Atlantis 1.04 “Twist Of Fate” TV REVIEW
Writer: Richard McBrien
Director: Alice Troughton
THE ONE WHERE Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras find an abandoned baby with royal connections.
VERDICT Atlantis transforms the Oedipus myth into Three Men And A Baby , and many, many gags based on bodily functions ensue. Not since the heyday of Carry On films has British scriptwriting embraced farting and wee-wee with such gusto.
It’s sweet at times, and there are plenty of Athena poster moments to make the soppier in the audience go, “Awwwww, cute!” Some of the earlier gags raise a smile, but the comedy wears thin pretty quickly and by the time Jason and co escape the city thanks to the guards wanting to avoid a particularly noxious bottom burp, you really just want it to stop.
The Hercules/Medusa will-they?/won’t-they? is developing nicely, though, and leads to a couple of wonderfully tender moments. Elsewhere, Pasiphae and Ariadne continue the verbal jousting. Let’s hope neither goes soft on us; it’s refreshing to see two women in telefantasy in an intellectual battle for supremacy and it’s be a shame if Ariadne caves in a becomes an identikit damsel in distress.
While there was a great – if brief – fight scene at the end, the episode also felt a little lacking in pace and action, not to mention CG monsters. Okay, every episode doesn’t have to be a big romp, but “Twist Of Fate” felt a little aimless at times, as if the big-men-with-little-baby shtick alone was enough reason for its existence.
But it had its moments. And a melon.
FRUIT ABUSE This week Jason really did carry a melon, and then used it in a random act of violence.
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT? Considering we were just told “the boy will marry its mother”, this subsequent kiss took on a whole new, slightly icky meaning.
STAR TURN How exactly does Donald Sumpter ( Being Human , Game Of Thrones ) manage to make any scene he appears in feel positively Shakespearean?
IT’S WOSSISNAME Is Atlantis becoming a home for retired Casualty actors? After Richard Dillane last week, we get Tristan Gemmill this week. He played Adam Trueman in the hospital soap for four years.
DESTINY/FATE COUNT If you include the episode title, it’s four fates.
EH? What the hell were they pretending to be doing at this point? Painting a wall with a spoon at night?
MYTHBUSTERS Oedipus in the traditional Greek myth was indeed the son of Jocasta and Laius, and, as the episode chronicles, Laius did indeed consult the Oracle and discover the child would kill him. A detail the episode doesn’t mention is how he got his swollen foot (though his name does indeed mean swollen foot – good job he didn’t have deformed todger). In the myth Laius had his ankles pierced and tethered together so that he could not crawl. Oedipus did eventually marry his mother… but it was all a hilarious misunderstanding. Sort of.
ATLANTIS A-Z Hercules’ house is said to be on The Canopic Way in this episode. The Canopic Way was one of the main thoroughfares of Alexandria.
A CLASH OF STYLES You have to love this moment, when the show looks all Game Of Thrones , but the dialogue is all about nappy changing.
BEST LINE Seems like this section will often be a toss up between a prime bit of Pasiphae/Ariadne bitchiness or a Hercules/Pythagoras insult, so here’s one of each this time:
Pasiphae: “Was not Artemis herself a woman?”
Ariadne: “Of course. But her prey had four legs, did it not?”
Hercules: “True love brooks no hesitation.”
Pythagoras: “You better hope it has no sense of smell, either.”
• Atlantis is currently airing in the UK on BBC One, Saturday evenings
• Read our other Atlantis season one reviews