The Karmic Circle Comes Complete
"Deja Vu All Over Again" Plot Summary:
In a house in suburbia, a woman named Annie dreams the events of "Callisto." Sitting up with a start, the Lucy Lawless clone wakes her boyfriend Harry (a Ted Raimi clone) to tell him that her dream has given her a revelation: in a past life, she was Xena, Warrior Princess. Harry scoffs, telling her she has to stay out of internet chat rooms, but she pulls a sword on him and makes him read a newspaper clipping about a vigilante masquerading as Xena who rescues people from muggers and things like that. Though she can't remember doing the deeds, Annie is sure that she must be the Xena vigilante because her collectible chakram and sword show signs of use, although she can't do the requisite gymnastic feats. Harry suggests that she needs counseling, and Annie agrees...she wants to see a past lives counselor.
In the offices of Dr. Mattie (a Renee O'Connor clone), "Xena" meets General Patton and introduces herself to Joan of Arc, who promptly engages her in a swordfight. A mortified Harry learns from receptionist Marco (a Robert Trebor clone) that the doctor encourages her patients to dress and act the part of their past lives. In a room filled with candles and incense, Annie reclines on a chaise lounge while Dr. Mattie sends her back to ancient Greece, where Annie relives Gabrielle's seemingly fatal fall from "The Sacrifice." When she wakes, Mattie asks whether Annie remembers being Xena, but Annie says not exactly - she saw the events as if she were an outside observer. The two decide to try the hypnosis again.
This time, Annie realizes that she was alive in ancient Greece...as Joxer! She is horrified. Meanwhile, Harry taunts a Custer lookalike by making war whoops, then overhears a radio broadcast about another escapade of the Xena vigilante, whom the police believe must be an overzealous fan. Hearing Annie's scream, Harry storms into Mattie's sanctuary and demands that the doctor convince Annie that she was Xena so she'll stop calling Joxer an ass and complaining that the writers never should have put him on the program. The two women have a guided meditation together and recall the stink of "In Sickness and in Hell." Promising Annie a sedative, Mattie sneaks out to tell Marco that she actually had a past-life experience while hypnotizing Annie. Marco warns her that they knew self-hypnosis was a possible side effect of their scam.
At Harry's insistence, Mattie sends the whole group back - inculding Harry who is surprised to find himself in battle with Joxer and Gabrielle. Returning to the present, he looks at the sword in his hand and says, "Maybe Joxer wasn't such a bad guy." Annie weeps, begging to leave; the doctor offers to let them go free of charge when Marco comes in with a gun and ties them up. Mattie offers him the money, saying she's had enough of the scam, but he sets a bomb to explode in ten minutes. Claiming this is all like a bad Xena episode but hoping a helpful clue may lie in the past, Harry gets a remorseful Mattie to take them back again. This time, Annie experiences nothing, but Mattie and Harry recall watching the Destroyer kill Hope. Then they relive the events of "The Quest" where Xena kissed Gabrielle in Autolycus' body, which confuses them; Harry thinks he was the guy with the moustache.
Fed up, Annie says she'll disarm the bomb with her teeth. Harry hits his girlfriend to stop her. In one more regression - which proves to Annie that she was Joxer when Callisto had him shot - Mattie realizes that she was the sidekick, and Harry admits that he knows who the Xena vigilante is. It's him. Flipping the chakram off his foot to cut his ropes, he uses a pair of scissors to disarm the bomb.
Marco re-enters, saying that Xena still hasn't lost it. "And you're as evil as ever, Ares," Harry replies. The God of War takes the place of the receptionist, telling Xena he wants what he has always wanted...her, working at his side. His new scheme is the Y2K bug, which will leave the world weak and defenseless against them. Though he reminds Harry of how great they were together in "The Reckoning," Harry is furious when Ares threatens Mattie, and the two fight with pillows, umbrellas, a phone book, and other useful office equipment until Annie cuts herself free and hits Ares over the head with a vase. War admits that not being worshipped has weakened him, but he's immortal - he'll be back. Then he leaves.
Annie informs Harry that they're not meant to be together and he'd know that if he ever stayed awake through an episode of Xena. Maddie is Harry's soulmate. The pair regress quickly to a montage from "One Against An Army." Annie sneers that she'll leave them to get reacquainted - and they should keep in mind that Joxer saved their butts on more than one occasion. As a parting shot, she tells Harry she knows he stole underwear from her drawer, but at least now she knows it was for a good cause. As "Xena" and "Gabrielle" kiss passionately in their current bodies, "Joxer" leaves singing "Annie the Mighty."
In "Between the Lines," we learned that Xena and Gabrielle are destined to be together in many future lives; now we know what miserable fate will befall them in the late 20th century. She's destined to be the lover of a dweeby Xena fan! It's a rather lovely commentary on Joxer, actually, that he knows his place is as a fan rather than an equal participant, but I don't think this episode was dissing the fans: quite the opposite. It was complimentary towards the vigilantes and perfectly willing to accept that people can be inspired by imagining that they are fictional beings.
This was a Xena Scrolls episode set in our own era, with Xena and Gabrielle conveniently reincarnated as a heterosexual couple of roughly the same age who could kiss without a trace of censorial disturbance. Sure, it's annoying that one of them always has to be a man for them to kiss, but it also disrupts the entire notion that either gender or sexual preference is an absolute, essentialistic quality. I found "Joxer" rather more forceful in Lucy Lawless' body than I ever found him in Ted Raimi's, and I found Xena rather less aggressive in Ted Raimi's body than I'd expect in Lucy Lawless', but all in all the two played one another's doppelgangers very nicely. And Renee O'Connor, who directed this episode, was a lot of fun as ditzy Dr. Mattie. She had the best line fretting that her bad behavior in this lifetime would poison her karma, then fearing that she would come back as a worm...or a TV evangelist.
It's interesting that the series chose to go off for the season with a clip show rather than the cliffhanger from the week before which left both characters dead; then again, it's not only optimistic, it's a reminder that literally anything can happen in the flexible world of fan fiction, which what "Deja Vu All Over Again" felt like. The series - which denies death and emphasizes the eternal soulmates represented by the main characters - comes across as more seriously in denial about reality than any Xena vigilante. It's rather nice, actually.