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FAN REVIEWS: 'The Kindred, Part 1'

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    FAN REVIEWS: 'The Kindred, Part 1'

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    As a mysterious new illness sweeps through the Pegasus Galaxy, Teyla is convinced by a vision that the father of her child is trying to communicate with her.



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    Last edited by GateWorld; 04 February 2021, 01:12 AM.

    This is the classic example of how a network promo can completely undermine the intentions of a writing staff. A number of plot threads were finally coming together, and the time had come to trigger the return of a beloved cast member. Even with all the press releases months ago, I had managed to forget about Dr. Beckett’s apparent return. It would have been a pleasant surprise, as intended by the writers.

    Instead, Sci-Fi Network felt the need to reveal, in the promos for the episode, Beckett’s return. Not only did this ruin the end of the episode, but it put far more emphasis on the rest of the episode to make up for the lack of dramatic tension. Thankfully, there was more to the story than the discovery of Beckett’s apparent survival. (And the current promo, discussing the possibility that Beckett is a Replicator like those found in the mid-season cliffhanger, doesn’t spoil much, since it’s the obvious conclusion.)

    In an unexpected turn of events, Teyla’s search for her people comes to an end when she is drawn to their location by a series of psychic visions of her child’s father. This is ultimately a trap set by Michael, who has been out of the picture for far too long. As it turns out, Michael’s previous plans were never abandoned so much as refined, and Teyla’s people were at the heart of his scheme to create a new human/Wraith super-species.

    It’s nothing new to take a real-life pregnancy and turn it into a plot to use said child for some nefarious purpose. It’s probably the cliché with the greatest chance of success. If Michael were to steal Teyla’s child for his experiments, it would propel the character into a more substantial future arc. Such a search would also be a cliché, but it could be handled well enough, especially if Michael’s new species becomes a new threat to Team Atlantis.

    Michael is also the cause of a plague running through the galaxy, touching on previous continuity, which makes the act of feeding fatal to the Wraith. Unfortunately, it also has a casualty rate similar to the recent Asuran campaign. From the Wraith perspective, this is a very bad thing. Team Atlantis is hardly thrilled about it either, especially when it’s clear that the source is Michael, making them indirectly responsible. This brings Todd back into the equation, which is always fun. (Who else thinks a Michael/Todd showdown would be a great idea?)

    Michael’s plan could lead to some interesting changes in the Stargate universe, should it come to pass. Will Team Atlantis try to stop Michael from creating his new species, or will they be forced only to mitigate the human cost of the anti-feeding virus? Whatever happens, the impact on the Pegasus Galaxy will be substantial, and if there’s the slightest negative result to the SG mission objective, it could be another excuse for the IOA to meddle in the command structure. The writers do well when such stakes are in play, so I have high hopes for the resolution of this season arc.

    John Keegan
    Reprinted with permission
    Original source: c. Critical Myth, 2008
    All rights reserved


      Overall, this is probably one of the best episodes of the season. It shows that character driven pieces don't have to be the usual boring backstories, but can show the direction that the character is taking, and keep the audience drawn in and on the edge of there seats.

      The beginning of "The Kindred, Part 1" for me was most probably the weakest part. I knew from the start that she was dreaming, and of course it came to be. Once the episode got moving though, it really kicked into high gear. I loved the determination that Teyla showed in the search for her people. Basically telling Carter that she coudn't stop her from leaving to go to find her child's father. I also loved the response from Carter, by calling Lorne and his team to protect her. Brilliant. The cast at this point seems very in sync, which really just brings out the story so much more. Bringing back Todd? Also brilliant. While I also love Michael (which I will get to in a second) Todd just brings this personality to the Wraith that has not been there since season 1, if ever. Here is a Wraith that is not just about feed, feed, feed, he is about strategy, and what is going to help him in his journey to galactic leadership. I love the teamwork that has been built between him and Sheppard. And the humor, is just so needed. I mean really if you have a race that is so large, and can wipe out the ancients, then really they would have to be a little full of themselves right? Cue that Wraith humor. I love it, and I miss it from Michael. Although I do like the little twist that has come from Michael with evolving to the point of being a little more human. Excellent story line, that I am so hoping gets some screen time next season. I loved to see the Deady again. Asgard beam weapons and all. And of course, the ending, a great cliff hanger leading into next week, although was spoiled ridiculously, still a great ending.

      So to recap, an amazing episode. Definately a Teyla driven episode, with some Todd humor. I am glad that the epic storyline episodes are not the only ones that can be enjoyed now, but the character driven episodes are starting to catch fire. With the making of Sateda, and The Kindred, things for Stargate Atlantis are definately looking up. Keep up the great work!!
      You have already taken the first steps towards becoming.....The Fifth Race.


        Two-part episodes are always a difficult challenge; each part in itself has to provide enough cohesion and interest as a story to keep the audience engaged while fulfilling a function either as a set-up or as a conclusion. Additionally, in the case of The Kindred I it needed to fit seamlessly into the wider story arcs that the overall story touches upon. Ultimately, it delivers a solid character-driven set-up, assisted by accomplished acting and a high production quality but there is still room for improvement in regards to story-telling.

        It’s probably best to get the complaints done first and they do centre around the story-telling both within the story and the season arcs. The first complaint is how the plague is introduced into the episode; the first time we hear of it is in a briefing, there is no real sense of the plague as we don’t see any of the planets affected. With no context except exposition, there is nothing to provide an emotional connection for the audience to the human loss suffered or threatened by the plague’s existence particularly as the only time the plague consequences are shown, it’s dead Wraith. As a result, the threat the plague represents feels underplayed and never really has the impact it should. Possibly this is because the episode sets out Teyla’s search for her people as the main plot and the plague as the sub-plot (with both ultimately coming together). It may have worked better the other way around.

        The other complaint is really in terms of the wider season arcs. Season 4 has been joyous in that it has embraced an arc approach for both characters and stories yet my feeling is still ‘could do better.’ It’s one thing to decide to do arcs, it’s another to really plan them through the episodes – both those which focus on the arc story and those that don’t so there is a seamless connection. Having set up Teyla’s search for her people in the first half of the season, the series has failed to continue to mention it in a succession of previous episodes. The return to the arc is therefore somewhat jolting although not as jolting as the return to Michael’s arc which was last seen in Vengeance at the end of Season 3. It would have been great to have seeded some hint of Michael’s involvement earlier in the season in some way.

        These complaints aside, The Kindred I is a very enjoyable outing, not least because it focuses on character interaction. Teyla centres the episode; it is her interactions that primarily provide the structure for the story. Although her visions with Kanan are later revealed as a ploy by Michael, they do provide a much needed insight into the relationship between Teyla and Kanan which has only ever been talked about to this point and never shown. There is enough chemistry and warmth in their interaction that a relationship between them is believable; a real hint of their friendship. These early scenes also provide a great contrast to the actual reunion where Teyla finds Kanan changed almost beyond recognition with Michael’s brain-washing.

        The better reunion though is with Michael and Teyla; these two just zing with chemistry. Here there is no love nor warmth just an unwanted connection between them. Rachel Luttrell and Connor Trineer have the interaction worked out perfectly. Teyla’s hostility and distrust alongside Michael’s ambiguous caring and concern; his plans for her child and for the galaxy as a whole. Despite everything Michael remains a sympathetic character primarily because he is what he is because of the actions of the Atlantis team, but Trineer deserves praise for playing him with a continued sense of vulnerability underscoring the villain act. Personally, I love Michael as a character and it’s great to have him back.

        Smaller in nature but no less significant are the scenes between McKay and Teyla, and Sam and Teyla. The scene in the mess with the present was very sweet and shows the gentle friendship between the two team-mates while the scene with Sam shows two strong women who understand each other. This scene was beautifully acted by both Tapping and Luttrell.

        Luttrell does carry most of the episode and it provides a wonderful vehicle for her to demonstrate her range; from the softness of her visions to the woman demanding answers to her bravado with Michael. It’s a tour de force and very well played. In fact all the principals deliver as do the supporting actors; Kavan Smith is great as Lorne and that his guilt and remorse at losing Teyla on his watch is evident simply from body language and look as he walks back through the gate is a sign of his strength as an actor. Christopher Heyerdahl also continues to delight as Todd, the character that really has this season injected a much needed personality into the Wraith as an enemy. With Todd, Michael and the varying Queens, the Wraith are becoming much more three-dimensional which is one of this season’s big successes.

        The rest of the production also steps up; the make-up of both Michael and Todd is great, the costuming of Michael and his followers excellent – enough to hint at the Wraith style while being much more human like in tailoring while Teyla’s pregnancy wardrobe also deserves a mention; the washes used for Michael’s ship – the cold blue/purple providing an instant dose of fear and apprehension. The final act also serves to fully deliver on The Kindred I’s function as a set-up for the following episode. It leaves Teyla in the clutches of Michael and the fate of the Athosians to be resolved while delivering the surprise return of Beckett. The audience is definitely left wanting more.

        Ultimately, The Kindred I is a good episode as the first of two; it delivers a nicely character driven piece, well acted, that weaves together various elements from the Stargate Atlantis backstory and it will be interesting to see whether it fully delivers the pay-off to these in the second half. I’m looking forward to finding out.
        Last edited by Rachel500; 27 February 2008, 04:44 AM.
        Women of the Gate LJ Community.
        My Stargate Fanfiction. My LiveJournal.


          Kindred 1 has a very good plot, scripted and executed well; involves many of the usual cast and guest stars' characters; diverse settings; interesting threads and subplots; and development of individual characters, as well as relationships.

          The story's lead-in with Teyla's vision of Kanan's funeral is fitting for this character's search. I believe it may also become propehtic, at least through her lighting the pyre.

          Subsequent visions give her clues, hope, determination, even if she has to defy Atlantis' command.

          The trap was well laid and plausible, especially since it happens on the quiet trading planet and not where the box of jewelry is supposedly found. It is hard to pull off a good trap scene that warriors are expecting. Lorne sees Teyla as a warrior, so no need for him to be diving to cover her when the dart appears. Of course no one believes that alleged trader is telling the whole truth, nor are we suppose to believe it. These scenes are nicely played by all, directed well, and lead seamlessly from one scene to the next. Teyla's version of Sheriff Pusser in "Walking Tall" is magnificent.

          Continuing with Teyla, she must be in a conundrum to confide in the most skeptical character in Atlantis. This choice enables the writer(s) to have the secret/visions broadcast.

          The discussion between Teyla and Sam holds several important elements, among them: (1) The clue that Kanan is not the one connecting with Teyla, for Sam asks if the two have ever communicated in this way. (2) Strengthening of the relationship between Teyla and Sam as Sam does everything she can to support Teyla though the base's resources are stretched. (3) This is the second alien to threaten to go against Sam if she does not give her permission. Sam handles it and moves on towards a better relationship. These two actors depict the uncertainties, tensions, and reliefs well. For examples: Sam's surprise at Teyla's threat to go without permission and Teyla's apprehension at Sam's call to Lorne until she is relieved to hear Sam tell Lorne to accompany Teyla. Capping it off, Carter asks Teyla to call her Sam. The timing of this request says a lot about Carter's character.

          Teyla finding out Michael is bonding with her in the visions is a thought to scare any warrior. Then she meets a stupefied Kanan (played well) assisting Michael in corrupting their child. This plot twist intensifies the horror to Teyla's family and the Athosian guinea pigs.

          The invaluable use of extras in setting a scene and/or enhancing a mood is done exquisitely. This is normal for any Stargate episode; however, the med tech in the foreground to set the tone of the first Keller/Carter scene is so effective I want to make a note of this one example among hundreds. Later, the same tech is seen eating at a table next to John, Ronon, and Rodney.

          Consistent with the character, McKay sterilizes his already sterilized hands. Then we see a maturing McKay bringing Teyla's baby a present. There is a thread here from Uncle Rodney. Of course, true to character, the recording gift is of McKay and not Mozart. Subtle, humor continues to earmark all things Stargate, as does the usual funny and well placed banter between characters; i.e., Ronon's few lines about picking up something for McKay.

          I missed the point of having juvenile scavengers. It seems a waste of valuable program time. Rats running over McKay or a Ronon fight scene are just two options of better use.

          It is an interesting subplot and thread to have Michael as the mutual foe of wraiths and humans. I found McKay's reasoning(s) for giving Hoffin research to Todd to be a bit convoluted and far reaching; doing it to rescue Teyla is fine.

          The discourse between John and Sam has them state the heart of matters succinctly: Sam, "Well, what does she want, exactly?" . . . John, "It doesn't matter. It's Teyla and we owe her one." The two highest ranking Atlantis personnel should have detailed discussions without rabbit trails.

          It is a plus having nonverbal actions relate an answer, an emotion, or other communications like Lorne's response to "Where's Teyla?"

          It is unique how Stargate do-gooders, like Dr. Beckett seeking to restore the humanity of wraiths, wind up creating a monster, menace, or bigger problem.

          It makes more sense to cloak Daedelaus when beaming an insurgent team onto a planet for a surprise rescue. There are other ways to have Daedelaus cripple or scare the wraith cruiser into exiting.

          Kindred 1 is one of the best episodes of the season for plot and subplots, use of many settings, and building of relationships among the whole ensemble.


            The Kindred (Part 1)

            Normally when Atlantis has two parters they're usually the the beginning/end of the season or more usually, in the middle of the season. Here comes to my surprise the first two parter that takes place near the end of the season and you'll never guess who appears in it.

            Now first parts of the episode have an obligatory duty to set up the payoff and anticipation that would be in the second part and usually the first parts of two-parters have been episodes that aren't really engaging to watch but what makes this different than the others is a certain moralistic depth that they set up throughout the episode; the virus may seem like something that's only there for Part 1, popping out of nowhere, spreading without contact, killing large amounts of people but as they connect it with a past episode of Atlantis ("Poisoning the Well"), the questions start to go up and when they effectively connect that with the Wraith then that's when the brain gets buzzing. It doesn't necessarily defeat the set-up feeling of episode show but it does give you something to think about and that thinking about is difficult; there are just so many questions, whether or not it serves good intentions, whether or not it's being used in an impartial way, the views of the man behind the virus... What is shown here will give you hours of brain time and speaking of which, Michael makes his grand reappearance here promising to play a big part in the episode; while I am really disappointed that the creatures from "Vengeance" don't appear, he remains as ominous as ever with a plan that is both interesting and terrifying at the same time and his replacements have even more potential then their predecessors. He seems menacing but almost relatable with his performance, as he communicates with Teyla and displays the bond that he has with her we can sense something sinister is going on yet also sense the feelings of a person who just wants to belong in the world. Though we don't see much of Michael, his performance reminds us why he's different from all of the other SGA villains out there.


            Speaking of Teyla, her baby arc comes to fruition as she takes center stage to play a character that's a combination of the determined, fierce side and the emotional, compassionate side; the Athosian people have always been a huge part of Teyla, much of what she does has always been for her people and those people heavily play into her performance throughout the episode as she walks a thin line of instability and clouded judgement. Similar to her performance in "The Gift", she seems almost engaged in what she's doing, the tone visible, the presence undeniable but at the same time there's also a sense of self-doubt that's holding her back and clouding her judgement; as we get scenes where she asks come at people, ask questions and kick butt, we also get scenes where she faces her situation head on, contrasting with the hard sensibility of the crew and the emotions she shows in these scenes are dynamic; you've got anger, you've got doubt and innocence, you've even got uncertainty and these range from tough to warm & inviting. The limits that she's pushed to places Teyla in a rare situation of vulnerability where everything she believes in is tested, seeming entirely human as she deals with this and slowly they push her to the point where she's placed in a rare moment of defeat, facing the venerable realization which does wonders for her character as she sells the disappointment and confusion well; adding a certain dynamic to someone who hasn't usually been defeated nor has been through any crippling moment. Teyla proves to be by far the defining moment of this first part of the two parter, there isn't anybody out there who couldn't relate what she's going through.

            The other crew members do equally well for themselves with Sheppard and McKay making a decent pair, Keller analyzing the situation and providing effective commentary that's grounded and intelligent and Sam leading the situation... There are some moments where the characters shine such as with McKay who he converses with Teyla which shows just how much of a good friend he can be; showing that sort of empathy and kindheartedness that's both sensible and charming. (while also including a bit of his usual self.) and Evan who furthers his character by revealing his backstory through conversation and showing a sense a commonness but for most of the episode, there doesn't seem to be a spark that allows the characters to go above and beyond. For most of the time, it feels like these people are following the set-up checklist; some action sequences, explaining stuff in intricate detail, a bit of character here and there to keep it fresh and because of that, it makes their performances feel a bit underwhelming. The minor/guest characters do fare better; the trader fit the role he was in perfectly without seeming cliche or over-the-top, adding a bit of ruggedness to the usual role and the now common appearance of Todd manages to be a delight to see, mainly for the fact that he plays a role that's playful yet sinister at the same time even though he's not the same Todd we've seen in "Common Ground". (he's leaning more towards comedy but he does retain his dynamic nature.)


            As usual, this episode leaves us excited for Part 2 but much of it is boring to watch; that's not to say some of it is entertaining... it's filled with tons of thought, the appearance of Michael is a hoot and Teyla manages to be the star of the episode, providing her character with a performance that's dynamic yet engagable. However in the end, it's just the same-old setup episode, an enjoyable set-up episode but a set-up episode nonetheless. I do have to hand it to them for ending it the way they did, I was not expecting that at all.

            Back from the grave.