Crusader 4.8 Crusader
1st Airdate:
November 22nd, 1998
Writer: R.J. Stewart
Director: Paul Lynch
Guest Appearances:
Kathryn Morris ~ Najara

Summary

Review

• Xena and Gabrielle fight against soldiers attacking them as a female warrior rides up on horseback and attacks both of them. She leaps off her horse and sword fights with Xena holding her own. Gabby tries to help, but ends up on the ground with the warrior above her ready to run her through. Before Xena can slice her up with her chakram, the warrior freezes and looks up into what appears nothing. She starts to cry, apologizes and asks forgiveness.

• She introduces herself as Najara. She tells how Gabrielle has gone through quite a deal of pain and how Xena fights against her dark side. When asked how she knows this, she tells her that the Gin told her, her guides through life. Again she apologizes for the attack and readies to leave. She freezes again and holds her hands up the sky. She turns back to them and asks them to join her in her mission again Morat and his slave traders. Gabby is all for it, but Xena is hesitant. They agree to join her.

• Najara and Gabrielle walk taking in the day, talking and realizing they have much in common. Najara talks about the light that she has allowed in her life and others in order to fight darkness.

• That night Najara and her men sing around the campfire while Xena & Gabrielle listen. Najara talks to them about what she plans to do against Morat. Gabrielle is interested in her opening a hospice, but Xena doesn't trust her at all. Najara senses this and gives command of her army to Xena.

• The next day, Xena enters the village. When she finds the men trying to enslave the villagers in a barn, she signals the others to attack. Najara arrives first and they both take on all the soldiers and defeat them.  As they head outside, they join Gabrielle and Najara's men. An archer aims his bow at Gabrielle and Xena attempts to leap in front of Gabrielle, but the arrow never reaches her because Najara catches it in mid air.

• Najara talks with the captured soldiers and tells them to accept the light and it will erase their darkness. She then tells the villagers to forgive the soldiers.

• Najara approaches Xena as Xena recalls her vision of her and Gabrielle being crucified on a snowy day. Najara knows of the vision and asks if Gabrielle is in that vision. Xena answers yes, but says Gabrielle doesn't know about it. She asks if there is any way to avoid it. Najara says only a major event could do that. Gabrielle walks in and Najara asks if they will help against the next village and Morat. They agree.

• En route the next day, Gabrielle and Najara go bird watching. Xena follows and notices how happy Gabby is with her. Gabby asks if Najara is happy and if she really plans on opening a hospice. Najara says yes to both and tells Gabrielle to commit to the light.

• Xena tells Najara that she is hitting Morat's stronghold while they attack the village raiders. She tells Najara that she should open a hospice in that village. Xena wants Gabrielle to help her with that hospice and this hopefully will avoid the vision of death she saw. That night, while Gabby sleeps, Xena whispers goodbye and leaves.

• The next day, after they defeat the soldiers, Najara announces that she is opening a hospice her and Gabrielle asks to be allowed into the light. Najara is overwhelmed.

• Xena attacks Morat and he thinks she is Najara. He tells her to go ahead and kill him now because he knows how she is, how she gives her prisoners three days to commit to the light or she kills them. Xena knocks Morat out and leaves.

• Xena returns and confronts Najara with the allocations. She admits that she kills only evil people who won't turn to the light. When Gabby sees the real her, she wants to go with Xena, but Najara tells Xena that Gabrielle is her responsibility now and she pulls her sword. A heavy battle ensues and even tho they go toe to toe, Xena wins. But as she turns away, Najara leaps once more and beats Xena unconcious. As she's about to kill Xena, Gabrielle lays over her body telling Najara that she will go with her if she allows Xena to live. Najara, Gabrielle and her men leave.

• Xena awakens and spits out a good chewing tooth. She ralizes that Najara has the same weakness she does, Gabrielle!

• After she finds them, Xena distracts Najara and finds Gabrielle. She tells Gabby that Najara likes to kill too much and this must end. Najara returns to the cavern to find Gabrielle suspended by a rope above a chasm. A flame slowly burns at the rope. What Najara doesn't know is that Gabrielle is perfeclty safe on a hidden board. At first Najara thinks Xena is only bluffing, but Xena tells her that Gabrielle wanted to stay to reform her and that if she can't have Gabrielle, no one can. They battle, but Najara is distracted by Gabrielle's peril and loses. She hangs over the chasm as Xena steps on her fingers, but Gabrielle asks her to let Najara live.

• The next day, Najara and her men are turned over the local authorities. Gabrielle tries to make Najara see that by allowing them a trial it is the better way. Najara still holds to her belief that only her way is correct. She tells Gabrielle to be happy . Gabrielle walks away and Xena asks Najara if she told Gabrielle of the vision. She said she would never hurt Gabrielle that way. That was Xena's job. As Xena and Gabrielle walk away, Najara whispers to Gabrielle that she forgives her.

This is the third in a series of posts that will rate the
episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess starting with the fourth season. Each episode will be graded on an A, B, C, D, or F scale. An example of an "A" story would be One Against an Army or A Day in the Life. An example of an "F" episode would be The Titans or A Tale of Two Muses.

Matt's review: The Darkness of the Light

Grade: A

Synopsis:
Gabrielle and Xena are temporalily swayed by the preachings of Najara (Kathryn Morris), who soon reveals a different face.

Disclaimer: Xena's best chewing tooth was not harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Continuity/Production Errors:
Xena gets beaten up. She can ward off Ares (The Furies) or Callisto, but not Najara.
In Act IV, did Xena kill Najara's army or incapacitate them? Not really an error, but this is the first time we see Xena w/a crossbow. What's with Gabrielle and crazy religions? (See Deliverer). Whoever did the sound mixing for this episode put the sword clanging too high in the audio mix.

Review:
Excellent episode! It restored my faith in the fourth season after the botching of A Family Affair (it could have been so much better) and A Tale of Two
Muses. R.J. Stewart (who created Callisto and wrote her debut episode, hint, hint) returns to a winning formula that breathes life into the fourth season and the mythology of the series as a whole. Kathryn Morris was excellent and really believable, especially in her closing speech at the end of Act IV and the talk her and Gabrielle have by the lake in Act II. This is another rare time we get to see Xena cry (see Maternal Instincts, Callisto, etc.), and
Alti's vision is starting to become fufilled (the falling down the stairs sequence).

This episode went farther than Locked Up and Tied Down (a B) in terms of character development, grittier action (except for the stilts), and plot (which is why we gave it a coveted A). The episode ended on a chilling note, and a lot of what Najara said
was twisted but true, especially the part about Xena hurting Gabrielle. The ep ends much like Callisto did (another hint that we've found our new recurring
villaness).

Quote of the ep
(so many to choose from...the easiest to discount was the sophmoric "Quit preaching and fight"):
Gabrielle flings herself across the broken and bruised body of Xena. Xena was barely conscience and realized Alti's prophecy could be fullied right now if Najara thrust the sword through them. Gabrielle looked Najara in the eyes and uttered with conviction what could be an epitath for the series...
"Najara, put the sword down..."

Chakram throws:
One (cutting a mace). Xena was going to use it in the teaser to send Najara into the light but Najara stopped just in time.

Argo present:
Yes, intermittenly.

Triva:
Questions
1. What was the name of Najara's horse?
2. What is the name of the slave trader?
3. What is the name of Najara's first in command?
4. What is the name of the first village our heros ride to and
liberate?

(Answers follow)










Answers:
1. Bonacar (that's how it was spelt in CC)
2. Marat of Crete (now in Phonicia)
3. Dach
4. Zoras