Today two women have a terrible experience in a terrible episode and then a Wraith comes to dinner.

Missing

Synopsis

Teyla and Keller are getting ready for a trip to the new Athosian settlement, with Keller still unsure of herself replacing Beckett as the new Medic. Coming up to the settlement however they find it abandoned, looking to have been that way for some time now, with Teyla fearing they’ve been culled. Soon however the two are forced to hide when a couple of primitive looking people start to pick over the settlement’s remains as well. Hiding nearby Teyla reveals they’re “Bola Kai”, a barbaric group who largely raid other not so advanced groups.

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Retreating into the woods the two women try to make their way back to the Stargate nearby only for Keller to fall and twist her ankle which slows them down. By the time they reach the Gate they find it guarded by the Kai who end up spotting them. Knowing their best chance now is to hide until rescue comes the next day when they’re overdue the two attempt to dig in for the longhaul. The pair recover what supplies they brought with them and attempt to make it to a weapon’s cache provided to the Athosians but only find it empty but with no idea who took it.

The two decide to make it to a hunting shelter nearby where it should be sheltered and camouflaged enough to allow them to hide for the night. On the way there they’re ambushed by three Kai members though Teyla is able to deal with them while Keller cowers nearby. Soon however they find an injured man who isn’t Athosian nor Kai. Though Teyla doesn’t want to help him she eventually agrees given that he isn’t Kai, allowing Keller to treat the wounded man. That night, after a meal that leaves much to be desired, the man finally awakes. The man, Nabel, identifies himself as a Genii spy there to keep watch on the Athosians. He claims that Kai are Wraith Worshippers and called in their masters to cull the village.

The next morning the two women discuss their situation and why Teyla wanted to visit the settlement. It turns out that Teyla is in a relationship with another Athosian, Kanaan, and that’s the “Hot Date” Sheppard was ribbing her over. Soon however a Kai hunter wanders into a trap left by Teyla the night before, forcing the three to run. Nabel however begins to slow them down due to his injury allowing them to be captured, except Nabel who gets away somehow.

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Inside a Kai camp the two captured members of the Expedition talk about how to get through what’s about to happen. Soon they’re brought before their leader Omal who claims that they’re not Wraith Worshippers and that they found the village was already deserted when they got there. Omal later questions Keller for the address of where she came from but refuses to give it. Put back into the cages the two find themselves left largely unguarded when many of the Kai leave to go after something that came through the Gate.

Back on the city by now the others have begun to wake up to the fact Teyla or Keller should’ve phoned home by now and aren’t responding to radio hails sent to them. Soon the rest of FART arrives in a Jumper to look for their fellow Expedition members.

In the Kai camp the two members are soon rescued not by their collegaues but by Nabel who has a Genii pistol of his own. Outside the Kai settlement however he knocks out Teyla and instead demands the address of Atlantis. Keller works out that that Nabel is the Wraith Worshipper, the man giving away that the Athosians aren’t dead as well. With Teyla’s help Keller is able to fight Nabel and grab his gun, eventually forced to shoot him in the leg to immobilise him. While Teyla attempts to gain answers about where the other Athosians are only for the Kai to return. In the ensuing fight the rest of FART arrive but Nabel also scurries off.

Sometime later Teyla is in the infirmary recovering from the experience when Sheppard arrives, revealing that both the Kai and Nabel have left the Athosian settlement. When Sheppard leaves Keller reveals to Teyla that she has some test results to reveal to her.

Analysis

Every season of a show drops the ball at some point and Missing really is where season 4 of Atlantis really drops the ball hard. Frankly the episode is nothing short of a mess that really didn’t need to happen except for setting up a single plot point for later episodes.

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To start with the overall story is just plain dull to be honest from beginning to end. The walking through the woods all serious schtick got old by SG-1 season 3 so why they brought it back to ultra-dull levels I have no idea. Most of the episode features Teyla and Keller simply stumbling around the woods making stupid mistakes, such as talking very loudly for “stealth” and stumbling over rocks. It’s painful to watch this happen as the episodes this season so far have been a great balance of humour and action and this is so bland by comparison. The nature of the episode sadly demonstrates just how weak a character Teyla is because without the others to bounce off of there’s no one there because the show’s never really taken the time to build her up to anything but the native sidekick. Even Ronon has had a more detailed arc than the Athosian even having a season’s less screentime.

Keller as well is not a great choice for a character to focus on for the episode. It’s no fault of the Jewel Staite as an actress in the role but rather again the case of a character with nothing there. I get this was meant to be part of building her up to be a great side character for the show but in reality they made her the female Ford. Her 45 minutes of buildup is little more than “I’m cold, I’m hungry, when are we going home, I don’t like this” and the payoff of shooting someone in the leg really doesn’t make up for that tedium we saw before. This show knows no one likes the whiny companion so to go back to that is a serious backfire.

Elsewhere we have a cameo by Danny Trejo as the leader of the Bola Kai and his cameo is probably the most pointless guest role the show’s ever done. His entire screentime is pretty much 2 minutes if you time it generously and that involves punching Teyla in the face and then leaving the camp. For what must’ve been a great scoop of a casting why theydo quite literally nothing with it is beyond belief.

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Missing, a terrible episode that should’ve done what the title says and gone that way.

Assorted Musings

· Yes Keller we get it, you ain’t good off-world. Please stop talking now.

· Really getting the use out of those medical props.

 

Quote of the episode: “Don’t worry, they’re primitive. We can handle them.”

“Define “primitive”?”

“Clubs and arrows.”

“Hey arrows can hurt!”

“Only if you’re stupid enough to get hit in the ass with one.” – Ronon and Meredith

The Seer

Synopsis

Teyla is briefing the others on the base to the existence of a so-called “seer” on another world who she wants to see, desperate for any clues as to where the Athosians have gone. Given that Expedition efforts to find the Athosians have so far failed Carter signs off on the mission. Arriving on the seer’s planet they’re greeted at the Stargate by a party led by a woman named Linara who claims they’d been waiting their arrival for some time. Bringing the team to the settlement Linara informs them that the seer, who is her father, is gravely ill and hopes that the team can help him. Upon meeting with the seer the kindly old man, Davos, asks for Meredith’s hand, giving him a vision of an encounter of the Wraith by the team.

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Back on the city Woolsey has arrived to conduct an evaluation of Carter’s leadership up to this point, claiming to simply be an observer rather than get in the way for once. This comes at a bad time however as almost immediately afterwards the baser receives a message offworld that a certain Wraith wants to meet with Sheppard. When FART return to the base this information is relayed to them, with the suspicion it’s the location of Meredith’s vision, only for Woolsey to butt in slightly regarding the decision to meet with said Wraith.

On the Davos’ planet Keller examines the man, finding that he’s suffering from cancer and needs more intensive care that only taking him to the city can provide which Carter agrees to. The city also finds itself sheltering the Wraith who helped Sheppard after Meredith’s vision is proven true and the team manage to avert his prophesised ambush, with the Wraith hoping that they’ll help the Wraith shutdown the Replicators as they’ve begun attacking feeding grounds rather than the Wraith themselves leading to mass slaughter of human worlds. This is confirmed when they find one of their former thriving worlds visited is now a wasteland.

Given the reversing situation regarding the Wraith-Replicator War they decide, against Woolsey’s view, to allow Meredith and the Wraith to work together in attempting to shutdown the Replicator attack code again. Soon after a Wraith Hive begins to move towards the city which it turns out is related to the Wraith in their holding, who’s used an implanted tracker to give his location to them. While Sheppard wants to destroy it the Wraith claims the Hive is loyal to him and contains the computer virus necessary to help Meredith attack the Replicators.

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In the infirmary Keller finds that Davos’ cancer is too far progressed to be helped other than easing his pain. Keller however finds that Davos has an abnormal brain that is more advanced than other humans that is likely what allows him to have his visions. Davos soon wakes and meets with Carter and decides to show her a vision he’s had for her. In it Carter ends up seeing the city come under sustained attack from at least one Replicator ship, with the control tower being destroyed. Later that evening Teyla meets with Davos, who has since chosen to admire the city from a nearby balcony. Davos has cottoned on to the fact that he’s dying despite their best efforts but doesn’t hold it against them, revealing to Teyla that all he knows is that the Athosians are still alive but not where and that he also knows Teyla is pregnant. Davos asks her to bring him to Carter but collapses, revealing a vision of Sheppard destroying a Hiveship with drones.

In the aftermath of the visions Woolsey tries to intervene against the team’s plan to work with the Wraith but Carter plans to go ahead, bringing Woolsey with her to talk to the Wraith. In the meeting Carter and the Wraith easily come to an agreement regarding their working together on the virus and that it’ll be the Tau’ri who keep it this time, with the Wraith happy enough to use the development as a prestige boost for himself. The Hive arrives and seemingly keeps its end of the bargain, delivering the code as promised. Another Hiveship soon begins to journey towards the city which, combined with the Wraith keeping back a small part of the virus as a contingency, the team think is part of a doublecross. Instead however Meredith believes the other Hive is coming to check on why the first is hovering over a supposedly uninhabited world.

As they await the arrival of the second Hive Carter visits Davos once again to ask for his guidance. Davos claims that everything he’s seen comes true but that the interpretation is what’s changeable. Unsure of what to do Carter holds the decision up as long as possible until Sheppard reminds her that the whole base supports her decisions as otherwise they’d have quit. Carter decides to go with the idea suggested by Meredith and the Wraith, that they cloak the city and see what happens. Woolsey surprisingly chooses to risk his life by staying on the base to see what happens, claiming he just wants the report to be thorough. When the other Hive arrives both soon power weapons which Woolsey sees as a sign of attack though Carter instead orders they hold off. Carter’s instincts are proven correct however when the two ships fire on each other and destroy themselves in the process.

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Despite the good news regarding the Wraith Davos however succumbs to his cancer, with Linara taking his body back to their world to be buried. Teyla meets with Keller in the infirmary with the two discussing Teyla’s pregnancy and that they can’t keep it quiet much longer. Elsewhere on the base Meredith and the Wraith continue their work while Carter and Woolsey share an awkward goodbye but Woolsey confirms to Carter that she’ll be getting a good review, with Woolsey deliberately fudging it regarding her chancing of the Wraith Hive situation. The episode ends with Sheppard and Carter discussing Davos’ vision of the destruction of Atlantis.

Analysis

This is clearly an episode that was done on the cheap, designed to save money for the many big episodes that would occur this season. You can see from the CGI Gate shots used to save time and money along with the reuse of VFX shots for the spaceship scenes. Despite this however it’s still a great little City centric episode that doesn’t use a great deal of resources.

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Despite the power’s related to the plot the Davos scenes are fairly tame and peaceful and that definitely feels like the point. Compared to the variety of people the show has met so far a kindly old man who is a kindly old man in the last of his days is a nice change from the norm. Instead he acts like a sort of mentor for the people he’s only just met, helping them come to terms with issues of their own and providing a pure example of leadership as he refuses to let his own weaknesses or doubts display in public so that his own people and family don’t suffer. It’d have been nice if he had a longer arc that maybe extended into another episode but what we do get is some great slowburn storytelling.

Elsewhere we also see the return of Woolsey who is still growing as a character even if he still struggles to ditch his middle-manager nature entirely. He really does do the annoying micromanagement act well feeling the need to put his stamp on everything even though he knows he shouldn’t simply because he can’t handle not being in full control of the situation. Despite this however most of his interventions aren’t simple attempts at control but are valid arguments, not wanting to trust an untrustworthy foe and avoiding the destruction of the Expedition. Again in a show of his character he willingly doctors a report to help Carter out of a tight spot and puts his life on the line even though he didn’t have to so that he stood with the others. It’s items like this that makes it so understandable where he ends up in a season’s time.

Finally the episode also sees the return of the Wraith that is still yet to be given his name of Todd. This Wraith continues to change the nature of relations between the Expedition and the Wraith who they still see as this largely similar blob. Instead he continues to add to the displays of the Wraith as not only a scientist but also a person with a sense of humour of all things, joking with Carter at the end of their dealings. He also displays a sense of honour and respect not seen in Wraith before, even with his previous experience having the element of “because circumstances”, as he quickly works together with the Expedition and agreeing to a fair exchange as a result while being smart enough not to blanket trust these new people. The episode ends up really building the character in a way that doesn’t feel forced and instead a natural evolution over the course of the many days he’s on the base.

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Great little episode that doesn’t do much and thereby puts greater effort into what it does do with fantastic results.

Assorted Musings

· Wow you totally can’t tell that the Gate is CGI.

· Wraith humour. Kinda dig it.

 

Quote of the episode: “That’s it, that’s your superweapon?”

“Well what were you expecting?”

“Big gun. Something that goes boom.” – Ronon and Meredith