Monday, December 22, 2014

Atlantis, Season 2, Episode 6: The Grey Sisters

Medea runs through the woods, chased by Jason. She manages to hide among the trees and cower from him. He rants his promise of revenge for her stabbing Ariadne. Jason tries to sell menacing and enraged. It’s kind of like being menaced by a chinchilla. Mid rant he nearly stabs Hercules (who does a much better job of acting scared – but means he now looks terrified of the chinchilla). He’s there to call her back to Ariadne who needs him (Medea you had a knife to her throat and failed to murder her. The other assassins will now laugh at you) because they need to get her back to Atlantis – since Jason just apparently left her to run off after Medea. Medea shakes and cries.

They get Ariadne to the palace and she’s put in bed and the Oracle called in to work with Pythagoras on Ariadne’s wound. Sad faces all round. While the Oracle works her ritual to save Ariadne, Hercules comforts Jason who is beginning to lose his faith that all people are wonderful fluffy bunnies.

Having done what they can, Jason goes to her side. Hercules goes home to eat and where they’re hosting Orpheus. Hercules offers his condolences since he has also lost the woman he love (Medusa) but Orpheus believes love only dies if you give up on finding your loved one – he’s even willing to go to Hades for Eurydice. This sounds like a lead in to Hercules questing for Medusa (please! Medusa was awesome).

Jason spends the night laid next to Ariadne – still in his zombie-skeleton stained leather, this is not hygienic! Ariadne started bleeding again during the night. The Oracle makes a vaguely ominous statement about the wound not healing. Using a ritual she reveals that Medea put a death curse on the dagger – using Colchean magic that the Oracle can’t undo (do you know what would have worked better than a death curse? Stabbing Ariadne in the neck). After dramatically announcing that Ariadne’s going to die and Jason refusing to accept it, the Oracle decides enough drama has passed for her to dole out another tiny crumb of information – the Grey Sisters are super powerful seers who will know a cure. They will also tell you upsetting things – like Jason is going to listen to any warning.

Of course, being oracles, I predict they will say ominously vague things without much substance.

Jason and the gang set off on the quest and Pythagoras notices something is bugging Hercules – he teases him as is his wont and Hercules loses his temper and snaps at Pythagoras for always making a joke out of him. More prodding and Hercules reveals his Medusa angst – Orpheus and Jason are both going to extreme lengths for the women they love and he hasn’t done anything to help cure Medusa of her curse.

They make their way to the Grey Sisters cave and find the three – eyeless crones carrying one large eyeball between them in order to see (the Graiae). They ask what he has brought them and he has nothing but he begs them to help; as they pass the eye back and forth he grabs it. He threatens to destroy it if they don’t tell him the cure (Pythagoras and Hercules exchange startled looks) – the cure is to anoint the wound with Medea’s blood. She’s at the temple of Hecate in a forest but when Jason mentions how much he wants to kill Medea, the Gaiae tell him their fates are entwined and everything will fail without her (vague ominous premonitions! Ah the oracles never cease to not disappoint). Jason throws the eye at them and leaves

To the bad guys! Pasiphae and Medea are listening to Pasiphae’s agent Lilix report that Ariadne is dying and to prepare for Pasiphae to take the throne. Pasiphae is already counting her chickens and realising that having easily bought traitors in her court may not be a good thing so ominously threatens Lilix.

Jason & co head to the forest where Medea is lurking and, naturally, it’s cursed (with Hercules providing useful snark). Just in case we missed it, Pythagoras and Hercules discuss the ominous warnings. They work the way to the castle, avoiding blood drinking stymphalian birds that fly overhead. When they camp, a mosquito bites Hercules – attracting the birds – though they look more like pterosaurs than birds. They run, killing the birds that attack Hercules and end up in a gully (there’s always a gully or gorge or cave on this show) where the birds can’t follow. Hercules has several more scratches which means he can’t leave until he stops bleeding and attracting the birds.

This means, after an argument, Pythagoras has to stay and treat Hercules and Jason has to go on alone. He infiltrates the temple, sneaking past some guards, taking out some others (which comes to Pasiphae’s forces attention) until he finds Medea and he hesitates, which Medea puts down to them both being touched by the gods. She talks about how connected they are and Jason decides to knock her unconscious.

(And then she dies of brain damage. What? TV keeps having all these people knocked out for quite lengthly periods of time with no ill effects).

He doesn’t kill her, but takes blood from her arm. Then Pasiphae and her guards arrive and knock him out (more brain damage!) Jason is imprisoned and Pasiphae asks Medea why Jason spared her; Medea claims ignorance. Pasiphae shares that Jason is her son so she’d rather not kill him

Jason wakes up and lunges for Pasiphae who has wisely chained him up. Pasiphae tries for a peaceful mother/son bondage session and telling Jason was a terribad Queen Ariadne will be (she’s also not impressed with claims that Ariadne is true heir because Minos himself usurped the throne) and how she is a totally awesome queen who will protect Atlantis from all the many many enemies (though the only enemy we’ve actually seen is Pasiphae herself) unlike weak and feeble Ariadne who is even DYING the weakling (because Pasiphae tried to have her killed…) and her repeated attempts to invade/destabilise Atlantis are all for the city’s good.

I am not convinced by her sales’ pitch. Jason seems to be which is just depressing.

Pasiphae asks lots of questions about Jason’s family and learns Jason doesn’t know a thing about his mother. She wants peace and she knows how but she’s not telling, not yet

Personally I don’t think “I’m your long absent mother you don’t even remember” overcomes the “I like to use black magic and armies and assassins to destroy Atlantis”. That would take some pretty epic mummy issues for that to work.

She hesitates on leaving and Jason manages to strangle her with his chains – until the guards intervene. She then goes to Medea and is super-duper sad because Jason doesn’t like her. Really? She’s upset because Jason will only ever see her as an enemy (because of the whole being his enemy thing?). She decides she’s being far too emotional and she needs to poison Jason (or have the guards stab him? Aaargh my pet hate is when people choose unnecessarily convoluted means to kill their enemies) and Medea protests – that’s her son, Pasiphae says he was dead to her a long time ago – when his father took him.

Hercules has stopped bleeding so he and Pythagoras sneak into the temple to free Jason (killing some guards and generally being very sneaky and surprisingly competent). They run, fighting their way out, killing several more guards and escaping – but not before Jason and Medea have an implausibly long eye contact moment.

As they run Hercules and Pythagoras would like to know why Medea is not currently minced into itty bitty pieces and Jason admits he couldn’t do it because of his mystical woo-woo bond. Also he’s curious as to why Pasiphae didn’t kill him, cue shifty looks.

They hurry to the palace and assure her chief whatever they have the blood (which is amusing since he shouldn’t know blood is the cure – did they phone ahead?)

And lo, Ariadne is alive and well(ish) and she and Jason can be all sappy together. Ariadne also asks Jason to marry her.

I know I’m a mythology geek but I do so love the references – the Gaiae are straight out of Greek Mythology and Jason has stepped into Perseus’s shoes by holding the eye for ransom. It does make me wonder more about Jason and Medea

I really liked Ariadne being much more active this season after so many episodes of her being a decorative token to be won or someone who hangs in the background cheering Jason on or hoping for Jason or, at best, making snide remarks at Pasiphae. And then she gets stabbed and needs a magical cure finding for her. That’ll learn her.

I think this show has forgotten that Jason is supposed to be from the 21st century – he doesn’t seem to talk or think like that any more.

I also don’t have a lot of time for the Pasiphae/Jason family drama – Pasiphae may be his mother but he hasn’t seen her his whole life, the idea that this complete stranger, this enemy, who gave birth to him needs to be embraced and welcomed boggles me.