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.
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)
"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)
"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)
"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 might...be like a real-life action star, kinda." (Rodney)
"You know: shooting guns, running around, saving people. You'd think I'd be...you'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."