There’s a definite sense of sadness coming into this episode of Atlantis. It’s been four months since the season paused halfway through, and three months since the BBC told us that we’re not getting any more episodes. After these seven, there’s to be no more broad rewriting of Greek mythology on BBC One’s Saturday nights. And that’s disappointing, given how much better this season has been.
Now, on first watch a viewer may ask themselves, “Why didn’t they just kill the Oracle straightaway rather than dragging her out to the woods?” It’s testament to how much Atlantis has improved that this is explained neatly by pointing out that the gods will curse anyone who kills the Oracle. What’s the most obvious solution? Use someone already cursed! Like... Medusa!
From the plots to the acting, everything in season two has been pushed up a notch, moving away from plot-of-the-week towards more continuing storylines. Every action has had consequences: appropriately, given that the actions of the schedulers affected this episode’s quality. It feels like a middle-of-the-season episode rather than back-from-hiatus, heavily reliant on what went before and quiet and talky rather than bombastic and enthusiastic. Surrounded by more action-packed episodes, it would’ve made a lot more narrative sense.
It’s not “A Fate Worse Than Death” that Atlantis was cancelled, but it is a bad thing – the BBC are great at family adventure shows, and Atlantis was a worthy successor to that Saturday teatime slot.