Atlantis: 113 “Touched by the Gods – Part 2” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey
Atlantis has come to the conclusion of its first run of episodes. The question is, has it been worthwhile or is it just another average drama pumped out of the BBC?
It’s fair to say that Atlantis does stand out above most, but I wouldn’t exactly say it’s up at the top with the likes of Doctor Who and Sherlock. However, it has served its purpose of being an entertaining Saturday night programme which is more than can be said by most standard television shows in this day and age.
As a finale ‘Touched by the Gods: Part 2’ was pretty good but doesn’t receive full marks. That has been the slight problem with Atlantis; it still hasn’t found its complete footing yet and still feels to lack a true flow and purpose yet. The foundations are in place for something amazing to happen but due to it still being early days the episodes suffer with a weak structure. Hopefully things will become a lot better for the second series when the writers can learn from their mistakes and keep continuing on the parts that the series has done right so far.
Let’s start with what I found good about the final. Well I can honestly say it was filled with action, so that’s a good start. The tone for this story was definitely in the darker areas which has been the part of the series I’ve liked the most. When the storyline has taken itself seriously we seem to get the best out of the narrative and the characters. Other times however it just doesn’t flow right because it simply isn’t serious enough and the characters begin to fall for comedic effects which just make it silly. The whole idea behind Ariadne’s death was truly gruesome and not a very pleasant way to go. Burning alive always did make me cringe because I find it to be the worst kind of death possible, at least for pain and suffering. Thankfully her execution was prevented before anything could happen.
The deaths portrayed in the episode was certainly the biggest body-count of the series so far. So many soldiers and characters being bopped off in one story certainly deserves a high five. It was sad to see Ramos get killed though. I didn’t want him to die but I guess after seeing him wounded it seemed like his fate was sealed. It was the typical scenario of ‘I’ll hold them off while you run and I’ll catch up with you later’. As soon as that line is said by any character they’re not coming back. It was great to see the downfall (or at least the beginning) of Pasiphae. That bitch had been doing my head-in for quite some time now and it was about time she was put to a stop. The greatest part about her defeat came by the reviving of Minos who she had been poisoning for many episodes now. Now that he was back on his feet, thanks to the combined efforts of the Oracle and Melas, Pasiphae was put in her place along with her subordinates. I was nearly cheering. Shame though he didn’t kill her on the spot there and then but I guess we have to leave something for Jason right?
It was also nice to see Jason’s dad. Though Jason never actually realised it was him, which made it all the more better from a narrative stand-point, it made a good storyline of Tychon trying to relate and guide Jason without actually giving the game away. Jason responded in some ways like he was talking to his father without actually realising it. As it turns out Tychon only wants the best for Jason and to live a life away from the corruption of power. One thing that still hasn’t been properly looked into is this whole notion of him being touched by the Gods. What does that even mean exactly? Is Jason actually a child of the Gods? I guess the writers have left this line of thought for their second season. I mean they have to leave something for us to engage with for next time.
The horrible result of the episode was Minos informing Jason that he couldn’t be with Ariadne even after the trouble he’d gone through to save her life. One thing that has bugged me about her character is she doesn’t seem to show true affection for Jason, despite her earlier signs within earlier episodes that she had a fascination over him. I don’t know whether that’s her trying to hide feelings knowing she is a princess or what but it does seem to make it awkward sometimes when Jason is trying his hardest sometimes to save her and she doesn’t give much back and then the next moment she is. It’s a bit of a fluctuation with her character at the moment but I’m hoping she begins to show more feelings towards Jason in the next series.
For the first time in a couple of weeks Hercules has actually been given some good material to work with. He lacked the bumbling side and returned to being a progressed character with courage and leadership. It was Hercules who stopped Jason from making a foolish mistake near the beginning of the story and told him how to go about saving Ariadne in the right way. That was surprising coming from his character. A caring side to him was a nice bit of fresh air instead of his stupidity always taking centre stage. He proved throughout the episode to be brave and caring towards his friends. Unfortunately there were moments when his usual self took hold but I shall let these moments slide as they seemed within context rather than being there just for the sake of it. The part I loved most about his character in this episode was his reference to Medusa. It seemed sad to hear him show feelings of jealousy towards Jason as he was allowed to get close to the one he loved whilst Hercules was doomed with the fear of never seeing Medusa again. At least it showed he still thought about her but it did sadden me to hear he had started to give up hope and needed Pythagoras to reassure him of hope.
Now onto the bad. I thought the whole idea of Pasiphae being Jason’s mother to be a very stupid move which doesn’t make much sense. It just seemed like one of those surprises that was meant to shock you but backfired and created the exact opposite response. For me it just didn’t gel right. The flow of it seemed all wrong and didn’t make much sense in terms of the narrative we had already seen. There was no indication that could possibly make us link her character back to being Jason’s mother. I know the Oracle worried about speaking about his mother but I never thought in a million years she would turn out to be the villainess of the piece. Then to see this bitchy character who is all heartless, willing to kill her own husband and execute her step-daughter (and quite frankly kill anyone else who stands in her way) all of a sudden turn into a blubbering character who has feelings and emotions. I was just thinking would she really have a heart for her own son, especially when that said son is an obstacle in her conquest for power? Maybe I will grow to like this twist within the narrative but for now I’m questioning it deeply.
At least the prophecy for her future is a pleasant one, i.e. Jason will one day bring her downfall. But I guess it will certainly serve as a dilemma (something we have witnessed already when Jason couldn’t kill Pasiphae, a sign perhaps he somehow deep down sensed she was his mother which is why he couldn’t kill her) when he realises the truth. Will he be able to kill his enemy knowing too well she is his mother? We will have to wait and see.
The other part I didn’t like was the killing off of Heptarian. He was easily stabbed by one of the Lepers and then killed by Jason without so much as a last villain speech. None of that happens and he is killed after a quick battle. His death isn’t seen by anyone else nor is he mentioned by Pasiphae or anyone else afterwards. Has his character really meant nothing to the narrative for him to just be killed off so suddenly?
Well that’s it for now. Atlantis has come to a close and will probably return with a new set of episodes later next year. I don’t know how many more series will be produced but I shall certainly continue to watch it as long as the quality remains. It has had its ups and downs but overall it has been an entertaining drama with likable characters to follow week in and out. I’m curious where the story will go next time but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Until next time I bid you farewell.