Monday, 19 November 2012

Xena Warrior Princess: The Royal Couple of Thieves

Xena gets hit on my the self-proclaimed 'King of Thieves,' a character somewhere halfway between Robin Hood and Plunkett and Macleane. He doesn't steal to give to the poor exactly, but he does occasionally do so anyway, and he is apparently an honourable man. who steals things. It's one of those types of stories.

Autolycus, who's clearly a character from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys given how many times he mentions Hercules, seems to be modelled after Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, though not quite as suave. He even wears green. He actually has quite nice chemistry with Xena, but overall the writing seems to be relying a bit too much on assumed familiarity with the character, which those of us who haven't watched Hercules don't have.

The story of the episode is largely about Robin Hood helping Xena to recover the Ark of the Covenant for her friends, and doesn't really have anything Classical in it. The Ark is from the ancient world of course, but really, its presence and role here owes more to Indiana Jones than to anything from ancient history (on the actual history of the Ark, the Catholic Encyclopedia has an obviously biased but decent entry). On the Robin Hood side, the Roman world included plenty of bandits and one of them, Bulla Felix, is sometimes thought of as the Roman Robin Hood, so he's not completely un-classical. Not sure the Romans were quite so into the neat little goatee though.

To be honest, I wasn't overly enthralled by this episode. It had some nice moments (Xena, undercover, as a courtesan, faking horror when a body is uncovered; a guard who is even more stupid than usual and refrains from searching their room when Xena pretends to be in the middle of business with Autolycus). But it also had some truly daft stuff, particularly the guy who kills by hitting pressure points (who constantly reminded me of Tom Conti in the London episode of Friends, following Elliot Gould's Jack Geller with murder in his eyes and saying 'I could kill you with my thumb, you know'). Overall, it's rather dull, but it does feature Xena gyrating in a short skirt and corset, if you're into that sort of thing.


Xena: Magmar told me his former boss has got a big ego. Almost as big as yours.
Autolycus: Nothing is as big as mine.

Disclaimer: No Ancient and Inflexible rules governing moral behaviour were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

All Xena reviews


  1. They get a few points for naming Robin Hood Autolycus. That was the name of Odysseus' maternal grandfather, who was a famous thief. Hermes gave him a number of gifts, including the ability to commit perjury without penalty, steal, and turn his booty invisible. They probably just went with the first mythical thief they found and tacked his name on Robin Hood, but it's better than nothing.

  2. Autolycus would indeed become a Hercules regular, but at this point he's only appeared in one Hercules episode. I suspect the assumed familiarity is as much because this is Sam Raimi regular Bruce Campbell.

  3. Ah, Bruce Campbell. One of a kind.

    Never did see the shows, but I'm familiar enough with the setup.


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