With Gabrielle and Joxer in tow, Xena returns to the town of Chin to wrestle Lao Ma's book of power from the hands of an evil-minded twin.

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(created by) (as Robert Tapert), (created by) | 3 more credits »
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Gabrielle (as Renee O'Connor)
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Pao Ssu / K'ao Hsin
Andy Choi ...
Go Kun
William Kwan ...
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Ming Tzu (archive footage)
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With Gabrielle and Joxer in tow, Xena returns to the town of Chin to wrestle Lao Ma's book of power from the hands of an evil-minded twin.

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8 November 1999 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Joxer's first visit to the land of Chin See more »

Crazy Credits

To obtain a copy of Joxer's recipe for Moo Shu Sauce and other Chinese delicacies visit your local Bookstore or look for it on the internet. See more »

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Vacuity
5 August 2010 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

Last week, Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer were in the region where the "Northern Amazons" live, which, judging from their costumes, is roughly in the direction of Lapland or the easternmost Russia. Preumably on their way back to Greece (South), they encounter a messenger from "Chin" (China). The man dies, but the scroll is from Xena's former teacher, Lao Ma. How exactly did he locate them? The writers don't bother with such details. And, hey presto, *one scene later*, Xena, Garbrielle and Joxer are in Chin. How did they get there? On foot? Obviously *pretty fast* since Xena's pregnancy hasn't visibly proceeded at all. It's nice to live in a world where you can just zap around the globe! A fantastic world is perfectly acceptable, *as long as it operates within a set of consistent rules*. The Xena Universe doesn't. Compare this to the Star Wars Universe of the Original Trilogy to see the vast difference between the two. And no, TV budget is no excuse for poor writing.

It's no wonder this episode has, at the time of writing, an average Rating of only 5.9/10. It is a shoddy, confusing affair. First of all, one can't help but notice the similarity of Pao Ssu to a certain Chun Li (from *the game* not the lame movies) - her costume is pretty similar though red instead of blue, probably just to be sure there would not be any copyright infringement tussles. Also, the magic fire she shoots from her hands is red, not blue like Chun Li's. And instead of hair buns, she has "loops". But it's still Chun Li. Even if she turns out to be evil. This all is pretty damning evidence of stereotypicalization from the part of the writers. To make matters worse, Pao Ssu has a twin sister K'ao Hsin played by the same actress. To help the viewers tell them apart, K'ao Hsin looks different (that is to say, different hairstyle - obviously we Western people couldn't tell Pao Ssu apart from her otherwise) and dresses differently. I've rarely seen identical twins presented with such clumsiness.

"Blah, blah, blah. This doesn't--" My apologies. That was the Subjective Me trying to hijack my review. I'll release him in a moment. Too much of the episode is spent in shallow, clichéd pseudo-philosophical pondering that stop the momentum. Thankfully, there is a decent battle in the end, and - a genuine *miracle* in this series - a BIG old-school explosion instead of the lame CGI explosion we see pretty much every time. I applaud! Still, in the end, this episode is a confusing mess, especially with Xena displaying Yoda-like powers where she can catch *and* shoot back Pao Ssu's fire bolts (contrast with Yoda catching the Force Lightning in Episode II). Why hasn't she done it before? The writers put this to her not having achieved the necessary state of mind *until now*, which seems pretty easy based on what we see here. So why hasn't she tried to finish her Jed-- excuse me, Lao Ma training before? Dumb. And will we see Xena display her powers in later episodes? I'll bet they forget them (I haven't seen the episodes yet). Ugh. A 5/10.

"My turn. For me, the only things that matter here, since I can't be bothered in vain to try to make sense of the senseless Xena Universe, are the two Bs: battles and babes. There are three big battle sequences here that are also pretty good. Also, this is the first appearance of what I like to call 'China-Gabby' (Obviously, 'Chin-Gabby' would implicate that she is fat), that, impossibly, is even hotter than 'India-Gabby'! Phwooarr! Look at her in that dress! Also, Marie Matiko is double yummy because she has a double role here. The good just keeps coming! Had 'China-Gabby' and K'ao Hsin duelled, this would have been awesome - except for the stupid pondering sequences. I almost fell asleep during them. Finally, we get 'China-Gabby' in double-sai action against Go Kun's men where Renee O'Connor is clearly doing a significant part of her own shots - impressive! 'China-Gabby' so rules. Thus endedth my comments."


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