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FAN REVIEWS: Irresponsible

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    FAN REVIEWS: Irresponsible

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    The team discovers Lucius Lavin manipulating the people of another hapless planet, using Ancient technology to pose as an invincible hero.



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    Last edited by GateWorld; February 6, 2021, 09:26 PM.

    Given how prepared I was to hate Irresponsible the fact that I didn’t is a tribute to the performances of the cast, the direction which makes the most of every shot and the script which provides humour and team moments aplenty. Unfortunately, the episode also has its failings, the major one being the inclusion of a pivotal moment in the SGA universe that really deserved an episode all of its own and which ultimately leaves the viewer disappointed with not so much the episode but the series itself.

    The moment when Sheppard finally kills Kolya is powerful and recalls the old Wild West as both men stare the other down. The direction builds tension using the old Western shots of the hands hovering over the holsters and the close-ups on the eyes before Sheppard is proven to be the quickest draw in the Pegasus Galaxy. There is a brief sense of satisfaction that Sheppard kills Kolya but it is brief because hard on its heels comes the stampeding thought that this moment should not be in this episode.

    Firstly, the scene really loses something being set on a quaint village green surrounded by chocolate box houses. The saccharine nature of the parochial East European/Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang-esque set design may suit the main plot but it ruins this sub-plot. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, such an epic duel, indeed the climax to the nemesis relationship arc that has been building between the two soldiers since S1 deserved its own episode. Kolya’s return was highly anticipated and wanted especially given the superb Common Ground which was his last appearance and Robert Davi never disappoints. Unfortunately, here the character is buried in the sub-plot of an episode that actually focuses on the partial redemption of another; Lucius Lavin.

    On the evidence of Irresistible, why anyone would think that Lucius is a great character and want to resurrect him, never mind devote another story to him, frankly is bewildering to me. However, the opening half of the episode does provide a glimpse possibly of the original conception of Lucius’ characterisation as it redraws Lucius as a con artist; unattractive, extremely annoying and self-centred carving adoration and attention but who is harmless beyond his deluding a town full of gullible marks. The test to prove he isn’t using the drug anymore, the demonstration of his scam in staging fights to maintain and enhance his reputation as a hero, the key to the scam being an ancient device that only affects Lucius, being punished for his previous behaviour and that he learned that what he did was wrong – all help with this reinvention and Richard Kind’s performance encapsulates this character perfectly. Here Lucius is a petty villain but something much more acceptable without the crime of rape and the hints of a real evil streak being part of the sub-text as was the case in Irresistible. Lucius’s character is even more cemented as nothing more than an opportunistic conman in the presence of Kolya, a true villain in the second half.

    There is an attempt at further redemption with the invasion of the rogue Genii as Lucius chooses to go back to the village and help Sheppard, giving him the shield device, talking the villagers into defending the town although he can’t quite bring himself to lose his cushy position entirely. The latter means that while it’s not quite redemption, it’s close enough in terms of the character’s own story which is actually OK as the main meat of the episode even if it is uninteresting given the lingering horror that is Irresistible and the most obvious plot hole ever; the ancient shield device which makes the wearer invincible when the plot calls for it and not when it doesn’t.

    The device made its first appearance back in the early days of Atlantis. Back then the device prevented the wearer from eating, drinking and imbued them with invincibility. Here, it not only allows Lucius to eat and drink but apparently Beckett to take a blood sample and a man to reach through the shield and hold Lucius under water…huh? The tweaking of established canon is always annoying; doubly so when the plot doesn’t even account for the differences between the devices; triply so when the rules concerning the device seem to change within the plot itself.

    That’s not to say there aren’t enjoyable moments within the episode; the discussion on heroes is fascinating with Rodney’s comment on Batman especially suggesting how he might view himself, his tunnelling out of the jail cell with a spoon, Ronan’s deadpan delivery of the line; ‘She’s right. We’ll have to kill them all. [pause] I’m alright with that by the way’, Lucius’s ever-increasingly ludicrous plans on the way back to the village, the team volunteering one after the other to be shot first, Sheppard returning the defunct shield to Lucius. It is wonderfully teamy. It is lightly humorous. The cast turn in good performances. It’s just not enough.

    Overall, the episode feels like two possible stories were melded into one with the less interesting, less important and frankly less wanted one about Lucius taking the primary position. As a result despite the fact that in the end this is a solid, average and in parts entertaining episode, there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment because that Koyla/Sheppard moment didn’t come at the end of episode focusing on them. It is a hugely missed opportunity in the SGA universe; Koyla deserved a better ending; the viewers deserved a better episode for the culmination of this particular arc within the series. The disappointment it evokes detracts from whatever enjoyment might have been derived from the rest of the episode. In the end, I didn’t hate Irresponsible but I didn’t love it either.
    Women of the Gate LJ Community.
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      When the character of Lucius was originally introduced in “Irresistible”, it was quite possibly one of the worst miscues in recent memory. The “Harry Mudd” of the Stargate franchise was far less amusing than his forebear. In fact, many decried his casual rape of young nubile women and the suggestion that it was worth a few laughs. Many considered the episode (and the character) to be the low point of the series. So when this follow-up episode was announced, most fans were wary, to say the least.

      Lucius is playing hero by using an Ancient personal shield to appear invincible. This time, his con is fairly simple: he hires men to threaten the village that gives him everything he wants, and he comes to the rescue, keeping up his legendary status. The charade is actually quite transparent, and it’s difficult to believe that the villagers would fall for it, especially when Lucius does very little to hide the personal shield device!

      It doesn’t help the episode at all that the treatment of the personal shield is completely inconsistent. In the original appearance of the technology, the shield wouldn’t allow the wearer to eat or drink, let alone get stuck with needles. In this episode, the shield works when the plot needs the shield to work, and simply doesn’t when it would be inconvenient. That’s beyond sloppy, by anyone’s measure.

      Lucius screws over his accomplices, which is when certain interesting connections emerge. Those accomplices turn out to be former members of the persona guard for Genii exile Kolya, who has been a far more formidable adversary to Team Atlantis than Lucius ever could be. And when the Genii return, they don’t care about Lucius and his money; they want to get their hands on Sheppard and his team.

      Lucius is willing to stand up for the continuance of his own scam, but it doesn’t take long for Kolya to convince him otherwise. The episode very quickly shifts from a semi-comedy with Lucius as the main antagonist to a deadly personal battle between Sheppard and Kolya. No doubt, the writers thought this would be a clever and unexpected twist in the story. Unfortunately, it serves only to undermine whatever is gained by inserting the final showdown between these two men in an episode tainted by the worst character in the franchise.

      Too much time is spent dealing with Lucius and his false heroics, when the story should focus on a more complex cat-and-mouse game with Sheppard and Kolya. Instead, it’s very simple: Kolya has Sheppard’s team, and Sheppard has to face Kolya to save them. It’s the exact opposite of complexity. Watching Lucius try to keep his pampered life becomes a grating annoyance, when one is constantly reminded that the time could have been used for something more satisfying.


        “Irresponsible” is an episode that is difficult to objectively critique. It is difficult not because of previous reports which can be disregarded, but it is difficult because as an avid viewer one has certain expectations about returning characters and plot lines. Does one critique the episode through the eyes of an overly knowledgeable fan who takes to heart all the story details from previous shows or as a casual viewer looking for an hour of entertaining escapism?

        “Irresponsible” did miss the mark in many ways and was certainly not a perfect episode; however it did have its moments of being fun and entertaining. As an avid viewer, there was disappointment with some questionable plot details from a previous episode as well as dissatisfaction over the use and fate of a formidable, well established returning character. For a viewer looking for simple entertainment, one would easily be able to find things to enjoy – such as some sharp and amusing dialogue, a great performance from Richard Kind and of course the old tried and true premise, good guys vs. bad guys – good guys win.

        What did work:
        The dialogue between the main characters was, for the most part, well written, sharp and witty. In particular the jailhouse scenes, the scene with Sheppard and Lucius walking back to town to “save the team” and in the beginning when Lucious is describing his heroic exploits – not only amusing dialogue, but good reactions by the Atlantis Team. Along with the dialogue there were also some very nice team moments. These notable moments include; the scene where Teyla talks John out of going outside to kill Koyla when Koyla first arrives in town, again everything in the jailhouse scenes and at the end when the other team members step up and offer to take the bullet for Rodney.

        While parts of the dialogue were well written, there were also parts that were very cliché and poorly delivered – these were mainly by the “extras” playing the townspeople, who in general seemed to be caricatures with little depth or interest.

        What did not work:
        The story brought together the “funniest” and the “cruelest” characters from the Atlantis series. Not necessarily a bad idea but a tricky proposition that needed to have all aspects of the production to work in harmony in order to succeed. Unfortunately it did not. Stargate has a formula that seems to have worked well over the years – a space drama that does not take itself too seriously and is infused with some real life humor and sarcasm. The approach for this episode seemed to be a comedy infused with some drama. It might have worked better if the “drama” that was chosen was not the return of Kolya and the subsequent showdown between him and Sheppard. Kolya is a great character who – based on his intent and actions in previous episodes presents as a cruel and vindictive person - invokes a sense of intense emotion and provocative drama with the viewer. Not the best choice for a light, humorous episode.

        The showdown between Sheppard and Kolya was poorly conceived. It was too cliché, too “B” western and not a fit ending considering the history of these two characters. In addition, the scene felt incomplete. It needed a moment, an expression, a sentence or two, (especially after Kolya was shot) that would have given better closure to the Sheppard/Kolya storyline – it needed drama, it needed emotion.

        Another bothersome aspect was what at first seemed to be plot inconsistencies from a previous episode with what is known about the personal shield. Upon closer inspection and review those apparent inconsistencies do seem to have explanations. However, if it takes a fair amount of review and supposition on the part of the viewer to find those explanations than it would have been better in the first place for the writer to include a sentence or two explaining/reviewing these plot details. By not doing so, it became a distraction from the rest of the episode to the viewer who might have been questioning these details.

        In general, the episode was lacking a strong cohesive theme. Was it a western? Was it a comedy or a drama? Nothing seemed to be in sync – from the set, to the costumes, to the music and even at times the actors and director seemed to be caught in this grey area, unsure how to play out a certain scene.

        “Irresponsible” is an episode that started with a premise for a story that, on the surface, was a good one. However something went wrong in the overall execution that left the viewer distracted with a few questionable plot details, poor use of an established character and an uneven tenor to the episode that was difficult to fully overcome even with some well written dialogue and good character/team moments.

        Rating 6/10



          The 13th episode of the season appropriately enough contains the return of Lucious Luvin' who appeared in the 3rd episode of the season and it also contains him in the same situation as he was before except this time, he's a superhero and he's invincible! Find it funny how all all of his episodes start with "Irre", like there are so many words they can use with this.

          Honestly, for those of you fearing it would be as bad as his last episode; threat not, he actually comes across as better this time around. The best traits from the previous episode is still there, his compassion, his storytelling abilities, his charm but they're made even better here and they aren't there to draw away from the intolerable parts of his character. He seems more of a character telling a story to the people then he did in the third episode, just the way we get into his personality, the way we get into his world... That says alot for a character who's was to solely criticized to be annoying and it doesn't stop there, he doesn't seem to be trying hard to be a sex-crazed addict, he seems more natural and convincing with his performance and there are times where his performance actually seems condescending or worried; as a result there isn't an unfair stigmatism surrounding him and that allows the viewers to enjoy him more, an example being the moments with Sheppard being the most enjoyable moments of the episode.

          The return of Lucious.

          There certainly seems to be a western feeling to this episode; though it may not be evident in the town and the clothes the civilians wear (really should of been more western like), it's clear that they were trying to evoke those feelings of the old western movies that people used to watch. Take for instance the moment where the thugs and Lucious are facing off, the thugs show themselves as a threat, using city slick and even taking people hostage and Luscious arrives as John Wayne and manages to take them out with ease in the most extravagant of matters; compare that to a random western movie and you'll get the sense of what the writers were going for, though it's not the best example here; it is convincing enough that if you redress it and send it back in time then people may think this is an actual western film. The way they homaged it is nice, they didn't make it overly obvious; in fact some of it is subtle. If you look closely at things like the device, the surroundings of the areas and the small details like the jail then you'll notice a prominent connection between those things and the westerns; it's nice to know the Stargate people can still do homages and keep those small things subtle.

          Of course, with every homage has to come a bad guy and this is where Cowya comes in who is in full homage mode playing as the wreckless prospector who takes over the town and calls it his own. This was a good way to make up for his disappointing appearance in "Common Ground" and it returns Cowya to his roots, it's always good when Cowya homages a role, he had some of the best seasons in Season 1 mainly because of those homages and this is no exception; though he's retreading some common ground, the presence he poses and the threat he establishes more then makes up for it as he roams around the city, almost dominating it at times... The moments where he takes over the city, the moments where he gloats over our heroes, those moments are all classic Cowya and he's just one of the things that make the episode a delight; a bad guy with history and a certain personality but one who manages to be the perfect fit regardless. Sure, he has his own goals, he's a part of a certain people but there's just something about him that makes him what he is.

          Man is he a desperado!

          There is a decent amount of focus on the characters, which helps to enhance the slightly comedic feeling of the episode. Alot of it is the usual distrust but their deadpan delivery and almost on-the-spot quips is what contributes to the proverbial "lightning in a bottle", the moment that happens to be something more; it doesn't happen oftenly but when it does, it can be something such as the moment where they reveal Lucious to the people; the reactions on their face make the entire scene priceless. It's not all comedic though, they even manage to get some natural banter which almost feels realistic and that helps us to connect with them as the episode progresses through it's ups and downs. And of course, what Western wouldn't be complete without action? Granted there's less action then you'd expect but it's there and it's executed in the usual Stargate fashion, seeing Sheppard be the western gunslicker is so entertaining (though it's just him sneaking around), seeing Lucious in trouble is fun and the Mexican standoff that they have; both exciting and serves the homage well.

          I have to admit, I thought it was going to be more of the same but they've actually surprised me this time around and they've actually worked to make an episode more then it is; the western homages, the involvement of Cowya, the modesty and we can't forget about the action of course. It seems like they've actually realized that they don't need to have someone be overly annoying and awkward in order to be comedic; this is an example that shows what characters can become have they learn to improve them and show them in a different light. However, that doesn't mean it's the second coming of O'Neill. You can't help but to feel disinterested throughout the episode as it just feels like the same old, same old with nothing to grab you on. The action scenes have to rely on the fact that the Genii are there to be entertaining and the character's opinion on Lucious will be the same opinion you have on them. Still it's a step in the right direction and hey, at least it makes up for "Irresistable" right?

          Back from the grave.