Whoosh! Issue 55 - April 2001

By Lori Bush
Content copyright © 2001 held by author
WHOOSH! edition copyright © 2001 held by Whoosh!
3917 words

Introduction (01)
From the Episodes (02-44)
From Fandom (45-47)
Conclusion (48)

A Biography Of Joxer Through Canon And Fandom


[01] By watching the show Xena: Warrior Princess, we know how Xena became a warlord and have seen where Gabrielle grew up. However, little is known about the early days of the third member of the traveling trio, Joxer the Mighty. Most episodes in which he appears, however, provide the basics for a biography.

From the Episodes

Uh-oh.  I think I just stepped in something bad.

Joxer in his first on-screen moments in CALLISTO.

[02] We first meet Joxer in CALLISTO (22/122) when he tries to join Xena's army, unaware that she has changed her ways. Failing that quest, he attempts to kidnap Gabrielle for Callisto, and we find out he descends from a long line of warlords. It is the only background information we learn on the wannabe warrior in his first appearance.

[03] In his second appearance, GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN (28/204), we learn that Joxer took lyre lessons as a child, and that his mother wanted him to be a musician. We also learn, indirectly, that he was at the very least previously acquainted with Orpheus, since he is the one who brings the famed musician's head to Xena. We also get the first glimpse of his reluctant courage, as he braves the Bacchae to play Orpheus' lyre and tame them so Xena can conquer their leader.

[04] In RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), we see a tender Joxer emerge. He sympathizes with Xena at Gabrielle's wedding, knowing how much the Warrior Princess will miss her friend and traveling companion. He expresses a willingness to give his life for Gabrielle's later when she is in trouble. He tells Callisto he will not desert his friends and takes an arrow in his shoulder in response. Although we learn little of the man's background in this episode, we begin to discover his character.

[05] In WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206), we meet Joxer as the Lover. He really thinks he has been, in his words, "intimate" with the Warrior Princess at the start of the story. Once his mistake is pointed out to him, he goes humbly to her (Meg, actually) to apologize, and even proclaims himself unworthy of her love. After first coming on to Princess Diana, another Xena look-alike, and getting himself thrown into the dungeon with Gabrielle, Joxer attempts to help the three identical women save the kingdom. Since he has not yet declared his romantic love for Gabrielle, his dalliance with Meg is most understandable at this point.

[06] INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207) reveals a Joxer who would face his own death to save a friend's horse. Xena proclaims him a hero, and we see that he has trouble accepting the sincere compliment. Still, we know little about his background.

[07] In TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208), Joxer resists the controlling anger far longer than most, indicating that he may have mastered channeling his temper in the past, like Ares says of Xena. Again, this behavior is not what one would expect from a total wimp. However, perhaps this son of a warlord does indeed have skills that better equip him for the task.

[08] FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) follows, along with the wonder-Joxer that Aphrodite creates. When Aphrodite claims she can break up the marriage of Prince Sarpedon and Princess Ileandra with anyone, it seems Cupid thinks of Joxer right away. Perhaps the reason for this is because Joxer had already approached Cupid about his developing feelings for Gabrielle. We also find out that Joxer would like to have a happy ending for himself, just once, implying that he has never had one.

[09] This episode also gives the first mention of Akhmar the meatman, whose name reappears much later in the series. We also discover that Joxer is right-handed, but facts on this man are rare.

[10] FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216) addresses for the first time Joxer's full-scale disappointment with himself. This explains why Joxer fights so passionately against reality in his own self-image. A sensitive soul such as his would be quickly destroyed if he often admitted, even to himself, his failure to meet his view of the necessary standard. In addition, once Xena reassures him of his worth, he returns to his delusion, before reality can once more crash his small raft of self-confidence against the rocks of life.

Darn these onions!

Joxer tries hard not to show his heartbreak in A COMEDY OF EROS.

[11] In A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222), we see a raft dashed to splinters on the shoreline, but not before Joxer briefly finds something he has apparently always wanted, someone who really loves him. Perhaps his prayers to Cupid have indeed been answered. Gabrielle wants him and him alone. Again, he is brave enough to stand up to the warlord Draco for her sake.

[12] By the end of COMEDY, we realize the one now overarching facet of Joxer's character: he is in love with a woman who thinks he is a joke. Gabrielle's love for him, the love he thought would bring his life purpose, evolved only under the influence of Cupid's arrows and was not a love he earned on his own merits. This experience changes his life and consequently our perception of him. In nearly every interaction with Xena and Gabrielle from here on in, we can see his feelings for the bard bubbling just beneath the surface, although Gabrielle herself is never aware. Joxer's deep commitment to the woman he loves gives him a depth and breadth of courage that he might have been less able to access previously.

[13] In the beginning of BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302), we see Joxer die a hero as he attempts to stop a fight. Gabrielle weeps openly at his funeral pyre while Xena tries to remain composed. Yet, fortunately for Joxer fans, this event is rescinded when the same day starts afresh the next morning, and Xena's relief at his appearance belies the calm she had shown the previous night.

[14] In BEEN THERE, during a series of repeating days, we see Joxer manipulate Gabrielle's cluelessness when Xena reveals his feelings for the bard. When Xena mentions his devotion to distract them both from following her ("He'd crawl fifty miles on broken glass just to sweat in your shadow"), it is no difficult task for Joxer to convince Gabby that the Warrior Princess is merely a bit unbalanced rather than showing her his true feelings. We also witness Gabrielle's horror as Xena kills the wannabe warrior, since the Warrior Princess is the only one aware of the death's temporary nature. When Xena finally breaks the chain of repeating days, Joxer's new choice for breakfast confirms her success.

[15] THE KING OF ASSASSINS (54/308) reveals more about Joxer's background than we have seen before. We find out early on that Joxer's family was proud of Jett's trouble-making abilities, and that Joxer was considered the "black sheep" of the family. Autolycus informs us, through a conversation with Joxer, that Jett is indeed a fearsome and successful killer ("Ah, well, I certainly know that the people you're hired to take care of always manage to, uh-- go away"), and Joxer confirms that Jett is not an assassin who works cheaply. When Joxer declares himself Master of Mayhem, we smile in agreement. Bravely, he locks Gabrielle in the dungeon after their release to protect her from Jett. When he meets Jett, we find out that Jace's name is not to be mentioned in public, but with the exception of an odd hand gesture, we are given no clue why. The assassin also reveals that their father is serving time in the prison at Marimas.

[16] In practicing his speech to Jett, Joxer reveals his youthful years of teasing and torment at his brother's hands. Jett lets us know that Joxer's song has deep roots, and we discover that at least Joxer's mother sang to him, implying that she did not do so with Jett. In fact, mention of his mother is enough to distract Joxer and allow Jett to remove him from the fight that erupts. When the evil guard assaults Joxer at the episode's end, Jett murmurs the memorable line; "Nobody hurts my brother, except me."

[17] In WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP (55/309), we notice how popular Joxer is with Meg's tavern wenches, as they serenade him and his abilities with a special version of his song. Finally, we discover that the poor guy is good at something! Meg's employees bear witness to the Warrior Wannabe's sexual prowess, and would certainly seem to be educated consumers. He knows Gabrielle well enough to realize that her life has gone awry if she is indeed working as one of Meg's girls, since it is not a profession in which she would normally be involved. Fortunately, he soon discovers that his bard is only there on a mission. The dear fellow is horrified at the thought he might have defiled Leah, the Hestian priestess, thinking she was Meg, which reveals that he honors the gods. But his confusion as to the different women's identities leads him to bravely, but foolishly, charge off to the Hestian temple to save Meg, since he would clearly never abandon a friend in trouble. As usual, all works out in the end.

[18] In THE QUILL IS MIGHTIER (56/310), we discover that apparently, even the Universe thinks Joxer is a 'jerk', or at least Gabrielle's enchanted scroll does. Nevertheless, when Xena returns later, we find out that the scroll only causes what is written to happen if it is not the absolute truth. So perhaps the Universe likes the Mighty One after all!

[19] The episode reveals that the only gift Joxer ever received from his father is the scabbard he carries. Despite this, he willingly sells it to buy Gabrielle a gift according to Aphrodite's advice, and the gesture is extremely unappreciated. We also discover that Joxer knows his fish, hinting at his cooking ability.

[20] We learn nothing new about Joxer in THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), except the confirmation of his courage when he stands up to Xena at her worst.

[21] In KING CON (61/315), we discover that Joxer is a talented gambler, although easily conned once outside the gaming hall. In addition, Gabrielle finally admits that she and Xena consider him family, a major confession.

[22] In FORGET ME NOT (63/317), a small throwaway line confirms a "fact" that is accepted widely in Joxer fandom. When Joxer enters Mnemosyne's temple, the priestess knows his name. He asks her how, and she answers, "I have your memories." Then she winces and says, "Ow." This seems to agree with the popular belief that Joxer was an abused child.

[23] As he reads Gabrielle's scrolls aloud to restore the bard's happy memories, he realizes she has never seen him as a part of those, so he lies about his involvement. He is carried away, as he is wont to do, but he is man enough to admit it before things go too far. He wants her, but not that way.

Hey, these Dahak guys have cool hats!

Joxer runs afoul of faceless Dahak cronies in SACRIFICE II

[24] SACRIFICE II (68/322) reveals that Xena can trust Joxer to carry out a vital part of their mission to stop Dahak.

[25] IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404) shows Joxer's awareness of the things Gabrielle has called him in the past. This episode also indicates he is a poor cook, although that is contradicted in a later season (it was the water, all in the water!). We also see him as selfless and generous at the end, as he refuses the reward money offered to him.

[26] KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410) reveals that Joxer likes the idea of being a father, which is consistent with his depiction in past seasons. However, the rest of this portrayal is clearly NOT the Joxer we have come to know. Gabrielle's name never comes up. Joxer, Autolycus, Meg, and Xena all seem to have forgotten she exists. Although Joxer briefly mentioned stealing as an interest when he and Gabrielle first met, thievery appears not to have been one of his hobbies since taking up with the Warrior Princess. Yet, he and Meg seem to be planning this robbery to enrich themselves, although we do find out later that Meg only wanted the baby. He refers to Meg as "his girl", a phrase he never used before or since in reference to the woman, although there is argument that he was only trying to protect her from Autolycus' advances in the only way he knew how. Some have suggested that the only way to explain this episode's portrayal of the character of Joxer, even its view of the entire Xenaverse, is that the whole thing takes place in a parallel universe, where Gabrielle never existed.

[27] IF THE SHOE FITS (80/412) clearly illustrates Joxer's true mental picture of himself. When he tells his version of the Cinderella story, "Tyro" is treated badly, is made fun of by all and lacks "social skills". Even Xena notices that the hero of Joxer's narrative appears the victim, and later tells Alesia that his story has a message. Once his fantasy of adequacy is fulfilled, he charms the princess (Gabrielle, of course), dances, and sings. Even Tyro's stepfather praises Tyro's social skills. Again, Joxer never makes it to his happy ending, because Alesia runs off during his tale.

[28] Joxer seems to have what it takes as a producer during THE PLAY'S THE THING (85/417). He suggests additions to the show that draw the interest of the actors and the audience. His posters are well received, indicated by the opening night turnout. While his version of the show is certainly one extreme, while Gabrielle's is the other, at least his version would make money.

[29] The following episode, THE CONVERT (86/418), finds Joxer faced with perhaps his greatest challenge ever, dealing with the loss of his own blood innocence.

[30] THE CONVERT (86/418) shows Joxer as a man of courage with a strong conscience. His relationship with his father is never touched upon, but he obviously is troubled by the fact that the man he killed had a son who would now never know his father. His sorrow intensifies when he realizes that the boy never did know his father. He believes that the man who died was "Kryton the Courageous" rather than "Kryton the Butcher". Since Joxer's own dreams have always been shattered too soon, Joxer refuses to rip apart those of Arman. When the boy learns the truth, the whole truth and not just the part that Najara tells him, he recognizes Joxer's actions as heroic.

[31] The only real Joxer fact in TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE (87/419) is the confirmation of Lila's feelings for the Mighty One. Moreover, whatever might have been revealed in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422) has since been invalidated by episodes hinting of a different future for all of our heroes. The best explanation could be that we were shown only a possible future for the three friends, but many other possibilities exist.

[32] With FALLEN ANGEL (91/501) in the advent of Season Five, we see a serious Joxer, whose connection to Xena and Gabrielle is confirmed as his dreams summon him to the place they died. He is a peacemaking Joxer who steps in to stop an argument between Amarice and Eli. From the look on his face when Gabrielle is revived, we can tell that his love for her is stronger than ever.

[33] In CHAKRAM (92/502), Joxer buys the women clothes and weapons, and neither seems particularly unused to this, leading us to wonder if this could be the norm. Certainly in later episodes, such as PUNCH LINES (101/511), Joxer is expected to pay for things. Xena casually makes the statement to Gabrielle, "Joxer has the money", as if this was not anything new. Undoubtedly, they returned from the dead without resources, but at no time is there shown any discomfort with their reliance on him, nor a statement that they will make it up to him.

[34] During the fight in CHAKRAM (92/502), we hear Gabrielle call to Joxer to take care of Xena, indicating that his skills must have improved in her eyes, at least. Moreover, for the first time, Joxer admits his love for Gabrielle to someone else (Eli), and finally to the bard herself.

[35] In PURITY (96/506), Joxer seems to be accepted by both Gabrielle and Xena as someone who knows food and particularly spices, contradicting earlier insinuations in IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404) and TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE (87/419) that his cooking was deadly. In fact, he is portrayed in this episode as quite a talented chef, making a "fabulous Mu Shu sauce" and almost missing the secret ingredient to Black Powder because "no GOOD cook would use it".

[36] BACK IN THE BOTTLE (97/507) opens with the insight that again, Joxer has the money. Where does the boy get it? And how does he hold onto it, considering the poor bargaining skills he displays in the market? It also shows a Joxer smart enough to stop the people he is leading to safety when he witnesses the actions of the land mines. He also seems a little jealous of Gabrielle's Chin Redshirt.

[37] Finally, in LYRE, LYRE, HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510), we learn more about Joxer's history. First, we meet the flamboyant third triplet, Jace. In conversation with him, Joxer reveals that they are from Olympic Street in Athens, two doors down from Ahkmar the Meatman, previously mentioned in FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216). We find out that Jace is a half hour older than Joxer, which would indicate that Jace was probably the middle triplet, since we already know Jett is older than Joxer, and a half an hour between two of three births would not be that much time. We also see, for the first time, Joxer's insecurity hurting someone besides himself. The fact that Jace is so sure of his identity, an identity that is so different from Joxer's ideal when Joxer is so unsure of his own, causes the Mighty One to treat his own brother rudely. The closing number, however, hints at reconciliation.

[38] Again, in PUNCH LINES (101/511), Joxer has the money, although he says in the tavern that Gabrielle took it. We see the warmest familial relationship here between Xena and Joxer that we have ever seen in the series. We also see he can rival Gabrielle as a storyteller, since the tale he relays to Lachrymose is in direct contradiction to what we have already learned about his childhood. But even though Gabrielle cannot recall the many times the wannabe warrior has pulled her from danger, including once from death, she does acknowledge that he was the one who convinced Lachrymose to return her to full size.

[39] ETERNAL BONDS (103/513) allows us to see just how strong Joxer's love for Gabrielle can be. Even when dying, it is his sole focus. Many people speculate on what exactly Gabrielle would have said after, "But..." in the closing scene, had Xena not interrupted.

[40] The only thing that MARRIED WITH FISHSTICKS (105/515) confirms about Joxer is that he still does not know what to feed a baby. He chooses cheese and pickles in KEY TO THE KINGDOM (78/410), and in this episode, baby back ribs. Although this episode does leave us more confused than ever about how Gabrielle might really feel about him.

Perhaps if you didn't keep staring at her breasts you'd have more credibility

Joxer gets in trouble for peeking at Amazons out of season. There's a season?

[41] KINDRED SPIRITS (107/517) gives a confused picture of Joxer and little for our biography. The relationship with both Xena and Gabrielle seems solid, in keeping with the growth they have all experienced, but his own behavior seems almost a regression to second or third season. He has proven himself trustworthy repeatedly to the Warrior Princess, yet in this episode, she is angry with him for failing to deliver a message from Cleopatra. He has never failed to do something important like that before, why now? We have seen little of his unthinking lusty behavior since WARRIOR...PRIESTESS...TRAMP (55/309)[Note 01], yet he gets himself captured by staring at naked Amazons, and indiscriminately flirts with almost every female that passes by. His give-and-take with Gabrielle indicates a higher comfort level between them than earlier this season, however, and his willingness to fight back in the ring with Xena shows his improved combat skills and self-confidence.

[42] There is little canon left to work with past this point, though we do discover more about his character when we see his future without his traveling companions.

[43] In LOOKING DEATH IN THE EYE (109/519), we see what Joxer becomes after Xena and Gabrielle disappear. He is a loving father, which he always wanted to be, apparently married to Meg. He is still willing to sacrifice everything for Gabrielle's last scroll, and with the knowledge it offered was able to piece together what had happened on that beach twenty-five years before. He knew they were still alive, although he had no idea what Ares had done with them after their apparent "deaths".

[44] In LIVIA (110/520), we meet Joxer's son, Virgil, apparently the Virgil, writer of epic poetry. At last, in EVE (111/521), Joxer makes his final sacrifice, dying as he always wanted to - a hero - to save the woman he loves. Since it appears that the Joxer ghost in MOTHERHOOD (112/522) was conjured by the Furies and not the real thing, his appearance does not affect the canon Joxer.

From Fandom

[45] In fandom, many of the accepted "facts" have their basis in canon. For example, strong hints that the Mighty One was an abused child are found in more than one episode. The girls in Meg's tavern laud his sexual prowess. Every interaction he has with children, outside of the taunting girls in the Amazon camp in KINDRED SPIRITS (107/517), is a loving and warm occasion, even if he does not have a clue what to feed them. All of these factors have been explored in many Joxer-friendly fan fiction stories.

[46] Other facts from fandom were later denied by the show, the most significant being the place he calls home. For a long time, fan writers viewed Joxer as a Corinthian, since the show never revealed his hometown. Canon did not dispute this claim until LYRE, LYRE, HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510), and more than one writer has used stories since that revelation to "explain" why he had lived in both places.

[47] Fandom also accredited Joxer with cooking skills before the show did, and has always positively portrayed his musical abilities. Still, most of what we "know" about Joxer the Mighty is based on what the show revealed, and in the long run, is precious little as far as facts are concerned.


[48] The true background of Joxer is little known, and much explored in the fandom world of fan fiction. The one thing that all Joxer friends agree upon is that he is sorely missed.


Note 01:
Amoria from LYRE, LYRE, HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510) was coming on to him.
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Lori Bush Lori Bush

A woman of mystery.
Favorite episode: A COMEDY OF EROS
Favorite line:Joxer: "I think your stories are-- are beautiful, and, um -you know-not everything you write turns into disaster."
First episode seen:THE XENA SCROLLS
Least favorite episode: The entire sixth season.

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