Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stargate Atlanris--"Quarantine"

“Quarantine” is a bottle show that can best be summed up as Stargate Atlantis meets a ‘70’s disaster flick. You have seen the plot dozens of times. Some sort of accident occurs that traps odd pairings of characters together to overcome obstacles, technical and personal, in order to survive. “Quarantine” is not a whole lot different, but it is amusing how it takes certain situations you would expect--pregnant teyla giving birth while trapped in a locked room, for example--and turns turns them into jokes instead. At least the writers are not just painting by numbers here.

After the last medical outbreak, Rodney beefed up Atlantis’ lockdown protocols to be more sensitive. Too sensitive, as it were, because the city lockdown under a false alarm. The lockdown causes some strange pairings. Rodney, who was about to propse to Katie, is locked in the botanical lab with her. Sheppard and Teyla are trapped in a computer lab with him freaking out she will give birth any minute because that is what happens in the movies. Sam and Zelenka are stuck in an elevator. Finally, Ronon an Keller are in the infirmary.

The various predicaments allow for the characters to relate to one another to varying degrees of effect. The best is Rodney and Katie, as it becomes clear his fatalism in the face of what he believes is imminent death convinces the two of them marriage is not a good idea right now. It is really sad as it dawns on them both that fact is not likely to change. Neither of them are inclined to grow emotionally towards one another any more than they already have. The other pairings are rather boring or strange. Nothing much happens with Sheppard/Teyla or Sam/Zelenka, but ronon and Keller wind up almost smooching. It is because keller reminds ronon of his deceased girlfriend/fiance, but the scenario just did not resonate with me. Jewel Staite is being handled quite badly on this show.

The complication happens when the city believes the “outbreak” is out of control and sets the autodestruct. Zelenka saves the day by shutting the city off and on again. Yes, the go to method for repairing any an all computer problems. But hey, Zelenka gets to be the hero for once, so there you go.

“Quarantine” suffers a lot of missed opportunity. The chance here is for a lot of personal moments wherein we get to learn about the characters on a personal level, but the writers fumble the ball. We learn Zelenka raises pigeons and has such a logical mind, he cannot understand much humor because he takes jokes too literally. Keller is a prodigy who missed out on her childhood, which might explain her immaturity. That is about it. Rodney coming to understand his own flaws is about the only high point with these quiet moments.

The episode is not all bad. The story does take the typical scenarios you would expect ti find and either turns them on their ear or mocks them outright. That is a refreshing change, but still does not make ’Quarantine” anything special. There is no escaping--no joke intended--that it is a budget saving bottle show that does the best it can under the circumstances. I am very surprised more emphasis is not placed on exploring the characters. It looks like offering insight would be the mine focus. Alas, no.

Rating: *** (iut of 5)

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