I’ve been hard on the series this season, largely because I’ve felt that the first season practice of weaving a larger story into the stand-alone episodes was far more successful than the haphazard direction taken in the second season. In a lot of ways, this series has suffered the “Enterprise” syndrome. That series began with a relatively average but promising first season, followed by a second season plagued by retreads and a lack of forward progress.
One of the more interesting aspects of the first season was the Genii, a group that added a fresh perspective to the threat of the Wraith and what Pegasus Galaxy inhabitants might do to survive. In many respects, the second season replaced the Genii with Ford’s group, which then failed to gel as a meaningful subplot past “The Hive”. In fact, while some episodes have hinted at elements that will play into the finale, most of the episodes have done little to advance existing plot threads.
This episode doesn’t necessarily address my concerns for the series, but it does revisit one of the better aspects of the first season, so it was more appealing in comparison. I would have preferred a more direct extension of the plot threads from the first season, especially if it would have meant another appearance for Sora, but this was at least a bit less predictable than other recent episodes.
I like the fact that the Atlantis team found itself outplayed by the Genii, and in the end, they did little more than save themselves from an unfortunate end during the coup. I usually dislike episodes that leave the primary cast members as side notes to the real action, but this episode delivered an interesting message. In the end, the Atlantis team is still reactionary, and it is highly vulnerable as a result.
Also interesting was the notion that pictures of specific Atlantis personnel were left on several worlds, all for the purpose of locating and abducting those with the Ancient gene. It occurred to me that this would give the Wraith an interesting clue as to the survival of Atlantis, were they to find those pictures. Granted, the Wraith are now apparently breaking up into factions, but some of them would still be focused on the possibility of new hunting grounds and the promise Atlantis offers.
Hopefully, this episode will not represent the end of the line for the Genii. I’m a little worried about the death of Cowen, but that could have been a concession to Colm’s availability. Radim seems open to a more equitable alliance, but that could always lead to something more complex in the future. One can only hope so, because it was complexity that made this episode work.
I also liked the fact that the subplot with Ronon and Teyla eventually intersected with the Genii plot. The two of them work together, but this episode continues to reveal the main differences between them. While Ronon continues to be little more than the warrior stereotype in action, Teyla shows actual intelligence. And it helps that she looked incredible in that silken top! OK, maybe Teyla wasn’t taken in exciting new directions in this episode, but lately, I’m just happy to see her back in action.