Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Spoils of War

Hello everybody! Welcome to another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we'll get to see some of the fallout from the previous episode's attack on the replicator homeworld in season four's "Spoils of War." Spoilers for the episode and any that came before it, as always.

What Happened

Things open up back at the battle over Asuras, but this time we are watching it from Todd's hive. One of his lieutenants reports that their darts are flying through the replicator city. Things start to get hairy and the lieutenant starts to push for them to leave, but Todd refuses to do so until the darts return. "Not until I get what I came for," he barks. Finally the darts make it back to the hive and they jump away to hyperspace. More subordinates report to Todd with the cargo the darts were sent to retrieve from the city. He opens up a pouch and finds inside three ZPMs. Satisfied, he declares that they can now complete their mission.

In Atlantis a week later, Rodney gives John an update on what the wraith have been up to since the destruction of the replicators. He reports that they are once more dividing up into factions and beginning to fight with each other. Things have gone back to the "not enough humans to feed the wraith" status quo, so the wraith are trying to eliminate their competition for the food supply, so to speak. Rodney notes with some interest that he has also picked up the tracking signal that Todd used to signal his hive to Atlantis while he was in captivity. It is showing up on a hive ship that is all on its own out in a kind of empty area of space. Clearly Todd reactivated the beacon, and it seems unlikely he wouldn't have thought Atlantis would pick it up. So the question is, why did he want to get Atlantis' attention?

Elsewhere in the city, Ronon enters an exercise room to find Teyla pushing herself pretty hard on a stationary bike. He tells her she needs to take it down a notch and she disagrees. She says that Keller has given her the approval to continue exercise and that doing so is actually considered beneficial for her pregnancy. Ronon says that's all well and good but she needs to be sure not to overdo it. Teyla shakes her head and says she will need to work twice as hard now to keep up with the rest of the team. Ronon asks what makes her think she needs to keep up.

John's curiosity has been piqued enough that he has decided to go check out Todd's tracking signal. He, Rodney, and Ronon, along with Major Lorne and a team of marines, are in the ready room gearing up when Teyla enters. She walks up to John and says she heard about what they found and she wants to go on the mission. John exchanges significant looks with Lorne and Ronon and the two quietly gather up the rest of the men in the room and herd them out, leaving John and Teyla alone. John says he doesn't want to argue with Teyla and that he's made his decision about her being off the team because of her pregnancy. She thinks he is just mad that she waited so long to tell him, and is trying to protect her. He snarks back that he thinks she wants to go out into the galaxy and kick ass because her people have gone missing and that she's not thinking clearly and too willing to take risks. John says it is his call and he leaves, with Teyla staying behind.

They get to the hive ship and find that it has taken a heck of a beating. Someone comments that maybe the damage is from the battle with the replicators but Rodney says the readings indicate it was attacked by wraith. They don't get any life signs signals on their sensors and dock with the ship to go investigate further. Inside they find the bodies of many wraith, but no survivors. They keep following Todd's tracking signal, but once they finally find it, that is all they find. He apparently cut it out.

There is no sign of the rest of the crew. Apparently whoever attacked the ship took them and Todd when they left. John has Rodney do a quick assessment of the ship and while it is pretty beat up, Rodney declares it salvageable. John is pleased and claims it for Atlantis. Of course, that means they will need someone to fly it. He returns to Atlantis and prepares to eat a bit of crow as he goes to Teyla to ask if she will return to the ship with him. He assures her that it has been swept for wraith and is perfectly safe. She agrees to go on the mission and then comments that she understands why he didn't want her to go before, but she is just trying to figure out her place in things now. John insists that she is still a member of his team. At her questioning look he sighs and reaffirms the statement, adding that due to her new circumstances, however, he gets the final say on whether she joins any given mission or sits it out. She accepts his terms. As they fly to the ship they clear the air between them a little bit further and Teyla apologizes for waiting so long to tell John about being pregnant. He understands. She points out her fears that with her people missing, her child will be the last of his kind. John says they don't know that yet and they haven't given up on the Athosians. Teyla agrees but points out the best way for her to find out what happened to her people is to be out in the galaxy with the team. John mulls that over.

While John was picking up Teyla, Rodney has been getting to work on getting the hive back to at least basic working condition again. Ronon activates a screen in the control room and it pulls up a map. Upon closer examination, Rodney is able to determine where the hive was actually headed when it was attacked. It seems to have been going to a top secret wraith facility, one that according to the ship's logs was a key component in their successes in the war against the Ancients. Rodney and Ronon both feel the facility warrants checking out.

While they are discussing it, Teyla steps up to a control console and immediately brings most of the ship's main systems online. Everyone looks at her with surprise and she is unsure what she did. She says she just connected with the ship and immediately all of the information was available. Her ability with wraith tech seems to be much stronger than it has previously been. She is able to pull up the coordinates to the facility and determines that the ship is still in condition to make the journey. John is not so ready to head out though, saying they can wait for the Daedalus to arrive and fly them there. Teyla points out that the wraith who attacked the ship had access to the same information they have discovered and are a day ahead of them. They cannot afford to wait. Convinced, John orders her to head for the facility but to drop out before they get inside of sensor range. She pilots the ship effortlessly--in stark contrast to her last attempts to fly a hive ship--and when they arrive she establishes an orbit around one of the planet's moons, staying out of range of the facility's sensors. John asks her to stay behind in case they need someone to fly the ship and she agrees. He leaves Lorne and the marines to keep her safe and then he, Ronon, and Rodney head down to the planet in the jumper.

As they approach the planet, Rodney's scans show that the planet has a space gate. He also picks up an energy signal on the surface, presumably the facility, and another hive ship in orbit around the planet. They touch down and manage to get inside the facility easily enough. They begin to explore and come across a queen asleep in a throne-like chair. She is surrounded by organic looking tubing of some sort. They keep looking and find several niches similar to the suspended animation pods that wraith use to store humans. Inside each pod is a figure covered with a viscous membrane and more tubing like that covering the queen. They hear footsteps approaching and move to hide. A group of wraith approach one of the pods and declare that this one is ready. They break open the membrane and pull a wraith drone out of it, welcoming him to the world. The team realizes they are in a wraith breeding facility.

They keep moving to avoid running into more wraith and stumble into a room containing thousands of the breeding pods. Rodney is flummoxed, stating that there is no way one queen could provide enough genetic material for that many wraith. As far as they know, there is only one queen too, the queens aren't exactly known to work together. Rodney finds a console and taps into the database. A quick skim of the facility's layout reveals a hundred more rooms just like the one they are occupying. They realize why the facility was such a huge part of the wraith beating the Ancients--it must have been a key component in their overwhelming numbers. John says they can't leave the facility intact and Ronon and Rodney agree. Though Rodney points out that their C4 isn't exactly gonna cut it to blow the place up, it's huge. They consider firing on it from orbit, but there is the problem of the other hive ship. Still, if they can find the facility's power supply, they should be able to blow that up with their C4 and at least temporarily shut down production, buying some time for a more permanent solution.

The facility's commander goes to see the queen and orders a drone to wake her up. The drone presses a button and all of the tubes recede, the queen regaining consciousness and asking for a status update. The commander tells her she has done well. Their second batch was flawless and they now have a genetic template for the next phase of production. She seems pleased and then asks about the commander of the fallen hive. He tells her the enemy commander has been put to work in getting the facility up and running. She tells her commander that she is in need of energy and orders him to bring her the enemy commander. Realizing she means to feed on the captive, her commander objects, pointing out that the enemy commander still possesses much valuable knowledge they can use. She's not having any of it, however. If the facility is up and running, she reasons, they have no more need of the captive. Cut to a wraith cell, where we see Todd waiting patiently. Two drones approach and open the doors and it is clear they do not mean to bring him to the queen for tea. Just as they train their weapons on him, however, they are shot from behind and John and crew appear from around the corner. Todd is only mildly surprised to see them and after they exchange greetings, John trains his own weapon on Todd. He demands the wraith tell him everything he knows or he will join the drones.

Back on the hive, Teyla and Lorne are just sitting around waiting for word from John. Lorne takes advantage of the quiet time to congratulate Teyla on her pregnancy. She expresses some trepidation of what is to come but he says he thinks she'll be a great mom. She is clearly grateful for the kind words and encouragement.

Todd explains to John and company that the queen isn't directly responsible for breeding all of the wraith the facility was designed to manufacture. She births a handful of wraith and then they are cloned. John is surprised that Todd would want to be making more wraith at a time when food is so scarce, especially when it would have made much more sense to create their new army when they were still fighting the replicators. Todd explains that the facility runs on ZPMs. After the Ancients left the galaxy, they didn't have any way to get their hands on the energy sources. The facility has been dormant until they were able to retrieve new ZPMs during the battle over Asuras. His plan was to breed his own army to wipe out all of the enemy wraith, but he was betrayed by one of his old men, sold out to another hive. Now that he no longer has control of the new wraith, however, he has no compunctions about shutting down the facility again. He tells them to help him escape and he will help them confiscate the ZPMs for their own.

As they make their way through the facility, the alarms begin to sound, indicating that Todd's escape has been discovered. They run into a group of wraith drones and are stunned. They wake up in a cell and find that Todd managed to escape. Rodney is hopeful that this means he'll come back for them but John and Ronon are doubtful. It is not too long before the wraith come for them and they are brought to the queen. She orders her people to have the hive in orbit start searching for the humans' ship. She turns to John and says that in the meantime, however, she has some questions for him.

Teyla picks up a dart on the sensors headed straight for their hive. She thinks the other hive must have sent out a scout ship. Lorne asks if it has seen them yet or communicated to the base or the other hive. Teyla responds in the negative. Lorne says they need to go ahead and just destroy it then, before the dart can tell the hive where they are. Teyla hesitates, worried that it might be John, he has flown darts before, but Lorne points out that John would have radioed them by now. She agrees and moves to charge up weapons. Before she can fire, they received a transmission from the dart. It is Todd. He says he knows where John and crew are and will explain everything if they let him on board. He keeps his word and explains what has happened on the planet. He then urges them to take the hive and leave before the other hive can find them, saying it will be better to come back later undetected. Lorne and Teyla refuse to leave their people in danger, however, and Teyla says she has an idea.

The queen hasn't been having much luck questioning John, and is surprised to find such strong resistance from a human mind. When he refuses to answer, she threatens to feed on his friends. He still doesn't talk so she moves over to Rodney and raises her hand to feed. Before she can start, however, she shakes herself and stops. She orders that the humans be returned to their cell and then dismisses all of her own people. On the hive we see Lorne and his men gathered around Teyla, watching her closely. Seeing Todd's confusion, Lorne explains to him that Teyla is taking control of the queen. Todd says that's not possible but Lorne tells him not to underestimate Teyla.

Teyla undergoes a battle of wills against the queen and manages to gain control of the queen's body. The queen is annoyed but also impressed. She continues to taunt Teyla, trying to distract her and regain control. She senses that Teyla is pregnant and that the baby is working with Teyla to take control of the queen. The queen threatens to kill her baby through their connection if Teyla's concentration so much as slips.

John, Ronon, and Rodney wait in their cells, very confused. They sit up in surprise as their guards are stunned and the queen appears. She opens the door and hands them their weapons. Then she reveals that she is actually Teyla. She tells them to get out of there, and quickly. They begin to run but the queen manages to get a foothold in Teyla and goes after the baby. In the queen's body, Teyla doubles over in pain and cries out to John for help, explaining that she can't break the connection. John raises his gun and unloads it into the queen, killing her and releasing Teyla. The three men race through the facility, trying to find the ZPMs, but without Todd to guide them they have no luck. They find a console for Rodney to hack into to try searching that way, but it is already too late. The commander fires up the cloning process. Then the alarms sound, signalling the queen's body has been found. They shift their focus to escaping, although they still need to find a way to destroy the facility. John says he has an idea about that.

On the hive Teyla is freaking out about how close the queen came to killing her baby and Lorne is trying to calm her down. A display lights up on the ship and Todd informs them that the other hive has located them and is coming. He wants to leave immediately, but Teyla and Lorne insist they wait for John and the others. The other hive starts attacking and the ship can't take very much damage. John radios them from the jumper and they all breath a sigh of relief. As he docks, Lorne requests permission to jump to hyperspace and John says no. He tells Teyla to set a new course instead.

In the facility, the commander is looking over a console when one of the other wraith comes in. He tells the commander that the other hive is heading straight for them and the commander's eyes go wide. The damaged hive crashes into the facility, destroying it for good, and we see everyone from Atlantis watching from inside the jumper.

Back in Atlantis we get confirmation that the facility was completely wiped out. We also learn that John let Todd leave in his dart when everyone else got in the jumper. John steps out onto a balcony and finds Teyla. He asks her if she has been to Keller yet and she says she has just come from the infirmary. Everything is fine with the baby, at least physically. She is still shaken by how close she came to losing the baby, and that she was so willing to just walk into danger like that. She tells John that he was right about wanting to keep her off of missions. Teyla is starting to realize that her priorities need to change now that she has another life to care for. She also reveals that while she was connected to the queen she was able to sense that her child is a boy.


So...I guess there was more to that conversation that Todd and his fellow wraith had while the team was stunned in the last episode than just agreeing to fight the replicators, eh? Now we know what their real plan was. Too bad it didn't pan out. Really, I am so sad.

The whole dynamic between John and Teyla in this episode was...well, I don't really know what I think about it. On one hand, I totally get where John is coming from. Every mission they go on--especially their team--has the very real chance of turning into a life or death situation, rife with chances for injury and death. He also has a point about Teyla taking more risks because she feels like she has to prove something now that her people are missing. She feels like she has let them down, that much is obvious. She is determined to get them back, especially since one of them is the father of her child. She feels like she owes it to both the Athosians and to her son. But still, John really should have handled it better than he did. A woman like Teyla is not going to take the "stay home and wait because I said so" order very well, especially not from someone who before this has been so willing to have her by his side in battle. I get that he was gobsmacked, but he should have known better.

Of course, this could just be the feminist bit of me and the bit of me that has been pregnant having a knee-jerk reaction to what seems like such a chauvinistic attitude. Three to four months pregnant isn't exactly delicate flower stage, nor is it too big to move stage. But, gotta be honest, a pregnant woman is more prone to clumsiness, forgetfulness, and fatigue. I mean, I get that when any situation could potentially kill you, you maybe don't want the person who is as likely to put her gun in the freezer as her holster having your back.... Sigh, I don't know. Anyhoo, they seem to have cleared the air for now, so that's a good thing.

Also, Todd finally officially gets a name in this episode, huzzah! About damn time. I love his character. He seems to get humans in general and the Lanteans in particular in a way that no other wraith do. He's never quite completely trustworthy, but he is on the level enough that it is easy for John to justify working with him. I think he makes a very wonderful addition to the cast of the show.

Favorite Quotes

"I'm not having this conversation again." (John)
"We have not had it yet." (Teyla)

"No sign of the rest of the crew. Whoever attacked the ship must have taken them prisoner." (Lorne)
"Including our friend." (John)
"Stop calling him that. It's weird." (Rodney)
"Then what do we call him?" (Ronon)
"I don't know. Let's go with...Todd. It's a guy I knew in college. He was very pale." (John)

"Well, at least we didn't miss the party." (John)

"I'm sure you haven't come all this way just to rescue me, but it would be in your best interests." (Todd)

"Oh man! I got stunned!" (Rodney)
"Yeah, we know, Rodney. We all did." (John)
"You did? How come I'm the last one to wake up?" (Rodney)

"That was just weird." (Ronon)
"Weird?! Did you see how close I just came to becoming wraith food? I don't think 'weird' quite cuts it. Like maybe 'paralyzing' or 'sickening' or, or 'heart-stoppening.'" (Rodney)


...and that's where we'll stop for today, folks. See you back here on Monday for the rather hilarious next episode, "Quarantine."

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