Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 17

The Execution

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Apr 07, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
74 votes

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Episode Summary


Xena and Gabrielle have only one day to determine what really happened when Gabrielle's friend, Meleager, is sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit. Unfortunately, Meleager himself isn't certain that he didn't do it, because he was drunk when it happened.

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  • Meleagor the Mighty revisited...

    An urgent call for help from Meleagor the Mighty brings Xena and Gabrielle to a village where they discover he will be executed for a murder. Meleagor traces his path, recalling what he can of the events that unfolded through the memory of that night's drunken haze. This is something of a "who-done-it mystery," the twist in the story coming later when it is revealed who really committed the murder.

    Meleagor is his own PR person and is not really the hero he makes himself out to be. Regardless, Gabrielle has an unusual and unexplained attachment to Meleagor, who must be a type of fantasy father figure for her. Her gullibility shows and she doesn't hesitate to defend him. Gabrielle is genuinely distressed and in her desperation, she springs him from prison and even physically attempts to protect him from Xena.

    It was a decent story and I liked how they managed to sneak a twist into it. The character Meleagor made his debut in the first season and gained a bonus episode in season two but really how much more could they have done with his character?

    I liked how a vendor in the village tried nonchalantly to sell to Xena "an actual reproduction of the possible murder weapon that was never found". Very humorous.moreless
  • I try to be nice about this episode, but it just doesn't work... aahhh! Will somebody just execute Meleagor before I do it myself!!!!

    The Execution is an interesting episode at times, but mostly it is all a little bit silly. It doesn't do a whole lot for me. I found Meleagor to be a fairly one-dimensional and pretty boring character the first time round, in The Prodigal, and I was quite dismayed that they chose to bring him back again for round two! There were so many fantastic characters who only got a look in for one episode, and who would have had so much more to offer a storyline, that it seems quite astounding that Meleagor was chosen to return.

    Putting my personal feelings about Meleagor aside, as an episode the whole thing just seemed a bit far fetched. I mean, I could live with the murder storyline, and I could live with Meleagor either innocent or guilty, but Xena as the killer? Oh wow, what a *cough* coincidence! It does all work in the end (to some degree), and the parts come together to form a whole that is acceptable, and at times enjoyable, but it all just leaves you feeling flat. When its not cheesy, it is all out ridiculous, I just didn't buy it.

    One part of the episode that I found particularly frustrating was Gabrielle's return to the naive, and somewhat immature, Gabrielle of the first season. As a character, Gabrielle had come so far, and undergone so many personal and emotional changes over the second season, that I found it quite disappointing to see her revert back to her old self. The fact that she was right all along about Meleagor did not make up for it, at least in my opinion.

    However, several key aspects of this storyline redeem the episode somewhat. Firstly, I like the display of the strength of friendship that Xena feels for Gabrielle in this episode. Despite being such a strong-willed "I'm always right" kinda gal, Xena is prepared to put aside her own opinion regarding Meleagor's innocence, and give Meleagor the benefit of the doubt, all for Gabrielle's sake. It is quite touching in its own way, and relatively effective.

    Secondly, I love seeing the two women's varying opinions of Meleagor's innocence create such a rift between them. Watching Gabrielle stand up to Xena was quite exciting, and my only regret is that they didn't take this part of the storyline further. It really is something to see Xena and Gabrielle fighting for different corners.

    Thirdly, I thought the executioner was a nice touch and quite cute.

    Fourthly, I thought Xena's stunt at the end was quite clever. It all felt very rushed, but it worked and was believable enough.

    So, clearly this was not one of my favorites. In fact, this episode, along with The Giant Killer, and A Solstice Carol are the low points of Season 2. I really think that Season 2 was a very strong season, with a lot of outstanding episodes, but these three are easily the worst episodes, equally as bad as each other! However, loving anything means taking the good with the bad, so we can appreciate this episode for how good it makes the rest of the season look!!moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle come to the aid of Gabrielle's friend Meleager, who is accused of a murder that he insists he didn't commit. But the pair are split when Xena isn't so convinced that he is innocent, in this rather uninteresting and dragged out episode..moreless

    This episode marks the return of Tim Thomerson as Meleager the Mighty, first seen in the first season episode 'The Prodigal'.

    I found Gabrielle's deep respect for Meleager in this episode, even before he was accused of murder, a bit sudden, as even though Meleager came through eventually in 'The Prodigal', he showed some very questionable behaviour beforehand.

    Although it was nice to add some continuity to use a character we had seen before (as opposed to the typical 'old friend' who we never see or heard of before or since), I found it a bit hard to really care all that much about Meleager.

    I found this story for the most part to be quite uninteresting and slow going. The only moment of note is as Xena fends off an assassin attacking Meleager with arrows – she catches one in each hand and the third between her teeth.

    Beyond that, only the climatic execution scene (which I wont give away, but has a nice red herring) livens up the story slightly.

    This is another of my lesser favourite second season episodes, to the point that in many ways I'd probably consider it to be my least favourite of the entire season.moreless
  • He just had to drink, again!!!

    The Execution-Xena and Gabrielle have only one day to determine what really happened when Gabrielle's friend, Meleagor, is sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit.

    Melegar returns, and he is acutally sober for almost the whole episode...WOW!! What is interesing is seeing Gabrielle turning on Xena so quick for Melegar. I know Melegar isn't a murder, but with the deep relationship Xena and Garielle have that's pretty cruel for Garbielle. I do love the fight scene between Melegar and Xena, but the best thing about the episode is learning Xena was killer!! The execution scene is pretty sad, you really believe Melegar is dead and that Xena never made it. But when his alive and Xena explains how he survived was a great twist. All in All, a good episode with a nice mystery and twists.moreless
Tim Thomerson

Tim Thomerson

Meleager the Mighty

Guest Star

Patrick Khutze

Patrick Khutze

Other Guard

Guest Star

Douglas Kamo

Douglas Kamo


Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Tim Thomerson first appeared as Meleager the Mighty in the season 1 episode "The Prodigal", when Gabrielle returned to Potidaea to confront her fears and instead helped Meleager defend her village, thus becoming friends in the process. This is Thomerson's final appearance on Xena as Meleager.

    • Goof: Gabrielle is watching Meleager's execution from the window of the cell. Notice her hand gripping the bar of the window. When she cannot bear to watch anymore and turns to leave, the bar moves as she take her hand away.

    • Nitpick: The old lady's knitting needles are modern ones.

    • Goof: During the opening fight, a man swipes his sword at Gabrielle's legs. You see that she doesn't jump until after the sword has passed 'through' her legs.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Meleager: Xena, will you tell Gabrielle I'm sorry?
      Xena: You should tell her yourself.
      Meleager: I tried, but she never wants to hear from me again. Can't blame her. I really screwed up when I lied to her.
      Xena: Which lie? The one about the drinking or the one about the killing?

    • Meleager: Gabrielle, when the time comes, don't look outside.
      Gabrielle: I have to. I want you to look at me. I want the last face that you see in the world to be a friend.

    • Executioner: I believe someone here sent for me?
      Arbus: Ah, the executioner. Welcome, welcome. There's been a slight delay, so there's no point in getting ready just yet. Why don't you go change into some comfortable clothes, I'll send for you when we're ready?
      Executioner: These are my comfortable clothes.

    • Meleager: Excuse me if I have mixed feelings at the moment, but you just saved me from an execution, to take me back to my execution?!

    • Arbus: Sometimes the truth can be a heavy burden.
      Xena: Yes, it can.

    • Gabrielle: It couldn't have been a fair trial, if there had been any discussion...
      Meleager: (interrupts) There was only one real discussion: whether to hang me, behead me or tear me limb from limb in the public square. They didn't have a blade big enough, the square wasn't wide enough, so hanging wins. Lucky me!

    • Gabrielle: (telling a story) ...and hope was lost. And that's when Meleager appeared and crushed Damon's troops. Did I mention the part where...
      Xena: (interrupts) ...Meleager single-handedly hauls a war wagon full of Spartan spears over 20 leagues of rocky roads? Yeah! The way you build him up his head must be in the clouds!

    • Xena: You put people on a pedestal, sooner or later they're going to fall and your expectations with them.
      Gabrielle: I put put people on a pedestal!

    • Gabrielle: So, what have you been up to?
      Meleager: Oh, this and that: saving villagers, defending the helpless, getting convicted of murder.

  • NOTES (1)

    • DISCLAIMER: By popular demand "The Executioner" will bring back his comfortable lightweight cotton-flax blend robe in a variety of spring colors.


    • When Xena realizes that she was the one who actually committed the murder, she mentions that it happened while Gabrielle was away in Athens. This is a reference to the episode "Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards", where Gabrielle leaves Xena to pursue her dreams of becoming a bard. We never found out what Xena got up to while Gabrielle was away until this episode.

    • The old woman knitting while they are getting ready to hang Meleager is based on a real woman during the French Revolution. She is in Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities".