Welcome to the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch! Today we see the return of some familiar faces in season three's "Irresponsible." Spoilers for the episode and those that came before it.
Teyla has heard rumors from some of her fellow Athosians of a "hero" on a planet they have been trading with. The hero has shown great strength and courage and has stood up to the wraith and won on several occasions, supposedly. The team goes to the planet to check it out and see if they might recruit the hero as an ally against the wraith. As they walk into the village from the gate, the team discuss their own personal heroes. John's was Evel Knievel, Rodney's Batman, Carson's a Scottish legend, and Ronon's a Satedan warrior. They arrive in the village and are greeted warmly. They ask about the hero and the villager confirms such a person exists, gladly volunteering to show the team to him. They are led to a square where townsfolk are gathered around, being regaled with tales by none other than Lucius Lavin.
Lucius welcomes the team enthusiastically and invites them to join the group. They sit down and listen to him continue his stories, which are recognizably the adventures of the team themselves, not Lucius' own deeds. During this, Carson draws some of his blood to test it to make sure he's not using his drug again. The town is clearly under his sway. He promises he is clean, and after the crowd has dispersed explains that he managed to foil a group of raiders who had attacked the town some time back. He beat them up and ran them out of town, and since then the villagers have lauded him as their protector and hero. The team is skeptical, he isn't really the fighting type. He reveals that he has an Ancient shield device. He actually had it already when he first met the team but didn't know what it was until after his time in Atlantis. Once he realized what he had, he just needed to find someone with the gene to activate it for him and has been using it since then. John points out that the devices aren't fallible and do eventually run out of juice but Lucius dismisses the comment out of hand. He hits on the waitress in the tavern as she passes and she scoffs at him, pointing out that his heroic act was "ages" ago. It is clear some of his shine is starting to wear off in the village.
John and the team decide to leave. They have found what they are looking for and Lucius isn't exactly what they need in an ally against the wraith. Ronon is hesitant to leave with the village under Lucius' sway but John says they can have the Athosians keep an eye on things and let them know if Lucius gets out of control again. As they pass through the town, a group of armed men enter the square, declaring they want to challenge the hero. The team draw their weapons but the square is full of civilians and they do not wish to risk harming any innocents by starting a firefight. They acquiesce to the raiders' demands to lower their weapons and surrender. The leader starts calling out, wanting to know where the town's supposed "hero" has gotten to, and Lucius steps into the square, proclaiming himself. The men attack him but he takes it in stride thanks to his shield, beating them down and then telling them to get out of town. Defeated, they leave.
Lucius and much of the village, as well as the team, repair to the tavern where the town again begins to laud Lucius for saving them. The waitress from earlier no longer spurns his advances. John and the team are clearly disgusted by the whole display and once more decide to take their leave. Once they are gone, Lucius tells the villagers he wants to take a walk and he sneaks off to a clearing outside of town. There he meets up with the raiders who had attacked the village and it is revealed that he actually hired them to attack so as to bolster his reputation. He gives them their pay and the leader is very unhappy, saying it is less than the agreed upon amount. Lucius tells him to take it or leave it and the raider is very angry. He retorts that they were once elite Genii soldiers, the personal guard to Cowen himself, and they deserve better treatment. Lucius is unimpressed and he leaves. As he does, the camera pans to some trees, in which we see the team hiding. They witnessed the whole exchange.
Lucius returns to town and is walking through the village when John returns with the raiders in tow. He tells the town that it was all a ruse and Lucius has been deceiving them. The town refuses to believe John however, even with the raider's confession. They believe that John is just ashamed that he surrendered and Lucius was the one to save him. All riled up, the town starts to close in on the team, angry at their attempt to tarnish their hero. Lucius calls them off and takes the team into his house. He seems unperturbed at John's attempt to reveal the truth. The team tell Lucius he needs to stop deceiving the villagers but he is unrepentant. As they are discussing the matter the sounds of gunshots and screams come to them from outside. John looks out the window and sees uniformed Genii, led by none other than Kolya, searching through the village. He overhears Kolya barking orders to find him and realizes that Kolya, somehow knowing that the team is in the village, has come for revenge.
Lucius knows all about Kolya from the reports he read in Atlantis and from dealing with the Genii outcasts. He says he can go get rid of Kolya and his men easily, reminding the team that he can't be hurt. Teyla and the others point out that this time it is not just an act. Kolya might not be able to hurt Lucius, but that won't stop him from burning down the rest of the town and killing everyone in it just to get what he wants. John and Ronon want to go out and confront the Genii but Teyla talks them down. She points out, with Carson's agreement, that they cannot risk any of the villagers getting hurt because of them. She believes that if Kolya and his men search the town and do not find the team, they will leave without harming anyone. Lucius says he can help with that and shows them a secret room. John reluctantly agrees to hide until Kolya has finished searching, but he makes Lucius promise not to mess with Kolya. No heroics, no unnecessary risks. Lucius agrees.
Lucius goes outside and confronts Kolya. He says that the village is under his protection and orders Kolya and his men to leave. Kolya is not impressed, even when Lucius' "invincibility" is revealed. Instead of trying to beat or shoot the man, he just has one of his soldiers hold Lucius' head under water until he is willing to talk. The shield can't protect against suffocation. The leader of the raiders appear and Lucius realizes that he is the one who led Kolya to the village. The raider says he knew what Kolya had been looking for John. Obviously he saw an opportunity to get back in good graces with a powerful Genii and seized it. After some more "persuasion," Lucius caves and tells Kolya about the hiding place in his house. Kolya sends his men to retrieve the team but they aren't there. We see that they are hiding in another part of the house. They expected Lucius would give up their location and moved. John says now that they've bought some time they need to sneak out of the village and set up an ambush on the way back to the gate. Somewhere they can deal with Kolya without risking harm to innocents.
When Kolya learns that the team is not where Lucius said they were, he says he wonders if Lucius' shield can save him from being buried alive. Lucius tries to barter for his life. He tries to persuade Kolya that he would be good bait, that he and John are very close and John would of course come to rescue him. Kolya is skeptical but Lucius persists, saying he knows the whole team and Elizabeth very well. Kolya asks how this is and Lucius reveals he spent some time on Atlantis. Kolya's interest is piqued. He takes Lucius to the tavern and orders Lucius to tell him everything he knows about Atlantis. Once Lucius has told everything he knows, Kolya says he has served his purpose. He says he is very tired and wants to go rest before the funeral in the morning, he still intends to bury Lucius alive. He and his men leave.
Once Lucius is alone, John sneaks into the room. John says that Kolya had all of the exits out of town covered by his men and they had heard the rumor of Lucius' impending doom. He bends down to untie Lucius from the chair and sees that Kolya has left behind a present--a lit bundle of dynamite. Knowing that the shield will keep Lucius safe from the blast, John boogies out of there just before the building blows up. He narrowly avoids capture by Kolya's men. The rest of the team is not so lucky, however. Leaving Lucius alone had only been a ruse, and as the rest of the team cautiously moves to investigate the blast, they are all captured. Lucius emerges from the rubble of the tavern and Kolya tells him he has done his part and so gets to live another day. He is disappointed that John was not caught, however.
Kolya decides to use the rest of the team as bait for John and has them locked in the village's jail. One of the villagers brings them food and reveals that Lucius has also disappeared. He believes John and Lucius are no doubt already conspiring to save the town from Kolya's evil clutches. The team tries to convince the young man that Lucius is not the hero he thinks he is. They tell him that if he expects the village to be saved, the villagers themselves are going to have to stand up to Kolya. The young man tells them that they are not capable of such a thing and the team promises that they will help, explaining that they have only held back so far because they didn't want to risk any villagers getting hurt. They ask him to let them out. He is not persuaded and tells them they are better off just waiting for Lucius to return before leaving the team in their cell.
Kolya stops by to gloat. He reveals that the whole ambush has just been about getting to kill John. He also assures the team that he does not mean to kill them. Instead, he will barter them back to Elizabeth in exchange for some weapons and ammunition. He thinks it will not be such an ambitious demand that she will turn it down this time. He commandeers one of the team's radios and calls John. He tells John that there is no way for him to get to the gate and call for help and tells him to just come back to the village so they can face each other. Otherwise, he is going to start killing the team.
John, who has just reached the gate, realizes the truth in Kolya's claim. Lucius is with him, having decided to make a run for it after the whole explosion thing. He swore to John that he had no idea about the bomb and that Kolya used him, he just wants help getting off the planet. When John agrees to go back and face Kolya, however, Lucius swallows his fear and decides to go too. On the way back, Lucius throws out several zany and implausible ideas on how they can get the better of Kolya. John rejects them in turn and then tells Lucius he has an idea of his own.
A group of villagers has gathered in Lucius' house, hoping he will return to save them. Lucius enters and finds him. When they ask if he is there to save them, he tells them they need to save themselves. He manages to convince them that they can't always just wait around for a hero (namely, him) to save the day. In order to get rid of the Genii, they are all going to have to work together on this one. They are reluctant at first but then agree (led by the waitress, who is very enthusiastic about not needing a hero, much to Lucius' chagrin). Lucius starts getting their resistance organized.
Kolya begins to get impatient waiting for John. He has the team taken from their cell to the square. He is just about to kill Rodney when John arrives. Kolya doesn't hesitate at all when John shows up, just orders his men to open fire. They do, but the hail of gunfire does no damage, John is wearing Lucius' shield. Kolya glares at John, who begins to gloat, but just then the shield fizzles out, having been depleted at last. Kolya smiles and orders his men to reload, but before they can the villagers flood into the square armed with shovels and hoes and other implements, surrounding Kolya's men. John asks Koyla if there is any point in asking him to surrender. Kolya just smirks at him. Both men reach for their guns but John is faster, drawing and firing before Kolya can get a shot off, killing Kolya.
In the aftermath, the town begins to celebrate, relieved at having overcome their ordeal. The team declines to join the celebrations, saying that they are already overdue to return to Atlantis. As they leave, Lucius asks John for the shield back, and John hands it over without complaint. After they leave Rodney says he thought the shield was depleted, and John answers that it was. He says he's sure Lucius will figure that out soon enough.
Well, clearly Lucius had enough taste of being worshiped when he had his drug that he couldn't go back to being normal again. At least this time people were deciding to follow him out of their own free will (as misguided as it might have been). That guy is a piece of work.
I still think this was kind of a waste of a way for Kolya to go out. He was such an amazing archnemesis for John. Sigh. Bye, bye, Kolya. Still, I get it. At this point, the Genii are supposed to be allies of Atlantis, and having Kolya out there muddies the waters on that front just a bit too much I suppose. Still. Man, it just felt so anticlimactic. Oh well.
I did love Ronon's conviction that the "hero" must be one of his people from the descriptions of the battle prowess. Also, Teyla's confusion about Evel Knievel was also amusing.
I'm still not really sure why Carson was with them in the first place, but I guess it was handy to have him there to run blood tests, eh?
I'm not sure what purpose this episode really serves in the overall narrative. It's amusing, but other than closing the page on Kolya, and reminding us that for some reason Lucius is still being allowed to run around with all that knowledge about Atlantis, it doesn't really further the story of the season or series very much. *shrug* Oh well, there are always gonna be a few episodes in any series that feel out of place I guess.
"See? Invincible. I can't be vinced." (Lucius)
"You did an awful lot of 'perusing' while you were on the base." (Rodney)
"I peruse. It's a gift." (Lucius)
"Hey, you're trying to figure out a way to hurt me, aren't you?" (Lucius)
"Is that the best you can do?" (Lucius)
"As a matter of fact, no, it isn't." (Kolya)
"I have to give Colonel Sheppard credit. No opponent's ever caused me this much trouble. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to kill him." (Kolya)
"That's funny. He says the same thing about you." (Rodney)
"Really? I'm flattered." (Kolya)
That's all I've got for you today folks. See you back here Wednesday for an episode about which I am much more enthusiastic, "Tao of Rodney."