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.
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.
"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."