The Virgin Who Can’t Drive — Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 6 Review

S1E6, “We Take a Zebra to Vegas”

r-l: Percy (Walker Scobell), Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) and Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) in Hermes' taxi
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS - “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” (Disney)

The following review contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1E6, “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” (written by Jonathan E. Steinberg & Joe Tracz and directed by Jet Wilkinson)

And it’s another short episode this week for Percy Jackson and the Olympians fans. However, we did indeed get fed. The trio was trio-ing! We’re thrust into Percy’s dream and get the first sighting of our villain in the flesh. As a book lover, I was shocked by the set in this scene and the casting of this infamous villain so early in the series. However, we’re not in there for long because Percy (Walker Scobell) wakes in the cargo truck where Grover (Aryan Simhadri) talks to animals and cutie pies Percy and Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) call Camp Half-Blood.

This is the series’ first Iris message! In Rick Riordan’s novels, Iris’s messaging required a rainbow made from the mist, a prayer and one drachma. Cleverly, the show bypasses the water element, and Annabeth uses the sunlight to shine through a clear prism on the truck wall to create a rainbow. The call with Luke (Charlie Bushnell) goes pretty much exactly like in Riordan’s novel, EXCEPT for the blatant accusation against Clarisse (Dior Goodjohn) as the lightning thief. That is an exciting move that book lovers may be thrown by.

Side note: Luke calling Percy and Annabeth an “old married couple” made me giggle and kick my feet. They are already too cute! And yes, I am fully aware that I am a grown woman gushing over a couple of pre-teens. My parents would be confused and ashamed if they didn’t like the show so much themselves! So, shh.

Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) with his head poking out of the sun window of the cargo truck
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS – “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” (Disney)

In the novel, we never really consider what kind of havoc wild animals released onto the Las Vegas strip might do, but the Disney+ series isn’t shy from pointing out the obvious and making it funny. The trio is sliding deeper into their characters and dynamics. Grover didn’t give two sh*ts about what could happen to the civilians, and Percabeth (Percy and Annabeth) moved on to a bit of banter in 0 seconds flat! We love to see it! I didn’t feel any stilted interactions in this episode; the friendship here felt most genuine.

Wrapped into a short and sweet 34 minutes, Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 6 is packed with adventure and travel.

Yes, yes, the children of the internet were begging for the Lotus Casino and Hotel to reference the Lady Gaga-infused scenes from the 2010 adaptation Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. But! In a Threads post since deleted, Rick Riordan proclaimed, “Normalize bad movie erasure.” And I entirely agree. As the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is focused on the accurate tween ages of our main characters, I feel that the intoxication element of the 2010 film would be inappropriate.

Instead, the scenes and dilemma in the Lotus Casino and Hotel are related far more to memory loss than overzealous endorphins. We don’t get a bubbly montage, but we watch Percy and Annabeth team up again while searching for Hermes (Lin-Manuel Miranda). The backstory of Hermes and Luke is hinted at far sooner than in the novels, which gives non-readers more to sympathize with. Luke’s tragic upbringing is one of those stories that really makes you question the validity of the gods, and the writers’ room for Percy Jackson and the Olympians seem to be invested in hammering home that unrest and instability quite early.

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA as HERMES in the Lotus Casino and Hotel
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS – “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” (Disney/David Bukach)

Lin-Manuel Miranda was not my top choice for Hermes. His performance in Episode 6 was fine. I don’t think he stood out, and that godly presence didn’t come through, either. I know that Rick Riordan writes about Hermes as being more casual and down to earth, but he’s also described as a corporate baddie always on his palm pilot checking emails. I’m not sure what we get with Miranda’s portrayal… and some of that is down to the dialogue he’s given. I don’t know. I wasn’t satisfied, but I also don’t know how I would fix it.

Grover is off on his own, except this time, instead of tricking gods, he’s foreshadowing his search for the ancient nature god Pan. I’m not sure this carried much in the plot for Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 6, but it gave Percabeth more time to collaborate and grow closer.

Surprise, surprise, Percy Jackson doesn’t know how to drive—he’s barely 12—and this scene is hilariously depicted. In the novel, Annabeth uses a Lotus Casino card to pay a mortal taxi driver fare to California. Still, the series uses Hermes’ cameo to give the trio more agency over their travel. We see the humor of the series with the repeated crashes and editing from inside the cab to outside the cab. Audiences also notice that Percy crashes shortly after he looks to Annabeth for approval; it’s the little things that drive this ship home.

Finally, we arrive on the beach where Percy is to meet his father. In the novel, Percy doesn’t meet Poseidon here either, but Episode 6 implies a far more significant diversion from the original material. The trio has missed the deadline for their quest. This change raises the stakes to an all-time high, now that the gods are preparing for war over the theft of Zeus’s master bolt. The Naiad relays to Percy that Poseidon has released them from their quest and that it is time to return to Camp Half-Blood. However, Percy is not so easily deterred. He chooses to continue with the understanding from his dreams that this theft is much bigger than just a fight between the gods; there is more work at play.

Percy (Walker Scobell) and Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) standing in the lobby of the Lotus Casino and Hotel
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS – “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” (Disney)

Acknowledging his will to continue and face Hades, the Naiad gives Percy four pearls as a safe return passage from the underworld. This is also a diversion; in the novel, Percy is only given three pearls and is forced to leave his mother in the end as the prophecy predicted (“fail to save what matters most”). After Percy returns the master bolt to Zeus and the helm to Hades, his mother is willfully released from the underworld. Now that there are four pearls and a sure way to save his mother, how does this heighten the stakes? I feel that it lowers them, but perhaps there is more in store for the trio than we readers know.

Honestly, I’m baffled at how much was shoved into such a short episode. With the short and shocking Episode 4, I felt how quickly the episode began and ended. I was left on the edge of my seat, shocked at how fast we were left hanging. With Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 6, there was much to chew on from location to location and cameo to cameo. The plot moved forward several squares across the board. We truly were given a feast this week.

I’m still hung up on a few things, like the office set up in Percy’s dream. That was a complete 180 spin from what I imagined in the novel, and it makes me excited to see what the team has in store for later down the line. We’re gearing up for the showdowns now; we’re in the last stretch, and there are key pieces to look out for. The journey to the underworld will be a fascinating watch; there were plenty of scenery changes in the novel, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it is handled in the show. We also have our second run-in with Ares (Adam Copeland) and how the series will deal with the manhunt for Percy spearheaded by Gabe Ugliano (Timm Sharp), Percy’s stepfather, in the last episode.

There is so much to see, so many loose ends to tie up, and only two more episodes. I’m excited to see the story through, but I’m also mourning that it’s all gone by so fast, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians haven’t even been picked up for a Season 2 yet!

Written by Isobel Grieve

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