Classic Recap: Altared States
By Alex Cranz
Season 1, Episode 19: Altered States
Woah helicopter shot of ancient Greece! Craaazy. This wiener kid is being sent away by his mother for reasons unknown. Who does he find on his journey? Naked Xena and Gabrielle. Yea another Xena trope! The sapphic bathing. They see Wiener being chased and Xena decides to use one of her many skills to take the bad guys out. Yes it does involve popping out of the water all naked why epic music plays. The bad guy and wiener both unabashedly stare. She takes out the bad guy, super speed dresses and proceeds to beat the snot out of a ton of guys with a fish on a string. Gabrielle (having found clothes) pops out to help.
But then, Karl Urban walks in and they have a chat. He’s all “this isn’t over” and Xena just stands there idly swinging a fish. So it turns out Wiener is essentially Isaac, only old enough to think Abraham is crazy for wanting to sacrifice him. His dad and all the men in his village are out to bring him home so they can plunge a knife through his heart and burn his entrails in offering.
TITLES. Swinging fish are the best tool in a warrior’s arsenal.
Turns out Karl Urban is the brother of Wiener. Xena sets Wiener and Gabrielle up in a cave and rides off to chat with the crazy religious dudes.
Karl Urban is all set to kill Xena when she walks in on a conversation, but his dad intervenes and then sits down because he has a headache. We find out that the reason he’s out to kill his son is because he IS Abraham and Wiener is Isaac. Delightful! Man I don’t remember Karl Urban being in Genesis. He’s adding whole chapters to that book. He gathers the villagers to go out and kill Xena and get his brother back.
Back in the cave Gabrielle is telling a new version of the Trojan War. It sounds interesting. Why weren’t there hydras at the sacking of Troy? Hmmmm? Wiener doesn’t want to listen because he’s worried. Enter another Xena Trope. Gabrielle’s appetite and her tendency to eat disgusting and/or crazy things. She snags the kid’s nut bread and goes off to eat.
Out at Hestia’s temple Sara is praying. Xena finds her and they have a tête á tête. I never noticed Sara being a heathen in the Bible. I guess that was next to the part where Karl Urban showed up. Sara sends Xena off with more nut bread, only it was bread baked by Karl Urban and Xena immediately deduces that it’s bad.
When she gets to the cave she finds Gabrielle passed out and covered in crumbs. Insert lonely fat girl joke. Then laugh because it’s funny. Oh Gabrielle, worst party EVER. Gabrielle is now all kinds of high and stoned. She is literally bowled over by Xena’s beauty. They realize Wiener has left and Gabrielle breaks into tears. We also find out that Gabrielle totally was a greedy gut and ate alll the bread. Xena leaves Gabrielle to write a musical number with a phantom choir and heads off to get Wiener back.
Wiener went to Sara for help. They’re crafting a pack to take back to Gabrielle but then Karl Urban’s friends roll in and take Wiener. Xena races to them and does a neat flip. She then helps Sara and goes off to a mountain where Abraham is preparing to murder his son. On the way she runs into Wiener and his zealous escort. She manages to get Wiener away from them and before the zealots can start looking for them a peal of thunder freaks them out and they run away.
On top of the mountain Abraham is begging God for mercy. Then God speaks up and is PISSED. Man God, why you got to be a dick? Xena’s all curious about the voice though, and the thunder that’s crashing about in clear weather. Abraham passes out from fear. Xena and Wiener retrieve him and go for a walk. She mocks his religion and makes me realize that Genesis would have been much more awesome with Xena standing there judging the shit out of the Israelites.
Back at Sara’s we learn that Abraham has been drugged repeatedly. Before they can talk more Gabrielle shows up, still high. Wiener freaks out and tries to run off but Xena stops him. Karl Urban sneaks in the other way and take Gabrielle and the others hostage. Gabrielle is forgiven because she’s totes tripping. To resolve it all they chuck Xena and Gabrielle down a well. Best act break ever.
Gabrielle gets all intimate with Xena’s breast plate and just hangs out while Xena takes them both out of the well. Also, Gabrielle is no longer high, and confused.
Wiener’s guiding his dad up the mountain and is all “man it’s totally cool that you have to kill me. Don’t worry about it.” Suck a fucking wiener. It turns out that god is actually Karl Urban with a sweet pre-historic sound FX suite. He bangs on some tin and Abraham continues on with prepping to kill.
In the well we’re asked to wonder which is worse, falling to their deaths or Gabrielle ralphing all over Xena’s boobs. Thankfully they escape both fates.
On top of the mountain Wiener’s all “Dad kill me already. Don’t be such a wimp.” Somewhere off-screen Karl Urban is doing some amazing work with his sound set up, but Xena hears it and knows that it’s fake. Karl Urban and Xena face off over a rope bridge after he yells at his dad for loving Wiener more. It’s up to Gabrielle to find the God horn and stop the sacrifice.
Karl Urban then kills himself with a good laugh and Xena runs in slow motion to the site of the sacrifice. Before she can use her chakram Gabrielle does the single best god impression EVER.
Or DID she?
How this episode makes historians weep
Well the story of Abraham and Isaac happened BEFORE Moses and the Ark of the Covenant so that timing is all kinds of wrong.
Also Karl Urban is supposed to be Ishmael…if Ishmael was a jealous wreck and a bastard. According to the Bible he was not.
- Do Xena’s tatas count? Because she stopped a bad guy stone cold just coming out of the water.
- She does some pretty superhuman leaps throughout the episode.
- Oh and how fast did she get on that leather dress. Have you ever put on leather when wet? It is impossible to do it that quickly.
Where it stands in the series
This episode introduces not one, but two Xena tropes. Sapphic naked bathing and Gabrielle eating stuff she shouldn’t.
It’s also the first appearance of Karl Urban.
No Unabating or Severely Punishing Deities were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
As episodes of this show go this may be one of the funniest ever filmed. The best part? 90% sure most of it wasn’t intentional.
Every show should end with the two leads looking up into the sky pondering the existence of God. EVERY SHOW.
Lawless is so much better here then in previous episodes and the chemistry between her and O’Connor is really starting to work. Playful Xena is right behind Evil Xena in the awesome book and it’s nice to see her starting to show up finally.
Karl Urban begins his long tradition of over doing it and he’s fantastic at it. I loved when he’s all bored while telling his dad to kill his brother, and that laugh as he falls to his death? Awesome.
Episode 20, Ties That Bind.
Xena’s potential father makes an appearance. Who is in the role of Xena Daddy? TOM ATKINS. Also Ares is there. More Ares is always great. Get excited.