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.