Monday, December 15, 2014

Atlantis, Season 2, Episode 5: The Day of the Dead

Pasiphae isn’t dead, though the arrow in her is far from pleasant. She pulls it out (which is probably the absolute worst thing she could have done). She drags herself to a nearby tomb (they’re in a necropolis) and carves a spell into the lid before collapsing – a really gribbly undead hand hammers through the stone wall of the tomb.

Pythagoras, Hercules and Ariadne along with the pilgrims are looking for a way down to save Jason (after dropping their torches to see how deep the crevasse is, they pull out more from their bag of holding. What? They were travelling across a desert, like cave exploring supplies were high on the pilgrims’ list). Dion really did die last episode so I guess he’s just going to rot a little. Ominously, blind Orpheus hears something (in true genre savy-ness, Pythagoras suggests bats and Hercules mocks that it is never ever bats). Ariadne is convinced it’s Jason and proof he’s alive because when you’re Queen no-one can tell you you’re being a little too hopeful.

Instead they find zombie Dion (which also means they’ve been walking in circles or they really can’t outrun a staggering zombie). Random pilgrim Redshirticus praises the dead rising and gets bitten for it. They see Dion’s black-from-edge-to-edge eyes and realise this isn’t good. Hercules repeatedly stabs Dion in the stomach though we all know that’s a shoddy way to kill a zombie. More zombies arrive so it’s a fighting withdrawal.

In case we haven’t been paying attention. Pythagoras explains the zombies are undead. Oh TV producers, so little respect you have for your viewer’s intelligence. They realise Pasiphae is alive, Orpheus throws in some history about why so many soldiers would be buried in full arms and armour and Redshirticus reminds us he’s been bitten.

The next encounter shows that they can kill the zombies by stabbing them in the heart – aha, not the brain, these zombies are different. More fighting and Ariadne kills Dion. They wander on and Redshirticus isn’t feeling so good so they have to wait to try and treat his wound rather than wandering around looking for Jason.

Ariadne has a romance discussion about how much she loves Jason with    Eurydice before angsting with Hercules because her decisions are what caused all this (sort of) and it’s all her fault if Jason dies (and Dion and the hundred or so soldiers who died in the ambush. And your maid. What? If she’s going to angst she might as well do it properly). Hercules assures her that Jason is awesome (and no-one cares about the extras). This is all brushed aside by some good, affectionate Pythagoras and Hercules banter.

Everyone is completely shocked when Redshirticus wakes up as a zombie. Pythagoras and Orpheus kill him – Pythagoras holding him while he guides the blind Orpheus to stab the zombie in the heart. Bye Redshirticus. Hercules was supposed to be on watch, Pythagoras is not amused and he explains the whole biting infection thing. There’s a brief worry when they realise Ariadne is wounded but she’s a main character so there’s no way she’s bitten.

Orpheus and Eurydice have a sweet moment together which convinces me that Eurydice has been bitten. There are now vast swarms of zombies running around.

And, yes, Eurydice becomes feverish. Orpheus realises she has been bitten. After a while, Pythagoras realises something is up with the pair. Orpheus tries to put Pythagoras off but he won’t be distracted and he learns the truth. He expresses his condolences and gives Orpheus and Eurydice time alone as Orpheus asks.

He goes to tell Ariadne and Hercules that they have to kill her – and Hercules is repelled of the idea of killing her in front of Orpheus who loves her so much. Ariadne volunteers – she won’t ask her subjects to do what she cannot. She appeals beautifully to Orpheus who insists that he be the one who ends Eurydice’s life. He stabs her in the heart

Ariadne wishes someone loved her enough to stab her in the heart (well, kinda. That’s my interpretation and I’m sticking to it) and Hercules says “someone already does” without thinking before quickly backtracking because we’re all supposed to pretend Jason isn’t pining for her and she’s also the queen and that’s kinda inappropriate.

Jason wakes up, completely unharmed (ah, TV land where head injuries cause prolonged unconsciousness but not concussions) as is Medea. He has a chance to stab her in the neck but decides to let the woman who hates him with scary magic live because he’s Stupid Good. He pulls a flaming torch out of his bag of holding (are there just piles of these things lying around like health potions?) to go explore.

He has his own zombie to fight and then hears a woman scream. It’s Medea, surrounded by zombies. Jason pulls out some popcorn and watches them kill her, laughing as his foe is vanquished, rescues her because he’s Stupid Good. Medea is shocked that Jason rescued her and reminder him that she’s his enemy. He says that’s because he’s a fool. No, really. I agree wholeheartedly. But Medea realises that Pasiphae was all wrong and Jason isn’t the evil thing of evilness. Unlike Pasiphae who just raised the dead which isn’t usually a good indication of happy fluffy bunniness.

So it’s time for them to talk about Jason’s doomed love off Ariadne because, of course, your doomed love life is totally what you talk about with your enemies while surrounded by zombies, right? Medea is loyal to Pasiphae because most people don’t like her for her evil evil magic while Pasiphae was quite nice (oh the cliché!) and she’s sure Pasiphae totally needs to slaughter people all over the place.

They find the zombies that Ariadne, Hercules et al already killed and see that they all have heart wounds, so now they have the secret zombie killing trick which they then use – this time Medea kind of saving Jason (though they were attacked by three zombies and she kind of stood there like a statue until the third one, so I award zero points for that). Jason also broke his leg because… I actually can’t see what could have broken his leg, but Jason has to get catastrophically injured and nobly fight through it at least once every other episode (remember he took an arrow to the side three episodes ago? He’s recovered well.) Medea uses nasty painful magic to heal his leg and they argue again about whether Pasiphae is a nice person or not. Since Pasiphae is Medea’s only friend she refuses to consider that she may be evil.

Medea is a little worried about finding Jason’s friends since Ariadne will probably have her executed. Jason promises to protect her, she doesn’t see why he would and adds that he won’t betray Pasiphae because GO TEAM EVIL. Jason points out she did save his life so she may already have betrayed him.

To get to the gang they need to pass a large number of zombies so decide to hide in the dark. Only after they extinguish their torches does Medea ask how sure Jason is that the undead can’t see in the dark. Oh Medea, if you’re going to hang around with Jason, you need to stop expecting thinking from him. Thankfully they can’t, nor can they smell them nor can they hear their not-very-quiet conversation.

Past the zombies they light up yet more torches and see the light of Ariadne, etc’s camp and the groups are reunited. Everyone is not exactly happy to see Medea and Jason quickly protests that he promised to protect her: Ariadne very pointedly says that he really shouldn’t be promising that to her enemies, Hercules points out how ridiculously trusting and good Jason is and Pythagoras says how very illogical it is to spare her. All have good points, but Medea knows the countercurse to put the dead back to sleep which is the only way they’ll get out of the tomb alive.

Hercules does insist on tying Medea’s hands. Jason and Ariadne has a moment, she says how ashamed she was for pushing him away (it was less that and more mutual realisation of impossibility) and how she can’t deny loving him and won’t let their position be a barrier to that (it will also cut down on murderous fiancés so bonus). Declaration of love and kissing follows.

They fight their way close to where Pasiphae fell and Medea tells them to erase the symbols Pasiphae drew. Hercules and Jason go forth and while Jason fights off zombies, nearly overwhelmed, Hercules picks up the immensely heavy lid of the tomb and tosses it into pit where it shatters. The zombies collapse.

Back to the group and since Medea told the truth and saved them, they let her go. And she takes Ariadne hostage with a knife to the throat. Gasp! Bad guy is bad! She stabs Ariadne (y’know it would have been much easier to cut her throat).

I have to say, I really love Hercules’s little inserts of reality into the fantasy setting. Pythagoras suggests they hear bats, Hercules mocks that in all their cave exploring days it has never been bats. Pythagoras makes a classic and doom laden portentous statement about all the dead rising and Hercules replies with “what is wrong with you!?” I think Atlantis could just run through all the standard fantasy tropes and just have Hercules snarking all over it and this would be a truly awesome show.

It’s another decent episode, heavy on the action not exactly deep in terms of plot and character development which kind of continues the whole season. It’s not a bad thing, but it is what it is. I am glad to see Ariadne, Hercules and Pythagoras all doing much better than last season

I know the “oh my loved one is dying” is a scene you ALWAYS have to have in a zombie drama, it’s a law now, but I still think Eurydice and Orpheus’s was very well done. Just because it’s cliché doesn’t mean it can’t be powerful and moving.