Stargate Atlantis: This Mortal Coil
(S04E10) We've all been waiting for it since October, and this week we got the return of Dr. Weir. Kind of. If that wasn't enough to capture your interest, the SciFi channel was also running promos all week letting you know that this was the last episode of 2007. Surely they wouldn't go into the break without a big episode, right? Kind of.
Gallery: Stargate Atlantis
I actually thought that this was a very good episode that was stopped short of being great by two things. One of them my fault, and one the fault of the producers. First, I am guilty of building this one up too much ahead of time. With the show going on a break after this one, my expectations were for something much more monumental in the overall story with the battle between the Wraith and the Replicators. It was still important, to be sure, but ended up being so more as a preview to what is to come, as we saw in that terrific final scene. "Oh crap."
Now, as for the producers, they have to take a hit for the decided lack of Carter in this episode. I know it's a part time gig and she's not going to be in every episode, but come on. Hi, I'm a replicator, and I've got a whole crew of replicators with me here, and we'd like to meet to give you some badass replicator fighting tech. But don't bother bringing your commanding officer into the loop. Surely she has more pressing issues than that to deal with!
If I had to choose, I would put myself in the camp that would rather still have Weir running the show on Atlantis, so maybe I am a little biased, but I was still alright with the idea of bringing Carter in. If they are going to do that though, they need to do it right. As much as I like Carter, the implementation of her character has been the weakest part of the season so far.
Getting to the main story of the episode, the replicated Atlantis team, I really liked the way it played out. The previews made it pretty clear that we were going to be seeing the replicated doubles, but the process by which they came to be did come as a surprise to me. Both the program to achieve ascension and the fact that Rodney's mucking about with the replicator code enabled the creation of the doubles were very good.
I did find myself wondering the same question when the team found out that the data for the dupes came from when their minds were probed. Where is Beckett? The explanation that Weir served as an update to the system worked well enough, but I couldn't help thinking that the show would have worked just as well the other way. Had Sheppard headed off to get tested and ran into Beckett, things would have been the same for his character. Clean bill of health, and suspicion of foul play.
From the viewer standpoint though, it would have made things all the more confusing. I wouldn't have jumped right to replicators in that case. I would have been more likely to think we were entering into the story through one of the character's dreams. That's neither here nor there though, but it is fun to think about.
The big meetup of the two teams was much like I expected it to be. The two Teyla's calmly contemplated what was going on. The two Ronon's looked like they wanted to fight. The two Rodney's had an immediate love fest, and their banter was so close to being the best part of that scene. Unfortunately, they were topped by OGSheppard's reaction to seeing OtherSheppard. "Great. Last time I came face to face with myself, I ended up kicking my own ass."
The duplicate team brought up an interesting ethical question as well. Who's to say what is more real or which one has any certain claim to people, places, or things? I would have loved to see at least one of the replicated team make it out of the diversion mission, but I never thought it would happen. It is a story that can be done very well, calling to mind the two Chrichton's on Farscape.
Finally, the destruction of Atlantis, paying off the prediction from "The Seer." That did serve as a nice bit of continuity between episodes, but it also stood out,as Carter was the one with that vision. Yet, here, when it's all going down, she's nowhere to be found. It's like if you had received a vision and saw that the turn signals on my Chevy Luv project were going to stop working whenever I turn on the headlights. It's kind of cool that you knew that was going to happen, and if you have any ideas for the fix I'm all ears, but at the end of the day, you're just not involved in that, which makes the whole thing a little odd.
So, ten in the books and we are done until January. Overall, I think it's been a pretty solid first half. I'm looking forward to picking things back up next month and getting a little deeper into the Wraith/Replicator smackdown. Until then, Happy Holidays, and whatnot.