There’s danger at the “Miss Known World” pageant, so Xena goes undercover to discover who is threatening the lives of the contestants. Yes, it’s Miss Congeniality but sent in fake-ancient Greece. Also, this episode aired a few years before Miss Congeniality so maybe some producer was hanging out watching Xena and started to think that this subject matter could make a great rom-com.
So just like Miss Congeniality, there’s a lot of like spooky scenes and you can see someone up to shenanigans but all you see is the camera shooting from their angle and their mischievous hands sabotaging things.
Also, in this episode Xena discovers that one of the characters is trans. She asks that Xena let her quit without “exposing” her but Xena is all like I don’t care. May the best contestant win! This show was so ahead of its time in 1997. (Except that they also did have a Baywatch-esque scene with all of the contestants running on the beach for no reason other than gratuitous boob-age so like maybe it wasn’t always ahead of it’s time…)
So all of these contestants have “sponsors” and this pageant is somehow supposed to be about “peace” but each sponsor is ready to start a war if his contestant is harmed. Meanwhile, Xena is learning backstage that all of these pieces of meat are actually people with hopes and dreams.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Xena’s pageant talent is (drumroll please) fighting off a snake that tries to kill another contestant (whose talent was supposed to be charming it)!
So Xena catches the bad guy and then drops out of the race. But then it’s kind of like everyone is all “I am Spartacus” because everyone quits once they here that Xena (or rather her alter ego) dropped out of the race. Then they’re like no pageant is worth our dignity! Also, this might be a little like the Hunger Games because I think one of the contestants says something about food for the winter not being worth her dignity…so…yikes. Rough times.
So lastly the only person left in the race is the trans contestant. (I’m just kind of assuming this person is trans. It’s not really explicitly stated but I didn’t get the vibe that this character was just dressing in drag). And she doesn’t drop out because she was the only person in the pageant for the right reason: self expression.
Very Special Lesson: Beauty pageants are rough, man.