Saturday, April 25, 2015

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 4: Minos

It’s time for another episode of Olympus

And it says a lot about how this show is going that I say that in the same tone one would normally say “the freezer is iced up again.” Or “I’m having a herpes outbreak” and we’re only on episode 4.

A woman only referred to as Lady of the Forest murders two brothers, hunters, to get the attention of their mother. The old woman is one of those who was captured by the Cyclops. I think tapping her on a shoulder or yelling “coo-eee” may have been something she could have tried before murdering her offspring for inviting her to dinner. The old lady can’t tell Forest Lady where Hero and Oracle went so Forest lady murders her too

Y’know people on this show need some damn names.

To the Oracle who is in Minos’s military camp (he is laying siege to Athens) and he seems very cynical and unimpressed by her divine Oracleness (unlike his daughter). Minos decides to test her loyalty by having sex with her – by her giving him the “gift” of her virginity (a job requirement for oracles). He also wants the Hero beheaded.

At least until his daughter easily manipulates him into questioning Hero first. It’s already pretty clear who the brains behind the throne is.

Daedelus, who was enslaved by and used to work for Minos before he escaped, is naturally seen as a great big traitor and he has a box on his head. A box into which Minos’s men put a bee hive. That’s just nasty.

As is what his daughter has planned for the Hero (and describes in an extremely sexual manner which I think is supposed to be creepy and intimidating but just makes me think she gets off on snakes). Her need to drink his blood (and identify city of origin by taste) means she totally misses him cutting his bonds. He takes her hostage and she gropes him. Lady, you have issues. Her begging him to cut her while doing so causes him to let her go, possibly out of bemusement or sheer terror. Though recaptured she doesn’t want him dead yet. That is not reassuring.

In Athens, Lykos tries to convince the council to send emissaries to their reluctant allies to ask for help when King Aegeus comes in and roars – again – about dying gloriously. Honestly every last one of this king’s ideas are basically glorious self-slaughter. He also questions why Lykos is there and, when he hears Lykos is actually a decent tactician, he roars about not needing tactics – just needing guts (presumably to spill everywhere when you are slit open by the enemy that uses tactics).

He wants to open the gates and charge outside of the fortifications in broad daylight against a foe that outnumbers them several times over. While their men are exhausted and morale is low. He strangles the general that tries to convince him what an utterly terrible idea this is.

Meanwhile Medea asks Cyrus how the Hero could meet the divine oracle of Gaia and King Minos’s greatest scientific mind and have Cyrus think this is just a coincidence. And now they’ve gone to Minos’s camp. Y’know, laughably mocking your own plot line isn’t clever.

Lykos is somewhat worried about his dad’s suicide plan and begs Medea to change his mind – which she agrees to do so long as Lykos uses his cunning to have Hero captured from Minos’s camp. So he goes and recruits an assassin from among the troops – much to Kimon’s shock (which he relates to Pallas along with how Lykos isn’t sharing all the nifty info).

Pallas meets with his fellow generals to be worried that Lykos as found a Dorian (whatever that is), he’s not controllable, not sharing secrets and he is maybe working with Medea. The pawn prince isn’t working out so much. They also believe Medea must be negotiating with Minos because Crafty Plotting Women!

Medea also has a bull sacrificed to Ares and presents the heart to the king to eat (he’s squeamish about this. Pfft such modern finickiest) which he whines mightily about. He also has to get washed in ox urine. (I think I know this game. Next he has to be smacked around the head with ox horns, for Ares! And now he must paint himself blue! FOR ARES! Until he finally clues in that she’s playing pranks). She also sees a terrible omen of Hades in the heart (“I’m definitely not eating it now.” Ok I had to laugh) saying he will just be killed and his reputation destroyed. Nicely manipulated Medea!

Clearly the only solution to this is to have sex with the priestess all night so she can offer up his semen as a sacrifice. And postpone the battle until the full moon.

And ye gods I thought the weirdest line I’d have to type today would be “witchpires.” Medea is full on trolling the man now.

With him asleep Medea steals some of his beard – but it’s possible the priestess may be pursuing her own agenda. She uses magic with the beard to pinpoint Hero’s location.

Back at the Minosian camp – Minos gets ready to force himself on the Oracle and his daughter gets ready to do the same with the Hero. Both are forced to play dress up and father and daughter even have the same rape lines which takes the whole thing. Minos is also an atheist so not that impressed by her divine powers. So she distracts him with lurid swan fantasies. Her sudden sexual enthusiasm and anticipation (and very high expectations) are very offputting to Minos. He can’t get an erection. She also uses cold reading skills to predict haemorrhoids and constipation. She convinces him that she does have oracular talent

Meanwhile the princess tries to convince Hero they’re alone while he tries to explain the difference between a lover and a prisoner which seems to escape her – she’s also frustrated by him not fighting back. He ties her up and tries to escape – but yes, there are guards there.

The next day Minos is fully convinced, but his daughter (who has a name at last, Ariadne) needs converting. Oracle tries to have Hero released and had his execution ordered instead. Oops

Daedelus survives his torture albeit blinded – and he is given an assistant, Thybus to work with so he can design flying machines for Minos. Thybus also demands respect from the helpless Daedelus and for him to curb his acid tongue. Together they design a device which they then use to free Hero from his cell. It’s possible Thybus isn’t all that bright. The guard captures Hero again – but – it’s actually Lykos’s lacky.

He kills several guards – and Hero escapes both of them.

He finds the Oracle – demands the ring and decides to leave her behind.

We also have a dramatic shot of Forest Lady because why not?

Someone wrote this episode with one hand down their trousers. This isn’t on HBO is it?

We have King Minos wanting to rape the Oracle (we’ll discard the whole Athenian spy thing as ridiculous – because if there’s one thing many spies would WANT it would be to be that close to you and be able to ingratiate themselves at that level – certainly enough spies that to even think about it as a counter-espionage strategy is ludicrous).  We have Ariadne molesting Hero. We also have some really strong gender roles in how those played out and I wonder how conscious the writers were of that. Oracle stopped her rape by removing Minos’s dominance – in some ways it showed that rape is, indeed, about power and not sexual attraction. When it became clear that raping Oracle wouldn’t be a violation or assert any kind of control, he lost his erection – at the same time it frames rape as something Oracle can prevent. It also needs to be juxtaposed with Ariadne and Hero – who tried to make Hero dominate her (albeit in a scene she controlled). The man sexually assaults by trying to dominate the woman, the woman sexually assaults by forcing the man to dominate.

Sexual assault also seems to figure heavily in the questioning sessions. For some reason in the writer’s room whenever they decide someone has been kidnapped and is about to be tortured someone starts playing the sexy music. Yes, rape was definite a threat for captured prisoners – but it isn’t presented that way. It’s supposed to be creepy next to the various imaginative tortures (like having a snake… well suffocate to death in your stomach I imagine) but creepy because it’s also supposed to be titillating. We don’t see the princess rubbing all over Hero and are expected to think “violation” or “rape” we’re expected to think “creepy” and “this woman’s twisted”.

And Medea’s solution for Aegeus (who, a few episodes before, she was cursing for sleeping with a woman before her) is to have an all night sex marathon with a random priestess (and the show’s only Black woman who is just there to be a sex object. I dearly hope she will actually have an ulterior motive and her own agenda).

I will say that when we got to the swan fantasies I just had a mental shrug and decided to run with it – it’s ridiculous so let’s just giggle at the randomness.