Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Review of Atlantis's 1x05: "White Lies"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Alice Troughton

Ariadne (to Pasiphae): “I no longer care what you believe. I see you exactly for what you are.”

Was anyone shocked when watching this episode that Pasiphae and Heptarian were involved in a scheme to discredit and ostracise Therus? I somehow doubt it and yet, despite being aware of how much of a power hungry bitch her stepmother is, Ariadne seemed a tad surprised that Pasiphae would stoop to such levels to seize power in Atlantis.

This episode should’ve been the making of Ariadne as a character and break her out of being a cipher/generic love interest role she’s been saddled with so far but sadly it really didn’t to be honest. Sure there were some nice scenes here to have with the likes of Minos, Jason, Pasiphae, Korinna and Therus but none of them really helped to break Ariadne out of her cycle so far.

The scenes with Ariadne and Jason for me are seriously lacking spark. Even back in Merlin's earliest days there was some kind of spark that made you believe in Arthur and Gwen but it’s virtually nonexistence here. I know there was moments with Jason helping Ariadne escape the palace to see her brother and plenty of flirty exchanges with them but none of it really engaged or felt organic and that is going to be a problem for the show later in it’s run.

Then there’s the reunion itself between Ariadne and her brother, Therus. First of all, it was too short, secondly Therus told us stuff about Pasiphae that virtually every member of the audience had guessed from the start and finally, I wasn’t too thrilled with Therus’s attempts of getting Ariadne away from Atlantis, even if he did have the right intentions. That being said though, I do hope we see the character and I’ll assume that we will as well.

As for the banter with Ariadne and Korinna – you know there’s something worrying about the show when the minor characters seem to have more personality than the main characters. I don’t dislike Ariadne but five episodes in and she’s coming across as the weakest character we’ve had. Korinna’s been in fewer episodes than her and she has more of a spark with Jason and the gang than Ariadne does.

The scenes however with Pasiphae were a little better but no different than beforehand. Mostly throughout the episode we had both women sniping at each other and trying to outsmart the other. Ariadne got the upper hand this week by seeing her brother without Pasiphae succeeding in killing him but other than that, the exchanges between the two of them could be a lot punchier too. Ariadne is coming across as more passive aggressive than spirited if I’m being honest.

The best scenes involving Ariadne in this episode though were her exchanges with Minos. It’s nice to see that Minos does actually care about his children (even if he believed that Therus was trying to kill him too easily) and this episode did a better job of making him a little more layered as a character too but only by a tiny margin. Hopefully it’s a sign of something good to come though.

As for the non Ariadne elements of the episode – Pythagoras continues to be woefully underused, Medusa popped up in two scenes and Hercules had a plot involving a beetle named Extrabacus. This plot was a mixture of mild amusement and some slight tedium (it did drag on a bit) but at least the next episode looks like it will give Hercules something more substantial to do. Now if only the writers could come up with something for Pythagoras.

Also in “White Lies”

The show has been renewed a second series. It might not be wowing critics and viewers but it’s at least got more time to prove itself.

Pasiphae: “I can give you jewels or pain, that’s all. What is it you want with Ariadne?”
Messenger: “I meant to rob her.”
Pasiphae: “Then you have made your choice.”

Pasiphae used magic as well to torture Therus’s messenger in this episode. I did like her exchange with the Oracle in this episode as well.

Pasiphae: “And what about your own future? What do you see for yourself?”
The Oracle: “The Gods will not allow me to see my own destiny.”
Pasiphae: “Then do not make the mistake of thinking that you are untouchable. Mislead me again and I will determine your future for you.”

Pythagoras (re Korinna/Therus): “What are they doing in there?”
Hercules: “Really, Pythagoras? Do I have to explain with diagrams?”

I take it that was meant to confirm that Pythagoras is supposed to be a virgin then. Seriously show, give him something worthwhile to do now.

Therus (re Ariadne): “You would do this for me?”
Jason: “I would do this for your sister.”

How many times do we need to be reminded that Hercules is fat? It’s not that I find it offensive but it’s beginning to wear thin the constant referring to it as well.

Ariadne: “He has a beetle for a pet?”
Jason: “Yes, Hercules is a man of many odd and disgusting habits.”

Chronology: A while since the events of “Twist Of Fate”. I wouldn’t mind knowing how Jason has been in Atlantis now.

There’s no denying that “White Lies” was something of an improvement on the previous episode but while I do appreciate the light hearted nature of the show (and it’s fast and loose approach to the myths), it’s hard to ignore that five episodes in the show is certainly underwhelming at times. This episode had all the right ideas but just didn’t execute them as well as it should’ve done.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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