Sometimes I think I have seen everything that can be done with "A Christmas Carol" and that there is simply nothing left to do with it any more, then along comes something so bizarre it's almost impossible to quite put into words.
This episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess" finds our heroine in a strange land with a cruel king who has outlawed the winter solstice and levies huge fines against those who dare to celebrate it.
At the suggestion of her friend/assistant/lover Gabrielle, who sees the good in the miserly old man, Xena elects that rather than overthrow this king, she will try an elaborate ruse in which she plays the ghosts of solstices past, present and future and lead the King through his past; to his failed relationship, to the suffering of an orphanage that is stacked full of grubby children and to the future where he is remembered as a tyrant.
Things don't get truly out of control until the last ten minutes whereupon an extended battle scene sees everything from hula hoops, marionettes and custard pies utilised as weapons, a woman is unmasked as a former lover of the king and a donkey is handed over to some weary characters who may or may not be Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
It's insane but enjoyably so. Were I
familiar with the Xena universe, I might be more captivated by the tale but unfortunately this episode probably isn't the most accessible as far as a newbie such as myself is concerned.
Lucy Lawless is terrific, of course and the writing is light, fluffy and fully aware that it is kind of nonsense. Moreover, the sapphic elements that made this show a hit with gay women across the world are played with just the right level of ambiguity to keep matters enjoyably vague.
As crazy as an eggnog induced dream.
"Xena: Warrior Princess: A Solstice Carol." (1996) 2/5