Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 1

Search and Rescue (2)

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jul 11, 2008 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
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  • A great start to the season!

    The fourth season finale was a bit of a letdown for me, especially the very end, so the writers had a difficult task to perform. Not only did they have to kick off the season well enough to justify some of the changes, but they had to overcome my skepticism. For the most part, I think the writers did what they needed to do.

    In some respects, I think the production kicked things up a notch. The pullback effects shot in the teaser was completely gratuitous, but it was still a great way to get the audience's attention for what is, in the end, a simple story. The survivors of the explosion at the end of the fourth season finale (all name characters, of course) need to be rescued, but Michael's little trap included a high-tech silent alarm. So Michael is ready to come calling to finish off the enemy, and Team Atlantis needs to race against time to rescue the survivors. Oh, and since Teyla is on Michael's ship, it's inevitable that her rescue will be in the cards as well.

    So much is crammed into the premiere that it's surprising how much character ends up in the final mix. Granted, Michael and his hybrids are reduced to the usual storytelling clichés, but the team gets a chance to shine. John and Ronon got to have a "last stand" moment (which was obviously going to end in a last minute rescue), and the characters were well suited for it. McKay got to demonstrate his technical brilliance and deliver a baby. Even Keller is starting to assert herself more, which is a nice touch.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the writers finally gave Carter the chance to demonstrate some strong leadership, and it's the end of her command. I found the various comments about her work on Atlantis, particularly McKay's summary of how well she did over the past year, to be a bit ironic. In fact, it could be seen as an example of the writers' lack of self-awareness. Carter was practically tossed in a corner and forgotten for most of the fourth season! Then again, as far as the team is concerned, maybe her hands-off approach was the best thing about her.

    Sheppard, on the other hand, must be trying to win a Most Manly Tough Guy Award contest with Ronon. The man gets a spike to the liver and multiple crush wounds, and he's still forcing himself to stage a rescue. They managed not to ignore his injuries completely, but it would have been nice for Sheppard to suffer his way through the rescue op just a bit more than he did. Since his survival was never in question (Sheppard and McKay will live forever, I guarantee it), why not put him through the wringer?

    While I've been soundly dismissed for fronting the notion previously, I think this episode underscores the semi-romantic nature of John and Teyla's personal relationship. I will agree that there's little chance that John and Teyla will end up together, since that's not quite how the Stargate franchise works. Characters are far more likely to dance around each other for years or (as with the father of Teyla's child) conduct romances off-screen. That said, the bond is more than strictly professional; the end of the episode is practically overflowing with "significant glances".

    If there's one quibble I have with the episode, it's the removal of Michael and his hybrids from the story. Michael spent most of the fourth season setting up his grand plan, and it seems like a waste of potential to eliminate him before he can truly step into the spotlight. Michael was one of the better recurring villains, because his actions were the direct consequence of a questionable Atlantis experiment. I thought it would have been a clever choice to have Michael be the true villain of the series because it would have justified the Wraith (who have yet to fulfill their potential) and could have unified the series as a whole. Unless Michael stages another miraculous escape and survives, that opportunity is lost.

    Yet I will admit that Michael's apparent demise is not enough to ruin the episode for me, and within the context of the premiere itself, his defeat makes sense. Sure, the writers took the easy route and had Teyla's love interest overcome his programming at just the right time (that cliché I mentioned earlier), but if one can accept that Teyla could give birth on Michael's ship without alerting anyone at all, a few clichés are par for the course.
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