Here we are with the last 5 weeks of this over a year long affair now and today the team recruit a new leader and then deal with an evil pot plant.
Search and Rescue
Sheppard awakens after a nightmare featuring Teyla and Ford to find himself trapped in the rubble of Michael’s hideout along with Ronon. Elsewhere in the wreckage Meredith and Lorne are also trapped in a small pocket of rubble, with Lorne trying to calm a panicking Meredith that help is on the way. One of Lorne’s team makes it to the Stargate and goes back to the city who send a rescue team consisting of medical personnel and combat engineers to dig out the four survivors.
In another part of the galaxy Michael’s ship receives an alert that the compound he’d been heading to was compromised and instead puts his ship on a new course towards it. At a makeshift internal lab Michael gets ready for the birth of Teyla’s child. Michael is however called away by Kanaan when they nearly reach the planet leaving the pair of Athosians alone. Teyla tries to use the opportunity to convince Kanaan to save her again but is once more unsuccessful.
On the planet pretty soon both Meredith and Lorne are rescued by the teams but are unable to reach the other two before Michael’s forces arrive so the Expedition crews are forced to fall back to Jumpers and wait until the Daedalus arrives to rescue both the others and themselves. In the debris field Sheppard and Ronon begin to hear digging above them. For a while the two believe them to be Expedition personnel but soon realise it’s Michael’s men come to capture them. Though they expect to die fighting the two are beamed out at the last minute by the Daedalus which has arrived to support the Expedition operation.
With the help of the Daedalus Michael’s hyperdrive is disabled, preventing him from escaping with Teyla again, but the human vessel is also heavily damaged while beaming up Sheppard and Ronon. Now stranded and with shields slowly failing the team decide on a daring raid of the cruiser to save Teyla. Using an F-302 attack on the cruiser’s weapons as a diversion FART use a cloaked Jumper to board the craft via its Wraith bay. Unfortunately when they reach Teyla not only is the woman in labour but the hyperdrive is almost fixed. As Sheppard and Ronon destroy the hyperdrive Meredith is forced to help Teyla give birth. As the now one larger group make their way back to the Jumper they find that someone’s nicked the thing, forcing them to find another way off. Bumping into Kanaan the hybrid helps them to a spare Dart which Sheppard then pilots with them in the hold and the baby in his lap to safety.
Back on Atlantis Teyla sets about recovering and raising her new son Torren while Carter is called back to Earth, only to find she’s being stripped of command and Woolsey put in her place by the IOA.
So there’s the final part of the Teyla gives birth arc and what an anti-climax that was. This is an episode that really does feel set up to clear up shop as it were regarding Teyla’s pregnancy and get Carter out of the picture in one last mission where she actually leads for a change.
The story doesn’t really stick around that much, very quickly dealing with the “will they survive” cliffhanger from the last season by just going “yes” and then beaming them aboard the Daedalus. Instead a strangely boring ship to ship battle takes up the mainstay of the episode as the Daedalus and Michael’s ship just throw the odd missile or blast at each other with the briefest moment of tension or action thrown in. Eventually the main narrative thrust of the episode is revealed to be taking place on board Michael’s cruiser when the team sneak aboard and help give birth to Teyla’s child. It’s this birth, the emotional heart of the episode, that sadly wraps up a half season’s worth of storyline that in the end was hardly worth the price of admission.
Michael was a problem that the show created long ago but never really seemed to know what to do with him as a result. At first they seemed to have his arc end in a similar way to how Todd would end up, a Wraith ally of sorts, with a redemptive arc at the end of season 2. Instead in season 3 they made him evil again and then made him Teyla’s weird stalker obsessed with her womb. In The Last Man we see a Michael who could be an actual threat emerge for all of 5 seconds. Instead he’s too much of a joke because his plans make no sense and instead obsesses over this woman who smiled his way once. It’s a good job this is one of his final appearances as it was hard to see how the character could become even more tacky.
And finally there’s Carter who has just gotten a P45. It’s sad to see her go not because she’ll be missed but because it was a season of head scratching trying to work out why she was there exactly. Weir didn’t appear all the time but her diplomatic expertise gave her a unique position on the Expedition. Carter, without being the only science person due to Meredith and Zelenka, found herself placed as just another USAF person and really deserved better than that. Even in her final episode they couldn’t even give her much to do outside saying “dig here” and then going off somewhere. What a waste.
Search and Rescue, an episode trying to search for a road to take the show on and rescue it from the mess it was in.
· Wait so they can’t beam through shields all of a sudden?
· How much is Nintendo paying the Expedition?
Quote of the episode: “I am great with kids! The little ones that don’t talk back.” – Meredith
Keller is working in the infirmary on trying to save Beckett still when Teyla walks in with her child, trying to keep him asleep by moving around. Keller however soon falls asleep at her desk only to awaken later with a weird goo like substance on her hand but thinks little of it. Elsewhere Woolsey arrives via Daedalus to take command of the Expedition but isn’t that well-suited to grand speeches and instead gets straight to the minutia of reports and status updates. The next day the senior staff try to get used to Woolsey’s more by the book method of command of minuted meetings and cost-benefit mission objectives. Woolsey’s method does however push Keller into finally testing a serum she’s found that may help Beckett but had been too worried about potential side-effects. Upon his release and injection with the serum Beckett seems 100% though Keller seems more tired than usual and goes to rest.
The next morning Teyla finds herself unable to contact Keller in her room and gets Meredith to unlock the room only for the pair and Beckett to find her non-responsive and a strange plant growing from her. The room is soon isolated and Beckett attempts to work out how to help Keller, having seen plant before in one of Michael’s lab. They soon find that any attempt to cut away the plant causes Keller to crash as well which prevents an easy way to cut her out. Beckett decides to lead efforts to save Keller despite Woolsey’s worries regarding his health and that he was meant to go back to Earth for medical care. Using the small sample he was able to source Beckett finds that it was kept at the base that self-destructed and that anyone from the Expedition who was present there was exposed, leading to all exposed members being quarantined. While no one else has been affected they find that the plant spreading from Keller has already breached the walls and floor and is slowly eating the surrounding tower and is feeding off of an energy conduit. When Zelenka goes to get a more accurate reading the plant attempts to ensnare him too but he’s saved by Teyla at the last moment.
Meanwhile Beckett comes up with a “phage” which he hopes will free Keller and thereby kill the pathogen that eventually becomes the plant. Needing to test it before risking a run at Keller Sheppard volunteers as a test subject. Despite some violent reactions to it he’s successfully treated and free of the pathogen. Given its working they decide to try and use it on Keller, with Ronon volunteering given his infected nature (hopefully masking him) and ability to get through the blockages in the way. Eventually though he’s forced to shoot his way through and is quickly overpowered by the plant. Instead Sheppard decides to use a Jumper as a battering ram and force his way into the tower where Keller is and successfully delivers the injection though is stabbed by a tendril in the process.
Sheppard is left to recover in the infirmary where Beckett, Keller, and Woolsey come to visit him and make sure he’s doing well. Woolsey thanks Beckett for his work despite the risks and has a slight crisis of faith with Sheppard in that he broke all the rules but was let off without any form of reprimand.
As far as The Seed goes it’s a fairly slow episode and the threat isn’t all that threatening but that’s fine as it serves more as a slow introduction into the show’s third commander in as many years. Woolsey finally begins to get the attention he’s really deserved since introduction all the way back in SG-1 season 7. It’s hard to think that an originally cameo appearance to fill time has become such a central character but my god what a great civilian character on the show. His journey has been so good to watch as he went from cold bean counter to a man who was willing to bend the rules to stop bad people from abusing them to now slowly realising that it’s the spirit of these rules that matter more than always sticking to them.
In this episode Woolsey goes through this latter stage quite openly plays out painfully for him as he has to make quick decision that go against all his experience and thinking that he’s had for decades, beginning with having Beckett on staff and ending with human testing of drugs and crash tests, but it’s not even that breaking of the rules that breaks him but rather that he faces zero consequences of said rule-breaking, thereby showing him that this system he’s believed in for so long doesn’t work the way he’d always hoped and that the ends can justify the means. It’s quite brutal to watch so early on but given where he needs to go it definitely feels needed and appropriate.
On the opposite end however you have Keller and god they really don’t know what to do with her. How an episode of her saving Beckett turned into Keller lying in a bed offscreen for practically the whole affair I have no idea but that’s what happened. Keller is such a poorly used character on the show it’s laughable and sadly never gets out of the “damsel in distress” cliché of characters. But that’s The Seed, an episode that does well with establishing some characters but doing nothing with others.
· Keller has a thing for Meredith now I see.
· Meredith really hates Zelenka at times it seems.
· This was probably the easiest paycheque Staite’s ever earnt.
Quote of the episode: “The truth, that in my first three days as commander I violated at least half a dozen basic security protocols.”
“That many, huh?”
“I let Beckett run the investigation in spite of his condition and the fact that he’s technically no longer a member of this expedition.
“I sent Ronon to deliver the antidote even though he was infected. I compromised the safety of this base to rescue someone who may well have been beyond our help anyway.”
“But she wasn’t and we got her out, and if you had played by the rules she’d be dead right now.”
“The IOA would seem to agree with you. Apparently they’re willing to let the matter drop.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“The rules are there for a reason Colonel. If I can’t trust them, then I’m not sure I can do this job.” – Woolsey and Sheppard