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Succession Reviewed

Ares is back to test Xena against a new female warrior.

A new warrior is keen to gain Ares respect and take on the role of his chosen. Her name is Mavican (Jenya Lano), and after she challenges Xena and Gabrielle, Ares decides to test them all. In a rather spooky, Star-Trek-y move, he transports them to a special land where he makes the rules and Xena and Gabrielle must figure out how to defeat Mavican and save themselves.

A quite atypical Xena episode, by fan favourite Steve Sears sees the new battling Gabrielle attract the attention of Ares and indeed the warrior Gabrielle is quite a change from the peace loving lass of Series 4.

This is an unusual episode. I particularly liked the plot twists and turns, as Xena and Gab figure out the solution to Ares puzzles. Sadly, the character of Mavican was less successful in my opinion. She was not a particularly convincing warrior, and the actress was so 'well endowed', I kept fearing she was going to fall out of her costume! She didn't have the charisma of Callisto, Alti or Najara and this was a big weakness when the show only had four actors in it.

I was a bit dubious about Ares` interest in Gabrielle. While she is clearly a warrior herself this season, the producers have not made her an invincible one. She frequently loses or retreats, and is still at heart a peaceful person. So why would Ares want her as his chosen? This image we have had of Ares before is that he revels in death and destruction, bloodshed and badness. Gabrielle is becoming more skilled, and is a resourceful and determined warrior, but that is all. I wondered whether despite his protestations to the contrary, Ares still carried a faint hope that Xena will return to his cause one day.

The plot twist...and look away if you haven`t seen it....is that Ares puts Xena and Gabrielle into the same body. Xena gets the days, and Gabrielle the nights. A sneaky move, and one that creates an intriguing situation. However, there was something not quite right about an episode that has so little Xena/Gabrielle interaction. Although it was fun watching them try to solve their problem.



An original idea and an facinating situation, but let down a little by the rather predictable guest character.

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