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Octo Watches Xena: Warrior Princess blind!

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Death in Chains is basically the reverse of the last episode, after King Sisyphus (here interpreted as a criminal magician with a trap filled murder castle!) has the clever idea of cheating death by, well... cheating Death; he traps Hades’ sister in chains and separates her from her magic Murder Candle and, end result, nobody can die now.

This is revealed to Xena when she and Gaby open the episode the same way they always do (killing some bandits), and BY GOLLY, they turn out to still be alive. A better hint when Hades himself shows up and also explains things to her. Also, on their way to Sisyphus‘ Murderous Trap Castle they find a bunch of people who were in a rockslide and can’t quite die despite being in terrible excruciating pain and being pretty eager for it.

Xena leaves Gaby behind at a hospice to challenge the Murder Mansion of Sisyphus solo, and leave Gabys big ol brains to try to figure out some way to ease the terminal patients as best they can, and winds up falling in love with this episodes Handsome Young Man de Jour (who, it turns out, has... perpetual heart attacks?) and they decide to abandon their station when they find out that touching the Goddess of Death is lethal and feel that Xena should be warned.

Xena already knows this, because this ain’t her first magical quest, kid.

Also, all the dead bandits from the intro have formed into a hoard of ZOMBIE BANDITS and want to chop Xena to pieces, and can’t be killed in response, and you’d think that would make for a bunch of exciting fight scenes (especially since this is a Sam Raimi production), but they don’t really interact at all.

Anyway, Xena eludes all the traps and tries to convince him to release death because things are getting out of hand with the zombies and the like, but can’t make any headway with him, until Handsome Young Man shows up and informs him that nonstop cardiac arrests hurt like hell, and he would be happy to hop off the ol mortal coil, and he agrees.

So Death goes free, all the zombie bandits immediately die, and so does Handsome Young Man, and Sisyphus gets off Scott free so I really don’t know why he felt the need to get this thing started anyway.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
I unironically love Xena. It’s a really good show!
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
It’s relentlessly fun, I’m really enjoying it.

Also noteworthy in this episode; Gabrielle finally got a new outfit (I have no idea how she’s managed so much adventuring in a dress), and the leader of the zombie bandits was named Toxicus.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I think Hooves and Harlots was supposed to come before the last episode, since it explains Gabrielles new outfit. Also, weird to name the episode after a racist terms for the parties involved.

Surprisingly, this episode does not open with Xena level-grinding by beating down bandits, instead it opens with her and Gaby being attacked, and immediately befriending some Amazons, and then being attacked by some centaurs (represented either by above average costume work, or hilariously clunky chroma Key, depending on the scene), and one of the centaurs kills what turns out to be the Amazon Princess; but not before Gaby risks her life trying to save her.

Fortunately, Trying to Save Someone counts for more than successfully saving someone in Amazon culture, and with her dying breath she bequeaths her status, title, and honorifics to Gabrielle, so now she’s legally an Amazon Princess now.

So at this point the episode splits between Gabrielle trying to learn the ropes of being an Amazon Princess (Stick fighting and a more practical outfit) while es to figure out why a Centaur would kill an Amazon, since it would certainly lead to a war between two comparably unbeatable armies. It takes her absolutely no time to realize that a local minor warlord who promised to stay neutral if a war broke out was responsible, since he hates both groups equally.

It is so ridiculously obvious he’s the villain; he is operating at a Lyle Lanley level of subterfuge.

So Xena manages to take command of both armies by beating the Amazon queen in Gabys stead in a fight for the throne, and the Centaur armies by immediately surrendering to them in order to prove her intentions, and, under a combined banner, Xena, the Amazons and the Centaurs all decide to beat up aforesaid minor warlord, which they manage to do easily.

Then Gabrielle opts to leave the Amazons since otherwise my favourite character wouldn’t be in The show, but she is still technically an Amazon Princess, and got to keep her Royal raiments and also a spear. Still every bit as much a nerdy, shortsighted, chatterbox, however.
 

Gaer

chat.exe a cessé de fonctionner
Staff member
Moderator
The show doesn’t forget that Gabby is an amazon princess either.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love watching anything full of big, super exaggerated acting; the Nic Cagier the better. Nothing delights me more than seeing people who plainly love their jobs just going hog wild on camera. To that end, The Black Wolves may have had the most Acting Per Minute of anything I’ve ever seen. They also added in cartoony sound effects for all the action scenes, and Xena does her weird ululating battle cry while underwater. It’s incredible.

Anyway, the evil king Xerxes has been hassled lately by the Black Wolves, a group of Ninjas who live In Ancient Greece, and he opts to have their leaders and sympathizers all arrested, but this plan fails because the public loves them and everyone is quick to do that Spartacus thing where everyone insists theyre the Black Wolf leader. Also, Good Kings are mainly known for sending out bounty hunters to murder an infant And destroying the natural order, so you can only imagine how bad an Evil King must be. And ”imagine” you must do, since we only see him collecting Taxes, and also hiring a rude guard.

Anyway, Xena gets involved because a friend of hers informs her that her daughter fell in love with a high ranking member of the Wolves, and would consider it a favour if Xena were to cause a jailbreak. And Xena says “sure, okay”, enacting a convoluted plan to convince Xerxes shes willing to find the Wolf Leader in exchange for a lot of money and some boots, in order to be thrown in jail, and then ingratiate herself to the captive Wolves, and then break everyone out when they’re ready for execution, and maybe beat up Xerxes or his chief guard really bad.

This plan takes most of the episode to resolve, because it’s pretty confusing and neither side ever believes her at any point, until Xena finds the girl she was trying to rescue and vouches for her, which speeds things along since she was also the Black Wolf leader, as it turns out.

Meanwhile, Gaby opts to try to get herself arrested nominally in order to help Xena, but in execution it was more so as shed show up in this episode, since Xena had things well in hand, and with the help of a goober of a merchant, she succeeds in getting a paycheque for the episode.

Aforesaid goober merchant was also a constant delight, and I wish I remembered his name in order to call him out for it
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I remember this being a Saturday afternoon show. Was that the impetus for the sound effects or did the airing change generally depending on airing location?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts (but... doesn’t this take place there?) is perhaps the most violent episode of the show yet, and there hasn’t been a one that hasn’t had at least a half dozen bandits being getting stabbed to death.

Helen of Troys been having trouble sleeping, and opts to give a tiara to Xena because of it (?), and the messenger she sends off to find her manages to immediately get himself killed by bandits. But to his credit, he did manage to find one person in the backroads of an entire country, so points to him for that. On the other hand, if you’re near bandits long enough, there’s a 100% chance that Xena will come by sooner or later.

Anyway, Xena accepts the tiara and heads off to Troy to help the incumbent queen with her bad dreams, and Gaby is excited to meet the most beautiful woman in history. Xena points out that the place has been in a state of open war for over a decade so... rein in that enthusiasm, buddy.

And, indeed, the place is just lousy with skeletons and juicier dead guys. Xena pledges herself to help her old buddy Helen, and Gabrielle is equally distraught to see people being killed (she... hasn’t been paying close attention to her life over the last 12 episodes) and is delighted to see that her old fiancé was drafted by Paris of Troy and became a highly ranked city guard. Which is pretty impressive, since the last time it was mentioned that Gabrielle was engaged to anyone, it was to a dirt farmer in her podunk town (to be fair, this is acknowledged).

While Xena manages to convince Paris and Helen that some of their troops were traitors looking to end the stalemate between the countries, she can’t manage to convince them that the entire Greek army suddenly disappearing and leaving them a big hollow horse statue is suspect, and they accept this gigantic wooden troop transport without hesitation, leading the entire invading army directly into the heart of the city.

A plan that apocryphal history books says worked really well, and works really well here, but that thing couldn’t have held more than a half dozen troops. Troys army must have sucked.

Anyway, in the ensuing battle, Paris is killed, as in Helens Dream, and she gets over it quickly because it was very obviously a loveless marriage (he repeatedly points out that he kidnapped her because she was hot, and for literally no other reason), and Xena figures out how to get the civilians out of the city by... getting them all into the Horse and, hey, the exact same trick worked again, and the Greek army pedaled it outside. And then another big fight breaks out while Xena singlehandedly beats down the remaining Greek army and then Helen and company leave to make their own fortune elsewhere in the country, hopefully somewhere where being attractive doesn’t cause a civil war to break out. Gabys fiancé goes with her too, just so the6 wouldnt Need to justify adding a blandsome actor to the main cast.

Gabrielle briefly considers stealing the horse again as a trophy, but decides agains5 it because it’s too heavy.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
12 episodes feels a bit soon to be doing a clip show episode, but that’s what The Athens School of the Performing Bards is. And it’s a Gabrielle focused episode!

Anyhow, the actual Warrior Princess of the two finds out that there’s a competition for scholarship at the titular school for Bards, and opts to enter it since Bard was her primary role in the party before subclassing as an Amazon, and all of her stories, drastically summarizing previous episodes move everyone listening to tears and cheers (this show is a lot of fun, but these are all... really extreme reaction), but there’s some riling up in the ranks as the snooty dad of her main competition gets her disqualified on a technicality.

Which Gaby takes in stride since, well, she did con her way into competing. But she still relates a couple more episodes and everyone learns an important lesson about... not following rules for a formal competition if you’re friends with someone famous, I guess.

A nice touch as that while Gabrielle as doing a clip show for Xena, other characters were doing clip shows of old Italian Hercules movies from the 50s, and also Spartacus.

Like, the I Am Spartacus, Spartacus. The one with Kirk Douglas.
 

Mommi

Miss or be made.
(She/Her)
I don't remember that at all! I do have a tendency to skip ahead at the faintest whif of a clip show, so I probably did that.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
If you guessed A Fist Full of Dinars was based on a movie, and that the movie as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, well... you’re right, it’s just Not obvious from the title. Kind of is, though.

Anyway, Xena, on one of her routine Bandit Fights happens upon one of her old buddies, dying from repeated stab wounds (this is also a common theme in this show). In this particular case, said Dying Friend happens to have one of the clues to the Treasure of the Sumerian’s; which, besides being an enormous stockpile of wealth, also contains the Titan Key; which can reveal the location of Ambrosia, a Super Wine that turns anyone who drinks it into a God.

After getting the piece of the treasure map from the now dead bandit who robbed her friend, Xena meets up with an assassin (I forget his name, let’s call him Stabcules), who also has a piece of the map (but doesn’t know about the Ambrosia), and she decides to team up him to go on a treasure hunt. Mainly to keep a completely amoral professional murderer from becoming omnipotent, but has to also enlist the aide of her other Old Friend of the episode (and ex fiancé), Patroclus. Whom she warns Gaby not to speak to, as he’s a consummate conman.

Anyway, about 30 minutes worth of Low Budget Indiana Jones follows, with Gaby coming to the conclusion that the obviously evil murderer, who has repeatedly shown himself eager to kill them all out of spite is less trustworthy than the charming warlord who is happy to see his ex girlfriend Living her best life. And Xena says “Nah, I trust the murderer more”.

Eventually they find the Sumerian Treasure Trove, and that’s all fine, except whoops Stabcules just happens to stumble upon the Titan Key and the map to the even better treasure of Literal Godhood, and kidnaps Gaby and skeedaddles to the temple that has a big ol... plate of soup in it.

Anether fight breaks out after Xena and Patroclus catch up to him, and everyone winds up killing one another. Except Xena and Gaby, who walk out Scott free, but not before Patroclus dies trying to save them, proving he actually did genuinely care for Xenas well being.

She doesn’t mourn long, though, opting to prioritize getting the Ambrosia out of the temple and making sure nobody will ever get it by chucking it into an active volcano, Or what they insist was an active volcano, it was more of a pool of koolaid with cg fire on it.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
She doesn’t mourn long, though, opting to prioritize getting the Ambrosia out of the temple and making sure nobody will ever get it by chucking it into an active volcano, Or what they insist was an active volcano, it was more of a pool of koolaid with cg fire on it.
But wouldn't that make the volcano immortal?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
As really isn’t surprising at this point, Warrior... Princess was a fun episode, and an episode that co-stars Lucy Lawless?!?

It seems that Xena has been rented out as a body double for a (Non Warrior) Princess who, by sheer coincidence, looks exactly like her (the implausibility of which is repeatedly mentioned), and who, less coincidentally, has been targeted by assassins who don’t like the kings impending No Slavery laws. So Xena tries to learn how to be a prim and proper princess (she fails at this task) and the Princess, in order to maintain the illusion, has Gaby give her a crash course in being a wandering Bandit Killing Warrior (she performs Precisely as good a5 this).

Eventually, later in the episode than you’d think, considering how incredibly obvious it is, Xena uncovers the mastermind behind the assassins (there’s a diplomat who Keeps getting paid by the slavers. He enjoys being wealthy), and proceeds to kick the bread out of everyone she sees until slavery is solved. Also, the Princess admits she likes her fiancés brother more than him and opts to marry him instead.

Bread was autocorrects contribution to this thread, but I respect The artistic choice.

Highlights of the episode include Lucy Lawless playing extremely against type as a big ol’ drip, setting some assassins on fire by spitting on them after drinking lots of booze/with a Molotov cocktail, and using a harp as a giant bow to shoot five arrows at a guy.

Guys, this show is great
 

Mommi

Miss or be made.
(She/Her)
Omg, the harp archery. I remember this episode best of all the ones you've recapped so far. It's very good.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I watched the first season of this show a few years ago. The then-girlfriend of a friend is a big Xena fan, and she borrowed me the first season. Watched and loved it, but we never got around to me borrowing S2. I really need to watch the rest of this great, great show.

Your write-ups are, as always, great, Octo.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Oh, I didn’t even mention that this episode featured the return of the inexplicable Ninjas that seem to infest Ancient Greece.

Not as prolific as the bandits (every second person in Greece back then was a bandit), but ten times as baffling
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
You don’t see as much tv that’s as rich with incident as Mortal Beloved. It’s like they had four or five episodes worth of ideas and they just kept mashing them all in. Also, the most continuity heavy episode yet, not counting the clip show.

To start with, Xena immediately gets herself involved with the story when she hears a hysterical woman say “ghost”. She’s been bored of killing bandits and wanted to step up A bit, apparently.Fortunately, the ghost is a friendly one, as it turns out to be Marcus! Remember Marcus? From... like ten episodes ago? I didn’t! But Xena does! And it turns out that everything’s gone squirrelly in the afterlife after a serial killer steals Hades‘ Helmet (which also serves To let you control the entire kingdom of Death) and opted to force the good people into Tartarus, where they just walk around being bummed out, and every bandit in Greece into a non-stop orgy of sex and violence in Elysium.

Also, Charon is kind of whiny about it all, and also is basically Beetlejuice.

Also Also; Toxicus the Zombie Bandit is back!

Anyway, after confronting Hades about his missing hat, and also having an amazing fight against Bad CG Harpies, Xena strikes a deal with the God of Death; if he brings Marcus back to life for 48 hours, they’ll retrieve The Helmet and cede control back to him. And they best get cracking on it, since aforesaid serial killer has used the helmets power to bring himself back to life so he can go right back to his favourite hobby; killing people a whole bunch. Fortunately, the murderer didn’t realize that if he was brought back to life, he can still be killed really easily.

At this point, a third story kicks off with Xena, Marcus and Gaby tracking down an invisible murderman Who is...causing light mischief At a wedding reception. And Xena eventually gets him by throwing a blanket over him, getting rid of the advantage of invisibility.

And Marcus considers just keeping the helmet two he can either Be opts to return it to its owner, since Xena taught him to be a Good Guy instead of a Bad Guy. But not before Xena uses it to coerce Hades into giving Marcus a do-over on his eternal judgement with her acting as a character witness, since she just saved Everyone Who Has Ever Died.

She also stabs Marcus entirely to deathwhen his 48 hours were up, and I legit don’t know if that was part of the agreement, or she was proving a point or what.
 
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