This review contains spoilers.
Xena and Gabrielle may seemingly have been killed in 'The Ides Of March', but there is one episode left this season; a modern day clip show.
It is set in the modern day, and sets out to be a lot of fun. Sadly it is let down a great deal by being very static and not really having enough plot to fill the 44 minutes runtime.
One of the episode's plusses is that it makes fun some of the clichés about the fandom of the show. However, these were relatively few and far between, and could have done with more.
The episode marks the directorial debut of co-star Renée O'Connor. It is quite hard to assess how well she did, as it is not a typical 'Xena' episode in a typical 'Xena' setting. But she seems to have handled her first directing job quite well, as the episode is watchable and easy to follow.
Playing crooked secretary Marco is Robert Trebor, who hasn't been seen in the series since Salmoneus' last appearance way back in season two's 'Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis'. He is a great (and very funny) actor, but sadly here he is given very little to do, and is not used to his full potential.
The clips at times feel very forced and overdone. The bomb scene in particular suffers, with Annie, Harry and Mattie tied up, and countless flashbacks to previous 'Xena' episodes that do not advance the plot and just go on and on.
I felt that Kevin Smith's guest credit gave away that Ares would somehow be involved, and sure enough he was. It's one of several occasions this season where guest cast billing has given away things.
As I say, this episode feels as if it should be great fun, but is very static and slow. It is nowhere as much fun as 'Hercules'' fourth season clip show 'Yes, Virginia, There Is A Hercules' and it's fifth season sequel 'For Those Of You Just Joining Us'.
Don't get me wrong, the episode does have its moments, but the plot is just too stretched to fill the whole 44 minutes.
---Fourth season overview---
The season for me got off to a bad start with 'Adventures In The Sin Trade'. Although some will love it, I found it way too heavy going and found myself much of the time wondering what the heck was going on.
After that, things picked up somewhat with 'A Family Affair', which saw the return of Gabrielle and finished off the Hope storyline.
But for me, the season never felt to completely find its footing. I had a lot of so-so episodes mixed in with some really terrible ones ('A Tale Of Two Muses', 'The Key To The Kingdom', 'If The Shoe Fits...'). Although every season has the odd dud, I found the hit rate much lower this season overall.
Others were fair, but fell somewhat into the 'Adventures In The Sin Trade' template of being just too confusing.
Highlights of the season for me are (the aforementioned) 'A Family Affair', 'Crusader' which introduced the creepy Najara, and enjoyable comedy 'The Play's The Thing'. 'The Ides of March' rounded the season (proper) off well, leaving a big cliff-hanger for the next season.