Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SGA Rewatch: The Prodigal

Well hello there folks, welcome to another Wednesday edition of the Stargate Atlantis Rewatch. Today's episode up for discussion is season five's "The Prodigal." Spoilers for the episode and all that came before!

What Happened

Ronon is called to Woolsey's office late at night. Woolsey wants to know why Ronon hasn't filed any mission reports since his arrival. Ronon tries to pretend like he didn't how that was a requirement, he also argues that he's not very good at writing. Anticipating this, Woolsey hands him a digital voice recorder so he can dictate his reports instead. Ronon is thrilled, really.

John and Rodney are racing electric cars in a corridor on the edge of the city and they almost run over Teyla, who is out walking Torren. She is trying to get the baby to sleep and Kanaan is out of the city for a few days visiting the Athosians so the responsibility falls squarely on her shoulders. She heads back to put him to bed once he has fallen asleep. John and Rodney manage to break their cars and head back to the city when the power goes out suddenly. Rodney tries calling Radek but gets no answer. They duck outside and see that lights are out all over the city, everywhere but the control room. Rodney tries radioing the control room next but still gets no answer. John remarks that something is definitely not right.

Teyla tries to open the doors to leave Torren's room but it won't open. She tries radioing Rodney but gets no  answer. She goes back to check on the baby and hears her doors open. She calls out a tentative greeting. Two men enter and one of them shoots her with a stunner.

Rodney and John make it to the armory and start assembling people to try to figure out what's going on. John hands out walkie-talkies so that they can communicate while the city's radios are down. Radek finds them and Rodney sends him to the power room to check on the ZPM and naquadah generators. He finds that neither of them is online and reports to Rodney that they must have been disabled from the control room. Rodney says but then whoever is in the control room wouldn't have power either. Radek says they would if they were using an external power source. Rodney tells Radek to do the same thing, just a temporary patch to get him access to the mainframe so he can figure out what's going on. He asks Radek to route some power to the transporters while he's at it after he laments at how many flights of stairs he and John have left to climb before they'll reach the gate room.

People throughout the city seem to be handling the power outage calmly enough, arming themselves and grouping up, waiting for commands. John and Rodney get to the door leading to the gate room stairwell but it is locked tight. They realize that the lock down must have been initiated by someone in the control room. They look for another way up and find Lorne with some marines trying to open another sealed stairwell. Rodney heads to his lab to try to figure out what's up. Radek joins them (having managed to get transporters back online) but he tells them that the entire gate level is under a lock down code, and he can't access it.

Rodney manages to pull up the surveillance cameras for that level since they are non-essential systems. They see a puddle jumper hanging out in front of the gate and several people in the control room who are definitely not Atlantis staff. John asks to see Woolsey's office and they see an unconscious Teyla draped in one of the chairs, Torren in the other. They watch as she wakes up and goes to her baby. A figure enters the room and she turns to find that it is Michael. She asks how he got there and he says with the ship he stole from them when they retook Teyla. He says it provided him with a wealth of information on the city and its inhabitants.

Flashback to the conversation between Woolsey and Ronon. An unscheduled gate activation occurs and they go to the control room. Amelia tells them she is receiving Major Nelson's IDC and Woolsey orders the gate's shield lowered. A jumper comes through but doesn't automatically rise to the jumper bay per normal autopilot protocol. As the staff in the control room watch, a shield emanates from the jumper. Ronon sees it and tells Woolsey to get everyone out of there now but before they can act the shield expands, encompassing the room and knocking everyone out. The puddle jumper hatch opens to reveal Michael and several of his hybrids. They begin gathering up the unconscious staff and sealing off the gate room. We learn that Michael is using the jumper to power the control room and that the two levels below and above it are protected by a stun field.

Back in the present Michael sarcastically congratulates Teyla on the birth of her son, clearly annoyed that she managed to escape from him before the birth. He asks the boy's name but Teyla doesn't answer, shielding the baby and pulling back. Michael tells her he doesn't have much time for talking anyway. His hybrids are preparing to activate Atlantis' self-destruct device. He promises her baby will be safe though, he plans to take the child with him. He believes Torren's gift will give him greater control over his hybrids and secure his reign over the galaxy.

John mobilizes his people, sending Lorne to try to take the gate room from one direction while he and Rodney approach from another. The plan is to breach the sealed stairwell doors with C4 and then head up. He leaves Radek behind to monitor things and try to get back into the systems.

Ronon wakes up with the other still unconscious staff. He tries to leave but the door will not open and then he realizes he has been disarmed. He looks around, assessing the situation.

Michael's second approaches, telling him he is having trouble arming the self-destruct. Michael tells him to keep at it. The second reminds him they have the baby, they can leave at any time. Michael is adamant that they will not leave until the self-destruct has been set. Vengeance is as much his purpose here as future glory. Teyla gloats that John is certainly preparing strike teams to retake the gate room but Michael dismisses John's chances of success.

John and Lorne's teams each get their C4 in place and move into position. They blow the doors and storm up the stairs. Rodney slows John down saying he is picking up a serious energy reading. He advises stopping until they figure out what it is. John radios Lorne to hold up just as Lorne runs head first into a force field of some sort. He falls back unconscious and one of his men tells John what happened. They regroup to try to figure out how to take down the force field. Easier said than done, since Michael has employed the jumper as an external power source to prevent just such an attempt.

Ronon continues trying to open the doors. Amelia wakes up and asks what happened. He tells her that the jumper knocked everyone out. He asks her if she can get the door open and she says she thinks so.

In the control room Michael's people continue to try, and fail, to arm the self-destruct. In Woolsey's office Teyla spies an earpiece but before she can grab it Michael comes in to talk with her. He says that she was the only person who showed him any compassion when he was first brought to Atlantis. He wants to return the favor. He offers to let her come with him when he leaves so that she might care for the baby while he cares for both of them. She tells him she would rather die. He tries to convince her that he has had no other choice but to act as he has and he wishes she would just understand.

John tells Rodney and Radek they need to blow up the jumper in the gate room. It is the only way he can see to cut off Michael's power source. Rodney and Radek ask him how exactly he thinks they can accomplish that. He tells them they can use a drone. Radek explains that the chair room requires way more power than they have available at the moment and John says they use another jumper, fly up to the gate room and shoot. Rodney points out that they can't exactly get to the jumper bay at the moment. John reminds them of the underwater jumper bay, which they can reach. Rodney and Radek share a grimace. There are only two jumpers down there, Radek tells John, and they were damaged during the flooding, unable to fly. John scoffs that was two years ago and Rodney has already fixed them. Rodney makes a face and John realizes he hasn't gotten to it yet. Rodney says it was the next thing on his "to do" list. Radek suggests they see if they can fix either of them right now. John and Rodney head out.

Amelia manages to get the door open and Ronon takes out the unsuspecting hybrid guard with her help. He is impressed by her sweet kickboxing  moves. Woolsey wakes up and asks what happened. Ronon, now armed with the hybrid's weapon, makes his way to the gate room. He checks out the situation and returns to Woolsey and the others to give them the down-low. Woolsey says they need to get to the armory and retake the gate room. He and Ronon take two guards, leaving Amelia behind to keep the rest of the people safe and calm. As they make their way to the armory they overhear one of the hybrids tell Michael that they've finally cracked the encryption on the self-destruct code. Michael says excellent and that they will be leaving shortly. He says the timing of the switch to power between the jumper and Atlantis' regular systems must be precise.

Ronon says change of plan and he sends Woolsey back to the others while he and the guards go to try to deal with the self-destruct situation. Teyla grabs the earpiece and tries to contact John but gets no answer since city communications are down and the strike teams are using walkie-talkies. Ronon and the marines, meanwhile, storm the control room stunning some of Michael's men. Radek notices this on the surveillance feed and tells John. John says he and Rodney are almost to the jumper bay and asks Radek to keep them posted. Ronon begins fighting Michael and seeing Teyla tells her to run. She finds Woolsey and tells him that Ronon needs their help. A hybrid follows her and shoots at them and they flee. Michael knocks Ronon over the railing and he falls to the gate room floor unconscious.

In the jumper bay the jumpers are not in the best state. One can be fixed but has no drones. The other has drones but no chance of flying again any time soon. John tells Rodney to get to work on getting the first jumper operational while he moves the drones over from the second jumper.

Teyla and Woolsey get to a transporter but it is not working. They continue to the nearest stairwell. Woolsey is in front and he trips through the stun field, falling unconscious at the bottom as Teyla watches in horror. Hearing the hybrid behind her, she hides and pushes him down through the field when he gets there to investigate. She then runs down a corridor and opens up an access panel, climbing in with Torren to hide. Another hybrid comes down the hall and almost finds them when Torren cries but Teyla is able to quiet him and the hybrid leaves.

Rodney gets one of the jumpers back online but the weapons still aren't working.

The remaining hybrids report back to Michael that they can't find Teyla. He does not take the news well. He says he will flush her out. He arms the self-destruct and sets the timer for ten minutes. In the jumper Rodney realizes what the alarm means and tells John they don't have nearly enough time to get the jumper's drones working. John decides to just fly the jumper straight into the tower. Rodney tells him that without working inertial dampeners in the jumper it is a suicide mission.

Michael fires up the city's PA and tells Teyla that she has ten minutes to consider his offer. If she surrenders herself and the baby he will spare the lives of everyone else in the city. If not, then she, her baby, and everyone in Atlantis will die.

Rodney gets John ready to go. Radek radios in that he's gotten around some of Michael's lockout codes. Unfortunately, he can't disable the self-destruct yet or get them into the gate room. But he can lower the gate shield. Rodney is struck by an idea and tells John he doesn't have to do his suicide run. He just needs to fly up and dial the gate. Radek can lower the shield and the fwoosh of the connecting gate will obliterate the jumper that is parked right in front of it, which will drop the stun field. John likes this idea a lot. He puts Rodney in charge of the jumper part of the mission and heads back to his men to lead the strike team to retake the gate room once the stun field is down.

Michael's men council him that they need to get out of there, they are running out of time. Michael continues talking to Teyla over the PA, trying to convince her to surrender. She listens, clearly torn by the decision before her. She uses her radio, now active, to tell Michael to turn off the self-destruct. She says if he wants her to trust him he must demonstrate that he means what he says. If he turns off the self-destruct she will come with him.

The strike team and Rodney get into place. Michael considers Teyla's condition and his men hurry him. He agrees that it is time to go, telling Teyla he is disappointed in her. He says he will leave her to her fate and adds a last taunt that she should know he has already collected her son's DNA. Cloning Torren will take time but it will still serve his purposes. On his way to the ship he stops by Ronon and decides to collect one last "prize," bending over to cut off Ronon's hair.

With everyone in position Rodney dials and the shield is lowered. The back half of the jumper is destroyed and John's team storms the gate room. When the jumper was destroyed the self-destruct cut off. Rodney orders Radek to start rebooting power to the city. Michael flees the gate room and John chases him through the city, managing to get a shot in. Teyla comes out of hiding and hands Torren off to Amelia while she goes after John.

Michael heads for a weird balcony thing and John catches up. The two fight, ever in danger of falling off the side of the tower. It looks as if Michael has the upper hand when Teyla arrives and knocks him over the edge. He manages to grip the ledge and implores for her to help him but she looks down at him for a moment  and then kicks his hand off. He falls to his death.

Woolsey goes to visit Ronon in the infirmary. He compliments him on his work during the incursion. Ronon says he filed a report and hands Woolsey the recorder. Woolsey listens to it as he leaves and smiles at how...succinct the report is. Very Ronon-like.

John and Rodney are once more racing their cars and Teyla finds them. This time she is more inclined to indulge their play as Torren is awake. She says he slept through the entire night and ordeal with Michael, though now he is wide awake. She rocks Torren and they watch as John and Rodney get their rematch underway, relieved to know once and for all that Michael is out of the picture at last.


Man, it's hate on Atlantis week, I guess. Geez, first it's "let's throw John's team into exile and isolate the rest of the expedition from the rest of the galaxy," and now it's "I shall invade your city, steal your baby, and blow you all up, mwahahahah." Yeesh.

What was I saying Monday about Michael being a dangling loose end? Oh, look, now that's all nice and put away now. I mean, I don't think anyone ever seriously thought Michael was dead. From the second the team couldn't find their jumper when they got Teyla off his hive ship, it was fairly obvious that he had stolen it. Which also made it fairly obvious that we would be seeing him again. It was brought up in multiple episodes that no body had been found, so we really all knew this was coming.

Still, I am glad that the Michael issue has finally been resolved. That guy just kept getting worse and worse. As much as there is some validity to the argument that his whole evolution was Atlantis' fault, no one forced him to turn into a monster. He was offered a place and a home in Atlantis more than once. With conditions, true, but just because he wasn't willing to accept them doesn't justify his choice to not only become a monster but to set about creating as many more as he could. He also could have probably gotten away with a lot more in his quest for galactic domination had he been willing to drop his grudge against Atlantis, or at least just leave them alone. But his need for vengeance kept leading him back to them, which kept seeing his plans thwarted, and that just made him angrier and more desirous of revenge...kind of a vicious cycle there. He could have chosen a different path.

Look at Todd, held captive and tortured by humans for years, but willing to work with them to escape, and again and again to rise to power. Willing to consider them worthy of being allies, possibly friends, to realize that there is more to them than he had previously believed, and as such to even consider a road where wraith might choose to stop feeding on humans entirely. No, Michael's actions after leaving Atlantis, the way he dealt with what they did to him, that was all on him. Good riddance.

I do like how calmly everyone seemed to handle the invasion. I guess part of that was that it happened in the middle of the night and maybe most of them slept through it and didn't even know what happened until the morning? Well, at least until the self-destruct alarm went off I guess. I bet that woke a few people up. Still, that was a random example of very efficient military protocol kicking in and handling an enemy incursion quickly and reasonably (even if it did get a little crazy in the end with John once more volunteering for a suicide mission). Plus, more Lorne! Yay! I like that he is taking a more active role lately, as is Amelia. It is nice to be reminded that there are more people in Atlantis than just John's team and the expedition leader, you know?

Also, oh, hey, Atlantis has stairs! Lots and lots of stairs. Remember way back back in the second episode when they found out what the transporters did and were super happy that they could stop taking the stairs everywhere? I don't know why, but everyone suddenly running up and down stairs again amused me.

I do have to wonder what the heck is up with that random ledge that Michael made his way to. What was his end game there? Did he think he could just throw John off the edge and then somehow make his escape back through the now heavily guarded gate room? Also, why was that thing even there? Other than to be a very convenient place for Teyla to quite literally lay some of her demons to rest, I mean.

Oh well. Anyhoo. Bye bye Michael. I don't think anyone will miss you at all. Maybe you should have tried to learn from Teyla's compassion by actually being compassionate, not just acting like a whiny entitled brat? Just a thought.

Favorite Quotes

"He's like a cockroach, you know? Every time you try to step on him he just skitters away." (Rodney)

"I figure he's got himself a force field." (John)
"He's nothing if not annoyingly industrious." (Rodney)

"You can fight?" (Ronon)
"Five years of kickboxing." (Amelia)
"Good to know!" (Ronon)

"Look, it's our best chance of taking out Michael's jumper." (John)
"Not to mention taking out yourself!" (Rodney)
"I have crashed jumpers into the tower before." (John)

"What you're about to do is..." (Rodney)
"Yeah. Well, it's not like it's the first time. How many suicide missions have I flown?" (John)
"I don't know. I lost count." (Rodney)
"Right. Well, there you go." (John)

"Mission report: Michael invaded Atlantis, tried to blow it up. We stopped him. End of report." (Ronon)


So ends another week of the rewatch. See you back here Monday for the next episode, "Remnants." Only six more to go, wow!

Don't forget to vote in the poll for which series I rewatch next!

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