The story began in the forest, with our hungry heroes out hunting. Exercising lightning reflexes, Jason caught Hercules’ spear and saved an abandoned baby. While he was instantly sure they should take the child into their care, the others wavered, as the babe appeared deliberately left to die.
Grappling with the practicalities of childcare, they roped in Medusa and seeing her affection for the boy, Hercules promptly spied a way to get closer to her.
At the palace, we glimpsed King Minos entertaining a royal visitor. While was a genial host to King Lauis of Thebes, his Queen seemed to be making the most headway. Enjoying some great sexual tension with Laius, Pasiphae was very understanding about the visiting monarch’s marital strife and her attentions did not go unnoticed by Ariadne.
Cleverly written, and failing to recognise the myth until the mention of the prophecies, the plot kept us guessing. At first, we wondered if Lauis was incapable of producing an heir, then we puzzled at Pasiphae’s interest in the child too.
Guest star Donald Sumpter (Game of Thrones) brought gravitas as Tiresias, the servant who put a baby’s life before his master’s wishes despite the predictions of the Oracle. Particularly impressive was his interrogation scene with Medusa (Jemima Rooper).
In the regal circle, Ariadne enjoyed a cutting line or two at the expense of Pasiphae’s flirtations and a nice level of barbed banter remained between the two throughout. Sadly, Minos remains very much a one note character though.
As well as enjoying some clever hi-jinks on the run, Jason dealt with more of his parental issues and Pythagoras got to use his brains reconstructing the child’s toy and deducing its origins. Meanwhile, Hercules showed some true bravery and his actions earned a well-deserved kiss from Medusa, making a romance between them a slightly less preposterous proposition.
Crucially, there was a much-needed conversation between Pythagoras and Hercules as they finally discussed the elephant in the room; Jason’s impressive physical abilities that make him unlike anyone else in the doomed city.
‘Twist of Fate’ was an enjoyable adventure with some well-placed comedy involving weapon envy and inept baby handling. We loved the moment of gender reveal, an every present danger to which any any parent will attest. There was plenty of drama too, with well-handled action scenes and a dramatic hunt for the baby, showing that Atlantis has much promise.
Although again little was made of Jason’s future knowledge, he clearly questioned their actions when they named the child Oedipus and it raises the question of what these characters can do to avoid their fate. While Jason does not know his, he knows Medusa’s and the clock is ticking…
Aired at 8.20pm on Saturday 19 October 2013 on BBC One.
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