The Inner Crab

Stargate: Atlantis

[Air Date: 02-24-06]

“Michael”

Our story begins with an establishing shot of Atlantis. I mention this because the next scene shows Trip Tucker from Enterprise waking up in a hospital bed. If the Powers That Suck over at Paramount hadn’t killed off the series a few years ago in the most useless and embarrassing way possible (think “snapping your neck while attempting oral auto-gratification,” except instead of being found by your mother, you’re found by a TV audience of millions) I’d think it was a clever cross-over designed to boost ratings on both shows. Or maybe Connor Trinneer was promised that this time he wouldn’t be snuffed out pointlessly at the end. Anyway, he blinks and looks around as if wondering where his Vulcan Baby-Mama’s gotten off to and why she’s not back from the store with his space-smokes yet. Over in Dr. Weir’s office, Dr. Beckett radios her to let her know that Trip’s awake. Did the Atlantis expedition bring office chairs with them, like the ones in Weir’s office, or are they indigenous chairs based on Ancient technology which knead your buttocks and play space-Mozart to your lower back while you sit? Because they look like $79 chairs from Staples, but maybe our common ancestry with the Ancients has given us a similar aesthetic in sittingware design.

Beckett is flicking a penlight back and forth in Trip’s eye to see if it annoys him as Weir and Sheppard come in. Beckett tells Trip his vitals are normal, and that he’s “bouncing back quite nicely.” “Bouncing back from what?” he asks, and with that we begin our mighty charade. I mean episode. Before Beckett can explain, Weir addresses him as Michael and asks if he remembers her. He does not. Unless…wasn’t she on an episode of Star Trek? You know, the one with the anomaly and the terrified villagers, and at the end it turned out that the anomaly was just protecting its young? I think it was called “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.” No? Never mind then. She introduces Sheppard as Michael’s commanding officer, but it’s still not ringing any bells. “I don’t even know who I am,” says Trip. His name is Lieutenant Michael “Trip” Kenmore, says Weir, Kenmore like the washing machine or the village in Scotland. The Lieutenant part is a rank and not a name, but there will be other hairs to split later, so let’s leave it alone for now. He doesn’t know where he is either, but perks up slightly when Weir mentions Atlantis. It seems familiar, but nothing specific. When they tell him he was injured somehow by the Wraith during an off-world mission, though, he gets a remembery look on his face for a moment. The nut of the conversation is, they don’t know what happened to him that caused his “memory loss” – I mean, his memory loss, but they’ll do their best to fix him up good.

A downward shot from the ceiling shows Weir, Beckett, and Sheppard walking across what we’ll call the Hardwood Floor Room (who knew the Ancients were into that? It doesn’t seem sparkly enough for their taste) to watch Trip from an observation window above his room. Weir warns the other two to keep a close eye on him until they learn more. “This may just be the start of our problems,” she says, and since the opening credits come up right after that, I’m gonna guess that she’s right.

Beckett loads up a hypospray and takes it over to Trip’s bed. He asks what it is, and the doctor injects him with it and then tells him what’s in it, which – if it were me – would not be the order I’d want that to happen in. Beckett tells him he’s got Type I diabetes and requires a daily injection of insulin to keep him from turning back into a—er, dying of diabetesitis. Trip doesn’t appear to remember any of this, and Beckett tells him they believe he’s got generalized dissociative amnesia. That’s not really a big revelation. He adds that it’s often caused by trauma, to which Trip adds that he must mean trauma caused by the Wraith. Beckett hedges and says they don’t know for sure; it could be trauma from having to carry all those scenes with his wooden former castmate whose only apparent qualification for the role was having big space-hooters. Anyway, he says they’re hopeful that his memory will gradually return, and they’ll ease him back into his life gently so as not to overwhelm him. Trip says placidly that he’s already feeling overwhelmed, and the doc pats him on the shoulder in a that’s-my-little-trooper sort of way. He walks away from Trip’s bed and the camera lingers on his face for a minute so we can see the conflictedness playing about on his face. It’s foreshadowing, of a sort, but since we don’t know that yet we might as well assume he’s conflicted over whether to have haggis and beer or haggis and whiskey for lunch.

Teyla comes in to the Hardwood Floor Room where Beckett’s playing Hearts on his computer. “I heard he was awake,” she says, and Beckett tells her he’s got complete amnesia and doesn’t remember anything. They both go to the window and stare down at Trip. Teyla asks if she can go talk to him, and Beckett agrees. She gives him a long look and tells him he needs to rest. She does not add that the plot device of the doctor or scientist pushing themselves too hard to fix a problem out of guilt over something they’ve done is a little played out, but he nods in silent agreement anyway.

Down in Trip’s room, Teyla comes in and introduces herself. He perks right up and says she looks familiar. She tells him that he assisted her team on a few missions, but he thinks it’s more than that. “Are we friends?” he asks, with benefits perhaps? She hesitates a second and then says “Yes” to the first part in such a patently phony way that polygraph machines back in our own galaxy twitch involuntarily. Trip, like so many men before him, takes the woman’s pleasing lie at face value and tells her it’s the best news he’s had all day. She asks him how he’s feeling, and fortunately his amnesia does not mask the social graces that prevent one from blurting out “Horny!” to a comely woman who poses such a question; instead he says he’s feeling fine physically but his mind is still a blank. Teyla fills in some of Trip’s back story: he’s a newbie to Atlantis, but he’s already proven himself to be one of the finest soldiers in the city. Ah, disingenuous flattery…where would our civilization be without you? Trip questions the compliment, wondering how such a fine soldier could get captured by the Wraith. Well, for one, she didn’t say how good the other soldiers in Atlantis are, and two, it’s not like we’re invading Grenada here. Teyla tells him that he and his team were ambushed, and he sacrificed himself to allow his team to escape. She calls his actions heroic, and Trip returns the compliment when she tells him she was part of the team that rescued him. She gives that fake laugh-and-smile-and-slight-recoil which is universal (literally, in this case) to all women, the one that says “Oh, God…now he wants to get in my pants.”

Teyla runs and tattles on Trip to Weir and the gang: “He said I was familiar to him. He asked if we were friends,” she says, and he kept looking at my space-hooters as if he were comparing them favorably to something else. Weir asks how she responded, and Teyla says she told him they were friends, because it seemed like some positive news would be good for him, plus it’s just so ingrained. Dr. Heightmeyer, the ship’s counselor, agrees with Teyla’s response, and says that stabilization is the first critical stage in his psychological treatment. Claire Rankin, who plays Dr. H, was also in “Alice,” an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. For those of you keeping track at home, the number of actors to cross over from the Star Trek universe to the Stargate universe is now 16, or thereabouts. For a fun party game, watch all 240ish episodes of Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis with friends, and take a drink every time you see someone from Star Trek. For a sexy variation, have everyone take off one article of clothing instead of (or in addition to) taking a drink. Note that this isn’t as fun if you have a lot of ugly friends. To save time, consider having 120 TVs going at once. It’s also good if at least some of your nerd friends are of the opposite gender, but whatever. Dr. H continues to psychobabble for a bit while I try to figure out if that’s a sports bra she’s wearing, and everyone except Sheppard ends up agreeing to let Trip wander around the city for a while.

Teyla takes Trip to his quarters, and she asks him if any of it looks familiar to him. Now, they’re playing coy with him, and I’ve been going along with it so far because it’s building up to the big twist in the middle that shocks and alarms us all, but we’re all adults here (juvenile fascinations with sci-fi and space-hooters notwithstanding), so let’s cut the crap. He’s a Wraith. You know it, I know it, we’ve all watched the episode by this point. Teyla is just following Weir’s instructions here, but continually messing with his head like this – showing him a roomful of junk he’s never seen before and acting like he’s supposed to remember it all – is just plain mean. Not useful mean, either, because there’s no shock they can give him big enough to recover memories that don’t exist. Oh, but let’s throw in some creepy while we’re here: up in a control room, Sheppard and a technician watch Trip on monitors from several different angles courtesy of video cameras strewn about the room. I’m going to guess that pervasive surveillance cameras were not part of the original Atlantis architecture, unless they were way more evolved in their sensibilities regarding the desire for privacy while wanking. Trip picks up a cowboy hat, and Teyla tells him he’s from Texas. He doesn’t remember Texas for some reason. Next he picks up a picture of an elderly couple who work in the Props Department, and Teyla tells him they’re his parents. He gives her a look, as if to say “Gil and Raylene from Props are my parents?!”

Rodney’s in the mess hall, and some poor bastard who took a top-secret high-tech wormhole to another galaxy only to end up working as a friggin’ busboy comes by to pick up his tray. Rodney hassles him about why they don’t have the blue Jell-O he likes any more, and the guy just shrugs, like, Dude, read the previous sentence and leave me the hell alone. Rodney is dissatisfied with that answer, but whaddaya gonna do. He grabs his tablet PC and walks over to Trip’s table. Rodney greets him as Lieutenant Kenmore. “So they tell me…call me Michael,” says Trip. Rodney introduces himself to fill the awkward silence where Trip can’t remember his name, and they shake hands. “So you’ve been released, I see,” says Rodney. “Just now,” nods Trip, and gestures to the two burly guards standing about a foot away from him next to the table. He’s probably thinking, “Guys, seriously – back up a bit. My food’s starting to taste like jockstrap.” He notes that the guards are there just in case he suddenly “freak[s] out,” and Rodney laughs nervously. They chat haltingly about Trip’s health, and then Trip notices that Rodney’s tablet PC is displaying Wraith materializer schematics. He then wonders how he knew that’s what they were, and Rodney hems and haws and stammers that Trip’s last mission dealt with infiltrating a Wraith ship to look for stuff. He’s not very convincing, even for coming up with it on the fly, and Trip can clearly tell something’s not quite right. He finally excuses himself from the uncomfortable conversation, and he and his burly escorts leave the mess hall.

Next we find ourselves in the Sparring Room, where Trip and Teyla are sparring. She goes through a few basic moves with him, then beats the crap out of him and lays him out on the floor. “Now you try,” she smiles. He hesitates, and understandably so. She was pretty rough with him, which means she probably expects the same in return; that’s all well and good, and gender shouldn’t be an issue when you’re sparring with someone for practice, but if I accidentally punched a woman I’d only just met in the boob or something, that would be all kinds of embarrassing. She finally talks him into it, and they spar. He manages to take her down, and as he’s got her pinned to the mat, Ronon comes barreling into the room like he was braced in a giant rubber band just outside waiting for an excuse, slams Trip up against the wall with his feet off the ground, and demands that Trip keep his hands off of Teyla. He’s not really the most diplomatic person on the station, is he? I think it’d be amusing if they did a Freaky Friday-like episode in which he and Weir switched bodies for a day. Teyla shouts at Ronon to let Trip go, and tells him they were only sparring as part of his physical therapy. Ronon finally drops him and stomps off to jam a bowl of blue Jell-O up Rodney’s ass. Trip apologizes to the departed Ronon and tries to out-dent his trachea.

Dr. H and Trip are having a session. She explains that Ronon’s just a big grumpy punchy antisocial teddy bear, and that Trip’s not the only one he’s clashed with. Trip thinks he’ll maybe stay clear of Ronon from now on, but she assures him that Ronon will come around eventually. I think maybe she should clear that with Ronon first. Trip laments his condition, not in a Rodney-esque sort of way but like a normal person who’s frustrated by their apparent memory loss, and the doc continues feeding him disinfo about his parents and her plans for his continued treatment. “I just want to get back to normal,” he says, “be like everybody else.” Yeah, well, what is ‘normal’ anyway? Some people live lives of quiet desperation, some people work as busboys in a floating futuristic city in another galaxy, some people feed on the souls of the living through a slit in their hand. It’s all good, really, except that last one.

The segue to the next scene is a dreamy walking-through-a-hive-ship sequence, filmed in blue, and Trip wakes up with a start because dreams with too much blue in them are always an ill omen. He gets out of bed and pours himself a glass of water, then looks suddenly at the mirror where a Wraith is snarling back at him! And then he wakes up! It was a dream within a dream! I totally didn’t care about seeing that coming. Then there are commercials, about which I feel similarly.

Trip and Teyla sit in the Sparring Room and talk about his dream. He says it was scary. He also wonders whether the Wraith did something to him during his capture, messed with his mind or put something in his brain or probed his bottom with bottom-probes. Space-bottom-probes. Teyla tells him they don’t know what the Wraith did, but adds that many people in Atlantis have had similar dreams, including herself, due to the constant fear of a Wraith attack and the way they feed on people. It’s a nice bit of empathy, and comes across as quite genuine.

Back in the Tattle Chamber, Teyla relays Trip’s dream and innermost fears to the others. Beckett says he could give him some Sominex to help him sleep, but he doesn’t want to increase the dosage of his treatment because he’s plotted out the dosages pretty specifically. He suggests they wait and watch and palm him off on Dr. H, who is conveniently not in the room. Teyla snaps under the strain and blurts out that they should tell Trip the truth, and adds that she’s starting to question their chosen course of action. Better late than never for the ol’ conscience to show up, I suppose, but it is pretty late. Weir and the others wrestle silently with their shame.

Trip wakes up from another dream and looks over at the mirror, but sees only himself because the guy in the Wraith makeup is down at Craft Services sucking the life force out of a ham and Swiss on rye sandwich.

Dr. H tells Trip that the dreams are probably due to post-traumatic stress, and they’re not uncommon. Trip thinks there’s more to the story, and he feels like there’s something not quite right with him. He says he gets the feeling that other people around him know something but won’t tell him what it is, and points to the I-know-something-but-won’t-tell-you-what-it-is face she’s making as a good example. If the Wraith did something to him, he says, he would really like to know what it is.

Trip and his guards are walking down the hall when they meet up with Sheppard and Ronon. Trip tells Sheppard he got some sleeping pills from Beckett and is on his way to his quarters to get some sleep. He sidesteps over to Ronon and tries to make peace with him, but Ronon’s not too keen on the idea and punches him instead. They tussle a bit, Sheppard and the guards pull them apart, and I start to realize that there are a lot of short scenes in this episode.

Trip is now sleeping with a nightlight, but he’s not sleeping very well. He gets out of bed and goes out to the hallway, where his guards wonder why he’s up so late. He says the sleeping pills aren’t working, and wants to go to the infirmary. They follow. In the infirmary, Beckett is asleep at his workstation, head propped up on his hand. He doesn’t wake up when Trip calls his name. He notices a wall calendar with a picture of Kenmore, Scotland, like his last name or the washing machine, and becomes pondery. Am I named after a washing machine? He looks over at the guards, who are off a ways trying to talk one of the nurses into a three-way, and then starts skulking around in Beckett’s computer. He’s stymied by a password prompt, so instead he just swipes a nearby CD wallet with some potentially relevant DVDs in it.

Back in his room, Trip looks around at the security monitors and calculates the least-observed spot in the room, a la Winston Smith in 1984, and plops down with his laptop. The guards in the control room are immediately suspicious, because why would someone try to work on their computer without letting other people see what they’re doing? Someone with something to hide, that’s why. I mean who. I mean terrorists. He pops one of the DVDs into his laptop. It’s video of him as a patient in the infirmary. He starts with the “Day 12” DVD, and as he works his way back in time, the Trip in the video becomes more and more agitated. Finally, he arrives at Day 1 and finds to his horror that there’s a Wraith strapped to the bed, struggling mightily to break free and vowing to kill everyone around him. Ronon and Sheppard are holding the struggling pre-Trip down on the bed, and Sheppard christens him “Mike.” Just then, Beckett and a pile of guards burst in, and Trip, whose face is stuck on ‘dismay,’ turns the laptop around to show Beckett the freeze-framed Wraith on the screen. Beckett assumes a similar expression, and we go to commercials.

After the commercials, Weir and Sheppard have shown up too. Trip is mad. “You lied to me,” he says bitterly. “I’m a Wraith.” Weir countered that he was a Wraith, but now there are semantics. He bristles when she calls him Michael, and tells her not to call him that any more because it’s not his name. Why not just punch that fourth wall in the eye and call him Connor? She agrees to tell him the truth, and exposits about how the Wraith evolved from the Iratus bug but took on human characteristics over time as they fed on humans. Beckett takes the exposition baton and tells Trip that he came up with a retrovirus to suppress the non-human parts of a Wraith, but a daily booster shot is required. He’s their test case. Trip gets indignant at the notion that being a Wraith is a disease to be cured, and points out the ethical flaws in their plan. Sheppard counters that they’re within their rights to do whatever’s necessary to protect themselves from an otherwise insatiable enemy. Logic and ethics having failed to impress them, Trip switches to guilt. “You made up everything,” he says mad-sadly. “My name…the photograph of my parents….” Weir says it was her decision not to tell him about it right off because they didn’t want him to freak out like he is right now. Sheppard adds that Trip is much better off as a human. Trip does not appear convinced.

In the conference room, Ronon grumps that the experiment was a bad idea. Sheppard counters that it wasn’t, because now they know the drug works and they can get busy turning it into a biological weapon. Beckett says that’s a ways down the road. Ronon jumps back in to observe that the Wraiths they convert will always be Wraiths, no matter how human they look. Many pensive looks fly about the room.

Teyla goes to Trip’s room to try to soothe him, in a we’re-just-friends sort of way. If she really wants to cheer him up, I think she should show him how humans suck the life out of things. He wants to know if she was on the team that captured him. She doesn’t say no, so he assumes she was. He’s offended that she would tell him they’re friends after doing that, and she counters that she’d like to be his friend. He throws the ethics thing in her face again, asking how he can trust her and how he sees what they did as something to help themselves, not to help him. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective, or maybe some people are just ingrates, like all those folks in other countries who resent the United States for bombing them into democracy. It was for your own good, people. He wonders how being a human is any better than being a Wraith, and there’s a good opportunity for what I mentioned above if there ever was one, but she takes a different tack. The Wraith are Eeeeeevil, she says, mean and full of killiness and lacking in compassion or basic fashion sense. He asks if what they did to him was done out of compassion, and neither Teyla nor the writers have an answer.

Dr. H and Trip are having another session. She wants him to talk about his feelings, including but not limited to his feeling of deep betrayal. She also wants to know if he thinks this wicker cabinet looks better here or over by the wall. He’s kind of down on the whole opening-up thing now, what with the deceit and all, but he did gain clarity on something. The odd sensation in the back of his head that felt like hunger and aggression makes more sense now that he knows he’s a Wraith. He leans toward her kind of aggressively as he says this, and I think it would have been hilarious if he’d hissed and thrust his hand against her heart, just to freak her out. Instead he saunters out of the room, but I’m sure she’s going to bill him for an entire session anyway.

Teyla, Sheppard, Beckett and Weir are watching Trip on TV. It’s the episode where he goes on Stargate: Atlantis as a Wraith. Weir says that Dr. H says that Trip says he’s feeling Wraithy, and Sheppard suggests upping the dose of his medicine before something bad happens. Weir agrees. Beckett grudgingly agrees, but wonders what to do if Trip refuses to take his medicine any more. Sheppard says they’d have to insist, and adds that another big dose might wipe his memory again. “And then what?” asks Teyla. “We start the lies all over again?” Yes, but this time tell him he’s a female; the gender confusion should keep him too busy to wonder about the rest of the stuff that seems wrong about his situation, and it provides a convenient explanation for his desire to feast on the souls of screaming innocents.

Sergeant Cole comes in to Trip’s room without knocking, because if you have a gun you don’t have to knock, and tells Trip he’s wanted in the infirmary for his injection. Trip and a brace of bodyguards trudge along through the corridors. Ronon follows behind them; he’s headed to the infirmary too because it’s time for his ragweed allergy injection. Trip pauses on the stairs and turns to face Ronon. He asks what Ronon wants from him, and Ronon says he wants his Simpsons Season 5 DVDs back, and also he’s waiting for Trip to do something Wraithian so he can kill him. Trip thanks Ronon bitterly for being the only one who was honest with him from the beginning. The guards get bored and call for Trip to get a move on, and Ronon sneers at him to do the same. Trip turns and heads back up the stairs, then grabs Cole and flings him down the stairs. He punches the next guard, grabs his gun, tosses him down the stairs too, and runs off. Maybe I’m being picky here, and I certainly can’t speak from experience, but as a guard I would think that you’re not supposed to let that sort of thing happen. Ronon shoves the falling guard out of the way and chases after Trip, allergy shots be damned. The guards radio for help.

Ronon and the army guys go up and down various stairs, guns drawn and eyes looking. Not looking well enough, though. Trip pops out of a side hall and surprises Cole. He tells him to drop his weapon, and when Cole turns to shoot him, it is instead he who is shot. Oh, the irony. He lies on the floor dying quietly, and Trip kneels over him and touches the bloody holes in his apparently-not-bulletproof-enough vest. He seems remorseful, but only a little. He stands to leave and Ronon surprises him, gun in his face and eager to shoot, but a blue graphical effect stuns Trip from behind and he falls over. Sheppard runs up to stop Ronon from making gazpacho out of Trip’s head. Now Teyla runs up. She drops to one knee and takes Cole’s pulse, then announces that he’s dead. This is why you don’t sleep with the associate producer’s daughter. Unless you’re a main cast member, then you’re okay all the way up to junior executive producer. Sheppard looks sad, and then there are commercials.

Trip’s in The Cage, and the salaried cast are in the Trip-Discussing Room. Guess what they’re doing. Weir and Sheppard want to dope him up and gate him to the alpha site so they can continue the treatments, and so they can free up The Cage for Saturday night’s Blue Jell-O Death Match between Ronon and Rodney. Ronon wants to stomp up and down on Trip’s prostrate form for five or six hours instead. Beckett sides with Weir, but you can tell from the look on his face that he’d rather be drinking or playing Guess What’s In the Syringe with his nurses again.

Teyla pays Trip a visit in jail. She dismisses the guards and they nod obligingly and go out, but in the next shot they’re standing in the doorway again, so apparently they were only humoring her. We’ll assume it’s only because she doesn’t have an actual military rank, and not because she’s a woman. Could also be that they’re just nosy. She tells Trip they’re going to take him to a fun new home full of new, interesting bugs and lots of tents. It will be just like when he went camping with Papa Gil and Mama Raylene as a boy, except with more experimental drug treatments. A few more. He says what everyone in the T-D Room was thinking: they want him out of there so he doesn’t psi-narc to the other Wraith if a hive ship comes by. He says he didn’t mean to kill the guard; he thought the prop gun had blanks in it. All he wants is to get away from Atlantis. Teyla tells him they want to continue with the drug treatments and hopefully suppress his Wraithesque urges. Or they can kill him, whichever he prefers. Think it over, no rush.

He must’ve agreed to the treatments, because now Beckett’s bossing various uncredited extras around. They’re cramming a jumper with loads of junk for their picnic at the alpha site. Chicken salad sandwiches? Check. Unisex parasols? Check. Book of Keats poetry? Check. Heavy-duty restraints and long sharp hypodermic needles? Check and check. Weir wants to know how Beckett is holding up. Apparently he blames himself for Cole’s death. Well, I’m no philosopher, but I hear that free will is pretty widely regarded as a portion of the humanoid condition. Trip chose to shoot the guy, and Cole chose to sleep with the AP’s daughter, so there we are. Besides, says Weir, if anyone’s to blame, it’s the person who made the decision to test the drug, and that’s her. Murderess! Beckett makes a face, but I bet he’s secretly happy to let her take over worrying about it so he can focus on cooking up those Wraith biotoxins.

Trip is sitting quietly in the corner of his cell, presumably because he pooped in the opposite corner, when suddenly the force field around the cell powers down. “Time to go,” says someone off camera, probably Sheppard, because that’s who shoots him with a stun gun. Beckett and minions rush in with a gurney to load him up. There’s a wormhole graphic, and then somehow we’re at the alpha site. It looks pretty basic, just three of those half-cylinder buildings the army loves so much nestled among the trees on the outskirts of Vancouver. I mean Planet Alpha Site. Trip wakes up from his nap refreshed and perky and strapped to the gurney. Teyla’s in the room with him, and assures him that he’s safe. Which is why he’s restrained and she’s wearing a flak jacket. She asks how he’s feeling, and he says “Hungry.” She says she’ll go rustle up some grub for him, but unless there’s a cage full of dirty villagers next door, I doubt they’ll have what he’s in the mood for.

Beckett fiddles with medical juice and equipment in the lab tent, partly to remind us of the plotline, but mostly as filler between when Teyla left to get food and when she returns with food. Which she now does. She wheels in a tray with a bowl of soup and some MREs, apologizing for the limited selection and noting that Rodney likes them. MREs are designed to be high in fat, carbs, salt, all those other nutrition things, so they’re good for energy if you’re out sweating up a storm in a battle, but if you’re strapped to a hospital bed they’ll probably just make you pudgy. Trip rattles his wrist chain and gives Teyla a look, and instead of undoing his restraints like he wanted, she starts feeding him the bowl of soup. After one bite he shakes his head and says that’s enough. See? They’re very filling. Also they taste like dog turds soaked in embalming fluid, except the dried peaches which are pretty good. After powering up from the bowl of soup, he’s now strong enough to use the Jedi mind trick on Teyla, who obligingly unfastens his restraints. Once he’s free, he spins her around and grabs her head like he’s going to snap her neck. Oh no! Will she live? We’ll be right back after these messages!

Thank God for TiVo: after three seconds of commercials, we’re back. Outside, Ronon and Sheppard are running through the alpha site’s little piazza, weapons drawn. Beckett catches up to them and says Trip took Teyla hostage and ran off into the woods. I’m sure he feels guilty over that too; it was his idea to stock the alpha site with telepathic soup. Sheppard and Ronon go running off to find them.

Somewhere in the woods, Trip has a handcuffed Teyla at gunpoint. He says he knows she’s angry with him for lying to her, but he doesn’t want to be experimented on any more. Bad news on that front, but go ahead and run away for now if it’ll make you feel better. They march off through the woods.

Ronon and Sheppard come strolling hastily through the woods. Ronon has Track Humanoids turned on. They come to a small clearing and stop for a second, then Ronon picks up the trail and they run off in a new direction.

Trip and Teyla are now at the stargate, and Trip is dialing. Yeah, I’d like a large pepperoni and humans pizza with the Chicago-style crust. What? Hang on. Teyla, do you want any crazy bread? No, no crazy bread. No, nothing to drink. Really? That’s a good price. Okay, one two-liter of Slice and another of root beer. Yeah, that’s everything. I’ll be paying with a gu—with cash. Oh, and I have a coupon. Meanwhile, Teyla scratches something that you should have already figured out is the gate address Trip’s dialing onto the conveniently flat and scratchable rock she’s sitting on. Good for her.

Sheppard and Ronon come across two dead guards, who Sheppard identifies as the guys who were supposed to be guarding the stargate, not lying here dead like lazy jerks. Speaking of the unguarded stargate, Trip finally finishes dialing. He grabs Teyla and stuffs her through as Ronon and Sheppard come running up. Ronon tries to leap through the gate just as it disconnects, and instead he lands with a loud thud in the dirt on the other side. “Dammit!” says Sheppard, trying hard not to laugh his ass off.

Trip and Teyla explore their new planet. To their left is a jagged rock face, and the ground is littered with scree. Yes, I’ve been waiting a while to use the word scree in a sentence. Back at the alpha site gate, Sheppard says they need to get McKay out here to figure out the last address dialed. Ronon finds Teyla’s Rock of Scratching, so there’s no need to bother Rodney with the problem, which is good because once they dialed back to Atlantis to send for him, that would be the last address dialed and they’d be out of luck anyway. Trip and Teyla continue walking, and she complains about it. From just off-screen, Trip tells her they’ll rest up ahead and he’ll give her a foot rub. She stops and looks around suspiciously, and then tells Trip that there are Wraith nearby. Trip emerges from the trees and – gasp! – he’s turned partway back into a Wraith. She jumps a bit in shock, but regains her composure and tells him it’s not too late – they can still go back and strap him down to a small narrow bed and inject him with experimental drugs against his will. He doesn’t want to. “This is how it’s supposed to be,” he says. “I’m returning to what I was. What. I. Am!” He steps forward so everyone can get a good look at his novelty cat-eye contact lenses. Freaky.

Some time later, Teyla wakes up from a power nap in the dirt. Her handcuffs are off and her top is suspiciously partly-unbuttoned. Wait…never mind, it’s always like that. She wanders a bit, looking around for Trip, and freezes when she comes to a cliff edge. Way down below, a huge Wraith ship is parked on the ground, with dozens of Wraith streaming out of it. Another ship flies past it. Suddenly Trip is at her side, looking even more Wraithoid than before. They’re aware of us, she tells him. No shit, he says. He wants to go back to his peeps. Teyla guesses this means they can’t be friends any more, and he says he just wanted more out of the relationship than she did. He shows her the gross mouth in his hand and says he’s got the urge. She taunts him to eat her and get it over with. You’re about a half-hour too late in the show to play that card, hon. Sorry. He moves his hand slowly toward her, then pulls back like he’s reconsidered, then roars and makes to slam his hand against her, but then the cavalry comes running up with only minutes to spare in the episode and shoots him. It’s Sheppard and Ronon. They run back to the gate with Teyla, shooting behind them at the piles of Wraith who come whiffling through the tulgey wood to burble them to death. The Wraith find Trip lying in the grass and cart him off to their ship, where they ostracize and mock him in preparation for his next appearance on the show.

Back in Atlantis, Sheppard et al tell Weir what happened. The news isn’t good: not only did Trip revert back way faster than Beckett expected, he’s also still got his memory, including the fact that Atlantis wasn’t nuked after all. Ronon dances around singing “I told you so,” but does so in place and gruffly. Rodney agrees with Ronon that they are indeed screwed. Another wave of hive ships is probably already on its way, and Rodney doesn’t think they’re going to fall for the cloaking device trick again. “We’re going to need to come up with a new defense plan,” says Weir. Ya think? Sheppard adds that they’re going to need more firepower. I wonder what wacky adventures that pursuit will lead them on? Tune in next week and see!

 

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