Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 finale recap: The prophecy comes true and the betrayer is revealed

Lance Reddick as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+.
Lance Reddick as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 finale brings us to the beach where Grover and Percy washed up and found Annabeth along with Ares waiting for them. With a voiceover from Luke, we’re reminded of what Percy was told at the beginning of the series, as a half-blood he is a part of something that’s bigger than himself. This leads us to a flashback of Luke and Percy sword training in the woods as the older demigod tells him that it’s good that he’s a part of something bigger because he clearly can’t handle things on his own.

Frustrated, Percy wants to give up but when Luke calls him weak to get a rise out of him, Percy gets back to it. But he doesn’t see how any of this is going to help him. Yes, he faced a fury and the Minotaur but those beings don’t fight fair, there are no rules. Luke tells him that there are of course rules and that warfare is about knowing those rules so you can use them against your opponent. When Percy asks him to provide an example, Luke says there are all kinds and points his sword toward him.

The shift back to the present suggests one of the rules Luke taught Percy was about single combat since he declares that’s how he and Ares will fight. It leaves the god of war, Annabeth, and Grover confused but Percy presses on stating that he wants to do this one-on-one and that he’ll be setting the terms. If he draws first blood, he keeps the bolt and Ares has to surrender the helm. This makes Ares laugh. He agrees but he won’t be leaving a trace of Percy if he wins because it’ll lead back to his plan.

Percy refutes that statement saying that it was Kronos’ plan to start a war. Annabeth is surprised by all of this which might mean my theory about her betrayal could be dead in the water, but I’m not ready to let it go just yet. Anyway, Percy asking if Kronos got to Ares through his dreams triggers the god’s temper. Apparently, gods don’t dream and he’s irked that Percy is even telling him, the god of war, how to start a fight.

His anger doesn’t move Percy but the comment that he should say hi to his mommy for Ares after he dies certainly does. He takes his stance as the god approaches and the two get down to business. Percy loses his sword early on but that doesn’t mean he’s down for the count. He did warn Ares, after all, that if he wasn’t careful the god would learn who he is. Remember what they said about forbidden children being too powerful, well, Percy calls the sea and sends a tidal wave crashing into the god to make his point.

The force of the wave knocks Ares down and causes him to lose his sword. He reaches it but not before Percy is able to grab his and slice at the god’s ankle, drawing first blood or in the god’s case, first ichor as it’s gold. He won but Ares mocks him for it by clapping and tells him what he “really” won–An enemy for life. Then he magics himself away so the kids are careful not to look at his true form. Hades’ helm is dropped into the sand once Ares is gone. Annabeth goes to collect it, and Percy hears a voice calling him to the house just up the beach. Once he enters, Percy calls for his mom, but he only hears a radio which he turns off. It’s giving a news report about earthquakes and solar flares.

Lance Reddick as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

Percy confronts Zeus

In the house awaits Alecto. She thinks that it’s quite something, the ingenuity of Poseidon to use earthquakes to clear the sky. It’s also quite bold of him since this war is against the king of the gods. Percy deduces that the fury’s real quest this entire time has been to collect Hades’ helm which Annabeth carries into the house with Grover right behind her. 

Percy sets the helm on the table for Alecto to retrieve. He’s living up to his end of the bargain so he expects the god of the Underworld to do the same and adds a please in there for good measure. All she tells him is, “Good luck on Olympus. Perhaps there will still be a world left for your mother to return to,” and then exits.

Annabeth and Grover are confused by her statement until they realize that Percy does plan on going there. Our heroine points out they missed the deadline, but Percy says this is bigger than what they thought. Chiron had told him the last war in the mythic realm set off World War II in the human world. He thinks that returning the Master Bolt is the only way that he can get Zeus’ attention so that he can call off the war.

Grover protests because Percy shouldn’t want Zeus’ attention, but he’s insistent. Hades was frightened when he told him that Kronos had put this all in motion. Zeus needs to know what’s going on and the bolt is the only way to get him to listen. Percy directs his friends to go back to camp to inform everyone of who Ares and Clarisse were working for. Again, these are the least sneakiest people in this show, I’m having a hard time believing that all of this really ties back to them and only them with Kronos.

Annabeth tells it to Percy how she sees it. Zeus will kill him. He’s not going to let Percy leave Olympus alive, the only factor that’s going to change is whether or not it’s because the sky god thinks the demigod stole the bolt or it’s because he’s a forbidden child. But Percy is done running from monsters especially when it comes to what’s been happening. It’s too important for him not to try.

Understanding that he’s not going to back down from this, Annabeth puts her necklace on Percy because he’s going to need all the luck he can get. As the most victorious demigod at Camp Half-Blood, the gesture is significant as she has been blessed with many a win over the years. Grover asks if he’s sure this can’t all be explained in an email but Percy responds, “Where’s the glory in that,” so off we go to Olympus aka the Empire State Building.

Impertinent as ever, Percy bypasses the clerks direction about the tour, pulls out the bolt and states that he’s there to see Zeus and he doesn’t have an appointment. I love this kid, y’all. He’s immediately let upstairs and Olympus is gorgeous! But before we can see more of it we get more of that flashback with Luke where Percy’s realizing that the gods have to follow the rules but they create demigods so they can break the rules for them.

Realizing what this means, Percy suggests that the gods should be just as afraid of demigods as demigods are afraid of them because the latter can break the rules and they can’t. Luke is impressed by how fast Percy is learning how this all works. But he warns Percy that he needs to be wary and he uses Annabeth’s fear of spiders as an example. She’s bigger than them so you can guess what happens. He tells Percy that there are two things you never want to be at the same time: Small and scary.

After quite the trek, Percy makes it to Zeus’ throne room where the sky god is waiting for him, lounging like the king he is on his throne. Percy gives him the bolt and tells him that he didn’t steal it and neither did any of his friends. They found it and tried to get it back on time. Zeus points out that they failed. I have to say, Lance Reddick’s casting is perfect. The strength and power of his voice will always be a part of his legacy.

Percy concedes that he did fail, but he still had to come to let Zeus know who actually stole the bolt. He tells him it was Kronos and that the titan is trying to emerge from Tartarus. Zeus dismisses him not because he doesn’t believe him but because he knew this day would come. It is what his family does, they plot and scheme. It was only going to be a matter of time before Kronos struck. Percy bringing him this news is the only reason he’s letting the demigod leave Olympus with his life.

Of course, Percy being Percy can’t accept that the war will go on. Zeus asks him if he thought the two of them would negotiate. Percy responds that he thought he’d at least listen since Kronos wants him and Poseidon to fight. Zeus has victory on his mind and doesn’t think he can be weakened by his brothers but Percy explains that he already is because his family is a mess. I don’t think Zeus has ever been read by a 12 year old before, this whole scene is delightful.

He tells the sky god that the Pantheon don’t support him because they love him, they do it because they’re afraid. Ares, his son, betrayed him because someone more powerful came along. Percy, letting his mouth get away from him, says that the god of war won’t be the last. He wonders how long it will be before the others aren’t so afraid anymore because Kronos is back to put Zeus “back in his place.” That last comment is a bit too far for the god because he triggers the master bolt and plans to hurl it at Percy but Poseidon intercepts the attack. The sea god tells his brother that he surrenders which comes as a surprise to Zeus.

Toby Stephens as Poseidon in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

Poseidon wants him to take his victory but spare Percy. Zeus, ever hypocritical, points out that Percy is a forbidden child so Poseidon reminds him of Thalia, his daughter who still inspires her fellow demigods with her bravery. The sea god likens his son to her, saying that he’s one of those heroes and has shown that courage by coming to Zeus. 

They switch to Ancient Greek so Percy can’t understand what else they’re saying but thank goodness for subtitles. Poseidon asks who else knows about their father. Zeus says Ares, Hades, and Hermes, so basically everyone. Switching to English, Zeus says he’ll have Athena call a meeting of the whole council. They’ll declare his “swift and crushing victory” and then discuss “family business.” Zeus makes it clear that he never wants to see Percy again and that Poseidon should make sure of it before he leaves.

Left by themselves, Poseidon says that obedience doesn’t come naturally to Percy to which his son agrees with an added honorific on there with the use of “sir.” Poseidon says he must take some of the blame since “the sea does not like to be restrained.” Percy skips past that comment, as he should, to focus on Poseidon using the word “Patros” while talking with Zeus. It’s the only word he caught during that exchange and he knows it means father.

Poseidon assumes Chiron taught Percy Ancient Greek but he quickly disavows him of that notion. Sally did, and she’s taught him a lot of things. Yes, she did! Respect Sally always. Percy asks can he ask Poseidon a question. Once again Poseidon assumes to know something he doesn’t and starts to answer that he doesn’t know when Hades will return Sally because he can be difficult when he wants to make a point. That was not Percy’s question. He actually wants to know if Poseidon dreams since Ares said that gods don’t. 

The sea god replies that Ares is a moron and that they do dream, so Percy asks if he ever dreams about Sally. Poseidon grips the back of Percy’s head lovingly but doesn’t actually answer his question. Instead he produces a pearl and says that he should go before he lets the pearl slip from his hand and Percy is dropped in front of Thalia’s tree on the outskirts of camp.

Percy receives a warm welcome from his fellow campers and a hug from Annabeth who, while they’re embraced, asks him if he sees “her.” She’s referring to Clarisse who hasn’t been kicked out of camp. Annabeth tells him not to say anything and that she’ll explain. Luke joins her for the discussion.

Despite Clarisse stealing the Master Bolt, the situation is complicated. Luke tells him that everyone was ready to join the war. Accusing Clarisse without proof would have thrown camp into chaos. With Percy back, having stopped the war and saving the world, they can tell Chiron the truth but away from Clarisse’s supporters during the celebration. Annabeth says she’ll keep an eye on her so she doesn’t go anywhere.

Charlie Bushnell as Luke Castellan in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

The betrayer is revealed

Alone in the woods with Luke, Percy starts to realize that part of the prophecy is coming true right before him. One who calls him a friend will betray him. He puts together that Luke was the one who stole the bolt, that’s why he hasn’t told Chiron about Clarisse because she didn’t do it. Instead, it was him who planted the bolt on Percy and worked with Ares. The shoes would have pulled him down into Tartarus and given the bolt to Kronos. Luke admits that he didn’t think Percy would have given the Converse to Grover to wear.

Luke says that none of what he did was meant to betray Percy. He does consider him a friend. It’s the gods that are Luke’s enemies. He’s actually trying to recruit him. Luke draws his sword which prompts Percy to draw his, but the older demigod doesn’t want to fight. He uses his sword to make a tear in their plane of existence. He wants to show him a way out of camp.

Backbiter, Luke’s sword, has the ability to open secret doors. He says that they can stay on the run as long as it takes and they can be outside of the gods’ control. Percy doesn’t like his use of “we” but Luke tells him that’s the word Zeus fears the most. He says that all the gods want them to do is fight, worship, and fear them. They’re bad parents. I agree with Luke, but I also agree with Percy. This may be the truth but Kronos is not the person to be listening to, all this nonsense about “The Golden Age” is nothing but propaganda. 

Percy says they’re parents aren’t perfect but they’re trying their best. I would like him to slow his roll on that logic because let’s not forget Athena’s willingness to abandon Annabeth over Medusa’s head. But, again, joining team Kronos is not the way to go. Percy stops Luke before he can make a third slash, which presumably would summon something, but he makes the mistake of bringing Hermes up. This prompts Luke to launch into the fight he said he didn’t want.

In the midst of their fight, Luke makes his third slash, opening a doorway. He gives Percy one last chance to come to see his side of things but Percy chooses to continue fighting. When he lands a slash across Luke’s chest, he immediately apologizes only for Luke to swing back and slash at his wrist.

Luke stands over Percy with his sword looking as if he’s going to strike a final blow but Annabeth throws her dagger and reveals that she’d overheard everything. She raises her sword against him which shocks her brother, but he runs through the door he made, leaving the two younger demigods behind. It looks like I owe Annabeth an apology but I still want to know what it is she’s done or hasn’t done that she regrets.

We fast forward to a new day as Percy packs up to go see if Hades has returned his mom. Chiron says that goodbyes aren’t easy, but Percy doesn’t plan to be gone long. Still, Chiron would prefer he had an armored escort even though neither of them believe Luke wants to kill Percy. This fact, however, is what concerns Chiron.

Luke’s explanation for why he wants to take down Olympus made sense to Percy. He would be a powerful ally and Kronos is very, very persuasive. Percy retorts that he’s very, very stubborn but that doesn’t stop Chiron from advising him to be careful since he’s a leader among his fellow half-bloods. He also expresses that Percy made him proud. Dionysus chooses this moment to get into a slight back and forth over Percy’s name but our hero asserts who he is even though Mr. D says he’s not so sure about that before hurrying off the demigods not staying for the full term.

Percy finds Annabeth by Thalia’s tree. He asks after her sister’s opinion of her going to go see her father to which Annabeth reminds him that a tree can’t express opinions, but she does think Thalia would be thrilled for her. As for how she’s feeling, her dad’s going to show her New York City so she’s going to pretend she hasn’t been there before, and he wants to show her Disney World. To her it sounds like Waterland but less determined to kill you which makes Percy laugh.

Misreading his reaction, Annabeth wonders if she got the wrong information about Disney World and she quickly asks him if there’s something you’re supposed to do there, but he tells her to just be a kid, something she’s never really gotten to be.

Grover runs up excited and shows them his Searcher’s license which is some beautiful green foliage that shows he’s authorized to look for Pan. His plan is to check the seas since the natural world has been checked twice over. Percy offers him help if he needs it since “he knows some people in management out there,” and Grover says that if he does need help he’ll find him.

Before they split off, Percy wants to make a pact that no matter what happens they’ll meet back up at camp next year. They agree and in a heart warming display a three-way hug is initiated. Their friendship is beautiful!

Virginia Kull is Sally Jackson in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

Percy reunites with his mom

Percy goes up to that house he and his mom stay at in Montauk to look for Sally. And she’s there! All is right in the world as the two reunite and hug. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. She asks him what happened and he tells her that it’s a long story but a good one. But this isn’t real, it’s apparently a dream.

Percy is in the house, but it’s the dementor looking figure who greets him. Or rather I should say it’s Kronos. The titan tells him that they’ll meet in the real world soon enough if Percy can survive what’s set to happen next. Percy baits Kronos, telling him to come find him when he’s serious and the titan reveals that that’s his hope because it’s Percy’s survival that is the key to his return.

When Percy wakes up, we do learn that Sally has returned. It’s actually been awhile because Percy shares that he had another dream about “grandpa” to which Sally responds not to call him that. She sits down on a chair after pulling out a notebook. It looks like the two have been keeping up with his dreams, but he doesn’t give her the message. Instead he says, “Don’t forget to tell your mother how much you love her today.” Sally knows that’s not true but it’s a sweet moment between the two as she kisses her son’s forehead.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 ends with a sequence of Percy and Sally getting ready to leave the house in the middle of a rain storm. In a voiceover, our hero tells the viewer that monsters are real and that if we feel like we don’t fit and the world doesn’t make sense, then we might be a part of the mythic world. So we shouldn’t give up because they just might need us for the coming fight. 

It’s not the entire end, however, because in an after credits scene we get one last moment with Gabe, and I do mean last. Sally is divorcing him, she’s changed the locks so he can’t get into the apartment, and he’s on the phone complaining to his lawyer about having to pay him. When he sees a package for Percy from the gods marked “return to sender” he picks it up and opens it. Now I’m sure you know what’s coming next. It’s Medusa’s head and he takes one look at it and is turned into stone. It's a fitting end for Percy’s good for nothing stepfather.


All episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians are streaming on Disney+.