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GUEST STARS, CAST & CREDITS
TV GUIDE PROMO
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
SYNOPSIS 1 by Bluesong
SYNOPSIS 2 by Missy Good
COMMENTARY 1 by Beth Gaynor
COMMENTARY 2 by Deb E McGhee
COMMENTARY 3 by Xorys
COMMENTARY 4 by Videntur
COMMENTARY 5 by Bebeoman
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
Meighan Desmond (Discord)
Willa O'Neill (Lila)
Darien Takle (Cyrene)
Natalie Duggan (Ravenica)
Edited by Robert Field
Written by Jeff Vlaming
Directed by Christopher Graves
ONE DEAD BODY--
(Xena finds Ravenica's body.)
Xena (holding a dagger): Which of you owns this?
SEVEN UNLIKELY SUSPECTS--
Xena: Starting with-- (points at Autolycus) --you!
AND A GODDESS WITHOUT A CLUE.
(A swinging chandelier hits Discord in the head.)
Discord: Hand them over.
(A rumble in Cyrene's tavern.)
WHO DONE IT? WHO KNOWS?
AN ALL NEW XENA!
IT'S A DARK AND DEADLY REUNION.
Everyone else in room: Dead.
ON AN ALL NEW XENA--
Xena: You think I did it?
WITH ONE DEAD BODY--
(Xena finds Ravenica's body.)
Xena (holding a dagger): Which of you owns this?
SEVEN UNLIKELY SUSPECTS--
Xena: Starting with-- (points at Autolycus) --you!
AND A GODDESS WITHOUT A CLUE.
(A swinging chandelier hits Discord in the head.)
Autolycus (to Xena): Hey, there's news!
Discord: Time is running out. Hand them over.
WHO DONE IT?
(A rumble in Cyrene's tavern.)
Joxer: Oh, come on people! Do I have to spell it out for you?!
AN ALL NEW XENA!
TV GUIDE PROMO
Friends and family gather for Gabrielle's surprise birthday party, only to become suspects in a murder investigation.
Xena must determine which one of her friends is a murderer.
When a woman is murdered at a tavern where Xena has joined her family and friends, Discord, the goddess of retribution, gives Xena until sunrise to find the killer-- or someone will pay.
On a dark and stormy night, Xena must determine which of her friends is a murderer.
AIRING AND RATING INFORMATION
1st RELEASE: 04-26-99
An AA average of 3.5
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) (10) XFiles 4.9
(2) (14) Star Trek DS9 4.2
(3) (15) Walker Texas Ranger 4.1
(4) (17) ER 4.0
(5) (24) Xena/Hercules 3.5
2nd RELEASE: 07-05-99
An AA average of 3.7
Competition from Syndicated Action Dramas:
(1) (10) XFiles 4.7
(2) (12) ER 3.9
(3) (15) Xena 3.7
(4) (23) Walker Texas Ranger 3.3
This synopsis is by Bluesong.
Xena rides Argo at night in a storm (cool!). Xena goes into a building, where her mother, Cyrene, Joxer, Minya, Autolycus, and Lila jump out and say "surprise". They are expecting Gabrielle, too, but she isn't with Xena. The building is Cyrene's tavern. Gabrielle will be there in the morning. Xena goes to sleep in a room near her mother, not her own bedroom. Xena hears a crash and goes to investigate. She finds the one stranger who was staying the night dead in her bedroom (Xena's real bedroom, I think). Discord appears. Ares has made her the "goddess of retribution". She demands satisfaction, saying one of Xena's friends must have been the killer. She gives Xena until morning to find the culprit.
Xena and her pals go through the dead woman's things and discover she was a bounty hunter. She was after Xena. Minya says she knows the woman; she cuts the tendons on horses to keep her bounty from running away. Gabrielle enters, telling Xena "we've got trouble." But the trouble lies dead; Gabrielle knew the bounty hunter was after Xena. Autolycus questions Cyrene and accuses her of the murder to protect Xena. Autolycus goes to leave, but Discord blasts him back inside. She appears and aims an arrow at Cyrene.
Xena whirls the chakram at the flying arrow and deflects it. Gabrielle finds diamonds in the floor, dropped by Autolycus. There is a discussion about lavender perfume, which Lila wears. Gabrielle, Autolycus and Xena go examine the body again. Gabrielle finds a piece of kindling in the room (a stick. Never did figure out what this was about.) The dead woman, who's name was Revengika, has a rash, and ink on her. Xena has a key to the room, but the door was locked from the inside and Xena broke it down early in the show.
Minya's knife is sticking out of the woman's chest. But the knife isn't what killed her. Gabrielle says she killed the woman. Gabrielle says she met up with Revengika a few days back and put Joxer's gravy recipe in her water jug to give her the trots, and that must be what killed the woman. But the water bag is full, so that's not it. Xena says a bounty scroll is missing. Joxer has it. He says he got it because the woman mistook him for his brother Jett, and stole a love note he was writing to Lila. Joxer hit her in the head with an inkwell then, too. Revengika took the note to her room, and when Joxer went to get it back he saw a bounty on Jett. Joxer heard Autolycus and Revengika arguing. Autolycus says he threatened Revengika to save Autolycus. Discord pops in with her arrows and threatens to shoot Autolycus; Xena argues with her and she disappears again.
Minya and Lila plotted to keep Revengika from Xena. Lila went to let the woman's horse go, so she couldn't follow Xena. Revengika caught her, so Minya went to Revengika's room and talked loudly like a man to get her attention. Minya ran away when Revengika confronted her.
Discord pops back in with a bunch of half-naked men. Xena, Minya and Autolycus bash heads.
Xena says she knows who killed Revengika. She takes Discord to the woman's room to demonstrate, telling Discord that if this isn't the truth the goddess can take Xena to Ares. It seems Revengika went to cut Argo's tendons, leaning out the window of the room. Argo kicked her, she fell, hit the candlabra, knocked herself silly, and stabbed herself in the chest with the knife she took from Minya. Discord left, angry. Gabrielle kisses Joxer on the cheek. Cyrene finds diamonds lying around, but Autolycus says they aren't his. Xena apologies to Cyrene for wondering if she did kill Revengika. Cyrene says she would kill to protect Xena. Everyone brings in a cake for Gabrielle and sings Happy Birthday to her.
This synopsis is by Missy Good.
Here's a disclaimer.. I'm a mystery fan. I love Agatha Christie especially.. and my favorite spoof movie is Murder by Death.
Saying that... I loved this ep. Bear that in mind,okay?
Unfortunately, I didn't get to tape it, so my recall's going to be a little sketchy here.
Starts off with Xena arriving in a village square on a dark and stormy night. This should have immediately alerted anyone to the non seriousness of the story.
Anyway.. she goes inside a building, which is all quiet and dark, then hears a noise and almost skewers it's cause - which happens to be Joxer. Then everyone else (Cyrene, Lila, and Minya) pop out and yell surprise... Xena says thanks, but it's not her birthday, and not Gabrielle's, until the next day. They tell her they were trying to do a surprise party for Gab.
Xena relates that Gab's not due there until the next day, then discovers Autolycus is there also, along with a Suspicous Blond Woman with Sneer.
Cyrene tells the big X she's put her in the room next to her own, which is a little strange apparently.. (several subtext reasons for this occured to me regarding frequent visits home by X and G, and noises, but we won't go into that) And they amble off.
In the middle of the night, Xena Hears a Noise (tm) and grabs her armor and goes investigating.. she finds her mom's room empty, and spots someone running around in the rain outside, so she goes to check what's up.
She breaks into The Blond Woman with a Sneer's room, and finds her....
Dead. (surprise!!!) With a large dagger sticking out of her chest. A guy is there, and he tries to jump Xena, but gets his cojones nailed. However... Discord is there, and she tells X, after tossing her across the room, that Ares has made her goddess of retribution, and she's here to take vengence on the murderer. So Xena has to cough them/him/her up before sunrise, or Discord's going to take one of her family at random.
So that's the setup.
Now we have the Party of Six, Xena, Auto, Joxer, Cyrene, Lila, and Minya playing Clue in Cyrene's dining room trying to figure out whodunnit. They search Blond with Sneer's things, only to find..
Whips. Chains. Shackles
Turns out she's a bounty hunter. She's got the Bounty Hunter Brand on her saddlebags, and on her arm, as well, apparently, according to Cyrene. X drags mom off for a sensitive chat in the kitchen, and asks her if she offed the Sneering Blond to protect Xena, since the bounty hunter was carrying a wanted posted of tall, dark and deadly in her saddlbag as well.
Not an unreasonable question, given that Cyrene did take out Xena's father of record for the same reason, hmm? But no.. Cyrene states she was filling water jugs when the whole thing happened.. the rain kept her up.
They go outside, and everyone is still arguing (I missed a bunch of stuff at this point, because Gab the Lab decided to go swimming, but I digress)
Auto is convinced it's Cyrene... Discord shows up and almost takes her, but Xena convinces her otherwise, I think.. I missed big chunks of this.
Turns out that Minya knew the bounty hunter, though.. who had a reputation for slowing down her bounties by hamstrninging their horses. They all go to the bounty hunter's room to see if Minya can make a positive ID. She does.
While they are all standing there, Gabrielle shows up, starting to warn Xena that there is a bounty hunter looking for her, before she sees the conspicuously dead body lying in the room. She assumes Xena found her first, (not an unreasoable assumption, given who Xena is, after all) So now the party of six is a party of seven, and they troop back to the dining room.
More suspects are discussed.. (missed a bunch here, too.. but there were some funny lines) Joxer kept doing the clue thing, and I kept hoping someone would knock him in the mouth, and finally, Auto does. (g) They go through the cycle..Discord shows up and threatens them some more, this time giving them a sand clock to limit their time. Finally, Xena decides to take charge. She tells Gabrielle she needs her help, and also Autos.
Then she looks at Joxer. "Joxer... I don't need your help"
They go off to the blond woman's room, and start investigating. Gab finds some kindling, but no fire, and no kindling box. They ponder this. Auto discovers the lock was locked from the inside.. and the key is missing. Gab makes a big deal out of this.. saying whoever has the key is the murderer..making it out to be Auto, until Xena removes the key (it's ten inches long.. I was impressed, Luce) from her breastplate. They also find ink, a rash, and a bump on the blond woman's body.
They troop back to the dining room, where everyone is sitll arguing.. Xena makes a few statements, then Gab says she, Gabrielle, killed the blond woman.
(I think they cut to commerical here... )
They came back, and Discord shows, ready to take Gab with her. Jox and Xena get in the way.. Jox offers to take Gab's place, and Xena says no one is going anywhere.. that Gab wasn't even there when it happened.
However.. turns out Gab, being the peaceful, non violent person she is.. wanted to slow the bounty hunter down so she'd have time to warn her chum, so she put Joxer's gravy recipe in the bounty hunter's waterskin. She figured that blondie was allergic, and that's what killed her. (how that also caused a knife to become embedded in her chest is unknown... ) But no... Xena proves the gravy recipe was untasted, and Discord goes away pissed off, saying they now have less time.
turns out the dagger, now, was Minyas. Turns out Auto not only knew the bounty hunter, he stole her diamonds, and threatened her to make her give up trying to collect Xena's bounty. Discord shows back up, figuring it's Auto all along. They convince her otherwise, and she loses it, saying if they dont' give her the killer the next time she shows up, she's gonna take them all.
Turns out now.. not only is the dagger Minyas, but she and Lila cooked up a plot to let go the bounty hunter's horse.. and Lila got caught doing it, but Minya distracted teh bounty hunter by going into her rooms and talking to her hand. Also turns out Jox was in the bounty hunter's room because he was trying to get back a bit of a love letter from Lila soaked in lavender that they'd discovered a part of earlier. Jox states he was just retrieving it so he could let Lila down gently, since he really loves... (music) G... galavanting around the countryside. (eyes rolled here.. on the screen, not mine, btw)
So everyone, apparently, had a motive, everyone had opportunity, no one did it. Discord shows back up, and decides to take them all, accompanied by a doze burly dudes in leather straps.
Obligatory fight scene occurs.. with Auto, Minya and big X doing most of the pounding, Joxer getting beaten up, Lila, Gab, and Cyrene hiding in the kitchen. (major annoying point of the story - I'm rreally, really, tired all to hell of Gabrielle's hiding during fights.)
Cyrene, though, gets in a few jugs over the heads of the dudes.. until Gab stops her. (I had a problem with that too.. if you don't want to fight, fine.. dont' stop someone else from protecting their lives, and that of their kid)
Finally, Xena tells Discord she knows who did it.. and if Discord isnt' satisified after she hears, then she can take Xena. "That'll get you points with Ares, doncha think?"
Discord agrees immediately, since most of her dudes are toast, and she'd love to bring Xena back.
I"m not going to tell you who did it. (G) You gotta watch for that... but I laughed and laughed at this ep. It had lots of dry humor, and it wasn't too silly, no bathroom jokes...the threat from Discord was valid enough to be scary, and at the end.. Gabrielle did get her birthday cake. (and Joxer got a smooch, AND we get a nice mom/daughter moment)
I thought Lucy was great in this.. she played Xena absolutely straight - not a hint of Meg at all, just very businiesslike, and very Xena. Cyrene was fun, Minya was hilarous, even Lila cracked me up, though what was with the wig? (laughing) It was a nice ensemble piece, and it was good to see a visit with the family.. apparently Lila's gotten over her dislike of Xena.. she was ready to face the bounty hunter on her behalf. (G)
Nice ep...totally non serious, but I enjoyed the heck out of it..
Commentary Beth Gaynor.
This was a genre episode through and through: a small band of people, all with reason to murder (thin though they may be) and something to hide, an impossible crime, and a ridiculously convoluted solution. I love Agatha Christie-type stories, so I got a little extra kick out of the episode.
Xena in the storm-filled doorway was a cheap and easy camera shot. But dang it, I liked it.
We finally got a birthday! I've been wondering why we haven't seen one in four seasons. I take it Xena cooked up this gathering of family and friends for Gabrielle's surprise party? Awwww.
When I first saw Ravennica, I thought it was Callisto, or at least a lookalike. They certainly go to the same hairdresser.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out Cyrene's business of moving Xena's room (cute mother-daughter banter in that scene), until I realized that Cyrene had already figured out who Ravennica was. This episode still makes sense with a second viewing, after you know what's going on, which isn't always easy to do with such a tangled web of clues. Kudos to the writers.
But with that said, I still don't know why Autolycus was giving the high sign to Ravennica in the opening scene. Or why she had a rash on her neck (allergic to ink? why?).
Why in the world did Xena bust into Ravennica's room? Maybe she figured out that's where the noise had come from. But it took me half the episode to realize that Ravennica's body was in her bedroom, not in one of the common rooms.
Discord doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Is she planning on popping into every murder in Greece? And if so, why's she sprawling on the bed and getting some quality time with the studmuffin? That's a kinky chick.
"OK, I'm a thief. Hey, there's news!" Auto's one of my favorite recurring characters. And Autolycus always gives Joxer great "ya moron" looks. Watch him after he tells Joxer that Ravennica's heart condition must have produced the knife in her chest.
Muzzles, leather bonds, manacles: the basic tools of the trade for... a bounty hunter. Sure, that was the first thing that came to my mind, too. One of the more subtle jokes of the episode, and it made me chuckle a lot.
Maybe I've read too many murder mysteries. It's always the last one you suspect (which put both Gab and Lila high on my list), so as soon as Minya said that Ravennica hamstrings horses, I knew who our murderer was. Argo was the pre-Mycenean version of "the butler did it."
Why didn't Xena run to check on Argo as soon as she heard that Ravennica targets horses? I was worried sick for a second, there. Not Argo!
"Minya in the bedroom with the knife." OK, Clue immediately came to my mind, too, when I heard about this episode, so I laughed when Joxer said this. (And Minya's "get a clue" response was a stitch.) By the time he said this for the seventh time (I counted, plus one other time from Minya), I was ready to throttle him and the writers. The joke was funny once. It's not funny as a theme.
Lila's crush on Joxer continues from A Family Affair. Joxer should forget this Gab thing he has and take up with Lila - she's more his speed. And how come we never saw Lila's reaction after Joxer publicly aired her love letter and his rejection?
In the kitchen, watch Cyrene slap Xena's hand as she reaches for some fruit. Mom can still treat the Destroyer of Nations like a ten-year-old.
This was the first appearance of a Greek god this season. And given how lame Discord was, they probably could have waited longer.
The person who rifled through Ravennica's things was sloppy and dumb. We didn't need the offended look on Joxer's face to guess who that was.
"Maybe she liked her pears bruised." ?? That wasn't funny.
"She's your mother." OK, that was hilarious.
Gab: "Look at this stick! Do you know what this stick means?"
Me: "It's a sign from the gods that you should take up the staff again?"
Gab: "No, there's no place for kindling here!"
This episode tore it: Gab's non-violence kick officially sucks. I gave it a chance, and I'll keep my mind open, but I'm hating this. Her biggest contributions to this episode were to state the obvious and hide in the kitchen. I want my staff-swinger back, especially if she's not going to get to do anything insightful or useful without it.
That key may get the award for the largest item we've seen stuffed down Xena's bodice yet. I'm surprised the woman wasn't walking like a tin soldier. But other than for the sake of a good joke, why did Xena pick up the key?
I got the feeling that Gabrielle's lecture about knife grooves was pure baloney to draw out a confession. We never find out, but I like the scene better that way.
Great horrified reaction from everyone to the concept of slow poisoning by Joxer's gravy. It was dumb to think that Ravennica would have drunk water and not noticed gravy, but I like that non-violence apparently does not equal non-cruelty.
Comeback of the episode: "I'm tired of being jerked around." "You gave me 'till sunrise to jerk you around." Ha!
Nearly every episode this season, I've been happy to see Joxer not used for a bunch of slapstick pratfall humor. Never mind. They were saving it for a marathon session in this episode. Three stooges humor in the same episode with bestiality and bondage jokes? Whatever.
Gabrielle's path of non-violence comes thiiiiis close to being forgotten when Joxer mentions the stolen scroll. For once in my life, I'm rooting for Joxer to stay stupid.
Ravennica's actress mostly played a corpse, but I was impressed with the two ways she read the line "You saying you didn't steal my diamonds last night?" It was very subtle, but the first made me think Autolycus romanced them away, the second that he cut some purse strings. Acting kudos to the dead woman.
This is probably a dumb thing to say, since it's her show, but Xena really takes center stage in this episode. It struck me more than usual that in this episode there was barely a scene that she wasn't the ringleader for. Hats off to Lucy for a marathon job with a whole spectrum of reactions.
Another consistency note from Family Affair: Lila seems to have concluded that Xena's all right. Good enough to risk an assassin's wrath for, even.
OK, it made for a good barroom brawl. But tell me again why Discord didn't just zap everybody instead of sending in her "good in bed, hopeless in a fight" playmates after everyone?
Speaking of those playmates, this episode is a Xena: Warrior Princess first for showing off more male flesh than female. Write it down.
Why was Gabrielle trying to keep Cyrene from helping in the fight? Maybe she was trying to protect her, but Gab, Cyrene's Way seems to be "don' mess with my daughter." Let her go follow it.
Gabrielle has a point in the end that everybody did what they did out of best intentions for Xena. And while I hate "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow," they had some clever lyric changes to make it into a birthday song. (Apparently "Happy Birthday" is not eternal, but "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" is.) It was a corny ending, but I liked it.
Smart move (and impressive scheduling & budget work), collecting five recurring guests to be the other inn patrons. This episode wouldn't have worked - and would have been incredibly boring - if we had tried to introduce a bunch of new characters and give them possible murder motives. Instead, the episode got an immediate cool point just for putting all these people from various episodes together in one room. My best laugh of the episode: Xena's hilarious hand-on-face "I don't believe this" look when Gabrielle is going through a weak list of reasons to suspect people.
Commentary Deb E McGhee.
SOUNDBYTE SUMMARY: XWP does Clue -- not extraordinarily well, but it was fun. Overall rating 3.0 quills (out of 5).
The ratio of pros to cons in Takes One to Know One was about 1:5 (no one here gets out alive), but goshdurnit I liked it. The direction was sometimes horrid, clever approximately twice, and mostly mediocre. The plot had more contrivances than there are studs on Xena's skirt. It was a comedy, an homage, and it featured Discord. The Oracle at Debphi would have predicted gnashing of teeth and headbanging, but she would have been wrong, baby! Why? Because Takes One had two things going for it that far outweighed the negatives: the acting by the ensemble cast and the relief factor.
Second things first. I needed a break, and Takes One gave it to me. I needed not to have yet another week of Xena having an existential crisis or being a jerk for 40 minutes, only to be re-affirmed as Paragon of All That Is Good and Right in the last five. I needed not to hear Gabrielle spouting Season 1 Retro insights, or to watch ROC trying to figure out how to play her character *this* week. I needed a break from bouts of nausea and incipient nervous breakdowns brought on by trying to fathom yet another muddy morality play. I needed just one week of good, clean, XWP-style FUN (though not necessarily a comedy), to bathe in the show's trademark warm, deep tones, and to have a nice time mindlessly enjoying the sights and sounds of X&G. (I also needed a break from watching Gabrielle get trashed and bashed from all sides, but hell, I'd like to win the Lotto, too.)
Ah, I needed that.
Let's face it: Wisdom would dictate that doing _Clue_ in 43-odd minutes is going to result in a convoluted, contrived nightmare, but -- Gods love 'em -- they tried. The result was a not-too-badly convoluted, cleverly contrived...farce that worked to the extent that all involved *recognised* that they really couldn't do what they were trying to do and so said "to hell with it" and had a tongue-in-cheek good time anyway. Honestly, who among us thought that *any* of the friends and family killed Ravenica? When you've got a set-up like the one here (43 minutes, 7 non-suspects, and a comedy format), you know your plot is going to be crazy, but it doesn't have to be nonsensical, and this script delivered -- basically by acknowledging all of the shortcuts it was taking, taking a shot at explaining them away, and moving on.
The assembled cast brought their comedic talents to bear on several clever one-liners and a few sight gags, without being excessive and juvenile. Each actor's unique talents added a little something special to the telling. Xena's mother Cyrene has always struck me as a tad weird and duplicitous, and Darien Takle pushed these traits right to the edge, but never so far as to become inane. I absolutely adore Alison Wall's Minya, and this ep was no exception: Her delivery of the Noah's Ark joke (wait for it) and the mimicry of two men talking brought tears to my eyes. Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi showed flashes of Laurel & Hardy calibre timing; indeed this was probably the first of their appearances together where I wasn't screaming "SHUT UP! I RESENT YOU! YOU MUST BE ERADICATED!" Likewise, Meighan Desmond as Discord didn't annoy nearly as much as I'd feared (esp. after the exposition stuff in the teaser), and I wondered why Natalie Duggan couldn't have had a larger role in some other episode, since Ares knows she displayed countless times more sophistication and believability as Ravenica than, say, Catherine Boniface did as Satrina in /Past Imperfect/.
The only guest who seemed out of sorts was Willa O'Neill: Lila had far too few lines and she wasn't staged very well. One would also think that Lila would remark upon Gabrielle's hair and clothing, however briefly, and that there would have been a little more substance given to the Lila/Joxer Thing through her reactions (indeed, Lila seemed more attracted to Minya, and I couldn't help but wonder if Minya weren't going to recruit Lila for a show...), but both of these were notable for their absence.
Renee O'Connor absolutely devoured the opportunity to flesh out -- while parodying -- Gabrielle's dual-nature as loquacious, highly-dramatic bard and brain-on-overdrive logician. The next time I read a piece of fanfic and doubt that G's (or anyone's) eyes can actually "twinkle", I'll think back to this episode and promptly resuspend my disbelief. Lucy Lawless kept Xena nice and deliciously dry throughout most of the episode (just the way I like her: yum!), save for the weird look shot at Autolycus in the first scene (these happen in every Auto ep and I've yet to figure out what they're all about... oh gods, PLEASE don't let Auto father Xena's child! No, please nooooo!), and the 'cutting loose' when Xena couldn't stand the bickering anymore.
In fact, I do believe what made this episode an enjoyable one for me was that every character got pushed to its comedic limits (mostly) without going out of character and moronic. There was a level of intelligence, a respect both for character and audience, and a lack of mean-spiritedness that has been missing in so many of the past two seasons' comedies. (And I am including Joxer in those statements. J is always going to be a goof, but it is possible to tone him down.) In addition, and perhaps even more importantly, there was a 'rightness' to the way Xena was written and acted that avoided the forced nobility leaning toward despotic arrogance -- an aspect of the show over the past season and a half that has left a bitter taste in my mouth far too often. Whatever the cause, Xena at centre-stage and as master sleuth just felt Good and Right. I needed these things.
It was the direction, I think, that kept Takes One from being much better than it turned out. The script needed help to gloss over its weaknesses, and despite the great work by the core actors, Graves' direction lacked a certain 'oomph' or panache. Furthermore, although he did a fair job handling seven speaking parts in one room, there were a few times when certain persons got lost altogether. Lila, Cyrene, and Gabrielle each got lost at least once (but Joxer never did, of course: If there's one thing I can say for Ted Raimi, it's that he has a knack for making sure his face stays in the frame -- even when it gets distracting to see him bobbing and weaving). Also, there were a few times it seemed that editor Field didn't have the material to work with to smooth things out. Finally, loverly to look at as Discord's Goons might have been, the staging of the fight scene was just this side of disastrous.
Takes One to Know One is one of those eps that grows on me just a bit more with each viewing. Heck, any episode that has Xena saying "Mom" and Gabrielle's face lighting up with joy over a birfday cake is worth watching again and again. In fact, I like the whole Friends and Family Thing more and more each time I watch the ep. Yes, there's a goobly softie lurking in the shadows of my tormented soul. What.Of.It.
VARIOUS AND SUNDRY
* YAXI: In the wrap-up scene, Cyrene exits stage left then suddenly appears in the kitchen at stage right. Watch Xena's expression: Looks like LL noticed the goof, but they went with that take anyway.
* I've heard it estimated that there were 22 candles on Gabrielle's cake. If that's the case, KNOCK ME OVER WITH A QUILL-FEATHER BECAUSE WE HAVE CONTINUITY WITH THE 'SINS OF THE PAST' SCRIPT!
* Speaking of birthdays: I think this ep might have been shot around the time of ROC's RL birthday. I was hoping the disclaimer would read: "Renee O'Connor grew another year older during the production of this motion picture," but alas, it was not to be.
* Didja notice that Argo was featured in the promo as one of the "unlikely suspects"?
* Is Xena sending money home? Cyrene's Inn and Alehouse is becoming a Five Quill establishment.
* Xena said "been" with a long-e and Gabrielle had her scarf draped over her head. :swoon:
* A Favourite Funny Moment: Ravenica: Lavender? You *are* getting soft!
* Was that Salmoneous on the third Wanted poster?
* On the Technical Tip: The colours of Gabrielle's choli (blouse) and mehndi are apparently highly susceptible to distortion because of filters or colour timing or whatever. In this ep, the choli is the correct saffronish colour and one can see the mehndi are henna, not black.
* An Additional Favourite Funny Moment: Joxer: Maybe you liked those horsies a little too much. Let me re-phrase that.
* Was this a Wink-Wink, Nudge-Nudge or just coincidence? Lila: Okay, I admit, when I saw Ravenica with her back to the corner and her eyes on the door, I did think it was odd....
* Another Favourite Funny Moment: Discord: I don't do animals! Minya: That's not what I heard. Horse: Neigh!
* Life is Weird Moment: Just the other day, I was obsessing about fanfic writers and XWP directors 'stabling' Argo too close to X&G's sleeping spots. Imagine my wonderment when it was revealed that Cyrene has her stables right off the guestrooms! Like Mother, like Daughter, I s'pose.
* Pisser: TCI (aka Those Cable Imbeciles) did an 'upgrade' on Saturday and, as happens each time they do so, the picture was fuzzy. I didn't need that.
I wish I could be more enthusiastic, but Takes One To Know One didn't really do much for me. On the plus side, it didn't do anything really horrible either, nothing that deeply upset me or majorly messed up any of the characters or any of the ongoing premises of the show - no baby killing, no aliens taking over Xena or Gab, no clunkers from the future dropped on our heads. But that's not saying much. Apart from Gab's haircut and costume, and her ducking behind the odd door, you could almost put this ep into season two and not have it stick out (well true it mentions things such as Jett and Cyrene's 'crime' which weren't introduced until later...) - but it would stand out in one way: this was, to my thinking, the weakest script that has ever made it to the screen as an X:WP ep. By about the halfway point I found my interest really flagging. Generally X:WP eps succeed in one or more of three main ways: dramatically engaging us in the plot and its unfolding, engaging our emotions and sympathies in the characters, and making us laugh. Great eps do all three - The Greater Good, for example, or more recently Daughter Of Pomira. Now, I'm not saying that Daughter Of Pomira didn't have script flaws - it did, and I noted them in my commentary on the ep... *but*, and it's a very big 'but', it did engage me dramatically in the plot and its unfolding, it did engage my emotions and sympathies in the characters (very much so), and it did also make me laugh. So, so far as I'm concerned, Daughter Of Pomira was a great X:WP ep. Takes One To Know One, on the other hand... Well the plot was a sort of wandery whodunit parody, full of such glaring and blatant awkward, unbelievable contrivances that it was hard to sustain any engagement with it or to muster any degree of concern about its outcome. Likewise, despite some sterling acting, there were very few moments indeed where any of the characters was given the slightest chance to actually engage our emotions and sympathies - a couple of exchanges between Xena and her 'Mom' being about the only ones that come to mind... for the most part it was fairly emotionally barren. Which leaves the possibility of making us laugh... given its basic premise as a parody of a well worn genre, this was probably its most likely scoring area, but I'm afraid it largely failed there too, for me - certainly it raised a few chuckles, even the odd guffaw, but it was far from a laugh riot... the laughs were too feeble and far between for the ep to be sustained on them alone (and one or two of the jokes, for me, had a raunch to humour ratio high enough to put them into the realm of the downright tacky - notably Cyrene's comment about Ravenica's "liking her pears bruised").
So... largely a disappointment, from my perspective, I'm afraid. And accordingly my maunderings will probably be rather briefer than usual. Still, I did have a few comments on this and that, so let's take a wander through the ep.
*** I quite liked the opening painterly (well ok - mostly CGI) shot of Xena riding towards the inn through the dark and stormy night. But when she got into the courtyard, what was all that stuff blowing around in the air? It didn't really look like snow, and Xena didn't show any signs of being cold, but it didn't really look much like leaves either (and there didn't seem to be any trees about) - so what was it?
* Nice classic shot of Xena in the doorway. Quite like old times - back to the old costume and (thank goodness) the old hairdo.
* Was that supposed to be a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" sign or something of the sort hanging at the back of the room, or was is just someone's colourful underwear drying on the line?
* And just *how* do you jump up and do 'surprise' on someone in a darkened room when you're each holding several lit candles? If you watch, you'll see that actually, as they get up, their 'candles' just glow without shedding much light, and the room is still dark... then the lights really come up separately, *after* the folks with their 'candles' are already in full view. Obviously Xenaverse light, like Xenaverse gravity, partakes in its own special physics.
* Some *very* strange facial expressions being exchanged between Auto and Xena as he did his "I hear the words cake and ice-cream and I'm there!" bit. Auto's might have been meant to convey the fact that he was lying badly and embarrassed (presumably he really came for some reason connected with Ravenica). But I don't know *what* Xena's expressions were supposed to convey - she looked rather as if she was trying to do Samantha's 'nose-wiggle' from "Bewitched"!
* And one has to wonder - what were Ravenica and Auto doing sitting in the dark whilst the others were playing their 'surprise' game?
* I hardly recognised Darien Takle as Cyrene in this ep - I thought at first that they'd got somebody new. I guess she was just wearing more make-up and doing her hair differently. Willa O'Neill as Lila, on the other hand, was looking more like she did in the first season, after appearing rather different when we last saw in A Family Affair.
* It's hard to get used to Xena calling someone 'Mom' all the time...
* And *why*, when she found Cyrene was not in her room, did Xena *immediately* go and kick in Ravenica's door? I mean if you're running an inn, a daughter who starts kicking in the guests' doors as soon as she happens to notice you're out of your bed in the night could be a distinct liability!
* I have to say I thought the whole thing of introducing Discord as 'Goddess of Retribution' was kind of dumb and pointless. It seemed arbitrary, even by the standards of X:WP comedy eps. (What, suddenly Ares gets to randomly rearrange the pantheon now? And didn't Discord already have a gig being... er Discord?) And it also seemed totally unnecessary... it would have been so easy to create much more plausible reasons for Xena to want to or need to 'solve the crime'.
* Then the whole bit about "Discord doesn't know who did it, and Xena has to find out and give Discord the killer by sunrise, or Discord will take one of Xena's family / pals"... well it just had me shaking my head and muttering "rewrite..."
* So Ravenica has that sign on the flap of her bag and tattooed on her arm - sort of a sword with a rope wrapped around it. So, what? Is this somehow supposed to be the universally known sign of a bounty hunter? And would a bounty hunter really want to be clearly, visibly and indelibly identified as such?
* "Well, you know what they say - no matter what your age, you're always a child to your mother." There's a certain amount of truth in that. And I liked the way that Lucy played the line - almost as if Xena *wanted* to be a child to someone...
* The drawings of Xena on the 'wanted poster' were really quite good, certainly recognisable. On the other hand, what passes for 'writing' in the Xenaverse seems to be getting stranger and stranger - the vague squiggles and scrawls on the poster didn't look anything like any 'writing' we've seen before, to me.
* I didn't really see the point of the thing about Ravenica's catching people by crippling their horses. I mean, surely, in order to cripple their horses, she had to catch them. So... she caught up with them, crippled their horses, then waited until they rode off on their crippled horses, so she could catch up with them again?? Duh???
* Somehow I don't think that the rooms in an ancient Greek tavern would have even had doors with keys...
* "Play your little detective games..." This struck me as well, since 'detective' is such a modern word, and indeed a modern concept. So far as I know, the first usage of the word 'detective' to mean one who investigates crimes was in the 1840's, when the first 'detective police' were employed in England.
* The way Discord and her toy-boys kept teleporting en masse had a distinctly 'beam us up, Scotty' feel to it, didn't it?
* I didn't really find Joxer's persistent attempts to play Cluedo particularly hilarious...
* Xena's account of why Ravenica couldn't possibly have just had an empty 'scroll sheath' in her bag ("a veteran of the road... never carry more than she had to...") was frankly ludicrous. I think Lucy definitely deserves a bonus prize for being able to deliver such utterly senseless lines with a straight face. (Unless of course it was meant to be a joke - in which case the director apparently missed the point, since it wasn't played for laughs.)
* Gab's line about little known facts and knives and sheaths and grooves was another pretty daft one... but by this point I was becoming resigned... and probably taking less interest in the ongoing course of things than ever before at the mid point of an X:WP ep.
* Now look, I can believe that Joxer's *gravy* might sometimes, even often, make people ill. But surely he doesn't actually have a specific *recipe* for gravy guaranteed to make people ill? Really, I give up on this script...
* And if it's actually worth trying to make comments on the characters in all this - is it acceptable within Gab's 'way' of peace and love to assault people with emetic gravy? What next? Anthrax ripple?
* "Look Xena, I'm tired of being jerked around!" Well now, *this* line I felt a certain sympathy with... I wonder why?
* And Lila is writing *love* *notes* to Joxer? Without being under the influence of any drugs, spells etc? So is this canon now? The bard's sister is smitten with the mighty one?
* Given that it was a 'whodunit', I suppose they *had* to throw in some reference to Joxer's twin, Jett... what would a murder mystery be without at least one set of identical twins? Indeed my own initial hypothesis as to 'who did it' was that 'Joxer' was really Jett *pretending* to be Joxer, and that he killed Ravenica, as a job, or because she was after him... based largely on the idea that it was necessary to find a killer who *wasn't* one of the apparent suspects, since they were all 'good guys'. Anyway, at least they didn't introduce any new identical twins...
* Ravenica's tearing the note in half and muttering about "this won't be the only thing I rip in two" has got to rank as about the *feeblest* piece of threatening behaviour that I've ever seen.
* And what happened to Minya's running away with Paulina to be a 'thespian'? A terribly thankless role poor Minya had in this episode! I suppose the hand puppet show she did, complete with faked male voices, was fairly thespian...
* I actually quite liked it when Joxer interrupted, staring at his hands and yelling "Blood! Blood!" Well, at least it made me laugh...
* And a *very* feeble excuse they used for the mandatory formulaic climactic fight, as well! Even Joxer seemed to be doing quite well against those posing-pouch types.
* I know that they like to get a certain quota of readily observable pulchritude into each ep (ok, ok, T & A, if you want to be blunt), but they seemed to be relying to an inordinate degree upon the embonpoint of the deceased in this case...
* Personally I *hate* light fixtures that are mounted so low that you bang your head on them! Of course, you have to light candles... but still, you could light them with a taper, and stand on something when you need to change them - better than braining yourself and your guests all the time!
* "Fits like a Trojan glove!" LOL! No glove, no love, eh Auto?
* "I don't do animals!" "That's not what I heard..." Harumph. I think this is arguably broadening 'subtext' and little further than necessary...
* And Gabs kisses Joxer and leaves lip marks on his cheek - so it's official? She wears lipstick all the time now? (Adopted the crushed bugs, maybe?)
* And finally, we get to see one of the characters' birthdays. But we still don't know what date it's supposed to be. Indeed I believe they've always managed to avoid any reference to what calendar is used in the Xenaverse (although, of course, the Ides of March is coming up...) And even the days of the week have never been specified - indeed do they even have 'weeks' at all? Anyway, happy birthday, Gab - and many happy returns!
Great Episode! It will go down as one my favorites. We have both seriousness and comedy that comes close to that found in "A Day in the Life " without the silliness of some of the previous comedy attempts. The best thing I liked about this episode was that at the very beginning when Xena walks in, the guest seem disappointed that its not Gabrielle - at first this really irritated me until you see from looking at the episode, that the majority of the characters, including Gabrielle, became involved with the dead bounty hunter due to their caring and love for Xena. It was just nice for a change to see that Xena has made friends and does have a caring family and that despite her past, there are people who have forgiven her and who would even kill to protect her and that there are people who recognize and appreciate the heroic deeds that she performs. Let's take a look at our characters and see how they enhanced the episode.
Lila (Gabrielle's sister) - It was nice to see Lila in the episode and what was better was seeing that she has accepted and even thinks very highly of Xena. Last time we saw Lila was in the episode "A Family Affair". I did notice in that episode that even though Gabrielle's family's treatment of Xena at that time was deplorable, Lila seemed to be the one most willing to accept Xena (especially when Xena saved her life on the bridge when Hope tried to kill her). In this episode ("Takes One to Know One"), Lila seems more independent of her parent's influence. It's interesting to see the differences and similarities between the two sisters. We notice that where Gabrielle tends to think of Joxer more as an irritating brother, Lila is actually writing him love notes. Also, where Gabrielle is a person of peace, with a very strong character (one strong trait being individuality), Lila on the other hand is dependent upon instruction from a stronger personality (Minya) to initiate action. The two sisters are similar in that Gabrielle has the real Xena as a partner where Lila picks a "Xena want to be" [Minya] as a person to follow. Perhaps, just as Gabrielle developed from a Xena follower and sidekick into a Xena friend and companion, so will Lila also mature and grow in character.
Cyrene (Xena's Mother) - It was wonderful to see that the mother-daughter relationship between Xena and her mother was intact. I liked the part at the end where Xena apologizes to her mother for suspecting her of murder to which her mother responds that she is happy that Xena suspected her because she would indeed kill for her daughter, any mother who loves their child would. It was very down to earth to see this great heroic warrior who has godlike powers call someone "mom" and actually be in the kitchen helping her with dinner. Cyrene brings a family home-like atmosphere into the play and best of all, I always liked the way she has also treated Gabrielle as family (which differs greatly from Gabrielle's mom and dad's treatment of Xena).
Discord - Certainly not the first episode that Discord has appeared in, the one I remember her the most in was at the very beginning of the episode "The Deliverer". Discord has never been one of my favorite gods but she does bring interest to the show as a young, "hippie-type" god. She certainly appears to have a strong dislike for Xena and showed this by constantly cutting short the amount of time Xena had to discover the killer and by constantly showing up early to kill either a family member or friend of Xena's (whether they were truly guilty or not). You definitely had the impression that Discord was not after obtaining the killer as much as she was just doing a job until something better was offered to her by Ares. In a way, her nonchalant attitude mirrors that of Ares's sister, Aphrodite, who also has handsome men constantly surrounding her and has a nonchalant way of doing things. The difference between Aphrodite and Discord is that Aphrodite really does not mean to hurt anyone whereas Discord views killing as a sport.
Minya - Well we've seen Minya in "A day in the Life" and we saw her again in "The Play's the Thing." Minya is definitely very protective and admiring of Xena. We notice that she does not appreciate the bounty hunter being in search of Xena-especially when you consider all the heroic deeds that Xena has performed. Also, notice the look of admiration that Minya gives to Xena as Xena is following her mother to her room. Minya definitely has a bad case of hero-worship (although who can blame her). Minya has a very strong personality and definitely would love to be like Xena in every aspect. I enjoy seeing her in the play.
Joxer - In a way I'm disappointed in Joxer's character this time around. I really thought that Joxer had moved pass his love attraction for Gabrielle and was ready to turn his affections to someone who would be receptive. Lila truly seems to love Joxer and defended him constantly in this episode, yet, Joxer can not return her lover because his heart still belongs to Gabrielle. This contradicts what we have seen previously where Joxer appeared to had fallen in love with Meg. In the episode, "Key to the Kingdom", Joxer helped Meg steal a baby and definitely appeared to have strong feelings for Meg and the baby (even to the point of forming a family). Also, this season, Joxer was beginning to display intelligence and character. Don't get me wrong, I found Joxer to be very humorous in this episode but I would like to see his character continue to develop into one of more serious nature and one which is realistic of the brother-sister relationship that he shares with Gabrielle. In other words, Joxer needs to find a new girlfriend (Lila would be nice) and mature a little more.
Autolycus - Definitely a man of character and definitely a man who loves and admires Xena very much. You definitely knew that even though Autolycus did not kill the bounty hunter, he would not have hesitated to do so if it meant saving Xena's life. It was cute the way Autolycus tried to hide from Xena the reason he was in the room talking to the bounty hunter and the way Xena twirled her hair and said "You did that for me." I must say that I was surprise the way Autolycus was quick to place the blame on Cyrene; however, he did apologize when realized that his statements almost cost Xena's mother her life when Discord came to collect. I also enjoyed the interaction between Autolycus and Gabrielle. You definitely get the impression that they become irritated with each other quite easily. There were two nice scenes in this episode involving Autolycus. The first scene was when Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus walked into the room to gather additional clues and Gabrielle stated to Xena that none of their family or friends could commit cold-blooded murder to which Autolycus stated that it scared him to admit it but Gabrielle was probably right. At that point, Xena turned to him and said "Oh you do." However, it was said with that "Xena quality" and if you look at Autolycus's face you can tell that he is truly hooked on the Warrior Princess. The second was when Autolycus noted that the door was locked from the inside to which Gabrielle responded (while accusingly looking at Autolycus): "and who discovered that, someone with motive enough for murder, someone who's trying to confuse us, someone who's looking to beat this rap the best he can no matter what the cost." to which Xena replies: "I did." Autolycus is definitely a great character and one which I enjoy whenever he appears in the show.
Gabrielle - When Gabrielle first enters the episode, it was great because right away you could feel the interaction between her and Xena. I fell out my seat with laughter when Gabrielle (referring to the dead bounty hunter on the floor) said to Xena "I guess you found her first, huh?" to which Xena responded "Yes I found her, I didn't kill her" to which Gabrielle responds "Oh that's good". What I liked was that Gabrielle, a person of love, didn't want to kill the bounty hunter but was willing to give her diarrhea and stomach disorders in order to stop her from reaching Xena before she (Gabrielle) could warn her. Also, notice that when Gabrielle walks through the door to warn Xena she states : "Xena, we've got trouble." She did not say "you have trouble." The fact that Gabrielle uses the word "we've" indicates that Xena's troubles are Gabrielle's troubles and vice versa. I also liked the way that Gabrielle would reiterate the clues and end up stating the obvious which only led to additional irritation on the part of the suspects. At the end, Gabrielle, realizing that Xena does not always think highly of herself nor does she think that others think highly of her, points out to our hero that the family and friends gathered acted out of love for her (Xena).
Xena- In the beginning when you see Xena riding her horse into the town -the darkness, the quietness and the suspicious look on Xena's face-it was all classic Xena. What I enjoyed most about Xena in this episode was her "down to earth" interaction with her mother, her "toying" with Autolycus, her "teasing" of Joxer and of course the classic Xena-Gabrielle interaction. One of my most favorite Xena lines in the episode was when Discord said: "Look Xena, I'm tired of being jerked around" to which Xena replies "You gave me until sunrise to jerk you around." Also, if you notice, Xena becomes the most upset first when Discord goes after her mother and second when she goes after Gabrielle. Again, we see the heroic - self sacrificing Xena when at the end she states to Discord that she knows how the bounty hunter was killed and if she (Discord) is not convinced, she can take her (Xena) to which Ares would probably be very happy. At the end, when Xena is apologizing to her mother we see that Xena is a very vulnerable person who is no longer the uncaring "Destroyer of Nations" but instead is now a person who loves and needs to be loved by her family and friends.
Kudos to all our actors and actresses for giving us an entertaining Sherlock Holmes type play that was thought provoking and fun. Major kudos to Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor for giving us a show that keeps us coming back every week.
* This was a good episode. It was light and a great mixture of comedy, suspense, and fighting with some really touching moments very well interwoven. Even though it was a good episode there were a few things that bothered me, such as why would a good bounty hunter have to hurt horses to catch her subjects. (Although you have to admit it is an innovative idea, the same as putting a banana in a tail pipe.) Another question I had was why did Xena bash into Rebenica's room when she could not find her mother in her room? Did Xena suspect that Rebenica was some threat to her mother? Why didn't Menya try to fight Rebenica; isn't Menya a Xena "wannabe"?
* Autolycus' story was interesting. So he had worked with Rebenica before doing what? Was she a thief also? Then we have Joxer. How can a good bounty hunter not see the difference between Jet and Joxer. Just their clothing alone would set them apart and if he had been Jet instead of Joxer, she would not have been able to get that close. Then there was Menya's story of how she knew Rebenica while she was working in the stables. Which stables, where and when did she start working as a stable hand? It was also interesting to see how Lila joined forces with Menya. (I did not even know they had ever met?) Then there was Gabrielle's story. She was trying to slow Rebenica down by giving her some of Joxer's stew; that was cruel. Finally there was Argo's action, definitely self-defense. All the scenarios presented by all the parties involved were really good, but they left a lot of questions unanswered. Well, not really unanswered because we can suppose that Menya met Lila when Gabrielle and Xena returned from India, and Menya started working in the stables when she went to do the play for Gabrielle.
* Moving along, I loved the interaction between all the characters. It was so refreshing to see Gabrielle and Xena back together as a team. I loved it when Gabrielle ran in and said, "Xena, we have problems." That We meant alot and went a long way with Xena.
* Another thing about this episode was how important Xena had become to those around her. It was so different from the Xena in "Sins of the Past", a lonely and guilty Xena, a Xena with no friends, not even welcome by her own mother. It was also interesting how each character came up with a plan to stop Rebenica from taking Xena.
* The tender moments between Xena and her mother were just great. It was great to see Xena interact as a daughter, even getting hit on the hand when taking something from the table. It was nice. When Xena asked her mother about killing Rebenica, it was interesting, especially her response. Good line. It was also good to see Xena apologize to her mother for thinking she had killed Rebenica. Those were some really good moments.
* What made this episode good for me was the two storylines running at the same time. The first and most important was who killed Rebenica and the underlying, but at the same time just as important, was how everyone was trying in some way to save Xena. The murder of Rebenica was determined by Xena in the end to be, not murder, but self-defense. Argo killed Rebenica in self-defense. Interesting the way no one ended up in the hands of Discord.
* This episode also revealed just how important Xena was for each of the other characters, as expressed by what Gabrielle told Xena at the end of the show. It was also obvious how important each and every one of these people had become to Xena that she was willing to give her life to save them.
* There were other factors that made this show good for me. I loved how the show mixed "Murder She Wrote" with "Clue". I also enjoyed Xena as a detective; she is good. Once again, however, we know that Xena is a woman of many talents.
* Another thing that made this show work was LL's comedic talent. She played Xena straight all the way and that made the show. The delivery of some of the lines was just too good.
* X - "You gave me until sunrise to jerk with you."
* D - "I don't do animals."
* M - "That's not what I heard."
* It was interesting how the show started. The original premise was that they had all come together to celebrate Gabrielle's birthday, but what followed was how these characters took an interest in trying to keep Xena from getting captured by the bounty hunter; to conclude in the celebrating of Gabrielle's birthday.
* Finally, the undertone of this episode was love, family and friendship. This band of misfits Xena had collected along the way had become a family and they were willing to go as far as they could to save the life of a friend, that friend being Xena. They were also willing to travel whatever distance it took to celebrate the birth of another friend, Gabrielle.
* All in all, it was a good episode. I enjoyed it very much and it came at a good time during the season.
WHIMPERS, MURMURS, AND A LOVE GONE TOO FAR
07-16-00. Ted Raimi at DragonCon 2000 in Atlanta on the weekend of July 1, 2000, stated that IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE was his least faborite XENA episode. He said that he did not feel that he did a good job on that episode.
03-26-99. According to Bruce Campbell at the NYC Xena Convention (02-27-99), this episode concerns a murder mystery.
03-06-99. From Bruce Campbell's website. Autolycus will appear with Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer in this episode and the four of them try to solve a murder in a tavern. It's scheduled to air week of 5/3/99. This is the latest name for the Bar Murder Mystery episode.
WHERE HAVE I SEEN YOU BEFORE?
So who was who in Takes One To Know One?
* Joxer was, of course, played as usual by Ted Raimi. I won't go over Ted's many roles again, since I went through them at length recently, when he appeared in If The Shoe Fits.
* Meighan Desmond has played the role of Discord previously in the X:WP ep The Deliverer, and in the HTLJ eps Two Men And A Baby, If I Had A Hammer, Porkules, One Fowl Day, and Love On The Rocks, and regularly on Young Hercules. Apart from this, her only other credit that I am aware of is as Lulu Chatfield on the New Zealand soap Shortland Street, which so *many* Xenaverse denizens have frequented.
* Alison Wall who played Minya, of course created this role in A Day In The Life, and reprised it previously in The Quill Is Mightier and The Play's The Thing. I wasn't able to find out much else about her, except that she provided the voices for Tethys and Mnemosyne in Hercules And Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus.
* Lila, Gabrielle's sister, was played, as always, by Willa O'Neill. She has appeared as Lila previously in Sins of the Past, The Prodigal, The Bitter Suite, and A Family Affair. On HTLJ, Willa has played the ugly-duckling wannabe dancer and fashion designer Althea in And Fancy Free and Greece Is Burning, and Phoebe, the fiery daughter of a hero, and a heroine in her own right, in the eps Once A Hero and The Wedding of Alcmene. Willa has also appeared in the films Topless Women Talk About Their Lives (with the other Xenaverse regulars Danielle Cormack [Ephiny] and Joel Tobeck [Strife]), Secrets (a 1992 Australia / New Zealand co-production), and Jane Campion's An Angel at My Table. Willa also appeared on High Tide (playing Trudy Carry in the ep La Bamba).
* Darien Takle has played the role of Xena's mother, Cyrene, in Sins Of The Past, Intimate Stranger (in a sort of dream vision), and The Furies. Darien can be seen in a few movies as well. Most recently, she appeared in the NZ horror movie about a serial killer, The Ugly, which is currently on video store shelves as a new release. This movie also features Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Boadicea in The Deliverer, Zera in The Play's The Thing, Voluptua in The King Of Thieves), Beth Allen (Vanessa/Pilee in DOP), Katrina Browne (Mendala in WIR, Thelassa in LUATD, Siri in Prodigal Sister), Rebecca Hobbs (Woman #1 in Ares, Elora in The Siege At Naxos, Katrina in Doomsday), Paul Glover (Menticles in The Price, Josephus in What's in A Name, Brontus in Let the Games Begin, Roberto Orci in Yes Virginia There is A Hercules, Danaeus in Descent), Christopher Graham (Toxeus in DIC and MB, Slave Boss in RN, Colchis in Porkules), Jon Brazier (Walsim in TDHD, Tarsis in VA, Mercenary #2 in The Vanishing Dead, Jakar in The Outcast, Slave Trader in The Fire Down Below, Trinculos in A Star to Guide Them), and Michael Dwyer (Theodorus in The Warrior Princess, Ruffian #1 in The Quest, Thug #2 in The Festival of Dionysus)... so, another one with a *lot* of familiar faces for Xenites.
Darien was also in Heavenly Creatures, a made in NZ film about a real-life case involving a murder by two teenagers. This film was one of Kate Winslett's first major acting gigs, and personally I would highly recommend it (but with the notation that it is based on a strange and tragic murder case, and may be disturbing for some). It also features Gilbert Goldie, who played the Village Elder in Locked Up And Tied Down, and although they can't be seen, Jennifer Ward-Lealand worked on the film as an acting coach, and George Port (The First Critic in The Play's The Thing) as a digital effects operator.
Somewhat longer ago, Darien appeared in the New Zealand films The Lost Tribe (1985) and Second Time Lucky (1984).
* Bruce Campbell has, of course, played Autolycus in *many* episodes of both X:WP and HTLJ. He also played the man himself, Rob Tapert, in the HTLJ eps Yes Virginia There is A Hercules and For Those of You Just Joining Us.
Besides these roles in front of the camera, Bruce has directed the X:WP eps Key To The Kingdom and The King of Assassins, and the HTLJ eps The Vanishing Dead, What's in A Name?, For Those Of You Just Joining Us, Redemption, and Stranger And Stranger.
Outside the Xenaverse, Bruce has an *enormous* filmography, which it occurs to me I've never attempted to summarise. So here's a list of movies and TV shows Bruce has appeared in, although I expect there are some missing: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999), Icebreaker (1999), Gold Rush! (1998 TV), The Ice Rink (1998), The Love Bug (1997 TV), McHale's Navy, In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory (1997 TV), Missing Links (1997 TV), Running Time (1997), Escape from L.A. (1996), Tornado! (1996 TV), Fargo (1996 uncredited), Assault on Dome 4 (1996), Menno's Mind (1996), Congo (1995), The Quick and the Dead (1995 scenes deleted), The Demolitionist, Ellen (1994 TV Series), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (1993 TV Series), Army of Darkness (1993), The Chiller Theatre Expo Video Vol. 1 (1992), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), Lunatics: A Love Story (1991), Darkman (1990), Maniac Cop 2 (1990), Mindwarp (1990), Moontrap (1989), Generations (1989 TV Series), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), Maniac Cop (1988), The Dead Next Door (1988 voice), Intruder (1988), Evil Dead II (1987), Crimewave (1985), Stryker's War (1985 uncredited), Going Back (1983), The Evil Dead (1982), Clockwork (1978), Within the Woods (1978), It's Murder! (1977) - back in 1977 Bruce was just turning 19!
Besides the above, which include TV series in which Bruce played featured roles, he has also guested on the following series: The X Files in episode Terms Of Endearment, Timecop in episode The Future, Jack, The Future, Homicide: Life on the Street in episodes Justice: Parts 1 & 2, American Gothic in episode Meet The Beetles, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in episodes We Have A Lot To Talk About, Whine, Whine, Whine and Individual Responsibility, and Weird Science (don't know the episode).
* Ravenica was played by Natalie Duggan... she hasn't appeared in the Xenaverse before (at least not in a credited role), and though she looked rather familiar, I wasn't able to find out anything about her.
[When I originally posted the info on the cast for this ep, I was unable to find anything on Natalie Duggan, who played Ravenica, the victim du jour. Well it turns out I wasn't looking in all the right places - Natalie Duggan is apparently quite a celebrity in some circles. She seems to be famous for her association with Playboy magazine more than anything else (in a modelling capacity - but I haven't seen the pictures), and I believe she has connections in fitness circles as well. She has also done some acting before - she appeared in two eps of the US TV series One West Waikiki, playing "Tina Monroe" in the ep "Guilty" and "Lori" in the ep "Kingmare On Night Street" - I never saw this show... apparently it starred Cheryl Ladd as Dr. Dawn "Holli" Holliday. Natalie Duggan has also, I'm informed, appeared on Young Hercules, playing a giant - but I haven't been able to nail this one down yet, or get an episode name [ it wasn't Natalie Duggan who played a giant on Young Hercules, it was Alison Wall, probably in the ep The Head That Wears The Crown.]. Thanks to Ray Radlein and Cleanthes for assists with this info.]
* The ep was written by Jeff Vlaming, who has never written for Xena or Herc before. However he does have TV experience, having written for Weird Science and Northern Exposure, and worked as a story editor on The X Files.
* The director of the ep was Christopher Graves, who previously directed The Play's The Thing, and also directed three HTLJ eps, all comedies: Two Men And A Baby, Yes Virginia There Is A Hercules, and Porkules. Given his background directing comedies (and TPTT and YVTIAH were very funny indeed, to me) you'd have expected him to get more laughs out of this ep - but perhaps he thought it wasn't supposed to be a comedy... I'm not sure what it was supposed to be myself.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
These things are by Beth Gaynor.
Cyrene's inn has gotten yet another redecoration job. Amphipolis must be incredibly prosperous; that place gets bigger every time we see it. And Cyrene's room is humongous! It's good to be the innkeeper.
Gabrielle leaves a big ol' lipstick mark on Joxer's cheek. Guess she's been hitting the berry juice hard.
Listen to Minya's distraction dialogue about the storm: small animals getting blown away? Some guy building an ark and selling rooms? Ha!
When Lila tries to cut Ravennica's horse free, the window behind Argo is closed. It should be open - that's the one to Ravennica's room, and we see through it when Minya tries to distract her. Speaking of which, why didn't Ravennica just walk to the open window to see into her room?
The eagle-eye award - and a citation for abuse of a VCR tape - goes to Llachlan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for counting the candles on Gabrielle's birthday cake. Gab is 22. Which means she was probably 17-18 when Xena came to town. One mystery of the universe has been solved.
MORE THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
03-08-00. From Jonathan Scott. Fast Dresser (also, where does she keep it all?) Xena is a really fast dresser - in her bedroom, after looking out of the windows in her room, she hears the crash. She grabs her armour from the clothes stand (breastplate/back/shoulder straps), and sword/scabbard from the table Next we see here enter Cyrene's room (which we know is next door, from earlier) As this stage she(a) has the armour on, and no hair trapped underneath* she does have a leather skirt on on the bed, but it does not appear to have the metal decoration Over all, she walking into Cyrene's room ready-to-rumble. No hint at all that she has just rushed, half dressed, out of her own room. Fast dresser (or it is a ___long___ way between rooms!)
(b) has the sword on her back Also
(c) she is finishing putting her forearm bracers on - where were they
(d) has the chakram on her hip - again, where was that
(e) has the metal studded over-skirt on *
03-08-00. From Jonathan Scott. Revenika is in room VI. According to the key fob.
03-08-00. From Jonathan Scott. The airbag under the rug in Revengika's room. When Discord blows Xena back, Xena lands 'heavily' on the rug (on top of her own sword no less). There is no way the edges of the rug will billow up like that if the rug was on a flat stone floor. The way the rug moves, it seems likely that there is an airbag under there (actually, there _has_ to be one; either an airbag to break the fall, or your lead actress is made of rubber :-)
03-08-00. From Jonathan Scott. Gabrielle, Autolycus and Xena go examine the body again. Gabrielle finds a piece of kindling in the room (a stick. Never did figure out what this was about.)The stick is used to prop the window open. It appears four timesWhat the stick is about? You use it to prop open the window shutter!
(1) when Joxer climbs out of Revengika's room to avoid being found by Revengika and Autolycus
(2) when Revengika leans out of the window to hamstring Argo
(3) Xena uses it to re-open the shutter when explaining to Discord how Revengika died
(4) the view of Minya's shadow puppets, distracting Revengika from
03-08-00. From Jonathan Scott. As to the best line, I think Discord should take the prize, when her muscle-bound entourage gets a pasting: "Arrrgh, you might be good in bed, but you're hopeless in a fight"
From Jonathan Scott. The episode is not only an homage to the board game Clue but also to those "Murder Mystery" dinner games. [Addendum: Mention that "Clue" is also available as "Cluedo"; until I went to Hasbro's web site (http://www.clue-mystery.com), I was in some doubt. I see that "Clue" is another brand name for certain versions of "Cleudo". I have _never_ seen it refered to as "Clue" in the UK (or Europe), it could well be an American brand name only.
Click here to read a transcript of TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE.
Argo was once again proven innocent during the production of this motion picture.