Howard Overman wraps up the two-part opener of the new series of Atlantis with the inevitably named A New Dawn: Part Two.
Atlantis is in trouble: soldiers are deserting as they hear of the theft of the Palladium by Pasiphae (Sarah Parish). Jason (Jack Donnelly) has been injured stealing it back and is trapped in the lair of a Cyclops with his companions Hercules (Mark Addy) and Pythagoras (Robert Emms). As the enemy storm the walls of the city, is everything up for young Queen Ariadne (Aiysha Hart)?
We are used to large-scale fantasy battles ever since Peter Jackson started realising the works of Tolkein – it is impressive to see something of the same stature realised for what is, in fact, a television programme. There are siege weapons, arrows, flames, soldiers and death everywhere. The city barely survives the first wave of attackers and everything looks doomed.
The thread with the Cyclops serves only to delay Jason’s mission (and to take up airtime making this a two-part story) and Jason himself heals miraculously once he approaches Atlantis again. On the way, he tries to rally the army of deserters he encounters, but has he managed? He re-enters Atlantis with the Palladium, then joins the ranked soldiers for one final onslaught.
Of course, all ends well, though not without some good scenes for Ariadne, who is learning what it means to rule a city. In the midst of battle, Hercules also learns something about Pasiphae and there is a wonderful scene between him and the Oracle (Juliet Stevenson) that sets another line of destiny in motion.
In terms of performances, this two-week stint has already seen Mark Addy bring even more to his role of Hercules, and Emms plays Pythagoras with more darkness and is a better-balanced counterweight to Addy. Add this to stronger performances from Stevenson, the ever-brilliant Sarah Paris, and the show’s star Donnelly has his work cut out!
Overall then, a big battle that pays back the setup from Part One admirably.
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