Monday, November 11, 2013

Atlantis, Season 1, Episode 7: Rules of Engagement

Time for a big ritual and feast at the palace because Heptarian and Ariadne are now betrothed to be married! And she looks about as happy as she would be upon being told she’s just contracted herpes. They’re also going to have a Pankration (kind of like boxing or wrestling without pesky rules and no clothes) which Heptarian is expected to win which will hopefully make Poseidon happy because, as he tells Pasiphae, even he’s noticed that Ariadne is less than thrilled. Pasiphae doesn’t think it’s a problem anyway – Ariadne has no supporters she won’t defy her father, the king.

Hercules is thrilled about the pankration, especially since food and wine will be free, but at Pythagoras’s not-so-subtle gesture he pretends it’s boring to Jason to try and distract him from the fact Ariadne (the woman he has a huge crush on despite so little contact) is marrying Heptarian. Much moping follows.

He writes a note to pass to Medusa to pass to Korinna to pass to Ariadne arranging to meet her. She reads it – but the note is also read by Pasiphae who has Korinna taken away because of it and tells Ariadne she has to stop – that she will destroy her reputation and cause scandal. She makes a deal with Ariadne – remove Jason from her life and Korinna will be returned. And they totally don’t have to be enemies – Ariadne just has to do everything Pasiphae wants!

Despite the threats and Korinna as a hostage; Ariadne still meets Jason in the Temple of Poseidon. Jason tells her how very wonderful she is and to call off the wedding and she asks what’s love got to do with it (with considerably less flare than Tina Turner – though this show would have been ten time better if she just belted it out to the ceiling of Poseidon’s temple), she’s a princess she marries for duty and connections like, well, just about all aristocracy did in ye old days of yore. Sadly you married someone you love, but not being covered in shit and hot and cold running bed-servants made up for it rather.

She does love him but it cannot be! Wooooe! Wooooe! He gives her daddy’s necklace to remember him by. Tearful Ariadne goes home and Pasiphae agrees to release Korinna. She hjugs Ariadne to try and comfort her that everything will get better even if she is marrying herpes – eerr, Heptarian.

At home, Jason wakes Pythagoras early by stabbing a table in woe – but Jason hasn’t given up.

To the palace where the combatants for the pankration swear to fight fairly (which is a laugh – no eye-gaughing or biting. That’s it. Broken bones, groin, choking someone to death? All legal moves. It’s actually really hard to be UNFAIR in this match). And yes, Jason has decided to join the pankration (despite having zero training) because seeing him beat some guys up will totally change Ariadne’s mind, I’m sure. Neither Pythagoras and Hercles are impressed and think he’s awfully foolish especially since athletes in the pankration train constantly.

Which means we get a training scene of running to grab a knife before Hercules where Hercules and Pyathagoras quickly teach Jason what “no rules” means. Until he FINALLY manages to get the dagger before these 2 pretty poor fighters – and this is considered improvement.

Meanwhile Pasiphae furthers her plotting by purchasing a slow poison.

To the arena where Hercules mopes a little about Medusa who still isn’t talking to him (unsurprisingly). The first match is Heptarian who breaks his opponent’s arm and then slashes him with the knife (first blood) possibly fatally. Then Jason who wins almost by luck. Medusa, Pythagoras and Hercules come together to heal Jason’s dislocated shoulder (which Hercules learned in his wrestling career) and help his pain.

Hercules and Medusa awkwardly talks about Jason and his doomed relationship. Hercules tells her about his over-confident youth when he thought he was awesome and it turned out not to be true – he cares for Jason because for Jason it is true. He’s just so special.

Pasiphae and Heptarian plot – Heptarian wanting to kill Jason in the ring and Pasiphae telling him that his unnecessary violence after he’s won isn’t winning the crowd over at all. Ariadne greets them with a smile that even a Beauty Queen runner up would call fake. Pasiphae’s poison is for Minos, the king, in case that wasn’t obvious.

More pankration fights and Heptarian has listened to Pasiphae and is less brutal in victory. And Jason is much better – much faster than his opponents.

Ariadne meets him after the match to beg him to withdraw from the fight since he’s risking his life but he refuses to back down, citing his oath to Poseidon as an excuse.

More fights and Heptarian kills someone, much to the crowds’ anger and Pasiphae’s concern. Jason wins his next fight but it’s a bit harder and he takes some hits – until it’s just Heptarian and Jason who will fight the next day at dawn.

That night Pythagoras brings some reality to Jason – he can’t win. Heptarian is Poseidon’s chosen, he’s betrothed to Ariadne. If Jason wins he won’t win Ariadne’s hand nor be accepted by Minos’s family – they would simply kill him. Ariadne goes to the temple to pray for him

The fight starts – Jason doesn’t do well to begin (it’s like a rule. A protagonist going into an epic fight will always lose to begin with even if fighting a small rabbit) before striking back and managing to knock Heptarian down and hold him at knife point. He then stands and drops the knife while the crowd cheer him. Heptarian grabs the knife and charges Jason, ready to stab him as the crowd boos. Jason doesn’t move, he just tells him “kill me and they’ll hate you forever.” Pasiphae slightly shakes her head. Heptarian drops the knife and holds up Jason’s hand but warns him that luck doesn’t last forever.

Apparently that didn’t count as a win for Jason, no I’m not sure why. And Jason is all mopey until Ariadne arrives (Hercules and Pythagoras clear out). She gives him back his necklace and tells him again not to profess his love – but says he gave her strength, kisses him and leaves.

She goes to see her father, Pasiphae and Heptarian and say she cannot marry Heptarian – the arena clearly showed the gods were not happy, the union is not blessed, it’s a bad idea to go forwards (actually pretty clever); she points out that Heptarian is an experienced fighter with years of experience defeated by an unknown boy – clearly the gods must have intervened. (Oh I like it. He can either say “yes yes they did because I’m so awesome only the gods could have defeated me” or “no, no Jason was simply better than me!”). Heptarian raises their betrothal but gods trump understanding. Minos, who is a very devout man who is fearful of the gods, quickly jumps at this logic and hurries to find a priest to dissolve the betrothal. Pasiphae is not happy, Ariadne says she isn’t afraid of her – Pasiphae says this makes her very very stupid indeed. Quite possibly

The happy group walks through the streets to Hercules’s boasting – and Pythagoras and Jason both think he’s lying through his back teeth but Medusa rises to his defence and says how lucky they are to have him as a friend.

Ariadne looks out of her window at the palace and finds that Korinna is dead – Pasiphae claims it was suicide. It actually seems to take a minute before Ariadne realises this very obvious lie is actually a lie.

It’s now episode 7. Do we have ANY explanation for why Jason is even in Atlantis? Any? Any at all? In fact, do we even remember that he’s not actually from Atlantis? And remember his father that was supposed to be the reason he was in that submarine in the first place? Any news? Noooo? At very least reminding us of these elements would give Jason some desperate thread of characterisation beyond “guy who looks good with his shirt off, moping after princess.”

Let alone how he speaks ancient Greek. Or they all speak English.

I really really really do not care about Jason and Ariadne’s relationships. Both characters are completely underdeveloped and blander than unseasoned tofu. You know exactly what either of them will do in any situation – and really don’t care. It’s dull. The plot is dull and clichéd (evil step mother says no!), the characters are dull and clichéd, the motivations are completely non-existent.