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FAN REVIEWS: 'Search and Rescue'

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    FAN REVIEWS: 'Search and Rescue'

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    After a conflict with Michael leaves several Atlantis personnel trapped, Colonel Carter leads a rescue mission -- unaware that Michael is still nearby.



    Calling All Writers! Tell the world what you think of the newest episodes of Stargate Atlantis! Rather than publishing a single review at GateWorld, we're letting you offer your thoughtful and well-reasoned evaluation of episodes. Some of our favorite reviews will be highlighted on, exposing your writing to tens of thousands of readers! But we do have some guidelines, so please read carefully before submitting your review.

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    Last edited by Darren; 04 February 2021, 12:02 AM.

    The fourth season finale was a bit of a letdown for me, especially the very end, so the writers had a difficult task to perform. Not only did they have to kick off the season well enough to justify some of the changes, but they had to overcome my skepticism. For the most part, I think the writers did what they needed to do.

    In some respects, I think the production kicked things up a notch. The pullback effects shot in the teaser was completely gratuitous, but it was still a great way to get the audience’s attention for what is, in the end, a simple story. The survivors of the explosion at the end of the fourth season finale (all name characters, of course) need to be rescued, but Michael’s little trap included a high-tech silent alarm. So Michael is ready to come calling to finish off the enemy, and Team Atlantis needs to race against time to rescue the survivors. Oh, and since Teyla is on Michael’s ship, it’s inevitable that her rescue will be in the cards as well.

    So much is crammed into the premiere that it’s surprising how much character ends up in the final mix. Granted, Michael and his hybrids are reduced to the usual storytelling clichés, but the team gets a chance to shine. John and Ronon got to have a “last stand” moment (which was obviously going to end in a last minute rescue), and the characters were well suited for it. McKay got to demonstrate his technical brilliance and deliver a baby. Even Keller is starting to assert herself more, which is a nice touch.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the writers finally gave Carter the chance to demonstrate some strong leadership, and it’s the end of her command. I found the various comments about her work on Atlantis, particularly McKay’s summary of how well she did over the past year, to be a bit ironic. In fact, it could be seen as an example of the writers’ lack of self-awareness. Carter was practically tossed in a corner and forgotten for most of the fourth season! Then again, as far as the team is concerned, maybe her hands-off approach was the best thing about her.

    Sheppard, on the other hand, must be trying to win a Most Manly Tough Guy Award contest with Ronon. The man gets a spike to the liver and multiple crush wounds, and he’s still forcing himself to stage a rescue. They managed not to ignore his injuries completely, but it would have been nice for Sheppard to suffer his way through the rescue op just a bit more than he did. Since his survival was never in question (Sheppard and McKay will live forever, I guarantee it), why not put him through the wringer?

    While I’ve been soundly dismissed for fronting the notion previously, I think this episode underscores the semi-romantic nature of John and Teyla’s personal relationship. I will agree that there’s little chance that John and Teyla will end up together, since that’s not quite how the Stargate franchise works. Characters are far more likely to dance around each other for years or (as with the father of Teyla’s child) conduct romances off-screen. That said, the bond is more than strictly professional; the end of the episode is practically overflowing with “significant glances”.

    If there’s one quibble I have with the episode, it’s the removal of Michael and his hybrids from the story. Michael spent most of the fourth season setting up his grand plan, and it seems like a waste of potential to eliminate him before he can truly step into the spotlight. Michael was one of the better recurring villains, because his actions were the direct consequence of a questionable Atlantis experiment. I thought it would have been a clever choice to have Michael be the true villain of the series because it would have justified the Wraith (who have yet to fulfill their potential) and could have unified the series as a whole. Unless Michael stages another miraculous escape and survives, that opportunity is lost.

    Yet I will admit that Michael’s apparent demise is not enough to ruin the episode for me, and within the context of the premiere itself, his defeat makes sense. Sure, the writers took the easy route and had Teyla’s love interest overcome his programming at just the right time (that cliché I mentioned earlier), but if one can accept that Teyla could give birth on Michael’s ship without alerting anyone at all, a few clichés are par for the course.

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


      The fifth season of Stargate Atlantis opened with “Search and Rescue;” a solid episode that managed to pack a lot of story into 42 minutes, and while there were a few continuity issues, on the whole, it was a very good episode.

      “Search & Rescue” offered a bit of everything – angst, friendship and action. The episode was very well written and directed and had a nice balance of character drama and action. The action scenes unfolded nicely in a way that complemented the drama of the main storyline instead of overpowering it. There was an underlying current of tension present that added to and tied the different aspects of the plot together as well as explaining the motives and actions of the characters – in the latter case, specifically Lt. Colonel John Sheppard.

      The opening scene provided a few surprising moments of viewer misdirection. After the ending scene from last season’s finale, one would expect the episode to open on the collapsed building or least something directly related to that. The dinner scene between Teyla and Sheppard was unexpected and provided a few moments of, “What happened? Did I miss something?” Add to this the twist with Ford showing up to give the episode a surprising start that is refreshingly different for Stargate. Both Rachel Luttrell and Joe Flanigan did a great job with this scene.

      The transition of Sheppard from unconsciousness to consciousness is played out well from a visual and imagery perspective. You have the conversation with Teyla that doesn’t seem to add up, the fire burning, Ford appearing, then the blood and Sheppard in pain. The moment when he wakes things are a bit blurry and confused. It allowed the viewer, in a sense, to experience with the character his return to consciousness.

      The first few scenes also provided a rare glimpse into Sheppard’s psyche and the guilt he still harbors for lost teammates he was not able to rescue. This overriding theme really drove the episode. Sheppard’s determination to rescue Teyla, despite the odds or the risk to himself, was also a good example of character continuity. It again brings up the question as to why his character is so driven in this manner; the answer would make interesting backstory for the character. Sheppard’s efforts to convince Ronon to rescue himself and leave him behind as well as his relief to learn that McKay was alive play into the motivations behind his decisions during the episode. Carter also drove this theme, both with her rescue efforts for Sheppard, and the team as well as for Teyla by encouraging Caldwell to make risky decisions.

      The strong character moments in this episode really gave it a solid foundation and a cohesive feel. This was one episode of Stargate where the characters seemed to be driving the story more than the action.

      Some notable character moments include;
      The scene where Ronon and Sheppard are both trapped under the building was a great example of the friendship, loyalty and respect they have for each other. They have not always seen eye to eye with each other, but will stick by each other through ‘thick and thin.’

      Ronon’s concern for Teyla when they found her in the Wraith cruiser was very warm and touching. It demonstrates the close friendship between the two. Ronon has a genuine compassionate side that is always nice to see and Jason Momoa does an excellent job contrasting this with the tough warrior side of the character.

      McKay and the birthing scene with Teyla was classic Stargate. It presented a serious, dangerous situation but still was able find a few moments of humor in the situation. Both Luttrell and David Hewlett did an excellent job. While Rodney was portrayed very typically for his character, he did come through in the end. It wouldn’t be surprising to hear Rodney exclaim, at least a few times throughout the season, how he delivered the baby and saved the day.

      Carter was portrayed very well in this episode. Her competent leadership skills were showcased and the character seemed very comfortable in the role and as a viewer, it was very comfortable seeing her in that role. This made the last scene between her and Woolsey quite jarring. To see a beloved character dismissed in such an abrupt manner was disconcerting, though in a broader sense, it worked in the overall scheme of the story and for the character. Hopefully the reasons for the dismissal and the manner in which it was done will be played out in future episodes.

      One character who was somewhat disappointing was Michael. While Connor Trinneer, as always, did a great job portraying him, the character itself seemed to be reacting to, instead of in charge of the situation. For as formable of a villain Michael has been made to be, this was a rather weak showing for him. At times he seemed more of an anemic bystander rather than a ruthless villain bent on domination of the galaxy.

      There were a few questions of continuity that left for weak spots in the episode; such as the question of Teyla’s father’s name and where Kanaan was at the end of the episode. Also it was a stretch to believe that Sheppard was as injured as he was and still able to move around the Wraith cruiser as he did. At least they did show some limitations, such as him not able to carry Teyla or plant the C-4, though it would have been more realistic to see him falter a bit more. It would have been interesting to see Sheppard a bit more physically challenged and to experience conflict or self doubt because of it.

      The CGI and the musical score were also both outstanding.

      Despite a few continuity issues, “Search and Rescue” was a solid season opener that highlighted the characters, allowing their motivations to drive the story. The episode as a whole presented a nice balance of characters moments, action and drama – definitely worth repeated viewing.
      Last edited by EdenSG; 20 July 2008, 05:28 PM. Reason: spelling


        Search and Rescue provides a solid finish to The Last Man and a solid start to Season 5. It delivers to expectations; a space battle between Michael and the Atlantis team, the rescue of Teyla, the birth of her child and Sheppard playing hero. There are some fantastic touches throughout but, in playing to expectations, the episode fails to excel and in the end the broad brush strokes of the story leave gaping holes within the plot.

        The plot is the weakest link in the episode. The series needs – for the team to be recovered and for Carter to be replaced as Atlantis leader seem to overpower the need for a believable plot. Part of the problem is that the building explosion and team trapped in rubble scenario was never a great set-up; it’s anticipated that the main cast members at least survive so the story opens with a severe lack of dramatic tension. One attempt to inject tension by having Michael turn up does work to some degree; there is sense of urgency about the rescue attempts, there is a niggling worry that the hybrids will find Sheppard and Ronon before they can be beamed. But overall this is where the plot really falls down as why would Michael knowing the compound had been compromised, that the place was booby trapped to explode if that happened, ever return there?

        If the idea was that he wanted to check everything there had been destroyed then this should have been made more explicit. As it is, Michael’s decision to go to the compound is confusing to a viewer. Michael’s motivations in continuing the search for survivors in the rubble are equally not well explained; does he do it because he wants to turn them into hybrids and gain access to their knowledge or to kill them (as suggested by Carter)? He seems to risk his whole master plan for no obvious reason. From an overall story perspective, I can appreciate that in having Michael come to the compound and stay around it allows the team to rescue Teyla but I can’t help but think the story could have been structured more believably to achieve the same aim.

        The other area where the plot falls down is around Sheppard’s injury and his desperate need not to fail a team-mate. The latter underlying thread is beautifully woven in with the opening scene of Sheppard dreaming of being thanked by Teyla only to be bluntly reminded by Ford (a fantastic cameo that is the one shining unexpected moment and which delighted hugely) that he hasn’t rescued her at all. It nicely follows through in Sheppard’s insistence with both Keller and Carter that he will go on the mission despite not being 100%. The ending with Teyla in the infirmary where Teyla thanks him for real is touching and a wonderful balance to the opening.

        This whole piece of Sheppard ignoring his injuries to save a team-mate would have been a joy if the suggestion had been that Sheppard was injured enough that his insistent participation in the mission bordered on him being a liability but not so injured that his ability to perform the mission is unbelievable. The episode unfortunately delivers the latter as Sheppard’s injuries in the first part are suggested as being truly life-threatening. The scenes with Ronon in the rubble and the infirmary scene with Keller stating outright he needs immediate medical attention – surgery even – to fix his injuries underscores this. It also means that the scene with Carter standing by and allowing an insistent Sheppard to go on the mission is also unconvincing.

        Carter’s command is the other underlying theme. The scenes during the rescue, the retreat, the relationship with Caldwell all show off Carter in her command role; the scenes with Sheppard walking off from her, Woolsey relieving her of her command undermine this picture though and this latter scene in particular suggests that Carter is replaced because the IOA don’t approve of her. It’s an ignominious exit for the character and it’s hoped her return later in the season will redress this.

        Having said all that, while the plot has issues, it is well executed. The scenes in the rubble are well done; Kavan Smith does an excellent job with Lorne in pain and dealing with an irritating McKay, while Ronon and Sheppard’s buddy act is also nicely acted. Michael and Teyla continue to spark with great chemistry, with Connor Trinneer continuing to delight as Michael. Teyla’s birthing scene provides a great moment between her and McKay – fabulous acting by David Hewlett and Rachel Luttrell. Joe Flanigan delivers a vulnerable Sheppard. Indeed the acting throughout is very good and the episode excels at providing moments between the characters that play up their friendships and relationships with the result that it has a glorious team feel.

        The other area of production that excels is the graphics; the pan up from the rubble to the planet and into space, through stars and planets to Michael’s ship is fantastic and the battle scenes provide a smorgasbord of special effects. The explosion of the hyperdrive is brilliantly executed as is the eventual destruction of the cruiser.

        The execution and overall production (make-up, costumes, etc) produce a polished episode; one in which the plot flaws are neatly glossed over allowing them to be ignored by an audience seeking only to be entertained. The episode is solid and overall enjoyable; it leaves the series with enough of a clean slate for the rest of the season to build upon but overall I am hoping that the quality of the plotting improves going forward and matches the rest of what is otherwise a quality show. Here there are only glimmers of that and the promise of what can be.
        Women of the Gate LJ Community.
        My Stargate Fanfiction. My LiveJournal.


          Search and Rescue

          After last season's cliffhanger, people were anxiously awaiting whether or not they survived much like they were awaiting the resolution of Dynasty's cliffhanger where they too also wanted to know if they survived. Well this season provides you with your resolution and as expected they survive; giving an anticlimactic resolution to such a big cliffhanger. Even with the knowledge of that in your mind, it wouldn't get in the way of the season opener which have usually been good and started off their respective seasons with a bang; surely SGA can bring upon a season opener which can get the hopes of the fans up. Unfortunately, this is by far the weakest season opener SGA has ever come up with.

          It's expected that they'd start off with the characters trapped in the debris; Sheppard and Evan trapped, McKay and Ronan making it out fine... Surely since their in the debris this allows for some form of character exploration but nothing new is ever introduced nor are existing traits explored in an interesting manner. Ronan tries to save Sheppard but Sheppard wants him to go, while it does reinforce their mentalities, it doesn't show us anything that we don't already know; leaving only the performances which are decent but surprisingly complacent. McKay and Evan fare even poorly with the dynamic between them being nonexistent, McKay's behavior here only serves to provide a comedic performance that will hopefully engage the audience and to provide some scene where info is revealed, Evan's banter does help the medicine go down a bit but it's clear that there isn't anything that draws us into their situation and that is a major problem throughout the episode. You have the Atlantis crew searching for them hectically, you have Michael approaching on his Wraith cruiser but it all seems to lack life and substance; this is where the characters come in, their personalities and their traits give weight to a situation bringing a sense of urgency to their actions making, helping to give a sense of life & death even if you know they're going to make it out alive. It's mainly because of these characters that SGA has had so many good moments but take away the characters and what do you get? bad moments. This episode tries to be big, big, big but it's really hard to care when the characters aren't compelling.


          Obviously with a season opener there has to be a respective amount of action and that is accomplished when the crew risk everything go inside a Wraith Cruiser to get Teyla and get out, complete with space battles and special effects; it should be fun but it turns out to be a boring romp through science exhibits. The crew moves through the hive with finesse and skill but they feel almost robotic in their movements, saying of catchphrases and conversations, as if they were actors trying to be characters; it's like we're just watching actors on a television screen shooting their guns, waiting until the anticlimactic end where they find a convenient way to escape that defies common sense. They do try something unique by having Sheppard go into combat in the worst possible shape but there's only so much Sheppard's acting can do for a plot like that, it becomes almost evident that his injuries will slow him down from the very moment he steps on the Wraith and if it wasn't clear enough then the writers make it more obvious by having him be in pain at certain times I'm all for having Sheppard defy logic but I don't want to see him suffer through a plot where the inconveniences and character aspects are generic. Also Michael himself is made out to be really generic this time around; I could not sense any of his personality at all, he seemed to be saying everything as if he were trying to make it menacing and there were barely any times where he got to speak out his opinions, instead showing glee satisfaction when he faces his enemies and anger when he loses. Compared to other SG bad guys, he's no different and to see him reduced to this state is sad.

          The only notable thing about this episode is Teyla's birth which will be the moment everybody will remember. McKay giving birth has that kind of cuteness that draws us in, makes us feel for everything that's going on; there's always something about an incapable person giving birth and the reactions they provide that makes it cute, that and the actual birth itself... Of course, there is the ever incessant worrying from McKay that threatens to dilute these scenes; to me it felt over-the-top and overly unnecessary, as if he was trying to be worried rather than letting it come naturally, which in itself is annoying. McKay has had some good worry moments but seeing him try to converse with Teyla and screaming at the top of his lungs is an example on how not to do things and worse, it even effects the chemistry with Teyla making her seem like a gimmick than a character. No matter, the birth itself is beautiful, seeing Teyla with the baby is cute and hopefully this baby will expand Teyla's character for years to come. Surprisingly, this seems to be Sam's last romp through Atlantis and seems decent in her first few moments, managing to showcase some of that humor but it almost seems like she's trying to go out on top, yelling out every action on top of her lungs, stating out the obvious commands and trying to make herself look like a leader; it does feel reflective of Sam's tenure of Atlantis, there but barely doing anything. I could understand why she'd step up now but I can also understand why she'd be replaced now. At least the replacement is sudden and unexpected. (though they reveal it in the opening credits like last season.)


          "Search and Rescue" ends up being the weakest season opener to date. Much of it is oddly insubstantial and commonplace; the characters not caring about their roles, the situations seeming complacent with barely anything being done to set it apart from the pack, Michael being generic and the Hive seeming like a snoozefest than anything resembling fun. It did have it's moment, Teyla giving birth is by far the best moment of the episode and at least Teyla's given a purpose now but considering the cliffhanger they had to hold on to, this feels almost like a cheat than an actual source of entertainment or even sci-fi viewing. If the season opener is this weak then I have bad feelings about Season 5.

          Back from the grave.