Xena and Tara
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|Antagonist||Tara, Red Valley Gang|
|Original Air-Date||February 16th, 1998|
|Teleplay By||R.J. Stewart|
|Directed By||Garth Maxwell|
|Order in Series||060|
|Order in Season||14|
|Previous Episode||One Against an Army|
|Next Episode||King Con|
The priest Dorus is anointing a row of supplicants with the blessing "Your past is forgiven. Now go do good" in the Temple of Apollo when he is attacked by a group of men posing as worshippers. A tough-looking thug named Wayan rips the jewel-encrusted Urn of Apollo from Dorus' hands and with the help of his young sidekick Micah and two other accomplices, makes off with the sacred vase. Dorus catches up with Xena and Gabrielle in a local tavern and asks for help in recovering the Urn, explaining that the precious vessel gives those on the brink of being driven mad by remorse and guilt the strength to face their inner demons and hange their lives.
When Xena leaves to get her horse, Gabrielle is suddenly confronted by Tara, an insolent 16-year old who flings wine and gruel at her in an attempt to start a fight. Gabrielle refuses to retaliate until Tara leaps onto her back with flailing fists. Gabrielle keeps trying not to fight while Tara seems intent on beating her bloody, scratching her face and biting her ear. When Xena returns, she pulls Tara off of Gabrielle. Tara brashly announces that she intends to replace Gabrielle. Xena tells her to get lost, but Tara protests that she can be invaluable to her -- that she knows the gang that stole the Urn and the location of their hideout. Xena remains unimpressed. It is only after Tara insists that she wants to do good and reminds Xena that someone must have given her a chance to turn her life around when she was bad, that Xena relents and allows her to come along. Gabrielle is clearly not thrilled.
As the three women approach the gang hideout that night, Xena insists on proceeding alone to try to isolate one of the thieves. But Tara disregards Xena's orders and secretly follows. When Xena discovers her, she angrily sends her back. But Xena soon sees Tara nonchalantly walking up to the gang's campsite towards Lark, one of the bandits. Beaming him an inviting smile, she lures him away from the campsite and his cohorts, allowing Xena to put the "pinch" on him. Lark confesses that Wayan and several others took the Urn up north to exchange it for gold from the Cilician traders. Back at the women's campsite that night, after Gabrielle's tolerance for the impulsive and insecure young Tara is nearly pushed to the limit, Tara confides in Xena that she's always been told she's bad and questions whether she can learn to be good. Xena tells Tara she believes in her.
The next day, the women spy Wayan and his men on a large hilltop as the Cilician traders approach from a distance. The first step in Xena's plan is to knock the Cilicians around a little to turn them back or slow them down. She tells Tara and Gabrielle to sit still until they see her riding back towards the large hill. But soon after Xena leaves, Tara insists that the gang is on the move and races ahead. A furious Gabrielle pursues her into a clump of bushes overlooking the bandits' campsite and the two watch as Wayan places the Urn in a bag and puts it in the back of a wagon. Before Gabrielle can stop her, Tara goes after the Urn and the two are ultimately captured by ten spear-toting bandits. Later, when Xena arrives at the abandoned campsite, she finds Gabrielle and Tara buried up to their necks in sand, with an ax about to fall on their heads. Xena saves them with only seconds to spare and heads out once more to track down the gang.
Meanwhile, Tara goads Gabrielle into another fight and refuses to let up, even though this time she's clearly outmatched as Gabriele has her staff and is no longer holding back. When Xena returns, she steps in between the two and catches Tara as she stumbles, holding her close. The girl begins weeping and Xena comforts her like a mother. Gabrielle is very moved as Tara talks about losing her mother as a very young child, about her abusive alcoholic father and her need to run with a gang to feel accepted. Gabrielle tells Xena she realizes Xena left them alone on purpose knowing they would fight and Gabrielle would win this time. Xena says Tara needed some tough love.
At the campfire that night, Gabrielle invents the game of Charades, acting out the play of Iphigeia. Xena thinks the game will never catch on, but Tara enjoys it and performs her own skit.
Later Tara questions Xena about how you can know the difference between good and evil, pointing out that the gang thinks they're doing good. Xena says it's complicated, but she goes with her gut. And if she still can't decide, she asks Gabrielle. Tara asks if Gabrielle is always right and Xena says no, but she knows Gabrielle's first instinct will always be an unselfish act, and that's a good place to start. Tara seems to understand.
But late that night, Tara sneaks off into the woods for a meeting with Micah, unaware that Xena is awake. After a passionate kiss, Micah reiterates the plan -- once Xena retrieves the Urn, Tara will be able to steal it out from under her nose.
The next day, the three women go to the castle where the trade is to be made. Locating the storage room where they believe the Urn is hidden, they quickly dispose of the guards and begin their search. Tara discovers the Urn in a dark cubbyhole, but moves past it as Xena watches her. When Xena moves on, Tara grabs the Urn and runs out of the room. With a sad look, Xena goes after her and overhears Micah congratulating Tara on playing Xena for a sucker. But when Micah reaches for the Urn, Tara suddenly changes her mind and refuses to hand it over. Micah quickly drops any pretenses of love, draws his sword and tries to kill her. As Tara runs for her life, Xena steps in and knocks him unconscious. Soon, all three women, the bandits and the Cilician traders are fighting each other for the Urn which is ultimately returned to Dorus, thanks to the amazing teamwork of Xena, Gabrielle and their courageous young friend Tara.
After the Urn is returned, the priest again performs the ceremony of absolution. There is a line of petitioners, including first Tara and then Gabrielle. Tara looks back at Xena standing in the doorway of the Temple, expecting Xena to join them. Instead Xena, looking sad, turns and walks into the sunset without the blessing. Tara asks Gabrielle, "Doesn't she want to be forgiven?" And the episode ends.
No street-talking, cat-fighting, barroom-brawling juvenile delinquents were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
Background Information Edit
- This episode marks the first appearance of Tara.
Links and References Edit
Gabrielle invented charades.
|<< Season 2||Season 3||Season 4 >>|
|#01||The Furies||#09||Warrior... Priestess... Tramp||#17||Forget Me Not|
|#02||Been There, Done That||#10||The Quill is Mightier...||#18||Fins, Femmes and Gems|
|#03||The Dirty Half Dozen||#11||Maternal Instincts||#19||Tsunami|
|#04||The Deliverer||#12||The Bitter Suite||#20||Vanishing Act|
|#05||Gabrielle's Hope||#13||One Against an Army||#21||Sacrifice I|
|#06||The Debt I||#14||Forgiven||#22||Sacrifice II|
|#07||The Debt II||#15||King Con|
|#08||The King of Assassins||#16||When in Rome...|