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The episode opens with a group of villagers having a disagreement over whether it is wrong to be a follower of Eli; will it upset the Olympians. Xena and Gabrielle get involved and after Gabrielle goes for her weapons rather readily the usual punch up ensues.After a little chat about violence, Xena and Gabrielle meet up with the man himself - Eli is back! Once again Gabrielle is made to think about violence and her use of it, but in this episode she is more sure of herself. However, Ares arrives anda big test is about to come up for her. For some reason Ares is determined to kill Eli. The nature of the threat he poses is not really explained, but while Xena goes to make sure Ares armies won`t attack, the God himself comes for Eli.
Meanwhile, in a very Garden of Gethsemane like scene, the angel Callisto comes to Eli to tell him that he has to die for his cause. While he accepts his impending death, Gabrielle is determined to protect him against Ares, but eventually - and sorrowfully - lets him sacrifice himself. This leads to a bit of a disagreement between her and Xena who is shocked that Gabrielle didn`t protect Eli. A rather bizzare scene follows that implies Ares offers Gabrielle his favour and she accepts it. However, before we know it, Xena has cornered Callisto and made he get a special dagger, the dagger of Helios - another thing that can kill a God. (Quite a few of those now.) Xena wants to kill Ares, but as she confronts him, she sees Eli`s reflecion in the sword and realises that in a Jesus-like way, Eli`s death will make his cause stronger and help bring about the downfall of the Olympians.
It is at this point that Callisto reveals that SHE is the one responsible for Xena`s child. That touch at the end of Fallen Angel WAS the conception moment. Her spirit is destined to be reborn, and her pure spirit will be within Xena`s child. "Love IS the way," says Eli as we fade out...
Momentous happenings in this episode. The big tease this season about who the father of the baby was has been fun, but many of us realised that the touch on Xena`s stomach at the end of Fallen Angel has to have significance. Any other explanation - like something Earthly - would have been unsatisfactory. I think this was a good explanation, and that final scene between Xena and Callisto was a very touching one. The show has always been about Xena`s redemption, but Fallen Angel was another giant leap. The part where the archangel Xena took on Callisto`s sins was further proof of her intense sorrow and remorse. While the angelic Callisto just seems not quite right (too many episodes of Hudson Leick`s joyously evil cackling), this seems like proper closure to the Xena/Callisto relationship now. Of course you never know, she could be back!
I was less satisfied with the Gabrielle storyline in this episode. While her fighting this season was inevitable - mainly due to Lucy Lawless' lack of mobility - she has become almost TOO aggressive. This is what was being discussed at the start of the episode. She has always had great respect and reverence for Eli, and her defence of him was noble, but the following parts where she apparently accepted Ares offer to ally with him was incomprehensible. I think she was supposed to have seen the power she could have had and decided that she could use it for good, but then a few minutes later she reverts to Xena`s side. Huh? It was too quick and not fully explained.
On the other hand, I rather liked the brief spat between Gabrielle and Xena about Eli`s death. Xena would expect Gabrielle to do something, and Gabrielle is equally right to ask whether Ares assertion that the world is ruled by warriors is correct. Xena and Gabrielle rarely disagree unless it is the huge S3 rift, or the jokey comedy episodes. Here we see a legitimate difference of opinion.
One more little moan, the fight between Gabrielle and Ares was ridiculous. Kevin Smith is twice the size of Renee O`Connor and is a God! His sword swings looked light, and Renee might be athletic, but she is not fully convincing as a sword fighter. She should not have lasted 15 seconds.
There is yet more Christian symbollism in this episode. Eli is SO Christ like! We see people waving palms as he approaches at one point, little children rushing to him. The scene in the garden was just like Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest and crucifixion. Eli accepts quite readily, and then appears to Xena AFTER his death. Wonder if the Christian fundementalists will get annoyed?
I liked this episode a lot. There was some brilliant visual camera work such as when Eli is killed and we get a geat overhead camera shot. Also, the rather odd but pretty desert funeral scene looked good. Not a totally logical plot but a strong episode.
A slightly muddled episode, but one with some excellent acting and heavy emotions that just about works. Bye bye Eli and Callisto!
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