Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 13

Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 22, 1996 on
out of 10
User Rating
86 votes

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Episode Summary


Gabrielle wants to enter the Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards, but finds that it is not quite what she thought it would be. Whiel there, she helps another aspiring bard discover his true storytelling talent.

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  • Gabrielle follows a dream and finds out it's not her path anymore.

    Unlike most, I love this episode (despite it being a clip show frenzy). The style of the episode very much reminded me of Young Hercules. Amazingly one of the stars of Young Hercules (Dean O'Gorman who will later play the young Iolaus for the Herc prequel and had already appeared as Herc's cousin in the Warrior Princess episode in Season One) plays Homer here, a boy who quickly and easily befriends young Gabrielle. Euripedes (the boy who uses too many big words for the sake of using them) is also equally appealing as is Stallonus (who's stories always made me laugh) and Twickenham (the stuttering bard).

    Putting Gabby in School does almost seem like a rewind in history as we have evolved her into the warrior path. But at the same time it makes sense that she would need to explore this before she could completely dedicate herself to being Xena's companion. I'm obviously a weirdling in my love of this episode, but I honestly could watch it more often than I could most clip shows. I think it was a really amusing Xena episode and while I didn't buy Gabrielle's stories were that riviting, watching her interactions with the boys at the Academy was worth the story. Renee O'Conner, in my opinion, did a brilliant job carrying the reins of her first episode.moreless
  • Gabrielle lays down her stick and goes to a competition for bards.

    Gabrielle gains admittance to a competition in hopes of winning entrance to the Athens Academy for Performing Bards. She recounts heavily on the heroic adventures of Xena. At the competition she meets an array of characters including the monosyllable Stallonus (we are treated to scenes from an old cheesy B-movies as he recites) and the stuttering bard, which is funny enough in itself.

    Thus attaining what she set out for, Gabrielle drops all inclinations of becoming a bard thus ensuring we will have future seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess.

    It was fairly entertaining but mainly this a weak episode comprised of flashbacks and a silly storyline.moreless
  • Gabrielle takes the reigns for this episode - which marks the first of many flashback episodes.

    One thing that Xena does especially well is a flashback episode. Throughout the series you are guaranteed to see at least a couple of flashback ep's per season, and they are always a great watch. I love the flashbacks, particularly the Evil Xena moments, so for me any episode which includes them is great.

    Although the general consensus seems to be that this is a rather weak filler episode, I found there to be a number of really strong points to the episode, and enjoyed it the whole way through. One significant point that I think is overlooked is the significance of Gabrielle's decision to leave Xena to follow her 'dream', only to realize that her dream, and her destiny, is back with Xena. This is a really important part of the episode, and leads to some really touching moments between Xena and Gabrielle at the very start and the very end.

    I found the beginning quite poignant as both Xena and Gabrielle contemplate their potentially permanent separation as Gabrielle leaves to pursue her dream of being a bard. For the first time I really started to realize just what an impact Gabrielle has genuinely had on Xena's life. This theme extends the other way as well. One of the nicest parts of the episode occurs as Gabrielle tells her stories at the Academy. While she is performing, supposedly fulfilling her inner destiny to become a bard, all she thinks about is Xena, and the only stories she tells are about her time with Xena. It is clear that as much as Gabrielle is Xena's inspiration, in all respects Xena is also Gabrielle's.

    This is really Gabrielle's first episode which she carries alone, and she doesn't disappoint. Years ago when I first watched the series, it was around this point that my feelings about Gabrielle began to change, and I started to like her more and more as a character. Gabrielle shows that she has her own way of handling an episode, and it is such a nice contrast to Xena that it gets very hard not to like her.

    There are some excellent flashbacks from previous episodes, however, the standouts to me are (as always) the flashbacks of Evil Xena. Everything about Xena in her warlord days are fantastic - she is the most delicious villain, her outfits are always impressive and it is such a nice contrast to our Good Xena. I like being constantly reminded of where Xena has come from, and why she is redeeming herself.

    Overall, I think this is a good solid episode, with some important themes, and some really nice characters.moreless
  • Gabrielle tries to enter a prestigious storytelling course, and ends up helping a fellow student discover his full potential, in this tedious and way too early clip show...

    After the breathtaking events of the previous episode, 'Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts', here we come down to Earth with a bump, with this uninteresting and *way too early* clip show episode.

    The episode is based around Gabrielle, with Xena only getting a couple of minutes screen time at most (bar flashback footage). This on the surface is great, as by this time, Gabrielle had become my favourite character from both Xena and Hercules. But the story itself is terrible – dragged out and really tedious.

    Although it was great to see Gabrielle get her own episode, it wasn't her best by a long shot.

    Only small things of note, such as the amusing character of Stallonus (!) who got way too over excited at reciting tales (some nice, creative use of 'Hercules Unchained' (a.k.a. 'Hercules and the Queen of Lydia') (1959)).

    Dean O'Gorman, who plays Homer, went on to play Iolaus in 'Young Hercules'.

    Beyond that, there is very little of interest in this episode. I hadn't watched it right through for many, many years until I started to re-watch the series in order a while ago.

    At least on future clip shows they started getting a bit creative with the settings; this one is just bland.

    Watch it once if you're a completist; otherwise, feel free to skip this one.moreless
  • Sheesh, Could the title be any longer!!

    Athens City Academy...-Gabrielle wants to enter the Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards, but finds that it is not quite what she thought it would be. She helps another aspiring bard discover his true storytelling talent. This was the first Xena-lite episode of the series. It's little too early for a clip show, but this episode was okay. It only serves to show Gabrielle's story-telling skills, which we all know are great. But the episode really drags most of the times, though it does have some funny moments, with the guy who stutters all the time and the other who speaks in big words. Not to mention that that guy's name being Homer, LOL!! All in All, this is an overall dull episode which only serves to give Gabrielle a storyline and Xena a break.moreless

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