Monday, September 5, 2011

SGA Rewatch: The Siege Part 1

Welcome to the last week of season one for my Stargate Atlantis rewatch. Today we kick things off with "The Siege Part 1." Spoileriffic times ahead!

What Happened

The Wraith armada is still on its way to Atlantis and the city is bustling with preparations for the attack, both to defend against and flee from the enemy. Thanks to Teyla's adventures in psychically hacking the Wraith, our adventurers have learned that the Wraith will pass directly by the Lagrangian Point Satellite that Sheppard and Rodney investigated back in "The Defiant One." They have just enough time to get to the station and hopefully fix it, then skedaddle before the Wraith pass by.

Rodney and Zelenka are pretty sure that the only thing wrong with the satellite is that it is out of power. The good news is that unlike Atlantis, it wasn't designed to be powered by ZPMs, so they should be able to hook it up to a naquadah generator and get it up and running again. In theory, at least. There is a nice moment between Rodney and Zelenka wherein the latter tries to suggest that he should be the one to go to the satellite, just in case something happens. Rodney would be hard to replace in the city. Of course, Rodney says he is invaluable everywhere, and everything will be fine and he is going. He tells Zelenka to take care of the city for him and they shake hands before parting ways.

Of course, as of last week, the Lanteans are in need of another Alpha site (again), so Sheppard, Bates, and Elizabeth are busy going through a list of candidates, trying to find something workable. They settle on one to check out and Sheppard heads out to get his team together. Bates pulls him aside and asks if he is planning to take Teyla, newly released back to active duty by Carson, on the mission. Sheppard responds that of course he is, and Bates tries to talk him out of it, stating that they still don't know how Teyla's ability works and if the Wraith can connect into her now that they know the connection is possible. Sheppard tells him to drop it and that Teyla is going, end of story.

In Rodney's absence, it falls to Zelenka to set up the city's self-destruct plan to ensure that the Wraith cannot seize the city should evacuation become a reality. He shows Elizabeth a simulation of how the city would be destroyed and then declares that it is not enough. The Wraith don't have intergalactic capability (thank goodness), but they are resourceful buggers. They could easily salvage enough of the city's star drive (remember, it is actually a ship) to reverse-engineer their own drives capable of reaching Earth. Or worse, they might be able to recover enough of the Ancient database to figure out what they need to do to upgrade their ships. Elizabeth asks if the database can be deleted entirely, and he believes it is possible. He can probably even add the protocol to the self-destruct program.

Meanwhile, Sheppard, Ford, and Teyla return from the potential Alpha site, coming in hot. An enraged Bates runs into the gate room and starts calling Sheppard down for taking Teyla with him, claiming he won't let Sheppard's personal feelings continue to compromise the safety of the expedition. Teyla is affronted, wanting to know what he is talking about and he tells her that obviously her presence alerted the Wraith to their location. Sheppard orders Bates to stand down, explaining they didn't run into Wraith at all, rather the planet turned out to be inhabited by creatures that were pretty much dinosaurs. An irate Bates storms out of the gate room, followed closely by an even angrier Teyla. She confronts him about his accusations, asking if he is aware of what a grave insult it is among her people to be accused of helping the Wraith. He replies that he is fully aware and she decks him. Sheppard and Ford come along and break up the fight before they can really get into it, but both are unsatisfied and claim that it is not over. Sheppard tells Teyla to just stay away from Bates and to figure out how to keep her calm and ignore him.

Amidst all of this, the Athosians are being brought from the mainland back to the city in anticipation of evacuation. Learning of the plan to destroy Atlantis, Halling goes to see Elizabeth. He implores her to reconsider the self-destruct plan, explaining that the city is a sacred place. Elizabeth asks if he would rather see it in the hands of the Wraith. He responds that the Ancestors would never let it come to that, implying that he believes the Ancients will return in time to save them all from the Wraith. Elizabeth tells him that the Ancients have already made all of the plans they are going to make regarding the Wraith and that she will do whatever is necessary to keep the city out of their hands (and them out of her own galaxy).

Zelenka reports in to Elizabeth that he has been able to design a program to delete the Ancient database. She asks him how much of it they can copy to their own computers and take with them. He tells her they will be able to save maybe seven or eight percent of the database and she is floored. She does not want to delete all of this information, which is such a potential wealth of knowledge, and she has no idea how to choose what they will take with them. But they cannot let the Wraith have access to any of it. Zelenka gently reminds her that they are in a war, and in war there are sacrifices.

Sheppard and Ford are back to going through their list of visited planets trying to find a new new Alpha site when Sheppard is paged to one of the generator stations. Bates has been found unconscious and badly beaten. So badly beaten, in fact, that Carson had to put him into a medically induced coma to allow him to heal properly. Ford points out that Teyla and Bates did get into it pretty bad earlier and neither seemed willing to drop the matter. Sheppard doesn't for one second believe that Teyla would have gone so far, not even with Bates, but with no chance of finding out what happened from Bates, they go to visit Teyla to get her side of the story. Teyla assures them that she had no part in Bates' beating, and tells them she was in her room alone all night. It quickly becomes apparent that Ford doesn't so much think Teyla did it as that she might have been hijacked by a Wraith, and her body used for the crime. She tries to convince them that this was not the case, but Ford is not so sure.

At the Lagrangian Point satellite, Rodney and Grodin (accompanied by pilot Miller) have gotten the naquadah generator hooked up and restored most of the power to the station. Unfortunately, there seems to be some damage in the circuits that get power to the weapon itself. Rodney and Grodin are able to identify a potential fix for this, but it requires rerouting power from a panel outside the station--meaning a spacewalk. No one really wants to do this so they try to find a diplomatic way to choose who will go. There is an amusing little bit where they try (unsuccessfully) to play a three-person round of Rock Paper Scissors. When that doesn't work they break a pencil up and draw lots, with Rodney getting the short lot.

Back on Atlantis Carson has finished analyzing the DNA found on Bates and the good news is Teyla has been exonerated. The bad news is that it was a Wraith. They all try to figure out how the heck a Wraith got into the city undetected when Zelenka realizes that the pilot of the dart that attacked the city back in "The Brotherhood" must have beamed himself down before the ship self-destructed. Teyla realizes that it was also from this point that she started feeling the continual presence of the Wraith. Clearly the Wraith has been hiding in the city since then gathering intel and planning ways to sabotage their defense when the hive ships arrived. Zelenka expands the city's biometric sensors (they had only been focused on the gate room, in an effort to conserve power) and they quickly locate the Wraith and organize a few teams to hunt it down and capture it.

At the satellite, Rodney has managed to reroute the power to allow the weapon to fire. He and Miller take the jumper back to the station's docking bay to retrieve Grodin, who stayed inside to help walk Rodney through the process. Unfortunately, their tinkering managed to divert all power away from the docking station and airlock, leaving Grodin stuck in the station. Rodney wants to go reroute the power again, get Grodin out, then reroute it once more so they can get out of there. Grodin insists that there isn't time, however, and tells Rodney and Miller to just go without him. They decide to take the jumper to a safe distance to observe the attack on the armada, cloaking the ship to do so. After it is done, they will be able to grab Grodin and return to Atlantis. Grodin tries to reassure them that all will be fine, optimistically pointing out that this way he can power down the station until the Wraith are too close to realize it is up and running again, that way catching them completely by surprise.

In the city, Sheppard and team manage to capture the Wraith and he goes to question him, naming him Bob. Sheppard wants to know what Bob has been up to, if he has sent any messages or succeeded in any of his sabotage attempts. Bob, of course, is not talking. Teyla volunteers to connect with Bob and see if she can get the information that way. Sheppard is reluctant but really needs to know, so he agrees. Teyla doesn't have much luck, though. Bob sends a psychic backlash to Teyla, provoking Sheppard to shoot him several times.

The Wraith armada comes out of hyperspace near the station and Grodin manages to power it up and get off a shot, destroying one of the three hive ships. He is unable to take a second shot, however. The circuits they rerouted could not handle all of the power of the weapon and overloaded, preventing it from being able to fire again. Rodney and Miller watch helplessly as the remaining hive ships destroy the satellite in retaliation, killing Grodin in the process. The loss of one of their hives does seem to give them some pause though, and they do not immediately resume their journey. Rodney reports back to Elizabeth and she orders their return to the city. She then announces over the city's PA that their attempt to stop the Wraith has failed and calls for the immediate evacuation of the city to begin.

Hearing this announcement, Bob gloats to Sheppard that the Wraith will not be stopped. They will take the city and then they will go to Earth. Sheppard kills Bob mid-gloat and a big fat "To Be Continued" appears on the screen.


Man, look at all of those plot threads from previous episodes fall into place! It is pretty impressive. I know I totally didn't catch about half of that the first time I watched this show. It's really nice to see how much cooler some of these episodes get with repeated viewings.

It is good to see Teyla and Sheppard once more sure of each other again. He doesn't for a second think she had anything to do with the attack on Bates, or that her ability to connect with the Wraith is a liability rather than an asset. He is clearly concerned about her overextending herself using her ability, but not that she endangers his people. That's nice. Ford on the other hand, is surprisingly willing to believe that Teyla's ability leaves her vulnerable to the Wraith. I had always seen Ford and Teyla as being pretty tight, and it is weird to realize how very wrong I was about that. I mean, he still cares for her, obviously. But it is also very clear that he doesn't really trust her anymore, not completely, in light of what they have learned of her ability.

Halling. Ah, Halling. Man, I don't remember him as being such a zealot, but I guess in this first season he really was. I know that does get toned down pretty much completely after this season. I don't know if the writers were trying to convey that he learned the folly of relying on the Ancients/Ancestors to save the galaxy or if it was just a case of they weren't sure of where they could go with that thread that was interesting, so they just dropped it (much like what they did with the Athosians in general). Hmm.

I love the dynamic between Rodney and Zelenka, as always. It is clear that he was originally supposed to be just a bit character, but by this point in the season it is also clear how integral he is to keeping the city going. In every major crisis, right from the beginning, he has been right there, helping to get things done. It's nice when a series can acknowledge that even a minor character is important in his own right and write with that in mind.

Bro hymn for Grodin, man. I would have loved to see him in the expedition's continuing adventures. I really liked him, but at least he went out fighting the good fight. I mean, dude took out a hive ship on his way out, that's pretty awesome.

Things are getting pretty dire now--though I wonder exactly where they are evacuating to. We never did see them settle on a new Alpha site, or even see Sheppard having time to choose one after they realized there was a Wraith in the city. Oh well. Minor lapse, I can forgive it this time.

Favorite Quotes

"You can't take it back because you've just admitted that I am smarter than you are!" (Rodney)
"I admitted no such thing!" (Zelenka)

"What the hell are you talking about? We ran into a...uh...what the hell was that?" (Sheppard)
"Looked an awful lot like a T-Rex sir." (Ford)

"This is bad. Very bad! I'm not sure I can fix this." (Rodney)
"You can fix anything." (Grodin)
"Who told you that?" (Rodney)
"You did, on several occasions." (Grodin)

And with that, we shall bid you farewell until Wednesday, where we will pick back up again with "The Siege Part 2."

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