Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Misbegotten"

I was warned after my first berating the moral decision of our heroes in their use of the retrovirus on Michael that it would only get worse the next time around. “Misbegotten” is the next time around, and have mercy does it ever get wore. Basically, he decision is made to do the exact same thing that screwed up last time, except on a larger scale, an when it screw up yet again, kill everyone involved in order to cover up the mess. No, really. That is what happens. Woolsey, the IOC watchdog, even knowingly misleads the rest of the committee on te matter to avoid any embarrassment over that whole Wraith nearly feeding on Earth deal.

Weir is still under scrutiny as Woolsey travels back with her to Atlantis for an evaluation. Sheppard and his team arrive with their new Wraith Hive ship. They somehow managed to get all 200 of the former Wraith in stasis, but the power needed to effectively use the ship is being drained too fast keeping them in stasis. The plan is to drop them off on a planet and tell them they are suffering from a plague that has wiped their memories. They are going to have to be quarantined,…well, pretty much forever. Sheppard thinks they should give them enough food to last until they can farm their own and then leave. It is a backwater planet with no stargate, so what could possibly happen other than the former Wraith get sick and die out before they die ou anyway since there are no women around.

If it does not dawn on you this is a pretty gruesome plan, Michael personifies it for us. Although he helped save earth, he is being held prisoner. Beckett is going to force the retrovirus treatment on him, too. He says he would rather be killed as what he is than have his memory wiped and live as the human he is not. One assumes I given the choice, the others would feel the same way. No dice, though. He is given the retrovirus treatment and dumped on the planet with the others.

One of the former Wraith named Lathan begins suspecting the whole plague quarantine bit is a lie, so he avoids taking the retrovirus long enough to regain enough of his memory to know the truth. Some o the others follow suit, including Michael, so they rebel and take Beckett hostage before signaling for a Hive ship to rescue them.

The AR-1 team mounts a rescue of Beckett. They also set a nuclear bomb in the heart of the settlement to make certain everyone is good and dead before the Hive ship arrives, thereby preserving the secret Atlantis still exists. Michael disarms the bomb, so shappard orders the bombardment of the planet’s surface instead. The other hive ship arrives. The two destroy each other in a short, but heated battle. Daedalus retrieves AR-1 from a Puddle Jumper. Woolsey decides to clean up the truth before heading back to Earth with praise for Weir because everyone has their rear ends covered.

Did I mention that only some of the former Wraith regain their memory? Others remain fully human and still believe they are plague victims being treated. Before they were all killed by the people they believe are trying to help them. Casualties of war, yes, but…yikes. ,/p> The former Wraith suffer a very cold fate all because our heroes wanted to utilize the power of a ive ship, but did not think the consequences through. Surely there could have been a better long term solution, but our heroes do not see a big reason to look for one because, as Sheppard tells Woolsey in a matter of fact manner, he is reluctant to even consider these people human. Beckett is their only advocate, so they take him hostage to prevent the audience from sympathizing with his position. The way the matter plays out makes it clear that while we may question the moral decision our heroes made, they ultimately do what must be done to clean it up. The resolution is still hard to swallow.

I am curious if SGA was attempting a darker tone in order to capture some of Battlestar Galactica’s audience. While it is true Stargate SG-1 had its grey morality, I would place the events of “Misbegotten” at the top of my Stargate franchise Who Exactly Are the Villains Again? list. I would not be surprised to see suh a story on Battlestar Galactica. Stargate Atlantis is another matter altogether.

The kicker is I am still awarding “Misbegotten” a solid star rating. The episode is still well done. Outside of the newly human Wraith looking like the line for tickets to a phish concert, the episode deals with a serious subject in a rank manner. Our heroes may not have made the best choices, but I cannot fault an episode whose worst aspect is the main characters come off flawed. Heck, some viewers probably consider that a point in the favor.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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