Percy, Annabeth and Grover meet an unexpected ally on the road – here’s our Percy Jackson And The Olympians episode 5 review.
This article contains spoilers for Percy Jackson And The Olympians episodes 1-4.
The second screen adaptation of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson And The Olympians books, the Disney+ series has so far been an exciting and magical adventure. With Riordan credited as co-creator and executive producer, the show has so far been more faithful to the books than the Logan Lerman-led films of the early 2010s. The leading trio have been excellent in their roles, and the creature designs have been intricate enough to keep the ‘monster of the week’ format fresh.
However, come last week’s episode the formula of Percy (Walker Scobell), Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover (Aryan Simhadri) being chased by a different monster each week was becoming a bit repetitive. You’ll be pleased to hear that this week’s instalment, titled A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers, is as refreshing as that name suggests.
The trio begin the episode in a rather difficult position. After the carnage caused at the St Louis Arch, they’re wanted by the police and therefore must walk the rest of the way to California, where the entrance to the Underworld is. With the arch being all the way in Missouri, that’s no easy feat. In fact, according to Google, that’d take you roughly 708 hours. Not ideal when you’re on a strict time limit to recover Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt and your abducted mother.
Luckily, they’re helped by a stranger they meet on the road. This stranger is actually, technically, their cousin – the Geek God of War Ares. Wearing a lot of leather and riding a motorbike, his character design is suitably cool, and the casting is even better. Adam Copeland (initially of WWE fame) is perfect in the role of gruff, rough-around-the-edges deity. While some of the trio’s conversations with him are used to provide exposition about the other gods, his line deliveries are so enthusiastic that it doesn’t particularly matter. It’s also interesting to hear more about the gods’ big dysfunctional family from someone who’s on the inside of it, unlike the Demigods like Percy who are pushed to the edges.
Ares isn’t just there to chat, though. He has a mission for the young Demigods. If they can recover his lost shield from a theme park created by Hephaestus, then he’ll help them to get as far as Las Vegas – much closer to their goal than they currently are.
What follows is an interesting, if sometimes a bit darkly lit, adventure for Annabeth and Percy. It’s a chance for them to put their knowledge of Greek mythology to good use as they figure out exactly why Ares lost his shield and how best to recover it. Unlike previous episodes that have been action-orientated or utilised long chase scenes, this one is more of a brain-teaser. Annabeth is in her element, and Jeffries’ performance very much conveys that. Athena isn’t just proficient with a sword, she’s also the goddess of wisdom, and her daughter also possesses that trait.
Their time at the park is also a chance for pretty much everyone in the audience to feel incredibly old as Percy and Annabeth fail to recognise Haddaway’s What Is Love playing on one of the rides.
With the focus being on the Demigod characters for the last few episodes, Aryan Simhadri’s Grover has been confined to the background. Here, Simhadri gets to shine as Grover stays with Ares at a diner. As Simhadri goes toe to toe with Copeland and matches his energy, Grover verbally battles with the formidable Ares, and the interactions between the two are incredibly engaging, as well as having some comedic moments.
The most exciting thing about this episode is that it introduces more of the Greek Gods and deepens our understanding of the already very colourful and fleshed out world of the series. Percy Jackson And The Olympians has so far been very good at worldbuilding and creating intriguing characters, while also making us care deeply about what happens to Percy and his friends. It seems from the end of this episode that there’s much more of that to come.
Percy Jackson And The Olympians episode five is streaming on Disney+ now, with future episodes streaming weekly on Wednesdays.