Monday, April 30, 2012

SGA Rewatch: The Kindred Part II

Alrighty folks, we are heading down the home stretch. Welcome back to the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch, where today we will be discussing season four's penultimate episode, "The Kindred Part II."

Spoilers for everything! Well, up to and including the episode at least. Onward!

What Happened

As you may remember, the previous episode ended with John and Lorne's teams failing to recover Teyla but in the process finding one very annoyed Carson Beckett being held captive by Michael. This is quite shocking to our heroes, seeing as how Carson, you know, died the previous season. So, things kick off with Ronon, John, and Rodney standing in the observation room watching as Keller and a medical team in HAZMAT suits take a whole host of readings from Carson, who has been placed in isolation. Carson is relieved to be home and seems rather oblivious to the fact that everyone is extremely weirded out by his presence and chats away with them as if nothing strange is going on at all. He even looks up, sees the guys watching him, and waves happily at them.

Back in the observation room Rodney assures the others that they have checked and this Carson is definitely not a replicator. While that's a relief, it still brings the question of what the heck they are actually dealing with. Rodney points out that they could be dealing with a Carson from an alternate universe or timeline, or possibly a clone. Jennifer runs an exhaustive set of tests on Carson and his blood and DNA and tells the others that all of the tests conclusively confirm that he is Carson. So, at the very least he's not an impostor.

The next step being to find out what Carson knows about the whole situation, Rodney goes down to talk to him. When Rodney is surprised at Carson's mention of being held captive for almost two years, Carson is a little thrown. But Rodney says they just need him to fill in the details for them and Carson happily obliges. He explains that Michael captured him when he escaped from the planet where Atlantis had stored the converted wraith after their failed attempt at an alliance with Michael's hive.

He remembers Michael interrogating him and then giving him an injection of some sort. The next thing he knew he was waking up in a cell, a prisoner of Michael. Carson explains that Michael wanted his help in his research and work on combining wraith and human DNA. At first Carson was able to hold out and refuse to cooperate. But after a while Michael grew impatient and began executing people in cold blood in front of Carson. He told Carson that he would continue to do so until Carson agreed to help him, and Carson finally caved. He tells Rodney that it was very difficult but he never gave up hope that the others were out there looking for him and would find him eventually.

At this point Rodney, with a very pained expression, explains to Carson that they actually weren't looking for him at all. In fact, they didn't even know he was missing. Carson is surprised and very confused by this and Rodney explains that they rescued Carson, another Carson, from that planet. He returned to Atlantis and continued his work until he was killed in an explosion several months later. Carson is flabbergasted by this, and then outraged, especially when he learns that his mother was informed of his supposed death. He demands to speak to Elizabeth immediately and again Rodney makes a pained face as he tells Carson that isn't possible. Elizabeth is dead too.

John reports to Sam that they had no luck finding any trace of Teyla in the facility. He's checked with Todd but the wraith swears he has given them everything he knows. John doesn't believe him but acknowledges that there's not much they can do to make Todd talk. He tells Sam he thinks they should talk to Carson and see if he has any useful information. Sam is not so sure this is a good idea though, since they still don't know how this Carson came to be. She is worried that the whole situation might be a set-up or trap of some sort on Michael's part.

On an abandoned world, Michael and a group of his hybrids lead Teyla into a warehouse facility. Michael takes her to a cell and tells her he will allow her some time to get reacquainted before shutting the door and leaving. When she turns she finds that the cell contains many of her people, including Halling who runs to greet her. They are, for the most part, alive and well, though very few in number. Teyla sits down to speak with her people and finds out how they were captured (men with stunners infiltrated the settlement in the night, taking them all out before they had time to react). Teyla berates herself for not having been there but Halling assures her there is nothing she could have done. She asks where the rest of their people are and is told that Michael has been taking them and turning them into hybrids. Kanaan was among the first to be converted.

In Atlantis, Jennifer has figured out the explanation for the bonus Carson. She calls Sam down to show her the data, explaining that he is a clone. Next, they show the data to Carson so that he can look at it with his own eyes and know that it is true. Rodney is excited by the news, saying it basically means that one of his best friends has come back from the dead. Also, it means that they can trust Carson to help them find Teyla. Carson is not convinced however, well aware that the fact that it was Michael who created him still makes his actions suspect. Still, he offers to help, offering them all of the information he knows about Michael's operation. He has the layout of several facilities but no gate addresses, unfortunately. He was always blindfolded when moved. He did manage to see a gate address used by one of Michael's mercenaries once, however, and gladly gives them that info.

Sam is still wary, worried that maybe Michael let them find Carson so he could give them this specific information and they could walk into another trap. Still, as John points out to her, it is all the lead they have and they are not about to give up on Teyla. So they go to check it out and wander into a tavern looking for information. The natives aren't really inclined to be helpful, however, and while they are trying to convince the bartender to talk to them, someone in the shadows upstairs opens fire on them with a P-90. Ronon manages to stun their attacker and he falls over the railing into the room below, still alive but badly injured. They rush him back to Atlantis for medical treatment so that they can interrogate him. When Jennifer meets them at the gate, she recognizes the man. He is Nabel, the man that she and Teyla encountered on New Athos after discovering the Athosians missing. The mystery of how he got one of Atlantis' weapons is solved at least--he most likely stole it from the cache they had given the Athosians.

Jennifer rushes Nabel into surgery and Carson scrubs in, volunteering to help. He moves to grab something that Jennifer had asked for and instead collapses on the floor of the operating room. Jennifer has him moved out and taken to be examined. Once she's got everyone sorted out she calls Sam and John down to the infirmary. It turns out that while Carson looks perfectly healthy on the outside, his cells and internal organs are all aging ridiculously fast. Many of his organs are in danger of shutting down completely. She believes it is due to his being a clone. Rodney wonders why the deterioration is just now starting, seeing as how this Carson has been alive and kicking for almost two years. Carson realizes that Michael must have been dosing him with something to prevent the deterioration--he had been given a weekly injection during his captivity. He had assumed it was some kind of sedative to keep him from escaping but he now realizes that was probably something to keep him stable. He and Jennifer both realize that if it takes a whole week to break down, he likely still had some in his system when he arrived in Atlantis and was scanned and tested by the medical teams. Maybe they can find it from that data and duplicate the drug.

Teyla sees that Kanaan has been stationed as guard outside of the Athosians' cell and she goes to speak with him. She talks to him fervently, trying to appeal to the man that he was before Michael's experiments, hoping that some of him still remains. She tries to appeal to his fatherly instincts by begging for the safety of their child. Kanaan does not respond, and after a few moments a door opens somewhere and he turns and leaves. He is replaced by a group of human mercenaries who have come to take Teyla to Michael. Halling steps forward telling them to take him instead but they refuse and though the Athosians try to fight back, they are quickly subdued and Teyla is taken away.

Jennifer and Carson do manage to identify the drug that Michael had been using to keep Carson stable. Of course, it is crazy complex and though they get to work immediately trying to duplicate it, they do not have very much luck. Meanwhile, Carson just keeps getting worse. Jennifer suggests putting him in a stasis pod to halt the deterioration while she continues to work on the cure, but Carson refuses.

The mercenaries take Teyla to a lab and strap her to a table then leave. Kanaan comes in and she again begs him to help her. She says she can help him escape, help the others escape, but she needs his help. He seems to come to himself for a moment, surprised to find her there, and pregnant. He places a tentative hand on her stomach and then moves to begin trying to free her from her restraints. Before he can get her lose, however, Kanaan snaps to attention, and leaves off what he was doing. Teyla looks at him in confusion but then Michael arrives dismissing Kanaan and telling Teyla it is time to get to work.

Nabel wakes up after his surgery and finds Jennifer and some of the others standing over him. He mocks Jennifer about saving his life once again and John says she only did that so that Nabel could give them information. Nabel shakes his head and refuses, saying that if he talks and they let him go then he is as good as dead. John says they can protect him and he scoffs, saying Michael has spies everywhere. Nowhere in the galaxy is safe. John points out that Nabel doesn't have to actually stay in the galaxy and Nabel seems to consider the implied deal.

Michael, meanwhile, gives Teyla the creepiest ultrasound ever, assuring her that her child is fine while also scaring her out of her wits by making vague comments about his plans for her baby. She asks Michael what Kanaan had meant on the ship when he had said that the child would "serve the cause." Michael explains that since Teyla and Kanaan both possess the "gift" of wraith DNA, that makes their child genetically unique. Such a child would be a huge benefit to Michael's research and attempts to create a race superior to both humans and wraith. Teyla stares at him in horror as he injects her with a large needle.

Nabel agrees to talk and tells them where Michael has taken Teyla. From his description of the lab, Carson recognizes which facility it is and briefs John and the team about the building's layout and what to expect where. He also volunteers to join their mission so he can help them find Teyla more quickly. Rodney is not happy about this, worried that so much exertion in his condition could kill him. Sam isn't very happy about it either, but for different reasons. John and Ronon both reason that even if Carson is leading them into some sort of ambush (intentionally or not), it really won't make much of a difference whether or not he goes with them, and they would rather have him along on the off chance that it isn't a trap. Carson, for his part, is determined to do everything he can to help them bring Teyla home. They gear up and head out to the planet, quickly finding their facility and beginning to sneak their way through to the lab.

Teyla has been left alone in the lab, still strapped to the table. She starts when Michael strides in quickly, accompanied by two hybrids, and begins packing things up and shutting down his equipment. Teyla says they are connected and she can sense his fear, but he denies it, saying he is merely concerned. Also in the lab are several unconscious Athosians undergoing the conversion process. Michael shuts down their equipment, killing them all, explaining that he can't leave anything behind. The hybrids release Teyla from the table and Michael directs them to take Teyla to his ship, telling her they are leaving.

The team encounters a group of mercenaries and a firefight ensues. From their cell, the Athosians hear the gunfire and when it dies down Halling calls out, hoping help has arrived. The team finds them and lets them out. Halling says he will get his people to the gate and tells John to go after Teyla. They keep through the facility and find the lab, full of dead experiments but no Teyla. They do find evidence that she was there however. Before they can move on, more of Michael's men start firing on them, pinning them down. On his scanner Rodney picks up an energy signature indicating a ship is firing up nearby. Carson looks down a corridor and seeing that he is clear runs down it.

Teyla and Michael's hybrids are almost out of the building when Carson finds them. He shoots the hybrids, killing them, and greets Teyla. She is extremely shocked to see him and immediately wary of another trick. He tells her there is no time to explain but that the others are here to save her. He tries to get her to leave with him but she refuses to go without Kanaan and before Carson can convince her Michael finds them. Carson raises his gun and aims it at Michael but is unable to shoot. Michael smirks and explains to Teyla that Carson, like all of his creations, are subject to his influence and therefore unable to hurt him. He takes Carson's gun and then stuns him. He grabs Teyla's arm and drags her out of the building to the ship.

When the rest of the team finally manages to subdue their attackers Rodney tells them that Carson went ahead. They go after him and find him where he fell when he was stunned. They wake him up and he asks about Teyla, but it is too late. Even as they run to the exit they see Michael's ship take off and leave the planet. They take what prisoners they can for questioning and head back to Atlantis.

After all of that activity, Carson's condition is really bad. He finally agrees to go into stasis. Keller promises to put all of their best people on finding the cure and to keep working at it until they do. John pipes up that as soon as they capture Michael they will have the cure and will have a much easier time duplicating it. Carson makes his goodbyes. He tells Sam that he wrote his mother a letter (carefully, so as to not give away the situation) and asks her to pass it along, telling his mother that they found it after they had already shipped back his belongings. John he urges to bring Teyla home and John promises he will. He then says goodbye to Ronon and Rodney and steps into the stasis pod.


This episode is interesting in that it is actually two different stories woven together (quite well). First, there is the ongoing search for Teyla. While they are not able to recover her, they get close, and they do manage to finally free her people. We also now have a better idea of what Michael wants from her (and in general).

Then there's Carson's clone. Fan outcry when Carson died was insane and finally the writers said if the people spoke up they would find a way to bring him back. Speak up the fans did and so here's Carson. I actually feel like they did a really good job of this. They managed to make his return an event that was relevant to the ongoing story and also do it in a way that did not lessen either the impact or import of his original death (which is often a problem for the revolving-door character deaths so common in science fiction). In addition, they did it in a way that didn't render this new character of Jennifer we've been getting to know and love moot or unnecessary. Seeing her get to work with Carson was actually really cool.

I like the detail that was given to Ronon and Rodney's reactions to Carson's "return" as well. Ronon's silence and distance--because he was worried it would turn out to be a trick or that Carson would just go away again--were very well done. Rodney's palpable joy at having his friend back, as well as his stanch defense of the man once the truth was discovered, were also very nice to watch.

I think weaving together the two stories makes this episode feel a lot more whole than it would have had they just focused on prolonging Teyla's captivity. Because honestly, not a lot of progress was made there, was it? Also, there was absolutely no mention of stopping the spread of the Hoffan virus. Now granted, their priorities have shifted a bit since Teyla was taken, and stopping Michael is likely to also stop that from being further introduced to the galaxy, but still. It was weird that such an important plot element just fell to the wayside.

I do think it is interesting how many different instances we have of people who have been captured holding out hope for rescue in this episode. The Athosians waiting for Teyla to find them, Teyla waiting for her team to come, poor clone Carson, spending all of that time hoping for a rescue from people who didn't even know he was gone. "No one gets left behind" is a big philosophy of the stargate program (and evident across all three franchises), but sometimes it's not always possible to find those people who are missing, or sometimes people slip through the cracks and no one knows they need to be rescued. I've seen these shows several times now and I have to say, watching this again this time, this is the first time I have really been struck by how much the writers were trying to emphasize what an imperfect philosophy it really is. I don't think they are trying to say it is bad, or suggest that people shouldn't hold out hope, but maybe they want to emphasize that hope and determination alone are not always enough. It's very subtle, but it actually makes a big impact once you've noticed it. I also think it sets the stage very nicely for the next episode, but we won't talk about that just yet.

Favorite Quotes

"You know, for the better part of two years, I imagined what it would be like the day I finally got back to Atlantis. This isn't exactly how I pictured it." (Carson)

"It doesn't matter." (Rodney)
"Well that's easy for you to say, but you're not the one who just found out he was made in a test tube." (Carson)
"As far as I'm concerned, one of the best friends I ever had just came back from the dead. I'm not gonna quibble over a couple of telomeres!" (Rodney)


Okay. Well, the next episode, "The Last Man," closes out the season. See you back here on Wednesday, folks!

Friday, April 27, 2012


So. Went to the Bloggess' book signing last night at A Real Bookstore in Dallas. Went all by myself and managed not to have a nervous breakdown, yay!

(Even though there was no reception for my phone and the wi-fi was a really really unfunny joke, thus rendering me completely internet-less for the evening.)

I got there about twenty minutes after they started giving out wrist-bands and so I ended up in the second group for the signing. Then I had an hour and a half to kill until the reading. I had planned to go buy my book, get my wristband, and then leave the store in search of dinner, but people were already camped out for the signing and there were no chairs left that weren't being saved.

So I found a chair off to the side (hey, bookstore), and sat down to knit for a while. After a bit I wandered over to their café to see what they had but nothing really looked appealing to me so I wandered back and found a new seat and knit some more, thinking I would just grab dinner after the signing before heading home. Then they made some announcements and I started having flashbacks to the Brandon Sanderson signing which lasted forever and got worried that by the time I got out of there all of the decent food places would be closed. So I went back to the café and noticed on second glance at the menu that they had hot dogs, so I got one (it came with chips) and a cookie and a can of sweet tea. It was not really the dinner I had imagined taking myself out for, but it wasn't that bad. I led with the cookie.

I ate in the café and by the time I was done it was almost go time, so I found a shelf to lean against behind the seats and waited for things to get started. Before too long, out came Jenny Lawson to greet us and do a quick reading from her (New York Times best selling!) book (Let's Pretend This Never Happened) and take a few questions. Her reaction on walking out and seeing us all gathered there?

"Holy shit. There are a lot of you."

Thus began an evening of laughter. Afterwards we were sorted into our signing groups and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the line actually moved along quite quickly. I was knitting in line and a woman near me commented on the bread bag tab I had my tail wrapped around (something I picked up from my mom), relieved to see someone else doing that. We struck up a conversation and talked the whole way up to the table. It was random, but nice (and now I have ideas about using kool-aid to dye yarn with my daughter when she gets a little older). I was actually kind of proud of myself.

I think all told I was in line for less than an hour. Yet when I got up to her I didn't feel rushed at all. They handed her my copies of the book to be signed and an employee was on hand to take pictures for anyone that wanted one. I chatted with her for a few seconds, telling her about laughing so hard I couldn't breathe (which she agreed was awesome except for the part where I almost died from reading her book--I told her it was okay because she is just that awesome).

Jenny Lawson and me.

I did make her a present (more on that next week) and gave it to her, but I told her she didn't have to open it right then. Mostly this was because I didn't want to hog her and I knew they wanted to keep the line going smoothly. Also a little bit because I was nervous that she won't like it and didn't want her to have to feign appreciation. She promised to look at it later and I hope that she likes it, but it's okay if she doesn't. It was just me trying to say "thanks" to her for her blog and her book, both of which I just find so completely amazing.

After I had my books signed I made another beeline for the restroom before hitting the road for the long drive home. When I got in there, I found this guy hanging out in the stall:

Well hello there, sir. They sure do seem to be making the bathroom attendants smaller these days, don't they?

It was the perfect random way to cap off the evening for me. I pondered taking him home as a souvenir, but decided to go ahead and leave him to cheer up the next visitor instead. I mean, for one thing, his owner could have realized he was missing and wanted to go back to retrieve him. For another, I don't know where he's been. So, yeah. Still, it amused me quite a bit.

After that I headed home and rocked out to Crystal Gale (true story) on the way. I was in such a good mood that I wasn't even bothered by the delays due to construction. This is a major victory for me, you guys. You have no idea.

All in all, a wonderful evening. Despite it's (to me) somewhat inconvenient location, I really like A Real Bookstore. I will definitely consider attending any signings they might hold in the future, and highly recommend them to you as well if you are in the area.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Strange Crossroads

I am the first person to admit that I have always watched way way too much television. It's been like that for a long time, and I tend to get pretty emotionally invested in most (if not all) of the onscreen universes that I visit each week. While I suppose I have my definite preferences in genre or format, I also think I've got a pretty broad range of what I enjoy. I also just unilaterally stay away from anything "unscripted"* (generally considered "reality" television) unless it is Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune (which to me are much, much more real than anything that falls under the "reality" umbrella). I think overall the common theme for me when it comes to what I consider good (or at least enjoyable) television is the characters. I can handle a lot of different ridiculous plots if I care about what happens to the people experiencing them.

Probably a lot of people would still say I watch too much television, but I have noticed a steep drop-off in my regular programming over the last year or so. Probably a lot of that has to do with my daughter--she gets dominion over the television until after Sesame Street most days and I have been making a concerted effort to leave the television off for most of the afternoon. Spending time with her doesn't leave me a lot of time (or the luxury) of sitting around watching a lot of television during the day. So yeah, there's that. But I have also noticed that the shows I do watch regularly have been coming to an end with more frequency of late. Series I watch ending this season (that we already know of) include: The Closer, Eureka, and In Plain Sight.

Yet I am finding in myself no real desire to replace them. As new shows launch, each season, there just isn't that much any more that sounds interesting to me. I used to give many new series a try every season, checking it out if it sounded even remotely intriguing or had a actor I liked or a science-fiction flavor. But those things really aren't enough to draw me in any more. Even the stuff that does sound interesting from initial previews or descriptions, or that has an actor I really do like to follow, will end up being left off my viewing schedule because I just don't feel like trying to get invested in something new.

That isn't to say that I don't still try new shows. I absolutely loved both Terra Nova and Alcatraz this season (though I am pretty sure neither is returning this fall), and USA has a new cop dramedy coming out next month that looks kind of amusing to me. But still, there are a lot of shows currently on the air that I suspect I would really like, but just never got into and don't really feel like making the effort to do so now (examples: Community, The New Girl, True Blood). Part of this, I am sure, is that there is so much crap to wade through nowadays that finding those few gems without watching everything is just impossible. It's not worth the effort, and so you make your gamble and roll the dice. Sometimes you win, sometimes you miss out. Then, the internet people try to tell me "OMG you have to watch this show it is fantastic!" and I dig in my heels and just refuse (even though I also do this same recommendation flail to my friends about shows I love all of the time). I am getting cantankerous in my old age, apparently.

So I find myself wondering just what it is that actually convinces me to try a new show these days. Again, I think it is the characters more than anything else. When I first hear about a show or see that preview, there has to be something there in the people on my screen that grabs my attention and taps on either my funny bone or my curiosity nerve. Still, it seems like it is getting to a point where every season there are more shows going off the air (or that I make the decision to walk away from) than new series I decide to try watching. This is probably a good thing in the long run. As much as I hate that feeling of knowing I am missing out on some great stories and shared experiences, it's not like it's gonna hurt me to do so. My life is still pretty awesome. It's not devoid of meaning because I missed out on getting into something my personal or online community all loved when it was new and fresh (or ever).

It just feels weird to me. Part of me is really looking forward to not having to try to find the time to watch nearly so much television--maybe I can use that time to read the quite literally impossible** pile of books I have stacking up (both physically and digitally). But...I don't know. I am not even sure what the point of this post is, other than this is something I have been thinking about for a while now and I wanted to get it out there.

I think...I think I am just starting to realize that as a culture we are getting way too damned creative, in that we are creating so much stuff that there's no way not to miss something great.

It's a weird sort of problem to have, isn't it?

*That "unscripted" title is crap, by the way. That is such a huge lie. Those people are so coached about what they are saying. Gotta enhance the "drama" dontcha know?

**Impossible in that I honestly do not know when I will ever find the time to read all of them but oh my goodness I so do want to find that time. I want to read them all! Then read some of them again. Sigh. And I keep adding books to the pile.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SGA Rewatch: The Kindred Part I

Well, here we are, about to head into the end of another season on the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we start wrapping up season four with "The Kindred Part I." Spoilers for the episode and all that came before.

What Happened

Things kick off with Teyla and her team, along with Sam and a few Athosians standing in front of a funeral pyre. Sam comforts Teyla and we realize that the man on the pyre is Kanaan, the father of her child. She laments that she could not save him and moves to light the pyre. As she steps up and the flames engulf the structure, Kanaan wakes up and starts calling to Teyla for help. She tries to get to him but Sam and the others hold her back, telling her it is too late. She wakes with a start in her quarters in Atlantis, clearly distraught by the dream.

In the infirmary, Sam and Jennifer are discussing a new sickness that has been sweeping through the galaxy. Atlantis has been trying to aid those afflicted and Jennifer has been trying to figure out what the sickness is, how it is spread, and how to stop it. As they are talking John returns from a mission and tells them that an eighth planet has just fallen victim to the plague. They still can't figure out how it is spreading, because the eight planets have no connection with each other. Jennifer points out that they do all trade with a few similar worlds, but none of those worlds have been afflicted. It is all very frustrating. Looking at the data of the planets where the plague has run its course, Jennifer has determined that it has a thirty percent fatality rate, which means if it spreads to the whole galaxy they are looking at a loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Rodney finds Teyla in the mess and gives her a present for the baby. Or, as he calls it, a pre-baby present. It is a set of recordings of his thoughts on science and his own works for her to play for the baby while it is still in utero, to give it a greater chance of becoming a great mind (like Rodney). Teyla thanks him but he can see that she is distracted and he asks her what is wrong. She tells him about her dream but says that she thinks it wasn't a dream at all but a vision. She believes it was a message from Kanaan that he and her people are still alive. She perceives that Rodney doesn't believe that it was more than a dream but he says that he's seen enough in his lifetime to not make judgments like that. Of course, later, when he tells John about the incident, it is clear that he really doesn't believe it was a vision at all. But it was nice that he was a bit more tactful when speaking with Teyla on the matter.

The next evening Teyla has another dream/vision. This time, she is sleeping in the woods and Kanaan appears before her. He tells her to find him and the other Athosians. When she asks how he holds up a pendant that Teyla had given him before his disappearance and asks if she remembers where she bought it. She says of course and the dream ends. Teyla tells her team and Sam about her second vision and says she would like to go back to the village where she bought the pendant and see if she can find any information about her people. Sam is reluctant to authorize the mission because it seems unlikely anyone in that particular village had anything to do with the disappearance of the Athosians and because they are spread pretty thin dealing with the plague. Still, John convinces her to authorize the mission, pointing out that this is for Teyla more than anything else, and he promises to make it quick. When they arrive at the village Teyla finds that the artisan who made the pendant has died--he was a victim of the plague which hit the village several weeks ago. She remains on the planet for a while longer but after they don't turn up anything else, John calls it and they return to Atlantis.

Jennifer informs Sam that she has finally identified the cause of the plague and unfortunately it is something they have encountered before. They call in the senior staff for a briefing and she explains that it is being caused by a protein, one almost identical to the one from Hoff, which was developed to make humans poisonous to wraith. Of course, it had the unintended side-effect of killing half of the people who were inoculated with it, so, development of that drug wasn't one that was ever pursued after the expedition cut contact with Hoff. Jennifer explains that the protein has been modified a bit from its original form, which is why it is now only fatal to a third of the people who are exposed instead of half. Still, that's way too many. The protein didn't get out into the galaxy by accident--Jennifer suggests it was probably introduced to the afflicted planets through their food or water. Sam also notes that the randomness of the planets afflicted seems calculated, meant to keep the wraith from being able to know which of their food sources have been contaminated. John says it couldn't be the Hoffans because the wraith wiped out that whole planet when they found out about the protein years ago. Still, they speculate some people might have survived and are now trying to get payback. Sam sends them to Hoff to see if they can find anything to help them out.

While the rest of the team goes to Hoff, Teyla remains behind in Atlantis. She decides to meditate and when she does she has yet another vision. Kanaan tells her she was very close to finding the answers she needed and she needs to go back to the village and keep looking. He also tells her that time is running out if she wants to save her people. She immediately goes to Sam and says she wants to go back to the village once more. Having the vision while she was awake this time has completely convinced her that Kanaan is trying to communicate with her. Sam is skeptical still but Teyla points out that Kanaan also possesses wraith DNA like Teyla. She can use her gifts for telepathic communication with the wraith and thinks it is not outside the realm of possibility that Kanaan has figured out how to use the gift to communicate with her. Sam still hesitates but Teyla says that unless Sam plans to physically restrain her, she is going. She also cannot wait for John and the rest of the team to return from Hoff. She is convinced that time is short. Sam finally agrees and sends Lorne and his team to escort her, unwilling to let her go alone.

On Hoff the team finds very little but a destroyed world. They search the vaults where all of the records and histories and research were kept, as well as the labs but find no trace at all of the information about the protein, which suggests that it might have been taken. Rodney runs into a pack of kids who are scavenging the remains for valuables, but they swear they haven't taken or seen the items he asks about. Whoever took the information on protein appears to have known exactly what to look for.

Lorne and his men accompany Teyla through the village market once more and she sees a vendor selling Kanaan's pendant, the one he showed her in her vision. She takes out a knife and shoos off the vendor's customer, asking him where he got the pendant in a very threatening manner. He says he got it from a trader. Teyla asks what else he got from this trader and the vendor brings out a wooden box and hands it to Teyla. She goes through it and finds belongings of several Athosians. Lorne asks the vendor when he last saw the trader and the vendor responds that it has been several days. He then says that the trader comes through the village often, will probably even stop by today, and he would be more than willing to make introductions. It is clear he would rather pass on Teyla and Lorne to the trader and let them become someone else's problem.

John and the others return from Hoff empty-handed. They head up to the control room where Sam shows them that while they were gone, Todd's subspace tracking beacon started broadcasting again. The only reason for it to do that is because he wants to talk with them. Sam apologizes and has them turn right back around to check out this new development.

Lorne and his men have backed off of the vendor's stall and Lorne sets up a watch. A man approaches and the vendor indicates to the watching soldier that this is the man he is looking for. Lorne approaches the man and asks him where he got the stuff he is selling. The trader looks between Lorne and the vendor and then turns tail and runs--right into Teyla who knocks him out with a log. They take him somewhere private to question him about the Athosians' belongings. He isn't very cooperative. He tells them he recognizes their uniforms and everyone knows that the people of Atlantis are the "do-gooders" of the galaxy. They won't hurt him. Teyla steps out of the shadows and says calmly that she wears no uniform. He scoffs that a pregnant woman doesn't scare him either. Teyla knocks him over and tells him that she will inform the villagers that he is a wraith worshiper and let them take out their own form of justice on him. He changes his mind and decides to talk. He tells them that he gets his goods from a "dumping ground," a world where people discard bodies and things they don't want anymore. When asked if he removed the Athosian items from bodies he says no, those he found buried as if someone wanted to get rid of them. Teyla tells him he will take them to this world and show them and he quickly agrees.

John, Rodney, and Ronon head to a wraith facility that Todd's signal was traced to. There they find several dead wraith, though the bodies bear no marks to indicate cause of death. Todd steps out of the shadows as they remark about this and says that is because his fellows were poisoned. He suspects that the team knows exactly how the wraith were poisoned, too.

As Teyla and Lorne's team head to the gate with the trader Lorne tries to convince Teyla to let his team go to the planet to check it out. He is clearly worried about her safety. When she insists she must see for herself he asks her to at least let them go first and scout it out for her. Before she can reply they hear the sound of a wraith dart. They scatter to avoid being culled but the trader runs up to Teyla and grabs her, dragging her into the beam. The dart then leaves.

Todd and John hold each other at gunpoint, each accusing the other of having something to do with the plague. Todd says that because of the random dispersal of the plague all of the wraith factions have been adversely affected, either by ingesting poison or losing available food sources. He is not behind it, but maybe Atlantis considers the loss of human life acceptable in exchange for striking such a blow against the wraith. John denies that is the case. Hearing this, Todd says he wants their help. He wants all of the information they have on the Hoffan protein so that he can work on creating an immunity to it (or a cure) for the use of his hive only. They are still annoyed about the attempted invasion at Earth via the gate bridge, however, and John doesn't really feel like playing ball. Todd insists that he had nothing to do with that attack and that the information was stolen from him by an enemy. He offers them a proposal: if they will give him the research he requests, he will give them the identity of the person responsible for the plague. When John points out that Todd just accused Atlantis of being responsible Todd answers that there were only two parties in the galaxy capable of causing it. If Atlantis is not responsible then that leaves only one option.

Teyla finds herself captive on a wraith ship. As she sits in her cell someone walks up to her and her captor is revealed to be Michael.

John and the team take Todd's information back to Sam and Jennifer. They don't really need his information, however. From what he told them, they were able to guess that Michael is the one behind the plague. However, there is the chance that Todd might know how to find Michael, and if that is the case, it is worth handing over the information. Jennifer isn't so happy about that, pointing out that with that research Todd could brew up his own version of the protein, but Rodney is convinced that Todd wouldn't do that. In fact, if anything, he would be likely to come up with a cure, even just a temporary one, for the human population, which benefits them all in the long run. While they are discussing the next move, the gate activates and Lorne's team returns--without Teyla.

On the wraith ship Teyla asks Michael what he wants from her. He tsks at the unfriendly greeting and says he went to so much trouble to arrange a family reunion for her. She quickly realizes that he is the one behind the disappearance of her people. He assures her that the Athosians are alive and well and says that they are actually working with him towards the common goal of eradicating the wraith. Teyla is disbelieving but Michael goes on to explain that he has continued his experiments in breeding his own army of super soldiers. He has moved on past the monsters that destroyed the Taranans and has instead been focusing on a human-wraith hybrid. Basically more like the wraith except they don't need to feed on humans anymore. He says that weakness will be the downfall of the wraith and shows Teyla his hand, which no longer has the feeding slit. Teyla realizes that he is also behind the plague and asks him how he found out about it and was able to get his hands on it. He simply tells her that he had help and walks off.

The team, meanwhile, meets back up with Todd and tell him they already have a pretty good idea of who is behind the plague. They tell him about Michael and he admits that is who he thinks is behind it as well. They then tell Todd about Teyla being taken and hand him the research he has asked for. In exchange, they want him to tell them where to find Michael so that they can stop him and, more importantly, get Teyla back. Todd agrees to their terms and they tell him how to contact them when he's found something.

Michael pays Teyla another visit and tries to get her to eat (she has been refusing her food). She asks him why he even cares and he assures her he does. They might not be friends, but she is the only person who has ever had any true idea of what he's been through. He sees them as being very alike, both hybrids. She disdains him and he asks her to not try to spite him at the expense of her child. She then narrows her eyes and tells him her child is no concern of his but he disagrees, telling her (with a very disturbing smile) that he has great plans for the boy. Later, he sends Kanaan to Teyla's cell and she begs Kanaan to help her escape for the sake of their child. Kanaan, however, has been altered. He tells Teyla that the child will serve the cause and she realizes with horror that he has been brainwashed by Michael.

On Atlantis the team receives a set of coordinates from Todd. He was able to track down rumors of a wraith holding a member of the expedition hostage. They go to check out the facility, along with Lorne's team. They gate as close as they can to the facility and the Daedalus picks them up to take them the rest of the way, beaming them down when they arrive and remaining in orbit for support. They split up to search the facility and come under fire when they encounter a guarded room. While they are dealing with the guards, who are human, not wraith, a wraith cruiser arrives in orbit around the planet. Seeing the Daedalus it immediately starts attacking and the Daedalus returns fire, trying to hold off until John's group can retrieve Teyla.

John gets to one of the guards and asks who he is working for. The guard just chuckles and tells John he is too early. John asks what he means and the guard replies that their boss should be back any time now on his ship, and he is expected to have a very important prisoner with him. John realizes that Teyla is probably on the wraith ship now in orbit and radios Caldwell to let him know not to destroy it. Caldwell orders his people to cripple the ship but keep it intact, but before they can do so it opens up a hyperspace window and jumps away. John meets back up with Lorne and tells him that Teyla isn't there. Lorne says that the guards were protecting something though and they decide to check it out before they leave. They break down the door to a cell, to find it occupied by none other than Carson (a very grumpy Carson who wants to know why it took them so long to rescue him). Everyone makes shocked face.

To Be Continued...


Oh man, Michael. He just always seems to crop up at the end of the season and cause trouble, doesn't he? Of course, this season he finally gets to graduate to Big Bad all by himself. Um, congrats, I guess? So. We now know who took Teyla's people, and why. Plus, we've got the galaxy-wide crisis that will need to be resolved, and, on a more personal note, one of Atlantis' own to rescue. End-of-Season Arc engage! I do love that all of these problems are extrapolations from the expedition's previous activity in the galaxy. Huzzah for actions having consequences! Of course, now we just have to figure out a way to get our people out of the trouble alive and intact.

Also, oh, hey. Carson's alive. Wait, what?!?!?!? Yeah, so, that happened.

This is kind of a crazy episode because it throws so freaking much at us, right there at the end of the season, with two episodes to wrap it up (more or less--I mean, come on, it's Stargate, odds are likely there will be a season-ending cliff-hanger). I kind of like it though, because I feel like that accurately represents how insane day-to-day life in Atlantis probably really gets (okay, yes, it's a television show--you  know what I mean). They have some more or less quiet time with a few incidents here and there and then, BOOM, all hell breaks loose at once. This episode is pretty much just setup for the next two, but I think it is done really well. It still feels like its own story.

I think part of that was that there were quite a few really good character moments in there with all of the insanity. Such as: Rodney noticing that something is wrong with Teyla, then asking her about it, then listening openly, then humoring her despite his own beliefs in order to reassure her. Wow. Seriously, that right there. That one scene might be the best demonstration to date of how much he has grown as a character (while still retaining his original arrogant quirky Rodney charm). Plus, there was Rodney's preoccupation with getting lunch while everything was going on. Nice touch there.

Then, there is the little byplay when they approach the trading village where Teyla explains the tradition of giving gifts among her people to show respect, admiration, and affection. Ronon quips to Rodney that maybe he should get him something and when Rodney is all, oh, really? Ronon smirks and says no. Seriously. Brothers, those two. Just like brothers. I love it. That wasn't Ronon's only place to shine, either. I also really liked when they were waiting to hear back from Todd on where Michael might be and Ronon was quietly reassuring John that they would get Teyla back. Everyone was worried about her, but even though John seemed all calm and stuff, Ronon could tell that he was the one who needed the out-loud assurance the most. That was pretty awesome.

Of course there was plenty of Lorne in this episode also (yay!). In my headcanon he and Teyla have a really nice awkward friendship. It was clear enough in the village that he was enjoying getting to help her out and trying to help her relax a little bit. It was also equally clear that while he was concerned about her safety, he was willing enough to let her call the shots because she is still extremely capable and this was her show. The look on his face when he came back without her and Sam asked where she was...that was just heartbreaking y'all. Plus, him volunteering to be on the rescue mission before John could even ask. Yup. All awesome sauce.

Plus, there's Todd. Yay for him not being the actual bad guy re: Midway getting invaded then blown up. Of course, he's still a wraith. But for a wraith he's actually pretty reasonable. Also, he has totally figured John out. It's kind of brilliant. Look, I just love Todd. He's a cool dude, wraith, whatever.

Favorite Quotes

"Hey, I've been cocooned inside an alien spacecraft, I've had another person living inside me, I've encountered not one but two different versions of myself. So who am I to judge? If you say it was a vision then I believe it was a vision." (Rodney)

"They have no way of knowing which of their food sources has been infected." (Sam)
"So it's just a matter of time before they become hungry and cranky. I mean, I know I would." (Rodney)

"Aw, come on! We just got back!" (Rodney)
"Sorry Rodney." (Sam)
"I haven't had lunch yet!" (Rodney)

"That's not gonna happen." (John)
"You always say that, but you always come around." (Todd)


We'll pick right back up on Monday with "The Kindred Part II." See you then!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Halfway There

So, I can't show you my most recently finished blanket just yet (soon, I promise), but I did manage to make some progress on my socks this past week.


One down, one to go. These are officially my husband's socks, too. I chose to make them in large, because I do not have small feet, but because the pattern uses worsted weight yarn, they ended up way too big for me. My husband just loves constantly being told I need his foot for a minute, let me tell ya. Still, in the end, he will have a new pair of super cool socks made just for him. So he has decided to tolerate my demands for feet.

My plan is to have the second one finished before the month is out. But before I start it, I have another little project (which is crochet and is actually going pretty quickly) to knock out. After the socks I have one more small project I may or may not make and then on to the next blanket. Whoo!

Also, making this pair of socks has convinced me that I definitely want to learn the magic loop method (for knitting two socks at the same time). Another thing to add to the yarny to do list.

Have a great week, y'all!

Monday, April 23, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Midway

Hey there folks! Welcome to the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch, where we are just getting started on the home stretch of season four. Wow. Only one more season to go after that. Crazy. Anyway, today we will be discussing the episode "Midway."

Spoilers for the episode and any that came before, as always.

What Happened

Teyla walks into Sam's office and is greeted by not only Sam but John. She has just returned from Earth, where she met with members of the IOA for an interview at the insistence of its newest member Mr. Coolidge. Coolidge is, apparently, very distrustful of aliens in general and doesn't really like the idea of them working with the stargate program, let alone serving as members of the offworld teams. Hence, the interviews. He wants to personally ensure that the aliens working with the SGC are trustworthy enough to be allowed to do so. Teyla, of course, managed to handle her interview well, dealing with Coolidge with grace and dignity. She does mention that he was distracted by her condition and seemed not to be too worried about her because he didn't think she would be returning to active duty after her child was born anyway. John scoffs at that and Teyla looks a little unsure on the matter herself. She bids them goodbye and leaves them to discuss the matter.

Ronon is next in line for an interview with the IOA and is scheduled to meet with them in three days' time. Sam and John are both clearly concerned about his ability to control his temper when confronted with Coolidge. Sam tells John she's had an idea about that though. She has asked Teal'c (one of her teammates from SG-1 and an alien himself) to come to Atlantis and coach Ronon for the interview, hoping to prevent any kind of incident while Ronon is on Earth. Teal'c arrives and greets Sam warmly. When she takes him to meet Ronon, it becomes immediately obvious that Ronon is not so much happy about being told he needs a "coach." He greets Teal'c with barely veiled contempt.

The scene shifts to a wasteland of a planet where we find a group of wraith approaching a stargate. They are carrying a lot of strange looking tech with them and from our brief exposure it is evident that they are up to no good.

On Atlantis Teal'c finds Ronon in the mess and sits down to join him. Ronon decides to be up front and tells Teal'c he doesn't need any help preparing for his interview. He has dealt with the IOA before (namely, Woolsey), and he knows how to play the game. Teal'c says fine and then suggests they speak of other things. He steers the conversation toward Sateda, asking Ronon about his homeworld and its destruction. He then begins to ask questions suggesting that Ronon's people were weak and reckless and that is how they not only incited the wraith to attack but also lost so easily. Ronon gets very angry very fast and stands up quickly, drawing his gun and pointing it at Teal'c's head. Teal'c doesn't even bat an eyelash. He just keeps on eating and when Ronon says his suggestions were a lie, he agrees. He then points out that if such a line of questioning were to arise in Ronon's interview, however, he is certain Ronon would not react in the same manner, seeing as how he knows how to "play the game." Ronon just stares at him, gun still drawn, until John arrives and diffuses the situation.

Seeing the tension between the two warriors, John suggests that Ronon take Teal'c to the gym to show him some of his fighting techniques. He says he is sure they can give each other plenty of tips. Shortly thereafter we find ourselves in the gym, where a crowd has gathered to watch (and bet on) a very intense and not-so-friendly sparring match between Ronon and Teal'c. Each man seems to be giving about as good as he is getting. Sam comes in and is appalled at what she finds. She breaks up the fight and declares it a draw, giving everyone a look of pure disgust. Ronon and Teal'c glare at each other over her as she stands between them and it is clear that in their minds the fight is not yet over.

The time comes for Ronon to head to Earth (and for Teal'c to return home). Ronon is extra grumpy about this because he and Teal'c are leaving at the same time and they are going through Midway, which after the Kirsan fever outbreak instituted a twenty-four hour quarantine period for any travelers between galaxies. That means an extra day spent on a small space station in Teal'c's company before being grilled by the always super pleasant IOA representatives.

On the desert planet, we see the gate in front of the wraith activate. One makes a comment that the buffers are stored as the gate shuts down, and then says that it should begin redialing soon. The wraith stand by and wait.

Ronon and Teal'c arrive at Midway and are greeted by Doctor Lee. Lee runs up to the control room and we see two more scientists, one called Dempster and also Kavanagh, who has apparently been recently assigned to the station. Kavanagh is still a whiny brat and protests being assigned a new set of diagnostics so he can learn the station's systems while Lee goes to get Ronon and Teal'c settled in for their quarantine period. Because it is such a small space station (and no one had really anticipated on the quarantine being put in place), there isn't really much in the way of guest rooms. Lee leads the two men to a very small room with bunk beds and tells them they will have to share. He leaves and they make to settle in, both turning for the same bed. They glare at each other.

One of the wraith tells his commander that he has deciphered the program. The commander expresses approval and then tells his men to ready the first wave. On Midway, there is an unscheduled activation of the Pegasus gate. Lee walks to the window overlooking the gate room and is unpleasantly surprised to find a group of wraith strolling into the station. As the wraith come through they start attacking everyone they find and Lee sets off an alarm to notify the station of the incursion. In their room, Ronon and Teal'c are stolidly watching The Three Stooges when the alarm sounds. They look at each other and get up to investigate without saying a word. In the corridor they run into some wraith and easily dispatch them, taking their weapons and wondering how the heck they got on the station. The commanding wraith, meanwhile, arrives in the control room, taking Lee and the others hostage and ordering his minion to open up the Milky Way gate to Earth.

On Atlantis John answers a call to the control room and learns from Sam and Rodney that there has been some sort of malfunction with the gate bridge. Rodney explains they were getting ready to send their weekly report to the SGC but were unable to activate the macro. He thinks (and Sam hopes) it is just a glitch in the software, but they are working on it. John's first worry is for Ronon and Teal'c but Rodney assures him that the malfunction didn't occur until after they had arrived at Midway (although Sam is not so sure about this).

Ronon and Teal'c make their way to the armory and then try to decide on where to go next. They of course disagree. Ronon thinks they should head to the gate room and clear out all of the wraith as they come in. Teal'c thinks the control room is a better idea, pointing out that the wraith can't use the gate without the control room. Deny them access and they will be easier to clean up.

In the control room the minion goes to dial Earth but finds that he has been locked out of the system. He says an override code is needed in order to get back in. The commander whirls on Lee and the others demanding the code. Lee admits to initiating the lockout but swears that neither he nor the other men have the override codes. The wraith tells them if they won't talk, he'll just have to persuade them to change their minds, and he holds up his feeding hand in clear threat.

On Atlantis Rodney has determined that the malfunction in the bridge was caused by someone on the desert planet dialing out and preventing access to the bridge. John wonders if it is Ronon and Teal'c, maybe having been dropped on the wrong planet by the malfunction and trying to get back. Rodney doesn't think that's the case, though. This begs the question of just who exactly is using the gate on that uninhabited planet. They dial in and try to raise Ronon and Teal'c on the radio, just in case, but of course get no answer. Next they send through a MALP and see first the wraith tech attached to the DHD, then a wraith ship, then a wraith drone, who shoots the MALP, breaking their feed. They realize that the wraith have hijacked the gate bridge, though they can't figure out how since no one knew about it and all of Rodney's codes and programming were super encrypted. John points out that Todd sure had a lot of access to stuff while he was on Atlantis and Rodney rules out that possibility in a knee-jerk reaction then stops to pause and thinks John might have a point. Sam has Rodney get to work reconfiguring the gate bridge macro to use a different gate instead of the one on that planet and then orders John to get a strike team ready.

On Midway, the wraith commander has killed Dempster after the scientist's refusal to give up the code. He then turns to Kavanagh, who swears he doesn't know the codes either. The wraith doesn't believe him and raises his hand to feed, but Kavanagh promptly faints. Undeterred, the wraith then turns to Lee and is about to attack when his minion announces he's managed to crack the lockout and is back in the system. The commander tells his minion to dial Earth while Lee looks simultaneously relieved and terrified.

The commander then orders his men to bring out a device they brought with them and send it through the gate to Earth. They roll a large glowing orb through and when it arrives in the SGC it gives off a pulse of some kind that knocks out the gate room controls, along with rendering all of the people on the base unconscious. After they are sure their device has had time to work, the commander orders the wraith to go through the gate. Teal'c and Ronon arrive at the gate room just in time to see the wraith going through the Milky Way gate and agree that they have to follow and do what they can to stop the wraith. They shoot their way through the gate room and get through just as the connection shuts down.

The commander is annoyed that they managed to make it through but he is not overly concerned, pointing out that they will be dealt with by his people on the other side. As he is gloating the Pegasus gate activates and he looks at it, confused, saying that the next wave was supposed to wait for his command before coming through. It is not his people, however, but John's strike team from Atlantis. The group splits up and begins making their way through the base, killing any wraith they see.

On Earth Ronon and Teal'c arrive through the gate and find the staff of the SGC unconscious but alive. There is no sign of the wraith.

As John and Rodney make their way through the station he tries to raise Ronon or Teal'c on the radio but gets no answer. As they pass a video screen, it lights up and the wraith commander tells them the surrender. He confirms that he learned of the gate bridge and how to access it from Todd and then tells them that they will never be able to retake the station. Even as he speaks, reinforcements are arriving. John shoots out the screen and sends most of his group back to the gate room to try to kill as many of the wraith as possible as they come through the gate. He then takes Rodney and a few marines for backup and starts making his way to the control room.

Ronon and Teal'c head to the control room in the SGC and find the wraith on the surveillance feeds. The wraith are systematically trying to work their way to the surface. Teal'c remarks that it won't work, however. When they knocked out the gate room systems, they triggered a lock down. The only way in or out of the base is through the stargate.

John and Rodney get to the control room on Midway but the commanding wraith has fled. Rodney moves to shut down the gate but quickly realizes he is unable to. Lee pipes up that the commander entered in a lockout code of his own before fleeing. With no way to shut down the Pegasus gate, the marines are quickly being overrun. John leaves the two soldiers with him to watch over the scientists, telling them to lock themselves into the control room and work on getting the gate shut down. He then heads back to the gate room to help the rest of the marines. As he tries to contact one of his officers over the radio, however, he hears them all being slaughtered before he can manage to get to them.

Ronon and Teal'c start making their way through the SGC, working together to take out any wraith they can find. Teal'c is duly impressed by Ronon's gun. They find a few bodies, people the wraith fed on to gain strength, but mostly just unconscious people everywhere. They hear a noise from behind a closed door and when they check it out they discover the IOA representatives. All except for Coolidge are still knocked out. When Teal'c introduces him to Ronon, Coolidge immediately begins grilling them about the situation and demands that they get him to a radio despite their advice that maybe he should stay put until they have taken care of the wraith.

Rodney and Lee confer on the best way to work around the wraith's lockout and Kavanagh suggests they just bypass the critical systems. When they don't acknowledge his suggestion, he just huffs and does it himself. This does shut down the gate, but it also, thanks to a booby trap by the wraith, triggers the station's self-destruct sequence. Rodney berates Kavanagh, pointing out that this was exactly why he didn't do what Kavanagh suggested. Lee checks the computer and tells them they have less than ten minutes to get to safety. There is no way to figure out how to disarm the self-destruct before it goes off. When they inform John of the situation he asks if there is still a puddle jumper docked with the station. Lee acknowledges that there is, put there for use as an emergency escape pod. John says this situation qualifies. He tells them they need to get to the jumper. There is just the problem of all of the wraith between point A and point B, some of which have arrived at the control room and have begun trying to shoot their way in. John has a flash of inspiration and orders them to vent the entire station except for the control room. Rodney hesitates, because John isn't in the control room, but he complies with the order at John's insistence. John continues making his way through the station, trying to get to the jumper before the air is gone, and the wraith start keeling over from lack of oxygen. Of course, this starts to affect John as well, and he falls to the ground after confronting and killing the wraith commander, clearly close to blacking out.

As Ronon and Teal'c "escort" Coolidge through the SGC, they encounter a big cluster of wraith. While they are killing the wraith they manage to lose Coolidge. Neither seems terribly concerned about him, however, and they agree to split up to cover more ground. Ronon makes his way to the control room again and finds Coolidge there. Coolidge tells Ronon that he has just contacted the government and notified them of the situation. They are preparing to nuke the facility, unwilling to risk even one wraith getting to the surface. Ronon is pissed, and tries to argue Coolidge to call it off as the rest of the personnel start to wake up. Coolidge insists that it is necessary, however, and tells him there is an emergency escape hatch to the surface they can use to get out before the place is blown up. On the surveillance feeds they see Teal'c being attacked by a cluster of wraith. Ronon insists on going back for him and tells Coolidge he can run if he wants, but Ronon will be staying to fight the wraith.

After long enough has passed to be certain the wraith on Midway are all dead, Lee tells Rodney they need to repressurize the station. Rodney agrees but is clearly distraught at their lack of communication from John, worried he didn't make it to the jumper in time. As they make their way through the station to the jumper, Rodney notices a row of space suits close to the station exit and is relieved to find that John managed to get in one before he passed out completely. They all get aboard the jumper and John flies it away from the station just as the self-destruct goes off and Midway is blown to smithereens.

Ronon catches up with Teal'c and helps him dispatch the rest of the wraith, killing the last one just before it manages to feed on Teal'c. Realizing they have managed to get all of the wraith, Ronon tells Teal'c of the attack ordered by Coolidge and they run to contact the government and call it off.

Some time later, order has been restored to (an un-nuked) Cheyenne mountain and Ronon finally meets with the IOA for his interview. Coolidge simply asks him if he thinks he is up to the challenge and capable of living up to the guidelines and expectations of the program and he says yes. Coolidge says that's good enough for him. Ronon exits the room to find Teal'c waiting outside and he tells the jaffa that he passed. Says they told him he is exactly the kind of person they want fighting the wraith. Teal'c informs Ronon that the Daedalus is ready to leave for Atlantis and will beam Ronon up as soon as he is ready to go. He also informs him that they have had no word from Midway since the strike team left Atlantis and so the Daedalus will stop by on its way to check on that situation.

Lee and Kavanagh are playing cards and arguing about movies while the marines snooze in the back of a jumper. Rodney gets fed up with the two of them and it is clear that they have all been cooped up with each other for too long. Just as he starts ranting at them there is a loud clang and a knock on the back hatch. They open it up to find Ronon outside, and he explains that they are on the Daedalus, which found the jumper when it was checking on the wreckage of Midway and scooped it up in the 302 bay before getting back en route to Atlantis. Rodney is extremely relieved to see Ronon. He then points him to the sealed off cockpit when Ronon asks about John, explaining that the colonel lasted about a day before he locked himself inside where he wouldn't have to deal with Kavanagh and Lee. Ronon finds John napping with headphones on and wakes him up, telling him he and Teal'c dealt with the wraith at the SGC and he passed his IOA interview, which John assures him was never in doubt.


Okay. Well, bye bye Midway station/gate bridge. Honestly, it was a cool concept, but I am surprised it lasted as long as it did. Having such easy back-and-forth access between Atlantis and Earth was just way too convenient. Far better for story-telling purposes to keep the expedition more isolated.

I do think it was kind of a cop out to put the eternal fandom question of who would win in a fight between Ronon and Teal'c so front and center and then have Sam come in and call it a draw. But still. There was probably no way to answer that question without pissing a significant portion of viewers off, so it made sense that they did it like that. Also, it made sense story-wise, since the point was to show them as equals and to have them earn a mutual respect for each other over the course of the episode. That doesn't work if one of them manages to kick the other's butt. I do really like how they showed that while each man is different, just because their strengths are different does not make either one of them better than the other. They were able to work together in a way that was complimentary and got the job done. Together they were a pretty darn unstoppable force. That was, quite honestly, cool.

Small quibble here: I don't get how Coolidge thought they would be able to use the escape hatch during the lock down. Isn't that the point of a lock down, that it was locked down? Otherwise, wouldn't the wraith have been able to use it too? Maybe I missed something there...

I did also really appreciate Teal'c's patience with Ronon, and his recognition of potential in the younger man. Teal'c has never really been a hothead anyway, but at this point, he's like 150-something and he's seen and done a lot. It was very in-character to have him handle the situation as he did.

The few quick little moments between Sam and Teal'c were also really nice. Even to people who never watched SG-1, I think it was probably quite evident that the two shared a very deep friendship. Also: Indeed.

Kavanagh. (shakes head) Kavanagh, Kavanagh, Kavanagh. I get that the SGC is a really cool program and all, and, I mean, Atlantis. But why, why do you keep trying to go back to work with these people? You don't like them, they don't like you. You clearly aren't suited for field work, or even an outpost in the middle of two galaxies. Just...go work at Area 51, man. Your life would be much happier, I swear.

Overall this was a really good episode. It had lots of action, it deepened the mythology of the whole franchise by bringing in Teal'c, and it put Atlantis in a precarious position. Things have been all nice and relatively quiet up until now. But with this episode they've lost their quick and easy reinforcements from Earth and have learned that wraith are still determined to get to the Milky Way. Also, we get a glimpse of what Todd has been up to. I love that Rodney was so surprised that Todd would betray them--for like three seconds. Then he was just resigned.

Three episodes to go. I wonder what big crazy thing this new setback has left our protagonists wholly unprepared for, hmm?

Favorite Quotes

"But Mr. Coolidge, his demeanor toward women differs from his demeanor toward men. He kept calling me 'honey.' I admit, the urge to inflict harm on this man was quite strong, but I managed to refrain from doing so." (Teyla)
"Good call. Bad idea to run around beating the crap out of people with a baby on the way." (John)

"Do you not speak, Ronon Dex?" (Teal'c)
"Not when I've got nothing to say." (Ronon)

"Um, like I said, it's a bit small, but you're only here for a day. So, kick back, relax, have an Earl Grey and get to know each other better...or not..." (Lee)

"Look. They're working their way to the surface, trying to get out." (Ronon)
"They will be unable to do so. A pulse of energy, no doubt from that wraith device, has triggered the SGC automatic lock down." (Teal'c)
"So. No one gets in, no one gets out." (Ronon)
"Indeed." (Teal'c)
"Just the way I like it." (Ronon)

"You say that a lot." (Ronon)
"What?" (Teal'c)
"Indeed." (Ronon)
"Do I?" (Teal'c)
"Yeah." (Ronon)
"I had not noticed." (Teal'c)

"We've made a terrible mistake: we never should have revived Kavanagh!" (Rodney)


Okay, that's it for today. See you back here on Wednesday for "The Kindred Part I."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Recommendation: Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Jenny Lawson (also known as The Bloggess) wrote a book called Let's Pretend This Never Happened.

It came out this past Tuesday and is a (more or less) true memoir of her life to date. She talks about growing up way less than privileged in a rural West Texas town. She describes a childhood with a father who randomly decided to become a taxidermist (and ended up being really good at it) and who also had a penchant for bringing home random wild animals (like bobcats, or turkeys he insisted were quails) to join the family as pets.

If you are aware of her or her blog, you also know that she suffers from depression and all kinds of anxiety. She discusses that in her book as well, in a frank and amusing manner, because it is part of who she is and she has learned to be fine with who she is. She also wants people to know about this stuff so that they can recognize it in others (and either be supportive and helpful to those others or avoid them at all costs per their discretion). Don't get me wrong, she discusses some painful and unpleasant moments from her life, right along with the good stuff. But she still somehow manages to inject humor into those moments. It's a dark humor, sure, but humor all the same. She got me to laugh at a situation that I have never been able to laugh at (can barely even talk about because something similar also happened to me and usually thinking about it happening to anyone just makes me want to cry). That's worth the price of admission right there.

I'm only about a third of the way through, but I can already tell you that it is fantastic. There is a chapter dealing with her time working in HR and all of the weird crap she had to put up with in that job. You can find an excerpt of that chapter here. But when I got just past the bit I had already read before on her website, I hit a bit that had me laughing so freaking hard I had to get up and walk away from the book because I couldn't even finish reading the sentence anyhow, and also, I was getting close to blacking out from the lack of breathing because of the aforementioned laughing.

She's on tour right now and will be in Dallas next Thursday. I'm going. By myself even, because her discussions of her anxiety makes me feel like maybe I should just suck it up and stop being so damn shy. See, she's good therapy, too. Also, I feel like I should make her a present, because this is woman who needs all the hugs in the world for many, many reasons. I shall have to think on what that present should be though.

I want to give this book to every woman I know, it is so wonderful and wrong and awesome. Mother's Day is coming up too, now that I think of it. If you know a mom who can handle some colorful language, hey, this might make a good gift. So, if you are looking for something interesting to read, hey, look, here's a great suggestion. You're welcome.

No, seriously. You're welcome.

Just make sure that you're not operating any heavy machinery or anything when you pick it up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yup, It's Happening

The paper pile that killed our black ink cartridge...

With all of the writing I have been doing, and while I am really not caught up in any video game at the moment, I realized that the time was right to begin my second draft of Choices.

Here is my battle plan:

-Read through entire story (highlight any basic editing fixes needed, highlight any areas that need expansion/scrapping/rewording/relocating).

-While reading through story, keep in mind feedback notes from my beta readers and determine where those notes might be addressed within the story.

-Make a "second draft outline" once finished reading, giving an overall idea of any major changes to each chapter.

-Start the rewrite, one chapter at a time.

-Post finished second draft chapters here on my blog. (I think I've even figured out a way around the annoying formatting conversion from Word to Blogger.)

So there you have it guys. If you've been asking or hoping to read my 2011 Nano novel, it's coming. Soon. I am hoping to start having a chapter a week for you guys within a month at the most.

I made it through the first two chapters making notes last night. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going (and ignore the siren song of the universe that is trying to tell me to play Mass Effect 3 again).

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Trio

Well, it's Wednesday once more. Luckily, that means that not only are you that much closer to the weekend, you've also reached another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Woohoo! Today's episode is a fun one, season four's "Trio."

As always, spoilers for the episode and any that came before it.

What Happened

Rodney, John, and Keller are updating Sam on their most recent mission. They have run across a settlement on a mining planet that has been experiencing severe tremors with some rather alarming frequency for as long as they can remember. This suggests that the whole region is largely unstable, and coupled with some really poor air quality conditions that Keller has discovered, the area isn't very good for the inhabitants' safety or health. So the group has been trying to convince them that they need to relocate to a safer location on their planet. Unfortunately, a while back the Genii came through and said something similar to the people, then proceeded to mine the planet dry without sharing a bit of the profits with the community. They are therefore suspicious that the Lanteans have some similar agenda and want their "cut" before they will consider moving. The team implores Sam to come talk to the inhabitants to see if she can speed up the negotiations process and get the people moved to safety sooner rather than later. She agrees and joins Rodney and Keller on a return to the planet to try to talk some sense into the leaders of the settlement.

On their trek from the gate to the settlement, the ground suddenly gives way under Rodney and he falls into some sort of underground facility. Before Sam and Keller can fully assess the situation and send for help, however, the ground gives out underneath them and they fall in as well. The three of them are mostly unscathed by the fall, but they are stuck. They look around and realize they are in some sort of abandoned mining facility, probably left over from the Genii's exploitation of the world. If it is part of a larger facility, they reason, they should be able to find a way to just walk back out to the surface.

Indeed, there are two doors in the room. One is locked and requires a numeric combination of some sort. Unfortunately, it is not electrical so neither Sam nor Rodney can just hack it to get it open. That leaves door number two, which is sealed shut. Using a pole they find in the room, Rodney and Sam are able to apply leverage to get the door open, however. Unfortunately, this does them no good. The open door reveals that the room is in a vast cavern, right on the edge of a chasm. They can see more rooms, on metal stilts, a ways away, but none of them are even remotely within reach. Some of the rooms appear to have collapsed since the facility was abandoned, as well. They shut the door and settle in. Sam says that their best bet is to just sit tight for the next five hours or so until Atlantis calls to check in because they are overdue. Then they can just radio for help.

This option quickly becomes ruled out when a tremor hits and shakes the whole room. An ominous sound rings out and they realize that this room is probably supported by the same kind of metal stilts as the others they saw. In between the tremors and the extra weight from the three of them, plus all the dirt and debris that came in with them, it seems more than likely that the stilts holding up their room are not going to last much longer.

They notice that there are several crates in the room. They are old and not in the greatest of condition, but the group decides to try stacking them below the opening and attempting to send at least one person out to get help. Unfortunately, the crates do not hold up to the weight and collapse as Sam tries to scale them. The impact of her fall causes the room to shake, emphasizing that they don't have a whole lot of time. Trying to come up with a new plan, they start doing inventory of the supplies available to them in the room. Rodney manages to find a grappling hook. He reasons that if they tie their jackets, shirts, and pants together, they should get enough length to get it out of the room. Keller nods and takes off her jacket and starts pulling off her shirt to hand over--she is halfway undressed when Sam, who has still been looking for stuff, comes across a good length of rope. Keller thanks Sam wholeheartedly, Rodney a little less graciously, realizing what he just missed getting to see.

Rodney starts to tie the rope to the grappling hook straight away but Sam stops him. She says the rope is too thin to climb. They will need to tie knots down its length to give her something to hold on to as she climbs. She and Keller start tying and Rodney sits down to go through some Genii files they found in their search, hoping maybe they might contain the code to the door. Keller recommends a game of twenty questions to pass the time but Sam declines, so Keller then starts up a game of "would you rather." On Sam's turn, she offers up two physicists, stumping Keller. Rodney, hearing mention of the physicists, asks what they are doing and Keller invites him to play, but he declines.

From the surface, they hear sounds and realize that someone is up there. They call out for help and two kids peek over the edge. The kids are shocked to find the team down there and admonish them that they shouldn't be there. Rodney says they know that and they ask the kids to go find their parents and tell them about their situation. The kids share a nervous look and then say they can't do that. They aren't supposed to be there either and they don't want to get into trouble. Sam and Rodney try reasoning and then bargaining with the kids (Rodney suggests Sam flash them but she refuses) to get them to go get help but the kids refuse and run off, telling them "good luck."

With no other options, they get back to knotting their rope. Rodney gives up on the files and joins in when Sam and Keller resume their game. Keller asks Rodney how things are going with him and Katie and he tells them about the failed proposal and that they are taking a break right now. Keller and Sam share a look and explain to Rodney that this means they broke up. He starts to object but then realizes that they are right. He says that Katie deserves to be with someone better anyway and Keller chides him, telling him that he is a good guy. They finally finish their knotting and are about to attempt to throw the hook when the kids come back. They briefly have hope that the kids did the right thing and told their parents, but then more children peer into the opening and one of the kids says that their friends didn't believe them about the group being stuck in the room. They still refuse to go tell their parents, though. (Kids these days!) Rodney is about to start chewing them out when another tremor hits and the kids scatter. The stilts holding up the room buckle and it tilts steeply. They are running out of time.

Rodney goes to throw the hook, overriding Sam's suggestion that she be the one to do it, since she's done this kind of thing before. It becomes a little clear that Rodney is trying to show off for Keller. He really sucks at throwing the hook though, missing every time. On one of his failed attempts, the hook lands in a pipe in the room. When he pulls it out, he fails to notice the gas that leaks from the hole left behind. On his next toss, the hook hits metal and there is a spark, which ignites the gas. Sam manages to reach a valve on the pipe and turn off the gas before anyone is hurt. She then picks up the hook and tosses it up, getting purchase on her first throw and shaming Rodney thusly. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes evident that the hook can't get a strong enough purchase in the soil on top of the room, it won't hold her weight.

They move on to the next plan. Rodney notices there there are a couple of support beams running around the room about halfway to the ceiling. There are also some wooden planks. If they can get the planks up to the beams, which they can definitely use the rope to get to, they can make a bridge out of the rope and put one crate under the opening, which should hold up long enough for one person to get out. Of course, the planks aren't quite long enough to span the gaps between the beams. Rodney says they will just have to find a hammer and nails, despite the fact that they've been over the room several times now and found no such thing. Keller looks at it and then suggests they use the trick from the "bar bet," that you use to get free beer. Sam and Rodney look at her as if she's grown another head and she gets out some cups and knives and demonstrates. There is a way to set the planks in a triangle with one end of each on a beam and the other ends overlapping each other in the center. They will then support the weight needed for a crate.

They haul the planks up and get them in position, tying them in place, and then put a crate in the middle. Sam starts to climb up and the crate creaks pretty loudly. Rodney and Keller start to get second thoughts and try to talk Sam into coming down, but she can almost reach the surface and is determined to keep going. Just before she manages this, a tremor hits and it knocks the whole shebang down, taking Sam with it. Her leg is broken in the fall. Keller gets it splinted up and determines that there is no nerve damage. But without a scanner she has no way to know whether or not there is internal bleeding, which is likely given the severity of the break. They have about an hour before Sam is in real trouble if there is internal bleeding.

Rodney sets about trying to find yet another way to get them out of there. He goes over their previous plans and why they didn't work. He then spies a metal rod on the floor and sees that it is long enough to bridge the gap in the ceiling. If they tie a rope to it and shoot it out of the room, they can pull it across the opening and climb out that way. Of course, it is way too heavy for Rodney to throw out of the room. But he looks at the gas pipe and gets a bit of inspiration. With gear from his pack and a few supplies from the room, he manages to use the gas pipe to make a cannon to shoot the rod out onto the surface. This actually works.

It works a little too well though, shooting the rod pretty far. When Rodney starts to pull it back to fasten it over the opening, it pushes a very lot of dirt into the room, adding to the weight being held by the already over-stressed support stilts. Sam tries to stop him, but it is too much and the stilts buckle completely, causing the room to tilt into the chasm. Keller is knocked off her feet and slides right out of the room through the door. She does manage to get hold of the rope on her way out, and Rodney manages to catch it too and keep her from falling to her death.

Rodney starts to pull her back up into the room but she calls out for him to stop. She tells them she can see light and has him lower her a little bit to check it out. She has found a mine shaft. She swings over to it and goes to investigate, returning to tell them that it leads straight out to the surface. She tells them to come down the rope and join her. Rodney says he'll wait for her to go get help but Sam points out it's their only choice of exit right now. When the room tilted, the opening to the surface was completely blocked by the falling dirt. Sam tells Rodney to go on ahead and send someone back for her because she won't be able to lower herself down and he's torn his hands up pretty badly on the rope. He refuses to leave her behind, however, and makes a seat for her, then wraps the rope around the beams to make a kind of pulley system. He gets her down pretty easily and Keller grabs her and pulls her into the shaft. Then it is Rodney's turn climb down. He gets down to the level of the shaft but then has a minor freak-out and freezes on the rope. Keller manages to talk him out of it and get him into the shaft just as the rope, frayed from all of the friction where it hangs over the edge of the room, snaps. Shortly after that, the room itself completely topples over into the chasm. They got out just in time.

Back in the city Rodney and Keller are in the infirmary. He asks her about Sam and she says that Sam will be fine. The break was clean and she'll just have to endure crutches for a few weeks. Rodney's hands are all wrapped up from his rope burns and he is ready to just go collapse in his quarters. Keller tells him not so fast and reminds him that he owes her a beer since he didn't figure out the bar bet. He tries to object that he would have figured it out eventually but she just rolls her eyes and asks if he wants to go get a drink with her or not. The lightbulb goes on for Rodney and he agrees. They head off to whatever passes for a bar on Atlantis.


Like I said, a fun episode. I think the reason we are getting a lot of stand alone episodes at this point is partly due to Teyla's pregnancy (which was written in to the season due to the actress' real-life pregnancy). It's fun to see the different combinations of the team getting into situations that aren't their usual fare. I love how Rodney can be awkward and unsure, and cockily overconfident, and super earnest and even heroic all in such a short stretch of time. It was also very amusing to see him realize he had the chance at something with Keller (who I think we will now start calling Jennifer) while Sam is around, as well as Sam's kind of utter obliviousness to that whole byplay. I think having her come to Atlantis was the best way to put an end to his whole imaginary thing with Sam, to be honest.

Speaking of Jennifer and Rodney...wasn't she last seen getting flirty with Ronon? Why yes, I believe she was. And yet, she's the one who asked Rodney about Katie in the first place, then told him Katie was lucky to have him. She's the one who asked Rodney for a drink after the whole ordeal. Hmm. Interesting, very interesting. I wonder how this will play out as the series progresses? (insert evil laugh here)

Favorite Quotes

"What about this one?" (Rodney)
"Red means bad." (Sam)
"Ooh, yeah. Can't argue with that logic." (Rodney)

"Steve Carell or Stephen Colbert?" (Jennifer)
"Ooh! Colbert, I think." (Sam)
"Carell, but I would pick Jon Stewart over both of them." (Rodney)

"Anything hurt?" (Jennifer)
"Just my pride." (Rodney)
"That'll heal." (Jennifer)

"You owe me a beer, by the way." (Jennifer)
"Hey, if this works, I'll buy you a whole keg!" (Rodney)

"The grappling hook didn't work because the hook wouldn't hold our weight in the soil; the crates didn't work because Sam was too heavy..." (Rodney)
"...." (Sam)
"Oh, well, we all would have been. I mean our weight in general. Nothing to do with you, you just...I mean you're in very good shape, seriously. You have like, uh, the perfect body." (Rodney)
"...." (Jennifer)
"Oh! Not that you don't. Oh, no, no no. I realize that your bodies are different and-and-and uh, uh maybe that would mean that I think your body is imperfect but that is not the case. No no no, far far far from it. That is a sweet...uh, which is to say, uh, I mean, it would be impossible for me to choose which of you..." (Rodney)
"Rest assured, you're never gonna have to." (Sam)
"Aw, if we'd kept quiet, I bet he would have gone on like that forever." (Jennifer)

"I see light!" (Jennifer)
"No no no no no! Don't go towards the light! You wanna stay in the land of the living!" (Rodney)

"You know, I like a real-life action star, kinda." (Rodney)
"What?" (Jennifer)
"You know: shooting guns, running around, saving people. You'd think I'd'd think this'd be easy for me now. You'd think I'd be like, super buff by now." (Rodney)

"It's not gonna scar is it?" (Rodney)
"Chicks dig scars." (Jennifer)
"Not the chicks I dig." (Rodney)

"Do you wanna have a drink with me or not?" (Jennifer)
"What? You wanna have a drink?" (Rodney)
"You're not very good at this are you?" (Jennifer)
"Uh no. No I'm not." (Rodney)


Wow, only four episodes left to go in this season! Come back Monday for the next exciting, action-packed episode "Midway."