It's back, it's back, it's finally back! BBC's Atlantis is back! Although I am a little sad about it (we're counting down to cancellation now), I am also very happy to have my favourite 'moderately inspired by Hellenic mythology'-heroes are back. Since it's been a while since Atlantis was on, let me give you the basics: this season, Ariadne has found herself made queen after her father's sudden (and yet-unexplained) passing. Pasiphaê has been waging war against Atlantis to claim the throne for herself, but so far to no avail. Medea--Pasiphae's ally and fellow sorceress--stabs Ariadne and leaves her for dead, but Jason battles the Grey Sisters and comes out victories: Ariadne lives and Jason is free to take his revenge on his mother Pasiphaê and Medea, his (half?) sister. Oh--and a bunch of Jason's friends know that if Jason finds out that Pasiphaê is his mother, the world is pretty much going up in flames, but it's getting unlikelier by the episode that that secret's going to keep for long. Tricky little things, prophecies... Speaking of prophecies... somewhere in a cave with ocean view, Medusa is still waiting for her promised rescue. Ariadne, meanwhile, has asked Jason to marry her and he accepted.

The second Pasiphaê hears of the upcoming wedding, she hardens her heart and decides Jason needs to die. After all, if he takes the throne, 'Atlantis will be lost to her forever'. she's not the only one against the wedding; Ariadne's general Delmos (Emmett J Scanlan) is also not happy about the prospect. Since Jason is supposedly not of royal blood, everyone and their mother is going to make a fuss if he marries the queen. Ariadne enjoys lala-land far too much to let that disturb her, though. She is going to ask the Gods.

The oracle agrees to see Ariadne and Jason for a blood offering (*sigh* I really wish these shows would stop throwing human blood around in sacrifice) to the Gods. The ceremony itself is quite beautiful. Jason is led to the steps of the palace by guards, and Ariadne by her own. The Oracle cuts their palms (another thing I really wish people in series would stop doing) and takes their blood to the sacred groves of Dodona. They will have their answer by morning.

History lesson: Dodona (Δωδώνᾱ (Doric) or Δωδώνη (Ionic and Attic)) was located in Epirus in northwestern Hellas. It was an oracle devoted to a Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia, but here called Dione, who was joined and partly supplanted in historical times by Zeus. The shrine of Dodona was regarded as the oldest Hellenic oracle, possibly dating to the second millennium BCE according to Herodotus. Situated in a remote region away from the main Hellenic poleis, it was considered second only to the oracle of Delphi in prestige. Priestesses and priests in the sacred grove interpreted the rustling of the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken. According to a new interpretation, the oracular sound originated from bronze objects hanging from oak branches and sounded with the wind blowing, similar to a wind chime. The more you know, huh? Let's see how accurate Atlantis' portrayal is.

Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras nervously drink wine as they wait for dawn while the Oracle makes it to Dodona in record time. She pours the collected blood on an altar, burns leaves and lets the remnants of the leaves fall onto the blood as she prays, hoping for a sign. The wind picks up and obviously a sign is given. The Oracle and her guards return home. Meanwhile, in Atlantis it's a bad day to be a guard because assassins are crawling through the streets, taking out guards and infiltrating what I assume to be the palace.

the Oracle returns to the temple and is very, very happy: the omens were good! The Gods bless the union! That would be about the time when a bunch of assassins pounce on her. Jason finds the remnants of a scuffle and fight and rushes out to rescue the unconscious Oracle from the ninjas. Too bad he gets punched in the face and goes out like a light. The Oracle is gone.

Ariadne is quite convinced that not even Pasiphaê would be stupid enough to kill a servant of the Gods, and Pythagoras logically deduces that it's more likely she will just keep her prisoner so she can't proclaim that the marriage is blessed. Hercules does his own deducing and comes to the conclusion that someone in the palace helped the assassins. It's true, but I don't think it's the general--unlike the boys.

Pasiphaê has, indeed, captured the Oracle and she goes to visit her in her cell. I love these two together on screen; they are both brilliant actresses and their characters have so much history. They throw insults at each other, take stabs at each other's virtue and emotional well-being, and the Oracle is getting through to Pasiphaê on one front: Pasiphaê loves her child. Angered by the conclusion to their verbal cat-fight, Pasiphaê wraps her hand around the Oracle's throat and backs her up against a pillar. She makes a bunch of threat and--finally remembering that a) she actually likes this woman and b) that she is a servant of the Gods--releases her. the Oracle watches her go with a mixture of fear and worry on her features.

Medea has made it to a fort under guard escort. She must go in alone, she tells Goran. Assumingly, it's a magic thing. Ariadne and Melas, The Oracle's assistant/priest of Poseidon, agree that there must be someone in the palace working for Pasiphaê.

Pasiphaê tries to torment the Oracle with food and harsh words. She's not buying it, but she is starting to get worried--Pasiphaê is threatening to kill her. She won't do it herself, so the Oracle tells her to bring whomever Pasiphaê has gotten to kill her into the cell so she can tell him about the terrible things that will happen to him if he kills an oracle of the Gods. Pasiphaê plays coy. She taunts the Oracle because she can't see her own future, and sneers at her over laughing at all the (bad) prophecies the Oracle has proclaimed about Pasiphaê. It's a brilliant and dark exchange that leaves the Oracle truly afraid for the first time since this started.

Medea goes into the fort with an empty crate and returns with a filled one. Goran tries to sneak a peek but Medea magics him away just in time. Some things are best left unseen, she tells him and I am quite sure I know what is in that crate. Jemima Rooper, I have missed you more than words can describe! Please kick Hercules' ass for putting you through all of this crap. He deserves it.

Speaking of which: Hercules, Pythagoras and Jason are back in the woods with the Stymphalian birds and pondering the timing of events. Why wait to kidnap the Oracle until she got back to the city? Why not take her while in the woods? Pythagoras can't figure it out and it's bugging him.

The Medusa-express arrives at the palace and all the men are told to leave the building. It seems, by the way, that Medusa's powers don't work on Pasiphaê and Medea which is very handy because Medusa is dying for a talk, for companionship. She was abandoned in that cave and when she was promised salvation by Pasiphaê, she took the chance with two hands. It's Medusa who will kill the Oracle, and in return, Pasiphaê will 'end her suffering'. She looks broken, scared, and out of her mind with loneliness. My poor, poor Medusa... I hadn't forgotten about you, I promise! I've been ranting about you for over a year.

As the boys sneak closer to the temple, they come upon the encampment of soldiers. They decide to go around as they wonder why the heck everyone has left their comfy beds for twigs and ants. Pasiphaê, meanwhile, shows Medusa to the Oracle's cell. The Oracle knows something's up and slowly gets up, telling Pasiphaê the Gods will have their vengeance. She hears Medusa's snakes and slowly--slowly she turns. At that moment, Medusa realizes whom she is about to kill.

The boys wisely catch on that they are walking into a trap. They're not--well, the soldiers weren't put out as a lure for them--but it's still good they realize they are not exactly being restrained from rescuing the Oracle. It wouldn't matter anyway: the Oracle is too busted up to serve even as a garden ornament. Goodbye Juliet Stevenson! I will miss you!

Pythagoras is the one who draws the obvious conclusion: only Medusa could have done this. Hercules says she would never do that and rushes out to follow her while I mentally rip him a new one for being the idiot he is.

Jason is having a hard time with the Oracle's death. She was always there for him--and he vows to avenge her.

Hercules searches for Medusa and finds her--eventually. She's gott her regular hair back; Pasiphaê kept her word. She explains to Hercules what she did and why she did it, that she couldn't stand another moment alone in that cave. She wanted to be with him again. She only found out it was the Oracle she was supposed to kill when she laid eyes on her. Hercules blames himself and she says there was nothing he could have done. I'll not repeat what I said to my screen. Hercules sends her away because somehow Jason and Pythagoras have turned into Neanderthals out for blood. Uhhh... guys? Remember who the real enemy is? Victim blaming does not look good on anyone, I promise you.

Back in the palace, Jason breaks the bad news to Ariadne, who nearly crumbles. Like Jason, the Oracle was very close to her and not only has she lost her, but without the Oracle, chances of their marriage not causing war are slim to none. Jason has to tell Ariadne about Medusa's involvement and I need to take a moment because even Ariadne decides to blame her. I will spare you another rant. Hercules is shocked and heartbroken, and hopefully consumed with shame and guilt.

Back at the oikos, Pythagoras is trying to get Hercules to eat and give up on Medusa; both to no avail. Medusa must be punished for what she did, he feels, and Hercules refuses to see Medusa as anything less than a victim, even though he doesn't realizes how big his share is in this killing--none of them do. Pythagoras says she must have changed, that Hercules is not to blame. I... never mind.

Jason, meanwhile, is on his own guilt trip (that Pythagoras tries to talk him out of, too): if he hadn't agreed to marry Ariadne, none of this would have happened. He goes out to stop the ripples from spreading any further and tries to get Ariadne to reconsider the marriage. Ariadne says that if they give up now, the Oracle gave up her life for nothing. They love each other with all their heart, but everyone feels responsible for everyone else's heart, too. Long story short: the marriage is on. Melas is not amused when Ariadne tells him to go ahead and prepare for the big day, but he's just a lowly servant. He agrees to do it.

Hercules is packing a bag with food and supplies. Pythagoras catches him but Hercules waves him off. He's on his way to the cabin he told Medusa to wait for him back in the temple.

In the palace, we find out the identity of the mole: it's Melas, who has been talking to Cilix (Lorcan Cranitch), whom I think I forgot to mention in the recap of last episode because he added absolutely nothing to the plot but mope about and tell Ariadne the noblemen would never accept their marriage. Since everyone was already saying that, adding him did not feel like a great addition. Now, though, it's very clear he's on the side of the queen-in-exile, and that Melas is working with him. Killing the Oracle? He didn't know about that part, by the way. Oh sweet summer child... It's now up to you to stop the wedding.

Back at the oikos, Hercules returns sans supplies and Pythagoras knows something is up. He doesnt have a chance to get to the bottom of it, though: a bunch of guars led by Cilix burst in. Jason is arrested and accused of murdering the Oracle. Pythagoras realizes what is going on: Pasiphaê only needed to take the Oracle if the Gods' verdict was positive, and in order to find that out, she needed to return to the city and tell someone--namely Melas. Melas then told Pasiphaê's men and got the Oracle kidnapped.

Jason is dragged into the palace and Delmos informs the queen hat Jason has been charged with murder by Melas. She falls out of bed, dresses, and rushes to the chamber where Melas is holding court. She demands to hear his reasoning and Melas tells her that the Oracle said the oracles did not look favourable on the union. Jason found out and murdered her to keep her silent so he could still marry Ariadne and become king. Needless to say, Jason says it's a lie, but it's his word against a witness of the attack and Poseidon's high priest. 

Ariadne tries to stop all of this from happening, but Melas goes on and on about how she dares to speak for the Gods while he is the priest. Now, I have a question: wasn't it stated specifically that Ariadne is a priestess of Poseidon? It might be an honorary title tied to her royal blood and the royal house, but still. Wouldn't she--technically--hold as much power as Melas when it comes to speaking for Poseidon and a little more even because she is queen...? Never mind, carry on.

Melas manages to talk Aridane into a corner and she has to concede to sentencing Jason to death--but she makes a few unveiled threats at Melas' address while she is at it.

Next time on Atlantis: Ariadne agrees to put Jason into the bull and Hercules returns to Medusa. Saturday on BBC One, recap on Monday.