Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 3

Broken Ties

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jul 25, 2008 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • Another Ronon episode just misses the mark

    If it's a character-based episode early in a season of "Stargate Atlantis", then it's a good guess that it's a Ronon-centric episode. Looking back on the past few seasons, this is practically a matter of inevitability. I recall a similar thing happening to the character of B'Elanna on "Star Trek: Voyager". The writers would incrementally advance her personal character arc in an early episode of every season, and once that was out of the way, she basically fulfilled her function within the ensemble without much variation.

    Ronon fills a very comfortable niche on Team Atlantis, playing the requisite tough with consummate warrior skill and a gruff good nature. He's essentially the Teal'c of the series, and as such, episodes devoted to Ronon inevitably pertain to others of his kind. The Satedans have never been my favorites (and that includes the infamous episode "Sateda" itself), so I was wary, to say the least.

    Fortunately, the writers took a slightly different approach with the Ronon-centric episode this season. Normally, when a main character is subjected to the kind of experience seen in this episode, the character manages to resist against all odds, demonstrating his endlessly heroic nature. So it was a bit rewarding to see Ronon, perhaps the strongest member of the team, succumb to the Wraith brainwashing.

    The brainwashing itself helped to explain why some humans would choose to align with the Wraith in the first place. It may have been alluded to in the past, but I certainly don't remember anything about the addictive qualities of Wraith life restoration. I don't think it applies to every Wraith worshipper, since simple self-interest is enough of an explanation and this seemed to be more of an experimental approach, but it does flesh out a grey area.

    Otherwise, I found the story to be rather predictable. I was basically waiting for Tyre to rescue the team after his supposed betrayal, and Tyre's sacrifice was completely telegraphed. Considering how much of the episode's power hinged on Tyre's redemptive arc, it was a bit disappointing for the story to be so "cookie cutter". If Ronon's part of the story could take a daring turn, why should Tyre's part of the story fall into predictability?

    Speaking of which, this episode was also devoted to exploration of Teyla's position on Team Atlantis. I've been concerned since the moment the pregnancy was written into the series, and especially since the baby was saved. Pregnancy seems to be the easy road for drama when it comes to female characters in the genre, but "baby plots" slip into annoying cliché all too often for my taste. For better or worse, Teyla is not one of the headliner characters, so the impact is lessened.

    Even so, if Teyla's character development this season is largely devoted to the struggles of motherhood, I'll be disappointed. I would like to think that the character deserves better than the never-inventive "working mother" plot thread, mixed with the "aren't babies cute?" scenes. We had one such scene with Woolsey in this episode, and I think it was quite enough. Unfortunately, the writers seem to have no intentions of sidelining the baby, so it remains to be seen how it will be handled. (I'm waiting, of course, for the inevitable kidnapping episode.)