Stargate Atlantis: First Strike (season finale)
(S03E20) "I'm just saying... They're a cool team... and we're a cool team..."
This week Atlantis brought out what I consider to be a classic season finale. By the end of the show there are questions about who is going to live, the survival of the city, and an impending war with the replicators. As long as they don't kick off season four with Shepard stepping out of a steamy shower, or waking up next to Suzanne Pleshette, things are looking very good for the future of Atlantis.
With a lot going on in the episode, we'll start at the beginning with the introduction of the new head of medicine, Dr. Keller. I'm a huge Firefly fan (although I loathe Serenity) so I'm happy to see Jewel Staite back on the television with a regular gig. Her reluctance to embrace the opportunity is interesting, and Weir's reassurance that she is comfortable putting her life in Keller's hands was a nice hint at what was to come.
I like Colonel Ellis. Not so much the character himself, because he is kind of a gung-ho ass, but what he brought to the story. The various conversations he had with Dr. Weir really highlighted her worries that she is not taken seriously as the leader of Atlantis. Rather, she is looked upon as the Administrator, with all the big decisions being handled from above. I especially liked the way she turned Ellis' 'with all due respect' speech around on him at the end.
Ellis also served to show just how much respect Weir has from the Atlantis team in his scenes with Rodney and Shepard. My favorite of those was when he told Shepard that he should be the one running Atlantis and Shepard replied, "But then I'd be the man, and who would I have to rage against?" It calls to mind the quote from O'neil in season eight of Stargate, "I've spent my whole life sticking it to the man. If I do this, I'll be the man. I don't want to be the man." It's also a typical smart ass Shepard response, but shows his support for Dr. Weir. Rodney signaled the same when Ellis gave him the order to submerge the city and was just blown off as Rodney looked to Weir for the go-ahead. .
The return of the replicators was a welcome one. I actually prefer the wraith as a foe, but that probably has more to do with my penchant for horror films, and the wraith's resemblance to a big bad that lurks in the shadows than anything else. That said, the replicators are a dangerous and clever enemy and there is still a lot of mileage to be had in battling them. Now that they have focused their efforts on Earth it makes the battle all that much more important.
The actual Horizon attack, while ill-conceived, looked really good. As did the retaliatory satellite/mini stargate/energy weapon. The sequence where they worked to find a way to save the city was very well done. The Rodney/Radek back and forth was in top form. The two of them play off of each other very well. Rodney and Shepard's eventual plan to launch the city and move to another planet in order to get out of the energy beam was intriguing for a couple different reasons. First, flying cities are just cool. But also, a new planet for Atlantis opens all kinds of doors for next season.
Of course, we didn't quite get to that point. The energy weapon breaking through just before the shield could be closed came as a surprise, but Weir getting caught up in the resulting explosion didn't. Her discussion with Teyla about leaving combined with SciFi's big promos about Carter joining the show didn't bode well for Dr. Weir.
And so we are left with the city lost in the middle of space, with only 24 hours of power, and questions about who will make it out of season three. As far as cliffhanger endings go, that's a pretty solid one. I don't know that Atlantis is yet equal to Stargate in its prime, but ready or not they are being handed the keys. Come fall, Atlantis is going to have to be the man, so to speak.
|Absolutely, the show is as good as it has ever been.||292 (47.2%)|
|It's not to SG-1's level yet, but it's getting there.||232 (37.5%)|
|No, the show will suffer without its big brother.||52 (8.4%)|
|No way. SciFi has a problem coming in the fall.||43 (6.9%)|