Stargate Atlantis season 3 episode 5: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

Yes, it’s back to the long delayed and probably largely pointless Stargate Atlantis posts, and who says being a few many months behind is such a bad thing?

Atlantis Mark II
Upon dialling up a new gate address, the team is surprised to find an Atlantis look-alike on the other side, with surprise turning to wonder when they realise that not only is this place far more complex than Atlantis, but that it also seems to be inhabited by a surviving faction of Ancients, the Asurans.

Of course, when things look good for our heroes, they quickly turn bad, for these people are not Ancients- instead, they are Replicator-esque life-forms created from nano-machines. The Ancient programmed them to be aggressive warriors dedicated to combating the Wraith, and although many of them have learned to suppress their aggression, their leader is still influenced enough by it to want to attack Atlantis in revenge for the Ancients’ treatment of his people. With that goal driving him, he launches the Asuran city-ship on a journey to Atlantis.

Nonetheless, there are dissenters amongst the Asurans who wish to overcome their programming and achieve ascension- and to that end, they want the SG personnel to alter their programming. Rodney agrees to do so, but with Atlantis in danger from Asuran attack he confines the alterations to Niam, the leader of the dissenters, temporarily freezing all the other Asurans on the city-ship and triggering a ZPM overload that will destroy it. As the team heads for a puddle jumper, however, the Asurans unfreeze, and although they and Niam are able to escape, the inhabitants of Asura discover what has been done to their leader. In retaliation, they reset Niam’s programming, turning him into the aggressive killer he was originally meant to be.

Fortunately, the team are able to blow Niam into space by releasing the hatch on the puddle jumper’s rear hold, but whilst they are able to return to Atlantis safely, he remains in orbit, alive, aggressive and betrayed…

Episode thoughts
After the disappointment of episodes three and four, and my long hiatus from actually watching the series, I actually enjoyed this episode at first- not least because of the novelty of seeing a second Atlantis base. Unfortunately, the revelation that the Asurans were effectively Replicators, and a similar double-crossing tale of the SG betraying them for a short term victory that will lead to long term troubles was all too similar to the episode of SG-1 where we first met the human form Replicators. It also felt as if the story changed tack too quickly towards the end, with the team helping Niam one minute and then exploiting him the next. I understand that of course our heroes were looking out for the safety of Atlantis, but even so it just felt like a disappointing denouement.

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