Home Episode Guide Reviews Cast & Crew Articles Features Links

Many Happy Returns Reviewed

A very cute little comedy episode that sees Xena and Gabrielle hook up with a naive young girl who is about to be sacrificed by a band of religious zealots. Xena saves her - thanks to Hermes helmet (which maens the wearer can fly) and they recruit Aphrodite to show her a alternate vision of gods. Then there is the usual warlord to defeat, and set against all this, it is Gabrielle's birthday, and Xena and Gab engage in a prank war.

This episode was the replacement for the much talked about Sappho musical episode - that sadly never happened, however despite being fairly rapidly developed, it works well. It is Alexandra Tyding's final XENA ep, and over the years Aphrodite has been a big favourite with the fans. Once again she is fun, taking the young Genia under her wing. The main enjoyment of the episode is from seeing Xena and Gabrielle being playful together as they play fairly lame tricks on each other. There is just something rather cute about seeing them interact when it is NOT life and death! And for the soppier side of us all, there is that sweet ending where Xena gives Gabrielle a poem by Sappho for her birthday. The poem is an actual Sappho poem all about love....aaahh! It's a lovely ending, and very feelgood.
It is also good to see Lucy and Renee play a different side to their characters. Season 6 has been excellent, but generally speaking, it has been darker and more dramatic than previous years. This is a return to light comedy - something both actresses are excellent at. They both have first rate comic timing and deliver their lines very well.

Considering this is the 4th last episode, there are a few firsts - Xena disguised as a man is quite disturbingly convincing! (Lucy makes a very pretty man by the way) and Renee finally gets to use her Texan roots to lay on a thick Texas accent to play a wedding planner. (All these years she has been pretty crap at accents and NOW they give her one she can do!!) This is also the first we have heard of the tradition of them playing pranks on each other - despite seeing Gabrielle celebrate her birthday one before in Takes One to Know One.
Then there is Xena flying...ok, so its Hermes helmet that lets her fly, but I was reminded of Lucy's appearance on The Simpsons which ended with her, Bart and Lisa flying off.

On the negative side, that guy playing the warlord of the week was just too much for me. OK, so he was obviously supposed to be over the top, but he looked like he was preparing for the panto season. Just too much face pulling and talking in a silly way. However, I did enjoy Xena and Aphrodite as Genia's parents, and Gabrielle as their wedding planner trying to get him to give up the helmet. An amusing little scene.
There were lots of funny lines and amusing scenes, but the humour wasn't too slapstick (mainly).



Not a classic episode, but there are lots of lovely moments that make up for a fairly thin plot.

Back to S6 Reviews page
Back to Episode Guide page
Back to Main Xena page