Monday, December 12, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Irresistible

Welcome to another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we continue working our way through season three with "Irresistible." Be wary of spoilers for this episode and any that came before.

What Happened

Yet again we kick off an episode with Sheppard's team exploring a new planet by puddle jumper. We learn that they have been going through the galaxy looking for stargates that can be "harvested" to use in order to create a bridge between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies. The gate bridge would allow two way gate travel between Atlantis and Earth without requiring the use of a ZPM to dial and would reduce the travel time between the two planets from three weeks (via spaceship) to thirty minutes (via a system of interconnected gates spread out between the locations). Ideally they only want to harvest space gates that orbit uninhabited planets, but they are checking out some of the land gates as well. Today's candidate is located on a planet that showed life signs, so the team is going to make contact with the indigenous population.

They enter a village and are greeted almost immediately by a man named Lucius, who is clearly in charge of the place. He is more than a little obnoxious, introducing them to two of his (six) wives and then immediately beginning to hit on Teyla. He invites the team to stay for lunch, surprised they have never head of him. Everyone in the village proceeds to tell the team about what a kind and wonderful man Lucius is. Just before joining everyone for lunch, we see Lucius take a swig from a small potion bottle he pulls out of his vest. At lunch he continues to hit on Teyla, his advances becoming more inappropriate as the meal progresses, while everyone from the village looks on fondly.

Lucius claims to possess lots of "gifts" and starts to enumerate his many talents. He notices that Sheppard has a cold and extols his talent at making medicines. He tells Sheppard he can whip up a potion to clear that cold in six to seven days, no problem. At this point Sheppard and team start to really think they are wasting their time. Lucius starts to ask questions about where they are from and about the ship in which they arrived. He asks if he can have one of the puddle jumpers, maybe in trade for some of his fabulous medicines. He is rather shocked and dismayed (as are the villagers) when Sheppard flat out refuses the trade. The team decides to call it a mission and make their excuses so that they can leave. Lucius starts to throw what can only be described as a temper tantrum at their exit, and for a moment it looks as if the villagers will not let them leave. Lucius calms down, however, and says it's fine. To try to appease him, Sheppard promises to send Carson to the village to find out more about Lucius' medicine, at which point maybe they can talk about a trade of some sort.

Carson is not really impressed with Lucius at first, but Lucius convinces him to stay for a meal and after a while, he has begun to hang on Lucius' every word, just like the rest of the villagers. He reveals that he and the others are actually from Atlantis and tells Lucius all about the city. Lucius asks lots of questions, wanting to know all about it (and the jumpers) and Carson offers to bring him to Atlantis so he can see for himself. This goes against pretty much every protocol, and when Carson shows up with Lucius in tow, Elizabeth is less than pleased. Especially when Lucius starts hitting on her.

Sheppard is pissed but tells Elizabeth he doesn't think Lucius is a threat, just a nuisance. Elizabeth grudgingly agrees to let Lucius stay for a little while so they can try to figure out what Carson saw in him that was worth risking the secret of Atlantis' continued existence (as well as its location). Sheppard and Rodney are still trying to find gates for the bridge, so they head out to do that, leaving Teyla and Ronon to keep an eye on Lucius while he is in the city. Carson shows Lucius around, continuing to fawn all over him. He talks Elizabeth into meeting with Lucius to open up a possible alliance with Lucius' people. She reluctantly agrees to hear him out, and before he heads to the meeting, we see Lucius take another swig from his tiny bottle. He brings Elizabeth a gourd with a candle stuck in it and immediately starts hitting on her again, not really having anything of worth to offer Atlantis.

Sheppard and Rodney return from their scouting trip and are rather surprised to find a very chill Chuck the only person on duty in the gate room. They ask him where everyone is and he sends them to the mess, where they find Lucius regaling most of the city with his adventures. Elizabeth and Teyla are hanging on him delightedly and Ronon is all buddy buddy with him. Everyone seems to have fallen under his influence, much to Rodney and Sheppard's dismay.

Sheppard grabs Elizabeth, Teyla, Ronon, and Carson and takes them to Elizabeth's office to try to figure out what happened to change their minds about Lucius. Elizabeth says she doesn't know what he's talking about, Lucius is wonderful. Everyone agrees. Sheppard and Rodney sneak off to try to get to the bottom of the situation. Checking out the security footage of Lucius' quarters, Rodney notices him drinking from the bottle and steals it from his room to run tests. They think he must have some sort of concoction that is getting everyone to act so strangely.

Sheppard goes to check on Elizabeth and finds her and Zelenka with Lucius telling him all about the gate bridge and their harvesting missions. He shows them a potential planet that he thinks will have a gate they can use and they are very excited and ready to send a team right away. Sheppard isn't excited, however, he points out to Elizabeth that they hadn't checked out that planet because their intel told them that the wraith have set up an outpost there. It's too risky. Lucius prompts Elizabeth and she tries to pull rank on Sheppard to get him to send a team to the planet. He refuses and reminds her that he still has rank when it comes to military operations. He then shuts down all gate activity until further notice without his express approval, just in case Elizabeth tries to send a team anyway.

As he leaves Lucius remarks to Elizabeth that Sheppard really must have a terrible cold to be so cranky. She tries to convince him that Sheppard normally isn't like that but he's not too sure. He tells her that if Sheppard doesn't "come around" soon, something will have to be done about him.

Unfortunately, Rodney couldn't retrieve enough of the liquid from Lucius' bottle to analyze it fully. Sheppard volunteers to go back to Lucius' planet to see if he can get more. Rodney is reluctant to be left alone with all of the "nuts" but Sheppard tells him to just stay away from everyone else until Sheppard gets back. At the village, everyone is very sick, they seem to be in withdrawal, and when they see Sheppard they immediately start asking where Lucius is and when he will be coming back. Sheppard asks them about the liquid and Lucius' wives go get him some, making him promise to send Lucius back to them soon.

Sheppard returns to find Rodney in Elizabeth's office with Lucius, laughing at one of his stories. He has been converted as well. He also learns that Teyla, Ronon, and Carson went to the planet that Lucius wanted to send a team to, despite Sheppard's orders. The team returns under heavy fire, confirming that there is in fact a wraith outpost on the planet. Still, regardless of Sheppard's outrage, the team comes back giggling like madmen and clutching bags full of an herb. It turns out that was Lucius' real goal on the planet.

Carson and Rodney get around to showing Lucius one of the jumpers and he is fascinated by the whole thing. They explain to him about the ATA gene and about Carson's gene therapy treatment. Lucius is intrigued and wants to take the treatment himself.

Later, Carson is in the infirmary when Sheppard shows up and asks to speak to him alone. He tells Carson that he thinks there is something wrong with him and Carson is relieved to hear he is asking for help. They move off to speak in private and Sheppard stuns Carson, then carries him off to a jumper and takes off for the mainland with him. Realizing what Sheppard has done, Elizabeth orders all of the jumpers to the mainland to find Sheppard and Carson and bring them back. Rodney turns up and tells them that Sheppard has also stolen his laptop and a bunch of his research. In the jumper, Sheppard explains to a very irate Carson that Lucius is using a pheromone of some sort to influence other people, making them like him and do his bidding. Sheppard suspects it comes from the herb that Lucius sent them to collect. Carson doesn't want to believe him but Sheppard makes him go over the research anyway, telling him that he needs to make an antidote so Atlantis doesn't suffer like Lucius' village.

After several hours, Carson seems to be on the verge of a discovery of some sort when Ronon turns up. He stuns Sheppard and they head back to Atlantis. Sheppard is thrown in the city's brig and Lucius comes to talk to him. He says when Sheppard is over his cold the two of them are going to have a long talk and will probably become the best of friends. Sheppard says he knows about the herb and Lucius explains how he found it and realized how it could be used. Then, the wraith set up their outpost on the planet where it grew and he was beginning to fear he would never be able to get more when Sheppard and crew turned up, giving him a way to collect the herb again.

Carson has prepared the gene therapy for Lucius and he administers it, telling Lucius it will be about an hour before it takes effect and he can try flying a jumper. While they wait, Lucius takes Elizabeth's hand and tells her they really should discuss marriage. She seems thrilled at the idea. Carson accompanies Lucius to a jumper for his maiden voyage and everyone else gathers in the control room to monitor their progress. Just as Lucius is about to try taking off, Sheppard shows up and explains that they didn't actually give him the therapy. Instead, they gave him a serum that neutralizes the pheromone, rendering his mojo ineffective on anyone not already converted. Carson also admits that he administered some to himself to reverse Lucius' influence on him. Sheppard takes off with Lucius and Carson stays behind to administer the serum to everyone in the city.

They also administer the serum to everyone in Lucius' village and explain what had been going on. Then, they let Lucius go back, though no one is very happy to see him. Sheppard predicts a string of divorces in his future. Everyone in Atlantis seems to be more or less back to normal, though they are all really embarrassed about their behavior while under Lucius' influence. It doesn't help that Sheppard keeps gloating about how silly they all acted. Elizabeth dismisses the team and Sheppard turns to Rodney, telling him that Sheppard is going to go try to clean Rodney's quarters before his next meeting, then dashes off. Everyone turns to look at Rodney disapprovingly. He admits he took one tiny taste of the herb, purely for "research" purposes. Elizabeth orders him to burn the herb, all of it, and everyone gets back to business as usual.


So, this is more or less a stand alone episode. The only thing it really adds to the season's overarching plot is the introduction of the gate bridge, which is a kind of big thing, though it gets more or less pushed to the back burner here. I do love Rodney's churlish little admission that the whole thing was actually Carter's idea. That was very well done.

The episode itself is actually pretty amusing. It is very fun to watch everybody get to play their characters in "happy-go-lucky" mode. All of the actors did a really amazing job with this script. It truly is a joy to watch. The bit about Lucius' six wives though, and his attentions to Elizabeth and Teyla, is only funny until you actually stop to think about it. The actual implications of that are pretty dark and squicky. Especially after one of Lucius' wives tells Sheppard that before she realized she liked him, she refused to share his bed several times. Not such innocent fun there, is it?

Of course, we can't talk about this episode without talking about Richard Kind. He actually appeared in the motion picture Stargate that kicked off this whole wacky franchise. He's playing a different character here, obviously, but it still feels like a nice little return home to have him appear on Stargate Atlantis. Also, the character of Lucius was truly a perfect one for him to play. I honestly can't imagine any other actor having done so well in that role.

It was also nice to see the little bit of bonding between Sheppard and Rodney over the old Batman television series. I think this might be the first time we learn of Rodney's admiration for the caped crusader. It becomes not so much a running joke, but a facet of his character as the series progresses.

Favorite Quotes

"How do you get your hair to go like that?" (Lucius)

"But I thought you cured every known ailment?" (Carson)
"Every known ailment in town. I added that, remember?" (Lucius)

"Really? That guy?" (Elizabeth)
"Aye. He also possesses many valuable herbs and spices...and gourds." (Carson)
"Did you just say gourds?" (Rodney)

"I've been told that you would like to negotiate a possible alliance between our two peoples." (Elizabeth)
"An alliance? Okay. Sure." (Lucius)

"What the hell is going on?" (Sheppard)
"What do you mean?" (Elizabeth)
"What do I mean? We leave for a few hours, and Lucius turns you all into Stepford wives!" (Sheppard)

"Teyla, this is the man who asked you to be his seventh wife." (Sheppard)
"I know...I hope I didn't upset him." (Teyla)

"So...that herb of yours." (Sheppard)
"One of my greatest discoveries. Well, it's my only great discovery. But you've got to admit, it's pretty great." (Lucius)


Here endeth the rewatch installment. I hope to see you back here on Wednesday. We'll be getting a good look into Ronon's back story in "Sateda."

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