Xena Warrior Princess Episode Reviews
PASSING PARADE: 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.
Im hardly the catch of the day - tall, dark and cursed for eternity. - Cecrops suffering a minor self-esteem crisis.
Remind me if I ever get stuck on a voyage of the damned to have Xena as a friend. Its 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 Xenas usual stunts. I lost count after 10 airborn somersaults.
Shed probably still be going if that ship hadnt been below with Gabrielle happily hollering for her. Actually the only thing bothersome in this scene was the bards 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 dont want her aboard. An astute point. I had half expected the usual theatrics of No, Xena, dont worry about me, I cant be saved. Have a good life; remember me..... But Ill take the charitable view that Gabrielle was so convinced in Xenas abilitys (I have faith in Xenas ability, shell 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 OConnor didnt 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 Gabrielles heaving back on a sea voyage thanks to Xenas convenient solution for the bards 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 couldnt 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, Id 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 Xenas 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 elses 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.