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October 13, 2015

Stargate Atlantis: Doppelganger - VIDEO

by Brett Love, posted Oct 20th 2007 10:31AM
Joe Flanigan - Stargate Atlantis(S04E04) Last week, Rich commented on the previews for this episode and asked where have we seen that before? It's a fair point, because the dream device is something that has been used again and again in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. I'm OK with that though. Much like episodes where we get to see two characters both narrate previous events from their own point of view, what I like about dream episodes is that they often give us a chance to see characters in a way that we wouldn't normally see them. We got a bit of that here with the evil Shepard.

Of course, the dreams weren't the only part of the episode that felt familiar. Carter made reference to when O'Neill was knocked unconscious by an energy being that took on his appearance. That's from the season one Stargate episode "Cold Lazarus." In an interview with Gateworld, writer/director/producer Robert C. Cooper called it an homage. That's a good way to put it, as you can see if you go back and look at the scene where O'Neill touches the crystal. That video is after the jump.

Getting back to the present, without any bigger picture plot going on, this episode sinks or swims with the dream gag. I actually really liked the dreams and how they fit to each of the characters. Teyla dreaming of her father makes perfect sense, but the little detail I really enjoyed in that one was Evil Shep's comment that "you haven't been the same since you got in the mind of that Wraith queen." That experience had to be terrifying and it's a nice bit of continuity having Evil Shep latch on to that detail.

It was nice for Dr. Keller to get a little more to do this week as well. Her dream also fit very well. She still hasn't completely settled in to her role and responsibilities, as we learn when she tells Teyla that she hasn't slept well since she started the gig. Fear that she would not be able to help someone, especially someone she cares so much about, or that she isn't really ready for this job, must weigh on her. It was also a nice nod to Alien. The conversation about the movie that followed it was very fun, with Rodney telling the story of the date gone horribly wrong and Ronon declaring that he has to see that movie.

You could probably guess that Ronon would dream about being a runner again, although I don't think you would really call it fear. I'm not sure that Ronon actually fears anything. Kate being afraid of heights is kind of funny, given the name Heightmeyer, but didn't really stand out as particularly fitting. Her death, on the other hand, did stand out, because I'm not really sure why they did it. Did the episode really need that to convey the gravity of the situation? I didn't really think so. Shep running around in all of their dreams and Lorne nearly gunning him down for being a replicator got the point across. I think there could have been more mileage gained off the loss of that character.

My favorite of the dream sequences though, was Rodney. Not only his actual dream, but his story of Moby Dick leading up to it. A bit of trivia... according to Robert C. Cooper, that part of the story was based on him. Apparently his father took him to see Jaws when he was seven and it didn't go over well at all. Almost all of Rodney's dream played out really well. Everything except the very hokey whale coming up from underneath them to swallow the boat. And if you immediately thought of Surface when you saw that coming, you're not alone. It was just as bizarre as I would expect a Rodney dream to be, and I really liked the way he apologized to Shepard for what he was about to see in Rodney's head.

I can't help thinking that there was an opportunity missed by not giving us a Carter dream, but the episode did serve well in cementing her role as the new leader of Atlantis. I was a Weir fan and came into this season optimistic about the changeover, but unsure. At this point, I'm completely on board with the Carter regime, although still looking forward to some form of return for Dr. Weir.

And in the midst of all that, we have Shepard. As I said in the opening, this is my favorite part of dream episodes. A look at a very different Shepard. It was interesting. Evil Shep was a sociopath and it came across very well as he looked almost giddy watching the parasite wriggle around in Teyla's stomach. I also liked the big showdown at the end. The fight was good, but Rodney telling them to hook him back up so he could go save Shepard was great. What can I say, I'm a Rodney fan.

Overall, it's a good episode. Probably not one destined to make favorite lists or be talked about with all kinds of amazing adjectives proceeding it, but it had a fun story. And if you get that much out of what is essentially a filler episode, you're ahead of the game. Next week, Krista from Blade (Jill Wagner) shows up to raise some hell.

What about Kate getting killed off?
Oh, oh, I know. This was Cooper's homage to Whedon!17 (9.4%)
If it's going to happen, I would have preferred it be in a more meaningful story.73 (40.3%)
The story needed it so the danger was real.46 (25.4%)
She can't die, Bendis. You know why? Because she is so very pretty.45 (24.9%)

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I agree, Amada's uniform isn't doing her any favors -- especially when she stands next to Jewel Staite.

Get her in a girdle or on a treadmill.

Is it me, or does just look tired and puffy? Where's the cute and perky Sam from SG1?

October 25 2007 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brett Love

Lorne-ly Lady, 'that character' is referring to Kate. I realize that she is not a huge part of the show, but I thought this was a curious episode to kill her off.

October 23 2007 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lorne-ly Lady

Shoot. I missed typing in the quote before I made my comment! I was quoting the original review:

"Shep running around in all their dreams and Lorne nearly gunning him down for being a replicator got the point across. I think there could have been more mileage gained off the loss of that character."

Does "That character" refer to Kate? Or to one of the other two mentioned in the paragraph, Sheppard or Lorne?

October 23 2007 at 6:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lorne-ly Lady

Re the comment:

Was "that character" supposed to refer to Lorne, Sheppard, or Kate? Of the three, I'm glad it was Kate, much as I liked her. The other two are much more important to the future of Atlantis, I think.

I thought this was a fun episode. Sure it was cliched, but honestly, does that matter? There were nice individual touches that related well to each character, and brought a bit more insight into them. And who in the world could possibly argue with watching a barefoot and armed Major Evan Lorne? :) More scenes like that, please.

I don't want to get into the whole Carter/Weir thing, except to say I hate having Carter there. It was completely unnecessary, and a blatant effort by the writers/producers/whoever to keep Amanda Tapping near them. Please bring back Elizabeth Weir full-time, and not in some alien form.

And please, write more Lorne scenes like that one! I was a very happy fangirl.

October 23 2007 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

Carter's fine, but they are doing one thing with her character that I was afraid of. They are not showing her solving the puzzles. I know we have only had a short time of her in charge, but her character is a freaking genius, and if they just have Carter screaming at Rodney and Zelenka to come up with a solution, I will have to scream. She better be in the thick of it, coming up with solutions herself.

October 21 2007 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't believe no one mentioned my favorite line of the evening "Did I have a goatee?" Classic Evil Twin comment. If didn't get the quote right forgive me, but you get the gist. Overall the episode was not original and the writer's made that clear working in the Shep comment, "Haven't you experienced something like this before" not once, but twice on Carter. Comeon, Carter does have more redeeming value than SG-1 archive information. I still have faith that things will improve and did enjoy this episode, but was not wowed by it.

October 21 2007 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did enjoy watching Doppelganger. It was interesting seeing Shepard as evil. While it wasn't my favorite episode it is one that I would watch again. I thought that the ending of the episode was great. They all showed up in the cafeteria because they could not sleep and I did think it was nice the Carter joined them; however, I still think that it would be nice if it was Weir. I do like Carter but I guess it will take me a little while to get over them dropping Weir to recurring. I still enjoy Atlantis and I am hopefull for another season.

October 21 2007 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

re: the poll: I choose "other"

October 21 2007 at 6:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

Doppelganger was an enjoyable episode for the combination of things that worked for me -- obviously everyone else is viewing with their own perspective.

I loved the new matte paintings of the Atlantis cityscape from the cafeteria. Very nice.

I loved Evil Shep. Very cold, menacing - nightmarish.

Alien is one of my favorite movies, and I loved the reference to it, and the addition of making the "Alien" a Replicator bug. LOL!

I loved the interaction between Ronon and Keller. NOW that would be an interesting hook up.

I was stunned by Kate's death. Kate wasn't anywhere near being a "favorite" character, but I liked the character AND the actress.

I loved the ending of the episode, where all the main characters met up in the cafeteria because they couldn't sleep. And I appreciated that Carter joined them. That's Carter's style -- she cares for them.


October 20 2007 at 7:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They have got to get Carter out of that butt ugly uniform

October 20 2007 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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