As you know from my previous posts, Season Five is … not my favorite. It has Xena’s mystical rape/pregnancy (I don’t care that she’s okay with it, she had no say in whether or not she had a baby), over-the-top religious allusion (Eve/Livia is basically Jesus and Paul wrapped up into one character, and Eli is just a boring version of Jesus), crappy villains (hi, Pao Tzu), and … ugh, it’s just so bad. But! To make up for it – kind of – we get the season finale, “Motherhood,” genuinely one of the best Xena episodes of all time.
I’m not going to do a full recap, but basically, thanks to Eli, Xena can kill gods now, as long as her daughter lives, and the gods know this. It’s seriously high stakes, and even having watched the episode multiple times, I still am on the edge of my seat, even now. Everybody brings their A-game to this episode, and I even start to care about Eve/Livia a bit, which is a major feat. To be completely honest, I almost stopped watching the show mid-fifth season, but “Motherhood” is what got me excited about the sixth season, almost like it was a renaissance for the show.
I have quite a bit to do this evening – and, as I mentioned in my non-Xena post from earlier today, I’m a wee bit emotionally drained – but I will say this about this episode (and Season Five, in general): it’s a pretty ballsy move to fictionalize the early beginnings of Christianity, even if they change the name to The Way of Love. The spread of Christianity wasn’t due to pacifist revolutionaries; it was violence and forced conversion, so using a warrior princess, imbued with the power of a guy who might have been a god himself, killing of a pagan pantheon is incredibly fitting. It’s also pretty hypocritical of Eli to be like PACIFISM and then JK KILL THEM GODS NOW, which is also very apropos. I’m not sure if that’s the parallel the writers and producers were trying to make with this storyline, but hey, I grew up in a Christian home and went to a Christian academy, so this is the kind of shit I notice.
Art Credit: Varese Sarabande