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Fins, Femmes and Gems
Gabs vain fins femmes gems.jpg
Gabrielle is cursed with vanity by Aphrodite
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 3
Antagonist Aphrodite
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 3
Production # V0418
Filming Dates 26 January to 4 February 1998
Original Air-Date 13 April 1998
Story By Rob Tapert & Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Teleplay By Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Directed By Josh Becker
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 64 of 134
Order in Season 18 of 22
Order in Franchise 149 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Forget Me Not"
Next Episode in Series "Tsunami"
Previous Episode in Franchise "My Fair Cupcake"
Next Episode in Franchise "War Wounds
Title Image
Fins Femmes Gems TITLE.jpg

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer attempt to put the North Star back into the sky after Aphrodite stole the Mystic Diamond (which is vital to the North Star) from the Temple of the Heavens. To try and distract them, she plants a spell on the trio, known as 'Obsession'. Xena becomes obsessed with fishing, Gabrielle with her own image and Joxer with the story of "Atis, the Ape Man", causing him to act as if he is a primate.


Aphrodite gives her worshippers orders to find the mystic diamond

Aphrodite is perusing a table of offerings in her temple when the scar-faced thug Maecenus arrives bearing a huge, glittering diamond. She orders him to take it to her temple in Parnassus, where it will be shot into the night sky to be displayed as the centerpiece of her constellation. Aphrodite knows that Xena is tailing Maecenus and that the diamond must be delivered to Parnassus by nightfall for her plan to work, so she orders him to leave at once.

Soon after he departs, Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer arrive, but the Goddess of Love is prepared for them. She has whipped up a perfume called "Obsession" — one whiff and whatever the inhaler is thinking about at that moment becomes an overwhelming obsession.

Xena explains that Aphrodite has stolen the Mystic Diamond from the Temple of the Heavens and unless they get it back by nightfall, the North Star will be extinguished and the world will be in for some major turmoil. As they admire various items around the temple in their search for the diamond, Aphrodite blows the scent of Obsession at each of them. By the time they leave, Joxer believes he's an ape-man and Gabrielle is infatuated with herself. Xena is given a double dose, and she is now completely obsessed with fishing.

Young Xena and Lyceus fishing for Solaris

By later that afternoon, Xena has figured out that Aphrodite has cast a spell on Joxer and Gabrielle, but she remains blind to her own obsession. All she's concerned about at the moment is making it back to the lake where she and her brother Lyceus used to fish when they were young. It appears that Xena has some unfinished business to take care of. When they were children, she and her brother tried desperately to catch the infamous fish Saularus but failed. Now it's payback time. Though Xena is unable to control her urge to fish, she still realizes that she and her companions must retrieve the Mystic Diamond.

Xena forces Maecenus and his men to detour around the lake by pushing a boulder into a stream which re-directs the flow of water, making their planned route impassable. This way, Xena can still get in a good afternoon's worth of fishing while waiting for Maecenus to come directly to her. Meanwhile, a naked Joxer comes swinging through the trees and scoops up Gabrielle, determined to make her his bride. When Xena rushes to the rescue, she explains to Gabrielle that Aphrodite has stolen the Mystic Diamond because she thinks of herself as the most perfect creature in the universe and the only one worthy of possessing it. Since Gabrielle is utterly self-obsessed, she becomes furious at the thought that Aphrodite considers herself the most beautiful woman on the Earth and she runs off into the woods to find Maecenus.

When Maecenus and his thugs make it back around the lake, Gabrielle is waiting for them. She jumps out of a tree, knocks the diamond out of Maecenus' hands and takes off running, but is eventually caught. Just as Maecenus is about to get the diamond back from her, Joxer swings in on a vine and snatches her up along with the gem. Maecenus' men soon follow in hot pursuit and catch the two just as Xena begins to reel in Saularus. Despite Gabrielle's desperate cries for help, Xena continues to struggle with her catch. She has Gabrielle toss her the diamond as she battles Maecenus and his men while bringing in the famous fish. But as Xena ties up the bandits with her fishing line, Saularus manages to get away. After freeing Joxer and Gabrielle, Xena attaches the diamond to the fishing line as bait, telling Gabrielle that she is going to send the North Star back to the heavens before nightfall, hoping the powers of the Mystic Diamond will guide it home.


Saularus leaps out of the water and swallows the diamond just as Xena cuts the line, catapulting the gigantic fish and the diamond into the sky. Xena is suddenly knocked back into reality, understanding that she was obsessed not only by fishing but also by unresolved issues she still had with her brother. Once she acknowledged this, the spell was broken. Xena then encourages Gabrielle to get in touch with what's bothering her and once Gabrielle admits she is tired of being thought of as just a silly sidekick, the spell over her is broken. Xena promises to give her more credit for her accomplishments and as Joxer scampers by, she decides to fix him the next morning.


Joxer`s dignity was slightly harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, Gabrielle`s pink nightie was restored to its original condition.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Shooting Dates: January 26th through February 4th, 8-day shoot.
  • This episode is also known as Fish Schticks. (This was probably the working title, changed at the request of advertiser DeBeers Diamonds to include the word 'gem').
  • Kite fishing is actually something done quite regularly in New Zealand, where the show was filmed. They use kites to get their lines past the breakers for deep water fishing.
  • In the original script, Gabrielle - instead of becoming obsessed with herself - becomes obsessed with Xena and sexual positions that she views in Aphrodite's temple. However, just a couple of days before the episode was due to start filming, the producers were told that this could not be filmed and that advertisers would back out. So at the last minute, the plot was changed for Gabrielle to be obsessed with herself instead.
  • Renée O'Connor and Josh Becker both created the tune that Gabrielle sang in this episode.
  • The origin of this story had two sources. One was Rob Tapert wanted to see Xena try to take a day off and go fishing. The other was that the De Beers diamond company agreed to pay higher advertising rates for an episode that included diamonds. Rob managed to merge the two ideas into one story and so became "Fins, Femmes and Gems."

Key Events[]

  • This is the only time in the entire Xenaverse that we see Xena as a child.


  • This episode's plot bears a striking resemblance (but most probably coincidental) to the title of the 1967 Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds": Lucy could refer to Lucy Lawless and Xena (her character) is planning to shoot a diamond into the sky.
  • Xena has previously displayed the ability to sense Ares whilst he is invisible but is oblivious to Aphrodite's presence right next to her. This confirms that her sense is a skill specific to Ares's presence, rather than an ability to detect gods in general (as Hercules can).