Friday, September 14, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Coup D'etat"

“Coup D’etat” revisits the Genii story arc. Almost forgotten about them, huh? They are the ones who are building nuclear bombs, but got all exited over C4. Supposedly, they once ruled over a huge empire. One wonders how they managed. As the title probably, suggests, someone in the Genii has gotten ambitious. Unfortunately, it is not Kolya, and not featuring Robett Davi as the villain is a strike against the episode as far as I am concerned.

The AR-1 team responds to a distress signal from Lorne’s team. When they arrive, the corpses of Lorne’s team are discovered burned beyond visual recognition in a torched building. Upon AR-1’s return, Atlantis is contacted by Ladon, one of Kolya’s loyalists, who offers our heroes a ZPM in exchange for support in a coup. Cowen, the leader of the Genii, has apparently grown mad with ambitions of uniting all humans in the Pegasus galaxy under his rule. Ladon fears with the nukes, he might succeed or bring down the wrath of the Wraith, whichever is worse.

Upon secretly meeting with Cowen, Sheppard and Rodney discover Ladon only has a handful of soldiers working with him. Cowen assures them he is more concerned with rebuilding his people’s devastated lives than the minor threat Ladon poses. Sheppard suggests luring some of Ladon’s men to Atlantis, then conducting a raid on his headquarters to steal the ZPM. Weir readily approves the idea. She has seriously gotten over her pacifist inclinations.

Meanwhile, we learn the charged corpses are not Lorne’s men. What is more, there is a bounty on the heads of any Atlantis crew member who has the Ancient gene. CI assume we are not supposed to figure out the genii are the ones who put out the bounty. It is kind of difficult to not figure that out right off the bat, but perhaps one could be distracted by the question of how the Genii know who has the Ancient gene. I am trying to work through that one myself.

The whole plot is a ruse to lure an Atlantis strike force to Ladon’s headquarters, where Lorne and his men are already being held. The ZPM is actually dead and Ladon is in cahoots with Cowen to exchange the hostages for Puddle Jumpers. The people Atlantis is holding hostage, including Ladon’s sister, are terminally ill due to radiation poisoning Sine they are expendable, there will be no hostage exchange. Beckett announces he can cure several of the Genii, including Ladon’s sister. Whether that prompts him to overthrow Cowen or he was really planning a coup all along is not clear, but he murders Cowen with a nuke blast-overkill, that--and takes over the Genii. The genii and Atlantis part as chilly friends.

Ladon’s sister, Dahlia, is played by the hot Sonja Bennett:
So there is that. But there is not a whole lot else. The plot does not have enough twists to be particularly interesting. We know the fate of lorne’s men has to be tied in with the Genii, but none of our heroes figure that out. The Genii already have them hostage, so why go to such lengths to capture a few more? Cowen is an idiot to be so callous about dahlia in front of Ladon after he learns her life can be spared. How do the Genii know who has the Ancient Gene? Why is Rodney, who has no military training, in the middle of what is essentially a special forces raid? The biggest issue is Ladon is obviously meant to be Kolya. Kolya’s absence is highly conspicuous. I do not know if including the character would have saved the episode, but it would have been an imptovement.

I am ambivalent about “Coup D’etat.” It suffers from quite a few flaws in logic and plotting. I am happy to have an episoe featuring a villain other than the Wraith, so that is something. But there is not much about the episode to hold one’s attention. It is very disappointing.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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