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The Earth Bull

Episode 1, Series 1

Jason with Sword
Broadcast: 28th September 2013
Starring: Jason : Jack Donnelly

Hercules : Mark Addy
Pythagoras : Robert Emms
The Oracle : Juliet Stevenson
Ramos : Joe Dixon
Ariadne : Aiysha Hart
Pasiphae : Sarah Parish
Minos : Alexander Siddig
Melas : Ken Bones
Theos : Ron Donachie
Korinna : Hannah Arterton
Maguire : Mark Lewis Jones
Helena : Faye Brookes
Alcaeus : Louis Maskell
Guard : Charlie de Melo

Writer: Howard Overman
Director: Justin Molotnikov
Viewers: 7.36million
Previous: None
Following: A Girl By Any Other Name

The Earth Bull was the first episode of Series One of Atlantis. It was first broadcast on the 28th September 2013 on BBC One. A repeat was broadcast on the following Thursday on BBC Three. It was directed by Justin Molotnikov and written by series creator Howard Overman.


When Jason goes in search of his father he finds himself washed up on the shores of a mysterious land - a world of mythical creatures, soothsaying oracles and palaces so vast it is said they were built by giants: this is the city of Atlantis but it seems the newcomer has chosen the wrong time to arrive in the fabled realm and Jason soon finds himself at the mercy of a deadly ritual, from which there can be no escape.


Jason is aboard a modern day ship, and talks to his uncle Mac about how he is looking for the wreckage of his father's sub. He has a necklace his father left with him before the accident and says his father knew he wasn't coming back and wants to know what happened to him. Jason reveals that his father told him that one day he would understand.

Jason takes a small sub down into the ocean and finds wreckage printed with the words "The Oracle". The sub gets into trouble, there is a bright white light and the sub window starts to crack.

Jason wakes up on a beach, naked and wearing just the necklace, having been washed onto the shore of a strange island. He tries to attract the attention of some people near a boat but cannot and takes some clothes. Jason walks inland and finds the ancient city of Atlantis.


Jason is attacked by the City Guard.

It is a bustling city with a busy marketplace, merchants, guards, beggars and strange creatures – including a strange two headed lizard that attacks Jason. He kills it and is chased by guards, taking an arrow to his arm and jumping off the city walls to escape them.

He lands onto Pythagoras' roof, who saves him from the guards by hiding him under the floor of the house in a secret compartment and treats his wounded arm. Pythagoras tells him his necklace is the symbol of Poseidon and to ask at the temple for the Oracle as she may be able to help.

Jason goes to the temple of Poseidon and Melas takes him to see the Oracle. She tells him he feels at home in Atlantis because he was born there and that his father took him to the modern world when he was a baby to protect him from his many enemies. She also tells him that his father "walks among the dead". He asks about his mother who he was told died after he was born, but the Oracle says there are some things she cannot see. She tells him he has a great destiny and was drawn to Atlantis.

Pythagoras and Jason 1

Pythagoras tells Jason about the traditions of Atlantis.

After Jason leaves, Melas asks the Oracle why she didn't tell Jason the truth, she says it will be safer for Jason if he doesn't know who he really is.

Pythagoras tells Jason about the Minotaur and the tributes of human sacrifices that are given to it every year. The people believe that seven tributes die so the city of twenty thousand will live – they believe the gods will punish them and destroy the city if they do not comply.

Pythagoras lives with Hercules – he saved Hercules' house from being sold to pay his gambling debts. Hercules doesn't want Jason staying with them as he is wanted by the guards – but Pythagoras speaks up for him and Hercules changes his mind. Hercules tries to flee the city in the night as he has been told by the Oracle he will be chosen to enter the Labyrinth and face the Minotaur. He doesn't want to die so tries to flee. Pythagoras goes to stop him as he will be banished forever for this and they are chased by guards.

Escaping tribute

A female tribute tries to escape.

The next day the whole city lines up to draw lots in front of King Minos, Queen Pasiphae and their daughter Princess Ariadne– a white stone means they are spared, a black stone means they will be sacrificed to the Minotaur to keep the city safe. Hercules picks a white stone, Jason a white and Pythagoras a black. The next day Jason sneaks away and takes Pythagoras' place. Ariadne knows that he drew a white stone and asks him why he is doing this. Jason says that he owes his friend Pythagoras his life and that he feels certain it is his fate to kill the Minotaur. Ariadne tells Jason she used to play in a Labyrinth as a child and gives Jason a skein of thread enchanted by the witches of Caucus. She says it will not tangle or break and hopes it will guide him out of the labyrinth.

Pythagoras and Hercules attempt to help Jason by taking weapons into the caves before the tributes get there. They are discovered by the guards and forced to also enter into the Labyrinth with Jason and the other tributes.

They enter with flaming torches and hear the roaring of a beast. They get separated as the Minotaur attacks and Pythagoras is injured, falling and hitting his head.

Jason meets the Minotaur

Jason is confronted by the Minotaur.

Jason is attacked by the Minotaur – a monstrous creature with a massively strong humanoid body with a bulls tail and the head of a bull with massive horns. He fights it and manages to stab the beast in the stomach.

The Minotaur falls to the floor and turns into a normal human man as he dies. The man says to Jason that he knew it would be him to lift the curse that was placed upon him by the gods. He says that he betrayed Jason's father, and tells him that he must never find out who he truly is, he says to Jason that he has a great destiny – and then he dies.

Jason, Hercules and Pythagoras are later thanked by King Minos. The King says that the curse has been on the city for 20 years and that the gods look favourably upon the city now.


Main article: The Earth Bull Transcript


There is no greater honour than to give your life for your city, and your king.
~ King Minos.[src]

You know I always say there's no man more useless with a sword than you well I was wrong I've seen four year old girls with a stronger grip.
~ Hercules to Pythagoras about Jason.[src]

Whoever heard of a hero called Jason? Now Hercules, that's a name to father a legend.
~ Hercules.[src]

I'm not fat, I'm big boned.
~ Hercules.[src]


Moroccan Crew[]

Main Crew[]


The episode received an overnight rating in the UK of 5.8million. Final ratings revealed that the episode had 7.34million UK viewers overall. The episode is currently top request on BBC iPlayer. The episode repeat was broadcast on the 3rd of October 2013 on BBC Three. [citation needed]


In his spoiler-free review for CultFix, Patrick Kavanaugh-Spraull gave 8/10 for the episode and called it "good". He added "the hero is genial enough as are his sidekicks and there isn’t really a dislikeable character".[1] During his review of the second episode, he replaced the 8/10 with 6/10.[2]

Morgan Jeffery for Digital Spy gave Atlantis three out of five stars and said that it "boasts both a strong cast and terrific visuals". However, he also said that the script was a little "heavy-handed" in establishing the characters and premise and that the pace was a little quick, especially in the defeat of the Minotaur. He also said that it was very similar to Merlin and that the show was "sticking far too rigidly to a tried-and-tested format". He summed up by calling it, "good, solid fun and, with a few tweaks, absolutely has the potential to become the next big family-friendly hit."[3]

Gerard O'Donovan for the Telegraph gave it four out of five stars and said it was "a rattling good yarn with pots of action and humour". He praised the cast and the special effects and said of Atlantis, that, "as action-packed, big fun Saturday evening entertainment this really did work".[4]



  1. Atlantis: 101 “The Earth Bull” Spoiler-Free Review, Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull,, 26th September, 2013.
  2. Atlantis: 102 “A Girl By Any Other Name” Spoiler-Free Review, Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull,, 3rd October, 2013.
  3. 'Atlantis' review: Is BBC One's new series a gift from the gods?, Morgan Jeffery, Digital Spy, 28th September, 2013.
  4. Atlantis, episode 1, review, Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 28th September, 2013.
Series 1
The Earth Bull  • A Girl By Any Other Name  • A Boy of No Consequence  • Twist of Fate  • White Lies  • The Song of the Sirens  • The Rules of Engagement  • The Furies  • Pandora's Box  • The Price of Hope  • Hunger Pangs  • Touched by the Gods Part 1  • Touched by the Gods Part 2