Monday, November 17, 2014

My Review of Atlantis's 2x01: "A New Dawn Part 1"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

Ariadne: "We are at war."

What a difference a whole year can make. Well, kind of. In terms of the show, since the first series finale in which we found out that Pasiphae was Jason's mother, this new series opened with Ariadne as queen, Minos rather dead (not that he was much use in the first place) and a banished Pasiphae mounting an army to take down Atlantis.

So, what about our three heroes then? Well, they're still together, there are less jokes about Hercules weight and hygiene (a minor miracle) and despite some initial reluctance, the trio decide to help Ariadne retrieve the Palladium, a statue that protects the city. Needless to say, it's current in Pasiphae's possession thanks to the help of her rather skilful niece, Medea (Amy Manson) and the fact that Ariadne has got an obvious traitor in her court, courtesy of  Lord Sarpedon (Robert Pugh).

During the build up for this new series, there was plenty of hype from the producers that the show would somehow adopt a much darker tone and while there's certainly a sense of foreboding (imminent war, the Oracle showing Jason a gloomy vision of the future, the fact the episode is mostly set at night, etc), it doesn't really feel that much darker compared to the first series.

Sure, the humour is a little more restrained but there are still moments, deliberate and unintentional ones and the pining between Jason and Ariadne isn't going to go away anytime soon. The gang's compassion towards a rival soldier though ended up being their undoing when Jason was later attacked and the end scene with the trio trapped in a cave with an unknown monster was an okay enough cliff hanger in an episode that meandered a bit too much for it's own good.

While I like the idea of Ariadne being queen (hey, she got there much quicker than Gwen did on Merlin), I do get the feeling that Sarpedon is going to be one of many obvious traitors in the court that Ariadne will have to deal with and won't stop until it's literally too late. Plus, while I'm not exactly a shipper of her and Jason, I do hope the series doesn't try to drag out their 'will they/won't they?' longer than necessary.

As for Medea - the character certainly has potential and it's nice to have Amy Manson on the show. I know some fans are interested in her eventual pairing with Jason but to be honest, I'm more curious about her rapport with auntie Pasiphae. After both Circe and even Heptarian being somewhat missed opportunities in better fleshing out the now warlady. Why is Medea so loyal to her auntie and can Pasiphae be written as anything more than a one dimensional tyrant? I certainly hope so.

- There was a nice scene at the fireplace where both Hercules and Pythagoras discussed why they followed Jason. Little moments like that are needed more for this series.
- Fans of Medusa are going to have to wait until 2015 to see her again. Only six episodes of this series will air for the remainder of this year while the remaining seven air next year. She was mentioned in passing though.
- Is it me or has Jason's hair gotten even curlier than last series? Pythagoras's too as well.
- We didn't get the opening sequence, the episode launched into the action.

I was hoping for something a little more exciting than this. For an opening two parter, even I found A New Dawn a little too plodding for it's own good. The tone has changed a little but the writing itself is still lacking and unless it pulls up it's straps rather quickly, I cannot see a third run of episodes for Jason and company any time soon.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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