Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Echoes"

“Echoes” is a whale-centric episode. Knowing that, I braced myself for a heavy, Hollywood style environmental message. Thankfully, a preachy environmental message never comes. The episode is a fairly straightforward Rodent has to solve an impossible problem bottle show. It is nothing special, but not a waste of time, either.

Many of those whale creatures inhabiting the ocean around Atlantis begin converging on the city. With their appearance, our heroes begin experiencing hallucinations of Lanteans in the midst of dealing with a disaster of some sort in the distant past. As people begin falling deathly ill, Rodney figures out the whales are causing these hallucinations as a warning the sun is about to suffer a coronal mass ejection the same as it did 15,00years ago that will destroy the ecosystem. The Lanteans had three ZPM to power an extended ship. Our heroes have to improvise by enhancing the Daedalus shields to eflect the coronal mass ejection. The plan works, the planet is saved, and the whales are grateful.

The routine plot is elevated by a lot of humor, some o which might be a little too much, and some shoc value disturbing hallucinations. I am not going to be too much of a stick in the mud about all the jokes, but the bit about various characters having their ear drums punctured so they alternate between yelling at each other and mocking each other knowing they cannot be heard runs way too long. As for the disturbing hallucinations, the severely burned Lantean pilot who shows up periodically screaming in pain is extremely jarring.

Yes, there is a whale penis joke. Torri Higginson is involved. No wonder she decides to leave the series.

There are shipper moments galore. Sheppard gently carries weir to the infirmary after she passes out. Ronon keeps a bedside vigil for Teyla. Rodney names his favorite whale after Samantha Carter. Okay, that one is a combination of sweet and a little pathetic. You may judge in which proportion.

“Echoes” is pretty much bottle show filler, but it does not feel as small and budget-saving as many bottle shows do because of the emphasis on each character doing what he or she does best. I am kind of curious why the Lanteans never took further precautions before submerging Atlantis. Surely they had to figure the coronal mass ejection would happen again and destroy everything. You would think a heads up might have been in order. You know--a little Post It note on a bathroom mirror somewhere at least?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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