Although I seem to be the odd one out in this debate, I felt that this was an excellent episode, from start to finish.
The centaur plotline was fantastic - any episode with centaurs is a good one, and this is no exception. It also neatly tied up the centaur storyline, which had not received any attention for many seasons. Although it is a distressing episode considering the massacre of the entire centaur population, it ends on a really nice positive note.
The return of Ephiny was great - she was probably the most loved of all the Amazons in the series. Her unexpected death (several seasons ago) was a great loss, as her character was never replaced with another truly likable Amazon (although Varia was meant to fill that role). Also, her only being seen by Gabrielle added a nice touch, and, to me, made the whole situation far more believable.
The introduction of Belach, Borias' son, was a breath of fresh air. Although Borias was a far more interesting (and better acted) character, to have any connection to Borias made it worthwhile. Martin Csokas is always fantastic, and it was a nice touch to finish his character, Borias, on such a positive and fulfilling note.
I loved the conflict of interest between Xena, and her connection to Belach through Borias, and Gabrielle, and her connection to Xenan through Ephiny. It is a pity that there wasn't more time to play out that part of the storyline, because it truly put the two leads in a difficult situation. How would Gabrielle truly have reacted to Xena wanting to help Belach, based on a relationship from her past? As a partner, it would be very hard for Gabrielle to support Xena in her decision, especially considering Gabrielle's connections to Ephiny, to whom Gabrielle gave her right of caste.
I thought that the flashbacks added a really nice touch to the episode, putting it all into perspective. It was sad, as a viewer, to remember back to the birth of Xenan, and how far the show has come. Again, as I have said this entire season, this episode felt like the end.
Overall, this episode has everything you could want in an episode of Xena. The battles were spot on, the ending was definately a tear-jerker, and the return of some much-loved characters was done very well. Overall, one of the best episodes of the season.