I love this show. I’ve always liked it, but as I’ve grown more comfortable with the characters, and as the producers have grown more comfortable with the idea that they actually need to engage the audience, I’ve come to love it. I’m not blind to its failings: it still cranks out the occasional clunker, the last two weeks were rather poor. It has a vision, however, and isn’t it nice to be able to watch a show that actually gets a little bit better as it goes along, rather than the endless batches of shows that peak early, and waste everyone’s time while they take forever to bleed to death? (Cough: Cough: Galactica: Cough)
All that said, though, there’s a certain dash we’ve been missing since day one.
It’s back in spades tonight, baby!
PLAY BY PLAY
In the not terribly engaging subplot, Rush is achin’ for a Baltar with his hot ghost girlfriend who lives in the computer core. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and he uploads himself into the core via the Ancient Chair. This goes about as well as you’d expect, but then when he tries to leave the simulation (“I’ll call ya, baby, I promise”) he can’t get back out. He tries again, and it appears to work, but this turns out to be a simulation within the simulation, since his undead cyber-ghost girlfriend is…uhm….well, none of the answers are entirely apt, but ‘nuts’ takes less time to write, so let’s go with that one. Eventually he figures out that he’s still trapped inside his Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch* nightmare, but as nightmares go it’s not that bad, really: There’s plenty to eat and a hot chick who’ll let him see her naked and everything. Just the same, he blows up the ship in an attempt to end the simulation. Doesn’t work, it just resets and he’s back in bed.
Gin, meanwhile, manages to contact Eli, explaining the situation, and Eli basically wipes both the ghost girls from the mainframe, freeing Rush.
MEANWHILE, IN THE MUCH MORE INTERESTING AND BASICALLY COMPLETELY UNRELATED A-PLOT, the SGC is negotiating with the Langarans to use their planet’s Naquadria core and their stargate to contact Destiny. The Langarans balk at this, which Telford takes to mean they’ve already struck a deal with the Lucian Alliance to launch another attack on Destiny. Taking quick, laugh out loud hilarious, action Mr. Woolsey gates to the world to present a present to the administrator and his chief officer at the Lagaran facility. The presents are communication stones, of course, which result in the aliens changing bodies with Young and Scott, which, trust me, is a whole lot funnier than it sounds.
Scott and Young are now effectively in control of the Lagaran Stargate, and bring in McKay to get the dialing program running. This takes a while, and the locals are starting to get suspicious. Woolsey gets to snooping, and discovers that not only have they Lagarans *not* struck a deal with the Lucian Alliance, they have in fact remained quite steadfastly loyal to earth, and refused increasingly large bribes. An interplanetary incident is now fully underway. Telford decides to press ahead, the local authorities figure out what’s going on, troops come head to head, guns are drawn, threats are exchanged, and the big question is whether to go ahead with it or not.
“I realize that I’m just the special guest genius guy who’s job is just to stand here shouting out the obvious about the chevrons locking, but as long as I’m saying obvious things: This mission is already a failure. From here on it just gets worse.”
Young shuts the operation down, and the groveling begins.
Man, that was a lot of fun. The “Trapped in a dream within a dream” was really a bit too old hat before Trek got ahold of it, and man they burned a hole in the grand holodeck of clichés with it. There’s a nice element of Rush’s girlfriend being emotionally a bit whacky, but really not much new there.
The big news, of course, are the SGA characters Woolsey and McKay. Their interactions with each other and the rest of the SGU team were just bang-on perfect, and it’s nice to see them revisited after this long without it feeling like they’d really lost their ‘voice’ so to speak. McKay is a braying funny jackass as ever, Woolsey is…actually far better than he was in the final season of SGA, truth be told. I liked SGA, but you know I never really missed it until tonight.
Greer is not recovering from his surgery well. Infections, plural.
General O’Neil approved the “Let’s use the stones for a palace coup” stunt, though he doesn’t appear in the episode. This is in keeping with a running theme on this show: SG1 solutions don’t work for SGU problems. SGA itself is a sort of midpoint in this progression, in that they SG1ed their way out of a lot of problems, but, alas, this invariably led to far worse problems six or eight episodes later. Remember when the Replicators started killing humans to starve out the Wraith? Yeah, like that. This isn’t anywhere near that level of fubar, but it is a part of the grand tradition just the same.
Had Telford *not* decided to pull an SG1 on the Lagarans, everyone would have gotten what they wanted: The Lagarans would have reviewed McKay’s info, confirmed it in six months or so, and used it to dial Destiny. Because they did it this way, there’s no chance of the planet being used for that purpose, and earth now has to defend the planet in perpetuity, with no real benefit. Way to go, David!
Sheppard gets a name check.
Telford slips and mentions to McKay that he feels he’s in charge of the Destiny mission, or should be. He’s embarrassed by this, but clearly thinks he can do a better job than Young can. Interesting.
What can we infer about the current state of Atlantis and the team from this?
Well, last time we saw it, Atlantis was parked off the coast of San Francisco. McKay and Woolsey appear to be permanently stationed back on earth, but that doesn’t tell us too much, since obviously getting to earth from earth isn’t that hard. It seems unlikely that Woolsey is still in command of that operation, however. This feels more like his normal pre-Atlantean role. There was some talk about moving the city back to the Pegasus Galaxy in the end of SGA, but given that the defense chair on earth was destroyed, it seems unlikely they’d want to get rid of the one on Atlantis as well. So: Bottom line: We know nothing now that we didn’t know before. Except: Rodney openly leers at Lt. James in this episode. He’s always a sexist jerk, but given how much he loved Dr. Keller, it seems unlikely he’d pull something like that if they were still together. Nothing we’ll be likely to find out soon, if ever, but at least it’s nice to see Rhoda and Phyllis one last time before everyone starts singing at the end of this show, you know?
WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE
Depends how sharp you are: if you spot the ‘spy satellites’ line as a reference to questionable intel leading up to the 2nd Iraq War, then maybe not. But really this is a great ep, you really do need to watch it. It’s the best thing they’ve done this year. It’s got that certain dash, and if the series had kept a bit more of that all along, it certainly would have been coming back for a third year.