Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer DVR Dump: Atlantis 1.06: "The Song of the Sirens"

“Wrestling is in my blood. You know, even as a baby I strangled a snake with my bare hands.”

Hercules is supposed to be a lovable, goofy character, but like Medusa, I really can’t forgive him for what he does in this episode. Hercules, of course, has been infatuated with Medusa since he met her, and he is impatient for her to reciprocate his feelings. Part of me thinks that given enough time, Medusa might have eventually had romantic feelings for Hercules naturally, but Jason and Pythagoras would disagree. Hercules suffers several blows to his ego, overhears Jason and Pythagoras talking about him, and he makes a very rash decision. In order to right those wrongs (sort of), Jason makes a very dangerous bargain. This seems like it could really be a gamechanging episode for the first season of “Atlantis.”

The episode opens with a rather embarrassing wrestling match. Hercules is fighting another very large man who goes by “The Destroyer.” The guys don’t think Hercules has much of a chance against such a formidable opponent, but Hercules does hold his own for a little while, at least. Hercules does lose the fight, and while he put up an admirable effort, he is extremely embarrassed to have lost, especially with Medusa watching. Later, while they think Hercules is asleep, Jason and Pythagoras talk about their mutual concern over Hercules’ feelings for Medusa. They don’t see any way that Medusa would ever possibly reciprocate. Hercules, to Jason and Pythagoras at least, doesn’t exactly seem like much of a catch.

Some action in the town of Atlantis proper then propels the plot for the rest of the episode. Jason pays a visit to the Oracle, who informs him that someone even more dangerous than Pasiphae is about to come into his life. Pasiphae is nasty, but she’s “in the light.” This other threat is in the darkness. All of this makes sense by the end of the episode. Meanwhile, Hercules catches the sympathy of a merchant for the state of his love life. The merchant tells Hercules that there is a more certain way to win Medusa’s love. There is a witch named Circe in a cave outside of town, and she may be able to cook up something to help. Circe’s price is what the asker values most, and Hercules gives her his most prized possession: a Cerberus tooth given to him by his father. In return, Hercules gets the Song of the Sirens, which is contained in a jar. All Hercules has to do is open the jar in Medusa’s presence, and she’ll fall in love with the first person she sees.

Hercules is a little hesitant to use the Song of the Sirens (as he should be), but eventually he gives in. The product works as advertised, and Medusa falls head over heels for Hercules. I think she was on her way to falling for Hercules anyway (she was spending a lot of time with him and calling him “Hercules the Hero”), but the magic really sped up the timeline. Medusa comes over for dinner at one point, and she’s all over Hercules. Jason and Pythagoras are incredulous. They can’t believe that Medusa would naturally be that into Hercules. Their suspicions are confirmed when Medusa eventually becomes very faint. This happens after bringing over a massive spread of food she stole from the palace. She is sent to bed, but her condition continues to worsen. Pythagoras uses his medical skills, but his efforts seem to only be delaying the inevitable. When Medusa realizes the gravity of her condition, she’s surprisingly okay with it, because she enjoyed the few days she had with Hercules that much. Still under the Siren spell, much?

Hercules runs off to the cave to confront Circe about this cruel twist to their deal, and Jason and Pythagoras follow. Mostly because they probably regret playing a part in encouraging Hercules to seek out Circe in the first place. After some verbal sparring, Circe reveals her true plan to Hercules. She set everything in motion so that she could make a bargain with Jason. While they’re trying to follow/help Hercules, Jason and Pythagoras encounter a very large pig. The pig has very particular behavior and shares Hercules’ signature stench (the boys called him “Hercules the Horrible Smelling” earlier in the episode, and there was also a whole sequence where Hercules tried to concoct deodorant before a date with Medusa). The pig is, in fact, Hercules himself. Circe transformed him into a rather appropriate animal.

The trio (with Hercules still in pig form) continue towards Circe’s cave. Circe sees them coming and sends a dragon after them, which Hercules is able to quickly (and impressively) dispatch. Pythagoras is injured in the battle, which makes Jason the only one of the trio to actually approach Circe. Clearly the boy is not following the Oracle’s advice. Circe will heal Medusa and change Hercules back if Jason fulfills one simple request. He needs to kill Circe’s sister. You see, she had a home and a good life before her sister took it all away and forced her to live in the cave. There’s just one additional catch. Her sister is Pasiphae. And that’s the biggest twist of the episode and what makes the episode overall such a gamechanger. Jason hesitates, but eventually he agrees to it, and Circe seals the agreement through a painful ritual so that neither of them can break it.

Circe is true to her word, and Medusa recovers and Hercules is restored. Medusa, understandably, is extremely angry at Hercules for essentially roofieing her with magic, and she refuses to speak to him. Hercules realizes that he has most definitely earned Medusa’s anger, so he doesn’t press the issue. Jason, meanwhile, knows that he may have bitten off more than he can chew with Circe, so he asks the Oracle for guidance. The Oracle, unfortunately, isn’t much help. She listens to Jason’s whole story, and she sees a mark on his arm (part of the binding ritual Circe did), and she is very sad. She doesn’t think this can end any way but badly, and she grabs Jason’s arm in a show of sympathy.

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