Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer DVR Dump: Atlantis 1.09: "Pandora's Box"

“We both knew what would become of Medusa. I did not know how or when it would happen.”
-The Oracle

By the end of this episode, Jason is fed up with hearing prophesies about himself. And I don’t really blame him, because so am I (tired of hearing prophesies about Jason, that is). For the most part, “Pandora’s Box” was yet another stand-alone episode, although the final scene connected it somewhat to the greater mythology by giving Jason the burden of yet another prophesy about him killing someone. I hope with the next episode we get back to the Minos/Pasiphae/Ariadne drama now that we’ve had one episode each to focus on Jason’s friends. “The Furies” taught us a lot about Pythagoras’ past and “Pandora’s Box” explored Hercules and Medusa’s relationship, so now it’s time to get back to focusing on Jason and go full steam ahead for the rest of the season.

The episode opens with Hercules and Medusa in bed together. They haven’t consummated their relationship yet, but they’re close to it. Before they actually do the deed, however, Medusa has some questions for Hercules. She has head many stories about his drinking/gambling/womanizing past, and she wants assurances that his feelings for her are real, and his bad behavior is a thing of the past. Hercules admits he has a checkered past, but his feelings for Medusa are real. Before anything else can happen, though, Hercules and Medusa are kidnapped. Somebody wants to collect from Hercules on an old gambling debt. His price is the retrieval of a box. From Hades. If Hercules doesn’t get the box within the next day, Medusa will die a painful death.

Getting to Hades and back again without actually, you know, dying, is apparently a difficult feat. So the boys have to enlist the help of a particular Hierophant who is known to have discovered, essentially, the secret to cheating death. This Hierophant only gives the secret to his most devoted followers, so Jason and company have to engage in a little less-than-ethical arm twisting. Eventually, however, the Hierophant relents. He gives Jason and Hercules a special potion to take (it will make them sleep to the point of near-death) and a horn that Jason will use to signal the need to wake up. Pythagoras is supposed to watch over their bodies. When Jason sounds the horn, Pythagoras is supposed to see crows, and when he sees the crows, Pythagoras is supposed to use his blood to wake his friends.

Jason and Hercules take the potion, and they board the boat to Hades. It’s all very grey and moody and atmospheric. It reminded me of the ships sailing from the Grey Havens in the Lord of the Rings movies. Back in Atlantis, Pythagoras thinks he sees a crow, and it sets off an almost farcical series of events. While Pythagoras is outside looking for the crow, a fire starts and Pythagoras is knocked out by falling debris. When he wakes up, he finds out from a neighbor that Jason and Hercules were thought to be dead, and they were taken to the Ancient Greece version of a mortuary. Pythagoras spends much of the rest of the episode trying to find the bodies. First he goes to the wrong mortuary, then when he gets to the correct mortuary on the other side of town, he finds out that Jason and Hercules have already been buried. Back on the first side of town, naturally.

Meanwhile, in Hades, Jason and Hercules encounter their deceased friend, Cyrus. Cyrus helps lead Jason and Hercules to Pandora’s Box, the item that Hercules needs to retrieve to save Medusa. Jason and Hercules go for the box, but it can’t be that easy. They have to fight off a kind of flying snake monster to get to the box. The monster says that the box is Pandora’s and it is very dangerous. The monster can’t let Jason and Hercules take the box from Hades. Jason and Hercules run off with the box before the situation gets worse, and Jason tries to blow the horn to signal Pythagoras to wake them up. Pythagoras, however, is still trying to locate Jason and Hercules’ bodies in the graveyard. This is easier said than done, because apparently a whole bunch of people were just buried. Just as Hercules and Jason are about to be overcome by monsters, Pythagoras finally locates their bodies, and he drips some on his blood on to both of them. They wake up just in time.

Jason doesn’t want to give the box to Kyros (the guy who wants to collect on Hercules’ gambling debt), but they can’t exactly leave Medusa to die either, so the guys decide to pull a little Pandora ’s Box bait-and-switch. They make a duplicate box and try to give that to Kyros instead. Kyros opens the box, is distracted by a snake inside, and the boys use the opportunity to run. Medusa is back at the boys’ place, though, and of course she discovers the real Pandora’s Box, which they hid oh-so-thoroughly under the floor boards. When the boys return to their apartment, they find the open box and no Medusa. They follow a scream to find what seems to be a bunch of statues.

Jason somehow knows what Medusa has become (maybe because he’s from modern times and probably studied mythology in school?), so he tries to warn Hercules and Pythagoras not to look at her. Hercules is still bent on seeing Medusa, though (even though she is begging him not to look at her), so Jason gives him a shield. Apparently if you look at Medusa via a reflection, she can’t turn you to stone. Hercules has just enough time to see the snakes on Medusa’s head before she runs away. Hercules, of course, is devastated. He vows to find a way to reverse the curse.

Jason delivers Pandora’s Box to the Oracle for safekeeping. They have a very interesting conversation about how they both really knew what was going to happen to Medusa. The Oracle says that Medusa is going to have to be killed eventually, but Jason doesn’t want to hear that. He’s had enough with prophesies about him killing people (and I don’t blame him). The Oracle says that Jason has no choice. Jason, however, disagrees, and as he leaves the temple, he challenges the Gods to do their worst.

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