Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1.E04 “I Plunge to My Death”
Released: 2024

Heroes of the Week: Annabeth and Percy
Riordan Readalong: The Lightning Thief, Chapters 12 to 14

Previously: “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium”

Last week, I asked if y’all were enjoying the show’s sense of humour. 90% answered yes and 10% were still on the fence. I’m glad that 0% said no, although I suppose there must be hate-watchers for everything, so those folks are probably out there!

Demigod Diaries

Aboard a train headed to Hades in Los Angeles, Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries), Grover (Aryan Simhadri), and Percy (Walker Scobell) return to their room, which has been trashed and they’ve been blamed for it. While in police custody* (insert Ron Burgundy “That Escalated Quickly” GIF), the trio meet Echidna (Suzanne Cryer), aka the Mother of Monsters, who staged the vandalism for this face-to-face — and for her child, a young Chimera, to learn how to hunt. Like, them and now.

Our heroes escape and hide in one of Athena’s temple that’s conveniently nearby: the Gateway Arch in St. Louis! Where they would be safe from Echidna and the Chimera… if not for Annabeth’s impertinence by proxy (i.e., Percy shipping Medusa’s head to Mount Olympus). Also not great: Percy feeling the delayed effect of an Echidna poison.

Out of desperation, the trio goes to the observation deck (aka the temple’s altar) to ask for Athena’s help — but Echidna and the Chimera are right behind them. After evacuating the mortals, Annabeth stays behind to allow Percy and Grover to escape… only Percy tricks her into taking her place against the monsters.

Percy tussles with the Chimera, eventually falling through a rip in the Arch and into the nearby and polluted Mississippi River. At the bottom of the river, his leg gets trapped in debris and he starts to panic, until a water nymph reassures him that he’s safe and his father loves him. And then Percy takes his first breath underwater as the son of Poseidon.

*To get extremely real for a moment, my mind immediately went to the mass incarceration of children of colour. I know this show (and, by extension, this recap) is supposed to be fun escapism, but art doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it sucks that real-world context makes this minor scene that much scarier of a situation.

Heroes of the Week

The first time I choose either of them… and I’m making them share, lololol.

Annabeth, for her quick thinking that’s gotten the heroes this far, and her willingness to sacrifice herself for her questmates. We also get to see her be wrong: the water fountain didn’t heal Percy, and, of course, she falls for Percy’s switcheroo. Annabeth tends to be right about everything, but not even a know-it-all can know it all — an important lesson for someone who’s been conditioned to value perfection.* As Percy would say, everyone makes mistakes, and we should be completely comfortable with that! (Although obvs, the stakes are usually not so life-or-death.)

Percy, for his quick thinking and willingness to sacrifice himself for his friend and almost-friend — all while being poisoned. In just these four episodes so far, we’ve seen him put himself in harm’s way with zero hesitation. A bit reckless, yes, but undeniably brave, too.

*I did not mean to get so serious in a recap twice, BUT: there’s also the idea of having to be twice as good to get half as far, a sentiment popularized by the show Scandal. Annabeth’s race provides a different dimension to the pursuit — and pressure — of perfectionism by Athena’s children, because the margin of error is already so small for young Black girls in the U.S. Granted, this is just my own reading and I am obviously not the best person to delve into the topic, but I’m glad that Annabeth gets the space to make mistakes.

Overheard Olympians

Grover: “Who’s froofy? You’re froofy! What’s froofy?”

Look, we could all benefit from a good night’s sleep!

Percy: “Can I ask a dumb question?”

Annabeth: “It’s like you need me to make fun of you.”

She’s right; he really can’t make it that easy.

Percy: “So we’re just killing time until we find out that guy’s like a werewolf or something, right?”

Wrong mythology, but he’s trying.

Grover: “Just because we’re prey doesn’t mean we need to be helpless.”

Right after a pensive pause and a giant painting that literally and figuratively says Manifest Destiny. Not subtle at all, and I LOVE IT. And on a Disney show for kids!

Percy: “Look, I’ve only been a Demigod since last Saturday. You shouldn’t listen to me.”

We love a self-aware king!

Annabeth: “Careful. I think you were about to call me a friend.”

We love a slowly developing friendship!

Riordan Readalong

Note: This section discusses the show as a book adaptation. Click here to skip to the next section.

The Lightning Thief, Chapters 12 to 14, with the episode named after Chapter 13. (Technically, there’s only like one page from Chapter 14.)

Some spoiler-minimal series reader observations:

  • The show’s really making a meal out of these monster showdowns! Not that I’m complaining, but it went from covering 4 chapters each in the first two episodes, down to 2ish in the last two. We’re already more than halfway through the 22 chapters of the book, so there’s still plenty of time to cover the rest. But I find these kind of pacing changes interesting in an adaptation, especially one as faithful as this.

  • In terms of action, Chapter 12 (“We Get Advice From a Poodle”) mostly gets skipped. But maybe that was one creature too many in the same episode. (I definitely conflated the dogs before rereading.)

  • Grover the environmentalist! Also very glad for this to be included, especially since there are probably way more kids taking an interest in environmentalism now than there were back when the book came out.

  • Even though Percy told Annabeth and Grover about the full prophecy, he’s keeping the creepy dreams with The Voice to himself. Interesting update, as it was the opposite in the book; the prophecy is a secret, but the dreams are not.

  • Percy staying behind to fight Echidna and the Chimera was much less dramatic in the book; he didn’t know that he’d be alone with them, but I like a change that makes the character a more active participant. (It also doubles as an Annabeth moment, since she was willing to make the sacrifice play, too.)

  • Another change: Percy asks Poseidon to save him in the book, but the show version can’t care less about his absentee father. Which makes sense, since Show Poseidon already has A LOT working against him before he even appears.

  • OK, this might be controversial: I love the updates with Medusa and Echidna, but ultimately, the story’s still ending up in the same spot of the monsters being monsters because the show has to follow the books. I don’t think it’s to the show’s detriment, but there are definite constraints to how much it can deviate without causing gigantic Butterfly Effect issues, and I don’t actually know what my platonic ideal would be. Let’s put it to a vote!

Is the show following the book close enough for your liking?

  • Yes (92%)
  • No, the plot should be more faithful (8%)
  • No, the plot should be less faithful (0%)
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Greek Chorus

  • Did this show really almost make me CRY within the first minute?!?!??! I’m glad that they’re making the most out of having Virginia Kull around, but spare a thought for your fragile viewers!!! (Shout-out to Mini Percy (Azriel Dalman), too!)

  • The “Just breathe” bookends to the episode were great. This show really understands episodic structure; none of this “ACTUALLY, it’s a multi-part movie” business.

  • Suzanne Cryer’s one of those actors with a long filmography that’s hard to isolate how I know them, but I think most recently is All Rise and first is Two Guys, A Girl, And a Pizza Place lol.

  • Hell yeah — break that generational trauma of shitty Greek parentage, Percy! I love this emphasis on his outsider perspective of questioning the status quo.

  • Between the bus and the train, is Percy Jackson making terrestrial travel cool again? Or at least with the kids?

  • Echidna’s perspective of the demigods being the real monsters continues the theme of recontextualizing myths. (Of course, it would help their claim if they simply did not attack children, but I digress.) It also makes me think of a quote from Station Eleven that’s often cited by one of my favourite podcasts, House of R: “To the monster, we’re the monster.”

  • Other than the Minotaur, who obvs did not have a human face, there have been exclusively female monsters, huh? I would never say this outside of fiction, but I’m ready for some evil men!!!

  • When Percy offers Annabeth his sword in order to trick her, is that going to count as relinquishing his weapon? I don’t remember that rule from the books, but I’ve been thinking about how it’ll come up ever since Chiron said it back in Episode 2.

  • Annabeth and Grover splashing water to save Percy, AMAZING.

Percy Poll

I was going to ask if this show has made anyone cry yet, but that might be too specific. Instead, since I already asked about comedy, let’s talk (Greek) tragedy!

Is the show hitting the right emotional notes for you?

  • Yay! (75%)
  • Undecided (25%)
  • 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.