In the sixth episode of ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’, the trio travel to Las Vegas
searching for Hermes, the god of travelers, who can help them on the last part of their quest to
prevent a war among the gods. They start by looking in the Lotus Casino where Hermes
regularly hangs out, but unfortunately the air is infused with the lotus flower, making them
oblivious to the passage of time. By the time they realize and manage to escape, they’re pushed
to the limit to still prevent the conflict from happening.
The whole scene in the Lotus Casino is one of the most memorable in the book. It’s based on a
myth from the Odyssey, where a group of sailors are blown off course and land on the island of
the lotus eaters. Once the men eat the lotus flowers that grow there, they forget about their
voyage and their homes, never wanting to leave the island, and requiring Odysseus to return
them to the ship by force.
It’s an unsettling idea, and it’s been well adapted here in the trademark Riordan style, updating
everything for the 21st century. One change from the book is that Percy and Annabeth seem
less affected by the lotus flowers. This is possibly because they’re demigods, but they’re able to
talk normally to Hermes without being distracted by the casino, unlike Grover, who is quickly
taken in and spends his time using a virtual reality headset to search for the god Pan, even
forgetting who his friends are for a while.
Putting Hermes in this episode is another interesting alteration. It expands the role of the gods
in the story, making them more actively involved in the quest, and hints at the battle lines that
are being drawn as the gods choose sides on Olympus. Likewise, Percy being given four pearls
by Posiedon, rather than the three in the book, means he can bring his mother home from
Hades, and not have to leave her behind so the quest can succeed, which could mean the
series will have a slightly different ending than ‘The Lightning Thief’.
Overall this was one of the best episodes so far, showcasing the series at its best. There was a
good story which moved the plot forward, mixed in with a large helping of entertaining scenes. It
was fun watching Percy trying to drive Hermes’ car, showing how demigods almost have the
worst of both worlds: they have some powers at their disposal, but nowhere near as much as
regular gods, meaning they still have to rely on their practical skills to get them out of trouble.
As the series draws to a close with the final two episodes and the trio enter Hades, it’s likely
there’ll be a shift to a darker tone, with less moments like these. That’s not necessarily a bad
thing, but the comedy is a large part of what makes the show unique and is central to Percy’s
character, so hopefully it won’t be removed altogether.