[Review] - Atlantis, Series 1 Episode 11, "Hunger Pangs"

Courtesy of the BBC
Ughh... lets just get on with it, shall we?

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that

So, yeah... Greek mythology has a werewolf story, one of the first. And rather than adapt it in some way, the writers have opted instead to just make up a bunch of stuff about Hecate worshippers and sacred offering. It wouldn't have been so bad, perhaps, but they insisted on forcing modern werewolf mythology into the scenario as well, which meant that wolfsbane and silver were involved, as were night time transformations (the full moon though, did not play a role). The original myth of werewolves from the ancients was the story of Lycaon, the king of Arcadia, who served Zeus a meal made of Lycaon's own dismembered son. As punishment for this, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a wolf, and depending on the version, either killed the King's fifty sons, or transformed them (or even all the men into Arcadia) into wolves, leaving the women to care for the city.

With only two episodes to go, and coming on the heels of what was meant to be an emotionally debilitating time, the producers decided what was best was a comedic episode that featured werewolves, and not much in the way of actual substance. I struggle still to find a point to anything that happened here. An actual plot to the episode wasn't established until the end of the first act, and even for this show the resulting tale was tissue thing. Mostly, it was an excuse for Jack Donnelly to run around tea-time friendly naked, and for even more of the juvenile slapstick that really weighs the series down (I get that the show is meant to appeal to kids, but kids also aren't stupid).

The trio have fallen on hard times in the wake of the whole Pandora's Box escapade, and while Jason searches for work, Hercules drinks himself blind in the tavern (remember kids, alcohol solves all your problems). And because Jason is an idiot, he steals from a shrine, though it's not his fault. He's a demi-god from the future, he can't be expected to not wander into a church and steal from the collection plate. After downing a whole goat leg, he turns into a wolf, which immediately attracts the attention of the city guard, as it should, which also provides the flimsiest excuse to reintroduce the royal family after half a series absence. Minos is ill, Heptarian is on the hunt, and Ariadne can help to save Jason... somehow.

It reached a point where stuff just happened, divorced from logic. Ariadne's presence was just so they could play out the traditional "don't come in, I'm transforming scene" and is literally pushed out of the scene once the heroes arrive to save the day. That Heptarian and the palace guard are still searching for them is just forgotten, because there is also the Hecate worshipper who initially left the offering who needs to be dispatched, despite not really being part of the the rest of the episode. Oh, and Pythagoras killed his second man. So, he's a bully and shaping up to be a serial killer. Good for him, at least he's doing something with his life.

With everything the show has up in the air, I question the logic of having a stand alone story waste an episode so late in the game. Breather episodes are important, but they don't have to be meaningless. Comedic episode are also good business, but they can and should be used to further the character's arc. The problem with this show is that the characters don't have arcs. They either don't change, or change very suddenly and without cause between episodes, or change, then forget everything they've learned after a few episodes. It isn't even a matter of the status quo, because that suggests that there is a base model to return to. in this series, it's just anything goes, mature story structuring be damned.

This is a shorter review than normal because this episode didn't warrant further analysis. It certainly wasn't good, and was just mediocre enough to be disinteresting without being aggressively bad (unlike last week). I'm off next week, but I'll be back in two weeks with my review of the final two episodes, that will thankfully bring this series to a close.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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