2.7 Instinct

Written by Treena Hancock and Melissa Byer
Directed by Andy Mitika

After the character development in the previous epsiode, the writers seem to have slipped into less-complicated territory this time around. At first, I thought it was just an example of measured pacing. The story seemed rather simple, so some stylistic progression was certainly in order. Unfortunately, it never really took hold, and the episode just never seemed to want to go anywhere. Most of the plot twists were highly predictable, and while the producers promised an in-depth look at the development of a young Wraith, it didn’t go very deeply into the topic.

Was anyone really surprised when Wraith Girl turned out to be feeding off her "father", or when she admitted that she was using the other Wraith to cover her own killings? I know I wasn’t, because I saw it coming a mile away. It was also clear that nothing was going to save Wraith Girl, because that would require Beckett’s treatment to work perfectly and eliminate any sign of her Wraith heritage. Otherwise, the town would still tear her to pieces.

What this episode did feel like, in the end, was a thinly-veiled example of exposition. The writers would do this sort of thing all the time in the first season. Beckett’s treatment to eliminate Wraith DNA is central to the plot thread for Lt. Ford, but it also has larger implications. This episode establishes the fact that the treatment is still in development, and that it doesn’t work yet. More importantly, it actually seems to have accelerated the effect of the genetic imperatives of the Wraith DNA.

That, in turn, leads into what I assume was the entire point of the episode: making sure that Sheppard was “injected” with the Beckett Treatment Cocktail that was running around in Wraith Girl’s unstable biology. Without seeing spoilers or even the promo (which my TiVo cut off, damn it!), I can safely predict that this will lead to problems with Sheppard in the near future. From there, of course, I expect that Sheppard will get a better feel for Ford’s psychology and that Beckett’s ability to trace Sheppard’s reaction to the treatment will lead to a more successful version later in the season.

I just wish that there was more to the actual episode, and that it didn’t feel like one big exposition dump. Granted, there were some good points. Teyla was more than just another very pretty face for once, and her rapport with Wraith Girl was nice to see. I also feel like Ronon’s psychology is getting a bit easier to understand: he finds a certain comfort in following orders, as he gains a sense of the chain of command and its pure intentions. His bad-ass moment worked for me (my wife made a comment on how she likes his gun; take that as you will).

Jewel Staite did a great job as Wraith Girl, even if I wish we could have seem that gorgeous smile now and again. (I guess I’ll have to wait a few weeks for “Serenity”!) McKay was mostly in a support role this time, and that served to give the writers a chance to reveal his post-“Trinity” attitude. Sheppard also seemed to be recovering, because his sense of humor wasn’t entirely back in action.

Underneath the episode is a relatively safe discussion on nature vs. nurture and the Wraith. This time, nature wins, hands down. Ironically, as much as this should make the Wraith seem that much more dangerous and daunting an enemy, the revitalized “SG-1” has developed an enemy so much more disturbing that the Wraith look minor in comparison. It’s hard, sometimes, to remember how overwhelming they were during “The Siege”. Hopefully, the writers won’t wait long to remind us why the Wraith were so cool in the first place.

Writing: 1/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 6/10

Find His Full Review Archive at: http://www.entil2001.com

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