“Lifeline” is the final part of the Replicator trilogy. It also features what to anyone who is not aware of the continuing Torri Higginson will she/will she not continue with the series the final fate of Weir. So much of the plot feels like an excuse to give her a good send off--as it is for the moment--that much o the episode comes across as an addendum to the other two parts. Yes, our heroes are still on a deadline behind the shield fails, but the problem is mentioned once at the beginning and never again. The episode is all about the heist of a ZPM from the Replicators and weir’s prominent role in it.
The AR-1 one plans to take a modified Puddle Jumper to the capital city an, using weir’s Replicator nanotech to guide them through, steal ZPM. There is a underlying fear the nanotech could take over weir at any moment, so Rodney always has his finger on the kill switch. Sheppard bounces between reluctance to have a kill switch or her to adamantly commanding Rodney to use it when she leaves the Puddle Jumper at one point to clinging to hope she is not really dead in the end when everyone else assumes she is. Hanging out with Sheppard is definitely a rollercoaster ride of an emotional experience.
The heist goes quickly with Rodney having utilized the same disrupter shield he used on the Replicators before and weir guiding the way with her disturbing interface with the collective mind. With the ZPM in hand, AR-1 is ready to flee, but Rodney discovers the attack the Wraith command code. They decide it is worth the risk to activate if it means a Replicator-Wraith war. While having problems interfacing with the central computer, the Replicators adapt to the shield. In order to buy more time, weir uses her connection to freeze the collective and confront Oberoth. She presumably sacrifices herself holding off Oberoth until the rest of AR-1 can escape. Apollo arrives in the nick of time. With the ZPM powering Atlantis, our heroes enjoy a splashdown on New Lantea.
“Lifeline” is another episode for which I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, it is a good men on a mission action tarn. Every now and then, those are cool to see. But on the other hand, the episode feels padded. It is like a two part episode has been dragged out into a trilogy. The tension of the shield keeping Atlantis safe from the vacuum of space failing in a few hours is practically ignored. Weir provides Oberoth and the audience with a hallucinatory sequence as the distraction for AR-1 to escape that almost made me groan when I realized what I had been watching for half an act was not real. Sam could have been completely written out without much consequence. The execution of the story is awfully strange.
If anyone thinks I am being unfair about the above criticism, I confess it is largely due to the repeat plot element of allowing the replicators to engage in a war with the main villains as a way of resolving the conflict. If you really want to pick nits, Michael is filling the role of Anubis, too, so the Wraith are being set up to go down just like the Goa’uld. When the plotting is so unoriginal, the other flaws become less forgivable. If there is a more interesting resolution coming down the pike, I will retroactively flog myself with a wet noodle as penance for my Gater heresy.
I am still awarding “Lifeline” a solidd star rating because I do dig men on a mission stories. I also think, had this been the final appearance of weir, it would have served as a n appropriate send of for her. I may even decide later it is a mistake to bring her back and ruin the poignancy, but we shall see. “Lifeline” has flaws with it scripting, but it is still a cannot miss.
Rating: *** (out of 5)