The One Where Xena: Warrior Princess Turned Into Groundhog’s Day
By Alex Cranz
It’s a beautiful day in Matte city and Xena is awoken by the sound of a rooster. The door opens and the morning light blinds her. Joxer is the jerk opening the door and he’s got goose eggs! They’re promptly destroyed by a falling horse shoe. It also smacks his head. No one cares.
The threesome (Gabrielle was there under some hay) head off to get more horseshoes for Argo. Joxer offers to escort Gabrielle to buy goose eggs. She’d rather travel with Xena. Like usual.
Some guys start fighting because there are warring houses in this town. Xena and Gabrielle walk away and Joxer tries to intervene. Only he gets stabbed and dies. It’s totally emotional. Renee O’Connor has gotten really good at reacting to death. She’s like aces at it.
Cut to XENA SING ALONG. You are by now familiar with Xena’s funeral dirge. Hum it with us will you?
They torch Joxer’s body and Xena says no one is to blame (except maybe the guy who stabbed him?). Xena and Gabrielle cuddle and go to sleep next to what probably smells like roasted pork. They cuddle tenderly.
The morning comes. The rooster crows. Xena wakes up in the barn. And Joxer walks in all alive and non-zombie like.
TITLES. This may be the best pre-title sequence the show ever did.
Xena is understandably delighted by Joxer’s survival. He’s less impressed. Joxer reveals the goose eggs. Gabrielle awakens all surly. Xena realizes it wasn’t a dream.
They head to the marketplace and speak in a very “who’s on first” manner. They have made this more confusing than it needs to be. But I love it. Joxer then posits that they’re all actually fiction. Xena graphically explains his death and decides they’ll stay together.
The fight breaks out again. Xena breaks it up and Gabrielle and Joxer head another direction. Only Joxer accidentally starts a fight. He then tries to stop it. Again. Xena hears it and flips over. Just in time to accidentally kill a man. Two more guys try to start a fight and Xena breaks their swords and sends them all home. Now the entire town is angry. They go back to their barn and find that the assholes in the town have brutally murdered Argo.
Another bonfire (kind of small for a horse). Joxer gets sexy by taking off his helmet and apologizes for Argo’s death. The sun sets.
The sun rises. Again with the barn and Joxer and surly Gabrielle. I enjoy how Xena saw alive Argo and was briefly way elated. She then promptly realizes the day is repeating and is amused by Joxer getting knocked in the head.
The walk to the market place repeats. Again Gabrielle and Joxer don’t believe Xena. Again Joxer makes the conversation more idiotic. The fight breaks out and rather than stop it Xena decides to listen to the argument. She decides it means she has to save some old man.
The next day. Xena clotheslines Joxer and rushes off to save the old dude.
She saves him but he’s so sad about his hat.
The market walk starts again. Xena is tired and annoyed. Joxer tries to sing to her. Xena goes through what it’s not. Joxer notices a very SUSPICIOUS hickey. Gabrielle looks away. I wonder why?
The fight breaks out and Xena knows that just trying to save the old guy won’t help. She sends Gabrielle and Joxer to an alley and breaks up the fight. But the alley was the wrong place to go. Because the hickey giver is promptly stabbed and dies in Xena’s arms. Another bonfire.
Another day. Xena reaches into the hay. Gabrielle moans and Xena is delighted. There is much hugging. Joxer joins and gets smacked.
The marketplace conversation again.
The next day Xena wakes up early and kills the rooster.
It didn’t work. Xena is now so irritated and Gabrielle and Joxer are irritated because Xena won’t explain the repeating day. Xena then reveals Joxer’s love to Gabrielle who finds it all uncomfortable.
That didn’t work. She breaks up many fights with much punching. The camera pans so quickly. Then Xena realizes she essentially has eternity to understand the root of the problem. Oh and she finds some poison. Joxer suggests his super fight plan again and Xena agrees. Joxer starts a fight with both sides. It ends with three pincushions.
The day begins again only with a chakram to Joxer’s chest. Gabrielle’s confusion rivals Xena’s relaxation for best moment of that scene. I love watching her try to pull the chakram out.
Another day. Only Xena’s tied up Gabrielle and Joxer. Gabrielle is surly. Xena uses the next few days to research the poison she found and learn more about the town (or maybe it was just one day?).
The marketplace scene. Xena answers all the questions before they’re asked. Fights break out. She stops them all and insists that everyone discuss peace. She reveals all sorts of town truths because she now knows the entire town. I just noticed the two town leaders have HILARIOUS ponytails.
Peace is brokered. People cheer. Xena and the gang head off to party. But some chick is crying and holds the poison.
The day begins again. Xena becomes Yosemite Sam with the cursing. She then tells Gabrielle and Joxer all about what’s happened. But in a manner that’s very un-Xena like. It puts Gabrielle and Joxer into stupefied shock.
This time she heads straight to the girl with the poison. Turns out the girl and her boytoy have also been repeating the day. Man why have they not presented themselves to Xena before?! The entire repeating day thing is because the guy prayed to Cupid. It will continue until the girl survives the day. Which only a hero can help do. Oh and he’s not allowed to interfere. That’s why he hasn’t said anything to Xena.
She goes to bed. Gabrielle and Joxer have not moved.
Another day. Xena clothesline’s Joxer again and races across town to stop early rising suicide girl. But she’s too late.
Fights break out all over town. There are weapons and brawls. Xena cares not. She’s examining all the walls and sorting out all the angles. Gabrielle and Joxer get caught up in the fight. Xena takes Gabrielle’s staff and Gabrielle does nicely without it. Xena really is a delight this episode. All proud when Gabrielle handles herself in the brawl.
It finally ends with only Gabrielle standing. There are dead or unconscious people EVERYWHERE.
Another day. Xena races out and just throws her chakram. And then her chakram proceeds to save the ENTIRE DAY. Well except for the peace thing. Which Xena’s done before so it ain’t no thang. The day ends with cheering and Gabrielle acts like she was in all it on. Gabrielle you don’t know those people.
Joxer swoops in for a kiss. REJECTED.
The day begins again? Xena is horrified. Only Joxer busts out turnips. That’s not eggs! The day is finally over. Xena hugs everyone and holds the turnips over Gabrielle’s boobs. Joxer is knocked unconscious and everyone laughs like he’s Chaplin. THE END.
How this episode makes historians weep
Those outfits and rapiers! Totes not pre-historic. But whatever we’re supposed to think this is Xena fixing Romeo and Juliet which wouldn’t have even been written. So it’s all good.
Lycos is a search engine.
Minos is a Cretian king who had a wife with bestial proclivities.
- She’s a prophesied hero who will save an entire town.
- She actually saves the entire town.
- With the best chakram toss of all time that requires like Hawkin’s level intellect.
- She figured out what’s wrong in much less time then it took Bill Murray in that one movie.
Where it stands in the series
Joxer has never been more irritating. But if he’d been likable that chakram to the chest wouldn’t have been as enjoyable.
References to hickeys between friends.
The second and third death for Gabrielle.
The third death for Xena.
The first, second and third death for Joxer. Dude was racking them up this episode!
The rooster was not harmed during the production of this motion picture, although his feathers were severely ruffled. However, a little gel and some mousse straightened out the mess.
It is entirely by coincidence that Xena‘s Groundhog’s Day episode happens to be reviewed only a few days after the day. But seeing as that movie is probably on your mind let’s talk about it.
This is a fairly standard trope for science fiction and fantasy shows. Everyone, at some point, uses it, but Xena is the rare show that fully commits to the darker tones suggested by the Harold Ramis film. People die. Not just one or two but an entire town. Also Joxer dies. Not once, not twice, but three times. Of particular note was his final death where Xena, as fed up with him as the audience is, just straight murders the dude so she can catch a few extra hours of sleep. Xena fully embraces the idea of a world where the day repeats and thus there are no consequences for actions. Things can go great in such a world (the aforementioned murder of Joxer) but they can, and will, completely unhinge a person when given enough time.
While she doesn’t live out the years that Bill Murray did in Groundhog’s Day Xena does go through at least a month, and those two irritating lovers that got the town cursed in the first place experience it for years! It actually drives Xena mad and in a much more believable and better executed way than the previous episode.
Episode 3, The Dirty Half-Dozen
Exactly as the title suggests, Xena rounds up some convicts to go on a suicide mission and save lives.