Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Doppelganger

Well, another Wednesday has rolled around, and that means another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch! Today's episode is season four's "Doppelganger." Be advised of spoilers for the episode and all that came before it, as always!

What Happened

We join the team in progress as they are exploring a lush jungle-like world. It is quickly made apparent that while scans of the planet revealed no life signs, they did find an interesting energy reading and are searching for its source. John, Teyla, and Ronon are all starting to believe they are wasting their time and that there is nothing of value to be found on the planet. John ready to call it a mission but an uncharacteristically enthusiastic Rodney insists that they should keep looking. Further questioning of his unusual persistence reveals that he had made a bet with Radek that they would find something valuable on the planet and he doesn't want to lose the bet.

John finally pulls rank and gives the order to return to the jumper when they stumble across a crystalline formation growing from the side of a tree. It is glowing and closer inspection reveals it to be the source of the energy reading Rodney had taken earlier. Rodney gets excited, thinking that if they could cultivate more of the crystal, they could literally have a source of energy that grows on trees. As he talks about the possibilities, John examines the crystal and seems to get drawn in, reaching out to touch it. The contact causes a sort of shock, throwing him backwards. Rodney berates him for touching the crystal and John acknowledges that he's not even sure why he did that. Rodney turns back to the crystal and is dismayed to find that John's contact with it seems to have "killed" it. The glow has disappeared and it is no longer giving off an energy signature.

Rodney wants to continue searching, hoping to find more crystals, but John and the others are done. John promises to send a science team back to the planet to explore the phenomenon more closely. In Atlantis, he heads to the infirmary, accompanied by Teyla, to get checked up after his shock. Keller gives him a clean bill of health and he decides he is ready to call it a night. He bids Teyla good evening and pats her on the back. As he touches her, there is a weird sort of glow at the contact.

That evening, as Teyla sleeps, she begins to have a very strange dream. She is back in an Athosian tent, her hair long like when she very first joined the expedition. John is in her tent, eating dinner with her. Ronon appears and tells her he always knew the two of them would hook up. She starts to protest this but hears the sound of wraith darts outside. A voice calls her name, and she thinks it is her father. She runs to the tent flaps to check but Bug!John (from "Conversion") bursts into the tent and backs her up against a table. He slams a hand into her chest as if to feed, wraith-like, and Teyla wakes in her quarters in Atlantis, out of breath and out of sorts.

The next morning she is breakfasting with Rodney and Ronon and tells them about her nightmare. John joins them and notices the uncomfortable silence at his arrival. Rodney tells John that Teyla dreamed about him and John's curiosity is peaked. Teyla elaborates that it was more like a nightmare and that she doesn't want to talk about it. To John's further questions, thinking maybe he had saved her from a big bad monster, Ronon tells him he was the big bad monster. Clearly uncomfortable, Teyla leaves the table, claiming a headache from lack of sleep. She goes to speak with Kate, explaining that the nightmare was unlike any she has ever experienced. It has left her deeply unsettled, and uncomfortable around John. She wonders if her subconscious is trying to tell her something. Kate says that if Teyla thinks she and John have any unresolved issues, addressing them might be a good idea, but otherwise, she shouldn't worry too much about it. When Teyla confesses that she is afraid to go to sleep, Kate sends her to Keller for a checkup. Keller doesn't find anything wrong with Teyla and prescribes her some sleeping pills to help keep any more nightmares at bay. Teyla takes them gratefully and leaves.

Later that evening Keller is woken from her own sleep by a radio call requesting her presence in the infirmary. She arrives to find Teyla on a gurnee, curled up in a ball and experiencing extreme abdominal distress. John is standing over her, concerned. As Keller looks on, something begins to crawl beneath the skin of Teyla's stomach. Before Keller can react to the situation, a creature bursts through Teyla's stomach, killing her. John looks on, appearing to be vastly entertained. Keller starts awake in her quarters, quite freaked out by her dream. She heads down to the infirmary to get some sleeping pills for herself.

After closing the medication cabinet, she turns around is startled to find Ronon standing right behind her. He says hi and John pops around from behind him, saying hello as well. The two explain that they were sparring and John managed to get in a lucky shot. Ronon has a gash on his forehead. Keller sets him down on a gurnee and looks at it, trying not to stare at John, still creeped out by her dream. She tells Ronon he will need stitches and Ronon sends John off, promising a rematch later. Keller watches John leave and Ronon remarks that he doesn't think John is seeing anyone, clearly amused. Shaken out of her distraction by the jest, Keller gets down to business and begins sewing up Ronon's wound.

As Ronon is leaving the infirmary, he begins to notice a distinct lack of people in the city. Growing more worried as he fails to encounter anyone, he heads to the gate room and finds it completely deserted. Growing more and more frantic, he runs through the city calling out but cannot find anyone. He reaches a transporter and activates it, surprised when the doors open to reveal a forest beyond. Cautiously he enters the forest and looks around. Energy bolts begin to fly by him and he runs, trying to evade the attack. A branch falls across his path and he runs right into it, getting knocked down. John appears and reaches out a hand to help him up but then knocks Ronon out instead. Ronon comes to at the bottom of a hole in the ground and finds John standing at the top, shoveling dirt in, burying Ronon alive. Ronon starts awake and finds himself still in the infirmary on the gurnee. Keller tells him he drifted off to sleep while she was sewing him up.

The next morning Keller discusses her dream with Teyla, Rodney, and Ronon. Ronon remarks that it sounds an awful lot like the movie Alien and Teyla says John talks about it all of the time. Keller agrees, admitting that it was the source of some of her worst nightmares ever. Rodney relates his own story about the first time he saw the movie (a disastrous first date) and Ronon remarks that he really needs to watch it. Bringing the topic back around to their dreams, Keller remarks that it is very strange that she, Ronon, and Teyla have all recently had such vivid nightmares featuring John so prominently. She also notices the interesting progression of those nightmares. Rodney and Ronon shrug it off but Teyla looks thoughtful.

Keller decides to take the matter to Sam, just in case. She explains the similarities of the nightmares (centering on John) and the fact that they seemed to be sequential. She also notes that they started right after the team came back from the jungle-planet. She admits it might be nothing but she wanted Sam to be aware. Before they can discuss it much further, a tech informs Sam that she is needed to deal with a situation in the living quarters.

In the living quarters, a barefoot and very distraught Major Lorne is standing in the middle of a small crowd with his gun pointed at John. John tries to get him to lower his weapon but he keeps calling for an ARG and insisting they need to shoot John with it. Teyla and Kate are also there and try to talk Lorne down but he claims that John is a replicator. Sam arrives and tries to diffuse the situation but Lorne turns his gun on her, claiming she is a replicator as well. He starts to get even more agitated and seems about to shoot when someone manages to hit him with a stunner. They get him to the infirmary's observation room and when he wakes up he is appalled to find out what he had done and relieved that no one was hurt. He explains that he used to sleepwalk as a kid and apparently had done so again.

Acknowledging that there is definitely something going on with people's dreams, the team meets with Keller, Kate, and Sam to try to figure out what to do about the situation. It seems obvious that the crystal from the jungle planet is somehow involved. They suspect it must have contained an alien entity of some sort that jumped into John when he touched it and is now impersonating him in other people's dreams. Based on the subject of those dreams, Kate and Keller think that the entity must be feeding on people's fear. Keller also thinks, based on the sequential nature of the nightmares, that the entity must jump to different people by touch. Sam gives orders to round up anyone that has come into contact with Lorne recently and decides to confine all non-essential personnel to their quarters until they can figure out what they are dealing with.

Sam's next move is to send the team back to the jungle planet to try to gather some evidence so they can start figuring things out. They take Radek along and return, clad in HAZMAT suits, to try to find what they need. They locate the empty crystal that John had touched and harvest it to take back to the city for study. They also find another "live" crystal and bring that back as well, to compare.

Once they get the crystals back to Atlantis, Rodney and Radek get to work on studying them (with lots of extra precautions in place). They think if they can isolate the frequency of the energy signature emitted by the crystals they will be able to scan people to see if the entity is inside of them. Keller comes in to check on their progress and leans in to examine the live crystal. Her eyes lose focus as she gazes at it and begins to lean in, almost touching it before Radek stops her. She blinks and comes to, saying the crystal had mesmerized her. Radek and Rodney tell her they think that the crystals do that to get people to touch them so that the entities can jump into them.

After they get the energy signal isolated they scan Lorne, still in quarantine, and are unpleasantly surprised to learn that the entity isn't in him any more. They realize that it must have jumped into the city's power conduits in order to travel, and so could be in anyone now.

Teyla steps out onto a balcony to find Kate standing on the railing, poised as if to jump. She is clearly terrified. Teyla tries to talk her into getting down and she says she wants to but can't. Teyla moves to help her and John appears, pushing Teyla away and keeping her from getting to Kate. Kate falls from the balcony. A door opens and Keller steps into what are obviously Kate's personal quarters. Kate is lying motionless on her bed in her nightgown, Teyla standing over her clearly upset. Teyla tells Keller that Kate did not report for duty that morning and when Teyla could not get her on the radio she came to check on her and hasn't been able to wake her. Keller does a quick check and announces, appalled, that Kate is dead.

John is in his quarters and seems to be at a loss. After a moment he seems to come to a decision and heads for the door. He opens it to find Teyla standing there. He tells her he was just going to see her, although he didn't know if she would want to see him. Teyla says nothing but hugs him and begins to cry.

Radek gets the citywide sensors calibrated to track the entity and is able to pinpoint his location. He takes it to Sam and they realize that the entity is in Rodney. They get Rodney into quarantine, padding the walls of the room with rubber so that the entity can't use the city's conduits to escape. Now that they know where it is and have it trapped, they just need to keep Rodney awake and find a way to get it out of him.

John wonders if maybe they can't reason with the entity, since it clearly seems to have a consciousness. If it knows it is trapped, he reasons, maybe it would take the offer to return home, to go back into the crystal and be taken back to its own planet. The tricky part is communicating with it. They think it might be possible to hypnotize Rodney, put him into a waking dream so that he can be aware enough to communicate with the entity and ask it to leave, but the likelihood of that actually working seems slim. John comments that it would be nice if they had a way to let someone else actually go into Rodney's dreams, and Sam gets an idea. She has Earth send over some technology that SG-1 found in its exploits. It was originally intended to allow multiple people to experience and interact within one virtual reality. The SGC has since been using it as a training tool, but for the current situation, they adapted it to tune in to subconscious brain activity, allowing John to interact with Rodney while Rodney is dreaming (and hopefully see what Rodney is seeing).

They sedate Rodney and we enter his dream. He is in a rowboat on the ocean, trying to get to Atlantis and it is pouring rain. No matter how hard he rows, he doesn't seem to get any closer to the city. To make things worse, his whale friend is circling the boat and seems to have turned hostile. John appears in the boat and starts trying to convince Rodney that failure is inevitable and he should just go ahead and give up. Rodney is rather affronted that his friend is being so unhelpful but then another John appears behind him and says that the other guy isn't him. John starts encouraging Rodney to just keep trying and even moves to help him row. Not that it does any good. The two of them keep on rowing without getting anywhere as Evil!John mocks them, and then the whale surfaces beneath the boat, swallowing it up. John comes awake to find Keller and the medical team furiously trying to revive Rodney, who has gone into cardiac arrest. They are unsuccessful and Keller declares Rodney dead.

John leaves the infirmary and is walking through the city, clearly unsettled. Teyla confronts him, telling him it is his fault that Kate and Rodney are dead. Ronon joins in, quickly followed by Sam and Keller, all blaming John. From the corner of his eye, John notices something. He looks up and sees Evil!John lurking in a corner, gloating. John lunges for his alter-ego, realizing he is still dreaming and the entity has moved to him.

In the waking world, Keller and team do manage to revive Rodney. They tell him that the entity has moved to John. Observing John's vitals, Keller laments that he is in trouble. Rodney surveys his friend, thinking furiously, and then asks to be hooked back up again. In the dream, John and Evil!John are having a knock-down-drag-out fight through the city and have ended up in the gate room. John is not doing too well but he refuses to give up. Evil!John gets him pinned and tries to talk him into surrendering, reminding him that it is all his fault, including Rodney's death.

From behind them, Rodney appears, piping up that he is not dead. Evil!John turns, surprised, and attacks Rodney. Rodney smirks at him that he knows now that the entity is vulnerable to electric shocks. It jumped to John when the med team started to revive Rodney, leaving before "finishing the job." We see Evil!John suddenly shudder and flash to the waking world, where Keller is using the defibrillator on John. In the dream, John takes advantage of Evil!John's momentary weakness to get the upper hand, throwing him through the open stargate. Forcefully evicting the entity from his mind like that sent it back into its crystal, which was also hooked up to the two men. Once it is back inside, Radek unhooks it and both men wake up. Everyone makes Relieved Face.

They take the crystals back to the planet and dump them on the grass. When they do so, hundreds of crystals start to light up throughout the jungle around them and they wisely skedaddle.

Back in Atlantis, John is sitting in the mess late at night, unable to sleep. Before long Teyla joins him and then slowly Rodney, Ronon, Keller, and Sam all trickle in as well.


So, first real stand-alone episode of the season, yay! This one holds up pretty well. I think it's one the relative novice to the show could stumble upon and enjoy, maybe hooking them to check out more episodes. That's always a good thing. I like that this episode features so many of the people in Atlantis, not just the main team.

As far as the larger story of the season, this episode does do a good job of making us more familiar with both Keller and with Sam. We get to see how they integrate with the rest of the players in the city as well as how they work under pressure, and we get to know them a little better personally as well. In fact, one of the most fun parts of this episode is the peek it gives us into everyone's subconscious. Dealing with nightmares is a great way to show us what our characters' fears are, as well as how they deal with them both in the light of day and when they are defenseless at night in their beds sound asleep.

I mean, it sucks that they had to kill off Kate, but nice as she was, her character always felt a bit bland to me anyway. I wish they would have seized on the opportunity to replace her with with a more interesting shrink who could have been more integrated into the city's stories. In my head canon, she was replaced with Lance Sweets from Bones (as so marvelously portrayed by John Francis Daley). Man, I know it was never in the realm of possibility, but I would have given a lot to see a Bones/Stargate Atlantis crossover.

Um...where was I? Oh, right, the episode.

So, I thought it was interesting that they had Sam point out the events of the SG-1 episode "Cold Lazarus" here (from season one of that series), since that was clearly the repurposed idea behind this episode. Still, in true Stargate fashion, they took the seed of an idea and manage to run an entirely different direction with it, growing a completely new and interesting story. Quite well done. It still amuses me when they have the characters hang a lantern on similar story ideas by mentioning previous exploits. Still, it's not like every situation they come across is completely unique, and it's nice to have the characters acknowledge continuity every once in a while.

I also feel like there need to be signs up all over the city with the admonition "No More Touching Strange Stuff" because that is clearly the source of most of the trouble these people find themselves in. At the very least, they should print up a few reminders to put in the ready room and next to the gate where people can see them when leaving for a mission, am I right?

Favorite Quotes

"What are we doing?" (Ronon)
"Exploring the Pegasus galaxy! It's what we do!" (Rodney)

"Looks like one of those toys you play with when you're a kid." (John)
"What, Commodore 64?" (Rodney)
"Triple-barreled shotgun?" (Ronon)
"....A kaleidoscope." (John)

"Is she really mad at me? I can't control what's in her dreams!" (John)
"Really? You think you can't control a person's dreams? My father read me Moby Dick when I was seven years old. I mean, seriously, what was the man thinking? Do you have any idea how long I had nightmares about being eaten by a whale?" (Rodney)
"They haven't stopped, have they?" (Ronon)
"No." (Rodney)

"Your planet has some truly strange rituals." (Teyla)

"Based on what's been described to me, the personification of Colonel Sheppard in everyone's dreams is behaving much like a sociopath." (Kate)
"Did I have a goatee?" (John)


So ends another installment of the rewatch. Join me again on Monday for our next episode, "Travelers."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Checking Off Another One

Ooh, I love the feeling of completing a project! Taking pictures and updating it as "finished" on Ravelry give me a nice warm fuzzy feeling. Even better, I then get to share it with you! So, here you are, hope you like it!

Spring Roll by Cori 2012.

Pattern: Circles to Squares Afghan* by Shiri Mor
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Real Teal (8 skeins)
Hook: J

*If you are familiar with the pattern (or clicked over to the link to see it), you might be wondering why I am listing it for this blanket, since clearly, this is not a blanket consisting of many squares and colors. I actually had a completely different ripple/chevron pattern picked out for the blanket but I got about three rows into that and realized I would not be able to keep it up for the long haul without a) hating the blanket fiercely, and b) going more than a little nuts. I wanted something simple because this yarn is so soft and pretty I didn't want to distract from that. So, I decided instead to make a glorified granny square, but with a little more elegant twist. I worked square number three from the Circles to Squares pattern (minus the color changes) and then instead of finishing off and making more squares, I just kept going. So basically, double crochet all around, super simple! But it features this nifty little wheel in the middle:

It kind of puts me in mind of the center of a flower, and as the color makes me think "spring," I thought that was appropriate. It's a wedding gift for a couple that has been through some very rough waters over the past year and come out together on the other side even stronger. So I like the spring/floral theme that I am feeling for this blanket. It represents the start of a new life, full of all of the hope and promise of a new season. I don't know, maybe I am reading too much into it, but sometimes when I am making these projects, those are the kind of things that go through my mind. I can tell you that this blanket is imbued with a lot of love and hope for good things for this couple. It is just going to be a blanket to them, but that doesn't diminish the love I put into it, if that makes sense.

Anyhoo, for the border I wanted something that felt leafy, and after a a bit of searching online, I found one I thought was perfect. Kim Guzman offered up this border for a blanket made of friendship squares, but it worked quite perfectly for this project too. Since I already had a solid base of double crochets, I just worked rows five through seven of the border. I am super happy with how it came out.

I will definitely be keeping that border in mind for future projects. It was simple and fast and looks very nice.

So, now that I've crossed that off my list, I am back to my two lingering unfinished projects--the scarf and the sweater--as well as six more blankets. I've got the yarn for two of those and I bought swatching yarn for the dragon blanket, so I am in good straits there. My plan is to focus on the scarf and get it knocked out in the next week or so before I jump into another blanket. Then I can figure out what to do about this poor sweater! So, lots to do, as always. But approaching the pile doesn't seem so daunting with a freshly finished project under my belt, I can tell you that!

Happy crafting friends!

Monday, February 27, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Reunion

Hello! Welcome to a new week of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch! Today we are getting into the meat of season four with "Reunion." Spoilers for the episode and all that came before, as always.

Here we go!

What Happened

Teyla and Ronon have ventured offworld and are visiting a village following up on rumors of a trio of warriors who have apparently had great success going up against the wraith. Ronon thinks they might be some more survivors of the wraith destruction of his homeworld, Sateda. They are initially greeted quite enthusiastically by a young man who thinks Teyla is his bride arriving for an arranged marriage. After disabusing him of that notion, he halfheartedly tells them that the people they seek are often in the tavern and have taken up rooms at the inn. Ronon heads to the inn to see if they are there while Teyla makes for the tavern. She asks the barkeeper about the people she seeks and a man next to her starts up a conversation, telling her maybe she should be minding her own business instead of looking for people who are so dangerous. She tells him that maybe he shouldn't be dropping unsolicited advice at people and the two get into a scuffle. Two other patrons of the bar join in, coming to the man's aid. They are able to pin Teyla down and are discussing how best to kill her when Ronon arrives and points his gun at them. Teyla watches in surprise as her three adversaries turn to Ronon and greet him warmly, completely forgetting her existence.

In Atlantis Rodney runs into Radek and tells him that rumor has it the I.O.A. has finally chosen a new leader for the expedition. The rumor says they have decided to choose someone with a science background and who is an expert in replicator technology. Radek is nonplussed to realize that Rodney falls under these qualifications and clearly believes he has been chosen to be in charge. Rodney heads to the control room where he finds John on a video conference with Colonel Carter (gonna start calling her Sam from here on out), updating her about the war between the replicators and the wraith, which seems to be in full swing. John tells Rodney that a new leader has finally been chosen and Rodney has a moment to bask in his assumed glory before Sam and John reveal that Sam has been named the new head of Atlantis.

Things in the tavern have calmed down a bit. Ronon and Teyla share a drink with the three warriors, who are indeed Satedan. Tyre, Rakai, and Ara are also old friends of Ronon's. They served together in the Satedan military. The four catch up as Teyla watches on, and Ronon asks his friends how they managed to survive the wraith attack on Sateda. They explain that their group found a network of caves and tunnels just before the wraith attacked and so they were able to retreat away from the city without the wraith finding out. By the time they were able to return, the city had been destroyed and they realized that Sateda was no more. They have been on the move, fighting back against the wraith, ever since.

On Earth, Sam is packing up her office and preparing to leave for Atlantis. She is clearly torn about embarking on her new assignment. Teal'c comes by to say goodbye and to reassure her that this promotion is well deserved on her part. Seeing her reluctance to leave, he reassures her that her work will still continue, even if she is not in the same place. He also promises that she will be missed by the rest of SG-1 and they will always be there for her should she have need of them. She gates to Atlantis, where much of the staff has gathered to greet her. She gives a brief speech and then John, Rodney, and Radek welcome her to the city and help her get settled in to her new home.

Teyla and Ronon are still hanging out with the other Satedans in the tavern. Ronon is enough in his cups that he has decided to let Rakai give him a tattoo. While this is going on, Teyla asks the others about their exploits since Sateda's fall. They admit that things have been rough--they had two more of Ronon's fellow soldiers with them when they left their homeworld who have since been lost--but they are doing what they can with what they have. Ronon starts to pipe up that his people have resources and manpower, clearly about to suggest that maybe they can offer the Satedans help. He stops short at a look from Teyla, however. They are still keeping the fact that they are from Atlantis quiet, especially in the wake of the city's relocation.

Rodney stops by to visit Sam in her new quarters. He awkwardly makes a point of telling her that he is seeing someone, just so she won't get her hopes up about the two of them. Sam does a very good job of not pointing out that her "thing" with Rodney has always been completely one-sided (on his side) and that he has nothing to worry about. She is saved from continuing the discussion when Ronon suddenly shows up. He tells her he hears that she's in charge now and that means he has to get clearance from her to bring visitors to the city. She regretfully tells him that she can't approve his request. Due to the city's precarious position in galactic affairs and the necessity of keeping their new location secret, the I.O.A. has forbidden any offworld visitors for the time being. Ronon isn't happy about this and thinks it is because Sam is new and that she doesn't trust him. She tries to allay that fear but he storms out. Returning to the village, Ronon tells Tyre he's afraid his people aren't really willing to help the group right now. Tyre doesn't seem too disappointed, in fact, he says he isn't surprised. Not everyone gets an invitation to Atlantis, he knows. He explains that the group had heard enough rumors about the runner who joined up with the inhabitants of Atlantis. Ronon is surprised that Tyre has figured out his secret and apologizes for keeping it quiet. Tyre brushes it off, telling him that he understands. But he does add that now that he and the others have been reunited with Ronon, he thinks that Ronon's place is with them.

Sam is on a balcony looking out at the city and John comes up to see how she is settling in. They discuss that his name was on the short list of people to take over Elizabeth's position. Sam is clearly a little worried that John might have some resentment that she got it instead of him. He reassures her that he really didn't want the job and he is very happy with how things turned out, all things considered. He then tells her that for much of the city, the business with Elizabeth is not over. They still think she might be alive and a rescue is not out of the picture. In fact, he thinks that they need to go back to Asuras, sooner rather than later, to try doing just that. Sam reluctantly tells him she can't approve such a mission. She quickly adds that she understands where he is coming from, but it is too risky. If he comes to her with a plan that has any chance of succeeding, she'll give him a green light, but until then, it's a no go. John is clearly frustrated by her answer but he understands.

Back in the city after their trip, Ronon and Teyla are sparring and Teyla notices that Ronon is clearly off his game. She asks what is wrong but he insists he is fine. So she beats on him until he finally calls her off and tells her what's going on. He says he is thinking about leaving Atlantis. Teyla is dismayed by the news but not really surprised. She hates that he feels like it must come down to a decision of either or for him. She tries to convince him to stay, telling him about the difficulty she had leaving her own people. She still regrets it, she admits, but she knows that here in Atlantis is where she can do the most good for her people and for the galaxy. She asks him to bear that in mind when making his decision. Later on John finds Ronon in the mess and he realizes that Teyla told John. John clearly doesn't think Ronon should leave but is willing to hear the other man out. Ronon explains that he had always been the one to look out for Tyre, Rakai, and Ara, to take care of them. He believes that they still need him. John says that's all well and good but Ronon won't be able to protect them forever. Ronon agrees, telling John that is where Atlantis comes in.

He convinces John and the rest of the team to meet with the Satedans, promising that they have valuable intel about a wraith target. Ara explains that they have located a wraith weapons research lab that they want to hit. Due to the war with the replicators, it is undermanned, like many other wraith facilities. Tyre believes his team can get in and get what they want on their own, but leaving will be tricky. With the Lanteans backing them up in a puddle jumper, the odds of success go way way up. John isn't fully convinced. He thinks that hitting the wraith right now is foolish and that they should give the replicators time to wear them down some more. He doesn't think the tech they could retrieve from the op would be worth the risk. Until Ronon pipes up that the wraith at that lab are working on turning off the replicators' directive to attack the wraith, that is. That information gets the Lanteans' attention.

The tension between the two groups is clear, but everyone is in agreement that allowing the wraith to deactivate that directive would be bad for the entire galaxy. John and the others agree to join the mission. As they return to Atlantis to ready themselves, Ronon tells John he's made his decision. Once the op is over, he is leaving the city. Sam stops by Ronon's quarters while he is packing up and asks him to reconsider his decision. He realizes that she is implying he is something of a security risk if he leaves, what with all of his knowledge of Atlantis. He asks if she is going to try to stop him when he goes and she tells him quite sincerely that she hopes it doesn't come to that.

The team picks up the Satedans in the jumper and they head for the wraith planet. Rodney is disgruntled to learn that Tyre's group hasn't managed to zero in on the exact location of the replicator study lab. Rakai thinks they shouldn't be bothering with working with the Lanteans--Rodney especially--and the two teams are clearly not getting along well at all. Since they have an entire section to search in the facility, John suggests that once they get to that level, they should split up. That way they can cover more ground and avoid more disagreements. They get into the facility easily enough and make it to the targeted section. When the time comes to split up, Ronon goes with the Satedans, though from the look on his face he is torn about not going with John and the rest of the team.

As they make their way deeper into the facility, John's group runs into heavy resistance from the wraith. Teyla is stunned and while John is laying down cover fire Rodney tries to open a set of doors blocking their path. He manages to get them opened but John is stunned as well before he can drag Teyla to the door. Rodney manages to hide before the wraith get to him, but they drag Teyla and John off. Ronon, having heard the gunfire, leaves his friends to go help his team. He is unable to break through all of the wraith however, and unable to raise anyone on the radio, he makes for the gate instead. Once the path is clear Rodney begins to sneak through the facility, also thinking to make for the gate. He runs into Ronon's friends and is momentarily relieved--until they stun him. A wraith steps out from behind Tyre and orders the others to bring Rodney along. Ronon makes it to the gate and dials Atlantis. He reports the situation to Sam and Zelenka and Sam orders a jumper prepped for a rescue mission while Ronon is patched up.

John, Teyla, and Rodney wake up in a wraith holding cell. John comments that it is a good sign that Ronon and his buddies haven't been captured yet, but Rodney says not really. He tells them that Ronon's friends are working with the wraith and they realize that this whole mission was a setup. Before they can really digest this new information, wraith appear and drag Rodney out of the cell. A wraith scientist explains that they require Rodney's help. Back during the war between the wraith and the Ancients, the wraith managed to turn off the replicators' directive to attack them. They have been trying to do so once more, but Rodney's alterations to the base code have rendered their virus ineffective. The wraith demands that Rodney undo what he has done so that they can once more turn off the directive. Rodney blusters about the difficulty of this but the wraith brings him to a lab where they are holding a replicator hostage.

The rescue mission gets underway, with Ronon leading Sam, Radek, and a handful of marines. As they prepare to leave Sam tells Ronon that she's considered his situation and will respect whatever decision he makes regarding his position in Atlantis. Rodney meanwhile has been trying to delay working on the replicator but the wraith scientist is on to him. He tells Rodney that he is sure the man is trying to buy time for a rescue and informs him that he has just received word that a ship has come through the gate. It will Rodney no good, however, the wraith assures him, because they are more than ready for the rescue attempt. In the jumper, Sam watches as several wraith darts leave the facility and receives a report from one of her soldiers. Knowing that a rescue attempt would be expected, they brought two jumpers. While the wraith darts are busy chasing the decoy, Sam and crew slip in undetected in their cloaked jumper and storm the facility. Not knowing where their people might be, the group splits up. Sam and Radek find John and Teyla and release them. Ronon is relieved when he runs into his friends but quickly realizes that they have actually been working with the wraith the whole time.

Sam and company manage to find Rodney and knock out his guards but all of the gunfire in the facility has done severe damage to the power systems. As they are leaving the lab the containment field holding the replicator goes down and it is freed. Everyone raises their guns to open fire on it but it just walks right through the hail of bullets, ignoring all of the humans and instead going after the wraith. The group quickly shakes their surprise at this and heads out to find Ronon.

Ronon accuses Tyre, Rakai, and Ara of being wraith worshipers and they do not deny it. They tell him that they were given a choice to let go of their past and embrace a new truth--and the gift of eternal life offered by the wraith--or die with the rest of Sateda. They admit that they fought it at first but the wraith were stubborn and eventually they "saw the truth" (or as Ronon puts it, were broken). They want Ronon to join them in the service of the wraith but he is appalled at the notion. He learns that the two friends lost to the group died because they refused to convert. Ronon clearly thinks the others should have made the same choice. Realizing Ronon will not submit, they decide to settle things like true Satedans, though Ronon angrily declares that the three are Satedan no longer. The four engage in hand to hand combat. Ronon quickly knocks out Ara and Rakai and he and Tyre struggle for control of the situation. Rakai comes to and pulls out a knife, intending to attack Ronon. Ara stirs and tries to stop him, and he kills her by accident then goes after Ronon, who kills him. Tyre is knocked aside in the struggle and as Ronon surveys his dead friends he lets Tyre leave, not wanting to kill another. He heads out and runs into John and Sam and the rest. They ask him where the others are but he shrugs it off and tells them he wants to go home.

Back in Atlantis, Ronon gets settled back into his quarters. Teyla stops by to return a painting Rodney had claimed and tells Ronon she is glad to have him back. He replies that it is good to be back, although he is still clearly unhappy with how events turned out.


Okay, there are a few things going on in this episode. First, we've got the change of command in Atlantis. I think Sam is definitely a good candidate to fill Elizabeth's shoes. She's got the experience, she also is a member of the military who is also quite clearly a scientist, so that gives her a sense of understanding for both factions in the city. Of course, in an ideal world, Daniel Jackson would have been the member of SG-1 who took over Atlantis, or at least came to join the expedition once the team began to move on, but clearly actor availability didn't lend to that. So we get Sam, an that's okay too. This has the added benefit of bringing back Rodney's weird crush/obsession/respect for her, which can only lend us moments of amusement (as when Rodney went to tell her about his girlfriend). Also, he's less likely to argue to her appointment because he knows and trusts her, even if he won't admit that to anyone else.

We've also got Ronon feeling adrift at the loss of Elizabeth, a leader he had grown to respect and trust. Couple that with the discovery not just of some random Satedans, but of people he's considered family since before his planet was destroyed, and you've got some interesting drama. He knew Elizabeth would trust him and go out on a limb for him. He doesn't know that about Sam, and now he's been presented with people who used to depend on him saying they still need him. It leads to some interesting moments of Ronon pushing his boundaries with the new commander and feeling his loyalties torn. Granted he didn't earn that trust with Elizabeth overnight, but I think at this point he is tired of starting over again, so in the face of the unknown, he reaches for the familiar. Only to have it come back to slap him in the face when things turn out to be other than what he thought. I am sure much of his disquiet at the end of the episode comes from feeling as if he let Tyre, Ara, and Rakai down, both by not finding them before they were converted by the wraith, and in not being able to save them once he did find them again.

I do like that although John voiced his opinion that Ronon should stay on Atlantis, stay with the team, throughout he was perfectly willing to support Ronon's decision no matter which way he decided. It says a lot about his own respect for the younger man I think.

The other big issue we've got here is the replicators and the wraith. They are at war with each other, which is good for most of the galaxy. Story-wise that means we can hope to see some other elements come into play as adversaries for Atlantis, which is always a good thing. We learn once and for all that it was the wraith who turned off the replicator directive, which means that they are not entirely defenseless in this fight. The fact that the wraith know exactly who is responsible for setting the replicators on them is also an interesting one. (One that makes it very understandable as to why Atlantis needs to keep its new location a secret as well.) But of course, it would be silly to expect those two groups to just take care of each other and no longer be a problem for our heroes, so finding out how this comes back to bite them in the butts should be interesting, to say the least.

I do have to say, RE: Ronon's tattoo, wow, he was really not illustrating proper tattoo maintenance there. Yet somehow it looked all shiny and new and not at all infected only a day after getting it... Okay, okay. I know it's just television. Also, I suspect that entire bit of byplay was added to explain a new tattoo that the actor himself got, because if I am remembering correctly, that is real. But still. Come on people. I know Ronon is a badass and all, but even he is susceptible to the many possible ill side-effects of improperly cared for tattoos. Especially when he's getting them from drunks in a random tavern. Just, you know, something to bear in mind.

Also, randomly, poor Teyla keeps getting propositioned offworld by men looking for wives. Given how fiercely independent she is, I am amazed she has yet to clock anyone over this.

Favorite Quotes

"Praise the gods you've finally arrived! And you are far more beautiful than I ever could have imagined." (Villager)
"...." (Teyla)
"Excuse me?" (Ronon)
"You have not come for the arranged marriage?" (Villager)
"No." (Teyla)
"Would you perhaps be seeking a husband?" (Villager)
"No." (Teyla)

"I just came by to welcome you to Atlantis, see how you're settling in and, you know, if you needed anything, and, uh, did I mention I was seeing someone?" (Rodney)
"I'm sorry, what?" (Sam)
"I'm seeing someone, yes. I only bring it up now because you're here now and we'll be working together a lot more and, you know, I just thought with our past..." (Rodney)
"Our past?" (Sam)
"Well, you know, the unrequited lust that's been hanging over our heads for what seems like forever." (Rodney)
"Rodney..." (Sam)
"I just don't want things to be awkward between the two of us, you know, uh...kind of like they are now." (Rodney)
"Rodney, I'm sure we'll be fine." (Sam)

"This thing's been way too quiet and way too easy." (John)
"I kind of like quiet and easy. Makes for a nice change." (Rodney)

"This could be the one and only op we go on together." (Ronon)
"Then we'd better make the most of it." (Sam)

"Well it's about time! Any longer and we would have had to save ourselves." (John)

"Hasn't there been enough killing?" (Ronon)


That's all for today folks. See you back here Wednesday for our next jaunt, the episode "Doppleganger."

Friday, February 24, 2012

It Keeps Me Young

I am by no means in the age range that most people would consider "old" but more and more lately I find myself reminded of the fact that I am in my thirties, and that isn't exactly young. As much as I know that I am a fundamentally different person than who I was a decade ago in a lot of ways, I don't really feel any different. Getting married and having a kid were both huge lifetime milestones that I felt should have changed everything about the way I look at the world and about how I perceive myself in relation to it. And yes, in some ways, they did, but throughout I still very much feel like me, like I haven't changed at all. It's funny that something so big just becomes your new normal so quickly and it becomes hard to remember just how different life really felt before it happened.

I mean, as much as my days revolve around my daughter and spending time with her and taking care of her, I don't ever really feel in my mind like what I expect a mom should feel like. Every once in a while I'll be doing something with Baby Girl, or I'll just get a glimpse of her making some face or discovering something new, and I'll be completely bowled over by the realization that this is my child. That my husband and I made her, that she wouldn't exist had my life not unfolded as it has. And that I am responsible for making sure she has every chance of growing up safely and happily and becoming a good person and a member of this crazy world we live in. It's a bizarre feeling. It's not like I ever forget that I'm a parent or anything, it's just that it's so much a part of my life I don't even ever think about it. So when I do, I am hit with a huge feeling of awe and wonder (and more than a little amazement that I've been entrusted with such a huge responsibility).

It seems like every day when I look in the mirror, the signs are there that I am getting older. More grey in my hair every day, and I've started to notice lines around my eyes and face. My body definitely doesn't have as much get-up-and-go as it did ten years ago. But none of that stuff bothers me. It surprises me from time to time, certainly, but I have no problem with aging naturally. I am not going to dye my hair to cover up the grey (I am actually kind of curious to see how long it takes to turn completely), and I won't be spending oodles of money on those expensive anti-wrinkle creams. I earned those laugh lines. I think that the biggest reason why I am not bothered by getting older is because in my heart and my mind, I am still a kid. 

As I grew up and my friends began to put away their childish toys and pursuits in favor of newer, more grown up, replacements, I only ever followed half-heartedly. I never let go of my love of toys and cartoons entirely, and while I did go through my party phase, I don't think there was ever a time I wouldn't have rather gone to see the new Disney movie (or stayed home to play with Legos while watching Powerpuff Girls) than to go out clubbing. I come by it honestly, I have grown to realize. I come from a long line of women capable of dealing with the responsibilities of adulthood while still holding on to "childish" pleasures. I think it lends us a little extra bit of happiness in our lives, to be honest. 

As I've grown up and moved even farther away from childhood, I've never stopped playing with and collecting toys or watching cartoons. My collection of Disney movies and other cartoons on DVD was quite impressive before my daughter came along, thank you very much. I have also, somehow, managed to seek out other people in my life who share the same outlook. All of my closest friends still embrace that "kid at heart" spirit to varying degrees. For a while I thought that everybody was like this, that everyone had some pursuit from childhood that they had kept with them when entering the realm of grownups. Sadly, I have learned that this just isn't so. There are a lot of people who frown on those of us who still play with toys or watch cartoons without the justification of entertaining a child in our care (and even quite a few who think that engaging in play with children is really just going overboard). I feel a little sorry for those people, to be honest. I am sure they have things that they take pleasure in, but no adult emotion can compare to that outright glee of childhood joy. It just can't. That's why you have to keep your inner kid alive in my opinion, because if you let her die, then you lose that sense of wonder about the world, and life is a lot less fun. There's enough doom and gloom out there for us grownups to deal with, if you ask me.

I also think that this outlook helps to make me a better parent (not than other people, but than I would be otherwise), because I can take just as much joy out of the things my daughter loves as she does. I can play with her and not be phoning it in. It gives us a chance to spend even more quality time together, which I am very thankful for, because, you guys, my daughter is awesome. And she's just going to keep getting even more awesome (then she'll become a teenager, but once she grows out of that, I fully expect her to be awesome again). We are standing here with all of the years to come spread out before us and the possibilities are endless. 

I used to worry that with her being a single child (we have no plans for more children) she would have difficulty learning some of the concepts that siblings are great at teaching--like sharing. But I don't so much worry about that anymore. For one thing, I am trying to remain mindful of those lessons and ensure that she gets to spend time around other kids so I can monitor her progress. For another, it never really dawned on me until recently that as much as I love to play with toys too, well, she's going to have to learn how to share with me. (Hey, there are plenty of ponies for both of us to play with.) As she starts to find all of my toys scattered around the house and claim them for her own, it's a good refresher in sharing for me as well, it turns out. Win-win.

I guess what it boils down to is that I would rather be young of heart than look young of body any day. As much responsibility as parenthood is, having my daughter around certainly keeps me young of heart. Now, if you need me, I'll be playing with my daughter...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Dreadful Sort of Anticipation

There's a little over two weeks to go until John Carter hits movie theaters, and I have to say, I am both super excited and a little afraid to see it at the same time. I've been following its development for several years now, ever since Pixar dropped official word that they were moving forward with a movie based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic series. I am already making plans with a dear friend to go see it on opening day. Dread or not, my butt will be there in the theater to find out if Pixar managed to pull of a miracle.

Some recent analyses have people predicting that John Carter is going to tank at the box office. I can only roll my eyes at the suggestion. Not because I think it is a ridiculous assertion but because in fact I think it is kind of hopelessly optimistic to think that it will even come close to breaking even. I mean, saying that this movie is likely to tank is like saying that milk goes sour if you leave it out on your counter for too long. For the record, I am not rooting for this movie to flop at all. I'd love to be surprised and find that it does end up becoming a blockbuster after all. I just think if one is realistic, expecting that to be the case is rather silly.

There are a few reasons for this, of course. The most obvious being that the vast majority of moviegoers today have no idea whatsoever who John Carter is. Even people familiar with Burroughs' other most enduring series, Tarzan, are unlikely to be able to tell you Burroughs' name, let alone to know that he wrote tons of other works, including another series that, in its time, was even more popular than Tarzan. I have been a fan of Burroughs since I was very young, and I absolutely adore his stories, but he wrote pulp, and pulp does not endure. The only reason that Tarzan is still so prominent in the public consciousness is because it caught the eye of Hollywood early on and those original few movies (which bear very little resemblance to the books themselves) captured a wide enough audience that they became considered classics in their own right. The story has been adapted and retold for the screen )and in comics) countless times in the last few generations, and that keeps it alive. But precious few people today have read the books, and many don't even realize that there were books to begin with.

The John Carter of Mars series never had such good fortune to be so adapted from page to screen and so it sort of faded from the public consciousness. That isn't to say it was ever really forgotten. Many people stumbled across copies of A Princess of Mars in their libraries or bookstores and found themselves transported to Barsoom (the name the people of Mars have for their planet) along with Carter. Some people like myself might have enjoyed reading the Tarzan books and picked up the series to see more from the same author. I wasn't trying to insult Burroughs' writing when I called it pulp, because it is mighty tasty pulp, after all. Hollywood hasn't completely ignored the franchise either. There have been several attempts to adapt the movie to the big screen (and at least one disastrous made for television movie), but they've never really gotten very far off the ground, and none of those that did ever approached the arena of success. In fact, that is yet another reason why John Carter has the deck stacked against it. To be considered a success by the studio, it is going to have to recover all of those wasted funds from all of those previous attempts to get the story brought to the big screen. On top of the not inconsiderable costs of actually making and marketing the movie. That is a lot to expect out of such a little known franchise. It's not fair, but hey, it's Hollywood. This movie wouldn't have gotten made at all if Andrew Stanton, with all of his Pixar clout, hadn't made it a personal project because of his own love for the series.

The third real detractor here is the fact that the marketing has kind of been a mess. I mean, yes, it is clear that money has been spent in getting the word out about this movie. Ads and posters and trailers and such have been running for a while now. It's safe to say the larger movie-going community is aware that this movie is coming out. But. Good lord. First there was the whole name debacle. The movie is based on the first book in the series, originally titled A Princess of Mars but the powers that be decided that they would reach a wider audience *cough*men*cough* if they made the title of the movie something more "accessible" and so it was instead going to be called John Carter of Mars. Okay, that annoys me as a woman and as a literary buff, but whatever. Then, just after the advertising campaign had started, they changed the name of the movie again, dropping the science fiction connotations of "of Mars" for the more simple (and boring and generic) sounding John Carter. I'm not going to get into the reasons given for the why of that decision. I don't believe them, for one thing, and at best they make me roll my eyes so hard I am afraid my contacts are about to pop out.

Point is that at this juncture, the name of the movie tells you absolutely nothing regarding what this movie is actually about. People who have read the books might realize who John Carter is, but that name is pretty run of the mill if we're being honest, and it could easily be about someone today as it was about someone one hundred and fifty years ago. The trailers aren't helping, either. Again, I can watch them and I have a pretty decent idea about what is going on. But I've read the books multiple times and have been following the development of this movie. The very vast majority have not done either of those things. To those people, these previews must seem like a vast jumble of nonsense. At the best, they are very confusing and don't do much to get the basic idea of story across. They just show off skimpily dressed people, aliens, and lots and lots of fighting. I am trying to figure out how all of that, without a cultural touch point that is going to appeal to more people than "guys who like half-naked women and explosions" is going to draw very many people into the theater. I've also seen mention online in several places about confusion as to what audience exactly the studio is trying to target with these trailers. Those people have a point, the trailers seem to be geared towards everybody, hoping to draw as many people as possible in to the theater, but they have ended up being appealing to nobody because they are so darn generic and lacking in information.

Also, the story itself is about a Civil War-era soldier (with opinions and beliefs decidedly from that time frame) who is suddenly transported to a Mars based on scientific beliefs long since disproven. That doesn't make it a bad story at all, but I do suspect that it will be kind of hard to swallow for the general movie-going populace. I would love to be proven wrong on this.

So, those are the reasons why I don't suspect this movie is going to be a huge success at the box office. None of that actually has any bearing on whether or not this movie will be any good however, and that's where my sense of dread comes in. Because I really can't tell. I love these stories, I really do, but the track record of faithfulness in adapting Burroughs' work to the big screen is not good. Part of me is quite frankly terrified that we will be looking at another Eragon here: a bad adaptation that can't even be forgiven because it was also just a bad movie with no redeeming values at all. The trailers are so focused on the fighting and explosions and scenery that I can't get a good bead on how the acting or story fit in to the picture. Taylor Kitsch, for example, who plays the eponymous John Carter doesn't match any mental image I have ever held in mind for the character (although, funnily enough, I do think he would have made an excellent Tarzan, at least if we are just going by appearance). That doesn't mean I'm not prepared to be won over, but I am not familiar enough with his work to even have expectations of his acting ability. Doubly troubling since a glance at his list of roles shows that I've seen him in several things, yet I still have no idea who he is.


So yes, I am really really looking forward to this movie. Burroughs is such an amazing world builder and I can't wait to see his Barsoom brought to life on the big screen. I can't wait to see his crazy inventions and creatures realized before my eyes. Andrew Stanton loved this story too, it is clear when he talks about it in interviews. I trust him as a filmmaker, because I have seen time and time again what he is capable of through Pixar's movies. That gives me some hope. But...he's not the only person who has had his fingers in this pot. This is Hollywood, after all, and their track record isn't nearly so reassuring. The fear of being let down is great.

To be clear, I am not trying to be all elitist and say that I think only "true" fans will like this movie or that I can't believe Andrew Stanton is ruining my childhood or whatever. I hope with all of my heart that this movie does insanely well and that a whole new generation is drawn into the worlds of Burroughs' imagination. I just fear that the marketing of this film has killed any chance of that wider appeal, and I worry that the movie itself might not only not live up to the hype, but actually not be very good because, Andrew Stanton aside, it seems to me as if the people involved don't get it. Again, would love to be proven wrong here.

A fan recently cobbled together a new trailer from those released by the studio that provides a much better sense of the story than anything the studio has actually put out. It gives me a little more hope, I'll admit.

But March ninth is fast approaching, and I will be there for good or ill, my fingers and toes crossed as I wait for the room to go dark and the screen to come to life. I guess we will just have to see what we will see...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Lifeline

Hello, and welcome to another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we're picking up right were left off on Monday with the second episode of season four, "Lifeline." There will be spoilers, as always.

What Happened

Rodney and Radek are hard at work getting the hyperdrive-capable jumper ready for a trip to the replicator homeworld of Asuras. John stops by to see how they are doing and to ask the all-important question of what the plan is once the team actually gets to Asuras. Rodney has an idea on that front, but he says they could use some help...from Elizabeth. The team goes to visit her and apprise her of their plan. Rodney explains that once she is close enough to the other replicators, she can use her nanites to access the replicator data network. That will allow the team to find a ZPM and get in and out of the Asuran city quickly and (hopefully) without being detected. The plan is not without its dangers, of course. Even with Rodney monitoring Elizabeth's nanites while she is linked, there is still a chance that the other replicators might notice her presence and attempt (possibly even be able) to take control of Elizabeth. John explains that when Rodney reactivated the nanites he reprogrammed them to include a "kill switch." All he has to do is enter the command and the nanites will be rendered inert. Of course, that will kill Elizabeth. She agrees that the reward is well worth the risk however. She then pulls John aside to tell him that at even the slightest hint of suspicious behavior on her part to not hesitate to give the command to Rodney to hit the kill switch.

As the team is preparing to leave, John pulls Teyla aside and asks her to sit the mission out. She starts to object but he explains that he needs to leave someone behind he can trust to lead the people should the mission fail and he and the others not return. He tells her that Radek has found a habitable planet within the city's limited travel range. Should the team not return within twelve hours, he wants her to give the command to take the city there. It is unlikely that enough power will remain after the jump to maintain a stable orbit, let alone land the city, so that means that Teyla and Radek will need to get everyone in the jumpers and fly down to the planet, abandoning Atlantis. Teyla agrees to the plan, albeit reluctantly. With that settled, John, Rodney, Ronon, and Elizabeth gear up and head out. Rodney manages to open a hyperspace window and the jumper enters it.

Elsewhere in the Pegasus galaxy, a planet-side gate activates and Colonel Carter and Doctor Lee step through. Lee is duly impressed by the planet's lush foliage but Carter is all business. She radios Colonel Ellis on the Apollo and he beams them aboard. He briefly questions them on their plans to rearrange some of the ship's systems in order to augment the long-range scanners to help them look for Atlantis. Satisfied, he agrees to the plan and lets them get to work.

The jumper makes it safely to Asuras, but Rodney is dismayed to learn that the initial trip took up more energy than they had estimated it would. Their power reserve has dropped below what they will need in order to return to the city. He is not completely without hope, however, stating that once they have retrieved a ZPM, he should be able to hook it up to the jumper's systems and give them the extra power they need to get back. John points out that they will need to actually procure a ZPM first. Rodney activates Elizabeth's link to the replicator network and almost immediately she is able to see all of their shared information. She quickly guides the team to the nearest ZPM and they land the cloaked jumper on top of the building. John and Ronon go to get the ZPM while Elizabeth and Rodney stay behind in the jumper, Elizabeth guiding them through the building over their radios.

Getting to the ZPM and removing it unnoticed turns out to be relatively simple with Elizabeth's help. John and Ronon return to the jumper and John tells Rodney to get the ZPM hooked up so they can get back to the city. Rodney isn't ready to go yet, however. While they were gone, he was looking around in the replicator base code and he managed to stumble across the directive ordering the Asurans to attack the wraith. That was their original purpose when the Ancients built them, but at some point the command had been switched to "off." Turning it back on would result in a massive blow against the wraith and Rodney thinks it would be relatively simple to alter Elizabeth's nanites to reflect the reactivated command. The only problem is that they would need to wait until the next replicator group data merge in order to upload it to all of them at once. They have no idea how long it will be until then, and when it does happen, the replicators will realize Elizabeth's presence and immediately attempt to assimilate her.

John says it is too big a risk, but Rodney says there might be another way. If they can upload the altered code directly into the replicators' mainframe core, it will automatically activate the command during the next merge, even once the team is long gone. Of course, the core is right in the heart of the city and will be impossible to get to without being noticed. Again, John doesn't think it is worth the risk. He decides they will return to Atlantis and get the city to its new home. Then they can come back and try the crazy plan. Elizabeth and Rodney share a look and explain that this is probably their only chance--once the replicators realize a ZPM has been stolen, they will take steps to locate the breach and Elizabeth will never again have this kind of access to the network. Rodney thinks he can convert the jumper's cloak into an Anti-Replicator Field and extend it down to the core once they have landed on top of the right building. It should buy them time to get the new code uploaded to the core. John grudgingly agrees, knowing there is no way they can pass up a chance to strike such a huge blow at the wraith.

Aboard the Apollo, the ship has made eleven jumps so far without finding any trace of Atlantis. Ellis is unenthusiastic about their lack of success, but Carter says they just need to be patient and keep trying. They knew they would have a lot of ground to cover. Ellis orders jump number twelve.

John pilots the jumper to the building containing the core and Rodney gets the AR field up and extended downward. John and Ronon will go to upload the data, leaving Elizabeth and Rodney in the jumper like before. Rodney is not happy about that but Elizabeth reminds him that someone needs to keep an eye on her, and he's the best candidate. He loads the program onto a tablet and gives it to John, telling him how to hook it up to the core once they get there. In the control room, the replicators detect an anomalous reading (the AR field) and a technician informs Oberoth about it. Realizing that the anomaly is at the core, Oberoth immediately mobilizes men to go check it out. Safe inside the field, John and Ronon make their way to the core. They see a few replicators as they go, but all are disintegrated as they cross the field. John plugs in the tablet and he and Rodney are very vexed when nothing happens. Rodney tries to figure out the problem over the radio and Elizabeth tells him they need to hurry. Hundreds of replicators have been sent to the core. They are throwing themselves at the field, repeatedly attacking it and sacrificing themselves in order to figure out a way around it.

Rodney figures out what is preventing the error and starts to walk John through making the tech compatible. Elizabeth notifies them that the replicators have managed to breach the field at last. She adds that Oberoth is now headed to the core and that John and Ronon are surrounded by approaching replicators. John decides that he might as well carry out the mission if they have no way out and he plows ahead with getting the data uploaded. Elizabeth suddenly runs out of the jumper, telling Rodney to stay where he is. Rodney freaks out and radios John. Ronon reminds John of Elizabeth's order and John reluctantly gives Rodney the order to hit the kill switch. Rodney enters the command, but nothing happens.

Oberoth strides through the corridor when suddenly Elizabeth is before him. She jams her hand into his head replicator style, pulling him into the mental interrogation the replicators favor. He is surprised to see her but she tells him that the nanites within her have been reprogrammed and now that she's face to face with him, she has direct access to the replicator directive. She is in control now.

John finalizes the tweaks to the tech and the command finally begins uploading just as a swarm of replicators spill into the room aiming their weapons at John and Ronon. Before they can fire, however, the replicators all freeze. The team realizes that it must be Elizabeth somehow. Rodney tells them it is unlikely to last very long, they need to get out of there while they can. The file completes its upload and John grabs the tablet, he and Ronon running for the jumper. As they head back, the replicators begin to unfreeze. In the mind meld, Oberoth has asserted control over Elizabeth. The team is captured and thrown in a cell, all but Elizabeth. Oberoth tells John that she was overwhelmed by their confrontation and has been taken away to be "repaired," meaning she will soon be completely under replicator control. Unfortunately, he adds, she was still strong enough to deny him all of the information he sought. He was unable to obtain the new location of Atlantis from her, so he will have to get it from John. He sticks his hand into John's forehead and looks pained as nothing happens. John begins to smirk and then morphs into Elizabeth. Suddenly they are back in the mind meld. She tells him that he never regained control, her people were never captured. It was all a scenario she played out to keep him distracted long enough for the team to get away.

As John and Ronon make their way back to the jumper, John asks Rodney where Elizabeth is but she can't be located on their sensors. John doesn't want to leave without her, but he knows their time is limited. He and Ronon turn a corner and find Elizabeth and Oberoth just as Oberoth manages to break free of Elizabeth's control, though the two seem to still be at a stalemate. Elizabeth orders them to get back to the jumper and to leave her there. They have little choice but to comply, and as they run for it, she is overwhelmed by more replicators attempting to free Oberoth.

They get to the jumper and take off before Rodney has a chance to convert the ship's AR field back to the cloak. In order to jump out of there, he needs time to get the ZPM hooked up to the ship, but time is something they seem to have run out of. They come under fire and the jumper's weapons are disabled. John veers away from the city only to be stopped short as a replicator warship appears right in front of them, weapons armed and ready to fire. Before it does, however, the warship comes under fire from another direction and the team is relieved and surprised to hear Colonel Ellis over the radio. The Apollo has arrived, having finally found Atlantis and learning where the team had gone. Ellis opens the F-302 bay doors and tells John to get the jumper inside quickly while he holds off the replicators. John tells them they lost Elizabeth on the planet and asks if they can lock onto her locator beacon and beam her out. Carter tries but is unable to locate any signal. The jumper gets inside the bigger ship and they jump away to safety.

Back on Atlantis, the new ZPM has been installed and the city is fully powered up and flying once more. With Elizabeth's capture, however, they have to locate a new destination planet first, one she was never aware of and so can't give away to the replicators. They finally find a suitable location and head to their new home. John heads down to the control chair to land and though getting down to the ocean is a little rough, they manage to touch down in once piece, and without completely draining the ZPM.

Teyla sadly packs up Elizabeth's office and Ronon comes to comfort her while the city tries to get back to normal operations. Rodney and Carter get the gate calibrated to the planet and hooked back up to the bridge network so that they can dial Earth and check in. Radek gets the long-range sensors back up and reports that he has picked up a large number of ships leaving the replicator planet...heading for a wraith world. It appears that they successfully managed to reactivate the replicator directive to attack the wraith. John and Carter have a brief conversation outside and John says he still hasn't given up hope on Elizabeth. If she is alive, he tells Carter, he will find her.


Whew. Another fast-paced action-filled episode right on the heels of the last one. Again, this one was a lot of fun and very well executed. As seems to be the pattern with this series, it is the second episode in the season that finally wraps up the previous season's story and sets the stage for the season to come.

Make no mistake, either, the stage has been set for this season by "Lifeline." We have just witnessed a huge shift in the balance of power throughout the Pegasus galaxy and within Atlantis itself. While the shift in Atlantis--the loss of Elizabeth--is the much more obvious one, activating that command in the replicators' base code is going to have a tremendous impact in events to come. The wraith's biggest advantage over the Lanteans during the original war was always one of numbers. They could easily overwhelm the Ancients despite their superior technology and equipment. Now that the replicators have entered the fray, the wraith have to face an enemy that is just as advanced (if not more) than the Lanteans ever were, and that have no shortage of numbers. They are also a ruthless, relentless people. On the surface, this looks like it is a great windfall for the citizens of Atlantis and the Pegasus galaxy in general. But then again, this isn't the first time something seemed like a great idea at the time but then came back to bite us in the behind, is it? One does have to recall that the Ancients did turn off the command to attack the wraith, after all, and wonder why that was. Just some food for thought.

Favorite Quotes

"Oh, plug and play, huh? What, you think it's that simple?" (Rodney)
"Well it will be because you're going to make it that simple." (John)

"Space is quite vast..." (Lee)
"You don't say!" (Ellis)

"Well, if we're screwed, we may as well complete the mission." (John)

"I figured you'd messed with our minds, so I'd mess with yours." (Elizabeth)

"You were wrong, Oberoth. I have never underestimated you. But you have clearly underestimated me." (Elizabeth)


That's really all I've got to say about this one. See you back here on Monday when we get more into the meat and bones of the season with "Reunion."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maybe...No, That Won't Work...How About...?

Yeesh. I've been trying to plan out one of the blankets I am going to make this year and it is being something of a bear. I was talking to a friend and I mentioned that I really should make him a blanket to celebrate something awesome he just did and he asked if it could have a dragon on it. My first thought was, Hell yes you can have a dragon! Then I started looking around for a good pattern to crochet a dragon motif on a blanket and that first thought was quickly replaced by, Oh good lord, what have I gotten myself into?

I surfed around on Ravelry and found a dearth of crochet afghan (or scarf or towel or....) patterns featuring dragons. There were quite a few knitted patterns, however. So after running a few of the types of dragons past my friend, I had settled on trying to just convert the knit scarf pattern to a crocheted blanket.

I sat down over the weekend to do a swatch and see a) how well it would work, b) how it would look, c) how big it would be, and d) to get an idea of how much yarn I would need. The results were...not promising. I mean, it didn't look terrible, but I wasn't satisfied with it. I only got about a quarter of the way done with it, but I really didn't like how the top loop of the previous stitch was carrying over into the next when switching colors.  So then I spent the rest of the weekend trying to think about how I would make a blanket featuring this pattern that my friend had picked out.

I have a few options available to me:

  • Just crochet the whole blanket in single crochet and then cross-stitch the pattern on afterward.
  • Knit the blanket according to my originally envisioned pattern.
  • Knit the blanket with super chunky yarn, requiring one central motif instead of several smaller motifs.
  • Knit just the dragon bit in big chunky yarn and then crochet a fun border around until blanket-sized.
  • Knit the originally planned number of motifs and crochet the rest of the blanket, sewing all of the panels together at the end.
  • Crochet the pattern in individual blocks and sew them together like I did with my Yoshi blanket

It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but I think that covers all of the options I have been considering. All of those that involve knitting will require me to learn how to knit color work. Granted, it's on my list to learn, but I wasn't really planning to start with such a big project. It seem like most of the crochet options on the table just have more assembly required than I would like, however.

I am leaning toward going with either option number three or four at the moment, just because knitting goes so much more slowly for me than crochet does. I think I have found a good chunky yarn to use, one that falls within my care, price, and color requirements. My next step will be to go pick up a skein of that yarn (and possibly a pair of the correctly sized needles, provided an inventory check turns up that I don't already have some) and then just knit up the entire ball to see how much finished product it is going to give me, as well as to get an idea of how big the motif will end up. If that works out, I can move ahead with finalizing a plan of attack pattern to use.

Then I will be calling up my mother for a nice long consultation re: knitting blankets and color work. 

Not that I am actually expecting to start this blanket for a good while yet. But once I started planning it out, I couldn't stop. I've got to see this thing through now or it might make my head explode. So...I will let you know as that progresses further.

As far as actual current projects go, I am halfway done with blanket number two (yay!) and only have three pattern repeats left on the scarf (double yay!). Because the blanket's deadline is looming rather more quickly than I had anticipated, I am putting the scarf on hold until that is finished, but after that, it will be the scarf until it is done (with possible breaks for chunky swatching). So hopefully I'll actually have some progress to show you soon!

I guess I should get back to work, huh? Tea, I need tea...

Monday, February 20, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Adrift

Hello, there! Welcome to the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we are kicking off season four with "Adrift." Join me, won't you, as we catch up with our heroes, last seen floating hopelessly through space in their broken flying city. Consider yourself duly warned about spoilers ahead.

What Happened

Picking up right where we left off last time, Keller and a medical team are rushing Elizabeth to the infirmary after her injuries sustained when the Asuran energy beam grazed the tower. Things don't look good for Elizabeth, as it's all Keller can do to keep the woman alive from the gate room to the infirmary.

Rodney, meanwhile, is frantically trying to restore the city's basic systems. He has met with some success but for some reason the ZPM's power levels are dropping rapidly. Radek is able to determine that this is because many of the tower's power conduits were damaged by the energy beam and are leaking power. The ZPM, as a result, is cranking up what it is sending through them to make sure enough gets to the systems that are on, hence, the rapidly declining power levels.

Keller gets Elizabeth to the infirmary and does some scans. Elizabeth received several injuries from being thrown across the room as well as a massive blow to the head. Her brain is swelling severely. Keller and her team are doing all that they can but the situation seems dire.

In order to preserve power to the ZPM, Rodney realizes that all nonessential systems in the city need to be powered down. Unable to do so from the control room, Rodney, Radek, and John organize some teams to go out into the city and manually shut down the systems. While the teams are out, an automatic protocol kicks in and the city begins to depressurize buildings on its outer edge. This is in preparation for the shield to be collapsed to cover a smaller area and therefore preserve power. Unfortunately, one of the science teams is caught in that part of the city as this process initiates. Rodney and Radek furiously try to override or stall the process in order to buy the team time to get back inside the safety zone but to no avail. The entire team is killed as the shield pulls in.

We take a break from the city and find ourselves at the almost completed Midway station. Colonel Carter and Doctor Lee are aboard working to finalize the process of bringing the station online. They are going over some data when the Pegasus gate activates. Carter answers the radio transmission and greets Colonel Ellis. He reports that the Apollo has reached the destination planet but Atlantis is nowhere in sight. He asks Carter if she has heard from them and she replies that she has not. Both are clearly concerned and Carter says that Atlantis should have beaten Apollo to the planet. Ellis says he will stand by at the rendezvous planet and wait for Atlantis to arrive or for further orders from Earth.

Going over the numbers, Rodney has realized that it would be a good idea to bring in the shield so that it only covers the control tower sooner rather than later. He makes sure that all of the science teams are back and there is no personnel outside of the new safety zone and then runs the idea by John (who is in charge while Elizabeth is incapacitated). John agrees and Rodney and Radek get it done.

Keller and team have been trying to keep the swelling in Elizabeth's brain down (and her other vitals stable) via medication but she is not responding to it. Keller makes the decision to perform surgery to relieve the pressure on Elizabeth's brain in the hopes that it will help her normalize.

Rodney gratefully discovers that the hyperdrive is not actually damaged. The city just automatically dropped out of hyperspace due to the power drain caused by the damaged conduits. If the scientists can get the conduits repaired (or at least patched up) they should be able to just jump back into hyperspace and resume their journey. The catch is that they have a time limit. Once the ZPM's power levels drop below a certain point, the city will no longer be able to jump into hyperspace at all and they will be well and truly stranded.

After Elizabeth's surgery, Keller updates John on her status. Even if Elizabeth survives all of her other injuries (and Keller stresses that it is a big if), she has sustained a great deal of brain damage. She will never be the same Elizabeth again if she wakes up.

Repairs on the power conduits actually go very quickly and smoothly. Rodney gets barely a moment to relax, however, before a new problem crops up. The city's course has taken it directly into the path of an asteroid belt. Thankfully, they are just headed for the edge of the belt, but they are still going to pass through it--with its house and car-sized asteroids--for at least two minutes. They can't steer around it because their subspace engines are still completely out of commission. Without the shield over the whole city, two minutes in the belt will do irreparable damage to the city, and likely cause systems failures to the tower as well (not all of the systems they need are actually housed within the tower). John asks if they can put the shield back up just for the two minutes they are in the field but Rodney tells him it is a no-go. Even that would completely eat up the power/time that Radek needs to finish repairing the power conduits and would leave them unable to jump to hyperspace. John next suggests that he use the city's control chair to fire drones at the asteroids, clearing a path through the belt for the city. A good idea in theory, Rodney tells him, but unfortunately the chair is outside of the shielded area.

John is not out of ideas yet, however. He calls everyone in the city with the ATA gene (about twenty people) to the jumper bay. He sends everyone up in a jumper and coordinates them to use those drones to clear a path for the city. The prospective pilots (only two or three of them actually trained as such and with practical jumper flying experience) are a bit dubious about the plan, but John is confident. He talks everyone through it and they manage to clear a pretty decent path. A few asteroids do manage to get by them but the damage is confined to the outer edges of the city.

They return to the city, proud of a job well done. Rodney tells John that Radek should have finished his repairs by that point and they should be able to finally jump back into hyperspace and get the heck out of dodge. Of course, that would be too simple. Radek reports that the hyperdrive has gone offline. One of its control arrays was in the portion of the city where an asteroid did get through. They can't jump until the array has been fixed. John and Zelenka don a pair of space suits and use a transporter to get as close to the array as possible, then they must walk through part of the city that has been exposed to space in order to get there. They only have about fifteen minutes to get to the array and get the repairs done before the power drops too low. As an added bonus, although they are through the asteroid belt, they still have micro-asteroids (bullet-sized rocks that extend beyond the belt itself, pulled by its gravity) to look out for.

While they get to it, Keller finds Rodney and informs him that Elizabeth is officially beyond the ability of their medicine to save. She has one last idea, however, but she needs his help. He follows her to a lab where she shows him one of Elizabeth's scans and points out the nanites that are still present throughout her body. The nanites are inert, but if activated, they could be used to repair Elizabeth's body and brain completely. They would need to be reprogrammed first, of course, which is why she needs Rodney. They radio John with the idea but he is dead-set against it. Rodney says that he is pretty sure he can reprogram the nanites so that they won't harm Elizabeth like they tried to do before and so that they won't be able to communicate with the Asurans, giving away the city's position and leaving Elizabeth vulnerable to the replicators' control. John tells him "pretty sure" isn't good enough and they aren't going to do anything until or unless Rodney is one hundred percent convinced and can convince John as well.

John and Radek make it almost to the control array but find a big chunk of the walkway has been taken out by an asteroid, leaving the array out of reach on the other side. John tells Radek they will have to jump the distance. Radek is not so sure about this, but John joins them with a tether and then tosses Radek across the gap, demagnetizing his boots before the tether catches so that he is pulled along by Radek's momentum. It works and they make it to the array and get to work on repairs.

Rodney continues working on a program to reprogram the nanites, trying to find a safe way to use them to save Elizabeth. He manages to get the subspace communication capability turned off, as well as to ensure that the nanites would never turn on Elizabeth. But he has come across a pretty big hurdle. The nanites can repair Elizabeth, but they would do so by using replicated materials, meaning that they could not be rendered inert after repairs were complete without killing Elizabeth. She would be part replicator for the rest of her life. Keller tells Rodney that John will never go for that and he agrees. He thinks maybe he can program the nanites to use organic material instead and gets to work on trying to implement that.

Repairs on the control array are slow going, Radek is having a hard time working from inside the spacesuit. While they are out there, a micro-asteroid shoots right through his leg. John wants to take over the repairs but Radek insists that will take too long and keeps on going.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth starts to crash. Keller radios Rodney and tells him that they have reached the now or never point of activating the nanites. He still hasn't figured out how to get the nanites to use organic material but they are out of time, so he sends her the new program and joins her in the infirmary.

Carter has not been sitting idle at Midway all this time. She has been working on trying to figure out a way to find or at least contact Atlantis. She has guessed correctly that since the city only had one ZPM and was designed to run on three that it likely dropped out of hyperspace early. She thinks that the best way to find the city would be to fly back over Atlantis' course to the new planet. Of course, that would take about a million years without hyperspace, and their ships' long range sensors aren't designed to work in hyperspace. She is not dissuaded though, telling Lee that the ship could make several "jumps" and scan at each stop with the long range sensors. Of course, they would need to boost the sensors current capabilities to make that a practical solution. She asks Lee if he is up for a trip to the Pegasus galaxy.

Radek manages to get the repairs done at last. John calls for a jumper to pick them up and then radios the control room to tell Teyla to have Rodney jump to hyperspace as soon as they are picked up. She replies that she can't. They have just dropped below the minimum power requirements to drop into hyperspace.

John gets back to the tower and goes to check on Elizabeth. He sees Rodney and Keller leaving her room and realizes what they have done. He is, unsurprisingly, pissed, that they went ahead and activated the nanites against his orders. They explain that time had run out and they had to make the call. John orders them to shut the nanites down and when they refuse he calls for an EMP generator to be brought to the infirmary. Before he can complete the order, however, a nurse calls to them from Elizabeth's room. She has woken up and is completely healed. Elizabeth is put into quarantine until they can figure out where to go next. She is caught up on current events and really unhappy at the risk that Rodney and Keller took in activating her nanites. She tells Teyla is was too reckless.

Radek, unable to sit idle, gets back to work as soon as his leg is patched up. He tells John he has an idea. He explains that the reason the city can't jump to hyperspace at the low power level is simply due to a safety protocol. He is pretty sure he can override it. they won't be able to get very far, not to their original planet or to the nearest stargate. But they can possibly get to a habitable planet and get everyone off the city before it loses power completely. Rodney doesn't like the idea, for lots of reasons, but mostly because there is a fifty-fifty chance that entering hyperspace with such a low power level will cause the city to be ripped to shreds (hence, the protocol).

While they are discussing this, Rodney gets another idea. While he was under the influence of the ascendomatic machine, he had begun work on outfitting a puddle jumper with a hyperdrive. He actually got pretty far in the project and it was one he was still able to understand once he was back to normal. The project is almost complete. It is still untested, of course, and as he and Radek discuss the idea they agree that they will be lucky to get maybe two jumps out of the ship. But it is enough for a round trip. Rodney and Radek agree that the range of the jumper will get them to a few stargates and, looking at the map he pulls up, Rodney realizes even a planet with a few ZPMs to spare--Asuras. A ZPM or three would allow them to power up the hyperdrive and get back on track immediately. Rodney turns to John and asks if he is feeling up to a heist.



Gah. Oh my goodness, the pacing in this episode is insane! I mean, don't get me wrong. It is very well done and makes this an amazing episode to watch, keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time as it jumps from story bit to story bit. But, wow, is it is a bear to keep up with when you are trying to take notes!

I think that this easily qualifies as my favorite season-opener of the series. It is just amazingly tightly scripted and well acted and it just flows. Also, there are a ton of gorgeous and mind-blowing effects shots of the city as it drifts through space and the jumpers going through the asteroid belt and the damage to the city by the rogue asteroids...just, wow. I am quite astonished that they had any SFX budget at all left over for the rest of the season after this episode. Of course, this was the first year that Stargate Atlantis aired after Stargate SG-1 ended its run, so I guess their budget had, if not doubled, at least increased a bit. It shows. Also, damaged or not, the city floating through the void of space is a damn impressive sight. Sigh. Life sucking aliens or no, I want to go live on Atlantis.

It was interesting to me that for this episode Keller and Radek seemed to take over for Teyla and Ronon on the team. I mean, it makes complete sense, and it was really cool to get to see John and Rodney working with the other people in the city. It really helped to emphasize that this whole expedition really is one big team and that they all do work together pretty well, especially after all of this time (even though Keller is the relative newbie). Also, it isn't as if Teyla and Ronon were sitting on their hands for the whole episode. Teyla stayed in the control room coordinating all of the various efforts of, well, everyone, while Rodney, Radek, and John were running around getting things done. She served to keep everyone calm and reassured through what had to be a very harrowing experience. Ronon actually had his own whole little subplot that I left out of the recap because it was woven in so deftly but I just couldn't figure out how to write it in without being overwhelmed. After his injury when the beam hit the tower, he got to be all badass about his wound and then he actually stayed with Elizabeth and kept an eye on her most of the time. He had a very touching moment where, believing she would soon die, he went to say goodbye to her and thank her for letting him come to live in Atlantis. It seems to reinforce what he was talking about in the last episode, about this not being his type of situation to handle. So rather than feel useless, he decided to stay out of the way and keep to where he could feel like he was doing some good. I know John appreciated having Ronon there to keep an eye on Elizabeth when he couldn't, and I am sure Elizabeth would have been grateful to  know she had a friend nearby.

I did find the little "power struggle" between John and Rodney kind of interesting to watch as well, in that there really wasn't one. Despite being so anti-military and loudly objecting on previous occasions when the military swooped in and took over, Rodney very quickly acquiesced to John's authority. It just took one reminder early on that he needed to at least keep John in the loop and he was fine. Until the whole thing with the nanites, at least. While I am on the "that was a Bad Idea" side of the line, I get what he and Keller did and why they did it without letting John know. I like that as mad as John was about the situation, he accepted that too and he and Rodney were able to continue to work together to resolve the other pressing issues. I think the whole thing was just very indicative of how much the two men have grown to trust each other and respect each other's decisions, even if they don't always agree on them. It was a nice (and mostly fairly subtle) show of how much those two characters have grown.

I do have to wonder about one thing, however. When they were getting the city ready to take off, there was already a lot of concern about having enough power for the process and for using the city's stardrive. Why in the world were so many unnecessary systems still on to be draining power in the first place? They had already evacuated all of the nonessential personnel via the Apollo. It seems odd to me that they wouldn't have been running only the systems critical to the city's flight processes and life support from the start. of those things you notice when you watch the episodes so closely together, I guess.

Also, do you think the Asurans are still firing their energy beam at Lantea while all of this is going on? I mean, how would they know how long it would take for the city to be destroyed? This is of absolutely no bearing on anything, it just occurred to me to wonder.

Anyhoo, overall, a fantastic episode, in my opinion. One of the best that the series has to offer. It also set up quite a few things to come in season four, though I won't say more about those just now. I will say I was rather impressed with how many seeds I could see being planted, though.

Favorite Quotes

"If you dumb this down any more, you're gonna get hit." (John)

"There's actually a chance we might make it through this thing! I am ecstatic! I'm gonna do a little--" (Rodney)
"Colonel Sheppard. Doctor McKay. Please report to the control room immediately." (Chuck)
"That lasted, what, like a second?" (Rodney)

"Looks like the old video game Asteroids." (Rodney)
"Well, whatever works for you." (John)
"I was terrible at Asteroids. I think actually scored a zero once." (Rodney)
"Well there's only one way to go, and that's up." (John)

"So Zelenka and his team should have the conduits repaired by now, so I think we're finally out of the woods!" (Rodney)
"Colonel Sheppard. Doctor McKay. Please report to the control room immediately." (Technician)
"Oh, come on!" (Rodney)

"Remember when I was zapped by that machine a few months ago and I got, well, even smarter than I normally am?" (Rodney)

"You feel up to a heist?" (Rodney)


There you have it. Season four is officially underway. The action continues in the next installment, so join me on Wednesday for "Lifeline" to find out what happens next. See you then!