Stargate Atlantis: Midway
(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.
Gallery: Stargate Atlantis
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.
|Ronon, of course.||126 (27.9%)|
|Teal'c, indeed.||325 (72.1%)|