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August 30, 2015

Stargate Atlantis: Search and Rescue

by Brett Love, posted Jul 11th 2008 11:47PM

Leela Savasta - Stargate Atlantis
(S05E01) "What do you like, Duff Beer, or Oprah Ale?" - John Sheppard

And just like that, our old friends from Atlantis are back... for a little while. I continue to be baffled by the scheduling department over at Sci Fi. My best guess is that all programming is set in place at the whim of a 16 year old intern suffering from a mind boggling case of unmedicated ADD. He's followed up the senseless Battlestar break by promising an equally annoying split in the Atlantis season. I never understood it when they were doing it to Farscape, and I still don't get it. Whatever the case, our half of a season kicked off by tying up those loose ends from the season four finale, and dropping the bomb that launches season five.

As I said in the early look, this really was S04E21, not that it's a bad thing. Due to the cliffhanger, there was bound to be some of that. And with a whole season left to get into the new season five arc, I was actually happy that they took the time to finish out this story, especially given the rushed nature of the season four finale. That being said, let's hit on the high points of the premiere.

I was actually tripped up by that opening scene. When we saw Sheppard and Teyla sitting there, I thought we were being set up for a flashback to days, or weeks, earlier. Sheppard's failing memory and the appearance of Ford brought us right back to reality though, as clearly this had to be a dream.

Back in that reality, I was, for the most part, pretty happy with how things played out. The boys being trapped in the rubble of Michael's compound worked out just as you would expect. Watching McKay and Lorne banter was a great way to get back into the spirit of Atlantis. I love that McKay just completely forgets that Lorne has a broken leg. And the discovery of Michael's wiki, as odd as it was to hear McKay using that term, is something to put a pin in. That pile of information could prove to be very important later. Meanwhile, much lower in the rubble, Sheppard and Ronon were taking turns being so very heroic, just as they should be.

The self destruct alarm that brought Michael back into play set the stage for the daring rescue, and made me thankful that my cable company finally came through with the Sci Fi HD. I'm still a sucker for big space battles, and it made for a great line from Michael, "Well, I guess we're fighting after all." The ultimate destruction of Michael's ship looked great, but I'm sure there is more story to be told there.

The daring rescue, for the most part, was very good. I liked the plan to sneak in under the cover of the 302 attack. Once they made it in, the one bit I was a little unsure of was the birth of the baby. Was that really necessary? Was there not enough drama with Sheppard running the mission with critical injuries, the rescuing of Teyla, and a resolution for her relationship with Kanaan?

I will admit that it did provide a great Rodney scene as he freaked out over having to deliver the baby. He had a number of great lines. "Can't you just hold it in?" "Underhand him, alright? I've never been good at baseball." And my favorite, his proud declaration after the fact, "I caught it. Didn't hit the floor or anything." Perhaps it was worth including for that alone, but it did feel like a little much.

Back to the mission, if the 302 attack to sneak in was good, the escape was even better. I'm glad that Teyla got to settle things with Kanaan, and his character was redeemed. It really is a tragic ending to a long running story, but they can't all be happy endings. Putting the team in the storage device and sneaking out in a dart was a clever solution.

Back on Atlantis, we had my favorite scene of the night, between Sheppard and Teyla. Her thanks, and his insistence that it wasn't necessary. It's a small scene, but I thought it capped off Sheppard's refusal to be sidelined and leave a teammate in danger very well. I'm also curious as to whether this, and that opening dream sequence, are harbingers of romance to come for Sheppard and Teyla. I'm iffy on that, because it's really never been a strength of the Atlantis team. Teyla naming her son after Sheppard was also a very nice moment. And it did provide me with a trivia based chuckle. Little Torren John is played by a girl, named Annalise, and she already has her very own IMDB page. Cute.

Now, getting to season five. With so much to finish up from the finale, there wasn't a lot to be learned here. First is the introduction of Captain Vega (Leela Savasta). I haven't decided how I feel about that yet. We haven't really seen enough of the character to really form an opinion on her. But the introduction just seemed a little forced. It actually reminded me of Kennedy from Buffy, oddly enough. Whedon just jammed her in there and expected viewers to accept it when she hadn't really earned her place. I felt a bit of that when Vega was suddenly sitting in the jumper with McKay, Carter, and Keller. Of course, I'm completely aware that my utter disdain for Kennedy is coloring my perception of Vega, so I'm happy to give her a pass here and see where it goes.

Finally, the biggie came in that very last scene. Returning to Earth, looking to get through her IOA evaluation as quickly as possible, Carter gets sacked. I liked Woolsey's explanation that someone with a "different skillset would be more suited" for the job. It just sounds so much like Woolsey. As far as what it means for the show? That's the $64000 question. Much of the ultimate success or failure of season five will ride on that decision. Given the time that we've had since the change was announced, I've actually started to warm up to the idea of Woolsey in command. I'm still rather skeptical, but curious to see how it plays out. The next few weeks should be very telling in that regard.

So, there is is. There were a couple bumps, but overall I'd give the premiere high marks. Season five is underway and it's great to have Atlantis back.

Get your bets in early. How will having Woolsey in charge turn out?
Great. I love Robert Picardo.140 (36.0%)
Look at me on the fence. We'll have to wait and see.111 (28.5%)
Not sure, but it has to be better than the Carter experiment, right?64 (16.5%)
Terrible. It's just never going to work.48 (12.3%)
Whatever. Screw you guys, I'm going to livejournal to write some Weir fic.26 (6.7%)

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Austin M

Michael took the Jumper. That's the only explanation for the thing disappearing on them and Michael not dying when his ship blew up. You could tell this is what happened when he wondered how they got on board. He figured out they had a Jumper on board and stole it to make his (cloaked) getaway.

July 14 2008 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I figured they set up the all chick team when Vega (it looked like her) took the shot on the dart and Sam said "Nice shot". That to me set up the all chick team. It is trivial in the grand scheme of things I guess.

I liked the episode - I love Stargate Atlantis - good stories, good special effects, great actors,etc. Hope to see some Dr. Keller and Ronin action. So opposite, but in a good way.

Note to SG Atlantis writers: Don't do a Keller and Rodney hook up, it would be like Izzie and George. Just plain bad TV and very torturous on the viewers!

Looking forward to the season's episodes!!

July 14 2008 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's the only problem I had with the episode (other than that smokestack disappearing as Michael's base collapsed): When they zoomed from the base to Michael's ship, it looked like the shot zoomed past Earth to Mars, with his ship hovering there. How is he getting a signal so fast without a Stargate relay, and how did he get back to the base so quickly?

Also, I'm guessing that Michael escaped, since we didn't see him after he realized that an SGA team must be on board.

July 14 2008 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't get my mind around Woolsey as the CO. Going back to SG-1, I can't recall him ever being anything but a bureaucrat without much common sense. I agree with the explanation that they needed someone with a different skillset, since Carter has Rodney's brains and otherwise thinks like an officer, and we have that already. But at the end of the day, I can't see how Woolsey gets the respect of the military on the expedition without turning over decision making, which would not make sense.

July 13 2008 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have liked Robert Picardo all the way back to China Beach, but Woolsey is an ASSHOLE!

July 12 2008 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To all those who are whining about Woolsey, you seem to have forgotten that he isn't the bad guy supporting Kinsey, et al. from his early SG-1 days. I wouldn't be surprised if he manages to earn the respect of the other SGA folks. To me it seemed like he felt sorry for forcing Carter out.

July 12 2008 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just hope they didn't blow their CG budget for the year on the first ep. Between the shot of the signal reaching Micheal's ship a few million miles away, the zoom shots through the exterior of Atlantis, or the great scene of what happens when you actually manage to hit a hyperdrive before the ship makes it through the window (the tactic finally worked!), I could just see the $$$ being spent. My only complaint is that comcast doesn't have Sci-fi in Philly.

People can complain, but I still look forward to each week's new episode, and that is all I can ask of most shows.

July 12 2008 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Overall, a pretty good episode, except for some medical quibble (the writers really need to do some research). However, I'm one of those who think removing Carter is a good idea. I like Carter, but in Atlantis, as a commander, she was simply TOO nice. Never any real conflict, everybody thought she was great, and well, that makes for boring stories. Woolsey will (hopefully) bring in some necessary tension and confict.

However, I'm waiting till next week to see if Kanan will end up in the limbo waiting room with Sora and other characters who are pivotal and then go poof, vanish the next episode, never to be mentioned again.

Speaking of which, the Ford appearance in Sheppard's nightmare was a good touch. Shep's definitely got some guilt issues about Ford.

July 12 2008 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They'll just re-do what they did with Weir and apply that to "the new guy".

The worst thing is that the new cast-photo with the grey uniform with red insets Picardo wears looks so much like Star Trek Voyager - Elite Force.

I mean seriously. Stargate Voyager would be the perfect title for this. I thought it was ok to have Picardo run around in a suit and be an ass because that kind of distinguished him from his role on Voyager but now he's an ass on a station which was kind of exactly what he was on Voyager. There must be enough other actors on this planet to fill that role - not that I don't like Picardo. It just has stuntcasting written all over it.

July 12 2008 at 7:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The sad thing about the leadership change is the predictability of it. Woolsey will make bad decisions, the rest of the team will get annoyed, ignore him and do what they think is right. He will try an assert his authority, then eventually realise he was wrong all along and mellow out a little. I wish we could just skip to that part.

July 12 2008 at 6:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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