Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Sanctuary"

Any streak of good fortune has to end sometime. A stretch of thirteen episodes is quite good for a series. If I was a superstitious soul, I would point out unlucky number thirteen is the end of the streak. “Sanctuary” is just kind of there. I suppose if one is into Sheppard shipping, the episode might mean more, but I am skeptical even about that for reasons Rodney keeps pointing out. More on that in a moment.

Our heroes’ puddle Jumper is being attacked by a Wraith ship while they are out on some exploration mission. Over the planet Proculus, the Wraith have the Puddle Jumper dead to rights, but a beam of energy destroys it. Believing they can find a weapon against the Wraith or the ZPM that powers it, our heroes go down to investigate. They find a race of primitives who worship a goddess named Athar. The people claim no knowledge of the wraith or any weapon, but direct them to Athar’s hih priestess for further guidance.

The high priestess, Chaya, is a hot babe played by Leonor Varela. She and Sheppard quickly develop the hots for one another, causing Rodney and me to make James T. Kirk jokes. The remainder of their relationship development does not help the case for taking it any more seriously than Kirk hustling to get in the loincloth of a green Orion slave girl. Geez, the last line of the episode is Sheppard remarking, ’This is cool’ about bonding with an Ancient about the same way a frat boy would say the same when the head cheerleader takes off her bra in his dorm room.

Yes, I have just blown the only plot point in the episode, but the fact Chaya is an Ancient is painfully obvious to anyone who has been following the Stargate franchise. Chaya is pretty much Orlin. She helped protect these primitives from the Wraith in the last culling. As her punishment, she is stuck on Proclus as their protector forever even though she is not allowed to intervene in the affairs of the unascended. There is a rule she follows rather adamantly, no?

Sheppard asks for the planet to be used as sanctuary for other people devastated by the Wraith. Chaya/Athar--they have a good scam going here--refuses, but accepts Sheppard’s invitation to come back with him to Atlantis. Rodney alternate between mocking the religious belief in Athar and Sheppard’s Kirk routine. We are back to the old, unpleasantly obnoxious Rodney of SG-1 rather than the one who has grown more well rounded of SGA. His hostility towards and suspicion of Chaya puts him at daggers drawn with Sheppard, but even he cannot figure out chaya is an Ancient until the final act in which she leaves to defend Proclus from a Wraith invasion.

“Sanctuary’ is pretty well pointless. It is no mystery that Chaya is an Ancient, so that is wash. We know she can easily defeat the Wraith, so their attack is no threat. Sheppard really is going after Chaya like a frat boy. No matter how deep you dig, you cannot find any emotion within their relationship. I am thinking about the Kirk parallels the entire time just as Rodney is, but I am disturbed to do so because he is being such an unpleasant jerk the entire time. Even Weir hangs her head in her final scene as if Torri Higginson herself is upset over the bad script.

If there is a bright spot in “Sanctuary," it is this:
Leonor Varela is hot. But there is nothing else worth mentioning.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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