View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: Sateda
July 28th, 2006, 07:41 PM
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<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s3/304.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">SATEDA</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 304</FONT>
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Ronon Dex is captured by the Wraith and returned to his homeworld, where he is haunted by his past as he is forced to once again become their prey.
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August 5th, 2006, 12:17 AM
“Sateda” Very Satisfying
I would have liked Ronon's people to resemble him more physically and I would have preferred the Wraith be more than cardboard targets to shoot down. Saying that, I thought "Sateda" was very enjoyable. Jason Momoa showed that he can hold the screen on his own. He revealed more emotional range and vulnerability than previously. His fight scenes were balletic.
I enjoyed the character moments for the rest of the cast, too. McKay and Dr. Becket's bit's were funny and Joe Flanagan had a chance to show that Sheppard has more strength of character than has been shown in recent episodes. A one-on-one scene with Rachell Luttrell was very sweet in great contrast to the violence in other scenes. I’m starting to like this character once again. Everyone on the off-world team seemed emotionally open if not a little exposed and the events in this episode revealed bonds that had only been hinted at before. The scene where Dr. Becket argued with McKay about whether Rodney cared for Ronon and the later scene when they fought over who would leave the ship to join the fight revealed both McKay’s emotional depth and Beckett’s nascent heroism. Sheppard’s back and forth with Teyla in this episode, especially Rachell Luttrell’s reactions to Sheppard’s bluster were amusing. Most importantly, Jason Mamoa, playing Ronon both in the past and the present revealed the pain Ronon suffered and the guilt he still carries. Well done all around.
The camera angles were unusual and suited the action. The close-ups of Jason Mamoa were beautiful and revealed his humanity. The scenes from Ronon's past blended perfectly with the present because in both he was fighting the Wraith. The colors on Ronon’s ruined planet, in the present time, are saturated with a blue tint and look overcast damp and depressing reminiscent of late November in Chicago, if Chicago had been attacked by the Wraith. In contrast, Sateda of Ronon’s memories was full of light and warmth even in the saddest scenes. I’d like to compliment the Cinematographer by name however the credits were interfered with on SciFi and I haven’t been able to find a specific listing.
An interesting new character was introduced in the episode, a different looking Wraith and a nemesis of Ronon’s past. Unfortunately for us, he was killed in the final and very well done fight scene of this episode.
“Sateda” is about guilt and redemption, sadness and triumph. It is also about the Atlantis team as family, something that has never quite been achieved on this show before. Robert C. Cooper did an excellent job of writing and directing this episode; he included plenty of character development and action. "Sateda" is rich and very satisfying both emotionally and visually. It can’t help but have an influence on future episodes of this show.
Some trivia: Jason Momoa, was born in Hawaii but grew up in Norwalk, Iowa. He appeared on “Baywatch Hawaii” and on “North Shore”. Mamoa is an avid rock climber and climbed the Fountain Bleu in France.
Robert C. Cooper is Co-Executive Producer of “Stargate Atlantis” and “Stargate SG1” and co-creator of “Stargate Atlantis. Starting out as a writer for “Stargate SG1”, Cooper originated the Ancients and the alliance of races. In “Sateda”, he acted as writer, director and producer.
August 5th, 2006, 03:51 AM
Sateda is very much an episode about extremes. We knew Ronon was a good fighter but this episode takes it to an extreme. We knew Sheppard would take great risks for the people he cares about (and, coincidentally, the people with contracts), but this episode takes it to an extreme. We knew that the Atlantis team are a formidable bunch when they’re all together but this episode takes it to an extreme.
The premise and the story of this episode are fantastic, a staple of drama with a Stargate twist. I loved the intertwining of Ronon’s flashbacks to the fall of Sateda with his current predicament as a runner. The similarities between the flashbacks and the present didn’t simply bear a passing resemblance as they so often do in other shows, they had direct impacts. Ronon was essentially following the path he took on that last day on Sateda and taking the audience down memory lane with him. Praise to Rob Cooper for writing and directing this fantastic episode.
That said, I wasn’t entirely sold on the village scenes. While our team were great as always, the dialogue of the townspeople was clunky and some of the character motivations were quite iffy – such as, why was the Village Leader so dead-set against Ronon staying in town the first time he showed up? Though the scenes of the team falling back to the Gate were tense enough and Rodney getting an arrow in his ‘gluteus maximus’ was hi-larious. But from there we were taken to Sateda itself and the rest of this episode was just brilliant.
The look of this episode was phenomenal. From the re-building town to the broken Sateda streets to the dark and dank sewers to the rundown hospital, everything seemed real and everything looked great. The flashbacks had a real war-film element to them, giving me a visceral sensation of a city unde siege.
James Bamford most definitely deserves kudos for his work. Every second of the action in this episode was a joy to watch, a fun, exhilarating, thrilling ride. Ronan has always been a character who expressed himself through physicality and through all the fights and stunts in the episode we got a little glimpse into the heart of this very closed-off character. Not to mention that his hand-to-hand fights were bloody awesome, especially that first one in the dark with the night-vision flashes.
Equally deserving of praise is Jason Momoa. As a very physical character there have been few big dialogue-y moments for Ronon so I was unsure of how his interactions with his wife would turn out. My fear was for naught; Jason nailed the dialogue, blending it with his physicality to paint a picture of a character that, at that point in his life, was comfortable with talking to people. Its small things like that, added in by the writer, director and actor which can say a lot about a character without anyone actually saying it.
This was also a great team-building episode, even though it revolved almost completely around Ronon. That Sheppard would stand up to Caldwell the way he did and then for Weir to back him shows just how much they have warmed up to Ronon in his year on the show. Sheppard’s conversation with Teyla onboard the Daedalus served to underscore the team dynamic that had been slowly developing over the past year only to be pushed to the fore this episode, and Sheppard needing Teyla to help him say what he felt turned what could’ve been an extremely corny moment into something funny yet poignant (“I don’t have any…” “Friends?” “No! I have friends.”). McKay and Beckett’s conversation was just gravy, with McKay saying how much he has grown to respect Ronon and how highly he regards him in typical over exaggerated (and hilarious) McKay fashion.
The final few scenes were brilliant for using the ‘show, don’t tell’ technique to establish just how much of a team – or even a family – these people are. That McKay and Beckett would be fighting over which of them gets to go and fight the Wraith, that Sheppard would allow Ronon to go on a seemingly suicidal revenge mission, it testifies to how much they all respect and care for each other. And let’s face it, who didn’t cheer when the Jumper decloaked and saved the day, or smile when Ronon hugged Beckett and thanked the rest.
To my thinking, Sateda is the best episode yet of season 3. Hell, I’ll go so far to say that it might be one of the best episodes of the whole series, with its tight writing, its gritty, war-torn look and feel, its excellent acting, its exciting and expressive action work and its brilliant team building and interaction (I’m running out of adjectives here!), this episode is well-deserving of its 9 out of 10, a Brilliant in my books.
August 5th, 2006, 04:57 AM
While the hunter/hunted theme has been well-used in film and television (The Most Dangerous Game, The Running Man, The Fugitive), it is given some degree of poignancy in Sateda. Interestingly enough, in keeping with the hunting theme, all kinds of hunting weapons were in force here from crossbows and blowpipes to more sophisticated tracking devices. In the previous season, it was established that newcomer, Ronon Dex, was a “runner”, a kind of human bait deployed for the Wraith’s hunting pleasure. On this occasion, through a series of events, Ronon is captured and once more becomes the hunted. To add insult to injury, he is sent back to his home planet and it is there that this sadistic game begins. It is a game that both he and the Wraith play all too well and there are no prizes for second place.
Nonetheless, Sateda is scarcely a one-man show. Obviously, the focal point must remain Ronon’s inhuman fight for survival and the memories which drive his anger but ultimately it is about belonging… about leaving old ties and about finding new ones. Sateda was once home but now little remains of it except memories of what was and of the people who once lived there. The use of flashbacks here is particularly effective, to juxtapose the old with the new. Memories are a powerful force as they drive us to connect with powerful feelings and move on when physical strength alone can’t carry us. Ronon’s knowledge of the place keeps him momentarily alive but it is the new ties that will ultimately save his life. While Ronon is being kept busy, the rest of the regulars are keeping busy… finding a way to get to him and reminding themselves that they are a motley crew that could be a surrogate family.
There are many delightful character gems in this episode – little moments that help the characters connect with one another but also with the audience. We, as the audience, need to believe in these characters. It is not enough that we see these men and women working together but we need for them to delve deeply into what holds them together even if, as in the case of Sheppard, it doesn’t come easily.
Watching the action sequences in Sateda reminded me of a John Woo gunfight sequence… perhaps not as showy… but with all the trademark slow motion camera movements and the energetic gunfight choreography. In and amongst all the eye candy, I did wonder if this was a homage to Hard Target, Woo’s first Hollywood film with a hunter/hunted theme.
Last week, we saw an episode that was on the surface was billed as being comedic but turned out to be darkly sinister. This week, on the other hand, we have a highly serious episode with some truly comic moments of people connecting. There are many reasons to love Sateda but the most important one is because it is about people finding belonging wherever they can get it.
August 5th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Sateda: R for Revenge
Sateda brought us a closer look at the surly man under the dreadlocks. Ronan Dex has a vendetta---a vendetta brought around by the pain of his history. During the course of Sateda, one instantly recognizes that Dex is more than just the gratuitous alien member of the Atlantis Team.
As any good science fiction show should, Sateda starts out quickly and throws us headfirst into the action with a right liberal topping of humor. McKay, who to some is the incarnation of “Pain in the Butt” ironically receives a pain in the butt, which – along with the capture of the other three members of the Atlantis Team – sets us up for the journey ahead, and a good number of belly laughs courtesy of our favorite hypochondriac. I can't say that I was any more or less impressed by Colonel Sheppard's actions during the episode. He was his usual dry sort of self. His concern for his teammates was obvious, especially once back at Atlantis when he confronted Colonel Caldwell on the subject of going back for Dex. Sheppard/Teyla fans also get their moment during the dialogue between Sheppard and Teyla, which was well executed and didn't feel forced at all. Luttrell and Flanigan have good chemistry together, bringing a sort of casual, friendly warmth to the relationship between the two characters. McGillion and Hewlett also have wonderful chemistry, bringing the majority of the laughs in their scenes, and being, quite frankly, the heroic comedy team of Atlantis.
The editing in this episode was spectacular. As a fan of fast-paced cuts and on-the-mark beats, I highly enjoyed the scenes featuring Dex - which, as required for the episode material - were dark, heavily saturated, slightly shaky and tense. I especially loved the discarding of generic camera angles in substitute for unusual angles, and slow motion - which at times I thought was a bit over-used - but provided a nice effect for the high action sequences Momoa had to perform. The close shots during the scenes when Dex tended to his wounds brought a new expressive angle to the character. Momoa brought us into his characters world of both physical and mental anguish during the course of his trials on Sateda, and in the flashbacks to Dex's experience during the Wraith invasion of his homeworld. I would have liked to know a little more about his personal relationship, perhaps see more character building with his girlfriend so there would be more of a feeling or reaction when she met her demise in front of him.
The boss of the episode - the object of Ronan's vendetta - was very typical, I thought, of a bad guy of the Wraith type. Big, strong, ugly and slobbery, this uber-Wraith provided a great opportunity for Ronan to come full circle. Unfortunately, it was Beckett armed with a Puddle Jumper drone who delivered the death blow. I thought this aspect of the episode could have been worked out differently, but considering the happy conclusion of the episode, it worked out very well.
Sateda is one of the best Atlantis episodes to date, with exceptional directing, editing, writing and acting - especially by that of an actor who does not seem to often get the opportunity to flex his character’s muscles - it is impressive to watch and leaves one with the desire to go out and drop kick them some Wraith. If you'll excuse me, I think that's what I'll go do right now.
August 5th, 2006, 09:57 PM
This was supposed to be the episode that finally delved into Ronon's past and gave us some of his back story. Instead it was a mish-mash of erratically tossed-in flashbacks that were more jarring than informative coupled with some terrific insights into everyone but Ronon.
In an odd way it reminded me of the SG-1 ep Shadow Play. That was billed as being Jonas's "big episode," but we didn't learn much about him that we didn't already know. Likewise, Sateda was supposed to be Ronon's "big episode" but we learned more about everyone else than we did about him. At least Corin got to show off some acting skills in Shadow Play; Jason was once again reduced to playing the "Cave Man" (an unfortunately accurate description on McKay's part). There were brief glimpses of depth beyond the caricature, but glimpses are all we got.
The opening, at least, was great. McKay and Ronon played well off each other and the reaction of the villagers promised an interesting story... one which unfortunately failed to deliver. I did, however, laugh out loud at McKay getting shot in the ass and if his screaming was a little girlish, this time I could forgive it.
Was there any point in the trip to the village of Plot Device? It had little relevancy to the immediate story and the end result could have been accomplished through other, quicker means, leaving more time to concentrate on Ronon. Yes, the village was decimated because of him- we knew that from earlier episodes, but the "flashes" we were given did nothing to make me understand or even care about the villagers and their plight. Ronon's trembling threat to take his own life, on the other hand, was intense, highlighting his desperation and his dedication to his teammates. If only there had been more of that and less of the random flashbacks.
Whatever technique they used in those sequences annoyed the hell out of me. While I understand that they probably wanted to make Ronon's style unique, I wish they'd gone another route because the color filter combined with the flickering and "jumpy camera" movements made it hard to follow to the point where I kept tuning them out. Why not overlay the flashbacks like ghosts? Ronon's memories certainly seem to haunt him and that might have illustrated the point better than the spastic hodge-podge of images we got instead.
Back in Atlantis McKay is once again subjected to the petty humiliations the writers seem to love. Maybe some find it funny, but I think it undermines the character and does him a great disservice. It ruins my enjoyment of an ep to see him get cut down like that, especially when he's otherwise acting like the Rodney I know and love.
Speaking of love, where the hell was Lorne? Was Kavan Smith unavailable? I could practically hear the gaps in Major Buzzcut's dialogue where Lorne's snarks should have gone and while I know it isn't the fill-in's fault, his presence made those scenes feel off-kilter. Hopefully schedules will coincide better next time. Lorne's presence in the med lab might have made that unpleasantness more tolerable.
Weir's small part was wasted and while I'm beginning to like Caldwell I saw no point in his being involved at all. The trip on the Daedalus did allow for some terrific character moments, though. The Mad-Libs conversation between Sheppard and Teyla was both funny and informative. I found myself wanting to know more about that than anything else, particularly Teyla's continuing sense that she- and Ronon- are outsiders. There's a wealth of possibility in that, but will we ever see any follow-up? I doubt it.
Likewise, the back-and-forth between Carson and McKay was insightful, emphasizing McKay's devotion to his teammates, no matter how much he tries to cover it in sarcasm. Carson, too, understands what McKay feels and their later fight over which of them was going to beam down made for a great scene. There's a strong sense of team throughout this episode and I wish that this was the standard rather than the exception to the rule.
All that lovely development and what do we get for Ronon? Lots of growling and moodiness and an attempt to channel Tarzan- or possibly Attar from Planet of the Apes. Is that the best the writers can do? Jason Momoa deserves better than this. The growling, chest-beating attack on Khan the Wraithlord is tied with McKay's drug-induced babbling as "Most Embarrassing Scene in the Episode."
So what did we learn about Ronon? That he was a pissy alpha male even before becoming a runner and that he had a girlfriend. Did he love her? We assume so, although we never see any tender moments between them because Ronon's too busy being angry with her for not leaving. We already knew that his squad died, but just in case someone forgot, we get subjected to it again, complete with stock footage. How about giving us a few character flashes on his squadmates so that their deaths mean something to us as well as Ronon? It would put his actions- and his mentality- in better perspective.
While we're at it, can we get some better Wraith, please? These ones were ridiculously easy to kill, even disregarding Shep's inflated score. Maybe we can import a few from season 1, when shooting them was only a temporary solution instead of a permanent fix.
Still, while I had my share of problems with this ep, it was a significant improvement over Misbegotten. As a team episode it has a lot to recommend it, but if you want to learn more about Ronon… keep looking.
August 7th, 2006, 08:09 AM
How can a team of people create something so god awful one week and so brilliant the next? Do they all have simultaneous brain spasms? Or do the little pixies that live in the basement only get fed once a year?
Either way Sateda is a perfect example of just how good Stargate: Atlantis can be. Over the past two seasons we have had incredible wobbles in episode merit which is normal for any series finding its feet. It looks like S3 is going to follow much the same pattern.
This is one of the rare episodes when they manage to balance humour, actual entertaining character moments and fight scenes. Ronan Dex’s fight scenes in the ruins of his home world are quite cool, the ruins themselves are very well done.
I‘ve never liked Dex. He’s been Conan for lack of a better description and his appointment to the team seemed very false and rather foolish. Great fighter he may be, but also violent and with no discernable ties of loyalty to Atlantis. This type of episode I think should have been scheduled a lot sooner.
The major revelation in this episode is that Jason Momoa can actually act. I’m serious, there were facial expressions and emotions and everything. A good example of an actor only being able to do so much with what they are given, give them something to work with and some will surprise you.
Less of a surprise - David Hewlett, once again, manfully squealing and hitting soprano for the joy of the fans, good man. The whole Morphine scene was very funny and well done by all, although remind me to ask Paul McGillion what the hell an “arrah” is.
The later scene in the infirmary between Rodney and Carson was also perfectly done by both of them. These two have such a strong rhythm and chemistry they’ve made their relationship perhaps the most entertaining in the whole show. They should be given so many more scenes together, although with the subtext they tend to put in - the “You’re just jealous” scene was halfway to lovers bickering - you can see why they may not want to. Though I’m sure most fans wouldn’t mind if they ran with it.
Overall not the most original plot of all time and a tiny bit of carried away with flashbacks but you really can‘t hold that against the episode as a whole because the rest is so well done. Never too long on drama or angst before sliding into humour or character moments and back again.
This is a remarkably entertaining episode, its brilliantly written, acted and made. Solidly among the strongest ’Gate-verse episode ever made, not just Atlantis but including SG1 as well.
And if you’d have told me I’d have written something like that about a Dex-based episode last season I would have said you were nuts.
August 7th, 2006, 05:20 PM
This is one of those episodes that has me caught between appreciation of what the writers, cast, and director attempted and reaction to how it all came together in the end. This episode came with a lot of praise and hype from the producers, and sometimes that can be a letdown. After all, shows like “Dead Zone” talk about how every episode is another example of how creative and inspired they are, and the audience wonders if they’re talking about the same thing. “SGA” has been falling into the same trap lately, and this episode is a good example.
On paper, this must have looked impressive. And conceptually, it is a cut above the average storytelling on “SGA”, especially since the first season. The flashbacks were slightly confusing, but it fit the scattered and frantic tone of the story, and it was good to see a bit more of Ronon’s past. Even the resolution of the episode must have looked good on paper. So why was I left feeling annoyed and even embarrassed for everyone who said that this was one of the best episodes yet?
I think it had a lot to do with the direction. I understand the stylized choices made to give the episode edge, but in a few instances, it made the whole thing look ridiculous. Had the main storyline retained a certain darkness, the disconcerting flashbacks would have worked very well. This could and should have been shot at night and it should have been horrific. Ronon should have looked like he was in shreds.
Instead, the director shot the episode like it was a bad action film. All the faux-Matrix shots, the slow motion cuts, the all-too-obvious staging of the action set pieces, and especially the showdown between Ronon and the Wraith commander all felt like something that would come out of a film school graduate on his or her first assignment, grasping for anything that might look badass.
I’ve been willing to give Jason Momoa his due when it comes to a relatively two-dimensional character. He plays Ronon well, especially the moments with edge. But in this episode, there are several scenes where line delivery is unconvincing, to say the least. This happens a lot in the final act. It certainly doesn’t help that he was saddled with those badly staged action scenes.
In terms of the staging, I should explain what I’m talking about, because it’s a fine line that gets crossed. Ronon knows that an ambush is coming, so he places weapons in certain places so he can respond. This all looks very smart, but some of those weapons are in plain sight. It’s hard to believe that the Wraith wouldn’t notice any of that, and that a hunting party would show such a lack of coordination. It didn’t make Ronon look like a survivalist; it made the Wraith look stupid. And that didn’t serve either Ronon or the Wraith well at all.
The bottom line is that the Cooper both wrote and directed the episode, and that led to shortcuts. The writing may have involved some contrivances, but good direction will help smooth out the worst excesses. In this case, the direction did little more than expose the shortcomings in the writing. As much as I wanted to like this episode, it fell short in some fundamental areas.
August 8th, 2006, 08:37 PM
Here's my very breif review of Sateda:
Like every human being I had some preconceived notions of Ronon when he was first introduced. Firstly, I enjoyed Rainbow's performances and was sad to see him go and was a little upset that they replaced him with a 1 dimensional, wooden space Clint Eastwood. To add insult to injury they named him Ronon (a homonym for Ronin, of which Clint's character in A Fist Full of Dollars was based [re: Yomibo, 1961; Akira Kurosawa]) and gave him the ultimate space sixshooter.
I wasn't pleased to say the least.
This episode, being Ronon centric, risked irritating the ever living crap out of me and I went into it with my angry face on. That being said I found myself enjoying it. I appreciate that we got more back-story to Ronon that opened him up a little more and perhaps elevated him to the 2 dimensional character status. We got to see some vulnerability in him, McKay and Shep which is somewhat rare these days.
Now I will agree that at times it was pretty melodramatic, but this is a sci-fi show and at times is entitled to a little melodrama; additionally, the "super cool slow motion" fight (you all know what I mean) was really over the top and ultra-cliche at this point.
Finally the quick cut editing that's done during the flashbacks and emotional scenes/scenes of anguish often tells me the actor just couldn't get it long enough in one take and they had to squish a bunch of takes together. When being that powerfully emotional I find it distracting to have jump cuts. I want to see the anguish, I want to get inside that characters head and heart, not think I'm watching a music video.
But that's just nitpicky and was most likely a style choice.
Overall a good ep, it opens the door for Ronon to stop being a cheeseball cliche and presents the oppertunity for the team to develop a stronger emotional bond. Making it all the more significant when one DIES!!! AHAHA.
What? It could happen.
***1/2 stars (that's outta five)
August 8th, 2006, 11:41 PM
After reading all the reviews about the episode, I find myself thinking whether or not I am easily impressed. I found this episode very entertaining, informative, and just a touch of darkness to make it the perfect episode.
I can't understand what others don't see about this episode. Episodes throughout Season Two alluded to Ronon Dex's burden as a Wraith Runner. This episode finally shows the experience Ronon had to deal with all those years as a runner. The only difference being instead of being sent to a random planet to be caught again, he has been dropped off on his home planet, the planet he was captured from in the first place.
Throughout the episode, we also learn more about Ronon's final days on his home planet. Others say that we only see what we already knew. But what they don't say is that we finally see the horror they actually had to deal with. Not only that, but as Ronon is taking his trip down memory lane, he has to watch out the Wraith who are once again hunting him down.
This is definitely an episode for a Ronon fan. It shows why he is a perfect physical presence on the Atlantis Alpha team, as well as showing he actually did once have an emotional side to him. In his flashbacks, we find that he was involved with a woman on his home planet. Whether or not it was his wife is something I didn't catch myself, but it was along that path.
Also in this episode, we learn a lot about Sheppard. Unfortunately, it is the same characteristics that one Jack O'Neill has, that no matter what the odds, you never leave a man behind. The catch being that Ronon is still relatively new to the Atlantis team and isn't much of a presence in the base, Sheppard still shows that his presence is still much needed in Atlantis.
The other unfortunate aspect I will have to agree with others is McKay being the sideshow, being subjected to a embarrassing scene to make him seem like a jackass once again. I don't know why the writers find it necessary to make McKay seem like a stooge, when we already know his character does that for himself.
Otherwise, this episode is very nicely directed, has very nice character development for Ronon and Sheppard, but once again makes McKay look foolish.
August 10th, 2006, 08:22 AM
Finally, an episode that centers around Ronon. He’s been with the team for a year now and we’ve never gotten to see any other side of him than the warrior. There were hints towards what happened to him several times, but we never got to see them. Sateda brings Ronon back to his homeworld and back to being hunted by the Wraith. But he fights back, and in the mean time he relives some old memories. Not at all a bad idea for an episode.
Pretty much from the beginning the episode goes on at a high speeds, which works very well for this type of story. The trick is always to avoid the feeling that you’re rushing through the script, trying to scram more into 43 minutes than you actually can. In Sateda, it works perfectly. There is a hell of a lot going on, but it never feels like too much.
I also really liked the way the episode was shot, especially Ronon’s memories and the fights. The memories looked jagged, rushed and really showed very well how Ronon was feeling both at that time and at the time he remembers them. The fights switch between different angles really quickly. A good example is Ronon’s first fight. The view switches from normal view to what the Wraith sees and back all the time, giving the fight a very cool feeling.
The story itself was no less impressing. Bringin Ronon back to him homeworld brings back all those memories and emotions for him that he has to deal with on top of being hunted. But instead of letting those memories distract him, Ronon uses them as a source of strength. It also gives Jason Momoa the chance to show that he can actually act and not just be the caveman all the time. The best example of this, in my opinion, was the scene where Ronon removes the piece of shrapnell from his leg. Switching back and forth between this and the memory of Menela being blown up, you can really tell that he is experiencing the pain from both those moments at the same time.
The episode also shows a softer side to Ronon and for me marks that he actually feels like a member of the team. Teyla probably puts it best. They probably both feel like outsiders sometimes, but seeing what the team would risk for them, makes them feel very much at home. For Ronon, we already see this at the beginning of the episode. He feels responsible for staying in the village for too long and wants to make up for it. But he doesn’t want the others to pay for his mistakes. Like he says, they’re good people. At the end of the episode he realizes that he can’t do everything on his own and that he needs help sometimes. Or like Melena put it: he can’t keep running forever. In any case, it’s good to see Ronon being more than just the big, strong warrior.
But the episode isn’t completely about Ronon, it’s also very much about the team itself and how they feel about eachother. Again it’s said best by one of the characters, this time Sheppard: they are family and will do anything for eachother.
Sateda also gives us some very nice character moments, with the conversation between John and Teyla and off course the banter between McKay and Beckett. Like the writers promised, we finally get to see some of that character development we’ve been waiting for for the last two years.
Off course, any good Atlantis episode needs a dose of humour. Most of the time this responsibility falls to David Hewlett’s McKay and this time it’s no different. As we’ve come to expect from Hewlett, he plays every aspect of his character to perfection. Right from his reaction to being shot in the Gluteus Maximus to his scene on morphine (one of the funniest scenes to date) to wanting to go out and fight the Wraith. Unlike last week, the humour was very unforced and felt very much in place. And was McKay actually wearing underwear with a lemon print?
The rest of the cast also did a very good job on their acting. Sheppard was being his usual dry self, but also got a nice personal moment explaining to Teyla how he feels about his team. Speaking of Teyla, she actually got something to do! Apart from that scene, she was once again an important member of the team. Let’s hope it lasts, because Rachel Luttrell still plays her character with great skill.
Besides action, humour and character moments, this episode also brought out some more questions about the Wraith. Like the big guy. Who was he? Was he just a very big, very old normal Wraith or was he part off a whole others class of Wraith? Let’s hope we find out at some point. And apparently, the Wraith can see very well in the dark and do in fact have weapons that will kill, as seen in Ronon’s flashbacks.
The episode wasn’t all good though. I realize that Atlantis is a science fiction show and lots of things that happen on the show can’t happen in real life (or not yet at least). But the writers always try to approach the show from a scientific angle and there’s always a foundation in the laws of physics. So why did the Wraith that Ronon shot in the warehouse fly back several feet? Yeah, it looks cool, but it’s not possible.
And at the end of the episode, the Puddlejumper must been flying in a straight line, uncloacked for at least a minute. Seems like enough time to me for the Hive ship to shoot them out of the sky. Apart from those two little points, it’s all good.
So, for an bringing us more Ronon, more emotion and also action and humour, I award Sateda with 9 big, bald Wraith out of a possible 10.
August 10th, 2006, 07:26 PM
Sateda was an exceptionally good episode that lived up to expectations; treating the viewer to great action sequences, team bonding and emotional angst.
Ronon’s Background: While there was not a lot of detailed personal history of Ronon’s life on Sateda, there were emotional glimpses of his final days on his home world. Through carefully scripted and well executed flashbacks that intertwined with his present situation, the viewer not only saw but experienced with him the anguish he suffered; the utter sense of desperation as he tried to ensure that the woman he loved could escape the planet and be safe – then the heart wrenching loss of seeing her die before his eyes; the loss of his friends and comrades as they fought so valiantly to defend their planet and people – only to learn that they had been betrayed by the Commander and used to ensure the escape of others and finally the physical and emotional pain at the hands of the Wraith as they made him a runner. Where many might have been left scarred and bitter by this, for Ronon it appears to have made his convictions stronger as evidenced by his willingness to kill himself to win the release of Sheppard and Teyla as well as the fact he would let the people of the village “sacrifice” him to the Wraith because of the guilt he felt over how the villagers had suffered at the hands of the Wraith when they followed him to the planet. All in all a very revealing and moving insight into what motivates his character and also how he feels about his fellow teammates.
Sheppard’s Background: There were also a few revealing scenes into Sheppard’s character. On the Daedalus, with Teyla, he struggles to express his feelings about his fellow team members, including Dr. Weir and Dr. Beckett. It is touching how she helps him find the right words as he finally shares the fact that he considers them his family and that he would do anything, even die, for them. This one scene helps to put into perspective many of his actions in this and other episodes. For example in this episode, we see his fierce determination to find Ronon and his anger and frustration with Caldwell when he is unwilling to put the Daedalus at risk for one man. In hindsight these moments take on a deeper meaning and a better understanding of his character after the conversation with Teyla.
Team work: The episode had a lot of good team bonding moments. The moments described above as well as the scenes between Carson and McKay – a serious one on the Daedalus when Carson questions Rodney about his feelings about Ronon and the more humorous scene in the puddlejumper when they are arguing over whom should take the gun and go help Ronon, Sheppard and Teyla kill the Wraith. But in the end they work together to kill the “king” Wraith who is about to feed on Ronon (Rodney’s idea and he pilots the jumper while Carson releases the drone). Then the scene at the end when Ronon hugs Carson and thanks the rest of them, a team bonding moment at its best!
Robert C. Cooper as the writer/director did an extraordinary job. The camera work, the angles, the lighting – all different and all very well suited for the tone of the story. Excellent work.
Jason Momoa and Joe Flanigan gave exceptional acting performances. A variety of complex and unspoken emotions had to be conveyed through facial expressions and body language - and they delivered.
Special recognition to special effects, stunt coordination and musical score for their outstanding work.
Some of the fight scenes between Ronon and the Wraith may have seemed “over the top,” but the emotions being generated by the characters and their situations were intense enough to make it work.
“Sateda” was a strong, well written and well crafted episode that was made even better by the outstanding work of the actors, stunt coordinators, and other supporting cast & crew.
August 14th, 2006, 01:44 PM
'Sateda' is an emotional and visual onslaught, more then living up to its hype. From the onset there is a sense of epic atmosphere that sets it apart from all that we've seen before. From the cold, frosty village sets to the incredibly detailed costumes and props, huge stunts and excellent cinematography. 'Sateda' really is outstanding in every way. Even the Wraith have a very distinct feeling of being more menacing, more dangerous, more monstrous. But what puts the icing on the cake, are the truly rare and precious moments of character development.
From Ronon's emotional rollercoaster ride through painful and often hauntingly touching memories of loss, guilt and grief, to Sheppard’s struggle to reveal his feelings towards his team and their unerring determination to bring Ronon 'home'. One scene in particular for Sheppard stands out, showing there is a man behind the soldier to Teyla by admitting, 'You, Elizabeth, Ronon, Carson and even Rodney are the closest thing I have to a family. I'd do anything for any one of you'. That tiny line and scrap of personal insight alone probably added more depth to the character then two previous seasons worth of trying. It goes a long way to show that done right; you don’t always need a whole episode of flashbacks.
In fact, it’s often easy to fall into a cliché trap. ‘Sateda’ being the exception with its styling, Ronon's flashbacks are just one more element that adds to the richness of this episode. The character has, from the onset been feral and unpredictable, truly epitomising the 'dangerous and mysterious stranger' archetype. Jason Momoa made a solid impact from the get-go with his huge physical stature, big personality and unmatched physicality. The man can kickass with style and throws himself into that part of the role with a vigour no one could (or dare) argue with. But more important then any of the huge stunts and pyrotechnics is that 'Sateda' finally gives Jason Momao a chance to act as well as fight. To let the viewer into his character's world and see what maketh the man, the actor proving his acting range is as big his punches.
Though 'Sateda' isn't all dramatic intensity, there are many moments of touching humour. From David Hewlett's hilarious over medicated McKay, to the fight over a gun with his always dependable comedic partner, Paul McGillion. In fact this scene hits on two levels with another nice character development. It seems only yesterday that Beckett would be playing the Cowardly Lion, turning tale and running from any dangerous or unknown situation. Now he's willingly picking up a gun to defend the people he cares about. The hug he shares with Ronon at the end was another lovely little moment and a physical reminder of the bonds that have formed between the characters.
And who could forget to mention those spectacular stunts? The mind boggles at the complexity of planning these things. They looked incredible with Jason showing off his aforementioned butt kicking credentials which really are of the highest degree. Kudos to James Bamford; how the man can come up with these sequences and pull them off without anyone getting killed shows the kind of skill and talent every member of whole stunt team has.
My only concern is that from the press we know that the production pretty much went all out on this one. As a season ender or opener that would make sense, but putting it early on sets the bar very, very high. It’s going to be one hell of a task for the rest of the season to come even close to 'Seteda' in every aspect. And while I can understand in terms of production the price tag was a lot higher, I think the biggest challenge is standing up to the writing. You can make the episodes look as pretty and expensive as you like, but at the end of the day it’s the story and characters that keep viewers coming back for more.
'Sateda' really hit the right spot, let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come, rather then a just a taste of what could be. 9/10
November 9th, 2006, 06:10 AM
Sateda is a feast of a story from beginning to end. It is a well-judged character study not only for Ronan who takes centre stage but for the rest of the SGA flagship team in a serious drama lightened occasionally with humour and wit. It delivers on every level and leaves a satisfying warm, fuzzy feeling as the SGA team finally admits they are a family.
Ronan’s past and character form the main arc of the story. In many ways, Sateda is to Ronan what Cor-ai was to Teal’c; both focus on the past catching up with the warriors and the efforts of their team-mates in rescuing them. Just like Teal’c, from the moment Ronan is captured by the villagers, he demonstrates a beguiling and sympathetic mix of guilt and remorse, all tied up with an honourable acceptance of responsibility for his past actions. His sense of honour is sharply contrasted with that of the Wraith. Ronan will honour the deal he made with the villagers even when the prospect of freedom is offered to him. The Wraith, on the other hand, kill all the villagers and show the futility of trusting any kind of Wraith promise.
Ronan’s character is further explored through flashbacks to his life before he became a runner. The flashbacks are a fascinating insight into Ronan as a husband and man. Here is a softer version of Ronan with his protectiveness for his wife, his love for her and anguish at her death all clearly illustrated in the memories of his past. His camaraderie and his sense of duty for his squad are also highlighted. This is the Ronan buried under the layers of pain and emotional armour he has acquired since that time. Yet, the theme of running is seeded among, and underscoring, every memory; Ronan was a runner and a survivor long before the Wraith made him one.
Just how much of a survivor he is, is aptly demonstrated in the various fights with the Wraith hunters on Sateda. While it is easy to dismiss Ronan as a hot-head with a gun, actually all the scenarios show he’s an intelligent strategist even successfully goading the head Wraith to the planet. Although it could be argued that Ronan doesn’t think intelligently in the final fight so completely overpowered is he in terms of strength and agility, his ultimately being saved from death by the team serves to illustrate that Ronan is no longer alone.
Family is the second theme seeded throughout the story and promotes the idea that the SGA team-mates are family to one another. From Ronan’s threat to sacrifice himself for his friends, Sheppard’s halting admission to Teyla, McKay claiming Ronan and he have an unspoken bond, and Beckett and McKay squabbling like a pair of competing siblings, the overall effect is one of team closeness and bonding. It is this that makes the rather serious drama of Ronan’s fight for survival and redemption uplifting and heart-warming.
This theme also provides the opportunity for most of the rest of the characters to have a moment or two of individual development. The most obvious is Sheppard’s discussion with Teyla. Sheppard’s evident unease yet also his sincerity is truly touching. Yet Teyla also receives some character development in the conversation as her continued feelings of being an outsider are revealed and how Sheppard’s actions in regards to Ronan have reassured her. McKay’s and Beckett’s discussion in the infirmary is equally revealing in regards to McKay’s character and how McKay also sees the team as family.
Beckett and McKay also provide much of the more light-hearted moments to balance out the darker main arc. McKay getting shot in the butt with an arrow has enough inherent humour to be funny without over-egging the pudding and Robert Cooper judges it just right; there is enough sympathy mixed in with the banter to eliminate any meanness and just enough referrals to it without it being overused. What is even funnier is the sibling behaviour on display both between Beckett and McKay, and between Teyla and Sheppard; with the former it’s the tussle over the gun and the quick blaming of Beckett, and with the latter, Sheppard’s constantly escalating number of Wraith kills and his comment of ‘Teyla wouldn’t let me’.
Unfortunately, Weir is rather on the outside of all this teaminess. Her concern for the team and support for going after Ronan do come across but by virtue of her being stuck on Atlantis she just doesn’t feel as included and one of the scenes she does appear in is practically the only one that doesn’t seem to work; the confrontation between the Atlantis team and Caldwell. This scene just feels awkward and the dialogue feels clichéd. Still it’s a minor quibble in what is a well-written story otherwise.
Additionally, the story is polished to a high finish; everyone turns in a good performance with Jason Mamoa particularly outstanding. The direction is superb with use of the Wraith viewpoints, the beautiful choreography of the fight scenes and the underscoring music all heightening the drama and tension. The use of imagery and colour is stunning: warm oranges and reds in the flashbacks contrast against the cold greys and blues of the present and illustrate the rich life that used to be before the Wraith and the barren wasteland that followed their invasions. Equally, those same cold washes contrast sharply with the bright colours of Atlantis; Atlantis’s splendour against Sateda’s devastation signifying the new hope for warmth and happiness in Ronan’s life.
Sateda is definitely a showcase for SGA in terms of what the show can achieve with a well-written story that focuses on character development and has at its heart, the SGA team. Further, the attention to detail throughout and the use of imagery transforms Sateda from an hour of entertaining television to art. Kudos to everyone for this one.
November 10th, 2006, 11:16 AM
This kind of chapters are my favourite, because I’m cached in the story and it lets me to dream and to think what I would do if I could to be a member in Atlantis city.
The best in Sateda for me are the scenes of Ronon’s flashbacks. I think they are the key of chapter they are a very spectacular and dramatic scenes. I like it’s rhythm an action of sequences with this especially kind of foggy images I like it very much. Here I miss a kind of music that it marks better this kind of rhythm. In this scenes the score goes unnoticed I would like to listen other kind of music or sounds, perhaps a more spectacular score with technical and melodic sounds for example for to impress to member of audience. Other favourite scenes that I prefer are the last combat between Ronon and the Wraith, it’s a very good work of art in fighting, and in these scenes I like de movement of the camera.
The story is very good because we can see the Ronon’s past. It’s interesting to know the past of characters for to understand their lives.
Obviously I like very much the Jason’s performance it’s very great in realism. He gives a great and strong personality to Ronon’s role, also, I love the Ronon’s costume and makeup it’s very original. I like his wild look.
The Joe Flanigan and Rachel Lutrell’s acting it is too good both are in great realism, especially in sequences when they are talking together and Sheppard is taking his cup of coffee in Daedalus ship. These are emotional and sensual scenes. Also I like the costume and makeup of both characters and the movement of the camera.
Generally, I don’t like the Wraith enemies I prefer the Goa’ulds enemies, the Wraiths reminds me Marilyn Manson (with all respects to Mr. Marilyn Manson) not an alien characters. When I saw the Stargate Atlantis pilot chapter I thank perhaps the new enemies it would be inspired in other kind of ancient cultures, for example ancient roman mythology or others and I miss too for example a new character like Dr. Jackson expert in archaeology. But actually I’m used to the Wraiths. The only I like in Wraith characters are its makeup, it’s very good.
Other nice scenes are between Dr. Becket and Dr. McKay, this kind of scenes let break the dramatic quality in the chapter.
I want to congratulate the creative department especially props and costume because I love their art. They are making a great work creating the accessories, clothing, etc… especially in Sateda are the best for to let us to fly our imagination.
Actually I am wishing to see the new future chapters and to see the new surprises that prepare to us the Stargate Atlantis team...
Zombies Rise from the Sea
August 11th, 2012, 06:48 PM
Ronan's usually an interesting character so behold to my surprise comes an episode where he is forced to be a runner again, complete with tracking device and everything and behold to even further surprise the fact that he'll be running in the city where he once lived. (The city that was only hinted at in "Runner") This is obviously the defining point for Ronan character wise and it all comes down to whether or not the writers/producers can execute it capably and as it turns out, they do.
The first thing you'll know off the bat was that this city was basically designed for Ronan to roam around in; it's got that worn-torn war like look, it's got guns, it's got ammo, it's got environments and it's even got convenient places where the enemies come out. It almost seems like a video gamers dream and he does well in this as he moves around, does acrobatics, look awesome (and somewhat like a Klingon at times) and kills Wraith with ease. I'm guessing the actor behind Ronan must of had a lot of fun when he was filming his scenes, it can be a blast when you get to shoot at Wraith, walk away from explosions and well, just be awesome; and the Wraith don't take this for granted, as they too use their hunting skills and their strength in numbers to prove themselves to be a worthy foe. They haven't forgotten about the serious stuff though as every place seems to bring back remnants of a long war that tore their people apart. The shields and dead bodies laying around, the important places; though it's not what it was hinted to be in "Runner", it's still enough for us to look at this place and to think at what it once was; the people who lived there and the society that they once had.
Built for action.
One of the best things about the episode is that it shows us an example of what he did when he was running and a look into his past. It must of been tough to run from the wraith, getting a brief moment to look for ammo and supplies and to treat his wounds. It's tense, it's hectic; though he knows what to do, he still feels the need to keep on running, keep on going, never stopping, never resting because he isn't given a chance to. Ronan's scenes show us one essential thing about him, he may be skilled, his moves may be finely choreographed but he's just as vulnerable as the rest of us. Through disjointed flashbacks, we learn of his dedication and devotion; it's nice to know that he was agile and focused as he is now, as he commanded those soldiers and even helped some out in need, past Ronan really put all that he did into his efforts. His wife was somewhat generic but I felt for her nonetheless mainly because her desire to help and his desire to see her off okay just seemed to work well with each other. He's hoping they can get out there, she's hoping they can save lives; those are both things that influence our characters and drive them to do the things they do even though the odds are stacked against them. It makes their scenes engaging, it allows us to go past the pre-defined traits of the characters and see them as something more, which helps to give essential depth to these flashback scenes.
The look of his scenes could be described as a unrefined version of what SGU would eventually utilize; which is the edge, shaky camera angles, various usage of filters, disjointedness and progressiveness. There is some of SGA's tricks being used here but watch this and watch a random episode of SGU and you'll see what I mean; it's quick, jolty, unfamiliar and at some times even distracting but when used in relation to Ronan, it quite fits him nicely. He's obviously been in a war and he's been running for quite some time, the feeling that he gets when he remembers something or sees something familiar would be quite similar to what we're seeing on screen, which is shots of action coming at us, wraith cullings everywhere you look, the most painful memory you could ever think of... People watching the show will have to think how he can live with himself if he deals with this, this flood of past memories and tight bonds; which is good for his character overall. It's funny to how these scenes would directly influence some of the style of SGU, like these people were working on these scenes unaware that they would inspire a future series... I guess fate is a funny thing.
Serious but funny...
With all the Ronan stuff going on, you might of thought that the episode would of forgotten about Atlantis; well they haven't and to tell you the truth, they're mostly unnecessary. It was nice to see what was going on at Atlantis, the scenes here really show how much the crew cares for Ronan and how they see him as an essential part of the team. It really gives the essence that they care for each other no matter what they do or how impossible the stakes and they wouldn't split apart for the world; The Atlantis crew is supposed to be a team so to see them acting like a team is nice. Unfortunately there isn't much variety to these scenes; while it does show that they care for Ronan, they don't dive down into the personal feelings of each member or even their connection to them, it just seems like they're there to send our heroes to pick up Ronan and save the day which is a shame since I've seen Atlantis do tantalizing character moments before. It's almost as if the writers couldn't use Ronan to fill the episode and instead decided to stretch these scenes out to fill time which would explain the inclusions of McKay's glutinous maximums dart plot. I personally found it to be mostly unfunny and somewhat wasted; while McKay is doing scientific stuff most of the time, the other times it seems like McKay seems to be coasting which is the main problem here; I don't know what'll happen to "Atlantis" if McKay coasts further. They do help to further Ronan's character though...
I've heard that this was originally supposed to be the third episode of the season but this was switched for the "Irresistable"; I'm saying that this should of been the third episode of the season. It's enjoyable, it grows Ronan's character and it provides us with an entertaining 44 minutes. There are some elements that are unnecessary and the whole thing can feel somewhat gimmicky at times but still... This episode really shows what they can do once they put their minds to it with Ronan, he's just a character with so much potential and this episode really shows it; if you like Ronan then you'll love this.
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