It is interesting fourth season episodes have thus far turned out to be focused on one or two characters rather than the ensemble mostly frequently utilized in the first three seasons. The result is a diminished feel that I hope will be alleviated by larger stories as the season progresses. I have not much been interested in the ’insight” offered by single character-centric episodes.
“Missing” is no exception, and I feel particularly bad in acknowledging that because the episode offers up exactly what I asked for last time around--an in depth look at Keller. How did a doctor so young land such a choice, top secret assignment in deep space? The answer is even more mysterious, because she turns out to be a whiny, wimpy prima donna in a survival situation. I cannot emphasize enough that “Missing” had mean reassuring Teyla that killing Keller would be considered justifiable homicide. This episode has me rationalizing the murder of my beloved Jewel Staite’s character! How could such a thing happen?
The problem is the episode is intended too emphasize character over plot, but forgets to make the character stuff interesting. Or even tolerable. You have seen the plot a million times before. Two characters who cannot get along are stranded together in a harsh situation in which they are hunted by an enemy as well as suffering in the environment. Somehow, they learn to work together. In this case, it is Teyla escorting Keller, whom she gets along with great in a comfy environment, to New Athos in order to provide medical care for her people. When they arrive, they find the Athosians likely culled completely by the Wraith. They ave to go on the run until their check in time with Atlantis passes without word from them in order to avoid primitive hunters called the Bola Kai.
Do you have any idea how many times I heard Bola Kai as bolo tie? Not only do the two terms sound familiar, but the Bola Kai leader, Omal, is played by the unfortunately wasted Danny Trejo, so I have the whole American Southwestern style of mixed Mexican and Native American culture frequently seen in states like Arizona and New Mexico. Bolo ties are associated with the fashion. The train of thought along these lines is distracting.
Fortunately, I am shaken out of those thoughts by Keller’s constant whining. She sprains her ankle, because at least one character in these situations must be wounded. It is a television/movie rule, but complains les about the pain than she does Teyla killing several Bola Kai that try to kill them, having to cross a rope bridge to safety, and the only food Teyla can find to sustain them. One would expect Keller to harden during the experience as character development, but she does not. There is one sharp turn at the end in which she shoots a fellow Bola Kai prey whom she believed was genii, but turns out to be a Wraith worshipper. How Teyla tolerated Keller until that point is beyond me. I would have killed her myself and blamed it on the Bola Kai.
I do find it funny keller reminds us she knows everyone liked Dr. Carson Beckett more than they do her, and she doubts she can live up to his legacy. It is not wise to remind people of that, my dear. The thought is already floating near the surface of every fan’s mind. If Jewel Staite was not so darn cute, I would be more vocal in complaining myself.
“Missing” is a big disappointment Even the revelation Teyla is pregnant, promising some future mysteries, does nor save it. We do not get any insight into keller. In fact, she goes from likable in previous episodes to annoying now. She regresses! I also think Danny Treejo is waste. He only has one seen with Teyla and keller to show off his menacing acting chops. Otherwise, anyone could play Omal. He--and the Bola Kai--are forgettable villains. Unless you are a huge--huge--fan of the two hottest actresses on SGA, skip “Missing” in good conscience.
Rating: * (out of 5)