The Speed of Time
In a flashback, Daedalus is showing his wife a rotating drum with pictures inside. Mrs. Daedalus is very pregnant and very unimpressed with his crude flipbook movie. What is their child to eat while Daedalus' head is in the clouds? As present-day Daedalus writhes on the ground, sobbing that he's sorry, the flashback version mutters that one day his dreams will make them rich. Mrs. D would settle for "not starving." She continues chewing him out, but he's not really listening, as the drum movie thingy has made him realize something about physics…
…and in the present, Daedalus realizes the same thing, and sneers at the heavens that the gods "are made of nature. Just. Like. Us."
As Hero tries to break through the ice-covered window of the throne room with a stool, Medea notes that they're screwed: Boreas is exacting his revenge. Hero doesn't see why the north wind would defy Zeus. "gods quarrel just like men," Medea teary-voices. Hero theorizes that maybe this is a test -- the third sacrifice, after love and heritage. Is Zeus using the cold to play tricks on his mind, free his subconscious? It makes sense to Medea. Madness will turn him loose from the codes he lives by, or something.
Oracle gathers snow for drinking water, and finds Minos' guards frozen to death. The oil/food situation is getting dire. Minos is happy to die in Oracle's arms, but she grumps that that's never happening. They argue, and Minos snorts that "the right man" she's waiting to give her V card to doesn't exist. Is she afraid of love? She calls love a painful curse, and when Minos asks her to kiss him, she throws her water in his face.
In a makeshift tent in the throne room, Medea and Hero huddle together for warmth. He warns her not to fall asleep, and she asks for a story. He has none, he says; he can't remember the tales his mother used to tell him. "What was she like?" Strong; gentle; fearless, he says. Beautiful? The prettiest, he says. Medea creepily comments that Hero could be her son too; his skin is smooth, like Lykos'. Hero undiplomatically remarks that Medea didn't love Lykos -- she only cared about the Lexicon. The voice of Hero's mother calling for help interrupts them.
Daedalus shuffles through the snow, whispering darkly at Apollo to show himself. Daedalus is drawing the symbol of time, the shape of the Ring, in the snow. As he's griping about using time against Apollo, the falling snow freezes in place, and two sets of footprints appear on the ground, one quite tiny.
Hero comes upon his mother; she's cut herself. As he's dressing the wound (including licking the blood from her arm; ick), she asks if it's really him…but she thinks he's Aegeus, and takes her top off. He's revolted. She begs for one kiss. Believing it will free her from purgatory, he consents…
…but it's Medea, shoving him away and slapping him. He apologizes. Medea looks schemey.
Daedalus comes upon Apollo, in the form of a young boy gathering rats in a sack. He asks what Daedalus knows. Daedalus begs him to bring back Icarus; Apollo snorts that Daedalus ignored his son, and isn't moved by Daedalus weeping that he'll make amends. Daedalus swears he'll give up his work and put family first, but Apollo eye-rolls that that isn't Daedalus' destiny. "You know nothing, old man, or you would have heard us already." Apollo vanishes, and the snow resumes.
Oracle grimly adds the last of the fuel to the fire and tucks a feverish Minos in. He needles her about loving Hero and having to watch him pursue Ariadne instead. She's not afraid Hero will destroy their world; she's angry he's already destroyed hers. Oracle yells at him to shut up. Minos sighs that he's cursed with love for her, and she yells at him some more about his greed and ambition.
Hero doesn't understand why his mother thought he was Aegeus. Medea reminds him that it's his vision, not his mother's. Hero protests that he's never thought of his mother as his lover, but when he turns back, Medea has morphed into Oracle, who croons that she'll guide him because she loves him. Ariadne's gone, after all. …Wait! Here she is, joining the hallucination party by jealously calling Oracle a witch. The women circle him, each claiming to be true love, and Ariadne says he can't have them both. After about a week, Hero finally picks Ariadne, and kisses her. "My love," Oracle sobs, in Hero's vision and in Minos' tent, but…
…Hero's kissing Medea again. They pull apart. "You know," he says, accusingly. Medea looks ill, and leans against a pillar; fingers of frost shoot out from hers as Hero talks about the most powerful things buried deep inside us all, and says Medea's imprisoned them there with her "cold heart." He takes her hands: "Let me warm you." He kisses her hands, then her neck, claiming he can make love without "giving up" the Lexicon via his orgasm, or however that allegedly works. It's too dangerous, she says, but Hero says it's part of his test.
While they start to do it, Oracle listens for Minos's breath, and tells him he better not die. He was sleeping, he eye-rolls. The cold will kill him that way, she says, but he has nothing left to live for without her love. She's muttering tactlessly about bunking with a corpse when a sound outside sends her scurrying for a sword -- but it's Daedalus. "Is the king dead?" he whispers, warming himself at the fire. "Yes! Of a broken heart," Minos hilariously drama-queens from the bed. Daedalus is frustrated to hear that Oracle's gift has deserted her and she can't locate Hero. He orders her to ask Gaia how the Ring is a weapon. Gaia is unresponsive, but Daedalus seizes on the phrasing she uses about the speed of time. Where did she hear it? What else does she remember Priest Cyrus saying?
Oracle hocks up a buffet of imagery, but the point is that Daedalus comes up with a theory about the gods vibrating on a different plane from ours, one that means the gods can be explained by science. Oracle objects that the gods' world is ruled by magic and mystery, but Daedalus repeats that they're ruled by nature, "just like us." We can't make sense of what "a door in the speed of time" is supposed to mean, but Oracle grudgingly admits Hero is in the palace throne room…in Medea's arms. Daedalus rushes off. Minos asks her again to let him warm her, and this time she looks like she's considering it.
Medea and Hero have slo-mo sex. They don't look like they're having much fun. "Tell me my secret," he says. She's too afraid, and won't say why. Medea seems to have a…moment, and when Hero rolls off her, he sees the stars above him. He's on the lap of a giant half-stone Gaia, who tells him to give up his quest and live a normal life. His secret belongs to the gods, and Ariadne and his mother belong to Hades. Hero's not trying to hear that, and demands to know how to find Zeus. He can cross a bridge inside Olympus, Gaia sighs, but no mortal has ever done it. She vanishes, and in the throne room, the ice begins melting.
In the temple, Daedalus is quizzing Medea on the bridge as Hero sulks in the Ring's direction. Daedalus then asks to test the Ring; Medea contemplates one of her voodoo dolls as Hero shoves Daedalus to the edge of the temple roof -- what does Daedalus really want? Daedalus is like, go ahead, kill me! But you can't, because you care. Daedalus blathers on some more about needing a man of science to unlock the door of the gods. Hero throws him to the ground but Daedalus, undaunted, says he'll never reach them until he understands what they want, and Daedalus can solve that riddle -- if Hero really wants to live as the gods do, in hiding, fighting amongst themselves. He and Medea debate intellect vs. superstition as Hero seethes that Daedalus knows nothing, but if Daedalus can help him rescue his beloved dead, he'll help Daedalus destroy the gods.
Medea wants no part of it, and Daedalus is like, fine, see you later, but she smirks that they can't get into Olympus without her. Hero has to choose: science or faith, Daedalus or Medea. Hero needs them both, so they'll have to suck it up and get along. Now who's to lead him over the bridge? Medea reluctantly says only Oracle has that power. "Where is she?!" Hero spits.
Cut to Hero, standing over Minos' bed as he and Oracle spoon. Hero's enraged that she gave her virginity to Minos, and she's like, what do you care, Mr. Ariadne, and besides, it was freezing in here. He threatens to cut out Minos' stomach if she doesn't tell him the truth, then doesn't believe her when she says she's still an oracle. Minos has to sad-sack that he's still suffering from unrequited love. Hero and Oracle continue fighting over his jealousy, and he digs the point of a sword into Minos's chest, then backhands Oracle when she tries to stop him. Medea restrains Daedalus, saying it's part of Hero's test (of what, being a jackass? A-plus)! Oracle quaveringly calls on Gaia, but she can't get a clear "signal" because she's too scared that Hero's going to gut Minos. She rambles about a black light, then begs Hero to drop the sword so she can focus, but he just spits that she disgusts him, and Minos' blood is on her hands. He buries the sword in the king as Oracle shrieks in terror.
Hero stands in the desert. Medea tells him he's made his third sacrifice: his soul. The gods will accept him now. Hero is stricken by that information, even more so when Medea tells him Oracle saw the black light accurately, and hasn't lost her gift after all. Medea walks away as Daedalus hugs Oracle, who's staring into space vacantly. Hero falls to the ground, then glares.