Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 13


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Oct 24, 2008 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
287 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Sheppard and his team are brought to trial by a Coalition of human worlds for what they claim are crimes against the people of the galaxy, it's up to Woolsey's legal expertise to clear their names.

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  • They are guilty!

    Wow, this is me watching this show for the first time in 2012.

    Bummed it got canceled. Anyway, I agree, even if it is 4 years later, lol

    They are all guilty. They caused so many problems. I never like how they don't really seem to feel very bad. Gee there goes another planet full of humans thanks to Atlantis. Whoops, creating half human guy Michael who ruins planets and is a scary mad scientist killing humans and children and babies. ( remember that sucked dry baby one of them picked up and tossed back on the ground, that was NOT a doll.) They just do whatever they want. Even Dr Jackson caused all that trouble when he found the lost lab and killed a bunch of people by causing exploding Stargates. They seem too cavalier and casual about it all. It bugs me.

    Also I hate flashback episodes on all shows. It seems very lazy to me, like the writers needed a break. Boring to watch stuff I already saw again.moreless
  • While this episode does have some good aspects, it is hurt by the fact that it is a clip show with an unoriginal story, and doesn't answer the questions it raises.moreless

    Four and a half years ago, the Atlantis team came through the stargate in order to find the lost city of Atlantis, which may have caused more harm than good as this episode points out. Now Colonel Sheppard's team is put on trial against the people of Atlantis, and if they lose they'll be sent to a planet which is cut off from the stargate system.

    There are several things about this episode that I didn't like. First of all, while this isn't the first clip show in the Stargate universe, it is the first one that was on Atlantis. I for one was happy that they had gone so long without being reduced to do a clip show, so that they could come up with their own stories instead of come up with a new way to show us what we already know. And then there's the fact that this story, of the heroes of the show being put on trial for crimes that they've committed throughout the show, is one of the most annoying cliches of television. It's been used so many times before that anybody who watches sci-fi should know at least one episode with that plot. However, in this case it wasn't nearly as annoying as most episodes with this kind of plot. This is because, while I do like the show and its characters, they really aren't guiltless, and these charges aren't completely bogus like most of the charges in these kinds of episodes. Whether it was through an accident caused by something understandable (waking up the entire Wraith species by killing the queen Wraith in the series premier), a bad decision (creating Michael, and activating the code for the replicators to attack the Wraith which ended up causing the replicators to attack humans), these charges really were understandable, and I would have liked to have seen a response to the charges. But what do we get as a response? "You have got to be kidding me!" This would be a good response in a normal trial episode, with bogus charges, but in an episode where the charges are as understandable as these, I'd hope for something more.

    However, this episode wasn't a complete waste of time. First of all, it greatly strengthened Woolsey's character as a negotiator and manipulator of situations. While Woolsey has had a few decent moments before now, he hasn't really showed his worth as the head of command. Hopefully this will be further developed in the future, so that he will become a more valuable member of the cast of characters.

    Another good thing about this episode is that it sets up the coalition of species, the people who charge Atlantis of the crimes, as well as a few of the behind-the-scenes politics of it. It turned out that the Genii were the ones who put the coalition up to the trial, because they were trying to gain power in the coalition, and they didn't want Atlantis to challenge that power. However, Woolsey finds out, and manages to escape the charges by showing the coalition that Atlantis would be much better allies than the Genii. This could play a much bigger role in the rest of the season, leading up to the series finale.

    Overall, however, the bad outweighs the good in this episode, and this is probably the weakest episode of the series.moreless
  • This is one of the worst episodes.

    Its just a pain to watch a plain simple, uninspired and inappropriate plot like is.

    The acting in this episode is awful. Especially John attracts the viewers attention as he does not really fit in the role and reacts completely strange. The court is small and uncreative. The judges are stereotypes do comes over serious. In combination with a completely ridiculous accusal makes this the worst episode.

    More and more episodes are completely exchangeable and do not participate in the main storyline. What happened to the great storyline that once made this series worth watching it? Stargate Atlantis seems to have lost central theme like Stargate SG1 did. Is it so hard to write a story that has the potential to fill more than 5 successive episodes (or even more than 2 seasons) and makes the viewer feel horrible pain if he has to wait 7 days for the sequel?moreless
  • A very disappointing episode that could have been done better…Its major flaw is that it doesn't follow the usually good storytelling practices we've come to expect from SGA.

    A very disappointing episode that could have been done better…Its major flaw is that it doesn't follow the usually good storytelling practices we've come to expect from SGA. Contains spoilers if you continue…

    The stakes at the beginning of the episode are that Sheppard and his team are captured and brought to trial for some sort of crimes. The stakes at the end of the episode are exactly the same. They are still captured and are still standing trail. In short, the stakes don't change and the suspense doesn't continually rise.

    For some reason a rescue mission is ruled out. At least if one had been possible it would have helped raise the stakes. Instead, "film clips" are supposed to provide suspense but since we've seen them before, it doesn't work.

    Specifically, Sheppard and his team are accused of: 1) Awakening the Wraith when Sheppard killed the Wraith Queen in Season 1. 2) They made changes to the Replicator code and the Replicators started to kill humans. 3). By creating Michael, they unleashed a menace who (at this point) is infecting humans with a plague to make them poisonous to Wraith but has an exceptionally high mortality rate of its own. I won't go into the timing of the charges in the story. They're kind of doled out in an attempt to create some kind of suspense but since we've seen them before, none of them really raise the stakes.

    Our heroes' general defense is to admit to all of the above but then deflect those charges based on all the "heroic things" they've also done (also shown in film clips). Of course, in relation to the underlying charges, that's legally irrelevant. Rather than mount a rescue from Atlantis, Woolsey shows up. Now, I was expecting at least a good legal "soft shoe" from him to get our heroes off. I don't know… how about: 1) Killing a Wraith Queen who is trying to kill you is self defense in any culture. 2). When the Replicators code was changed, they were already on their way to Atlantis to destroy it and kill the humans there. They didn't need any code change to kill humans. 3). Michael is a Wraith killing humans. That's what Wraith do. If you have a problem with it, start killing Wraith and especially Michael.

    However, instead of offering up some inspired legal defense, Woolsey bribes one of the judges. Part of me rebelled against that kind of resolution since I'd have preferred a solid legal disposition to this "court proceeding." On the other hand, it's simply so typical of Woolsey. He's been a worm for most the series (somewhat cleaned up this season) but it's the exact thing I'd expect his character to do. Overall, I think the structure of the episode is wrong. If you're going to do a court proceeding, then make it look like one. If you're going to do film clips then make them inspired such the ones in "Letters from Pegasus" in Season 1. Above all though, remember going good storytelling. The stakes need to rise even if you have to write them into the story (create a rescue attempt, even if it fails).moreless
  • We all hate flashback episodes....

    Oh.. So, I think most people hate flashback episodes - they have some good too but mostly they just waste time and let the show have another episode without much effort. The only good what this episode had was that they had really great moments on those flashbacks and reminded us the journey Atlantis expedition has done in last five years and as it is the final season, so.. it can have it's point but on that occasion, I would have found some other way to do it as being accused of tearing this galaxy apart is not the best way to look back all the great times.

    I hope this episode pursued a look back and save money for other great action later purpose.moreless
Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell

Teyla Emmagan

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

Ronon Dex

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Dr. Jennifer Keller

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Richard Woolsey

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Alan Blumenfeld

Alan Blumenfeld


Guest Star

Tobias Slezak

Tobias Slezak


Guest Star

David Lovgren

David Lovgren


Guest Star

Kavan Smith

Kavan Smith

Major Evan Lorne

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • The scene of the transforming Wraith was not of Michael but a member of the Hive he brought to Atlantis in "Allies."

    • The Coalition now includes the Atlantis Expedition, the Free Peoples of Riva, the Tribes of Santhal, Latira, and the Genii. There are possibly more but it is not known.

    • It is stated that there have been, at the very least, 2 million human deaths in the five years since the Wraith were awoken by Sheppard in "Rising."

    • We learn that at least 12 Hive ships were destroyed during the Replicator War, bringing the number of Hive ships confirmed destroyed to 27 since the expedition arrived in the galaxy.

    • This episode bears some similarity to the Stargate SG-1 season one episode, "Cor-Ai", where it is Teal'c who is put on trial for the deaths he caused as Apophis's First Prime.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Sheppard has been brought before the Council again.)
      Sheppard: Well, what's next on the agenda? Did we step on the rose bushes on our last trip to Vidina?

    • Sheppard: So, are you going to tell me how you managed to pull this one of?
      Woolsey: Well, I would say it was a combination of things: my legal skills, my eloquence, the indisputable logic of my arguments and the bribe I offered Kelore.

    • Ronon: I say we go to Plan B. Wait for the guards to come in, I beat 'em up, we take their guns, we shoot our way out of here.

    • Dimas: Tell us about your first encounter with the Wraith.
      Sheppard: Oh, okay, I see where this is going.

    • Sheppard: You know, if you wanted to keep your location a secret you could have blindfolded us. I wouldn't have peeked. I swear.

  • NOTES (7)


    • Star Trek: The Next Generation

      Sheppard sarcastically quips that the Atlantis expedition is on trial for stepping on a rose garden. In the ST:TNG episode "Justice", Wesley Crusher is sentenced to death by a civilization for tripping and falling on a flower bed.

    • Boston Legal:

      The end scene, with Woolsey and Sheppard standing on the balcony sharing drinks and cigars, is an allusion to the show Boston Legal. In the show the two main characters Denny Crane and Alan Shore often share drinks and cigars on the balcony of their companies building. (This may be a double reference, as Alan Shore, the main character in Boston Legal, is played by James Spader, who also played Daniel Jackson in the original Stargate movie).

    • Woolsey: The IOA believes it could be an important first step toward interplanetary government. A...Federation, if you will.
      McKay: The Federation had ships.

      Reference to the United Federation of Planets, the League formed of various planets, including Earth in the various Star Trek series, including Voyager, in which Robert Picardo himself starred as the ship's Emergency Medical Hologram. And during its run, the series Deep Space Nine also had an episode titled "Inquisition", in which Dr. Julian Bashir was faced with having to defend himself on accusations that he was a spy for the Dominion, a ruthless power seeking to destroy the Federation and conquer the galaxy.