This review contains moderate spoilers.
Well, what a strange episode. The moment we see modern day reporter Nigel (Michael Hurst) appear and point a microphone at Xena, and she becomes aware of the camera filming every move, we as an audience are taken aback. Just what is going on? Why are all these modern things in Xena's time?
Hurst gives a good performance as Nigel, looking very different from the long, blonde haired Iolaus in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'. As per usual, he is game for pretty much anything, such as landing face down in a pool of mud.
When I first watched this episode, I was curious as to why Hurst didn't also play Charon, boatman of the river Styx, another part which he usually portrays. Apparently (according to the Region 1 DVDs) there simply wasn't time to film the separate part and merge it together with Nigel interviewing him, so another actor was brought in to play Charon instead.
A nice touch is that the deranged Caligula, whom Xena killed (or rather, persuaded to kill himself) in the previous episode, 'The God You Know', is awaiting to cross the river Styx into the underworld.
I wouldn't say this comedy-based episode is particularly hilarious (just VERY STRANGE), but it does have a couple of scenes that do stand out.
One of the best scenes comes as Nigel tries to interview Eve about mother Xena, only to be met with a barrage of (bleeped out) foul language. To see the usually calm Eve respond in such a volatile manner is really funny.
Vying with the Eve scene as best moment of the episode is Nigel's interview in the brothel (although it's termed slightly nicer than that in the actual episode), when Ares appears, half naked and swigging a drink, next in line for service!
The ending scene is also very good, with the question as to whether Xena and Gabrielle are in love, but interrupted by technical difficulties.
What makes this episode so strange is that what modern day Nigel and his crew are doing in Xena's time is never explained at all. With the teaser ending in Xena's unwelcoming reaction to the camera filming her, it seems as if the episode will serve to explain what is going on. But after this, Nigel and his crew and their technology are mostly treated as an everyday sight in Ancient times. Not even a clue is given about Nigel and how he came to end up in this time period.
As with several episodes this season, it has a very "end of the series in sight" feel to it, and it feels a bit like they thought of the story and decided "what the heck, let's go with it!". I definitely don't think that it would have worked any earlier in the show's history, especially in the first couple of seasons.
This is more a novel episode than anything else, and I would say one more for long-term, hardcore fans. Any one new to the series is sure to wonder what on earth is going on and probably won't enjoy it as much.