After three glorious weeks in the BBC’s Atlantis, hero Jason has received many obtuse prophecies from The Oracle about what an important dude he is. He doesn’t seem to have a life per se, just a string of adventures he throws himself into by being heroic and well-intentioned, dragging his two friends along with him.
This week, thankfully, the Oracle doesn’t appear, the annoying vamping is kept to a minimum, and we just see an altruistic idiot struggling with the consequences of his idiocy, whilst important people conspire against him. As a result, it’s probably the least bad episode yet. Spoilers to follow, watch it on iPlayer if you so desire.
The Running Of The Balls?
This week, Jason steps in when a Royal slaps around an old man in the street, and finds himself called up before the King for his disrespect. By sheer bad luck, the man he dissed is also the intended husband of the Princess whom Jason has been making eyes at.
Bit of a coincidence, but I’ll allow it when it makes the situation worse. Our hero ends up sentenced to forced bullfighting and… because they were there, basically, Hercules and Pythagoras get thrown in with him. Sucks to be them. (I was initially confused, because whenever the King says “bulls”, it sounds like “balls” to me.)
I’m prepared to just about buy this stuff considering Atlantis doesn’t exactly take place in a world of fairness and equality, plus being locked up in prison and forced to use his wits to get by, rather than just running around shouting, gives Jason’s situation more sustained drama than previous weeks. There’s a few twists, a couple of reasonably well-characterised guest stars, the Royal intrigue isn’t bad, the ending kinda-worked – I’ve seen much worse from this show, let’s put it that way.
Pythagoras – Jack Of All Sciences
Obviously, there’s a but coming: parts of the episode are still boring; Jason’s regular life in Atlantis just involves hanging around waiting for chances to get his friends beaten up; they don’t seem to have any regular use for Pythagoras except revealing he’s an expert in all sciences when convenient (Maths? Chemistry? Medicine? YES HE CAN!); the amount of effects needed to make the bull fight sequences work makes them very choppy to watch.
Oh, and the ending does good things with Medusa (nice to see the female characters getting some use this week), but the bull-fighting part was kinda drama-free. They jumped, it went fine… the end. Okay then?
Still, this was the least annoying episode of Atlantis so far, and that’s a start. Join us next week as we hit a third of the way through the series (almost) and start to ask the ultimate question: Why is this show on so late in the evening? It’s clearly aimed at children.