Atlantis: Review: Series 1 Episode 4: Twist of Fate (spoiler-free)

Atlantis 4Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras find a baby apparently abandoned in the woods, but should they follow their instincts to care for it?

I really want to enjoy Atlantis – it’s got so much going for it potentially. But this episode, which is highly reminiscent of the fart gags-filled instalments that dragged Merlin down periodically, can’t make up its mind if it’s going for serious drama (the identity of the baby will become obvious to the audience quite early on, although the information is kept away from Jason until the last scenes, otherwise his “fore”knowledge would come into play), or slapstick comedy. It’s a mix that can work – Russell T Davies has proved that on numerous occasions –  but doesn’t here.

Unsurprisingly, given the set-up, a large amount of time is given over to Three Men and a Baby type antics with (cliché alert) Hercules finding that cooing over a small child makes him more attractive to the woman he’s set on. Otherwise it plays out as you expect: guards go round the city in a very Massacre of the Innocents way. Donald Sumpter gives a reliable performance as Tiresias, and there’s what’s becoming the standard bitching between Ariadne and her stepmother – with one rather good line about hunting!

Maybe the reason that it feels so disposable – and it’s a problem that is at the heart of this episode – is that the characters in the show are apparently meant to be the ones from myths, or at least, the foundations of those myths. Unfortunately, as yet they are not demonstrating that…

Verdict: The show’s still too unfocused – it needs some clear goals for the characters to be established so we can empathise with them. 5/10

Paul Simpson

 

 

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