Episode written by Ken Cuperus
Directed by Brenton Spencer
Oh no, a fan review of the episode! Quick, get the Kevlar vests out!!!
Oooh, wet whumpy Sheppard!!!JJ
Okay, I liked this one, although I would have liked more if,,, well, it’s hard to explain but I think the time constraints of television series (42 minutes, and then you take out credits…). Plus I’m spoiled by the depth of some of the fanfic out there… (Is that a bad pun? Depth? They’re at the bottom of the ocean?)
Okay, if nothing else, this episode cinches that Sheppard has remarkable patience. Heck, he could be a school bus driver chauffeuring ill-behaved little brats to and fro. “Okay kids, do I have to pull this thing over?” when the scientists in back, egged on by McKay, squabble. We open with our intrepid team – Sheppard, McKay, Ronon, Teyla, Weir, Zelenka and several red-shirtish scientists (Dickenson, Graydon, Coleman), heading for a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ;) First, Teyla calls ‘shotgun’ and gets McKay’s seat (he’s a poor sport), which means he must sit in back with the rest – he’s harped on, sorta, cuz they’ve spent hours looking for the mobile drilling platform. McKay says it takes time, to which Ronon warns “If we don’t find it soon, this is going to be your last known location,” and then McKay snarks back “Oh, zing!” And McKay doesn’t realize Graydon’s been on Atlantis for nearly eight months. Zelenka and McKay snark at each other, Ronon tells them to shut up. It was fun just for the fact that McKay actually MADE A MISTAKE – he chose some not great scientist named GrayDon, as he wanted to hired GraySon, giving a BATMAN analogy-spin to it and then saying OUT LOUD “That’s means I hired the wrong guy.” Talk about a blow to the ego (for poor Graydon). Ronon’s bored out of his mind while Weir says the “insufferably long search” will be worth it if they find the unlimited power supply and lo and behold, they find the station, which powers up upon the puddle jumper’s approach.
I see dead people. Find the soon-to-be-dead people sitting in the back of the jumper!
And then (insert ominous music, the camera flashes to the closeup of a greenish definitely non-human – okay, a Wraith – eyes opening). She’s a bit green, has dark hair instead of white hair.
CREDITS ROLL – Beckett (insert sad bagpipe music, still resides in the credits, and will until the end of season 3 due to contractual stuff and they never redo credits anyway – too pricey).
They’ve got power of sorts (life support, lightbulbs). McKay is thrilled with the new toys but Weir is cautious. After all the Ancients abandoned the project for some reason. Meanwhile, Sheppard, Ronon and Teyla are off exploring. All the corridors look alike and Sheppard is the only confident they’re not lost (“I have a keen sense of direction”), but then Teyla stops. Horrors – she senses a Wraith presence nearby! ACK! Sheppard recalls everybody back to the control room, not wanting to risk personnel.
McKay is adamant there is no Wraith – they did a complete scan and alludes (bluntly) that maybe the pressure is doing things to Teyla’s mind. A second scan accounts for all life scans. Teyla is adamant and Ronon sides with her feelings – “Machines don’t know everything.” Teyla manages to convince them all that she could try to establish a link, as they need to know.
So, going into Kung Fu-ey Yoga-pose in the sleeping quarters, Teyla does her stuff. Weir, Sheppard and Ronon await a response. Sheppard’s cautious – Ronon has his gun set to stun and at one point it seems Teyla makes contact, but then declares the station a Wraith-free zone. “I was mistaken.” She says maybe it was the pressure, and Sheppard mentions, “Have you ever seen The Abyss?” so Sheppard and Weir go off to explore (with Sheppard still going on about The Abyss) and Ronon and Teyla go off to another section. Teyla hasn’t said much and Ronon thinks something is wrong – oh, he’s soooo right. She talks about how he’s such a good friend, puts her hand on his shoulder and then deliver a nasty blow to the midsection (or thereabouts) and after some very well-placed kicks, renders the much bigger Satedan unconscious. Big ouch. She’s obviously under the Wraith’s evil influence and goes off and fiddles with controls that kill the lights in one section, at which point prods Sheppard to find out where his team is and he’s greeted with silence. McKay thinks it’s just some problems as the base is very old so things can go wonky, and sends Dickenson and GrayDon off to the jumper. McKay meets up with Sheppard and Weir, and when Teyla uses her .9 mil to blow apart some control crystals, they go off to investigate the noise (“Oh yes, let’s race off towards the gunfire,” moans McKay).
Okay, I sooo liked that Teyla could take out Ronon. Heh, size doesn’t matter ;) It’s the skill and element of surprise.
Meanwhile, shades of Creatures from the Black Lagoon and some other great 50s sci-fi flick, the Wraith emerges from the water at a diving platform inside the base. Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
They find Ronon on the floor. “Are you all right?” asks Weir. “No,” coughs Ronon in pain, telling them that Teyla did that. Weir orders everyone to one place.
Abruptly, emergency force fields erupt, blocking people off. Ronon and Sheppard go off to find Teyla and everybody else is ordered back. However, by the time they find Teyla, she’s been released from the evil influence and is shocked to find her teammates aiming weapons at her.
Teyla’s really screwed up the base and they can’t even radio Atlantis (these guys really need cellphones, right?) but at least Teyla is all right, sorta. They meet up in the crew quarters and Teyla tells them that the last thing she recalls is linking up to the Wraith – and it’s a queen – VERY powerful (“I hate queens,” snarks Sheppard, as he’s had bad experiences with them). Felt intense hunger, then nothing, an hour of being blacked out and mucking up the drilling platform. Ronon doesn’t care why the lifesigns detector didn’t pick up the Wraith. She’s here and he wants her dead. Weir understandably doesn’t want Teyla participating in the search as she’s been under the influence once.
Dickenson and Graydon, working in some dangerously empty corridor, get harangued over the radio by McKay. “One of these days I’m just going to call him Dr. McCoy,” declares Graydon, to which Dickenson replies “I’d love to be there for that.” And then Graydon discovers from Dickenson that there was a Dr. GraySon whom Dickenson was surprised wasn’t picked for the expedition (“He’s a damned good scientist, too”). They hear a force field go down and Graydon goes off to investigate, toward the puddle jumper and well, fly to the spider. He sees wet footprints and follows them (has the man not seen the Creature from the Black Lagoon? Argh, watch the classics, you’ll live longer!). Anyway, the Wraith queen gets him at the jumper. No retirement worries for Grayson. Nope.
Zelenka and McKay snark a bit and McKay orders Dr. Coleman to check other sensors to find anything.
Weir and Teyla have a talk about guilt and shame, which the poor Athosian feels as if anybody is hurt because of what she did. Weir, on the other hand, is glad that they now know what they’re dealing with (because a Wraith could have easily wiped them out). But… Weir still doesn’t want Teyla out there helping the guys. Teyla insists the queen could only control her because she opened her mind; it would not happen again.
Sheppard and Ronon are in full hunting mode, weapons out, but too bad they’re nearby Dickenson, who is surprised by the queen. He runs, smacking into the force field and calls for help to Sheppard but the queen gets him. He’s toast. Teyla tells Weir the Wraith is aboard, the info is relayed to Sheppard and he and Ronon run back to the jumper but they run into force fields (which can be taken down only one at a time).
Sheppard arrives at the jumper and sees Graydon in the pilot’s seat and turns the chair (insert strident violin music and flashback to Pyscho!). Desiccated, Wraith-fed corpse! Not good. Sheppard calls it in and in mid-sentence, stops – leaving Weir and everybody else worried, with good cause – Sheppard turns and is facing the Wraith queen. She immediately exerts her nasty mental influence on him and he’s forced to drop his P90 and kneel in front of her. She knows all about him and wants him to fly her to the surface and back to her people. She runs a finger along his cheek (playing with her food?) and then Sheppard, who looks pretty horrified, really, looks past her as Ronon is creeping up behind her. She sees this and moves just in time to avoid getting a blast to the back of the head. Oops. He misses, which blows out the jumper’s windscreen and hundreds of gallons of frigid water pour in, smashing into Sheppard and the queen and washing them into the main structure. That’s GOTTA hurt.
I figure they’ll stick a commercial in right about here, so you can worry – did they drown? Did Sheppard break his neck slamming into the inside of the jumper? Stay tuned!
We come back to see a dead fish flopping on the floor. No, wait, that’s a stunned Sheppard lying on his side, face half down in the cold water, arms out, looking like, well, he’s been hit by a wall of water. Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, McKay’s voice is nattering in his ear (“Are you there?” to which Sheppard groans “I’m here.”) The emergency force fields were put up due to flooding, says Zelenka. Sheppard groans out “I noticed.” Sheppard manages to pull himself up a little and sees Ronon. The Satedan is better off as he stands, goes to force field and touches it. “I missed.” “I noticed that TOO,” says Sheppard. As Sheppard pulls himself into a seated position, he quickly draws his gun and aims it toward the hall beyond. The unconscious queen is lying there. Ronon wants to kill her NOW but Sheppard wants to interrogate her.
Images snerched from rarocks24 (big thanks!!) over at GW
When the queen wakes up, she’s tied down and being pumped up with sedatives (obviously someone on the team has learned how to do an IV). Ronon’s ready to blow her head off. Weir’s trying to interrogate/negotiate with the queen but the queen tries to sit up and Ronon (aw, how protective) yanks Weir aside and puts gun to the Wraith’s head. The Wraith won’t admit a thing except that “You are all about to die,” the standard Wraith threat but then they are pretty good at that.
McKay is thinking he should have listened to Teyla about the Wraith then they wouldn’t be in this mess, but Zelenka isn’t so sure and it’s clarified when Dr. Coleman comes up. The remote sensors have found a Wraith hive cruiser about a kilometer away! Everybody meets to discuss it and Weir says maybe the queen swam over, but since she’s not human and they can heal themselves, it’s possible.
Weir and Sheppard talk with Teyla, who again suggests linking to the queen. She wins her argument and is allowed to do it, and it seems the queen’s threat isn’t so empty after all: the damned Wraith has set the self-destruct on the cruiser. And as an aside, like many Wraith commanders, she snacked on all her crew to stay alive as the cruiser crashed during the attack on Atlantis 10,000 years ago. Oh yes, they have two hours before the cruiser goes KABOOM!
Back at the control room (and commercial, I think) McKay points out that if the cruiser goes kaboom, it will crack the mantle below and release all that energy and well, kiss Atlantis goodbye too. Sheppard says let’s just disarm the self-destruct but the rescue jumper won’t get there in time. But… McKay has an idea (this guy does remember what he sees in the database).
Shades of The Abyss, there are some underwater suits next to the diving area. Sheppard informs McKay that the scientist is going to accompany him for the one-kilometer walk, which is probably arduous as McKay bitches all the way while Sheppard is more concerned with time than being crushed under the ocean’s pressure. They arrive and the negativity never ceases (McKay: “I probably won’t be able to disarm the self-destruct in time anyways, so we’re really not in a rush.” Sheppard: “Why don’t we find it first, then you can be negative.”) McKay notices that the ship actually might be salvageable, but “of course you’ll probably just blow it up or slam it into the side of hive ship so all that work would be for nothing,” he gripes to which Sheppard reminds, “Tick tick tick.”
Weir interrogates the queen again but to no avail so Teyla gives it another try, losing concentration for just a second to which the Wraith threatens killing her the next time. That’s it for Weir. She doesn’t want to jeopardize Teyla.
Back on the hive ship, McKay realizes they have less than half an hour, but uh, er, it could take him a million years to find the right command code. Damn, what a blow to his ego (yet a boost to his negative attitude so it evens out).
Weir and Teyla talk and well, nope, no, weir’s going to give the boys some more time to muck things up over on the hive ship and Teyla can’t do it, but… Weir goes off and then Teyla tells Ronon he’s needed in the control room and Ronon willingly leaves. Teyla tries the mind-meld thing again and oops, she blows it. The Wraith plunders her mind, pulling up a conversation with Sheppard and Weir about the hive ship being in good working order. The queen escapes, leaving Teyla unconscious on the floor.
Okay, when I saw this scene at first, I thought, blast, Sheppard’s been such a bad influence on her until I realized, wait, this is a plant! A ruse!
The queen swims back to the hive ship and surprises Sheppard at the control panel. “Well, you’re a hell of a swimmer, I’ll give you that.” The queen bee is certain the ship can fly and turns off the self-destruct and now she plans to nosh on Sheppard but McKay comes out from behind her and riddles her full of P90 bullets, but “She’s not dying according to plans here!” so Sheppard empties his 9mil into her and she drops. McKay just waited till she disabled the self-destruct, but Sheppard wonders if the scientist just didn’t want to be bait. Anyway, McKay wonders if the queen is dead to which Sheppard says, “Let’s get out of here.”
Back on the drilling platform, everything’s fine (except for those two poor dead scientists). The main team are in the crew’s quarters. Teyla still wishes she could have helped more and Ronon wishes he’d been there to finish off the queen. Weir is actually impressed with how Teyla handled the situation. McKay comes in. Another jumper is due within an hour. Everybody wants to take a nap, as they have research to do. Weir goes off with McKay, who’s going on about the wonderful work they have ahead of them.
Ronon: Is he serious? (lying nearly face down on bunk)
Sheppard: Yeah, he is.
Teyla: Well, I for one intend to spend the next little while resting. (pulls blanket over self and lies down)
Ronon: Same here. (closes eyes)
Yeah, same here. (Sheppard lies down)
And now some commentary....
- Overall, a good, enjoyable episode. Not excellent as it takes a lot for me to say that but I can’t wait for this to air on SciFi… We got some good team work, we got Weir off the base, we got Teyla participating and whump and snark. And we got a Wraith. I want Wraith. Sick of replicators.
- I liked the queen, and don’t care if the same actress plays queen after queen after keeper. If you can get a person to put up with the prosthestics required and can do a good job, you keep her! Now, her black outfit reminded me of the Wasp Woman, another B&W fifties horror/scifi flick. It almost makes me wonder if the writers are homaging the fifties horror flicks, or if I’m simply too into those old movies that I go ‘look, look, someone else has seen Wasp Woman!’
- Heh, well, toss out that ‘Wraith are allergic to salt water theory’ fans have bandied about for years.
- Enjoyed the team-centric feel to it, everybody working together, and the snark. I always love the snark. It’s not SGA without the snark. And the team is together at the end, until McKay starts his slave-driving “we must explore!” speeches and well, he is right. To not continue the mission would be useless. I’m hoping that in a future we’ll get a throwaway line about finding some neato cool in at that drilling platform.
- The Wraith Queen capturing Sheppard, albeit it briefly. I’m a whumper at heart, and just loved Sheppard’s looks of panic, fear, panic, just the way his face kept changing and eeeuuuu, he’s gonna wonder about all these female Wraith pawing up his face! And since the thought of being used by the queen to be forced to escape and bring hordes of the vampiric race back to nosh leisurely on Atlantis was worse than the thought of death, he probably wasn’t thinking all too clearly when he spotted Ronon creeping up behind. Of course, had Ronon blown off the queen’s head, they all would have DIED HORRIBLY when the cruiser went kaboom, but love how he missed and sent everybody washing out of the jumper.
- I saw no problem with the queen not killing Teyla as she had a mission to get back to her ship (where some fast food was waiting, anyway) ;)
§ Yes, we’re exploring the planet. Underwater is cool because you get that paranoid, trapped feeling, although it wouldn’t have bothered me to have some sea critters on the ocean floor too (ooh, a thought for some fanfic, must make note).
- Carson. I know that he just bought the farm in last week’s episode, but in some respects, it stands we won’t hear about him in the next episode as that’s the way of these episodic shows. However, when they bring in the new doctor, if they don’t mention Beckett in passing, that will be a huge mistake on the writers’ part. This episode also gave no indication of passage of time, so for us fanfic folk, that leaves a wide margin of time to deal with Carson’s demise. While I enjoy that, I do wish that deaths of main characters would be given consideration on screen, even in one or two line mentions.
- Okay, please, please, let’s get behind the Wraith, shoot ‘em in the head, not just not really check to see if Wraith queen is dead and leave her on a fully-functioning ready-to-fly ship. At least one shot to the head to polish her off, unless the studios felt the censors would go “ack, no no, too violent!!” Oh, and really, give McKay a P90 to spray a wraith and hope he hits the mark while Sheppard stands in the line of fire. I mean, if the Wraith dropped, the bullets would have gone… uh… into Sheppard?? Shades of the Moldavian massacre off Dynasty, but honestly, Sheppard should have just thrown himself on the floor dramatically and shot the queen from an upward angle so if he missed or a bullet went through the wraith, McKay wouldn’t be a bleeding corpse on the other side of the room.
- There should never be another episode where anybody goes “Oh Teyla, there’s no Wraith here, it’s just the pressure. Didn’t you watch The Abyss?” And I did watch The Abyss and it’s been a while so I can’t remember much except whats’erface sacrificing herself drowning to save Ed Harris but she survived so that was good… I’m only quibbling about this now so maybe a TPTB can trip over this and go ‘oh, the fans do remember, let me jot this down on a post-it….’ ;)
- Will we find out what they do with this wraith ship? It’s there, they can get down to it, or will it pop out of the ocean driven by said Wraith queen, which will make me want to march to Bridge Studios and smack the writers with a dead mackerel??
- There have been allusions to other episodes, “The Defiant One” and “Inferno,” for instance, as in the former, two scientists left to their own devices die horribly (as if this doesn’t happen to scientists on SG1 too) and the lone Wraith commander snacking on the rest of the crew (think of it as a CEO firing everybody to keep his own cushy job) and the volcanic magma end-of-world type thing from “Inferno,” although it made me think more of “The Swarm” (the German scifi ecological disaster book, not the gawd-awful bee movie) and it would be cool if they encountered hydrates and methane-eating critters at the bottom of the ocean.
- Just HOW many jumpers do they have? I’m not keeping count but one gets blown off into space a few episodes back, now this one gets its window blown out, but then… wait, they rescued the one from “Grace Under Pressure,” so they’ll probably fix this one too.
- The jumper’s window blowing out. Okay, they’re deep underwater that they all quibbled about crushing water pressure. Now of course we can theorize that the Ancients aren’t total idiots and devised a way to re-equalize pressure in their underwater places very quickly (the automatic forcefields are a plus, of course) but… the initial blow-in of the water should have been tremendous. I mean squashingly-bruisingly-tremendous, as a 30-foot tsunami exerts 49 tons of pressure every square yard and in the Boxing Day tsunami, it was the pressure smacking people into hard objects that killed a lot of them, so I would think that Sheppard and Ronon should be pretty black and blue from the impact. I don’t include the Wraith as they heal up quickly. Yeah, yeah, it’s a whump quibble but after watching an episode of Andromeda today where a character is repeatedly beaten up by much bigger, stronger, nastier people and keeps getting up for more, I just went, I’m sorry, you just got a solid punch in the solar plexus and you’re not going to be smiling, hell, you’re not going to be talking. Sheesh.
To wrap up, yeah, I had fun with this episode. I give it a 7/8 out of 10.
Meanwhile, a fan did some screencaps at http://eviljr.livejournal.com/247823.html. If you have links to screencaps or reviews, feel free to drop in the comments section. The more the merrier!
Oh wait, an addendum, an add-on.... Both Sheppard and Ronon got soaked - any spare changes of clothes are in the jumper, so.... they spent the rest of the episode in cold wet clothes? Euuuuu, but then they're men of action, they can live with damp, wet clothing which takes forever to dry if you wear it in layers, uh yup, okay.... ;)