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October 25, 2014

Stargate Atlantis: The Seed

by Brett Love, posted Jul 19th 2008 2:07AM

Robert Picardo - Stargate Atlantis
(S05E02) And with that, season five has begun. I've really been looking forward to this episode for the simple fact that it would give us our first look at just what kind of leader Woolsey is going to be. There are certainly a lot of things coming in season five, but that one, more than any other, has the ability to really affect how the season is ultimately received. We got that first look, and it was an interesting one. Along the way, we also caught up with our old friend Dr. Beckett. And Dr. Keller got to step out of the background (and climb into bed) for a pretty big story of her own. We'll get to all that, after the jump.


First things first, the big question. What did everyone think of Woolsey? For the most part, it went down much like I thought it would. It was pretty clear that the team wasn't going to be doing cartwheels for his arrival and the looks on the faces of Sheppard and McKay when his arrival was announced cemented that fact. Something that was reinforced again as the entire team got together for the staff meeting.

That meeting also fell into what was expected of Woolsey's management. His strict adherence to the rules, possibly to the detriment of the team, Atlantis, or the galaxy. You had to be a little miffed with him when he shot down the idea of pursuing the rumor that Michael is still alive. Because really, given his past deeds, you just know that one is going to come back around to bite Woolsey in the ass.

The stickler Woolsey was also on full display as they discussed the hybrid prisoners. I had to slap my forehead at Teyla's first mention of Kanaan as I totally got that wrong last week. It is an interesting development though, and I'm now curious to see more of that story. The modified retro-virus serving as the cure is good, and it could be the source of later tensions between Teyla and Woolsey. And if Woolsey has tension with Teyla, he has tension with the rest of the team by proxy.

Of course, all of that was a setup to get us to the rest of Woolsey's bad first few days. He was forced to quickly learn the lesson that he's not going to be able to command by connecting dots, crossing t's and dotting i's. It was fun watching him struggle as he tried to get a handle on both the crisis, and his place in it. At times it seemed he was making decisions, and sticking to them, because he knew that he was supposed to. To give in or go back on what he said would come across as weak, and set a precedent for the future of his command.

He got it right in the end. He managed to swallow the whistle for long enough to let his team get the job done. And in doing so he gained a lot of points with the team. I'm sure it's not all going to be flowers and tea parties moving forward, but given the situation, the outcome was the best that Woolsey could have hoped for.

At the end of the day, or episode I suppose, I'm pretty happy with the big debut. It laid the groundwork for what are sure to be future conflicts between Woolsey and the team. And it also offered a nice moment at the end as he confessed to Sheppard that he doesn't know if he can do the job if he can't go by the rules. It won him some sympathy. My only complaint about Woolsey is the uniform. It just doesn't look right on him. Let the man suit up. He is a civilian after all.

And now, with those 600 words about Woolsey out of the way.... on to the actual plot of the show. There was a lot to like here as well. My initial thought as the episode got going was that since they kind of blew the budget in the premiere with the big space battle that we were going to get a land-locked, lots of conversation, money saving entry. Not really the case. The tendrils of the Wraith ship in waiting turned out very well.

And even if they hadn't gone overboard creating them, the story behind them was still solid. Weird alien pathogens are cool in their own right, but tossing in a bit more Wraith lore along the way is a nice bonus. I can't be the only one that had visions of Moya dancing in his head. I liked the idea that the ship was consuming the building and working toward a power supply as a way to grow. And when it finally took over and could speak, creepy.

Aside from that, it also made for yet another interesting dilemma for Woolsey. Given the fact that it was attached to Keller, everyone had to realize that the option was there. Still, it was strange to hear someone actually bring it up, because it was so obvious that there was no way Sheppard, or anyone else on the team, was going to entertain the notion.

The added detail of everyone that was at Michael's base being infected with the pathogen opened the door for some of our other Atlantian friends to get involved. Rodney had the line of the night as he described it, "They got us stuck in our quarters while the new guy takes advice from the B-Team?" A happy result I thought, because it's always good to get a nice dose of Zelenka. Of course, going off of that line of thought, Beckett is on the B-Team, which just sounds a little off. While he hasn't been in the game for a good long while, I still see him as Keller's superior in every way. She's doing fine, but those are some pretty big shoes to fill.

And what of that, the return of Beckett? I was excited to see him back. Just as excited as I was disappointed when they dropped that he was going to have to return to Earth. It was nice how the story of his recovery mirrored that of Keller. Both of them taking a shot at something unproven that should work. Beckett also got a couple of funny lines in his return. First, when he responded to Rodney's laundry list of symptoms as, "Nothing out of the ordinary then?" And also as he strapped Sheppard to the bed before testing his solution, "I'm sorry, but I'm anticipating a severe reaction."

The only part of the Wraith pathogen story that I wasn't really clear on was the ending. They made so much of the fact that Ronon could move through the corridors with impunity because he was carrying the pathogen also. But then Sheppard, after having it removed from his system is able to walk around unharmed after crashing the jumper into the building. My best rationalization is that the impact of the jumper stunned the Wraith for long enough for Sheppard to do the deed. Whatever, it's a small gripe in what was otherwise a very entertaining story.

So, there we have it. We're now officially underway in season five. All things considered I think things are off to a nice start. My biggest concern entering the season, how Woolsey would play out, hasn't been dismissed, but I'm feeling better and better about the whole idea. That's a good place to be a tenth of the way through. Next week, Ronon takes the spotlight. It should be fun.

We've had our first real look at Woolsey. What do you think?
It was great, like I thought it would be.53 (20.2%)
Pleasantly surprised. Much better than I expected.141 (53.6%)
Eh, I'm just not feeling the Woolsey.58 (22.1%)
Good grief, I really didn't like it.11 (4.2%)

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11 Comments

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Mack Swift

Overall, pleasantly surprised with Woolsey running the base. His follow the rules mentality is going to have to find ways to cope with adapting past that and the way things happen in Pegasus.

As for the episode. I like it. There's a new air on the show, new character interactions and relationships (Keller and Rodney??).

Overall, I love this show, and Sci-Fi (yes I am talking to you now). Change your minds and get rid of this mid-season break crap. It does not work and ruins ratings for a show. Running a show all the way through works great for 24. It would work great with running it side-by-side with Sanctuary this Oct.

July 22 2008 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eugene

Grace Park can be in any show she wants, as far as I'm concerned.

July 19 2008 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Eugene's comment
bsgfan2003

Are you watching "The Cleaner"?

July 19 2008 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

and Grace Park was also in an episode of Andromeda ...

July 19 2008 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordon Werner

so ... we have Jewel Staite from Firefly ... Robert Picardo from Voyager ... I wonder which cast member from Battlestar Gallactica is going to end up on the show.

(of course we cannot forget Lexa Doig from Andromeda on SG1)

July 19 2008 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gordon Werner's comment
Brett Love

No Gordon, we certainly can't forget Lexa Doig, or Morena Baccarin from Firefly. And apparently Grace Park was already on SG1, as Lt. Satterfield in "Proving Ground."

July 19 2008 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy

As episodes go I thought this was good. The main plot was like something out of a B-movie creature feature but this episode was really about the introduction of Woolsey to Atlantis and on that level I thought it worked well. Picardo has always been an underrated and underused actor. From the days he was on China Beach I've always liked him. He was one of the few good things about Star Trek: Voyager and easily the best Trek doctor since McCoy. I really think he's going to work out well after all.

July 19 2008 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Earl

Was I the only one that knew that even though Ronan was going in that it would be Shepherd that actually saved the day?

July 19 2008 at 10:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathaniel

You know one detail I really liked? I really liked that we didn't just have an episode where Keller finally said "I came up with a solution to Carson's problem." Instead, we had the discovery of Michael's hard drive and that as the reason we know how to help Carson not deteriorate or whatever.

So, I had a thought... if Jewel decides to stay on as doctor for the next few seasons, what if they gave Carson the lead doctor position in Stargate Universe? Assuming there is a doctor character... which there should be. This also assumes they end up producing both parallel, which may or may not happen.

July 19 2008 at 6:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nathaniel's comment
Smiley

Do you have red hair?

July 19 2008 at 6:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nathaniel

You know one detail I really liked? I really liked that we didn't just have an episode where Keller finally said "I came up with a solution to Carson's problem." Instead, we had the discovery of Michael's hard drive and that as the reason we know how to help Carson not deteriorate or whatever.

So, I had a thought... if Jewel decides to stay on as doctor for the next few seasons, what if they gave Carson the lead doctor position in Stargate Universe? Assuming there is a doctor character... which there should be. This also assumes they end up producing both parallel, which may or may not happen.

July 19 2008 at 6:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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