Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians S1.E07 “We Find Out the Truth, Sort Of”
Released: 2024

Hero of the Week: Sally
Riordan Readalong:
The Lightning Thief, Chapters 17 to 19

Previously: “We Take a Zebra to Vegas”

Last week, I asked y’all to rate Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes: miserable (5%), marvelous (43%), or meh (52%). We’re a house divided, so you know what that means!

Demigod Diaries

Percy (Walker Scobell), Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover (Aryan Simhadri) enter the Underworld through a secret passage guarded by another son of Poseidon, Procrustes aka Crusty (Julian Richings). The trio tries the direct route to Hades’ palace, but Charon, the boatman of the River Styx, sics the three-headed hellhound Cerberus on them.

During the pursuit, Cerberus almost eats Grover, who loses his escape pearl. In other pearl news: Annabeth has to use hers early after she gets trapped in the Fields of Asphodel. Percy and Grover continue on, nearly getting dragged into the Tartarus pit by Grover’s winged shoes. They also discover that the master bolt has appeared in Percy’s backpack — the one given to him by Ares (Adam Copeland).

When Percy and Grover finally meet Hades (Jay Duplass), they learn that the god of death did not work with Ares to steal the master bolt, but the actual thief also stole Hades’ Helm of Darkness to turn invisible and steal the bolt. Percy pieces it together that the real mastermind is actually his god-eating grandfather Kronos, the disembodied voice from his dreams who should be in a million pieces at the bottom of Tartarus.

With Kronos preparing for a comeback, Hades changes his mind and wants the master bolt after all. But Percy chooses to give everybody what they want: Zeus will get the master bolt back, Percy will find the helm for Hades, and Hades will revive Sally. Before Hades can object, Percy and Grove use their escape pearls, ending up on a beach where Annabeth is waiting for them… and so is Ares with a big honkin’ sword.

In flashbacks, Sally (Virginia Kull) is dropping young Percy (Azriel Dalman) off at a new school. But, of course, easier said than done: Percy isn’t cooperating, and the school rejects his enrollment after they arrive. Basically, Sally’s having A DAY, so she summons Poseidon (Toby Stephens) for a parental chat.

Hero of the Week

Sally, for being a single mom who loves her kid and never stops, with gentle hands and a heart of a fighter. (Yes, I’ve made this reference on this site before, and I also will never stop!!!)

Understandably, Percy’s relationship with his father is a big focus of the books, but I love the show’s deep exploration of his relationship with his mother, especially when Hollywood generally only cares about that dynamic as a plot device. (See: fridging.) But here, the mother gets as much — maybe even more — attention as the son in their relationship, and there’s a real sense of Sally’s interiority.

Overheard Olympians

Grover: “It’s either the realm of the dead, or someone left a carton of milk in there in the 1990s.”

The fact that Grover specified the century for clarity. Kids these days!

Percy: “Not in Kansas.”

Annabeth: “Hey. Focus. We left Kansas four days ago.”

Percy: “Yeah. No, it’s a… never mind.”

I chortled at this callback to Annabeth being unfamiliar with the mortal world. (Also hoping that future seasons — if we get them — will keep leaning into this, à la Anya on Buffy.)

Charon: “You’re not dead.”

Percy: “I mean… we’re all dying… to some extent.”

Philosopher Percy is back!

Grover: “You’re in cahoots with Ares to secure the bolt.”

Hades: “I’m not in cahoots with Ares. I seldom cahoot.”

“I seldomly swear that I’m up to no good.” – Hades, probably.

Riordan Readalong

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

The Lightning Thief, Chapters 17 to 19, with the episode named after Chapter 19.

Some spoiler-minimal series reader observations:

  • What a delight it must be for Rick Riordan to see creations he came up with 20 years ago brought to life, like Crusty’s Water Bed Palace.

  • Changing the number of pearls that Percy was given from three to four ended up not mattering, since he wound up with three after all. I assume the change was for a more impactful ending to the last episode, plus also to show that Poseidon actually cares about Sally’s wellbeing.

  • The show skips DOA Recording Studios entirely (for now?), which the trio locates in the book using the magical Yellow Pages lololol. Crusty also wasn’t guarding an entrance to the Underworld, but the Water Bed Palace was probably easier as a one-off mortal-location-being-used-by-an-immortal.

  • A frequent change that the show’s made is splitting up the trio when the book had all three of them together. Initially, it seemed like Annabeth was getting more to do instead of Grover, but she gets sidelined here, whereas she’s in the Underworld the entire time in the book. It just occurred to me that a very simple explanation is limited actor availability due to child labour laws.

  • Things I liked that didn’t make it from the book: Annabeth bonding with Cerberus, and Charon griping about his job. There’s just such a rich world that can’t possibly fit into these 30+ minute increments, but I love those little reimagining details.

  • Rereading the book for the first time in a long while has been a trip, but this description of Hades is IN A CHILDREN’S BOOK. 2005 was truly A TIME.

The Lord of the Dead resembled pictures I’d seen of Adolph Hitler, or Napoleon, or the terrorist leaders who direct suicide bombers.

The Lightning Thief, 1st paperback edition, page 309.

Greek Chorus

  • I know it’s the Underworld, but everything is still TOO DANG DARK. Even the scenes that were brighter could have been improved, like I didn’t realize that Hades was wearing a beautiful green blazer until I found the photo up top???

  • We get our first (I think?) movie crossover, with Julian Richings, who played Charon from the movie. (He also played Death in Supernatural, among his many credits, so there’s definitely typecasting at play.)

  • I was going to say that someone in casting must love The League because of Jason Mantzoukas and now Jay Duplass, but it turns only Mark was in it?? Anyway, I love whenever Hades is not dour nor evil. (How is Hades a villain when Zeus is right there??!?) I don’t know if I love this Hades yet, but he feels very Dan Levy coded.

  • We get the first appearance of Poseidon, played by Toby Stephens aka son of Maggie Smith! (Between Toby Stephens and Adam Copeland, it’s like the casting has been curated from Mandy C.’s hot list.)

  • I’m a little amused that Poseidon is the only god with an English accent, especially since The Lightning Thief“>the movie went the other way. It’d make more sense for all of the gods to sound American, but the instant that Poseidon starts talking, I was like, “I get it, Sally” and also, “GET IT, SALLY.”

  • It’s very interesting that Percy’s sword is now always out of frame when it’s unsheathed and we only hear it transform from a pen. Probably to save on special effects, but now I can’t un-notice it.

  • This is the first episode that’s mostly in a fantasy setting — like budget Lord of the Rings Mount Doom vibes. Hades’ palace was very cool, though, and I love how it’s upside down but not upside now.

Percy Poll

All right, y’all. As a very serious YA scholar, I have to ask the tough questions in the interest of SCIENCE. (My true would actually be Fuck/Marry/Kill, so feel free to make those picks in the comments. And this is not Dionysus erasure, since we’ll get to all of the gods in a future poll!)

Who is the hottest god in this episode?

  • Poseidon (65%)
  • Ares (19%)
  • Hades (15%)
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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.