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Episode Recap: ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ continues to intrigue

Warning, spoilers ahead:

Episode Three: "We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium"

The second episode should have included the interaction with the Oracle. At the start of Episode Three, Percy speaks to the Oracle to confirm his quest to find Zeus's master bolt, picking up right where the previous episode left off. The Oracle looks like how it was described in the book, in an attic where the Oracle looks like a mummy sitting on a stool. A swirl of green spews from the mummy's mouth, revealing "Smelly Gabe," who says, "You shall go west and face the god who has turned. And you shall find what was stolen and see it safely returned."

The Oracle confirmed that Percy must take the quest toward the Underworld, where the entrance is under the city of Los Angeles. Chiron gives Percy a selection of candidates to choose to go with him. Still, before Percy can let Chiron finish showing him the candidates, he decides to bring Annabeth, daughter of Athena. Percy also selects his satyr friend Grover to go on the quest after Percy thinks back to what the Oracle said, "You shall be betrayed by the one who calls you friend and fail to save what matters most in the end."

As Percy is packing for the quest, Luke visits him to gift him a pair of shoes that grows wings when the word "Maia" is shouted. They were a gift from his father, Hermes. Percy, Annabeth and Grover begin on their quest, starting in New York City and traveling by bus. 

Like in the book, the bus is where they have another interaction with Mrs. Dodds, the Fury disguised as one of Percy's teachers in the first episode. Annabeth notices her first, talking to her about why she is there. Mrs. Dodds says she does not question orders from Hades. She also offers to make their quest easier if Annabeth gives up Percy. 

As Annabeth runs to warn Percy and Grover at the back of the bus, Mrs. Dodds becomes a Fury again. Annabeth throws a bronze knife she brought on the quest at the Fury and causes it to disappear, giving Grover and Percy enough time to get off the bus. The group ends up following a satyr path in the woods, where it is discovered that Grover used to be Annabeth's Protector. Before the conversation can continue, Grover is interrupted by the smell of hamburgers. 

Grover leads them to "Aunty Em's Garden Gnome Emporium," where they find a garden full of petrified stone folks, and Annabeth says Aunty Em is "someone from our world." Mrs. Dodds appears behind them in Fury form, saying that Annabeth should have accepted her offer while they had the chance, but she is interrupted as a woman steps out into the garden. Everyone in the garden, including Mrs. Dodds, shields their eyes as they learn that Aunty Em is Medusa. Medusa refers to Mrs. Dodds as Alecto, her real name in her Fury form. She offers Percy, Annabeth and Grover lunch to get away from Alecto. 

For safety away from Alecto, they enter Medusa's shop and find a table spread of snacks. Annabeth feels the most uncomfortable in the shop because of her mother's past with Medusa. Medusa understands why Annabeth feels this way, and she tells her side of the story of what happened to her. Medusa says Athena was everything to her. How she worshiped and prayed to her, but Athena never answered her. 

Another god, Poseidon, came to Medusa one day and broke the silence she had received from Athena, telling her that he loved her. Athena declared that Medusa had embarrassed her and needed to be punished, cursing her not to be seen by anyone ever again to live to tell the tale. Annabeth calls her a liar and tells Grover to get ready to run. Medusa becomes upset and goes into the kitchen.

Percy follows Medusa into the kitchen to tell her that he thinks Annabeth is not always like that after she calls Medusa a liar. Medusa tells Percy that she and his mother are like sisters, targeted by the same monster, Poseidon, and why she feels so protective of Percy. Medusa offers to remove Grover and Annabeth to help Percy find his mother, but he runs and hides to escape Medusa. 

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover hide in a basement full of Medusa's victims. Medusa finds them and corners Percy, but Annabeth comes up behind her and places her Yankees cap on Medusa's head. This allows Percy to cut off Medusa's head without making eye contact with her.

Annabeth goes with Percy to the garden, where Alecto is still waiting for them in her Fury form. Percy is carrying the head of Medusa under Annabeth's cap, and Percy shows Alecto the head of Medusa and turns her into stone. When Annabeth and Percy go back down to find Grover, they discover that Grover found his Uncle Ferdinand. 

Annabeth confronts Percy about what Medusa said about Percy's mother when she was attacking them. Medusa said to Percy, "You could have saved your mother." Percy also confronts Annabeth about what Alecto said when she said, "You should have accepted my offer." Grover stops them from arguing, saying he has been trying to move forward with their quest without upsetting everyone, but it seems things needed to get upset before they could move forward. 

Percy tells them what the Oracle said about a friend betraying him and how he is unsure who he can trust. This is when they all become honest with each other. Annabeth tells Percy that Alecto offered to help with the quest if she gave Percy up to her. Percy tells them that Medusa offered to help save his mom if he turned in Grover and Annabeth. Grover says to them that they did not choose to be demigods or go on the quest, but if they stick together, they will not be alone. 

Percy decides to send Medusa's head to the gods. Annabeth calls the idea impertinent, but Percy says that with everything Medusa has put them through, the idea of shipping her head is a tribute. 

The episode transitions to New York City, showing the Empire State Building. A delivery man holding the box with Medusa's head unlocks the 600th level of the elevator, and the audience sees the god Hermes, portrayed by Lin-Manuel Miranda for the first time. The episode ends after he steps off the elevator to deliver the box and says, "You guys are not going to believe this."

This episode is named after Chapter 11 and follows the story partly from Chapter Nine with the interaction with the Oracle, but mostly covers Chapters 10 and 11 in the book. The show follows the book closely but goes slightly out of order to keep the storyline going in a way that makes sense for television. 

A change that was made to this episode different from the books is the pen sword named Riptide Percy. The books describe it as a gift from his father, and Chiron gives it to him because he believes in the prophecy. This episode also builds on Percy's interaction with Medusa, making it more interesting and adding to the storyline. 

Episode Four, "I Plunge to My Death," will be released on Jan. 2 and can be viewed on Disney+ at 9 p.m. ET. 

Rating: 4.5/5


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