View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'The Seed'

July 9th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s5/502.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">THE SEED</A></FONT>
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When an alien organism triggers a quarantine and incapacitates Dr. Keller, the team revives an old friend from stasis for help.

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July 19th, 2008, 08:25 AM
The second episode of season five is, as promised, a character-oriented one. It is not so much about Dr. Keller as I first thought, as it is about the new man in charge, Richard Woolsey. It serves as a good start for developing his character from the annoying bureaucrat we've come to know and even loved to hate, to a qualified base commander, which he is bound to become. This road will obviously have many obstacles and first of them are well presented in "The Seed".

The speech scene and the debriefing of senior staff that follows it is fairly predictable. Robert Picardo does an excellent job portraying a conflicted man, assigned to the wrong post. As an experienced civil servant he seems professional and focused, but beneath the surface he is insecure and very uncertain as to what reactions his actions would cause. This is his first administrative job, after all. He is also distrustful of the Pegasus natives, which creates an interesting tension in the scene where he asks Teyla why she has such an extensive knowledge of the city's power grid. And as much as he is used to "playing by the book", with time he comes to realize that he can throw that book away once he steps into the Pegasus galaxy.

Other main characters are surprisingly supportive. I thought some (i.e. Ronon) would cause more problems, being frustrated with the sudden leader change. Both he and Sheppard get their heroic moments in this episode, so there is no great surprise. Carson returns to duty part-time and again saves the day with his "phage". I was disappointed at how little screen time McKay got, though the scene just before Woolsey beaming down was hilarious, with Rodney standing up last, visible mental pain on his face.

We also get a glimpse of a possible new story arc. Michael's death is not confirmed, in fact we can be sure he is still out there, plotting to take over the galaxy and recovering from the recent defeat. To make matters worse, the legacy of his research is dangerous and causes problems for his enemies while he is safely in hiding. He also has access to a fully functional puddle jumper, which may contain important data on Atlantis and the Ancient technology. Wraith-Replicator hybrids? Who knows.

"The Seed" was an overally good episode, not the best of the series, but it served its purpose well as an introduction of Richard Woolsey and a reminder of Michael's threat. Even though it had some logical mistakes, e.g. I am not sure why cutting off a small piece of the alien organism nearly killed Dr. Keller, but blowing a gateship-sized hole in it did not even make the tendrils agitated, but I still enjoyed it. If character-oriented episodes are to have so good visual effects and interesting storylines filled with tough choices and better-than-decent acting, it is all fine with me.

Michael "ShVagYeR" Szymanski

July 21st, 2008, 11:31 AM
With the resolution of the fourth season finale out of the way, the writers turn back to their usual pattern of front-loading some character development. In this case, the writers do their best to serve two different segments of the fan base while covering off a couple of cast-change requirements. Thereís also a nice bit of world-building, as more information is provided concerning the Wraith.

This is an interesting episode for Dr. Keller, because it puts her through the wringer. Her initial scenes did much to build on the good graces that I happen to hold for the character. On the other hand, I must admit that the writers are saddling her with the unenviable role of ďsingle young hottieĒ, as many feared during the second half of the fourth season. Thereís a love triangle brewing between Keller, McKay, and Ronon that has little chance of working well.

In a nice move (and one that will please many long-term fans), an apparent cure for Dr. Beckettís condition is discovered by Keller, bringing him back as a viable part of the Stargate universe. Itís clear that his appearances will be, at best, an infrequent event, but it does open up possibilities that were eliminated by his premature passing. (Besides, his death was badly handled anyway, so why not make it a moot point?)

This serves to bring up a couple of interesting tidbits, right there in the episode itself. Many fans noted (and corrected me, for which Iím grateful) when they pointed out that the jumper was missing at the end of the premiere. Thatís a good sign that Michael is still alive out there. That said, his infrastructure is rapidly disappearing, and part of his effectiveness was his deep and almost insurmountable network. Itís something he might be able to rebuild, thus explaining any lengthy absence, but itís disappointing.

On the other hand, Beckettís survival does appear to bolster the notion that Sheppardís glimpse of a dark future for Team Atlantis may be prevented. While Woolsey is in charge, Carter is not dead and the circumstances are sufficiently different. While many of the same threats may emerge, I suspect that the writers made sure that they had the option of diverging completely from that vision as they deem necessary. (Which, in a sense, renders the fourth season finale pointless, which is pretty much what I expected.)

I also expected the writers to paint Woolsey in the best light possible. Woolsey has been the semi-reluctant mouthpiece for the IOA for quite some time, and it seems like this is a natural extension for the character. The IOA has its head in the sand, as it always has, and when that reality begins to impose itself, they take whatever opportunity possible to tighten control over Team Atlantis. If nothing else, as this episode demonstrates, it should be interesting to see how Woolsey deals with the realities of the Atlantis mission while bearing responsibility for its success.

On top of the interesting character work, this episode also revealed that the Wraith ships are organic technology, requiring a living host to be grown into form. This makes a certain amount of sense, given their appearance, and it also adds another element to the nastiness of the Wraith. It does harken back to the organic technology concepts at play on ďBabylon 5Ē, but Keller never would have recovered intact on that show. Itís expected, in the Stargate franchise, that scenarios like this resolve to the status quo.

John Keegan
Reprinted with permission
Original source: c. Critical Myth, 2008
All rights reserved
Link: http://www.criticalmyth.com

July 22nd, 2008, 02:00 PM
"The Seed" was a good episode that had some very interesting story/plotline
reveals as well as character reveals. It was a story that was unique to the
mythology of Atlantis. While the "alien entity takes over the body" is an often
used concept in science fiction stories, the telling of this story, revealing
the fact that the creature was using a human host to grow into a Wraith
hive ship, was different and very appealing because it gave a unique
twist to the concept.

While "The Seed" did not have quite as much action and tension as last
week's episode there was an element of creepiness and suspense in how
quickly the entity was growing and spreading through the building. These
elements were further emphasized with inventive use of lighting, special
effects/make-up, camera angles and as always, a top notch musical score.

The episode focus was on the characters as there were quite a few issues
that needed to be dealt with including the introduction of Woolsey, the
exit of Carter, the return of Carson and the status of Michael, Kanaan
and the hybrids. For the most part the writers did a fairly good job of
integrating these character "housekeeping chores" into the plotline of
the story so that it flowed well and complimented each other.

The episode began by tying up some loose ends from last week's season
opener. The exchange between Keller and Teyla at the beginning was
perfect. A conversation that seemed natural and flowed easily yet
conveyed several important details about Teyla and the baby, where
Kanaan and the Athosians were, that Keller had been perfecting a cure
for Carson and that she was "impressed" with Rodney, a foreshadowing of
their possible "relationship." It was well done as it allowed the viewer
to "catch up" with the goings on at Atlantis without being tedious or

Additional loose ends were tied up with the conversation in the
conference room before the meeting with Woolsey. An explanation was
needed after last week as to why Carter was abruptly removed from
command and Woolsey chosen to replace her; while the explanation and the
team's tribute to Carter was a nice compliment to the character it felt
just a bit forced.

This episode also had the task of introducing Mr. Woolsey as the new
commander. His arrival on Atlantis went quite as expected for the
character, brusque and down to business. The scene was well played by
Robert Picardo as he gave one the sense that Woolsey was "out of his
element" at that moment, did not know what to say to the crew so he
reverted to what he knows best, a by the book, no nonsense

The main theme of the story was Woolsey's struggle of trying to abide by
the rules while dealing with a situation that he quickly realizes is
beyond his control requiring actions found beyond the rule book. He
seemed a bit lost when he was demanding answers from Carson that Carson
didn't have yet and trying to give Ronon advice on getting through the
tentacles. When they lost touch with Ronon it seemed Woolsey did not
know what to do; so when Sheppard announced he was taking the jumper
Woolsey did not have any viable alternatives. The lesson for Woolsey in
this episode was that in certain situations the rules don't always work
with the reality of what is going on. And although it was a bit
contrived and formulaic, the lesson was well demonstrated.

By the end of the show, Woolsey realized he had broken many of those
rules and his confidence was a bit shaken. As he said to Sheppard, "If I
can't trust the rules, I don't know if I can do this job," hopefully an
indication that we will continue to see him struggle with his new
position as this should provide some interesting character and story

Keller and Carson actions seemed to mirror each other, she saved his
life with a risky cure then he turned around and saved her life with a
risky cure. Carson, while essentially the same old Carson, is still
technically a clone. The premise actually sets up the potential for some
interesting storylines and character development. The character of
Keller also has potential and she did well in this episode but needs to
show more strength and confidence as she often comes off sounding far
too meek and timid.

A weak point in the episode came at the end. The character of Sheppard
is well known as the hero who risks all to save the day. But this daring
rescue, on top of last week's daring rescue, was a bit much. How he got
through the tentacles unchallenged since he had been successfully cured
by the treatment is a bit of a question. It is feasible that his arrival
in the jumper injured and stunned the creature so it did not sense him
until he gave Keller the injection. The earlier scene with Zalenka when
Teyla shot at the tentacles with her P-90 and it retreated might support
this idea, however it was a plot point that could have been made clearer
to the viewer. There was a bit if of surprise at the end when the
creature stabbed Sheppard after he successfully administered the shot as
Sheppard usually comes out of these situations unscathed.

Teyla as a character stood out in this episode. We got to see many
different sides of her; the loving mom, the competent team leader
when saving Radek, a caring friend and teammate, the loyal
Athosian in her following the progress of her people and pushing for
their release. She was interesting and essential.

While "The Seed" was not as strong as last week's episode, it managed to
integrate a unique story along with strong character elements for a good
and enjoyable hour of entertainment.

July 22nd, 2008, 03:19 PM
After last weeks exciting tension, and emotionlly charged scenes, the Seed somehow fell flat in comparsion. It seemed rather plodding and lacked any real tension until near the end. The episode started off well but a nice relaxed scene between Teyla and Keller. Teyla is glowing and motherhood definitley agrees with her. I can understand her being happy to have her people returned to her but her exuberance over having Kanaan back just seemd a little over the top, particulary after the way Kanaan refused to help her and his unborn son even after Teyla begging him on serveral occasions. I realise that Kanaan was under the control of Michael which was evident in the Kindred, but he seemed pretty much in control of his faculties in Search and Rescue and still refused to help her. So I would have thought that Teyla would not be able to forget this quite so easily, but it seems the writers are going to gloss over this and have them play happy families.

The arrival of Woolsey was one of the best moments of the episode and I loved the total lack of enthusiasm by everyone welcoming him to Atlantis, and particulary Rodney's reluctance to even stand up.

I found Carters departure very abrupt and badly handled in Search and Rescue, so it was nice to get a tribute to all her good work on Atlantis and a fairly reasonable explantion as to why she was replaced. Woolsey's first meeting with the team took me by surprise as I expected to find fault with him from the get go, but he actually surprised me with his fairly no nonsence, and matter of fact way of handling things.

Keller being infected with the entity was the part that fell flat for me and there seemed to be a lack of tension and geniune concern for her plight.. The emotional response by the characters seemed to be lacking compared to Search and Rescue. And as much as it was interesting to find out how a Hive ship is made the actions of the creature.. if you can call it that seemed to be inconsistant and lacked cohesion. It reacts quite strongly when a small piece of it is cut but doesn't really take any action when it is attacked... It seemed sentient and even processed a conscience of sorts as it didn't kill Ronon even though he had attacked it.

Sheppard agreeing to have the drug tested on him was again a typical Sheppard move, but I am beginning to wonder why he feels it always has to be him to do the sacrificing. Ronon was willing and was probably closer to Keller than Sheppard. I also found Carson to be a little off in this episode, maybe it's the clone in him.. but his lack of reaction after injecting Sheppard with a drug that could have potentiallly killed him. seemed jarring.. and then just walking away.

The episode really only gained some momentum towards the last ten minutes and Sheppard flying the Jumper through the tentackles was quite spectacular, but again it was a bit odd why the creature didn't attack him straight away, maybe it was in shock and it only realised the danger when Sheppard had already injected Keller. I felt the ending was a little too predictable and it would have shaken things up a little if Ronon had in fact been the one to finally make it to Keller and inject her with the cure. The creature could have been busy impaling Sheppard, and distracted enough to release Ronon from it's hold, and therefore enabling Ronon to make it in time to save Keller and the day.

So overall not a bad episode but a little disappointing, and a few loop holes that should have been avoided. I generally have no problem with Sheppard playing the hero each week but in this case I felt it would have been better served and a little more interesting to have seen Ronon fight his way through the tentackles to save both Sheppard and Keller.

Nice ending scene with Sheppard and Woolsey, and good to see that Shep heals so quickly, and always looks his handsome self so soon after being impaled... ouch !! It does leave me wondering how Woolsey will cope with leadership in Atlantis, as he has to be prepared to throw the rule book away.

There are no real rules on how to deal with life sucking aliens, or unexpected infestations, or even evil hybrids. So hopefully Woolsey will use his bureaucratic experience to get through the paperwork on Atlantis, but let his instincts guide him as to what action he should take when faced with a new crisis.. and also to be prepared to listen to those members of the expedition who have been dealing with these kind of issues over the past few years.. and bow to their advise on occasion.

August 26th, 2008, 03:34 PM
The Seed serves up an entertaining tale of alien possession while providing a showcase for the new leader in Atlantis to show his mettle and the old doctor to remind us of earlier times. While the main story is standard fare, there is plentiful action, heroic self-sacrifice and teaming to keep it interesting. In addition, Robert Picardo does an excellent job of introducing Woolsey Ė not just the leader but the man behind the leader.

Woolsey is one of the characters Stargate has excelled at producing over the years; a recurring character who walks the line between friend and foe; there as the face of the IOA if a meddling bureaucratic plot device was needed, just as McKay was once meddling rival scientist to complicate things for Carter. In taking the leap to regular character, Woolsey needed to become more than just a plot device. The character is well-written in The Seed; early scenes hint at the teamís wariness of his appointment, his apparent lack of leadership and people skills yet these are then superseded by his clear decisiveness (the briefing table scene in particular delivers a competent Woolsey who has clearly considered the issues and come to very sensible decisions; his reasoning is sound if dispassionate), his leadership during the crisis but more importantly his self-analysis in the end scene with Sheppard.

Picardo delivers an absolutely tour de force performance. The audience feels his panic in the moment when everyone is looking to him to make some kind of welcome speech and his assuredness in the briefing scene when he is back on familiar territory. His uncertainty at determining the right course of action during the crisis scenes is evident in his body language even when he is making decisions. But it is in the end scene that Picardo excels Ė he paints a rocked Woolsey who is faced with the fact that sometimes the right decisions mean that the rules need to be broken and for the man who has spent his career evaluating others by the rules, itís a revelation that shakes his foundation. Admittedly, I am a fan but seriously, who isnít when the acting is this good?

The rest of the Atlantis cast also get a good outing although precedence is given again to injuring Sheppard in a heroic rescue of a damsel in distress. Hopefully this isnít a season trend. Teyla is wonderfully displayed in all modes; mother, warrior, intelligent woman. Ronon and McKay are quieter but wonderfully in character. As is Beckett. Paul McGillon delivers another good performance as the clone doctor; his passion and caring for his patient reminding us of what made Beckett the heart and soul of Atlantis for so long while his professional capability as a genetic specialist is well-used.

As the victim of the bug, Kellerís role is fairly limited but her own dedication in helping the hybrids and curing Beckett also play up her compassion and medical skill. Equally, her friendships with the team such as commenting on McKay talking with Beckett while in stasis and Teylaís visit help balance the personal with the professional. All serves to create a nice balance between the team members on show, and a nice balance of characterisation.

In fact the episode is packed with nice friendship moments; Teyla and McKay, Teyla and Keller, McKay and Beckett (loved, loved the scene where McKay confides his symptoms only to be told Ďso no change there thení.) The hints at Keller and McKay while the evident foreshadowing of a triangle between the two and Ronon are subtly seeded; Kellerís earlier comment to Teyla that McKay surprised her, the placement of the three in the briefing room with Sheppardís hint at McKay and Kellerís fate in the other timeline from The Last Man, and Rononís quick offer to rescue Keller. Personally, as I find Keller more believable as McKayís girlfriend than chief doctor, Iím happy with the subplay but triangles are never a good thing. Itíll be interesting to see whether the writing, direction and production keeps the romance element believable or whether it will end up detracting from the focus of the show.

What was also good from a team perspective was the mention of Carter (I almost died of shock given last seasonís refusal to mention her in an episode where she didnít appear), which just about rescued the character's exit as being more of a sign of her success than failure. Mentioning her again and Lorne in the context of the pathogen was good. It just adds to the feeling of the wider universe and general gooey teaminess that seeps from the screen.

The rest of the episode is standard fare; the set designers do well on creating a Wraith ship within Atlantis; the tendrils attacking Zelenka were slightly too Little Shop of Horrors for me - much better in the scenes at the end with Ronon and Sheppard and they do make for a good horror element. The lighting in the scenes of Teyla and Zelenka checking the power and Ronon heading in to give Keller the antidote evoke a nice creepy quality. The shots of Atlantis were fabulous both at night and the day time puddle-jumper scene. Kellerís make up was well done but there was a moment where it brought back Ellia for me (the character Staite played in the episode Instinct).

Overall, this was a very nice outing for Atlantis; a standard premise with a good twist, nicely acted, well directed, nicely produced. Perhaps it is not a classic but it is enjoyable particularly for Picardoís well judged performance and the welcome return of Beckett.

September 16th, 2008, 05:25 AM
This episode did 'grow on me', forgive the pun, as an example of a strange organism that turns out to be the 'seed' of a Wraith hive ship. It was full of interesting potential, especially adding to our understanding of the organic nature of Wraith tech and how it grows. The need for a human element is interesting, the brain that is needed to be hi-jacked to provide an organizational component. The characters did a great job of demonstrating different reactions to the organism, from Carson's delicate attempt to amputate one of its tendrils, to Ronon's instinct to hack it and blow a hole in it, all the way to Sheppard's daring flight straight into it [though I did wonder why the organism didn't seem to react to that - was it supposed to be shocked?].

Where the episode started to fall down for me was first in the fact that the organism looked so red and bloody - very different to the gloomy greenish blue appearance of Wraith ships, their interiors and the Wraith themselves. Even Michael's ship has a similar look and feel. I know Carson explained that the organism would harden into something like a shell over time, but I still think it should have looked more Wraith-like and therefore more like something that might eventually become a hive ship.

Also the ending was incredibly glossed over; one minute you had an entire portion of a tower covered by this thing and Keller rapidly disappearing under a mass of tentacles, then suddenly she got injected and in the next few minutes she was apparently all right, all smiles and we never found out what happened to that mass of stuff that had infected so many corridors and most of a tower. We should have seen what happened to it/her/the thing after the injection - did it all dissolve into a disgusting mess that had to be cleared up, or did it disintegrate, disappear? What? That had to be one of the cheesiest endings of an SGA episode. I thought that was a pity given the interesting ideas the plot had put forward.

I was so glad to see Carson back - as soon as he's there, he brings a whole air of confidence, knowledge and reassurance as a doctor. He's utterly believable in his role and always has been. Keller - I'm sorry - just does not cut it. She just does not manage to put across an image of competence - and considering she is supposed to be the chief medical officer on the base, she does not put across that feeling of experience. Yes, she's there as the sweet blonde thing, I know - but give me Carson any day and I look forward to him appearing again.

October 3rd, 2012, 05:39 PM
The Seed

In the history of Stargate, we have had entities taking over other bodies. That science entity taking over Sam, Daniel being taken over by a Gou'ald, Sheppard being injected with a flawed version of the retrovirus and now we get another one of these episodes in that Keller gets infected with an unknown alien pathogen and transforms into one of those Wraith cocoon hings.

Episodes like these are almost pivotal in requiring the audience to care about the characters, they have to hook the audience into feeling her every emotion, feeling her every word, almost making her feel like they're the one in the cocoon themselves. An episode like this promises to do many things; explore the characters, provide a moral dilemma, provide a threat to Atlantis and Keller is a suitable choice as she has that sort of awkwardness, a mindset that's unknown but also has nuance so she should be promising but there is a difference between promise and execution. Much of her in the beginning of the episode shows Keller in her normal doctor state; friendly, determined, focused. This state allows us to get into her character but it's ultimately the problem; she doesn't show much instability or worry, negating the worried comments made by her co-workers. Now compare this to Sheppard in "Conversion", he showed a different edgy personality that allowed him to show character while reflecting the changes going on and that character is what would hook people throughout the episode; Keller doesn't show that and while the initial shock of her gooey hand is effectively surprising and nicely done, she doesn't do much with it leaving making it hard for people to get hooked especially considering the premise of the episode. Even after she gets herself in the cocoon, she doesn't show much in the way of character (acting scared notwithstanding but still...); making the caring limited to those who liked/loved her character and thought of her past moments.

All tied up...

However, we've do have other characters to focus on... This is officially Richard Woosley's first day in command and Woosley instantly proves right off the bat that she's better than Sam, showing much more of a dynamic and presence than Sam ever did; there's a feeling that he's an unknown forceful presence to Atlantis but also a feeling that there's a person deep down. However, his actual command ends up disappointing; much of it is redressed generic IOA stuff with stuff like "can't continue unless there's substantiated evidence despite words otherwise" and his conflicts don't get much more unique with the whole "infected/lost cause" he shows towards Keller... This stuff paints him as a generic leader rather than a character but I'm guessing with time, he could improve. Woosley does give them some of a basis to act off of but barely anyone can truly propel it into a truly compelling performance, Sheppard, Teyla (despite the baby) and surprisingly Beckett, who despite his revival from the grave manages to act as if nothing major has happened to him despite him being cured and all. It's interesting really, you think he'd have a new perspective from being a clone and all, a new sort of understanding and he even has the experience from being with Michael but it seems like the only major importance he's gotten from it is being the go to source for anything Michael-medical related. The only character who does utilize a compelling performance is McKay who's emotion for both Beckett and Keller makes him stand out from the crowd; there's a certain sense of humbleness in his performance as he faces both of them, unsure of what to say or do while he watches, we can almost sense what he's thinking but at the same time, relate to the fact that he can't easily express it. Sure he yells in one scene but it's the emotion that raises him above his peers.

I will admit, it is interesting to see how a wraith hive ship is formed; these moments have always provided an amount of insight that makes watching through these episodes worthwhile, just the crew picking apart the technology that they find but aside from that, not much about it is interesting. The cocoon is highly detailed but lacks a sort of intrigue that separates itself from the back; it zaps it's power, it takes over it's main character, it proves to be a deadly foe, and it even speaks in a monotone voice while referring to it's subject in the third person. The cocoon feels more like a generic sci-fi plot device more than it does anything else; it could of been a metaphor relating to Keller's shell but alas, it's just another wasted oppertunity. However, the cocoon does serve as a metaphor for one thing and that is how common taking these things out have become. Ronan goes into the room infected to try to save the day but as usual thing goes wrong and Sheppard defies all logic and orders in order to save him and her at the same time; while both characters act well, there is nothing in their actions that truly feels one with their character. Sheppard seems like he's actively trying to reflect the mood while also trying to make the best possible entrance and Ronan just serves as the generic gun guy who gets himself in trouble. Come to think of it, this is the second time this season that Sheppard has had to risk everything just to save someone he cares for and to be honest, it just makes his character feel flat. If his only role in these episodes seems to be to jump in after a character gets trapped or after the other guy can't do it than what's the purpose of his character, especially considering what has been introduced before.

Oddly insubstantial.

From the moment where Keller gets infected to the moment where Sheppard blows up the cocoon; this episode is a borefest all the way through. The various promises for character and action end up failing to deliver; Keller in a cocoon should of been interesting but nothing about the cocoon provides a compelling performance for anybody involved, including Keller. I will say that Richard Woosley did an okay job with his introduction but aside from that, there is not much to care about if you aren't a fan of her character or familiar with her. At this point, I have to wonder what happened behind the scenes.