Atlantis: 108 “The Furies” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey
Atlantis, as ever, is growing stronger and stronger as the weeks and stories go on. The series has certainly shown clear development and proving to be a continuous new gem for the BBC’s Saturday evening hotspot.
This week in ‘The Furies’ we saw Pythagoras take the centre stage, as Hercules did in ‘The Song of the Sirens’, for some well-rounded character development and spotlight. Interesting developments were made within his character as a turn of events, i.e. the arrival of his kid brother Arcas, brought about some nasty little secrets buried within Pythagoras’s past. It was blatantly hinted within the start upon Arcas’s arrival that this brought about an uneasy feeling within Pythagoras. My first thoughts were that Arcas had done something wrong or shameful within his past which only Pythagoras was aware of, something involving a crime. I assumed maybe the obvious crime of theft and that Arcas, as a gambling man which was established very early on within the story, would at some point try and steal the chest of treasure during the voyage across the desert. Of course I was proven wrong and in fact the faults lied with Pythagoras himself, something I didn’t suspect to begin with due to his kind hearted character we had seen throughout the series prior to this story. A unique part of this story was the factor of Pythagoras being the one to see the Oracle and beseech her advice. Usually this was left to Jason, our lead protagonist. But this week he was left totally in the dark and the prophecy to the future was given to Pythagoras for him to decipher. So a lot of the story, attention and responsibility revolved around Pythagoras for this week’s story.
Upon hearing that Pythagoras held a dark heart, as pointed out by the Oracle, a burden he wished to keep to himself until the grave I instantly got the idea that our little helper held a dark secret from within his past; something that wasn’t pleasant and something that would seem out of character from what we know of him. Upon seeing Arcas attack Otus, we are told afterwards that the outburst against the marked murderer was due to the fact his father was killed. As I’ve said before, due to being a writing student and watching tons of television and films throughout my life, it is easy to pick up upon plot developments and determine resolutions to revelations within the story. It was here I picked up on that Pythagoras was the one who murdered their father. The question that lingered was as to why it was done? As revealed later on Pythagoras remained the good man we all know and love. There was momentary doubt that his character had a dark past riddled in regret and pain through the terrible act he had committed. As it turned out it was a mere accident which came about after he tried defending his mother against a drunken rage by his father. This all formed a satisfying leap forward within the series and the characters within it. The situation merely strengthened the bonds between the gang/trio as they stuck together to keep Pythagoras safe from harm. Even knowing the deadly secrets of his past both Jason and Hercules believed in their friend and trusted him. The brilliant lines delivered between Jason and Pythagoras really did demonstrate the bonds of friendship that has forged throughout their journeys together in Atlantis:
Jason: This is what friends are for. Pythagoras: Not to die for me. Jason: No. To save you.
Arcas had an interesting story to tell as well as his vengeance for his father’s death riddled him with such anger that he bestowed the help of vile and murderous beings to discover and kill the one who brought pain to his heart. The Furies were summoned by his calling and attempted to do his bidding. Upon realising who the true culprit was Arcas’s heart broke knowing that his own brother not only killed his father but also lied to him. It was thought that he wouldn’t forgive Pythagoras for his crime and thus leave him at the mercy of the creatures he summoned to do his dark deed. In the end, with the aid of Baucis, he was able to go back and save Pythagoras. Though to begin with he still couldn’t bring himself to fully forgive his brother, thus unable to end the contract with mere words, as Pythagoras was near enough swept into the dust cloud of the Furies wrath. At the last second Arcas reached and grabbed his brother before he could be taken by the Furies and this in turn made the creatures give up their efforts at trying to claim their target. Love once again prevailed within Atlantis, this time for a change being the love between siblings and the bonds that family has on one another. Like most brothers they had a falling out after not seeing eye to eye but in the end they both realise that their love for one another is stronger than the problem at hand and that family bond will keep them together and make them strong.
Hercules was certainly on high form this week as his character continues to develop from the blundering anti-hero of the earlier stories into a now fully fledged hero who wishes to tackle anything in order to protect his friends and loved ones. He showed a very keen eye this week as he demonstrated on many occasions a sense of judgement over the character of Baucis after suspecting her characteristics were all wrong and didn’t match that of a lady. This all turned out to be correct in the end as she was in fact a thief who attempted to make off with the treasure. Later on his senses managed to detect the fact that the continuous gusts of wind that followed them through the deserts weren’t a natural phenomenon and were in fact something else entirely. Towards the end of the story he decided to be brave and remain with Jason in protecting Pythagoras from the Furies. Alright to be fair he didn’t actually do much apart from being thrown around a bit and being injured but it’s the fact that his bravery has increased, showing a clear character development from what he was like at the beginning of the series.
Jason stepped back again from the spotlight of the story but still remained on high-form as he used his remarkable athletic and heroic skills on more than one occasion to help save the day. He of course, unlike the rest of the men, showed charm and kindness towards Baucis as a modern gentlemen would. The funny part of the story was when it was discovered that in fact he did suspect her and transferred the treasure in secret, leaving Baucis with god only knows what within the trunk. As mentioned above, Jason’s determination to stay and help his friends was fully captured again as he decided to stay behind towards the end of the story in order to help protect Pythagoras from the Furies. Though no new character developments fell upon Jason this week, he was still along for the ride and as always rose to the occasion to make many great scenes of dialogue and action.
‘The Furies’ formed as a kind of filler episode from the main events of Atlantis and sidetracked to the gang’s little journey across the desert to deliver both a soon-to-be- husband Philemon and his gifts to his soon-to-be-wife. Interestingly enough even though it was a filler episode it was in fact the best episode so far I think. The episode was filled with many elements of mystery and surprise as we ventured into unknown territories outside of the walls of Atlantis. The desert is usually a dangerous and barren land in all stories and this plot didn’t decide to change that old trait one bit. The added danger was of course a vicious creature that hunted the blood of those who had brought death to others.
‘The Furies’ brought a lot of suspense and quite a few moments that made one feel uneasy and a little bit jumpy with some bits actually making me jump as the tension built. The ideas put in place were meant to deliver a more adult themed story, as brought about in the previous episode ‘The Rules of Engagement’. I’m finding that Atlantis is growing darker as the weeks go on, and judging by the next time trailer for next week’s episode ‘Pandora’s Box’ it would seem to be only getting darker.
The Furies served as a great villain for the story, though as always the special effects let down the fine costume and location work, and really gave the flow of the plot an eerie sensation. As well as the darker themes the mysteries riddled within the story really kept one alert as to what was going on. Baucis was a prime example as her character looked suspicious, with even Hercules sensing something about her that seemed off. My hunch, judging by her eating habits and none lady-like traits (along with perhaps her share strength when she saved Philemon from armed bandits with ease), was that she was in fact some sort of creature in disguise. Perhaps some sort of curse that forced her to become this said creature upon nightfall. I was obviously incorrect but a good hunch all the same. One cannot be right about everything. At least the story ended on a high note with the survivors reaching their goal and having a happy ending. Philemon and Baucis became a lovely couple and of course our heroes walked away with nothing as they prepared their journey back towards Atlantis with a pot of gold that didn’t reach its destination. I dread to think what they told Philemon’s father (I wonder how many of their fingers remained?) The ending almost reminded me of the conclusion to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, riding away into the sunset after winning the day with nothing to show for it.
‘The Furies’ proved to be my favourite of the series so far and had me hooked from start to finish. It left me feeling a little on edge and I felt a chill in the air watching this one. It was certainly made to be darker and creepier. The tone was good and it gave interesting back stories that helped very much with the development of our beloved heroes. Atlantis grows ever stronger and I believe it is a force to be trifled with along with the BBC’s other crowning dramas Doctor Who and Sherlock. It has certainly done its job in replacing Merlin’s empty slot and has opened the door to a new world of entertainment within the realms of fantasy. Here’s hoping Atlantis continues to develop and shine.