Thursday, August 09, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Suspicion"

“Suspicion” lives up to its name. the plot is essentially about rooting out a possible traitor, most likely among the Athosians, but everyone winds up at everyone else’s throat in a struggle over who is really in charge of what. It is a bit jarring to see an animosity among the SGA characters after 213 episodes of SG-1 as a pseudo family, but it could be an interesting change if not always as overdone as it is here. Mercy, mercy me.

The Wraith have ambushed off world teams on five of the last nine missions. Such a high number is more than a coincidence, particularly since some of those planets were uninhabited, and security chief bates suspects a traitor among them. More specifically, he suspects an Athosian. I will grant you it would make more sense to suspect one of them as a traitor, but Bates goes far beyond mere honest suspicion. There is a snide since of bigotry towards Athosians at times that is incredibly unreasonable. Are the writers trying to make us dislike the character? If so, they are doing a good job. At times throughout, he is contemptuous of the way weir and Sheppard are handling the situation.

What are weir and Sheppard up to? They are at metaphorical daggers drawn, too. Weir’s solution to the suspicions of a traitor is to confine the Athosians to a certain part of Atlantis and interview them one by one. Naturally, this move becomes more a witch hunt than an investigation, largely due to bates’ over enthusiasm and weir being, well…a b*tch. Was she not a never hurt a fly pacifist back on Stargate SG-1 who did not even want to fight off Anubis? She got a burr under her saddle pretty quickly. Sheppard is on the Athosians side. More specifically, Teyla’s. He comes across as whiny at times over the fairness of it all.

Weir finally decides to exile the Athosians to a newly discovered land mass. Before I could say history is repeating itself from the Nisei during world War II, agree to leave on their own before being asked. Halling becomes the leader of his people behind Teyla’s back. She is not going to go with them. She winds up in no man’s land when it is suspected she is the traitor because of another ambush after the Athosians have left. It turns out the necklace Sheppard put on her back in the first episode unknowingly has a homing device in it. Out heroes use the device to capture a wraith on their next off world excursion.

As I said above, it is off putting to see the main characters dparring with one another both personally and in a power struggle. I can appreciate much of it. Weir is under pressure to protect her people. Loyalty to comrades is important to Sheppard. The Athosians have suffered under the Wraith for generations. It is insulting to be under suspicion of collaborating. Bates is the only guy I do not entirely understand. He sounds as though he has an ax to grind with Athosians in general. I do understand his animosity for Sheppard, whom he jabs at one point by saying Sumner would handle the current situation much better than him. The tweak reminds me that Sheppard is persona non grata over disobeying orders in Afghanistan to save his comrades. The series has not forgotten many of Sheppard’s military colleagues do not think much of him yet. They surely do not want him in command.

There has only been one episode thus fire that has not involved the Wraith. I have to admit I am not particularly impressed with them. Their design is fantastic. They are some scary looking critters. But they do not come across as terribly formidable. The Wraith were supposed at war with the Ancients at one point, but our heroes have not only been mowing them down with relative ease, they have now captured ne. Perhaps it is because we have only seen them in small numbers thus far. I want to see the Wraith show some menace soon to justify the hype.

I will give this for “suspicion”--it proves the writers are willing to shake things up more so than on SG-1. These characters wear their flaws on their sleeves. They do not necessarily trust, much less like one another. A little dramtic tension over personal issues is great, but I hope future episodes tone it down some or there is going to be a full scale civil war on Atlantis. Forget the Wraith. These guys are their own worst enemy.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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