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The Scroll

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The Scroll

First Season of The Percy Jackson Series


Demigods and satyrs alike rushed to their TVs to catch the new Percy Jackson series. With an exciting lineup and amazing promotion, this show was broadcast throughout Olympus.
I wrote an article talking about why the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” show was so anticipated, and now the first season has been released. So, spoiler warning, I’m going to talk about the plot and the differences.
The first episode already was amazing. Walker Scobell, who plays Percy, has the perfect energy of a kid just trying to get through school while being chased by monsters. Percy Jackson is a very confused kid who just found out he’s a demigod, and Walker pulls this off perfectly. The second episode only magnifies this energy. Annabeth, the daughter of Athena, is always ahead by ten, and Percy is always behind by twenty.
This is exhibited by the capture the flag game of the second episode, where Percy is left to his own devices in the woods, and ends up just dancing and petting lizards, while Annabeth simply watches nearby as he is attacked by Clarisse, daughter of Ares. She even figures out he is the son of Poseidon before he does, shoving him into a lake to prove it. They have the perfect dynamic for Annabeth and Percy, with Annabeth being smarter than him and Percy being offended the whole way.
The kids are the best actors in this show. They absolutely dominate the screen, taking the characters to the next level. Their best performance by far is the third episode, when they go on the main quest of the show to find the lightning bolt and meet Medusa at her Garden Emporium.
Medusa’s story was altered from the books, but in a way that adds a perspective not often considered. She tells her story to the three demigods, and it changes from her being the villain, to being the victim of Poseidon’s mistreatment. She then says that she and Percy’s mom, who was killed by the minotaur, were battling the same monsters, referring to men (Poseidon in specific).
I love love love this change. It’s so powerful, yet keeps Medusa as a slightly crazy woman who turns people to stone for fun.
The fourth episode is one of my favorites. It has the Chimera in it, as well as having the famed St. Louis Arch scene. However, in this scene, Percy tricks Annabeth and Grover into leaving without him, as he is poisoned by the Chimera. We finally get to see Percy interacting with the water more in-depth as well, and communicating with a water spirit. Finally, we get the Percabeth hug at the end. It was a great episode all around, with an amazing book to show consistency and amazing acting.
The fifth episode is my all time favorite. I know I say that for all of them, but this time I really mean it. This is our first glimpse of the Gods, namely Ares and Hephaestus. Ares is pretty intense, and Hephaestus is portrayed with humor. In this iteration he’s a silly little guy who is actually the creator of Zeus’ master bolt and someone who could take down Ares. These performances are pretty standard for their Greek counterparts, but still refreshing nonetheless.
I know I’ve talked quite a bit about the acting, but this episode really hit a home run, with standout performances from the kids especially. Walker’s expressions and voice almost made me cry. The kids really showed up to show the adults how to act, and drove them into the ground. The adults did well, of course, but the kids pulled through on the emotion and intensity of the battle scenes.
The seventh episode threw a wrench into the consistency with the books. In the books, the Summer solstice doesn’t pass, and Percy is able to return the bolt. However, we just learned that the solstice has already passed, which was his deadline for returning the lightning bolt to Zeus. This was the pivotal moment of the books, and the fact that it passed means war between Zeus and Poseidon. It does provide a good motivation for Percy to be the hero even though he doesn’t need to be, however, it is a shocking change from what the readers of the series expected. There has been some criticism towards these changes from long time fans, however the series is still going strong.
Rick Riordan is heading the series, so any and all changes made are overseen and approved by the author directly, which is why I can’t be too mad about them. However, I am still immensely curious as to where this is going to go. I do wish that the series was the exact same as the book, but that just isn’t realistic or plausible.
If I had written books more than 10 years ago, I would have come up with many changes by now as well. The show goes along with the books much better than the movies do, and I think this revision has helped the books and the Percy Jackson brand. Many new fans are finding the Percy Jackson world through this, and people who don’t enjoy reading can enjoy the world just as much as someone who does.
Another very exciting aspect of the seventh episode is the easter egg relating to the second series. In the background of one of the Lotus Casino scenes, we hear a kid yelling “Bianca! Bianca!” This sent readers into a frenzy, as this is Nico Diangelo, the son of Hades who is introduced in The Heroes of Olympus series.
He is calling for his sister, Bianca, another child of Hades. They were stuck in the Lotus Casino in the books, and it is incredibly cool to see this easter egg so early on in the series. It brings the readers hope that the series will continue until those books, bringing to life more of our beloved characters, including Hermes, who is played by the lyrical genius and actor Lin Manuel-Miranda.
The eighth episode brought us to the Underworld, and another wrench is thrown into the original story. Annabeth is stuck in the fields of Asphodel, where people get trapped by their regrets. This is where Grover gets pulled into Tartarus by his flying shoes (given to him by Luke) and Percy discovers the Master Bolt in his bag (given to him by Ares). Hades is also depicted as a silly little guy at first, but he easily takes his persona of the God of the Dead.
This is one of the criticized parts of the show. Percy, despite being depicted as clueless in the books, is very well-versed in Greek Mythology in the show. Personally, I like this change, as I can’t see Sally Jackson not preparing him any way she could. He figures out that Kronos is behind everything (which feels like a bit of a stretch this soon) and tells Hades so, who immediately switches from nice to demanding. Percy and Grover get out of the Underworld and end up on the same beach as Annabeth, where we see Ares stalking towards them.
Finally, the finale. The finale did an excellent job of wrapping things up. We finally see Percy going to Olympus and meeting Zeus, played by Lance Reddick, who unfortunately passed away in March of 2023. Percy warns Zeus of everything, and mouths off in the standard Percy Jackson way. Then, Zeus, being Zeus, strikes at a 12-year-old kid and kills him, only being stopped by Poseidon as he surrenders in their war for Percy’s life.
The last change was an interesting one. Gabe Ugliano, Percy’s stepdad, wasn’t depicted as awful as he was in the books. Sally does divorce him, as we see in the mid-credits scene, but she doesn’t use Medusa’s head on him like she does in the movies. He finds it on his own, outside of the apartment he has been locked out of.
Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about this change. On one side, it is hard to imagine Sally Jackson purposefully killing someone, even an awful man. On the other hand, it added to her motherly sacrifices that she was willing to stay with an abusive man for her son. In the show, it just shows her leaving her, with no hint of the abusive tone shown in the books.
Overall, the first season of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” blew all my expectations out of the water. Even the changes were great, and the series was not only fairly true to the books, but also much more substantive than the movies. If you enjoy fun fiction and a little bit of humor, I would tune in for the second season, which has been renewed, but not filmed. 100000/5 Spartan Heads.

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About the Contributor
Eliza Janssen
Eliza Janssen, Writer
  I am an avid reader and writer, and love learning about what's going on in the world. I love experiencing the community in Fargo, and talking to people around. The Scroll is a great place for me to put my thoughts and talents to great use! I enjoy talking with my fellow staff about what to put in the paper and what people want, and it has been a great time!
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