Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Underground"

“Underground” proves our heroes have just as much trouble winning friends and influencing people as the SG-1 team does. Someone needs to teach a course on dale Carnegie at the Air force Academy. Or at least Stargate Command. Even the usually mild mannered Colm Meaney plays an ornery chap who turns against them.

When Atlantis begins running short on food supplies, weir orders the crew to seek out trading partners. Teyla suggests the Genii, a planet of simple farmers whose society resembles the Amish. Trade negotiations go fairly well after our heroes demonstrate the art of stump clearing via C4 But Rodney and Sheppard soon discover signs of radiation coming from a barn. Upon entering a hatch buried by a haystack, they find themselves in a bunker in which the genii are building a nuclear bomb.

Cowan, the colm Meaney character who appeared to be a simple farmer, reveals to them the Genii used to be a powerful military union of worlds, but it was nearly destroyed in the last Wraith attack. They plan to use the bomb to destroy the Wraith ships in their area while they hibernate. Our heroes reveal the reality the wraith have awakened now, so the genii are in immediate danger. Sheppard offers to help speed up the process of building the bomb and helping gather intelligence by infiltrating a Hive ship as an act of good faith in their new alliance.

The recon mission goes badly when Teyka discovers a human in a cocoon being prepared for food is still alive. Tyrus, the Genii with whom she is partnered, insists this mission is intelligence gathering and nothing more. They cannot allow the Wraith to know they have been on the Hive ship or the Genii will face retribution. Tyrus kills the cocooned man before his pleading for help alerts the wraith. He is too late. Out heroes come under attack. Tyrus is killed in the ensuing firefight before our heroes can escape. As a result, there is no alliance with the Genii. On the plus side--if you can call it that--our heroes now know there are sixty Hive ships out there poised to attack.

It is pretty cool to see Colm Meaney playing a much darker, unscrupulous character like Cowen. He is a fair cry from the battle scarred, yet man of peace Miles O’Brien was. Cowen is a recurring character of a degree to which I am unsure, but I am eager to see him again. Hearing the way he calls Sheppard “Major” berings back good memories of O’Brien and Kira.

“Underground” is the first of only two scripts Peter DeLuise wrote for SGA. His scripts for SG-1 ried up shortly thereafter, too, so it would appear his directing and producing duties ate up too much of his time. That is a shame. ’Underground’ in particular features a good mix of action, drama, and comedy for a highly entertaining episode. As I recall from SG-1, his scripting abilities got better as the show went along. He should have found more time to devote to penning scripts. It is our loss he did not.

As I just mentioned, “Underground” is an entertaining episode with equal parts comedy and drama. The story does jot get bogged down in a moral dilemma, although one does see both Teyla and Tyrus have a point in their positions on saving the guy about to become a Wraith snack versus the recon mission. One must remember they are planning to blow up all these ships, human victims and all, so it is probably best not to dwell on the small stuff. “Underground” exists mostly to foreshadow future events with both the Wraith and Genii, but it is good standing on its own, as well. Npt earth shattering, but definitely watchable.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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