Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SGA Rewatch: Misbegotten

Hello! Welcome to the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Continuing with season three, today we will be talking about "Misbegotten."

As always, beware of spoilers if you haven't seen the episode.

What Happened

Elizabeth is still at the SGC on Earth, so Teyla dials in for a progress report. Atlantis has still received no word from the Daedalus or Orion regarding their mission to stop the wraith from reaching Earth. The city has been tracking a hive ship headed toward Atlantis, however. It is moving very quickly and due to arrive any time now. They raise the city's cloak at Elizabeth's order, and Carson is on standby in the control chair just in case the cloak doesn't work. There are a few tense moments as the hive ship drops out of hyperspace and then they receive a signal from Sheppard. It is the hive ship that was commandeered when the Daedalus' life support systems were so badly damaged.

Apparently they gave the Daedalus a lift back (per their original plan to beam the canister on board the hive ship from the season two finale), so everyone is back at Atlantis safe and sound and ready to begin repairs and play with their newly acquired hive ship. Sheppard brings Carson up to the hive to show him all of the transformed wraith that they have in stasis. All told there are just under two hundred of them. He figures Carson will want to study them to see if any tweaks need to be made to his virus.

Michael is given quarters in the city but still kept under guard. Teyla goes to visit him and he is upset at his current status. He explains that he can't go back to the other wraith, they no longer accept him. He asks for a ship and supplies so he can strike out and begin making his own way. Teyla answers that they can't ever let him leave the city, he knows far too much about Atlantis. He replies that she might as well just kill him, then, because he cannot live as a prisoner. She says there is another way and he scoffs at the idea of taking the retrovirus again. To him, it is the same as death, maybe worse. He is angry that they still think being a wraith is a disease to be cured.

Elizabeth meets with Woolsey and he informs her that she will get to keep her job for the time being. He will be accompanying her back to Atlantis, however, to do a performance review and write up a full report for the IOA to consider the current leadership arrangements in Atlantis. We learn that the SGC has asked for the Asgard to give Elizabeth and Woolsey a ride back to the Pegasus galaxy in order to shave the return trip down from three weeks to one.

Rodney is hard at work trying to repair the wraith ship and learn its systems enough to allow the Lanteans to use it. He discovers that it uses a neural interface much like the ATA gene activated technology, which means it still needs a wraith to fly it. Sheppard wonders if Teyla might be able to fly the ship since she has wraith DNA and Rodney replies that it is a possibility. He also tells Sheppard that if they want to ever be able to use the ship's weapons, they will need to take the transformed wraith out of the stasis pods, because that is an enormous drain on the ship's power.

It is decided to move the transformed wraith (including Michael, who they treat again) to an uninhabited planet with no stargate. They set up a camp for them and explain to the "patients" that they all carry a highly communicable disease and have been quarantined while Carson tries to find a cure for them (when really he is trying to find a way to make the transformation and amnesia permanent). Sheppard and Ronon visit the camp once it is up and running, and Ronon is grumpy about the whole situation, refusing to see the transformed wraith as human. Sheppard tells Carson to pack up so they can take him back to Atlantis, but he doesn't want to leave his patients. He insists on remaining to do his research in the camp, stating he will be perfectly safe. Sheppard agrees reluctantly, and leaves two soldiers behind as a security detail for Carson.

Before Sheppard and Ronon can leave, however, they are confronted by one of the patients, Lathan. He has lots of questions and doesn't really believe that the Lanteans are telling the truth. He thinks that the "treatment" Carson is giving them isn't helping them get any better. He goes to some of his fellows to try to convince them to overpower the Lanteans and take their ship to escape the planet. The others, led by Michael, tell him he is imagining things and he needs to just let it go. If the Lanteans are telling the truth, it would be far too risky for them to leave the planet and chance infecting who knows how many other people with their disease.

Woolsey and Elizabeth arrive in Atlantis and Woolsey immediately sets out trying to find allies in his "review" of Elizabeth's performance. He tries to get Caldwell on his side by dangling the possibility of promotion to commander of a military-run Atlantis in front of him, as well as reminding him that the only reason he's not in charge of Atlantis' military already is because Elizabeth insisted on keeping Sheppard. Caldwell doesn't bite, however, reminding Woosley that he's not actually part of the Atlantis or IOA chain of command and as such doesn't have to answer any of Woolsey's questions.

Lathan fails to turn up for his daily treatment and as Carson is telling Sheppard about this, Michael comes up to them and admits that Lathan is paranoid about the Lanteans' true intentions for his people. Sheppard organizes search teams and Michael volunteers to help. Michael's group is the first to find Lathan, who is hiding in the woods. He says he is trying to prove his point. Already having just missed one treatment, he is starting to have flashes of memory from before his "illness." Michael sadly apologizes to Lathan and laments that he should have remained in the camp. The next we see of Lathan, one of the guards has found him dead at the bottom of a ravine. He apparently was trying to climb down and fell, breaking his neck. With that situation resolved, Sheppard and Ronon leave, taking the ship with them. Carson, remaining behind, decides to perform an autopsy on Lathan to try to gain more information in his research into perfecting the retrovirus.

Elizabeth reunites with Sheppard's team and they are all glad to see each other. Rodney reports that the wraith vessel is proving problematic. Teyla finds just flying the ship in a straight line through the neural interface extremely draining. She and Rodney both fear that anything as complicated as battle maneuvers are right out of the question. Woolsey arrives at the meeting and begins sticking his nose in everywhere.

Carson grows suspicious about Lathan's death, realizing that he had to have already been dead when he fell to the ravine. He goes out into the woods to investigate (without his guards). While he is checking things out, he sees one of his patients stealthily moving through the woods and decides to follow him. The transformed wraith leads Carson to a group of others who are all standing around a fire with their arms up towards the sky doing some sort of weird communion ritual. It freaks Carson the hell out and he tries to get out of there and radio to his guards for backup. He gets no answer and when he turns around, Michael is there behind him, clearly starting to revert back to a wraith. He tells Carson that the guards are dead and drags him back to the camp, venting his anger that they did this to him not once, but twice, even after knowing how he felt about it the first time.

Rodney picks up a hive ship on Atlantis' long range scanners. It is not headed for the city but for the planet on which they are keeping the transformed wraith. They know that there is no reason for the wraith to be interested in that planet unless they have somehow learned about the presence of Michael and the others. Rodney estimates about two days before the hive ship gets to the planet, and everyone agrees that they need to either stop it or get everyone off that planet before it gets there. They can't afford for any more wraith to find their transformed brethren and realize that the Lanteans possess something like the retrovirus, let alone risk them remembering Atlantis' continued existence, the location of Earth, or the specs to upgrade hive ship hyperdrives. The Daedalus' hyperdrive is still not ready to make the trip to the planet, but if they leave immediately in their captured hive ship, they should be able to arrive just before the other hive.

Michael straps Carson down to a bed in the infirmary and explains that he and a few of his brethren began to remember their true natures even with the treatments. He admits to killing Lathan and says that they couldn't risk his questions making Sheppard stay. They knew their only way off the planet was to wait for Sheppard to leave and to call another hive ship to pick them up (that's what the weird woods communing thing was about). Carson asks how many have turned and Michael says only a few. Well over a hundred are still human, though, and he plans to keep them that way, as an offering to the rescuing hive ship. Carson is disgusted but Michael continues, telling Carson that he knows Sheppard wouldn't have left without some sort of failsafe in place. He intends to get the failsafe information out of Carson, one way or another.

The Lantean hive ship makes it to the planet ahead of the other hive, but the ship's power was seriously taxed in the rush to get there. In addition, the weapons are only minimally active--the targeting is pretty much nonexistent. Several of the ship's systems begin to come online when they arrive and Rodney does a quick scan, finding out that there are about thirty active wraith life signs coming from a planet. They realize that some of the wraith must have reverted. They are still detecting numerous humans but there is no way to distinguish Carson and the guards out of those. We learn that Sheppard left a nuke behind on the planet with a remote detonator as his failsafe. He, Ronon, and Teyla take a puddle jumper down to the planet to grab their people so that they can set off the nuke and prevent the other wraith from finding those they transformed. They find Carson but he is in bad shape and they also find that the guards are dead. They skedaddle out of there and set off the nuke but nothing happens. Michael learned of it from Carson and disabled the detonator.

When they get back to the hive ship, Sheppard orders Rodney to start firing on the planet, hoping they can take out the camp and all of the transformed (and reverted) wraith before the other hive arrives. Carson protests but Sheppard explains they have no choice. The other hive ship arrives as they are firing on the planet and immediately starts to attack. The Lantean hive ship is very badly damaged and we watch as it begins to explode.

The Daedalus, which left Atlantis as soon as it had a functioning hyperdrive, arrives to find the debris of the hive ship in orbit around the planet. They scan the debris and the planet but find no life signs anywhere. Everyone makes a sad face and then they get a radio signal from Sheppard. Caldwell asks where the hell he is and he belatedly remembers to drop the cloak on the puddle jumper, where the team had retreated when the hive was critically hit. Relieved he doesn't have to tell Elizabeth that Sheppard (and everyone else) is dead/missing yet again, Caldwell picks them up and they head back to Atlantis.

Elizabeth has a final briefing with Woolsey and admits that we don't actually know if the camp of transformed wraith was destroyed before the other hive ship arrived or not. It likely was, but there is a possibility some of the reverted wraith escaped before the Daedalus arrived. I guess Sheppard and company were too busy doing battle and escaping to notice if the other hive sent down a dart to scoop up Michael and his buddies? At any rate, Elizabeth expects Woolsey to rake her over the coals over the whole situation and file a negative report to the IOA. He tells her that on the contrary, he will be telling them that it was her order to fire on the camp that prevented any of the transformed or reverted wraith from escaping and preserved the secrets of Atlantis. To her shock, he explains that his job is to not let inconvenient facts get in the way of the truth. As far as he is concerned, the truth in this case is that Elizabeth is the person who should be running Atlantis, at least for the time being. With that, he makes his farewells and steps through the gate back to Earth.


Well. We had certainly better hope Michael didn't survive, hadn't we? Geez. Really? Really? After everything that happened the first time around, you guys thought this was a good idea again? Really. Sigh.

We do get some reassurance that Elizabeth's position as leader of the expedition is secure for the time being. That's good. We also know that the IOA, now that they realize the wraith might be an actual threat outside of the Pegasus galaxy, will be keeping a closer eye on things in Atlantis. That means meddling. Ruh-roh.

Pro tip: If you capture a large group of wraith (transformed into humans or not), be sure to keep them separate. Apparently, enough of them together can communicate over very long distances to call for help. Good to know.

I don't really have much else to say about this episode. All of the prominent loose plot threads from the last season are now sewn up. Time to move onward to new dilemmas, whoo!

Oh, if you are at all curious about the previous off-world trip that Woolsey mentioned wherein he was almost killed, check out the Stargate SG-1 season nine episode "The Scourge." One of the first couple of SG-1 episodes I ever saw, and actually a pretty good adventure.

Favorite Quotes

"Nothing renews your appreciation for the military like the threat of invasion from life-sucking aliens." (Woolsey)

"Just out of political curiosity, how much trouble is it gonna cause you if I knock this guy Woolsey in the head?" (Sheppard)

"Alright, head knocking." (Sheppard)
"It's the thought that counts." (Elizabeth)

"That's weird. A bunch of secondary systems just came online." (Rodney)
"You're a genius Rodney!" (Sheppard)
"True. But I didn't do it." (Rodney)


That's it for this week. See you back here on Monday for a super fun episode with surprisingly squicky implications, "Irresistible."

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