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Atlantis: 104 “Twist of Fate” Spoiler-Free Review

atlantis-104-(3)

Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

I’m really hope that Atlantis succeeds in becoming primetime viewing for families, but with each week it gets more and more unlikely. This time round, Twist of Fate is a middling affair that just seems like filler and unfortunately it’s not the first episode that feels this way. Last week’s episode A Boy of No Consequence didn’t advance our lead three, giving them no development whatsoever. If Atlantis was a board game then the first two episodes (The Earth Bull and A Girl By Any Other Name) moved our characters a couple of steps forward but in the last few weeks they’ve remained still. I’m desperate for some sort of major event that’ll rock the boat and really try and ripple the waters.

Hercules is an amusing character but he only has a small palette of gags: weight, gut, drunkenness and these tropes are wearing off. He gets to have some nice bonding moments with the infant he, Pythagoras and Jason encounter but that’s about it in terms of growth. Meanwhile the latter pair do little. Pythagoras is a wasted potential and his triangles and theories haven’t come into play since the opener. He’s the sensible one but he’s also a historical figure and that necessitates some reference to why he’s a historical figure – i.e. his theorem. Jason seems to do a bit more here but again, not a lot. I’m also starting a drinking game called Torso Time where we each take a shot of… milk every time his shirt gets whipped off. Medusa is a more interesting creation – her relationship with the men is an odd one. She’s like their big sister, admittedly an older sibling that Hercules is infatuated with.

Another one of my problems with Atlantis is the extended royal family. This week we have the introduction of Jocasta and Laius, two members of the noblesse that haven’t been mentioned prior to Twist of Fate. Last week it was Queen Pasiphaë’s nephew who hadn’t been referenced prior to that episode and now we’ve got these two. It seems like there is little continuity in Atlantis and the writers are just incorporating new people because the plot deems it necessary.

This week’s romp is pulled directly from the 80s comedy Three Men and a Baby and it’s Hercules that fills the fatherly role. Initially he reacts against the infant’s presence but warms to it unsettlingly quick. Pythagoras isn’t quite as welcoming as you’d expect and so it’s down to Jason and Hercules to care for the baby and find out where it came from.

Another thing that’s worrying is the toilet humour employed in Twist of Fate. Jokes about farting or baby urine aren’t funny, they’re just disgusting and a bad attempt at making the audience laugh.

Verdict: 5/10

Oh Atlantis, how I want you to succeed but you’re making it harder for me every week. Next week there better be some development otherwise I’ll really be seeing those who have abandoned the show’s point.

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  • Joel Mole

    Eek. That doesn’t sound so good :(.

  • lp229

    More or less all of the criticisms you have mentioned in your review are equally applicable to ‘Merlin’.

    I am enjoying ‘Atlantis’ as a bit of light-hearted entertainment on a Saturday evening, but in my opinion it isn’t must see TV. Like its predecessor, there is some untapped potential. It is the lack of attention paid by the writers to continuity and character development which is the shows biggest flaw. For example; the fact that Jason is from modern day has been virtually ignored by the writers since episode 1. It would be interesting for them to explore how Jason is adapting to the ancient world, and, indeed, how he was able to get to Atlantis in the first place. Watching episodes 2 and 3, the audience with good reason can easily mistake Jason for having lived in the city all of his life.

    At this stage, I have to admit, it is quite difficult not to let my prior experience with ‘Merlin’ cause me to judge ‘Atlantis’ negatively, for the powers that be certainly seem to be repeating some of their mistakes that held ‘Merlin’ back from becoming outstanding. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, if the characterisations of the main trio will remain as they currently are, with Atlantis having been destroyed before Jason ever gets to fulfill his great destiny. I also suspect that the only lasting development that will take place is Medusa’s transition to evil in a Morgana type way.

  • The Administrator is Eleven

    It’s early days and shows like Atlantis need the entirety of the first series in order to find their feet. Merlin and Doctor Who didn’t really find their balance and tone until around episode 8 of their respective first series. These first few episodes are just the baby steps, the writers juggling the ideas trying to find what works. I’m tempted to give any bad or mediocre episodes the benefit of the doubt this early on as the show won’t really find it’s feet until later in the series. If by the finale, Atlantis hasn’t found it’s voice, then it may be time to drown it or get a second series where the writers can be a bit more adventurous, as here they seem to be playing it safe and desperately trying to emulate Merlin and appeal to that shows fans.

  • Ben Roberts

    I am enjoying Atlantis very much, but I think it will improve greatly with a second series, like many shows – Merlin, Doctor Who – the creators play it safe with the first series and then dare to push the boundaries with the second onwards.

    That being said, Three Men and a Baby is one of my favourite films, and I hear Ariadne’s sass-o-meter is going off the scale this week – so I am looking forward to this episode.

  • TheDarkLordDeep™

    No mention of CGI, i’m pleasantly pleased…

  • PӨᄃΚΥDӨП

    I’m loving Atlantis! I expected to hate A Boy of no Consequence, since it was basically filler, but it’s probably my favorite episode so far. And bear in mind that this is the first season, and this is basically exactly what Merlin was like before it got good. I’m going to stick with it.

  • Steve Willis

    An alternative to the Torso Drinking game is Torso Bingo.

    When Atlantis becomes a seriesal things; with each season draw up a bingo grid. In each square randomly assigned is the episode number. When ever Jason is topless, you cross off the episode’s number. First person to get a line of crossed-offs “wins”. Though this does mean this game lasts all series and doesn’t involve alcha… *ahem* milk.

    I don’t recall Merlin being that bluntly hetrofemale/bi/homomalesexual fan pandering. All male topless scenes in Merlin were loosely justified (getting changed/sleeping/working in a mine/being injured or ill).

    In Atlantis we’ve had: transported through time (means you lose your clothing except for a necklace. Convenient…)
    Being prepared to be sacrificed to the minotaur (because Minotaur hate eating people who haven’t been bathed by a maiden)
    Jumping a bull (because jumping a bull didn’t feel enough like gladiatorial combat. Manflesh makes it extra gladiatorial and reminds us that this is Ancient Greece where it’s all mediterranean and suchlike). It feels like Atlantis is trying too hard to make Jason seem hunky. I don’t think “something for the mums” is the solution to “something for the dads”. Both ideas for family entertainment is silly.

    Atlantis is OK. Merlin got better over time, even if the last series was uncharacterfully dark, and the finale utterly depressing. Maybe Atlantis will get better.
    I like there was development of the Queen last episode. However I didn’t really like how Pythagoras mentioned the rumour the Queen was a witch in the same episode the Queen did witchcraft. I would have liked the rumour being said in a previous episode. It felt ‘convenient’, like the Queen’s nephew. It sends the message that *anything* not mentioned before/introduced before will be important to the episode’s story.

    I still don’t get how Jason hasn’t had a mental break down from being transported into the past to a doomed city. He might be a special character, but that’s still quite a traumatic experience. If I was Jason (aside from only taking my top off for appropriate reasons) I would be panicking that I am currently in the to-be-sunken city of Atlantis and now met The Medusa. But of course, the only family screen entertainment where anyone has a mental crisis is Shrek: Forever After.

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