athene (deinonychus_1) wrote,

Episode review 2.6 - The Grey Sisters

*sneaks in looking guilty*. Okay, just to make this clear, this is *not* the review post for last night's episode, this is the review post for the last episode that aired just before Christmas. What with Christmas and everything I didn't have time to do it immediately after the episode aired, and then after Christmas I sort of forgot that I hadn't done it. When I somewhat belatedly remembered it last week, I decided to try to get it posted before episode 7, thinking that it might at least serve as a recap, but then I failed to get it done in time. Sorry! Anyway, here it is. The review post and picspam for ep 7 ought to appear at some point this week. Honest!

Spoilers for episode 2.6 behind the cut. Although really, it aired over three months ago, so if you haven't seen it by now I don't know what you've been doing!

Shirtless award: no one
Best Description of Jason Award: The Grey Sisters
Best Liam Neeson Impression Award: Jason

We start the episode with Jason doing his best Liam Neeson impression: “Medea! I will find you, and I will kill you!” Which is a fun way to kick things off, I suppose.

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They get the mortally wounded Ariadne back to Atlantis (let’s gloss over exactly how they managed this between the three of them, with one unconscious and seriously bleeding person who would no doubt have required constant medical attention for most of the journey, and a blind man, and possibly no horses), and Pythagoras and the Oracle and Melas get to work while Jason paces outside and wallows in angst and self-recriminations.

Now, I know that for the entirety of series 2 so far I have been complaining at the ridiculous under-use of Pythagoras as a character, and his relegation to little more than a second rate fighter, so in theory I am happy to see him getting involved in major plot relevant stuff here. But... are you seriously telling me that the palace doesn’t have its own royal physician? Or that in the whole of the city of Atlantis there wasn’t a better trained professional doctor available than Pythagoras to treat the queen? Really? I knew he was good, but damn. Why do the boys have so many money problems if Pythagoras is the best healer in Atlantis? They should have people queuing at the door for his services! So I’m kind of, ‘Yey! Pythagoras doing important shit’, but at the same time my suspension of disbelief is really straining to accommodate this.

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On the plus side, however, it does give Robert Emms lots of opportunities to stand around looking worried and pensive (and hot), which is something of a trademark for Pythagoras this series. /shallow

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Anyway, Jason sleeps with Ariadne (not in *that* way! He just sleeps next to her), in a scene that is oddly reminiscent of the one in 1.12 when he was injured and she kept him in the palace overnight to hide him. So they have now shared a bed twice, and on both occasions one of them was seriously wounded and bleeding. Not sure if this is actually going anywhere, but the similarities just seemed worth noting.

So the Oracle sends them off to see the Grey Sisters, and the boys get an actual adventure of the week quest. We haven’t had one of those for ages! En-route, however, we have a gorgeous angsty conversation between Hercules and Pythagoras, and this time it is Hercules who is having the guilt and self-recriminations as he realises that he has done nothing to help Medusa since they last saw her in a cave, despite promising that he would find a cure. Even Pythagoras can’t find any words of comfort for him, because basically what Hercules says is entirely accurate. Poor Hercules.

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The Grey Sisters, who are apparently some of the most powerful seers in the known world, spout some stuff about Jason and Medea’s destinies being bound together, and that he will not be able to kill her. However, mostly what I took away from this scene was the way they got the measure of Jason within about ten seconds:

“Such a pretty boy... Pretty and stupid.”

It’s as if they’ve met him!

On their way to find Medea, the boys encounter what appear to be pterodactyls. Pythagoras explains that they are actually stymphalian birds, which have the rather interesting ability to sense a drop of blood at a thousand paces. If that’s not an obvious setup for later I don’t know what is. Also, does anyone else feel a crossover with Primeval coming on?

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Anyway, the inevitable happens, Hercules gets a tiny injury, and is immediately set upon by the pterodactyls stymphalian birds, and the boys are forced to take shelter in a narrow ravine. At this point Jason decides he can’t wait any longer and goes off by himself to the temple full of all their most dangerous enemies, leaving the other two behind.

What???!!! Okay, so later plot developments require Jason to be captured and held prisoner so that he can have the face off with Pasiphae, but couldn’t they have found a less contrived and ridiculous method of separating the boys from each other?

Once they are in the ravine, Pythagoras insists that Hercules cannot leave until he has stopped bleeding because the birds will kill him if he does. Fair enough. However, neither Jason or Pythagoras appear to be injured, and it didn’t look like they ran very far from the place where they stopped to camp and, presumably, left all their things. Why couldn’t Pythagoras have run back to the camp, grabbed his medical supplies, and treated and covered Hercules’ injuries? (He is, after all, the best healer in Atlantis, apparently.) They could have been good to go again in maybe twenty or thirty minutes, and all gone together to the enemy stronghold.

Instead, Jason runs off on his own straight away without waiting for any alternative suggestions, and Hercules and Pythagoras then sit in the ravine doing absolutely sod all for what appears to be an entire day. Really? Series two seems to have become a constant stream of excuses to separate the boys and have Jason go off and do things by himself, but this is by far the most silly and contrived excuse yet. Okay, so the fight with the birds gave us an action scene in what was otherwise a largely fight-free episode, but the whole ‘waiting for Hercules to heal’ was just silly, because apart from anything else his wounds didn’t actually look that serious.

As a more plausible alternative, couldn’t they, for instance, have had a brief fight with a monster or some Colchean guards, during which someone, perhaps Pythagoras, sprains his ankle? That is the kind of injury that would slow them down and stop him from going with Jason immediately, but which could conceivably be healed enough to get going again the following day after an overnight rest. And there’s no way Hercules would leave Pythagoras alone and injured and unable to defend himself. It would still have been a little contrived, and would no doubt have made me rant about how Pythagoras is always portrayed as the weak and useless one in a fight, but in comparison with what the show actually did, it would have made far more logical and plausible sense!

All that said, however, the entire situation with the birds is almost worth it purely for the moment when Jason and Hercules are arguing over which one of them gets to take Pythagoras, until Pythagoras finally loses his rag and shouts at both of them.

Pythagoras: Stop it, both of you! Or I will bang your stupid empty heads together!

Although Hercules then nearly steals his thunder with an even better quote.

Hercules: (to Jason) Just try not to do anything heroic. And by ‘heroic’ I mean stupid.

So Jason wanders off to the heavily fortified temple of Hecate on his own, somehow finds Medea, and as prophesised, he cannot kill her. Then he gets himself captured. Clearly he didn’t listen to Hercules’ excellent advice.

All of this, however, feels like little more than a way of engineering a situation in which Jason and Pasiphae can have a conversation together, alone, for what must be the first time ever. That scene between the two of them, however, is almost worth the admission price for this episode by itself. And it turns out that Jack Donnelly really can act. Who knew?! Atlantis often tends to fall back on big battles and impressive fight scenes and monsters, but it’s actually scenes like this, when they give the actors decent scripts and just let them get on with it, that the show is at its strongest.

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So, is Pasiphae genuinely attempting to connect with her son, or is she just trying to manipulate him? It’s pretty much impossible to tell with Pasiphae, but either way, it’s a great scene from Sarah Parish. Of course, Jason then resorts to violence, and undoes any ground that might have been made. Atlantis is certainly dealing in shade of grey this series, rather than strict black and white good guys and bad guys.

Eventually Pythagoras and Hercules go after Jason (when he appears to have been gone for over a day), and are you really telling me that they climbed the vertical cliff beneath the temple fortifications? Really? I could almost believe Jason doing it, because he has superhuman athletic abilities, but Pythagoras and Hercules? Regardless, they save Jason, everyone escapes, and there is a meaningful gaze between Jason and Medea as they are running away.

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So, business sorted, they get back, save Ariadne (via a team power walk down the palace corridors), and everyone lives happily ever after. And after spending the series so far saying she can’t be with him, Ariadne has something of an about-turn, and proposes to Jason. Yey! The boys may actually have to buy themselves some new clothes if there's a wedding in the offing.

Team power walk!
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I have to admit, my main reaction to the Jason/Ariadne developments was when I realised ten minutes after the episode finished that if Jason marries Ariadne, he will move out and live at the palace, and then it would no longer be my ‘men behaving badly in ancient Greece bromance house-share’ programme! Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!

In other news, did I mention that Pythagoras was looking particularly hot in this episode?

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*whistles nonchalantly and slides a few more screencaps into the pretty screensaver folder*

Tags: fandom: atlantis, hercules, jason, pasiphae, picspam, pythagoras, ramblings, squee, tv

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