Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 5 Episode 10

Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 17, 2000 on
out of 10
User Rating
74 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


When the Amazons and a lovesick-for-Gabrielle Draco clash over possession of Terpsichore's enchanted, golden lyre, Xena holds a battle of the bands contest in the musical capital of Greece to decide who'll get it. Meanwhile, Joxer runs into his other brother, the flamboyant Jace, Xena tries to evade her mother's attempts at matchmaking, and Gabrielle tries to work out her own inexplicable feelings of jealousy over Joxer's budding relationship with the Amazon Amoria.


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  • We sing, we dance, we tell jokes. There isn't anything that Xena can't pull off.

    Oh my goodness, where on earth do you start with this episode??? What an amusing and odd episode. Only Xena could get away with such a peculiar and amusing episode. As I have mentioned multiple times, Season Five was really a very unusual combination of ideas. It regularly re-uses concepts from other episodes, and this one is no exception, playing on the success of the last musical episode, "The Bitter Suite". However, containing songs is where the similarities between these two episodes end. No two episodes could actually be more different!

    The basic premise of "Lyre, Lyre" involves Draco's army and a middle-Grecian Amazonian tribe both wanting to battle it out over an enchanted lyre. I can only assume that the lyre is enchanted (although this is never mentioned) because I can't think of a single other reason that both Draco AND a group of Amazons would want it. Suffice to say, in an enormous plot leap, Xena turns up at the critical moment and decides to turn the impending war into a 'Battle of the Bands' for the lyre. This is really not the time to ask why.

    The so called "Battle of the Bands" goes on to attract performers from all over Greece, including Joxer's third triplet brother, Jace, and also Xena's mother, Cyrene (what she was doing in Melodia we can only guess!). What results is a highly dramatised sing-a-long, comprising of original and well-known pop songs, and containing several minor storylines.

    Of all the Xena episodes in the series, I would argue that this episode is the one which has dated the most. It really only gets away with the daggy-ness among die-hard fans, and I imagine that an outsider watching this as a one-off would think it was absolute garbage. However, for fans who know and understand the multiple Xena sub-plots and just love the camp-ness that comes with many episodes, this really is a very amusing episode.

    I will cover the subplots and high points separately, starting with Jace. I thoroughly enjoyed Jace: Ted plays him with absolute gusto, and he is just delightful, as well as being as different from Jett and Joxer as could be. I loved all his interactions with Joxer, who (in contrast to the rest of the season) actually shines throughout season five. What I really liked about the relationship between Jace and Joxer is the suggestion that Joxer feels so negatively towards Jace because he is so openly flamboyant, and clearly so comfortable with being gay. One of my favourite moments in the episode is a short conversation between Gabrielle and Joxer where Gabrielle questions Joxer about why he is so horrible to his brother. Joxer replies that he doesn't like Jace "because he is so…" but seeing Gabrielle's warning look, chooses not to finish the sentence. The implication is, of course, that he was going to say "I don't like him because he is so gay", but changes his mind seeing Gabrielle's reaction. My feeling is that Gabrielle was offended by Joxer's homophobic attitude towards his brother because, clearly, she and Xena are lesbians, and while Joxer doesn't have a problem with them, he does with gay men. This is neatly and subtly done.

    The second subplot involves Xena's mother frantically trying to find a man for Xena. This is a little odd, but Cyrene has always been a bit of an oddball. As a die-hard sub-texter, what this sub-plot really needed to add a little spice to it was some more reference to Gabrielle being the father. I think the writers missed an opportunity here whereby they could have used this light-hearted episode as a platform to broach the subject of Xena 'coming out' to her mother. One can only assume that Cyrene doesn't realise that her daughter is a lesbian, and 'coming out' is always a challenge, no matter how open-minded people are. I feel like they could have played around with this theme, possibly with Xena trying subtly to hint to her mother that despite appearances, she actually likes girls, before it dawns on a horrified Cyrene what Xena is getting at. They could have thrown in there some of the locals gossiping about Xena being a single mother, or alternatively gossiping about Xena and Gabrielle being a couple, and Cyrene (unexpectedly) could then come to their defence, before the episode concluded with a touching scene involving Cyrene telling Xena that she loves her just as she is. Wow – maybe I should have been a writer!!

    The third sub-plot is the continuation of Draco's infatuation with Gabrielle (having been dragged on since the end of season two – was it really that long ago???), which is played out enormously successfully in Draco's rendition of "Always Something There to Remind Me", which is probably the highlight of the episode. Interestingly, Jay is actually a very talented singer and stage performer, and has starred in several musicals, including the Australian production of "The Lion King". We don't get to see the full scope of his talent in this episode though, which is a pity.

    The fourth sub-plot is the nicely handled show of jealousy by Gabrielle towards the budding relationship between Joxer and the Amazon. This is a very realistically portrayed dilemma for Gabrielle, who is very used to Joxer following her around like a puppy. Like the age-old saying goes, Gabrielle may not want him, but she doesn't want anyone else to have him either. Xena reiterates this sentiment to her, which seems to hit home for Gabrielle, and she later apologises to Joxer, which is nice.

    I think all the songs, with the exclusion of the very uncool rapping competition, are very well done, with special mentions going to the village chorus and the rendition of "Sisters are doing it for themselves". I think that they over-did it slightly by having Xena humming and strumming the theme song, and the rap has just become very dated, but the finale was also very enjoyable. What really kills me in this episode is seeing a heavily pregnant Lucy strutting her stuff in big modern musical numbers, in the middle of an ancient Greek warrior drama. I mean, really, could any other TV show get away with this? We really are fans of the most versatile series ever made!

    Overall, I tend to enjoy this one more than I realise, and despite the odd bits, the plot holes and the missed plotting opportunities, I think that overall it works. I think 7.5 is a fair mark.moreless
  • It's a celebration.

    I know I'm really generous when it comes to rating an episode, I always seem to find some good points in it that make it worth watching (with a few exceptions), but I still feel this episode deserves a 10.

    For me, Lyre was the perfect 100th episode. It definitely has a great party feel to it. It was nice to put the story on hold and take the time to celebrate.

    I think I could watch this one a hundred times and still enjoy it. It's unique, and so much fun that I can't help grinning from start to finish. I always love episodes in which you can see that the cast had a lot of fun doing it. And just look a them go in this one, it looks to me as if they're having the time of their lives.

    Once again, Lucy and Ted get to show off their beautiful voices. Renee still can't sing, but this time she gets to prove that she can dance. Throw in Joe LoDuca's great remakes of classic rock, pop, and broadway songs, add a few interresting social messages, and you get an episode that'll leave you feeling good for hours after you're done watching it.moreless
  • musical #2

    Lyre Lyre uses humour rather than drama last seen in the extravaganza Bitter Suite.

    the two are often compared to one another and this one is often criticised for being unoriginal.

    how very harsh and untrue.

    this episode is a landmark of the show,as it celebrates 100 episodes and reflects various time to previous ones(Sins,Comedy of Eros etc).

    Ted Raimi shines as the regular hilarious Joxer and his overly camp(and all the good for it) brother Jace.

    this is an out and out classic episode that both mirrors previous efforts and remains very entertaining on many different levels.

    and after the devastating Seeds of Faith we really needed humour didnt we?!?

    i for one love this episode with a definitive passion.moreless
  • The series celebrates its 100th episode with another musical. With both Draco and a band of Amazons trying to get their hands on Terpsichore's lyre, Xena organises a battle of the bands in the musical capital of Greece. A silly but quite fun episode...moreless

    This review contains mild spoilers.

    Can it really be a hundred episodes all ready? We've come so far from 'Sins of the Past'.

    This is the second musical episode of the series, the first being the popular third season episode 'The Bitter Suite'. This time around, the episode uses modern songs, with a few original ones mixed in.

    We also get to meet Joxer's rather effeminate brother Jace, mentioned back in season three's 'The King of Thieves'. I'm not really keen on too many look-alikes, but as he had been mentioned previously, it didn't seem as bad.

    The sub-plots involve Xena's mother Cyrene trying to find her an ideal father for her daughter's unborn child, and Draco still obsessively in love with Gabrielle after falling under the spell in the second season's finale, 'A Comedy Of Eros'.

    Lucy Lawless, Ted Raimi and Jay Laga'aia (Draco) all do their own vocals, and this time, Renée O'Connor gets to do some of her own singing as well.

    The undoubted highlight of the episode is Draco's thrash metal version of 'Always Something There to Remind Me' – it's just so terrible it's good.

    One of my favourite elements of the episode is Gabrielle's jealousy over Joxer's flirting with the Amazon leader. She's so used to him fussing over her that she doesn't like when he turns his attentions to anyone else!

    I wasn't too sure about another musical episode, feeling that they might be overplaying the idea a bit. It's a certainly a very strange episode and not one to take at all seriously. At some points it's very silly and maybe not as much fun as it could have been, but overall, somehow the episode hangs together and it quite enjoyable.moreless
  • Yo, Xena Can Flow, Dogg!

    Lyre, Lyre, Hearts On Fire-Xena holds a battle of the bands contest in a quest for peace between Amazons and a lovesick-for-Gabrielle Draco, in the musical capital of Greece. Meanwhile Joxer runs into his other brother, the flamboyant Jace and Xena tries to evade her mother's attempts at matchmaking.

    If one musical wasn't enough, the writers decide to make a second one...and boy, is this one crazy. This episode is The 100th episode and it's just funny, from watching Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer doing a rendition of "War" to Xena singing "Sistas Are Doing It For Themselves" to her mother! There's also Joxer's crazy brother, Jace, who does a rendition of "Dancing In The Moonlight"! But the funniest parts would have to be Draco singing "Always Something There to Remind Me" and Xena with Draco having a rapping battle in the crowd! Can you believe it Xena RAPPING!, I couldn't stop laughing, it was so ridiculous!! Also at the end of the credits, you can see a eight month pregnant Lucy in Gabrielle's stripper outfit, LOL!! A corny yet funny episode with a lot mor singing and dancing then ever!moreless
Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Guest Star

Grant Bridger

Grant Bridger

Farmer Paxon

Guest Star

Latham Gaines

Latham Gaines

Rich Guy

Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Darien Takle

Darien Takle


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (12)

    • This is the second Xena musical episode. The first was "The Bitter Suite". There was to be a third musical episode titled "Last Dance"in season six, but was not made, though a script was written.

    • Joxer's flamboyant brother Jace was first mentioned in the third season episode "The King of Assassins".

    • This episode marks the 2nd episode Xena and Draco have used their audience as a battle field. The first occurred in the first episode, "Sins of the Past".

    • We learn in this episode that Joxer hails from Athens. He also mentions Akmar the meat man, who he also mentioned in "For Him the Bell Tolls".

    • Nitpick: Why did Joxer ask what was wrong with Draco? He was there when the love spells were cast.

    • Guitars are often refered to as "axes," so it's appropriate that Draco's band and the Amazon band have axes for guitars.

    • We see the ancient world's first example of go-go girls dancing in a cage.

    • At the very beginning of the episode Xena says the Lyre is Terpsichore's way of spreading music. But Terpsichore is really the Muse of dance, not music. Then again, most dancing is done while music plays, so perhaps she wanted to promote dancing indirectly though promoting music.

    • Xena whistles the theme tune again, and later on in the episode she plays it rock-style on the lyre.

    • At the end when everyone is on stage singing in the finale, right after Gabrielle does her solo lines, while Xena is singing the line "we've got to show it individually ...", watch Renee -- she nods and raises her eyebrows, acknowledging someone in the audience (it's really quick). Another way of viewing that moment is that Gabrielle is raising her eyebrows in response to Xena's singing "I'll do unto you what you do to me" (subtext alert).

    • Goof: When Xena says she's going to leave the lyre in Melodia look carefully at the circular part of the lyre. Inside the lyre behind the strings is Xena's chakram. How did that get there? But the chakram is not there at the start of the episode when they show a close up of the lyre.

    • During "Always Something...", each of Draco's visions ends with Draco holding something from the vision - a flower, a shoe. Watch after the hot tub - he's got a brassiere!

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Jace: Xena, come quick! The crowd's going wild, they want an encore!
      Xena: I'd love to, but I'm fresh out of asses to kick.

    • Gabrielle: I know I take advantage of you, Joxer, but I care about you. You mean a lot to me.
      Joxer: OK... So, what are you doing tonight?
      Gabrielle: Not a chance in Tartarus.

    • Joxer: You're from Olympic Street in Athens, two blocks from Akhmar the meatman, just like me.
      Jace: Well, not just like you. I don't have a pasta strainer for a shirt.

    • Xena: You touch so much as a hair on Jace's head, I'll scalp you.

    • Amoria: Mmhmmmm! Don't try so hard, Joxer. Didn't anyone ever tell you the quickest way to win a woman's heart is by making her laugh?
      Joxer: Oh well, in that case, I'm the sexiest man in the world.

    • Cyrene: (seeing for herself that Xena's pregnant) So, it's true! And when were you going to tell me?
      Xena: Amphipolis was my very next stop.
      Cyrene: Well, you look positively radiant! When are we gonna meet your special someone?

    • Draco: OK, since we're not gonna battle it out, how are we gonna decide who gets the Lyre?
      Xena: Oh, there's gonna be a battle, all right! Battle of the Bands!

    • Gabrielle: If there's a man who is down and needs a helping hand. All it takes is you to understand and to pull him through.
      Xena: Uh huh. It seems to me we gotta solve it individually, now, yeah, oh, oh. I'll do unto you what you do to me.

  • NOTES (8)

    • Paul Norell, who normally plays Falafel on Hercules, makes a brief appearance holding a sign in the crowd as Xena and Draco begin to rap/fight.

    • There were rumors about a Xena episode involving the classic feminist/lesbian figure of Sappho. According to Executive Producer R.J. Stewart, the concept of that show evolved into the idea of a musical, which evolved into "Lyre, Lyre". He added, "So those of you who want that Sappho episode... imagine Sappho doing a toga dance to "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves" and participating as a co-matchmaker with Xena's mommy." They would later write another musical episode called "Last Dance" for season six which utilized Sappho as a major character, but unfortunately it wasn't produced, though a script was written for it.

    • Darien Takle, who played Xena's mother Cyrene, found it amusing that she didn't have a musical number of her own, since she's very well known in New Zealand as a singer in musical theatre.

    • DISCLAIMER: No lyres were strung out during the production of this motion picture

    • Between takes Renee and Jay entertained each other by showing of their best '80s Solid Gold dance moves.

    • If you watch all the way through the credits you get to see a blooper reel of Lucy Lawless wearing Gabrielle's white go-go dancer outfit, quite a sight to see as she is eight months pregnant. She was wearing the costume made for Gabrielle's stunt double, since Renee's was too small for Lucy to squeeze into. And ten years later and counting, Lucy and Renee still make appearances at conventions in those go-go dancer outfits because they love them so much.

    • Renee O'Connor auditioned for the opportunity to do some of her own singing for this episode. She was allowed to do part of singing on the tracks "War" and "Getting Ready". Susan Wood (who also did Gabrielle's singing on the episode "The Bitter Suite") did her part in "People Got to Be Free".

    • There was a duet between Xena and Gabrielle that was cut out of the final episode. It was The Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" and it was in reference to an argument they were having over the best way to handle Draco. The song can be heard on the Lyre, Lyre, Hearts On Fire soundtrack album.


    • The 1969 song "War" was done by Edwin Starr. The 1973 song "Dancing in the Moonlight" was done by King Harvest (though the 2000 cover by Toploader is well-known). The 1985 song "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves" was done by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin. The song "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me" was originally sung by Lou Johnson in 1964, but has been covered many times (most popularly by Naked Eyes in 1983). "Kick Out the Jams" was recorded in 1969 by MC5 (also a heavily covered song; one memorable version is by Blue Oyster Cult). "People Got To Be Free" was done by The Rascals in 1968.

    • The song "Getting Ready" is sung to the tune and in the style of the song "The Telephone Hour" from the musical Bye, Bye, Birdie.

    • Jace tells Xena that she's a very good singer but she can't be in his show- a double in-joke from the classic tv show I Love Lucy. Lucy always begs to be in Ricky's shows, but the Cuban always refuses with a thick Spanish accent. Of course, Lucy Ricardo couldn't sing as well as Lucy Lawless, though Lucille Ball appeared in a number of musicals throughout her career.