Classic Recap: A Day In The Life
By Alex Cranz
WAKING UP. Goons try to kill Xena but she picks up a dutch oven and frying pan and goes to town on them and REALLY seems to like it. She then wakes Gabrielle up with a squirt of water to the face and goes straight back to fighting and loving it SO MUCH.
Gabrielle starts to get ganged up on and Xena, being a good friend, flings the frying pan at the villains. She then puts the pinch on a dude, but gets distracted by Gabrielle who is pissed off about their frying pan, which is now bent. The guy tells them about the warlord he works for who’s about to attack Piedmont. Xena and Gabrielle have a mission!
FINDING YOUR WAY. So they’re headed to Piedmont but they have no idea how to get there. Gabrielle wonders why Xena didn’t ask for instructions. Xena wonders why Gabrielle didn’t. This pleases Gabrielle. A guy comes running up and Gabrielle heads off eager to interrogate in a violent fashion, but Xena stops her. The guy arrives and immediately falls in love with Xena. Also he needs her help saving his village from a giant. Gabrielle voices the conflict. Which village will they save?
MAKING A DECISION. It involves a list. Xena trumps the list with a coin flip. Laurel (the village with a giant) wins. Gabrielle and the dude both stare at Xena with love in their eyes.
Aw. They head off and Gabrielle asks Hower (the dude) about frying pans. Xena tells her to shut it. They kick each other in the ass.
TITLES. I almost feel like summarizing this episode is stupid. It’s just so much more fun to watch. Sadly my integrity demands I keep with it!
TRAVELING. Xena and Gabrielle play twenty questions. I like how they mock all the people Xena’s killed over the show. Gabrielle then tries to whack Xena in the face. Clearly this is another game they play often. Holy hell are they flirting or what? Xena then asks Hower about the giant. Then her stomach growls like a bear so they take a detour for fishing. Gabrielle mentions the frying pan again.
At the creek they continue twenty questions while Xena catches fish with her bare hands. Please note all of the dead fish in the pond. Gabrielle asks Xena to catch her some eel after Xena snarks at her for wanting salmon. Xena notes tracks from the warlord’s army. She plans on stopping it too. She then chucks SO MANY fish at Gabrielle’s face while Gabrielle talks to Hower about marriage.
“She likes what I do.” Freudian slip Gabrielle? Check out the bloopers for this scene. And now note all of the fish scales on O’Connor. Gross.
Gabrielle tells Xena that Hower’s fallen for her. They talk about some potential wardrobe changes and are so flipping adorable while they discuss it. Hower returns with flowers for Xena. She walks away awkwardly and he gives the thumbs up to Gabrielle.
Who then tries to chop up fish…with Xena’s chakram. Why? Because Xena’s been killing warlords with all their cooking ware. Oh Xena. She has Hower send a message to the warlord. It isn’t much of a message.
A CALL FROM NATURE. Gabrielle is writing a scroll about the lesbian vampire episode. She goes to record what she’s written and notices her scrolls been ripped. Xena’s used it for toilet paper. The best part is Xena looks back at where she took her dump.
And also she kind of intimates that she can’t read. Xena is a big dumb brute and I love it.
They feel a giant’s footsteps.
GIVING DIRECTIONS. Gabrielle makes a fake sign for the giant to follow…but the giant can’t spell? What? Gabrielle takes her time putting up the sign. Xena grabs her by the chesticles.
They finally arrive in Laurel. It is a terrible empty and terribly pathetic town. Gabrielle is disappointed with how typical the village is. A woman runs behind them. She’s chasing a goat. Xena and Gabrielle start to introduce themselves but the woman recognizes Xena and freaks out about it. She has no idea who Gabrielle is. Xena, a jerk, refuses to help out. So Gabrielle nearly tells her an embarrassing bit about Xena’s outfit.
The woman is Hower’s girlfriend. Minya, she is strong and literate. This is a rare combination in ancient Greece. As it was just intimated that Xena is illiterate? I’m totally buying Minya’s claim.
Xena needs to figure out how to stop the giant so she takes a bath with Gabrielle.
Yeah just friends. Their enunciation in this scene is distracting me. Why is it so precise? They wash each other with sponges, as bffs do. They also talk about Hower’s love for Xena. Got distracted by Gabrielle’s watery cleavage. Perky. Gabrielle sits on the soap. What did she think she was sitting on if not soap? It devolves into a splash fight.
Minya goes around collecting mirrors, as per Xena’s request. Hower arrives and lusts after a moist Xena. Minya notices and is none too pleased. Damn it man she can read! Don’t leave her for a potentially illiterate warrior princess! Hower continues the telephone game between Xena and the warlord. “Hower, say goodbye to Minya.” Awesome delivery. Xena really does such at the sensitive stuff.
Gabrielle then approaches Minya about a frying pan.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Xena is meditating and Gabrielle tries to sneak up on her, but Xena stops her and goes back to meditating. They continue Twenty Questions. Xena finally answers. It was Theodorus, Callisto’s old second. Cheater! Callisto killed him. They hear a snap and come outside. Minya traded Gabrielle a frying pan for Xena’s whip. Xena is not amused. She thinks Gabrielle traded the whip because of the incident with the scroll. They glare at each other. Gabrielle looks so pleased when Minya tells Xena that Gabrielle is hers.
Xena rides off to look for the giant or something. She runs into Hower and a GIANT footprint with a dead possum in the middle. I love Xena trying to be less sexy with Hower. She’s so terrible at it. She realizes, from the giant footprint, that they’re going up against Garreth, the dude who killed Goliath’s family.
Gabrielle and Minya partake in an adult literacy class to make Minya feel better. This would be funny but I’ve heard many an English as a first language adults struggle with reading and instead I’m just sad. Then Hower comes in and breaks up with her. This just turned depressing folks.
Xena comes in to tell Gabrielle about Gareth. Minya knows the story better than anyone else there. It’s a little creepy. The original mirror plan won’t work, but Xena hears a storm approach and gets an idea.
TRIAL AND ERROR. Xena, the prehistoric Ben Franklin. She’s created a kite, but won’t call it that. Everyone else thinks she’s crazy. I could watch Xena try to fly a kite all day. She looks so sad when it fails.
Gabrielle’s a little worried Xena’s gone nuts. Xena continues trying to fly the kite. She finally whacks Gabrielle with it. This pleases me.
And success! The kite is flying. Gabrielle has no idea how that will help stop Gareth. Xena leaves her with the kite and goes to speak with Hower.
He’s brushing Argo down and already has their new house all decorated in his head. Xena tries to let him down harshly but he only has eyes for their new place together in his head. Failure!
She goes to tell Gabrielle who tries to attack her from above. Failure! Gabrielle cops a feel. They switch jobs.
Gabrielle also fails, but Xena has given Minya love advice. Love advice from Xena? I don’t want it! Her boytoys are all evil or dead or both! We get a little sweet moment between pals then hear Gareth demolish the warlord’s army. All part of Xena’s plan.
WAITING FOR GARETH. Xena practices all casual like with her chakram. Then the warlord, sans army, shows up and flips out. Every warlord on the show should be like this guy. He’s ready to kill Xena.
Minya shows up, in leather, and knocks his ass out to the delight of Hower. We’re saved from the sex by Gareth’s arrival. Xena goes off to fight. She and Gabrielle have a tender moment and apologize.
Xena and Gareth throw down. It involves attaching the kite to his back and waiting for lightening to strike and roast his ass. Hilarious forced perspective tricks and roasted giant. A++ Also GIANT FOOT.
GOING TO BED. Xena and Gabrielle are all cozy and sharing a mattress and talking about the stars. Gabrielle FINALLY whacks Xena in the face. Then kisses her. Aw. Too cute for words.
How this episode makes historians weep
Piedmont was not a town but an entire region in northern Italy.
Laurel was never an actual place.
Kites were invented in China in the 5th century BCE.
- Invents the kite.
- Kills a giant.
Where it stands in the series
So ends the story of Gareth as first presented in The Giant Killer. Good one for Xena.
The first appearance of Minya.
NOT the first time Xena and Gabrielle have shared a bath together. Despite what people at the time thought.
No slippery eels were harmed during the production of this motion picture despite their reputation as a fine delicacy in select cultures of the known world.
Self parodies are incredibly difficult to do right. This is an example of it done properly. The stakes are never diminished by the humor and the humor is always spot on. The cast is small and absolutely perfect and the chemistry between Lawless and O’Connor is almost enough to give you pause. They play so well off each other comically but then they also bring quite a bit of sexual chemistry which is kind of unusual but perfectly pleasant.
Lawless clearly has a lot of fun playing a less than perfect “good” Xena. It’s a nice change of pace from the Blue Steel wonder we’ve seen before (just last episode in fact!). Here is a completely relaxed Xena. This is a Xena that probably farts in her sleep and picks her nose.
Michael Hurst (Iolaus) takes the idea of a behind the scenes Xena episode and runs with it. He gleefully employs cinema verite techniques to give this episode a mockumentary style without descending into the tropes of the style. There are no onscreen interviews or asides. It’s like Hurst and his crew just happened upon Xena and Gabrielle and secretly followed them for a single day.
And we’re all made the better for it.
Episode 16, For Him the Bell Tolls.
A Xena-Lite episode and homage to Danny Kaye. And the introduction of Aphrodite!