Atlantis: 205: “The Day of the Dead” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
With my disappointment of last week’s episode ‘The Marriage of True Minds’ I was extremely happy to see such an improvement this week. It already crossed my mind last week that this week’s episode would be better for the sole reason that last week’s episode was a build up to greater things. Though ‘The Day of the Dead’ did appear from a casual perspective to be a game of “hide ‘n’ seek” with zombies in a catacomb, so little of real interest, it in fact turned into the best story of Series Two through the actions that happened throughout.
Lots of elements happened that made this story worth while and although it took some time to build on anything, the end pay off was most rewarding. I liked the shift in tone this series and the inclusion of the dead added nicely to the darker atmosphere the writer’s are going for. ‘The Day of the Dead’ started off where last week’s episode left off, leaving Hercules, Pythagoras and Ariadne to find Jason who had fallen down a shaft. Unfortunately it was discovered that Pasiphae may not be as dead as we all hoped and she, in an attempt to gain an advantage, cursed the tombs in order to raise the dead.
As a fan of zombie films, and to an extent The Walking Dead television series, I really welcomed the trio fighting against an endless army of zombies. It was just a brilliant scenario and something fresh to the series that didn’t seem out of place and fitted in with the on-going story. Some might say that the episode seemed like a filler after last week’s events but in my eyes it was a perfect continuation. Though it was disappointing to see no real conclusion to certain elements from last week, like what happened to Telemon, the real plotline that needed focused on was Pasiphae’s determination to kill Ariadne. This part of the on-going plotline flowed nicely through Medea.
I thought the scenes between Jason and Medea was the best part about the episode. Their chemistry was intriguing to watch because you didn’t know how this unholy alliance was going to end. It has already been a proven fact that Jason’s kind heart is his ultimate weakness and to see him help the enemy made me question him slightly. At the same time I could relate to his actions because he was, to all extent and purposes, doing the right thing. Medea had helped him. Jason was in her debt. As the conversations went on you began to wonder if Medea was truly a villainess. In my eyes she started to come across as a manipulated character. Through her quick throw away lines about her past, depicting how she was cast away by everyone due to her powers; it would seem that Pasiphae used this to her advantage. By showcasing that someone could love her Pasiphae actually wrapped Medea around her little finger in order for the evil tyrant to use her abilities to aid in her conquest against Atlantis.
What I loved most about these scenes was Jason constantly questioning Medea about her loyalty to Pasiphae. He tried every opportunity to claim how evil Pasiphae is and that Medea was merely being used by her. It also dawned on me that the two characters are technically family through their blood relationship with Pasiphae. This again could turn out to be a plot- twist for Jason when he eventually finds out that Pasiphae is in fact his mother. This twist might even affect Medea’s loyalty with Pasiphae. The results of this story-arc will be interesting to see.
The saddest part about the episode was the death of Eurydice. It was heartbreaking to watch because you felt sorry for Orpheus. The two of them have been displayed as true lovers who were destined to be together until the very end. Through cruel fate however, Eurydice was beaten by Diagoras (who served as no relevance throughout the entire two stories he was in) and her fate was sealed. Through being a fan of zombie films I knew instantly the fate of anyone who was bitten by the dead. The horrible part came with who would be the one that would end her life before she turned. I’m really glad they had that dilemma put into the episode as it really does play well with any undead story and it was used triumphantly within this particular take on the zombie plotline. It was brave of Ariadne to offer herself for the role, in an attempt to showcase her humanity in front of her people who had gone through hell in order to protect her. In the end it was Orpheus who decided to kill his wife and it was just sad to watch that scene. No one should have to kill their loved one like that.
My only flaws concerning the zombie plotline was the use of Dion and Pythagoras’s poor dialogue addressing the matter of the dead. I think there was a great opportunity to have some dilemma involved with Dion’s return as one of the undead but instead Ariadne quickly gave the order for his demise. It’s understandable to a certain extent that she realised he wasn’t the man he was and that he wouldn’t want to be in that form but considering how upset she was over his death in last week’s story it would’ve given her more credibility in the emotional department to have her question whether or not to kill him. I really couldn’t help but find Pythagoras’s dialogue cringe-worthy because it just seemed like he was there to point out the bleeding obvious. That and the way he spoke the dialogue was just uncaring and poorly acted. Nevertheless these small points didn’t spoil the overall episode.
Hercules got some great moments of action. I was annoyed to see him sleeping on the job instead of protecting his party, thereby allowing Diagoras to attack the group. He had some great dialogue scenes, especially when speaking with Ariadne about his faith in Jason being alive and continuing his admiration for the character. It also reflected upon his role as Jason’s protector. It was nice to see him in the end go with Jason to destroy the cursed object in order to send the dead back into hell. This also added towards giving him some spotlight as Hercules saved the day. The smugness afterwards wasn’t necessary but I guess he just wanted some appreciation. I guess there are still some elements I don’t like about his characters writing but nevertheless Hercules is growing as a character and I feel by the end of the series he will do something truly heroic.
I was near enough cheering when Ariadne finally admitted her feelings to Jason. It was a celebration moment to finally see it happen after Jason was tossed and turned throughout both series as to whether he could be with her or not. I was beginning to think he should just give up hope but his wait has paid off. The scene didn’t seem out of place and just worked perfectly. After the ordeal they had been through and the fact Jason’s whereabouts was unknown, her worry for his life finally made her realise that her love for him needed to be spoken. It was actually said to hear her admit that she’d feared bad judgement upon her actions throughout her entire life, which forced her into the kind of character we have seen. Upon hearing this Jason was quick to move in for the kiss and I thought to myself, “It’s about time.” Crack open the champagne and let’s have a party. Oh wait. Never mind.
It had come to my attention very quickly that due to this revelation of happiness that something had to happen now to spoil it. Characters can never just be happy in dramas like this. The day was won and everything seemed happy. Then a curve ball was thrown into the works through Medea leaping out and ceasing her price. All along she had planned to take an opportunity at fulfilling Pasiphae’s goal of killing Ariadne. It really made all those conversations between her and Jason feel betrayed. We as an audience were made to believe this character had humanity, could be considered a torn soul and maybe could see redemption at the end of the episode. This wasn’t the case and she quickly turned the power of trust against Jason in the cruellest manner and stabbed Ariadne.
That is how you write good twists. I really felt it was a great way to end an episode. It really left you wanting more. It also made me wonder where things will go from here. Will Aridane live and where will this take Jason as a character? Will he admit to his weakness of trust and become a more cold character that kills enemies without mercy due to worrying his trust issues could get someone else killed? Needless to say this was a great way to utilise his weakness, especially through the foreshadowing that Hercules has said throughout the series and this episode in particular, and to demonstrate that the hero’s flaws can take away his title through their actions causing the real harm within the plot.