Monday, October 07, 2013

My Review of Atlantis's 1x02: "A Girl By Any Other Name"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

Jason: “You’re not Demetria?”
Medusa: “No, my name is Medusa. Why do you look at me like that?”

Okay, so far on the female character front we’ve got Pasiphae as the crazy villainess in the making, a rather underutilised Ariadne and an Oracle that seems to be potentially doomed to be a cryptic mouthpiece if not also the mother of Jason (it’s being rumoured at the moment). I guess what I’m trying to say is – is it any wonder that Medusa fared a little better in this episode by comparison?

I already like the casting of Jemima Rooper as Medusa. She’s always been in a few hit and miss type of things such as Hex and Lost In Austen and in both cases has always given some rather charismatic performances. This bodes well for Medusa who was already made instantly likeable by Rooper’s casting alone. The writing in this episode however did help as well.

Like Morgana, the Medusa we meet her is a kind woman far away from home who managed to be abducted by the Cult of Dionysus and resisted their various attempts to initiate into their dangerous religion. More to the point, she risked her life several times to save Hercules, Pythagoras and Jason and ended up getting cursed by cult leader Anysia as a result of it.

I liked that Jason’s immediate reaction upon learning Medusa’s identity was to try and figure out if it were a common name and then to feel actual sympathy for her future plight. While it might be better to see if Jason can prevent Medusa’s ultimate fate, I did like that for the time being he chose to focus on her kind nature but then again, the episode certainly did that as well.

Medusa just didn’t save the gang from the Cult of Dionysus, she even lied to the fallen Demetria’s father, Itheus by pretending that instead of perishing, the girl moved to Helios and fell in love. It was an act of kindness to a man who was desperate to be reunited with his daughter and one that she did a better job of than Jason trying to find Demetria in the first place.

I did like that Jason, Pythagoras and Hercules’s quest for Demetria ended up with them meeting Medusa instead and that the latter will be a more prominent character for the remainder of the series. I also hope that Medusa does inevitably go evil, it is better handled than Morgana’s own descent into the dark side of things.

As for the Cult of Dionysus and the monstrous looking servants themselves – they were decent enough antagonists, though the monsters fear of Jason was rather intriguing and only Anysia was truly effective but that might have been more for cursing Medusa than anything else in the episode.

In terms of the tone, the show does seem to be struggling a bit though. Hercules’s subplot with the Frankincense being stolen wasn’t half as funny as Overman thought it was and while I enjoy him with Jason and Pythagoras, the only real highlight with the character tonight was during his scenes with Medusa. I think maybe she brings out the best in the character for the time being.

Also in “A Girl By Any Other Name”

This episode managed to retain five million viewers. If the remaining episodes can keep it up, it should get a second run.

The Oracle (to Jason): “It is only when we accept we’re lost we find our true path.”

The opening credits/theme to the series is nice enough but Merlin did do a better job on that front.

Hercules: “It’s dried goat’s saliva.”
Pythagoras: “Oh, you will kiss anything once you’ve had a few drinks.”

Jason (to Itheus): “I know what it is to search for someone you love and not find them.”

Ariadne’s only contribution to this episode was to wish Jason luck in finding Demetria. Wouldn’t it have been better to actually have her involved in looking for the serving girl?

Pythagoras: “I’m not even sure I can grow a beard.”
Hercules: “Then you’re on your own, Pythagoras.”

Hercules: “What are you doing?”
Medusa: “Saving your life. Pray that this works or they’ll both kill us.”

Both Minos and Pasiphae were missing from this episode. I imagine we’ll have episodes that won’t feature Ariadne, Medusa or the Oracle either.

Jason : “She has done no wrong. I will not see her harmed.”
The Oracle: “Medusa can no more escape her destiny than you can escape yours.”

Chronology: A few days or maybe weeks since “The Earth Bull”

Not a bad second episode. “A Girl By Any Other Name” did a good job with introducing Medusa and the Dionysus cult did work better than the Minotaur as an enemy but although I am enjoying the show I can see why it might not be luring others in. It’s great for a Saturday night telly but later episodes are going to have to up their game though, drama wise.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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