Howard Overman drew down the curtain on this series of Atlantis, and indeed the show as a whole, with The Queen Must Die. A feature-length episode (i.e. two episodes joined together getting the series out of the way before the Eurovision Song Contest next week) and once more it is a case of breaking into and out of Atlantis, fighting Pasiphae (Sarah Parish) and dealing with the inevitable betrayals.
Clever in places, the writing mixes action, multiple sword fights, a wedding, several betrayals and the odd execution to both clear the decks and set the scene for the next series (which the BBC has already cancelled). There are numerous human elements – Madea (Amy Manson) loved Jason (Jack Donnelly) and betrays Pasiphae for him, then leaves the city to go back to the land of witches.
Jason and Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) marry but Ariadne is afraid of the bond Jason still has with Medea. Hercules (Mark Addy) mourns for Medusa without moping, Pythagoras (Robet Emms) and Icarus (Joseph Timms) declare their obvious love, there are more betrayals and finally a redemption that also rebuilds the relationship with his father, Daedalus (Robert Lindsay). The new Oracle, Cassandra (Anya Taylor-Joy) gets some decent lines and there is really plenty here for what is really a large ensemble cast; no wonder numbers have been thinned.
The reality of the show is there are only so many times Atlantis can be captured/not captured, and only so many times every palace guard can be slain/declare allegiance/betray the heroes at the drop of a witches hand, even when the witch is Pasiphae.
Key to this story is the capture and execution of Pasiphae, a task given over to Hercules and Pythagoras. It is done with a good mix of resolution and anguish, and Sarah Parish is compelling as the caged fiend going to her death. Of course, Hecate her goddess resurrected her, and a clever touch is she is now disfigured from having been dead. This is very much along the lines of the disfigurement her (now dead) husband, Jason’s father suffered with his leprosy.
Many of the cast come out of this show with credit, it is a pity the lead himself, Jack Donnelly is over-shadowed by many of those around him. A greater pity is the cancellation of the third series, one that would have seen the quest for the golden fleece aboard the Argo and plenty more chances for Medea to work her charms on Jason.
Farewell Atlantis; you may not have been perfect, but you did entertain.