GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS by Bluesong
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Deb McGhee
COMMENTARY 3 by Xorys
COMMENTARY 4 by Videntur
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Lucy Lawless (Meg)
Craig Parker (King Cleades)
Paul Willis (Ormestin)
Martin Howells (Kryptos)
Norman Forsey (Rhyme guy)
Yvonne Lawley (Gryphia)
John Stubbs (Tax collector)
Peter Mason (drunk)
Brett Hodinson (Peasant)
Brett Higginson (Peasant)
Geoff Knight (Key Guard)
Written by Eric Morris
Edited by Jim Prior
Directed by Bruce Campbell
Man: Fairest Xena!
MEG, JOXER, AND THE KING OF THIEVES HIJACK THE KINGDOM'S HIDDEN TREASURE.
(A baby crawls away from Autolycus.)
Autolycus (to the baby): Mr. Stinky!
ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING--
(The same baby at the reins of a speeding chariot.)
ON AN ALL NEW XENA!
AN ALL NEW XENA--
(Meg stares at the Crown of Athena.)
Joxer: "Warrior Princess."
(Autolycus motions Joxer to move closer, then raps Joxer on the head with his fist.)
JOXER AND THE KING OF THIEVES JOIN MEG'S MASQUERADE.
Autolycus: Spare us, Xena!
Meg: Take me to your leader.
THEY'RE OUT TO STEAL THE KINGDOM'S HIDDEN TREASURE.
(A baby crawls away from Autolycus.)
Autolycus: Mr. Stinky!
BUT WHEN THE BABY BOLTS--
(The same baby at the reins of a speeding chariot.)
Meg: Follow that chariot!
(A man flies through the door and lands on top of a table.)
HIT THE FAN.
Ormestin: Two Xenas!
Xena: Makes you want to cry like a baby, doesn't it?
(Xena draws her sword and fights Ormestin.)
AN ALL NEW XENA!
TV GUIDE PROMO
A double for Xena double-crosses Autolycus in an attempt to steal a special baby.
Xena's double, Meg the barmaid, fools Autolycus into helping her steal a special baby.
Xena's double, the barmaid Meg, tempts Autolycus with a key to a treasure.
Joxer, Autolycus (who also directed) and Xena-lookalike Meg team up to search for a lost crown. At least that's what Meg and Joxer tell Autolycus.
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 01-11-99
An AA average of 3.9
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 12th with 5.4
(2) ER 13th with 4.8
(3) HERCULES 18th with 4.0
(4) XENA/BAYWATCH 19th with 3.9
(5) Star Trek:DS9 3.8
(6) Stargate SG-1 3.4
(7) Mortal Kombat 3.1
(8) Earth: Final Conflict 3.0
(9) The Crow 2.8
(10) Outer Limits 2.3
(11) Night Man 2.2
2nd RELEASE: 04-05-99
An AA average of 3.2
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) X-FILES 5.2
(2) Star Trek:DS9 4.4
(3) HERCULES 3.3
(4) XENA 3.2
(5) Stargate SG-1 2.8
(6) Mortal Kombat 2.6
(7) Earth: Final Conflict 2.5
(8) The Crow/Outer Limits 2.2
(9) Honey I Shrunk the Kids 2.1
01-10-99. This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Autolycus arrives in a vault, hidden in a statue. He examines a trap of wind chimes around a gem, then proceeds to obtain the object. He leaves the vault, and Xena appears. In his agitation, he tosses the gem back over the wall, returning it to its owner. Joxer appears and reveals that "Xena" is really Meg. Autolycus beats up Joxer.
In a tavern, Joxer explains that he and Meg are trying to obtain the crown of Athena. Autolycus and Joxer dress as "villains" and pretend to rob the town tax collector. "Xena" (Meg) appears to save the day. Meg is taken to the leaders of the land, two warlords, and is given a tour of the castle. She finds out where the "key" that is necessary to find the crown is stored, and leaves clues so that Autolycus can find it. The King of Thieves enters the castle, and finds a child, not a key. "Xena" (Meg) enters the room and calls the guards, so that Autolycus is captured. Meg leaves, taking the baby with her. An old woman who realizes what Meg has done does not tell anyone right away that the child is missing; she tells the guards that the king (referencing the child) needs his sleep. The old woman talks to Autolycus and tells him Meg must be told the "secret" of the child. An old man in the prison recites a rhyme to Autolycus that concerns the baby and the crown of Athena. Meg returns to Joxer, with the baby, and Joxer learns that Meg does not want any treasurer; she wants the child. Autolycus escapes. Meg plays with the baby. Autolycus appears and tries to get the baby, to return him. Meg knocks Autolycus unconscious. The baby crawls away. Meg searches for the baby. Soldiers from the castle arrive to get "Xena" (Meg). The soldiers, Autolycus, Joxer, and Meg fight. The baby crawls into a chariot and drives away. Autolycus and Meg follow the child. Joxer makes an effort, and is dragged by the chariot. Meg jumps in the chariot. The chariot crashes. Meg and the baby are okay. The trio decide to find the crown so there will be money for the baby, after Meg explains that the baby is unloved and unwanted in that big drafty castle. Meg talks to the baby about the stars and being unloved. Autolycus discovers a map on the baby's blanket. They follow the map to an old castle. They hear people coming. Autolycus tells Meg that if they put the baby on a pillow, something will happen to the child. Joxer fumbles around as he and Meg try to take the child and escape the onslaught of soldiers. The baby crawls on the pillow. A door opens, and the crown appears. The baby grows up and turns into a king. The warlords break in and take the crown. The real Xena appears to save the day, the old woman having sought her out and asked for help. The king explains that he was a bad ruler and Athena turned him into a child so he could learn his lessons. Xena says the warlords are going back to the castle to take all the people's money from the treasury. Xena and friends show up and stop the warlords. Everyone fights. The king throws the bad guys out of his kingdom. The old woman grows young and it is revealed that she is the king's queen; she had been made old so she could care for the baby. Xena and Meg have a serious talk, because Meg is depressed. She tells Xena that she can't have children, and wants one badly. Meg cries. Fade to shooting stars.
01-17-99. Commentary by Beth Gaynor.
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat; I watch this show for Xena and Gabrielle. An episode with no bard at all and very little warrior princess means it has to work hard to keep my interest. The good news is this was a decent comedy episode, and the guest stars (including our guest star who's usually a star - I'm so confused) had some fun, so I enjoyed the episode enough. Now gimme back my stars.
Beth's catty comment of the week: hair conditioner, Meg. It's your friend.
Quibble time: Joxer needs to figure out whether he loves Meg or Gabrielle. For being hopelessly stuck on the bard, he was sure willing to settle down happily with Meg. His indecision's making his attachment to both look awfully thin.
What's with the "Mister Stinky" nickname? Is there something about Auto's personal hygiene that we don't know?
The King of Thieves is a lousy actor? I certainly believe that Meg and Joxer would both have lousy thespian skills ("Hey, you never said nothin' about no kinky stuff"), but Autolycus has used lots of disguises before. He should have been better as the dastardly villain.
Autolycus trivia: he's a leftie. (At least he is when he's playing the villain.) Joxer trivia: his horse's name is Lightning.
How in the world did Autolycus jump from one end of that hallway to the other to take out the guards? He IS the King of Thieves!
He really needs to come up with a better way to escape from Scythian double-latch locks, though.
You can hear the baby squawk in the background when Meg snatches him, even though the camera's on the warlords at the time.
Why didn't Meg tell Joxer the real reason she was going after the baby? She knows Joxer's a do-gooder. Autolycus could have probably been talked into rescuing the kid, too, but Meg and Joxer probably wouldn't have known that.
Meg and Joxer's original strong cheese and pickles plan for the baby was a bit off, but Joxer came through with blankets and squash to get a "warm, fat, and happy" baby. Maybe fatherhood really would suit Joxer. (Of course, the kid would outwit him by age three.)
Meg making baby talk: "You rude little man. You cheeeeky monkey." Oh, THAT was cute.
I saw the "shamrock throw" at Auto's head coming a mile away and still chuckled over it.
My favorite stuntie, Vicious Chick, gets to smack the crap out of Joxer during the town fight! Go, Vicious Chick!
Parenthood note for Meg: burning a soiled diaper in the camp you intend to sleep in that night is probably a BAD idea. Whoah, just imagine the stench.
How did the warlord know where to find the building that the crown was in? Their whole point was that they hadn't yet figured out how to get there.
In the crown room, WHERE did Autolycus pull that rope and hook from? Ouch!!
"You've got so much depth that it scares you when it comes out." "Well look who's talking!" - I liked this exchange a lot. Nice line in a goofy episode.
I half-expected King Cleades to make Meg his queen. Nice bittersweet touch that he didn't. In fact, the whole episode ended up on a downer note for a comedy. That's not a bad thing - it's good to break form once in a while - it just surprised me.
Now gimme back my stars.
01-18-99. Commentary by Deb E McGhee.
SOUNDBYTE SUMMARY: This Joxer-drenched, Xena-lite, Gab-gone comedy with pretenses of Human Drama was exquisitely unfunny, painfully banal, and utterly forgettable. I don't care about Meg and no one can make me! Furthermore, I would hope that the return of the "Joxer's True Love is Meg" story signals an end to use of the "Joxer loves Gabrielle" ploy to conveniently 'advance' (or not) J-Boy's character development or yet another screwball farce -- but I'm not that naive. This was NOT the show I signed up for. Rating: 0 quills.
ANALYSIS-REVIEW. [This Space For Rent]
RELEVANT POP CULTURE QUOTE.Who broke my heart?/ You did, you did
Bow to the target/ Blame Cupid, Cupid
You think you're smart/ Stupid, Stupid
-- ABC, "Poison Arrow"
01-17-99. Commentary by Xorys.
I don't have too much to say in the way of over-arching meta-analysis of Key To The Kingdom - it wasn't exactly an ep that invited deep speculation. I thought it started out really funny, but then didn't really live up to its initial promise... still, I'm not complaining, much..
I'm sure I've seen that "priceless porker" somewhere before... I'm probably being really dense! Somebody tell me - what was it modelled after?
Err.. the trap protecting the "ruby" Auto stole looked *really* pointless! Why would you "loose a hand" - the spikes came down apart from each other, leaving plenty of space in between. Indeed it looked as if you could easily have just reached in and taken the jewel after the trap was sprung. And how did Auto manage to saw in from below - I thought the plinth looked solid?
I quite liked the 'voices off' yelling "Oh, the ruby, it's gone!" "Oh, the ruby, it's back!"
Unlike some, I'm personally thankful for Meg... at least it means that they can have an ep which gives Lucy a chance to explore her comedic urges without having to make a mockery of the character of Xena (as they did, IMO, in ISAIH)!
So the secret of the key was shouted out by a "nubile guard", eh? A slightly odd usage... although giving that "nubile" basically means "marriageable", I suppose most guards ought to be nubile, in the broadest sense of application (I mean, if they weren't fit enough and of suitable age to marry, they wouldn't be much use as guards, I guess...)
How come anybody in the Xenaverse always seems to be able to find a Xena costume whenever they want one? Are they off-the-peg items in all good ancient Greek clothing stores, or something?
"We're villains!" (dum de dum dum duh!) Actually, this was the high point of the ep for me - the "bad acting" schtick had me in stitches - 'Xena': "This is a good day to die." Villain1: "Oh. No. It is the warrior, Xena!" Villain2: "What? Oh! What shall we do?" Villain1: "We must attempt to fight her." Villain2: "I will ram her through with my sword. Urgh!"
'Xena': "Now go away from this place and don't come back - or you will suffer the wrath of Xenerr. Raar!" Villains: "Urgh!" (they run away) 'Xena' (to tax-collector): "Be not afraid - I'll not harm you. Take me to your leader! We've got some things to discuss..."
And why was Meg making the sign of the deformed rabbit when she said "Be not afraid"? - Is this some sort of Thrassian symbol of peace?
Unfortunately, saying that this was the high point of the ep implies that it was all downhill after that - and I'm afraid, for me, this was basically true... The rest of the ep was a bit on the ho-hum side - not awful, or anything, but rather pedestrian, with the plot somewhat mechanical and predictable, and too few moments that were really funny or really dramatic. I think, for me, this was the weakest of all the 'look-alike' eps - perhaps precisely because they didn't really exploit the potential of the swapping and confusion between the LL's, as they did so well in the earlier eps (IMO, at least - I know some people never liked the 'look-alike' eps at all - but I found some of the funniest moments came from Xena being put into the place of her alters, and vice-versa... so shoot me - I thought Big Business was hilarious too, and I'm not even much of a fan of Bette Midler or Lily Tomlin).
I did like it when Joxer stuck up for Meg: "Meg has had a hard life, and she needs our help! Now I'm asking you as a friend - lay off her!" I've always supported the idea of Joxer and Meg as a match, since they seem well suited. But I'm not sure whether or not I can really see this ep furthering that agenda - it all seems very temporary and open-ended... So I've got a nasty feeling they're just going to drop Meg, and that the next time we see Joxer, he won't even mention her. I could be wrong - I hope I am, since I don't approve at all of this sort of cavalier and arbitrary treatment of characters. Why can't Meg and Joxer just find a kid (or two) to legitimately adopt (heck, with all the mayhem that goes on, there must be plenty of orphans who need a good home), and settle down to run an inn and raise their family... or something?
I thought it was a bit hard on the poor pussycat when Auto threw the grappling iron out of the window!
I have to admit I can see what people mean when they complain about Lucy's portrayals of Meg and of Evil Xena having quite a bit in common - but perhaps that isn't as unreasonable as it might at first seem. They both had "hard lives", in different ways, and a certain similarity between Evil Xena's psychopathic, feral madness and Meg's crazy bravado and slightly pathetic self-assertion, coupled, in both cases, with ill-hidden self-loathing, is perhaps not entirely inappropriate at all...
OK, why did Gryphia conceal the fact that the baby had been stolen? How could she know that the thieves weren't ruthless villains? Was it just because she suspected that Meg, a woman, had made off with the child, that she covered up his absence?
So now the Scythians make "double latch locks", eh? The last time we saw them, they were fearsome warrior riders, laying waste the countryside (until they got gippy tummies) in ISAIH.
"Um. Well. Xena is this warrior. She goes around righting wrongs and s..aving people. It's all pretty sappy, but she seems to get her kicks out of it." Well summed up, Auto! (Well at least he skipped the "singing songs" part...)
I liked Auto's come back in the dungeon, when the old man said he was trying to steal the crown and he was sure to fail: "Oh, and I was doing so well!"
That thing Auto wore in the dungeon was a variant of the one Xena had in The Debt - they actually used those things in China... not sure about ancient Greece, though!
I found the "Raising Arizona" thing a bit hard to take, to tell the truth. But then I didn't really like Raising Arizona itself. Don't get me wrong - I can sympathise with going gaga about babies... I'm onto grandchildren now, and yes, there's something almost more wonderful than anything in the world about giving your all for a child, and what you get back from them. But somehow this plot, and Raising Arizona itself, for me, had the leaden ring of pathos over exploited and the charms of quirkiness pushed too far.
And what was with that child?? Sometimes it looked about 6 months, and other times it was more like a 3 year old! How many actual kids did they use? It looked like four or five different ones at least, to me.
Of course, given that "the key" had existed for 20 years (as we were told several times), presumably this child never grew...
Considering how well he normally fights, didn't it seem a tad odd that Autolycus couldn't hold his own against Meg?
I could have done without the gratuitous Joxer abuse in the market-place, and I didn't really find the "baby in the chariot" thing particularly diverting. But then I have to confess, I always found the Three Stooges *utterly* unfunny - so I guess my sense of humour diverges widely from that of TPTB in some areas.
So now we've had a "Joxer-drag"! These people certainly aren't afraid to take the p*** out of the controversies they create, are they?
Talking of which, I guess this is as good a time as any to point out that this was absolutely the most Gab/ROC-lite ep ever - she didn't appear at all, not even as a disembodied voice, a vision, or an arthropod's head... and not only that, but she wasn't even mentioned once!
Meg said "There was no one to love him, there was no one to hold him, no one to tell him stories - well I just reckon that's a lousy way to grow up!" But he wasn't "growing up" was he? I mean, he's been a baby for twenty years, apparently!
"You gotta hold the back of the head..." Oh come on - this kid is crawling, and looks as if he should be walking!
"My father, he died when I was really young.." Well he died the night she was born, according to her previous story!
I suppose the "little lights" story was ok, as pathos goes...
Twenty years they've been looking, and Ormestin and Kryptos never noticed that there was a large map printed on the baby's blanket?! Mind you, not that it looked as if that map would be much help in locating the lost door to the crown anyhow - it appeared to be basically a crude sketch of an island.
And if they hadn't been able to find the darned place in twenty years, how come Ormestin and Kryptos and Co. turned up at the hiding place about 30 seconds after Auto and Meg and Joxer got there?
I love the way Auto reaches round and produces this *massive* rope and grappling hook from out of his trousers - obviously he has very special trousers (a bit like Argo's saddlebags, perhaps...)
But then we had to suffer through more bad Three Stooges schtick with the grappling iron...
And what did we find watching over the crown of Athena?? Looked mighty like the Eye of Hephaestus to me!! Maybe Xena tucked it into Argo’s saddlebags when she left, ready for when she needed to imprison Ares...
OK, King Cleades says he reformed from his bad old ways whilst he was a baby, because seeing the people of Thrassos through the eyes of a child changed his perspective - but given that he appears to have been kept in a chest in a locked room, and seen by no one but Gryphia, the guards, and Ormestin & Kryptos, how the heck did he see anything to give him this changed view of the kingdom?
The extra fight at the end really seemed like an entirely arbitrary way of stretching the script out! Let's see - have a fight, defeat the bad guys, let them wander off, have a chat, have a fight, defeat the bad guys....
And *what* was with that closing scene - right at the end like this they throw in the "Meg can't have children" thing? And then, what was that 'giggle in the sky' supposed to mean? I dunno, I start to feel I'm getting the writer's idea bag dumped on me at this point, rather than a finished script...
And BTW, Meg's "I can't have children" is utterly anachronistic (not that that's ever bothered them, I know). Medical science in Ancient Greece was not up to stating definitively that a woman could or couldn't have children. I suppose if she *tried* enough with a bunch of different men, she might come to some conclusions - but even then, the consensus would probably be that some god or other could likely help her. It just felt like a modern plot plank borrowed without much thought, to me..
01-21-99. Commentary by Videntur.
My favorite episodes of Xena are the serious ones with both Xena and Gabrielle. However, this episode was pretty good. The episode showed several personality changes for Joxer and Meg and it revealed some interesting facts about Autolycus.
Joxer was never one my favorite characters in the plays, but I have noticed that this season, Joxer has become more serious. He tends to show a little more thinking capabilities and I have to admit he ended up making me laugh the way that he kept referring to the grown King as his kid and his sadness over how fast they grow-up. Also, we notice that Joxer no longer seems to have a "love interest" for Gabrielle. He now considers Meg to be "his girl" and he seems to be very faithful in helping Meg obtain whatever she wants -even if it means stealing a child.
Meg on the other hand still places action before thought. Meg justified her theft of the infant King because she felt able to furnish the child with more love than he would receive in a big lonely castle.You definitely get the feeling that Meg would make a great mother and longed to give someone the love that she was not shown as a child. When she admits to Xena, at the end, that she can't have children, you begin to see how she might justify in her mind her theft of the little king no matter how wrong it was. The problem is that you get the impression that Meg is capable of doing the same thing all over again. Nevertheless, the episode showed a loving and caring Meg who would probably give anything to have a family.
Autolycus was hilarious the way that he went through all that trouble to steal the stone at the beginning only to be fooled by Meg into throwing it back. Autolycus also lets you know that he is so infatuated with Xena that he would even take Meg as a partner (among other things) if it meant having someone who reminded him of Xena around. Even when he is explaining to the old woman (who later turned out to be the queen) who Xena was and what she did (in essence a "do-gooder") you could sense admiration in his cynicism. At the end w= hen the real Xena appears, Autolycus knew right away that it was the real Xena and not Meg - it took Joxer much longer to realize this.
And then there's our hero Xena who appears at the end to save the day. I'm impressed the way that Lucy Lawless does indeed give the appearance of two totally different people (Xena and Meg) but then again I think Lucy Lawless is an awesome actress. Again we see a sympathetic Xena who tries to comfort Meg regarding her inability to have children. This is so unlike the evil Xena that we do indeed see that Xena has definitely changed since her old days.
All in all it was a good episode which furnished a good laugh and lots of fun. The characters interacted well with each other and the storyline was odd and interesting; however, I still will be happy to get back to the more serious b*tt kicking Xena and her side-kick Gabrielle.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
01-31-99. The March '99 issue of STARLOG Magazine contains an interview with Bruce "Autolycus" Campbell. Campbell tells us in said interview: [describing his first time directing Lucy Lawless for a "complete" episode, KEY TO THE KINGDOM] "Lucy is more instinctive. She doesn't like specific information, like if you're doing a gag, she doesn't want it explained to her. Just tell her what to do and she'll do it in her own way. You've got to feel out her interpreting. As an actor, I get along very easily with her, she's very professional. As a director, now you're dealing with the show's lead and you have to make sure you're prepared because this is 'their' show."
08-21-98. KEY TO THE KINGDOM reunites Meg and Joxer, who enlist the help of Autolycus to save a baby. This time the homage is RAISING ARIZONA.
07-29-98. Bruce Campbell signed earlier this year to do 11 projects between XENA and HERK. What's the tally so far? Mr. Campbell has done seven out of the 11 so far. Three have aired (HERK's PORKULES, ONE FOWL DAY, and MY FAIR CUPCAKEE), and four are in the can (HERK'S JUST PASSING THROUGH and FOR THOSE OF YOU JUST JOINING US; and XENA's KEY TO THE KINGDOM and TALE OF TWO MUSES). That leaves four more before he has to renegoitate. Also, one of these was to be a pilot with RenPic. We have not heard much about it other than it might involve piracy or pirates. Also, there is a rumor that Ted Raimi would be a significant character in it...but then again, it might just be wishful thinking.
04-14-98. From the Official Bruce Campbell Web site: "Raising Arizona, Xena-style! Auto, Joxer, and Xena-look-alike Meg kidnap a baby from two corrupt rulers. Oh yeah, I'm directing this one too. Tell your friends."
Highlights by Beth Gaynor.
It's dumb, it's silly, but the line of the episode goes to Meg for "BRAWL!" and the full body slam into Autolycus's and Joxer's scuffle.
I loved Meg's threat about suffering "the wrath of Xener!", mispronounced exactly like so many Kiwi accents have mispronounced it before. Two points for an in-joke the steady viewers can chuckle over.
WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
So who was who in Key To The Kingdom?
Well I guess most of you (those who've seen both eps, at least) instantly spotted Paul Willis as Ormestin, even under the *really* bad hair... he is of course, well remembered as Atyminius, the psychopathic villain who returns from the underworld in Mortal Beloved. He also played Marcus, the Magistrate, in the HTLJ ep Mercenary.
You may well also have recognised King Cleades - he was played by Craig Parker, who we last saw as Sarpedon, the Prince in love, in For Him The Bell Tolls. He also played a student bartender in the TV movie of Stephen King's Tommyknockers. Like many Xenaverse actors, he did a stint on the NZ soap Shortland Street - he played Guy Warner. And he also co-hosted the NZ TV series Two People, with Theresa Healey.
But did you recognise the prisoner who told Autolycus the rhyme about the key... the guy with all the hair and fingernails?? He was played by none other than Norman Forsey, known to all of us as Princess Diana's dad, King Lias! Norman also played Casca, the deaf old relative who Xena had to save from a chariot accident, in Been There, Done That. And over on HTLJ, he played the seer, Tiresias in The Road to Calydon and The Festival of Dionysus, and Tersius in The Outcast (which featured Lucy Lawless, as Lyla, wife of the Centaur Deric).
And what about Gryphia the old nurse? She was played by Yvonne Lawley, who hasn't been on X:WP before, but she may be quite familiar if you watch HTLJ... most recently she appeared as the Norn (the fate with the funny paint) in Norse by Norsevest and Somewhere Over Rainbow Bridge, and previously she played Alyssa in Atlantis. She was also in Hercules And The Circle of Fire and Hercules And The Underworld playing "Woman" and "Old Woman in Market". Interestingly enough, she was in the TV movie of Tommyknockers along with Craig Parker (King Cleades) - she played Mabel Noyes. She also did an episode of the Ray Bradbury Theatre (again like many Xenaverse actors, including Lucy), playing the mother in Some Live Like Lazarus.
John Stubbs, who played the Tax Collector, has previously been seen as the Head Guard in the HTLJ ep Resurrection. And Geoff Knight, who played the Key Guard (the one who spoke), was a Trojan Guard in Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts.
Peter Mason, who played a Shopkeeper in The Debt, Billius in The Quill Is Mightier, and "Owner" in the HTLJ ep The Mother Of All Monsters, was credited as playing a Drunk in Key To The Kingdom... but try as I might, I can't spot him at all, so I strongly suspect that his role was edited out. (If he does appear, could someone please tell me where?)
Oremestin's co-ruler Kryptos was played by Martin Howells, who hasn't appeared on XWP or HTLJ before, so far as I know, and about whom I know nothing. Brett Hodginson, who played the Peasant having his taxes collected, was also a new face.
The ep was written by Eric Morris, who is a completely new writer to X:WP (and HTLJ)... indeed I can't find any references to anything he has done before.
On the other hand, the ep was directed by Autolycus himself, Bruce Campbell. On XWP, Bruce has previously directed The King of Assassins (hmmm... I think I can see the similarities), and on HTLJ he directed The Vanishing Dead, What's in A Name? and last week's knockabout spoof, For Those Of You Just Joining Us.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Sometimes it's those little sounds in the background that make a comedy episode. This one didn't have a ton of them, but had a few winners, including the sound of a cat screech when Autolycus dropped his grappling hook out a window, and the timely: "Look! The ruby! It's gone!" "The ruby! It's back!"
During the staged fight, listen to the nickelodeon version of the Xena theme song. Perfect!
When did Meg get the shamrock back after throwing it at Autolycus? It reappears at her hip when they ride after the chariot.
Watch in the forest as King Cleates walks from Autolycus and Xena to Meg and Joxer. As he passes behind a tree, the cut between scenes is just a BIT off - Xena and Autolycus disappear too early.
Usually the XenaStaff rocks at double effects, but one looked very wrong this time, when Meg was at the king's cradle and Xena was standing at the far side of the room. Xena looked way too small for the distance she was supposed to be at.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
01-18-99. From E. Diaz. In Key to the Kingdom the guy who played Ormestin is the same guy who played Atyminius in Mortal Beloved.
From Hawk35. When the baby changes into a king, the doors to the vault open to reveal the Crown of Athena and a bunch of jewels. When the doors open, watch the back interior wall of the vault. There is a symbol, a piece of artwork or something that is the same piece of art (or emblem) that was in Ares' tomb in THE XENA SCROLLS! The exact same piece. This can mean a couple of things. It might mean that they are simply reusing an old prop and hoped we wouldn't catch on. They do it all the time. It also might mean that this emblem actually means something relevant to future eps. It would be worth it to try and learn whether this was a mistake or if it really means something.
Click here to read a transcript of KEY TO THE KINGDOM.
No Priceless Porkers, of either organic or ceramic origin, were harmed during the production of this motion picture.