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The news that Danielle Cormack was to return cheered up quite a few fans. Ephiny is one of the best loved characters, and many regretted her rather sudden departure in Season 4. Another familiar face in this episode is the always excellent Marton Csokas, who plays Borias, Xena's most convincing and believable lover and also Borias' son Belach.
To be honest, the story is very standard fare. This episode has a real early series feel to it. It wouldn't have been out of place in Season 1 or 2. The main difference is that in this episode, Gabrielle is the one who sees no way to resolve the situation except through violence, and it is Xena who is desperate to find a solution.
What is also a departure, is that ultimately, the stand off between Lord Belach and Xena is resolved by a third party - Lord Belach's daughter who has run off and had a baby centaur with Ephiny's son Xenan. It is this girl who makes the first move to make peace rather than Xena OR Gabrielle.
Any episode that once again explores Xena's bad-old-days past can't be all bad, and we get a brief look at that lovely hat with the dangly coins that Cyane pinched to go tree climbing in. We also get the wonderful Borias mid-European/Russian/Hungarian accent, as we see a little of how Xena enticed Borias away from his family to ride with her. I actually thought the idea of having Borias' son appear, and the resulting dilemma that this put Xena in was a good idea. She feels terrible guilt over taking Borias away from this man when he was a child, yet he does terrible acts against the centaurs until Xenan really is "The Last of the Centaurs."
Against all this, we had ghostly Ephiny back, although as only Gabrielle could see her, she didn't really get to interact very much. Unfortunately, the young actors playing Xenan and his girlfriend were not terribly skilled, and didn't make much of an impression. Still, Danielle Cormack and Marton Csokas are two of the very best actors to guest star on the show, so it was always going to be tough.
In a recent poll on this site, this episode came bottom. It is not a bad episode, but in a season that pushed the boat out in so many episodes, exploring relationships and experiences, this episode was one that failed to involve the viewer much at all, and dullness is NOT something we want in a XENA ep....
A competant but dull episode
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