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FAN REVIEWS: 'Travelers'

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    FAN REVIEWS: 'Travelers'

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    Colonel Sheppard is captured by the inhabitants of a generational ship and their beautiful leader, who wish to use his ability to use Ancient technology for their own ends.



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    Last edited by GateWorld; February 4, 2021, 12:53 AM.

    4x05 Travelers

    Travelers is the fifth episode in a season that so far is redefining the Sheppard of late into one that is more closely related to the Sheppard of Season1. This Sheppard is confident, resourceful, and smart. He is showing his command capabilities and thinking on his feet. He has been paying attention and is comfortable with computers and Ancient technology. In Travelers he activates an Ancient warship and clearly understands the displays and how to use and diagnose its various systems. He even fixes the crystals in the damaged control chair and gets the non-functioning communications array to send out an SOS. He still isn’t taking himself very seriously, but, it seems, he is now being written so that the viewer can. This more serious approach also extends to the episodes so far this season as we’ve been told to expect. The change is very welcome.

    Travelers, despite its serious subject matter, is kept light in tone by the banter and the control shifts between Sheppard and Larrin. Considering how much of this episode has been shown in previews, TPTB must have realized how good it was and that it would be more accessible to the casual viewer than most episodes. They should have already known that Sheppard is their main character and their main attraction. I hope this means that a strong, capable Sheppard will remain the pivotal character for the rest of this season as he was in season 1.

    Travelers has a man and a woman as adversaries on a spaceship as did SG-1's Prometheus Unbound, but the stories and characters are quite different. Larrin is not the way OTT Vala. Even though the mood stays light and her costume is ridiculous, Larrin is always focused on her goal, salvaging the derelict ship as a home for her people. She is flirtatious when it suits her needs, but there are no overt sexual innuendos in Travelers. Travelers is the far superior episode.

    Jill Wagoner’s performance was entertaining to watch, if a bit overplayed. Her antics were meant to keep the mood lighter than the subject matter and it worked. The Sheppard-Larrin banter sparkled at times offering a reprieve for Larrin’s actions and keeping the viewer off balance. Larrin is a strong character, dedicated to her people; she is tough, independent, smart, devious and focused on her goals as well as being beautiful and sarcastic. She made a great counterpoint to Sheppard. They are equals in many ways and they look good together. She would make a good romantic interest for Sheppard, as she will be unavailable most of the time as leader of the Travelers and her interests could often be contrary to those of Atlantis creating more tension. Larrin’s a keeper, definitely the most interesting person from Pegasus yet. Probably the first time I didn’t feel cheated by having a guess actor take up too much of the episode as in Michael and M&MM. She has possibilities for the future.

    The Wraith coming gives Sheppard and Larrin a common enemy and a reason to form an alliance. Larrin’s is terrified of them. Sheppard saves her from one, then grabs the neck of her shirt and pulls her into a closet to hide from the others. They stand there hands over each other’s mouths to keep quiet. It is in this close environment that Sheppard comes to understand Larrin’s motivation. She tells him that they had to capture him because they could not afford for him to refuse to help them. They need the ship. Larrin comes up with a daring plan to kill the Wraith and gets caught in the process. The Wraith sucking the life out of Larrin was a surprise. Sheppard holds an empty gun to the Wraith’s head and convinces him to restore the years it took from Larrin. This was not an act of reflexive courage, this was a calculated, dangerous act to save someone he has come to respect. Sheppard’s face tells the story as he watches the Wraith restore Larrin. He is remembering CG. (long story)

    When the Wraith is gone, he drops beside her, concerned for her welfare. He picks her up off the floor and steadies her. He has just saved her life again and has every right to expect her to trust him or, at least, since she owes him, to expect her to treat him with the respect he has earned. It is in this situation, that she comes on to him and they kiss. He has seldom kissed any woman in the series, three times when he was himself (?) and not at all in Season 3. Poor Sheppard, he finally gets to kiss the girl and she stuns him. By this time he may not have trusted her, but he has come to understand that she did not mean to kill him; her capturing him and her tactics were driven by desperation and concern for her people and her responsibilities. His mistake was in not realizing that she was still not convinced that he would help her without being forced and she could not let him take the ship. In the end she does let him go, but she remains an interesting unknown.

    The Team
    * McKay was wonderful; so concerned with finding Sheppard. He says that sometimes there’s nothing that can be done and looks miserable, but he goes on trying anyway and finds Sheppard’s SOS. When he says, “They’re gone,” after the ships jump into hyperspace, he sounds so desolate. They all look shaken at losing their last hope of recovering Sheppard.
    * Ronon's statement "Would it make a difference? Even if it was a fleet of hiveships, would it stop us from trying to get him back?" and Lorne’s, “No,” show that Sheppard is as important to his people as they are to him. (As if risking some 20 lives and 5 jumpers against impossible odds would make Sheppard happy.)
    * The ending scene, like the ending scene in Doppelganger, ties up the episode and makes it personal between the characters. This final scene of sharing information and feelings should be used often. It bonds the characters together as nothing else has. These brief contacts also provide an opportunity for significant character development.
    * And a little humor. McKay’s “Sexy alien.” Ronon's comment to Sheppard that “they figured out you'd be more trouble than you're worth.” Duh! And Teyla rolling her eyes like the people from Earth and with appropriate timing, too.
    *Sitting with his team, Sheppard even allows some reaction to his experience to show. He says, “She had me beat, Rodney. She threatened to kill me several times,” but his expressions tell us that he has mixed feelings about seeing Larrin again.

    * Sheppard’s weak “your knuckles will get sore eventually” in the midst of a beating.
    * Larrin’s taking Sheppard’s chin in her hand and studying the blood on his face.
    * Larrin’s knowing about the gene, not in some euphemistic terms.
    * Cool captain’s chair. It is actually big enough for Sheppard. He looks good in it.
    * Sheppard takes control: “you said, ‘Start by moving the ship forward,’ when you should have said, ‘Start by initializing the inertial dampeners.’"
    * Cool, Confident Sheppard operating an Ancient warship as easily as he flies everything else. He has had time to become an expert, but it would have been nice to see more of the intermediate steps.
    * Sheppard and Larrin repeatedly asking each other what they are doing over the intercom.
    * Sheppard lying back across the bed looking unconcerned and bored. Larrin says "does he look like a man about to die?" No, he’s a man with a plan.
    * The Ancient ship has a control chair. Will they find one with a stargate?
    * Larrin is all business when she talks to her own people.
    * Sheppard’s figuring out what system he was in and where the space gate was.
    * Ronon’s gun. The travelers have them. No information on their source. Sheppard knowing how to reload one and spin it the way Ronon does. Cool!
    * No gratuitous leader presence. Too often Weir has been in an episode when the time could have been better used developing the story or showing team interaction. The leader can often be inferred as it can be here.
    * Teyla’s looking more like she’s dressing for success with her midriff covered. Shame it wasn’t because TPTB finally got smart. SciFi is so bad about having the women wearing skimpy or form fitting outfits, even when they are supposed to be uniforms.
    * Sheppard’s food both times. The nutritious, unappetizing stuff from the Travelers (“Another form of torture?”) and the full tray in Atlantis that makes him appreciate what he has.
    * Cool graphics of the jumper being pulled into the Traveler’s ship (have we seen tractor beams before?) and the battle with the Wraith ship. They flew to the Ancient warship by some kind of ship, because they left the bay pressurized and available to the Wraith. It would have been interesting to see it and the other ships and some more of Larrin’s people, but that’s likely a budgetary consideration. Better to have the stripped down version of Atlantis, than the expensive cancelled one. Better to have the simpler version than cheap, cheesy effects.

    Not so good:
    * Larrin’s outfit. Larrin’s high heeled boot’s. Perfect for a spaceship. Combat boots are so much better.
    * Larrin assumes that Sheppard knows what a control chair is when she directs him to it.
    * Lorne tells the jumpers to use maximum sublight. Do they do lightspeed?
    * Teyla is already waddling.
    * Really ugly Wraith.
    * Evidently the LSDs (hand held Ancient scanning equipment) now work for people without the gene after initialized? Never used to. Flash back to Sheppard in Siege II telling Everett when he reaches for the LSD, “Won't do you any good. You need the gene.”

    When will they go find the Tria and repair the hyperdrive?
    Last edited by blue-skyz; October 30, 2007, 03:54 PM.


      The hero getting kidnapped by a beautiful woman? As Jack O’Neill would say that would be a cliché and we all know how Jack feels about those…me, on the other hand, well, I don’t mind the odd cliché if its done with some style and panache. The question is whether Travelers is really a story that delivers with that style and panache or whether, in the final analysis, it doesn’t get beyond the cliché. For me, the problem with Travelers is that it never seems to resolve that question despite the great special effects, acting and direction.

      The cliché is certainly milked for all its worth; Larrin’s dress in the first act of leather bodice-style top and trousers (reminiscent of Vala’s if slightly more restrained), the hiding in a closet together, the sexual innuendo which peppers the dialogue, the use of feminine wiles to lower Sheppard’s guard and grab the gun. Even the main plot doesn’t move beyond the core cliché of Sheppard being at the mercy of the beautiful alien woman; it’s the central theme, and lest we forget, it’s brought up repeatedly in dialogue.

      With all the boxes ticked on the cliché check list, does Travelers ever move beyond it? There are hints that it does make an attempt; Larrin is quite demurely dressed once on the Lantean vessel; the closet scene nods at the cliché but the motivations of the characters are clearly to stay hidden from the Wraith rather than being enraptured with each other; the dialogue is often delivered mockingly rather than teasingly; and the use of feminine wiles…OK, so maybe that one lives on in cliché-land.

      The cliché is also used to drive the action within the main plot in a clever way with Sheppard’s and Larrin’s escalating power battles and mind games enabling the escalation of the action; the kidnap of Sheppard, the flight of the Lantean ship, the subspace communication, the Wraith attack, the working together briefly to defeat the greater enemy before once again re-engaging in the power struggle with each other. This works very well.

      The special effects incorporated within the action sequences are all very good; the fight with the Wraith ship and its destruction very good in particular; the sequence with Sheppard stood with only the force shield between him and space spectacular. My only complaint is that the new alien ships seem very similar to Earth ship design and I fear I’m going to have trouble distinguishing them in future.

      The sub-plot also allows for the more serious theme of the ‘nobody gets left behind’ to be revisited. The brief scenes on Atlantis with McKay, Teyla and Ronan – and additionally Lorne in the jumper scenes – allow the bond between Sheppard and his team-mates to be showcased. The absence of Carter helps with this even if the audience is momentarily left wondering in the Atlantis scenes where she is.

      The sub-plot provides a more serious undertow for the action within the main plot and gives the episode a subtle tension. It is this that allows the viewer to feel the desperation of the Atlantis team when they see the ships leave and believe for an instant that they’re too late; that they’ve lost Sheppard. Excellent direction helps to set this up along with the story where there has been enough belief incorporated in Larrin’s character being capable of taking Sheppard with her that the viewer is left momentarily wondering if she has. However, here is possibly the weakest part of the plot for me; why does Larrin actually let Sheppard go? I wasn’t convinced that Sheppard’s ‘argument’ was enough to convince her.

      With the sub-plot effectively ‘finding and rescuing Sheppard’ and much of the action centred around Sheppard, there are clear comparisons with Season 3’s Common Ground. There are nods to that episode throughout threaded through the plot; Sheppard missing in action, beaten and tortured, an alliance with an enemy to defeat an enemy, the giving of life by a Wraith, Sheppard honouring a deal with a Wraith. However, these elements are hidden by the triviality of the cliché in contrast to the seriousness with which these very same elements were presented within Common Ground.

      From an acting perspective, Joe Flanigan is not as tested in Travelers as he was with Common Ground but he does a great job once again in demonstrating a Sheppard who is a thinker and strategist, clever in his solutions and a very capable soldier; whose failing might be allowing himself to occasionally get distracted by a pretty face when his guard is down. His acting during the Wraith giving life scene is fabulous with the character’s discomfort and remembered angst clearly shown on his face and his body language. As his counterpoint in the action, Jill Wagner does a reasonable job with Larrin. She’s solid throughout and excellent in displaying the moments of vulnerability when faced with the Wraith.

      Yet, despite the acting, special effects and underlying themes, as a viewer it doesn’t feel to me that the episode ever does elevate itself beyond the cliché. It’s a great romp; the action is enjoyable, the dialogue snappy and amusing in places, good tension in the final denouement but…and there is a but, it just doesn’t take itself seriously enough to deliver the cliché with enough style and gravitas that the viewer can get beyond it. Still, as clichés go, this wasn’t entirely all bad and indeed, there is a lot to enjoy if the viewer doesn’t over-think it and simply enjoys the ride. In the end, this seems to be recognised even within the episode itself with the final scene played for humour and clearly a nod to the audience that this was the cliché of the hero getting captured by a beautiful woman.
      Last edited by Rachel500; November 6, 2007, 11:36 PM.
      Women of the Gate LJ Community.
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        Not my most favorite episode. I did not like Larrin. I don't care what her background was or anything else. I really disliked the way she treated Shep. I thought that when he had the chance, he should have slugged her right back after she kept hitting him.

        This episode reminded me very much of SG1, Season 8, Prometheus Unbound, where Daniel and Vala kept beating the crap out of each other and taking the other prisoner. Only Larrin is really nothing much like Vala, and I actually came to like Vala. I doubt I would ever like Larrin.

        Larrin kept blaming Shep for everything that was going wrong, for her crewmen dying on the bridge of the ancient ship, everything. When, in fact, it was really her own fault. Had she at least been less vicious with him, and approached him with a little more honesty (even if she didn't trust him), none of those things would have happened.

        So the Travelers had been traveling around in space for a long time and needed supplies and so forth. In spite of the wraith threat, they could have found some nice little backwater planet to settle on, tend to their needs, and not have to rely on beating the crap out of lone space travelers to get information from them or threaten to kill if they didn't cooperate.

        Sorry to sound so hostile, but I didn't like this episode and I couldn't stand Larrin.



          It's that time again. Yup the time where Sheppard gets involved with a hot girl whether it's something regarding a natural relationship like "Sanctuary" or one where he gets held captive and forced to do stuff against his whim, like this episode. Sheppard has been seen as kind of a ladies man so to see him with a lady for an extended period of time does prove to be interesting...

          The guest star of the evening ("Larrin") proves to be the perfect companion for Sheppard as she goes through this episode, which is essential seeing as how it wouldn't work if the guest star wasn't a perfect match. She has a nice mix of ruthfulness, friendliness and compassion that works well for her character; she knows when to act overly violent and when to show a sense of vulnerability which is nice in the plot with Sheppard and nice for her character overall, what draws us to her and what makes this episode is the fact that she has more dimensions then your average character. If you look at the way she fights, talks to her friends and then interacts with Sheppard then you can see that she's someone you might connect with, someone you might want to see in another episode sometime in the future. It just wouldn't work if the character was solely one dimensional or didn't show enough of her dimensions, we would just be seeing the episode as just another cliche where Sheppard is forced to bond with some woman.

          Sheppard and Larrin.

          Sheppard itself plays the role of the ladies man quite well. As in "Sanctuary" he knows when to show that charm, when to show that friendliness and he plays the charming and friendly scenes well but in addition he also showcases some aggressiveness, mistrust and determination which is delivered finely in the tone of his character and really helps to set the mood and enhance the romance between he and Larrin. What he does work well for his character, he's drawing us to him, he's making us care about the situation; he's making us excited to see him and he's also drawing us to his guest character as well and he doesn't slack off, he effectively shows an uneasyness that adds a sort of convincing feeling to the relationship which he does not take for granted and is effectively utilized to reflect his character and to show a more compassionate side to him. It's such a sight to see Sheppard and Larrin because we know they're on opposite sides but we can feel that there's a bond between them, a bond which feels oddly enough natural.

          Sheppard and Larrin provide some incredible moments but you have to work your way through some middling scenes to get through them, scenes which unfortunately drag down the potential of this episode. These scenes are representative of what SGA is going through this season; contrived villains, mostly cliched situations, a focus on banter and including as much stuff on screen as possible; I almost thought this episode was going to be bad (or middle of the road) based on the opening scenes but as I watched the episode I was slowly proven wrong, even being surprised when I saw scenes that placed the characters involved in the most amazing of situations. Of course even if you manage to get to a point where you're convinced, those scenes will still be there, dragging down what could of been an amazing episode; even Sheppard at times doesn't feel like he's interested with the material given or the team isn't interested in giving a more moving speech, which really hurts the attempts to draw the audience into the episode.

          Just the norm here.

          Regardless, the scenes that are amazing are amazing. Seeing the Wraith on that ship really provides an engaging threat which puts us on the edge of our seat and seeing Sheppard and Larin fight the wraith is awesome; Sheppard is flexible and cool as usual as he shoots down the Wraith but it is really Larin who proves her flexibility. That scene where she fights is pretty well choreographed, she moves with a sense of fluidity and sensibility that more then proves she can hold her own while also showing that she has a sense of vulnerability that makes her feel more human to the audience. It helps that there isn't anything over the top with it, this isn't a fight where everything is at stake, this is a normal fight that just so happens to take place on a ship. It contains some over the top moments like Sheppard firing at his own ship but those moments don't detract from the action and the scene involving Sheppard and the Wraith has got to be one of the greatest shows of his character; the way he takes the Wraith hostage, it shows that even if it's the enemy, he's still willing to help out.

          It isn't as amazing as it could of been but this Sheppard and hot girl episode is pretty good, Sheppard and the guest star have a chemistry that will draw you in and there are moments which will have you at the edge of your seat. However, there are moments which drag the episode down (typical unfortunately) and leaves it feeling like the lesser of it's parts at some points. If you manage to get past those parts, you'll find yourself in good territory but you can't help thinking "what if?", what if this was amazing.

          Back from the grave.