Percy Jackson’s Toby Stephens Explains Why That Poseidon Flashback Gives ‘Very Real Context’ to the Titular Hero

The following contains spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Proceed accordingly.

After switching up Medusa and Poseidon’s complicated lore, Tuesday’s episode of Percy Jackson and the Olympians gave greater insight into the sea god’s ill-fated romance with his human paramour Sally Jackson.

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As Percy and Grover bartered with Hades (guest star Jay Duplass) to return the underworld ruler’s missing helm in exchange for Percy’s mom, the episode briefly detoured to the past for a poignant conversation between the young hero’s parents.

During a flashback scene at a restaurant, Sally vented to Poseidon about feeling like a failing parent while the titular demigod, unaware of his dad’s presence, sat at a nearby table. Percy had encountered another mythical creature and Sally worried for his safety since he was attracting more attention from Poseidon’s world. She knew he’d be safe at Camp Half-Blood but wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of sending him there — and for a good reason.

“I want him to know who he is before your family tries to tell him who they want him to be,” Sally explained. “He is better than that. He has better things in him than that.”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Poseidon listened intently as Sally shared her concerns and offered some much-needed moral support. He also backed her decision to keep Percy among humans, noting that his son would be “better for it” and that Sally raised him well. It was a brief but poignant moment that underlined Sally’s loneliness and how the Greek god was the only person who understood what she was going through.

For Toby Stephens, who plays Poseidon, the scene also gave “this very real context to Percy [and] where he came from.”

“It wasn’t some mistake. It was a real connection between these two people,” the actor tells TVLine. “[They] were very much in love with each other, but there was an impossibility that they could be together. This son that they’ve created is this connection between them.”

But an open ear was all Poseidon could provide at that point. When Sally asked if he wanted to speak to Percy, the sea lord declined and noted, “One day, when he’s ready. When he knows who he is and where he belongs, and fate has revealed to him his true path.”

That moment arrived at the end of the episode as Percy landed on the sandy shores of Montauk — the one place he and his mom felt at home — and stared down the real culprit behind the theft of both Hades’ helm and Zeus’ master lightning bolt: his cousin, the warrior god Ares (Adam Copeland).

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