Review by: Sheryl-Lee Kerr

Season 2; Episode 21,
23 May, 1998

RATING: 7 chakrams.

The Lost Mariner Montage by Mary DraganisSCRIBES & SCROLLS:
Written by Steven Sears; Directed by Garth Maxwell.

George Henare (Hidsim); Nigel Hebrow (Basculis); Tony Todd (Cecrops); Charles Siebert (Poseidon); Michael Hallows (Tig); Edward Campbell (Altrech); Frank Iwan Jr (Colfax)

STORY SO FAR: Gabrielle is stuck on a doomed sailing ship which no one can leave. Xena goes aboard to rescue her and lift Poseidon’s curse, freeing them and the crew.

DISCLAIMER: Cecrops’ joie de vivre was not harmed during the production on this motion picture.

REWIND FOR: Xena’s remarkably well-groomed appearance after just washing up shore, and still in full armor (complete with chakram); Xena’s first ever water chakram rebound; Gabrielle madly tapping her wrist when offered her first squid; the sight of Gabrielle with tentacles hanging out of her mouth that had even Xena looking queasy; the special effects of Poseidon’s whirlpool.

QUOTABLE: “No, YOU don’t understand the danger. This is a boat on water -- water - boat - my stomach, we don’t mix very well so, unless you want a quick and colorful deck washing, I suggest you put me on a boat to shore.” - Gabrielle, the reluctant guest. “I’m hardly the catch of the day - tall, dark and cursed for eternity.” - Cecrops suffering a minor self-esteem crisis.

SLK’S REVIEW Remind me if I ever get stuck on a voyage of the damned to have Xena as a friend. It’s quite the mate who would actually fight off a pack of pirates (albeit unbelievably incompetent and stupid ones) to get onto a cursed ship to save Gabrielle. (Unless she was actually just going back for her sword.) Seriously, though, that was a mighty display of love and bravery, not to mention even more gravity-defying than Xena’s usual stunts. I lost count after 10 airborn somersaults. She’d probably still be going if that ship hadn’t been below with Gabrielle happily hollering for her. Actually the only thing bothersome in this scene was the bard’s rare display of selfishness, with Gabrielle not seeming to be too worried that she was getting Xena trapped on the boat along with her. As the doomed mariner Cecrops said: “If you care about your friend, you don’t want her aboard.” An astute point. I had half expected the usual theatrics of “No, Xena, don’t worry about me, I can’t be saved. Have a good life; remember me.....” But I’ll take the charitable view that Gabrielle was so convinced in Xena’s ability’s (“I have faith in Xena’s ability, she’ll get us out of this”) that she thought a 300 year old curse from the gods would be mere chicken feed to the warrior princess. Good thing she was right or she would be one decidedly guilty bard right now, housed for the rest of her days at sea with a bored, pent up ex-warlord.

Renee O’Connor didn’t get to do much more than play comic sidekick on this trip, a role on the edges which, while not stretching in the slightest, she made the most of. It was also great to see more than Gabrielle’s heaving back on a sea voyage thanks to Xena’s convenient solution for the bard’s seasickness. What absolutely did not wash was the fact Xena obviously withheld this remedy from Gabrielle throughout the Ulysses episode, saying that at the time she couldn’t “risk it”. Twaddle. She risked it here, so why not then? Or perhaps it just proves the warrior princess has a sense of humor! If so, if I were Gabrielle, I’d be considering looking in the want ads for a less wicked hero. Nah... on second thoughts...

The one stand out thing about the show was Tony Todd as Cecrops. With a sensuous voice, resonate, rumbly and beautiful, he stole almost every scene without trying. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans will remember him as the older Jake Sisko in the episode The Visitor, which showed just how skilled an actor he is. It just goes to prove what a difference a charismatic and capable guest star will make. His pain, frustration, bitterness and despair came through powerfully, as did his tiredness at having to spend a lifetime dampening these feelings out of guilt for his tub full of trapped ex-pirates. At the start, when the way to lift the curse was mentioned, I half expected Cecrops would fall in love with Xena, so predictable it seemed. Surprisingly - and fortunately - Cecrops showed no sign of a single puppy-eyed gaze or simpering look, even throwing the mere idea back into Xena’s startled face. The actual solution, while a little cloying, came off quite well, thanks again to Todd making it believable as he screamed into the angry sea about the answer being within him all along. I wince at how this episode would have come out with an actor as wooden as the props at the helm. Even Lucy Lawless seemed slightly surprised to have a guest to really act off for once.

The ending, of Cecrops hugging the land, Xena and Gabs holding on happily to each other and the joy on everyone else’s faces is just a lovely happy hit. For fan satisfaction, this show was a pretty nice job all round. As warming as chocolate without the calories.

*Montage by Mary Draganis

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