This is going to be an emotional one.
In the episode ‘The Real World’ (Season 3, Episode 6), we find Dr. Weir back on Earth and in a psych ward. She’s being treated after having a psychological breakdown at a peace talk at the U.N.
Of course, if we hadn’t followed her with our lovely Atlantis peeps to this point, we might believe the lies she’s being told too. However, we are not so blind to the truth and immediately realize that something is wrong.
To her credit, Dr. Weir realizes this too but allows herself to be convinced to take medication to keep disturbing hallucinations away after General O’Neill makes it seem that he has no idea about the Stargate program, let alone about Atlantis.
She is being told from all sides that Atlantis isn’t real and was all made up by her subconscious to keep her from the reality that Simon (her lover/boyfriend) died in a car crash.
She is eventually released from the ward and returns home, and then goes back to teaching and prepping to conclude the peace talks.
After a supposed relapse, she follows a shadowy figure through the psych ward and it turns out to be Sheppard.
Now, back home on Atlantis we have Dr. Beckett doing his best to find a solution to destroying the nanites that have taken over Dr. Weir’s body and that are trying to destroy her mind so they have control of her body.
Easier said than done.
They try an E.M. pulse and it works but only partially, and the little buggers start multiplying once more.
This is where the ‘hallucinations’ Dr. Weir has been having come into play.
It’s Sheppard talking to her and trying to get her to fight the nanites while she still has a fighting chance.
He breaks the containment barrier (Beckett is NOT happy) and goes in to hold her hand and tell her they’re waiting and know she can do it.
It does the trick and soon she’s able to break from the nanites’ control and regain herself.
All is well!
This episode is fantastic because it messes with your mind. Until almost the very end we are only seeing and experiencing what Weir is and so we don’t actually know what has taken her over this time. Of course, it’s all a ruse and we know that much but is it some entity from Earth? Is it the Wraith? Another enemy entirely?
It’s a lot of fun because she emotionally goes through so much and then when she makes it and wakes, she still doubts reality (which I think would be completely normal).
To say this episode did a number on the feels would be accurate, but it pales in comparison to the book that follows.
Stargate Atlantis: Casualties of War
Here we have yet another great example of ‘oh, wow!’.
With the Asurans around every turn and on every planet attempting to gain information from various Atlantis Teams, things are far more dangerous than even the Wraith have ever been.
At least the Wraith can be recognized immediately, but the Asurans human looks let them blend in too well.
Sheppard is tired of sending coffins back to Earth so he suggests his team take another look at a planet previously considered not worth the risk. Weir isn’t happy about it, but when Rodney and the others chime in that things have changed and whatever research the Alterans had been conducting there had to be worth the risk now, she caves and lets them go.
There is, in fact, a research facility on the planet, but than there are also people there who are on the brink of war.
Sheppard suggests Weir come along and mediate. Possibly helping them to see they have more in common and their differences can be overcome will help Atlantis get their hands on an ore with fantastic potential.
Unfortunately, it’s never that easy for our team.
The ore has a massive drawback to it. Anyone without the ATA Gene very quickly falls to its influence and begin to forget things. Short term memory loss is one of the first things to go shortly after feelings of disorientation hit people exposed.
That is only part of the problem as tensions between the two groups of people have run too high over supposed raids by the other. In reality, the raids are being conducted by an outside force. A group called the Cadre are into black market workings and have been stealing things from the research facility for several years now.
The first encounter does not go well. Both Ronon and Teyla are considered to be dead when an interruption of the Stargate leaves readings that say the wormhole was diverted to a Gate in geosynchronous orbit.
It is the last thing Sheppard needs on top of the recent deaths of several Marines.
He hands in his resignation.
When new information comes to light about where, exactly, the second Gate is located, a new search is about to be launched when the Atlantis Stargate activates, and a dummy IDC comes through.
Followed closely by Ronon, Teyla and several of their captors.
The second Stargate had fallen thousands of years ago to the planet, somewhere in the mountains. When the wormhole had been disrupted, the safety features had kicked in and simply spat the two back out on the same planet.
Weir is able, with help from Sheppard and his team, to convince the two leaders to give diplomacy one more chance and success comes at last.
One of the best things about this book is the ending when Ronon, Teyla and Rodney get Sheppard out of his head and back with them on Atlantis.
I absolutely loved the fact that so much of this book dealt with Sheppard and how he was doing both emotionally and psychologically as military commander of Atlantis.
He never asked for the position, but took it as the highest ranking member at the time and even after contact with Earth was reestablished kept the position because no one else was as knowledgeable about the dangers of the Pegasus Galaxy.
In this book we see the toll that it takes on him. He questions his decisions all the time when people are hurt or killed (who doesn’t? there’s always the ‘what if’ hanging around) but this time is different.
Sheppard feels that his desire to gain a new weapon to defeat the Asurans is the reason his teammates are killed. His blind pursuit for it cost him two of the only family he calls his own. Even when they come back through the Stargate a little worse for wear but alive, he can’t get over how screwed up some of his decisions had been.
In the end, it’s his adopted family, his friends, that tell him how it is.
It doesn’t bring the dead back or make him question less, but it does help him cope knowing that others have his back so completely.
Read this one with a box of tissue handy ya’ll, cause it’ll make you cry.
See you in a bit to catch up on episodes again because there are thirteen before the next book!