Review by Taylor Brown
"The Intruder," the first full episode after the introduction of the Daedalus, ends up featuring Earth's newest ship, but immediately destroys the perception that the Daedalus is invulnerable. Along with a few detours through the land of character development, especially that of Elizabeth Weir, "The Intruder" manages to fit both the return trip home and the more eventful journey back to Pegasus in one episode.
As we find out in the teaser, it now takes 18 days for a one-way trip from Earth to Atlantis. While it's not as simple as a Stargate trip, it's a whole different situation from last year. I won't deny the possibility that being stranded in another galaxy helped the series. A great deal of the emotional and physical drama that came from the first season was the expedition's inability to communicate with the S.G.C. and the tension that came with having to fend for themselves.
By the end of this episode, I feel much like Sheppard and Weir do about returning to Earth: The Earth stories were something I was looking forward to, and they were interesting in their own right, but I was relieved to see them back in Atlantis by the end of the episode.
But before I put the cart before the horse: "The Intruder" is a decent episode that unfortunately has a feel of too much familiarity.
The main plot of the episode, however perilous the situation, falls a little flat. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I suppose it has something to do with when McKay says he remembers reading a report about a similar situation that happened at the S.G.C. It's not that "The Intruder" bears an exact resemblance to SG-1's "Entity," but rather the feeling of "been there, done that, saved the day the exact same way" for those who are both fans of Atlantis and SG-1. Even before that, I couldn't get as interested in it as I usually do with Atlantis episodes. What's more compelling than the A-story in "The Intruder" are the flashbacks to what happened when the senior members of the Atlantis expedition finally did return home, and the ramifications of that visit.
The first flashback of Weir at the S.G.C. is eye-opening in terms of the trust and relationships that have formed in the first year. When she finds out that Earth is seriously considering replacing Sheppard with Colonel Caldwell as the outpost's military commander, she immediately defends Major Sheppard and basically tells them that it's too bad for them -- they'll just have to promote him. It's scenes like this that remind me how much Weir has grown on me as a character. She thoroughly believes in Sheppard and stands up for him, even ignoring the knowing glances between Landry and Caldwell.
And so we get Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard -- which, I agree with McKay, will take some getting used to. But it's not undeserved.
The other flashbacks deal directly with Weir's relationship with Simon and Sheppard's continuing dedication to find Lt. Ford. The desaturated photography of each flashback adds to these scenes, not as a demarcation of when the story is in flashbacks, but to give a more memory-like quality to them. These scenes also break up the main plot and help keep the story focused on the characters, not simply the ship.
Although we met him for the first time in "The Siege, Part 3," "The Intruder" also shows us more about Hermiod, the Asgard character on the Daedalus. Hermiod seems like the Asgard's version of McKay, complete with a condescending attitude for the master of snark himself. The Asgard have various personalities within very similar bodies, and I like the personality the writers have chosen here.
The highlights of "The Intruder" (for me, at least) rank as this: Sheppard's fight with the F-302 controlled by the virus, McKay preparing to be beamed inside the ship, and at the end, when Teyla and Dr. Zelenka welcome them back to Atlantis. I'm glad this is the very end of the episode, because it feels like the expedition, and the viewer, is really coming home.
Rating: * * 1/2