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Blood of Zeus: Zeus Used Emotional Manipulation. It Was Frighteningly Effective!

Y’all were right. Zeus is the WORST!

**Spoilers for Netflix’s Blood of Zeus.**

I’m not the biggest Greek mythology buff on the block. That being said, one thing I’ve constantly heard from folks who are in the know is that Zeus is … kind of a dick—a horny dick who goes to great lengths to sleep around. Like, something about golden rain? And a swan?

None of that makes it into Netflix’s Blood of Zeus, but oof, what it lacks in bizarre Zeus transformations it makes up for in straight-up emotional manipulation. It makes Zeus pretty frightening, to be honest. It’s not just the thunderbolts and rage that make him a legend. As it stands, Zeus’ greatest weapon is the way he gets people on board with his clearly problematic behavior, up until the very end, where they erect a statue in his honor even after he admits that he was wrong!

But let’s backtrack.

Blood of Zeus is the newest from Powerhouse Animation Studios (Netflix’s Castlevania) and focuses on a young man named Heron. Heron and his mother, Electra, are treated like last week’s garbage, the only kindness coming their way from an old man named Elias. Unbeknownst to Heron, he’s actually the son of Zeus. Oh, and Elias is Zeus in disguise. Oh, and this is the umpteenth time Zeus has cheated on the good sis Hera, and she no longer wishes to speak to fools. Insert some legendary giants, Electra’s other son who’s now a demon, and a bunch of gods and mortals caught in the middle of a colossal marital dispute, and you got yourself an 8-episode series. This would be a ratings dream for daytime talk shows.

While it’s easy to comment on Hera’s misplaced anger (since she tends to take out her frustrations on the ones Zeus has affairs with), considering how manipulative he is with everyone around him, I’m not surprised that her target isn’t directly on him. I truly think he’s gotten in her head enough to make her angry at everyone but him, and when that finally wears thin, he’s already got everyone just … shrugging over his trashy behavior.

Zeus’ promiscuity is the worst kept secret in Olympus … by not being a secret at all. Everyone knows, and comments, on how he can’t keep it in his pants, and the proof walks around freely for all to see. By the time Hera really lets loose, what chance does she have in punishing him directly? At that point, he’s had numerous affairs, multiple children (who cover for his actions, by the way), and the other gods look at Heron like, “Oh, that checks out. It’s Zeus, after all.”

All Hera can do to get Zeus to realize how much he’s truly effed up is take it out on Electra and Heron, because he sure as shit hasn’t gotten the hint from … how many other times he’s strayed.

Hera’s finally had enough.

I’m not saying Hera’s right to try to, you know, kill innocent people. I’m just pointing out how Zeus’ actions have brought her to this point. In another timeline, Hera would, perhaps, go to Electra, woman to woman, in some sort of Brandy and Monica revealing themselves to Mehki Phifer moment. That way, walking wet dream Apollo could enjoy his threesomes in peace.

via GIPHY

As it stands, Zeus has broken Hera down too much—Electra, too, to be honest, in the most heinous way, because when Electra tells her story, she doesn’t blame Zeus, nor does she seem to realize the severity of what he’s done to her. Posing as her abusive husband and being kind to her is emotional manipulation at best and straight-up rape at worst, and yet, there’s this tone of “poor Zeus did what he could to protect us from Hera’s wrath.” It’s no swan or shower transformation, but it’s still very WTF.

This is not the romantic flex Zeus thinks it is.

On top of that, he saves Electra and Heron … but not Seraphim, and Electra just has to … live with that?  “But Bri,” Elias (a.k.a. Zeus) would say, “Gods can’t just solve humans’ problems.” Zeus. My guy. This is a problem OF YOUR OWN DOING. I swear, this dude’s superpower is “excuse-making.” Seriously, a good portion of the series is him navigating spaces with excuse after excuse, concluding with the Pikachu surprised face when it catches up to him.

via GIPHY

He also has this “I did the best I could” narrative each and every time he’s called out. Seraphim? “I sent that mama bear to the cave.” Heron? “I put up a cloud screen to shield you from Hera then had a fatherly bond with him as Elias.” See, y’all? He’s trying his best! Never mind the fact that these two brothers are in these situations because of him. And Electra? She gets to be murdered by one son as the other watches.

Oh, so NOW gods can’t get involved???

Zeus would go on to tell Seraphim the truth and paint it in a way that vilified Hera. After all, Zeus left baby Seraphim behind because he thought he was doing what was best. How was he to know of the corrupt uncle the baby was left with? Zeus foolery is constant throughout the entire series, including a nice side of “my father wasn’t kind to me, either, so I’m not sure how to do this being a parent thing.”

Zeus.

My.

GUY.

You know what? You know what you did, and it’s despicable that it took Hera resurrecting the very giants you two worked to seal away for you, arguably, to give a shit.

He sacrifices himself for Hera (which I’m playing the most minuscule violin for) and gets a statue erected in his honor. Hera is … I dunno where, but I imagine she’ll be remembered for her rage instead of as a woman manipulated, like many others, by this triflin’-ass god. And in the end, Zeus got to die a hero. His death was mourned by the very people he hurt (including Hera, who cried as she watched him die), and he’ll be remembered as the god who fought until the bitter end, never truly being held accountable for his terrible actions because Hera was the one who snapped. Over time, if real life is any indication, his misdeeds will be told in casual conversation because “lol that’s just how Zeus was.”

A truly horrifying depiction of a man (in this case, a god) with too much influence on those around him.

(images: Netflix)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)