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August 29, 2014

Stargate Atlantis: Midway

by Brett Love, posted Feb 16th 2008 8:00PM

Jason Momoa and Christopher Judge - Stargate Atlantis
(S04E17) First, my apologies for this being so late. Rich and I got some wires crossed and we both ended up pointing at each other saying, "Crap, I thought it was your turn!" Better late than never though, right? Anyway... "Midway" has been one of the brighter spots on the upcoming schedule all season simply because Teal'c was returning. I'm sure that for many fans, the return in and of itself was cause to celebrate the episode. I have no special preference for Teal'c myself, so that didn't totally sell me on the episode, but the story he brought along with him did. With a couple of nagging exceptions, it was very good.


Let's start with the annoying bit and work our way to the fun stuff. It's always been my theory that you run the risk of pulling the audience out of the story when too much of the plot hangs on your characters being stupid. A certain level of stupidity works, because people make mistakes, and that often leads to bad things. Rodney giving up the secrets to Midway is a great example. We've seen countless times that Rodney's greatest weakness is his love of himself. He so fully believes in his own brilliance that it becomes dangerous. My first thought when the Wraith were cracking the Midway system was that Todd got it from his work with Rodney. The same goes for the fact that there wasn't an iris in place at Midway. After all, Rodney's kung-fu is better than yours. Why would he need additional security? That much of the stupidity was both believable and worked well in the story.

Where it got a little bit off the rails was with the security of Midway and the Stargate HQ. We start getting into stupidity on a global scale. Bill has time to set the lockout, but not to get a message back to command? Or, ya know, lock a frickin' door? It really stood out later as we see the Wraith trying to shoot their way through the door. The very same door that they just walked right through initially. We see a similar problem back on Earth as Teal'c informs us that the stunner has put the base in lockdown. Yes, the kind of lockdown that doesn't actually lock any doors as the Wraith are just traipsing willy-nilly throughout the base. We have to put up with a degree of these things to get to our conflicts, but there was just a bit much of it going on here for my taste.

That being said, I was on board with pretty much everything else in this episode. The return of Teal'c lived up to the billing. I'm a big enough sucker for these kind of things that I got a kick out of seeing Carter and Teal'c's reunion. The real treat though was the interaction of Teal'c and Ronon. I wasn't sure what to make of Ronon's initial reaction. I though we might learn of something more from Ronon's past that would give him reason to not trust the Jaffa. Upon reflection though, I'm going with the idea that Teal'c represented to Ronon a piling on of the idea that he wasn't being trusted. The interview with Coolidge, Carter and Sheppard worrying about it, and now Teal'c to coach him.

Once that initial meeting was out of the way though, the Teal'c/Ronon dynamic worked out very nicely. I'm sure most of us were as anxious to see the two of them 'spar' as the rest of the Atlantis crew, and we'll get to all of our thoughts on who would win in a minute. I don't think the writers could have actually answered the question though. Either way, you are just asking for an uproar from the fans. As they moved into the battle portion of their story, it was just what was to be expected. They are both badass, and it made sense that they found a respect for each other through that. Along the way, there were a couple of really funny bits as well. The image of the two of them in that tiny little room staring stone-faced at the Three Stooges was very funny. As was the little conversation about "indeed." I also really enjoyed Teal'c professing his love for tater-tots.

Our new pal Coolidge is an interesting addition. It's nice to see the Stargate family finally compling with the Canadian law that says that if you make a TV show in the Great White North, at some point Rob LaBelle has to be on it. That guy really gets around, and that's a good thing, because I've found that I like him in everything I've seen him in. It was a small part here, but one I'm guessing will expand as time goes on. What we did get was like a quick run through the arc that we have already seen Woolsey travel. As we hear about him from Teyla, it sounds as if he is going to be a hindrance to work with. By the end of the episode though, just as Woolsey came to understand Weir and the crew, Coolidge has developed a new understanding of Ronon.

Getting back to Teyla's meeting with Coolidge, I loved her line about resisting the urge to inflict damage on him. What caught me off guard though was Sheppard's reaction to the possibility that she might not be returning to active duty after the baby. Sure, nothing has been decided, but I thought it was pretty evident from their conversation before he benched her that her entire outlook has been changed by her pregnancy. The idea that she may not be returning to active duty seems that it should be pretty obvious.

As for the Wraith, their plan to overtake Midway and use it for an assault on Earth was a good way to go. It fit in nicely with the earlier episodes and it brought the idea of the Wraith as a serious and immediate threat back into focus. Had it not struggled with the earlier mentioned security issues, it would have made for a perfect Atlantis episode.

Overall, I was pleased with "Midway." It had some issues, to be sure, but the good far outweighed the bad. We are still way ahead in that regard where season four is concerned. Next week Rich should be back (and we'll double check the schedule this time) with an episode that promises you won't believe what happens in the last five minutes. It should be fun.

Since Team Stargate won't answer the big question, who would win in a fight between Teal'c and Ronon?
Ronon, of course.126 (27.9%)
Teal'c, indeed.325 (72.1%)

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Akbar Fazil

Eludium-Q36, got any proof that Bonnie Hammer had anything to do with the new head of Atlantis? Or is this just more from your ignorant sexist point of view?

February 19 2008 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Akbar Fazil's comment
GerryofNorVA

Hey Akbar, do us a favor and gate to a black hole since you apparently don't know how to reference linked articles or do a simple web search. Naw, just jokin', you're just a simple fangrrl that can't tolerate anything but praise for a what's becoming a live action Powerpuff Girls series. ROFL!

February 19 2008 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathaniel

Eludium, did anyone tell you who the new commander is next season?

February 18 2008 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nathaniel's comment
GerryofNorVA

Yeh, Picardo's character "Woolsey" is slated to govern Atlantis. However, Bonnie Hammer is simply replacing strong, admirable women COs with a weak, unliked male character. And she's adding a new femme captain, too. And the femme doctor is now a series regular. I am so nauseated witnessing this hallowed series get scrunchied into a Lipstick Jungle in Space. Excuse me ... leaning over toilet ...

February 19 2008 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GerryofNorVA

Infiltrated and Betrayed

Thank you Walt, that's a great article that verifies my suspicion -- Bonnie Hammer, head of SciFi Channel, is on a mission to transform SciFi into SkirtFi and SciFemme. No wonder so many of SG-Atl's eps have been relationship based this season. If I wasn't skipping all the ads with my DVR I'd have been clued by the femme-based ads, too. Well, she's going to get what she wants, more chix and less dudes. I really resent her for screwing up one of the last male bastions of television. Ugh, just ugh.

February 18 2008 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Walt

@#14, this article will tick you off, but it will confirm your suspicions about Sci-Fi channel and women. To wit: Yes, the channel is skewing to women on purpose.

http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/special-reports/other-reports/e3id1035c8742af5f4e733f9d304726b671

February 18 2008 at 12:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phil

Main problem i saw was, didnt they have problems with having gates to close together since it cause the wormhole to jump from gate, also to build a bridge they would of had to. find out the gate addresses for every single stargate they placed and the stargates being so close together its not logical even in the stargate uni.

Also I think (to a comment below) That because stargate sg1 was very man incharge they decided to twist it and make it woman in charge in atlantis.

But it was good to see the old set and i think it was a pretty good episode if you just dont ask about how they could even manage to have a bridge with gates in such close proximity to eachother

February 17 2008 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mack Swift

Damn fine episode all around!!! I love this frakking show!

February 17 2008 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GerryofNorVA

Fellow Critics

Wow, it's great to see all the critical thinkers here and not just a bunch of A+ rating fanboys ! I'm with most of you on the plot holes so large you could fly a Jumper through them. And the forced hostility between Ro and Tea-yuk was just adolescent pandering. But seeing Tea-yuk with his hair grown out was interesting, indeed. And does anyone else tire of every IOA official being a stargate-sized bureaucratic a--h--- ?! Why not inject some sympathetic or technically competent IOAers ?

Finally, I am simply tiring of the Star Trek Voyager like matriarchy that is Atlantis. Why does every commanding officer there have to be a woman ?! Are the producers in that much need of a femme following for this series ? Is it really making any demo difference ? Ugh, whatever.

February 17 2008 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ERic

Another glaring flaw. Atlantis has a ZPM why did they not dial earth directly to send Sheppard's team through to the SGC and then back through the Milky Way side to Midway? Or at the the very least send a message to the SGC? I know they said in the begining of the episode that they were saving energy, but really. I know all this served as a deus ex machina to get the Wraith on Midway. Other than that I did enjoy the story.

February 17 2008 at 4:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ERic's comment
Akbar Fazil

Dialing directly to earth STILL requires the use of the midway station. Thats what the midway station is for.

February 19 2008 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elyse

It was a good episode, but the glaring error of no iris on what is THE stepping stone to Earth was pretty pitiful. Of course, if they took the lowest bid to contract the station or outsourced it, that would explain the flaw as well.

Quite honestly, the security at the midway station sucked big time. It's a very good thing it did get blown up.

February 17 2008 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

Looks like I may be going against the norm here, but I really liked this episode. At first, the idea of yet another episode in which only a few members of the team participate annoyed; even if featured the great Christopher Judge. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned into a full-on team effort with the same great battles, and the interaction between Teal'c and Ronon was great. Was it a great episode, no, but both of Stargate series have always suffered with the issue of boring filler episodes no again. Still, considered the usual crap Sci Fi puts on the air these days, Atlantis stand above, way above, the rest.

February 17 2008 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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