Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Lifeline - Review

Lifeline is the 2nd episode in Season Four of Stargate Atlantis.


The strength of this particular outing for the SGA team is the emotion that seeps through the story and bleeds through the screen. It is a combination of good direction, solid writing, and excellent performances that provides a fitting conclusion to the trilogy despite the missing originality and the less than believable escape from the replicator home-world that leaves the actual plot a little lacklustre in comparison.

It seems appropriate to focus on what is wrong before examining what is right and unfortunately the plot is the main failing of what is otherwise a very accomplished episode. While the main plot – a heist on the Asuran home-world to get a ZPM is original, there are one too many elements that make it feel like its all been seen before; RepliWeir strangely reminiscent of SG1’s RepliCarter (and even Voyager’s brushes with the Borg Queen); the confrontation with Oberoth too similar to Daniel and RepliCarter. The frozen Replicators are definitely a call back to SG1’s Reckoning and the episode introducing the Asurans which also contained a mock ‘escape.’ Even allowing for the possibility that elements within the story were included as tributes or nods to previous storylines, so much seems to be reminiscent of past episodes that the originality of the core plot is lost.

It is difficult to say whether the final escape coming across as being less than believable is down to the pacing, the plot or the direction, or a combination of these. The ‘mock’ escape employed by Weir would have worked well had the team used the time she was fooling Oberoth to escape but given that there is a delay and the team is still far from safe when she comes out of the fake scenario, it all seems a little pointless. Indeed, the fake escape slows the episode and destroys the pace. More than that, when Sheppard and Ronan are in the corridor with Weir and Oberoth, the impression is that they are still surrounded and about to be overrun with Replicators but somehow they still manage to make it to the jumper – although Weir no longer has control?? It’s a jarring note.

If the direction and writing is a little off with the escape, where they come together brilliantly are in those scenes which focus on Weir’s relationship with her team and their reaction to her situation. From the scene in the infirmary where Sheppard awkwardly tries to reassure her they won’t use the kill switch through the scenes in the jumper where his trust in her is demonstrated to the decision to use the kill switch to her desire to protect her team and get them to safety to Sheppard’s decision to leave her behind and the team’s reaction to losing her once they are back on Atlantis…every scene shines with repressed emotion, regret, loss. There is realism to the reactions – the acting is superb, just simply outstanding. McKay’s quiet ‘but’ when they make the decision to use the kill switch allowing McKay a moment of emotion in what was otherwise a technobabble overload of a story for the character. Ronan’s gruff comforting of Teyla at the end with the simple hand on her shoulder; Jason Momoa and Rachel Luttrell proving what an asset they can be when given something to do. However, both Joe Flanigan and Torri Higginson steal the show.

Flanigan truly steps into leading man mode; he carries the story. Sheppard is still a man feeling the responsibility of his position; he leaves Teyla in Atlantis, he makes the call to use the kill switch, he always has the best for Atlantis in mind every step of the way. Yet, his desire to reassure and comfort Weir, his friend, are there in each look, each awkward exchange. The difficulty in making the decision to use the kill switch clear in his expression; the one to leave her behind devastating on a personal level that seeps through his body language and expression. Fantastic acting especially in his scenes with Higginson.

Higginson’s performance is accomplished. She plays Weir subtly different to the one of old; Weir is a curious mix of human and machine; emotional yet clinical. The scenes in the jumper particularly allow her to showcase this new Weir. Higginson revels in the story which allows Weir’s passion for her team, her overriding desire to make Atlantis safe (the core of the character), free rein. Carl Binder has written great Weir material and this no exception; it is a strong story for Weir. In fact, the trilogy of First Strike, Adrift and Lifeline, is a great Weir story from her feeling undermined by the military, to her near death and resurrection, to her ultimately saving the city, it’s a fantastic arc for the character.

The story provides a showcase for Weir while her soon-to-be successor is kept mostly (and appropriately) in the wings; the scenes of Samantha Carter on the Apollo are short and sweet but fit well in a way they did not in the previous episode (comic relief from Doctor Lee is still unnecessary and unwanted), her inclusion in the final scenes a nice transition piece; a taster for what is to come. Tapping and Flanigan played the balcony scene well; I enjoyed her ‘Actually, there’s five [moons]’ retort: classic Carter. The final recognition that Sheppard would continue to try and find Weir so long as there was the hope she was alive, poignant against the backdrop of the night sky and Carter’s quiet ‘I know.’ Importantly, Carter didn’t overshadow Weir’s exit and at the end it is still Weir that the audience is thinking about.

Overall, Lifeline is a thoroughly enjoyable episode which evokes an emotional response from its audience through its character interaction, strong performances, good writing and direction. While it is not a perfect rendition given the plot issues, the lasting impression is of that emotion, of the tangled regret and sadness at the loss of Weir, and for that it deserves high praise.




Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow