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REVIEWS  808 - Foiled Plans

If you would like to send in a review of this Virtual Episode, please submit it to:  theofficialxwpvs@hotmail.com

Review: Episode 808 - Foiled Plans
by: 41 Cyg

Rating:  7.6

A reasonably good effort. I give it a 7.6 (1 to 10 scale). I tend to be harder on uber stories, since, being roughly in the present,
there are many more opportunities for me to notice differences between the Xenaverse and the historical record (or present times).

I'm glad to see Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington back in action. It's interesting to see how different their actions are from those of Xena and Gabrielle, while at the same time time being eerily
similar.

A few general comments first.

This episode seemed somewhat shorter than average (This is just an impression. I didn't do a page count.). It didn't feel like anything was cut out or rushed, but I got the impression that if it had been filmed, there would have been time for an extra commercial break.

About halfway through the script, I realized Clive Thomas, the British intelligence agent had a Joxer-ish feel to him. He wasn't as clumsy or inept as the original, but he did seem a bit naive and tended to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Can anyone else see Ted Raimi in a bowler with an Oxford accent and maybe a small mustache?

Janice's hair seems to grow quite quickly. This episode directly follows VS7's A Day in the Camp in which Janice's hair was cut short
enough for her to pass as a man. Now, as shown by the drawings for that episode, it wasn't a particularly short man's cut, but this episode can't be more than a month (See my comments just below.) after their eluding the American officials, where Janice's hair was still quite short, and Gina's illustrations show her with a season six Gabrielle look - quite a bit of hair growth for so short a time.

Now to some specifics.

Teaser: The opening scene gives the time as `1945', but I believe this can be narrowed down much closer. As I noted in my comments on
A Day in the Camp, that episode had to have taken place around the
first week in March (no later than, say, March 10th) and Mel and Janice probably got to Switzerland as soon as they could, since neither the Allies nor the Axis (by then just Germany) were too pleased that the fragment of The Book of Ptah was taken by them.

On the war front, Germany had not yet surrendered, but the end and its nearness were apparent to anyone with any sense (Hitler may not have accepted it, but no doubt most, if not all, of the other Nazi leaders were making plans to avoid capture (either by escape or
suicide) or trying to get in a position where they could bargain with the Allies for their lives and freedom.).

The henchmen who were trying to get to the Fountain of Youth evidently still believed they could get the water back to Berlin, but they too were probably making plans to come out of this ahead if things went bad (by selling their secret to a government or the water to rich private citizens, perhaps). These circumstances put the date at mid to late March, (maybe up to mid April if Mel and Janice had an extended vacation, but I think that by then the Nazis would have had no way of returning to Berlin).

Mel uses some interesting phrasing. One of the scrolls `turned up missing'. Isn't that an oxymoron?

Act I: The German spy who obtains the map is `Herr Klaus'. Klaus is a first name (short for Niklaus, I believe) and I don't think
`Herr' (=`Mister') would be used with that (unless you're someone like Mr. Bill). Klaus might be a last name or an alias, but all of the other operatives on the island are referred to by their first names. When Warner refers to Stalin as being another possible buyer for the map, the tone of the conversation makes `Comrade Stalin'
sound much more true to life.

The phrasing in the stage directions to scene 8 is just right where Janice is described as wearing trousers rather than pants. That
would have been the proper term for a woman's garment at that time, if anything other than a skirt would have been considered proper.
 

The newspaper Janice is reading in the hotel room (the Times of London?) says the Xena Scrolls were found by Doctors Pappas and Covington in 1942. Although the initial airing of The Xena Scrolls gave the date as 1942, I believe it was changed to 1941 in subsequent airings, which makes much more sense, as Greece was occupied by the Axis powers in October 1941 and war with the U.S. started in December of that year. Is Melinda a PhD? I know Janice is and Melinda's father was, but I don't remember Mel being called Doctor.

Of course, even a newspaper as good as the Times is not immune from errors. Thomas describes their destination as `...just off Bimini....' From the descriptions in Child's Play, the location of the Fountain of Youth should be in the southern West Indies (Trinadad and Tobago or the Netherlands Antilles), not the Bahamas. And if Thomas' location is correct, `off Bimini' doesn't sound right; Bimini is a fairly small speck. `The Bahamas', as Thomas says later, sounds much better.

Act II: Janice calls Mel `Miss Mouse'. I'll bet she knows Froggie went a-courtin'. Even if Hitler got the Fountain of Youth water, I wonder if he should trust his companions. If he appears to be a child, they could exercise parental control over him and run things in his name. Also, if they don't have the native shaman's reversal potion, he could be a child for a dozen years (or more, if they regularly sneak more of the water into his meals). If Janice's fedora is stuck on the door after she and Mel return from their own
break-in, why is she wearing it when they enter the room (Gina's drawing)?
 

Webmaster note:  This has been corrected in recoding.


Act III: Thomas mentions `Our embassy here', but, if they are in the
Bahamas, that was a British colony and Thomas' agency would have made contact directly, department to department within the same government. If they were on a non-British island, except for Cuba
(which they obviously were not, since Janice wanted `Havana cigars' not `the island special') or Hispaniola, the British would have a consulate, rather than an embassy, since the island would not be an independent country, but a colony.

Act IV: Even if there were monkeys on the Fountain of Youth island when Xena was there, I'm sure no Caribbean island has wild monkeys now. And, as i said in my comments on Child's Play, they would not be apes.


I liked the scene where Janice flashed back to little Xena trapping Gabrielle, but evidently Gabrielle didn't put everything in her
scroll, or the scene didn't make it from the scroll to the screenplay.


In scene 45, the Nazis come upon Janice and Clive's camp, but did they stop long enough to make one? I didn't think so.

Again, Gina's illustrations are great, although I don't think I would call them film noir style. I particularly liked the close up of Mel when she is on the Nazis' boat. You can see Xena is behind those eyes!

I just read Chris S.'s comment and I have to agree. Diane Taubold did a great job in the last scene. A beautiful humorous twist. Now I
have no doubt that Mel and Janice will be having adventures for many years to come.

 

 

 

 

 


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