Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 2 Episode 16

For Him The Bell Tolls

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Feb 24, 1997 on

Episode Recap

The episode begins with Xena dropping Gabrielle off so that she can go on to King Lias' kingdom to act as security. After leaving Xena, Gabrielle wanders into the woods only to come across Joxer fighting with nobody (and losing miserably). Joxer is thrilled to see Gabrielle and, seeing as she is now a 'side kick without a hero' he thinks it would be a good idea for her to join him. Gabrielle laughs this comment off, and sends Joxer back to 'guard their rear'.

Meanwhile, Aphrodite is in a serious temper, as Cupid's latest love match between the daughter of King Barus and the son of King Lynaeus means that their new alliance will allow the removal of two of Aphrodite's temples. Aphrodite demands that Cupid undo the love spell, but when he refuses, Aphrodite decides to get involved. In order to prove to Cupid how powerful she is, Aphrodite asks him to pick any mortal for her to use to break up the marriage between Princess Ileandra and Prince Sarpedon. Thinking that she can't do it, Cupid picks the bumbling Joxer for Aphrodite to use as her accomplice.

Excited at the challenge, Aphrodite appears alongside the road where Joxer is travelling behind Gabrielle. Using a magic bell, Aphrodite puts Joxer under her spell. She asks Joxer to delivera bell necklace personally to Ileandra as a wedding present, and Joxer agrees.

Further up the road, Gabrielle comes across a band of thugs trying to kidnap Ileandra and her ladies in waiting, who are travelling on their way to her wedding. As Gabrielle attempts to fight them off, Joxer turns up. When Aphrodite rings the magic bell, Joxer suddenly takes on a new, debonair personality and (tearing off his Joxer-armour), single-handedly fights and defeats every one of the attackers, as Gabrielle watches speechless.

After the fight, Ileandra and her ladies in waiting are clearly besotted with the charming and skilled 'new Joxer'. Joxer presents Ileandra with the bell from Aphrodite, all the while complimenting her with distinctly un-Joxer-like compliments. However, as he places the bell around her neck, it rings, turning him back into regular Joxer, who has no recollection of the fight, or even how he got there. Despite the change in Joxer's personality, a grateful Ileandra, on her way to elope with Sarpedon, requests if Gabrielle and Joxer would accompany them on their way, to protect them.

Back in the castle, Kings Lynaeus and King Barus discuss the wedding of their son and daughter and the details of their alliance. Both agree to destroy the temples to Aphrodite to please the other King. However, at the same time, one of Ileandra's ladies-in-waiting arrives to warn the Kings that she had seen Ileandra in the arms of another man- Joxer. In anger, both Kings decide to stop the preparations for the alliance until the matter is cleared up- much to Aphrodite's delight.

On the road, Ileandra's party meets up with Sarpedon, and the two leave together. As Gabrielle and Joxer go on their way, they puzzle over Joxer's strange personality changes. However, as Aphrodite realises that her plan is not working, she appears again, ringing the bell and sending the "Other Joxer" off to "help" Ileandra and Sarpedon. He arrives just as the pair are about to get married in the woods; immediately Aphrodite's spell makes Ileandra fall for Joxer and, much to Gabrielle and Sarpedon's bewilderment, Joxer and Ileandra declare their love and kiss passionately. Sarpedon begins to fight Joxer for Ileandra; in the midst of the battle he pulls Aphrodite's bell from around Ileandra's neck, causing it to ring which turns Joxer back into himself. Confused as to why he is fighting, Joxer wildly defends himself, until the bell rings again and he defeats Sarpedon, who returns to his kingdom, broken-hearted.

When King Lynaeus finds out what has happened, he orders a search party to hunt Joxer down. Gabrielle, meanwhile, is fighting the impossible battle of keeping Joxer and Ileandra apart; Aphrodite's spell means they cannot keep their hands off of one another. The next morning, hearing King Lynaeu's army nearby, Joxer reveals himself to the King, prepared to fight them all. However, at the critical moment, the bell around Ileandra's neck rings again, and Joxer returns to idiotic-Joxer, allowing King Lynaeus to capture the all and take them back to his kingdom.

In the prison, Gabrielle questions the normal Joxer about how he got hold of the bell necklace. When Gabrielle hears that it is Aphrodite who is behind all the strange happenings, she immediately breaks out of the prison to find Aphrodite and order her to set things right. In Aphrodite's temple, Gabrielle reasons with Aphrodite to remove the spell. When she refuses, Gabrielle appeals to Cupid; he agrees that if she can get Aphrodite to break the spell, he will set things right. Gabrielle runs off to put her plan into action.

Meanwhile, upon finding out that King Lynaeus has Ileandra, King Barus rides to his kingdom to recover her. In the village square, Joxer is about to be executed. Gabrielle arrives just in time to ring a bell to turn Joxer back into the other Joxer so that he can free himself. Upon his escape, Joxer begins fighting with the guards, before taking on King Lynaeus, who is known as the greatest swordsman in the country. The transformed Joxer easily defends himself, winning back Ileandra in the process. Gabrielle, with a plan in mind, requests Joxer take the fight into Aphrodite's temple. As the battle starts wreaking havoc, destroying Aphrodite's antiques and statues, Gabrielle reminds her that she can end the damage by removing the spell. Although Aphrodite initially refuses, she eventually gives in, removing the spell and allowing things to return to normal.

With Ileandra and Sarpedon back together and Joxer back to normal, Gabrielle and Joxer leave. Joxer, however, is now suffering from an inferiority complex and is feeling like a complete failure. When they join back up with Xena, Xena gives him a pep talk, and tells him that he really does have the heart of a lion. The motivation works perfectly and, together, the trio head off into the sunset, with Joxer singing "Joxer the Mighty".