Monday, September 03, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Trinity"

“Trinity” is another episode with a heavy emphasis on Rodney. No slight on David Hewlett’s portrayal, but I have always found Rodney too obnoxious to be an amusing character. His redeeming qualities are too few and far between for me to laugh at his sarcastic, condescending ways. Only in television logic can such a guy still maintain loyal relationships. “Trinity” goes a step further in the wrong direction by emphasizing the worst of Rodney at the expense of all reason among the other characters.

The AR-1 team discovers an Ancient weapons lab littered by 10,000 year old corpses of scientists working on a unlimited power source that could render ZPM obsolete. Rodney salivates over the prospect of finalizing the greatest discovery ever, but an earnest attempt to recreate the experiment leads to the death of one of Rodney’s assistants. Weir and Sheppard nix any further attempts to utilize the power source, but Rodney convinces Sheppard to change weir’s mind with an argument his assistant’s death would have no meaning if they do not find out what went wrong. Sheppard relies on his trust in Rodney.

Trust is the main theme for “Trinity.” While everyone’s faith in Rodney is the main focus, the subplot tests Teyla’s trust in Ronon when they discover he is not the only survivor of his world. She arranges a meeting with Kell, another survivor who happens to be Ronon’s mentor. Unbeknownst to her, Kell is considered a coward for sacrificing his soldiers to the Wraith in order to save himself, and Ronon kills him upon sight for his crime. Teyla is angered, but understanding under the circumstances. Rodney, on the other hand, is arrogant, patronizing, and grossly stubborn until the end when his experiment ultimately fails and destroys an entire (inhabited?) solar system. The others’ trust in him is broken, at least until next week. The value of ‘Trinity,’ what little there is, will be in lasting repercussions, which I fear will be non-existent.

“Trinity” is a character piece that suffers from too many technical flaws to work. The AR-1 team finds a lab full of corpses that have clearly not died from a Wraith attack, nor have the Wraith raided the place for technology over the centuries, but they do not figure out it is the experiment that killed them? The Wraith stayed away because they know it! The Ancients could not handle the experiment, but everyone believes Rodney can even after someone else is killed in the process? I have a tough time buy they have that much faith in such an unpleasant guy, especially when the consequence of his failure--which come to fruition--is the destruction of a solar system. As for Ronon’s story, the script was written before Jason Momoa was cast. As such, there is a certain generic feel to events that ought be more personal considering Ronon is murdering a man in cold blood for a betrayal of trust and honor.

“Trinity,” by the way, is the name of the first atomic bomb testing in New Mexico in 1945. Rodney compares developing this unlimited power source to the Manhattan Project, and that is about the only conceivable origin of the episode title. Caldwell shows up as an advocate for the power source’s military use, so there is an added allusion to the first splitting of the atom.

I am not impressed with “Trinity.” I can appreciate an effort is made to expand Rodney beyond a comic relief pain in the neck, but the effort goes too far. He he is even more of an unpleasant jerk than ever before. I do not buy the character reactions to him with their high level of faith in him. The Ronon story, which should be deeply meaningful, is very bland. I suspect implications from neither event with come up again, but I am not certain if that is good or bad. Never a good sign, no?

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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