‘Atlantis’ 1.05: ‘White Lies’ Review

“The gods will not allow me to see my own destiny!”

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After five episodes we finally learn more about the beautiful princess Ariadne’s family (kind of), and just how far Sarah Parish‘s pantomime baddie will go to secure her seat on the throne.

The episode begins when a messenger breaks into the palace to give Ariadne a message from her brother Theros, revealing he is live and well and he wishes to see her, but cannot come to Atlantis because he was exiled from the city following allegations he was plotting to kill his father the king. Of course, the rumours were Queen Pasiphae’s doing, who is keen to get Heptarian on the throne via marriage to Ariadne and wanted to secure her power and position by taking out the competition. Something which Theros reminds Ariadne of when they later meet. With her every move being watched Ariadne asks Jason and the gang for their assistance, which the love-sick Jason is only to happy to provide.

Theros drugs Ariadne and attempts to kidnap his sister, but Jason steps in giving Ariadne enough time to come round and tell her brother determinedly that her place is in Atlantis and she will not abandon it’s people. Theros slopes off into the distance after their goodbyes while the wannabe love – sick puppies dance around each other like a pair of teenagers trying to look longingly but instead resembling more embarrassment.

The saving grace of this episode is the well-played scene between The Oracle and Pasiphae – a battle of wits as the Queen makes it clear she’s not one to be toyed with following The Oracle’s bending of the truth. Pasiphae makes it clear to The Oracle she will pay if she crosses her again. Whereas The Oracle really has the upper-hand, as she knows Jason’s fate but does reveal she cannot see her own.

I’ll admit, I’m struggling to be positive about Atlantis (can you tell?), I REALLY want it to work but each week I start watching willing like a football fan does at the start of every match for the team to pull out the big guns and score some goals. Admittedly this week’s was a minor improvement on previous episodes, but unfortunately for Atlantis the ball is nowhere near the goal. And with the confirmed news that a second series has already been commissioned, Atlantis needs a lot of work to pull it from what’s currently a kids show to an exciting show that deserves its time-slot.

Robert Emms, Jemima Rooper and gradually (script allowing) Aiysha Hart are the only thing making this work. Jack Donnelly is inexperienced and it shows. Parish as Pasiphae, as I’ve already said is good but too pantomime; no light and shade to her character. Mark Addy‘s Hercules is comedy fodder that just isn’t funny and instead incredibly annoying and unlikable. It may sound harsh, and of course the actors can only work with the scripts they are given. But five episode’s in!! We should really be getting somewhere by now and feeling a connection to the characters. The overall arc (which I’m not even sure there is one) is too weak and is not helped by the story-of-the-week not hitting home. Mainly because I still don’t care enough about the characters.

The episode is just a roundabout-way to show the audience that the King and Queen stole the Crown with underhand tactics. I’m sure most of the audience had already figured that one out for ourselves. By the end of the episode the only thing that moved forward in the plot is Ariadne now knows. I’m pretty sure we could have learnt this with some simple exposition dialogue without bringing in the brother and all (very little) that ensued? It’s not like the brother appeared likeable or in any way absolved of the crime he didn’t commit. What can I say Atlantians. We have a LONG road ahead!