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.
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