After a swift six episode run Atlantis is taking its mid-season break – a function of the later start caused by Doctor Who returning to the autumn schedules – and it is a chance to catch our breath. With a more dramatic and action packed tone, the show has certainly covered some ground in those first half dozen instalments.
Jason hits the ground running, straight off the back of last week’s cliff-hanger. Ariadne has been stabbed by the duplicitous Medea (Amy Manson), demonstrating her loyalty to Pasiphae, and Jason means to catch and kill her. After Hercules calls him back, we find ourselves in Atlantis with the wounded Queen put into the care of the Oracle.
However, conventional medicine will not work and our heroic trio find themselves on a quest to the eponymous Grey Sisters, in search of a cure for a wound inflicted by a magically cursed blade.
Confronting the trio of blind witches in their cave – it is always a cave, isn’t it? – Jason demonstrates his passion with some pretty rough behaviour. As Hercules and Pythagoras watch on, he threatens to mutilate the grotesque eye (on a chain) of the cackling harpies unless they reveal how to remedy Ariadne’s plight.
While their answer is relatively straight-forward it is the additional information they volunteer, namely that Medea and Jason’s fates are intertwined and he dare not kill her, which proves to be the most interesting.
As the story pushes forward there is time for an attack by blood scenting pterodactyls, a rare CGI monster moment in a much more practically based season, and the tease of a Mother/Son reveal for Jason during a confrontation with Pasiphae. Really though, it is all about the tease of Medea’s connection with Jason, with a troubling frisson between the pair seemingly destined to complicate his relationship with Ariadne, whose proposal he accepts in the episode’s final moments.
As ever, Mark Addy’s Hercules gets some of the best lines in the show, and we particularly enjoyed his grumbly reminiscence for the days when you could kill a witch and not worry about the consequences.
In the scenes with the grieving seer Orpheus, we see his conscience pricked as to Medusa’s plight and later he voices a justifiable concern; what has he been doing to fulfil his promise to rescue Medusa from her plight? Hopefully the latter half of the run will deliver on that.
In the meantime, while we wait for the show to return, we can but ponder where it might be going. Even if he was able to neutralise the threat of Pasiphae, surely Jason could not be settled as Ariadne’s consort, even with Pythagoras installed as his personal physician and Hercules as the court jester. We are sure the fates have much more danger and excitement in store!
Aired at 7.55pm on Saturday 20 December 2014 on BBC One.
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