Average, yet quietly promising.
Atlantis Season Five holds a lot of promise.
I think everyone would agree with that. We’ve been through cast changes and plot shake-ups galore since the show’s inception, yet one gets the impression that if the writers and producers could stick with the current cast, we could be on to something.
The second episode of Season Five, titled “The Seed” (yet another fine example of the poetic talents of the Atlantis writing team), has two main purposes. To introduce the character of Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo) into the Atlantis fold, and to progress the Carson Beckett/stasis plot. In this regard, the episode is reasonably successful.
I was pleasantly surprised by Woolsey. Certainly, there weren’t too many surprises with the clichÃ©d “by-the-books Commander learns the hard way to bend the rules” plot line, but Picardo’s performance is convincing and enjoyable to watch.
The return of Beckett adds further dynamism to the character interactions; though I can’t help but feel it might have been a little too much for one episode, coupled with Woolsey’s introduction and the fact that Keller herself (the focal character of the plot) is relatively new herself.
In truth, it’s definitely an episode for the characters. Relatively budget-saving with few effects shots and no on-location shoots, the episode relies on character development to propel itself. As is often the case with Atlantis, this reliance is hit-or-miss. Some scenes work well, others are horrible. I enjoyed the opening scene between Keller and Teyla; a relationship I hope to see explored more in future. To contrast, I felt the Rodney/Beckett scenes weren’t up to their usual high standard; possibly due to the fact that the writers were pressed for time, squeezing so much in to the single episode.
However, Woolsey’s interactions with the cast hold promise; the role holds potential for positive character development that will help strengthen the backbone of the show – moreso than Sam Carter’s character ever did, in my opinion (preparing myself to receive nasty emails). I sincerely hope this cast is encouraged to stay until the end of the show. Teyla continues to grow stronger.
The weakest aspects of this episode are the, to be honest, bog-standard plot. Alien creature takes over Kellar, threatens to destroy base for no real reason other than to be bad. It’s a pretty awful premise, although it’s quite nicely realised with some excellent tendril set decorations. In truth, it’s just a vehicle on which to carry the character development, and so I feel that “The Seed” works best when you watch it for the characters, not for any action or arc revelations; they won’t be found here.
One gets the impression that the characters of Sheppard, McKay or even Ronon could be sufficiently developed already as to produce an hour of television like SG-1’s Meridian was to Daniel Jackson; something deep, emotional and moving. Will the Atlantis writers ever realise the obvious potential before them? Well, we’re five years in to the show and I’ve written that sentence every new season.
I’m not holding my breath.
Still, one can hope.
Grade: 60% (C+)