Written by Gillian Horvath First Televised November 1998
Guest Stars: Tara (Shiri Appleby), Bruce Campbell (Autolycus), Michael Kupenga (Andros), Hemi Rudolph (Telamon), John Givins (Istafan)
Synopsis Coming Soon!
This is a fun episode that succeeds only because of the supreme talents of Bruce Campbell who delivers one of the most memorable performances of the Autolycus character to date. Campbell is hilarious in his impersonation of a religious preacher, and his crazy speeches and constant jokes (only Autolycus could eroticize such a dull painting of a town!) are able to distract from a plot that doesn't really make any sense. Xena's plan is never clear from the start. Why doesn't she tell Telamon about her plan? His running for election seems to have been part of her plan, but how could Xena have known he would have done it without letting him in on what she was doing? Why Xena never reveals her real motives to him is hard to understand. In the end, her basic plan appeared to be nothing more than simply having everyone start dancing all at once. So what was the point of everything else that happens in this episode? Tara is much more enjoyable this time than in Forgiven. Her character is a lot more likable and interesting, and her dance with Andros is cool to see. The song they dance to is great. Overall, this is an enjoyable outing, but A Tale Of Two Muses has to go down as one of the most poorly plotted episodes of the entire series.
The title of this episode was derived from the Charles Dicken's book A Tale of Two Cities. The script seems to be a take-off on Dickens' book and also a pun on the "muses," who Greek scholars and enthusiasts recognize as the magical nine in mythology (Calliope, Euterpe, Erato, et al), but with the focus being on the literal interpretation of the word itself. A "muse" is an inspiring spirit or guide, a source of genius or inspiration in people. If you recall, the town was suffering from a lack of imagination, being led about by its figurative nose by the rigid, right-wing mayor. Then in walked Xena and Gabrielle, who turned the place on its collective ear, inspiring the citizens to express themselves freely in thought and action. In essence, Xena and Gabrielle are the "Two Muses."
Shiri Appleby (Tara) went on to star in the television series Roswell.
This episode was directed by Michael Hurst (Iolaus), whose talents in comedy are obvious here.
The end credits 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.
Season 4 Episode Guide
Enter The Land Of Xena