Atlantis S01E05 “White Lies” is what we might term a “bridge” episode. Nothing really happens, and it exists primarily to move from the plot of episodes 1-4 to whatever comes next in episode 6. To that end, it was less a story than a chunk of exposition grafted on to a halfhearted attempt to make the vacuous and vacant Ariadne into an actual presence and an effort to set up more royal intrigues in that age-old British storytelling obsession: who will inherit the throne? Power politics make for good drama, I suppose, but the stakes are so low on Atlantis that it becomes hard to care who sits atop the Minoan throne since the king doesn’t seem to do very much other than pass judgment on peasants.
The long and short of the story is that Ariadne has a long-lost brother who was wrongly framed for a plot to assassinate the king as part of Pasiphae’s plot to seize power. And what a long scheme it is! Pasiphae’s been at it for at least a decade. It took Hitler less time to become führer of Germany. So Ariadne sneaks out of the palace to see him and whispers sweet nothings to Jason in his hovel en route to meeting with her brother. And that’s pretty much it.
At least this week they gave Ariadne some agency; however, this step forward falters on the fact that she only steps out of the palace because she is spurred on by her devotion to and love of two men, her brother and Jason. Heaven forfend she might have motivations of her own!
Also: The day-for-night blue filter filming was the most atrocious use of that money-saving technique I have seen in the modern age. It looked worse than when they used to do it on Night Gallery forty years ago to save cash.
The producers of this show promised a reimagining of Greek mythology, but so far they have delivered instead a pale shadow of Shakespeare’s courtly intrigue married to a love story that Shakespeare would have found both too muted and too clichéd. With that, I think I will close out these capsule reviews of Atlantis. If, by chance, they happen to do something interesting with Greek mythology I might give it a mention; otherwise, I’m out of ways to say the same thing each week.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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