While nothing fancy, this episode does immediately establish the core likability of several of the main characters.
The Stargate Wiki has a summary that'll do for us here.
The main plot here is pretty mundane - a sci-fi monster-of-the-week made up of pure energy (which, for some reason, is black) that must either be contained or tricked off Atlantis Base and people all over the city in harm's way. It's standard fare that gets a boost from:
- McKay bringing the funny for the first time (this will be a weekly staple)
- Teyla coming up with the outside-the-box insight that saves the day (go hot girl!)
- Sheppard explaining football to Teyla (and trying, and failing, to scare kids with ghost stories that make no sense if you don't live on Earth but are only new to non-Earthlings...LOL)
- McKay demonstrating that, while he might be a bit of a wuss, he will rise to the occasion when there is no other choice
Fair warning to you folks...I am a big fan of McKay and my reviews may be biased as a result. :) I recognize that the ending is predictable and not particularly creative and that Rodney's heroism is a bit "pat"...but I still like it. :) I love his constant carping that he's a dead man walking, his worries about food, his making the device turn off as soon as someone calls on him to use it in a dangerous situation and his recovering some spine in time to save the base. This formula will work well for a long time for me. Sometimes I think it's good for a show not to try to accomplish too much in the first few episodes after a pilot - to let the writers figure out what fans will like and then concentrate their efforts in those directions. Stargate writers quickly realized that Rodney and Teyla were the central popular figures and moved to create plots mostly around them and their various hardships. As I've always maintained, Stargate's lead production teams take their fans seriously, work hard to promote continuity and consistent rules, and respond to the desires of the fans in ways that balance those requests with wisdom (rather than spiraling off into fanfic territory. :) ).
While not ambitious and a bit cliche, this script gets the job done nicely and is fun to watch.
Hewlett is a pro and Luttrell and Flanigan are already showing signs of enticing camaraderie and chemistry. Higginson is a bit rough early on...sometimes coming on a bit too strong.
This isn't a particularly message-heavy plot...it just serves to establish the new Atlantis "stasis" from which other stories will build.