In the third episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, our trio of heroes embarked on their quest and immediately faced trouble when Electo once again hunted down Percy and attempted to return him to Hades. This forced Percy, Annabeth and Grover into the woods where ultimately they faced off against Medusa, decapitating her and turning Electo to stone before mailing the head to Olympus. The fourth episode’s description reads:
“The heroes search for a refuge in St Louis, and come face to face with the mother of all monsters.”
A young Percy Jackson takes a swimming lesson with the aid of his mother, who is increasingly panicked as her son refuses to participate because it’s vital he learns how to swim. Percy helps his mother calm down, but as the two hug the imagery shifts into that of the wasteland we’ve seen in Percy’s dreams a couple of times now. The mysterious figure once again taunts Percy and ominously warns that “she is coming,” though our hero wakes on a train before anything more can be said. Percy asks if his companions are asleep to which Annabeth responds “yes,” the conversation turning to Thalia as Percy tries to learn more about being a forbidden kid.
Percy again expresses his dislike of the way some things work in the mythical world with a heavy emphasis on how the Gods treat their half-mortal children. Annabeth shares her history and how she ended up on the road alone: she was a gift to her father but everything changed when he met another woman and started a new family. Grover wakes to the conversation on the wrong side of the bed as something flying crashes into the train.
As the trio sits down for breakfast Percy asks how they’re even going to find their way around Los Angeles when they get there, something Grover says they’ll worry about when they get there. Percy’s next concern is to bring up the fact the Oracle said the quest is failed and they need to discuss it, but the conversation is interrupted when they see a small herd of Centaurs riding next to the train. Grover shares how Pan’s disappearance thousands of years ago has contributed to humans chipping away at the natural world, and Annabeth shares this is why there are Satyr “searchers” like Grover’s uncle Ferdinand. She returns the conversation the Oracle’s prophecy:
“The Oracle didn’t say the quest would fail. ‘Fail to save what matters most’ … that could mean a lot of things. That’s how prophecies work, that’s how fate works. It can mean a lot of things. The harder you work to understand the harder it gets to understand. Sometimes you just gotta let it come to you when it’s ready.”
A police officer interrupts and asks to see the trio’s tickets, leading them back to show them their destroyed cabin. A nearby witness says she heard the window smash followed by children’s voices. Annabeth seems suspicious of the woman beyond the obvious lie she’s telling. The trio are detained in a separate cabin where they are soon joined by the witness and her dog (unlikely) in a cage, who seems to pity the children because they’re all alone with no parents. The cops leave her alone with the children at her request.
The woman admits she lied because she wanted a moment alone with the children, and the glass residing on her jacket reveals she’s the one who destroyed the cabin. She speaks to whatever she has in the cage, “Precious,” urging it to be patient before telling the children they’re going to bear the burdens of their parents’ mistakes, though none of what is happening is their fault. Percy threatens her with a warning that they’ve sent other monsters packing, but due to her true identity this hardly phases her.
“Monsters like me? Well, of course they’re like me … they were my children.”
The Mother of Monsters herself, Echidna, further tries to calm Precious before flipping the narrative on the trio — from her perspective there’s nothing more dangerous or monstrous than a Demigod. As she informs the children they’re going to be Precious’ prey and their fear is vital to the hunt Annabeth begins to slowly draw her dagger from her bag, watching in horror as the cage begins to unzip itself. Percy is stabbed by the emerging appendage and Annabeth stabs it, offering a long enough distraction for Grover and Percy to run, her joining behind shortly. The cops pursue the children through the train.
Annabeth chains a door locked to buy them some time while Grover pulls a stinger from Percy’s shoulder wound, and though they’re not sure what kind of monster has a stinger like that it’s clear everyone is concerned for Percy’s wellbeing. The cops aren’t the only ones on their tail still — whatever monster Echidna has unleashed is tearing through the train now as well. Annabeth offers the temple to her mother in St. Louis as their safe hiding place, which turns out to be the Gateway Arch. Annabeth says no monsters can enter here. When Grover leaves the two to figure out new train tickets for them, Annabeth and Percy have a moment of bonding over her mother and their fate. Percy continues to refuse to reach out to his father. Though he thought it would never happen, Percy is beginning to consider Annabeth his friend.
The moment sours when the poison from the wound overtakes Percy and he nearly falls to the ground before Annabeth catches him, just as Grover rejoins. Grover and Annabeth transport Percy to the fountain outside, hoping the water will heal him like it did at camp — to no avail. As Annabeth begins to question if it has to be naturally running water, their efforts are interrupted by Echidna’s arrival — the must get back inside. Annabeth says if they get to the alter at the arch’s highest point, she can ask her mother for help. Annabeth hears whispers from Echidna that the other two do not. It doesn’t matter they’re inside — Echidna is as well, as is the Chimera with her. Annabeth shares what she was told:
“She said my impertinence wounded my mother’s pride, and that that will be my doom.”
Mailing Medusa’s head to Olympus wasn’t as well-received as Percy thought it would be after all. Annabeth pulls a fire alarm so the arch is forced to evacuate and urges Grover to leave with Percy so she can buy them some time to get him to the river. Percy uses Riptide to trick Annabeth into switching places, closing the door behind them so he can face the monsters, saying he would’ve never made it to Hades but the other two will without him.
The Chimera appears and advances on Percy with Echidna at its side. Percy faces off against the monsters, Echidna using magic to tear a hole in the floor ensuring Percy has no escape from the Chimera. Percy is knocked through the hole but manages to grab onto the wreckage, holding on as tight as he can. Eventually he loses his grip and plummets until a massive stream of water catches him, pulling him into the river below. When he regains consciousness his foot is caught on the river floor and he begins to panic, a mysterious figure soon floating toward him underwater that offers a sense and message of calm.
“You are frightened — it’s alright, Percy. Your father sent me to tell you it’s alright. Just … breathe. Your father is here. He’s always been here. It is so hard for him to stand back, to see you struggle. It is so hard for us all. But he’s here, and he’s so very proud. Trust him. Trust yourself. Just … breathe.”
Percy takes his first breath underwater.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians episodes 1 – 4 are available to stream now on Disney+. Our review for the premiere episodes can be read here, and additional coverage for the series including episodic recaps for the rest of the season can be found here.