This review contains spoilers.
2.10 The Dying Of The Light
Broadly speaking, things are not going well in Atlantis. Our heroes are on the run and not getting on, Pasiphae isn’t the happiest of monarchs as she hunts for Ariadne and tries to keep her secret… secret, and the darkness could very well be about to consume Atlantis.
With Medusa dead, Pasiphae has confessed her secret, sending Jason on the dark path prophesied by The Oracle. Now on the run, thanks to an audacious rescue by Jason, Ariadne must survive as well as ensure that the friends are bound together, despite their growing differences that occasionally lead to violence.
Pasiphae has had her own confidence issues, knowing that now Jason is aware of his heritage and that he’s the true heir to the throne. Killing him remains the only option as this will silence Jason and ensure that she can go on being a much-reviled queen.
As Ariadne tries to get through to Jason, she realises that the damage has been done and her pleas to Hercules are also falling on deaf ears. While she tries to hold the friends together, Pythagoras sets out to meet Melas, a man he feels can help, despite his recent betrayals.
With Melas directing Pythagoras towards Jason’s father, Aeson, Icarus visits his father, Daedalus, who is due to be executed. Fearing that he may lose the father he loves, he sets out to betray the man he may love as more than a friend.
As Pasiphae dispatches troops to hunt down the heroes, gallantly leading them on horseback, it’s Medea, Pasiphae’s ally and sorceress, who emerges as Jason’s saving grace.
An emotionally broken Hercules and darker Jason give Mark Addy and Jack Donnelly a chance to really show their acting credentials. Joining them this week is John Hannah, returning as Jason’s father, who delivers a wonderful theatrical performance, a common theme amongst the stronger actors in the series – there’s a sense that actors like Ken Bones, Sarah Parish and John Hannah are playing this like a theatre performance, occasionally hammy but compelling to watch.
Hammy but compelling is also a theme of this week’s script as The Dying Of The Light manages to veer from tense drama to overly ripe dialogue that occasionally jars. It doesn’t enter pantomime territory, but there are a small number of distracting moments under the finer scenes.
There’s a not-so-subtle suggestion that Pythagoras and Icarus are more than friends. It’s a ham-fisted approach, but it works in its own way. Robert Emms manages to convey just enough awkwardness in his exchanges with Joseph Timms that it’s nearly convincing, whilst his interplay with Ken Bones and John Hannah is thoroughly gripping.
Overall, however, The Dying Of The Light manages to take Atlantis down a darker path, with the friends broken and seemingly irreparable, Pasiphae at her most dangerous and unpredictable, and the future of Atlantis resting on the shoulders of the man least suited to be the saviour thanks to recent events.
It was another strong episode and only three more to go, with the “next time” trailer teasing an arena setting, Jack Donnelly being semi-clad and sweaty and Hercules realising he may have done the wrong thing… again.
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