Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 2
(Season 1 - Vol 2)

Starring: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks and David Hewlett
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 11 April 2005

Dr Weir begins to suspect that one of the Athosians is actually in league with the Wraith when the Atlantis team are ambushed by their enemy on an off world trip. Taking action despite Teyla and Sheppard's concerns Dr Weir starts interviewing the Athosians in order to weed out the Wraith but alienates the community who start leaving the city in droves...

Suspicion is a rather dull affair. There's a little too much "Oh! I'm hurt! How dare you accuse my people of being spies!" and "Let's tread softly, softly". There just didn't seem to be enough material to stretch over 45 minutes.

However, this episode, unlike others on this disc, is slotted in at just the right time in the series. We still don't know the Athosians very well and, even though it's obvious Teyla will be around for some time as she's on the opening credits, we are still not sure how loyal her people are.

The Atlantis team discover a primitive forest dwelling tribe untouched by the Wraith. An electromagnetic field protects them but the tribe believe ritual suicide keeps the Wraith at bay. Sheppard must try and convince the tribe this ritual is unnecessary but the 'elders' are not so sure...

Oh look, another forest planet! Fantastic. Childhood's End is not original in any sense of the word. This episode features a culture where the inhabitants must die before they reach full adulthood (a bit like Logan's Run). The Atlantis team make friends with the elder of the village who just so happens to be preparing to top himself that evening as he has reached the age where it is necessary to die. And guess what, his replacement wants the Atlantis team out of his village one way or another.

While this episode is clichéd in just about every aspect, it works! Don't ask how, or why... it just does. The scenes with David Hewlett's bumbling Doctor McKay help keep everything very light hearted and the end result, while not fantastic, is entertaining.

The Atlantis team encounter the Hoffans a civilisation who claim to be close to developing a drug that will make them immune to the Wraith. Learning of the awakening of the Wraith the Hoffans demand to inoculate their people before the drug is properly tested, to the horror of Dr Beckett...

In Poisoning The Well the Atlantis team visit a race whose fashion and culture seem to be derived from a cross between Victorian and '40s influences.

The main problem I had with this episode was that the team are starting to think that it is their duty to police the galaxy. Does Sheppard really have the right, or the authority, to speak to the Hoffan leaders the way he does? What gives the Atlantis team the right to interfere so much in another culture? Sheppard's comments are particularly at odds with the team's views in Childhood's End where they were prepared to discuss sacrificing another culture in order to obtain the power crystal to get back to Earth.

This is the first episode that really sees Dr Beckett take centre stage and his scenes work really well. There is also a nice gag about him playing the same role as McCoy in Star Trek.

Overall, an enjoyable episode.

While investigating another planet Dr McKay discovers that its unique atmospheric fog may provide enough power to allow the team to communicate with Earth. Better still, they may be able to go back there. When the team manage to return to their home planet they are informed that the Atlantis programme is to be terminated...

For some odd reason, Home is the final episode on this disc. If these releases were following the original transmission order, Underground should have been the final episode on this collection with Home beginning the next disc. Strangely the PR information we received with this disc indicated that Underground was the final episode of this collection too, so I'm not entirely sure what happened there.

Overall I really enjoyed this episode, but I had some major issues with it. Firstly this episode really should have been included later in the show's first season. We've only just arrived at Atlantis and the team are all racing to get back to Earth. Another problem was the fact that the twist in the tale is spoilt by the fact that Hammond is still in charge of the SGC (as he was when they left). So you already know that something is wrong.

There are some great gags here - my favourite being the fact that despite months having passed, there are no messages on McKay's home answering machine.

A pretty enjoyable episode even if anyone with half a brain will work out what is going on in the first 15 minutes.

Extras are incredibly thin on the ground - in fact embarrassingly poor. I'm beginning to think that these may be released in season box sets shortly with tons more extras. All we get are a nine minute video diary by actor Rainbow Sun Francks; a six minute featurette (Stargate: Atlantis: Mission Directive - The Storm/The Eye) that goes behind the scenes of two-part episode we haven't seen yet; and a photo gallery.

Pete Boomer

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