Jason Momoa (Ronon) can act, at least a bit. This episode proved that. He had some truly nifty scenes throughout here, and there were indeed strong moments from Sheppard, Teyla and Woolsey.
That’s all that redeems this episode in any way. The plot is truly awful. Barely existent. “Broken Ties” follows on from last season’s “Reunion” (which was average) and manages to further cloud and confuse Tyre’s character.
Sorry, Atlantis writers, but you’re going to have to do a lot better than this. It’s not the dialogue or the production that’s particularly bad; in fact both are quite good. It’s the concepts which have become dull, uninspired and lifeless, much like SG-1 mid-9th season. These episodes carry little emotional weight, and I feel like I can watch them in the background while doing other things. Have I really begun to care that little for the show?
It’s nice to see characters like Teyla getting focus over McKay, in fact I quite like the character dynamic of the team at the moment. But dear God, the plot lines. Ronon gets captured by the Wraith and becomes Bad Ronon. We have a sword fight and it’s all okay. Top quality entertainment? I’d rather watch David Hewlett cut Robert Picardo’s toe-nails for 45 minutes.
Give us a story with emotional weight. You’ve got the character’s placed and developed, let’s do something with them. While watching one of the episodes better scenes (Ronon struggling with withdrawal, screaming out for someone to let him die), I thought to myself, this episode would be much, much cooler and much stronger if the whole episode was about Ronon actually coming off a drug habit. Something that would resonate, something you could focus on, and would allow Jason Momoa further scope to fledge his acting wings. Instead this was a 5 minute story surrounded by aimless drivel. Ambush. Captured. Rescue. = Old. Tired. Boring.
What if, instead, Ronon’s old buddy Tyre and he had been users of some kind of narcotic, and Tyre captures him to try and find some of the drug again to help him cope with the loss of his Satedan comrades. Would Ronon get tempted? Would be become addicted once more? Would he come back to the team? These are far more interesting questions than the ones “Broken Ties” but forward. In fact, “Broken Ties” never really asked anything. You knew Ronon would be okay in the end, and that Teyla would come back to the team.
I don’t find Woolsey to be convincing as an emotional mentor for Teyla. He’s not even finished putting stuff into his office and the writers have already made him an emotional rock for Atlantis, counselling Teyla on parenthood and decisions? I don’t buy it – not yet anyway. Please don’t make Woolsey just another Carter or Weir. He has potential to be different, and a strong character. Don’t waste it.
The episode wasted the rather interesting character of Tyre from “Reunion”, turning him into a snivelling waste of space barely resembling a Satedan. He betrayed/u-turned his allegiances so many times in the episode that I just got confused in the end by whose side he was on (and not in a good way, a genuine “I-Don’t-Care” way).
I did enjoy the scene in which Sheppard told Teyla he understood if she rejoined the time, or if she wanted to spend time with her child, but either way she had to make a decision. Nice acting, nice characterisation for Sheppard – it stood out, so much so that I watched it twice. Is that sad?
I also enjoyed that Woolsey hasn’t quite become 100% relaxed in bending the rules. His clear of the throat as the rest of the team began to rush out for a mission was nicely done, and I’m glad to see aren’t rushing it on that front. However, I dare say it’ll be gone in a few weeks. Still, I can hope.
Overall, thoroughly unimpressed. Next week’s episode looked like it had promise until I saw the trailer, and the “terrifying new alien threat” looked like a chocolate/mud covered lamp shade. Yawn.
Grade: 45% (D+)