Last week’s episode, Marriage of True Minds, ended with Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) shooting Pasiphae (Sarah Parish) with her newfound bow skills, then Jason (Jack Donnelly) fell over the edge of a chasm accompanied by Pasiphae’s sorcerer sidekick Medea (Amy Manson). If that’s not enough of a setup, all this took place inside a cavern complex full of tombs. How would this continue?
Howard Overman wrote this story and he aligns it entirely with the new, darker look and feel to this series. Pasiphae struggles off-stage, wounded but with enough willpower to summon the undead. As viewers might have expected, the entire episode centres on the threat of zombies and how a small group can survive when surrounded. This plot is also coupled with a well-executed side helping of enemies having to join forces as Jason and Medea take it in turns to save each other as they struggle back to the surface.
The main group of Ariadne, Hercules (Mark Addy) and Pythagoras (Robert Emms) have plenty to do as they take shelter in a tomb along with new allies blind Orpheus (Ronald Pickup), his beloved Eurydice (Sian Thomas), and Diagoras (John Light). The entire tomb sequence leads to some of the strongest writing in Atlantis so far (including Series 1) and Hart is getting stronger week by week, as she adds depth to the character of Queen Ariadne. Hercules, and Pythagoras keep up their banter but it serves only to accentuate the terror of their surroundings.
The story avoids crossing too far into horror – most of the undead are easy pickings for any serious swordsman, as long as they don’t crush you with weight of numbers and start to eat you!
There is a lot of emotional turmoil, discord, threat and betrayal with another unexpected ending setting up yet another set of challenges for next week.
End to end this was a gripping episode that achieved far more than might have been expected with some stock situations. The commitment to a later broadcast slot has paid dividends.
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