TUE (formally the episode known as 'Soul Possession' TUE means The Unmentionable Episode)
Was there a point to this episode? Seriously. How many people actually care about how Gabrielle was saved from the lava pit? I bet you, not many and since it was three years later, most people had forgotten about it (if they even KNEW).
TUE was written by Rob's former assistant, Melissa Blake and was done as a need to fill a hole. To give the fans something? But alas, even Mr Tapert conceded that this episode was a mistake.
I did like one thing in the episode and that was the Joxer & Xena scenes.
Why this episode is pointless
Rehashing old stories is not a good storytelling device after you've gone and changed the relationship of two principle players in the episode (Xena & Ares). In season five, we saw a growth, a sort of understanding to the Ares and Xena characters between each other. In season six, we saw even more of a growth. Not necessarily as a couple, but growth in terms of understanding of the roles each plays.
TUE undid all that with a couple of strokes of the keyboard in an effort to fill a gapping storyline that should have been filled in 4th season, where it was still fresh and could have served as part of the arc. The episode had to come in the 6th season as a way to give back to the fans, to fill hole of one of the most unanswered questions in the Xenaverse.
Maybe the people not involved in the Internet fandom wrote in and asked about how Gabrielle got out of the lava pit. I guess they (Rob, RJ and company) forgot that when you listen to the fans, you'll undoubtedly bomb with the story. What a few fans want, is not true of the whole. Something of which David Eick (producer on 'Hercules' and current producer of 'Battlestar Galactica') said in an interview back that that listening to the fans and throwing in little tidbits backfired on them.
Listening to the fans, never a good idea.
YAXI's (Yet Another Xena Inconsistency). The episode has to be the one episode in which the story and continuity advisor took a vacation. What am I hitting at? Old chakram, new chakram, old chakram. That's an on the set, day of the filming snafu.
Reason 3 also ties in with Reason 1.
That concludes part one. I'll explore more indepthly reasons 1 - 3 in the next installment.