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The Adventures of Aella the Amazon. Part 5: Season Four.

By Paul Leone

The Sea Queen. Possibly. There aren't many photographs of the original.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Continuing our review of the series. The first reviews can be found here, here, here, and here.

The Adventures of Aella the Amazon.

Part Five: Season Four

(Disclaimer. This is a work of fiction and fantasy; no such show exists... at least in our timeline).

Season four, hot off the heels of a very popular third season, when the show really took off in terms of exposure. Not coincidentally, this was the year when the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy) picked up the distribution rights in the United States. It started airing on Monday nights, with an early season episode at 7 PM followed by a new one at 8.00 (and an episode of either Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena: Warrior Princess running beforehand at 6:00). The last three seasons were much longer than the first three, running at the then standard 22 episodes per season.

The heart of the season was Agave’s redemption arc and it played out pretty much perfectly. Nobody, least of all Aella, was going to forget everything Agave had done over the years, which made the reconciliation between the two sisters all the more satisfying when it finally happened.

Season four also benefitted from a modest but noticeable budget increase, which was fortunate, because the ‘here, there, and everywhere’ aspect of the season was not an inexpensive one. As it was, the duo’s voyages from one end of the Mediterranean to the other were convincing enough by the standards of a cheap fantasy show. Season four also boasted some memorable guest stars such as Monica Bellucci, Dwayne Johnson, and Lucy Lawless, as well as up and coming Ryan Reynolds and Idris Elba.

The season gets off to a fun start with Sailing the Sea – the fact that Aella and Menippe own a ship (the Sea Queen) complete with a crew is briskly dealt with and then it’s off to the races in a light plot involving a (ah-hem) race against pirates to reach a sunken treasure off the coast of Crete. The following episode, The Terror of the Tarasque guest starred Monica Bellucci as a river goddess and a Harryhausen homage as the titular monster. A fan favourite for obvious reasons.

Next up was Menippe in the Arena – one is surprised it took four seasons to get to a gladiatrix episode, but fortunately it didn’t play up the sleazier aspects and instead focused on Menippe and Agave forced to work together. Both Dequenne and Green offered excellent performances. The same can’t quite be said for Dwayne Johnson in Misadventures in Massalia, but its at least an energetic performance. The Rock aside, the episode also introduces Audrey Tautou as Thea the Amazon, a warrior priestess of Artemis and the first example of the Iberian Amazons that will become important in season five. The Warrior Queen is remembered for the stunt casting of Lucy Lawless as an unnamed adventurer and a thousand subsequent fan theories trying to awkwardly stitch together the two shows.

Lucy Lawless, an Unnamed Adventurer. Was this the face that launched a thousand fan theories?

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Next was the two part The Bard’s Quest and The Bard’s Triumph, where the Sea Queen journeys to Britain and encounters Ryan Reynolds as Gwydion, the titular bard. Reynolds hadn’t quite evolved into the smart-mouthed jerk that he’d perfect in roles like Blade: Trinity and Deadpool, but he was well on the way, and his character is one of the more popular recurring guests.

After that, the Sea Queen headed back to Greek waters for Might of the Minotaur, which was a very dumb episode, but in a cheerful and entertaining way. Wisely, they stuck a fake bull’s head mask on the title character (played by Hakim Warrick of the Vancouver Grizzlies). Aella and crew stayed in the warmer waters for Sayid and Son!, which finally had Menippe and Samir kiss, but also saw the first appearance of Macedonian soldiers in the flesh. Sayid’s theatrics being shot down by a not-having-it Thea was a delight.

Agave in Alalia saw our rogue princess complete her heel-face turn just in time to help her sister and cousin fend off an attack by two galleys full of Macedonian soldiers. The next episode, Dreams of Atlantis, was an oddball, consisting mostly of a flashback to Aella and Menippe’s past lives in the waning days of Atlantis, complete with cameos by the pre-incarnations of Agave and Thea (a princess and a priestess then, as ‘now’).

In Aella the Assassin, we saw Amanda Plummer’s Arete return with a vengeance, hamming it up again as she decides if you can’t beat ‘em, brainwash ‘em. You know Aella is evil because she’s wearing a skimpy black leather outfit now. This was one of the highest rated episodes of the season, for some reason.

The Lion King and The Lion Roars was an exciting two-parter that takes the crew down the Nile into Punt, where King Parahu (Julius Carry) and Queen Ati (Gina Torres) are threatened by the ambitions of their son Parhana (Idris Elba). Aella and company are mostly on the sidelines, but Carry, Torres, and Elba easily shouldered the lightweight plot. As an aside, Parahu and Ati were real, but they lived eleven centuries earlier than depicted (and would thus have fit perfectly into season one).

The ambitious Parhana (Idris Elba), dressed up for an award ceremony.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The Walls of Madness was a very strange episode involving two cursed walls in a pre-Greek ruin on Crete – the Hundred-Handed Wall that grabbed hold of its victims and absorbed them into a grotesque marble statue-wall, and the Screaming Wall which, well, screamed. Aside from the very creepy Hundred-Handed Wall, there wasn’t much memorable about it.

The plot of Mistaken Identity had Laetitia Casta playing a murderous doppelgänger of Aella. Some quick thinking by Menippe and Thea (their banter and evolving friendship is on fine display here, to say nothing of Thea’s feelings for Aella) saved the real Aella from the gallows; her counterpart isn’t quite so lucky.

In The Wolf of the North, the Sea Queen sailed into trouble in Finland where the titular wolf was a werewolf (sadly rendered in already-dated-at-the-time CGI). A forgettable episode, but the show does earn points for depicting the conflict between the native Sami and the Finns, anachronistic to the 4th Century BC though it may be.

The Assassin’s Return had more Laetitia Casta in black leather, although she gave a good (ah-hem) performance as her brainwashed evil self. This was another curiously popular episode. Also popular, with more justification, was Amorous in Attica where love is in the air... or the water, rather. A shameless ‘look at all the pretty people kissing each other’ episode, but is stays juuuust inside the line of good taste.

Season four wrapped up with the three part episode The Cursed Crowns. Things ended on an epic note as our heroes, joined by most of their recurring allies, travelled from Alexandria deep into the Egyptian desert to foil an attempt by Alexander’s agents to get their hands on a pair of ancient Atlantean relics, the titular crowns, and make the King of Macedon an undying conqueror. The final shot of the season, Aella, Menippe, and Thea standing together atop a seaside cliff, watching the sun set over the western waters, was a poignant one.

Thea (Audrey Tautou). The Warrior Priestess of Artemis at Cannes.

Picture courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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Paul Leone is the author of the SLP book In and Out of the Reich.

His extensive list of books can be found Here.


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