Tonight on Atlantis we have tow filler episodes to break up the gap between the next two-parter (hence the odd numbering).
Atlantis has detected the location of an Ancient warship, the Aurora, on the edge of the galaxy that still seems to be functional. Given the remote location of the ship their only option is to use the Daedalus for transport to and from its location much to the annoyance of Caldwell who, while agreeing with the potential advantage the warship would give them, is getting tired of being little more than a transport service for Atlantis. Upon arrival they find that they’re not the first to make it, with a small Wraith craft having been docked with the ship which they easily eliminate.
FART board the ship, finding that while the ship’s life support is down the crew are being kept alive inside some kind of stasis pods that slowed down their aging, though by now they’ve aged to OAPs. After restoring basic life support they begin to look for more information regarding the pods only to discover that all the inhabitants are linked via some kind of neural computer and that there’s a spare pod that can be used to allow someone to enter the system, with Sheppard volunteering to do it.
Connected to the network Sheppard finds himself on a virtual version of the ship populated by the Ancient crew, all of which don’t believe that they’re in a virtual reality simulation and seem to be in the dark when it comes to the fate of their fellow Ancients and the war. The captain of the ship has Sheppard thrown in the Brig while his First Officer encourages him to focus on the “Hyperdrive modifications” and mentions a communique referring to a Wraith weakness. Given the situation Sheppard leaves the simulation to update the others briefly before going back in.
Outside the sim the team have more pressing concerns, with more Wraith ships on the way and only an hour out. Teyla and Ronon, while exploring for more information, find the body of a dead woman and a Wraith in her pod. Upon hearing of this Caldwell first wants to destroy the Aurora before the Wraith reinforcements arrive but instead Rodney persuades him to let them try to find out more first.
Inside the sim Sheppard tries to get the First Officer to listen to him but she instead orders everyone to ignore him. Instead Sheppard uses his ability to pop in and out of the sim to bluff the guard and escape from the Brig. While Sheppard manages to track down the Captain he is prevented from speaking to him by the First Officer, who stuns him and returns him to the Brig. The Captain however begins to express a belief in some of what Sheppard says.
Rodney, with time running out, decides to use another of the spare stasis pods to also go inside and help Sheppard out, with the rest of the team covering for him when Caldwell inquires as to what’s going on, with the Wraith situation. With the new information Sheppard works out that the Wraith is controlling the avatar of the First Officer and using her to get what information the ship has on their weakness and destroy it. With Rodney’s help they break out of the Brig once more and try to find the communique, only to find that the Wraith has already erased all copies of it and that the real Wraith mission is to acquire Ancient Hyperdrive tech. Sheppard has Rodney leave the sim to deal with the Wraith while he tries to talk to the Captain.
At the Wraith controlled pod Rodney manages to disconnect the Wraith, giving Sheppard the chance to talk to the Captain. Unfortunately the Captain reveals he was never made aware of the weakness for fear of capture and knows that their physical ages means they can’t leave. As Sheppard leaves the sim he activates the self-destruct, with himself and Rodney being beamed back to Daedalus shortly after, allowing the crew of the Aurora to take out the two Wraith Cruisers as a last stand.
Back on Atlantis the team share a final toast to the Aurora and her crew.
So after a long absence we return to the focus on the Ancient’s legacy in the galaxy, this time finding an Ancient warship which the team then promptly blow up.
So the team gallivant onto the ship to find that, surprise surprise, the crew are still alive but retreated to stasis after an attack by the Wraith long ago. Inside they’re stuck, seemingly repeating task after task unaware of their status lost at sea and the fact the war they fought so hardly in was lost long ago. It’s a fate on the show that’s never been seen before and it’s also quite tragic in how it’s put forward in the futility of the crew’s action as they’re lost in the passage of time and no longer have a way out given that their bodies have deteriorated to almost nothing.
Instead it turns out that the crew are now victims of the lost war simply due to the Expedition finally managing to power up the city, giving away their location to everyone with spaceships and sensors. It’s only by sheer fortune that the Wraith Cruisers didn’t arrive before Daedalus and finish what their scouts had started. If anything it’s this forced timer that’s the main weakness of the episode with the Wraith managing to be so close (and the advance team already having replaced the First Officer) breaking the limit when it comes to suspension of disbelief, as it’s just too convenient a scenario for everyone involved.
The idea of the VR simulation being used to keep the Ancient crew alive is an interesting one as, with SG-1, we already knew it existed but it’s never been used in this way before. Now we see that not only can it be at fault due to the admin keeping people in the dark but the physical strain of such a longtime inside a virtual world can make it impossible to tell the two worlds apart. There was a weakness in the episode attached to this however as while it’s an interesting scenario to view it’s sadly wasted in terms of potential, with the team coming away with a big fat nothing. It’s a shame to see such a good concept wasted on what is essentially a filler episode.
In the end the episode is a good 42 minutes to watch that isn’t too demanding given what had just come before but unfortunately wastes its potential that could’ve been used to advance the world and mythology forward.
· Clearly Rodney has some hidden feelings for Wraith women.
· Caldwell seems like a bit of a micromanager.
Quote of the episode: “The communiqué has been erased.”
“Why would the Wraith do that?”
“Well, it says right here: “I, the Wraith, delete this important information to keep you from seeing it.”” – Rodney and Sheppard
The team are planetside exploring another world, in this case looking for the source of a strange power reading on an otherwise empty planet, only to find a weird doorway in the side of a mountain. After throwing a rock through the doorway it seemingly passes through an object of some kind so the team decide to follow up by holding a camera on a stick and using that to scout ahead. After confirming it’s all clear Sheppard decides to try and walk through, only to get dragged through by the forcefield itself.
As both groups on each side of the forcefield try to work out what’s going on Rodney decides to check the video he recorded, finding that the entire card is full. It turns out that time is passing much faster on the other side of the forcefield, testing his theory by passing a living specimen through the field and then pulling it out. Given that time is passing far faster on the other side of the forcefield the team throw whatever rations and kit they had through the forcefield, hoping that Sheppard is still there. While Sheppard is able to receive the initial supply drop the lack of food drives him from the cave soon after.
Outside the cave Sheppard finds a man running from an unknown presence only to be attacked himself by the monster. Not only is the beast invisible but it also easily stands up to weapons fire and heavily injures the gallant Lt. Colonel. Sometime later Sheppard is rescued by a group of villagers and nursed back to health. As he recovers Sheppard attempts to find a way out of his problems but is told he’s trapped there, with the crater the time-dilation field is in acting as a sanctuary where people could learn to ascend in peace.
Meanwhile Rodney continues to try and turn off the power source for the time-dilation field from outside the crater, with only an hour or so having passed on his side of the field which equates to several months on Sheppard’s side. This fails however due to the effects of the field so instead a team headed by Weir and Rodney head inside to shut it off directly.
As Sheppard becomes used to his life in the village the beast attacks again, with Sheppard once again abandoned by the others until one of the other villagers, a woman named Teer, decides to stand up with him, and Sheppard is once again forced into a sickbed. It turns out the other villagers view confronting the “Beast” as the worst option as they believe pacifism is the path to ascension. Sheppard however goes to confront it, saving his friends in the process as they reveal he’s only been gone 2 hours. This time however the other villagers come to their aid, having realised that the Best is a manifestation of their combined fears which disappears when they finally confront it, allowing the villagers to ascend at last.
And here we are with what is perhaps Atlantis’s most brazen example of copying its parent show over the course of its entire run.
The episode focuses around Sheppard, as he’s trapped off-world due to a time-dilation field and is forced to slowly adapt to living a more peaceful and spiritual life in what’s essentially a do it yourself ascension center. Over the course of just over 6 months he comes to find a place in the new society and even love. Does this sound familiar because if so then you’re quite right as it’s basically the plot of season 3’s A Hundred Days, where O’Neill was stranded off-world due to a meteor strike and slowly works his way into the life of the nearby village and also falls in love himself. It’s a bit of a sad steal to be honest as it doesn’t even acknowledge it or play it for laughs like the show has done in the past but instead plays it straight, which just makes it look even worse to be honest.
The episode does however shine in the areas that it does change fundamentally which is the focus on the Ancients and the villagers’ goal of ascending. Here we see quite an interesting debate between the merits of pacifism versus violence, with both coming up short. It’s only when they realise that they need to stand up for themselves to a certain degree that the evil that has plagued the village disappears, allowing them to ascend as they’d always wanted, as the Beast effectively represented their doubts of what was to come next if they did ascend.
Along with these more interesting aspects of the episode we also see the effects of time-dilation fields put into the episode with mixed results. Personally I found the appeal of them far more interesting earlier on in the episode when it was about Sheppard’s survival but then it took a backseat simply to justify why he was there so long which is a shame really as they clearly wasted the potential.
Overall much like Aurora the episode is pretty much standard filler with not much to show for it, as while it’s an easy watch it also wastes a lot of potential with the more interesting concepts it uses.
· Look, it’s the Pegasus cousin of that guy who was in the Demon village in the Milky Way, who was also the cousin of a man whose father was killed by Teal’c.
· And once more Rodney suddenly goes all evil due to a ZPM.
Quote of the episode: “Besides I have a date planned with Lieutenant Cadman for tomorrow night.”
“Oh no, so we’ve only got twelve years in here.” – Beckett and Rodney