Overall Rating: 8.2
This two-parter is plenty of fun...the fact that that's ALL it is doesn't stop me from enjoying it, though the characterization of Elizabeth Weir doesn't help. I will always admire Atlantis for rescuing this character and making me actually LIKE her.
The Stargate Wiki has the scoop - including on the character in question (and the multiple actresses who've played her) - starting here and here.
Since I've already started my complaint, I'll go ahead and finish it before I get to the more positive stuff. Introducing us to the person who is going to be the central figure on your new franchise by having her decry the Stargate's continuation of old American manifest destiny (what a friggin' LAUGH) and giving her a history as a pacifist radical fighting to "stop the proliferation of weapons" (code for demilitarization) is just friggin' STUPID. Sorry Gate writers, but your fans have spent seven years watching SG-1 and company do the exact OPPOSITE of proliferating weapons and staking imperial claims the way she seems to believe after reading mission reports. Seriously, name one instance where SG-1 staked a claim to a planet already populated by sovereign peoples? Find one moment where we increased the militarization of a region intentionally, rather tha reducing it by eliminating major threats (such as Goa'uld system lords and replicators).
A pig-headed ultra-liberal hater of the military in command of a mission that, no matter how much civilian oversight you might want, will ALWAYS be military in nature given the nature of the threats the world faces from bad guys with whom you can't truly negotiate is illogical and irksome to me. I thought you clowns GOT this when you showed us Heroes. I thought you knew better.
There are things to love about Weir - she isn't easy to push around (and she doesn't obtain this strength of will in some forced way - it seems innate, rather than two-by-fourish) and she very much IS capable of making the tough calls that will need to be made to be head of a dangerous expedition. She seems open-minded enough to listen to people she has spent her life hating if they make a reasonable case. And she seems to be a natural judge of character, which will suit her well when she learns to interact with aliens. They could have done without the needless political chest-thumping and the episode would have been a feature. Seriously...i was THAT annoyed with it.
Other than that flaw, this send-off to the seventh season is highly entertaining, filled with pathos (mostly in scenes involving SG-1 interacting candidly), and frankly...the rule of cool applies *and some of the action scenes are genuinely AWESOME). The pacing is wonderfully brisk when you want to be swept away and equally luxuriant and slow when you wanted to stop and enjoy a moment. The gathering of SG-1 and Hammond at Jack's abode is particularly popular (and for good reason - Burns as Goa'uld indeed!). I just wish they'd let Weir be skeptical without being obnoxious...because the Weir that runs Atlantis is a different person before long.
They had to do a LOT to make this work...and yet they spent a good 20 of their 90 minutes simply letting SG-1 interact during their down moments. That's not easy to do.
Torri Higginson is a VASTLY superior Weir when compared with Jessica Steen. Other than giving the episode a minus one for her mediocre efforts, I have no complaints. Amendola's goofy grin at seeing Anubis' fleet getting cut to shreds pretty much sums up why we like him so much.
+2 for team spirit and togetherness (and general likability), -2 for Elizabeth Weir's politics. It comes out a wash in the end.