Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 7

Locked Up and Tied Down

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 09, 1998 on
out of 10
User Rating
76 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


When Xena allows herself to be tried and convicted of the murder of an innocent woman, who she left to die in the past, Gabrielle struggles to uncover the truth of what really happened all those years ago and free Xena from Shark Island Prison.

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  • Xena goes to prison for "A Crime She Did Not Commit" (tm)

    Fairly typical "good guy who used to be a bad guy goes to prison for bad guy deeds and needs to prove that they are now a good guy" crossed with a "good guy is imprisoned for a crime that they did not commit".

    In this case, it is Xena (happened in season 1 as well), not a minor character (as the show also has done). Difference being that in the season 1 episode the crime was current, not something from her past.

    A fairly simple "by the book" episode with no major surprises, serviceable without being great. Decent filler, nothing more.

    Xena is still trying to atone for her past misdeeds and thinks life in prison is the way to do it (since this is not the end of season 4, you know already she won't spend more than the next 40 minutes behind bars), however bad things will happen to her, and good things happen to bitter people making them less bitter.

    Mostly weighed down by the fact that it is entirely unoriginal.moreless
  • Xena continues to struggle with the guilt of her dark past and, desperate for some kind of peace, suffers in the hell of Shark Prison.

    From the first scene this seems to be a much heavier duty episode than we have seen thus far. The conversation about having 'the weight of the world' on Xena's shoulders immediately hints to us that we are going to be dealing with Xena's dark past, and that is certainly the case, as Xena is arrested for the murder of an innocent girl while in the throes of her conquering and rampaging past.

    Again we get to see a little more of the tormented and evil creature that Xena was before she began to make the changes to her life that ended up in the saving of her soul. It again reaffirmed to me what a journey Xena has made to change from that woman capable of leaving a beautiful innocent woman to a horrendous death simply because she could, to a woman capable of loving and working for the greater good, at the constant risk of her own life and happiness. How she manages to live with her guilt and to continue to rise each morning is a feat of such courage that I don't think any of us should ever question the choices and sometimes cold demeanor we see in Xena.

    However, as admirable as Xena's actions are in admitting to her guilt in the death of the woman, and her decision to pay for her crime, as usual, while Xena goes off and does what she feels she needs to do to assuage her guilt, it is Gabrielle who is left behind to pick up the pieces. There are some incredibly powerful moments early on in this episode as Gabrielle pleads with Xena to somehow defend herself against her crime. The pain in Xena's eyes as Xena compares her desire for a sense of completeness through admissions of guilt, separate from a search for redemption for her past, instead finding some way to live with it, to Gabrielle's own spiritual quest in an attempt to help Gabrielle understand, is quite heart-wrenching. Of course, Xena is right: there is no redemption for her past, and no real way to make up for the pain and suffering she has caused, but she does deserve some peace and it is easy to understand how she feels that paying for at least one of her crimes may bring her a little closer to finding that peace.

    The introduction to Shark Island Prison is extremely effective. The hanging of the female inmate is both brutal and shocking, and not at all what we are used to. I like that they resisted the urge to make it too over-the-top. The whole presentation of Shark Prison is effective, from Xena's interactions with her female inmates, to watching Xena bury the hanged woman in the pouring rain while the Prison master watches from above; the scenes are intense, atmospheric and highly effective. I really enjoyed the twist that the supposedly murdered Thelassa was the Prison overseer, even though it was a somewhat predictable plot turn. I also appreciated the irony of the fact that of all the murders Xena committed, she was imprisoned for one that she didn't actually commit. The point is, of course, that she intended to commit the murder, and there is no way to redeem herself for that.

    I also had both admiration and exasperation for Gabrielle's decision to attempt to free Xena from the prison. Although you have to admire her dedication and bravery, not to mention her obvious deep love for Xena, the danger she places her own life in, ultimately requiring Xena's help to save her when Xena is in no position to do so is, at times, a little frustrating.

    It all gets a little predictable at the end, with the inmates rising up against the guards and Xena playing the hero protecting Thelessa from their wrath. I'm a little surprised, actually, that given how much was apparently cut from this episode due to time restraints, that they kept such a long fight scene at the end, which served little purpose. I feel that the episode would have been better served by more back-story, or just more content, rather than more fighting.

    The ending was pretty typical, which is a shame given that the episode is quite solid otherwise. One little niggle that really bothers me is the disgusting rag that Xena spends the episode in. Why she ended up wearing that for the duration is beyond me, as the other inmates remained in what appears to be normal clothes. I'm not sure why it bothers me, but I think it has something to do with Xena's dignity; even in that situation I just don't believe that she would allow herself to be beaten down so badly. But perhaps her frame of mind was so bad at that point that she really didn't care.

    Overall, this is an interesting episode, with a nice presentation. It has some weak moments, but it is solid for the most part, and I enjoyed the change of pace.moreless
  • Bad Girls.

    Whooshing right on pass the ever dull 'A Tale of Two Muses', we swing right into action with Locked Up & Tied Down. Literally. While nowhere near a Xena classic, it has enough action, enough humour, a few flashbacks (of little substance), some of the most bizarre Xena scenes ever, bad acting (which is a must) and some decent Gabrielle scenes (also a must).

    It just…never hits the right notes. It never swings the right punches. It's also tonally all over the place – which isn't all that surprising from this show – but considering it's an episode dealing with Xena's redemption (yeah, yeah, EVERY episode is), this one specifically brings up the fact that Xena has never been trialed for her crimes, but it fails to follow through and takes the easy 'how ironic' route instead.

    Semi-side-note: I HATE…. No. I LOATHE when the villain highlights the irony of the situation. Loathe it. Although I can't help but believe the writers had their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, as shortly afterwards Xena performs an escape trick Houdini would have trouble believing (not to mention the slaughtering of the rats using only her choppers. Total slapstick nonsense).

    The season has its first really cool fight scene. It's just too bad it's with an actor who couldn't seem to hone in on what sort of accent she wanted. Nevertheless, it's a rare fight scene where Xena does more than a few kicks, a few punches and a neat spin. In fact, she gets to mix it up with various fighting styles (one included a noose) and the finale goes all out of the way in using its props and impressive sets, creating one crash after another.

    I wasn't interested at all in the main plot, and the flashbacks suited no purpose other than to flesh out our little murder victim. The plot twist wasn't all that shocking and is betrayed by some, ahem, wooden acting (I doubt Gabrielle could have fixed up a balm for such a problem). It's a frivolous standalone episode that wraps its hokey premise in Xena's redemption with little to show for it.

    OK, so I didn't like this one much in retrospect. It'll do to pass the time, and there are a few enjoyable Xena/Gabby moments, but there's nothing special to report. The next episode, if memory serves, is a corker.moreless
  • Xenas haunted by her past.

    not a pefect foray into our heroes dark and brutal past but all in all Locked Up and Tied Down is a good episode.

    season 4 opened with 5 amazing episodes which then lost its momentum with the comical Tale of Two Muses,this episode finds the shows pace but doesnt make it of the best episodes ever made,but at the end of the day its what we need to watch as it reveals a few details about Xenas past,the method of the victims supposed death however is sheer rediculous...but it shows tht crime really does pay.

    Season 4 has many episodes that add detail to Xenas past,but it isnt the best one,but Lucy is great again as she is the one who has to put up with some of the most grotesque scenes here.

    Crusader ups the anti more,which continues for the rest of this brill season of the show.moreless
  • When Xena is tried and convicted for the murder of a young woman during her warlord days, she doesn't put up any protest, and is sent to the brutal Shark Island Prison. A good episode, much better than I expected it to be at the outset...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    At the outset, I thought this was going to be not such a good episode, average at best, but to my surprised, it turned out to not be such a bad episode.

    The episode does address the issue of Xena being held to account for the killings she made during her time as a warlord. After all, she has tried to 'turn good', but has never stood trial for any of these murders.

    However, the matter is never really settled one way or the other, as the supposedly murdered girl turns out to be alive.

    Xena stands trial (in a scene that reminds me greatly of the first season's excellent 'The Reckoning'), and refuses to put up any form of defence, resulting in her being shipped off to the terrible Shark Island Prison.

    We start to be introduced to the other prisoners – there is the timid young girl, and the hard as nails Ursina, who Xena was responsible for capturing (off-screen) several years previously. However, we get an introduction to these prisoners, but not much after that until the episode's climax, as they somewhat fade into the background. Maybe more time restraints?

    Xena's terrible treatment by the prison's crooked guards have you just shouting at the screen for her to retaliate (she could take them easily), and the burying the hanged woman in the middle of the storm is well filmed.

    Somehow, I guessed that the hooded warden of the prison was Thalassa herself. I must be getting good at guessing these things!

    The flashback scenes of Thalassa's 'murder' are indeed horrific, as giant crabs eat away at her, and we briefly see her severed arm.

    Gabrielle seems to win the embittered Thalassa over quite quickly and easily. Apparently, according the Season 4 DVD (Region 1), there were more scenes to make the transition more plausible, but most of them had to end up on the cutting room floor due to time restraints.

    Then there are the rats in the dungeon – urgh. You'd have thought that they'd had enough of rats since the infamous first season episode 'Death In Chains', bloopers from which are amongst the most famous from the series.

    Xena's 'rat throw' (swinging a dead rat by it's tail with her teeth) to get her chakram does seem a bit far fetched, but by this stage of the series, we have learned to accept such leaps of the imagination.

    As I mentioned earlier, we never quite get the full implications of Xena's murderous history played through, as it turns out Thalassa was never killed and only wanted Xena in the prison to extract her revenge. If she HAD been murdered by Xena, are we to believe that the Warrior Princess would have spent the rest of her life in prison?

    Like 'A Good Day' just a couple of episodes previously, this is an almost completely serious, humourless story, although isn't quite as grim or as hard hitting as that one.

    All-in-all, a good episode, and far better than I first expected it to be.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • 8:00 pm
  • 9:00 pm
  • 10:00 pm
    48 Hours To Catch a Genius