Atlantis: 211 “Kin” Review
Reviewed by John Hussey.
As predicted, this episode was brilliant. It hit all the right notes, gave plenty of action, character development, a good narrative and actually progressed the overall story. In my eyes this episode should’ve been last week’s. ‘The Dying of the Light’ was a wasted episode that merely served to progress a few plot threads for the purposes of ‘Kin’. What they should’ve done was had this week’s episode paced out over two episodes and give more progression for Jason’s dark temptations instead of having little, to no progress last week.
This instalment really showed how great Atlantis can be when done right. It got the tone right as well, which I feel holds the show back sometimes and co-writer Johnny Capps admitted this in an article discussing what he would’ve changed in order to aid the prevention of the show’s cancellation. For me, a fantasy show like this requires realism. If you’re having sword battles on a constant scale you need to see some blood. Not to the point where it’s gruesome like with Game of Thrones but enough to show a sense of realism. Within ‘Kin’ they got the arena scenes perfect with the brutality of the fights and the fact that Jason was shown to be physically injured.
It gave the show a real sense of visionary scale that made it stand out. I believe programmes targeted at a family audience can lose this sense because the show-makers feel the need to hold back on realism to make it kid friendly. But as I said, there are means to show realism without it going too far. A lot of slaves were killed in this week’s episode but their deaths weren’t always shown. But there definitely, like shown with Jason’s flesh wounds, needs to be signs of blood even if it means showing it on blades after a kill. There’s nothing worse than seeing a sword fight where characters are killing endless amounts of enemies and there’s no blood on the blade. It’s unrealistic and cheesy.
I enjoyed Jason’s battle against temptation. This week showed it through him battling against dangerous odds within the arena. I always have enjoyed these types of scenes within the show. They always give the show scale and I feel the choreography and directing are always done well. It was an emotional episode between the characters of Jason, Pasiphae and Aeson. Both parents wanted to win over their child with the decision Jason made determining the future of Atlantis. Jason’s descent was made even more symbolic through Aeson comparing it to Pasiphae’s, showcasing how a once beautiful and loving person could become a creature of ambition and destruction. This made his path towards temptation appear all the more realistic and understanding because the same thing happened to his mother, a person that wasn’t originally evil.
For the first time I actually felt something more for Pasiphae than just hate and I enjoyed this because it brought out new layers to her character. You felt she was emotionally challenged by her feelings towards her son, altering her judgements and giving in to her own personal temptations as a mother. The scene in which she challenged Cilix about the fate of her son, using Cassandra’s visions against him, was interesting to watch because it showed that loyalties were in a state of battle all around. The other intriguing part of the episode was the opposite views Pasiphae and Medea had about Jason. In some ways Medea was experiencing her own temptation through her love for Jason, brought about by their intertwined destiny by the Gods. Different characters were challenged by temptation and the different directions it took them in was great to watch and it will certainly set the course for the finale.
I also liked that Hercules quickly forgave Jason for his actions, showcasing the strong friendship they both share. It would have been nice to see the anger he had for Jason last week played out better, but it is nice to know that Hercules proved to be the good man by feeling guilty for abandoning Jason during his hour of need. The way his guilt was expanded through his recollection of the times Jason saved him made his emotional state all the more powerful. The show’s characters have certainly been facing some terrible obstacles this series and it has been a challenging journey for them to face. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out (though I’m still really hoping we get some kind of closure with the show being cancelled – I can’t stand unfinished endings).
The scenes between Jason and Aeson topped the episode off nicely through a father desperately trying to save his son from the same wicked temptation that his wife fell too. It was more than just Jason coming back to the light, it was about Aeson redeeming himself because he felt he was a poor father for abandoning his son. What made these scenes all the more emotional was the fact their bond together didn’t last long afterwards. Most of the episode saw Jason drifting away and didn’t wish to listen to his father’s words. Upon finally snapping out of his dark trance Aeson met with his horrible fate. It really brought the tragic and harsh nature of this second series, pushing it towards new boundaries of storytelling.
Although Aeson’s death was quite predictable (though I thought it would be perhaps Pasiphae that ended him) it was still shocking and sad to see. It was also beautiful because he sacrificed himself for Jason. The other sad part was that Aeson probably died still feeling like he wasn’t a good father, despite Jason telling him that his good came from his father. With this new motivation I feel Jason will be motivated even further to do the right thing and set things right.
I feel ‘Kin’ was a fantastic episode and really took the story in the right direction. I was becoming concerned that it was growing too repetitive due to the characters going backwards and forwards on themselves without any real sense of progress. Now the finale has been put into place. Jason has accepted who he is and with the sacrifice of his father I believe he will do what he can to redeem his recent actions and put a stop to Pasiphae. Also it’ll be interesting to see where Pasiphae’s current feelings will take her. Her inner dilemmas are making her second-guess her resolve and I wonder whether this will bring her downfall. Also I wonder if Medea will betray her. All will start to be revealed next week as we enter the finale (and ultimately the final story of the show).