|The Royal Couple of Thieves|
Xena, Autolycus and Gabrielle
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 1|
|Filming Dates||December 1995|
|Original Air-Date||19 February 1996|
|Written By||Chris Manheim|
|Directed By||Doug Lefler|
|Order in Series||17 of 134|
|Order in Season||17 of 24|
|Order in Franchise||52 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"Mortal Beloved"|
|Next Episode in Series||"The Prodigal"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Apple"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"Promises"|
Xena teams up with Autolycus, the King of Thieves, to steal a chest that is a weapon that protects a village, of whom Xena owes a great debt to. But they must go up against warlords, thieves and assassins to get it.
Xena sets a trap for Autolycus and captures the self-proclaimed "king of thieves" to ask for his help in recovering a priceless chest containing the most powerful weapon on Earth. She tells him the chest was stolen from Kelton and his people, as well as is going to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by the evil warlord Malthus. Xena and Gabrielle succeed in appealing to Autolycus' vanity in order to gain his help.
Disguised as the notorious assassin Lord Sinteres, Autolycus, accompanied by Xena, boards the ship bound for Malthus' island castle. They are welcomed on board by Malthus' evil lieutenant Arkel, as well as meet a number of unsavory passengers including the scarred and sinister Prognese. To Xena's dismay, Autolycus can't resist introducing her as his concubine Cherish, as well as commands her publicly to wear the flimsiest of outfits.
As Autolycus brags about his exploits, Prognese, whose brother was murdered by the real Sinteres, tries to kill him, knocking him and Xena overboard. They are saved at the last moment by the grappling hook hidden in Autolycus' sleeve, which secures itself to the ship's railing.
Prognese and the rest of the passengers are stunned when Autolycus reappears on deck. Bracing for a sword fight, he is unaware that Xena has come up behind him. She hooks the grappling cable to Prognese's vest and as he advances on Autolycus, he is swept off his feet and knocked unconscious.
In the castle banquet hall that night, Malthus unveils the chest, which is protected by an elaborate security system, as well as tells his guests that the weapon will be demonstrated the following day. Needing a diversion, Autolycus proclaims that his concubine Cherish will perform her dance of the three veils to entertain Malthus and his visitors. As Xena begins the wild and sensuous dance, Autolycus goes to work, secretly making a wax impression of the banquet hall key which hangs around Malthus' waist.
Later that night, Xena and Autolycus steal into the hall to remove the chest, but are surprised to find Malthus -- shot dead through the chest with an arrow -- lying on the suspended platform in its place. Returning to their room only moments before the castle guards come to search it, they are shocked to find the chest on their bed. When the guards enter, they manage to outwit them by pretending to be making love underneath the bedclothes, where they've hidden the chest.
Meanwhile, Arkel has sent the ship away to make sure that no one escapes. Xena and Autolycus decide they must return the chest to its original place in order to get Arkel to bring the boat back to the island, as well as manage to accomplish this difficult feat right under Arkel's nose.
The following morning, just as the auction is about to commence, the real Sinteres arrives in a cart driven by Arkel, who dumps an unconscious Gabrielle out of the back of the wagon. Xena leaps to her feet, but freezes when Sinteres touches Gabrielle's temple with two crossed fingers and announces he is the real Sinteres.
Gabrielle regains consciousness and Xena and Autolycus are forced to reveal who they really are. With their identities unmasked, they are marked for murder, but Xena acts fast and creates enough confusion to allow them to escape. Xena climbs into the window, followed by Autolycus. Xena and Autolycus turn their backs to each other. Autolycus takes off his outer shirts, while Xena unties her shirt to loosen it. Autolycus mentions that Hercules could have any woman he wanted. "Obviously, he just passed you by," he remarks.
When Sinteres and Arkel recapture Gabrielle and round up the villagers, however, Xena arrives to face Sinteres. There is a fast and furious battle between two martial arts masters, whose only weapons are their hands. As Sinteres moves in to deliver the fatal blow, Xena manages to block him, jamming her fingers into his chest and killing him instantly. Arkel calls for the assembled guards to kill Xena just as Autolycus swings in on his grappling cable to join the fray.
During the ensuing battle, Arkel lifts the lid of the chest to unleash a ball of light. Xena, who has seen the inscription on the side of the chest warning people not to fear the truth, shouts to Gabrielle and Autolycus to remain where they stand. When Arkel and his guards turn and run from the light, they are consumed and reduced to ashes.
The following day, a grateful Kelton and his people take back custody of the chest and pay Autolycus his reward. Looking at Autolycus as he walks away, Gabrielle mentions that she sort of like the guy, "even though when you strip it all away, he's just a thief for hire". Xena questioned and pointed out to Gabrielle that Autolycus left the reward in the basket hanging onto the cart that the villagers are pushing. Gabrielle then realizes he isn't as greedy as he made himself to be.
No Ancient and Inflexible Rules governing moral behavior were harmed during the production of this motion picture.
Behind the Scenes
- The Chest is actually the Ark of the Covenant - the Chest that Moses carried the Ten Commandments around in, according to Jewish scriptures. Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus pull out the Ten Commandments, as well as Autolycus commented, "Who could live by those laws?".
- When the Chest is opened, music from Joseph LoDuca's score for Army of Darkness is used.
- In the original script, the first meeting between Xena and Autolycus is slightly different. Autolycus hangs his outer cape on a clothes line as he removes his disguise. Then he reaches for his cape, but it's gone. Someone hands it to him, as well as he looks up to see Xena, In the aired version, he leans over to peer into the water barrel and Xena shoves his head under water.
- In the original script, there was a running joke in the script omitted from the aired version where Each time Autolycus says he's the King of Thieves," someone says, "I thought that was Cadmus." Autolycus then says, "Thieves! Not Thebes!"
- This episode marks the first appearance of Bruce Campbell as Autolycus on Xena. The character previously appeared on Hercules.
- Autolycus tells Xena that Hercules has never talked about her.
- Chakram Counts: 1
1) To free Autolycus from the rope.
- "Well, I made it."
"I knew you would."
"Do we concentrate on any one in particular... or do we hit 'em all?"
"Every last one."
- —Autolycus and Xena
- "Magmar told me his former boss has got a big ego. Almost as big as yours."
"Nothing is as big as mine."
- —Xena and Autolycus
Links and References
- Bruce Campbell as Autolycus
- Mark Raffety as Arkel
- Grant Bridger as Sinteres
- Crawford Thomson as Prognese
- Arch Goodfellow as Kelton
- Patrick Khutze as Belart
- Ian Harrop as Magmar
- David Telford as Malthus
- Zeus (Mentioned)
- Hercules (Mentioned)
|Season 1||Season 2 >>|
|#01||Sins of the Past||#09||Death in Chains||#17||The Royal Couple of Thieves|
|#02||Chariots of War||#10||Hooves and Harlots||#18||The Prodigal|
|#03||Dreamworker||#11||The Black Wolf||#19||Altared States|
|#04||Cradle of Hope||#12||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts||#20||Ties That Bind|
|#05||The Path Not Taken||#13||Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards||#21||The Greater Good|
|#06||The Reckoning||#14||A Fistful of Dinars||#22||Callisto|
|#07||The Titans||#15||Warrior... Princess||#23||Death Mask|
|#08||Prometheus||#16||Mortal Beloved||#24||Is There a Doctor in the House?|