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Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 4

Animal Attraction

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Oct 18, 1999 on
out of 10
User Rating
70 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Romantic complications abound when Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, and Amarice arrive in Spamona looking for a little R & R. Joxer wants Gabrielle's affection, but she only has eyes for her new horse. Amarice makes a love connection with Xena's old friend Arman, but the course of true love never runs smooth. Xena is feeling under the weather, but the reason is one she never expected. Can the five of them get their act together long enough to help save the town from a gang of outlaws, or will Sheriff Talia have to defeat these bandits, led by her husband Darcon, all on her own?


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  • A clever twist on the spaghetti-western theme, this episode is a breath of fresh air.

    "Animal Attraction" is a very enjoyable, really sweet episode that just hits the spot. With a quirky spaghetti-western theme, some neat scripting and the added bonus of Armon, the episode is both enjoyable and a great way to discover Xena's unexplained pregnancy.

    The episode starts in a cute way, with love-sick Joxer beginning to drive Gabrielle crazy with his constant attention. It sets the scene for their arrival at Spamona (with new horse-friend in tow) where Amarice meets Armon and promptly falls for him. There are three main plot lines co-existing in this episode: Xena's discovery that she is pregnant; Gabrielle's bonding with her new horse; and Amarice and Armon's story. All are enjoyable.

    Clearly the most important part of this episode is finding out that Xena has somehow immaculately conceived a child. I could have lived with this being the main focus of the story, because I think the father jokes/gags are pretty endless. I was really hoping for some 'so who's the father?' 'Umm... Gabrielle' moments, with a little more suggestion and innuendo, combined with some more attitude from Gabrielle towards Gabrielle, knowing that she is not the father. I think they played it down somewhat, probably for obvious reasons given that Xena and Gabrielle are certainly not in an open lesbian relationship at this stage, but I think this was a missed opportunity (Note: it is played up on a little more down the track with Ares). It surprised me a little bit though, because while they may not be 'out' in the traditional sense of the word, Xena and Gabrielle certainly have an exclusive partnership, and if I was Gabrielle I would be pretty horrified to find out that Xena has hooked up at some stage unbeknownst to me. I liked the little comment "When did we last see Hercules...?" which I thought was pretty clever. Of course, we are still left with the big question: Who is the father??? A little bit of intrigue to leave us guessing.

    Gabrielle finding and adopting her first horse is really quite a big thing in this series, and I thought it was really appropriately handled. I like that they resisted the urge to let things get too cheesy, which is always at risk of occurring.

    Amarice and Armon are nice together, and I thought Armon was an excellent choice to bring back to play the role. Again, their interactions were funny and touching without being clichéd or cheesy, and without being overdone.

    A mention probably should go to Xena's new outfit as well (even though it appeared last episode). I actually love the outfit, great colour, great design, love the tights + boots. My only gripe is that we barely ever get to see the outfit because of the fur coat she wears all season. I guess it can be forgiven, however, given New Zealand's negative temperatures through much of the filming!

    Overall I really like this episode, and think it is one of the best additions to this season. 8.5 out of 10.moreless
  • After saving a horse from a trap, Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice stop in a Wild West-style town where Xena helps an old friend protect the town from a warlord, but has some very unexpected news of her own. An episode that really grows on you...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    The first thing that stuck me with this episode was that it feels like it should play after 'Chakram', as Joxer and Amarice are still travelling with Xena and Gabrielle, and they are apparently not back in Greece yet.

    Anyway, we get to see the countryside covered in some visually impressive snow. Even more impressive due to it in fact being fake snow, as it rarely snows in the area of New Zealand where the episode was filmed.

    It has been commented by fans in past seasons that Xena and Gabrielle seem to wear their skimpy outfits in all weathers, and her that is addressed, as Xena has a fur over her new armor, and Gabrielle's rather cool looking winter coat makes it's first appearance.

    I like the scene with Xena and Gabrielle saving the wild horse from the trap; it just plays out nicely. Gabrielle decides to keep the horse and train it, although it isn't named in this episode.

    At first, I wasn't sure about the Wild West town setting, as it didn't feel quite right, but I have to confess, it did start to grow on me. And let's face it, this is a series that has taken a LOT of liberties with time-lines and anachronisms and whatnot, so why not with a place!

    Amarice, meanwhile, has an on-off relationship with Arman, returning from last season's 'The Convert'. After being a bit unsure about her at first, Amarice is by now starting to grow on me a bit. I can see why they added her; sort of to take the 'young and silly' role that Gabrielle once had, I suppose.

    Of course, the big shock (or not) of the episode is of Xena being pregnant! It's not really that much of a shock, as Lucy Lawless has visibly been pregnant since the start of the season, and it was a well publicised fact that the Warrior Princess would mysteriously fall pregnant this season.

    This episode has a LOT of plotlines running at once (Xena pregnant, Joxer's unrequited love for Gabrielle, Amarice and Arman's 'relationship'). The fact that a warlord is on his way to the town is almost forgotten, as the plot moves along at an almost 'A Day in The Life' sort of pace.

    A lot of the various plotlines are most probably again to work around pregnant Lawless, who was working reduced filming hours. But it works fine, as all of the ensemble characters give good performances and have some great lines.

    This is a comedy, but more of a gentle comedy, unlike some of the raucous, farcical comedies seen in the past. And I think it works all the better for being that way.

    The music too is also of note, combining the standard style of the score with a Wild West-tinged one, and it works really well.

    All-in-all, I wasn't sure about this episode at first, but it has really grown on me. To the point that I think it will stand as one of my favourites of the season.moreless
  • A nicely-done, tip-of-the-hat to the Western genre creating an entertaining and enjoyable parody of High Noon. It even incorporated a significant arc development by introducing Xena's pregnancy.

    The opening scene of Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice rescuing a beautiful chestnut horse from a bear trap does not prepare you for what is to come - although Xena falling asleep in the saddle does seem a little out of character.

    Arriving in the next town with rescued horse in tow there is an eerily familiar look to it for anyone who has seen films or series about the Wild West. At this point it would be easy to assume this was one of the unpredictable quality, spoof episodes that could leave you feeling that you could have missed it without missing anything. However, stick with it and don't get too hung up about our ancient Greeks in the Western setting.

    Apart from the numerous mini sub-plots going on, including the reappearance of Arman, who has an immediate mutual attraction with Amarice, the primary plot line is the nicely done parody of the film High Noon.

    The sheriff of the town, an old friend of Xena's, is deserted by her deputy once it is discovered that the sheriff's old arch enemy is returning with his gang intent on revenge. The sheriff must face this threat alone.

    Amidst all of this developing we discover that Xena is pregnant and are treated to some delightfully acted scenes of Xena's denial, acceptance and dread about telling her friends - not least, Gabrielle who "... is gonna freak". The performances continue into the scene where Xena tells them and Gabrielle's display of confused, mixed emotions is worth watching the episode for that alone.

    The High Noon parody plays out with Xena's friend, the sheriff, meeting and dispatching the bad guy while Xena and co. work behind the scenes keeping the bad guy's gang occupied.

    Oh, and the chestnut horse? Well Gabrielle now has her very own four legged friend who presently remains nameless.

    This was a good fun episode with an important arc element. I smiled the whole way through it - but then, I was brought up in a family where my Dad was a real Western fan!moreless
  • Baby BOOM!!

    Animal Attraction-While getting a little rest and relaxation in Spamona, Gabrielle tries to train her new horse, Amarice makes a love connection with Joxer's friend, Arman, Joxer pines for Gabrielle, and Xena helps an old friend with a warlord problem, while exhibiting signs of pregnancy.

    The episode serves only one purpose: Xena is pregnant! I love Xena's reaction to it, which is pretty funny. The other subplots in this episode are just filler. Gbarielle and the horse is cute, Arman and Amarice are a pretty funny couple, though. But Joxer continuing following of Gabrielle was annoying and the warlord villain storyline was even worse. Alison Bruce returns to Xena as Talia, but her storyline with Draco wasn't that exciting. But Xena telling everyone her pregnancy and their reactions, especially Gabrielle's was pricless. But how is Xena's pregnant? The season arc begins... All in All, an episode with only one important plot and many useless ones!!

Mfundo Morrison

Mfundo Morrison


Guest Star

Alison Bruce

Alison Bruce


Guest Star

David Te Rare

David Te Rare


Guest Star

Jennifer Sky

Jennifer Sky


Recurring Role

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Gabrielle: Joxer, get your hands off my apples!

    • Bartender: What'll it be?
      Xena: (quietly) Milk.
      Bartender: Milk!? (laughs)
      Xena: I SAID MILK! What am I, overage?

    • Amarice: Xena, I think I'm in trouble.
      Xena: What, is it in the water?

    • Xena: (when the healer tells her she's pregnant) It's impossible! I cannot be pregnant. If you weren't such a quack, you would know that getting pregnant involves certain physical requirements that I haven't met in a long time! And I mean a very long time! No one, zilch, zippo. I am a love-free zone! Therefore it is utterly impossible that I be 'up the duff'. So what's your diagnosis now?!
      Healer: Mood swings?

    • Xena: (upon discovering that she is pregnant) Gabrielle's gonna freak!

    • Xena: Any fool can risk his life. It takes a hero to risk his heart.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Jennifer Sky (Amarice) has said that this was her favorite episode that she did on Xena because it was a comedy. She particularly enjoyed working with Ted Raimi, who she found hilarious. She also felt that she learned a lot as an actress during this one.

    • There are five story lines in this episode: Talia's fight with the outlaws, Gabrielle's new horse, Amarice and Arman's budding romance, Xena's pregnancy, and Joxer's love for Gabrielle. Writer Chris Manheim stated in "Chakram", the official XWP newsletter, "Every character has their own thread and somehow they have to weave together to make a tapestry that's complete at the end. The only lost thread was the Joxer story. I'll always be sorry we had to cut for time scenes that fleshed out his relationship with Gabrielle."

    • The writers wanted to name Gabrielle's new horse "Amber" but Renee didn't think that was appropriate for him. Then again, his real name was "Flash", and according to her that name was inappropriate too, since he was slow! In the end they never gave him a name for the show.

      Although The Rabbit Died, No other animals were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

    • This episode is also known as 'Wild Horses'.


    • The disclaimer at the end of the episode (Although The Rabbit Died, no other animals were harmed during the production of this motion picture) is a reference to the euphemism "the rabbit died" to mean a positive pregnancy test. This phrase comes from the Rabbit Test, developed in 1927 as a test for pregnancy. The woman's urine was injected into a rabbit's ovaries, which would change in the presence of hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy. It is a common misconception that the injected rabbit would die if the woman was pregnant, where actually all the rabbits were killed in order to examine their ovaries.

    • At one point during the episode Talia comes out of a building and mounts her white horse, as she rides away, she shouts, "Hi-ho". This is an obvious reference to the TV show The Lone Ranger.

    • In addition to the pseudo-Western setting, this story has a clear allusion to the film High Noon. Once the deputy hears of the impending arrival of bad guy and his gang he quits, leaving the sheriff to handle it alone. Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer and Amarice work behind the scenes mopping up the gang members so that the sheriff and bad guy sort it out between themselves without outside intervention.