Xena Warrior Princess Episode Reviews
Scribes and Scrolls: Written by R.J Stewart, Directed by Stephen L Posey, Edited by Robert Field.
Passing Parade: Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Michael Hurst (Iaolus), John Freeman (Prometheus), Jodie Dorday (Jo), Pau Norell (Statius), Russell Gowers (Demephon), Sara Wiseman (Young Woman), David Mitchell (Innkeeper)
Disclaimer: Ioalus was harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, the Green Egg Men went on to live long and prosperous lives.
Story So Far: Xena and Hercules race to free Prometheus from chains after his capture puts man’s ability to heal in jeopardy. Gabrielle makes eyes at Iaolus.
Rewind For: Another historical ‘first’ from the Warrior Princess when she performs a tracheotomy. Her patient later died though. Lucky for Xena, they hadn’t yet invented malpractice suits.
Gabrielle and Xena with the subtexty farewell to end all farewells – does this make Herc and Iaolus their handbags?
One of those "we’ll fix it in post" moments, as the imposing rock wall Xena smacked into while being dangled by a giant bird was given a serious case of the wobbles.
"Xena, do you think Iaolus is still in love with you?" Gabrielle literally, struck dumb, by the blinding love of her five minute flirtation with Herc’s sidekick.
This episode is not for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach. We’re talking seriously disturbing moments here – green egg men with purple undies, killer stalagmites, flying pre-historic birds showcasing budget CGI landscapes, Hera’s horny devils (well they are demons with horns), Hercules declaring undying love for Xena who sorta seems into it, and the most gasp-worthy scene of all – Gabrielle making out with Iaolus. I know, I know, I said "Ewwww" too. Only it was surrounded with four-letter words that would make a sailor blush.
I am thinking it’s time we started seriously looking at sending our bard off for that "special" visit with the vet. We know by this episode that Gabrielle’s a bundle of burgeoning hormones and if you smile at her the right way she’s already off planning the wedding-table seating arrangements. But in Prometheus, she’s even sidling up to a man who looks old enough to be her father (sorry Michael), with more weathered brown leather on his cheery face than on Xena’s saddle.
And to top it all off, Gabrielle’s implying Iaolus might be the other half of her soul bare hours after meeting him, and also seemingly unbothered by the fact he has a "history" with her best friend. Isn’t there some sort of no-go etiquette to dating your best friend’s recent ex?
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Perhaps the best way to look at this episode is to consider it a sequel to the Hercules trilogy which first introduces Xena. For those who missed it: She’s bad, she seduces and plays Iaolus, she then tries to play Herc, but he converts her to good, seduces her, and they develop feelings. He exits stage right with Iaolus, she picks up a bard and a new mission to do good, and later bumps into Herc again … and, dada, enter the episode Prometheus.
That’d all be fine except they didn’t run this episode close enough to the trilogy for the character which Xena has become to really be believable doing all the things she does here.
If Xena really does still get the warm fuzzies for the son of a god, I’m thinking she’d probably be making more than a few excuses to hang around him, be mentioning him oh, once in a blue moon, and not doing this Fonzie-cool routine like she couldn’t care less when he does show up again. She doesn’t even seem that interested when he tries to tell her she’s the only woman who’s mattered to him since his wife died. She’s more like, "uh huh, that’s nice, can I have the sword now?"
So maybe she doesn’t care for him. In which case how come she kissed the dude so often this episode? Three times by my count, but I did have my shaking hands in front of my eyes for most of these moments so I could have missed a few more. Why’d she do that? Old habits die hard? The Powers That Be required ongoing proof of heterosexuality? What?!
See what gets me about this episode is that what she’s doing – ie smooching with Herc and looking back longingly at him when he’s riding off at the end – doesn’t match how she actually treats him and stares at him during the rest of the episode. She’s clearly changed from the Herc trilogy days and now, put simply, she’s just not that into him – certainly not as much as he seems to be into her.
And that’s what’s so wrong – you have Xena trying so hard to act the part she once played, of a woman in love with Herc or at least the idea of him, when she actually looks like she’d rather be off fishing with the bard. It caused an off-kilter feeling all episode long. Add in the Gabrielle’s blind enthusiasm to fall in love with Iaolus, easily the most ill-fitting, forced romantic plotline short of Ulysses ever witnessed on Xena, and you get an episode that makes the viewer feel like they’re being attacked by a million tiny but annoying fleas.
This is a deep flaw with the episode on a fundamental level that goes far beyond the really bad horny devils or the strange green egg men (one of whom falls over, revealing he’s got his purple undies on – nice genetics since he’s just been hatched). True, that scene was so bad I wondered if I was trapped in some strange Beatles I Am The Walrus film clip. Goo goo gjoob. But, no such luck. I suppose it could have a certain cheesy charm if the rest of the episode just felt right. But it was the storyline even the Herc writers would have rejected as up there with gym-sock stinky.
In Prometheus’s defence it wasn’t 100% lemony. Without doubt, the most classic scene in the whole episode, and the only reason it’s worth the admission price, is the farewells in the mountain, Herc and Iaolus; and Gabrielle and Xena. The blokes conclude with a manly hand on the shoulder and a few lame jokes – despite the fact Iaolus could well be at death’s door and Herc is on a suicide mission. Meanwhile, over at the estrogen camp, our girls are holding hands to chests, clinging together, stroking cheeks, giving such seriously deep eye contact that, frankly, it was pretty hilarious when you consider their hearts are supposed to belong to the two men beside them. I love that scene. Best farewell ever – well, not counting One Against An Army. And the cherry on top was that Xena’s last words (she believes) to Hercules, before knocking him unconscious to go off and fight jolly green eggmen and then presumably die, are about Gabrielle and making sure he gets her into bard school. THESE are the final thoughts she has in life? Yeah, as I say, that whole Herc/Xena fireworks thing has a few gaping flaws in it.
So in conclusion, what did we learn from that 42-minutes-now-missing-from-life? Gabrielle is a heavy sleeper; Xena likes to decorate watermelons in wigs; Iaolus likes his fluff young; Herc still loves Xena; the show’s writers can’t let go of a romance that the warrior princess herself already seems bored by and Gabrielle wants a romance, any romance, and she’s not that choosy as long as the subjects are cute and on the right side of the law.
Well now, once you’ve figured out the logic of all that, feel free to solve the Palestine/Israel crisis.