In fairness, nothing much happened this week, except that Jason escaped from prison, only to be replaced by Ariadne. The background stuff could've been ignored and the main meat of the plot would've been just that. However, there was more to the episode, and it certainly made it better. Robert Emms had a surprisingly good performance this week, with his character going through an emotional stage like no other. Not all the acting was top notch, however. Emmett J Scanlan spoke only one tone throughout the episode, which was highly irritating, and Jack Donnelly was surprisingly unemotional, despite his character's precarious situation.
What is true about Atlantis at the moment is that it is fighting a losing battle. There are so many unnecessary scenes, that it gets quite repetitive in the middle, and I have a feeling this is only to stretch out the plot enough to last another week and have its viewers be as depressed as possible, before uplifting them for the final ten minutes of the series. I feel Medusa's story should've ended here, but it seems we'll be seeing her for a little longer yet. Meanwhile, Hercules is going through an emotional crisis, which is sad, but it only gets me more agitated about how obvious the whole setup is.
The writers (predominantly Howard Overman) have set out a plan that has clearly come together at this point, but with five episodes still to go, they're adamant to let it simmer onwards until they've squeezed every drop of plot they can find out of the story. In consequence, I find the proceedings very tenuous in concept. If they have an original plan, it is best to stick with it, otherwise there will be a never-ending series of events that are unfathomable and damnright ridiculous. One example this week was Pythagoras' escape through the streets of Atlantis, which did very little to speed up the story and was entirely unnecessary anyway. Not to mention, Hercules' mad scheme to release Jason was just as bizzare, and did nothing different to what might've happened if Pythagoras had saved Jason in the first place. So that was about ten minutes of screen time wasted with needless to-ing and fro-ing for no good reason.
Instead of rambling on about my dislikes, I would like to give my favour to some aspects of the episode. I like how the writers are starting to incorporate a heavy sense of continuity. Last week, it was the return of Medusa that gave us a blast from the past. Now, this week was a little more subtle, but Critias from the Series 2 premiere returned to screen, giving us a sense that our heroes do have a friendship with some people in the city. Next week looks to take continuity a step further, with not only the return of Daedalus, but Pandora's Box as well. Hopefully that will be enough to make me want to watch it. Otherwise, the music is a strong point this series, with another great score to enjoy this week. Also, just as I had last week, I found the directing to be superb, with cameras following characters around and providing a sense of urgency.
To conclude, pros for this week were Robert Emms' performance and a consistently versatile soundtrack, but the series continues to be weakened by half-hearted performances from others and a hazy sense of direction. Every time I sit down to watch an episode, I feel insulted that the writers decide to use such a formulaic storyline constantly, as if desperately trying to knock it into my head. I just wish Atlantis would take a leaf from Doctor Who's book and start opening up properly to the audience with a more engaging variety, instead of doling out this lackluster trash every week. This is why I'm one of the last reviewers out there who dare to tread the world of Atlantis, because the criticism would be too much.