“Sometimes one must follow one’s conscience, not one’s duty.”
This week’s offering from the Atlantis ka-tet is surprisingly cohesive. Hercules, Pythagoras and Jason come upon a baby while wandering randomly through a wood. (Well, apparently they were hunting. Hahaha.) Hercules and Pythagoras surmise, based on very little evidence, that the child has been abandoned. Jason decides to rescue him and – here’s a surprise – gets into trouble with the king.
Seriously. Why hasn’t Minos kicked Jason out of the city already? Or had him assassinated? How much trouble has he caused for the royal family in just four weeks? And Minos does not seem like a forgiving man. Justice in Atlantis seems pretty summary, and it’s hard to believe that the authorities would just let Jason wander around kicking up trouble.
Anyway, it turns out that the baby belongs to a visiting king, Laus (who appears to be Dr Truman from Casualty in disguise. Presumably he, too, fell down the Atlantean rabbit-hole and then just assimilated naturally into a completely new society), who has heard from the Oracle that the baby will grow up to kill him. Because this is the kind of responsible advice Greek Oracles tend to dispense.
Actually, the scriptwriters seem woefully unacquainted with Ancient Greece in general. Just a few points:
- Medusa is surprised when Hercules offers her wine in the morning, but I’m pretty sure (from my reading of Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries series, but still) that Greeks literally drank wine for breakfast.
- When Minos is offering a sacrifice to the gods, he drops into what sounds like Ancient Greek. So…they’re meant to be speaking English, then? In Ancient Greece? (That’s a good point. What is Jason speaking? Does he know Greek?)
- Tiresias is unconvinced by Medusa’s claim that she’s a washing-woman…because her hands don’t look like a washing-woman’s. Medusa works in a kitchen. Manual labour. I’m pretty sure a cook’s hands don’t look that much different from a washing-woman’s.
- All Greek guards were apparently really stupid. Like, I find it hard to believe that all six guards would leave off guarding the city gate to chase one criminal (i.e. Jason). Or that none of them are clever enough to look behind a door they’ve just run through for a fugitive who is clearly not in front of them.
I could go on. But I’d quite like to leave something for next week.
One thing that is promising, though, is this mini-theme that appears to be happening where characters have famous names like Medusa or Oedipus that turn out to be true – that is, they’re the actual mythological figures. Is Jason eventually going to get a ship? Should we be looking out for women named Medea? And what about Pythagoras? Is he going to found an obscure mathematical cult? (This actually happened. More or less.) Basically, my question is: is this a Clue? And do I care enough to find out?