Overview: Two gorgeous princesses, Mardola and Flora, on a medieval Pegasus galaxy human world sweet talk Sheppard and Rodney into accompanying their preteen sister, Harmony (aka Adria at 7 in SG-1 Season 10 "Flesh and Blood"), on her rite of passage as queen to nearby Ancient ruins.
Sheppard and Rodney must protect Harmony on their journey from a "Beast" and some Genii hired by Mardola, I believe, who doesn't want Harmony to become queen and is after a Genii alliance. Along the way, Harmony develops a crush on Sheppard like pretty much all the other Pegasus women he's run across. She also proposes to him to be her king.
At one point, when Sheppard decides to head back to the castle, Harmony slips off to continue on her own. Sheppard and Rodney go searching post haste. When they find her, she's roasting a bird over a spit. Impressive, but how did the Genii not find her? Since they're closer to the ruins, which the "Beast" doesn't enter according to local lore, Sheppard agrees to push ahead.
Sheppard and Rodney eventually work out that the "Beast" is actually a defensive screen of Ancient microdrones that take out everyone who doesn't have the Ancient gene. Harmony, who has the gene along with Sheppard and Rodney, is able to recharge her pendant, an Ancient data crystal of some sort, as Sheppard and Rodney repair the defensive systems to drive the Genii off. Harmony gushes over Rodney who took her down from a hail of Genii bullets earlier.
Back at the castle, Harmony storms into Mardola's room with some servants, who search her things and find a Genii radio, exposing her as a traitor. At her coronation, Harmony unveils a speedily crafted painting of a heroic-looking Rodney protecting her with Sheppard cringing in the background. Will she propose to Rodney, too?
My reaction to Harmony was conflicted. On the one hand, she was bratty and manipulative. On the other hand, she was also smart, precocious, brave, gritty enough to eat a bird's heart, and a good huntress and woodsman. The things she can do with her little pocket knife. It would've been interesting to see her do 'em. It was also funny the way how she played McKay and made him look like a villain to Sheppard, stealing a food bar from his backpack and giving it to Rodney for Sheppard to catch seemingly red-handed. LOL.
Something that wasn't clear as the episode went along was why Harmony was the would-be queen when she had two older sisters ready to take the throne? Who's ruling in Harmony's stead while she comes of age? And if Team Atlantis has been to Harmony's world before, why is it only now Sheppard and Rodney meet her for the first time? At one point, Rodney and Sheppard theorize about how the Ancients must have developed drone technology on the planet (very coincidental and convenient), which is why there are people with the Ancient gene who can use the Ancient technology in the castle. What technology? There wasn't any sign of it in the castle scenes.
The pseudo-Arthurian light fantasy dialogue that all aliens on Atlantis and SG-1 speak in (except for Vala and Ronon who sound very Earth-like) was broken by modern-sounding dialogue lines such as:
Harmony (to Sheppard and Rodney): "We can go when the coast is clear."
Mardola (into radio to Genii field commander): "I need an update."
And Harmony's name is pretty hippylike compared to her sisters' monikers. I have to consciously overlook the conceit that the aliens and nonEarth humans on Atlantis and SG-1 speak English. It jars when the storytelling suffers, like it did in this episode. It would've been nice if the producers had SG-1 and Atlantis discover translator technology they can use in offworld contacts.
It also wasn't clear whether the Genii leader Ladon Radim sanctioned the Genii strike force or if they were rogues. What would Harmony's world have gained from allying with the Genii over Atlantis? And just what did Atlantis get from Harmony's world in return for all food, medicine, and help against the Wraith they offered over the last few years?
The Genii in this episode were anonymous and not very competent. In one scene where Rodney and Harmony were without Sheppard, a squad of Genii got the drop on them. The Genii squad leader disarmed Rodney, but rather than step up to pistol whip Rodney and take Harmony, he let Rodney ramble for mercy for a few minutes. During which time, Sheppard maneuvered in the background to take out the squad with one shot.
The unnamed Genii field commander was able to go between the castle to confer with Mardola and the forest search for Harmony without any apparent loss in time.
The Genii have been glaringly absent this season. When we last saw Radim in Season 3 "The Return" Part 1, he was trying to recruit Teyla and Ronon to join him as he was organizing a resistance against the Wraith. It seems that storyline's been forgotten by the Atlantis writers this year.
And there was no mention of why Sheppard and Rodney were offworld without the rest of Team Atlantis. It's just as well. I doubt Rodney can get a lot of stock out of beating Sheppard for the affections of a preteen girl.
This episode encapsulates a lot of the sloppy storytelling that's been plaguing the series. After the first two seasons, I keep expecting more, but the show has been falling short for me in several episodes this year.
I hope the showrunners turn things around before they get worse.