Sunday, November 20, 2011

Signing Off Until December

Well, folks, we've reached that time of November where I am in crunch-time with my Nano novel. I know that the little word count box over there on the side of the page says I'm almost to my goal, which is awesome. Problem is, I still have about four and a half chapters to get out in the next ten days to finish the actual story, which is way more important to me than hitting the word count.

I really really had hoped to start the third season of Stargate Atlantis this week, but we're going to hold off until December 5 to start that up. I apologize for the delay. I had crossed my fingers that I could still do the rewatch blogging during NaNoWriMo, but alas, those take up a lot of time. While normally I consider it time well spent, at the moment that's seven thousand words a week worth of time being taken away from my novel.

Normal posting will resume on Thursday December 1, so please stop back by then. Hopefully I will be doing a victory dance.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday, however you choose to spend it. See you on the other side, guys!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Allies

Oh wow, can you believe it? We're already up to the season two finale on the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch! Thanks for sticking with me on this journey, I hope you'll accompany me for the next three seasons as well.

Spoilers, as always, as we discuss today's episode, "Allies." Here we go.

What Happened

The episode opens up with a countdown clock, telling us that the arrival of the hive ship is expected at any moment. Preparations are well under way to protect the denizens of the planet. The Athosians have been moved to the city, the Daedalus is standing by just out of scanning range, ready to jump in should it be needed. The Orion is likewise standing by, though it is not quite as ready to join a fight. Rodney's working on that though. The city's cloak is up and all that's left to do is wait, and hold our breath that the wraith are just swinging by to check on things and see if the city really is gone.

The hive drops out of hyperspace and goes into a geosynchronous orbit. It then begins broadcasting an audio transmission, "We know you are there, we mean you no harm, please respond." When the transmission mentions Elizabeth by name, she knows it is Michael. Caldwell and Sheppard both argue against answering the transmission, worried that doing so will give away the city's exact location. Elizabeth looks a question at Teyla and she shakes her head, saying that trying to make mental contact with Michael would give their position away as well. Still, Elizabeth thinks there isn't much point in pretending they cannot hear the transmission. Rodney suggests opening a secure channel via the Daedalus, that way the wraith won't be able to pin down the city's location.

They get it set up and Elizabeth takes a video call from Michael. He tells them that ever since the wraith all woke prematurely from hibernation, they have more or less devolved into civil war. For the first time in their existence there are not enough humans in the galaxy to feed them all. Elizabeth points out that she doesn't really have a problem with that and asks what Michael wants from Atlantis. He says he wants the retrovirus. His faction of the wraith can use it on their enemies, eliminating them as a threat and turning them into an alternate food source in one fell swoop. In return, he sends them the codes that the wraith have been using to jam the Daedalus' beaming technology. The hive will allow the Lanteans to run tests on it to figure out how to break the jamming codes in exchange for the retrovirus. Michael tells Elizabeth to call back the ships she has lying in wait and talk it over, but warns her that if his hive is attacked, they will be sure to broadcast the existence of Atlantis to every wraith in the galaxy before they can be destroyed.

Caldwell brings the Daedalus back to the city, and John and Rodney come back as well, though they leave the Orion in Lorne's care to keep it hidden for the time being, just in case. Elizabeth, Sheppard, Caldwell, Carson, Rodney, Ronon, and Teyla get together for a powwow over the wraith's offer. Rodney goes through the information sent by Michael and is geeking out over it, very excited to have the chance to break the wraith jamming codes. Elizabeth asks if he can use it to beam something aboard Michael's ship and he says not without a few tries, which give the wraith plenty of time to broadcast Atlantis' secret. They talk over the offer and Sheppard is all for it, pointing out that this is pretty much exactly what they intended the retrovirus to be used for, minus the former wraith being eaten bit, but he's not really too upset about that. Their experiences with Michael in his human form have left a lot of them feeling that even human-form wraith are not entirely human. Teyla weighs in that she doesn't think they have a choice in complying, Michael will gladly tell all of the other wraith about Atlantis if they do not agree. Everyone looks at Ronon, surprised when he says he is fine with the plan. He tells them he has no problem helping wraith kill other wraith.

Sheppard catches up with Teyla after the meeting and remarks that she seems unhappy about the plan, even though she voiced no objections. She reiterates that she thinks they have no choice, but she has never been behind the whole "turn wraith into humans" scheme. He says he wants her to be okay with it, and she tells him as long as this is the extent of their plan, she is. But she isn't so sure that is all that they are up to--they are, after all, wraith.

The hive's queen and a delegation of wraith come to the city to negotiate the terms of the alliance. Everyone is kind of on tenterhooks as they arrive. Elizabeth and Sheppard sit down with the queen and start imposing conditions on her (only three wraith in the city at a time, they will be subject to searches, monitoring their hive ship for communications, etc.). The queen tells them that all she wants is the retrovirus. It is the key to ending the wraith civil war and bringing her hive into dominance. She will accept any conditions they wish.

(A very nervous) Carson and Zelenka meet with a wraith scientist to explain the progress they have made on the retrovirus. They have refined it somewhat since Michael and have lately been working on a way to effectively disseminate it. They have pretty much settled on an aerosol gas as the best method, now they just need to figure out a way to get it aboard an enemy hive in a way that will avoid detection and allow it to be evenly (and quickly) distributed.

Rodney, meanwhile, is working with Hermiod on the Daedalus to crack the wraith jamming codes. He is really weirded out by radioing the wraith hive to ask permission to begin trying to beam something aboard.

Michael is in the city as part of the queen's delegation. He heads down to his room in the infirmary and asks to see Teyla. Ronon insists on tagging along to the meeting. Michael tells Teyla the last time they saw each other, he really was going to feed on her, but not because he wanted to. He tells her that his experience has given him a perspective on humans unique among the wraith. He doesn't see them as just food anymore. He says that if their alliance is to succeed, both races must learn to overcome their instincts regarding each other. Teyla denies that humans are anything like wraith, but Michael is not so sure.

Elizabeth and Sheppard meet with the queen again to see if they can suss out her endgame and what it will mean for Atlantis. Once she has the retrovirus and a working delivery system, she intends to work her way through all enemy wraith, turning them and feeding on them. She promises that as part of their agreement, Atlantis and its people will not be harmed or fed upon. Elizabeth and Sheppard ask about the rest of the humans in the galaxy. The queen admits that there will come a time when the supply of enemy wraith is exhausted, at which point humans will be back on the menu, but that will not be for a few generations, at least. Should Atlantis at that point wish to break the truce, then she will understand. She points out that the wraith and humans will be on much more even footing by that point, and that the only reason the wraith ever defeated the Ancients was due to superior numbers.

Carson and Zelenka discuss the best way to distribute the retrovirus though a hive ship with the wraith scientist and both agree that getting it into the ship's life support system will be the most effective method. The wraith asks them how long the gas needs to take effect and Carson and Zelenka admit they are not sure yet. The wraith makes arrangements to have a member of the hive brought to the city to be tested. Watching from the observation chamber as the test subject transforms, the queen says she wants to go down and see him. They vent the gas and all go down to look at the (very confused) newly transformed human. The queen suddenly slams her hand on his chest and feeds upon him. Sheppard and the guards raise their weapons but Elizabeth orders him to stand down, reminding him that this was the whole point of the exercise. Everyone watches uncomfortably as the queen drains her former subject dry and then declares the retrovirus works.

The queen says she would like to test the retrovirus on a full hive ship. There is one nearby that has recently annoyed her. She said she will send a delegation to the enemy hive under the pretense of negotiating a surrender. Part of the delegation will break off and plant canisters of the retrovirus throughout the ship. She just needs the Lanteans to come up with a remote detonator that release the gas from all of the canisters at once. Rodney says that is totally doable. Elizabeth wants to send her people along to observe the test and to keep the queen honest, make sure she does what she says she will.

After all of this, Carson finds Elizabeth and reveals that he is really unhappy with how his creation is being used. He developed the retrovirus to free the wraith from what he considered an unnatural state. Now, as soon as they are "freed" they can expect a horrible and painful death. Seeing the demonstration really hit home with him. Elizabeth seems to feel it is a moral grey area, or at least is trying to convince herself of as much. But it is clear she is also very uneasy about the situation.

Rodney and Hermiod, meanwhile, have finally managed to crack the jamming codes.

The Daedalus goes to observe the test of the retrovirus, hanging back out of sensor range with a cloaked jumper in place to watch. The delegation from the friendly hive leaves ahead of schedule and is destroyed as it is leaving. Then the enemy hive opens up on the other one. Knowing that if the friendly hive is boarded they will give up Atlantis' secret in a heartbeat, Caldwell orders the Daedalus to jump in and start firing on the enemy hive, giving the friendly time to escape.

The queen tells them that the delegation was searched and killed upon arrival on the other hive and the canisters were found. The pilot of the delegation's ship tried to escape and that is when it was shot down. She is really pissy and tells them they need to come up with a better delivery system for the retrovirus, otherwise she is going to broadcast Atlantis' location. Everyone looks at Rodney (even the wraith queen). He says fine, but tells the queen she needs to stop holding back. He needs all of the schematics and data she has on hive ships so he can figure out how best to get the retrovirus on the ships and distributed. She complies and sends a databurst. Rodney runs to the firewalled computer they have set up to receive transmissions from the wraith, shoving Chuck out of the way, and declares that she sent him everything he asked for and then some. Elizabeth asks why and the queen grudgingly admits that her ship was very badly damaged by the other hive. Elizabeth offers her people to help effect repairs more quickly.

Zelenka is going over the wraith data, assigning teams to try to solve the problems of figuring out how to plant and distribute the retrovirus and of how to repair the ship. He marvels at the organic components of the hives. He also tells Sheppard that he was able to locate several external weaknesses in the hive ships, places where the Lanteans could fire to cripple an enemy hive, for example by disabling the hyperdrive engines.

Rodney is sent to the hive ship to supervise the team helping with repairs and also familiarize himself with the ship's layout and systems to figure out the retrovirus distribution. Ronon goes along to serve as a bodyguard and is very jumpy around the wraith.

Rodney finds the sweet spot on where to plant the retrovirus--they will only need to plant one canister and it will be pretty much immediately distributed throughout the entire ship. It will be difficult for the wraith to get in place, but Elizabeth tells the queen that will be her problem to figure out. Rodney and Sheppard have come up with a temporary solution to test it though, just to be sure that it works. The Daedalus will basically hide under the hive ship so that its signature is masked and when the hive ship gets close enough to its enemy, they will beam the canister on board using their new ability to crack the jam codes. The queen reluctantly agrees to the plan and goes to make arrangements, telling them she will send them the coordinates to meet up once she's picked a new target.

Rodney tells Elizabeth he should be on the hive ship when they do the test. He says he hacked a lot of the ship's systems under the guise of repairing them and will be able to blow it up if anything goes wrong. He adds that he has also rigged up a remote trigger to beam himself out of the hive ship back to the Daedalus if he needs to. Sheppard and Elizabeth agree, but only on the condition that Ronon goes with him.

Zelenka is going through the wraith data when suddenly his computer screen goes blank, as do all of the other screens in the room. One of the scientists brings him a tablet and says he needs to see this. He curses in Czech and asks if the Daedalus has left yet. It is already too late, the ship is gone.

The Daedalus drops out of hyperspace to meet Michael's hive and is immediately fired upon by two hive ships, the "friendly" and another one. Everyone scrambles to get their defenses up and Caldwell orders Hermiod to beam a nuke aboard the "friendly" hive as soon as they are in range. Sheppard argues that they need to give Rodney and Ronon time to beam out and Caldwell responds that they have until the ship is within weapons' range. Sheppard wonders out loud why the wraith are attacking now, the canister is still on the Daedalus after all. On the hive ship, Rodney and Ronon hear the sounds of battle and immediately try to beam out but Rodney's transmitter isn't working. They find themselves surrounded by wraith and taken into custody, Ronon tries fighting back but is quickly stunned.

Hermiod is unable to beam anything aboard the hive ships, the wraith are employing countermeasures to the new beaming frequencies. He says he might be able to adjust it and get through but needs time. Sheppard takes a flight of F-302s out to try to disable the hyperdrive on Michael's ship so it cannot get away with the knowledge of Atlantis (and with Rodney and Ronon). The 302s come under heavy fire and Daedalus loses contact with Sheppard. Suddenly both hive ships jump away into hyperspace, quitting the battle. Three 302s return to the Daedalus, but Sheppard is not among them. A scan of the area shows nothing but wreckage, and there is no reading on Sheppard's locator beacon. Caldwell somberly orders the Daedalus to return to Atlantis.

Back in the city, Zelenka explains that the wraith hacked into their system. The data they sent contained a virus. Even though the Lanteans checked the information before taking it off the firewalled computer, they did not find the virus because it was only designed to target and copy very specific information. Once it had that information, it sent it to the hive ship and then deleted itself (and all of the other wraith data) from Atlantis' systems. Elizabeth asks what data the wraith got and Zelenka gravely tells her they took two things: the Aurora mission reports and the the location of every world in Atlantis' database.

Ronon and Rodney wake up in cocoons on the hives hip with the scientist wraith looming over them and gloating. He tells Rodney that the queen wanted him to see the fruits of his labor and explains that thanks to the Lantean's help, the hive ship is headed to Earth.

To Be Continued...


So...yeah. Trusting the wraith? Bad idea. If Teyla wasn't a better person, I would suspect her to be engaging in a severe round of "I told you so" right about now. She's not the type, however, and I suspect she is probably a lot more worried about her three missing teammates.

Despite all of the game changing and high stakes going on, this is actually a really fun episode. It walks the right line, I think, of acknowledging the fact that they are engaging in a morally questionable path but going down it anyway because it could possibly end up benefiting every other human in the galaxy, as well as get rid of a long-standing threat (the wraith seem to be giving up on the idea of ever getting to Earth when they approach Atlantis). Of course it all blows up in their faces, but it does so in such a fantastic manner, that it is hard to even gloat about it. On my first watching of this I really was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out where they were going with this. Like Teyla, I (and most viewers I suspect) knew the wraith weren't on the level, but their exact plan was never evident until the very end of the episode.

"Allies" holds up to multiple viewings, too, largely because everyone is in fine form throughout. Carson and Zelenka explaining things to the wraith scientist? Makes me giggle every time. Carson yelling at the wraith that he's completely wrong and not to be an idiot and then realizing what he just said and to whom? Awesome. Rodney and Hermiod's little passive aggressive intellectual competition is always a joy to watch, and Rodney's sneaky hacking attempts and geeky delight over all of the wraith information he was given to play with were fantastically done. Elizabeth's ability to put aside her personal feelings and work with those she detests for the (perceived) greater good was also quite solid. Then there was Rodney and Sheppard's little synchronized presentation of their plan to test the retrovirus using the Daedalus. They are just so darned pleased with themselves.

I really liked the interactions of the wraith in the city as well. You could see that the queen was relishing in entering her ancient enemies' inner sanctum, but she also clearly manages to convey that she never expected to be there at all. Everyone else's reactions to having wraith in the city on purpose were very well done as well.

Also, rolly chairs! Watching this show weekly as it aired, I did not notice until this episode that there are rolly chairs all over Atlantis. But the second that Rodney runs to check on the wraith data and just shoves Chuck out of the way, sending him rolling off to wherever, it hit home. Then later when Zelenka is showing Sheppard the interesting bits he found in the wraith data, they are featured again. I mean, in subsequent viewings it is clear that the city always had rolly chairs. This means that either the Ancients also approved of easily moved ergonomic seating or the expedition actually thought to bring along office furniture on their trip to another galaxy. Either way, I am amused. Vastly.

I think, all in all, it is very clear throughout the episode that everyone involved is having a ball making it, and that in turn makes it very fun to watch. This is honestly, to me, a huge turning point on Stargate Atlantis. "Allies" sets the bar for what is to come in the next three seasons in a lot of ways, and one of those is that it has decided to just be the "fun" Stargate series. I am really okay with that.

Favorite Quotes

"What's the down side? I mean, other than the fact that we would be working with the wraith?" (Sheppard)
"Isn't that enough?" (Caldwell)

"Hey if they want our help killing other wraith, it's one kind of help I am happy to provide." (Ronon)

"We call it flashing." (Carson)
"Flashing!" (Zelenka)

"Oh come on. I understand you're an Asgard and everything, but even you've got to feel a bit of an adrenaline buzz." (Rodney)
"My body does not possess the adrenal gland that produces epinephrine in your system. And even if it did, I would not be as easily impressed." (Hermiod)
"I get it! I get it. You think you're smarter than I am." (Rodney)

"We're not as different as you think." (Michael)
"We are nothing like you." (Teyla)
"You are a lot more like us than you allow yourselves to believe." (Michael)

"Oh! She actually did it! I mean, this is the mother lode!" (Rodney)
"What is, exactly?" (Elizabeth)
"Only everything you've ever wanted to know about wraith technology but were afraid to ask!" (Rodney)

"When I was a kid and I got my first encyclopedia, I started with the letter 'S.'" (Sheppard)
"Yes, well, while I'm sure wraith sexuality is interesting..." (Zelenka

"Without your help, this damage may have been irreparable." (wraith scientist)
"Ah! Finally an alien race that appreciates me!" (Rodney)

"Are you sure you want to do this?" (Elizabeth)
"Of course I don't want to do it! I just...I think it should be done." (Rodney)

That's it folks, there's season two. Next week we'll start up brand new with season three's premiere "No Man's Land." Lucky you, you only have to wait a few days as opposed to four months to find out what happens next. Yay! See you then.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's The Little Things

Yesterday, I finished the arguably largest project on my yarn-to-do list. Huzzah! I can't give you the details on it  yet, but it is FABULOUS.

Knocking out that project really pulled a huge weight off my shoulders and made a kind of crappy day much much better, let me tell you.

I am quite proud of the fact that, while knocking a project off of my list, I managed to not add any new projects in this past week. Sadly, that's an accomplishment for me right now. I think 2012 will have to be the year of teaching me not to take on too much. (Heh, good luck with that.)

I am also viewing as an accomplishment the fact that I did not purchase any new yarn in the past week. Seriously, I've developed something of a problem in that area. Gonna have to work on using some of this existing yarn up soon!

So as it stands right now, I only have two projects on the needles. I refuse to start anything else until I finish at least one of them. This should prove interesting, as I do have a third project that must be started on or by December 1. So, um, I guess I had better scoot and get to knitting, huh?

What was that I was saying about feeling less pressure?

Monday, November 14, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Inferno

Well, another Monday managed to sneak up on us, darn. Good thing I had this nifty installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch handy to smack it down in case it gets unruly, eh? Today we'll be looking at the second season's "Inferno." It is safe to assume there will be spoilers for the episode and any that came before. I mean, that's always a safe assumption around these here parts, ya know?

Where was I going with that? Oh, yes, episode!

What Happened

Atlantis receives a call for help from a planet called Taranis and decides to investigate. It turns out the Taranins have discovered an Ancient facility on their planet, one that taps into geothermal energy and is capable of generating a protective shield over their population. They have made the facility the heart of their settlement and have recently started experiencing problems with their shield generator, hence the call for help.

The Taranin head scientist Norina, who is a total babe, shows the team around and introduces them to her people's leader, Chancellor Lycus. Norina shows Rodney the systems in the facility's control room so he can run some diagnostics and see if he can fix the shield. Chancellor Lycus offers to show the rest of the team around the facility in the meanwhile. As Norina and Rodney go through the systems the facility is shaken by a small earthquake. Norina informs Rodney that such tremors have been a frequent occurrence over the last few days, coinciding with when the shield started acting up. Lycus leads Sheppard, Ronon, and Teyla to a large room and explains that it is the main hangar. This piques Sheppard's interest and he asks what Lycus means by "hangar." Lycus opens up the doors to reveal an Ancient warship within.

Sheppard heads back to Atlantis to report about the Taranins to Elizabeth and to let her know about the warship. It is an Aurora class ship but is damaged. The Taranins do not know how extensive the damage is, however, as their knowledge of Ancient technology is very sparse. Elizabeth decides to accompany Sheppard back to Taranis to meet with Lycus and open up negotiations between Taranis and Atlantis.

Leaving Elizabeth and Lycus to do their thing, Sheppard heads back to the control room to check on Rodney. He is clearly attracted to Norina and is acting more obnoxious toward Rodney than usual. Norina for the most part seems to be interested in both men rather equally. Rodney's diagnostics reveal that the Taranins have been running the shield nonstop at full power for over a year. Norina confirms this, explaining that when their long range sensors detected increased wraith activity the chancellor ordered them to beef up the shield. Apparently this is a big no-no, however. The shield is designed to be an emergency-only type of system, and is not intended to be constantly in use over long periods of time. Shields, as we've learned throughout this season, are immense power hogs. The Ancients chose to build the facility where they did because it is in the caldera of a dormant super volcano. This allowed them to tap into the planet's high levels of geothermal activity to power the facility. Unfortunately the immense levels of power being drawn from keeping the shield running 24/7 have stirred up things under the surface. The pressure on the magma chambers has increased drastically and the volcano is no longer dormant.

Sheppard calls Elizabeth and Lycus back to the control room to brief them on the situation. Rodney explains that an eruption is imminent and they are going to need to evacuate immediately. Elizabeth asks Lycus if there is a settlement further out or another continent the Lanteans can help move their people to but Rodney breaks in. He explains that the eruption will not just destroy the facility. Because of the size of the volcano and the increased pressure on the magma chamber, the eruption is going to be an extinction level event--it will destroy half of the continent and the debris and sediment thrown in the air will render the planet uninhabitable for several years at the very least. They need to get off the planet. Soon.

Lycus isn't buying it. He thinks that the claims of impending disaster are just a ploy by the Lanteans to get the Ancient ship. Elizabeth tries to convince him of their sincerity and just then another earthquake hits, worse than any that have come before it. There are several injuries in the facility and word comes in of injuries from the villages as well. Norina implores Lycus to take the Lanteans up on their offer. Elizabeth says they are welcome to evacuate to Atlantis itself. Lycus agrees finally and Elizabeth also calls for Carson to come see to the wounded while they get the evacuation underway.

Elizabeth and Lycus lead the first wave of Taranins through the stargate, leaving Sheppard behind to coordinate the evacuation, helped by Ronon and Teyla. Rodney and Norina remain in the control room, trying to salvage as much information as possible before they must leave. Another earthquake hits as the tail end of the first wave is walking toward the gate. Sheppard gets them back inside the facility and Rodney radios for Atlantis to raise the shield on their gate, just as a gaping hole opens up underneath the Taranis gate and it is swallowed by magma.

In Atlantis Elizabeth asks Zelenka why the shield was raised and he tells her that Rodney gave the order just before they lost contact. She orders Chuck to dial Taranis back but they are unable to make a connection. Lycus immediately starts accusing Elizabeth of having orchestrated the whole thing as a way to take him hostage and negotiate for the ship. She calms him down and reminds him that her people are on Taranis too and right now they don't know what happened. She orders Daedalus, due in Atlantis at any time, to divert its course and head to Taranis to find out what is going on.

Realizing they are cut off from any means of escape with the gate gone, Sheppard suggests they go look at the Ancient ship. Maybe Rodney can fix it and they can transport themselves and the rest of the Taranins off the planet before the volcano blows. The Daedalus arrives and Sheppard briefs Caldwell on the situation. He asks if Caldwell can shuttle everyone off the planet and back to Atlantis. Caldwell responds that with the number of people to be moved, it will take four trips. Round trip to Atlantis and back again will take twelve hours, and they might not have that kind of time. Sheppard says they'll keep working on the Ancient ship, which is big enough for everybody, as plan B. Sheppard has Teyla and Ronon begin to divide up the remaining Taranins into groups to be shuttled and Caldwell beams up the first group, which includes all of the wounded that Carson had been treating.

In Atlantis, Zelenka pulls Elizabeth aside to inform her that the city's long rage trackers have picked up a hive ship headed toward Atlantis. He estimates that it is about three weeks away.

On the Ancient ship, which Sheppard has christened Orion, Rodney is hard at work trying to get it up and running, though things look grim. Norina is awed by his skills and says she would like to study under him, flirting a bit. Sheppard watches as Rodney totally flubs up his responses to Norina, distracted by her, erm, charms, but determined to solve their current situation.

In the village Teyla and Ronon have managed to round up almost everybody and have organized them into three groups to be ready for transport once the Daedalus returns. One man starts to make trouble, saying he doesn't believe the claims that the planet will be rendered uninhabitable. He thinks that with enough of a head start, he can outrun the destruction and inclement weather. Other villagers seem to agree with him. Teyla and Ronon manage to get him to subside, but not for very long. Things start to get pretty bad on the surface and the tremors continue to occur. Rodney makes the call that they cannot afford to wait until the Daedalus gets back for a second trip, so Sheppard orders Ronon, Teyla, and Carson to bring all of the villagers to the ship through the tunnels that lead to the facility. Hearing this news, the dissenters in the crowd refuse, claiming that they are just wasting time waiting for rescue. A group of villagers sets off into the chaos, basically sealing their own death warrants.

In Atlantis there is a quiet moment where Lycus finds Elizabeth and apologizes for all of the suspicion he had directed her way. He sees all of the effort she and her people are going to in order to save his people and he is humbled by their help, realizing they really are not motivated by only selfish reasons. He admits he was wrong about running the shield at full tilt, but explains that he really had placed that much faith in the Ancients' technology that he thought it would save his people.

The villagers had been all spread out, organized at different points around the area to be easily beamed up and so Teyla and Ronon are still out trying to get them all into the tunnels when the volcano starts spewing toxic gas into the atmosphere, rendering the air on the surface of Taranis all but deadly. They get the last group in the tunnels but Ronon learns of one last family on the edge of the village and goes to bring them in. Teyla waits for him and by the time he gets back, the tremors have caused the entrance to the tunnels to cave in, they are stuck on the surface. All of the electric activity in the atmosphere is also interfering with radio transmissions so they no longer have any way of communicating with Rodney and Sheppard.

Fissures also open up during the quakes and magma breaches the facility. The level above the hangar doors is flooded, trapping the Orion in the facility. Sheppard suggests blasting their way out and Rodney gets a brainstorm, starts working on an escape plan.

Sheppard meets Carson as he leads a group of villagers to the Orion, asking after Ronon and Teyla. Carson tells him that they had been rounding up the final stragglers and Sheppard goes back to look for them. He runs into the very last group that made it through and learns that the tunnels are blocked. With no way back to the surface, he leads the villagers back to the ship instead, treading carefully because magma has started to flood various parts of the facility. He returns just as Rodney is telling Carson and Norina they are about ready to try their plan.

On the surface Teyla and Ronon, along with the last group of villagers they saved, are just succumbing to the toxic atmosphere when they are beamed out. The Daedalus has returned. Caldwell is more than a little irate to learn that Sheppard herded everyone into the facility, which is shielded, blocking him from beaming anyone out. He radios Elizabeth and she asks him to remain in orbit as long as he can, in case Sheppard and the rest are still alive and find a way to make contact.

Rodney tells everyone that the eruption is likely to happen at any moment and Sheppard, Carson, and Norina demand to know what his plan is, exactly. He explains that he will be able to divert enough power to the shields to withstand the force of the eruption for a few seconds, long enough to ride it out of the facility and open a hyperspace window into the planet's orbit to get them to safety.

Aboard the Daedalus Hermiod says he has estimated the time of the eruption and starts counting down. Teyla, Ronon, Caldwell and the crew watch helplessly from orbit as the volcano blows. Then everyone breathes a big sigh of relief when the Orion pops out of hyperdrive in front of them seconds later. Caldwell makes contact with the Ancient ship and learns that everyone survived. They all head back to Atlantis.

The team gathers for a mission report with Elizabeth. Surveys confirm that Taranis will be inhabitable for several years at least but they were able to find a suitable planet for the Taranins to move to and Lycus has already started relocating his people. He has also agreed to let Atlantis borrow the Orion in return for their help, assuming they can get it in full working order again. Rodney will assemble a team and get to work on that ASAP, as they will need all of the firepower they've got to deal with the hive ship on the way. They know they are lucky there is only one, but wonder why that is. The hope is voiced that perhaps the wraith are just coming to check to see if Atlantis really is gone. Everyone agrees they are pretty screwed if the wraith decide to send anything more than that one ship.


So, purpose of this episode--there are two. One, we learn of the incoming hive ship, which sets up the big confrontation for the season finale. Two, we get a new Ancient warship, huzzah!

There is also the weird love triangle thing with Sheppard, Rodney, and Norina. I...I am not really sure what to make of it at this point. It was funny the first few times I saw this episode, and while still a little amusing, now it is just more obnoxious than anything else. Sheppard clearly has no problem going after the scientist babe who is clearly interested in Rodney. What's that all about? Also, Sheppard was as a whole just really obnoxious to Rodney during this whole episode. It's weird because it feels out of place. Earlier in the season, after the Arcturus debacle, but before Rodney's jumper sank, it would have made sense. Here, at the end of the season, when it has already felt like they'd resolved their differences, it just seems petty. *shrug* I dunno what to tell you. Make of it what you will, I suppose.

If this episode has a moral it seems to be "don't turn on the Ancient devices until you have read all of the instructions." I mean, seriously, what was Lycus thinking? Let's run the high-power shield all the time and ignore all of the little blinky lights and freaking earthquakes that occur as a result! Clearly nothing can go wrong with this plan. Anyhoo. Yay for the Taranins though! Their level of technology actually seems to be close to on par with Earth's, maybe lagging a little behind. They should be good allies to have, yes?

Favorite Quotes

"I'm gonna get back there now, um, make sure he's not distracted." (Sheppard)
"Distracted?" (Elizabeth)
"Ah, well, the lead scientist, she's very, um..." (Sheppard)
"" (Elizabeth)
"I was gonna say attractive. But McKay is acting very, um..." (Sheppard)
"Smitten?" (Elizabeth)
"I was gonna say pathetic." (Sheppard)
"Wait. I should head back with you and begin negotiations with the Taranin leader. What's he like?" (Elizabeth)
"Oh, you know, he's a guy. Didn't pay much attention." (Sheppard)

"Every problem has a military solution in your world, doesn't it?" (Rodney)

"Will you just take it easy?" (Sheppard)
"We're inside a soon to be erupting volcano!" (Rodney)

"Maybe McKay can fix it!" (Sheppard)
"Oh, maybe I can fix it! Place the pressure squarely on my shoulders for a change!" (Rodney)
"Well I've discovered that you're pretty good under the threat of impending death." (Sheppard)
"I am, actually." (Rodney)

"I have, um, discovered the ship's name. It's the, um, Hippafaralkus." (Rodney)
"The what?!" (Sheppard)
"Yeah, well, it appears to have been named after an Ancient general...Hippafaralkus." (Rodney)

"I truly believed the Ancestors' shield would protect my people. I could not have been more wrong." (Lycus)
"We'll save as many as we can." (Elizabeth)
"I believe you will." (Lycus)

"Talk amongst yourselves." (Rodney)
"What are you doing" (Sheppard)
"I have an idea." (Rodney)
"What kind of idea?" (Sheppard)
"Can't talk. Busy." (Rodney)

"And then what?" (Sheppard)
"Well, then Norina and I were planning a small dinner for us all, nothing fancy--" (Rodney)
"Rodney." (Norina)
"Well what does he mean 'then what?' Then we won't die horribly!" (Rodney)

Okay cats and kittens, that wraps up today. See you back here Wednesday for the second season finale, "Allies."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Michael

Ooh, it's time for another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch! Can you feel the excitement? Are you ready? Today we continue plowing through season two with a game-changer of an episode, "Michael." There will be spoilers, so turn back now if you haven't see the episode and want to be surprised when you do finally get around to it!

What Happened

A man wakes up in what is clearly the infirmary in Atlantis. He is alone and seems a bit lost. Elsewhere in the city Elizabeth receives a radio call informing her that "he" is awake. She and Sheppard go to the infirmary where they greet the man along with Carson. He doesn't seem to know who or where he is so they quickly fill him in. He is Lieutenant Michael Kenmore, one of Sheppard's men. On a mission he was captured by the wraith. The Lanteans managed to rescue him but he has been unconscious for days and they are unsure what, if anything, the wraith may have done to him. They want to keep him in the infirmary under observation for a few more days. When they leave his room they enter an observation chamber of sorts that looks down into Michael's room through a big glass window (presumably a two-way mirror). Elizabeth tells the techs in the room to keep a close eye on Michael and tells Sheppard and Carson that they need to proceed with caution.

Carson visits Michael again and gives him an injection. He explains to Michael that he has diabetes and requires daily injections of insulin but handles the illness quite well otherwise. He also explains to Michael that the amnesia was likely caused by recent trauma, Michael assumes at the hands of the wraith. Hearing that Michael is awake, Teyla asks if she may visit him and Elizabeth gives her the go-ahead. Michael tells Teyla that she seems familiar to him and asks if they know one another. Teyla responds that they have worked together on a few missions. He asks her if they are friends and she says yes. He is relieved to hear that , as he has been feeling a bit alone and out of his element. He then asks if Teyla was on the team that rescued him from the wraith and once more she answers in the affirmative.

Later, Teyla is reporting on her visit with Michael to Elizabeth, Sheppard, Carson and Kate Heightmeyer, the city's shrink. She reveals that she told Michael that they were friends because she thought it might help him and Kate agrees this was a good idea. Elizabeth asks Kate what the next step is and she responds that he should be integrated back into the population. She and Carson both believe he is ready to be released from the infirmary and Elizabeth gives the order. Teyla escorts Michael to his quarters where he looks around but still does not recognize anything.

Michael is eating in the mess and can't help but notice that people seem to be eyeing him strangely. He is alone except for two guards who have been assigned to keep an eye on him in case he "freaks out" as a result of his recent trauma. Rodney sees him and stops by to say hi, ask how he is doing. Rodney is clearly a bit nervous around Michael as well and babbles a bit. Michael glances at Rodney's tablet and sees that he is working on wraith materialization data. Seeing the surprise on Rodney's face, he wonders aloud why he knew that. Rodney answers that the goal of the mission on which Michael was captured was to get that data, so it makes sense that he would have passing familiarity with it. Seeing that Rodney is still clearly very uncomfortable, Michael makes his excuses and leaves the mess, guards in tow.

We next find him in a workout room sparring with Teyla. They are working on a particular move and he isn't quite getting the hang of it. He says he doesn't think he has it in him but Teyla replies that she knows that he does and encourages him to try again. They resume and he is able to hold his own a bit better, even managing to get the drop on Teyla and pin her. In the blink of an eye Ronon flies into the room and pulls Michael off of Teyla, slamming him up against the wall. Michael is very confused and Teyla calls Ronon off, telling him that they were just sparring as part of Michael's physical therapy. Ronon relents and storms off. Michael tells Kate about the incident in a session with her and wonders what he did to piss the guy off so badly. Kate brushes it off by saying that Ronon is new to the city and still learning their ways. Michael doesn't really seem to buy it. He tells Kate he just wants to get back to feeling normal again.

That night Michael has a nightmare about the wraith and then another in which he sees himself as a wraith. He is very disturbed by this and later confides in Teyla. He tells her he is worried that the wraith must have done something to his mind. He also thinks that she and everyone else have some idea of what was done to him and implores her to tell him. She replies that she doesn't know but comforts him with the knowledge that many people in the city have had the same kinds of dreams. He realizes that Teyla is one of those people. Later, Teyla reports in to Elizabeth and crew about Michael's dreams and trouble sleeping. Elizabeth asks Carson if there is anything she can do for Michael, but he responds there really isn't any option other than to give him something to help him sleep. Teyla pipes up that she thinks it is time they tell Michael the truth. She is having a hard time keeping it from him and isn't so sure that doing so is the right thing any longer.

In another session with Kate Michael insists that there is something wrong with him. He gets the feeling that everyone knows something about what happened to him that they aren't telling him and he just wants to know the truth. Kate looks at him sadly but does not offer any information.

On his way to visit Carson, Michael runs into Sheppard and Ronon in the corridors. Deciding that he wants to put the past behind him, he stops Ronon and apologizes for whatever he might have done to him. He wants to just bury the hatchet. He extends his hand to Ronon but Ronon just glares at him stonily refusing to take it. Sheppard tries ordering him to do so but he says no. He starts to leave but Micheal steps in front of him and Ronon punches him. They start to go at it before Sheppard and the guards pull them apart.

That night Michael has trouble sleeping again so he goes to see Carson for some sleeping pills. When he arrives in the infirmary he finds Carson passed out in a pile of data. Glancing around, the calendar on Carson's wall catches Michael's attention. It shows a scene labeled Kenmore, Scotland. Curious, Michael tries to see Carson's files but cannot get into his computer. He then notices a sleeve of DVDs and the label on the outside has his name on them. Looking around, he pockets the sleeve and sneaks it back to his quarters. When he arrives, he picks up his laptop and turns it around so that the security cameras cannot see what he is doing, then he pops in one of the discs. His observers note his strange behavior and alert Carson, but by the time Carson and more guards arrive it is too late. Michael has learned the truth, he is a wraith that Carson and the others have somehow turned human.

Michael confronts Elizabeth and the others and she begs him to let them explain. Carson tells him about the retrovirus he has been working on to eradicate the traits in the wraith inherited from the iratus bugs, turning them back to human. He goes on to explain that while they were able to turn him, there was the side effect of memory loss and the virus isn't completely effective. It requires daily injections to keep Michael stable as a human. Michael is appalled and indignant.

The senior staff hold a conference to discuss what to do now that Michael has discovered the truth. Sheppard thinks they've learned a lot from the experiment and should now start trying to figure out a way to weaponize it. Carson says they are not there yet, with the daily injections still needed. Ronon says that it doesn't matter. Even if Carson perfects the drug, the turned wraith will always still be wraith.

Teyla goes to visit Michael and try to apologize. He is very hurt that she lied to him. He realizes that when she claimed to have been on the team that "rescued" him she really meant she had been on the team that captured him. She does not deny it. She tries to explain their position, reiterating that the wraith are evil and they treat humans with nothing but contempt. Michael asks how the humans are any better given what they have done to him.

Kate tries to talk to Michael, encourage him to keep up with the injections. She tells him that with time he will accept being human and see that he is better off this way. He tells her that he has realized that the "off" feelings he has been having since he woke up were just his wraith instincts of hunger and aggression, that the medication was never able to fully suppress them. He adds that now that he knows what he really is, the feelings are even stronger. After this session Sheppard and Elizabeth ask Carson to up Michael's dosage of the retrovirus, hoping that it can wipe out those lingering traits.

On the way to get his next injection, Michael manages to escape his guards briefly. One catches up and he kills the man accidentally. As he stops to look at the man and realize what he's done Ronon catches up to him. He is just aiming to take fire when Sheppard arrives from the other direction and stuns Michael. He checks Ronon's gun and gives the younger man a dirty look, unsurprised to find that his weapon had not been set to stun. At this point they all agree that it is too dangerous to let Michael remain on Atlantis. They decide to move him to the Alpha site. Carson wants to continue his treatment hoping he can find a way to make it permanent and get rid of the lingering wraith feelings. Ronon advises that they should just kill Michael now but Teyla and Kate object. Even if they wouldn't have hesitated to kill him as a wraith, he isn't a wraith any more and that is because of them. It is their responsibility to keep him safe and to keep others safe from him.

Michael is sedated for transport and wakes up at the Alpha site to find himself restrained to a gurney. Teyla is with him and reassures him, explaining that he is safe and asking how he feels. He tells her he is hungry and she goes to find food. When she comes back he is not really interested in the meal, however. He begins talking to her, telling her that he could tell she is different from the others the moment he met her. He knows she is the only one of them with any compassion, the only one who actually wants to help him. As he talks she seems to go into a sort of trance, undoing his restraints. As soon as he is free he grabs her violently she seems to snap out of her fugue.

Michael binds Teyla's hand and makes for the gate with her as his hostage. Teyla asks where they are going and he says that he needs to get away from this planet, but he is unsure of where. He dials a gate address and as he does, Teyla scratches it onto a rock behind her, hoping the others can use it to follow her. Sheppard and Ronon arrive at the gate just as Michael pulls Teyla through. Sheppard says they need to get Rodney there ASAP to figure out if he can determine the last address dialed. Ronon finds Teyla's scratchings and says that won't be necessary.

They hike for a while on the new planet, Michael pushing Teyla in front of himself. After a while she stops and realizes that she can sense wraith nearby. She turns and sees that Michael is starting to revert back to a wraith. He knocks her out and when she wakes up again she is no longer bound. She looks around and can see a wraith ship in the near distance. Michael pipes up that he was drawn to their presence and that is why he chose this planet. They are coming and will be there soon. He is almost completely turned back into a wraith. Teyla asks what he plans to do with her and he says he is not sure. He has been thinking about feeding on her for a while and now that he has that ability back he just might. She tells him to go ahead and do it then and just as he is about to Sheppard and Ronon arrive. They barely get Michael knocked out before the other wraith show up, however, and they hightail it back to the gate, leaving Michael to be discovered by his own kind.

Back on Atlantis there is another conference. Ronon insists that he should have killed Michael while he had the chance. Rodney pipes up that he's not wrong. Michael knows that Atlantis still exists and who knows what else he discovered or saw while he was there. He clearly still has all of his memories from being human. Now that he is back with other wraith, they know all of that too. They realize that the wraith will certainly send another waive of hive ships to attack the city. The episode ends with them stating that they need to prepare themselves for the coming attack.


Isn't there an old saying about how we make our own worst enemies? Yeah, this is pretty much a textbook example of that. Well, if your textbooks include life-sucking aliens and transformative wonder-drugs and whatnot. Anyhoo. "Michael" is a huge game changer for Stargate Atlantis. Not only does it set up the big confrontation for the end of the season (wow, only two more episodes to go!), but the events of this episode continue to have ramifications pretty much for the rest of the series. Even better, they resound on a general plot level and on a personal level for many of the characters. The writers honestly struck gold with this story. Because even with its flaws, it pretty much set them up with a good throughline for the rest of the series.

I mean, yes, there are some serious ethical and moral implications going on here. I don't really want to get into those. I do appreciate that there were multiple conversations about the ethics and morality of their actions during the episode, however. I actually felt like they were very well done, too. It wasn't the pound-you-over-the-head-with-it kind of commentary dropped in just so that we the audience understand that the writers don't condone these kinds of medical experiments. It is quite clear that the people of Atlantis aren't completely convinced that they are doing the right thing here, and they know the chances of backlash are high. But it is also quite clear that they are desperate to strike a blow against the wraith. Sentient race or not, the wraith pose a clear and present danger to every human in the galaxy (and to the Milky Way as well). If humanity wants to survive, the wraith need to be stopped. Period. The Lanteans know that the Ancients lost this battle, so they are trying to think outside of the box and find alternative methods to bringing about that end.

I mean, I personally think that capturing a wraith, turning him human, then lying to him about being a wraith-turned-human while letting him run around your secret base is a Bad Idea in every aspect, but hey, no one asked me.

The other really noteworthy thing here is the almost instant bond between Michael and Teyla. He senses right away that she feels familiar, and I think we have to assume this is because of her wraith DNA. This suggests to me that Ronon is right in at least one aspect--the turned wraith will always still be at least a little bit wraith. Even before the retrovirus really started to wear off, Michael shows some of the mental abilities of the wraith when he takes control of Teyla to have her release him. Her reactions to the whole experiment are also pretty fascinating to me. She grew up in the shadow of the wraith, always under threat of culling. She lost her father and many loved ones to them. She categorically defines the race as evil. Yet as she watches them change Michael and gets to know him, it is clear she feels sorry for him and that she truly does mean it when she says she would like to be his friend. I think she wants to understand him, and she wants him to understand her and what she has been through. She does try to show him kindness. Not that it gets her very far, but still. This episode tells us a lot about Teyla and her strength of character.

Favorite Quotes

"We've all been captured by the wraith at one point or another, haven't we?" (Rodney)

"So what are you saying? That...that being a wraith is some kind of disease? Something you think you can cure? What gives you the right to do this to me?" (Michael)

"What do you want from me?" (Michael)
"Just waiting for you to give me a reason to kill you." (Ronon)

"I know, you're angry. I lied to you. But you had no right to do this to me. I won't let you experiment on me anymore." (Michael)

"Then we shall be enemies again." (Teyla)
"We never stopped being enemies." (Michael)

Whew. That is a pretty heavy episode. Luckily the next one, "Inferno," is a bit of a light(er) romp before all of the crazy end of season happenings. See you back here Monday for that!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

+2 To Productivity

Well, I've hit the home stretch on my blanket, huzzah! I might, might, just finish it this week. We shall see what we shall see on that front. But it is looking good, my friends, looking good. I absolutely love this pattern. It is gorgeous. I will likely never use it again though. Because, well, dang. Very time-consuming on top of the normal time consumed in blanket-making.

I did cave in and take a day out last week to make myself that pair of fingerless gloves I was thinking about. They turned out to be pretty fantastic, actually.

NaNoWriMo Mitts by Cori 2011.

Action shot!

Action shot (the sequel)!

Pattern: Idony Fingerless Gloves by Sarah Francis
Yarn: Red Heart Wintuk Sock & Sweater in Grape (1 Skein)
Hook: E

These worked up very quickly. There was one little confusing bit in the pattern in regards to how the increases were written, but it was explained pretty quickly in the comments on the blog where the pattern was posted, so that didn't slow me down much at all. I even found a use for that super fun random vintage Red Heart sock yarn my mother-in-law gave me. There is enough left over that I can probably make a matching accessory of some sort, possibly a hat, though I will save that for a later day.

I am pleased as punch with the finished project. I have been thinking about making a pair of fingerless gloves for quite some time now but have always hesitated because I remained unconvinced they could actually do much good in the keeping my hands warm department. I am glad to say I was wrong about that. These work like a charm to keep me comfy in my chilly office. I am considering them my NaNoWriMo good luck charm, as I am already doing ridiculously well on my word count (more than a little ahead of where I need to be at this point). Of course, I need to keep the story itself at a sustainable pace, but that's another issue entirely.

Nonetheless, these turned out wonderfully and that made me very happy, which in turn gave me a little extra boost of motivation with my blanket, which also made me happy. Circle of happiness, yay!

Okay, gonna go try to get something creative accomplished. Until next week, folks.

Monday, November 7, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Coup D'Etat

Welcome to another week and yet another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Only four episodes left in season two. Today we'll knock off "Coup D'Etat." Spoilers, as always.

What Happened

The team is being guided through an offworld village by a Lantean scientist, Doctor Lindsay. She was on the planet with Major Lorne's team when they came under fire. Lorne told her to go to the gate and radio for backup, and to wait by the gate until backup arrived. They arrive at the building where the team was attacked to find that it has burned down in the interim. Sheppard, Ronon, and Teyla venture into the ruins to see if they can find any sign of Lorne. They do, but unfortunately it is in the form of corpses. The dog tags on the bodies confirm that they belong to Lorne and his men.

The bodies are brought back to Atlantis and Sheppard is discussing the incident with Elizabeth. He says that they will not know more until they can talk to Doctor Lindsay, but that won't be for a while because Carson had to sedate her. They are going over what they know and trying to figure out what the heck could have happened when an unscheduled wormhole connects.

There is no IDC but they are receiving a video transmission through the connection. Chuck brings it up on the screen and they see that it is Ladon Radim, one of the Genii who was part of Kolya's strike force when they tried to take the city. Elizabeth says that they can't answer the transmission, as they need the Genii of all people to think that Atlantis was blown up by the wraith. Just then Ladon says that he and his men have on several occasions witnessed Lanteans coming and going from the Atlantis gate address, and he knows that the city is still around. He adds that he has kept that information secret but will not continue to do so unless they answer his call. Left with no choice Elizabeth responds and asks what he wants. He tells her that he has defected from the Genii and would like Atlantis' help, in return for which he is willing to give them a ZPM. He holds it up in front of the camera to entice them. He says he'll wait for two hours for a response and breaks the connection.

Elizabeth is considering the offer, Rodney is practically bouncing up and down at the thought of a second ZPM. Sheppard isn't so sure, however, and says they really need to be focusing their efforts on investigating the death of Lorne's team. Elizabeth agrees that the investigation is important and turns it over to Ronon and Teyla, telling Sheppard he can resume helping them once they are done dealing with Ladon. Sheppard sends a security team to Ladon's location to confirm that he is alone and unarmed and then they bring him back to Atlantis. He and Sheppard trade verbal barbs and then he asks to speak to Elizabeth, saying he doesn't want to waste his time on the "errand boy."

Elizabeth is in the infirmary with Carson, Teyla, and Ronon. Carson informs them that the bodies brought back from the fire were not Lorne and his men. He ran the DNA three times to be certain. Somebody deliberately put the team's dog tags on other people. Teyla recalls that Lindsay described the gunfire she heard before running for help as wraith guns. The wraith use stunners, which means whoever attacked Lorne and his men wanted them alive but wanted Atlantis to think they were dead. They are all wondering why when Sheppard radios Elizabeth that Ladon has arrived and wants to speak with her. Ronon and Teyla decide to go back to the village to see if they can get any answers from the woman who owned the house where the team was attacked.

Ladon explains to Elizabeth and Sheppard that he wants weapons and ammunition in return for the ZPM. Cowen has become something (more) of a tyrant. Now that their atomic weapons are in working order, he plans to use them against humans as well as wraith. He wants to unite the galaxy under one ruler, himself. Ladon is planning a coup, and he needs Atlantis' help.

In the village Teyla and Ronon receive very little help from its inhabitants. Everyone claims not to know the woman who owned the house that burned down and no one wants to talk to them. When they press the bartender he tells them in a low voice that "they are watching us." He is clearly afraid. Teyla looks around and sees that fear in everyone present and realizes they will receive no help from this quarter. She and Ronon head back to the gate.

After speaking with Ladon, Sheppard and Elizabeth confer over his offer. They don't believe he is being entirely truthful. Elizabeth points out that Cowen extended a bit of an olive branch to them when he gave them nukes to help fight off the wraith. She doesn't want to jeopardize the shaky truce. She and Sheppard decide they would be better served by warning Cowen about Ladon's activities. Sheppard and Rodney go to the Genii homeworld to meet with Cowen. He says he is aware of Ladon's rabble rousing. Cowen tells them that Ladon blames him for the disappearance of Kolya and has been lying to all of their allies trying to stir up trouble. He is unconcerned by the threat, but does thank them for coming to him with the information. He points out that he has known of Atlantis' survival for some time now and hopes they will look at his keeping the secret as a gesture of trust between their peoples.

When Ladon left Atlantis Sheppard had a special ops team follow him back to his hideout. The team confirms that Ladon's resources are very limited as Cowen had claimed. He seems to only have about twenty men. Sheppard discusses the intel with Elizabeth and they decide to raid Ladon's warehouse to retrieve the ZPM (which Ladon claims to have stolen from the Brotherhood of the Fifteen, whom he learned about from Kolya). They believe there will be little risk to the truce with the Genii if they attack Ladon's group, they might even engender some more respect for helping to quash the rebellion. The plan is to organize a strike team and contact Ladon to say they agree to his deal. He will need to send a dozen of his men to Atlantis to deliver the ZPM and pick up the requested supplies. When the men arrive they will be detained and (since it is doubtful that they will agree to bring the ZPM before receiving their weapons) the strike team will move in on Ladon's hideout. With the diminished manpower the strike team should have no trouble subduing the remaining Genii, capturing Ladon, and liberating the ZPM.

As Teyla and Ronon are leaving the village, one of the women from the bar catches up to them, holding out a satchel and stating that they dropped it. Ronon starts to protest but seeing the pointed look the woman is giving them, Teyla thanks her and takes it. They find a secure corner and open up the bag to find several photos inside of members of Atlantis' offworld teams. One of the photos is of Lorne. There is writing in several languages on each photo. Ronon says it is promising a great reward for the capture of these men. He posits that these fliers have probably been circulated to as many worlds as there are languages on them. Teyla pulls out the last two photos and says she hopes not, showing them to Ronon. They are of Sheppard and Rodney. They hurry back to Atlantis, surprised to find the gate room full of "visitors" (the detained Genii). When they show the fliers to Elizabeth, Ronon is kind of annoyed that there isn't one of him, but Elizabeth quickly realizes that all of the men in the photos have the ATA gene. Teyla recommends they call any of those men who are offworld back immediately. Elizabeth agrees, but says that most of them are actually on the raid with Sheppard at the moment.

The raid starts out pretty well. They go in with stunners and clear the few remaining Genii fairly quickly. Using a life signs detector they find a central room in the warehouse with one person inside. They surround the room and enter from all sides to find Ladon. He is eating a piece of fruit and seems very unconcerned about the arrival of Sheppard and the others. He has the ZPM with it and happily hands it over. Sheppard checks it out and then passes it to Rodney. Ladon comments that, of course, the ZPM has probably been dead for a thousand years and suddenly the room starts to fill with gas. Sheppard and all of his men pass out.

In Atlantis, Carson calls Elizabeth to the infirmary. He has discovered that not only were all of the bodies they found dead before they were burned, they all belonged to people who died of severe radiation poisoning. He only knows of one culture in the galaxy that would be liable to that level of exposure--the Genii. Elizabeth realizes that if the Genii were behind Lorne's kidnapping then the whole thing might be a setup. She races back to the control room.

Sheppard wakes up in the warehouse, tied to a chair, with Ladon standing in front of him gloating. He explains that he stumbled across the dead ZPM in the Genii archives and realized it would be the perfect bait for the Lanteans. Sheppard theorizes that Ladon wants them hostage to bargain for more weapons and supplies for his coup and Ladon tells him he couldn't be more wrong. Cowen steps out of the shadows and says that Ladon has been working for him all along. He takes Sheppard's radio and has his men dial Atlantis so he can present his demands to Elizabeth. He wants ten puddle jumpers in exchange for Sheppard and his men. They have one hour, after which if they don't comply, he will kill Sheppard, then another man every fifteen minutes. Elizabeth offers to trade Atlantis' hostages but Cowen just brushes them off. He explains that those "hostages" were a decoy. They are all terminally ill Genii who volunteered to be sacrificed for the cause, they were never intended to return from Atlantis.

Carson, being Carson, wants to examine all of the Genii hostages as soon as he learns of their condition. Their leader is Ladon's sister. She tells Carson he is wasting her time. Their doctors all say that they are incurable. Carson does his best to hold his tongue about his opinion of Genii medicine. He presses on.

Cowen has Ladon escort Sheppard to the cell where the rest of his men are being held. Along the way Sheppard tries to reason with Ladon, pointing out that even if they get the jumpers they won't be able to use them because they require the ATA gene. Ladon says he is well aware of this and has been working on his own gene therapy to introduce the gene to the Genii people. He brags that he has been collecting samples for some time now. Before Sheppard can ask where Ladon is getting samples they arrive at the cell, to find Lorne and his team among the captives. Ladon asks Sheppard if he starting to put all of the pieces together yet. Sheppard says he is getting there.

Time has almost run out on Cowen's ultimatum. Carson reports to Elizabeth that he can actually save eight of the twelve Genii hostages. Elizabeth hopes that will be worth something to Cowen, because she refuses to give up any of the jumpers to the Genii. Cowen doesn't care, however, when informed that most of the hostages can be saved. He tells Elizabeth she has just forfeited Sheppard's life and will call back in fifteen minutes to find out if she wants him to kill Rodney as well. He sends Ladon to the cell to kill Sheppard.

Ladon arrives at the cell and points his gun at Sheppard saying that time is up. He doesn't kill Sheppard right away though. First, he asks if Carson can really save the sick Genii as he claims. Sheppard says that Carson's the best there is and if he says he can save them he can save them. Ladon drops his gun and steps back from the door, telling his fellow soldiers that they are letting Sheppard and the Lanteans go. Seeing Sheppard's confusion he explains that there really is a coup against Cowen. He cooked up the whole scheme about kidnapping Lanteans to get puddle jumpers in order to lure Cowen and his entire elite guard all in one place. He has placed a bomb underneath the warehouse and will set it off once he's at a safe distance. Sheppard realizes that Ladon had intended to just let all of the Lanteans die along with Cowen, but he changed his mind when Carson offered to save his sister and the others. Ladon and his men lead the Lanteans out of the building via a secret passage to avoid detection from Cowen and the rest who are loyal to him. They gate back to Atlantis and before the connection is cut Ladon radios Cowen to tell him goodbye, then detonates the bomb.

Ladon asks to be taken to his sister and is relieved to hear that she and most of the other hostages will be able to recover from their illness. He says that many other Genii suffer from the same afflictions and Elizabeth offers to cure as many of them as they can, assuming Ladon's coup is successful. He says he does not anticipate any more casualties once the rest of the Genii learn about what happened to Cowen.

Sheppard reports to Elizabeth a little later that Ladon was indeed successful and he is now in control of the Genii. They discuss his chances of staying in charge and Sheppard seems hopeful that he might pull it off, and that they might have even gained a more solid alliance with the Genii at last.


Man, everyone is just double-crossing everyone else in this episode, aren't they? Also, it's nice to be on a bit better footing with the Genii, those guys are pesky. They don't ever become paragons of morality or anything, but at least they are on the side of the Lanteans now, more or less. Still, considering that Ladon had no qualms about putting bounties out on all of the known ATA gene carriers and performing freaking medical experiments on Lorne and his men--best to keep an eye on them, eh?

I am kind of glad I didn't become so crazy about Lorne until after the first time I saw this episode, though. Man, that fake-out with him being believed dead is not nice for fans who don't know what's coming.

Ronon was kind of hard on Doctor Lindsay during his and Teyla's investigation. He's clearly not the best guy to put in charge of civilian relations, that's for sure. I am not sure what it says about Rodney that Ronon was so surprised that the civilian scientist ran for help when ordered to and didn't try to join in the firefight. It's an interesting idea to think about.

Also, Teyla had the most fantastic outfit in this episode. Seriously. Every once in a while the costumers bust out with something gorgeous for her and it always makes me happy. I am randomly a girly girl.

That's really all I've got on this one. I think this episode's main purpose was to wrap up some loose ends with the Genii. We found out that Kolya has disappeared (and is presumed dead), Cowen is now out of the picture and Ladon is in charge. Ladon is more willing to work with the Lanteans and seems less concerned with galactic domination than just keeping his people safe. Of course, he is also very determined to get his hands on some Ancient tech for his own people, and the gene to do so. All in all, like I said, probably a good idea to just keep an eye on those folks for the time being and not trust them too far.

Favorite Quotes

"How stupid do you think I am?" (Ladon)
"From what I remember, I gave you a pretty good crack on the head the last time we met, so I was kind of hoping it made you simple." (Sheppard)
"No, it didn't. But ever since then I've been plagued with headaches." (Ladon)
"You're just saying that to be nice." (Sheppard)

"Well that was refreshing! He didn't try to kill us even once." (Rodney)

"I just want to know who thinks I'm not a threat and give 'em a chance to change their mind." (Ronon)

"I fully expect to have to kill you." (Cowen)
"Looking forward to it that much, huh?" (Sheppard)

"Way to be alive." (Sheppard)
"Thanks sir. So, uh, have you come to rescue us?" (Lorne)
"Well, until about a moment ago, I thought you were dead. But now that I see  you speaking and breathing, yeah, I'm thinking about it." (Sheppard)

"Are we in some sort of trouble?" (Rodney)
"Was it the gas or the prison cell that was your first clue?" (Sheppard)

That's all we've got for today folks. See you back here on Wednesday for the next installment, "Michael."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SGA Rewatch: The Long Goodbye

Greetings fellow travelers! Welcome to another stop in our tour of the Pegasus galaxy gate system here at the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Continuing with season two, today's destination is the episode "The Long Goodbye." Join us, won't you? But be sure to keep an eye out for those nefarious spoilers as we go along, they are thick in these here parts.

What Happened

The team is cruising in the jumper through space and Rodney is attempting to explain the concept of television programming to Ronon and Teyla. Ronon is dubious but the conversation is interrupted when a proximity alarm sounds. The jumper has detected two very old vessels floating in space. They are small but each big enough to hold a person. Sheppard posits that maybe they are coffins and Teyla suggests they could have been jettisoned from a passing ship. Closer scans indicate, however, that they are definitely not coffins as Rodney is picking up life signs from both pods. The jumper cannot carry them both, so they scoop up one and radio for Lorne to pick up the other one in another jumper and head back to Atlantis with their find.

Elizabeth is heading down to the lab to check out the first pod when Caldwell stops by her office. The Daedalus is running some kind of maintenance that requires it to basically fly in circles around the solar system for a while, so he tells her he thought he'd beam down and start trying to make his own repairs in the wake of his possession by a goa'uld. Elizabeth assures him that is not necessary and asks if he would like to accompany her to see Sheppard's latest find. 

They arrive in time to see Rodney open the pod, with Carson on hand to check on its occupant. An old woman is revealed and Carson checks her readings, pronouncing that her vital signs are very weak. He does not think she has long to live at all. She has clearly been in the pod for a very long time. Elizabeth wonders aloud if the woman might be an Ancient but Rodney does not think so based on the design of the pod. Elizabeth steps closer to get a better look at the woman and is engulfed in a bright light from the pod, collapsing once the light disappears.

She comes around in the infirmary and it is quickly revealed that the consciousness of the old woman, Phebus, has been transferred into Elizabeth's body. Phebus assures them that the imprint is only temporary and will wear off in a few hours. She surmises that if the pod felt the need to transfer her consciousness, her body must be a lost cause and they admit this is the case. She thanks them for rescuing her, explaining that the pod was a life boat of sorts, and she had to escape her ship in it after an attack. Uncomfortable with the idea of someone taking over Elizabeth, no matter how benevolent she might seem, Sheppard asks if he can speak to Elizabeth. Phebus agrees and after a moment it seems as if Elizabeth is back in control. She assures them that she is fine and that everything is alright. She adds that Phebus believes the other pod they found might be her husband and wishes to be there when they open it. If it is him, she would like for Sheppard to take on his consciousness so that the two might say a final goodbye.

In the lab with the second pod, Rodney and Caldwell discuss the imprinting protocol. Rodney thinks it is probably a failsafe put in place in the event that the body is not recovered before death or too badly damaged to be revived. The pods store the occupant's consciousness, and if necessary, imprint it on someone else when the pod is recovered. Basically it is like a black box, so that the occupant can give a final report on what happened that caused him or her to end up in the pod. Caldwell is uncomfortable at the idea of a human flight recorder. 

Sheppard has reluctantly agreed to host Phebus' husband, and Caldwell asks him to surrender his weapons, just in case, so Sheppard hands his gun to Rodney. They crack open the second pod and Carson announces that his vitals are even weaker than the first. Phebus watches eagerly as Sheppard steps forward to be imprinted. He does not collapse like Elizabeth did but it takes a moment for the new personality to come forward. Phebus greets him as Thalen and he looks around, clearly a bit confused. Phebus carefully explains where they are and that the Lanteans have agreed to give them one last chance to say goodbye. Thalen is surprised that they would consent to this and Phebus says pointedly they are allowing a husband and wife one last goodbye, then she kisses him. After, they talk again and seem to be discussing the protocol that they aren't armed, but that there are two guards on the room, one on each door. A silent agreement seems to pass between them and they break apart, one for each door, knocking out the guards and taking their weapons. Then they start shooting at each other while everyone watches on in shock. Rodney covers his eyes and starts shooting off Sheppard's gun in their general directions.

Thalen is winged and he takes off while Phebus holds the rest of the room at bay. She reveals that she and Thalen are not, in fact, married, but actually mortal enemies. Now she has one last chance to kill him. Caldwell tries to call for a security team but she stuns him. Carson starts to object and she stuns him too. She orders Rodney to redact Caldwell's request but he stumbles through it so nervously  she stuns him as well. As she leaves the room, taking Rodney's gun, she taps Elizabeth's radio and sends out as city-wide message as Elizabeth that Sheppard has been possessed by an alien and everyone is to stay away from him. She runs into Lorne and his team, who are responding to Caldwell's message and she tells them to come with her to hunt down Thalen.

Teyla and Ronon arrive at the lab and revive their stunned companions. They are quickly briefed on what has happened, and they head out to track down Thalen and Phebus while Caldwell and the rest recover. Caldwell also calls out a message to all military personal alerting them that both Sheppard and Elizabeth have been possessed and are armed and extremely dangerous. He orders that they be apprehended and advises that they use non-lethal force if at all possible.

Meanwhile, Lorne, having received Caldwell's alert, pulls up and orders Phebus to stand down, relieving her of her weapons. One of his men moves to restrain her and she does some crazy fight moves and manages to knock out Lorne's entire team in short order. She recovers her weapons and helps herself to theirs too, as well as their ammo. 

Caldwell sets up in the control room, issuing orders to get the search underway and to get the civilian population out of harm's way. He says they can use the city's life signs detector to track Phebus and Thalen since they will be the only signatures moving alone. Rodney starts to balk at Caldwell taking charge, saying that technically he's the more senior staff leader. Caldwell thinks Rodney just doesn't trust him because of the whole goa'uld thing but points out that this is clearly a military situation and since he is the ranking military officer that puts him in charge. Rodney subsides.

Phebus and Thalen start talking to each other over their radios and Chuck picks up the chatter and puts it on the speaker for Caldwell and the others to hear. It seems like they are the last survivors of their respective races, which had been involved in a long and bloody war. The two clearly want each other dead. Caldwell is very concerned that they managed to take over the two people who have the most knowledge about the city and its staff, and that they seem to have access to all of that knowledge. 

Ronon and Teyla decide to split up, with Teyla going after Phebus and Ronon going after Thalen. Thalen, meanwhile, heads straight for the city's power room and disconnects the ZPM, shooting up the control panel for good measure to keep them from just plugging it back in or turning on their backups. Caldwell sends Rodney to get the power restored, along with Carson to check on the marines who were guarding the power station.

Ronon manages to track Thalen down but Thalen convinces him that he is really Sheppard, playing on Ronon's mistrust of Caldwell. He claims that Caldwell and Elizabeth are possessed but he is not. He asks Ronon to help him get to Phebus before the others so he can take her down without hurting her since the others are working under Caldwell's commands. Ronon agrees, but does make Sheppard take a stunner instead of live ammo. They track down Phebus but Thalen is unable to do much damage with his stunner, and Phebus manages to shoot Ronon before getting away. Annoyed, Thalen takes Ronon's gun and leaves him there, dismayed to realize he had been fooled. Thalen does call in a medical team for Ronon before he continues after Phebus though.

Carson tries to convince Caldwell to try just talking to Phebus and Thalen, to see if he can get them to stop the craziness. Or at least buy some time, since the imprints are only temporary. Caldwell dismisses the idea, believing it will do no good and sends Carson down to the infirmary to take care of Ronon. Because the power is still out, he has to remove the bullet and stitch Ronon back up in the dark. Of course Rodney gets the lights back on as soon as he finishes the surgery.

Teyla manages to track down Phebus but so has Thalen and Teyla is stunned by him. Phebus and Thalen engage in a brief firefight until Rodney gets the power back on. Phebus uses the distraction to escape Thalen again and heads straight for a science lab. She uses Elizabeth's access codes to seize control of the city's systems and then puts the city into lockdown. Doors start slamming shut all over the city (one narrowly missing Teyla's head as she regains consciousness just in time to move). Caldwell asks Rodney if he can invalidate her code, but it is too late. He can probably override it but that will take time. Caldwell orders him to get to it.

Phebus, aware that she is running out of time, contacts Caldwell over the radio. She threatens to wreak havoc on the city's life support systems unless he has his people capture Thalen for her. With the sensors back up Caldwell can see that Teyla is trapped in the same section of the city as Thalen. He orders her to go get Thalen. She manages to stun him as he is prying open a set of doors to pass through. 

Feeling enough time has passed, Phebus contacts Caldwell again. She threatens to vent the city's toxic fire suppressant gas into the living quarters (where all of the civilians are holed up) if Caldwell doesn't produce Thalen. He admits that the man has been captured and she orders him to move Thalen to the nearest security camera so she can see him. She watches until he regains consciousness and then orders Teyla to kill Thalen. Frustrated, Teyla asks why Phebus wants Thalen dead so badly. Phebus starts to monologue a bit, explaining that if she kills Thalen, then her people will have won their war. Thalen tries to pleas for Sheppard's life, at least, if she isn't willing to spare his. Teyla does not want to kill Thalen, as it would kill Sheppard, but with Phebus holding the rest of the city hostage, she knows she has no choice. 

Just as Teyla has made up her mind to follow Phebus' order Rodney manages to override Elizabeth's code, locking her out of the city's system. Caldwell orders Teyla to stand down. Relieved, she does so. With her control over the city revoked, Phebus scoots from her location and heads for Thalen's location so she can kill him herself. Teyla wants to go after Phebus but Thalen asks her not to leave him tied up, where he would just be easy prey. Teyla goes back and promises she will not let Phebus kill him. Thalen begins to go into convulsions and Teyla kneels down to check on him. When he stops, he seems to be Sheppard again. Before she can question him, Phebus appears behind them, ordering Teyla to step away from Sheppard. Teyla slips Sheppard her stunner as she steps away and he sits up and shoots Phebus. Lorne's team arrives and Teyla tells him to take both Sheppard and Phebus to the infirmary, keeping Sheppard bound until Carson orders otherwise. 

Elizabeth wakes up in the infirmary and is glad to be back to herself again. Sheppard is there too, in the bed next to hers. He tells her Phebus finally gave up the ghost in the middle of the night, kicking and screaming the whole way. He reassures her that Ronon is fine. They discuss how horrifying the whole experience was and wonder if anyone will believe they are really back to being themselves. Caldwell walks in and says that he believes it, and they all bond briefly over having been possessed by aliens. They thank Caldwell for keeping the situation under control when they were not themselves. He teases them about their kiss and then leaves to do the paperwork. Elizabeth and Sheppard share an awkward glance at the mention of the kiss and the episode ends. 


Man, poor Ronon. Well, poor Carson too. First Carson had to remove Ronon's tracking device in a cave with no anesthetic, and then this whole debacle. This is one of those incidences where you start to get the sense that there are certain characters that the writers just really like to mess with. 

I think the main purpose of this episode was, obviously, Caldwell's redemption of sorts. He had to prove that he was trustworthy and capable of being a good commander after the whole goa'uld mess. I think the writers did a really good job here, actually. He was still very clearly Caldwell--still a little prickly and assuming that everyone didn't trust him (largely Rodney, who I really think was just being Rodney and didn't really have that much ill will aimed at the colonel). But he also definitely showed a more humane streak. The big indicator was when he very clearly ordered the soldiers to use non-lethal force if at all possible in apprehending Sheppard and Elizabeth, in contrast to when Sheppard was turning into a bug he was all gung-ho about putting the poor man down for good. This episode serves as a very decent stepping stone to transition him as still a thorn in Elizabeth and Sheppard's side but also an ally and possibly friend. He's not the bad guy anymore. Very well done.

With this episode Sheppard also officially becomes the Zack Morris of Atlantis. Yeesh. Being Kirk wasn't enough, gotta go for the Zack status too. I actually could totally see Zack Morris growing up into someone like Sheppard if he had decided to join the military. How odd. 

Finally, I really loved that there was a nice imbalance in the imprinting. I don't think I would call Elizabeth a pacifist, but she is definitely a negotiator and always tries to seek a peaceful solution if possible. Having her imprinted with Phebus, who was very clearly, "kill all the enemy" no matter the cost or impact on innocents was a rather delicious treat. Even though I hate seeing Lorne go down, watching her take out his whole team by hand was pretty dang cool. Thalen, meanwhile, seemed to be very much like Sheppard in that he gave off the impression of being someone who only fights once he's backed into a corner. Though even then, he seemed to be less vicious than we've seen cornered Sheppard get. He did call for a medical team for Ronon, even though he had tricked him into helping (and really, he could have probably done fine without Ronon's help, but seemed to prefer to have an ally). It also bears noting that when he shot Teyla, he was aiming for Phebus, but Teyla was only stunned. He wasn't shooting to kill his mortal enemy. It just, it was really cool to see those two get to be out of their element a bit. I am sure it was fun for the actors as well.

Favorite Quotes

"I will confess to the occasional half hour of Jeopardy!" (Rodney)
"Jeopardy?" (Ronon)
"It's the name of the show, Jeopardy!" (Rodney)
"Sounds dangerous." (Ronon)
"Double Jeopardy, that's twice as dangerous." (Sheppard)

"She is merely...harboring my consciousness." (Phebus)
"Oh, here we go again!" (Rodney)

"I'd prefer if this alien consciousness weren't armed." (Caldwell)

"You two need some very serious marriage counseling!" (Rodney)
"He's not my husband, he's the enemy." (Phebus)

"Alright, we need to split up. I'll take Sheppard. You go after Weir." (Ronon)
"Why?" (Teyla)
"Cuz I know how he thinks. I don't have the slightest clue how she thinks." (Ronon)

"I was unable to capture Doctor Weir." (Teyla)
"So were a lot of people." (Caldwell)

"I would just like to state for the record that it is astounding to me that once again I find myself in a position of having to save this city when you and marines can't figure out how to track down two people!" (Rodney)

"How'd you know it was me?" (Sheppard)
"I still do not. Keep his hands bound until Doctor Beckett tells you otherwise." (Teyla)
"Well if you didn't know, why did you give me the stunner?" (Sheppard)
"Because you would have shot her either way." (Sheppard)

So wraps up another week of the rewatch. See you back here next Monday for a new episode, "Coup D'Etat." 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just A Wee Bit Insane...

NaNoWriMo starts today. So that's 50,000 words (at least--but more importantly a complete story) I've gotta write in the next thirty days.

I am a little over halfway done with the blanket--I've got two weeks to finish it. Sure I can do it (I think), but I am also gonna freak out about it a bit.

I've got two other sizable projects that I would like to finish before this month ends. (This is not going to happen, but that won't stop me from trying.) I've already realized I need to back-burner the KAL sweater and finish the other project, which is not for me, first. Otherwise I will feel like a miserable excuse for a human being.

My daughter has recently discovered that it is SUPER fun times to plop down in my lap right on top of whatever project I am working on and refuse to move.

A friend has approached me about commissioning a couple of baby hats and I have already had to tell her I won't be able to work on them until after Christmas because I am so swamped craft-wise.

Yet despite all of that I am seriously thinking about taking a day or two of Yarn Time this week to make a pair of these (sans beads). What? I mean, it's cold in my office, and I can't be expected to reach my word count if my fingers are too frozen to type, right? Right? Anyone....?


Happy November, y'all. Let the games begin.