Among the handful of story ideas I brought to the table when we first started spinning season four, was one involving Ronon and his bittersweet Reunion with friends long-thought dead. It was a story about life’s choices, going back or moving forward, as Ronon is faced with a gut-wrenching decision between the established loyalties of the past and the developing friendships of the present. That was the A story. The B story involved Carter assuming command of the Atlantis expedition. And the more I thought about this episode, the more it became obvious to me that there were definite parallels between the two stories. On the one hand, you had Ronon struggling to choose between the new life he has built on Atlantis and the life he left behind on Sateda. On the other hand, you have Carter who has made the decision to leave the life she built for herself at the SGC to travel to the Pegasus Galaxy and start a new life on Atlantis. In the case of Ronon, this is easy enough to convey through his scenes with his fellow Satedans at first, and, later, with his buddies on Atlantis. In Carter’s case, however, I felt it would be unsatisfying to simply have her step through the gate and onto Atlantis fait accompli. We needed to see her leave what she knew behind and so, I thought a goodbye at the SGC would be appropriate. Of course having all of SG-1 and O’Neill there would have been great – but prohibitively expensive given that they would only be appearing in the one scene. And so, I elected to go with one member of SG-1 to represent the team and her past. I chose Teal’c. I picked up the phone and called up Chris Judge. Because it was a very brief scene, the production was only prepared to pay a nominal fee, so I was ready to give Chris the big pitch. But I didn’t have to. Before I could even get into it, he responded: “Sure, whatever you guys need.” I was so impressed that, right then and there, I vowed we would bring Teal’c back for a real non-nominal-fee appearance in the back half of the season. But that’s a story for another time – or, more specifically, when Midway air.

When I finished the script, and even after viewing the finished episode, I was a little anxious because, unlike the preceding two episodes – Adrift and Lifeline – which were almost non-stop action, Reunion is more of a slow burn. When the action does kick in, it is fast and furious, boasting some of the best fight sequences we’ve ever done (kudos to Bam Bam, Jason M., and guest star Mark Dacoscas for doing such a brilliant job), but the lead up is all about Ronon and the bonds he has formed (with his fellow Satedans, with Teyla, with Sheppard, with Atlantis in general) and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Carter and the relationships she is developing (with McKay, with Sheppard, with Atlantis in general) – and, of course, the relationship between Ronon and Carter – which gets off to a decidedly rocky start.

There’s something for everyone in this episode – action, humor, big arc implications – but I think it will hold particular appeal to those fans looking for a little insight into our characters and the friendships that have developed (and are still developing) over time. I could be wrong – and if I am, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Oh, and to those of you asking about Lifeline ratings – I only have the raw number and, as was the case with Adrift, I say it would be irresponsible of me to reveal that until the DVR+3 comes out to make it an official rating. To those of you complaining that I released the number of Adrift on the Monday following the premiere – check again. When people asked back then, I said the same thing. I’m waiting for that frustratingly elusive DVR+3 which, I’ve been told, will honestly-truly-this-is-for-real finally be available next Monday or Tuesday. Seriously. It takes a weekend to figure out the same-day DVR numbers but almost 3 weeks to figure out a 3 day DVR number. Seriously! Are the results being hand-tabulated? Is it time for Neilsen Media Research to splurge on a computer upgrade? Scrap those Commodore 64’s for a brand spanking new VAIO’s or MAC? I’m starting up a collection.

Today’s pics: Oh, this and that.

Today’s video: Click on the date to take a stroll through the Phoenix.

Today’s mailbag:

Charles Schneider writes: “From first cut to final cut, how many hands does a single episode get passed to during the editing process?”

Answer: Too many to count but if I had to give you a number, I’d say approximately a lot.

Vikitty writes: “Ever seen Infernal Affairs 2 and Infernal Affairs 3?”

Answer: I haven’t yet, but own copies of both.

Julie Ann writes: “I have recently become addicted to Moonlight […] But have you seen it yet? Was that one of the ones that you and Fondy started watching?”

Answer: Yep. We checked out all of the new shows.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Are you not giving out the ratings anymore?”

Answer: I have yet to give out any ratings for season four.

Muah! writes: “Any tips for an aspiring (non)writer?”

Answer: Push yourself to write if you have to. Even the best of writers do.

AmberMoon writes: “On the discs…one shows +1:09 over and the other shows +4:05…is this where you come in and cut the episode to within the required time limits?”

Answer: Yes it is.

Amz writes: “Is there a particular order to which episodes get finished first?”

Answer: Preferably, they would get finished in their air order – but that’s not always the case. Episodes are shot out of sequence, delaying some, moving others up, and the amount of visual effects in a given episode may also dictate delivery.

Amz also writes: “ What is the development process for an episode from editing to airing?”

Answer: In broad strokes: Editor’s cut – Director’s cut – Producer’s cut A – Producer’s Cut 1 – Day 1 Mix – Day 2 Mix – Final.

Di writes: “Do you have a favorite strange combination?”

Answer: I’m kind of partial to the dark chocolate coffee plum with caramelized bacon.

Amy Lynn writes: “When you go out to a restaurant is it always better to make a reservation or just take a chance on getting a seat?”

Answer: Reservations are always your best bet if the place is popular. BTW – did you get it yet?

Atlantisfannew1 a ecrit: “1)Vous regarder beaucoup la TV? 2)Si vous viveriez sur la Cité d’atlantis, quel fonctions voudriez vous avoir?? 3)Quel alcool préférez vous???”

Reponses: 1) Oui, mais pas autant que la plupart des gens. 2) Chef. 3) J’aime l’avokaat.

Michelle Lunsord writes: “would you happen to know if any of your favorite shops do mail deliveries to the States?”

Answer: Sorry, I don’t. But you could try Chocoatl.

Anonymous #2 writes: “Joe promised that Carter would not overshadow the other SGA characters, but I’m beginning to have my doubts. Either that, or not all of TPTB got the same memo?”

Answer: Maybe you should watch the episode or, better yet, the fourth season, before you start complaining about Carter overshadowing the standing team. Just a thought.

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