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Review: ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ – Tabula Rasa

The following review contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Stargate: Atlantis” episode, “Tabula Rasa.” I can relate to this week’s “Atlantis.” When I went to visit Mexico one summer and came down with what is called Montezuma’s Revenge (known to gringos like myself as “the runs”), I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t drink the water when […]

The following review contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Stargate: Atlantis” episode, “Tabula Rasa.”

I can relate to this week’s “Atlantis.”

When I went to visit Mexico one summer and came down with what is called Montezuma’s Revenge (known to gringos like myself as “the runs”), I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t drink the water when you are in a new country.

The Stargate gang learns something along the same lines in “Tabula Rasa,” the latest offering from “Stargate: Atlantis.”

And it’s not just “the runs” of a physical nature they endure — it’s “the runs” of a mental nature, which can be even more painful (believe it or not).

Now that the city is located on a new planet, the exploration can begin. When the denizens of the city begin to experience headaches and dizziness, slowly making everyone forget just about everything they ever knew, it’s trouble for the Atlantis crew.

Rodney McKay, who hates being around sick people, discovers himself in quarantine with his wanna-be beau, botanist Katie Brown. Before long, the military takes over (they have the stimulants to be able to maintain a semblance of cohesive thought), the scientists are herded into the mess hall, and only two people are found to be healthy — Teyla and Ronon, who were both born in the Pegasus galaxy.

Atlantis is getting its first taste of Kirsan fever, a bacterial infection most children have gone through in that part of the universe and, as adults, they have an immunity to.

Ronon and Sheppard take off in a Jumper (I still love those little ships) after the Enchurl plant that will cure everyone while Teyla gets captured by Lorne’s military men. Sheppard and McKay keep losing their wits, and eventually need Teyla and Ronon to help them save the day.

It’s action and adventure, the kind we have come to expect from “Stargate: Atlantis.”

What Worked

If anyone doubts that Rodney McKay has become the star of “Atlantis,” they need to give up that notion right now. McKay is pretty much the center of what goes on in the city (at least, what we see), something I’m sure the character would take pride in. Oddly enough, to me, McKay is the least likable of the cast, with Sheppard my personal favorite.

What may make this true is David Hewlett’s ability to moan and groan and struggle with the best of them. That wide-eyed look of horror is a staple by now, and it’s hard to remember McKay’s “minor role” status of the past.

The story jumps around in the timeline, watching McKay bump into his co-horts, then snapping back to the past so we can see how we got there. It’s not distracting to me, so it works reasonably well.

What Didn’t Work With the addition of Sam Carter to the cast, I was sure we’d see her take a more active role in the series. I guess, depending on your point of view, that could be either a good or a bad thing.

In this episode, though, she’s reduced to saying the lines that Dr. Weir would say in her stead, so I don’t feel she’s being used effectively.

Also, McKay is turning into the Atlantis version of TNG’s Wesley Crusher, solving every problem with a twist of a button at the appropriate moment. Suggestion: Let’s get away from that for a bit, okay?

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due “Tabula Rasa” was written by Alan McCullough and was directed by Martin Wood. “Stargate: Atlantis” airs each Friday night at 10 p.m. on the SciFi Channel. The show stars Amanda Tapping, Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell and Jason Momoa.

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