Hide and Seek is the third episode of the franchisee show Stargate Atlantis1. It first aired in July 2004.

Spoilers? Yes.

Synopsis: An energy-feeding shadow is freed and a shield stone is found. They get rid of the shadow and can’t use the stone any more. Fin.

DVD Commentary

Instructions: (1) Print off this commentary. (2) Hire a voice actor - someone with a deep voice and who is well versed in the way of sardonicism. (3) Insert DVD and hand commentary script to actor. Sit back drinking local, mass-produced beer. Corn chips should already be handy.

A few of the major scenes I've inserted notes for - bold, small, bracketed - to make it slightly easier to work out what's what. The best alternative to hiring an ameatur street performer into your living room is to watch the episode and then read this.

(First scene - Rodney getting a shot)

For some strange reason they start this episode with an inappropriate joke by McKay about getting with the people they just saved from an alien species responsible for holocausts all over the galaxy. My problem isn’t with the joke, but with the fact that it’s supposed to be cute.

Scene sets up the first plot, as Rodney gets a retrovirus containing some special Ancient gene. Which is cool. But that’s all we’re told about it. I like science, and unfortunately there isn’t too much on this show. To paraphrase Clarke, a sufficiently advanced technology might as well be shown as being magic.

Then we switch to Weir who’s being told that everything about the city is awesome and it can meet all their needs – also there are some kids who run into her. Hmm, I wonder if the kids could get into any trouble?

A couple of slapstick jokes later and we find out that Rodney's got a magic stone that gives him an impermeable shield which he put on because apparently the premise told him to. Midas’ curse kicks in, and we’re left wondering, how oh how will he get it off? We spend some time alternatively laughing and freaking out about the whole thing, which is how this will be treated until the end of the episode.

The set-up of the next scene, a meeting between Teyla and Earthians, is a nice, albeit not very subtly handled running plot for this and the next few episodes. The Athosians are new and there’s no reason why they should become BFF’s immediately. The only reason I bring this up is because there’s a paucity of running plots, aside of-course from teh scary aliens one. Which is a criticism, even if it is an unfair one. SGA sticks to the tried and true formula of monster of the week.

In case it’s not clear how the monster will be introduced, we’re warned again that the kids shouldn’t touch anything because it could be super-bad. So it’s OK, they can still run around, "but don’t press the red button".

Going back to the Midas plot: Weir has an idea, which-is-just-an-idea-but-it-could-be-the-one-thing-that-is-right, maybe, just maybe, Rodney’s shield ex machina will stay on until he doesn’t want it. Or until the plot no longer needs him to.

Some minor scenes: wondering whether the Athosians can be trusted, but Sheppard insists that he trusts Teyla, how can he not? She’s his corresponding POAA. This fact is the corner-stone of their relationship, which in turn is derived and substantiated by sexual tension.

(Scenes showing kids going missing, and then being looked for)

Oh. My. God. Some of the kids are being naughty and playing when they should be asleep. I hope nothing bad happens.

We get some filler: father saying that he wants to look for his missing son because apparently he loves him; a premise says that they can’t use the pre-established sensors because they can’t, but also there’s something strange on the sensors – it might be related. Some strange shit is happening with the lights. Again, could be related to the missing kid. Still too soon to say. Someone’s seen a strange shadow, hmm. Give me a second and I’ll connect the dots. There, got it. There’s something there!

More filler: wondering whether the shadow is scary, people being worried about the missing kid, reminding us that Rodney is wearing a green stone, more lights flickering. FYI, we’re half-way through.

We find out that the shadow of death eats energy. They could probably use that to win the day. But how? How god damn it?!

The kid’s still missing but now it’s OK because he can tell them where they are so they go get him. And believe it or not, the restless kids pressed the red button letting out the shadow thingamajig.

More flickering lights and the shadow reminds us that it’s dangerous.

The shadow was being studied by the Ancients in studying ascension, which is cool. Ascension is one of those concepts SG-1 just took as plot device. It’s an incredible idea, even if not an original one, but one which SGA chooses, aside from a couple of moments like this one, not to wonder about. It’s only in SGU that they properly decide to have people fascinated by the concept.

(Preparing, and then trying to get the shadow back into its box)

Plan A is to capture it the way the Ancients did. Hopefully they have a plan B in case it doesn’t work.

Rodney can’t use his magic shield of protection (defense +12) because he can’t. I hope he can use it if they really need it...

Plan A: doesn’t work. Oh-oh. But wait, now they have a plan B: send a big battery through the eponymous gate. Sounds good, but wait... it doesn’t quite work. They need someone to push the battery through the stargate. But who? It’s too dangerous. Wait. Doesn’t Rodney have a shield which can protect him? Yes, yes he does, and it does. Huzzah, the day is saved.

And so everything’s back to normal, back to the way things were, ready for another adventure.

  1. Apparently in the Stargate universe, Atlantis is an actual ancient myth, and not an allegory made up by some old bugger.