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Episode Review 2.1 - A New Dawn

And here we go with series 2 of Atlantis! This is a sort of review, with my thoughts, random ramblings, and some pictures.

Needless to say, there will be great big spoilers for the espisode :-)

Firstly, the awards for the episode are:

Shirtless Award: Hercules
Adorable Award: Pythagoras and his, “I do it for love,” speech.
WTF?! Award: It’s a tie between Jason’s new hard man attitude, Pythagoras’ new fighting ability, and Pythagoras apparently seriously contemplating murdering someone in cold blood.

Well, that all got very exciting very quickly! Atlantis is back, with a whole new look and feel, and a lot more action. Possibly even too much action, purely because it launches straight into it with absolutely no explanation whatsoever, and then seems to lurch from one fight scene to another without a whole lot in between. I just about managed to keep up with what was going on, but that’s because I have read all the promo material. I dread to think how anyone might have coped if they hadn’t watched series 1 and just tuned in on a whim.

On the plus side, it’s essentially had a reboot of tone, and it appears that all the silly slapstick and fat jokes and childish humour has gone, which is excellent. Unfortunately, it appears that along with the annoying silly humour, they have got rid of almost all the humour, which is a shame because the fun and banter between the three leads was one of my favourite things about series 1. I don’t think Jason smiled once all episode, and Pythagoras and Hercules only smiled or laughed a couple of times. Perhaps it’s just because the opening episode was so action packed and playing for such high stakes, and once it calms down a bit in later episodes they might have more time for a bit of a laugh.

Jason appears to have forgotten how to smile, which is a shame when he normally has such a pretty face.
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That said, I am very much liking the new, more mature and practical and introspective Hercules. I’m less impressed with the fact that Pythagoras appears to have turned into Mr Spock, with all this talk of logic and reason all the time.

And on the subject of Pythagoras, when exactly did he turn into a badass combatant? In series 1, half the time he couldn’t even be relied on to remember to even bring his sword at all, let alone use it in an effective manner. Now, okay, yes he is still the one most likely to fall over and need to be rescued in a fight, but for the most part he is pretty much holding his own in all the swordfights. I know all the promo material has said that it’s a year since the events of series 1, so possibly we are meant to assume that Pythagoras had been practising, but it still seems a massive leap for the character who was pretty much their non-combatant last year.

On the subject of the time jump, I don’t actually recall hearing it mentioned at all in the show that it was supposed to be a year later, or, for that matter, the reasons or circumstances surrounding Pasiphae being banished. I was on the phone to my mum earlier, and she was wondering if she had missed something because she didn’t remember Pasiphae being banished at the end of the last series. To paraphrase Elvis, maybe a little more conversation (and info dumping) and a little less action was required.

Ariadne certainly seems to be getting into the role of queen pretty well. She’s being decisive and in control, she knows what she needs to do, and mostly seems to know how to do it. This looks promising.

I have to say, I like Medea. From what we’ve seen so far she’s resourceful, intelligent, powerful, and pretty damn awesome. And she rides dragons (or whatever that thing was supposed to be). I get the feeling that if she ever ends up in a fight against the boys she’s going to kick their arses. Actually, I quite want to see that happen now I’ve thought about it!

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So, onto specific comments about the episode.

Jason’s drug-induced vision was interesting. The Argo! That looks like it ought to be good. I was wondering if they might, one day, play with that particular bit of mythology.

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The most surprising, and in some ways most defining scene in terms of the new tone, is the scene where they discover the surviving soldier after the fight, and stand there seriously discussing whether or not to kill him, because leaving him alive could jeopardise the mission. And when both Jason and Hercules have decided they can’t do it, Pythagoras actually looks like he is seriously contemplating murdering the man in cold blood for a good ten seconds or so before he, too, bottles it. The scary thing was, for a second there, I seriously wondered if he might actually do it. The fact that they even had that discussion at all is a reflection of the new feel of the show, and the whole ‘stakes are higher’ situation. That conversation simply would not have happened in series 1. Oh, and by the way, re Pythagoras in this scene, doesn’t anyone else remember episode 1.8 – The Furies from last year? This is definitely up there with this week’s WTF Awards.

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Contemplating murder is obviously a serious business, and requires a serious expression. For ‘serious’, here you could also read, ‘rather hot’. Or maybe it's just me who thinks that...
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Also on the subject of Pythagoras (yeah, this is me, what did you expect me to be focussing on?), I think it’s possible that he may have forgotten to update his CV recently. Currently, it ought to read ‘Useful skills and abilities: mathematics, healing, general knowledge, stealth ninja assassin’. No, stick with me on this one. I draw your attention to the scene in Pasiphae’s camp, when he’s keeping watch while Jason and Hercules search for the Palladium. Pythagoras ends up in single combat with a Colchian soldier, and kicks off the fight by apparently attempting to slit his throat. When that fails and the soldier overpowers him, there’s something of a tense fight in which we see Pythagoras desperately fighting the soldier off and trying to prevent the soldier from stabbing him in the throat with a dagger. The scene cuts away, and when we come back, the soldier is dead with the blade sticking out of his chest, and Pythagoras is completely fine, if a little shocked and breathless. How? How the hell did he do that on his own?

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Seriously, look at the way that dagger is sticking out of the soldier. It’s been angled between two plates of leather armour so as to get past the armour and penetrate the flesh. That involves precision placing of the blade, which is pretty difficult in the ‘pinned down on the ground’ type of fight they were having. It also requires a great deal of physical force to push the blade past the armour and deep enough into the man’s body to achieve a fatal, or at the very least incapacitating, injury. Pythagoras has never come across as being that physically powerful.

So, stealth ninja assassin? Or did something else happen off-screen that might prove important later (which I very much doubt, given that the entire encounter seems to have been forgotten about within seconds of it being over). Or was it just dodgy editing?

The campfire conversation between Hercules and Pythagoras was probably one of my favourite bits of the entire episode, for obvious reasons. It was also the one scene that felt a lot closer in tone to the first series, and to the heart of the relationship between the three leads. This conversation is why Pythagoras is pretty much the only candidate for the Adorable Award for the week. Awww, bless.

“I love you. Both of you.”
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Moving onto the subject of people who aren’t Pythagoras, is it just me, or has Jason turned into a grumpy, bossy bastard with an over-inflated sense of self-importance? Jason spent much of the latter part of the episode unconscious, which, quite frankly, came as a relief, because his shiny new, ‘I’m an angsty tortured hero with a destiny and we’re going to do things my way and I no longer appear to give a fuck whether my friends agree with me or not’ attitude was really starting to get annoying. I don’t care how much Pythagoras loves him; if Jason keeps treating his friends like that I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them turns round and punches him in the face before the series is over.

“Ever since I came to Atlantis I've been told I have a destiny. A purpose. For the first time, I think I understand.”
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That said, along with the campfire conversation, the last ten minutes or so actually seemed a lot more like series 1, once Jason was unconscious and the other two were directing the action. The whole bridge sequence and the bits in the caves felt far more like one of the adventures they would have had before. And also, Cyclops! Excellent! Other fun moments definitely include the catapult escape, and it’s nice to see they haven’t forgotten that Pythagoras should be using his brain to get them out of trouble instead of just attempting to stab anything that moves.

Sadly, this is not the ‘three in a bed’ that it looks like. It is, however, one of the most fun moments in the entire episode, when Pythagoras decides it’s a good idea to fire themselves at the sea out of an enemy catapult.
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So, new look, new feel, new tone, several new characters. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it a lot. But I think the sheer scale of the difference from series 1 is what has thrown me a little. The best way I can think to describe it is feeling like I walked into a cinema expecting to watch Indianna Jones, and got halfway through before I realised I was sitting in the wrong screen and was watching a Quentin Tarantino film.

One thing is very clear – this is not the same show that I was watching last year. Right at this moment, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: Atlantis, A New Dawn part 1

17 comments or Leave a comment
bigtitch From: bigtitch Date: November 16th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Please tell me there's still the Wailing Chorus at the Temple of Exposition?
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 17th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
What? Sorry, I'm obviously having a dim moment, because you've lost me! :-)
kristen_mara From: kristen_mara Date: November 17th, 2014 10:43 am (UTC) (Link)

There was a section in here about love interests and fan art that I found very interesting when I read it - I suppose you've already read it *G*


deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 17th, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heehee! Yes, we saw that and there was a great deal of excitable flailing and squeeing in the fandom! :-)

It doesn't take much, some days... ;-)
eriah211 From: eriah211 Date: November 17th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I don’t actually recall hearing it mentioned at all in the show that it was supposed to be a year later"
I realised that too. It could be terribly confusing for people who had been avoiding spoilers and not reading interviews.

"Pythagoras actually looks like he is seriously contemplating murdering the man in cold blood for a good ten seconds or so"
I was so fucking scared he would actually do it \0/ I was worried they would go really too far with the new tone, you know? I was actually holding my breath and begging "No, please, don't" mentally.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them turns round and punches him in the face before the series is over."
So far it's looking like it's going that way. I wanted to punch him myself after the 'I have a destiny' speech.

Also, definitely a new tone, but I will have to wait til I watch a less action-packed episode to really see how much the show has changed. There were too many fights and too much running to see things clearly, if you know what I mean ^_^
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 18th, 2014 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I definitely know what you mean on that last point. I am actually hoping that maybe it's just because it's such a big, epic, action-packed plot to kick off the new series that everything seems so chaotic and different. Maybe it will calm down a bit and there will be more character-related plots after the big opening two-parter.

Oh, yes, I was really worried that Pythagoras was actually going to kill that guy. I think that really would have been a step too far.

Lol! Jason really does seem to be acting like a bit of a dick so far. I hope this is not a sign of things to come.

I do like your new series 2 Atlantis icon, btw. :-)
eriah211 From: eriah211 Date: November 18th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hehee, thanks! I wanted to celebrate the new series and the new tone with a new icon ^_^

I'm dying to see a less chaotic episode to get the real feeling of the new series *waits impatiently for next episode*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 20th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I might have to make myself a couple of series 2 icons, but I think I'll wait for some more promo pics to become available first. I adore that promo pic that you've used for your - Py looks so mean and moody (and hot!) :-)
honor_reid From: honor_reid Date: November 18th, 2014 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I finally was able to watch it today.

I think you have a point it seemed a bit chaotic so if someone was tuning in for the first time it would be a bit difficult to follow.

Jason was abrupt with everyone, but it could be Jack's way of trying to show how much more dramatic this show is supposed to be, so maybe it was an acting choice. Also the fact that except for the one conversation between Pythagoras and Hercules there was no time for heart to heart. So we really didn't get any insight into what Jason is thinking or how he's doing in general.

Actually that is the complaint I have with this episode, we really don't know how the past year has been for most of the characters. So maybe in pt.2

I agree the jury is still out for me as well as far as whether I like the new tone of the show. I am hoping that we will get more moments between Hercules, Pythagoras, and Jason, like in the first season. Because honestly they were the ones that keep me tuning in every week.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 18th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jason appears to have become very focussed and abrupt and to the point, to the point of almost being mono-syllabic!

I've been thinking about it, and I think actually he was very bossy and stubborn about doing things 'his way' in series 1 as well, but it was offset against the fact that he often didn't understand what was going on and needed to have things explained to him by the others, so they could sometimes rein him in a bit of he was going too far. Now there has been a big time pass and Jason has (presumably) got used to the social rules and customs of the world, there isn't even that to hold him back any more, so the fact that he is determined to do things his way and damn the consequences is even more pronounced.

Maybe it is just because the opening two-parter is so action-packed and full of fights and action sequences, so there just isn't time for the more character-based stuff. I'm definitely hoping that after that it might settle down a bit and we'll see more of the boys interacting properly. Because yes, the relationship between the three main characters was really the thing that made the series stand out from other sci-fi/fantasy series for me. If it loses that, it will have lost the real heart of the show.
honor_reid From: honor_reid Date: November 19th, 2014 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I am hoping that it settles down as well.

I have been thinking and your right he was very resolute about doing things his way last season as well. In Greek Mythology the heros all tend to be very flawed in character so maybe this is Jason's flaw.

Plus ever since he has been in Atlantis he has been told he has a destiny and he is the ONLY one who can save everyone. He even is faster and more skilled in fighting then others who have been fighting for their entire life. Ariadne herself has even said he has never failed.

The point being that, all of that could go to even the humblest of person's head. And considering Jason probably wasn't all that humble to begin with he may have an over inflated ego at this point.

Maybe the writers are setting him up for a fall and for him to finally fail at something (And probably in a very painful way). Which would allow his character to grow and become a better hero in the process.

I hope all of that makes since as it is late here and I am tired. :)
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 20th, 2014 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, you're right. If he is constantly being told by people that he is 'special' and has a destiny, it would be surprising if it hadn't affected him a bit.

Maybe the writers are setting him up for a fall and for him to finally fail at something (And probably in a very painful way). Which would allow his character to grow and become a better hero in the process.

I like that theory!
fififolle From: fififolle Date: November 19th, 2014 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL! Great review :D
I will admit to be thoroughly confused, but didn't have enough attention on it as I was organising something else at the time, so could only spare one eye. I need to watch it again.
But I did love the Pythagoras declares his love scene, YAY! So cute.
Can't really wait for another episode.
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 20th, 2014 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've watched it four or five times now, I think, and I have to admit there was a lot that I missed the first time (not least because I was doing the live watch as well, which always means you miss stuff while commenting). It definitely stands up to a second watching.

I think there was just *so much* going on, and it all moved so quickly compared to even the most action-packed of last years episodes, it's no wonder you missed things! I realised later that we didn't see the boys in their house once in this ep, which is a shame because I absolutely love the scenes with them at home being domestic.

Awww, bless Pythagoras. He really is just adorable.
fififolle From: fififolle Date: November 21st, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pythagoras' sword skills were insane! There really killed a whole load of people in the episode. I wonder how the rest of the series will pan out. I hope there will be some nice cosy house scenes for sure :D
And I get very excited every time we see Dion. (Though I wish he had a more sexy name *g*)

See you tomorrow!!! (Still need to pack.)
celeste9 From: celeste9 Date: November 29th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
So I've finally gotten around to reading this! And yes, I was very confused, haha, as you probably already knew when I had to ask if I'd forgotten the king dying last year. *g* I couldn't figure out how much time had passed, and I had no idea what was going on with Pasiphae. I figured I must have just forgotten a lot from last year! But apparently not. Merlin used to do those time jumps as well but I recall them being less jarring than this.

But I enjoy fight scenes, and even better if they've got swords, so I'm not really going to complain about that. And the "I love you" bit with Py and Herc was completely adorable, especially when Herc pretended not to be crying, awwwww. <3 I didn't like the soldier killing debate, it felt off all around.

I don't have an Atlantis icon, but I do have Mr. Spock! *g*
deinonychus_1 From: deinonychus_1 Date: November 29th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! You finally read the first one, right after I've posted the second one! :-) Yes, I do worry about the fact that they just launched into it with no explanation or indication of the time pass. I know it's been in all the promo stuff, but no everyone reads the promo stuff and interviews, especially if they are deliberately avoiding spoilers, or are only a casual fan.

And interesting you compare it with Merlin. I seem to remember in Merlin they always slipped it into the dialogue fairly early on in the first episode if there had been a significant passage of time since the last time we saw them, so you always knew where you were. I don't recall anyone in this ep of Atlantis saying anything about it being a year since Pasiphae was exiled, or a year since Jason arrived, or whatever. I know it was all really fast-paced and action packed, but surely it wouldn't have been that difficult to slip *something* in somewhere? Unless, perhaps, they did, and it just didn't make the final edit.

The fight scenes were really good, although I think they got even better in episode 2. I'm still boggling slightly at Pythagoras' new-found sword skills, however. Oh, and don't get me started on the debate about killing the soldier. I'm going to pretend it didn't happen, because it was so out of character for all three of them. :-(
17 comments or Leave a comment