), of course, is common; sulfur is less so, but still can
be found with a little persistence, but the third ingredient,
saltpeter, is hard to locate.
I doubt Xena could throw an arrow with force of a bowshot.
It's pretty amazing that Xena figures out that someone or something has helped recover the chakram,
but totally believable.
The `woods spirits' have been made very mysterious (I'd like to know more about them.),
but we learn enough for their part in the story.
Disclaimer: Great!! Hits just the right note of humor and
Responding to a comment by CherylA: I didn't see this episode as lighthearted.
To me it was serious with liberal touches of humor.;