Saturday, May 30, 2015

Olympus, Season 1, Episode 8: Danger and Desire

Daedalus’s war machine moves to the gates – and it’s a bull’s head. Just the head. Minos doesn’t have a great deal of faith in this achieving much. The Athenians respond by shooting it. With arrows. A giant bronze head. One wonders what they expect to achieve. Inside, Aegeus is still moping over Medea. Ok king, you have officially exceeded your angst quota

Once the bull reaches the gate, it’s mouth opens and it uses a giant drill to cut through it. I rather think a less elaborate covered ram would have done as much but still, point to Daedalus.

Fighting reaches the palace and Lykos runs to his father who has fallen apart on his throne. Lykos tries to convince him to evacuate and the king has chosen moping and suicide. Except when he puts the knife to his neck it hurts so he throws it away. They’re then surrounded by Minoan soldiers

Over to our heroes – Hero and Oracle argue over loyalties. Oracle not understanding why Hero trusts Medea or Aegeus and Hero thinking she’s been influenced by Minos. Neither realising that everyone is terrible. Hero also says he needs Medea because he wants rid of the Lexicon. While Medea is angry that Hero won’t just kill Oracle and Hero still in denial that h loves her. Medea’s also not happy that Hero’s also lost the ring of the Magi which means the next time Kronos decides to invade Hero’s brain he has minimal protection.

When they return to Athens they find it has been taken – Medea is all for abandoning the city but Hero wants Daedalus’ help. Hero also have some thoughts for saving his dad – and inspiration about the Lexicon. If he dies the Lexicon dies – which may upset the gods given that Kronos is guarding it for Zeus.

As they go Oracle warns Hero that Minos may not be thrilled to see her – but also refuses to be left behind. She also talks about something she should do with extreme crypticness.

In the city Minos takes the throne and praises Daedalus who replies graciously with excellent “fuck you” undertones. Minos (who never fails to amuse me) remarks that he thought the throne room would be bigger.

Minos wants the Lexicon so has his lovely daughter Ariadne talk to the captured royal family to find Hero. She is wonderfully creepy and scary – and when Aegeus says he doesn’t know where Medea and Hero went, she cuts Pallas’s throat. Ariadne is convinced – they don’t know where Medea is.

However finding hero becomes much easier when Oracle speaks to Minos’s soldiers and has the three of them brought before Minos and Ariadne. Oracle quickly tries to convince Minos she acted in his best interests and he seems willing to forgive with the obvious proof that the Oracle did bring Hero to him. Ariadne is less trusting. Oracle is very good at convincing Minos to spare, well, everyone, she’s an excellent manipulator.

Minos makes demands of Medea, Medea makes demands of Minos – and he kisses her, telling Oracle she has a rival for his affections. Medea seems indifferent. He gives her a time limit, she says it’s too short but that’s kind of Minos’s thing.

Interlude to the prison caves where Aegeus and Lykos are cowering and whimpering

Before it’s on to the ritual and plot to bring in Daedalus.

Oracle is taken aside by Ariadne who asks what Oracle wants –with lots of groping and talking about how the Oracle wants Hero. She keeps groping her and Oracle tells her to stop – and Ariadne asks “do you say stop because you’re a virgin or because I’m a woman?”. Ariadne kisses Oracle and Oracle pushes away. Ariadne asks “how do you know if you want him if you don’t even know if you want me?”

Ariadne also disrupts Medea and Hero’s plotting and reunion with Daedalus by insisting that Hero be brought to her. Everyone objects but she insists. No-one argues when she insists. Ariadne shares with Hero her sheltered upbringing and holds him and tries to seduce him. Hero resists. She manages to beg for one kiss – which, of course, Oracle witnesses. When Ariadne is alone, she cries.

So, of course, Oracle arranges to speak to him later to ask why he’s into Ariadne – and Hero admits he wants Oracle and always has. He also arranges his escape (whyyyy?! He just gave himself up?!)

Medea and Daedalus find what they think is the door to Olympus and Hero wants to go – though Medea thinks he isn’t ready since he’s already failed his first, Oracle killing quest. He tries to convince Medea to work with his disappearing-escape act during the ceremony much to her annoyance

Minos, meanwhile, is outraged that his men are looting like barbarians. He has standards. And Ariadne has the Oracle kidnapped, stripped, tied down and tormented with a scorpion (AAARGH enough with the scorpions TV!) Ariadne rants about Hero belonging to her and that Oracle is stealing her man. She makes Oracle promise not to pursue Hero while leaving her, with the scorpion crawling all over her.

Medea, Hero et al have their ritual and time stops – Kronos appears. But Hero taunts him – he knows Kronos won’t kill him because that would kill the Lexicon, he is only there to scare Hero. Kronos is very dramatic in his CGI but it seems to be true – Kronos is a guardian only. Hero uses the time stop to escape

When time starts again, everyone thinks Hero has vanished before their eyes. Medea tells Minos Hero was taken by the gods.

I actually liked Ariadne’s anger with Oracle. It seemed to be a mark of Ariadne’s intelligence. Both Ariadne and Oracle are master manipulators – time and again we’ve seen them use their own separate methods to push people they way they want them to go. Ariadne is sexual and terrifying, Oracle crafty and quick witted. Both are brilliant at pushing the buttons of people around them. Ariadne’s hostility made sense and marked her skill because she was the one who saw through Oracle, she was the one who realised what Oracle was doing and was trying to stop her controlling her father

And then we have the whole jealousy storyline which destroys it all. All that cunning and out-manipulating each other comes down to “he’s my man! How dare you!” Which is such a damn shame – the interaction was interesting before that up to and including both women trying to out-manipulate the other

Related to that, I am 80% sure Ariadne is bisexual (and there’s at least a very real possibility with Oracle) but she uses sexual manipulation so often it is a) a trope and b) very hard to tell where Ariadne’s authentic, genuine interests lie outside of Hero because she is all about manipulation and uses sex as part of that. Of course, the predatory, dangerous, perverse bisexual is not exactly a happy fun trope here.

Minos is a rapist, we know this from his attempted rape of Oracle several episodes ago – and now it’s heavily shown with his unwelcome kiss of Medea. I’d be happier if he wasn’t a rapist at all, but equally I am almost happy there is a (non-graphic) reminder simply because he is, otherwise, such an amusing character with his little quips and his world-weary attitude. He’s fun. He’s funny. And when you have a character like that it’s so very easy to erase or forget what they’ve done.