Xena: Warrior Princess

Season 3 Episode 10

The Quill Is Mightier...

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Jan 19, 1998 on
out of 10
User Rating
89 votes

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Episode Summary


Jealous of Xena's popularity, Aphrodite is tricked by Ares into putting a spell on Gabrielle's scroll, causing everything written on it to magically become real. But when Xena disappears and an army threatens the valley, Gabrielle must team up with Minya, a love-sick Joxer, and Ares and Aphrodite, who are Powerless after the scroll's spell backfires on them.


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  • Unoriginal, Xena-Lite Filler ... but pretty fun and certainly memorable!

    I'll admit, I am a total sucker for the light-hearted comedy episodes. And while I am less-so a fan of Xena-lite episodes of Xena, the image of her stuck going from one place to another catching a wagon load of fish is just ridiculous enough to make up for her absence. Joxer's over the top buffonery, however, is more annoying than sweet in this episode, and the concept on the whole is kinda overdone and less than unique. But there are some really great moments in this episode, with Aphrodite, Ares and Minya it's an all-star cast, and enjoyable and memorable enough.moreless
  • 3 naked Gabrielles!

    Following 2 average episodes after the arc we finally have an amusing episode. I am fan of comedic episodes and this is a good one. We have some nice interaction between the characters, especially between Ares and Gabrielle, i wonder what was this strange look between Gabrielle and Ares in the end, it looked like there was something there. Joxer almost revealed his love to Gabrielle and he offered us the 3 naked Gabrielles, my most memorable scene of the episode. The only thing i wasnt really fan of it was making the Gods mortal and how the ''curse'' or ''gift'' end it, it could be very easy to restore the Gods powers by just writing it in the scroll. .Anyway one of the great episodes of Xena that it's always fan to watch! Among the best!moreless
  • Xena went fishing, and Gabrielle awoke with a jerk...

    "The Quill is Mightier" represents the end of our comedic reprieve from the heavy-duty story arcs, and I can't say that I'm particularly disappointed. As far as comedic episodes go, these three ("The King of Assassins", "Warrior... Priestess... Tramp" and this one) were not some of the better comedy fillers.

    This one, like the others, has some funny moments, but the concept is not all that clever or funny, and the whole thing gets a little tiresome after a while.

    Personally, this episode didn't do a lot for me and its only saving grace was the presence of Ares. Fans hate me for it, but I'm not a fan of Aphrodite. I just don't think she is that funny. Her lines are complete cliché, and she gets very old very quickly. Likewise with Minya. After the fan-adored "A Day in the Life", Minya became a loved recurring character. I found her to be incredibly one-dimensional, and completely annoying!

    Joxer plays a good part in this one again, and he has proven to be the most consistent player for the last three episodes. The continuing theme of Joxer's love/infatuation with Gabrielle is continued here, and I have to say that I actually felt a little sorry for him. It is quite astounding that Gabrielle can be so unaware of his feelings. The fact that the issue is really only dealt with in the comedic episodes means that we are unlikely to ever really delve into it in any depth.

    There are a few funny exchanges during this episode. Kevin Smith as Ares is the standout. His dry humour is delivered perfectly and provides many laughs throughout. His conversations with Aphrodite and Gabrielle are easily the highlight of the episode.

    Otherwise, this episode is nothing special. I really don't find the Xena-lite episodes all that good, and after so many fillers, I am finding myself desperate to get back to the real action.

    Like the previous two episodes, take this one for what it is - a fun and cute diversion.moreless
  • A Xena-lite tale, in which, annoyed about the attention that Gabrielle's scrolls bring Xena, Aphrodite casts a spell on Gabrielle's latest scroll that causes everything that is written on it to become true. One of the season's better comedy episodes...moreless

    Right on the heels of 'The King of Assassins' and 'Warrior... Priestess... Tramp' comes ANOTHER comedy episode. Three comedies in a row is quite a rarity for the series. Of the three, I enjoyed this one the most.

    Both the late Kevin Smith (Ares), and Alexandra Tydings (Aphrodite) turn in really good performances as their godly powers are taken away from them. I particularly liked the running joke of Aphrodite's lack of body hygiene after she became mortal.

    The episode also marks the return of Minya, introduced in the fan favourite second season episode 'A Day in the Life'.

    I really like the strange sort of friendship that emerges between Ares and Gabrielle. They are bonded over their admiration of Xena, and start to find that they actually quite like each other. Scary!

    The episode also turns out to be quite a sad one for Joxer. After unintentionally messing up when using Gabrielle's scroll, he sells his beloved scabbard to buy her a necklace. However, Gabrielle hid the magical scroll in the scabbard the night before, so it's all panic panic panic to get it back, completely overlooking Joxer's kind gesture. Ol' Gabby can be quite mean to Joxer sometimes, and I actually felt quite sorry for him here.

    And then there are the three dancing, naked Gabrielles… oh boy!

    The episode starts out with a quite clever concept – everything that Gabrielle writes on her scroll becomes real, and she has to be careful how she words everything, with some nice gags on her writings being taken literally. However, later on, the clever concept pretty much goes out of the window as the episode becomes one big riot, with lots of chasing around and goofiness.

    Although not one of the series' classic comedy episodes, it is definitely one of the better comedies of the third season.moreless
  • In one word: Fantastic.

    In an act of jealousy, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, enchants Gabrielle's scroll, so that whatever she writes in it becomes true! When Gabrielle (unaware of the enchantment) awakes the following morning, she finds a horde of barbarians galloping towards her and Xena gone! She performs amazing stunts and fighting skills to fight them off, to find Joxer in Xenas place! She suddenly thinks that this is all familliar and results back to the scroll. She relises that she had written this previously that night. She and Joxer then set out to find out what has been going on. She writes that the 'force' that enchanted the scroll lost all its powers and that it be bought to her. Upon discovering that Aphrodite was the culprit, she relises what kind of good she can do with this scroll and she tries to end war once and for all, but words it wrong and just causes Ares, god of war, to lose all his powers. After travelling around for a while, Xena finds Gabs and gang, and after coming to the conclusion of what bad it can do and that no one should have that kind of power, comes up with the idea of writing down the truth to end the spell. It works and everything returns to normal.moreless
Paul Norell

Paul Norell


Guest Star

Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall


Guest Star

Alison Wall

Alison Wall


Guest Star

Ted Raimi

Ted Raimi


Recurring Role

Alexandra Tydings

Alexandra Tydings


Recurring Role

Kevin Smith (II)

Kevin Smith (II)


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • It appears that Aphrodite (Ares and Minya too?) now knows about Joxer's feelings for Gabrielle- apparently Gabby herself is the only one still clueless about it.

    • Xena asked Aphrodite what charm she used to enchant Gabrielle's scroll, the exact wording. But she didn't say anything when she enchanted the scroll; she just waved her hand. Of course, she could have simply been saying it in her head as she was waving her hand.

    • Nitpick: The naked Gabrielles are clearly wearing flesh coloured outfits to hide thier nudity as seen in the cave scenes.

    • Nitpick: The way Gabrielle's staff was spinning and smoking during her fight with the barbarians, a fire should have started in the dry grass underneath her. Especially since the staff itself was too hot for Joxer to hang onto after the fight was over.

    • Goof: The faces of Renee's body doubles can be seen numerous times in the scene where the three naked Gabrielles appear and dance in the background.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Aphrodite: (to Gabrielle) Look sweetpea, just give me back my powers and I'll unzap the scroll.
      Ares: No! Write mine back in first. That army's waiting for a signal that Xena's gone.
      Aphrodite: Hmmm... not helping your cause any, Slick.
      Ares: Oh. (unconvincingly) I promise, if you give me my powers back, I'll call off the attack.
      Aphrodite: (snorts) Pigs can fly!
      Ares: You can.

    • Joxer: Minya, where are the barbarians?
      Minya: They stopped fighting and ran back to Barbaria.

    • Ares: We were starting to warm up to each other there, weren't we?
      Gabrielle: Yeah, we were.
      Ares: I didn't like it.
      Gabrielle: Right back at'cha.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Title: The Quill Is Mightier

      This is a play on the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword" which is attributed to Edward Bulwer-Lytton.