CAT | Xena Marathon
1×05 The Path Not Taken
Synopsis: Xena intervenes in an old feud between two kingdoms that is fuelled by the weapons dealer profiting from it. He kidnapped the princess and blamed it on the other kingdom. Within his ranks Xena finds Marcus, an old friend of hers who still travels the road she’s left.
My Opinion: It was an OK episode, but Marcus’s sacrifice at the end was a bit unconvincing. Granted they prepared for it in that conversation between him and Xena, but he was just fighting her because he did not want to change his way of living.
1×06 The Reckoning
Synopsis: Ares, God of War, slaughters some innocent villagers and blames it on Xena. The surviving villagers want to bring her to trial and then execute her. Ares could help her – if she comes back to him. Gabrielle tries to defend her and prove her innocence but is being sabotaged in her efforts.
My Opinion: Even though the episode introduced the cool Kevin Smith (they are both cool, but this is not the fat one! ) as Ares, the episode didn’t work for me. Even though she was innocent she surrendered to this trial just because she has a dark past. And it looked like as if she might have let them kill her. That’s BS in my eyes.
1×07 The Titans
Synopsis: Gabrielle inadvertently releases three of the Titans when she recites and old chant in a huge cave hall. Amongst them is Hyperion, the Sun Titan, who is not very fond of Humans. At first they follow Gabrielle’s command since they believe that only a powerful god could have released them. But Hyperion is impatient…
My Opinion: This episode I liked. It was cool to see Crius (one of the Titans) to follow Gabrielle’s every wish and constantly calling her “the virgin goddess” and her getting annoyed by it (especially the “virgin” part ). I also thought they did the handling of the height difference pretty decently. The special effects in the show aren’t the best but here they managed it to look pretty convincingly.
Synopsis: Hera, wife of Zeus and mother of the gods, has put Prometheus in chains. This means that mankind will slowly lose all gifts Prometheus has given them. Starting with the ability to heal and the ability to utilize fire. Both Xena & Gabrielle and Hercules & Iolaus try to free him again.
My Opinion: This was a cool episode, seeing the four of them together (I think it’s the only time it ever happens). And while it was unlikely (due to the time frame) that Hercules told Xena about Prometheus and his chains I didn’t care. I liked how they found “a solution” to free him without the need to sacrifice one of them and I liked how Iolaus and Gabrielle came closer.
1×01 Sins of the Past
Synopsis: Xena has left her old ways behind and even intends to bury her weapons and armor when she “encounters” a group of mercenaries who try to kidnap a group of young women from a nearby village. The mercenaries belong to Draco, an old acquaintance of Xena’s who plans to march into Xena’s home valley. She has to protect her home village and at the same time that young girl who’s now following her: Gabrielle.
My Opinion: If you already know the character from the Hercules episodes then you have no problem understanding this pilot episode. If you don’t then the writers gave you a glimpse into her old life by using Draco as proxy since it is made clear that Xena was much like him. And it’s also a good introduction to Gabrielle and her greatest talent: Her mouth. Xena wears now her final costume which changed slightly during and after the Hercules episodes. I think it’s a good introduction to the show.
1×02 Chariots of War
Synopsis: Xena gets shot by an arrow when she tries to help some villagers who were under attack by a local warlord. One of the villagers invites her to his house until she’s healed. Meanwhile Gabrielle waits in another town for her return and makes the acquaintance of a young man who happens to be the son of said warlord and is supposed to become his father’s successor.
My Opinion: Sometimes this show is a bit clichéd. For example you can always tell the absolute bad guys by their deliberately ugly teeth. But that doesn’t mean that nice teeth indicate a good person, it just indicates a main character for the episode. And while the warlord has quite a number of scars, his son is pretty good looking (with blue eyes and all).
I liked it that they expanded on Gabrielle’s character trait to let her talking be her greatest strength/weapon.
Synopsis: Gabrielle gets kidnapped by a group of Mystics who want to marry her to the God of Dreams, Morpheus. For this she has to lose her blood innocence and has to kill a man (but she doesn’t know that). In order to save her, Xena has to enter the Dreamscape where she not only encounters the people she killed but also her old self.
My Opinion: “You look bigger”. I really liked it how Gabrielle got rid of her enemies without killing a single one of them and I liked it how Xena faced her old self and came to the acceptance that she is part of her and always will be. And I love these contact lenses(?) that colour the entire eye totally black. That looks awesome every time someone wears them (e.g. Lyta Alexander in Babylon 5).
1×04 Cradle of Hope
Synopsis: Xena and Gabrielle find an abandoned baby that has become victim of a prophecy that says that the child will one day sit on the throne of the local kingdom. But they also encounter the granddaughter of the famous Pandora and she’s carrying the box and has to prevent hope from escaping out of it.
My Opinion: As I said in the beginning, I like the mixture of mythologies they are brewing here. I don’t have a problem with them being at Troy one week and meeting Cesar the next. And so they encounter Pandora (named after her grandmother) and her box this week. And Lucy Lawless (what a name! ) danced a beautiful oriental dance…
Every story has a beginning and the beginning of this story I will tell you now:
1×09 The Warrior Princess
Synopsis: Xena is a fearsome warlord who raids defenceless villages. And as basically every warlord of that time she wants to slay the son of Zeus: Hercules. But first she has to break him. And what better way is there than to seduce his best friend Iolaus and let them turn against each other?
My Opinion: I have to admit, the only one who really convinced me here, was Xena. Neither Hercules nor Iolaus behaved liked you would expect them to. They’ve travelled so much together, fought side by side and back to back. And suddenly Iolaus believes her more than he does believe him and even challenges him to the death? Unlikely.
1×12 The Gauntlet
Synopsis: Xena has raised a new army but unfortunately her soldiers don’t follow her code of honour. In her absence they raid a village without warning and kill every man, woman and child in it (except for the one baby she can save). Her second-in-command, Darphus, sees this as a weakness and starts a mutiny. He puts her through the gauntlet, a ritual that nobody has ever survived – until now. Now she wants revenge and she gets help in the form of Hercules who wants to stop this army, too.
My Opinion: Here they started to build up the character for her own series and except for her sudden fondness for Hercules in the end there was nothing that contradicts with her former appearance. I liked how they changed her character because she’s already much more like the Xena I know and love. But Salmoneus was also great. Both shows have a good number of supporting characters that act as comic relief and Salmoneus is one of them.
1×13 Unchained Heart
Synopsis: Ares, God of War, has resurrected Darphus and has given him his favourite “pet”. Xena and Hercules decide to stop him once and for all, but they are not alone. Salmoneus is still with them, even if he’s not the bravest of guys. And Iolaus is also joining them, despite his and Xena’s history.
My Opinion: If you watch the show you have to admit that the effects have never been the best or even slightly realistic. But if you can look past this then it’s really enjoyable. It makes it up with interesting characters, cool stories and a nice potpourri of Greek, Roman, Christian and whatnot mythology.