When the sacred Urn of Apollo is stolen, a brash teenage girl with a dislike for Gabrielle joins Xena on the quest to return it, and tries to convince the Warrior Princess that she would make a far better companion.
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This episode features the last positive portrayal of Apollo, before he was portrayed as a jerk (starting with the Hercules episode "Top God"). He was also portrayed positively in the early Hercules episode "The Road to Calydon".
The final fight scene with Xena, Gabrielle and Tara tossing the Urn of Apollo to keep it safe, is reminiscent of the fight scene in the first series episode "Cradle of Hope". The only difference in "Forgiven" is that they are tossing an Urn instead of a baby.
The play Ipheginia at Aulis was written by Euripides (Gabrielle's Bard Academy classmate).
Gabrielle invents charades in this episode, though Xena says it will never catch on.
Nitpick: After Xena digs out Gabrielle and Tara from being buried up to their necks, Gabrielle and Tara aren't dirty at all. Gabrielle does pointedly shake the sand out of her skirt, however.
Xena: You asked me how you know what's good and what's bad. Let me make it real simple for you. Acting like a selfish brat is bad.
Tara: My father wasn't bad from the beginning. It's just that he missed my mom so much he started to drink. Pretty soon, he was beating up on me, telling me how worthless I was.
Gabrielle: For people who need to forgive themselves in order to move on in life, this Urn can be very meaningful.
Micah: Not many people play Xena, Warrior Princess, for a sucker.
Xena: A very wise friend of mine once said that no one can believe in herself unless someone else believes in her first.
Tara: You two are such suckers.
Gabrielle: Xena, I'll understand, just this once, if you're so angry you wanna pummel her for a while.
Xena: I'm not gonna do that.
Gabrielle: Well then hold her while I do it!
Gabrielle: Xena? Can I talk to you for a minute?
Gabrielle: I'm gonna kill her. I'm gonna rip out her throat. I'm going to eat her eyeballs.
Gabrielle: (urging Xena to drive Tara away) Why not use your chakram? Ricochet off a couple of rocks, slice off a piece of her ear and scare her witless?
Tara: Why are you guys being so nice to me? I've done some really bad things.
Xena: If you want to compare bad deeds I'll bury you.
Gabrielle: There's something I'm not getting here. Something you're not telling me.
Xena: She reminds me a little of me.
Gabrielle: Oh no. I knew you were evil but you were obnoxious too?!
The part of Tara was created specifically for actress Selma Blair, who had starred in the "Amazon High" pilot. When she was unavailable Shiri Appleby was cast.
Shooting Dates: December 11 to December 18 1997, 6 day shoot.
The original script had Gabrielle and Tara getting into the bar fight with Gabrielle losing. Renee O'Connor didn't think it very believable that someone with Gabrielle's battle experience would lose so badly to one girl. The script was then adjusted to what is seen on screen, of Gabrielle trying to avoid a fight.
DISCLAIMER: No street-talking, cat-fighting, barroom-brawling juvenile delinquents were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
Iphigenia at Aulis
The pantomime that Gabrielle does for the game of charades shows her playing two different people, one a girl on her knees pleading, and a man who refuses to be deterred from chopping off the girl's head. The girl pleading is Iphighenia, the daughter of King Agamemnon, who has been told that she must be sacrificed to appease the Gods, who will then allow the Greeks to sail to Troy to retrieve Helen. The man who is refusing to listen to her plea is Iphigenia's own father Agamemnon, who is reluctantly willing to kill his own daughter to get what he wants- war with Troy. He will later be killed by his wife Clytemnestra in revenge.
The atonement for sins depicted in the episode, as well as the anointing from a special urn, resemble Roman Catholic rituals, in particular the sacraments of baptism and confession. The priest's decorated robe also calls to mind Catholic vestments, The interior of the temple resembles a Catholic sanctuary. Apollo is the Greek Sun God; Jesus is often called "the light of the world." These images may not have been coincidences: Lucy Lawless is a Roman Catholic, and this episode was filmed during her engagement to Rob Tapert. Part of the requirement for a Catholic wedding (which would occur in March, 1998) is that the couple take a series of pre-nuptial lessons.
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