Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys

Ties That Bind
Xena Atrius.jpg
Atrius tries to convince Xena that he is her father
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Ares, Kirilus
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 1
Production # 76923
Filming Dates February 1996
Original Air-Date 29 April 1996
Written By Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Directed By Charles Siebert
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 20 of 134
Order in Season 20 of 24
Order in Franchise 59 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Altared States"
Next Episode in Series "The Greater Good"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Wedding of Alcmene"
Next Episode in Franchise "The Power"
Title Image
Ties That Bind TITLE.jpg

Xena saves a warrior who claims that he is her father, Atrius. Meanwhile, Ares tells a warlord to kill Xena, as she stands in his way of becoming 'the best in the job'.


Xena watches an army camp.

Xena and Gabrielle sneak up on the army encampment of General Kirilus to witness several frightened young women being corralled and locked up by guards. Xena is about to move in when a mysterious warrior, edging towards the camp, is spotted by Kirilus' men. Shouting for the release of the captives, the warrior is attacked and nearly overpowered when Xena jumps into the fray to rescue him.

When Gabrielle arrives and calls out Xena's name, the mysterious stranger stuns them both by announcing that he's Xena's father Atrius, a claim the warrior princess rejects immediately. She tells Gabrielle that her father abandoned her family when she was very young and even if by some remote chance Atrius is telling the truth, she wants nothing more to do with him.

But when Xena and Gabrielle move into the camp to rescue the enslaved women, Atrius follows and intervenes at a critical moment to ensure their success. Later, while escorting the women back to their home village of Lotia, Xena returns the favor. In a spectacular sword and spear fight, she rescues Atrius from two angry ranch hands, who have accused him of stealing a horse. Not buying his assertion that he was owed a horse by the stabler, she calls for the stable's owner, who verifies the story.

Meanwhile, Kirilus, the evil commander of Ares' army, is infuriated when the God of War shows up to tell him he will die and be replaced by Xena. Determined to kill the Warrior Princess at any cost, the general dispatches the assassin Tarkus, who is armed with a deadly blowgun. When Tarkus attacks Xena in the woods, she quickly disables him. But before he can run away, Atrius confronts and kills him.

When Gabrielle questions how he could kill a man who was in the process of surrendering, Atrius tells her it was self-defense -- that Tarkus was holding a dagger. When Xena rolls the assassin's body over, she is surprised -- and again relieved -- to find a dagger underneath him. Prompted by Atrius, Gabrielle decides that she will take the women the rest of the way home to give Xena and her father a chance to spend some time together without her. When she suggests that Xena and Atrius head back to take care of Kirilus and meet her at the village later, they agree.

Along the way, Atrius continues to try to win Xena's trust and gradually, she begins to open up. Their discussion is interrupted, however, by a skirmish with a few of Kirilus' soldiers, one of whom confesses that the rest of the army is encircling Lotia, the village where Gabrielle is headed.

Atrius insists on going to Lotia with Xena, explaining rather vaguely that he hurt the people of the village in the past and wants to make it up to them. Meanwhile, Gabrielle and the women arrive in Lotia to find the villagers discussing the impending attack by Kirilis' army.

When Xena and Atrius show up, Atrius is recognized by the village elder and accused of being a traitor. Bent on revenge, the townspeople haul him away despite Xena's protests. She begs them to spare his life in return for her stopping Kirilus' army and races off to confront the general.

In a grueling sword fight, Xena pummels Kirilus to near insensibility in front of his men and declares herself the new commander of his army. Returning to Lotia leading the troops, Xena is shocked to see that the villagers have strung Atrius up between two stakes and left him for the vultures. Meanwhile, Ares incites Kirilus' wrath when he tells the general he was just a pawn in the god's scheme to win Xena back to lead his army. An enraged Xena charges into the village with her soldiers and cuts her father down from the stakes.

As her father lays dying, she commands the troops to slaughter everyone responsible but Gabrielle intervenes and accuses her of becoming as evil a warlord as those she despises. When Atrius tries to egg her on to kill the villagers, Xena becomes suspicious. Suddenly, Atrius morphs into Ares and Xena realizes she's been duped in yet another of Ares' plans to win her back. When the god threatens to kill her, she replies that she would rather die than lead his army. With that, Ares vanishes, though Xena is left with the feeling that she has not seen the last of him.

"Our friendship binds us closer than blood ever could"

Later, Xena and Gabrielle prepare to leave the village. Xena tells Gabrielle that her friendship with her binds her closer than her blood family ever could. Gabrielle agrees. Xena tells Gabrielle she was pretty mean with that pitchfork standing up to her. Gabrielle tells Xena she learns well from her and Xena responds that she owes her one.


No Fathers, Spiritual or Biological, were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

Behind the Scenes[]

  • The title "Ties That Bind" is a popular one in television dramas and thus similarly-titled episodes can be found in a wide range of other shows.

Key Events[]

  • This episode marks the first mention (and sort-of appearance) of Xena's father, which will become a long-running story-arc throughout the run of Xena: Warrior Princess, one that has sparked much debate as to his identity.


  • When Xena confronts Kirilus before she defeats him and takes control of his army, she dismounts Argo. Watch as she hits the ground: her chakram falls off her hip and rolls away, but in the next shot, it is right back on her hip.


  • Chakram count: 1
  1. To take out the soldiers attacking Atrius.

Links and References[]

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