TV REVIEW: Atlantis - White Lies

This week, Ariadne receives a message from her exiled brother and asks for Jason's help to find him before Pasiphae finds out that he still lives.

A messenger breaks into the palace in Atlantis and delivers word to Ariadne of her exiled brother Therus (Darwin Shaw). The messenger is caught and reveals his mission to Pasiphae who promptly charges her co-conspirator Heptarian to track Therus down as he could reveal something about his exile that would shake the foundations of the royal family. Ariadne employs Jason, Pythagorus and Hercules to help get her to her brother and must choose where her loyalties lie. And there's a subplot about a racing beetle. I kid you not.

The royal family have been a rather distant element to Atlantis so far; Ariadne has been there to glance alluringly at Jason, Pasiphae plots evilly in a corner and Minos gets to be imperious. So, therefore, it's about time that we get an episode devoted to them, even if it is only to confirm what we already knew in terms of Pasiphae's scheming. Sarah Parish once again gives a grand performance and her scene with Juliet Stevenson's Oracle was just about the best thing Atlantis has done. The romantic plot between Ariadne and Jason was also quite sweet too, finally giving the two actors a chance to actually do something with their respective roles. In fact, Jason even got to do some emoting and talking, two things he's not done a whole lot of in between all the slow-motion fighting.

Yes, Slow Motion Jason didn't actually appear in any great prominence this week which was mightily refreshing. Although his back story (ie. time travel, dead father) seems to have entirely disappeared from the realm of his concern for a while now which seems a tad strange, this episode did much more than any other to endear me to the character. He's not interesting yet, but at least his attempt to clean up the table and subsequent awkward conversations with Ariadne were rather amusing and showed he's more than just an action man. In fact, his only action sequence was a tad disappointing as it took place almost entirely in the dark and with both Shaw and Jack Donnelly possessing curly dark hair, it was impossible to tell who was who. Still, that was only a minor problem in the scheme of things.

Speaking of other problems, the intrusive score does little to ramp up the tension and there were several points where the woman wailing over the percussion sounded like she was in so much pain that I wanted the episode to switch and help her instead. That's nothing though compared to the bloody beetle plotline which drained away any enthusiasm that was building for this episode. Why the writers keep insisting on including this ridiculous humour is beyond me. I'm aware that it is a family show but they also have the responsibility to tell a good story and that will capture children's imagination too. That should be where the focus lies, not in whatever Hercules is doing to make an idiot of himself. I don't know about anyone else, but I just kept wanting to shout STOP TALKING ABOUT THE BEETLE.

An episode that promises all the elements that make up Greek tragedy; family secrets, subsequent squabbles and a bit of bloodshed, White Lies takes steps to give us a tense mystery around the exile of the Prince Therus. It doesn't quite manage it but it is a much better episode than last week's nightmare. However, the plot with the beetle was just ridiculous.

- Becky

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

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