Recap / Xena S 03 E 10 The Quill Is Mightier

Gabrielle gains new respect for the power of the word when Aphrodite casts a spell on her scroll, turning everything she writes into reality.


  • Batman Gambit: Ares goads Aphrodite into going after Gabrielle by saying her writings could make Xena more popular than even the goddess of love. He does all this to ensure Xena is out of the way when his new army marches on the valley. That works, but he didn't expect Aphrodite to enchant the scroll the way she did.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In a manner of speaking.
  • Brick Joke: Gabrielle tried to write Xena back into the story with "Xena goes to her number one friend," "Xena rejoins the woman who brought her to a new life," and "Xena returns from her journey." These efforts all failed. When Xena finally does get back, she explains where she's been: she was sent to visit a girl she hadn't seen since she was five (her literal oldest friend), then to Cyrene (her mother), and to go back to where she was fishing (where she was before she left to see her oldest friend).
  • Brought Down to Normal: Gabrielle accidentally does this to Ares ("and war lost all its power") and Aphrodite ("The force that enchanted the scroll lost its powers").
  • Comically Missing the Point: "Gabrielle awoke with a jerk" is how Joxer enters the story. He's the only one that doesn't get how this a cosmic insult to him.
    "What's so funny about waking up?"
  • Humiliation Conga: Aphrodite doesn't fare well as a mortal.
  • Insult Backfire: Ares promises Gabrielle to call off the attack if she returns his powers.
    Aphrodite: [laughs] Pigs can fly?
    Ares: You can.
  • It's All About Me: Aphrodite's motivation for starting this whole mess.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Faced with barbarians, Gabrielle struggles to keep them from hurting anyone and just sends them to go sleep in a cave. When she has to do this again, Ares remarks, "Those caves are gonna start gettin' pretty full."
  • Literal Genie: The enchanted scroll basically functions this way. For example, Gabrielle writes for the Sisters of Gaea to get a valuable sword they can sell for money, and it turns out it came from an angry warlord.
  • Not So Different: Gabrielle and Ares share a fan moment while discussing Xena's skills.
  • Only the Author Can Save Them Now: Invoked and parodied. Anything written on the scroll comes true, if not as intended. The characters keep trying to figure out the right wording to get themselves out of this mess, but Hilarity Ensues. Worse, if they run out of room on the scroll, there'll be no way to fix any of this.
  • Power Perversion Potential: What's the best use of an enchanted scroll that makes anything you wish come true? If you're Joxer, why, writing dirty limericks, of course!
  • Put on a Bus: Before she knew the scroll was enchanted, Gabrielle opted to write a new story about someone other than Xena, so she wrote that Xena went finishing. This leaves her out for most of the episode.
  • Reality Warper: Anyone who writes on the enchanted scroll.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Parodied with Aphrodite, who says it was a lot easier to maintain her hairstyle when she was a goddess.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Parodied. To get Xena back, the characters try describing her clothes, hair, and weapons. This instead brings Xena fangirl Minya to the scene.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ares calls out Aphrodite for giving Gabrielle the powers of destiny itself.