Classic Recap: A Solstice Carol
By Alex Cranz
So this king who doesn’t look pre-historic at ALL is sentencing people for not paying taxes and for celebrating the Winter Solstice. His bookkeeper, Senticles, is all sad because he works for a massive wang. Elsewhere in town Xena and Gabrielle are shopping for solstice gifts. Xena sucks at it. A little kid steals Xena’s chakram. She’s cool with it. She chases him. Gabrielle helps. They follow him to an orphanage where Xena’s chakram is doing double duty as a star. Shitty shitty tree. Shitty shitty kid. Gabrielle is amused.
Senticles waltzes in and tells them to pay their taxes. Other guards try to arrest the kids because they’re celebrating the solstice. Xena and Gabrielle spring into action. The guard get wrapped up, Gabrielle gives a snappy little joke and we are once again told that celebrating the solstice is a crime. That will not fly with señora Xena.
TITLES. Oh it’s one of THOSE episodes. I pretty sure this is the only episode of the show no one dies in.
Gabrielle, being Gabrielle, gets straight to judging Senticles. Then she remembers that he’s a toymaker. She’s AMAZED. They bond. Xena got no time for this. She’d rather smack the king around. Turns out the queen died once and he’s never gotten over it.
Gabrielle tells the orphans a story. Guys I don’t know if I can make it through this episode. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.
Oh wait, Gabrielle tells a shitty and depressing story. Good job Gabrielle.
Xena and Gabrielle set up a Christmas Carol style con to change the King’s mind about being shitty. They kidnap Senticles and get to work. Gabrielle goes shopping and Xena makes Senticles show her around. Gabrielle also buys an ass? Better then the hat she was trying on.
Oh and she spends ALL her supply money on the ass. Idiot.
Xena sneaks into the king’s bedroom, but because she’s Xena he doesn’t wake up until she hits him with a pillow. The king folds as soon as he sees her.
Then she mentions solstice and he freaks out. So she threatens him and flies away…or swings into a room that hasn’t been cleaned in 30 years. Dude, you be nasty king. You didn’t even unwrap your presents. If a puppy had been in any of those boxes it’d be stinky now.
Back at the orphanage Gabrielle is trying to free the ass she wasted money on. He won’t go. She works out that a whistle will make him move. Just like Argo. Oh she just said that. Whatever I thought it first!
Xena finds Senticles altering the books to lessen peoples’ sentences. They chat.
Gabrielle tells another story. Seriously, this episode is boring and treacly. Oh man, these kids are clearly Kiwis. Listen to them try to fix their accents and fail. Also, Renee O’Connor is the only reason this episode is in any way amusing. She really knows how to deliver dumb lines in an amusing manner.
And now Xena is disguised as Clotho. She’s doing her Diana voice, and because she’s Xena she has no time for the king. She and Senticles trick him into thinking she’s mystical. Gabrielle then appears as his wife. O’Connor is really working this.
Downstairs people whistle at the ass holding Gabrielle up and she falls. Then someone else whistles and she floats again. And seriously, O’Connor and the sound design folks deserve an Emmy for selling this.
Oh we find out that rather then dying the king’s wife left him. Then he passes out and they move on to phase two.
Again Xena appears, this time as the ghost of the present or something. WHAT IS THAT ACCENT?! I would give Lucy Lawless a million dollars to always talk like that.
Gabrielle goes and finds Senticles. He’s playing with toys instead of doing work. I enjoy how this character’s crisis is “maybe I should be less lazy and depressed.” I just realized the ass’s name is Toby. TOBY. Gabrielle realizes that Senticles is that guy who stays in and makes figures and then goes to a pathetic job and spends all his other time on the internet hating people. I think I dated this guy. What a WIENER. Gabrielle dresses him up and forces him to deliver toys.
Xena and the king go to the orphanage so he can feel guilty. Man she’s not doing the voice anymore! What is she SHY? Do the voice. Do the voice. Do the voice. Oh and some kid talk smack about the king. Kid, maybe pay your taxes? Wait, orphanages are usually tax exempt?
A bunch of kids sing for the king and Xena. This is amazing acting because neither actor has fallen asleep. TALENT. The king gets mad at Xena (she’s a fate remember) and walks out. Only to be stopped by his own guards who don’t recognize him and are looking to arrest everyone in the orphanage.
THE VOICE IS BACK. WHY WAS IT GONE EARLIER?!
The king passes out and the orphanage’s owner worries. Clearly she’s the queen who abandoned him. Xena tells her to stay with him. Gabrielle and Senticles break in via the chimney and are enlisted to fight the guards.
The guards run in to fight and thus begins Xena HOME ALONE style. Xena smacks them with toys because she doesn’t feel like killing on the Solstice? Where were those screams coming from? Gabrielle distracts with hulu hooping.
WHAT THE F IS GOING ON?
In the basement the king wakes up and thinks his ex is the third fate. She carries on the ruse because she wants to? What a bitch. There’s more screaming. WHERE IS THAT COMING FROM? He freaks out and runs upstairs in time to watch Xena smack people around. So many shitty cliches. Why does Xena get so angry at the Hercules puppet? Did Gabrielle just invent Jingle Bells? This guy just standing here twirling his sword? They photoshop Steve Coogan’s face onto him for Hamlet 2.
Oh now the kids are helping. Yea.
Seriously WHAT IS HAPPENING? Is this a pillow fight? Are these guards really that shitty? Gabrielle is enjoying it all a wee too much.
Death/Third Fate/Shitty Ex-Wife reappears and reveals that she’s the ex-queen. I hate her for some reason. Is that wrong? Like she could have saved everyone 30 years of suffering by going to see a marriage counselor.
Xena, Gabrielle, Argo and TOBY run into Jesus and his parents. Gabrielle gives them Toby because he’s too expensive to have for every episode and Argo will be pissed if she’s upstaged. Jesus GLOWS with delight. He literally GLOWS. Then Xena gives Gabrielle a solstice gift. I can safely say this moment fueled waaaay too many sultry fanfics on the internet. Why do Christmas episodes always do that?!
How this episode makes historians weep
Well there were a lot of twentieth century references.
Winter Solstice was never handled that way.
We just saw Jesus even then Goliath only died a few episodes ago.
The Fates never got all Christmas Carol on old kings’ asses.
- THE VOICES.
- I guess the fighting and swing from window to window?
- Gabrielle’s fall down the chimney is the REAL superhuman feat.
Where it stands in the series
That dumb toy lamb gets so flipping sinister come third season. That’s about it.
Senticles was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, several of his toys are in dire need of repair.
When people make fun of this show or don’t give it it’s due? This is the kind of shit they’re talking about. This is treacley, bizarre in a bad way, anachronistic in a dumb way and all around terrible.
On the bright side–the side that keeps this from being a one star affair–O’Connor and Lawless KILLED it. O’Connor has this great vaudevillian sensibility and manages to sell this terrible script while Lawless just fucks around doing crazy voices.
And now I’m sad that Renee O’Connor isn’t on some sitcom now.
Episode 10, The Xena Scrolls.
If you ever have to pen a clip show THIS episode should be your guide. The most enjoyable clip show to ever be invented.