Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1.E03 “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium”
Released: 2023

Hero of the Week: Grover

Riordan Readalong: The Lightning Thief, Chapters 9 to 11

Previously: “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom”

Last recap, I asked if y’all had read the books. 88% have read at least the first book, while 13% are just here for the show — which is very useful to know for writing these recaps and my genuine curiosity!

I also asked what y’all thought of the Chiron special effects. It was a tie between Neigh (lol) and Undecided — and not a single person voted Yay, so we don’t need to break out the consensus song just yet.

Demigod Diaries

Before Percy (Walker Scobell) leaves on his quest, he receives a pair of flying sneakers from Luke (Charlie Bushnell) and an ominous prophecy from the Oracle (Jennifer Shirley):

You shall go west and face the god who has turned,

And you shall find what was stolen and see it safely returned.

You shall be betrayed by one who calls you a friend,

And you shall fail to save what matters most in the end.

Percy also chooses who will join him on the quest: Grover (Aryan Simhadri), who would never betray him; and Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries), who would never become his friend, lol.

Our intrepid trio is off to a bumpy start, thanks to Percy and Annabeth bickering while Grover’s caught in the middle — and oh yeah, the two Furies who’ve found them on the bus they’re taking. Annabeth kills one, but Alecto/Mrs. Dodds (Megan Mullally) follows the trio to Aunty Em’s Garden Gnome Emporium — as in M for Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy).

Alecto knows better than to mess with Medusa (foreshadowing!), so the kids are safe inside from one monster. They try to stay civil with the monster they’re with, but Medusa’s grudge against the gods — and also her offer to kill Percy’s friends, lol — make the truce short-lived.

In Medusa’s basement of petrified previous patrons, Annabeth uses her invisibility cap to render Medusa powerless so that Percy can cut off her head and then use it against Alecto. (Two Furies, one’s stone?) To keep the world safe from Medusa’s head — and to send quite a message — Percy mails it to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building aka Mount Olympus, delivered by none other than Hermes himself (Lin-Manuel Miranda).

Hero of the Week

I haven’t mentioned him much, but it’s time to shine the spotlight on our soft boy satyr, Grover. He packs the best snacks (that were apparently not rationed well if they didn’t last until Trenton, NJ), he discovers what happened to his uncle Ferdinand, and he’s pulling double duty as demigod protector and peacemaker — with his very own consensus song!

Overheard Olympians

Grover: “Dude, what have you been eating? Whoa — wait, hey. I’m not trying to antagonize you. I’m just genuinely curious.”

That’s a fair question for someone if you have to scoop their poop.

Percy: “Our voting system’s broken”

Sad upvote, writers.

Percy: “They smell fear.”

Grover: “That’s bees.”


Annabeth: “If we call camp, we’re basically saying it was a mistake to choose us.”

Percy: “I’m completely comfortable with that. Everyone makes mistakes.”

A very healthy attitude in any other circumstance. Sally really gave him all the tools to succeed!

Percy: “You think it’s safe to eat?”

Grover: “Percy, I’m not gonna lie to you: I’m really hungry, and I’m ready to take that chance.”

Desperate times!

Annabeth: “Look, this is a bad idea. They will see this as impertinent.”

Percy: “I am impertinent.”

Taken almost directly from the book, except it was Grover instead of Annabeth.

Riordan Readalong

The Lightning Thief, Chapters 9 to 11, with the episode named after Chapter 11.

Some spoiler-minimal series reader observations:

  • I was just wondering when the Oracle would show up last episode, and lo and behold! Although we’re still on Prophecy Watch for more incoming.

  • Unlike Show Percy, Book Percy keeps the last lines of the quest prophecy to himself for a while. (I also totally forgot that the prophecy manifested as Gabe, lol.)

  • The book doesn’t have any America’s Next Top Demigod pageantry over Percy’s quest-mates — he chooses Grover, and Annabeth volunteers — but he chooses them both in the show! (Albeit not for entirely heartwarming reasons, but a win is a win!)

  • When is Percy’s sword going to get its name? I assume that’ll come up between him and who gave it to him.

  • The bus encounter was much more dramatic in the book, but I like the change for efficiency and to give Annabeth a more active role.

  • Also different: the book characters didn’t clue in right away that Aunty Em is Medusa, and there was no throughline about monsters not always being what they seem.

  • … Of course, the show didn’t veer that far off-book, as Percy was wrong to trust Medusa, but we get do get her perspective as a survivor bullied by the gods.

  • Also show inventions: the dual denied demigod/demon deals, for trio tension and then teambuilding.

Greek Chorus

  • Fun spooky vibe to the episode!

  • The age-appropriate casting definitely emphasizes the fact that these are actual children going on a quest.

  • $200 dollars and some drachmas for 3 kids to go across the United States? How do you say “cost of living crisis” in ancient Greek?! (It was $100 and 20 drachmas in the book, published back in 2005.)

  • Percy responding politely to what he thought was a dud gift, suggesting that they call an adult for help, and keeping open mind about Medusa — Sally Jackson’s legacy!

  • Sure, Medusa would have killed those kids, but her fashion sense and that spread???! Grover was right; I’d risk it all, too.

  • Did you, like I, recognize Jessica Parker Kennedy as Medusa based on her voice and the lower half of her face? Because that’s how many CW shows I’ve watched.

  • Smart way to get around how to do a literal decapitation on a children’s show by using the invisibility cap.

  • Annabeth’s little head tilt when Percy says they’ll never be friends was adorable, as was Percy looking away from Medusa because everybody else was doing it.

  • The score was particularly effective this episode, and of course the show’s composer is Bear McCreary, who’s involved in a million things (incl. Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Outlander, God of War, and Battlestar Galactica).

Percy Poll

Are you enjoying the show's sense of humour?

  • Yay! (90%)
  • Undecided (10%)
  • Nay! (0%)
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What did y’all think of this episode? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.