Seeing as there is 'part 1' in the title, I think it's safe to assume this episode is going to end on a cliff-hanger. That's fine, I can deal with that. A week is nothing, right? Right? Anyway: previously on Atlantis, Jason met the sorceress Circe in a cave and in order to save the lives of Medusa and Hercules made a deal with her: the lives of his friends in exchange for the life of Circe's sister Pasiphaê. They even took an unbreakable vow to seal the deal. Jason has been putting off assassinating the Queen of Atlantis and his love interest Ariadne's stepmother, leading to the unfortunate continued poisoning of King Minos.

It's night-time and Jason is washing himself in a fountain when someone creepy passes him by. Feeling his spidey senses tingling, he hurries to catch up to the cloaked figure and when he rushes around a corner, they're suddenly just standing there. The figure is revealed to be Circe and as if Jason does not know the answer, he asks what she is doing here. Circe reminds him of the vow he took and says he has three days to get it done. He asks what happens if he refuses and she basically says that she will kill him and all of his friends if he chickens out. At that point, Circe makes a break for it and runs. Jason follows her into an alleyway where he finds a figure lying on the floor, covered by a sheet. He swallows and inches forward. When he pulls the sheet off, it's Hercules--corpsefied and very much dead. With a start, Jason wakes up in his own bed and Hercules is just fine.

His night-time adventure seems to have reminded Jason of the responsibility he took on, especially because the mark of the unbreakable vow he took is firmly burned into his wrist--and has now also appeared in the dining table. this freaks Jason and Pythagoras out, but Hercules completely blows past the fact that this is actually a fairly serious situation. Jason is not amused. All I can think is 'this is your fault, ass hat. start being helpful!'; instead of doing that, Hercules suggests his usual trick: run away. Jason says that would be useless, Circe's magic is too strong. Does that mean no one will be running through the woods this episode... or running at all? Because that would just be swell.

Hercules does eventually realize he is to blame, and volunteers to help, and then proceeds to volunteer Pythagoras, who was always going to volunteer himself, regardless. Herc sets out the basic plan: get in, sneak past the guards, kill the Queen, sneak out. Easier said that done, however.

In the palace, Pasiphaê and Ariadne sit with Minos on what Minos has concluded will be his deathbed. He talks slowly and brokenly about his coming end and about the preparations that need to be taken care of for the event. Mostly he wants for his daughter and wife to be united, to which they both subconsciously react in the 'hell no'-manner. He makes them swear that they will protect and care for each other and both do. What else can you say to a dying man? Ariadne takes her leave with a kiss to his temple, and Pasiphaê goes to prepare another death cocktail.

At the oikos, Jason and Pythagoras are plotting over schematics when Hercules comes back triumphantly: he's found someone willing to smuggle them all into the palace and is mighty smug about it. He goes on another joking spree and I get the urge to fast-forward. I have issues with Hercules on the best of days, but on days when his friend is about to be forced to commit murder because of something he did out of lust love... let's just say Hercules needs to get with the program, stat.

The plan now is to get Jason into the palace with a seaweed knock-out potion that works sort of like chloroform. Hercules, again, takes the idiot-route to stardom and has Pythagoras--the only one who could help in case his calculations on the strength of the tranquilizer were, indeed, off--test it. It's a good thing Pythagoras is good at what he does. Too bad, though, that plotting is on pause until he wakes up, leaving Jason to sharpen his sword. Personally, I would have gone with a dagger--swords are slashing weapons, and terrible for stabbing--but you know, whatever works.

Pythagoras--who is already up again?--joins him, saying that he doesn't need to do this whole murder thing. Jason insists he does, because else they all die. Pythagoras is aware of this; he meant to say that perhaps it is better to die with  clear conscience than live with a tainted one. It doesn't work like that for Jason; he says he would then die in the knowledge he did not do everything in his power to save his friends. Sighing, Pythagoras watches him go.

They wait until nightfall and are rolled into the palace by way of barrel. Pasiphaê and Heptarian are having a heart-to-heart about the king's imminent demise--which would be a good thing if Heptarian had kept up his end of the bargain and had wooed Ariadne. Now the throne will pass to Ariadne, who is obviously not under the control of the Queen in the way Heptarian is. He asks if she wants him to have Ariadne killed, but she rolls her eyes and says they will need to be a bit more subtle than that if they want Pasiphaê in the good graces of the people of Atlantis. Heptarian is firmly in the dog house.

The three friends emerge from their barrels and Hercules makes enough noise to wake the dead. How no one has caught them after that is beyond me; that must be some far-off storage area. The three friends creep through the hallway and manage to overcome the guards with seaweed chloroform (and so much noise the roleplayer in me can only scream 'move silently checks, people! Move silently checks!'. I'm sorry, I'm no fun this episode.

Aaaanyway, the guards eventually go down and they are on their way. They hit the roof and Jason descends into the rooms which Pythagoras hopes are the Queen's bedchambers. Hercules lowers Jason down and struggles to hold his weight as a pack of guards marches past under him. It's a close call, but they make it through--mostly because the guards move off just before Herc lets go of the rope. Now how, exactly, is Jason supposed to get back up, up, and away?

Jason moves through the palace, taking out guards left and right. He actually manages to find Pasiphaê's chambers and she is lying on her back, perfectly asleep. It's the perfect opportunity, but he can't do it. At that point, Pasiphaê wakes up and yells for her guards. The alarms go off, and Pythagoras and Hercules panic. In the latest of a long string of things that make me want to wrangle Hercules' neck, he tries to convince Pythagoras to leave Jason behind and make a break for it. Pythagoras will have none of it.

Jason, meanwhile, is dodging guards left and right. Too bad he is not able to dodge the arrow that one of the guards shoots at him. Hercules, meanwhile, is wearing Pythagoras down on his escape plan. He tells Pythagoras that they are no use to Jason if they are caught, and they leave--seconds before Jason shows up and calls on them to get him out. There had better be some character redeeming for Herc soon.

Jason realizes he is in big trouble and tries to get out. Pasiphaê is frantic and speaks to Heptarian and a guard captain. She realizes this was an assassin, although she has no idea on their identity. She can only wonder why her attacker did not go for the kill; she knows she should be dead right now. She imprints on the guards that she wants this man alive.

Jason has gone to the only person in the palace he can go to for help: Ariadne. Unfortunately, he does this by grabbing her from behind, covering her mouth, and dragging her into her chambers. Ariadne displays why she is awesome and bites his hand until his grip weakens, stomps on his foot with her heel, and nearly stabs him before she realizes it is Jason. They don't get much chance to speak; Heptarian is at the door and Ariadne fakes ignorance while Jason hides. Heptarian tells her an attempt was made on the Queen's life and once she closes the door, she turns to Jason to question him about that.

He doesn't deny anything; he tells her the truth and Ariadne spots his injury. At least Jason is safe for now. Jason and Hercules manage to get out through the garbage shoot. Herc throws down Pythagoras first, to check if it's safe. Grumble.

Back in the palace, Jason is shirtless again, and Ariadne is tending to the arrow wound on his side. It hurts, but Ariadne is touching him so everything is fine, really. I do really like these two together. There is a lot of tension between them, but the mood is broken when Ariadne asks why he did not go through with killing Pasiphaê. He says he couldn't, that something stopped him. Ariadne confesses she has thought about killing Pasiphaê before, but she couldn't take a life in cold blood either. It's a bonding moment. Jason realizes he should get out of here, but Ariadne convinces him to stay--for his own safety. She says she will gladly risk her life for him, and Jason is stunned. She will smuggle him out in the morning. Jason agrees 'reluctantly'.

Hercules and Pythagoras come home and realize that Jason is not here. Pythagoras is worried; Hercules suggests wine.

Ariadne watches Jason sleep in her bed as the sun comes up. It's cute. When Jason wakes us, she urges him to dress. Ariadne laments her faith in being born royalty, but in the 'I know I am privileged, I'm just so in love that I would gladly give I all up for you'-way. She calls Jason 'a simple boy', and he makes her squirm about it. She rushes to assure him she does not mean stupid and he laughs while she helps him dress. Jason says he has had the best night of his life, and Ariadne confesses she feels the same. They are about to kiss when sounds from the hallway interrupt them. Time to get out.

Ariadne leads him through the palace onto her secret passage out and they linger to lament that they wish they could spent more time together. Ariadne realizes she has no idea what the next days will bring for her, so she doesn't make any promises for the future. Jason just promises he won't let anything hurt her. They kiss and then he really has to run. Ariadne rushes to her rooms. Pasiphaê is informed about the whole failed search attempt, and she is not happy. Everyone is to be questioned.

Jason makes it home to two hung-over friends sleeping on the table. Now he has to come clean about failing in his mission. Hercules is an ass about it, asking why he couldn't just, you know, stab her a little. Jason says he just couldn't. The next bit makes me want to slam Herc's head into a wall -again-:

Hercules: "I suppose it is not -entirely- your fault."
Pythagoras: "No, that is because it's mostly yours."
Hercules: "Well, you have to keep bringing that up, don't you? Even I'm allowed to make -some- mistakes."
Jason & Pythagoras: -eye roll-

Anyway, Pythagoras says they will think of something, but Jason is not convinced. Cut to an unknown time later where Hercules is being useless at the table and the rest is pacing. They still have a day, so Jason postpones making a decision on what to do until after he's gotten some sleep. Hercules makes a crude remark about Ariadne I'm not even going to capture. Seriously, Atlantis writers, seriously?

It seems Jason was still bleeding when he went through the trap door; Pasiphaê, Heptarian, and Ramos have found blood smeared on the wall near it. The problem is: only members of the royal court have keys to that passageway...

That night, Jason can't sleep and heads outside. By the morning, Pythagoras wakes up and literally falls out of bed, finding Jason's bed empty. He wakes up Hercules--which takes forever because Jason drugged them both with wine. They realize Jason went to face Circe alone, and try to shake their drunkenness enough to go after him.

Ariadne is visiting her father, who looks really, really, crappy. He's not waking up anymore, and Ariadne worries about him greatly. Pasiphaê joins them while Ariadne speaks tearfully to him. She tells Ariadne about the passing of her own father and how much it affected her. She tries to bond with Ariadne, but Ariadne does not allow her; she says she finds it hard to imagine Pasiphaê inconsolable, but Pasiphaê insists she was, not unlike Ariadne when she was younger.

As Ariadne gets up to leave, Pasiphaê casually drops the bombshell: they know how the intruder escaped the palace. Ariadne falters and asks how the intruder escaped. Pasiphaê tells her, and says Ariadne does not look surprised. Ariadne gives a vague reply and turns back to Pasiphaê, who has fully turned to her now, dying husband and the promise they made to him completely forgotten. Pasiphaê asks if she has told the location of the passageway to anyone.

Ariadne: "I was always led to believe it was a closely guarded secret?"
Pasiphaê: -looks at her intently- "Be careful Ariadne, it seems there is a traitor amongst us."
Ariadne: -standing up under the scrutiny- "there are very few people you -can- trust in this world."

The words cannot do this scene justice; the underlying conversation between these two women was simply brilliant.

As Ariadne leaves, Minos comes to. He asks for Ariadne, but Pasiphaê tells him he isn't here, nor was she here. She tells him Ariadne has not come to him all day, and Minos is heartbroken. Low blow, Pasiphaê, low blow.

Jason has returned to Circe's cave. She asks if it's done, and he says he couldn't do it. She asks why that was, and he answers he does not know. He offers up his own life, but asks her to spare his friends. that wasn't the bargain, though, Circe reminds him. He goats her on, and she lashes out with her magic, sending two sharps sticks flying. He dodges them and pulls his sword on her. Rushing forward, he strikes but hits nothing but air; the cloak Circe was wrapped in is suddenly empty and she stands behind them--triplicate--telling him he truly is touched by the Gods. He throws his sword at number one, but it hits nothing but air.

Circe plays with him and launches another pointy stick. Then, however, he throws a dagger at her and hits her square in the gut. She dies, but not before throwing -something- down into the ground; beans or bones, or something similar, and they burrow down into the ground.

Hercules and Pythagoras rush in and everyone is happy. Yay, bad guy vanquished! At that moment, however, the ground shakes and from the ground, three armed skeletons rise. everyone's weapons come up and there is a fight, hampered by the fact that swords--again!--are slashing weapons and skeletons are not exactly vulnerable to being slashed. Blunt weapons and force it is. Thankfully, they make it through.

In the palace, serf Ione is making Ariadne's bed and finds a bloody rag. Ariadne comes clean about the source of the blood and Ione offers to make the rag go away; she will burn it. Ariadne--obviously thinking she is talking to Korinna--tells her Ione is a good friend. Ione smiles and I am absolutely positive she is going to rush straight to Pasiphaê. And yes, she does. Surprise, surprise.

Pasiphaê is pissed, but proud of the serf. She will be rewarded handsomely. Ariadne is summoned to the counsel chambers where the entire court is assembles. She spies Ione and shoots her daggers with her eyes. This is of later concern, though, because right now, Ariadne is charged with treason--and if she is found guilty by a court, she will be put to death. Ariadne swallows heavily, but realizes there is nothing she can do.

Jason has gotten them food and is happy when he joins his friends at the oikos. His friends, however, have just heard about Ariadne's predicament. His world shatters when he is told.

At the trial, Ione shares verbatim what Ariadne told her, and Ariadne does not deny it. She stands before her stepmother and the court, trying not to appear affected, but absolutely terrified none the less. At the oikos, the Hercules and Jason are looking at each other over the table. Pasiphaê passes the judgment upon Ariadne, and she goes off, demanding to see her father. Pasiphaê says that he is not well enough for that, regrettably, and that he has not been conscious for two days.Twisting the knife, she tells Ariadne that she is glad he will never have to hear about her betrayal to the royal family and the people of Atlantis. Ariadne shouts she has not betrayed anyone, and has always been loyal to the king. She tries get the court to believe that it's Pasiphaê who always conspires against everything and everyone, but in the positions she is in now, no one is really going to believe her. Pasiphaê give her a final out: give up the name of the intruder. She says she never asked it, and Pasiphaê laughs at that.

Pasiphaê: "You expect the court to believe you harboured a complete stranger?"
Ariadne: "I would help anyone who would see you dead!"

Pasiphaê looks hurt, but it is also all she needs to convict her step-daughter. Ariadne will be killed by the 'brazen claw', whatever that is. Ariadne panics while Pasiphaê prays to the Gods. Everyone is attendance is shocked, but there isn't a damn thing they can do. Back at the oikos, Pythagoras comes back looking shell-shocked. Jason asks what the verdict was. Death, Pythagoras tells him. She will be killed tomorrow at midnight. Jason is dying inside when he hears the news.

Next week on Atlantis: It's the season finale and Ariadne is heading towards her death. Jason would rather die than let that happen, however, and someone's father is revealed. Are you ready for #SaveAriadne? Saturday on BBC One, recap on Monday.