Quest On Lock — Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 7 Review

S1E7, “We Find Out The Truth, Sort Of”

Percy (Walker Scobell) with his sword in Percy Jackson Episode 7's cliffhanger fight against Ares
Photo by David Bukach/Disney - © Disney

The following review contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 7, “We Find Out The Truth, Sort Of” (written by Andrew Miller and directed by Anders Engström)

Well, it’s Episode 7 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which means we’ve only got one more week of this epic saga, and the tension is building. We’ve spent time lingering on each installment, curious how author Rick Riordan and executive producer Jonathan E. Steinberg would pull off this crazy adventure in just eight episodes. As we’ve seen, some challenges and battles were shortened, axed, or expanded through the last seven episodes to make a dynamic and entertaining show filled with surprises and granted wishes for book and film lovers alike.

However, it is not just the journey through the states that offers many challenges to these Olympians; it is also the climax itself that hinges on many moving parts. Percy Jackson Episode 7 faced an uphill battle against time with how much narrative and myth needed to be explained before the grand slam finale.

There is never a dull moment in Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 7, “We Find Out The Truth, Sort Of.” We’re thrust into the action and bounce from one confrontation to another.

In the original novel by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Theif, Percy (Walker Scobell), Grover (Aryan Simhadri), and Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) spend some time in Crusty’s (Julian Richings) mattress emporium hiding out from some nasty kids on the streets of Hollywood. Percy jumps to the chase in the show, accusing Crusty of being Procrustes, Son of Poseidon, and torturer of souls out of the gate. However, the Olympians trick Crusty much the same as in the novel by pushing the man into his own trap. I like Julian Richings—he’s a great character actor and has scared many children throughout his career with his gaunt face—but I’m afraid his performance fell flat for me here, which is disappointing.

Although the novel dwells on the danger of this obstacle much longer than the series, what we get on Disney+ shows the level of experience these kids have and how quickly they can defeat monsters with a bit of teamwork. In a quick progression from one obstacle to the next, our golden trio are becoming proper heroes, racking up kills, tricks and trophies. It’s a far cry from Percy’s fumbling entrance into the world of demi-gods and myth; it’s quite a show of character development.

l-r: Grover (Aryan Simhadri), Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) and Percy (Walker Scobell) in the forest of the underworld
Photo by David Bukach/Disney – © Disney

Entering the Underworld cuts the chilling chapter from the novel of a lobby filled with souls who can’t afford the crossing by showing a much more classic depiction with barren cliffsides and grey skies with lines of mindless bodies shuffling to the dock at Acheron River. There was something so miserable about a modern setting and crowds of bodies clogging up a lobby—it points to archaic notions of death, worthiness and wealth. The classical portrayal is a much easier pill to swollen and much simpler to que for fresh audiences. Also changed is the appearance of Charon (Travis Woloshyn), the Ferryman of Souls, who in the novel is depicted as a dapper man in an Italian suit, but similar to the 2010 adaption, he is more classically depicted in a black robe.

I loved the depiction of Cerberus! It was exactly as I imagined while reading Rick Riordan’s novels. I thought there was a great balance between playfulness and danger in this scene, and I think it lays the groundwork for some foreshadowing if the series can get picked up for another season.

It was interesting that the writers’ room decided to adjust that the Naiad gave Percy four pearls to return from the Underworld in the last episode but then took a pearl away while they were down there. Perhaps it delays the panic and portrays the world as sympathetic to Percy’s mother—it certainly leaves us with hope at the end of the sixth episode, but inevitably brings Percy the same fate as the prophecy depicted, “You will fail to save what matters most in the end.” I think this change works for the television format; I have a feeling they had fresh audiences in mind.

l-r: Grover (Aryan Simhadri) and Percy (Walker Scobell) walk into Hades palace in the underworld
Photo by David Bukach/Disney – © Disney

The flashbacks to Percy and his mom, Sally (Virginia Kull), create a break between obstacles and remind us of what’s at stake. It’s hard to feel sympathy for a character you haven’t seen in a while. I like this addition. It also establishes the strength of Percy and Sally’s bond, and his undying loyalty to those he loves, something he learns from his mother. It’s an interesting perspective to see Poseidon (Toby Stephens) drop in when Sally calls for support—it’s like a meeting between parents deciding a direction as co-parents, but ultimately, the decision is down to Sally and who she hopes Percy will become.

I was enthralled by Virginia Kull; she gave a very emotionally complex performance that heavily pushed the ‘this system is flawed’ narrative with regard to the gods and their children. She carries so much weight on her shoulders as a single parent without the complications of Percy’s disabilities (or abilities, depending on how you look at it), but when you add it all together, it’s a wonder she doesn’t break down every day. There was some great insight into the gritty barriers these characters face, which directly reflects realities for parents, too; it was well done.

Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) clings to the a cliff in the underworld
Photo by David Bukach/Disney – © Disney

We almost lose Annabeth twice in this episode. I was surprised by how the series sent her home earlier than Grover and  Percy. It makes me wonder why they’re bringing up Annabeth’s regrets. Was it meant to be a misdirect from the traitor? Is it a signal of her relationship with her estranged father? I hope it’s not a one-and-done; I’d like to see this questioned by Grover or Percy later. It was also a divergence from the original material to describe the Asphodel meadows as a forest of souls who are haunted by regrets and choices they made in life, rooted to the ground and grown into trees. Rick Riordan described Asphodel much the same as the lobby where Charon was, with souls in massive crowds and major congestion. It became an issue Hades tried to solve in a later novel.

And it’s very quickly after Annabeth leaves that Grover is dragged toward Tartarus by the winged Converse sneakers. Percy is faced with the fact that Ares has something to do with the theft of Zeus’s Master Bolt. This happens very similarly to the novel, but there was also mention of how the pit radiates an overwhelming evil and dread, which wasn’t mentioned in the show.

Hades (Jay Duplass) of the Underworld in Percy Jackson Episode 7
Photo by David Bukach/Disney – © Disney

In another quick succession, we finally meet Hades (Jay Duplass). AND HE’S SO SWEET! I fell in love with him immediately, which felt like a major diversion from the novel. I knew Hades had nothing to do with the theft of the Master Bolt and was missing his Helm; I was scared to see how Percy and Grover would be treated under the suspicion of theft. BUT HADES WAS SO NICE! He offered them juice and snacks like such a dad; I loved it. I can’t wait to see this Hades interact with Nico di Angelo down the line. And finally, Percy catches up with the rest of us and figures out Kronos baited the war between the gods this whole time. I find this takes a little too long; it was the same in the novel for me. Why would Hades want war? He has a kingdom of his own.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this conversation between Hades and Percy. I felt that Hades’ character could really shine through, and we see how manipulated our perception of these gods really is. It’s crazy to think that Ares is dead-ass enough to pull off a theft of this magnitude on his own, but at this point, Percy has no other suspects to blame.

I’m very excited to see the finale next week! I know it will be another action-packed episode with plenty to get through before the true traitor is revealed. However, it also means the final farewell to deceased legend Lance Reddick, who plays Zeus. I’ll be having an emotional Tuesday evening for sure.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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