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October 9, 2015

Stargate Atlantis: Whispers

by Brett Love, posted Sep 6th 2008 9:23AM

Christina Cox, Janina Gavankar, Nicole de Boer, Leela Savasta - Stargate Atlantis
(S05E07) This week the Atlantis team sets out to prove that just because you make a sci fi show set in another galaxy, it doesn't mean you can't have an old fashioned zombie story. If that wasn't enough, this was also the much talked about episode with the all female team. That team included Nicole de Boer, and the returning Leela Savasta. How successful it was depends on how you feel about zombie movies to start with. For me, it was rather hit and miss. Some nice show mythology, mixed up with a monster of the week, and some bits that just fell flat. We'll get into it all, after the jump.

Let's start with the good stuff. Look everybody, it's our old friend Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion). I'm always happy to see McGillion back on Atlantis, but this week it wasn't just a cameo to keep the Beckett fans at bay. He's the perfect person to send to Michael's newly discovered abandoned lab. Of course, McKay would be pretty handy to send along too... but this is the good stuff portion, so let's let that one slide.

Michael's lab worked really well as the setup for the story. It gives us a nice reminder of just how brilliant, and crazy, he actually is, and it stands to reason that his project is going to leave a trail of failed experiments. I was also happy to see that all of the info McKay gleaned from the last lab hasn't been forgotten, as it provided a means to disable the security.

The measure of good and bad starts to get a little 'foggy' when we talk about the zombies. Call 'em hybrids if you want, but they were zombies for all intents and purposes. I'll say, the makeup was pretty solid. As far as creepy zombies go, they nailed it. But the actual zombie story, really goes either way. It was chock full of cliches. Stepping on a branch and alerting the zombie... the plodding walk in the distance... people running off into the fog alone... You can take that as a nod to the classic zombie style, or you can roll your eyes and ask "WTF?" Neither reaction is wrong. I actually liked it, but I suspect there will be more than a few Stargate fans that did not dig this thing at all. Luckily, if you count yourself in that camp, it looks like business will pick up next week.
Stargate Atlantis, now with Zombies
Continuing on that iffy line was the all female team. It was kind of a clunky introduction. To start, how many times has another team found something that led to Sheppard, and the whole team, taking off to check it out? Given the history, anything Michael related should summon the cavalry. On top of that, how does Sheppard not know that there is an all girl team? Not just an all girl team, but an all gorgeous girl team.

Despite the rocky start, the team wasn't without its merits. Its been mentioned that some of these characters could be recurring, and if I can pick one, I'd like to see more of Major Teldy (Christina Cox as her third Stargate character). I like the idea of a female led team, and she has good chemistry with Sheppard. That's chemistry of the working together kind, not the romantic, by the way. There is also some potential for a run in between Sgt. Mehra (Janina Gavankar) and Ronon.

Which brings us to Dr. Porter (Nicole de Boer). I am, admittedly, a sucker for the casting of certain actors, and de Boer makes that list, so I was happy to see her here. That being said, not a great role given to her. The flirty back and forth between Beckett and Porter didn't work for me. Aside from the fact it's just not something that Stargate does well, it was so oddly timed. Discovering the remnants of a mutant army of killers created by the most dangerous creature you know of is not the jumping off point for, "Where did you go to school?" or "What's a girl like you doing in a galaxy like this?" It's just odd.
Nicole de Boer and Paul McGillion - Stargate Atlantis
And then there is Captain Vega (Leela Savasta). What the hell? More than anything else, this just left me questioning the premiere again. The way she was shoehorned into that was awkward then, but this was the payoff? Was the cameo in the premiere for the sole purpose of removing her red shirt in "Whispers"? Because it didn't work. After two episodes, I still don't know anything about her, and can't really be bothered by her death. I really don't know what they were thinking with her.

Overall, I'd call this episode just ok. I liked the callbacks to earlier episodes, the zombie story, and the potential of Major Teldy. But there were a lot of things that just missed the mark. In the end, the episode was somewhat ill conceived. It's hard to imagine that the combination of a zombie episode and the all girl team would ever pan out as a remarkable episode. But hey, they can't all be gems, right? Let's give it another go next week.

Other thoughts:

Was it just me, and my TV, or was this the worst looking episode of the season? The fog just didn't seem to photograph well at all.

Sgt. Mehra had the best line of the night following her counting error. "Sorry...that's nine."

Just throwing it out there... TPTB have said that Stargate Universe will feature one recognizable actor, and fresh faces for the rest of the crew. And Dr. Beckett is taking off on a new project. I'm just sayin...

How did the big Stargate zombie experiment work for you?
Excellent - Night Of The Living Dead39 (12.3%)
Solid - Shaun Of The Dead107 (33.6%)
I kept watching for the girls - Night Of The Comet94 (29.6%)
Awful - Plan Nine From Outer Space78 (24.5%)

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heh... a Cube reunion of sorts... neat...

September 09 2008 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mack Swift

Fun, spooky, tense episode all around, although the CG fog effects did not translate well on the TV.

Christina Cox, I am in lust!! Her and Jill Wagner in an epsiode; well that would be reserved on a permanent slot on the Tivo.

Over all, loved the episode and it was fun.

And why the hell are you canceling this show Sci-Fi?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

September 08 2008 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mack Swift's comment

Jill Wagner would make a great addition to the show.

September 08 2008 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally, I loved this ep. I'm a big fan of the zombie type of movie, and if they want to try one of those in SGA, I'm all for it. With this sort of thing you expect a cliche here or there, so they didn't bother me that much.

September 07 2008 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry but there really should be a limit on how much you can type in a comment.
When I saw Usama's wall-o-words I immediately leave the page (..of course I came back to leave my own comment.).
If you want to opine that much, start your own blog. Don't hijack someone else's...
Nuf Said.

September 07 2008 at 3:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eps that Make You go Ugh

Are they so hard up for an original story they've got to do a tired zombie piece ?! And they just threw situational plausibility out the window, too. That was just pathetic. And most of the cast took a break on this one, too. Where were they ?! Contract guaranteed break ? Contributing to the lazy effort of this episode you have Carson and McKay in the closing scene wearing the same clothes, with shirt zippers in the same position, and both standing in the same positions with the camera using the same angle. It's just so obvious the director nailed two separate scenes with only a change in dialogue. Have they just given up already ?! Sheesh.

September 07 2008 at 12:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GerryofNorVA's comment

I agree. This would have been a great episode for Fear Itself, but for SGA, I feel as if they have given up on developing any of the story arcs.

Granted, this did flesh out the Michael story, it only added an extra tiny facet to his background. It did not bring his character into the story. It did not bring any interaction between the expedition and Michael. If it had, the story might have been a bit more interesting and the characters could have been more compelling.

I was very excited to see Nicole De Boer. I was hoping that she was going to be a recurring character, but since the show has been canceled, I doubt that. :(

September 08 2008 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nicole de Boer without spots just doesn't cut it for me ;-)

September 06 2008 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Having not actually watched this episode and just looking at the picture, SG Universe needs to be about an all-female team. And these beauties look good. Nothing short of that change will compel me to watch that show. And as for a zombie episode? Definitely why the entire SG franchise needs a break and fast.

September 06 2008 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is why the show was canceled.

September 06 2008 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I kept groaning at the bad decisions.

"Stay here" (by yourself)

"I'll check the perimeter" (alone)

"Let's split up" (in the dark fog full of monsters)

Not to mention wandering around said dark fog with that bright beacon right in front of the eyes.... blinding the one carrying it and advertising his position to any monster in the vicinity.

It was good to see Carson again, and I always enjoy Nicole deBoer. Beyond that, while I know that with the series ticking down we should cherish every episode, this one was sort of a "meh" episode, especially since it had the bad luck to follow the repeat of "The Shrine" with David Hewlett's tour de force.

September 06 2008 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode didn't do much for me. I actually found myself surfing the net and not paying attention -- and I am a big de Boer fan. At this stage in the game it seems a waste of time to bring in new characters when they should be concentrating on the the main cast. Of course, I'm sure this was filmed long before the decision was made to take Atlantis on the DVD route, but still.

September 06 2008 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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