Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 10
(Season 2 - Vol 5)

Starring: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion and David Hewlett
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 31 July 2006

While on an off-world mission Major Lorne and his men vanish. Burnt corpses are are later recovered and identification can only be made thanks to their dog tags. Meanwhile an old adversary from the Gennii contacts the Atlantis team to tell them he has a ZPM that he wants to exchange for their help in a matter that will also benefit them and bring the Gennii leadership crashing down...

Coup D'Etat sees the welcome, if brief, return of Colm Meany (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Chief O'Brien). as Cowen. This episode keeps you guessing as to who can be trusted and who is trying to manipulate the Atlantis team. Is Ladon (Ryan Robbins) telling the truth when he reveals that Cowen has lost the plot and needs to be taken down for the good of the Gennii, or is he trying to enflame an already problematic interplanetary relationship?

The great thing about this episode is that you spend the whole time thinking that you have a grip on what's unfolding, and until the closing act you really don't have a clue. There's more surprises here than I think we've ever seen on an Atlantis episode to date.

Another great, but very brief moment, is the scene where Teyla and Ronon discover the photos of the Atlantis team while searching for the killers of Lorne and his team. There's a fantastic photo of McKay which had me laughing like a loon. However, listening to the audio commentary, writer Martin Gero wasn't impressed with the images used - especially the one of Sheppard which he claims looks like a publicity shot.

Joining Gero on the commentary are director Martin Wood and David Hewlett (McKay). Interesting bits of information we learn include the fact that Robert Davi, who was noticeably absent from this story, wasn't free to appear in this episode but will return in Season Three; and Gero asks why McKay and Sheppard are the only two in their team that are wearing protective glasses with yellow lenses (everyone elses have clear glass). Hewlett quips that they are "leading actor glasses".

A great episode that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Lt. Michael Kenmore wakes in the infirmary with no memory of who he is or how he got there. As the Atlantis team try to help him get back on his feet and resume his duties he starts to feel that he isn't been told everything - that his comrades are hiding something from him...

Michael sees Conner Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise's Charles "Trip" Tucker) star as Michael, a man who is picking up the pieces of his life after an apparent accident robbed him of his memories. While he can remember certain people and events, everything is rather hazy. But, he soon realises that people seem to be hiding something from him. What could it be? Did his actions lead to the death of some of his comrades? Or is he just becoming paranoid?

One of the things I found interesting on the audio commentary was the fact that apparently Trinneer doesn't actually have a Texan drawl. It could be that Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise are winding us up with this "fact", but if not, it would be interesting to know why Michael has a Texan accent as he did in Enterprise. In fact, whether or not that's a fact, it would still be interesting to know why he has an accent at all.

Wood also brings up an interesting point which my colleague Richard McGinlay wrote about several years ago in Skaro magazine. Why is it in science fiction, when we have an alien threat, we always give them human characteristics. When we have a big bad threat (like Trek's Borg or Stargate's Wraith) we always end up slowly making them appear more human until what was a totally alien race becomes a more understandable species.

On the commentary they also joke about the show's ongoing experiment to see how many Star Trek and Firefly actors they can employ.

There's also a homage to An American Werewolf in London tucked away in this episode.

Despite the fact that the twist in the tale is not too difficult to fathom before it's revelation (mainly thanks to the actions of Ronon) this is a great episode that throws up some very interesting moral and ethical dilemmas.

The team is called to a distant village
whose inhabitants are concerned by strong tremors. When McKay heads underground to investigate the problem, he finds that the tremors are being caused by a super-volcano. The leader agrees to evacuate his people. However, the team becomes stranded when the gate is destroyed...

Inferno is not a bad episode by any stretch of the imagination, but it could have been a lot better. I loved the fact that the leader of this society is immediately suspicious of Weir's motives for evacuating their planet. This is exactly what I was thinking before he voiced his concerns. It did indeed look like Weir was trying to get them to leave the planet so that she could commander their huge Ancient ship for herself.

The audio commentary with director Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones (Stargate SG-1's Walter Harriman) was as humours as always. It's worth listening just for Jones's "cheese and chocolate show" comment.

This is a solid episode, but rather dull in comparison to others in this season. And I really thought the three-way flirting part of the the plot was a little on the silly side.

A Wraith hive ship approaches Atlantis. But, instead of attacking Weir and her crew, the Wraith want to help the humans defeat the Wraith threat. It seems that they are engaged in a civil war, and the visiting Wraith offer a
wealth of information about their technology. The partnership almost seems too good to be true...

Allies sees the return of Michael from the episode of the same name. However, as the audio commentary with Andy Mikita (director) Gero and Hewlett reveals, Trinneer doesn't physically appear in the episode as his wife was about to give birth. However, he did re-dub the voice later. We also discover that there was issues over the colour of the Wraith queen's skin colour (which if you watch carefully you'll notice changes from orange to green as the episode progresses).

Again, as with Coup D'Etat, there are so many double bluffs and twists and turns in this episode that you'll never be able to fathom what is really happening until the final reveal. And boy what an explosive episode this is.

This is a fantastic conclusion to the show's second season - although you'll be drooling for more.

As well as the four audio commentaries, other extras include Photo and Production Design Gallery, and the funniest extra I've ever seen on any DVD - Road to a Dream: With Martin Gero. This 19 minute featurette examines Gero's bid to become an actor. There are interviews with him and the producers and cast of the show. But mainly this is an interview with Gero on how he sees his acting career taking off after casting himself in a none speaking cameo role. This is so wonderfully tongue-in-cheek that ironically, it proves just how good an actor he actually is. Highlight's include Gero's Oscar prediction; his insistence that his character, Danger Beckett, is the more handsome brother of Doctor Beckett; and Jason Momoa's (Ronon) couldn't-give-a-toss attitude. Also worthy of note are the "faked" rushes and outtakes of Gero on set.
This extra is worth the asking price alone.

A fantastic conclusion to a wonderful second season.

Pete Boomer

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal!
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£13.47 (Amazon.co.uk)
£14.99 (Blahdvd.com)
£12.89 (Thehut.com)

All prices correct at time of going to press.