Today we have the death of a beloved character and then a boring trip to the bottom of the sea.
Teyla is walking through the halls talking to one of her colleagues about the new relaxation policy. As they talk she realises she’s left a bag behind and turns to go get it only for the hallway she was in to go up in an explosion which she’s caught in.
The episode cuts back to three hours earlier with Weir finding herself the target of scientist Mike Branton’s affections when she’s invited to lunch. After his insistence she plans to join him for lunch. Despite her claims it’s not a date the “not date” goes well between the two, eventually ending up on one of the city’s piers where Branton kisses her. Weir however decides to avoid any pursuit of romance due to her responsibilities as leader of the base. Moments later she’s called back to the control tower regarding the explosion involving Teyla.
Elsewhere before the explosion Sheppard and Ronon were playing golf off another of the piers, with Sheppard annoyed at how much of a natural Ronon is. They’re joined by Dr Watson who also has an interest in the sport. The three of them however are soon joined by Beckett who’s looking for people to join the fishing trip but they all decline, with Watson complaining of head pains. Soon however Ronon tires of the driving range and takes Sheppard to the gym for a Satedan sparring game. Sheppard however soon tires of getting his arse kicked and takes Ronon for some proper day off experiences, sitting in his room eating crap and listening to music. The two end up talking about those they used to have as life partners. Soon however the discussion is ended when the explosion goes off.
The team converges on the explosion site finding Zelenka who’s already studying the explosion and what happened. According to the scientist the woman Teyla had been talking with at the start of the episode suddenly exploded but they’ve ruled out a suicide bombing.
We cut back further to 14 hours earlier where Meredith is chewing out Teyla’s friend and Dr Watson for fiddling with something they found in one of the labs without knowing what it was. After chewing them out Meredith however finds out it’s the “rest day” and his scheduled fishing trip with Beckett that he really wasn’t looking forward to. Instead he visits Dr Brown, the woman he has a thing for, in her botany lab and asks her to lunch in part as a way to get away from Beckett’s fishing trip. Beckett is understandably disappointed but accepts the decision though Meredith soon screws up with Brown to some degree as well. His screw up with an accidental proposal is interrupted when the first explosion happens.
Meredith and the others soon find themselves in the lab where he works out that the device the two scientists stupidly turned out creates explosive tumours inside the body as a failed weapons experiment. Unfortunately for them it turns out that Beckett is currently operating on Watson.
Cutting back to Beckett’s day the lone Scot tries to find someone to fill Meredith’s space on the fishing trip but is unable to. Instead he decides to give the fill-in medic Dr Cole the day off instead and keep an eye on the infirmary for her. While dealing with the small issues from sports and recreation the first explosion goes off once more. Beckett is in the infirmary caring for the injured when Watson comes in with serious injuries. During the surgery they find out that Watson has the tumour but Beckett instead decides to cut it out. Beckett successfully does so and transports it to the waiting EOD unit rather than waiting for them to get to the infirmary. Shortly after leaving it with the EDO unit however it goes off, killing Beckett and the EOD operator.
After the death of Beckett Meredith is cleaning up his final belongings from his room, soon joined by Ronon who wants to check on him. Meredith blames himself for Beckett’s death, knowing that his selfishness caused his friend’s death. Elsewhere Teyla goes AWOL from the infirmary with Sheppard’s help to be there for Beckett’s memorial service. At the service in the control tower Weir delivers sombre words about Beckett’s character before he’s transported through the Gate back to Earth. Sometime later Meredith stands on one of the city’s piers and is joined by a hallucination of Beckett who comforts him.
For an episode that involves the death of a beloved character it’s a shame it doesn’t really pay much attention to him for much of it. Maybe it was a deliberate way to hide what was going to happen to Beckett in the course of the episode but the multiple stories all tying together are a bit hit and miss.
First let’s talk about that strange Weir romance storyline they inserted into the episode. While Weir did have a boyfriend in the background of the first season this sudden introduction of a handsome scientist who won’t take no for an answer feels a very jarring and strange development. The Simon subplot from seasons 1 and 2 felt like a really well done development of Weir choosing her career over her romantic life so why they’re repeating it so suddenly I don’t really quite get. It also doesn’t help that at least to begin with her date comes off as a bit of a douche. The entire plot lasts about a sixth of the episode with Weir not making any emotional changes along with starting and ending the same place character-wise.
Outside of this the episode also continues the Sheppard Ronon bromance with the two continuing to spend their days competing with each other. While it doesn’t alter their relationship with each other the small sequence of games does add new details such as Sheppard’s previous marriage which comes up in later episodes while it attempted to start the later aborted Sheppard-Teyla romance that later got retconned into Teyla always being in an offscreen relationship with an Athosian.
We then get onto Beckett and it really is a sad state of affairs he goes out in, with everyone too busy to spend time with him and he stuck in the infirmary while everyone else has fun because Meredith decided to screw him over. Obviously this all builds toward the feeling of duty and self-sacrifice the character has that crescendos with his death, ending up saving the lives of everyone in the infirmary who’d have died if he hadn’t removed the tumour when he did. It’s just a shame however that the character itself doesn’t get a break at any point before or during the events. Beckett along with Zelenka and Lorne are a trio of characters that have been almost criminally underutilised so far on the show, with Beckett’s appearances nearly always having him as the lacky to Meredith’s issues. Beckett in the end does have his moment of triumph, just sad it had to go through all this first.
Talking of Meredith the character does somewhat steal attention in the episode and somewhat awkwardly detract from Beckett’s sacrifice given that the episode still puts the focus on him in the epilogue of the thing. Yes the character does have to face up to the fact he caused the problems that killed people in the first place but it feels like a bit of a diversion from what was meant to be Beckett’s death. This is an episode that probably should’ve ended with the funeral.
In the end the episode gives Beckett the heroic way out he deserves as a character in an episode that sadly takes away from that with poor plotting and cutaways to others that detract from the emotional tone they could’ve had.
· Lorne is such a wasted character.
· I’m surprised the Expedition haven’t gotten themselves killed by now.
Quote of the episode: “It looks done to me.”
“That is why I am the painter and you a doctor.”
“Very good point.” – Beckett and Lorne
An Atlantis Expedition team are piled in a Jumper exploring for an Ancient drilling platform they’ve found in the database. The hope is that if it can tap into the geothermal power sources below the ocean it can be used to indefinitely power the city without the need for ZPMs. Meredith as per usual causes problems when accidently reveals that a scientist was only hired because he thought he had the name of Nightwing. Eventually the Jumper finds the platform, unknowingly waking a Wraith Queen that was in hibernation nearby.
As the team begin fanning out across the facility Teyla senses the Wraith presence causing a withdrawal to the control room of the facility. While the resulting scan doesn’t bring up any anomalous readings they allow Teyla to attempt to connect with whatever she’s sensing t reveal its position but she also doesn’t seem to find anything. Later in the hallways however Teyla begins to act strangely with Ronon before knocking him out entirely, revealing that she’s been possessed by the Wraith Queen. The controlled Teyla soon begins fiddling with one of the nearby terminals, shutting down power in several areas of the facility as well as starting up forcefields within some of the corridors, before destroying the terminal. By the time others find her the Queen has let Teyla go for unknown reasons. Pretty soon it becomes clear however when the Queen begins hunting the trapped scientists in sections of the facility cut off.
While the team tries to sort out what to do Teyla talks with Weir. While the former feels guilt at her actions and what they’ve caused Weir believes that the Queen could’ve done more damage if Teyla hadn’t made them aware of her presence on the facility. Weir however vetoes Teyla’s wish to try again with the mind connection. Eventually Zelenka and Meredith are able to down the forceshields allowing access to the Jumper bay and other areas cut off but find they’re too late to save the two scientists and Sheppard soon finds himself cornered by the Queen who attempts to control him into flying the Jumper back to the city. Ronon arrives and attempts to kill the Queen but misses, instead causing the Jumper bay to flood when he breaks the windshield thereby saving their lives when the water separates them. The two of them however find the Queen nearby and take her captive.
Taking the queen back to the control area they tie her to a table and attempt to interrogate her but get few answers. Instead team science come back with nearby scans that find a Wraith Cruiser just over the ridge. The team decide to allow Teyla to attempt connecting with the Queen again, this time successfully finding out what the Queen’s plan was. It turns out the Queen set the Cruiser’s self-destruct before leaving it that will detonate soon unless they disable it, likely taking the planet with it due to the weak planetary crust. Using a pair of deep-dive suits left behind by the Ancients Sheppard and Meredith make the long walk across the chasm to the Cruiser. Lacking the self-destruct code Teyla attempts to connect with the Queen again but fails. Weir orders her to stop but then leaves the room, Ronon soon following which leaves Teyla alone in the room.
Teyla soon defies orders and connects with the Queen again who immediately takes control of the Athosian and has her release her before reading one of her memories of the team planning to get the Cruiser airworthy. The Queen heads back across and deactivates the self-destruct before attempting to kill Sheppard only for both team members to open fire and kill her. It turns out the memory extracted from Teyla was false and deliberately done to get the Queen to deal with the self-destruct. Free of the Wraith the team settle in for the long haul in exploring the facility.
For the second Atlantis recap in a row we have an incredibly boring episode to watch. Well that’s not strictly true but it’s more than this is an episode that stuck together two episodes we’ve already seen before, one of which was very boring and dull.
The first of these two reminders is the season one episode The Defiant One and this episode feels very much like that but instead of desert it’s now underwater. Both involve a lone surviving Wraith from the attacks on the city in the Ancient-Wraith War surviving crash-landings in their Cruisers and now hunting the Expedition who come after them. In both cases as well the Wraith ends up feeding on two extras who are scientists to regain their powers and thereby become nigh unstoppable. The only real difference here of course is that the P90s work as it used up it’s energy not dying from the underwater pressure.
The second reminder is from a few episodes but namely The Siege, Part 3 at the start of season 2 where Teyla begins to try and connect with the Wraith several times. In that episode in particular she also first does the plan here where she sends the Wraith false data that turns the tide of the episode.
Outside of these inspirations the episode still doesn’t do a good job by once again having the team make stupid decision time and time again. Splitting up unnecessarily to begin with leading to people getting killed or nearly dying is starting to get annoying with this show and today they did it multiple times. While the final time was a deliberate ploy it’s still after the times the scientists are killed, Teyla is possessed, and Sheppard is almost controlled as well.
This is an episode that should’ve stayed on the cutting room floor.
· I know they’re not human but under that pressure? C’mon.
Quote of the episode: “Okay kids, do I have to pull this thing over? It’s hard enough being in this damn thing for hours without listening to you guys.” - Sheppard