Xena and Her Namesake Fight Borias' Son
"The Last of the Centaurs" Plot Summary:
When the ghost of Ephiny appears to fellow Amazon Gabrielle to warn her of a threat to Ephiny's son Xenan, Gabrielle and Xena pose as bounty hunters and drop in on Lord Belach to find out why he has put a price on the young centaur's head. Xena is shocked to discover that Belach is the son of her former lover Borias, father of her own dead son Solon, and that Belach despises the centaurs -- he blames Xenan for the abduction of his daughter Nicha. Ephiny helps the women track Xenan and Nicha, who is pregnant with his child and deeply in love. Xena explains to Gabrielle that she stole Borias from Belach's mother; she doesn't want the warlord to lose his daughter, too. But when she discovers that Belach's men have killed every other centaur in the valley, she promises Xenan that she will see justice done.
When Xena returns to tell Belach that his daughter is in love with a centaur, he becomes furious, even before he realizes who Xena is. Once he does, he fights her, but Xena ties him uo and abducts him to the pit of dead centaurs. There she explains that his father was a much better man than Belach, but the son remembers only the Borias who cheated on his mother and abandoned his son, leaving behind only a medallion. When Nicha goes into labor, Xenan distracts Belach's soldiers while Xena delivers the infant centaur via c-section. Belach captures Xenan, offering to trade the centaur's life for his daughter, but Xena says Belach should trade Xenan for his own life. When he scoffs, she fights Belach's army, freeing Xenan so he can escape with Nicha and the baby.
But Nicha will not leave, going outside to tell her father that she loves Xenan. Xena thinks she will have to kill Belach to protect his daughter from him, but she tells him the story of how Borias became a better man as he grew away from Xena. The warrior princess recalls how Borias died, fighting to save the centaurs from her treachery and then trying to see his newborn son. Belach decides to end the killing so that his daughter won't hate him the way he he hates his own father. Nicha and Xenan have named their baby Borias, and Belach offers the infant the medallion of his great-grandfather.
It's great to see Ephiny again, even if she is a ghost, and it's nice to see how Xenan grew up, even if he's suffering from the sort of oppression we've seen from as far back as Hercules' "As Darkness Falls." The horrific image of the genocide by Belach's men make the happy ending of "Last of the Centaurs" a little hard to swallow; Gabrielle may be happy that Xena didn't kill Belach, but the ease with which everyone forgives him is almost repugnant, like the lives of Xenan's brothers and the dead mercenary soldiers don't mean anything as long as the family drama has a happy ending. It's sort of analogous to forgiving Hitler if he let his daughter marry a Jew after the Holocaust.
That said, this episode marks a welcome return to the centaur arc on Xena, bringing closure the fate of her namesake and completing the backstory on relationship with Borias by explaining why he acted as he did on the night Solon was born. Xenan strongly resembles the boy from "Maternal Instinct" all grown up, and the actor is very effective in the scene where he discovers his dead brothers. Xena's anger seems oddly muted, which even Belach's resemblance to Borias doesn't completely explain, and Gabrielle seems awfully passive until she has to pick up her sais to fight, but Ephiny has a great moment yelling "You're the animal!" even if she is a ghost and can only be heard by Gabrielle.
There's some odd twisted wit, a bit when Xena avoids telling Xenan the "long story" of why she and Gabrielle appear so young when they should be so old, then more when it registers that Xena broke up Borias and Natasha. One wonders why Nicha isn't showing more, considering that she's pregnant with a centaur that has to be born via incision, and how Xena can tell with one touch that the baby's a boy, but I guess that's one of her warrior princess talents. It's always charming to see Evil Xena -- no wonder Alti likes this grinning, nasty, wildly sexual creature so much. She orders young Belach never to step between two people and their passion when he walks in on her seducing his father, who then nastily tells Natasha that if she were more of a woman, he wouldn't have strayed. It's easy to feel sorry for the kid, but not so sorry that one can forget what he did to the centaurs.
Xenan gets a final moment with the ghost of Ephiny while Xena gets a final moment exorcising the ghost of Borias, which has hung over her entire life with Gabrielle. She saves the memory of Borias for his son by bringing up the ghost of her own son, and saves the son of Ephiny -- her godson -- in the process. In the end, the two women walk off with their arms around one another, in agreement that life is better than death. One wonders how baby Borias will feel about his grandfather as he grows up bereft of his own kind.