I was worried about how predictable and formulaic this episode would be, and I have to say I was proved right and wrong. The gradual build-up of fighting showed the usual development as we've had in The Rules of Engagement last year, and in a number of Merlin episodes. It was always going to be Jason and Telemon in the final battle. Once again Richard McBrien writes an episode that uses a common template for television these days. However, there were some good additions, which allowed our predictions to wane slightly.
The death of Aretto was quite a surprise, and Pythagoras' investigation of Aretto's accusations towards Telemon were intriguing to begin with. Not to mention, this was followed by the reveal that Leonidas was bribed by Telemon to lose the fight against him in order for Telemon to get that one step closer to Ariadne. Also, despite being a bit repetitive at times, the fight scenes are choreographed well, with some precise moments of insane to-ing and fro-ing.
One thing that has really bugged me this series is the character of Ariadne. The script has not provided her with a means to show her character range. Aiysha Hart has been forced to play a level-headed character who whispers almost every line, just because there's nothing much else she can do. The next time trailer does look promising, however, because already there's a sign of grief in her character.
Hercules and Pythagoras' roles in Jason's life are paramount, and it's nice to see them getting some much-needed development. Moments between the characters can be a little hazy in places, but overall their loyalty and inter-play is great to watch and there's a definite sign that there's more to come later for both of them. In terms of the cast, Clive Standen plays a very cool and becalmed Telemon, who's character is still quite mysterious (probably on purpose). This does not hinder the actor as he is clearly the strongest of the cast, in my opinion. The contrast between his nights with Ariadne and his fighting mode on the battlefield gives him a great range to work with.
Overall, Telemon sets up a great path for the second series, with a lot of interesting subjects still to digress through. Somehow, however, I'm still finding it hard work to watch an episode through-and-through, especially with this one, as it seemed a bit deja vu, and not the sort of excitement and wonder than attracts me. Nevertheless, there's a lot of potential with this series, and I won't be surprised if this completely turns around in the next few weeks!
Series 2 Rankings: