I liked having an episode that focused largely on background characters, and I liked seeing Sheppard interact with some of the people under his command. I also thought it was interesting that the team leaders appear to have a huge amount of autonomy to select and run their own teams; I know Atlantis is a pretty laid-back place, but it makes me wonder just how lackadaisical Sheppard is about his paperwork. *g*
The bad: Okay, basically, the entire episode relied on the characters behaving like complete and total idiots. I mean, I realize that this is always sort of a problem on this show (*pets show*) but in this case, it was completely distracting. I was embarrassed for them! Come on, people! No, you do NOT need to spend the night in the creepy abandoned village which the villagers just told you is haunted, and you do NOT need to go wandering around in small groups at night. It got to the point where I was *headdesking* every time YET ANOTHER person went off in the creepy mist by themselves. And just to make things worse, the Stargate was RIGHT THERE! How do they not have a contingency plan for this? When trapped offworld by hostiles, either a) hole up somewhere defensible until your check-in with Atlantis, and have a heavily armed puddlejumper sent through, or b) cluster all together and make a run for the conveniently nearby gate. It was hard to worry about them too much when help was a mere Stargate away.
Making matters worse, maybe this is just me, but I did not find the monsters scary at all. I found the general idea of them potentially scary, but when our heroes were armed with P90s and were up against what are basically 12 blind human beings whose only special abilities are super-hearing and the ability to scream -- Um. Yeah. Not scary. It is a very bad sign that I kept amusing myself during the episode thinking up ways to make the monsters more scary and intimidating -- such as, why bother giving them mist-producing glands when it doesn't do anything special other than interfere with flashlights (on a world that has no native-produced flashlights). What about poison gas? Sleep gas?
You could produce an incredibly creepy story using the idea of monsters with superhearing, where the heroes have to sneak around making no noise or they'll die. (I can only imagine what Steven Moffat would do with an idea like that.) This, sadly, was NOT that story.
I was also startled at how Vega's death was glossed over and never mentioned again. That was downright weird. I would have liked to have seen more reaction from Sheppard and from her teammates.
But in conclusion - DUSTY! I was totally fangirling her during the episode, and was thoroughly delighted that she didn't die, as I was expecting. I think Dusty and Porter need to have more adventures. :D