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Review: ‘Stargate: Atlantis’ – This Mortal Coil

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “This Mortal Coil,” the mid-season finale for SciFi Channel’s “Stargate:Atlantis.” “Oh crap.” – McKay So, here we are, the final episode of “Stargate: Atlantis” in 2007 and the return (sort of) of Dr. Weir. We start off with Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) and his team trying to fix the […]

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “This Mortal Coil,” the mid-season finale for SciFi Channel’s “Stargate:Atlantis.”

“Oh crap.” – McKay

So, here we are, the final episode of “Stargate: Atlantis” in 2007 and the return (sort of) of Dr. Weir.

We start off with Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) and his team trying to fix the Stargate, which has been inoperable for a week. No big deal, right? Except then a mysterious object — possibly a probe — crashes down into the city.

It looks like it was damaged before its decent, but before McKay and Radek Zelenka (David Nykl) can decode it, the data on the device is wiped clean. McKay swears that he saw Replicator code before the wipe, but everyone is skeptical.

The team is starting to notice that everyone on Atlantis is acting a little strange. After Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) is injured in a little sparring “accident” with Ronon (Jason Momoa), and spontaneously heals, Sheppard starts to worry. Could he have been infected with nanites or is that pesky retrovirus popping up again (“Conversion”)?

When Dr. Kellar (Jewel Staite) starts to act suspiciously the team does there own investigating. After some digging, they discover the horrible truth: they have all been created by the Replicators. Biologically constructed, they are duplicates of the originals, with some nanites that heal injuries. Not only that, but they also find a duplicate Dr. Weir (Torri Higginson).

Weir talks to “Dr. Kellar” and learns they are a faction that wants to learn more about humans and duplicate what allows them to ascend. Basically they want to copy the human soul.

The other Replicators find them and destroy Repli-Atlantis, but Repli-Kellar frees the team of duplicates and gives them a device that can track all Aurora-class Replicator warships.

The duplicates get in touch with the originals and give them the device, but again the Replicators find them. In the end they sacrifice themselves to save the originals.

McKay (the real one) figures out how to activate the Replicator warship detector only to discover to their shock that Replicators have been very busy : replicating.

What Worked

I liked the set-up for the Replicator duplicate reveal. I loved the two McKays teaming up (classic). It was great seeing Dr. Weir again. Overall, it was a good episode with a darker edge that has been a new theme for this entire season.

It is also reassuring to know that McKay and the other members of Atlantis still struggle with the loss of two of their own: Beckett and Weir. This allows deeper character development for those left behind.

The ending, referenced in the opening quote of this review, was both humorously executed and shows how daunting the task ahead really is.

What Didnt Work

Well, is it just me or does this remind anyone else of “Stargate SG-1” season ones “Tin Man” (duplicates of the team that dont realize it) combined with season fours “Double Jeopardy” (the same duplicates sacrifice themselves to save the originals)? This is a little disturbing since the last episode, “Millers Crossing,” reminded me a little too much of “Desperate Measures.”

It was a good hour overall, but I hope this trend of Atlantis episodes “replicating” SG-1 plots doesnt continue … wspecially when you consider that the Replicators are practically “replications” of SG-1s Replicator threat. Im still a little puzzled by that one.

At least they could call them something else or try to tie the two together somehow. The two versions seem too much like each other to not have linked origins.

Again, where is Carter? Why bother having her join the series if she is always gone. I think the big weakness this season has been the poor integration of this beloved character. When she is there, she doesnt seem like the soldier/uber-scientist that we all know and love. Instead, she feels like a watered down version of Weir.

I had a reader respond to last weeks review of “Millers Crossing.” They thought I was too harsh with my questioning of why Teyla and Carter were not in the episode.

Of course you dont always have to have all the characters in each episode, but when a team member (Teyla) isnt there, at least give a quick explanation of what she is doing.

But for this episode, where the heck was the leader of Atlantis? Duplicates of Weir and the team pop up with important information and she isnt around?

Besides these criticisms, I still enjoyed the episode and cant wait to see the rest of the season. Stargate is one of my favorite “universes,” and I cant wait to see what happens next.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“This Mortal Coil” is a story by Brad Wright, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. A teleplay by Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie and directed by William Waring. “Stargate: Atlantis” airs Friday nights at 10 p.m. on the SciFi Channel. The show stars Amanda Tapping, Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell and Jason Momoa.

Marx Pyle is a staff writer for Airlock Alpha, writing out of Vancouver, B.C. He can be reached at mpyle@airlockalpha.com.

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