On a return journey to Atlantis, one of the Puddle Jumpers becomes trapped within the Stargate and the crew has 38 minutes to fix the problem or have the shuttle ripped in half when the gate closes. Just to ratchet up the tension a bit, Sheppard has been attacked by some big bug that has attached itself to his neck and is sucking the life out of him.
What is, in essense, a ship-in-a-bottle type episode--designed to use only pre-existing sets and a minimal guest cast--"Thirty-Eight Minutes" actually turns out to be a pretty darn good episode. The continued look at the conflict between the "our" culture and that of the Elassians is fascinating--particularily when Weir refuses to allow them to start helping Teyal prepare for death, simply because she refuses to face the possibility of defeat and the crew dying. We also see a bit more of Weir's command style, especially when she dresses down one of her chief scientists and is later taken to task by him. Not since Spock has someone made the life of an eyebrow so compelling and say so much.
In a lot of ways this one reminded me a lot of classic Trek's "The Galileo Seven." We had some nice interplay among the characters and you really are starting to get a feel for who is who and what's what over in the wacky world that is Atlantis. And, I'll give writer Brad Wright some credit here--the story had me interested and wondering where it would go for the entire episode. Also, the bug was a bit of a red herring--I assumed, at first, that it was the reason the craft wouldn't go through the Stargate--almost as if the Stargate would reject it going through for some reason. Glad they didn't go with that and instead gave us a far more entertaining episode. Every choice made along the way worked and flowed out of the character and the story. It's compelling to watch as each choice leads to the next and the characters are slowly painted into a corner.
But, of course, any show with a male and female lead can't have a potential life and death situation without the page right out of "Who's The Boss?" As Shepard is about to die, he has to tell Weir something, but later upon making it, he makes up some silly crap that is pretty transparent. Ah, sexual tension, how we love to exploit thee.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/05/2004 12:45:00 PM