The Abyss Reviewed
In an all action episode, Xena and Gabrielle face another savage tribe (a bit like The Horde from The Price and Daughter of Pomira), but this lot are even worse...they are cannibals, and young Virgil and a pal of his are on the menu. Well girls, we do think Greg is pretty tasty don't we?
Meanwhile Gabrielle is still agonizing over killing Korah in Legacy, and her hesitation in a fight with the bearskinned long-pig eaters leads to a stabbing, and some really nice touchy feely stuff between Xena and Gabrielle as they are forced to wait it out in a snug little underground cavern. Xena is forced into some of her most original planning that we have seen in ages. The plan involves handing Gabrielle over to the cannibals...are you *sure* Xena??
This was another excellent episode. We saw Xena and her most resourceful in ages, and I love the episodes that show her to be not just a good warrior, but exceptionally clever too. Her skills (add lumberjack to the list) are put to good use as she manages to save the day against another huge army.
The story arc dealing with Gabrielle`s attitude to killing continues, and there is a really nice exchange between Xena and Gab as they paddle along looking for Virgil. Gabrielle very astutely decides that she has the reactions of a warrior, but not the judgement..spot on, lovey. The Xena/Gabrielle discussions in this episode were some of the more intense we have seen, with Gabrielle semi-deliriously talking to Xena as if she were Hope at one point. Did Xena really not realise how Gabrielle felt about the whole Hope situation? I was a little puzzled about why they went back to the Hope storyline anyway. This was dealt with some time ago in Paradise Found wasn't it? Another little scene where Gabrielle asks to be buried next to Xena in Amphipolis was quite sweet. They seem to be going all out this year with the `soulmates` idea for Xena and Gabrielle. This whole scene was very reminiscent of quite a lot of Xena fanfic stories...the classic hurt/comfort scenario. Xena is quite the nurturer here, probably saved Gabrielle about 4 times altogether, however, Gabrielle is an integral part of her plan. Once she is healed by the cannibals (who want healthy food, obviously...) Gabrielle and the fairly useless Virgil team up to save their skins.
I know many people really really liked this episode. It topped the early favourite S6 episode poll - and there will be another one of those near the end of the year - mainly I think because it is a fast paced and exciting story, yet we also get some really sweet Xena/Gabrielle interaction. For me, while I thought it was a terrific episode, I didn`t find the emotional stuff as powerful as Gabrielle and Xena`s dilemma in Legacy. The feverish Gabrielle telling Xena how she felt just seemed a bit clichéd to me..call me a cynical old bag!
- Xena`s cunning plan to damn up the river and wash the nasty men away! That was a wonderful scene, where she works up quite a sweat setting the trap. Leave it to beaver....
- More wet shots...underwater photography always looks great, and I think we have had the wet look in just about every episode so far! Xena and Gabrielle in the river, Xena and Gabrielle in the rain, Xena and Gabrielle in wet T-shirts - oops, not that one.
- Gabrielle`s unswerving belief in Xena; when she is injured, and when she is stuck in the jail cell with Virgil, just *knowing* that Xena will come and rescue them.
- Xena clambering up that cliff with Gabrielle strapped to her back..what a woman!
- Great shot of Xena standing in the rain, lightening behind her and doing her yell so that the cannibals will come and collect Gabrielle. Lucy did it with a slight sneer that just for a second made you suspicious of her, and a little uncertainty is a good thing.
- "Now Gabrielle!" Poor Xena must have had to yell about 5 times! Reliable sidekicks are just *so* hard to find! A really good tense fight scene, and wasn't it great when Gab stabs the baddie and chops the rope, setting it all into motion.
- Not impressed with the tribe of cannibals. Once again, where were the women? The grunting savages were a bit 2-dimensional, as The Horde were in The Price. However, they know how to treat their prisoners. The roasting on the spit was suitable nasty, but bet it takes AGES to cook someone like that. Should cook them in an oven first before browning on the spit...
- Rubio..that annoying skinny guy. His only job was to explain what was happening to Virgil and therefore us. Very irritating. We felt the same as Xena when says "who *ARE* you?" meaning "who the hell are you anyway?"
- In a rework of One Against an Army, Xena faces a huge hoard of armed men, yet they just stand back from her in the climax of the episode. Get organised guys... Someone yells "charge" and the series is over!
- Virgil was basically the damsel in distress in this episode. I like the character, and William Gregory Lee is a real honey. However he was pretty daft here. Is he discovering the truth about genetics and his `talents` inherited from Joxer? He stands a watches as the cannibals approach, and is *very* slow on why they might feed him up.
- Apart from preserving her modesty, why on earth did the cannibals baste Gabrielle in her clothes? They like the chewy bits?
- Surely there is more meat on Virgil that Gabrielle? Or did they just fancy something different for dinner?
- Where were the women in this tribe? I know people say the best chefs are men, but surely they need women for one or two things?
A very pacey and exciting episode.
Back to S6 Reviews page
Back to Episode Guide page
Back to Main Xena page