The whole episode builds towards the confrontation at the end, where four people cross paths and the past comes back in force. The resolution, when it arrives, will come down to the individual choice. This is in keeping with the spirit of the original – we make our own fate.
Gabrielle is clearly in charge and she orchestrates the events. In behavior and actions she resembles Xena, showing that each is learning from the other. Yes, she talks a storm but the implied violence is new – she can and does back the words with credible threats and they are centered on her. She is the dangerous one, not Xena. Yet she is still Gabrielle, listening to both sides and making her decisions in line with her principles and beliefs. She does not compromise.
Xena gathers intelligence and evaluates the King and his story. She is progressing in her development as a hero. Free of the burden of command and the responsibilities of leadership, she can focus on healing and does. Letting go, she places her trust in Gabrielle and is rewarded.
King Koulos put his faith in Ares and it cost him two sons and domestic enemies. With his third son maimed in one of the wars he waged ceaselessly and the end of life rapidly approaching he does some soul searching. He carved a kingdom for his heirs and peace at long last for his people. Now he has to face the consequences of his actions. He cannot undo the past so he does the brave thing and goes to meet with the rebel leader, unarmed. He states his case and awaits the Black Wolf’s decision. He is ready to make restitutions for the past.
Black Wolf paid the ultimate price for his King’s ambitions. His family perished in a warlord raid, punishment for their village’s support of the King. That Koulos tracked down and ended the said warlord matters little – the dead stay in the ground. He wants revenge and destruction of Koulos’ legacy. Gabrielle offers him a royal pardon, chance for a new life and an afterlife with wife and children in the Elysian Fields. On the other hand, if he takes vengeance and stains his hands with blood, Tartarus awaits him.
Gabrielle watches Xena, Xena watches Koulos, and Black Wolf stands in front of the King. Those four come together in one place. The pieces are set, the music starts and the final act begins. We make our own fate. Discuss in FORUMS.
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