Thank goodness. A glimmer of hope. Nothing outsanding, nothing overly memorable; but it was better. A nice sci-fi concept nicely realised with minimal garbage. Atlantis should try this more often.
It’s been a few weeks since viewing the episode unfortunately – busy times have afflicted me, so I’m writing a few weeks later with only a hurried re-watch for guidance. Here are my thoughts, anyway.
For starters, the episode moved along at a nice pace, and performances were generally solid. Generally quite solidly written, though I do have a few dialogue qualms. I know a lot of fans really liked the Chewbacca reference when Ronon slams his control panel in frustration, but it seemed forced to me. Not particularly funny, either. Atlantis’s humour seems to be missing the mark lately. Rodney’s not as funny; even his story about dropping Teyla’s child in the beginning wasn’t particularly amusing. Just an excuse to have the obligatory tagged-on character moment at the end when Teyla symbolises trust in Rodney by offering to let him hold her kid.
But let’s not get too negative, there’s a lot this episode does well.
It’s exciting. Jumping through realities is always exciting, especially when you never know what might happen. The writer’s introduce a genuinely quite nifty new alien race here; one I hope we see again in the future. It’s a good reason to have action and adventure, and it’s nicely balanced with problems like the Red Giant star. It’s not all about fist-fights and lasers, the team have to work themselves out of genuine problems.
The effects are once again top-notch, with the alien super-cruiser and the fighter/302 fight around Daedalus in particular standing out. Once again Ronon gets beaten up. He’s not quite as cool as Teal’c is he? Sure, he sports funky dreads and some designer rogue-alien clothing, but he seems to consistently get knocked out week-in, week-out. Let’s see Ronon beat someone senseless, I say. Kick the symbiote out of ’em.
It was quite nice to see a lack of Richard Woolsey in this episode; an indication, perhaps, that the writer’s aren’t going to pull an Ezri Dax and focus too much on their new character. This episode was about the team, and it felt like a good Stargate episode; not brilliant, not even great, but good. Woolsey’s a strong character, but I’m glad the focus of the episode, and feeling of isolation on the ship, was not detracted from by succumbing to the temptation of cutting back to our Atlantis and watching Woolsey sweat on the problem. So often writers give in to such temptation. Fair play.
On one note, and it’s not particularly limited to this episode, but I really feel that Sheppard’s character needs a dark episode to build on the character. I can’t believe we’re five seasons in, and he hasn’t really developed. He’s not much different to Season One John. I think he needs a dark, character-building show; something akin to Abyss for Jack. Something that’ll really show us another side to him. Sheppard’s a character with great potential (his closet mathematician nature alluded to in the character brief), but the writer’s scarcely show it, relying on his humourous expressions and snappy wit. Whilst I don’t particularly mind it, it’s not in the same league as Richard Dean Anderson’s performances. Joe Flanigan needs to deliver more.
But I’m not taking marks off this episode for that, no; just an observation. All in all, it’s a reasonably solid hour of Atlantis, and a definite notch above the rest of the season so far.
Coincidentally, extra marks for having such a nifty episode name. Memorable, and not even monosyllabic. Next week’s “Ghost in the Machine” is similarly delightful. No doubt we’ll be back to such wonderful titles as “Seed” or “Grey” or “Walk” in weeks to come.
Grade: 73% (B-)