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The Execution Reviewed

Meleager the Mighty returns but he is in serious trouble. Xena and Gabrielle arrive in town just in time to hear him be sentenced to hang for murder. Gabrielle has so much faith (you might almost say Blind Faith) in her pal that she tricks the guards and helps him escape. Xena is not so sure and after Gab is almost lynched, she agrees to catch and return Meleager, much to Gabrielle`s dismay. The pair are at odds and Xena only persuades Meleager to return by making him consider Gabrielle`s position for breaking him out. However, when hearing his story about the circumstances she realizes that he is innocent and Xena knows who the killer is! How can she save Meleager but see justice done? This is quite an interesting episode for Gabrielle`s character. We see her fall out with Xena and act on her own to try and save her friend Meleager, who first appeared in Season One`s The Prodigal. To see Gabrielle and Xena not working together for once is certainly different. Gabrielle is seen to be either too trusting and naive, or a true and faithful friend. Her strong belief in Meleager is seen to be hero worship and putting people on too high a pedestal when it looks as if he is guilty. Xena warns Gabrielle about this, and encourages her to be more forgiving than her `friends don`t lie` statement. Gabrielle was a bit harsh in her condemnation I thought.

Where I feel this episode lost it was in the character of the judge who sentences Meleager, Arbis. At the beginning, Xena says she has heard of him and knows him to be fair. However, about half way through he suddenly becomes the conniving villain who is behind it all. I think this weakened the story. To show Xena correcting a true injustice without recourse to having the honourable judge become a pantomime villain would have been more believable. It felt like a cop out - as did the very sudden ending. Not EVERYONE in a position of power has to be corrupt. For example, the episode Cradle of Hope was all the better for having King Gregor be a good and honest man. However, I like Meleager, and the plot of having Xena and Gabrielle on opposite sides in terms of their belief in him was quite a good one.

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