Cradle of Hope
Cradle of Hope xena dance
Xena Dances
Series Xena: Warrior Princess
Season 1
Antagonist Nemos
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 0
Production # 76906
Filming Dates July 1995
Original Air-Date 25 September 1995
Written By Terence Winter
Directed By Michael Levine
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 4 of 134
Order in Season 4 of 24
Order in Franchise 26 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "Dreamworker"
Next Episode in Series "The Path Not Taken"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Siege at Naxos"
Next Episode in Franchise "Outcast"
Title Image

Xena and Gabrielle set out to find the parents of an abandoned baby and discover that the infant's been marked for death due to a prophecy declaring him a future threat to a local king.

Summary Edit

Cradleofhope xenagabrielle

Xena and Gabrielle find a baby.

When an oracle predicts that a newborn child will one day occupy the throne of King Gregor, Ophelia, a young girl, spirits the child away before the King's advisor Nemos can find him. Desperate to save him, she places the child in a basket and sets him floating down a river. The child is later found by Xena and Gabrielle.

On their way to find the baby's parents, Xena saves a woman from a lynching and learns she is Pandora, granddaughter of the legendary woman and the present keeper of Pandora's Box.

Gabrielle and Gabriel, Cradle of Hope

Gabrielle holding an abandoned baby

Searching for the missing child, Nemos' men confront Xena at a country inn, where they find her with Gabrielle and the baby. While she fights off the attackers, Nemos quickly snatches up Pandora's Box and steals away. When a panicky Pandora explains that the Box will open automatically and release the Hope of Mankind if it is out of her hands for another day, Xena arranges a meeting with Gregor and Nemos.

COH 03

Pandora's Box

After declining their offer to return the Box if she turns over the child, she devises a plan to get the Box back. That night, she disguises herself as a dancer for the Quarter Moon Festival to gain entrance into the King's castle. Once inside, Xena is summoned to Nemos' private chambers after performing an earthy, sexy dance guaranteed to tempt any barbarian.

Xena dancing, Cradle of Hope

Xena dances at the palace

After knocking Nemos out, she creeps to the King's chamber and retrieves the Box, only steps ahead of the guards. Nemos awakens and corners Xena, but she leaps from a parapet window high up in the castle wall to escape and return the Box to Pandora before it opens. Then, recognizing the core of the prophecy, she returns the baby to Gregor and convinces him to accept the baby as his heir, rather than as a usurper to his throne.

CradleofHope babythrows

Xena battles Nemos and his men while saving the baby.

Gregor, still grieving over the death of his own son six months earlier, gladly accepts. Feeling his power slipping away, Nemos suddenly appears with his soldiers in an attempt to depose the King. During the fierce battle that follows, Xena and Gabrielle must toss the infant back and forth to prevent his capture. In the end, Xena disposes of Nemos and the child is safe.

Cradleofhope Staying

Pandora decides to stay at the castle.

As Gregor then prepares to present his new heir to the people, he asks Pandora to stay on to nurture the little boy. In gratitude, Pandora asks if there is anything that Xena wanted and she says to name the baby as Gabriel: from the conversation with Gabrielle when they first found the baby.

CradleOfHope emptybox

Xena and Gabrielle learn that Pandora's box is empty.

Before leaving, Xena enters the room where the box is kept, Gabrielle is already there, looking at it, who can't believe she touched the box. She wonders then if Pandora is blessed because of it and if it all happens because of fate. Xena jokes, it all happened because Gabrielle slept on a rock. As the two are about to leave, Gabrielle knocks the box off the pedestal and it opens. They discover that the box is empty. Xena tells Gabrielle the box was empty, but Pandora was still carrying our hope, they agree to tell her the truth, that Hope has been and always will be safe, that it's inside every one of us.


No Babies were harmed during the production of this motion picture.

Background InformationEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • Shooting Dates: July 28th, 1995 through August 4th, 1995 (6-day shoot).
  • Ratings: 5.5 million viewers on its original airing.
  • This episode was the sixth to be written, after "Sins of the Past," "Chariots of War," "Death in Chains," "The Titans" and "Dreamworker."
  • Pandora and King Gregor were originally supposed to return for later episodes, but it never occurred. Lucy Lawless enjoyed working with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, the actress who played Pandora and was surprised that her character didn't resurface.
  • Gregor appeared in the opening credits of the first five seasons of XWP when the narrator mentions kings.
  • They always had a professional testfire the alcohol before Lucy did her firebreathing gag and once when the alcohol content was too high the stuntie's face caught on fire. He was okay, but it made her always pay very close attention to what she was doing. She always drank milk before she performed it to coat the lining of her mouth and stomach.

Key EventsEdit

  • This episode marks the first time Xena performs her fire-breathing technique (which was always performed by Lucy Lawless).
  • This episode is the first to show significant signs of influence from Abrahamic mythology, though in this case, it was simply taking a storyline cue. King Gregor asks his men to kill the child in fear of him taking over his throne, resembles the story of Jesus's birth: King Herod asked his men to kill Jesus after he was prophecized to be the new "King of the Jews". Similarly, a maid refuses to allow the child to be killed and seems him down a river in a basket, paralleling the story of Moses.
  • This episode is the first to introduce the disclaimer, the humorous mini-anecdote at the end of the credits, usually in reference to the plot of the episode itself rather than any behind the scenes mishaps, which is what a disclaimer would usually cover.


  • Like most modern retellings, this episode has Hope and other evils contained in a box. This is the result of a mistranslation from the ancient Greek to the Latin which occurred centuries ago. They were actually contained within a large jar.
  • Chakram Count: 2
  1. To cut down Pandora from the rope.
  2. To kill the soldier who was attacking Pandora.


Main CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit

Appearances and MentionsEdit



Season NavigationEdit