Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 1 Episode 4

Cradle of Hope

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Sep 25, 1995 on
out of 10
User Rating
103 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Xena and Gabrielle go undercover after learning that a ransom has been put out on an infant who was prophesied to one day take the throne of a powerful king.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • "Three Women and a baby" pretty much sums up this fun, but average at best, episode.

    This episode marks the first baby in Gabrielle and Xena's life and he comes floating down a stream like the little baby Moses. Gabby immediately names the orphan Gabriel (after herself of course, but reasons Xenus could work well as a name too). But the baby isn't the only thing to fall into Xena and Gabrielle's lap, they end up with Pandora and her box too. It turns out the baby has a price on it's head and the box is a ticking time bomb (sort of) for which only Pandora holds the key. This leaves Xena and Gabrielle piecing together a family with the "cursed" Pandora, the orphaned baby Gabrielle, and a King who has misinterpreted a prophecy (thanks partly to an untrustworthy advisor). It sounds, basically, like a bunch of stuff that shouldn't work, but the story comes together pretty well and all the pieces make sense in light of the prophecy made at the beginning. Even though this is another episode where Gabby is "tucked away" (with Pandora and the baby) while Xena is on her "important mission", she still manages to prove herself clever and useful as she makes friends with someone from the palace and learns the baby's history. In fact, she's the reason Xena is able to infiltrate the castle pretty easily. At this point you can start to see Gabrielle stretching her wings as Xena's companion. There's also a hilarious fight where they unrealistically throw around a baby, something that will happen again actually. But (even though logically we know it's a doll) it's funny to see Gabby in panic every time Xena throws the baby her way like she really fears she'll miss and injure the "child". I think this also shows Xena's growing trust in Gabrielle though. I also like that she (Xena) ask the King to allow the child (now his adopted son) to be named Gabriel. It may not be a series classic, but it's the kind of "good fun" adventure of an episode that kept me watching the series as a youngun' .moreless
  • A king, a baby and Pandora's box...

    Gregor is the noble yet tortured king having recently lost both wife and son. His 'proposal' to Pandora seemed too sudden and a bit out of place. With a little less baby tossing and they could have added a few minutes for the two to become acquainted, maybe get passed the first name basis stage.

    "Cradle of Hope" has some kitschy moments including an infamous scene of baby tossing. The ending is a standard paint-by-numbers wrap up. It's an average storyline, fairly enjoyable and neither badly written nor directed. It doesn't add or contradict any other episode in the first season; it's more of a stand-alone story.moreless
  • Dancing girls, flying babies and Pandora's box... a number of story lines collide with the resulting episode: Cradle of Hope.

    This episode, although rather unimaginative and fairly unexciting, does work for the most part. It does, however, have FILLER stamped all over it.

    There really is not a lot to say about the story itself. It basically blends together the tales of Moses and Pandora's Box, which are an interesting mix to say the least!

    It is actually quite a cute episode, but Xena has never done cute especially well, so the cuteness of the baby storyline wears off fairly quickly. The Pandora storyline, in comparison, would have been a much more interesting plot to follow - and it would seem that there would be far more to play with in terms of dialog if the story had followed the need to protect the hope of mankind, rather than the need to save a baby.

    Gabrielle and (in my opinion) Pandora are completely underused in this episode, and spend the majority of the episode playing with the baby. Gabrielle does have a few good lines here and there, but not enough to make up for the lack of use of her character.

    Highlights of the episode come towards the end, namely the dancing slave-girls scene, where Xena gets done up in a harem costume and dances seductively for the King's Second-in-command and his dinner guests. Xena is very sexy and the scene works really well. It is followed by a great scene in the King's bedchamber with his guard dog, and later by a really funny fight scene in the marketplace with Xena and Gabrielle tossing the baby around.

    All in all, this is an unremarkable episode. It is very watchable and (at times) enjoyable, but is just unimportant in terms of the series. Xena is dotted throughout with these necessary filler episodes, and, provided they are taken with a grain of salt, they too can be appreciated in their own right.moreless
  • Xena and Gabrielle find a baby floating in a basket down the river (a la Moses), and meet Pandora, grand-daughter of the original, complete with box; both are in danger from a misguided King. Merging these two tales together forms this average episode.moreless

    This episode melds two fables together - that of baby Moses floating down a river in a wicker basket, and Pandora and her box. In this Xena version of the two stories, the baby has been snuck away to save it from a King who has been told in a vision that it is a threat to his throne and convinced that he must kill it. Pandora, grand-daughter of the original, carries around "the box" with her, that needs the timer on the lid re-setting every few hours else all hope will escape. There are some interesting elements to this episode, but it only comes off as average at best, and sags in the middle. I find the middle acts a bit dragged out, and could have done with a bit more to beef up the plot. Things do pick up a bit at the climax, with Xena throwing the baby up in the air, and back and fourth to Gabrielle, as she battles with the King's men.

    There is one moment, quite early on, that I have never been sure if it is a blooper or a deliberate mistake. After saving Pandora from being hung, Xena, Gabrielle and the baby take refuge with her in a cave. Gabrielle goes to move the box and drops it on the floor - if you look closely, the lid of the box can be seen to open slightly! I think this is a genuine mistake; but it is a nice one, as [spoiler] at the end of the story, Xena and Gabrielle discover that the box has been empty all along anyway [END OF SPOILER].

    The sequence of Xena posing as a belly dancer to infiltrate the King's castle was shown in many publicity shots, and even had a figure based upon it. However, I found this particular element of the story a bit uninteresting. The only good moment coming from it is when Xena is sneaking around the castle, one of the guard dogs growls at her, only for her to give it a glare and it to back down.

    Not much more to say on this episode. It isn't bottom of the barrel, and does have some good bits, but doesn't really stand out amongst the series' better episodes.moreless
  • A Baby and A Box from Hell!!!

    Cradle of Hope-Xena employs stealthy maneuvers to protect an infant who an oracle claims will one day usurp the King's throne. Meanwhile, Xena must also make sure that Pandora, the granddaughter of the legendary original, is able to reset the lock on her precious box. It always great how the this show finds ways to solve the problems with each episode. Xena giving the baby to the King and realizing that the baby wasn't a threat but his heir to the thrown. Pandora's box is the second storyline to the episode and it's a surprising twist when you find out there was nothing inside to begin with. Pandora wasn't that interesting of a character. Her only purpose was to stop the box from opening and that's all. This episode also has some funny moments when Xena is fighting the guards and Gabrielle and Xena keep throwing the baby to each other. Sheesh, this show treats baby kind of bad since there is more baby-throwing in future episodes. All in All, a good episode with 2 interesting plots.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Chakram Count: 2
      1) To cut down Pandora from the rope.
      2) To kill the soldier who was attacking Pandora.

    • Nitpick: It seems surprising that Nemos doesn't recognize that it is Xena under disguise. Firstly, it seems the party is a habitual thing which means he would or at least should know all the servants. Secondly, he already met Xena with Gregor earlier on so when she spoke in his chambers, he should have recognized her voice.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Gabrielle: (to Xena) Do you know there's a reward out for us? It's over a thousand dinars. I'm tempted to turn myself in.

    • Gabrielle: Does it all happen because of fate? Or is it just chance?
      Xena: I think it all happened 'cause you slept on a rock.

    • Xena: (when the Box falls open, apparently empty) We tell her the truth. Hope has been and always will be safe. It's inside every one of us.

    • Gabrielle: Good morning. You sleep okay?
      Xena: Like a rock. How about you?
      Gabrielle: On a rock. I kept trying to find that one patch of ground that didn't have a boulder on it. (hearing a squalling noise) What's that? Is that a cat? A big cat? Or, or, or a griffin, yeah. A big griffin with a cat in its mouth.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Shooting Dates: July 29th through August 4, 1995, 6 day shoot.

    • They always had a professional testfire the alcohol before Lucy did her firebreathing gag, and once when the alcohol content was too high the stuntie's face caught on fire. He was okay, but it made her always pay very close attention to what she was doing. She always drank milk before she did it to coat the lining of her mouth and stomach.

    • DISCLAIMER: No babies were harmed during the production of this motion picture. (First humorous XWP disclaimer)


    • Baby Gabriel was rescued by a warrior princess just as the baby Moses was rescued by an Egyptian princess. Both infants were raised as princes, though Moses eventually left his adopted family to lead his birth people to freedom. In the Xenaverse the Hebrews had to wait for the season two episode "The Giant Killer" to win their freedom.

    • Greek Mythology Connection:
      Pandora was the first women given the box by the gods, in which were imprisoned all the troubles of the world. Curious, she opened the box and all the ills escaped, leaving only hope.