Atlantis episode 11 review: Hunger Pangs

Review Dave Adamson 14 Dec 2013 - 21:05

With just two episodes to go in its first series, Atlantis continues to falter. Here's Dave's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.11 Hunger Pangs

This week’s Atlantis sees a poverty-stricken Jason stealing a loaf of bread to sate his hunger, clumsily escaping the clutches of the rightfully outraged shopkeeper, whilst dropping the bread into a trough of water. It’s a lesson to us all that theft is wrong, actions have consequences and even heroes that, at one point, could dine on their reputation cannot dine if they no longer have money.

That’s not the point of this week’s episode, however, the point is… Jason is buff.

Hercules is drowning his sorrows, whilst Jason returns home with meat… meat that was overseen by a many-faced statue that looks ominous and foreboding and should instantly have acted as a warning to Jason. The meat, it transpires, was enchanted and it can of no surprise that, as Jason becomes more feral, it is he that has now become the victim of the anger of a goddess.

Jason has desecrated a shrine to Hecate and, being the expert in all things Greek, he has absolutely no idea what this means. Thankfully for our dim-witted, buff friend, Pythagoras does.

Enlisting the help of Ariadne, they plan to cure Jason of his malady, but this puts her life in peril and it’s only the buffoonery of Hercules and Pythagoras that stop her becoming dog food.

It’s a race against time to save Jason from being lynched by the city’s guards and prevent a pointless plot contrivance from killing him.

Atlantis continues to ride the rollercoaster of adequacy, seeing yet another episode where the bar is set at mundane. It’s the type of episode where you could go and make a cup of tea, come back and feel you’ve missed nothing interesting and it’s unlikely you’d be driven to watch it again.

After each transformation, Jack Donnelly appears in the nude, covering his dignity and showing off his buff torso. The transformation is barely shown and what we do see is tame by any standards. Donnelly does a decent enough job, showing a hint of skill when he comes face-to-face with Ariadne, but otherwise he’s just a decent body running around.

The royal family return, with Minos the worse for wear and unaware that Pasiphae is contributing to his failing health. As has become standard for an appearance by the royals, these are the more interesting scenes, even though the exchange between Sarah Parish and Alexander Siddig does feel like a hastily inserted addition. There’s a sense that this story would make much more compelling viewing than the Jason story.

Pythagoras’ love of maths plays a big part in this episode, getting references in two scenes - geometry is used to help him clean a room and the swinging of a pendulum leads him to believe he knows how to measure the passage of time. Robert Emms is clearly having fun with his character, delivering a quirky, if somewhat stilted, turn.

Visually, there’s something about Atlantis that make all the environments look like sets on a sound stage. There’s rarely a feeling that it’s filmed on location and, for a bustling centre of trade and industry, it feels a bit empty. Whilst it may be visually interesting, it doesn’t feel lived in.

Unevenly paced, unevenly acted, this week’s Atlantis is yet another interesting premise let down by the delivery.  It never really gets going, though has yet another strong, if somewhat cliched story.  The ending is rushed and, despite what is happening to Jason, it’s difficult to actually root for his survival, or his love for Ariadne.

It’s just a melange of mediocrity, a much of a muchness, a medley of the mundane. You get the point. It  struggles to be anything and seems to suffer from scriptwriters who only occasionally dip their toe into the pool of interesting. Perhaps, by series two, they’ll dive in and bring together the skill of some of the cast, the potential of the world in which its set and the heritage of the BBC when it comes to fantasy and period dramas.

Two episodes to go… will we ever discover if Pythagoras actually desecrated Hecate’s shrine by pushing over her effigy and crushing one of her worshippers?  Probably not… 

Read Dave's review of the previous episode, The Price Of Hope, here.

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The "good" thing about Atlantis is I can not watch it anymore, read the review and then feel like I did actually watch the episode my memory piecing it together from the other very average episodes. 2 episodes to go? The story hasn't moved on at all. Bolt a 5 minute sub scene on and any episode could have been the first.

Geometry was NOT used to clean the room...Pythagoras used it as an excuse to explain why a sizable part of the food stored there had vanished. Hercules of course had eaten it. Pyth's facial expression made it so obvious I'm starting to wonder if the reviewer had bothered watching.

Yet you're here, commenting on a review of something you don't watch any more. Really, you need to push the OFF button, on both your TV and your computer, and get out of that room...

It was fun, a straight-forward werewolf episode, played cheerfully and lightly by all concerned. With some continuity from Hercules (Medusa), and the obviously inserted bits from the palace, including a run-around by Hepterion and his guards. Nothing too heavyweight, but Jason continues to look good, Robert Emms was intriguing (clearly could do so much more), Mark Addy had fun, and next week picks up the kill-Pasiphae arc, which I was wondering about.

It's a good testament to how bad Atlantis is that people feel the need to keep commenting on how bad it is after they stopped watching it. Personally I miss having something to watch on Saturday's so keep up with the reviews to see if there is any sign of improvement so I can start watching it (I've been doing this since episode four and seen no sign yet).

Thus I sit here questioning what on earth were the BBC thinking renewed this show after just one episode? The first 5 episodes of the show were terrible and going by the reviews there has been no improvement or process in storyline only a trip in rape culture and more childish jokes.

Jack Donnelly either needs to quit his day job or get some acting classes before he starts filming series 2. Cheesey and slightly dodgy storylines can be made up for if the actors, especially the main actor, is good enough. Jack Donnelly couldn't even carry the show if it was fantastically written let alone with the rubbish lines he is being given.

I really do hope this show improves for season two. Drastically improves that is - as at the moment it is definitely the worst Saturday night drama I have ever seen air on any channel.

Can you blame him if he hadn't?

And that's exactly what I'm doing. If the review says it's a great episode I can watch it, if not I can express my disappointment it's not fulfilling it's promise. Should a good episode come along at some point I'm still aware of the various plot lines. Just don't have to spend 45 minutes a week on it to do it. Just because I don't watch it doesn't mean I have no interest at all. Just make it better.

I tuned out after the first episode but I still come to the reviews because I am fascinated and amused by a) how poor it is; b) how little positivity it gets and yet it still got a second series.

I actually think Donnelly could manage if the scripts were decent- he's shown a few flashes of decent acting so far on some of the better patches of the show. Unfortunately, he just doesn't have the ability to elevate dodgy material. It's not uncommon, a surprising number of actors are totally reliant on the quality of the script, Donnelly just shows it more because the scripts are piss poor more often than not. He's not helped by the fact that most of the other regulars do have the ability to carry shoddy material with grace, so the poor bloke stands out like a sore thumb.

I'm still a bit unsure to be honest :/. I mean I can't completely comment because I've never seen him in anything else. However I caught about 5 minutes of an episode a few weeks ago where he was in a scene with his love interest (I can't remember her name sorry). It was quite an intense scene, people's lives were at risk, the actress with doing perfectly fine and to be honest the lines in the scene and the atmosphere were fine too. However Jack Donnelly ruined it all by standing there for the whole 5 minutes looking blank not changing his facial expression or tone of voice once from the blank open mouthed look he likes to pull in most of his scenes I've seen. So in this case it was more of the opposite. The scene would of gone okay if it weren't for him.

Then again I don't actually watch the show and haven't seen a full episode since episode 4 so I can't truly comment. I feel mean always getting down on him and like I should given the guy a break, but to be honest he should do a better job. He's been acting for years now he doesn't even have the excuse of being a newby. I do feel sorry for him though. As I am certainly not the only one to be commenting on his lack of acting skills.

Thirty minutes into this episode I switched off and decided I will never again watch another. This show burnt its bridges with me. I have tried to give Atlantis as much of my sympathy as I am able and it has spat in my face. This is a terrible show with appalling writing and zero vision. I am done.

I enjoyed it. It was fun. werewolves are always a good old cliche but it was a really fun episode ltd of running about. its no different to the Robin Hood series except this has worse baddies 9nothing can beat old guy of Gisbourne) but better sides characters. Robert Emms is perfect for his role. Also setting wise I tho nk honestly it doesn't look too fake I really liked it plus we know a lot more people will be in temples all more of the time. we did see crowded areas of Atlantis

Great episode!!! Jason, Pythagoras and Hercules are hilarious! Looking forward to next week's episode!

Jason seemed strikingly out of character even for Atlantis's inconsistent quality. It's like Jason suffers from random bouts of hollow brains. This episode was flat out bad. Though I admit Pythagoras was funny. I almost cried how monstrously sub-par this episode was since I have been rooting for this show to pull itself up and stop crawling around in corners. The Greek Mythos is vast and full of potential. At least they got Medusa right. No stupid snake tail.


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