|For Him the Bell Tolls|
Aphrodite Places a Spell on Joxer
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 2|
|Filming Dates||31 October to 8 November 1996|
|Original Air-Date||24 February 1997|
|Written By||Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster|
|Directed By||Josh Becker|
|Order in Series||40 of 134|
|Order in Season||16 of 22|
|Order in Franchise||98 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"A Day in the Life"|
|Next Episode in Series||"The Execution"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Lost City"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Les Contemptibles"|
Cupid has brought together Prince Sarpedon and Princess Ileandra, whose marriage will unite their two kingdoms. Meanwhile, Aphrodite doesn't like that, however, as it will mean losing two of her temples. To stop the wedding, Aphrodite places a spell on Joxer. The ringing of a bell now causes him to change back-and-forth from his usual self to a charming warrior. The new Joxer romances Ileandra, but his actions quickly put his life at risk.
Responding to an urgent message from King Lias, Xena heads off alone for a few days, leaving Gabrielle and Joxer behind. Meanwhile, a distraught Aphrodite visits Cupid to complain about the match he has made between beautiful Princess Ileandra and dashing Prince Sarpedon, who are heirs to the thrones of their respective fathers, King Lynaeus and King Barus. She explains that the two kings plan to dismantle her temples along their common border and begs Cupid to break up the impending marriage.
When Cupid tells her that the couple plans to elope, she is forced to get involved immediately to try to stop the union. When Aphrodite brags that she can use any man -- not necessarily a god or hero -- as her accomplice simply by casting her lust spell on him, the mischievous Cupid dares her to join forces with the bumbling Joxer. Joxer is bedazzled when Aphrodite approaches him and casts her spell by dangling a necklace with a bell on it in front of him and ringing the bell softly several times. As his eyes glaze over, Aphrodite instructs him to deliver the necklace personally to Princess Ileandra as a wedding gift.
A short while later, Gabrielle hears cries of distress and spots a band of thugs dragging off five maidens. Springing into action, she is stunned when Joxer rushes in and disarms the ruffians in a brilliant display of swordsmanship. One of the maidens turns out to be Princess Ileandra, who was on her way to elope with Sarpedon. She instantly falls head-over-heels for her intrepid rescuer.
Unbeknownst to Joxer or Gabrielle, Aphrodite's spell is responsible for Joxer's newfound bravery and spectacular fighting abilities. The goddess is able to control him simply by ringing a bell. Unfortunately, the sound of any subsequent bell breaks the spell. When Joxer presents Ileandra with Aphrodite's necklace, the tinkling of its bell causes Joxer to revert to his former self with no memory of his daring behavior, which totally confuses Ileandra. At the Princess' request, Gabrielle and Joxer agree to accompany her and her companions on their journey to prevent further attacks. Soon they reach Pyros, where the Princess is reunited with her fiance.
The meddlesome Aphrodite soon shows up at Joxer's side and urges him to escort the happy couple on their way to ensure their safety. She then rings her bell and Joxer is again transformed into the suave and daring hero who earlier captured Ileandra's heart. Joxer gets the opportunity to sweep the Princess off her feet once more when Sarpedon leaves her to go find a priest to marry them.
When he returns, the Prince is shocked and dismayed to find that Ileandra has fallen madly in love with Joxer. Outraged by the situation, he initiates a sword fight and Joxer battles back brilliantly at first. But when Sarpedon spies Ileandra's necklace and grabs hold of it, the bell rings and Joxer is rendered incompetent. When Joxer tosses the necklace back to Sarpedon, the bell rings again and he is transformed back into a splendid warrior. He ultimately disarms the Prince, who runs off with the necklace. Gabrielle vows to find out what's really going on, knowing that Joxer must be the victim of some sickness or spell.
Meanwhile, Aria, one of the Princess' maidens, has turned King Lynaeus and King Barus against each other by reporting that she has seen Ileandra in the arms of another man -- the gallant warrior Joxer. The two angry fathers call off all marriage negotiations immediately. When Sarpedon returns to his father's castle and informs him about his confrontation with Joxer, King Lynaeus decides to mount an all-out search for the mysterious warrior. Joxer bravely meets the platoon of Lynaeus' soldiers, but at the sound of a tiny bell on the King's bridle, he drops his sword and trembles in fear. Gabrielle rushes in to try to rescue him, but Joxer is knocked out by his own sword.
The two are arrested by the King despite the pleas of the confused Ileandra, who is spurned by Lynaeus for having deceived his son. As they await execution, Gabrielle finally figures out that Aphrodite is behind all the trouble. She manages to escape and confronts the goddess, urging her to lift her lust spell on Joxer, but Aphrodite refuses. With only moments to spare before his execution, Gabrielle hurls a rock into a large bell near a storefront and Joxer, transformed once again into a magnificent warrior, makes an incredibly daring escape from the chopping block.
With Joxer free and in warrior mode, he manages to fight off several guards. At one point he even takes out 4 guards, resulting in them toppling on top of each other, incapacitating 3 of them and possibly crushing and killing the 4th guard from the weight of the other 3 landing on top of him. During the fight, Gabrielle helps Joxer out. She notices a fat guard charging at Ileandra, attempting to choke her. She takes action, tapping the guard on the shoulder and incapacitating him, ramming the end of her staff into the guards crotch. With the guard now vulnerable & distracted from the pain, clasping both hands over his groin, Sarpedon takes advantage of the moment, punching the hurt guard in the face, sending him down a well to his death. Sarpedon thinking his actions may redeem him, by impressing Ileandra. However it doesn’t work, as Ileandra is more infatuated with Joxer’s bravery, as is most of the female spectators, watching him fight. At one point even Gabrielle becomes interested in seeing Joxer in Warrior mode, however she quickly snaps out of it and is dismayed by her own reaction. After which at Gabrielle's request, he steers the ensuing fight into Aphrodite's temple. Appalled by the destruction of precious artifacts and statues as the battle rages on, Aphrodite finally puts a stop to the fighting by lifting her spell on Joxer, and Ileandra and Sarpedon are reunited once and for all.
Joxer is sitting in a field alone looking depressed, as Xena walks up and sits down with him. She says Gabrielle told her what happened. Joxer says he feels like a fool because it was all a spell. Xena tells him the gods can only make us into something if part of that something is already inside of us. She walks away and joins Gabrielle, and says that perhaps Joxer had learned his lesson and won't be such a fool anymore. However, Joxer runs up to them singing his song and looking as silly as he always has.
- The producers wish to acknowledge the inspiration of Danny Kaye and pay tribute to the classic motion picture "Court Jester".
Behind the Scenes
- This episode was produced to give Lucy Lawless time to recover from a pelvis injury she suffered whilst taping for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It was solely produced to keep production of the series going in the meantime. According to Robert Tapert, this episode never would've been produced otherwise.
- Karl Urban reprises the role of Cupid from "The Green-Eyed Monster" on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. He had had previously played Mael and Julius Caesar on Xena: Warrior Princess. Since both of those characters used Urban's natural brunette hair and lacked wings, it was safe for him to pull triple duty.
- This is the first episode to feature the Joxer the Mighty theme song. It was written by Ted Raimi himself. It was played over the ending credits, also the first time that the original theme tune hasn't been played over the credits.
- First appearance of Aphrodite in Xena: Warrior Princess. She had, by the time this episode aired, appeared in three Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episodes, starting with "The Apple."
- "For Him The Bell Tolls" received the second-lowest rating of the second season. It was given a 3.8 out of a possible 10 stars in 1997.
- First appearance of Cupid on Xena: Warrior Princess. He previously appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in "The Green-Eyed Monster." Where that episode explored his parent-child relationship with Aphrodite, this one explores their supervisor-subordinate one.
- Xena does not use her chakram in this episode.
- This is a Xena-Lite episode.
- As the Disclaimer indicates, the primary inspiration for this episode's plot is the 1955 musical-comedy film The Court Jester. In that film, the title character is bewitched into a swashbuckling persona triggered by a snap of the fingers.
- Gabrielle: Take off the spell. You’re the Goddess of Love;
love is soft and gentle, it's not violent and cruel.
Aphrodite: You don't know much about love, do you?
Links and References
- Craig Parker as Sarpedon
- Mandie Gillette as Ileandra
- Craig Walsh-Wrightson as King Lynaeus
- Ross Jolly as King Barus
- Rachale Davies as Aria
- Tai Hadfield as Guard
- Mark Jones as Messenger
- Jason Tahu as Fat Soldier Thrown Down the Well
-  An Interview with Robert Tapert Page 2
|<< Season 1||Season 2||Season 3 >>|
|#01||Orphan of War||#09||A Solstice Carol||#17||The Execution|
|#02||Remember Nothing||#10||The Xena Scrolls||#18||Blind Faith|
|#03||The Giant Killer||#11||Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis||#19||Ulysses|
|#04||Girls Just Wanna Have Fun||#12||Destiny||#20||The Price|
|#05||Return of Callisto||#13||The Quest||#21||The Lost Mariner|
|#06||Warrior... Princess... Tramp||#14||A Necessary Evil||#22||A Comedy of Eros|
|#07||Intimate Stranger||#15||A Day in the Life|
|#08||Ten Little Warlords||#16||For Him the Bell Tolls|