Episode 5 of Disney’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians picks up its pace with some interesting new characters as Percy’s time is running out.
Episode 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, “A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers,” introduces bigger stakes, new missions, and the Greek gods themselves intervening directly in the protagonist’ quests. It is a change from the previous episode, but a welcome one, as things are about to take an interesting turn. We also continue to learn more about the three protagonists of this quest as their relationship develops during the quest they have to undertake.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians episode 5 opens up with Percy Jackson (Walter Scobell) in the Mississippi River as the three Fates cutting a thread, an ominous symbol as their threads represent the future and destiny of Greek heroes. With time running out and the police now looking for them, the quest now seems almost impossible but Percy is determined not to give up. Thankfully, Percy, Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) receive help from the unlikeliest of allies: Ares (Adam Copeland), the Greek god of war. Ares involves them in an entirely new mission, where they will come face to face with another Olympian: Hephaestus (Timothy Omundson).
I loved finally seeing the Olympians in episode 5. For the first half of the season, it felt like the audience was waiting for this very moment when the Gods finally showed up. After all, everything is happening because of them so it only makes sense to see them interact with the demigods and interfere with Percy’s quest. This is also a callback to much of Greek mythology where the Gods often get involved in the heroes’ missions, even when they are not supposed to like in the case of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Both Ares and Hephaestus perfectly embody the essence of their respective characters with very impressive performances despite their little screen time so far, much like Dionysus in episode 2.
This episode finally breaks the usual pattern Percy Jackson and the Olympians had fallen into in the previous episodes consisting of showing the main characters’ road trip interrupted by a monster hunting them down. In episode 5, the structure is significantly different: not only do the Olympians directly get involved, but Percy and Annabeth are also going on an adventure on their own. This is particularly fascinating as we see them work together for the first time without the help of Grover who has often acted as the glue of the group. It is also the first time the audience sees Grover acting on his own, which may come into play in the future as his character and plot are explored more in possible future seasons.
We also finally see more of Annabeth and Percy’s relationship. As fans of the book will know, their relationship is only bound to grow so it is nice to see its very beginning in episode 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. More specifically, the audience also gets an insight into why the main trio works so well together and, therefore, why they just had to be the three characters to go on this quest together. Annabeth and Percy’s personalities – and, even more importantly, their weaknesses – complete each other as they each grow through their friendship during this adventure. Annabeth’s character growth is especially evident in this episode as we see how much Percy and his self-sacrificing nature have already influenced her.
Scobell shines once again, snf we see more of Percy’s emotional side. In the past few episodes, the audience mostly saw Percy’s funny and sarcastic side: this is a key component of his character, but I was also happy to see more sentimental moments as Percy is once again ready to sacrifice himself for the people he loves. This episode also gave more importance to Grover as an individual character. For the majority of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Grover has been the best friend, but in episode 5 he finally takes centre stage in his interaction with Ares, which will most likely come into play in the last three episodes of the show.
While this episode is well-paced, Percy Jackson and the Olympians fails to deliver the importance of this mission. Episode 5 tries to highlight the urgency of the quest, as our heroes are running out of time to complete their quest, and remind us of what is really at stake if they do not succeed. But this mission does not feel nearly as urgent as it should considering that a war between the Olympians is bound to start if they fail because the audience has little sense of the time that has passed or where they are geographically – and, therefore, how far from their destination – until the dialogue specifically reminds us.
Much like the previous episode, episode 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians still has an info-dumping problem. Admittedly, there is a lot the show needs to convey to the audience, particularly those who are not familiar with the book and its worldbuilding, but there is still too much exposition, especially now that we are entering the second half of the season. The information is delivered in conflict, thus making it more interesting for the viewers, but it is only narrated to us rather than shown. This is not only boring to see but also lazy from a screenwriting perspective. On the contrary, this episode also conveyed some key information in a much better way by having Hephaestus’ story play in front of Percy and Annabeth’s eyes.
Despite its flaws in storytelling, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is still a compelling product. Episode 5 only leaves the audience wanting more: with every episode, there is a feeling that this is all leading to something bigger than even the protagonists can imagine, but will the show live up to these expectations when it comes to revealing that? We will only have to wait and find out in the coming weeks.
Episode 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is now available to watch on Disney Plus.