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King Of Assassins

Written by Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Directed by Bruce Campbell


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deb7 on King Of Assassins:


GEEZUS BLOODY FURKIN KRIGHST!! What the HELL was that?? Dogmeat. Bloody furkin dogmeat. Okay, maybe high-grade dogmeat, but dogmeat nonetheless.

I'm making a couple of lists. One lists the episodes I'd want to have with me in case I was cut off from civilisation but the VCR and TV still worked. That list includes Sins of the Past, Dreamworker, Reckoning, Callisto, Return of Perd & Calli, Remember Nothing, Destiny, Quest, Necessary Evil, Day in the Life, and all of the 3rd season except for this episode.

The other list is of episodes that I'd want to have if I were in the same situation but I wanted something to supplement my hairshirt, the cat that I'd use to self-flagellate, the broken glass I'd walk upon, and the tape-recorded sounds of cats in heat and nails upon a chalkboard -- all in the interest of making my descent into madness as excruciatingly painful as possible. That list includes Chariots of War, Black Wolf, Orphan of War, Giant Killer, Warrior...Princess...Tramp, For Him the Bell Tolls, and Blind Faith. If it takes me more than 6 tries to even cue the tape of King, then I'll add it to the list.

Okay, first of all they pulled Dirty Half Dozen out of this slot and replaced it with this. THEY ENDED SWEEPS MONTH WITH A BLOODY XENA-LITE EPISODE????? Second, as painful in places as Dozen was, at least there would have been CONTINUITY!!!! Third, THIS EPISODE WAS NOT *BETTER* THAN DIRTY HALF DOZEN. If you're gonna totally screw continuity with regard to MAJOR THEMES (We're not talkin' the length of Gab's staff here folks), you oughta have a hell of a GOOD REASON! Hello? We go thru 4 weeks of HELL with Xena and Gab and then suddenly ZAP! We're in a totally different universe whose only resemblance to the non-A&F one is that the players resemble people we've seen before. (Take the Deb7 Challenge: Now that you've seen Deliverer - Debt II, go rewatch Dirty Half Dozen. It's like meeting an old friend again for the first time.)

You theatre-types out there: Is there some school of comedy that says that the funniest type of comedy is when you totally disregard established charcter? Just so there's no (Armus & Foster type) confusion, I'm not talking about a story where the humour is in having your characters try to deal with a crazy situation. I'm talking about trying to generate humour by making the CHARACTERS REACT STUPIDLY TO A RUN-OF-THE-MILL, MUNDANE SITUATION. If there is such a school, give me the address so I can go burn it down.

Who are Armus and Foster and why do they keep writing for XWP? I SWEAR TO GOD these 2 stopped watching the episodes or even reading the other scripts sometime during the first season. SOMEBODY **PLEEEEEEEEEAAASE** stop letting them write the Gabrielle parts! I get the sense that they read the Spectrum magazine Episode Guide for background.

Deb7: Adam and Nora, describe for me in 10 words or less your conception of Gabrielle.

A&F: Well, we heard somewhere, not sure where, that she's a hen-pecking, whiny brat who's way out of her depth. Pretty sure she got dropped on her head as a kid. Oh yeah, and she's learning how to use a stick to fight with, isn't she! And...and...we think we heard that she's like Joxer's older sister or something. Or...or...that she's in love with him but she can't admit it. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Wait, let me ammend that comment about not reading the other scripts. They do; they must. How else to explain their frequent "homages" and the strange resemblance between A&F's "Ties that Bind" (ep #20) and P.A. Fields' "The Reckoning" (#06) and between the plotting for "King of Assassins" and Stewart's "Warrior...Princess...Tramp" (#30)?

Praise Allah for the O'Connor-Campbell scenes. You know that when you're crawling on the ground with your arms outstretched, wailing "More, please, I beg of you! Don't cut away to anyone else! Please, God, noo!" that there's some sort of balance problem.

Speaking of Bruce Campbell: Now, he's a funny guy. His (directorial) pacing was a bit too sluggish in places for this type of comedy. Couple that with a script-from-Tartarus and you've got a recipe for disaster.

I let my AAA membership run out so I couldn't call for emergency roadside assistance. I needed a furkin roadmap to navigate what has got to be the MOST CONVOLUTED SCRIPT IN THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. You know why Gabrielle's plans didn't make any sense? Because she was trying to solve a problem that MADE NO BLOODY FU*KIN SENSE!

Love the casting choices for the Egyptian contingent. Seriously, I did. Cleopatra as a sub-Saharan African, coupled with Northern Euro-extracted guards and advisors, had me rolling! That guard who Auto snuck past? The one who wanted a captaincy? You look up "White Guy" in the dictionary and there's a picture of him. *LOL*

I suppose I have to say something about TR/Joxer/Jett, eh? Okay, 3 words about Jett: NOT BUYING IT. Was TR imitating some famous film actor or role that I should know about? Clint Eastwood? Christopher Walken? The Godfather? If not, what the heck was with the Whisper Voice? Ooohhh, I'm soooo scared!

Oh, and I guess I'm supposed to feel some great sense of relief that Joxer's got a new outfit. Whatever. I was too caught up in the marvel of THE MOST CONTRIVED PLOT DEVICE SINCE XENA TOOK THE SLOW BOAT TO CHINA that I completely missed the larger implications. Oh yeah, Joxer is really growing and evolving. It's sooo neat the way he's becoming self-reflective and beginning to accept that he's not cut out to be a warrior. And the way he gets his ass kicked all the time? Wow, that is like sooo way funny! I just love seeing the underdog getting pissed on every time he takes a breath. With images like that, who needs therapy to make her/himself feel better? Someone should write a book: _I'm Okay Because You're NOT_. Great message.

The homage-to-Spartacus tub scene was funny. I was impressed by how long they were able to draw out the gag. Hmmm...I don't know *why* I was impressed though, because A&F firmly established a long time ago that THEY LOVE HETEROSEXUALITY! It's, like, better than sex. No, wait, it IS sex! There is no other sex than het sex! It's not surprising then, that they were so in their element.

God bless Gina Torres (Cleo), Lawless, and O'Connor for turning what could have been a mundane moment into a SUBTEXT-HOTFLASH-MOMENT! I mean, all Cleo said was, "I'll throw a reception the world won't soon forget" (or something like that), but Torres imbued that line with such...PASSION {insert cat pur here} and the coy blushing & eyebrow-raising on the parts of Lawless and O'Connor put the icing on the cake.

The disclaimer was something about Joxer's genitalia being twisted by his underwear. Oh, my side! Stop! I can't breathe I'm laughing so hard.

You know, I watched the HTLJ dance episode right before this. How is it that I have fonder feelings about *that* ep? (Sorry, but I'm not really a Herc fan...it doesn't make me vomit or anything, but different strokes as they say.) Michael Hurst was FUCKIN BRILLIANT! Willa O'Neill is charming and funny and *real*. GET HER ASS BACK TO POTEIDAIA and make the next Xena-lite ep with Gabrielle and her sister, Lila. PLEASE!

::deep breath:: It probably didn't help that I watched Deliverer thru Debt II, all in one sitting, earlier in the day. The shock to the system was just too great.

c. 1998 deb7
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