Previously on Atlantis, every viewer had their hearts yanked out when Medusa got her snakes. End of SITREP.

Hercules walks into a bar to meet a man about Medusa. The man, Crios (Jason Watkins), makes a story out of it but only for as long as he dares to keep an obviously agitated Hercules on edge. Medusa is in a cave at the coast. It seems Atlantis itself has just about as much need as I have for a SITREP and introduction, because the theme song starts right away. Obviously, this episode is going to be all about operation #SaveMedusa.

Hercules excitedly finds his friends at the agora. It seems like Hercules has been on a non-stop campaign to find Medusa since we last saw her, but I have no idea how long ago that actually was. Long enough, at least, for Pythagoras to completely strike out on finding a cure. He hasn't had the heart to tell Hercules that, however, and so said Herc prances off to the baths to get himself washed up before his big journey.

Back at the oikos, Jason and Pythagoras discuss not telling Hercules. Jason thinks Pythagoras should, Pythagoras thinks that when he does, he will take away the only thing that is keeping Hercules going right now. He says that there is one more thing they could try but that Jason won't like it... mostly because it'll mean visiting the Oracle, the woman whom he basically told to fuck off at the end of the last episode.

With his friend's life in danger and his other friend's sanity in danger (you know, pick whomever you want for that, both Medusa and Hercules fit both bills at this point), Jason visits the Oracle. She greets him with such warm joy on her features, she has to be his mother... or at least a very cool aunt. Jason isn't very impressed; he asks her for Pandora's Box back and she denies him, saying it's too dangerous. Jason brings up his mother again, and she visibly recoils. She forces some BS story out of her mouth about 'how she doesn't know anything else', and not even Jason believes it. I swear, the scenes between Juliet Stevenson and Jack Donnelly are the best scenes of the entire show. The Oracle once more tells him--heart breakingly so--that she cannot give him the knowledge he seeks... but she does give him the box.

Once acquired, Pythagoras and Jason visit scientist and inventor Daedalus (Robert Lindsay). At the sight of all of Daedalus' inventions, Jason turns into a three year old kid right away. Even Daedalus remarks on it. Jason says to stop poking him when Daedalus repeatedly pokes him in the chest, and it is one of the best lines on this show, ever. Daedalus seems mightily intrigued by the box and I become a little bit skeptical about handing Pandora's box over to the man destined to take a running leap off of a building with home-made wings.

Daedalus eventually agrees to lock the box and then calls Jason a goat before running him off by bleating to him. I like Daedalus. After Jason is gone with the only key that can open the box, Pythagoras and Daedalus get to work. They examine the box and find such obvious markings on the bottom I am shocked they needed a magnifying glass at all. It seems it was written in 'the ancient tongue', which Daedalus can help decipher. The inscription reads: "When all seems lost, only hope remains".  Pythagoras asks if this means Medusa can be saved, to which Daedalus basically says 'there is always hope', and it does nothing for my feels at the moment. He then has a brainwave: it seem the box tells the story of Alcestis and Admetos, and that does not bode well for everyone involved.

For those who drew a blank on the obscurest of myths ever, think Magera in Disney's 'Hercules'; Alcestis was the wife of king Admetos who won her hand with the help of Apollon. Alcestis' father insisted that the only one who could marry his daughter was the man who would come for her hand in a chariot pulled by a lion and a boar (or bear), so Admetos prayed to Apollon for aid and He yoked the chariot. Admetos then became aware of the day he is to die and asked Apollon for aid, because he did not want to die yet. Apollon adviced him to make the Fates drunk and once he had done so, they told him that if he can find someone else to take on his death, they will let him live. When Admetos couldn't find anyone to take his place, Alcestis agreed to die in the place of her husband. The story ended happier, though; like in the Disney movie, she was rescued by Hēraklēs and both king and queen lived happily ever after.

Back at the oikos, a blissfully unaware Jason is forced to smell an equally blissfully unaware Hercules' armpit. Jason resists but eventually gives in. Lavender oil. Hurray. The mood is drowned out when Pythagoras returns and tells the boys they have not found anything. Hercules is devastated, but Pythagoras refuses to give up his secret. He doesn't want his friend to die to cure Medusa--because that is the only way to save her.

That night, Jason comes to find him while he sits outside. They talk about Hercules and how he's doing: not well. He feels very guilty, as does Pythagoras. Jason senses something's up but doesn't grasp the full scope of Pythagoras' emotions. They decide to cheer up Hercules, but once they arrive back home with wine, Hercules is gone. He's off to see Medusa. Well, I did not see that one coming *cough*.

Pythagoras and Jason find Crios and get the location of Medusa's hide-out... and Crios also tells them about a group of bandits in the woods--something that he neglected to tell Hercules. After a slight... altercation with Crios' bodyguard, the two hurry on their way to catch up with Hercules before it's too late.

It seems the bandits are a little creepy: once they rob you, they release you so you can run through the woods until they hunt you down and kill you. Fun times, lets not do that. The boys come across a temenos (and they actually use the word!) for Artemis. It seems to be well-used, and also seems more like it's almost solely a bômos, but oh well. Walking on, they hear something--the whimpering of a 'woman' lying on the ground in the middle of the woods. No way this is not a trap.

Turns out, it is a trap; it's the bandits, and before Jason can even do a gender-check, the boys are captured by a group of burley men. Looking on, however, is the drop dead gorgeous woman from the promo's--bow poised--and I admit that I swooned a little. I do love a woman with a bow.

In the Scythians--as this lovely band of brothers is called--camp, Jason and Pythagoras get dumped in a cage where Hercules is already waiting. It seems he stumbled into the Scythian camp and ate their lunch. Unfortunately, he neglected to be gone by the time the bandits returned.

At that point in time, the Scythian manhunt is about to begin and bandit leader Sabas (Grahame Fox) has the honor of telling them that the last surviving member of their little party gets to live. The three of them run off as fast as they can when the horn sounds, but Hercules soon has to give up. Jason tells his friends to hide while he draws the bandits away. Unfortunately, the Scythians are not that stupid and Hercules and Pythagoras still have to fend off attackers. What follows is a lot of running, awkward fighting, and men shouting. Jason and Pythagoras manage to find each other in the woods while Hercules is on his own for a while and takes the Katniss approach to the Hunger Games: he climbs a tree.

There is a cute moment where Jason and Pythagoras bond, but unfortunately, it is over Jason getting stabbed. Hercules, unfortunately, falls out of the tree and gets a face full of bird poop for his troubles while Jason bleeds all over the darn forest.

Jason and Pythagoras reach the clearing but they are soon visited by a large group of Scythians. Jason can't fight, so Pythagoras picks up the sword. He stands up against Sabas bravely, but the bandit leader knows that this puny excuse for a fighter is not going to keep him from his goal. Pythagoras desperately lunges at Sabas, but before he has to do anything, Sabas falls to the ground after having been shot in the back. All around them, bandits drop like flies as a certain someone does the rounds. The woman--who I think can only be two people at this point (Artemis Herself, but this show has kept the Gods pretty much non-material, or Atalanta)--takes out the last of the bandits and stands before the boys in all her glory. She is a thing of pure beauty and skill... and her name is, indeed, Atalanta (played by Nora-Jane Noone)*swoon*.

Atalanta (Ἀταλάντη) was usually considered the daughter of Iasus, king of either Tegaea or Maenalos, by Klymene, daughter of Minyas. Her father wanted a son, so he abandoned her in the forest where a bear suckled her until Artemis sent hunters to rescue her. She could outshoot anyone with the bow and was also the most fleet-footed mortal alive with the exception of Euphemos and Iphiklos of Phylake. When still young, she killed two centaurs, Rhoecos and Hyaelos, who had attempted to rape her. She also took part in the Kalydonian boar hunt and was a member of the Argonautai who went out to retrieve the Golden Fleece. As a personal note, I absolutely adore Atalata, so excuse me while I fangirl through the rest of this recap.

Atalanta fixes Jason up a healing balm and applies it to his wounds. It doesn't look quite sanitary, but it's accompanied by prayer (and/or witchcraft) so all should be good from here on out. Atalanta tells Jason that Artemis sent her to rescue them, and Jason asks why. Atalanta says that their paths are destined to cross again in the future (so unless they kill her off in this episode, I think that means she will be back in a future episode, so yay!) and that is enough for Jason.

After Jason falls asleep, Atalanta puts her healing powers to good use on Pythagoras, even though his pain is psychological, not physical. She tells him there is a chance Hercules is still alive as she did not see the Scythians make a kill. Pythagoras is a little comforted, but mostly still very worried and feeling even guiltier. To get his mind off of things, Pythagoras tells Atalanta she's a very gifted healer. It seems this Atalanta was not picked up by hunters but survived in the woods by herself, protected by the Goddess Artemis; she had to learn how to heal quickly. The two talk a bit about the situation with Hercules and Medusa and we cut to the male in the couple who is currently alive and heading to camp.

Jason finishes his story but Atalanta can tell there is more. Pythagoras looks at Jason who is fast asleep and Atalanta follows his gaze, realizing this is quite the secret, indeed. Keep in mind that Hercules is currently heading towards them so this should go very well. Pythagoras tells Atalanta about the cure and, of course, Hercules overhears Jason tell a summary of the myth of Alcestis and Admetos. He storms off but Atalanta hears him. She jumps up, grabs her weapons, and heads off into the woods. I swoon again.

She catches up in an instant and trains an arrow on Hercules, who introduces himself with a weak excuse of having missed the clearing. Atalanta realizes something is up right away but doesn't say anything. Pythagoras is very happy to see him but they hug a little awkwardly because of all the poop Hercules has managed to acquire during his track through the woods. Hercules is a little stiff but allows Pythagoras to get away with what he has just overheard.

After their initial hello's the two sit by the site together and Pythagoras again says he's sorry he can't find a cure. He hopes Hercules isn't mad. Hercules does look a little mad, but that's because of something completely different. He says he's never angry at him but Pythagoras disagrees. They debate all the times Hercules has been angry with Pythagoras but it's a true bonding moment for the men and it's wonderful to watch. It also makes Pythagoras feel ten times as bad.

The next morning Jason's leg is doing much better, Atalanta is gone but left roasting pigeons, and Hercules is happily eating. Hercules tells the boys they should head back, but they outright refuse. They leave and Atalanta watches them go. The team soon reaches the shoreline and a dozen caves. This is going to be a long search...

Jason and Hercules are walking over to the next cave together and Jason asks why Hercules doesn't seem more excited about seeing Medusa. He says he is, but was just thinking about all the trouble Jason got them in since he came to Atlantis. Jason apologizes, but Hercules says he wouldn't have changed it for the world. It takes me this long to realize that the cute bonding moments Hercules is orchestrating are actually his way of saying goodbye to his friends. I may still resent Hercules for not being Hēraklēs, but Hercules is a good man sometimes.

Pythagoras interrupts the talk because he found petrified sea creatures at the mouth of one of the caves. Hercules goes inside alone with a final goodbye that the boys miss the significance of. Hercules finally finds Medusa, and even her voice is enough to make my heart break. They tell each other how much they miss each other and it is very, very, sad.

Outside of the cave, Pythagoras comes clean to Jason about the cure. Jason understands Pythagoras' reasoning and realizes something else: Hercules knows. Pythagoras doesn't know how that can be true, but Jason realizes now that Hercules said goodbye to them just now and will most certainly be giving up his life for Medusa's.

Inside the cave, Hercules tells Medusa that he has found a cure and tells her that, if she loves him, she will promise him she will do exactly as he says. She tells him she loves him with all her heart and she will do anything, yet when he asks her to turn around and look at him, she is terrified. He tells her he loves her and she turns around. She draws back her hood right as Jason jumps between them and presses Hercules face-first into a wall. Jason looks straight at Medusa... and nothing happens. Both of them are shell-shocked at the recent turn of events, and Hercules is not faring any better.

Jason explains what Hercules' plan was and Medusa nearly cries. That is not what she wants at all. She could never live with herself if she did that, if they could never be together. She turns around and Pythagoras slowly moves into the cave--eyes closed--asking if anyone has been turned to stone yet.

Around a torch, Pythagoras again says he's sorry but this time it's for lying to his best friend. Hercules understands why he did it and forgives him on the spot. Hercules says goodbye to Medusa, vowing he will never stop looking for a cure. Medusa says that will be her reason to live and I suddenly hate this series very much. My poor, poor, Medusa...

Next week on Atlantis: something roams the streets of Atlantis as well as Pythagoras' bedroom, Jason is naked again, and it looks like he is the thing that goes bump in the night. As a bonus picture: Hercules and a curious Pythagoras check out a completely naked Jason after he walks in the door. Yup, totally straight... totally straight... Saturday on BBC One, recap on Monday.