So here we are with the very good finale to Atlantis season 1

Synopsis

In the city a meeting of the main heads of the Expedition are discussing how to best defend Atlantis from the incoming Wraith fleet, with their first line of defence being the Ancient satellite in the system that the fleet will be forced to pass on the way to Lantea. Thankfully the satellite can be powered by a Naquadah generator and therefore used by the team to take out fleet, with Rodney and two others heading there by Jumper to fix it.

Meanwhile Sgt. Bates and Sheppard continue to search for new Alpha Sites after the previous one was discovered by the Wraith after Teyla unknowingly provided them with the location. Bates however still refuses to trust the Athosian given how she was unable to control her connection with the Wraith previously. Bate’s fear is initially feared to be confirmed when the team return early but it turns out that planet was inhabited by a T Rex type creature. When Bates and Teyla’s resulting argument turns violent others are forced to separate the two of them. Later that night they find Bates having suffered a serious attack which Teyla denies inflicting.

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The base is also facing difficulties when it comes to destroying any trace of the Ancient Database on the Atlantis, with Zelenka worried that any surviving parts could be used by the Wraith to reverse engineer a drive capable of reaching Earth even if they blow up the city. Zelenka decides to write a computer virus that would essentially overwrite the entire Database, meaning that the entire thing would be gone. This leaves Weir with the unfortunate task of choosing what parts to save on their limited portable storage space, with a maximum of 8% able to be saved.

Elsewhere Rodney’s team finally reaches the Ancient satellite and begins to bring it online and prep it for firing on the Wraith fleet. While the three of them are easily able to bring on basic life support and artificial gravity the weapon itself remains elusive, with an unknown error preventing it from powering up. Eventually they work out that the weapon is leaking power from a damaged connection that has to be repaired from the outside, with Rodney drawing the short straw to go out and repair it.

Back on Atlantis the team’s preparations are halted when Beckett comes back with the results from Bate’s scans, claiming that the only cause of his injuries could’ve been by a Wraith. The team conclude that the single Dart that approached the city must’ve transferred a Wraith onto the city to act as a saboteur for when the fleet arrives. Using the city’s internal sensors the team slowly close in on their intruder and stun him, allowing them to transfer the Wraith to holding. In holding Teyla is allowed to connect with the captured Wraith to check if it knows of the new Alpha Site. This doesn’t go to plan again, with the Wraith being killed in the process by Sheppard after Teyla loses control.

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At the satellite Rodney begins his spacewalk from the Jumper which is piloted by the third member of the team while Peter, Atlantis’ main technician, keeps an eye on the readings from the satellite. Rodney begins the slow task of repairing the connections with Peter’s help. The solution however diverts power from the airlock meaning that Peter is now trapped on the Satellite until they eliminate the Wraith ships, but they know it’s a suicide mission for Peter. By the time the ship’s arrive Peter is ready for them, taking out the first Hive in short order but the satellite itself breaks down allowing the other two hives to easily destroy the satellite killing Peter in the process.

As a result of the situation the base begins immediate final evacuation and prepares to destroy the city. As the final command group prepares to leave the city however the Gate dials in, revealing that Earth has finally sent the cavalry led by Colonel Terrible Overdubbing. Overdubbing reveals that the SGC has not only sent the marines to defend Atlantis but that the Earth is also sending a brand new ship, the Daedalus, to help them out while also bringing the ZPM SG-1 found. Overdub however attempts to shut out Weir from subsequent briefings, leaving her to call other members of the Expedition back to the city, and the Athosians all together. Overdub decides to place a network of nuclear warheads as mines in orbit above the city while using an improved Naquadah generator to power the city control chair along with railguns and handheld anti-tank weaponry to take out anything that gets too close.

As the city prepares for attack the Wraith send a barrage of meteors to clear the way ahead, taking out the entire minefield and leaving the city in a significantly weaker position. After this failure Overdub has Sheppard meet him in the hologram room to further piss off the Expedition by blaming Sheppard for Sumner’s death, showing that his personal issues are interfering with the battleplan. That night the advance wave of Wraith Darts closes in on the city, with the city responding with substantial anti-aircraft fire. After holding their own for some time the City is finally able to turn the tide once the control chair allows the deployment of drone weapons, winning the day but not without taking losses themselves and the city losing key systems to battle damage. Teyla also confirms the presence of Wraith infiltrators in the city, with Overdub allowing the Athosians to help marine teams root out the Wraith.

Knowing that they stand no chance against the fully armed Hive Ships, who can easily destroy the city from orbit, the team decide to use a Jumper packed with nukes to take them out directly. This however means having to deal with the Genii who are the only ones in the galaxy who are known to have a supply of nuclear weapons suitable for the task, with Weir heading out to try and negotiate a deal. The Genii however are still pissed off, not only due to past encounters with the Expedition but also the recent culling by the Wraith on the planet which almost led to the discovery of the underground bunker network, and are instead looking to use Weir as a bargaining chip for the C4 stockpiles on Atlantis. Weir however is able to convince them that giving the Expedition the weapons is their best option as it allows the Genii to get revenge while also testing the weapon with no threat of it leading back to them, securing at least one bomb for the defence of Atlantis.

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As the Hive ships approach another wave of Darts attacks the city. As the team attempt to use the control chair to launch the Jumper carrying the bomb they’re unable to get it working. Sheppard instead decided to fly the Jumper himself, in what will be a one-way trip. Elsewhere in the city Overdub is attacked and overpowered by a Wraith while Teyla also goes missing inside the city and Ford is confronted by Wraith. The episode ends with the city under constant attack from the air, Wraith infiltration all over the city, and Sheppard on a one-way mission to destroy a Hive ship.

Analysis

So here we are at the end of the first season of Atlantis and both shows finally come together for the first time in a pulse-racing battle to hold off the Wraith long enough for further reinforcements to arrive.

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The first two parts of the three parter are very different from each other in tone but still share the same feel of an inevitable Wraith onslaught approaching in the form of the Hive ships. The first part sees the deployment of what defences the Expedition in a small skirmish between the two sides, with the loss of the Ancient satellite after they use it to destroy part of the fleet, while the second part is a frantic defence in the city itself as Wraith descend upon the team. The two work well together however given the sense of impending doom that is continuously ramping up as more and more of the Expedition are forced to sacrifice themselves in the line of battle.

With the established characters it’s well done in how they managed to find a role in the episodes for all of them that fit their strengths. Rodney is the skilled scientist working under pressure, Zelenka the skilled scientist forced to make hard choices when it comes to data compression and the realism of the situation, Sheppard having to lead both base defence and the final run on the Hive, Teyla rooting out the infiltrators on the base, Beckett patching up the increasing number of wounded from the fight, Weir negotiating access for more resources during the crucial moment, and Ford… is also there. Even now, in the final battle, it’s amazing how little they could find for the “scrappy sidekick” with his role essentially firing a couple of shots from a railgun and then getting caught by the Wraith at the very end.

On the flipside of this great character use of established characters however we have Colonel Terrible Overdub and my god what an absolute shitshow he is. Not only is he shown to be a terrible commander, routinely refusing advice from the Expedition due to his personal issues, but also his voice is just the worst. Not only is it clearly overdubbed afterwards (with his lips never matching the audio) but he also sounds like every godawful cliché ever done about military officers with his bizarre Texan(?) accent that sounds so fake it’s unreal. While he does bring reinforcements from Earth and heavy weapons he himself loses all of their space defences in one move and then gets cornered easily by the Wraith. Thank Christ he’s a one-shot character.

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Outside of this the strength of the episode in its action is also its major weakness. Here we see repeated attacks by Darts on the city, with the initial one having an amazing shot of the city darkening and then being silhouetted against flares launched by the city as AA fire lets out all over the city. It’s a really great climax to the season. On the flipside though the show never performs as strongly in a finale as this one which means this episode remains the high water mark for the show which is a shame given how early we are in the run.

The episode ends with a feeling that all maybe lost, with Sheppard heading on a suicide run, which is again surprisingly dark for a show that established its name through humour. Thankfully though it feels right in tone, unlike some previous episodes which got ridiculously dark all of a sudden, with everything building to that moment with scenes of troops and civilians alike falling all over the city in the wake of constant never ending Wraith attack. Sheppard’s final scene is a great way to hit the lowest point for the team before the eventual resolution at the start of season 2.

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In the end the first two parts of The Siege are an emotional rollercoaster that sees the team deal with loss and suffering while finding them with their backs to the wall in the face of the Wraith.

Assorted Musings

· The facial expressions of the guy with Rodney and Peter are gold.

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· For a show that had such a great history of collaboration with the Armed Forces the “Marines” aren’t half crap.

 

Quote of the episode: “Your mines make one hell of a bang Colonel, I’m sure the Wraith’s ears are ringing.” - Rodney