Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"No Man's Land"

“No Man’s Land” is the third season premiere . The third season, huh? We are rolling right along with these reviews. The episode is part two of three. It is also jam packed full of stuff. Four storylines run concurrently, which runs the risk of George Lucas style overload, but the powers that be manage happenings well.

The four storylines are: The Daedalus and Orion intercepting the Wraith Hive ships before they reach Earth, Sheppard breaking into the Hive ship with Michael’s help, Ronon and Rodney escaping their cocoons, and weir facing the international Oversight Committee over allowing the Wraith to steal hyper rive specs and the location of Earth. Bouncing between these stories can be a bit dizzying in consideration of how little screen age is given at any one time, but it all dovetails nicely.

In a rarity, the opening teaser goes back to the battle that ended the previous episode to elaborate more. I assume the battle sequence was supposed to be longer in the second season finale, but ha to be edited down. Whether these are new scenes or stuff from the cutting room floor added in now is irrelevant. It is an exciting way to start the episode/season. If nothing else, it sets the hyperkinetic tone.

When Daedalus and Orion return to Atlantis minus the presumed KIA Sheppard, Weir sends them right back out to intercept the hive ships. Zelnka calculate the Hive ships will have to leave hyper space for a while after fourteen hours. She needs the two ships to ambush them then because earth has no defense against the Hive ships. Sheppard has not been KIA, but has instead attached his ffighter to a Hive ship hull, a la the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. (He subtlety alludes to the film when explaining the move to Ronon.) Sheppard inadvertently makes contact with Michael, who did not want to renege on the alliance, and the two of them plot to sabotage the Hive ship. Tonon and Rodney cut their way free and eventually hook up with Sheppard and Michael. Meanwhile, Weir travels back to Earth via stargate to get raked over the coals.

If the preceding summary comes across short and punchy, that is because the events occur in a short and punchy manner. Even the end, in which the crews of the severely damaged Daedalus and Orion use the retrovirus to clear up the one Hive ship not destroyed in order to use it to get back to Atlantis, happens at breakneck speed in the last moments of the episode. It is a pretty cool ending, however. Earth is saved.

“No Man’s Land” is an exciting start to the season. The episode is loaded with material, but juggles it all much better than some past efforts in which too much was done in too little time like “Critical Mass.” I am curious to see what is left for the final chapter. Since the episode has me curious to see more, it has done its job. I am not certain I would consider ’No Man’s Land” kicking it up a notch like a season premiere should, but I am happy with it nevertheless.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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