Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 13


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Oct 24, 2008 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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out of 10
289 votes
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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?
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The right issues, the wrong treatment

    For quite some time, I've wondered whether or not the denizens of the Pegasus Galaxy found Team Atlantis to be a beneficial addition to the population, considering all that has happened since the SGC sent the mission to the Lost City in the first place. And I've always thought that it would have been a more interesting show if those in command of Atlantis (particularly Weir) had been forced to defend their decisions to others. For example, during roughly the same time in the Stargate continuity, SG-1 was defending themselves against the IOA.

    I think the idea of the various human communities in the Pegasus Galaxy coming together in a coalition is a very good one, and one that should be maintained over the course of the rest of the series and the impending TV-movies. In a way, it legitimizes the idea of calling out Team Atlantis on their decisions. Previously, there was no one else out there willing and able to take the unilateral actions necessary to fight the Wraith, the Asurans, and Michael. Now that time has passed and the human societies have come together, they have the right to ask Atlantis to play along and consult them.

    It also makes a lot of sense for them to question the decisions that have been made. They can't argue the fact that they woke up the Wraith, and they definitely can't argue the fact that they were directly responsible for creating Michael. They bear responsibility for those actions and dozens of others. The fact that they've saved millions after the fact doesn't absolve them of the need to atone for those mistakes.

    So I was a little annoyed when the writers chose to have the coalition go so far as to put Team Atlantis on trial without due process and in the most questionable manner possible. Not only that, but ultimately two of the judges were corrupt. One had already decided that Team Atlantis was guilty, based on an irrational desire for revenge, and the other had been bribed by the Genii.

    The net effect is to render the points brought against Team Atlantis completely invalid, because they are framed as biased. This is despite the fact that Sheppard and Woolsey were unable to give strong and compelling arguments in defense of the expedition! Woolsey essentially has to match the Genii in terms of persuading one judge to vote in his favor. The bottom line is that the very real issues brought up by the coalition were never really addressed.

    This leaves Team Atlantis with a false sense of righteousness in their decisions and actions. It's unlikely that they will change their thought process in any way as a result of the "inquisition", and that means that the coalition will probably be seen as more of a nuisance and impediment than an example of a rising good for the Pegasus Galaxy. It's pretty much typical of the Western view: indigenous populations don't know what's best for them, and they cannot function without the "enlightened" actions of those more knowledgeable.

    It might have been better if the coalition had been treated more like the Jaffa on "SG-1". Generally speaking, the SGC stood for the rights of the free peoples of the galaxy against the System Lords because the free Jaffa weren't ready to step up to the plate. Once they were, it was more of a partnership. This episode firmly places the moral superiority in the laps of the Atlantis expedition, and I think it would have been a lot more interesting if they were left with a little more doubt in the rightness of their actions.
  • See Summary

    Inquisition was a good episode of Stargate Atlantis. It reminded me of the episode of Stargate SG1, Corai, in regards to the plot, with some differences of course. Sheppards team was captured and basically being held accountable for all of Atlantis's actions in the Pegasus Galaxy. The different worlds have come together to form a coalition, and they decided to put Atlantis on trial. This was kind of lame, but after we found out that the Genii may have had a hand in the procedings it was more believable. Woolsey shined in his role of lead defender, and it was fun to watch him. This brought him closer to the team and made him more likable as a character.
  • Atlantis is put on trial for crimes against the people of the Pegasus Galaxy.

    I guess it had to happen at some point. There were at least 3 episodes like this one during the first 6 seasons of SG-1 and I'm actually surprised this didn't happen before on SGA. I hate those recap episodes because to me they're fillers of the worst kind and they only denote a lack of imagination and a real intellectual fatigue on the writers' part. It may have worked if it had been done better. Maybe they should have watched "The Undiscovered Country" (Star Trek movie) a few times before making this episode. Now that was a good example of a solid science-fiction story built around a trial.

    I thought the ending was very weak and I really don't see how Woolsey's argument managed to convince the more pragmatic of the three judges (can't remember his name but he was the one presiding over the trial). The only thing that made me smile was during that episode was Woolsey's little speech to John Sheppard at the end when he told John what he thought were the reasons why he had won over the judges. All I could hear was the Doctor from Star Trek Voyager... :)
  • I am so disappointed in the premise of this episode.

    I have been enjoying this series since it's inception. I like the characters and the development but the writing seems to be getting repetitive. Even the Actors lines reflect the sameness of the scripts. "Well we have to save the Galaxy...AGAIN!"
    I am so disappointed in the premise of this episode. Atlantis is at fault for defending themselves and in doing so they caused the deaths of millions of people, so the "People of this galaxy" have taken it upon themselves to bring them to Justice. Now the trial ensues. Maybe this is a recap episode? "You should have left them to their fate" (people captured by the wraith) was one most inane quotes.
  • A typical recap episode during which we are taken through several essential turning points during the Atlantis expedition.

    The recap includes the waking of the Wraith, the creation of Micheal, the activation of the attach command within the Replicators and finally the coalition with the Wraith to destroy the Replicators. The recap, or flashback, structure of the episode is put to us in a put-on-trial episode as we have seen before in SG1's episode Cor-Ai (where Teal'c is put on trial) or StarTrek TNG: "Encounter at Fairpoint" (where Picard is put on trial by Q) and many more. The difference is that those episodes had a much better dialogue. A trial is based on point and counterpoint, in this case the added value of the Atlantis mission in the Pegasus galaxy. Did they do wrong by wakening the Wraith, was the creation of Micheal morally ambiguous, is the Atlantis expedition accountable for the destruction of planets by the Replicators? All valid questions, which were not addressed, or answered, during this episode. Instead we initially see Col. John Sheppard dealing with these questions in his usual "you've-got-to-be-kidding-me" kind of way. When he does say something that's not a joke, it's to introduce the flashback clips. Only when Richard Woosley comes into play it gets interesting. I must say this is one of those few episodes where Richard Picardo shines as he did in StarTrek TNG or even SG1 and it are these kinds of episodes which will make fans accept Woolsey as a leader of the expedition. The dialogue does get a bit better because that's what we would expect from a bureaucrat like Woolsey but even he has a "don't-bother" attitude about it. This is because of the non-objective nature of the counsel, nevertheless I would have like to see him taking the moral high ground and justifying their presence within the Pegasus galaxy. If I may quote SG1: "Science fiction is an existential metaphor that allows us to tell stories about a human condition…". And although the opportunity was here to tell these stories, the writer neglected to use this opportunity leaving us with all the valid questions put forward by this counsel and no answers but our own. I guess my conclusion is that Alex Levine shouldn't write anymore episodes on his own for SGA. He wrote with Alan McCullough for "Dominion"(SG1:S10E19) and "The Queen"(SGA: S05E08) which were both great episodes. So I conclude that he needs his Alan-counterpart to balance out his writing and give it more depth.
  • Interesting idea for episode but flashbacks were annoying

    While I have just recently gotten into Stargate: Atlantis i feel that this episode was towards the bottom of the barrel. While it did have an interesting premise for a plot, Sheppard's team is put on trial for their alleged crimes against the Pegasus galaxy, it was not as enjoyable as i had hoped. It boiled down to a clip show a type of episode that i don't enjoy. While it would have been difficult to have a episode dealing with the varied past exploits of the team without doing a clip show I still didn't like the episode and look forward to the next episode and a return to the normal type of episodes
  • To me Inquistion was more about a characterh developement than anthing else.

    I really enjoyed Inquisition last night. Even though it didn't focus a lot on the Team, I didn't mind too much because it give me a little more insight into Woolsey. He really impressed me in this episode. He did two things in particular:
    He gave up his watch that his father had given him and we had learned in The Shrine that this father had Alzheimer's, so wow that must have been a very difficult thing to do and he actually bribed one of the judges, again wow. A stright edged, by the book person like Woolsey bribed a judge!! He was willing to do these two things in order to secure the safe return of his team. I do not think he would have never even considered approaching the judge with a bribe if he was still back on Earth and had never gone to Atlantis. I like him and I like the fact that he will do what is necessary to ensure the safe return of members of the expedition. It puts a worm fuzzy feeling in my heart. I also enjoyed the last was fun and reminded me of Boston Legal.
  • Recap of the Show

    This flashback episode was a recap/summary of the show's main storyline of the wraith, with lots of clips from earlier seasons. There's also a subplot involving the Genii as the force behind the Inquisition. While quite a few people don't like the premise of the episode and the fact that flashback episodes don't normally have much action, I found the trial to be somewhat interesting and a subject that could be pondered from time to time. Intentional or not, the Atlantis expedition is responsible for waking up the wraith early and also for the damage the Asurans have caused, but they've also accomplished a lot against the wraith. Nothing really was resolved, however; the verdict might just depend on who writes the history.

    Woolsey played a big role here with his skills as a diplomat and a lawyer. As for the Genii, I'm hoping to see some fallout in the future.
  • Classic stargate bogus trial flashback episode, this one with the dual purpose of establishing Robert Picardo's character.

    The opening starts out as a trap for Shepards team, somehow these guys get loured into a cold windowless room with a steel door under the premise of creating a diplomatic relationship with a raising power. They were led to the so called 'waiting room' by a pretty girl of course, those tricky women always make these traps more convincing. The team didn't bring any equipment to protect themselves, strangely, SG-1 from the original stargate series almost always carried their equipment even to worlds in which earth had standing relationships. How do you know when a series is on it's last leg? When exceptions like this have to be made for the episode story to work.

    They wake up to find the 'surprise' trial for their lives taking place. The show goes on with flashbacks, and with no hope of escape eventually Richard Woolsey comes to their rescue. He does so by placing all of his trust in kidnapping criminals. Picardo is a great actor but he just can't catch a break these days, he IS The Doctor from Star Trek Voyager. He played this part so well and became established in it and now it's difficult to imagine him playing any other character. Although being such a presence and powerful actor, he did establish himself somewhat in this episode but the show will be ending soon which is too bad. At least we can now think of Woolsey's character more as the leader of Atlantis instead of a bystander controlled by Shepard and having the respect of no one.

    In the end the team wins the mock trial and are allowed to leave. But not before committing Atlantis to being the sole group on the front lines battling the wraith, as if they weren't doing that already.

    Conclusion: The episode was unoriginal but the up and down emotional run of a series has to be established to maintain audience interest. Obviously this was necessary downer.