Listen, we all know who Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) will choose to go on the quest with him, but it’s fun to watch, okay?
Before Percy can make that call in this week’s episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, he needs to get quest approval from the Oracle. Although the Oracle appears to be a skeleton decoration from Spirit Halloween, after submitting his request, the entity takes the form of Gabe (Timm Sharp), Percy’s step-dad. Gabe gives Percy directions, and then a warning: “You should be betrayed by the one who calls you friend, and fail to save what matters most in the end.”
Then it’s onto the selection ceremony for Percy’s quest. Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries) is Percy’s first choice as a partner. We don’t see his second, because the series cuts away to Grover (Aryan Simhadri), who is currently serving detention—which, at Camp Half-Blood, consists of scooping up donkey poop—instead of attending events like the rest of the campers. Grover is sorry to have missed the event. Percy is sorry too—sorry his best friend didn’t get to be present when he chose him for the quest.
It’s time for more apologies: Percy shares his remorse with Luke (Charlie Bushnell), who has to stay behind. He thought about bringing the Hermes cabin counselor, but that foreboding message from the Oracle/Gabe worried him too much. What if Annabeth and Luke, who see each other as siblings, teamed up against Percy? Luke understands, and offers Percy some gold dragmas (god currency) and a pair of shoes from his father, Hermes, that can allow demigods to fly.
We now have our main trio assembled: Annabeth, Grover, and Percy. Before they depart, Annabeth bids farewell to Thalia, who is now a tree. Grover explains to Percy that when Thalia was in danger of being killed, Zeus did all he could to transform his daughter into another living thing. Percy teases Annabeth about her obsession with the Thalia tree. Okay, dude—you were bullied your entire life, maybe take notes about how that feels. Also, you’re a forbidden child like Thalia!
But this is the theme of the episode: Percy and Annabeth do not get along. Grover wants to be the happy mediator. That’s not really possible, considering this is Percy’s quest and Annabeth wants to be the leader the entire time.
“Does she think she’s in charge?” Percy whispers to Grover, as they set forth on the journey.
“Who’d you think would be in charge?” Grover quips in response.
Our demigod trio is back in New York, where they board a bus; soon, they’re on the way to Los Angeles to find Hades in the underworld. (As a Los Angeles resident, I find it cruel that the underworld is in LA and Olympus is in NYC. I thought LA was boring heaven and NYC was fun hell?) Percy is still unsure about the quest, but he’s going along with it, if only to be reunited with his mom. Grover tries to tell him why the quest is so important, but Percy brushes off his friend.
Everyone is pissed off about the bus ride. Couldn’t Chiron have sprung for some plane tickets? Finally, the Greyhound stops for a bathroom break, and Annabeth offers to go inside the gas station to buy everyone snacks. Percy wants to go with her. No, Annabeth says; he has to stay safe inside. They bicker about this until Grover steps in and says they’ll all go inside, with Grover as a chaperone for both of them. It’s a good thing they stuck together, because evil monster Alecto (Megan Mullally) is back.
Annabeth and Alecto have beef. Turns out that Alecto was the one Hades sent to kill her, Luke, and Thalia all those years ago. Alecto couldn’t do it, so Annabeth has something to hold over the monster’s head. Alecto tries to stop the bus and catch Percy, but the kids fight back and win, escaping to a nearby satyr path Grover knows about. All these kids seem to be better than this failure of a monster. Doesn’t Hades have anyone better to go find the forbidden child?
Percy is ready to call it quits. This is scary stuff, man. He wants to go home or at least call the camp for backup. Yet again, Annabeth is ready to argue with him and she’s right! Percy is trying to wimp out too early. He doesn’t believe in himself enough. Percy wants to ignore his demigod life and it’s something he’s going to have to embrace, Annabeth tells him. It seems like Grover agrees, but he tries to distract his bickering buddies by talking about his Uncle Ferdinand.
Enough of Ferdinand. Grover distracted by something—hamburgers? On the satyr path? It couldn’t be. Hamburgers are a human delicacy. Grover follows his nose to a home with a bunch of statues displayed in the front yard.
Before they can reach the burgers, Alecto is back. She can’t reach them, however, because there’s a Bigger Bad standing on the front porch. Sporting a face-covering veil and red lipstick, you may be able to guess who this stoney wench is: Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy). Look away, Percy!
Medusa is a monster, yes, but is she really worse than Alecto? Alecto won’t come inside because she’s afraid of Medusa, which means the kids can take shelter in Medusa’s home. Plus, those burgers smell awfully good. Percy says he trusts Medusa—for now—and he wants his friends to come with him. Reluctantly, they follow his lead. (Take that, Annabeth! Look who’s in charge now.)
An entire buffet awaits the kids in Medusa’s house. Is something poisoned? The demigods are careful about what they eat. There’s some lore with Medusa and Annabeth’s mom, Athena, which the two explain while bickering about their shared history. Annabeth believes Athena cursed Medusa because she was evil. The snake-headed woman, on the other hand, argues that Athena was bitter about Medusa’s relationship with Poseidon, leading Athena to curse Medusa. Now, Medusa argues, this “curse” is more of a gift that protects her from the cruel bullies of the world—like Athena.
Medusa has some sympathy for Percy. The pair were targeted by “the same monster,” Poseidon. She offers Percy a deal: She’ll take him to find his mom if she can kill his untrustworthy friends. Medusa encourages Percy to abandon his friends, arguing they don’t want the best for his mom. Percy rejects her offers, sending Medusa into a fit of rage—she rips off her hat and flees to the dark basement, a stunning labyrinth of statues where the wrong gaze turns you to stone.
Percy, Annabeth, and Grover brainstorm a plan: Annabeth will toss her mother’s hat, which makes its user vanish, atop Medusa’s head, and Percy will attempt to stab her with his dagger. It’s a stunning fight scene—almost as good as the version with Uma Thurman and an iPod touch in the movie—which ends in Percy’s favor. He beheads Medusa. We don’t see the decapitated woman, thanks to the invisibility hat, a clever way to keep this kids show PG.
Before the kids figure out what to do with Medusa’s head, Percy uses her face to turn Alecto, who is still waiting outside, to stone. Grover finds his lost Uncle Ferdinand, who he spoke of on the satyr path, dead in Medusa’s basement. The trio use this win as a way to agree to look past each other’s differences and work together. None of them asked to be a demigod, to be put in danger and lose loved ones. They’re going to need to rely on one another if they want to get anything done.
So, they agree: They’ll send Medusa’s head to Olympus, a message that they’re getting things done their way. The box arrives at the Empire State Building (Olympus moves to wherever the most powerful place on Earth is at the time being—not sure if the Empire State Building qualifies as that, but it sure looks cool), where a whistling delivery man carries the box inside. We pan up and see the mailman’s face. Hello Lin-Manuel Miranda, a.k.a. Hermes!