In Season 1, Episode 7 of the Disney Plus series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, titled “We Find Out The Truth, Sort Of,” the story continues the quest of Percy (Walker Scobell), Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) to the Underworld to save Percy’s mother, Sally Jackson (Virginia Kull), and find the Master Bolt.
In the past, Sally Jackson (Virginia Kull) takes a young Percy (Azriel Dalman) to a new school, but he refuses because he struggles with abandonment and his status as a demigod, though unknown to him at a young age. Later, Sally continues to struggle to enroll her son in a school, which leads her to contact Poseidon (Toby Stephens) for help. Poseidon convinces Sally not to send her son to Camp Half-Blood because he wants his son to find his own path. Even if Poseidon cannot be there for his son in person, he assures Sally that he will always look after and protect him.
In the present day, Percy confronts Procrustes (Julian Richings), one of his many half-brothers who is a waterbed salesman, and stretches people to the size of a bed. In other words, Procrustes is a psychopath who builds beds and places his victims on them. If the victims are too small, he “stretches” them. If the victims are too tall, he “amputates” their limbs. However, in the past, Theseus stopped Procrustes by “stretching” him on one of the psycho demigod’s beds. In the present day, Procrustes is now a guard to one of the many secret passageways to the Underworld, in the form of a mattress shop, on behalf of Hades, possibly as atonement for his past crimes in life. Procrustes attempts to “stretch” Percy until Annabeth traps the Underworld guard in one of his beds. Later, Grover joins in, and the trio gains access to the secret passageway to the Underworld in Procrustes’ office.
In the Underworld, the trio attempts to convince and bribe the ferryman Charon (Travis Woloshyn) to take them across the River Styx. Charon refuses and unleashes Cerberus on the trio, leading to a chase until Annabeth manages to calm the three-headed dog with a comfortable rub. Annabeth calms Cerberus long enough for the trio to reach the top of the Underworld’s wall, too high for Cerberus to catch them. Later, they arrive at the Fields of Asphodel, where souls are imprisoned due to their intense regret in life and inability to properly move on in the afterlife. However, Cerberus catches up to the trio, and Annabeth is trapped in one of the fields’ trees. She has to use her pearl to teleport out of the Underworld to escape. With only Percy and Grover left, they manage to evade Cerberus again and reach Tartarus, a location that resembles the one in Percy’s dreams, where Grover’s flying shoes attempt to pull him into Tartarus’ pit where the Titans are imprisoned. Percy’s backpack, the one Ares gave him, also becomes heavy, revealing that it contains the Master Bolt. With the Master Bolt retrieved, Percy and Grover could teleport out of the Underworld and stop the war. Instead, Percy opts to confront Hades (Jay Duplass) to have the God of the Underworld release his mother from captivity.
In Hades’ Palace, Hades warmly welcomes Percy and Grover, offering them snacks and refreshments due to the duo’s struggle to reach him. The God of the Underworld is not portrayed as the media presents him, but rather his personality is more closely aligned with Greek Mythology: hospitable, dutiful, intelligent, faithful, and honest. Introductions aside, Hades asks Percy for his Helm of Darkness back, explaining that the Lightning Thief used it to steal the Master Bolt in Olympus. This confuses Percy and Grover because they thought Hades wanted the Master Bolt, but Hades is disinterested in power and just wants what is rightfully his back. The confusion continues because Percy initially thought Hades was the entity that confronted him in his many dreams, but now realizes Hades is not behind the Lightning Thief’s actions; it is Kronos. The pieces of the puzzle come together because Ares mentioned Kronos as one of many of Zeus’ family members who are messed up, and since Hades and Poseidon can be trusted, Kronos is the only powerful contender who wants Zeus overthrown.
With this realization in mind, Percy tells Hades of the situation. Fearful of Kronos, Hades worries that Kronos’ prison in Tartarus is weakening, so he demands the son of Poseidon to return the Master Bolt since it is one of the only weapons that can stop the Titan King. Hades even offers Percy, Grover, and imprisoned Sally sanctuary for the war to come, but Percy and Grover instead use their pearls to teleport themselves out of the Underworld back to Earth at a beach where Percy and Sally would often go for vacation. Before leaving, Percy promises Hades he will find the Helm of Darkness and return it to Hades after returning the Master Bolt to Zeus. At the beach, the duo reunites with Annabeth but is confronted by Ares who is ready to retake the Master Bolt, even if it means killing the three demigods.
Sally Jackson and Poseidon
Season 1, Episode 7 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, titled “We Find Out The Truth, Sort Of,” was an exciting episode. The collaborative efforts of Director Anders Engstrom, Writer Andrew Miller, and the original author Rick Riordan, contribute to the success of this episode. The narrative diverges from the corresponding chapters in The Lightning Thief novel, particularly in its portrayal of the Underworld and the character of Hades.
Firstly, the decision by Sally not to send Percy to Camp Half-Blood, influenced by Poseidon’s persuasion to let his son forge his own path, introduces a significant departure from the source material. In the novel, Percy’s arrival at Camp Half-Blood is crucial to the unfolding of the plot, as it is at the camp that he discovers his true identity as a demigod and begins his training. The series adaptation, however, chooses to explore an alternative path for Percy, emphasizing the agency of the characters in shaping their destinies.
Furthermore, the representation of the Underworld in the episode deviates from the novel. The inclusion of Procrustes as a guard in a mattress shop, serving Hades and potentially atoning for past crimes, adds a unique and imaginative twist to the Underworld’s dynamics. This creative reinterpretation of the Underworld aligns with the TV series’ tendency to infuse modern elements into the mythological world, providing viewers with a fresh and unpredictable experience.
Additionally, the characterization of Hades in the TV series contrasts with the portrayal in the novel. The episode presents Hades as a hospitable, dutiful, intelligent, faithful, and honest deity, challenging the book’s depiction of Hades as a dark, resentful, and ominous figure. In the books, Hades is depicted as a dutiful God of the Underworld, yet harbors a profound animosity toward his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon. This animosity stems from their role in the death of one of his wives, Maria di Angelo, who is the mother of Nico di Angelo and his older sister Bianca di Angelo. Nevertheless, the show’s nuanced portrayal of Hades adds complexity to his character and challenges preconceived notions, showcasing the series’ willingness to offer a more layered exploration of the gods and their personalities.
In terms of direction, writing, and collaboration, the efforts of Director Anders Engstrom, Writer Andrew Miller, and original author Rick Riordan contribute to the episode’s success. The adaptation demonstrates a creative and collaborative approach that respects the source material while introducing fresh elements to captivate both new and existing fans of the Percy Jackson universe.