Another two episodes today. The first exploring more of the city while making Rodney more heroic while the latter revealing more of the Wraith’s origin while having the team trapped in a metal can.
After beginning to settle in on Atlantis Rodney is excited, being first in line to take the new Ancient Technology Activation (ATA) gene treatment to allow him to be able to activate Ancient technology like those who already have the gene can, such as Sheppard. Soon after Rodney finds an Ancient personal shield device and tests it out, with a very happy to help Sheppard happy to shoot at him and then throw him from a balcony. Despite the excitement however Rodney finds that he can’t actually take the shield off no matter how hard he tries, meaning that he’ll face a slow death from dehydration.
Meanwhile tensions are starting up with the Athosians on the base. While the Expedition is inherently cautious about exploring the city given their history with the Goa’uld, the Athosians instead want to see everything they can. Teyla, placed on Sheppard’s team, unfortunately finds herself stuck between the two groups as an unofficial liaison. Thankfully Sheppard tries to help bridge the gap by interacting with the younger Athosians he met but many of his stories are lost on them. While the team hang out later on two of the Athosian children decide to play their version of hide and seek, with one getting lost in the night.
After the Athosian is reported mission system around the city begin acting strangely, ending with the Stargate deciding to dial itself. One of the Athosian children also claims to have seen a “shadow” but the Expedition are slightly weary at believing in the supernatural. Rodney takes away from the mood however when he faints from lack of food and water.
When Rodney recovers the team begin looking for the lost child in earnest, with Sheppard along with the Gate technician Peter finding a black mist being attracted to one of the Naquadah generator before moving off. The mist’s feeding off of energy reveals just why the city has been acting strangely. Suddenly the missing kid’s voice is heard over the base and is able to communicate with the others, leading them to a closet he found which is revealed to be the Ancient equivalent of transport rings. It turns out the kid had found himself inside a lab and had been playing around with the consoles while trying to find a way out, likely releasing the mist creature in the process by accident.
The base initially tries to keep the Mist distracted by cycling the generators so that it endlessly goes round in circles. While this initially works the Mist soon adapts and attacks a patrol, seriously electrocuting Ford in the process. While Ford recovers from his shock treatment they find that the Mist is growing and getting more intelligent at the same time. Rodney finds a device that likely acted as its containment vessel in the first place which should allow them to recapture it. While Sheppard initially volunteers Weir tries to get Rodney to do it due to his personal shield, which turns off suspiciously soon after. After stuffing his face with food and coffee Rodney returns to watch Sheppard attempt to retrap the Mist. While the Mist initially seems to approach the trap it falls back when it sees what it is, remaining a threat to the base.
Left without a way forward the team retreat to the control room to come up with a new strategy. Teyla comes up with the idea that maybe if they draw it to the Gate it’ll leave of its own volition. The team setup a Naquadah generator as a lure at the gateroom and draw the creature out but it doesn’t go through. Rodney, decides to put on the shield and go down into the Mist, pushing the generator and MALP through by hand which successfully draws the creature through the Gate, draining what little power left in the shield as well.
This was really a great choice of episode to open with after the opening two-parter. It was well-known that Rodney would take a leading role in the new show and it was obvious that his two appearances on SG-1 where he was a bit of a dick would hardly sell him to the audience. Here however they give him a story that still shows his flaws while showing his more positive attributes as well.
The story largely follows the accidental release of an energy eating mist that is dangerous to humans and could eventually consume the base. While the base tries to first keep it distracted it eventually decides to kick it out, only for the plan to fail at the last moment. Here Rodney saves the day by potentially sacrificing his own life to make sure the Mist goes through the Gate. On its own this paints Rodney to be a heroic figure from the start but the episode up until that point makes the great decision to maintain him as this quite self-obsessed scientist who many don’t really like.
While children get lost and a member of the team electrocuted all Rodney can think about is pointing out how he’s the real victim, slowly going to die due to his idiocy off just turning things on. He whiny and self-absorbed to the point that he actually manages to mentally turn off the shield when it places him in a position of risk and forces someone else to do his dirty work. It’s this whiny childlike nature along with his inability to see others contempt and attempts to save his pride that make him come across as both sympathetic yet dislikeable to the audience.
The episode also begins quickly building on characters introduced but not really built in-depth and starts setting out their position in this first season. Teyla is shown to be the go-between for both sides inhabiting the base, a role that’ll come to a head in a few episodes time, while so far Ford is still very much Sheppard’s wide-eyed sidekick. Sheppard himself still remains largely undefined however which is surprising given how he’s meant to be the lead, this episode merely talking about pop culture and then pushing Rodney off a balcony.
Overall it’s a nifty little episode that largely uses the plot as a way to introduce new elements of the show (such as Transporters) while also focusing on expanding the characters already present.
· As Saul Tigh knows death by dehydration is nasty business.
· How could Beckett use a stethoscope when Rodney has the shield?
Quote of the episode: “Are there any side effects?”
“Dry mouth, headache, the irresistible urge to run on a small wheel.” – Rodney and Beckett
A Puddle Jumper is enroute to a Spacegate with FART on-board after a close encounter that has seen some kind of bug lodge itself in his neck. As they approach the Gate the Jumper’s wings don’t fully retract, lodging them inside the Gate leaving them only 38 minutes to fix the problem. The fault has left it so that the forward section of the Jumper has gone through the puddle of the Gate while the back cargo area is still stuck.
Through flashbacks it’s revealed that the team were on a trip back to the site of the Wraith base they attacked, only to find it missing and replaced with a giant crater. While exploring the area the team come under attack from Wraith still on the planet leading to a firefight. As the team fall back Sheppard runs into a web of some kind where the bug attacks and lodges itself in his neck. After the others rescue Sheppard they make it to the Jumper which takes damage from Wraith fire as they make for orbit, leading to their current situation.
Both on the Jumper and Atlantis try to figure out a way to get the rest of the Jumper through the Gate or at least maintain a viable atmosphere if the Gate closes while a team under Beckett try to work out a way to get the bug off of Sheppard without also killing Sheppard, with previous attempts by Ford resulting in it hurting Sheppard to heal itself similar to the Wraith. These attempts however are continuously held back by Dr Kavanagh, an even more egotistical scientist than Rodney, who routinely calls for the rescue mission to be called off due to slim chances of risk to the base. He later goes straight to Weir after she bollocks him in front of the team to complain about his treatment while the others are still at risk.
While the others hit dead ends a Czech scientist, Dr Zelenka, manages to find the best way to interact with the engines and control systems from the cargo space, greatly increasing Rodney’s chances of saving the team. The situation takes a turn for the worst however when Rodney accidently fires the engines for a fraction of a second while distracted by Sheppard’s screams, breaking any seal the cargo hold could’ve maintained. With Sheppard’s condition not likely to get any better they try a last ditch attempt of using the on-board defibrillator to stop his heart to hopefully cause the bug to give up before then using it to revive him. When they can’t start his heart again they push him through the Gate so that he can be better treated on Atlantis once they clear the Jumper.
After Sheppard is removed Rodney continues work on the drivepod and successfully retracts it but the lack of movement means they’re still stuck in place. Instead they decide to pull open the rear hatch, venting the compartment and hopefully causing enough of a push to send them through. This works, just as the bug begins to revive itself which is also pulled out of the Jumper along with most of the equipment. Back on Atlantis both Ford and Sheppard receive medical attention and both make a full recovery thanks to Beckett.
Thirty-Eight Minutes is the episode that sets out what will become the show’s standard set of events. Here we see then take the format of the SG-1 episode 48 Hours involving a member of the team trapped in a situation involving a Stargate counting down and change it slightly to instead feature those stuck trying to fix the problem rather than be stuck completely like Teal’c was.
The mainstay of the episode features this race against time for the team, with FART stuck in the back end of a Jumper trying to get it to budge, while also dealing with a parasitical bug slowing eating away at Sheppard’s neck. Meanwhile on Atlantis the base is divided as while many are busy helping one particular scientist is focused on being a knob to the point of being more egotistical than Rodney. Over the course of the episode, which quite happily lasts the exact amount of time as the countdown to the Gate closing, the team are able to get rid of the bug by doing its job for it in killing Sheppard temporarily and then are able to push the Jumper through the Gate after venting the entire compartment at the last possible moment.
Despite the similarities to the episode of its mother show here they do put a surprising amount of effort into adding lots of backstory for the fans to digest. One of the main ones of course is basically revealing the origin of the Wraith in the form of small bugs that also fed off of the life of other creatures stupid enough to walk into their webs but have since evolved. This is remarkably similar in ways to the Goa’uld, who also evolved from their water-dwelling state to be able to take over Unas hosts and then eventually form an interstellar empire. Outside of this the episode also introduces a couple more of the recurring members of the Expedition, in the form of helpful Czech scientist Zelenka with a penchant for making fourth wall breaking Czech rants and Kavanagh who the less said of the better. One of these will become a beloved recurring character and the other will leave the show at the end of the season, I’ll let you guess which is which.
Overall the episode is a standard Atlantis affair with a root from SG-1 but with its own HD twist added, that goes to some length to quickly widen the show’s mythos at a much faster pace than SG-1 did.
· Weir brought through a lot of different clothes it seems.
· Kavanagh really is just a complete cunt. And worst of all, he has a ponytail.
Quote of the episode: “Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be a foot and a half over there taking some readings. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.” – Rodney