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Episode Recap: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ wows

Warning, spoilers ahead:

The Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series finally got the book-to-screen adaptation that it deserves in the form of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians," a television series brought to life by Disney. The eight-episode series attempts to right the wrongs the films released in 2010 and 2013 had. There are five planned seasons of the show, each adapting one book from the series. There are currently two episodes released of the first eight-episode season. 

The television series is based on the fantasy book series by Rick Riordan, specifically focusing on the first book “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The story is about 12-year-old Percy Jackson, who is about to go on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr, Grover Underwood and the daughter of Athena, Annabeth Chase, Percy must journey across America to catch a thief who stole Zeus’ master lightning bolt. 

Episode 1: “I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher”

The first episode of the series sets the story in New York, where Percy Jackson, portrayed by Walker Scobell, describes himself as a troubled kid because of his bad grades and tendencies to daydream. Percy also has a hard time at school because he sees things that would seem so real, but then the next minute they are not there. All of that changed when he met his best friend, Grover Underwood, portrayed by Aryan Simhadri. 

Grover and Percy have a lot in common. When Percy would talk about these daydreams with Grover, Percy could almost believe the things he saw were imaginary and it made him feel good talking about them. Then that changed for Percy, too. 

When on Yancy Academy’s school field trip to a museum, Percy accidentally uses his demigod powers on his classmate, Nancy Bobofit, attracting the attention of his teacher, Mrs. Dodds. Mrs. Dodds turns into a Fury, a monster from the Underworld. 

Percy kills her with a sword given to him in the form of a pen from his teacher, Mr. Brunner, portrayed by Glynn Turman. When he clicks the pen, it turns into a sword. But after he kills her, it is as if it was all a hallucination. No one saw what happened, and suddenly no one remembered a teacher by the name of Mrs. Dodds. 

After the incident with his classmate, Percy is kicked out of school and returns home to his mother, Sally Jackson, and stepfather, Gabe Ugliano, also known as “Smelly Gabe.” Shortly after his arrival home, Percy and his mother leave to go on a vacation to Montauk. Montauk is somewhere Percy and his mother used to go every summer but had not been to the last two summers because of money troubles. 

Once Percy and his mother arrive in Montauk, they talk about the incident at the museum and Percy’s father. This is the first the audience hears of Percy’s father, where Sally met him at Montauk on the beach and she described him as wise, brave, kind and noble. He was unlike any man she had ever met before because he was not a man, he was a god. Sally tells Percy he is a half-blood and that he is not safe. Grover interrupts their conversation by unexpectedly showing up at the cabin they were staying at. 

This is the first the audience sees Grover in his true form as a satyr. A satyr is half-goat, half-human and Grover is Percy’s protector. Grover explains to Sally and Percy that Percy is in danger and that they have to leave at that very instant. They get in the car and quickly make their way to Camp Half-Blood. 

During the drive, Grover describes how there is a "Mist" that hides things from humans. Examples of this include Mrs. Dodds’ true form and Grover’s legs. It is also revealed that Sally knew Grover was protecting Percy and that Grover is not 12 years old, he is actually 24 years old. They are then attacked by a Minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. 

At the border of the camp, Percy says goodbye to his mother, who cannot cross the border to camp because she is human. Sally distracts the Minotaur to help Percy and Grover get away. But when the Minotaur kills his mother, Percy gets angry and fights the Minotaur. Percy’s pen sword activates as he begins to fight, charging toward the Minotaur. Percy is disarmed after being knocked to the ground, forcing him to think quickly and climb the Minotaur’s back. Percy breaks off one of the Minotaur’s horns and kills it by stabbing it in the head with the broken horn. 

The episode ends with campers surrounding Percy, who is in a daze from what just happened to him. His teacher, Mr. Brunner, in the form of a centaur, welcomes him to camp. 

This episode is named after the first chapter of “The Lighting Thief,” and covers roughly the first five chapters of the story. Although there are minor changes to the storyline and some events were left out, the episode follows the book very closely, staying as close to the book as possible. 

The first episode of the new series did not disappoint. It is well-paced, book-accurate and beautifully filmed. The show's casting is incredible and Percy looks like the preteen he is supposed to, unlike the movie adaptions. The best part is you are left on the edge of your seat wanting more.

Rating: 4.75/5

Episode 2: “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom”

The second episode opens with Percy in the infirmary in camp. Grover is by his side, informing him that everything with the Minotaur was not a dream. Percy becomes upset and storms away from Grover saying that if his job was to get Percy to camp alive because his father is a god, then he is going to find his father. 

Percy is met with Mr. D, portrayed by Jason Mantzoukas, who is the camp’s director and is the god Dionysus. Percy tells Mr. D that he is looking for his father, but Mr. D jokes with him that he is Percy’s father to trick Percy into bringing him alcohol. 

As Percy is trying to leave to fulfill Mr. D’s request, he runs into his former teacher, Mr. Brunner, who is the centaur named Chiron, and the camp’s activities director. Chiron tells Percy that Mr. D is not his father and that Zeus has forbidden Mr. D from consuming alcohol and should not take advantage of the demigods. 

The audience is then given a first look at the camp when Chiron and Percy walk the valley. Chiron explains to Percy that it is a sacred valley that humans cannot see, monsters cannot enter and the world cannot touch. Percy tells Chiron that he had lost the pen sword that was given to him after his fight with the Minotaur, but Chiron explains to him that unless he surrenders the sword it will always find its way back to him because magical objects do not obey the physical laws of the ordinary world. This information is useful to Percy later in the series. 

The episode continues by showing the different cabins of the camp, 12 cabins for the 12 Olympian Gods. Each cabin is home to the different children that god has claimed. Because Percy has not yet been claimed by his father, he stays in the cabin home to the children of Hermes and the unclaimed. This is where Percy meets Luke Castellan, a camp counselor portrayed by Charles Bushnell. 

Transitioning to Grover, the episode shows a discussion between Grover, Mr. D and Chiron about Percy’s mother. Percy’s mother evaporated into nothing when the Minotaur killed her, and it is suggested that Percy’s mother is trapped in the Underworld with Hades. 

Going back to Percy, the episode continues by showing Luke and Percy touring the camp, where Luke is trying to help Percy find the thing he is good at. This is when the audience first sees Clarisse La Rue, portrayed by Dior Goodjohn, a daughter of Ares who gives Percy a hard time. Clarisse and her gang corner Percy in a bathroom, trying to force Percy to say he made up his interaction with the Minotaur. When Percy refuses to say he made it up, Clarisse’s gang tries to force him into a toilet. While they try to force Percy into a toilet, water erupts out of the bathroom, attacking everyone in the bathroom and leaving Percy dry and unharmed. 

While Clarisse runs away, the audience meets Annabeth Chase, portrayed by Leah Jeffries. Annabeth admits she has been stalking Percy because she wanted to see if he could help her team win capture the flag. Later on, Luke tells Percy that Annabeth is the strongest warrior in camp and the only thing she needs to prove herself is to go on a quest. Chiron has been promising Annabeth for years, saying a demigod would arrive who was fated to go on a quest that could not be prevented. When that happens, Annabeth could join. Since then, Annabeth has been watching every new member of the camp to see if they are the one, explaining why she has been watching Percy. 

The episode moves on to the iconic portion of the story, the game of capture the flag. Annabeth positions Percy in the woods and then disappears when she puts on her gift from her mother Athena, a Yankees baseball cap. Percy waits in the woods as the battle of capture the flag continues. 

As Percy waits in the woods, Clarisse and her gang from the opposing team attack him because he is alone. During the attack, we see Percy’s strength for the first time. He defeats Clarisse and her gang, allowing his team to win capture the flag. Annabeth appears out of thin air, admitting to Percy that she was there the whole time and then shoves Percy into the water. 

Percy has cuts on his body from the attack of Clarisse’s electrical spear, but they begin to disappear when Percy enters the water. This is when Percy is claimed by his father, Poseidon, the god of the sea. As a forbidden child of the Sea God, Percy is his father’s only hope to prevent an outbreak of war. 

According to Mr. D and Chiron, they explain to Percy that Zeus and Poseidon have been in a dispute over the master bolt, the symbol of Zeus’s authority and that it has been stolen. Zeus thinks Percy stole the bolt. Percy is given a quest by Chiron and Mr. D to retrieve the master bolt from Hades in the Underworld. As Percy tries to reject the quest, Grover interrupts to tell Percy that his mother is trapped in the Underworld with Hades. This makes Percy rethink his choice of going on the quest. 

The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Percy asks, “When do we leave?” 

The second episode went slightly off-book but still did not disappoint. This episode missed out on the interaction between Percy and the Oracle where he sees a vision of “Smelly Gabe” and his poker friends giving Percy directions of his quest. The episode is named after Chapter 6 of the book and continues through the next four chapters of the book, stopping around Chapter 10 before Percy leaves on his quest with Annabeth and Grover.  

Rating: 4.25/5


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