Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 16

For Him The Bell Tolls

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 24, 1997 on
out of 10
User Rating
78 votes

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Episode Summary


With Xena away on a mission, Gabrielle must contend with Aphrodite. The Goddess is interfering in one of Cupid's love spellswhich will unite two kingdoms by putting a spell on Joxer, who behaves like a real hero whenever a bell rings.

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  • Joxer and his alternate personality...

    Aphrodite is miffed by the possible merging of two kingdoms that will result in the loss of some of her temples so she formulates a plan to prevent a marriage from taking place. By placing a spell on a bell, Joxer delivers the Goddess of Love's "present" to Princess Illeandra who is quite taken by his newly acquired debonair nature. Each time the bell rings, Joxer is transformed from his usual self, instead of playing the fool he finally gets to be the hero. Unfortunately, he also reverts back to his former self when the bell is rung again.

    It makes for an amusing sequence of events as he continually shifts from fool to hero and back again. Joxer deservingly gets an episode for himself. Gabrielle is humorous in her attempt to keep Joxer and Illeandra apart (for whatever reasons she harbors) and actually defends him at one point in the later half of the storyline. Kudos to Gabrielle for that nifty ricocheting rock "a la Xena style".

    It doesn't make sense that a mere marriage would result in the destruction of a few of Aphrodite's temples. Also, if the families of Illeandra and Sarpedon agree to the union, then why are they eloping?moreless
  • Joxer the mighty!!!

    Ted just steals it through and through,he is brill on all levels and is a great actor as Joxer finally gets his own episode (we all wanted it)...and again it makes for one of the best episodes of the season.

    its full of hilarious moments and clever gags to make it work many many times over.

    although Xena herself only appears in two scenes, her absence is covered up by the fantastic actors and Aphrodites debut on the series(and she appears in the rest of the shows run too !!).

    i laugh every single time i see this episode its just hysterical and u never lose interest.moreless
  • Love is a many splendor-ed thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love?? (Oops, wrong show... and we are talking about the Goddess of Love here!)moreless

    Although this is a relatively amusing episode, it really doesn't do a whole lot for me. Unfortunately, it combines 3 main elements which I just don't like all that much: a Xena-lite episode (although for good reason), lots of Joxer, and Aphrodite.

    I feel like somewhat of a traitor not being an over-the-moon fan of either Aphrodite or Joxer, seeing as they are two of the most loved and appreciated characters in the series. Although I can admit that Joxer has his moments, I find Aphrodite annoying in almost every sense. To give her her due, she does improve in later seasons, but in the early stages of the series I just found her silly comments, the horrible wig and the cheesy scenes just too much.

    Oh the other hand, I can take Joxer in small doses - and he definitely has some funny moments here and there. He does do very well in this episode, and Ted is really a fantastic actor - he plays Joxer so convincingly, especially considering how many times his character changed persona throughout the episode! I just find his humor wears a bit thin after a while, but overall I like the presence that he brings to an episode. Although it is probably an unfair comparison, I often find myself comparing Joxer to Autolycus, and given how much I liked Autolycus, I wish that they had given some of Joxer's episodes to him.

    On other topics, the main redeeming factor here for me was the presence of Karl Urban as Cupid. Although he doesn't have a big role, I have said before how much I adore him, and just by being in the episode he improves it! Love the tattoo, too!

    I also thought it was clever how they tied a number of classic movies into the script, including The Princess Bride, which I have mentioned before is one of my favorites. Although there are not a lot of similarities between the suave-Joxer, and Westley (played by Cary Elwes) in The Princess Bride, I can see where they get the connection and I thought it was cute.

    There is not a lot else to say about this episode. It doesn't even begin to compare to the previous episode, but it falls in about the same place as the next. Not a high point of season 2, but a solid episode all the same.moreless
  • In this Xena-lite episode, Aphrodite, in a battle of wills with son Cupid, casts a spell on Joxer turning him into a dashing warrior every time a bell rings, to try and ruin a love that will bring two kingdoms together. One of the sillier comedy episodes.moreless

    This story is one of a number of second season episodes hastily written around Lucy Lawless' absence, after she injured her back filming 'The Tonight Show' in the US.

    Xena's absence is explained away by her assistance once again being required by King Lias from the first season's 'Warrior... Princess' and this season's sequel 'Warrior... Princess... Tramp', maybe suggesting that more comical look-alike capers are happening elsewhere.

    Following on after the classic 'A Day in the Life', it is quite uncommon to have two comedy episodes in a row, and in my opinion this episode suffers coming directly after the sharply produced previous episode.

    After a few appearances already in 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys', the episode marks the first appearance in the series of Aphrodite in the series. As I've already commented on those Herc appearances, I'm rather split over Aphrodite. Sometimes I quite enjoy her appearances, but on others, with her forced 'modern speak' beach lingo, I find her slightly annoying.

    The episode also marks the first 'Xena: Warrior Princess' appearance Cupid, introduced in the third season 'Hercules' episode 'The Green-Eyed Monster'. Like his mother Aphrodite, he talks in forced 'modern speak' which will probably affect just how much you warm to him.

    The plot itself involves Aphrodite trying to break up a romance that will bring two feuding kingdoms together (her reason being that two of her temples will be demolished if it happens). As well as the standard 'warlord-of-the-week' (TM), the 'trying to stop two kingdoms coming together' plot is one that is used a number of times in both this series and particularly in 'Hercules' (Aphrodite's introduction, the second season episode 'The Apple' being just one example).

    The story is average, and not one of my favourite comedy episodes. It is basically a series of bell rings – Joxer becomes brave and dashing; bell rings again – Joxer returns to his cowardly self gags, with Gabrielle desperately trying to work out what is going on.

    Unlike some fans, I don't dislike episodes that barely feature Xena (in fact, I quite like them), and it is nice for Joxer – played by the more than able Ted Raimi – to get an episode of his own, but beyond that this is one of my lesser favourite second season episodes.

    There is one good thing though – it introduces the Joxer the Mighty song. It even plays over the end credits!moreless
  • Joxer....A Warrior?

    For Him The Bell Tolls-With Xena away on a mission, Gabrielle must contend with Aphrodite, who's interfering in one of Cupid's love spells that will unite two kingdoms and who's put a spell on Joxer, who behaves like a real hero whenever a bell rings.

    Joxer is such a goof and dork, it's acutally nice to see him get a decent storyline for once. Put under Aphrodite's spell, everytime a bell rings, Joxer becomes a sexy tough warrior. Leaving Gabrielle to get him out of it and stop him from stealing Princess Ileandra from her fiancee. Ted is just great in this episode changing from dork Joxer to hero Joxer so smoothy without making look too corny. Also it's funny watching Gabrielle keep Joxer and Ileandra from kissing and touching each other. Alexandra Tyings makes her first appearance on Xena as Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. I love how she is a blonde valley girl with powers, you would have never expected that and she's just funny. Karl Urban plays Cupid and does it so conviningly(this is the same actor whose playing Ceaser, too!!) Lastly, I love when Joxer kisses Gabrielle and she likes it but realizes that Joxer just kissed her, LOL!! All in All, this was a pretty good episode, with some funny moments!!moreless
Karl Urban

Karl Urban


Guest Star

Mandie Gillette

Mandie Gillette


Guest Star

Craig Parker

Craig Parker

Prince Sarpedon

Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Alexandra Tydings

Alexandra Tydings


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Lucy Lawless only appears in the first and last scene of this episode.

    • Xena's absence in this episode is explained by her aid once again being requested by King Lias from "Warrior... Princess" and "Warrior... Princess... Tramp", maybe suggesting that some more look-alike capers were happening while she was away.

    • Goof: When Joxer is under the spell for the first time, when he takes off his armor he has no sleeves but in the next shot he does.

    • This is the first appearance of the "Joxer the Mighty" song. It appears many more times throughout the series, sometimes with alternate lyrics. The lyrics to this version follow:

      Joxer the Mighty / He roams through the countryside / He never needs a place to hide / With Gabby as his sidekick / Fighting with her little stick / Righting wrongs and singing songs / Being mighty all day long / He's Joxer... he's Joxer the Mighty!

      Ohhhh..... he's Joxer the Mighty / He's really tidy / Everybody likes him / 'Cause he has a funny grin / Joxer... Joxer the Mighty,

      Joxer the Mighty / He's very tidy / Everyone admires him / He's so handsome it's a sin / If you're in jeopardy / Don't call the cavalry / There's a better remedy / (Although he doesn't work for free) / He's every man's trustee / He's every woman's fantasy / Plus he's good company / He's Joxer... I'm Joxer the Mighty!

      Blood... valor... and victory! Ha-ha! / Joxer the Mighty / He's very tidy / Everyone admires him / He's so handsome it's a sin / When things get grim / He'll take it on the chin / If you're in jeopardy / Caused by the enemy / Don't call the cavalry / There's a better remedy / (Although he doesn't work for free) / He's every man's trustee / He's every woman's fantasy / Plus he's good company / Look out! / He's Joxer... Joxer the Mighty!

    • Nitpick: In the show Karl Urban is referred to as Cupid, but that is the Roman name for the god, since Xena is set in Greece, he should have been called Eros.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Gabrielle: Take off the spell. You're the Goddess of Love. Love is soft and gentle. It's not violent and cruel.
      Aphrodite: You don't know much about love, do you?

    • Xena: (to Joxer) The gods can't give us anything that isn't in our hearts. Aphrodite just used what was already there. The real Joxer may not be the best swordsman around, but he's always had the heart of a lion.

    • Joxer: Wow, did you hear that? Ileandra's really in love with me! She chose me over Sarpedon!
      Gabrielle: No Joxer. She chose the other one. The other Joxer. The one who just stupidly beat Sarpedon in battle, and then romanced Ileandra from under his nose!
      Joxer: Wow! I really did that!

    • Cupid: Well that sucks! Well, you've done it, Mom. You've managed to mess up yet another one of my perfect matches. How can you call yourself the Goddess of Love?
      Aphrodite: Oh, get a grip, Cupie! Love isn't just about happy endings. There's also jealous love, and unrequited love, and tragic love. And when you strip away all the tinsel, it's really just about hormones, isn't it?!

    • Joxer: Wait a minute. You're saying I fought all of them and won?
      Gabrielle: Yes! Maybe you hit your head and that's why you can't remember?
      Joxer: I don't think so. I think it was more like a warrior haze.
      Gabrielle: A warrior haze?
      Joxer: Yeah, you know? OK, enemies are coming at you, hearts pounding, muscles are flexing and your mind shuts down to let your body take over!
      Gabrielle: (sarcastically) Right.

    • Joxer: Where's Xena?
      Gabrielle: She's off being a hero.
      Joxer: How come you're not with her?
      Gabrielle: 'Cause I'm a sidekick. Obviously expendable when push comes to shove.
      Joxer: Hm. Wait, wait, wait! That's great! Don't you get it? You're a sidekick without a hero. I'm a hero without a sidekick!
      Gabrielle: (sarcastically) Oh, of course. You're a hero. A hero of what?!

    • Joxer: My sword is always ready to pleasure you, my lady.

  • NOTES (6)

    • Karl Urban had previously played the role of Cupid on Hercules, and had appeared on Xena as Julius Caesar in the episode "Destiny" and as Mael in "Altared States". He would continue to play both Caesar and Cupid throughout the series. He would also play a fifth role in the series as the caveman Kor from the recycled Amazon High footage used to make "Lifeblood".

    • Instead of the usual theme playing during the closing credits, we hear a full heroic chorus singing the "Joxer the Mighty" theme song.

    • This episode was hastily added to the schedule because Lucy Lawless was still recovering from the horse falling on her while filming a stunt for The Tonight Show in Los Angeles. Xena's appearance at the end where she consoles Joxer was shot later, when Ted Raimi had already returned to the States (his close-ups and dialogue for it were filmed first). For most of the scene, and the closing bit where he rejoins Xena and Gabrielle, only Joxer's back is seen: it is a double in his costume. Where his face is visible, Xena is only seen from the back: it's one of Lucy's doubles.

    • Joxer's theme song wasn't part of the script, it was ad-libbed by Ted and the director Josh Becker.

    • This episode marks Aphrodite's first Xena episode (though she had previously appeared on Hercules). In real life Alex Tydings has short brunette hair. She was surprised and gratified to be cast as Aphrodite in spite of her brown locks, but then they showed her the wig she would be wearing.

    • DISCLAIMER: The producers wish to acknowledge the inspiration of Danny Kaye and pay tribute to the classic motion picture "Court Jester."


    • Joxer: I regret that I have but one life to give for... for, whatever it is I've given it for.

      The speech paraphrases the supposed last words of the American patriot Nathan Hale, who was executed by the British in 1776.

    • The Princess Bride:
      When Joxer is fighting King Lynaeus, Joxer says that he is unable to defeat the King while fighting with his left hand, because he is actually right handed. This is a reference to the movie The Princess Bride when Westley, while fighting Inigo, says the same thing. Another reference to the movie is made after Joxer kisses Gabrielle in the middle of the fight. Gabrielle asks Joxer to take the fight into the temple, to which Joxer replies "as you wish". This is the line which Westley uses when speaking to his beloved, Buttercup, in the movie.

    • Much of the plot of this episode is derived from the movie The Court Jester (1956), starring Danny Kaye (both are credited). In the movie a witch hypnotizes Kaye's character, so that he can go into and out of a trance when he hears fingers snapping. In the course of his mishaps the king's daughter falls in love with him. He is later hypnotized by the same witch into thinking he is a great swordsman. All these things happen to Joxer, too, except of course it is a bell that causes him to switch.

    • Title: "For Him The Bell Tolls"

      The episode title is a play on the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.