Featuring four episode for your money, this latest volume of the fourth season DVD collection of Stargate Atlantis kicks off with ‘Quarantine’, in which, you guessed it, Atlantis goes under Quarantine. Of course, like many things on Atlantis, something is wrong. It wasn’t intentiona;, and as far as we know, there isn’t even a virus! No, this isn’t something that the Atlantis team can fight; it’s an episode of dealing.
Everyone is stuck with the person they would least want to be stuck with. At least, that’s what they think at first. This episode is not only one of the best of the season, but also probably one of the best of Atlantis since it began four years ago. Not only does it keeps tensions high, but it also allows characters to get to bond and hash out arguments or fears. High credit goes to everyone involved in this episode!
Next, we have the episode ‘Harmony’. Rodney and Sheppard are off on a trading mission and are asked to take a young princess out on her pilgrimage, when the Genii show up. That’s about it. Roughly, this episode is about the banter, and if you can’t pull the banter off in every single scene, the episode fails. Unfortunately, that’s just what happens. Of course, being that it’s Rodney, a few good gags are always assured, but sadly not all are good. The fact that he feels jealous of the fact that the kid likes Sheppard more than him is just a juvenile way to give this script more lines and less plot. Following on from ‘Quarantine’ was always going to be hard, since it’s in the top five in my mind, but this is that bad, it falls into the opposite spectrum: bottom five.
Of course, by the same reasoning, ‘Harmony’ was that bad it would have to make any episode that follows it look brilliant, just by comparison alone. Not true. ‘Outcast’ is the second Earth episode in season four, a concept I still find redundant, and takes place after Sheppard’s father dies. When he is called away to deal with a replicator, he has to deal with his issues while chasing it down. This episode could have had nothing to do with replicators or anything remotely sci-fi, and just focused on the funeral and how he deals with his family asking him where he is based now. That would have been a good episode, but instead, we are dealt a bad card, as this episode goes completely off the rails. Not necessarily bad, but definitely not one of the best.
It looks like Atlantis is going down a bad road, and there’s no way it’ll stop now huh? If you were thinking that, you’d be dead… wrong. Of course they can pull it around, that’s what they do! The fourth episode on this disk entitled ‘Trio’ is all about Rodney, Carter and the new Doctor for season 4, Keller, played brilliantly by Jewel Staite of Firefly fame. The trio go to a planet that is being rocked by earthquakes frequently, to try and persuade the inhabitants that the best course of action is to relocate. They never even make it, as an earthquake sends them shooting down into a mining room underground. They not only learn the cause of the earthquakes, but become victim to them as well, as if they can’t get out the room will fall into a chasm, sending them to their dooms. Queue all the bonding you hope for and some brilliant writing too, as they try and try to get out before everything goes pear shaped. This meets ‘Quarantine’ up there as one of the best Atlantis episodes; it’s just that good.
The extras are a lot more generous than some Atlantis disks I’ve seen as they have three featurettes on different episodes that give a whole lot more insight into the production of certain elements of the show. Especially where they talk about ‘Trio’, telling of how they thought it would save money because it’s a small, contained episode. Not so, in fact it was the most expensive episode of the entire season! It’s a brilliant feature for a brilliant episode; who would have thought it? Of course, the rest of the disc is packed with Commentaries from writers and directors, and a nice photo gallery. What’s that you say? Actors on commentaries! Yes, that’s right, one of the most annoying things about the last disk is corrected here, as Amanda Tapping, David Hewlett and Jewel Staite all turn up to commentaries. Excellent.
Sadly, this DVD is like having a sandwich with absolutely incredible bread, but the filling in the middle is just a little past its prime. It’s edible, but not incredible, and the best thing you’ll remember it for is the bready goodness. Where am I going with this? Nowhere, I’m just really hungry. Good disc, though.