Today on Atlantis things are still stupidly dark, this time featuring a Genii assault on the city itself.
On Atlantis the base discovers a massive storm heading towards them when Sheppard and Teyla are on board a Jumper in orbit. Not only is the storm going to hit the Athosian settlement on the mainland but also poses a direct risk to Atlantis itself. While they can easily make preparations to move the Athosians and Expeditions off-world Atlantis itself is likely to be destroyed given it no longer has the shield to protect them.
The team quickly make preparations to move people off-world for a small period of time and to protect the mainland settlements with rudimentary protection. Regarding Atlantis itself Rodney and Zelenka struggle to come up with a viable defensive plan. Eventually they realise they can use the electrical energy from the Storm itself to power the shield for a short amount of time, essentially using the threat against themselves.
Unknown to the team their supposed hosts of-world have already sold the team out to the Genii, who are eager for revenge against the Expedition. One of their most decorated and skilled commanders, Kolya, is ordered to put together and lead a strike force with the express purpose of securing materials vital to the Genii nuclear weapons program. The small strike team manage to gain entry via extracting a Gate code from a drunken merchant who the base deals with, quickly securing the control room and take both Rodney and Weir hostage. The skeleton staff has also been reduced by the late departure of Teyla, Ford, and Beckett from the mainland, leaving the three stranded inside a Jumper to wait the storm out and Sheppard alone on Atlantis against a platoon of Genii.
While still searching for Sheppard the Genii quickly attempt to secure what they came for, only finding that Sheppard has removed the C4 from the armoury and left a radio to contact him. Kolya begins threatening his hostages and the city’s survival if Sheppard doesn’t deliver the C4. Though Weir tries to convince Kolya that the Genii will need the Expedition on the coming war with the Wraith but the commander decides that the Genii could do just as well if they seize Atlantis. The Genii attempt to ambush Sheppard when he attempts to access the final Grounding Station (which needs to be opened to allow the plan to work) but instead destroy the control panel, seemingly dooming the city. With no cards left to play Kolya seemingly executes Weir to send Sheppard a message.
In reality however Kolya doesn’t kill anyone after Rodney successfully states their usefulness as hostages as they need to repair the Grounding Station if they want to survive. To even the odds against Sheppard Kolya’s team manage to get basic tracking systems on the base working, allowing them to track his location and negating the advantage Sheppard has of the life signs detector. Despite this the Genii forces are still no match for Sheppard’s knowledge of the city and his more advanced weaponry. Sheppard also sabotages the city’s power supply to deprive the control room of most of its functions. In response the Genii call for a reinforcing company of about 60 men.
On the mainland the crew of the Jumper witness the rain and winds suddenly stop as the eye of the storm passes over them. Seeing it as an opportunity to leave and help Sheppard, Ford and Teyla convince Beckett to take them back to Atlantis. The Jumper, under the cover of the storm and also Sheppard’s elimination of more Genii, makes it back to the city Jumper bay and unloads the rest of FART, who quickly move in to find and help Sheppard.
Outside Kolya keeps an eye on both Weir and Rodney as they repair the damaged Grounding Station in the pouring rain, with conditions deteriorating fast. While the two of them try to slow down repairs until Sheppard can eliminate the Genii the matter is rendered moot when Sheppard shuts down more of the Naquadah generators powering the city. While initially diplomatic the Genii commander grows more and more desperate as his control of the city slips away from him, pushed to the edge when nearly the entire stream of reinforcements are killed by the Gate shield after Sheppard raises it during their arrival. Kolya decides to make contact with Sheppard again, this time promising to kill Weir in 10 minutes if he doesn’t restore power and then kill Rodney 10 minutes after that if the conditions are still not met.
Inside the base the three from the Jumper decide that instead of helping they’re going to endlessly bitch between themselves during an emergency. Finally however they decide to move in and actually do something, saving Sheppard from a Genii ambush which allows their commander to restore power to the city and Rodney to restore the control panel. As all groups make their way back to the control room one of the Genii, Sora whose father Teyla abandoned on the Wraith hive, goes rogue wanting to exact revenge. When the two confront each other Teyla is able to overpower the younger girl but refuses to kill her.
At the control room Rodney attempts to get the shield working but it fails, with Weir telling the Genii they need to leave. While Kolya decides to leave he also deems to take Weir and Rodney with them. Sheppard and Ford however are able to take out the last of the Genii, with an injured Kolya making it through the Gate, and rescue the other. Rodney reveals that he faked the failure of the plan and is still able to implement it. After warning those still in the city to get out of the danger areas he activates the plan, successfully using the lightning to save the city.
And here we are with the midseason two parter for the first season of Atlantis and it very much does fit my feelings of the first season overall in that it’s very serious and has character motivations go all over the place.
The main thrust of the story focuses on the Genii attempted takeover of Atlantis under the leadership of Kolya, who is probably the most interesting aspect of the episode. For much of the show’s history there’s no denying it was very black and white in how it portrayed characters, with the occasionally redemption arc thrown in now and then. Here however we see very much a character who is many shades of grey.
As a person Kolya isn’t one who wants to resort to violence but will put on the impression of someone who will use hard force. Despite this however he isn’t afraid to go to that point if the situation requires it. This is best shown in his treatment of Weir and Rodney, with whom he initially tries to avoid actually removing as hostages but almost comes to it later on as Sheppard pushes him further and further. He also doesn’t seem to have as many issues about killing armed opponents, event while disguised as a civilian himself.
On the flipside however we have Beckett and Ford and my god are they terrible in this episode. In the scenes they do feature in rather than showing them to be people focused on helping their friends all they do is bicker like children. This happens even inside the occupied areas of Atlantis, making you wonder how they could function in any form to begin with. In what is a quite good episode they don’t half take away from it. Beckett’s portrayal in general is quite problematic at times, with his previously non-violent but active personality replaced with what is basically sheer cowardice, with him sacrificing a great chance of helping the others because of his fear of flying.
Regarding the episode as a whole the tone here is surprisingly dark, even compared to what came before. Here we not only see hostages injured and threatened with being killed but the mass slaughter of an entire unity of Genii with the Gat shield. While this has happened with the Iris many times over the years against the Goa’uld and their Jaffa this time it feels a lot more offensive in nature, especially considering the people it was used on weren’t indoctrinated killers but ordinary soldiers. This constant darkness on this season is starting to really become a slog at this point and sadly this won’t let up any time soon.
In the end the two parter is one of the more memorable ones of the show, if only for its darkness rather than anything of particular note.
· Beckett, really? It’s a damn warship it can handle some wind.
· Would those two just shut the fuck up.
· Oh look, the Genii have a Glee club.
Quote of the episode: “
KHAAAAAN KOLYAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!” - Sheppard