In episode 6 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, our central trio of heroes made their way to the Lotus Casino in Las Vegas where they asked the God of Travelers Hermes for help in getting to Santa Monica and into the Underworld. While Percy, Annabeth, and Grover do reach their destination, time moves differently in the Lotus and the deadline for returning Zeus’ Master Bolt has passed … but Percy is determined to finish his quest as he knows this is only the first piece to a much larger plot. In episode 7:
“Our heroes journey across the Underworld, and bargain for their safety with the god of the dead.”
Percy enters Crusty Water Bed Palace where he is greeted by Procrustes, another son of Poseidon and the murderer of travelers. “Crusty” tries to lure Percy into one of his trap waterbeds by saying it’ll help Percy feel like he fits, but ultimately Percy is too privy to his half-brother’s tricks. An invisible Annabeth pushes Crusty into one of the beds, trapping him instead. Crusty warns that Percy isn’t the first person to try to bring someone back from the Underworld and he will fail as well, prompting Annabeth to threaten him with beheading. The danger subdued, Grover joins his best friends in the store and now the journey to the Underworld can continue.
Before we see more of that though, we see a flashback to Percy’s childhood, a day we’ve already seen a glimpse of thanks to Hermes in episode 6. Now the picture is painted in full — Sally Jackson is leaving her son at a school an hour outside of the city because it’s the best school in the area for learning differences, but Percy insists he’s not going. He even attempts to lock the door to keep her out, but ultimately (and unhappily) relents.
Now in the Underworld, the trio of heroes see Charon, the boatman of the dead who is currently escorting new arrivals across the Styx. The tension is causing anxiety in Grover, who continues to squeak the ball in his fist. Annabeth asks to hold onto it for now so they can be quiet as they try to make it to the entrance gate. After cutting their way through a bureaucratic line with elevator music softly playing, they reach Charon, who immediately points out the three aren’t dead and they didn’t pay to cross. Percy and Grover try to offer drachmas but it’s too late and the boatman blows a dog whistle, summoning Cerberus. The massive three-headed dog chases the trio and swallows Grover.
Cerberus approaches a cornered Percy, who prepares for another monster fight by drawing Riptide. The dog, however, is subdued by Annabeth who is holding onto the beast’s neck and scratching behind one of its ears, lulling it into a sleep, making it spit Grover out. Grover flies Percy to the top of the gate first, and when Percy calls for Annabeth she tosses him Grover’s ball. When he gives it a squeeze the squeak makes Cerberus jump, giving Annabeth another way to reach the top. She tosses the ball into the river to give the dog something to chase. Now before them in the distance is Hades’ Palace. Unfortunately in all the commotion and being nearly fully swallowed by Cerberus, Grover lost his pearl. They don’t have time to stop and address the problem right now and continue on.
In the flashback, the school is telling Sally they’ve received new information and can no longer offer Percy a place at the school because they’re not equipped to provide the kind of psychological monitoring they think Percy needs. Sally is persistent.
As the trio walks, Percy relinquishes one of his two pearls to Grover, assuring him he won’t get left behind. If it comes down to it, Percy intends to stay behind himself so his friends and mom can leave. The trio find themselves walking through the Ashprodel.
“The souls here are bound by regret. Haunted by choices they made in life … or never made.”
The ball only distracted Cerberus for so long, and the dog is once again after them. The group is separated and Annabeth becomes trapped by the roots of the Ashprodel because she has regrets … ones she’s not willing to share. She tells the boys to run ahead so she can offer a distraction, ultimately using her pearl to leave the Underworld. Grover and Percy continue to Hades’ Palace, and suspiciously Cerberus stops pursuing after a while.
The trouble hasn’t stopped though — the winged shoes are pulling Grover toward a massive hole in the sand and he is almost lost until Percy uses Riptide to get them some leverage in holding on. The shoes fly off of Grover’s feet and into the hole. Percy opens his backpack to reveal the Master Bolt inside — only it’s not Percy’s bag, it’s the bag Ares gave him. The two conclude Ares had the bolt the entire time and has been working with Hades. Grover declares that Zeus can wait a bit longer, because first they’ve got to get Percy’s mom.
In the flashback, Sally has taken her son out for an ice cream sundae and is reassuring him that the school will be good for him and she wants him to give the school a chance. Percy, confused, asks his mother why she’s trying so hard to get rid of him and that he would never do it to her. Sally leaves the table to pay with tears in her eyes.
Having reached Hades’ Palace, Percy and Grover are greeted by the God of Dead:
“Hey, fellas … welcome! Sorry about all the … oh … anyways, it’s great to meet you! I know who you are, and you know who I am, so we can just skip right past that part. Can I get you anything? From pomegranate juice, a snack?”
Percy, of course, requests one thing — his mother. Hades leads the heroes to a lounge area where Sally Jackson has been turned to a statue of gold. Hades says he did it to save her life so Percy would come to see him, saying if he gives Hades what he has, he’ll get his mom back. Percy says he won’t give the bolt to him and breaks down what he thinks the plan is … but as it turns out, the conclusions they’ve reached aren’t entirely correct. Hades is confused — the bolt is his brothers’ drama and he doesn’t want any part of it. He wants his stolen helm returned and that’s all.
Percy and Grover join the confusion — they were certain Hades wanted to start a war, but Hades insists he actually has it pretty great in the Underworld and that he’s not jealous of his brothers. In fact, historically his brothers are the jealous ones. As Hades continues to explain his stance on the family drama, Percy’s wheels start turning again and he eventually declares who he believes is behind everything — Kronos. With the stakes raised, Hades now does want the bolt if he faces war with Kronos and offers Percy, Sally, and Grover protection in exchange for it. Percy refuses and instead says he’ll take Hades’ first offer — he’s going to get the God’s helm and return it, and then Hades is going to let them all leave the Underworld. Grover and Percy use the pearls to return to Earth.
In the flashback, Sally makes an offering and is soon joined by Poseidon. She laments to him about how Percy’s situation isn’t fair and how she feels she’s failing. She says she’s going to take her son to camp to keep him safe. Poseidon knows that isn’t what she wants and urges her to tell him why she doesn’t want him at camp, though she says he won’t want to hear it.
“Probably not. But you have no one to say it to, and maybe that’s the most unfair part of it. You say it, and I will listen.”
It boils down to Sally wanting Percy to know who he is and what he values before Poseidon’s family enters his life and try to tell him what he should be. As we already know, Sally ultimately chooses not to take Percy to camp just yet. She offers Poseidon the chance to meet Percy, even to just hear his voice for a moment, which Poseidon is forced to decline.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians episodes 1 – 7 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.