The Rules of Engagement was such a predictable episodes for me, right until the end. The plot-line in terms of the Pankration was obviously similar to that of Merlin's many competitions that it hosted. This has led me to believe that Richard McBrien is only recycling scripts, but jut changing the character names to make it link to the series. While it does have some good moments, the episode is predominantly made up of faults.
To begin with, I'd like to look at the highs of the episode (there are a few). I'm very glad Jason and Ariadne's relationship is considered for an episode, because it was very stunted before. Aiysha Hart plays a rather vulnerable Princess at the beginning, but through wonderful portrayal, she brings herself into a new person as a verbal warrior - only to crumble once more at the end. She was very consistent in her acting style and I can't fault her in anything. Jack Donnelly, in addition, is improving no end with his acting skills, despite most of his time on screen consisting of fighting other half-naked men.
Secondly, I want to take time to credit Sarah Parish for her acting work in all previous and current Atlantis episodes. She is by far the greatest of all the actors and actresses and she uses her skill to portray a dangerous enemy who is cunning and fearful. I doubt she could have played it better. Her performance in the Rules of Engagement with Dymas - she is exceptional.
Thirdly, the cliffhanger is undoubtedly the best so far. Korinna's death comes as a shock to us all I think, including Ariadne. She has become an invaluable link for Jason and his friends to reach the palace, and with the link broken, there can be only danger. This moment shows that the series is moving on and maturing and with a monumental happening in the centre of a series, this will make it a little more believable and flexible.
But, there's still many problems with the series, and some of them were executed last week, but this episode has thrown those morals away again. The plot is far too similar to other series with competitions in them. Good guy fights desperately and miraculously reaches the final with his arch-enemy, and after torturous battle, the good guy always wins. Also, the scene with the poison, despite its tension, is inconsequential. Yes, she added the poison to King Minos' drink, but what for and to what end. Why kill him at this specific time, and risk being blamed for the murder? Am I missing something, because I find this extra plot-line to be useless.
They only touched on Medusa and Hercules relationship for a very short time. While it is resolved in their moments together, I think this is far too quick, especially las episode when Medusa wanted to roast him as a Pig. Finally, Pythagoras' presence is there only because he's a main character. He is barely noticeable as a character in the episode, similar to Twist of Fate, he's given obvious lines and then told to be quiet. Does McBrien have a grudge against him or something?
Overall, a weak episode, with more faults that strengths. And so I feel generous to give this episode 5.5/10, but a brilliant cliffhanger makes up for its losses.
- The Earth Bull - 6.5/10
- A Girl By Any Other Name - 8/10
- A Boy of No Consequence - 6/10
- Twist of Fate - 5/10
- White Lies - 6/10
- The Song of the Sirens - 7.5/10
- The Rules of Engagement - 5.5/10
P.S. Even though there won't be an episode broadcast next week because of Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, I will still be doing my review on the Sunday morning.