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You don't understand, if I don't have that box in my possession, it opens itself. See, that's the curse of my family, that's why we must always carry the box. I am the only one who can reset the lock. And if I don't have the box before midnight, it opens, and hope escapes.Pandora


Xena and Gabrielle set out to find the parents of an abandoned baby and discover that the infant's been marked for death due to a prophecy declaring him a future threat to a local king. The two also meet with the grand-daughter of Pandora.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


  • Kirstie O'Sullivan as Ophelia
  • Beryl Te Wiata as Cynara
  • Christine Bartlett as Philana
  • Tony Bishop as Weasel
  • Paul Minifie as Innkeeper
  • Latham Gaines as Kastor
  • Paul Norell as Street Vendor
  • Alan De Malmanche as Old Man
  • Carl Straker as Young Man
  • Susan Winter as Woman



When an oracle predicts that a newborn child will one day occupy the throne of King Gregor, Ophelia, a young girl, spirits the child away before the King's advisor Nemos can find him. Desperate to save him, she places the child in a basket and sets him floating down a river.

Xena and Gabrielle find a baby.

The following morning, at their campsite. Xena wonders how Gabrielle slept. Grumpy, Gabrielle mentions that she slept on a rock. Suddenly a sound is heard coming from a river nearby. Gabrielle believes its a big cat or a griffen. Xena moves the reeds in the water and sees the baby. It's neither a cat or a griffen as Gabrielle believed, but the child that Ophelia sent away that Xena and Gabrielle have found.

Act One[]

Xena, can we keep him? It is a him, isn't it? Oh, I always wanted a little brother.

Gabrielle looks into the basket, playing with the baby. When she starts to take a liking to him, in wanting little brother she never had, Xena insists he belongs with his parents and they can't keep him. When both have no idea what to do when he starts crying, Xena suggests they go to a village upriver and get him some food to eat.

A picture of Gregor's dead wife.

Back at King Gregor's kingdom. Gregor is looking at a picture of his dead wife missing her, when Nemos arrives and tells him that he hasn't got any word on the missing child. Gregor then commands Nemos to go out and find the child but bring him back unharmed, and he'll decide what to do next.

Rescuing Pandora, granddaughter of the legendary woman and the present keeper of Pandora's Box.

On their way to find the baby's parents, Gabrielle is humming to the baby as Xena rides Argo. They soon come across, a group of villagers who have a woman with a noose around her neck, a horse under her, ready to ride off and leave the woman hanging. Xena saves the woman from a lynching who thanks them for saving her. When they start to hear thunder, Xena suggests taking refuge in a cave.

Gabrielle holding the abandoned baby

In the cave, Xena tells both Gabrielle and the woman they'll wait for the storm out. When Gabrielle puts down the woman's bag heavily and her box falls out. The woman reveals she is Pandora, granddaughter of the legendary woman and the present keeper of Pandora's Box.

Pandora's Box

Searching for the missing child, Nemos' men confront Xena at a country inn, where they find her with Gabrielle and the baby.

Act Two[]

Xena takes a drink of her port, and she turns and grabs a torch, blowing her port onto it and making a huge fireball, which shoots at Nemos and a soldier who screams. As she fights off the attackers, Nemos quickly snatches up Pandora's Box and steals away. When a panicky Pandora explains that the Box will open automatically and release the Hope of Mankind if it is out of her hands for another day, Xena arranges a meeting with Gregor and Nemos.

Act Three[]

Xena dances at the palace

After declining their offer to return the Box if she turns over the child, she devises a plan to get the Box back. That night, she disguises herself as a dancer for the Quarter Moon Festival to gain entrance into the King's castle. As the soldiers eat and drink, Xena catches the eyes of Nemos, after performing an earthy, sexy dance guaranteed to tempt any barbarian. and is later summoned to Nemos' private chambers.

Pandora grows attached to the baby.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Pandora continue to wait for Xena's next instructions. As the baby cries Pandora sings, and the baby is quiet, who starts to develop a bond with the child. When Gabrielle asks Pandora if she ever thought about having children, Pandora tells her she can't afford to dream about something like that.

And you spoke of pain.

Meanwhile, Xena is waiting in Nemos' private chambers for his return. While playing along trying to please him with a back rub, she begins to ask him questions about the king. Nemos tells her, he is in his chamber. When Xena asks if she is near the royal chamber, Nemos tells her she is close by, giving Xena the information she needs.

I would have valued your life greater than my own. And now another child's life is in my hands. Why were you taken from me?

After knocking Nemos out, she creeps to the King's chamber and sees the painting of his wife and the empty cradle. When Gregor enters, Xena hides as he walks away. Xena sees Gregor kneeling at a cradle, and crying about the death of his only son. Xena soon knocks out Gregor and retrieves the Box, only steps ahead of the guards.

Act Four[]

Xena leaps out a window to safety with the box.

Nemos awakens and corners Xena, as she ties a rope around her waist and leaps from a parapet window high up in the castle wall to escape and runs to return the Box to Pandora before it opens. Knocking people over and a man with a cart and runs over him. She finally gets to Gabrielle and Pandora in time for Pandora to reach out and reset the lock just before it opens.

That's right. That's why I have to give the baby to Gregor.

When Gabrielle and Pandora suggest they should leave, now that they got the baby and box back. Xena tells them not yet because there's still a prophecy. Pandora is confused because the prophecy's fulfilled if the baby lives and will grow up to take over the kingdom. Xena recognizing the core of the prophecy tells Gabrielle and Pandora she needs to return the baby to Gregor.

I was so blind. I think it's time my people met their next king.

Dawn arrives, and Gregor awakens to the sound of the baby crying. He goes to the cradle to see him. Xena stands behind him and soon convinces him to accept the baby as his heir, rather than as a usurper to his throne. Gregor, still grieving over the death of his own son six months earlier, gladly accepts. Feeling his power slipping away, Nemos suddenly appears with his soldiers in an attempt to depose the King. Xena then runs off with the baby.

Xena battles Nemos and his men while saving the baby.

During the fierce battle that follows, Xena and Gabrielle must toss the infant back and forth to prevent his capture. In the end, Xena disposes of Nemos and the child is safe, and the crowd cheers.

Pandora decides to stay at the castle.

As Gregor then prepares to present his new heir to the people, he asks Pandora to stay on to nurture the little boy. In gratitude, Pandora asks if there is anything that Xena wanted and she says to name the baby as Gabriel: from the conversation with Gabrielle when they first found the baby.


Xena and Gabrielle learn that Pandora's box is empty.

Before leaving, Xena enters the room where the box is kept, Gabrielle is already there, looking at it, who can't believe she touched the box. She wonders then if Pandora is blessed because of it and if it all happens because of fate. Xena jokes, it all happened because Gabrielle slept on a rock. As the two are about to leave, Gabrielle knocks the box off the pedestal and it opens. They discover that the box is empty. Xena tells Gabrielle the box was empty, but Pandora was still carrying our hope, they agree to tell her the truth, that Hope has been and always will be safe, that it's inside every one of us.


No Babies were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Shooting Dates: July 28th, 1995 through August 4th, 1995 (6-day shoot).
  • Ratings: 5.5 million viewers on its original airing.
  • This episode was the sixth to be written, after "Sins of the Past," "Chariots of War," "Death in Chains," "The Titans" and "Dreamworker."
  • Pandora and King Gregor were originally supposed to return for later episodes, but it never occurred. Lucy Lawless enjoyed working with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, the actress who played Pandora and was surprised that her character didn't resurface.
  • Gregor appeared in the opening credits of the first five seasons of XWP when the narrator mentions kings.
  • They always had a professional testfire the alcohol before Lucy did her firebreathing gag and once when the alcohol content was too high the stuntie's face caught on fire. He was okay, but it made her always pay very close attention to what she was doing. She always drank milk before she performed it to coat the lining of her mouth and stomach.

Key Events[]

  • This episode marks the first time Xena performs her fire-breathing technique (which was always performed by Lucy Lawless).
  • This episode is the first to show significant signs of influence from Abrahamic mythology, though in this case, it was simply taking a storyline cue. King Gregor asks his men to kill the child in fear of him taking over his throne, resembles the story of Jesus's birth: King Herod asked his men to kill Jesus after he was prophecized to be the new "King of the Jews". Similarly, a maid refuses to allow the child to be killed and seems him down a river in a basket, paralleling the story of Moses.
  • This episode is the first to introduce the disclaimer, the humorous mini-anecdote at the end of the credits, usually in reference to the plot of the episode itself rather than any behind the scenes mishaps, which is what a disclaimer would usually cover.


  • Like most modern retellings, this episode has Hope and other evils contained in a box. This is the result of a mistranslation from the ancient Greek to the Latin which occurred centuries ago. They were actually contained within a large jar.
  • The symbols on Pandora's Box are runes from the Norse Futhark alphabet. They are Mannaz (ᛗ) meaning mankind, skill, memory, and ancestors. Othala (ᛟ) meaning heritage, inheritance, legacy, and homeland. Thurisaz (ᚦ) meaning giant, thorn, chaos, and primal forces. Ingwaz (ᛝ) meaning fertility, seed, pivotal moments, and internal growth.
  • Chakram Count: 2
  1. To cut down Pandora from the rope.
  2. To kill the soldier who was attacking Pandora.

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