This week’s episode of Atlantis moved away from the mythic and gave us a story that on the face of it was entertaining but told us little. It is rare that any series is so tightly plotted that every episode moves the arc along in vital ways (we haven’t yet reached the intricacies of US TV) and being entertained is no bad thing.
The plot involved Jason falling foul of local bully boy Heptarian in the market. Before they have time to breathe, Jason, Pythagoras and Hercules are up before King Minos and on trial for their lives. At this point Hercules asked the question that was in the mind of the audience – ‘Doesn’t killing the Minotaur count for something?’ – which King Minos dismissed out of hand.
All a bit clunky, though it did set up the central story of the heroes being trained to leap over bulls in the arena to prove their innocence before Poseidon. Cue an interesting, though disposable, story of treachery and leadership and more intriguing characters. Amongst these was Elpis, played by Shakespearean actress Emily Taaffe, who looks set to be love interest for Pythagoras, though this wasn’t explored.
Despite the tension of the arena, we know the heroes will live so the threat never convinced. What this set-up did do was allow for much exploration of the royal family; Heptarian was revealed to be a suitor for Ariadne (who still pines for Jason) and also the nephew of Queen Pasiphae who has more than a passing familiarity with dark magic. The resolution was strong – a message is passed to Medusa (Jemima Rooper, who now gets a title credit) and she infiltrates the palace, finds the Queen’s lair and takes a voodoo doll of Jason away, saving the day. All this was done without any dialogue at all!
Overall, an enjoyable piece of entertainment, but so far, so what? The final sequences, although predictable (the heroes survive) were great to watch and the CGI of the bull running round an arena chasing unarmed slaves and being leaped over was magnificent. A reasonable: