Monday, December 23, 2013

Atlantis, Season 1, Episode 12: Touched by the Gods: Part One

Jason has a visitor – Circe has arrived in Atlantis to demand he fulfil his debt to her and kill Pasiphae. His deadline is at noon in 3 days or he’ll die and maybe several others as well. He then finds Hercules’s body – dead.

And he wakes up – debtor dream! So much more effective than a menacing red letter.

The three friends gather for gloom angst (and Hercules comic relief) before Jason faces the fact he has to kill the Queen. Hercules briefly admits it’s all his fault (everything is Hercules’s fault so let’s just take that as a given) and Hercules and Pythagoras agree to help being royal assassins.

After much comic plotting, Pythagoras discovers chloroform (and Hercules tests it on Pythagoras because – well funsies mainly), they arrange with Hercules’s friend the wine merchant to get them in the palace and Jason begins to realise the enormity of killing someone in cold blood.

Speaking of royal deaths – King Minos is on his last legs thanks to Pasiphae’s poisonous ministrations.  He insists that his wife and daughter look after each other and Pasiphae also reassures him that she’ll totally look after Ariadne. King Minos is not a good judge of character, it has to be said.

Of course, Pasiphae’s plans aren’t going all her way, Minos may be dying but Ariadne still isn’t married to Heptarian. Heptarian offers to kill Ariadne which doesn’t impress Pasiphae even slightly – she wonders at her choice of plotting tools. See, you can’t get good evil minions these days.

Our heroes enter the palace, Hercules and Pythagoras filling the vital roles of bumbling comic relief and nerdy comic relief (you simply cannot go on an assassination mission without the comic relief, it distracts from all the sinister murder). I also quite like how Pythagoras can “calculate” where Pasiphae’s bed room – either he knows where it is or he doesn’t, there’s a limit to what even a genius can do with maths.

After a little more comic ineptitude from Hercules, Jason reaches Pasiphae’s bed chamber and tries to stab her – and is either stopped by a magic shield or by his conscience. I think the latter but it’s not exactly clear. She wakes up – and screams. Alarms! Running guards! Hercules wants to run off and abandon Jason but Pythagoras insists he stays

Jason runs, avoiding the guards but he takes an arrow in the side while he does so. He arrives at the rendez-vous point, but Hercules and Pythagoras have had to leave. They make it home ok to worry about Jason – and drink of course

Pasiphae is surprised her assassin didn’t strike while she was asleep (told you it was conscience) and Jason resorts to hiding with Ariadne. She hides him and hears why he wants to kill the Queen (beyond the fact that he’s met her which is a fairly good reason in and of itself – she certainly considered it). Happy to accept “all my friends will die if I don’t” she doctors his arrow wound (which is apparently not very debilitating but is a good reason for Jason to take his shirt off). And decides to hide him until morning.

She spends the night doing that creepy “I’m staring at you while you sleep” (honestly, don’t do this. Not only is it creepy but NO-ONE looks good with bedhead, morning breath, their face all wrinkled from the pillow, drool and the weird weird weird noises that your average sleeping human makes). He wakes up and she laments that she was born with all this incredible wealth and privilege and wasn’t a simple daughter of a smith or carpenter because they’re freeeee (showing how little she knows about the common people).

After more protestations of how much they love each other (can anyone explain to me why they love each other again? Since they know not a thing about each other) she sneaks him to a secret passage out of the palace leading to the temple of Poseidon.

Pasiphae threatens Ramos and demands the palace be turned upside down to find some trace of the assassin – and find that the passage is unlocked, a passage that only the royal family has keys to. Pasiphae goes to Ariadne to console her over her dying father and how grief stricken she was when her father died (which Ariadne openly doubts which is just rude). They have their little “we’re totally enemies but not going to overtly say it” snark fight before Ariadne leaves and Pasiphae tells Minos she didn’t even bother to visit. Oooh, spiteful

Jason returns home and tells everyone the news – and that they have to face Circe. Jason sneaks out during the night, having sedated Pythagoras and Hercules, so he can face Circe alone. Of course, when they wake, Pythagoras and Hercules hurry to follow him

Jason finds Circe and admits he couldn’t do it – he offers himself up in sacrifice if she’ll spare his friends – but she didn’t agree to that. They fight (she calls him touched by the gods) and she spawns several copies of herself (well, 2. Honestly it’s not that great a defence, he has a 1 in 3 chance of stabbing the right one anyway) so he doesn’t know which one to hit – until he throws his knife at her. Only the real Circe casts a reflection in the pool.

As she apparently dies, she casts a spell and throws some curved teeth across the room where they sink into the floor (if they’re dragon’s teeth then they’re going to sprout skeletons as I recall). Pythagoras and Hercules arrive in time to declare it all over.

Which, honestly, is as bad as saying “at least it can’t get any worse”.

And the ground sprouts skeletons with weapons. Yes, I love these Greek mythology shout outs.

They fight and even Pythagoras seems to have found some skill from somewhere – but Jason quickly finds you can’t actually stab a skeleton. Hercules responds by clobbering one to dust with a club – you smash them, that’s how you kill them. Which they promptly do – with terribly cheap CGI not allowing you to see the skeleton and the person fighting them at the same time. It’s 2013, BBC, you can do better than that.

Jason declares it really is all over.


In the palace, Ariadne’s servant finds the blood stained cloth Ariadne used to treat Jason. Ariadne tries to dismiss it as a small cut, but the servant insists on getting a physician (really, Ariadne, you fail at making excuses). Ariadne confesses all and her loyal servant insists they must burn it – but Ariadne won’t risk her and insists on doing it herself (what, she doesn’t have a fireplace or brazier in the room? What does she do for warmth or light? They can’t do it right there?).

The servant insists she do it because she’s such a loyal friend –and goes with it and Ariadne’s confession right to Pasiphae. Ariadne is arrested and taken before the court, tried with treason. And, no, Ariadne doesn’t even try to deny it. All she does is claim to be loyal to Atlantis and accuse Pasiphae of lying – of course, Pasiphae actually has the sense to deny an unproven accusation. Ariadne goes on, in temper, to say the assassin was nameless and she would help anyone who would try to kill Pasiphae. Well there’s a confession for you.

When sentenced to death, Ariadne then starts begging tearfully. If you’re going to do a dramatic, defiant confession you could at least hold your spine! (We’re also supposed to believe those shackles are actually fastened when she can fit both wrists in one)

Jason & co hear about her arrest for much angst.

Ariadne has the brains of a goat. She was already a pretty non-character but to be so inept – leaving the door unlocked, leaving a bloody rag lying around – is just beyond the pale. Execute her now, lest someone so foolish actually take the crown.