Episode review time again! I may need to consider using less screencaps, because they take so long, and without so many pictures this could have been ready to post yesterday. But there was so much pretty in this episode, I couldn't stop with the screencaps!
Anyway, review behind the cut. Spoilers for the series so far, obviously.
Shirtless Award: Jason
Miss Marple Award: Pythagoras
Hot but Unfortunately Evil Award: Telemon
Considering I’m not usually a fan of the arena combat episodes, I enjoyed that one a lot. Mainly because, unlike series 1, they seem to have managed a far better balance of combat vs. other plot and character stuff happening, rather than an entire episode of samey combat scene after samey combat scene.
So, is anyone really surprised that Hercules completely failed to keep that great big secret that he learned last week? Nope? Didn’t think so.
More seriously, however, I’m now having a very bad feeling that the theme for this series is going to centre around Hercules and Pythagoras trying to protect Jason, without being able to tell him what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, leading to much angst and arguments and tension and forced plotting. Because that storyline worked *sooooo* well in the last series of Merlin *eyeroll*. Please, Atlantis. Please don’t go there. Please do something more sensible this time round.
Anyway, along comes Telemon. He’s hot. And not in the least bit suspicious. Although while Jason and Hercules got friendly with the new hottie, Pythagoras already seemed to be a bit short with him right from their meeting in the woods. Maybe he was worried that their house had already reached maximum capacity with random hot fugitives who needed saving?
Turns out Pythagoras was right to worry – Hercules seemed surprisingly keen to welcome Telemon into their house, but if you look closely, that’s Pythagoras’ bedroom that Telemon is making himself comfortable in. Which rather begs the question, where, or with whom, was Pythagoras sleeping that night? Answers on a postcard...
So, Jason has been chosen as the champion for Atlantis, mostly at Dion’s insistence. Cue lots of semi-naked men (and women) wearing impractical leather armour, and oh, look! Telemon is actually a prince. He failed to mention that when he was slumming it with the boys.
This is Pythagoras’ ‘suspicious and not happy’ face. Get used to it. It happens a lot this episode.
Once Telemon has outed himself as a prince, he then turns his attention to Queen Ariadne. Just in case you were in any doubt whatsoever that he was going to be a rival to Jason, now he’s not only facing him in the arena, he’s intending to steal the love of Jason’s life. They should have just had him wearing black. At least Heptarian nailed his (black) colours to the mast straight away like that.
It’s at this point that we get a lovely little domestic scene with the boys at home, with Jason and Hercules cleaning Jason’s armour, while Pythagoras appears to be prepping dinner. I love this! It’s just so adorably domestic, which is something that was sadly missing from the first two episodes. They are actually multi-tasking, and being domestic while discussing Telemon, and wondering why he didn’t mention the fact that he was a prince when they first met him. Pythagoras is suspicious. So suspicious, in fact, that he abandons dinner and gets very annoyed and starts waving his veg knife around.
Clearly the moral of this story is not to annoy Pythagoras while he is prepping dinner, because a) he’ll start waving knives around, and b) you won’t get fed.
Anyway, arena combat ensues. Here, have some pictures of semi-naked men (and women) fighting each other.
Considering it’s ostensibly an ‘arena combat’ episode, the fight scenes are kept short, and the outcomes are entirely predictable. Arguably, the most tense and dramatic scene in the episode is not the final fight between Jason and Telemon, but the confrontation between Pythagoras and Telemon, where Pythagoras accuses him of not being who he says he is.
By this point, Pythagoras has talked to a few people, become ever more suspicious after the death of Areto, and generally poked about and done his Miss Marple thing, with a little help from Hercules. But essentially, in a world where there is no proof of identity beyond a person’s word, and where the word of a noble counts for more than that of a peasant (no matter how smart that peasant is), Pythagoras has just accused a prince of a foreign city of being a liar and a fraud. And then Telemon proves him wrong.
That really isn’t going to end well, and the look on Pythagoras’ face is enough to tell you just how dangerous that is, not just for Pythagoras, but probably for Hercules by association, if Telemon chose to pursue it. But then Telemon doesn’t pursue it, and he apparently brushed it off and insisted on no hard feelings. Yeah, right. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that particular face off.
So, Jason wins, despite Telemon’s badly botched attempt at murdering him in the arena. Nevertheless, Ariadne agrees to marry Telemon, after taking advice from Captain Reliable (aka Dion). I suspect Dion is going to be very annoyed when he discovers that the man he urged Ariadne to marry is a baddie. Jason finally admits that he was wrong and his friends were right, and Pythagoras somehow manages to not say, “I told you so.”
Not a bad episode, and it was nice to see Pythagoras getting lots of stuff to do after he had been criminally underused for the first two episodes. There were several lovely scenes with Hercules and Pythagoras together, including a balcony conversation. Oh, how I have missed the balcony conversations! \o/
Actually, this year it does seem that the Hercules/Pythagoras relationship has reined in the ‘old married couple comedy double act’ quite a lot, which is a shame because Mark Addy and Robert Emms have such wonderful comic timing together. But it has to be said the new, more serious, friendship is working well with the slightly more serious tone of series 2.
One thing that I have noticed this series is that there has been less sense of them being a trio, and more of a sense that Jason is going off and doing his own thing, or is focussed on his own agenda (whether the others agree with him or not), while Hercules and Pythagoras work as a team together. In series 1 there was rather more mixing it up between the three of them as to who paired off with who to get things done (more often it was Jason and Pythagoras doing stuff together). Now admittedly we are only three episodes in, so things could change. But...
I am currently wondering whether this may be laying the groundwork for a major bust up between the boys later in the series. And I’m going to guess this will probably be at the point when Jason (inevitably) discovers that they have been keeping a pretty important secret from him. Of course, the fact that Jason has spent the last year keeping some pretty huge secrets from his friends will be conveniently forgotten when he goes all righteous anger on them, but there you go.
So, there’s a couple of predictions for the series. Let’s see how it plays out. I’d quite like to be proved wrong, because that might mean that they aren’t going for the obvious plot developments.
And on a final note, here’s one last pic.
Jason’s reaction to discovering that the fangirls have started pairing Pythagoras with someone other than him seems to have been a little extreme.