Classic Recap: Cradle of Hope
By Alex Cranz
Alexandra, you say, why are you posting this in the morning, when I cannot follow along on Netflix until this evening! I’m sorry; I really wanted to post it now.
It begins. There’s a king and an old woman with special stones. Could she be telling a fortune? Possibly. She tells him about a special child who’s destined to take his throne. As it isn’t his child, they immediately jump to terrible conclusions. Oh prophecies why are you always misunderstood.
His very orange advisor is pretty sure they should kill the baby. It will make everything better. Some servants sneak the baby out of the castle and send it down the river. Here on out the baby is known as Baby Moses. Get used to it.
Oh man, guess who is going to find this baby? GUESS. It was Xena and Gabrielle. It’s of concern because Gabrielle hears a crying baby and assumes it’s a cat…or a griffon. Do not let her mother your children.
After they find the baby, Gabrielle wants to keep it…as her brother. Xena is disgusted. She’s got a thing against babies. We will later learn why she hates babies. It will be tragic. There will be tears. That’s another, better episode.
Knowing that they can’t keep a baby and sleep on the ground and fight bad guys they decide to go out in search of the baby’s mother. Too bad she’s DEAD.
Back at the palace, the king is looking at a portrait of his dead wife and being all mopey. Oh jeeze, he’s that kind of king. His advisor keeps insisting that they axe the baby, but the king just wants to see the baby. The advisor is not pleased. I smell a future betrayal.
So Gabrielle has to be holding a baby to ride the horse? She dismounts rather suddenly when they run into a woman about to be hanged. Xena saves the woman from the mob by threatening to hang the mob leader. Good thinking Xena! And guess who the lady is. Greek’s answer to Eve: Pandora. Xena figures it out very quickly. So this Pandora? The granddaughter of the original Pandora. She’s charged with taking care of the box, because hope is trapped inside…and that’s a good thing? I missed something about that particular myth I guess.
Xena puts Pandora in charge of the baby and sends Gabrielle to do other things lest she get bored and open the box…because Gabrielle is a complete idiot. They go to a bar and demand milk and port. Oh Xena, that drink sounds awful. Xena puts up her weapons and they all have a drink. Gabrielle lusts after the baby and Xena notices the bartender is preparing to do bad things.
Sure enough, the king’s advisor shows up and tries to arrest…the baby. Xena will have none of it. She breathes fire, does the splits in midair and kicks some ass. The advisor and his peeps flee…with Pandora’s box. GREAT. Xena smacks the bartender around and puts the pinch on him. Yeeees. I missed you pinch thingy. You make dudes stop breathing and bleed from their noses. She gets the 411 on the king (King Gregor).
King Gregor knows all about Xena but hasn’t heard about Xena’s new life as a hero. His advisor calls Xena Xenar. Mmm badly disguised accents. Get used to them! He also convinces Gregor to kill the baby. Then a note shows up from Xena. As Gregor assumes she’s got a huge army hidden somewhere and wants his kingdom, he decides to meet.
In a barn somewhere, Pandora reveals that she has to have the box or it will open on it’s own and hope will escape. Somewhere else, the box ticks ominously.
The king and his advisor start bitching about how Xena is late, but she isn’t! She was hiding behind the bartender! Delightful. She judges the king for wanting to kill the baby. He judges her for all the horrible things she did before. Man Xena. You were a massive c*nt. They stare off. Xena calls Gregor’s bluff. He walks away ready to destroy hope for his kingdom. Uh terrible priorities.
Back at the barn Gabrielle shows up with the servant who sent the baby down river. Xena is impressed. She also thinks that Gregor is a good man. That was some stare off! They find out from the servant that the advisor will make servant women dance for him. Xena sees a prime opportunity.
She dresses up all sexy like and dances for the advisor and his cronies. It’s some harem outfit that doesn’t look very Greek. The advisor is amazed by Xena’s head thrashing or whatever she’s doing. Her sexy dance puts them all into a sex frenzy. Xena is about to grab the box when Gregor shows up. He’s not okay with the box just sitting out and takes it. The advisor then plots to kill the king and Xena…in front of Xena. The advisor, deciding murder plots aren’t enough for one evening, also insists on sexy veil Xena being brought to his room.
Gabrielle watches Pandora with the baby and realizes that the baby and Pandora are better together then she was with it. Good for you Gabrielle.
The advisor tries to seduce Xena. She doesn’t sound very sexy while talking. She just sounds pissed. The advisor is about to stick it to her, but Xena’s too fast. She knocks him out and sets off for the box. The way they shoot it makes her look naked. I noticed this for science.
She comes across the king talking to a dusty crib. Someone needs to get this guy in to see Next to Normal, stat! He’s grieving way too long. Xena knocks him out (two for two, Xena!), grabs the box and tries to flee, but woman is slow with a rope or something and gets caught. Come on Xena you could have made that jump.
Oh wait. She did make the jump. Whew. She runs off. It’s a delightful chase. There is much ADR, then things go into slow motion as Pandora reaches out for the box and keeps it closed just.in.time.
Seeing the king quietly weeping over his son’s cradle gives Xena an idea. She cleans the cradle up and leaves Baby Moses in it. She convinces Gregor to adopt the baby and fulfill the prophecy in the least deadly way possible. The advisor sees what’s happening and doesn’t agree. As he has his sword out I predict a fight. Yup. Xena kicks ass, tosses the baby THROUGH THE AIR and kicks more ass. Xena baby tossing is not a good thing. Don’t do it.
And then Gabrielle tosses the baby. Her toss is awful. The baby comes very, very close to dying, but it’s laughing so it’s all good? Then Xena tosses the baby like twenty feet in the air, and then to Gabrielle. Someone tell them baby =/= football.
Xena uses a trick from her superhuman feat list and kills the advisor. People randomly cheer. Gabrielle and Xena make sexy eyes at each other. The king and Pandora become besties. They will make babies one day no doubt. They will care for the baby together. HAPPY ENDINGS.
Talking over the box Gabrielle and Xena ponder fate. Gabrielle’s fat ass then knocks the box over and it falls open. Hope was never in the box! It was in their heeeeearts. Hug it out guys.
How This Episode Makes Historians Weep
That is not how the Pandora myth goes. Also if Pandora is THE Pandora’s granddaughter then the show takes place in pre-historical times. Pretty sure they didn’t have steel swords before history.
- XENA BREATHES FIRE.
- Xena kicks dudes in the face while doing the splits in midair!
- Xena does a super sexy dance that sends everyone into a sexual frenzy!
- Xena bungie jumps with fabric that doesn’t have the elasticity to do such a jump and she’s fine!
- Xena does her pinch thing! Try it on a child. It doesn’t work for us mere mortals!
- Xena catches a sword…with her bare hands. Mythbusters tells us this is impossible for a human!
Where it stands in the series
Well now we know where that badly dressed king from the title sequence came from. Huzzah! Otherwise? This is a very standard Xena episode. Not as bad as I expected, but not the stuff that makes the show special. We see two more tropes added to the Xena arsenal. The fire breathing thing, which Lawless was trained to do and can still do now, and the sexy dance.
Otherwise it shows that Xena and Gabrielle are getting closer to one another? That’s important I suppose.
Why am I so nice? Because the episode passed quickly. It was completely harmless fun.
Okay I went back and knocked it down to two stars. It’s perhaps too harmless.
Shite is about to get good…for first season Xena, that is. Xena runs into an ex-lover she could really settle down with.