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Death in Chains Reviewed

Conniving King Sisyphus wants to cheat death, and so when Death herself - Hades sister Celesta comes for him, he tricks her and takes her captive. This means that no one can die and Sisyphus only needs to keep her captive for a while until her candle goes out and Death will disappear altogether. To avoid this, Hades himself calls on Xena to help free his sister and restore order to the mortal world. Along the way Xena mixes it up with Toxeus and Gabrielle falls for another young man, Talus - although this one is quite nice for a change. Eventually, Xena makes it to Sisyphus` castle and gets stuck in a few booby traps before convincing him that he must free Celesta, although Toxeus and his cronies have something to say about this!

Charles Siebert is one of the most frequently used directors. (He took over the acting role of Sisyphus for Ten Little Warlords.) Sisyphus is a good character, and although the story seems pretty way out, it has its origins in genuine Greek myths where Sisyphus tricked and chained Hades himself, and later tried to escape death. (The wierdest stories are usually the ones with elements of the Greeks myths in them.) This episode sees another God appear in XENA; Hades played by Erik Thomson and was probably filmed after Hooves and Harlots as Gabrielle is wearing her rather fetching Amazon outfit here. Look out for lots of large rats jumping over Lucy Lawless - I bet that was fun! The story is quite a dark one really. Death is seen as a necessary part of life and its absence is shown to have serious consequences. We see those who deserve to die, like Toxeus; sick people like the frail old lady who welcome death, and the unfairness of it also as Gabrielle`s young man has a mystery illness - that looks like a heart problem - and is another of Celesta`s subjects. One thing though, you would think the Gods might intervene themselves in a situation as serious as the one Sisyphus causes. Interestingly it was Ares that freed the captive Hades in the myth, and here we have Ares` favourite girl Xena doing the job.

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