Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 3 Review: “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium”
Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for Episode 3 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1.
Who’s ready for a road trip? Boarding a Greyhound bus may not seem that glamorous to Percy, but when Zeus rules the not-so-friendly skies, it’s where he finds himself on Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 3, “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium.”
After a visit to the Oracle to confirm his quest, Percy has to pick out his teammates since a quest always has three. Annabeth is a must, because of her cut-throat attitude, but his choice of Grover as the third is a little surprising.
We learn there’s a part of his prophecy he’s not telling Chiron — that someone who calls him a friend will betray him. This means taking Grover along is less strategy and more an insurance policy since he trusts him.
The episode crams in a lot of action, with the trio facing off with Alecto and her sister before running into Aunty Em AKA Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy). I would have preferred the book version where they’re a little slower on the uptake about who Aunty Em is, but their immediately realizing it’s Medusa leads to some interesting character choices like Percy choosing to trust her anyway.
The decision to make Medusa an initially more sympathetic figure is more than just about making her less scary for young viewers. It’s about developing Percy as a character and impacting his motivations.
He grew up hearing Sally’s stories about how Medusa wasn’t just a monster and Medusa’s own story seems to support that she was just a victim of the vengeful Athena, whom Medusa worshipped. Kennedy is perfect as the beguiling Medusa, striking just the right note between vulnerable and manipulative.
She doesn’t initially attack Annabeth like in the book and instead gives her a chance to not be like her mother. She’s telling the truth but also pushing her own agenda of revenge, making her not quite a villain but not quite an innocent either.
From the time Sally Jackson “dies,” one thing is clear: the gods do not care. Whether it’s because they’re too self-interested or too immortal, they see mortal problems as beneath them (despite their documented interest in humans).
Medusa was a victim of squabbling gods just like Sally. So sure, she is kind of evil at the end when she turns on the children for not agreeing to punish their parents, but you could say her outburst is partly because she feels rejected once again.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode 3 continues to set up the idea that the gods aren’t so innocent, something that’s sure to have consequences through the rest of the season. This also plays nicely into the development of Percy and Annabeth’s relationship.
Percy slays Medusa by beheading her and then uses that head to petrify Alecto, but that isn’t the end of their troubles.
Annabeth and Percy argue over keeping secrets, and Grover has to be the “adult” (he is 24!) who tells them to get over it and work together. Aryan Simhadri rises to the occasion in the scene and pushes the other actors to rise to it too.
It’s revealed that despite having her invisible baseball cap from her mom, Annabeth doesn’t really have a relationship with Athena. She’s barely better off than Percy which is a sore spot for her. Jeffries has done a great job showing Annabeth’s toughness and intelligence, but now we see the other side of that which is a desperation to prove herself and be worthy.
Percy reveals the prophecy and why he’s so afraid, letting Scobell show off his now trademark quivering sad face. With the trio broken down, they can now build each other back up by trusting in one another.
The trio leaves this part of their quest more united than ever, but it’s a long road to Los Angeles.
The Oracle was a little scarier in the show than I had pictured her!
Book Spoiler: Are they dropping the storyline about the Percy manhunt?
I don’t believe practical Annabeth Chase would let them buy junk food.
It took three episodes but I’m finally getting used to the Greek pronunciation of Thalia.
That basement full of petrified statues made me gasp! What a good reveal.
Inpertinent Percy = Persassy.
I was not expecting the Lin-Manuel Miranda jump scare, but I like we got our first sort-of glimpse at Olympus.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians streams Tuesdays at 9 PM ET / 6 PM PT on Disney+.