Strange Transmissions
Warning! Major spoiler alert for readers outside the USA or Canada.
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selected from Xposé #36
THE PRETENDER – Season Three
20: Donoterase
Written by Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W Van Sickle
Directed by Frederick K Keller
NBC May 22 1999

35star rating

How frequently are we promised ‘must see’ episodes of our favorite shows? And how often do these overhyped ratings-grabbers disappoint? Donoterase is that rare beast – a TV event that blows your mind. It takes the whole Pretender myth, pulls together the loose ends, and elevates the series to a new level.

The Pretender - Father and SonAfter three years of searching, Jarod finds his father (played by ex-Bond George Lazenby). Finally, the truth about Catherine Parker’s murder is uncovered. And we learn of the mysterious Gemini Project, through which The Centre has perfected human cloning to produce a duplicate of Jarod. When the original learns the warped truth, he plans to rescue his own ‘son’…

No doubt about it, this is the best Pretender ever. Most characters surprise in gratifying ways: Miss Parker becomes a moral barometer and the clone’s protector; Sydney appears to have betrayed Jarod; Brigitte allies herself with her sworn enemy; Mr Raines turns assassin and one character is left on the brink of death.

Throw in some interesting discussions on the ethics of cloning and the irresistible scenes featuring two Jarods (played by Michael T Weiss and Ryan Merriman) and you have the answer to fan prayers. With Jarod’s father and the clone at liberty, and The Pretender a prisoner of the Centre, I can’t wait to see where this supremely creative series goes next….

Brian Barratt

22: Deja Vu All Over Again
Written by R J Stewart • Directed by Renee O’Conner
Fox • May 17 1999

3-star rating

Last week Xena was crucified and this week she seeks therapy. Actually, it isn’t Xena at all, but the klutzy Annie, a neurotic Xena fan in modern day who thinks she might be the Warrior Princess.

Xena: Myopic Princess?This present day episode is full of flashbacks of Xena’s previous encounters, and all takes place as Annie, played by Lucy Lawless, explores her past lives and those of the friends around her. In a way, this episode reunites Xena, Joxer, and Gabrielle, though not quite in the way you think.

This is billed as a humorous episode and may annoy fans looking for some resolution to last week’s cliffhanger. (Sorry kids! You’ll have to wait until next season!)

The writing is top-notch and the episode is funny. We get to see another side of Ted Raimi as he takes on a more heroic role. Lucy Lawless stretches her abilities a bit as well with the role of Annie.

You might even say Gabrielle breaks the mold as Renee O’Conner takes her turn behind the camera and directs this episode. Be sure to listen for the reworking of Joxer’s song at the end of the show.

Sandy Clark

This Spring, our STRANGE TRANSMISSIONS review section has been covering the latest seasons of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer • Earth: Final Conflict • Xena: Warrior Princess • Millennium • The Pretender • The X–Files • Seven Days • First Wave • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys • Highlander: The Raven • Total Recall: 2070, and all the latest fantastic films...

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