The following review contains spoilers for Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1E8, “The Prophecy Comes True” (written by Craig Silverstein and directed by Jet Wilkinson)
So, we’ve come to an end. Last night, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1 finale was released at 9 PM ET. We knew a little going into the episode from the cliffhanger from Episode 7, and it was a jam-packed adventure from top to bottom.
In the beginning, I needed some clarification. I didn’t realize the pearls from Episode 7 had taken the gang from the underworld to Montauk; I thought they were at the Sana Monica beach like in the novel. I have since seen the post on Threads by author Rick Riordan that the change was made to avoid air travel. I think, lore-wise, it was a smart move, and it emotionally put Percy on home turf as the cottage on the beach was the same one he and his mother would escape to. However, leaving one beach and returning to a different beach was confusing and could have been more explicit.
Like the previous episode with Sally Jackson (Virginia Kull), the Percy Jackson and the Olympians finale has many flashbacks. We see Luke (Charlie Bushnell) and Percy practicing swordplay in the forest at Camp Half-Blood. These moments are used similarly to the previous episode, where they inform the audience of the history behind Percy’s choices. I have a bone to pick with production on this element. It was obvious that these scenes were filmed later because Walker Scobell had grown significantly compared to when he arrived at camp at the beginning of the series.
The fight between Ares (Adam Copeland) and Percy (Walker Scobell) was well done. The intensity was there, and Copeland’s performance was far more believable. That may come from his experience in the WWE trash-talking before fights; it’s his specialty. We saw more anger and reckless behaviour from Ares, which I appreciated.
I’m never a fan of characters having to sit on the sideline while all the action goes on without them. This was kind of the case with Annabeth (Leah Jefferies) and Grover (Aryan Simhadri); they just had to stand off the side and react. I know this is what it was like in the book, but I still wish they could have had something to do. There was a lot of main character syndrome in this episode; Annabeth and Grover just followed him from one decision to the next. The teamwork the trio had been building on all season was thrown out in the last hour. Annabeth and Grover supported Percy; of course, Annabeth even gave Percy her camp necklace with her father’s ring for good luck, but where were they going? What were they going to do once they got there? At least Annabeth could have thrown out a line about talking to Chiron (Glynn Turman) about Clarisse La Rue (Dior Goodjohn), daughter of Ares.
The send-off was still cute, though. It’s a natural blossoming between Annabeth and Percy; the connection was palpable between them when she put the necklace around his neck.
It’s sad knowing this is the last time we’ll see Lance Reddick as Zeus due to his passing. He embodied the role incredibly well; his sternness and presence gave a unique, godly aura we could feel through the screen. Walker Scobell’s delivery in this scene was top-tier as well; his frustration and righteousness had hero for the history books vibes. They made the right decision with Scobell; he gets the morality and complexity of Percy’s situation and feeds us that power and angst with conviction.
Failing to meet the deadline was a great narrative choice. It moves the gods into action rather than on the precipice of it. The appearance of Poseidon (Toby Stephens) on top of Mount Olympus surrendering to save his son was moving and showed how much spirit Percy and Poseidon share. We can also see the sincere fear of their Titan father, Kronos, in both gods. This connection between the characters prepares the audience for what will come and how dangerous it is.
The choices made for this scene were superb. No notes.
Even though the quest has been fulfilled, the prophecy has not. There is still the betrayal of a friend Percy has to worry about, but like the book, this becomes an afterthought of the young half-blood. He happily returns to camp and only remembers the traitor amongst them once he sees Clarisse. I’d say the misdirect was pretty well conceived. Of course, I knew the true betrayal was from Luke, but I thought the show did a great job leading fresh audiences away from the real enemy enough to give a pleasant surprise.
The fight between Percy and Luke in the forest differs from the novel. In the book, Luke’s attack on Percy is much more vengeful and fueled by hatred. I’d say that Luke in the series is mournful for the people he’s hurt and the deaths he almost caused, but inevitably, he can’t see a world without Kronos-coloured glasses on. Fans have a lot to dive into with Charlie Bushnell’s performance. It was nuanced and filled with conflicting emotions and motivations. I was surprised to see Annabeth remove her invisibility hat and declare she’d heard everything.
If there is another season—and I need there to be—Annabeth witnessing this betrayal may change the loyalty she showed to Luke in the novel. Her appearance, being the last straw for Luke, was powerful and very character-driven. The fury in Annabeth’s voice was different than I expected: pain, grief, betrayal. Leah Jefferies’s portrayal of Annabeth is fierce and closed off; it works very well.
The jump from this intense fight to Percy packing up in his cabin was a shock to me. I wish I had a bit more cleanser or shift from one scene to the next—a buffer. In general, I found some of the editing stiff, jumping from one epic scene to another.
The final moments at the end of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1 finale had the same vibe as Harry Potter leaving Hogwarts on the train with his friends, waving to Hagrid out the window. Annabeth is leaving with her father, Percy is going home to his mom, and Grover gets his searcher’s license for Pan—a classic foreshadowing of the next installment. I liked how we saw the goodbyes between the three, but the pact was a little much for me.
The dream sequence at the Montauk cabin was a little confusing but compelling. Sally being ready with a pen to write down what Kronos said was a nice touch and shows just how supportive she is. And just as I was about to question what about smelly Gabe (Timm Sharp), we get an end credits scene about the divorce, the lock change and how he got Medusa’d. Sally did it on purpose in the novel, but I liked this iteration better.
Honestly, I LOVED this adaptation. Sure, there were some questionable changes I didn’t quite understand, but otherwise, I thought the team did a great job staying true to the novels while updating and correcting Rick’s mistakes. I’m really hoping we get an announcement about Season 2 soon. I can’t handle if these kids reach the other side of puberty before we film—like, they’re supposed to be 13 next season… and these kids are doing press looking like real high school teenagers.
Also, make sure to check out A Hero’s Journey: The Making of Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+. It has amazing BTS from production and some cute B-rolls of the cast.