TV REVIEW: Atlantis - Twist of Fate

This week, Atlantis turns into Three Men and a Baby, Jason grows a large moustache and impersonates Tom Selleck whilst Pythagorus does a great Steve Guttenberg impression.

Just kidding. 

Well it is a Three Men and a Baby deal as Jason, Hercules and Pythagorus discover an abandoned baby in the woods whilst on a hunting trip. Naturally, this being Ancient Greece and wonderfully heteronormative, they have no idea what to do with the baby and call on Medusa to help who, being a woman and all, knows exactly what to do with the child and sorts it all out for the helpless menfolk. D'aww. The reason for the child's abandonment also gives Jason a chance to challenge customs once again and upset the status quo. Seriously, have the guards not figured out who is causing all this mischief? Elsewhere, a visiting King Laius of Thebes and his Queen Jocasta are entertained at the palace, upsetting the apple cart a tad as Pasiphae and Ariadne clash a little bit. Donald Sumpter also appears. He's always welcome.

Marginally better than last week's bull leaping episode, Twist of Fate tones down some of the bombastic stuff in favour of some more emotional development though sadly we don't escape the terrible attempts at humour. More on that later. Mark Addy finally gets something more to do than just be a bit bombastic and his scenes in which he confesses his love for Medusa to the baby and later, when confronted with the baby's mother, are miles ahead of anything else he's done for the series. Although his desire for a relationship with Medusa carries a very loud dramatic irony klaxon, it was welcome to see Addy pushed beyond drunkenness, if only for a bit.

Elsewhere in the episode, the action sequences carry a bit more fizz than they have done in previous weeks, largely because they relied on practical men running around than terrible CGI creatures that Jason slow-motions himself over. Speaking of Slow Motion Jason, he appears once again, this time with a shirt (sorry ladies and gentlemen so inclined) and leaping across rooftops with a baby nestled into his oft-seen sculpted chest. I do feel a bit sorry for Jack Donnelly as he is once again saddled with a bland role in the proceedings, one that is only memorable for his action prowess. I'm fairly sure if he was actually given anything to work with, he could prove himself a decent leading man, but so far, Jason is about as memorable as a dishcloth.

The dialogue also continues to be vastly infuriating. Though not quite on the clunky standards of last week, there are some moments where you just want to take the writers aside and ask them what period in history they think they're writing for. After three episodes of characters making faux-grandiose statements about eyes boring through people or Jason's far-off destiny, having Pythagorus exclaiming that Hercules was punching above his weight suddenly swung it completely the other way. If the decision was taken to go for some Spartacus: Blood and Sand style historical dialogue, then fine, make it work. If you want to make it modern and all down with the kids, then again, go for it. But mixing the two is bizarre and is by far the worst aspect of the series.

And so we must turn to the humourous aspects of the series, or rather, the lack of them. The level of humour has been so low so far in the series I'm surprised it took this long for the toilet variety to get a look in. An obvious get out clause, Hercules' farting in front of the guards was almost certainly aimed at the younger generations watching the show, but it's a pity that the writers seem to only be catering for that particular demographic. Well, that is until the name of the baby was decided. Kicking myself slightly for missing it, what with the names of the King and Queen and all, but it turns out that this was the origin story for that most infamous of Greek heroes, Oedipus. Yes, that one who murdered his father, married his mother and thus kicked off one of the most famous complexes in history. That's certainly one for the adults.

Probably the best episode of the series so far, though that isn't quite the praise it sounds like, Twist of Fate finally gave us some hint of the emotional aspects that could drive the show forward. Now if only we could get a little more character development and a little less flatulence, Atlantis might be all right.

- Becky

You can read Becky's review of the previous episode here.

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