Stargate Atlantis

Season 2 Episode 5

Condemned

4
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Aug 12, 2005 on Syfy
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

8.7
out of 10
Average
500 votes
  • Disturbing episode with ideas and consequences not fully explored. Morally very ambiguous. There is no discussion or regrets expressed by the SG Team about their role in a planet-wide genocidal cull!

    8.0
    This strange episode gave me pause for thought and deserves closer scrutiny! As a indirect result of SG team activity an entire planetary population is wiped out by the Wraith and _no one_ mentions it!

    The SG team are usually quite judgemental about societies they come into contact with and so visiting Olesia, a planet of similar technological development to ours is interesting. Let's score both groups on their Bad Morality through the episode!

    Olesia is a planet which we discover has been allowed to flourish because they sacrifice their criminals to the Wraith. This is Bad so 1-0 to the Olesians.

    When challenged about this, the Olesian magistrate asks if there is a death penalty on the team's home planet and they are forced to admit that we do indeed have our own 'cruel and unusual' punishments. Morally Neutral: both sides are now all square. 1-1

    We find out the Olesians over several generations have done a protectionist deal with a fine- dining Wraith. Interesting! Now how do we score this Food for Peace deal? Is this betrayal or protection? The writers want us to think this is BAD, but surely an argument can be made that this terrible decision weighs the needs of the many over the needs of the few?
    Morally ambiguous? Not sure about this one! No score!

    However, this deal has corrupted Olesian society and now innocent people and those convicted of trivial offences are sent to the penal colony. This is Morally Bad so 2-1 to Olesians. Marin, the Olesian whistleblower gets hauled off to the penal colony for betraying her people. BAD! So 3-1 to the Olesians.

    Dr Weir and her team do nothing to save Marin, even after she helped them. She is never heard from again. BAD! 3-2 to the Olesians!

    The SG Team help prisoners including _at least_ one murderer (Torell- killer of 8 people) escape to an alpha site. Morally ambiguous? No score! HOWEVER, because of this when the Wraith Cruisers turn up there is no food and so they head for the mainland. This is without doubt the start of a genocidal massacre of the entire population.

    The 2 SG teams escape to Atlantis. They dont return with the Daedalus and big guns to help out the Olesians. These people are left to their Fate.
    Morally reprehensible! How do you score turning your back on people in desperate need? The SG Team indirectly cause and then run away from genocide!

    Final Morality Score:
    Olesia: 3 SG Team: the culling of the entire population of Olesia +2!
    :D
  • Sheppard and his team visit the Elysian who have struck a rather odd bargain with the Wraith. They put their penal colony on the island where the Stargate sits and the Wraith only cull their prisoners. Unfortunately problems arise in many ways.

    8.5
    I am rather split about this episode. I like the idea and I am not sure I like the execution. The idea that some civilizations might try to make a deal with the Wraith is inevitable. You would have to realize that eventually this would not work out as the Wraith see humans as food and look at our own history. Humans have wiped out many species as we don't have their lives in mind but only our own. This happens even if you don't intentionally make it happen by wiping out habitats to killing the things they might feed on. Since the last ice age our human population has contributed in some way to making extinct almost 65% of all the species of the planet.

    The idea of putting criminals on the island to have the Wraith feed on them might seem like a simple solution. Eventually the population would understand the nature of the punishment and crime would cease to exist with such a deter-int. Then the situation would not be able to support itself the and the inevitable would occur. There were a few original Star Trek episodes that dealt with such logical thinking as culling the population for the good of the others. We also saw that in the first season's Childhood's End.

    Something about the island and how things went there bothers me. I can't put my finger on it but I think things could have been done differently. I think I would also like to have seen Sheppard/Weir go save some of the "new" prisoners like Marin who did nothing wrong but save Weir and her group but were being grabbed to feed the Wraith. They certainly are doomed. They lose another Jumper but I believe they have access to the FX-302's which is not a fair trade but at least it gives them some flying firepower. I hope they remember to go back and destroy the technology. I am surprised the Wraith didn't immediately land to secure the ship as it sat.

    This is another episode where in the end I think they tried to put too much into the storyline. It might have benefited from more time or a more succinct storyline. Thanks for reading...
  • See Summary

    9.5
    This episode was quite entertaining. It had a lot to offer all types of viewers. There was plenty of action, and the characters were very in tune with one another. This episode had a lot of different elements coming together to make this a great episode. The Atlantis team encountered a planet who sent criminals to a penal colony upon an island where the stargate is located. Later we find that they send all criminals there, in order to satisfy the hunger of the Wraith. It was interesting to see a different side of the Wraith in this episode. The Wraith was an individual middle class Wraith (not sure its actual designation, it has a mouth and eyes) which struck a deal with the people of this planet, and he ate actual food with the main guy in charge of the government, as he claimed to be more civilized and refined, enjoying finer things, and he also hinted that there are others like him, so that is intriguing and I hope we see more about the Wraith's individuallity, if they are truly a hive species.
  • Great episode. My jaw dropped when ...

    9.6
    This was just another great episode.
    My jaw dropped when I saw that wraith having dinner with a human (not having the human for dinner!!). It was very interesting to see that a wraith can actually behave in a civilized way (negotiating with humans instead of just killing them).
    Very entertaining.
  • Interesting idea - deal with wraiths..

    7.9
    I loved the unique view this episode gave to us - by the different perspective - the people of that planet - they were really clever I most say. They found unique way how to survive and it looked like in the beginning it was really good for the society - the survived and the murders - they were sent to the island and they get rid of them. But like many societies and cultures - they only survive until nothing happens. They need to stay on the same conditions, but those changed- first Sheppard and his team (even thought their interference was little) but mostly that wraiths wanted more to eat and they did not managed to make it work without people getting worried and suspicious. Great and thought provoking episode, even not much happened.
  • Making deals with the Wraith = bad idea!

    10
    In this episode the team visit a planet who are untouched by the Wraith. This is because they have located a prison next to the gate so when the Wraith come throught they onyl feed on the prisoners. But as time goes on we find out that the Wraith have made a deal with the planet and in fact are forcing the government to arrest people for next to nothing. So when the team is shot down in the prison area, Weir goes and talks to the leader and finds out what they are upto. Meanwhile McKay fixes the puddle jumper and gets the gate working so all the prisoners can escape. But when they do we see that the Wraith turn on the city. We also find out that the Wraith can eat normal food in thid episode but it does not sustain they for a long time. And also more and more hives are awaking across the galaxy. So overall i think this was a great episode.
  • this episode is Action -packed.

    9.0
    this was a good episode of Stargate Atlantis. it had alot of action and adventure. i'm glad that there playing season two on canadain tv again so i can see it. my favourite quote of this episode is when Mckay excliams "Who do you think i am MacGyver?" and ofcouse former Stargate sg1 leading man Richard Dean Anderson also played McGyver in the 1980's. i think i like Ronon Dex on the show he adds even more humor to the storylines.when ther're in dangerous situations. i like how stargate atlantis blends action?adventure with sci-fi just as it's parent show Stagate sg1 did.later.
  • Excellent episode - both dialog and story werevery good.

    9.2
    This was a very good episode. It was extremely well-written.

    As is pointed out elsewhere, this episode had a very funny quip in it. The scientist is told to repair something that is badly broken. His automatic response is, "What am I MacGuyver??!"

    Considering the star of the MacGuyver TV series had a lead role in Stargate SG-1 for almost a decade, it is a pretty apt bit of allegory.

    The society of the world visited in this episode had descended into two forms of barbarism. One camp was forced to "rough it" agains their will, and live with the constant possibility of an ugly death at almost any time.

    The other camp put them there.
  • Wraith drink wine, interesting! And this Wraith was very talkive. Ronon seems to hate everybody that Sheppard and the team meets, this guy is very distrustful.

    10
    To find out that a planet sends their people to their deaths by feeding them to the wraith so their own prefect little city won't get harmed is very distrubing. Though to find a wraith sitting there drinking wine and eating food was mind boggling! And funny. Though the character Ronon needs to lossen up abit when they go off-world and not kill every human being that he sees. He isn't with the wraith anymore and needs to lossen up just a tid. And in this episode actually shows that the wraith are somewhat cvil in their own creppy little way.
  • Another generic prison island/planet type show...

    6.9
    Not that the episode wasn't good, but the theme has been overdone. The Ray Liotta prison island movie (can't remember the name offhand, sorry), both of the "Escape From ..." movies by John Carpenter, the Jet Li movie "The One", ad infinitum. It WAS nice however to watch Ronon Dax out on his first real outing as a member of Atlantis. I hope he stays a member of the cast for a good long time.
  • Interesting to say the least

    8.0
    Ok where to start. As much as I love the show as a whole. Enough with the McKay saves the day each and every episode. With the new series and the one new character where's the excitment. Tayla shoves 2 wraith through a control panel, saves the day - Ronan goes head to head with Aiden (Nasty combo) - Weir gets captured by an unknown alien species, Beckett poisons them and rescues her and saves the day - Sheppard goes head to head with a wraith leader, Takes out a hive ship while escaping - again saves the day. In other words get the focus off Mckay and onto the TEAM not everything they come across needs to be scientifically resolved. Waiting impatiently for new plots to emerge !!!!!
  • VERY interesting.

    8.4
    Stargate: Atlantis is starting to remind me of some older SG1 episodes. Interesting plot, good acting a bunch of cool special effects. The ending part of this episode was a little bit dissapointing. I didn't think it would come to this but I'm starting to like Dex. He could be a good replacement. Overall, it was a good episode. IMHO Stargate: Atlantis is heading in the right direction.
  • Predictable, and look...more emphasis on McKay...

    6.0
    I wasn’t all that impressed with this episode, because from my perspective, it was way too easy to predict what would happen. Was it really such a shock that the Olesians were allied with the Wraith in some way? And that it would ultimately backfire? There was enough predictability that the character moments, especially the more obvious ones, were more annoying for it.

    Once again, there’s an episode that prominently features McKay. Clearly, he’s a favorite among the writing staff, and there’s plenty of agreement among the viewers that he’s a strong character. But he’s rapidly falling into the “too perfect” category. Despite all of his character flaws, he’s always pulling something impossible out of his hat. It becomes a case of letting one character get away with the impossible with the convenient stroke of a pen. Characters should never be that enormously competent.

    That’s not to say that this episode doesn’t try very hard to explore who McKay is and how he operates. It’s just not an amazing revelation. Yes, Rodney tends to claim that something is beyond impossible, only to find the miraculous solution when (perhaps subconsciously) it makes him look the best. But what I’m waiting for (and I imagine many others anticipate the same) is the moment when he really, truly cannot make it happen. It’s been on the table before, but not enough to really make McKay step back and evaluate his methods.

    But note that the plot becomes so dominated by this exploration of the more obvious side of McKay’s personality that Sheppard, Teyla, and Ronon become overshadowed. Ronon gets a moment of characterization here and there, but it’s largely a matter of showing how he must resist his more primal urges and his old way of life. Teyla is once again left to stare intriguingly at Ronon and toss out a few fight scenes, in between looking rather hot in that tight halter. Sheppard gets to be flippant in the face of danger. We’ve seen it all before.

    One highlight? Weir’s showdown with the Magistrate. Whatever tensions might exist between the military and civilian authorities, they disappear when common interests are at stake. Weir knows her resources, and she uses them effectively and without hesitation when the cards are on the table. It’s a great scene, hands down, and one of Weir’s shining moments.

    The concept is vaguely interesting, but the whole question of how justice can be perverted to serve the needs of the elite doesn’t quite gel (at least for me). This episode felt like a way to remind the audience that the Wraith, once awakened, are out there in greater numbers than the food sources in Pegasus can reasonably sustain. This keeps the tension high, since few worlds will be free of Wraith culling operations.

    Will the released prisoners become a recurring issue, much like the Genii in the first season? I personally hope that they are used sparingly, if at all. I simply don’t think of them as compelling villains or convincing allies. Eldon could be useful eventually, but for now, he’s just a plot device. The only real surprise of the episode was that Torrell didn’t kill Eldon outright.

    Even if it wasn’t to my tastes, the episode was otherwise solid. Not everyone is going to think that this was predictable, and not everyone is as tired of McKay grabbing the spotlight as I’ve become. On the other hand, I can’t be the only one thinking that the writers need to start spreading the love around. After all, the next episode looks to be another McKay-centric tale, so sooner or later, it’s going to get old for everyone.
  • Sign of stagnation?

    6.6
    All of a sudden, and I mean real suddenly, this series seems to be getting more than a little stagnant. For the last two or three episodes, the storyline has just seemed to spin its wheels in the mud. It's almost as if after coming up with last year's magnificient cliffhanger ending and carrying over the excitement to the first episode this season, the writers have come up short, with little to say. Where do they want to take this series? The problem is beyond being stuck on a single filler episode, such as this one, although this week's was especially unimaginative. Maybe it's because they've already run the "things aren't what they seem to be" scenerio last year with the Genii.
  • This epsiode showed what happens when you make a deal with the devil.

    9.5
    Overall this epsiode was well done. We find that the Wraith can eat 'normal' food, some anyway. The government using the Wraith as a deterrent to crime was an interesting angle. What a way to end criminal behavior, commit a crime, get eaten by a Wraith. I won't go into the problems they ran into, I don't want to spoil anything. Overall a very excellent episode.
  • This episode has a few developments and revelations, but overall it just reeks of "been there, done that". If it seems like I was hard on this ep.....it's because I was. The SG creative teams have done much better.

    3.5
    GOOD:

    - Shawn the Wraith and his implying that they may have, at one point, ate food like we do. "Our lineage may have diverged, but there are those of us who still retain an......appreciation for finer things"

    - Torrell's insight into McKay that reveals Rodney may not perform as many miracles as he'd like us to believe.

    - A generally entertaining episode

    BAD:

    - Retreading on old episodes: Seemingly enlightened people have a horrible secret ("The Cure")? Check. Said people are making a deal with the team's sworn enemy to ensure their own survival ("Between Two Fires")? Check. Lies told to population to hide evil secret ("Beneath the Surface")? Check. Lone whistleblower has been waiting for total strangers to blab to about evil secret (Numerous SG-1 eps)? Check. I'm sure there are more.

    - Sheppard's blatant dismissal of the prisoner threat: After being attacked once before and after learning these are violent prisoners, Sheppard proceeds to fly the jumper right over the island at low altitude and uncloaked! Gee, why did we get shot down again?

    - The continuation of disregard for innocent life on Stargate without any remorse (See the end of "Origin"): So, because the magistrate was corrupt in his efforts to save his people from the Wraith, let's free all the prisoners (re: most were actually prisoners and it's just recently that innocent people were put there) and leave the Wraith to feed on a mostly innocent civilization. Bravo guys! I wouldn't mind if the aftermath of this genocidal decision is touched upon again, but it likely won't be.

    - Wraith Cruisers: They look cool, but BY GOD are they slow and their gunners must need glasses! The whole final escape screams convenience.

  • Well, this wasn't one of my favorites, but it did the job.

    9.3
    This episode was a fairly good one. The magistrate seemed honestly evil, and there were several kick-ass moments. The band of four played there roles well, and may I say, they each draw out their own character development here. For some odd reason, the innocent "cross-eyed" prisoner intrigued me and I would like to see more out of him. I really enjoyed the time when Major Sheppard tried to break the stick like Teyla did. It had me laughing for 3 whole minutes. The prisoners seemed too advanced for being abandoned on an island, though. I did like the plot of the episode. The worst part had to be when the magistrate met with the wraith. The wraith's makeup was poorly done and the magistrate, while seeming evil, was pretty badly acted. I really enjoyed this episode despite it's short-comings. This is not a waste of time and a good episode for any fan of the series.
  • I great episode

    9.5
    I will have to say that I thought that this was a very good episode. This surprises me since filler episodes usually kind of annoy me but this one was very well written and progressed very smoothly. It also had a little character development and showed a side of the wraith that we haven’t seen since "Rising" and "Poisoning the Well". It actually showed that the wraith can be social and aren’t just a brutal species but a lot like the goul’d in the way they think (except they don’t act like Gods). One thing that bugged me about this episode is how easily the jumper was taking down. I mean, do you honestly think that it could be taking down with a simple mortor? So all in all I think that this was a good episode except for the whole jumper thing.
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