Spoiler-ridden review of Stargate Atlantis episode #412 – SPOILS OF WAR
Or, as I call it, “Wraith 101.” Under the cut.
Overall, it was a good episode, but… something was lacking.
Remember back in kindergarten, you did ‘show and tell’? This episode was sort of like that. There was a bunch of expository dialogue (mostly on McKay’s part) about the Wraith, and while we learned a lot about how the Wraith make their soldiers (a sort of icky process that I’ve seen more times than I can count in other sci-fi movies), the episode sort of left me with ‘hmm, that’s it?” type of feeling.
I think part of that feeling is attributed to the lack of leadership on Atlantis. When Amanda Tapping was off filming the Stargate SG-1 movies, she wasn’t available for shooting SGA. So, it seems the writers just ignore her non-presence. The lads, the boys (Sheppard, McKay, etc.) just seem to do what they want. The problem with that is that everybody is more or less always in agreement on what to do, except say in “Adrift”, where there were some pretty critical issues. In “Spoils of War,” the episode seemed to just flow from ‘oh, look, a distress signal from the wraith’ to ‘let’s go check it out’ whereas in earlier seasons, 9 times out of 10 we would have had Sheppard (and possibly McKay) hash out the validity of going off to a possible TRAP with Weir. And yeah, I think the show sorely needs Weir. I know it won’t happen but I can still wish. But, on the other hand, we need Carter there being a command influence. I mean, where is Carter? In the tub? Holodeck? Earth? Even just a throwaway line from Sheppard in the jumper saying “Carter wasn’t too keen on this trip, but approved it,” would at least validate the command position.
Despite the fact that he’s a life-sucking wraith, I do like ‘Todd.’ (Honestly though, I wasn’t fond that Mallozzi dropped his name in his blog, but that’s his prerogative, but fans on certain forums didn’t respect the spoiler rules and spread the ‘Todd’ name far and wide, so by the time Sheppard names the Wraith, you’re like ‘eh, so what?”) Chris Hyerdahl does a great job with the Wraith, and his imposing stature just helps project a menacing façade. Although I do think that somewhere down the road he’s gotta die, I hope they do that in a rather grand way, and not like the, shudder, Dutch village showdown where they got rid of Kolya.
What I do find fascinating about Todd is his relationship with the Lanteans. To Ronon, of course, the only good wraith is a dead wraith. To Sheppard, Todd is an ally to use until his usefulness is used up (oh, that was bad). There is no way that Sheppard will ever forget getting nearly sucked dry to death, and even though Todd gave him the gift of life (which in this instance, means Todd regarded him as a brother like comrade in arms), Sheppard also watched Todd suck Henry Wallace into a dried husk in “Miller’s Crossing.” It’s like yes, that killer guard dog is good for a purpose, but eventually it’s gonna turn. I was glad Todd did escape, but his absence was explained almost as an afterthought. A more dramatic scene might have been Sheppard and Todd talking and Sheppard saying ‘one last time,’ and a tense parting of the ways.
And isn’t anybody at the IOA gonna start thinking “Why does Sheppard keeping letting THIS wraith get away??”
But back to the episode.
I loved the stuff with Teyla… her new enhanced abilities, courtesy of the unborn baby. But most of all, I enjoyed her scenes with Sheppard, Ronon and Lorne (and why, oh why, do we not get a scene with Teyla and Rodney talking about the baby??)
I’m not a shipper, but I do enjoy friendship scenes, and the scenes of Sheppard acting on his command authority, as well as concern for Teyla and the baby, were interesting to watch. The poor guy still seems to have problems with hugs (as evidenced when Weir hugged him in ‘Siege’, and Teyla hugged him in ‘Doppelganger.’) There’s just that awkwardness which begs for a reason, and maybe one day, we’ll get it. I didn’t have a problem with his reaction to Teyla’s announcement in last week’s episode as he was reacting on two levels: military commander, upset that he’s been putting a pregnant woman out in the field, jeopardizing her life AND her unborn baby’s, and as a friend, who probably felt a bit betrayed that Teyla didn’t tell him sooner. And then we find out in this episode that a week’s gone by and they’ve barely spoken. I’d like to think that they had a good long talk in the jumper on the way to the wraith ship, as otherwise, don’t know how else he would have known that Teyla had told Keller she didn’t want to know the gender of the baby. I wish the writers would give us more scenes where the characters can hash out stuff like this, instead of concentrating on blowing up spaceships. I’m not looking for a soap, but for more character development.
And that scene with Lorne and Teyla. Aw, he misses his nephews (unlike Zelenka, who is probably glad to be a galaxy away from his terror of a nephew). I just loved seeing that kind of talk that most average folk indulge in.
I’m curious how they’re going to handle Teyla as now she recognizes going off on missions isn’t wise. Will they show her having any bad days? And yup, many women work right up until the baby pops out.
And Ronon. Heh, loved that he “maybe touched it a little” and activated the Wraith ship. Ha! Bet that ticked off Rodney while he’s struggling to get it to work, all the Satedan does is poke at something. No doubt McKay is going ‘dumb luck!” And he does seem to be the only person who had a clue about Teyla and Kanan, while the military people (Sheppard, Lorne) were clueless and well, McKay’s so socially inept at times he can be forgiven ;)
Hmm, the Wraith. Their storage units reminded of Paris, and all you needed was a little street lamp on the corner, or the underground catacomb cities in the old “Night Strangler” movie (with Darren McGavin as Kolchak) with the underground city in Seattle. Or shelving at Wraith Wally-World * cough * ;) And wow, the Queens sure like to paw up poor Sheppard (loved his “I’ve had a lot of practice” to her “you show much resistance, human”). Snort. However, she got him to his knees faster than any other queen, so even though she needed to feed, she’s a strong queen. And after Rodney was about to become Lantean kibble, what did you say? He said something about being first, and then I could figure out what he said next.
And that’s about it. It’s a good episode, but like I said, lacking, despite some good scenes. I just want more mystery, less scientists explaining everything to the viewer. Show us, don’t tell us.