November 4th may have been a momentous day in the history of the America, but so far as my dogs are concerned, yesterday, November 7th, was the day that will live in their hearts forever. It started with Fondy noticing a puddle of water at the base of our refrigerator. Assuming it was the ice dispenser acting up, we cleaned up the mess and set a glass in place to capture any run-off. About an hour later, I walked into the kitchen and noticed another pool of water amassing at the foot of the refrigerator. And the glass I’d set beneath the ice dispenser was empty. Puzzled, I opened the freezer and discovered the source of the problem: the compartment was a comfy room temperature. The meats had thawed out, the leftovers were defrosting, and the various ice creams had been reduced to a collection of milkshake. I salvaged what I could, moving it into the freezer in the garage, then shifted focus to the refrigerator proper. Like the freezer section, it had, as my father was fond of saying, “given up the ghost”. I packed up whatever items I thought could best weather a Vancouver winter and set them out on the back porch, gambling that the raccoons would be thrown off by a box marked Diamond Comic Distributors (“I know it smells like food, Sid, but it says comics right on the box.”). As for the rest, what was a write-off we wrote off and what was still edible – well, we fed to the dogs. So, in a spectacular canine culinary extravaganza, Jelly and co. chowed down on: ground beef, ground bison, ground veal, chicken, steak, and steamed rice.
As for us, it looks like Fondy and I will be going out to eat for the foreseeable future. In other words: business as usual.
Hey, I’m pleased to see many of you enjoyed The Prodigal. Carl Binder – the Sultan of Scripts, the Duke of Dialogue, the Baron of Bottle Shows – works his magic once again, weaving a tale fraught with action, suspense, humor, and a spectacular climactic visual effects sequence that made co-show runner Paul Mullie, as my father was fond of saying “bats in the belfry”. A few of notes of interest concerning this episode:
1. When first outlined, this story was a cross between Carl’s earlier Red Shirt Diaries pitch and the finished product you saw. In this early version, we follow a team of unsung characters as they mount a resistance to Michael and ultimately help our team save the city. However, after some discussion, it was decided that the significance of the story demanded that our team be front and center.
2. After much back and forth, it was decided that this episode would mark Atlantis’s final confrontation with Michael. His ultimate power play was undermined in Kindred I and II (last season) and he’s been on the run ever since. His forces compromised, his resources dwindling, he stages one last desperate gamble to turn the tables and regain the upper hand.
3. It can be argued (as Michael so succinctly does in this episode) that Michael has every right to be angry and seek revenge on Atlantis for having created him in the first place – but it shouldn’t be forgotten that, originally, Michael was a wraith and, thus, their enemy. Sure, from a big picture standpoint you can draw parallels between their feeding on humans and our feeding on animals but, when it comes right down to it, if some thing is about to devour you or your loved ones, you will fight back – and you’ll do everything within your power to ensure they never threaten them again. Which brings us to…
4. Teyla’s delivering the coup de grace at episode’s end. Now some have complained that this was pretty ruthless of her and my response to that would be – yep, it was. But why so surprised? We’ve seen this side of Teyla before, most notably in Missing where her warrior side took over in cruel yet effective fashion. Add to that the fact that she now has a child to protect, a son who has been threatened Michael on two separate occasions. Rather than risk a third attempt, she ended the threat.
5. I was down on set talking to actress Sharon Taylor while this episode was being written, and she mentioned that she was a kickboxing instructor. Intrigued, I mentioned it to Carl who happily incorporated these ass-kicking abilities into the second draft of the script. Sharon’s performance garnered accolades from all around, but especially from stunt coordinator James Bamford and fellow actor Jason Momoa.
6. Running gag #1: Whenever we screened this episode in the writers’ room and we got to the scene where Michael gets on the P.A. and promises to turn off the self-destruct and save the city in exchange for her son, one of us would pipe up: “Teyla, it’s Chuck! Give him the baby!”
7. Running gag #2: Whenever Michael would drop off the ledge and plummet down into the darkness, we would imagine Chuck stepping out onto one of the lower balconies for a smoke – only to get creamed by Michael who, fall broken, would hop up none the worse for wear and make good his escape.
8. While they were shooting the climactic tower fight sequence, there was one take in which Connor flipped the Sheppard stunt actor who was supposed to roll and save himself by grabbing hold of a part of the structure – only the stuntman missed and went right over, landing amidst the safety mats below. Connor immediately threw his arms up in triumph and shouted: “I WIN!!!”, much to the crew’s delight.
It’s episodes like this that really make me sad the show has ended. Only six original episodes left. As my father was fond of saying: “Wouldn’t that jar your preserves.”