Today we say goodbye to two sidecharacters, one great and one godawful, and Meredith finally realises the value of his friends.
The team are preparing to head out to confirm rumours of a “town hero” at a village the Athosians trade at. While Teyla trusts the source of information she along with the others are somewhat unbelieving of the reports. Upon arrival they find that the hero is sadly a man we’ve all met before,
Dr Gary Meyers Lucius Leven. After listening to him once again regaling a bunch of people with his fictitious exploits the team question him regarding his new found heroism, with it turning out he beat up a bunch of low-life thugs while wearing an Ancient shield he nicked from Atlantis that blocks all punishment. Given the relative lack of harm in Lucius’ shenanigans the team decide to call it quits and leave, only to be caught in the middle of a raid by a group of armed thugs. When the thugs threaten a woman Lucius arrives conveniently to save the day and once again earn the village’s respect. It turns out however the whole thing was too convenient as it’d been staged by Lucius.
The team, having followed Lucius to pay the stooges their fee (which he’s cut), try to inform the town of this only for them to side with Lucius, instead seeing the whole thing as a jealous lie. Unfortunately the “stooges” soon return and take over the town for real, really being exiled Genii special forces under disgraced Commander Kolya. Lucius agrees to hate the team and confronts Kolya only for the Commander to use drowning as a way of getting the information out of him. The team attempt to rescue Lucius while in the pub under guard only for it to be a trap and all are captured apart from Sheppard. With Sheppard and Lucius now outside the town the rest of the team attempt to convince the townspeople to let them out only for them to maintain that ol’ Lucius will come rescue them. Kolya soon talks to the captured team revealing that he’s still deadset on taking over the Genii and intends to trade the team for just enough P90s to arm his men.
Outside Sheppard makes it to the Stargate to find it guarded by Kolya’s men and is soon contacted by the man himself, telling him to come back to the city or else his team will be killed. With Lucius in tow Sheppard makes his way back to the town to save the team. Lucius goes ahead to get the townspeople to help only for them to realise they might not need him in the future to save them. Sheppard proceeds to confront the Commander in the town only for the Genii to open fire, revealing that he took Lucius’ shield for himself. Sadly though the shield finally runs out of energy at the moment the firing stops but thankfully Sheppard isn’t gunned down as the rest of the town comes to help. Refusing to surrender Kolya and Sheppard have a showdown with Sheppard being the quicker on the draw, finally ending the Commander for good.
In the aftermath the team give back the now useless shield to Lucius without telling him that fact and quickly leave. Lucius proceeds to immediately perform a feat of strength, having a child kick him between the legs as hard as he can.
Irresponsible on its own is a pretty good episode. It’s funny with a lovable goofy side character and an enemy who has his moments but is eventually overcome by the team and it manages to balance the humour with the more serious moments. The fatal problem however is that this isn’t a standalone episode but contains the worst side character ever created and also features the send off of a recurring villain who just deserved a better send off.
Let’s start off with Lucius and it’s sad to see him again, not because he’s bad in this episode but because this is the sort of character they should’ve done before making him a rapist. In this episode Lucius is a lovable guy who’s just taken advantage of the situation and isn’t really harming anyone as a result. Sure he’s bettered his position through deception via the shield but he didn’t force anyone to do anything like previously via mind control which is a definite boon. Shame the episode had to go towards ruining that somewhat by having his raping of women as a punchline to his Wraith joke as though they chose to be his wives and weren’t his victims. Also we finally see him get a comeuppance if only in the form of a kid kicking him in the crotch but it’s still better than last time’s “oh I’m sure he’ll get a divorce ho ho ho”.
On the other side we have the final appearance of Kolya, the former Genii Commander. This is a character who’d been given a very long and planned out arc that saw him go from the famed leader of a special operations force to slowly falling into exile and then using torture by Wraith as a last desperate attempt to get what he feels he should have. This should’ve been the conclusion, an episode where he was the centre of attention in the plot and in a serious manner. Instead he’s finally killed in a rather quick scene in an episode that is largely humorous and playing second-fiddle to Lucius Leven of all people. It seems quite insulting to the character to treat him as a one-off opponent in his last appearance and the epilogue doesn’t even mention his defeat, only talking about Lucius once again.
As said in the opening however as a standalone this episode would’ve been pretty damn strong. It has a lot of humour with a bumbling fool trying to make himself out to be a hero despite his cowardly self and eventually comes through with the help of the town as a whole, said town realising that eventually it’ll have to stand up for itself when times are tough rather than relying on an outsider, and has the team forced to face defeat to do the right thing. Shame it had the bad fortune as the “bring out your dead plotlines” episode.
· Do the Genii solely recruit psychos?
· I see this has suddenly become a Western.
Quote of the episode: “What if I swung from a clock tower on a long rope right into town.”
“I don’t know, that’s all I have. I could set myself on fire.”
“I like that.” – Lucius and Sheppard
Tao of Meredith
A science team that includes Meredith and Zelenka are once again exploring the formerly flooded areas of the city, with the two science heads mocking each other along the way. Inside a locked room they find a working terminal which Meredith decides to activate causing it to do something to him before it suddenly blows in his face leaving them without any idea what it did to him.
Pretty soon however Meredith begins to notice changes such as hearing his team mates chatting about his habit of stuffing his face from across the very large mess hall. Before they can talk anymore the team are quickly deployed on a rescue mission when Lorne’s team comes under fire. Upon return we find out that no one was even hurt as Meredith simply “thought” for the enemy guns to simply jam and they did. When no one believes him he levitates Beckett proving his funky new powers. Meredith quickly grows to love the new powers and abilities he has though some of the others aren’t so sure.
Elsewhere Meredith is finally let out of the infirmary with Ronon as his guardian, with the two of them finding that Meredith can now read minds which leads to a one-sided conversation with Weir when he decides he wants to reconfigure the city’s energy system with the Control Chair. While this initially goes well things start to go badly when Meredith is forced to reflect on his mortality as they realise the machine is a deliberate attempt to help people reach the physical point of ascension, meaning Meredith will die if he doesn’t reach enlightenment soon, causing him to ignore the in-progress energy grid changes which ends up fatally injuring Zelenka as he’s zapped in an overcharging hallway. Meredith however is thankfully able to use his Ancient healing powers to save the man’s life.
In the aftermath of this Meredith quickly isolates himself as his first attempts at forcing the needed state via meditation fail as he can’t help but worry himself, instead trying to impart what knowledge he’s learnt since the upgrades onto computers and whiteboards for the benefit of the team. Meredith also decides to begin “cleaning the slate” with his friends, apologising to Zelenka for his treatment of the man, taking the time out of his day to help Teyla carry out a ceremony of hers, heals Ronon’s scars caused from the Wraith and days as a Runner, prepares a book to help protect Weir from further IOA attacks, donates his body to Beckett for scientific gain, and asks Sheppard to read a eulogy at his funeral. During a less attempt at meditation however Meredith collapses and is taken back to the infirmary.
In his final moments Meredith finally reaches the mental state needed to ascend but suddenly wakes and grabs Beckett before collapsing again. It turns out he’d placed the way to save him into Beckett’s mind which involved recalibrating the machine that caused the problems so that the end goal is Meredith’s original state, obtained via long term blood samples to study trends of staying on Atlantis. While the others are glad Meredith’s ok he himself is annoyed as he can’t remember what any of his scientific breakthroughs mean. Weir comes by to reveal that he had momentarily been able to ascend before he saved himself but he ends up being more interested in the admission of “love” in his final moments and proceeds to tease her before inviting her for lunch, suggesting that maybe they should let Sheppard use the machine to see what happens.
So here we have another Meredith specific episode and it’s another great little piece that really adds to the character and his personality. Even with the adventure with his other self and his sister Meredith was still rather full of himself for much of it while here the show becomes rather about him realising what others meant to him.
The character ends up going through three distinct stages within the episode itself. The first is his usual rather egotistical self. To begin with he only cares with how he benefits from the changes the machine gave unto him and how he can use them to his advantage. The second stage however begins to see him care for others to a lesser extent as he realises his plight, using his genius and intellect to try and pass on as much as he possibly can for others to learn from but with the distinct fact remaining that it’s all because of him that it happens. The most interesting however is the third stage where he becomes completely selfless in his actions, choosing to simply do small tasks for others that end up meaning a lot to his friends as he realises just how much he’ll miss them when he’s gone. It’s a farcry from the Meredith we first met at the start of the show and previously on SG-1 who’d never do something so trivial as a “rea ceremony” but now does it for a friend simply because he wants them to feel better and spend more time with them.
It’s obvious the stages are meant to reflect the process of ascension and how one makes their way to being worthy of moving to the higher planes but I like how in comparison to the very philosophical version done in SG-1, where Daniel goes through introspection under Oma’s guidance at the end of season 5, here we instead see it done in a more outward looking way with his actions during the final stages being what counts rather than something he’d done long before he was even put in that position. Also I feel it’s more earned as a reward for Meredith as he has to do the process alone and unaided while Daniel was basically tutored by an ascended being on how to beat the system as it were.
In the end however Meredith avoids ascension due to figuring out how to save himself and this is clearly the better move for the character, especially as he doesn’t become some kind of man reborn but is instead his usual self again almost immediately but is also more wise and considerate of others, one of his first actions to be to tease Weir regarding her words to him as he died but then inviting her to lunch.
Overall Tao is yet another great character focused episode that significantly expands Meredith as a character and moves him from being the egotist we knew to someone who becomes a much more well-rounded person.
· You’d have thought after nearly 60 wacky adventures they’d realise that just pressing stuff never works out for them.
Quote of the episode: “You know, we could be a team. You could be my sidekick.
“Yeah it’d be like, “Batman and Ronon.” Has a nice ring to it.”
“Yeah, you keep eating like that and it’s going to be more like “Fatman.”” – Meredith and Ronon