Saturday, April 11, 2015

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 2: Daedelus

We have a sobbing man in a rickety flying machine; even without the title I think it’s a good guess this man is Daedelus after his son Icarus nosedived.

The Hero and the Oracle are imprisoned by the priests of Gaia who drain his blood for visions to find the magical woo-woo book, the Lexicon (which will make you a god and be welcomed in Olympus until you piss off Zeus and suffer an eternal horrible curse). The priest decides the Hero’s babbling means they need the ring of the Magi and the Hero knows where it is. Instead the show decides to stretch it’s already very strained and tiny special effects budget by having him hallucinate a monster.

Clearly this calls for more visions and the Oracle declares that having sex with the hero will definitely get more visions than stabbing him with needles. The priests actually buy this excuse so she crawls on top of him and uses her hair pin to slice his bonds (because her hair pin has bladed edges… apparently?)

The priests do catch on so she combines slapping the Hero to wake him up to fending off the priest until Hero gets his head together. She does pretty well and eventually 1 priest runs off. She stops the hero killing the other priest because she wants to do it – since he killed her brother. The hero looks a little shaken by that.

They leave and the Oracle presents her plan to get them to Athens while the Hero asks why he would want to go there. The Oracle is bemused – the king of Athens is his dad. The Hero wants nothing to do with his dad or his magic book, he wants to go home. He doesn’t want to be a prince god (maybe because he’s heard of the king and the Greek pantheon – with neighbours like these…) so the Oracle relies on sense rather than avarice: when people hear he has the lexicon inside him they will come hunting for him. There was, after all, a reason why his mother brought him up in hiding. She would also like him to stop the war

He points out if there’s one thing that would make him less likely to go Athens, it would be because the city is an actual war zone. Their bickering is interrupted by the crash landing of a very cantankerous Daedelus. He rants and begs Apollo to take him instead of his son – and tries to jump off a cliff. The Oracle and Hero stop him, especially since the Oracle has heard of him.

Over to Athens and little Lykos is totally ready to lead his dad’s armies! Medea quickly crushes this silly teen hopes and tells him to be a good little meat puppet.

Of course the conniving Prince Pallas isn’t willing to let him just stand their silently despite the more sensible generals objecting to strategy from an inexperience boy. But, surprisingly, Lykos pulls out some pretty crafty tactics to help his vastly outnumbered men stand against the Minoans.

King Aegeus insists on getting out of his sick bed, again. He also has his own plans – open the gates and lead his vastly outnumbered, tired men in an open charge against the forces outside the city. This is not a strategy that is likely to go down in the history of military genius. Medea decides to respond to this ludicrous plan by drugging him. Well done Medea.

The priest of Gaia decides he needs to tell Medea about the Hero (including the fact she’s been bleeding the wrong son). She decides to send the priest (who is duly and rightly terrified of Medea), Cyrus after the Hero, making him follow dramatically introduced warrior priests

So she can then focus her energies on discussing the fact he has another son with her dear husband. Oh Aegeus, suddenly your plan for a near suicidal charge looks like a very good idea. She smacks him about while he is still weak from his sick bed (and him saying that he didn’t even know her when he fathered the hero cuts him no slack) because she is so Very Unimpressed and he reveals that the Lexicon is also a curse, a “dangerous beast” in fact. He also says he doesn’t know the name of the hero’s mother, she was a “chance encounter.” She then drugs him again.

Lykos decides not to tell his mother he disobeyed her (because that would be foolish) and is surprised that his mother doesn’t want to slice and dice him again for the Lexicon. And that night Lykos’s plan work perfectly as Pallas is quick to tell Lykos and ingratiate himself. Along with a warning that General Proteus will try and claim credit for Lykos’s brilliant ideas. He begins trying to manipulate Lykos to take the throne

Part of that involves him having to kill a man as ritual sacrifice, which Lykos can’t do. Pallas decides this is because Lykos is gay (which outrages the general who seems to have missed the whole Ancient Greece thing) and couldn’t sacrifice a man he wanted to hold (Reaaaaaally?). So Pallas increases his manipulations by getting Lykos a handsome young scribe, Kimon, to serve him however he pleases. And spy and manipulate, of course.

Back to our nameless heroes and they run with Daedelus from Cyrus and the warrior priests, assuming they’re Minoan. They run until Daedelus collapses in grief and the oracle has a chance to pray to Gaia to ask why the hero is so damn reluctant. Also she has to kill his dad because visions.

The hero’s random sketching means both Daedelus and the oracle learn he knows something about the Ring of the Magi which is super important and powerful in conveniently ill-defined ways. So the Hero decides to go look for it in the Forest of Troshan, which happens to be the home he wants to go back to. He also wants to go alone:

Oracle: You can’t the gods brought us together
Daedelus & Hero: How do you know?
Oracle: I’m an Oracle!

Unable to find the hero & oracle the warrior priests contact Medea who unleashes woo-woo. The woo-woo is an enthralling ghost that hypnotises the hero and makes him follow her – until Daedellus and the oracle jump on him and pin him down and the Oracle smacks him unconscious.

Medea, frustrated, goes to Pallas and demands a squad of men and he totally would, honest, but he can’t without orders from Lykos who is totally in control. When she goes to interrupt him in councils he finds him full of confidence, success and Pallas’s manipulations – and he doesn’t come when she tells him to. Oh Lykos, this will not end well for you.

She reminds him he has no idea of the politics of court and even if he is successful in war, politics will bring him down. By politics I assume she means she will. It says a lot about the relationship between Lycos and Medea that he interprets her hostility as respect – for the first time in his life.

He hero keeps trying to get the others to leave him behind but the Oracle points out she has just saved his life so he may as well give up on the idea that he doesn’t need her. They cross another peril and the hero has another vision – of a monster that threatens dire things if the hero looks for him. I assume this is a manifestation of the ring of the magi.

I actually quite like the fight scene here with the Oracle. She fought, she was vicious, determined and clearly, completely unskilled. For all the things this show does well, its violence feels real (well, except the bizarre rope tricks).

While I’m still not handing out any prises for acting, the banter and dialogue between the oracle and the hero (largely held by her and enhanced by Daedelus) was approaching decent.

Medea is still awesome, she just is – wonderfully evil yet awesome and still the character I root for. I don’t like seeing her sidelined though (and even though it shows their relationship, the idea that Lykos has her respect when he can dismiss her is a problem that needs to developing more). And while a part of me wants to cheer Medea endlessly, it’s never ok to violently attack your partner; no matter how jealous you are or how deceptive they’ve been; it’s not ok and is only exacerbated by him being so weak he could barely stand.

Lykos – “he doesn’t want to stab a man, it must be because he wants hold him” is one of the most utterly ridiculous ways to establish a character as gay or bisexual I could ever imagine. Even more so in Ancient Greece which is the last culture to assume being gay or bisexual means you can’t run around merrily murdering entire armies. I don’t think I can even be outraged by it because it’s such blatantly shoddy writing ass to be almost comic. “He can’t murder the guy, must have the hots for him” ye gods.

Speaking of – we didn’t need the general’s outraged spluttering either. Heroic military lovers was hardly unknown or shameful.