Legendary Journeys

Xena s2 ulysses dArc 125.jpg
Xena and Ulysses Face Posideon
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 2
Antagonist Posideon
Setting Ithaca
In-Universe Date Year 2
Production # V0213
Filming Dates 20 January to 29 January 1997
Original Air-Date 21 April 1997
Written By R.J. Stewart
Directed By Michael Levine
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 43 of 134
Order in Season 19 of 22
Order in Franchise 104 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Blind Faith"
Next Episode in Series "The Price"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The End of the Beginning"
Next Episode in Franchise "War Bride"
Title Image
Ulysses TITLE.jpg

Xena and Gabrielle help Ulysses of Ithaca return home and combat against Poseidon's wrath. However, things get complicated when Ulysses begins to fall in love with Xena.


Xena and Gabrielle meet Ulysses at the beach.

While walking near the seashore one day, Xena and Gabrielle come upon the handsome and intrepid Ulysses battling a band of pirates. With spectacular martial arts prowess, Xena and Ulysses make quick work of the attackers and find themselves face-to-face at the end of the fight, intensely attracted to each other. Ulysses, the King of Ithaca, explains that the pirates have been promised his beautiful island as their spoils if they can keep him from returning home.

Poseidon, king of the sea.

He also reveals that the force directing this campaign against him is Poseidon, the huge and terrifying God of the Sea, who comes roaring out of the water just as Xena pledges to help Ulysses restore his kingdom. Poseidon warns the Warrior Princess to stay out of the battle he is waging against Ulysses for having blinded his son, the cyclops Polythemus. He tells Ulysses that there's nothing left for him in Ithaca now that his wife, Penelope, is dead and urges the warrior to give up his fight. When both Xena and Ulysses refuse to back down, Poseidon vows that the deadly power of the sea will be their undoing.

Xena falls for Ulysses

Xena comes up with a plan to recapture Ulysses' ship, which is swarming with pirates in a nearby harbor. Gabrielle, dressed in a very sexy outfit, acts as a decoy to divert the attention of the pirates as Xena secretly cuts the ropes holding the ship in place and Ulysses unties the mainsail. As the sail catches wind, Xena and Ulysses leap onto the deck to battle the pirates, tossing them overboard one by one. During the fight, Ulysses is wounded when he throws himself in front of an arrow meant for Gabrielle. As Xena tends to Ulysses' injuries aboard ship, the powerful chemistry between them is undeniable, but they try to ignore their feelings and press on. In a conversation about Xena's chakram, Ulysses reveals he also has a weapon back home that is uniquely his own -- a bow made of the hardest ironwood, which only he can string.

The Sirens, working for Poseidon try to kill Ulysses.

Even though Xena and Gabrielle are aware of the terrible dangers they face, they insist on remaining with Ulysses all the way to Ithaca. When Xena suggests that they move along a chain of islands to shelter them from Poseidon's worst storms on the open sea, Ulysses warns her that in doing so, they'll have to sail by the Island of the Sirens whose exquisite songs lure sailors to their deaths on the island's rocky shores. Xena is confident they can survive and the three head for the island chain, weathering a particularly vicious storm along the way.

Are you in Love?

Before they approach the Sirens, Xena ties Ulysses to a post to keep him from succumbing to their hypnotic spell. Ulysses, however, is soon utterly transfixed and manages to break free. Fighting Gabrielle and Xena to try to get to the island, he regains his senses only when Xena starts singing a beautiful melody to compete with the Sirens' song. In the ship's cabin that night, Ulysses tells Xena he is falling in love with her and wants her to stay with him in Ithaca. He confides he was just a boy when he left his young wife to fight the ten-year Trojan War, and he now believes that Xena is his true soulmate. Though she cannot yet express it, Xena is obviously also in love.

Arriving home.

When they finally reach Ulysses' home, they leap into action to save the life of his friend Meticles, who is being attacked by pirates. Having heard Ulysses was killed, Meticles is astonished to see him. Ulysses is equally stunned when Meticles informs him that Penelope is alive and being forced by the pirates to choose a new king. When Meticles expresses his concern that Ulysses has been gone so long and looks so different that no one will believe he is who he claims to be, Xena devises a plan. Meticles sneaks into the castle to see Penelope and quickly reminds her about Ulysses' bow before fleeing from approaching pirates.

Leaving on boat.

Carrying the bow into the throne room, Penelope announces to the assembled crowd that the first man who can string the weapon will be her king. Ulysses, disguised as a peasant, and Xena and Gabrielle, dressed as servant girls, are also in the crowd having entered the castle through a subterranean passageway. No one recognizes Ulysses except his old dog (as in the original myth). After several suitors fail at stringing the bow, Ulysses steps forward and says he will try. At first he is unable to succeed. Xena sneaks under the table and, unknown to everyone including Ulysses, helps him by pulling down on the bottom of the bow. The bow is strung. Throwing off the hood of his cloak, Ulysses reveals his identity and a battle ensues. With Xena's help, Ulysses emerges triumphant, but his victory is bittersweet. Still madly in love with Xena, Ulysses offers to give up everything to be with her, but Xena ultimately rejects him, knowing she must not take him away from Penelope and his kingdom. Later Xena tells Gabriele that Ulysses will fall in love with Penelope again, that she must be quite a woman standing up to all those pirates for ten years. Xena goes on to caution Gabrielle not to tell anyone that Xena helped with the bow, it has to be Ulysses' story to help the people of Ithaca accept him again. She says she got to make someone she cares about happy, and that's the best reward you can have in life.


Despite Gabrielle's incessant hurling, Ulysses' ship was not harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Background Information[]

  • John D'Aquino (Ulysses) was one of the stars of SeaQuest DSV, another ocean themed adventure.
  • Poseidon is voiced by Charles Siebert , a regular director of the series.
  • Part of the origin of this story came from the shot of Poseidon rising from the sea, as used on the show's opening credits. The shot was created especially for the credits and not used in an actual episode, but many fans were intrigued by it, and so this episode was written to include a similar shot and a story around it.
  • This was the lowest-rated episode of the second season in 1997, scoring 3.2 out of 10 stars on the Neilsen's National Rating chart.
  • This is the second episode of Xena based on Homer's subject matter, as Ulysses (Odysseus)' journeys, described in the Odyssey, inspire Ulysses after the Trojan War, retold in the Iliad, inspired Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts.

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