In line with the sporadic nature of Atlantis, I’m in danger of my views fluctuating like the oncoming seas. Akin to this weeks theme, I’m full of hope for the premise, which is currently being weighed down like one of Medusa’s statues – with a clunky script of missed opportunities, impatience and a great supporting cast being woefully underused.
This week’s episode the writers finally remembered the importance of a continuing plot – points that really do make an impact on the series as a whole. However, they forgot to give the main actors anything to really work with. I’m not expecting Shakespeare but fluidity would make a huge difference, to not only the pace, but the uncertain portrayals by the cast.
Following lasts week’s cruel but earlier than expected fate of Medusa. Hercules is desperate to find a cure for his love, relying on poor Pythagoras to magic a remedy up. Unfortunately, Pythagoras is feeling just as defeated, with no cure in sight and fearful that if he tells Hercules this he’ll take away his hope. Pythagoras with the help of local genius Daedalus played by the ever versatile Robert Lindsay, discover the only way to cure Medusa is for Hercules to sacrifice his life in exchange for hers.
This week’s episode belongs to the guest stars as Atalanta (Nora Jane Noone) provided an intriguing character with a decent backstory and a strong female role. Meanwhile, Jason Watkins provided the villain of the piece, conveying with every smirk and stare enough knowing menace (not unlike his role of Herrick in Being Human). Robert Lindsay played the eccentric inventor, irritated by those not blessed with his intellect yet pragmatic in the human condition of hope.
Donnelly is adept and believable in the action scenes but still looks uncertain, even uncomfortable in the role. An actor’s job is to make the audience believe what they’re seeing for the length of the episodes. It’s almost like he’s not immersed enough in the part to believe in it. But if your lead doesn’t, how does he expect the audience to? Robert Emms is the most rounded of the three main characters, even though we know little about him, he provides a range of intellect, concern and comedy.
I know many found the exchange between Hercules (Mark Addy) and Medusa (Jemima Rooper) touching. Personally I have no interest in them as a couple; I’m not feeling the vibe! I’d agree Jemima Rooper played her part brilliantly as the now tortured soul; and as always she steals the scene. I’m hoping the writers take the opportunity to use her solitude as a means to a much darker character. Addy on the other hand was suitably morose as he said his goodbyes to his friends, but then in the cave he lacked the ability to know when to underplay his part.
Overall though the episode was a big step in the right direction and for once continued on the story arc; the episode had a purpose that we actually cared about!