Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 9

Past Imperfect

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 04, 1999 on

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
72 votes
  • One of the darkest moments in Xena's history is relived and recreated in graphic detail for us. R.I.P Borias.

    This episode covers a key moment in Xena's life which forever changed her destiny. Given how enormously significant it is, I therefore have to agree with others in expressing my disappointment that it was used as background filler for a very small-scale episode. This could have been an entire episode alone, used long ago in the series, but instead it is stuck here in between the unusual "Crusader" and the dud "Key to the Kingdom".

    However! Rant over with; I still feel that this episode has a lot to offer. The first key point is, of course, the fact that it is a flashback episode, my absolute favourite type of storytelling. And for the most part, the flashback is the main text; they just get there by taking a longer way around with the introduction. So it gets thumbs up from me straight away.

    What I like about this episode is that it feels like pieces of a puzzle, coming together to form a whole. I think it is quite a neat, tight storyline that, although it feels misplaced in the series, still works well to convey the emotion, and the important background which has been hinted at up until this point.

    Borias is, as always, a genuinely beautiful thing to watch. He is tragic and intense and, at this stage in his life, he has been ground down to nothing by the force that is Xena. For a long time he has watched the passionate, reckless love between himself and Xena die, as their aspirations, beliefs and souls changed. Xena, overcome with ambition by Alti's empty prophecies uses her power over Borias for greed and destruction. Borias, overwhelmed with a love he has never known for his unborn son, preservers with Xena in the hope that love alone will conquer all. How utterly frustrating, hopeless and tragic it is (and must have been) for Borias – a man with such a potential to love and cherish, and with the possibility for so much good, to watch his world destroyed by Xena's power and fury. Moving stuff.

    Certainly the twist was fairly obvious, but it was background info. I am slightly more bothered about the key role that Sitrine played in Borias' death; one of the most significant deaths in the Xenaverse. I don't buy the 'but I have so much to learn from her line' at all, and think it is a fairly pitiful excuse the writers have thrown at us. Perhaps, "I love Xena and want to lead her army with her by my side as I learn everything she knows" might be more fulfilling. Hmmm, not sure. Maybe just day dreaming!

    Then there is the vision, which Xena has finally found the guts to share with Gabrielle. Understandably, Gab is not that concerned. It would be much harder to believe in something you can't see or feel, and harder yet to let that guide your actions. I can completely see Gab's point and agree with her that they just need to let fate run its course. Harder for Xena, however. Still, she cannot accept the fact that Gabrielle wants to be there with her. And certainly Gab's actions from the previous episode would make Xena believe that she was dragging Gab into something that she shouldn't be.

    Overall, this episode needed more. More dialogue, more flashbacks, more fairness to a key part of our history. But it does well with what it offers. A very solid and entertaining episode.
  • Plot Imperfect.

    For an episode that details the death of Borias and the birth of Xena's child, this is a rather perfunctory outing. The revelation that Xena's slave was the perpetrator was sign posted miles away. It also didn't help that that actor playing her happened to be about as convincing as a cardboard cutout.

    The idea that Xena and Gabrielle were only a mountain or two away from the very place they meet their maker fuelled an otherwise limp storyline. Xena's attempts at shielding Gabrielle were great to watch. What was even better was Gabrielle standing up for herself and demanding Xena let her continue on with her life – fate is fate.

    There's no real reason for the flashbacks here. Xena simply says she had a vision of the past and at convenient moments where the script required fleshing out the wafer thin plot, we got another flashback; it's lazy storytelling. The script also lacked spark. Evil Xena is usually the highlight of any episode, but as with the hour overall, the scenes were simply filler. All in all, it's another dip in season 4. There were plenty of opportunities to utilise the idea of Xena trying to outwit herself; add in the flashbacks of a pivotal time in Xena's path to redemption and it should be a solid 10, but it's far from it. Disappointing.
  • we delve into Xenas past as season 4 gathers momentum.

    a classic episode on many many levels,it reaches into Xenas past to a great effect not shown to an extent before on the show(besides The Debt).
    we find out about the events which lead to Orphan Of War,and even the heart wrenching death of Borias...and his killer.
    Lucy is fantastic on all levels throughout this episode.
    Past Imperfect shows Xena almost powerless against her enemy as She is exactly like Xena which makes it a very difficult foe to prevent from persuing their carnage.
    Past imperfect is of a fantastic standard visually and in its direction by Garth Maxwell.
    it is one of the best episodes on the show and of this season.
  • As Xena and Gabrielle try to save a town that is under attack, Xena realises that the tactics being used are exactly the same as those she used to conquer a town years before. A good episode, although not one of my favourites of the season...

    This review contains mild spoilers.

    This is a reasonable fourth season episode, with a good plot. However, for some reason, it doesn't stand out as one of my favourites.

    Xena has finally told Gabrielle about her vision of Gabrielle's crucifixion, and is cautious about letting her near any danger in risk that it might lead to her foreseen fate. I like how they have a running thread like this through the season, it makes it all seem more planned and intended than the early, mostly stand-alone episodes.

    We finally see how Borias died, and the events that led to Xena giving up her newborn baby son to the centaurs. It is well told, although I didn't enjoy this back-story as nearly as much as some of the previous flashbacks (other than that seen in 'Adventures in the Sin Trade', which I really didn't enjoy very much at all).

    It is an interesting plot twist to have a character from Xena's past using the exact same tactics as the then bad Warrior Princess used herself. However, after this was revealed, I didn't find it to be played out as excitingly as it might have been.

    All-in-all, a decent but not outstanding episode in my own opinion.
  • Payback's a ****

    Xena is trying to figure out her crucifixion vison out, while inside a walled city which is being assualted in the same matter that Xena did years ago. Xena trys to anticipate every move, while finding out who is doing it. I loved this episode plenty. We got to see Xena pregnant, while pondering her friendship with Alti. We got to see Borias again, who actually started to turn into a family man, apperently. However he became a hero for the centaurs and came back for Xena and his child. Unfortunately, he was attacked and died seeing his son. I had a great time watching this while trying to figure it out. I give this episode a good rating and have decided not to spoil it for Xena fans.
  • A Past to Not Remember!!!

    Past Imperfect-Xena and Gabrielle work to save a village that is being destroyed in exactly the same manner in which she destroyed another village in a battle with the Centaurs years before.

    Another great backstory episode when Xena and Gabrielle a trapped in a village, but than Xena realizes that this is the same attack that she made on Corith. It's nice to see Borias again, as well as Dagnine, but we are also introduced to Satrina, who was Xena's servant. The writers do a perfect job with macthing this episode with all of the facts we've learned from the early seasons. Like Borias saving the Centuars, Xena giving birth to Solan, Dagnine killing Borias, Xena's search for the Iccion Stone, and one more fact that we never knew, that Satrina betrayed Xena and told Dagnine to kill Borias. It's a very sad scene seeing Borais dieing and reaching out to touch his new born son. Satrina turns out to be one behind the attack on the village and has been studing Xena for years! To bad we couldn't continue to see her more as villain but she did get outsmarted by Xena a lot. All in All, a another great episode that tells a good story of Xena's past!!!
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