Skipping ahead a bit, as I borrowed this episode from a friend (thanks Amanda!). Also: Eomer is in this one! Yummmm. For some reason, he is going by the Roman name 'Cupid' while his mother goes by the Greek name 'Aphrodite'. And he looks ridiculous. It's got Haldir of Lorien in it as well.
As on Charmed, Aphrodite is depicted as a blonde bimbo with big boobs and a pink, flimsy outfit, who says things like 'this is like a brand new antique!'. Her method of seduction is the simpering type. Somehow, perhaps apart from the blonde hair and boobs, I doubt the Greeks would have imagined the goddess of love, fertility and sexual passion this way. She's more like the goddess of annoyingly simpering women who are never going to really give the guy what he wants. The bit about her being petty and spiteful is closer - but then, that goes for all the Greek gods.
On the other hand, I quite like the idea of Aphrodite vs Cupid as Lust vs Love - that's quite clever, and of course it's always a good story. And Aphrodite makes some truthful comments about love, in among the Valley Girl nonsense.
There's a nice theme running through the episode about heroes and sidekicks, which is fun. I feel sorry for Gabrielle when she describes herself as an expendable sidekick - sidekicks are more important than expendables! It is unfortunate, though, that it is now impossible to hear the phrase 'like Theseus, or Perseus' without thinking to yourself 'a lot of 'euses'.
I think this episode was supposed to be funny, but I'm afraid it didn't really match my sense of humour. It seems like a waste of lovely, poetic title that's supposed to be about death, but here just refers to the jingly bells with which Aphrodite enchants Joxer. Xena herself is also disappointingly absent, having ridden off somewhere and returning at the end of the episode without, apparently, anything interesting happening to her for a change! On the other hand, I'll happily sit through 45 minutes of shirtless Karl Urban any day.
Ileandra: You set me on fire!
Joxer: I know.
Cupid: That sucks! (Him saying it just sounds kind of funny)
Aphrodite: Love isn't just about happy endings. There's also jealous love, and unrequited love, and tragic love.
Gabrielle: Love is soft and gentle, it's not violent and cruel!
Aphrodite: You don't know much about love, do you?
No joke disclaimer, but the credits sequence is set to Joxer's heroic song, 'Joxer the Mighty'.