Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"The Intruder"

What kind be said of “The Intruder” other than it is highly unoriginal? Not only is the plot a direct lift from SG-1’s “Entity,” but a character specifically mentions the incident from the episode in case you were under the mistaken impression this is something fresh and new. There are a few problems with the storytelling technique of flashbacks as well which damage the episode.

The Atlantis command staff is taking the Daeadalus on a return flight from Earth to Atlantis after a debriefing and gathering of new staff. This flight is the return trip to Atlantis daniel missed because of vala in “Avalon, Part I.” The action plot begins almost immediately when a crewmember is killed by what we soon learn is a Wraith virus designed to take over Daedalus and fly it towards a Hive ship. The rising action and resolution of the battle against the virus is identical to “Entity” save for the use of a X-302 instead of a MALP is the main hiding place for the virus. The conflict with the virus is broken up by black and white flashbacks from the command staff’s time on Earth done with varying degrees of success.

I do not want to sound terribly down on the virus story. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with it. The writers present it effectively as a mystery at first. Perhaps there is a saboteur on board. Even after the truth is discovered, there is a HAL homage afoot as the virus uses the ship’s systems to defend itself. The ending dogfight in which Sheppard’s F-302 destroys the one infected by the virus in time to save Daedalus from a lethal dose of radiation from the corona of a nearby sun is quite thrilling. But it has still been done beore. It does not feel quite right for a spin off to literally reuse a script from its parent series, acknowledge that is what they have done, and not have fans irritated that more effort was not put into making the spin off more unique. Call it ultimately disappointing over lack of effort.

The flashbacks are a bigger problem, mostly on a technical level. Why mwntion in the ’present” Sheppard has been promoted from major to colonel, then show in flashback the generals in command wanted to boot him out in favor of Caudwell, but weir insisted otherwise,, and got her way because she has the president’s ear? Maybe that is a moment exclusively for the shippers, since the emotional impact is Sheppard’s promotion is solely due to Weir going to bat for him, but it does not resonate with me to find out he has been promoted first, then learn why. I guess the whole Sheppard/Weir thing is not grabbing me like it is everyone else. As if Weir’s advocacy of Sheppard does not grab you, her engagement to Simon is called off, too, so no barriers left for you shippers. Sheppard visiting Ford’s family is a well done way of demonstrating his guilt over ford’s fate and his dedication to finding the missing officer. There is a bright spot there.

“The Intruder” is unoriginal with some flaws. Is it really wise to show how vulnerable Daedalus is in its second appearance? Or establish a trip from Earth to Atlantis takes only 18 days, thereby removing the stranded in another galaxy aspect so soon? I do not know. A wait and see attitude is necessary. One thing I can say for certain is how much I like Hermiod. The Asgard have always been my favorite stargate aliens, and Hermiod jas thus far been the most colorful with his condescending snark. He is an inspired character. I hope he is frequently utilized, though I suspect he will be used as sparingly as his compatriots on SG-1. The best way to rate ’The Intruder” is mediocre. It has all been done before. The only aspect that saves it is very few character moments.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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