Sunday, January 19, 2014

Atlantis - Pandora's Box

"Pandora's Box" offers a keen look at the show's various strengths and weaknesses as Hercules (Mark Addy) and Jason (Jack Donnelly) travel into Hades to retrieve a small box which they hope to exchange for Medusa's (Jemima Rooper) life. Although doing an adequate job of presenting the Herculean task (so to speak) the adventurers have in front of them, having the group discover how to get into Hades, travel through the underworld into Tartarus, retrieve the box, and then face the consequences of their actions all over a little more than 30 minutes (after the initial set-up) leaves the adventure feeling a bit too much like a walk in the woods rather than something truly remarkable.

Given its budget, such a large-scale story means most of the underworld is shown to be little more than empty dark caves without much in the way of threats, hauntings, or discoveries by the two heroes. The result feels a bit like an old episode of Doctor Who where the settings often couldn't keep up with the ideas of the writers. Pythagoras' (Robert Emms) misadventure while trying to watch over his friends (whose bodies appear dead while their spirits travel to Hades) is a bit too much slapstick for one episode but adds another layer of tension to the overall proceedings.

If the story seems rushed and the execution feels a bit off on such a meager budget, the episode does get several things right including presenting the dangers of the box, offering a discussion about fate and destiny, and the series of events which lead Medusa into becoming a Gorgon and becoming trapped in her destiny just as Jason refuses to go any farther with his.

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