Atlantis: 111 “Hunger Pangs” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey
As the old saying goes, ‘you win some you lose some’. This certainly applies to this week’s episode of Atlantis.
I can honestly say this was one of the weaker episodes of the series. Maybe not as dull as ‘A Girl by Any Other Name’ but ‘Hunger Pangs’ certainly did bring in a lot of bad vibes and dysfunctional story telling. Atlantis has always had a massive problem with continuity, both within the characters and the storytelling. After many weeks of not concentrating on the plotlines of Pasiphae and following the development of Medusa’s change into her famous form from Greek Mythology I can’t help but think ‘Hunger Pangs’ felt out of place. I’m going to step back and look at the series for some of its major flaws which I believe were showcased this week.
The balance between narratives throughout the series so far has been majorly debatable. You either don’t care or you look at it closer and think it’s a total shamble. I stand in the middle and find Atlantis a very well thought out series. It’s just sad that it hasn’t fully found its footing yet and is still working out chinks within the system. As I’ve said before about Medusa’s storyline, it all happened far too soon and as a result has taken the action away from where it needs to be within the introductory arc to get the series rolling. It is understandable this was put in place to create a solid set of stories for the show’s first run but it has had some consequences because of it. Due to spending many weeks away from Jason’s development, we are now thrown back into the deep end with characters that casual viewers will have forgotten about due to not seeing them for over three weeks.
I feel Jason’s development has been hindered somewhat. He hasn’t really made a name for himself or established himself as a major player or hero within the city of Atlantis. This is what was hinted at during the first few episodes of the series, especially when he fought and killed the Minotaur. The whole idea of him being somebody and having some great destiny shrouded from him hasn’t really been touched upon which is sad really. I sometimes forget about all of this and even the fact that Jason didn’t come from Atlantis. He was washed ashore from present day Earth. When has Jason really thought about this since the first episode? Thinking about it shouldn’t it bother him sometimes stepping from what he’s used to within the modern world into an ancient time? Maybe, maybe not. Still, not much has been touched upon since the first few episodes and I fear the series has gone off on its own tangent. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the series and will continue to watch it but this week has reminded me of all the little nitpicks I have briefly mentioned throughout my reviews and felt they needed to be touched upon further for this week’s thoughts.
It was nice to see some familiar faces and to be reminded of certain plot points in ‘Hungry Pangs’. We were reintroduced to Ariadne, Pasiphae, Minos and Heptarian and it formed a re-establishment of the events and narrative that went on before the whole Medusa arc. I feel the series is getting back on track to what it needs to be doing. It was nice to see the continuing arc of Pasiphae’s dark plans to take over Atlantis through poisoning her husband Minos, which we got to see (if very brief). Nonetheless the plotline is still there and hasn’t been forgotten about thankfully.
Ariadne’s reappearance continued the plot of Jason’s love interest. Due to Hercules’s lost love twist, the story between Jason and Ariadne had been pushed to the side and it’s hard to say where we are up to with this relationship. They both have feelings for one another but her appearance here to save Jason (even though she was left in the dark which sadly took away certain plot points or developments between her and Jason) was out of the blue in terms of recent events. She’s been absent for so long in the viewers mind it makes you wonder if the two characters can even remember one another. I think more appearances by her wouldn’t have gone amiss, especially if she’s supposed to be the love-interest for the supposed main character of the series.
Other problems with this week’s story were the grand-packed nature of comedy and cliché. The comedy element throughout the episode, which actually started off the ordeal (which quite frankly was unnecessary), in the first place, was the hunger problem of having no food. The stupidity of the narrative was Jason resorted to stealing a loaf of bread seemed very out of character, and resulted in a massive chase scene with the shopkeeper. It was just totally silly. Plus, I just didn’t buy into the whole idea of Jason stumbling upon the shrine and eating the sacrificial meat. Yes, in a situation of being hungry you would want to eat anything but to eat some random meat in a gruesome looking establishment was just plain stupid and made Jason’s character have no creditability.
The cliché’s mostly revolved around the werewolf side of the story. The whole Jason turning up naked routine was the typical thing you would expect to see and the fact it happened again and again throughout the story became tiresome and in many ways a bad joke (or just an excuse to show off Jack Donnelly’s well built body – you be the judge).
Also I feel Hercules made a rather awkward step backwards with his character developments which was rather disappointing. We had seen him progress so much these past few weeks and now I feel he has once again been reduced to the bumbling hero who is little help and is simply there for comedy reasoning and not to be taken serious. Although he still kept creditability, which can be more than said on Jason’s poor performance this week, he still has been lowered as a character.
The only bit I really thought was handled right was his conversation with Pythagoras near the beginning. It displayed his total despair at losing Medusa and not being able to save her the one and only way he could (or at least at the moment anyway) due to being stopped by Pythagoras. His statement saying he wished his friend hadn’t stopped him from sacrificing himself showed how much he wanted Medusa to be returned back to normal. He also displayed heavily how much he misses her. Pythagoras, once again, annoyed me. He is a man of calculation and doesn’t understand the meaning of a relationship. So I felt he was rather cold towards Hercules’ fall into drinking away his sorrows. Sure Pythagoras was correct in he shouldn’t be drinking his life away but I still find his way of comforting the situation rather annoying. Here’s hoping in the next series he falls in love and has his heart ripped out through unfortunate circumstances to allow him to finally understand what Hercules is going through.
The whole werewolf thing was a great premise for an episode but I feel it wasn’t the right time to use it, nor within the right circumstances. It felt like a waste of both an episode and an opportunity. The werewolf curse could’ve been used as a means to try and bring down Jason’s credibility as a hero by making him become a wild beast that goes on a rampage at night. Instead it didn’t come to much and even the final night of transformation was handled too quickly and with far too much ease. Not enough consequence was put into motion.
I thought there would be at least a conflict between Hercules, Pythagoras and the guards led by Heptarian. It would’ve given Heptarian a nice little bit of motive to kill the beast had he have realised it was in fact Jason. Alas, this didn’t happen and the story felt like a massive waste of an opportunity. Also it just felt out of place within the storyline of the series. An unnecessary filler if you will. This goes back to my saying of the structure of the show is not quite there yet and storytelling and character developments are all over the place.
Although I have spoken negatively about ‘Hunger Pangs’ I will admit it did prove to be an entertaining adventure which had bits that proved interesting as well as having the odd jump scare. But this episode suffered from the problems stated above and because of that lowered the narrative’s possibilities which could’ve been greater. At least I’m happy to see from the ‘Next Time’ trailer that we are at last heading back on track and are being re-introduced to important plot-points and storylines that have been long forgotten about since their first seeding into the series back in ‘The Song of the Sirens’.