Monday, May 14, 2012

SGA Rewatch: Broken Ties

Howdy there folks, and welcome to another installment of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today we'll be looking at the season five episode "Broken Ties." Spoilers for the episode and all that came before.

What Happened

Hey, remember when Ronon ran into that trio of his friends from Sateda and was all, "Yay!" But then they turned out to be wraith worshipers and he was all, "Boo!" and killed two of them? Well, Teyla and Ronon are offworld, returning from a trading trip of some sort and discussing the difficulty that Kanaan is having in adjusting to life in Atlantis. Ronon offers to spar with him to help him fit in when they come across what appears to be a body in the woods. They go to investigate it and the body pops up, stunning Ronon and revealing himself to be Tyre, Ronon's friend who survived.

He doesn't kill Teyla though, and she gets back to Atlantis and alerts the others. They do a quick search, but no sign of Ronon remains on the planet. They think that since Tyre spared Teyla when it would have been easier to kill her and leave no witnesses, maybe he hasn't killed Ronon yet either. They decide to reach out to another Satedan they know, Solen, who Ronon and Teyla encountered on Belkan, to see if maybe he can help them find where Tyre might have taken Ronon. As they get ready to leave, Woolsey asks Teyla if she will be joining them, seeing as how she still hasn't submitted a request to rejoin the team after her maternity leave. John scoffs of course she'll rejoin but she hesitates and says she has not yet decided if she will be returning to active duty. She avoids John's hurt look and tells Woolsey she would like to accompany them on this mission however.

Ronon comes to tied to a chair in the middle of what appears to be a barn. He immediately tries to find Teyla but Tyre, sitting in a corner watching him, says he left her on the other planet. He tells Ronon he hopes they can learn to trust each other again. He wants them to work together. He steps closer and Ronon realizes that he is ill. Tyre reminds Ronon of a mission on which Ronon risked his life to save him and reveals that he has brought Ronon back to that place. He says it is his chance to return the favor.

The team finds Solen and tries to get information about Tyre. Solen says that Tyre is no longer a wraith worshiper, but beyond that he doesn't know where Tyre is. John argues that if Tyre is on the run he might slip up and Solen will hear where he is. If that happens, he hopes Solen will contact them. Solen agrees and drinks to Ronon.

Ronon tries get information out of Tyre. Tyre reveals his illness is actual withdrawal from the wraith enzyme, which the wraith use to give their worshipers the "gift" of life. It was denied to him after he allowed Ronon and the others to escape the ambush the previous year. Ronon promises to get him help in return for freedom and Tyre says help is already on the way. Before he can elaborate, a party of wraith arrive. The lead wraith gloats at Ronon and begins to feed on him.

Teyla stops by Woolsey's office and we learn there has been no update on Ronon. Woolsey tries to reassure her that Ronon is a proven survivor. Teyla says she has to apologize for not coming to him sooner with a decision. She tries to explain how difficult the decision is. He sympathizes with her and says that sometimes priorities change. She remarks that sometimes they don't. He tells her that he is sure Kanaan will support her in whatever decision she makes.

Meanwhile, the wraith has been feeding on Ronon and then returning the stolen life from him, asking him how it feels in a weird sort of torture. He tells Ronon that like his fellow Satedans he will eventually submit. Ronon says he will die first and the wraith gloats that no, he won't.

Rodney finds John in the mess and admits that he can't sleep for thinking about the Ronon situation. He can't shake the feeling that they are missing something. They go over what they know already when Lorne comes by and says that they got a message from Solen. They  know where Tyre is holed up with Ronon. John tells Lorne to grab his team and gear up and they leave to get ready.

Tyre tries to convince Ronon to give in to the wraith but Ronon accuses him of just wanting to get back in the wraith's good graces. The wraith comes back in and says this is taking too long and he has other matters to deal with. He has his people take Ronon and when Tyre demands his reward the wraith tosses him aside, saying that his usefulness has come to an end and he is going back on the deal.

The team leaves for the planet and upon arrival they begin their search. They don't have much luck at first but then Lorne radios that he's got something. They find Tyre, barely alive. They get him back to Atlantis and into the infirmary. Jennifer says he is in bad shape but after some observation and tests she tells them he is going through withdrawal. John tells her to keep him alive, if they can't get any information out of him they are at a dead end. She says she'll do her best but it could take a few days to get him up to any sort of level of health and usefulness.

Teyla finds them in the hall and is very upset that she wasn't notified of the mission. John says that they were acting on a hunch and had to move fast. Teyla glares and Rodney and Jennifer suddenly both decide they are feeling peckish and excuse themselves to head to the mess. She is hurt that he could so easily move forward without her and he tells her she needs to make a decision. He is under pressure to replace her and while he doesn't want to, he needs to know if he is going to have to anyway.

The wraith takes Ronon back to his hidey-hole and continues the indoctrination.

In Atlantis, Tyre's detox is not going smoothly. Jennifer had him moved to isolation after he broke through his restraints and injured some guards. John asks how long it will take and Jennifer isn't sure, she isn't even sure he'll survive. Woolsey asks if there is anything they can do but Jennifer says sedatives will only prolong the process. John vetoes that, saying they need this to go as quickly as possible.

The scenes cut back and forth between Tyre's struggles and Ronon's.

Kanaan finds Teyla in their quarters, watching over Torren as he sleeps. She discusses her pending decision with Kanaan. She is afraid of leaving her son to grow up without a mother if something happens to her. Kanaan says that she has a responsibility to him, yes, but she also has a responsibility to the galaxy. She needs to follow her heart, which he thinks means staying on the team. He says she can take comfort in knowing that her actions will be making the galaxy a safer place for many, including their son.

Tyre's system is finally clear of the enzyme and he wakes up and is lucid. He tells John that he knows where Ronon has been taken and is willing to lead them to the facility and to Ronon himself. John doesn't think that is a good idea, seeing as how Tyre is still recovering, but Tyre is determined.

It may be too late, however. Back in the wraith's lair he is reciting a code or credo of some sort and Ronon recites it back. The wraith hands him his sword and tells Ronon their enemy is Atlantis. He says "no mercy" and walks off as Ronon echoes the sentiment.

John argues with Woolsey about whether or not to let Tyre on the mission to retrieve Ronon. Woolsey doesn't trust him but John is convinced that Tyre, clean now, is just desperate to help his friend and save him from what Tyre himself went through. Woolsey relents and Teyla walks up with Torren as they end the conversation, Woolsey saying that Lorne's team is going too. She asks what has happened and John says they know where Ronon is. She says she is going with them and John tells her to gear up. Teyla hands the baby off to Woolsey and asks him to take Torren to Kanaan in the cafeteria then she runs off. Woolsey coos at Torren, who immediately starts crying and so he dashes off to the cafeteria to hand the baby off.

In the facility, Tyre leads the team, taking out several wraith along the way. He leads them to the power relay chamber so they can lay explosives and take out the facility once they get Ronon out. They get the C4 in place and proceed to another level. They run into Ronon and are dismayed to find he has allied himself with the wraith. Tyre grabs Teyla and holds a knife to her throat telling John and the others to lower their weapons. They do and while John is confused, Ronon punches him, then they are disarmed and taken away. Tyre asks the wraith if this is a prize worthy of reward and the wraith welcomes him back. Ronon gives him a clap on the shoulder in greeting.

In their cell, John tells a worried Rodney that they will find a way out. He is insistent that they will get Ronon back.

Ronon tries to convince the wraith that he shouldn't kill the Lanteans, telling him that they have lots of useful information. The wraith questions Ronon's loyalty but Tyre backs him up. Ronon says they just need some convincing.

Rodney tries to come up with a plan of escape, his idea growing more and more convoluted, when Tyre and a wraith drone come for John, telling him he has been summoned. On the way there Tyre stops and tells the drone he forgot something. A few moments later John and Tyre arrive where the wraith and Ronon are waiting. The wraith tells John to kneel but John does his normal "not gonna happen" routine. As the wraith reaches out to feed on John, Tyre cuts off the wraith's hand with his sword. Ronon attacks Tyre and the two fight while John holds off the other wraith that come at the sound of fighting. Teyla and Rodney find Lorne and his men and let them out of their cells, telling Lorne that Tyre freed them.

Then they make their way to where John and the others are. Teyla tries stunning Ronon several times before it takes. They keep fighting the oncoming wraith but are in danger of being overrun. John finds the head wraith, incapacitated but still alive, and tells him to call off his people. The wraith gloats and refuses and Tyre threatens to blow up the facility, telling the wraith he told John exactly where to put the explosives for maximum damage. That would destroy any advantage this hive has over its rivals, so the wraith agrees. The wraith doesn't believe them at their word though, so Tyre volunteers to stay behind, promising to trade the detonator for his freedom once the others reach the gate. The wraith orders his people to stand down and the Lanteans take Ronon and leave. The team radios Tyre once they are clear and he detonates the explosives, destroying the facility with himself still inside.

Back in Atlantis they get Ronon into isolation and begin the detox process. It is not pretty. John goes to talk to him while he's pretty strung out still and tells him that they will get him through this. He also tells Ronon about Tyre's sacrifice. Ronon calls Tyre a traitor, but John says no, he was a good friend. The team watches over Ronon as he goes through the process, never leaving him alone until he finally starts to come back to himself.

Jennifer briefs the senior staff on Ronon's recovery and as they close the meeting Woolsey remarks that he thinks he'll call it a night and slip into something more relaxed. Teyla asks John to stay back for a moment to speak with her. Later, Teyla stops by Woolsey's quarters, finding him decked out in a suit, his idea of "relaxed," drinking wine and listening to classical music. She officially requests to return to active duty and her position on John's team. After asking if she is sure, Woolsey welcomes her back.

The episode closes on a series of quiet moments. Teyla returning to Kanaan and Torren, Rodney relaxing in a bubble bath (before getting a Eureka! moment and reaching for his nearby tablet), and John visiting Ronon and giving him Tyre's sword. Ronon looks at the sword with sadness and regret, finally able to understand the import of what his friend did for him.


So with this episode we kind of wrap up any lingering issues that Ronon might have had from his previous encounter with his old friends. Any doubt he has that his team is his family can be pretty much erased by their actions in getting him back. Even though he wasn't himself to see Tyre return to sanity and reject the wraith, Ronon knows that his friend went down wholly in possession of himself and on the right side of the battle. I think that restores Tyre's honor and role as a brother to Ronon in Ronon's mind. It's a good sense of closure for Ronon, I think. This is where he finally leaves Sateda behind and truly acknowledges that he is Lantean now.

We also get to see Teyla struggle with and then come to the decision to return to the team despite (or perhaps because of) her new motherhood. While on the surface it seems a little weird that this was such a big focus, I kind of like that they did it that way. So often on television when women have children they either get a full-on personality rewrite or they just go back to life as normal while the writers try to ignore the elephant in the room that is the baby. With this we can see that Teyla still has all of the same motivations and goals that she used to, but she now has a new set of priorities and responsibilities to balance them against. She has changed, but in a perfectly natural and understandable way, and not so much that she can give up doing something she has already sacrificed so much for.

There were also some very nice moments of Woolsey getting adjusted to life in the city. I particularly enjoyed the little details like the doors in the conference room closing on him and then refusing to open. Then there was his discussion with Teyla where she asks if he has children and he goes on at length about his former Yorkie (that we learn his ex-wife got in the divorce). It is also interesting to see him setting up his office and how much it contrasts to how Elizabeth had it. Hers seemed to embrace the strangeness of the new galaxy, and of their encounters with new cultures. His, on the other hand, seems to be a desperate attempt to hold on to a bit of Earth and home. Then, of course, there was that splendid moment with him and Torren. Good stuff.

Overall, I think this episode mainly just serves to set up the headspace all of our characters find themselves in at the outset of this season now that we've pretty much got all of the major players in place. With that taken care of, we can start to get down to the business of new adventures.

Favorite Quotes

"All right. Just untie me and I'll listen to what you have to say." (Ronon)
"Would that be before or after you try to beat me unconscious?" (Tyre)
"I don't know. You could choose. Or I could just surprise you." (Ronon)

"We need your help." (John)
"Ronon Dex is in trouble." (Rodney)
"Ronon Dex is always in trouble." (Solen)
"Well, his life is in danger." (Rodney)
"Again. What else is new?" (Solen)

"Ronon Dex. I looked forward to the day when you would finally serve me." (wraith)
"Well, then, I'm gonna feel real bad disappointing you." (Ronon)

"I tried everything: pacing, snacking, bathing..." (Rodney)
"Bathing?" (John)
"Yeah, like Archimedes." (Rodney)
"You mean the Greek scientist who had a crush on Teyla?" (John)

"Kneel." (wraith)
"You know, what'd be really creepy and unexpected is if you knelt instead." (John)

"You turn your back on an incredible gift." (wraith)
"Actually, you turned your back on me first. And I thank you for it." (Tyre)


That's it for today folks. See you back here on Wednesday for a really cool episode, "The Daedalus Variations."

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