It’s a tie! Well, technically, it’s a two-parter: “Purity” and “Back in the Bottle” from Season Five. It includes my least favorite villain (Pao Tzu) and a return to Chin in a weird attempt to recreate the magic of “The Debt” from Season Three. Even Robert Tapert, Xena producer and co-creator, was severely disappointed in this pair of episodes. Granted, I do think that the story concepts were strong, but the execution was just kind of boring, which is not something that Xena: The Warrior Princess does very often, even when the episodes aren’t great.
Number one, Xena and Lao Ma were pretty close – I believe that they were romantically involved – so the fact that her twin daughters don’t make any appearance before (or after) these episodes seems off. Two, they completely waste an opportunity to have a non-fighting Xena (she’s pregnant, remember) facing off with Genghis freaking Khan, but nope, instead, it has her focusing and suddenly able to turn people to stone. I dunno, it was just more than I could take from a Xena storyline.
True story: I always skip these two episodes when I do a rewatch. I am kind of mad that I had to watch it again, so I’m going to go brain bleach myself again.
Runners-Up: “Married with Fish Sticks,” “The Key to the Kingdom,” “Lifeblood”
Art Credit: Varese Sarabande