Classic Recap: Ten Little Warlords
By Alex Cranz
Xena (as Callisto) walks through camp and tries to wake Gabrielle up. This freaks Gabrielle out. She HATES Callisto SO MUCH. She even asks her to dye her hair. Joxer tries to sneak up on them and they beat him up even though they didn’t have to. He’s brought an invite from Ares to Callisto, only Ares couldn’t have sent the scroll because he knows Callisto is really Xena. Xena is intrigued and heads off to solve a mystery.
Oh man she sounds SO MUCH like Xena. It’s freaking me out! They watch the warlords they’re spying on be all cordial. Meanwhile Gabrielle is super fierce and angry. She gets stuck between two vendors with some intense Kiwi accents. Then she starts a brawl because that’s how Gabrielle rolls now? Xena breaks it up and drags Gabrielle by the ear to a bar. Xena’s already picked up on Gabrielle being unusual and knows somethings up. That’s when Ares reveals himself all grody.
TITLES. I like how on this show when gods get turned mortal they fail at basic hygiene and nutrition.
Ares proves he’s mortal by belching. Gabrielle tries to slap him and Xena tosses him around. Gabrielle goes in for more slapping and Xena has to hold her back. Also she inflicts pain on Ares and deeply enjoys it.
But yeah, someone stole Ares’s sword and for some reason that axed his godhood. We get a flash of Callisto in Xena’s body in Tartarus. Was it supposed to be that funny? Because it was hella funny.
Ares enlists Xena to help him get his godhood in exchange for Xena getting her body back. Xena refuses until she finds out that Gabrielle will become super violent unless Ares becomes the god of war. Then we get to watch Gabrielle attempt the pinch. Always fun.
Xena is left to consider her options with a feisty Gabrielle. It’s an…odd scene. It ends with Xena deciding to help Ares…after some eye loving between hetero lifemates.
The next morning she and Ares steal a second invite and board a ship for some island. Oh and they have to give up their weapons to board. Xena gets to pretend to be Callisto. Love love love how she messed with her inflection. Awesome delivery Leick! Joxer tries to board and Xena screams at him point-blank. Again, hilarious. Then there’s some strange spinny plate that delivers a message? The hell is this? Anyways the message talks about how the fake Ares plans to reward his godhood to one of the men on the boat.
The ship sets sail and Xena hisses like Callisto but brags about how she schooled most of the warlords there. Ares realizes he has a hangover. I’ve been there bud. I feel ya.
They finally land and Ares brags about being Xena’s BFF. Then we’re given a random ADR shot of Gabrielle and Joxer following them to the island. Well THAT was decided in post!
Their host reveals himself. Apparently it’s Sisyphus. He’s been recast! So he stole Ares’s sword when they were all in Tartarus. And he’ll give it to whomever kills some monster outside at dawn. He warns them not to go looking for the sword. Also, when he gives them the sword he’ll become immortal? Huh. Ares your godhood has a lot of catches.
Meanwhile an angry and jealous Gabrielle and a sopping Joxer arrive on the island. They hear the monster, and because they need a subplot they go after it.
In the palace Xena has devised a lottery to decide the order the warlords take on the monster. Xena gets number one. A fight breaks out and number two get his neck broken. Nine warlords left! Xena then takes Ares to her room so she can comfort and heal him in a sexy fashion.
Underneath them Gabrielle and Joxer are going through the sewage system. The physical comedy is good but the scene is still irritating.
Back to SEXY TIME. Ares is all flexing and taking his shirt off and grunting in a manly fashion. Xena tends to him.
He tries to put the moves on her and compares her to Callisto. Pretty sure he’s talking about sex. Yup. He is. Xena decides she needs to take a long bath when she gets her body back. They have a heart to heart. Before it can get more sexy a warlord walks in and dies. Eight warlords left! The killer eats an apple in a very lust manner.
Xena and Ares drop the body off and start looking for the sword. Ares keeps making passes. A warlord tries to take Xena out and she kills him. Seven warlords left!
Oh look, it’s Gabrielle and Joxer acting like irritating siblings. It’s a fine line between playing irritating and being irritating. Guess which side of the line these scenes fall on? Although dang did Gabrielle flex with that torch.
They hear the monster and continue on.
Upstairs two of the warlords have teamed up to take out two others. Five warlords left!
Xena and Ares go into a dungeon and Ares screams in a very high-pitched manner. Ares insists that Xena claim the sword if Ares dies. Suddenly Sisyphus appears. He’s worked out that Xena is in Callisto’s body and sets Ares up in some sort of death trap. Xena saves him because she’s awesome. Love that it’s the lady saving the dude. Ares wigs out a little.
Downstairs Joxer tries to sing. Gabrielle grabs his sword and charges ahead.
Upstairs the five remaining warlords gather. The two warlords that teamed up earlier? They kill one. Four warlords left! Then a little brawl breaks out. Ares’s stunt double doesn’t even have his hair!
Downstairs a murderous Gabrielle and an idiotic Joxer find the monster. It was a fan. Joxer slays it.
Upstairs the fight continues. Xena works out where the sword is hidden. Xena kills a warlord with it. Three warlords left! Ares kills the other one. Two warlords left! Sisyphus tries to convince Xena to kill Ares. Joxer and Gabrielle bust in and tell them the monster isn’t real.
So the deal Sisyphus had? It was with Hades. Send Hades ten warriors and he’d get Ares’s godhood. Xena ruins the plan by killing a not dead warlord with Ares’s sword. He takes it up, becomes a god and sends Sisyphus back to Tartarus. Then he peaces out without putting Xena back in her own body. The dick! Gabrielle looks SO SAD about it.
Someone likes tall, dark-haired warrior women.
Out on the beach Joxer acts like an ass. Gabrielle wants to kill him. She has a heart to heart with Xena. It’s really very sweet. There’s a gust of wind. We get a shot of Xena that’s very much from the title sequence. Then Lucy Lawless’s stand in hugs Gabrielle and we get a treat of some Xena ADR lines. All is well again.
How this episode makes historians weep
As we’ve already establish, Sisyphus had a habit of breaking out of the underworld, though he never bargained with a god to acquire another god’s godhood. That’s new.
- Beats back a number of assassin attacks
- Hisses JUST LIKE Callisto
- Screams JUST LIKE Callisto
- Saves a god
- Turns down a god’s offer of sex
Where it stands in the series
Sisyphus has been recast! This is his second appearance. He last appeared in the season one episode, “Death in Chains.” It’s kind of interesting because his last appearance was all about him accepting death and then he didn’t die. Apparently some things have happened in the interim. He died, broke out and doesn’t even mention the wife who was a pretty big part of his last episode.
The Xena-Ares-Gabrielle love triangle begins in this episode. Yeah, in the past Ares had made passes at Xena, but this is the first time she actually reciprocates, and Gabrielle’s anger over Xena’s circumstances is definitely tinged with jealousy. This subplot will simmer over the next few seasons and then explode all over again in season five. It’s one of the few highlights of that season.
This is also the first time they seriously portray Ares as a Wang. All those super evil bad boys you secretly want to bone? They exist because of Ares…also because of many classic actors, but primarily Ares. He’s the hot villain.
No one was harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, Xena’s ability to recover her body was severely impeded by Lucy Lawless’s unexpected mishap.
This episode wouldn’t have been particularly noticeable with Lawless as Xena. The writing is pretty terrible and the subplot is down right irritating. Would it have been fun to watch her play off Kevin Smith as Ares? Totally. Would it have been memorable? No.
Instead we get Hudson Leick doing her best Xena impression and MAN does she nail it. Leick is just an incredibly watchable actress. There’s a thoughtfulness and slyness in her performance that makes it easy to enjoy. I definitely wish we would have gotten to see more of her. IMDB tells me she showed up in Hercules too…as a producer of Hercules, Xena…and House, M.D. Hilarious!
Episode 9, A Solstice Carol.
Xena does Christmas. I remember it being boring. A lot of neo-pagans like the episode because it’s all about Winter Solstice and that MEANS SOMETHING. Blech.