Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 4 Episode 6

A Tale of Two Muses

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Nov 02, 1998 on
out of 10
User Rating
75 votes

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Episode Summary


Xena and Gabrielle help their friend Tara to change an oppressed town where dancing is outlawed. Also helping out in their plans to cut footloose and fancy free is Autolycus, in disguise as the strict revivalist Philepon the Reformer.

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  • Cute, fun and easy to watch, this one is a breath of fresh air into a fairly lacklustre season so far.

    This is a really cute little episode, nicely plotted and nicely put together by Michael Hurst. It is 100% a filler episode, but a filler of the best kind: it is funny in the right parts, original, with solid recurring characters and a change of scenery, which is always welcome.

    Interestingly, this episode sees the return of Tara, a character who seems to be a fairly bizarre choice, and who also happens to sit in my bottom 3 characters of all time. However, the break between episodes has actually worked wonders for the character of Tara and now, not only isn't she aggravating or annoying any more, she is actually quite likable and very suitable in this episode. I still find myself somewhat surprised that the writers felt strongly enough about her character to bring her back again and, as I have said before, I have often questioned the choices in the characters that have been brought back for second and third episodes, but even I have to admit that she serves the purpose nicely.

    Autolycus has always been for me one of the best value characters in the show, and I think it is safe to say that he is always guaranteed to bring a laugh. As an all-preaching, all-dancing southern TV-style evangelist, he is hilarious. He plays the character to brilliant effect, and turns what would have been fairly average filler into a seriously enjoyable episode.

    Really, however, there is nothing that lets this episode down. The moments are not cheesy, although they very easily could have been, the sexual innuendoes are cute and funny and not overdone, the moral lessons being preached about staying true to yourself and fighting for what's right are not too heavy and don't bog the light-heartedness down, and the tying in of Tara's previous episode is clever. The choreography works a treat, along with the more modern soundtrack to the episode, and visually makes the episode quite interesting. The final scene is probably the only moment throughout that pushes the boundary a little, as it does get a little bit clichéd, but that can certainly be forgiven.

    This is a fun episode – it is funny, original, and has some really enjoyable moments. If you can't enjoy this one, then you need to get a sense of humour!moreless
  • Such a dissapointment. No story-line.

    It's night, and some young people are gathered in an abandoned building playing music and dancing. One of them is Tara, the rebellious girl Xena and Gabrielle met in "Forgiven". She dances with a young man, then somebody grabs her. One of her friends yells "It's Istafan" and everybody scatters. Tara is the only to be caught, and Istafan tells her that she will be punished for her transgressions. The next morning Xena and Gabrielle are walking through the desert. Gabrielle complains that her boots are all worn out, and Xena says that Argo, who is with them, needs shoes too. They come to the vlllage of Paleos and see the entire town all turned out to see a young girl be whipped. Xena can't let that happen, so she attacks. Gabrielle joins her, and they quickly rescue the girl, who they are surprised to see is their friend Tara from the thugs. She tells them that she won't allow her to be punished by a mob, but Istafan, the leader, tells her that he is Paleos' chief magistrate and the men are the village's militia. He also says that she has commited a grave offense that must be punished. Gabrielle is ready to blame Tara for screwing up again until she hears Istafan say that her crime was to dance. Dancing was forbidden at the order of the Muse Calliope, the town's patron deity. Xena tells them that Tara is leaving with her, and one of the villagers, a man named Telamon asks if they could change her punishment to banishment. Istafan can see that public opinion is on Telamon's side, so he agrees. Tara says a sad farewell to Telamon and his son Andros, the boy she had danced with the night beforemoreless
  • 'Hercules'' Michael Hurst directs, as Xena calls in Autolycus for help when she and Gabrielle come to the aid of their friend Tara, who has been arrested in a town where dancing is banned. A weak and boring episode...moreless

    I really don't care for this episode. What little plot there is, is very silly, the guest characters are boring, and the whole thing just doesn't work.

    The episode marks the return of Tara, introduced in last season's filler episode 'Forgiven'. Of all the characters to bring back, I wouldn't choose her. She's toned down a little from her first appearance, but I still find her to be irritating.

    The (minimal) plot involves a town where dancing has been banned. It's like, last season they did a musical in 'The Bitter Suite', and somebody came up with the idea of "Hey, let's do a dancing episode!". Hey, let's not!

    The grand introduction of Autolycus, in the guise of preacher 'Philapon the Reformer', is blown by the fact that Bruce Campbell is billed in the guest credits – you know just from his silhouette that it HAS to be him.

    The final big dance is well choreographed I suppose, but by that stage, I had pretty much lost interest.

    Michael Hurst is a great actor / director (here serving as the latter), and Bruce Campbell too is a great guest actor, but neither of them can do anything to save this lame entry.

    I'd expect to find this sort of episode buried down towards the end of a season, as a 'filler' episode, but not stuck so near the beginning.

    One of the weakest of the series, and probably the weakest of the season.moreless
  • A lot of Dancing, Not a lot of plot!!

    A Tale of Two Muses-Xena and Gabrielle help their friend Tara, to change an oppressed town where dancing is outlawed, and they include Autolycus in their plans to cut footloose and fancy free.

    I never really could ever get into this episode, I mean the dacning part are kind of funny, but the storyline just never holds you attention. Tara returns, oh lord, but she's more calm and likeable this time around. Autolycus makes an appearance as overwhelmed preacher, and it pretty funny at it. The episode ends with Xena and Gabrielle getting the whole town to dance, which so ridiculous, and watchin Lucy dance is so funny!!! But this episode has a nice scene where the it slows down and Xena and Gbarielle hug each other with big smiles on their faces. It's a really scene that is rare because these 2 actresses really love working with each other. All in All, Not one of my faves, but see for your sellf!!!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Nitpick: A toilet is heard flushing after Xena uses the bathroom, but flush toilets don`t exist yet. There was indoor plumbing during Roman times, but the waste was dropped directly into a flowing steam of water in subterranean sewers.

    • When Gabrielle gives her boots to the repairman, she complains about having to go barefoot for a few days. Ironically, she'll go most of the India arc barefoot.

    • Goof: At the end of Xena's first 'war' lesson as Gabrielle finishes her dance, a shot of her feet shows that Gabrielle's staff is on the ground. In the next shot Xena is shown holding the staff.

    • Nitpick: In this episode Calliope is refered to as the Muse of dance, but in the real mythology she was the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence.

    • Watch as Xena fills in Autolycus on what's going on - between their heads and behind them, you can see Gabrielle filling in Tara at the same time.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Gabrielle: Ever since I heard that it's not allowed, oh, I've never wanted to dance so badly all my life. Just feels so good.
      Xena: Let's just try and get some sleep, huh?
      Gabrielle: Ay-yi-yi... Is the plan underway?
      Xena: (falling asleep, mumbles) Ahh.
      Gabrielle: 'Ahh?' I gotta dance.
      (Gabrielle tries to get up but Xena pushes her back down)
      Xena: Go to sleep.

    • Autolycus:(disguised as Philepon the Reformer) I'm telling you Istafan I see signs of decadence everywhere I go in this town. Do you realize on my way here I saw two people holding hands! You know where that can lead!

    • Istafan:The King of Thieves! That degenerate blowhard!
      Autolycus: (disguised as Philepon the Reformer) Beg your pardon?!
      Istafan: Sinners like him never have the courage to be really successful. I'm sure he's just a fraud, and an idiot.
      Autolycus: Haha, no doubt. Will you excuse me? (whispering to Xena) This plan of yours, does it involve humiliating that horse's ass?
      Xena: Yup.
      Autolycus: Then I'm in.

    • Autolycus: (as Gabrielle's "happy feet" makes her dance uncontrollably) Gabrielle, I sense there's some pent up energy, some frustration eating at you, some... unresolved desire. Ha, I can tell, you need to get...
      Gabrielle: Get dancing! I just wanna dance...
      Autolycus: Ah, well, actually I was on another track.

  • NOTES (4)

    • This episode marks the second and last appearence of Tara in Xena. The character was rumored to return in season 5, but by that time Shiri Appleby was starring on her own show Roswell.

    • Blooper: When talking about the elections, Renee accidentally said to the actor playing Istafan "I guess you'll have a real erection tomorrow." Istafan gave a cheer and two thumbs up at the prospect.

    • Renee O'Connor was raised Baptist but doesn't practice- they forbid drinking and dancing!

    • DISCLAIMER: No Self-Righteous Magistrates intent on surpressing the basic human right of freedom of expression were harmed during the production of this motion picture.