The original idea for this episode came out of a desire to do a Woolsey story. It’s no secret that, in the short time he has become a regular, Woolsey has become a favorite of mine and I wanted to continue the rehabilitation of the character we’d started as far back as SG-1’s 7th season episode Inauguration. To that end, I wanted to humanize him a little more by focusing on his vulnerabilities and the fact that, despite his officious nature and occasional abrasiveness, he is at heart a lonely individual.

I wanted to do an episode not unlike the play Harvey (later a movie starring Jimmy Stewart) which tells the tale of a softspoken, socially awkward individual with an imaginary(?) friend = a tall, upright-walking rabbit. In the Stargate: Atlantis version, a discussion on Woolsey’s apparent loneliness would segue into his encounter with a new addition to the Atlantis expedition, a female scientist who he ends up hitting off with. Over the course of the episode, pressured by the strains of his ongoing probationary review, he finds comfort and, inevitably, romance in Dr. Conrad. At episode’s end, however, the truth is discovered and the individual known as Dr. Conrad must leave him. It is a bittersweet moment and, with her departure, Woolsey returns to his lonely existence.

Needless to say, this original version with a lot more melancholy. And a huge challenge because, as I sat down tried to beat out an outline, I realized that the core of the story lacked any real conflict (Woolsey’s review aside) and, quite frankly, the idea couldn’t really support an entire episode. So I thought about it some more and remembered an idea we had pitched out and shelved seasons ago involving Sheppard on the mainland hallucinating an encounter with Kolya. Finally, I needed certain backstory elements that could be delivered piecemeal over the course of the episode – which was where the McKay-Zelenka story came in.

In the end, the episode wound up focusing on three seemingly dissimilar storylines that eventually turn out to be linked by common themes – the fundamental loneliness of these three characters and their deep-seated vulnerabilities which are exploited by the A.I.



The original version of this scene was a little longer and hinted/paralleled McKay’s own apparent loneliness:

TEYLA: He seems so lonely.

MCKAY: He does?

TEYLA: He never takes part in any of the city’s social activities.

MCKAY: Movie nights, mini-golf and yahtzee. Please.

TEYLA: He’s always eating alone in his office or back in his quarters.

McKay glances down at his own lunch tray and quickly takes a seat.

MCKAY: Maybe he’s got work to do. We’re busy people here.

TEYLA: I can’t remember the last time he took personal leave.

MCKAY: Like I said, we’re busy. And quite frankly, those two and half weeks on the Daedalus aren’t exactly a picnic –

TEYLA: I don’t even think he has anyone back on Earth.

MCKAY: Uh Jeannie.

RONON: We’re talking about Woolsey, right?

MCKAY: Uh, right. Look, he’s probably just a private person.

But I ended up losing the suggestion in the next draft because it was felt that, with the developments on the Keller-McKay front, this no longer applied.


Also, in the original draft, Parrish was actually Dr. Lieberman, but Robert bumped on Lieberman’s enthusiastic botanical discovery, pointing out he had done a similar beat in Doppelganger. So I ended up changing Lieberman to Parrish and put added the “Lorne warned me about this.” line to make it a call back.

This episode was directed by Will Waring who has done some spectacular work over the course of the franchise run but particularly this season with enormously challenging episodes like Whispers and Tracker. As some of you may remember from reading Will’s Q&A with us, he has a signature prop that he puts in every episode: a pineapple. In this episode, eagle-eyed viewers may catch sight of a, uh, tropical-looking growth amongst the plants Parrish is enthusing over.



In the script, Sheppard comes back to the jumper to find it “trashed”. The only problem is that there isn’t that much to trash in a jumper given its sleek design. Enter the gang at SPFX and their one-of-a-kind magic. Nothing says damage like major spark age!


Actress Anna Galvin was recommended by my fellow producer Alan McCullough who had had her come in to audition for another role. I thought she was great in the audition and fantastic in this episode. By the way, some of your more dedicated fans may have noticed that this isn’t Anna’s first appearance on Stargate. Back in SG-1’s ninth season, she played the doomed Dr. Reya Varrick in Collateral Damage.

In tightening up an episode that wound up timing in at a little over 9.30 long, I had to do a fair amount of dialogue editing. In this scene, there is a call-back to the opening scene in which McKay mentions Yahtzee. Since I’d lost the McKay reference, I had no problems losing this one as well:


WOOLSEY: I’ve been here a little over nine months and I’m still getting lost. Well, I’m sure the gang at orientation will help you settle in. And, if you’re interested, Atlantis does offer a host of nightly social activities. Yahtzee tournaments, movie screenings, organized sports…

DR. CONRAD: You had me at yahtzee.

As we sat down to prep this episode, it was pointed out that we had never been inside a transporter when it actually transported someone. After much discussion, it was decided that the effect inside the chamber would conform to what we’d seen from the outside: a bright flash that quickly subsumes…

A brilliant bit of improvisation here from Bob Picardo who has really done a great job of coming up with some hilarious extras. In the script, Woolsey steps out of the elevator and, as the doors are closing, informs Conrad: “You can call me…Richard.” Too late as the doors have already closed. Bob, of course, changed “Richard” to “Dick” and gave it a truly memorable delivery.


There was a little more to this exchange that ended up being cut for time:

ZELENKA: We head through the gate every day, exploring distant worlds, and yet we’ve barely scratched the surface of the very planet we occupy.

MCKAY: That’s because there’s nothing here.

ZELENKA: We assumed as much on Lantea and then, three years later, ended up discovering a crashed wraith ship lying beneath the ocean’s surface.

MCKAY: The fact that the planet was ground zero of the Ancients’ war against the wraith ten thousand years ago probably had something to do with it.

ZELENKA: True, but we have no way of knowing who or what inhabited this world prior to our arrival. My points is it wouldn’t hurt be thorough.

MCKAY: My point is your point is pointless. And a giant waste of time.


Early in the season, we were contacted by the network and told that, as part of NBC Universal’s Green Week, they’d be asking all of their shows to produce a “green-themed episode” for the #16 slot. Since I was writing Remnants, that slot fell to me. Those who know me were barely able to contain their mirth at the thought of me, of all people, writing the green-themed episode. But I gave it some thought and pitched out the idea that the Sekkari (the alien race in this episode) had poisoned their own planet and this is what led to the inevitable destruction of their race. It was a backstory element that would serve the story but serve a power, POWERFUL LESSON on the capricious yet ultimately devastating effects of those who continue to use electricity or don’t recycle their own feces (shame on you). As it turned out, however, Marty G.’s story, Brain Storm, which we were spinning at the time I was working on Remnants already had an environmental angle – so we switched off and he took the #16 slot. Out of respect for my lost after school special message, I included a reference to it in Shen’s dialogue:

SHEN: In reognition of the great job you’ve done here, the I.O.A. is appointing you to chair their new environmental initiative. (beat)Congratulations, Richard. You’re coming home.

Egads! Not only is he being relieved of his command but, to add insult to injury, he’s been given the chair of the I.O.A.’s new environmental initiative!


This episode is full of great act-outs. And the return of Kolya is definitely one.



Hmmm. So, since Zelenka is really only a manifestation of McKay’s mind, he shouldn’t be noticed by anyone else except Rodney. I have to laugh every time I watch this scene because the tech wheeling in the device goes to great lengths to make this point VERY clear.


Ah, humor is so subjective and if there’s one thing we’ll disagree on in the room more than any other thing, it’s the gags. In this case, it’s the movie gag.

DR. CONRAD: Well – this may be wholly inappropriate but I was wondering whether you’d like to catch a movie?

WOOLSEY: A movie?

DR. CONRAD: They’re screening two of my favorites tonight: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

WOOLSEY: Well…the truth is, I’m having a horrible day and I’m not in much of a laughing mood.

DR. CONRAD: In that case, we can wait until tomorrow when they’ll be screening Mad Money and Kangaroo Jack.

Paul hated the gag. Marty G., on the other hand, loved it. Faced with two very different opinions, I deferred to Marty G. only because, as a former stand-up, he had professional training in the field of comedy and was thus capable of making a much more informed opinion. Also, I thought it was funny too.


The first draft of the script was so detailed in its description of the beating Sheppard takes at Kolya’s hands that a number of the writers felt I’d gone too far. In response to the note, I simply took out the more elaborate description, banking on director Will (God bless him!) to really put Sheppard through the ringer. Then, when actor Robert Davi dropped by my office to offer me his script notes, most of his suggestions were requests to add punches. I was more than happy to give him the green light. “Go to town!”

Another request from Robert David was that he call Sheppard “Johnny Boy”. At first, I hesitated because it seemed so out of character for Kolya and really an Earth colloquialism but, as Robert pointed out, it’s all a manifestation originating from Sheppard’s mind. True enough. By the way, I again must mention what a great job Robert Davi did in this episode. It was great having him back.

Also, Sheppard’s response in this exchange –

KOLYA: You can tolerate more than any man I’ve ever known. Now why is that?

SHEPPARD: I was married once.

– compliments of Carl Binder.

Finally, because this episode was nine and half minutes over, I had to trim a significant amount of dialogue. Like this line delivered by Kolya as he is working over Sheppard:

KOLYA: #Dr. Weir was just one in a long line wasn’t she, Sheppard? Just another one that…slipped through your fingers.


In the first draft of this scene, Zelenka brings McKay a cup of tea, explaining that he had a professor at the Czech Academy of Sciences who always drank black tea because he maintained it helped promote lateral thinking. I thought it was a nice touch. Don’t remember why we lost it.


Ah, my favorite act-out ever. A number of the writers thought that this episode was too brutal and that cutting off Sheppard’s hand was going too far. I fiercely disagreed and Carl was the most vocal in support of losing the hand. So this element stayed. By the way, love the sound effect of the machete cleaving flesh and bone.


The challenge of editing down an episode that has run long is in finding bits and pieces to lose from the various scenes that won’t compromise the integrity of the episode. In a best (and easiest) case scenario, you’d be able to excise an entire scene. But if you were able to do that, that would mean the scene didn’t really belong there in the first place. Which was the case with this scene that originally started the third act:



Woolsey is seated across from Shen, all business. Shen flips through her notebook.

SHEN: You really want to go through the motions on this?

WOOLSEY: Every last one.

SHEN: Fine.

She glances down at her notebook, then fixes Woolsey with a look.

SHEN: In your very first crisis situation, you demonstrated a shocking disregard for procedure by refusing to deal directly and decisively with a threat to this city.

WOOLSEY: You mean I refused to kill Dr. Keller when she was infected by an alien contagion. True. Instead, I adopted an alternate course of action that ultimately allowed me to eliminate the threat and save the life of my Chief Medical Officer. I believe the I.O.A. cleared me of any misconduct.

SHEN: Yes, but what concerns us is that the incident was the beginning in a pattern of behavior; not an aberration, but the first in a series of suspect decisions.

She glances down at her notebook.

SHEN: Ronon Dex was permitted free reign of the city only days after swearing allegiance to the wraith.

WOOLSEY: There were extenuating circumstances. They were detailed in my report if you’d bothered to read it –

SHEN: You allowed the replicators to establish a corporeal presence here on Atlantis –

WOOLSEY: And, in so doing, dealt with them directly and decisively.

SHEN: The fact that it all worked out for you in the end is beside the point. You of all people should know that. You certainly used to.

WOOLSEY: That was before I took this job. But it didn’t take me long to realize that the solutions to the problems this city faces on a daily basis aren’t to be found in some official manual of conduct. They’re to be found in the people who risk their lives to be here.

SHEN: A noble yet wholly impractical sentiment that will, sooner or later, come back to bite you in the ass.

WOOLSEY: Well, until then, Xiao, I urge you to back off.

Off Shen –


Another Bob Picardo extra – not so much an alternate line reading as an inspired delivery: “This is where I COME…to be alone with my thoughts!”

There was also a little more to this scene that played to an element Carl suggested at the outline stage – that Woolsey’s ideal woman is based on someone he once knew, “the one that got away”:

Woolsey considers, then –

WOOLSEY: You know, when I first laid eyes on you in the transporter this morning, you reminded me of someone.


WOOLSEY: Emma Reese, a fellow law student back in the day. She was smart, sincere, beautiful…

DR. CONRAD: And, let me guess – she broke your heart?

WOOLSEY: Never got the chance to.

WOOLSEY: There wasn’t a day that went by during my senior year that I didn’t think about asking her out. But of course I never did. We went our separate ways and, well, I still wonder what could have been.

Beat. #

WOOLSEY: Vanessa, would you care to join me for dinner tonight?


Although no one asked, one thing I wanted to make clear is that the information McKay is looking at is not the retrievable data (otherwise there would really be no dilemma if that was the case). Rather, it’s a table of contents of sorts that offers an overview of the data contained within the device.


Whenever we would watch this scene in the writers’ room, and Banks would reveal: “There is no Dr. Conrad on Atlantis.” and then go CLOSE ON a stunned Woolsey, I would allows pipe up with my own Banks ad-lib: “No, wait a minute. She spells her name with a K. Here she is.”




In the original draft, McKay was a little more earnest and up front about his feelings on retrieving the data. He confided in Zelenka more who drew it out of him:

MCKAY: Just waiting for Woolsey to give the green light so I can start the data retrieval on this thing.

ZELENKA: You think he will?

MCKAY: Of course. This is huge. The chronicled achievements of an alien civilization. Are you kidding me?

ZELENKA: And yet you seem…bothered.

MCKAY: I’m not feeling one hundred percent. I think it was the cherry cobbler I had for lunch.

ZELENKA: I think we both know it isn’t the cherry cobbler.

Rodney and Zelenka exchange meaningful looks.

ZELENKA: If this doesn’t feel right to you, you should say something.

MCKAY: What’s the point? It’s not like I’m making the call. And besides, I should be ecstatic. This is one of the biggest discoveries we’ve made in the Pegasus Galaxy. I’ll be heading the research into a treasure trove of technological marvels.(beat) Why aren’t I ecstatic?

ZELENKA: Because, Rodney, you may be egotistical, arrogant, and incredibly stubborn – but you’re also a good man.(beat) Go. Talk to Mr. Woolsey.

OFF a torn McKay –


Quite a drop, huh? No, not really. The cliff face was, in reality, all of twelve feet high. Extra special thanks to Mark and Krista and the rest of the gang at VFX for the magical transformation.



Not only is she not receiving the promised Atlantis position, but she’s instead going to be chairing the new environmental initiative. Is there nothing lower?


So it’s clear that John is a tortured soul, that this fact is reinforced not only through his hallucination in this episode but his selfless, often dangerous, drive to protect his fellow members of the Atlantis expedition. We’ve seen glimpses of it in past episodes like Phantoms in which we learn he disobeyed orders to go back and save a friend left behind – only to lose the friend and some other personnel as a result of his decision. But was this incident the impetus for John’s disposition or was it just another symptom stemming from a much bigger problem. For the sake of canon, it remains to be seen but, in my mind, there was another incident that preceded the aforementioned event, a dark and personal loss that changed John Sheppard. And it was hinted at in the first draft of this script when the A.I./Conrad says:

CONRAD: #As for you, John. Stop blaming yourself for what happened to your mother. It’s time to move on.

Alas, it was argued that the line was too pat and the general feeling was that it was a road we shouldn’t go down. So I changed the line but filed the piece of the puzzle away…hopefully for future use.


I occasionally use a framing sequence in my scripts, parallel scenes that open and end the episode, giving it a nice, self-contained feel. I also thought it was important to conclude with our team together, inviting Woolsey to join them and complete the picture. I think it’s important to suggest that these individuals are friends as well as co-workers, that they enjoy each other’s company and hang around when they’re not off-world. It’s something I loved doing in SG-1 and included here in my final episode of Stargate: Atlantis.

99 thoughts on “November 15, 2008: The Remnants Write-up

  1. Hey Joe….interesting run-down. I hope one day we learn more about what Sheppard’s real problem is. I suspect the same – it has something to do with his mother. He keeps trying to save her. There’s a lot of guilt there and it’s compounded by all of the people he’s lost. John’s his own harshest critic. Perhaps in one of the movies it could be explored a bit more.

    Cheers, Chev

  2. Dear Joe,

    thanks for the detailed revisit of “Remnants”. I must confess I looked forward as much as I dreaded the airing of this episode. I just wasn´t sure how much damage the well publicised torture of Sheppard could/would potentially do to the character.

    As it is acted out now, I can say well done. I didn´t think it one iota too extreme, the torture, that is – I think you found fitting images for the emotional self-mutilation a person – here Sheppard – can inflict on oneself out of (mostly wrong, I figure) self-perceived guilt.

    And yes, Sheppard certainly is ready to give part if not all of himself (okay the hand was literally). Great perfomances by both Joe Flanigan an Robert Davi.

    Actually, I would have loved to see more of the two (and then perhaps less McKay-Zelenka, actually focusing on Woolsey and Sheppard only would´ve been a preference here – 45 minutes just wasn´t enough time for the subject matter anyway). You were just scraping the outer hull of the Sheppardian guilt complex.

    It was a convincing and most revealing twist that Sheppard was the architect of his own pain. It was odd and intriguing at once when suddenly, Kolya, the image of his worst enemy, acted out with compassion toward him – you could really see the wheels turning in Sheps head.

    So thank you for that – it´s been a long way coming and needed addressing. And although you left the “mother” reference out, itwas tangible nonetheless. I´m wonderig any reason why you chose the hand?

    So I ask myself where will Sheppard go from here, will the experience and the information change him? And in what way?

    Would have loved to witness the debriefing with Woolsey (which may not have made for an intertesting all-audience epsiode but for an interesting part of the story).

    So finally, some more character exploration for Sheppard. Just great.

    cheers, Deb

    P.s. I only hope you´ll make Shep loose his juvenile ways with women in the movies- just annoying, feels like a regression after seasons 3-4.

  3. OMG, I loved this ep! Thank you, Joe, for your insight into this episode. It might have stemmed from your desire to have a Woolsey episode, but since Sheppard is my favorite character I much appreciated those moments more.

    I’m so glad that you could bring the character of Kolya back in such a way that it didn’t compromise the fact that Beckett had to have checked to make sure he was dead.

    Again, thank you for my favorite episode so far this season.

  4. I am glad you put Parrish there, I wanted him back since Runner. He and Lorne were awesome in their few Minutes at the beginning of the Ep.! 😀

  5. Dear Joe,

    1. How many Wraith Hives can we assume were destroyed due to the brief moment the Attero device was on?

    2. Will the Destiny Space craft be comparable to Atlantis city ship or an Aurora class ship?

    3. Was Remnants the “a very special stargate episode” you were alluding to in the beginning of season 5?

    Thanks and take care of ol’ Maximus

  6. P.S.: Gorgeous Pics of R. Davi!
    P.P.S.: I know off-topic, but wow, such awesome, colourful Tattoos! D:

  7. “In the first draft of this scene, Zelenka brings McKay a cup of tea… I thought it was a nice touch. Don’t remember why we lost it.”

    Maybe it was the logistics of something in your head handing you tea which would also have to be in your head?

    Episode was good overall, but although I didn’t have an issue with the hand chopping, I think it came way too early. After 10 years of SG-1 and 5 of Atlantis I think the audience knows something like that isn’t really going to happen to one of the characters without it being an alternate timeline or an illusion of some kind. It seemed odd to do that in the second act instead of maybe closer to the end of the third when Woolsey is gonna find out it’s not real. I guess you need something to send it to commercial though.

  8. Fantastic! I loved every minute of Remnants. I especially liked the way you wove the three separate storylines into one big ending. Fantastic writing. And all the little jokes, especially the Chuck jokes, had me in stitches. Although I think the McKay/Zelenka interactions have just given slash fans more ammunition.

    Question: In your mind, do you think that the Sekkari ever recreated their race? Or will the pod seen on Atlantis fail just like the others?

    Thanks heaps for 5 seasons of truly memorable episodes, Joe.


  9. I have one little question about the episode – which I loved, by the way. It was enjoyable in every possible way. Kudos. My question has to do with when Koyla says to Sheppard, “You’re either someone with a death wish, or someone running away from something.” Knowing afterwards that it was a manifestation of Sheppard’s own mind, is it the case then that he, himself doesn’t know whether he has a death wish or if he’s running away from something?

  10. Joe,

    Remnants was a seriously creepy episode, more so than Whispers in a way. And it broke my heart, too, having it confirmed that Sheppard is so full of guilt and so haunted by his past. I think we all knew this but seeing it played out as it did was painful.

    Again, another episode that makes it doubly hard to accept that the show is ending.



  11. *chortle* I’m interrupting my viewing here to let you know I LOVE Woolsey’s introduction ..”You can call me…..dick” *BWAHAHAHA!I’m not going to read today’s/yesterday’s blog til I’m done cheers.

  12. Just a quick comment before i start off my birthday…day (ok so its 00.25 but we have traditions!)

    hows jelly holdin up?

    cannot wait to see remnants!

  13. Joe, I love you. Harvey is actually my favourite film of all time and is what I was thinking about when Woolsey was starting to realise he was seeing things. You, sir, are a genius!

  14. Really enjoyed this beautifully written episode, and at the end my comment was “lovely story”. The team having lunch at the end (and as you mentioned, many scenes like it in SG-1) are very important to those of us on the outside, looking in. They remind us what’s important and somehow draw us closer to the characters. Thanks for a wonderful story!

  15. The episode was one of the best in season 5. It’s only if I read your comments to Remnants. I can’t understand why are deleted such dialogs between Sheppard and Kolya? The ratio to the other story lines was not good. You cut definitive to much. I mean I have still no idea how the story was pushed, because of lose a hand. There was a lot more potential.
    I had the hope after Atlantis is canceled to receive more information about Sheppard. I received only questions with no answers. Will be available the deleted scenes at the DVDs? Is there a way to bring up more information into the movies?

  16. Brilliant episode – enjoyable to watch. Best line has to be from Ronon about Woolsey crying in his quarters.

    I found some ‘flaws’ with the physical interactions of the AIs and our characters – esp an AI throwing Sheppard off a cliff, but I suppose I will let you off the hook since TV is fiction and not real. (or so I am told).


    Hope Jelly is feeling better and getting into mischief

  17. Hey Joe,
    I was so glad when I saw you updated your blog with the Remnants run down and was having a nice time reading it. Now I’ve just forgotten all about Remnants and the “nice time” ended when I came across this…….

    But I ended up losing the suggestion in the next draft because it was felt that, with the developments on the Keller-McKay front, this no longer applied.

    Seriously! What Keller-McKay developments? You already know I’m a Ronon/Jenn shipper and that line just sunk my sinking ship. I’m not at all looking forward to the BS episode but like a moth to the damn flame I can’t not watch it. I know I’m going to burn but I’ve been secretly hoping things would go the way I want it to…Thank you for ruining it a week early for me. 🙁

    I can’t take this teasing anymore..and since you never tease..please put me out of my misery now. Is it really going to be Rodney McKay and Jennifer Keller canon relationship? Call me dumb or hopeless but even with the “I’m kind of interested in someone else” line to Ronon I was still hoping she would come to her senses and end up with Ronon.

    Sorry to all the other posters who are here just for Remnants. I don’t mean to distract you. 🙁

  18. I am a happy, happy Atlantis fan. I loved this episode! Thanks ever so much for writing it.

    It’s been a very intense couple of weeks. And it looks like next week is going to be just as good.

    And, for the record, I got the movie jokes. I groaned. Loudly. But I got them.

    I hope all canine intestines are back on their respective feet (so to speak). My golden/chow mix, Chloe, sends them one of her patented belches. It does a body good. Big snuggles to them.

  19. After reading your breakdown, I find myself in a much more sympathetic view of this episode. The exploration of the loneliness of the characters is actually rather nice, and, as I said before, there really were some good character moments. As others have said, delving into exactly why Sheppard’s mind called up Kolya of all people, to me, would have made his part of it much better. Or at least having it lead to some revelation later on. Otherwise it just seems like a long lead-up to asking a question that doesn’t get answered.

    Ultimately, the main problem I have with this episode is, as I said in my last comment, the device used to cause these hallucinations and this character exploration. Not literally the AI, but the whole “we need to seed a lost society” thing, which… well, I already stated my problems with that. Honestly, if that wasn’t the reason behind everything, if it was just some odd phenomenon or random alien/AI presence that was just reaching out to them because that’s what it does, or even because the presence itself was lonely, or something else that could have been as small a part of the overall story, and as easily left behind, as those misty lifeforms in “Home” were, (or heck, if the intelligences causing the hallucinations were themselves some kind of energy lifeform that would have been killed somehow by accessing the information, thus providing the moral dilemma) I would have enjoyed this episode much more.

    As far as the movie gag, I thought it was funny. Although I mostly remember being shocked that someone actually thought to bring Kangaroo Jack all the way to the Pegasus Galaxy.

    The Sparky shippers must be so disappointed you dropped that Kolya line about Weir.

    “No, wait a minute. She spells her name with a K. Here she is.”

    Haha… That would have been awesome. Reminds me of that great act-out (as you say) in an ep of Buffy, where, after everyone has immediately figured out that some chick is a robot as soon as they see her, and has known for an act or two before Buffy confronts the chick’s creator, the guy dramatically informs her, “She’s a robot.”

  20. Hi Joe,

    Loved Remnants! Sheppard/Kolya – I didn’t think it went to far at all. Kolya has already shown us he will do whatever he has to, to get what he wants – cutting Rodney, feeding Sheppard to the Wraith..so the beating and cutting off the hand…I would believe Kolya would do it.

    The no blood on the bandage, may I ask was this a decision made not to have blood shown on a family TV show or was something else behind that?

    Thanks for the run down on your episode, I played the episode again as I was reading your blog…I love doing that, it juse enhances the pleasure of watching the episode.

    Once I found out what was really going on..it was great! I liken it to The Sixth Sense and I had to go back and watch for the little things.

    Thanks for a another great SGA episode!

  21. I agree that it’s important to show the team as friends as well as co-workers. I’m shocked to see you think so though. Seasons 1-3 showed me a team of close friends, but season 4 started the path of ripping the team apart and by season 5, I feel like the team behave like strangers to each other much of the time.

    I realize you place great importance on food, so maybe friends eating together, bracketing an episode of strangers interacting, is enough for you. I’m not feeling it.

    Teyla spent most of this season bonding with her dolly in the blue blanket and occasionally mentioning the invisible Kanaan (whatever he is to her). Sheppard got to drool over Larin, share a joke with Rodney now and then and that’s about it. Poor Ronon just kind of lurks in the background. As far as I’m concerned you’ve done a lot to kill the team friendship, making it less and less believable that these people choose to spend any time together. Apparently I just don’t get what you’re trying to convey.

  22. Can we get the numbers back on the posts, by any chance? It makes it easier to figure out what posts have been added since I last checked, and ensure I actually read them all. Thanks.
    Thanks for the breakdown on Remnants. I’m very pleased with the episode, and can’t wait to get the reactions of some friends when viewing it next week before Brain Storm. I understand the need for a set time limit on the episodes, and appreciate how that limit actually improves the finished product in many cases. But to think of all of those 9 minutes being cut out is just tragic. Perhaps some of them will end up on the dvds?
    Thank you also for your acknowledgements of the specific lines, such as Carl Binder’s “I was married once”. It’s also fun to watch the way the actors discuss their takes on the characters and add their touches to the final product. The results demonstrate the wisdom of permitting them to have some say.
    Oh, finally, thanks for spelling Sekkari. Weird how much that bothered me…

  23. How much for that storage device!!! I wil place the first bid at $17.52

    Remnants was a really good ep, i would really like to hear more about Shep’s mother. Also have you guys discussed crossovers for SGU yet?? Those have always been my pet peeve on Stargate, although we love crossovers, they don’t always have to be character crossovers. I don’t want to see any SGA/SG1 characters on SGU but I do want to hear referrences, mythology or artifact crossovers.

  24. I think that as Rodney has FRIENDS, and his TEAM, he’s not lonely. Woolsey doesn’t have a team or close friends on Atlantis. Therefore, yes, I can see him being lonely. Therefore, I’m glad that line got cut.

    Is this the only reason you all are forcing the Mckay/Keller ship down our throats? Because you think he needs someone else?

    You know, I used to like Keller as a doctor. I’m not happy at all with the fact you think she also has to be a romantic interest. I like Atlantis much better for the space/action/adventure and friendship between the characters. That way, we can see all possibilities, not just one.

    I did wish for more insight into Sheppard. We already know he beats himself up and takes more on than anyone one should. I really, really would have liked to see him dealing about this at the end by TALKING with his team, or something.

  25. Well done on Remnants, Joe. I loved the way the threads wove together so cleverly. I was so hoping Zelenka was an hallucination because, yeah, the discovery would have been way too convenient otherwise. On re-watching it’s very cool to see how the hallucinations start for all 3 at the same time.

    I’m very glad you didn’t make Rodney appear lonely, NOT because he has Keller (which, whatever) but because he clearly has a family he belongs to on Atlantis. After all, it was only last week he was racing cars with John as Teyla and Torren watched. I don’t believe he’s lonely anymore.

    My favorite part was John leaning against the tree after the great “lop-off”, all pale and yes, broken. JF did a great job there. And I’m very glad the commercial break came when it did. It was brutal but not graphic. And yeah, I’m not sure I learned more about John, but it was a good whumping alright.

    That’s two weeks in a row that Joe F has been put to work hanging and climbing, seemingly without a stuntman. Is he especially good at it?

  26. Elf-Ears… said Is this the only reason you all are forcing the Mckay/Keller ship down our throats? Because you think he needs someone else?

    You know, I used to like Keller as a doctor. I’m not happy at all with the fact you think she also has to be a romantic interest. I like Atlantis much better for the space/action/adventure and friendship between the characters. That way, we can see all possibilities, not just one.

    Get a life…if you don’t like the relationship, DON’T watch the show… I don’t care to hear about your hatred for anything SGA.

  27. Remnants was excellent! Good classic sci-fi. Thanks for posting all the deleted bits.

  28. Great episode, although I’m not overly fond of the Koyla-Sheppard storyline – I wish you had chosen a different storyline with John, but I did love the Johnny Boy adlib. Loved the Woolsey storyline. IMO, he has been the best leader Atlantis has had and I’m sorry we won’t see a few more years with him in command. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his personal growth. I knew he had it in him but was never happy with the progression he had on SG-1.

    Atlantis would be of much less interest to me without those little relationship tag scenes and relationship moments throughout — to me, that is like a secret ingredient that makes the end product shine… and gobble it down in comfort. I loved that they invited him to join them and I love that he made the effort to connect. I would have been disappointed if that scene had gotten cut or not created. It’ll always be somewhat lonely at the top, but with him making the effort to connect with his people, it shows that he is learning what partnership and community are really all about. So thank you for adding those important bits.

    And I just want to mention that Jason sparkled in his banter with Rodney. Even though their moments are few and far between, they are always cute together.

    You’ve got a great set of characters/actors right now – I hope you remember that when you are doing the movie.

    Also, since I don’t have time to comment for every episode, I want to give kudos to Sharon Taylor’s kick-boxing scene (hope I have the actress’ name right). It’s obvious she knows what she’s doing physically (I took Kung Fu as easier on my body than kick-boxing, which I just had a little of), but she also carries herself and acts her part in a way that makes it totally believable that she has this in her. Too often, actresses in their quest to look tough overdo and don’t come off as natural or believable — and that happens on many shows, not just your episode with the teeny-bopper team (sorry, that’s how I saw that female team in action, they came off to me as pretending to be tough, equating being grim with toughness.) So Sharon’s work was a delight to see.

  29. You said Alas, it was argued that the line was too pat and the general feeling was that it was a road we shouldn’t go down. So I changed the line but filed the piece of the puzzle away…hopefully for future use.

    Since this episode was penned after the cancellation notice (right?), does that mean we could perhaps get some decent Sheppard backstory in the movie??

  30. Oh yes, I remember Harvey. No, not the movie, because I never saw it, but my friend who saw it. OMG, we were in high school and apparently her father had her watch it and she liked it. From that moment on we always had to make room for harvey at the lunch table, chemistry lab, study hall and on and on. Now she kept talking about the invisible rabbit harvey and I at first thought she was wacked, but eventually I came around and accepted harvey as a third wheel. Others thought we were both wacked.

    I am not good with the whole going Green thing either (I know I probably should be) and actually never would of put it together with what shen said.

    I agree with some here that 3 parts may have been much, but still like the episode. As I said, would of like to of gotten some more in deph on Sheppard i.e. how he dealt with the feelings that were manifested.

  31. Mr. Mallozzi

    Great episode this week. I continue to love this season of Atlantis, it has been one of my favourites. I must say, when Kolya popped up behind Sheppard I almost jumped out of my seat. I was both excited and horrified at the prospect. Also, the hand thing, brilliant and, IMO, not too far at all. I found it offered great insight into Sheppard’s character. We now know in no uncertain terms what he is willing to endure to protect his people. Thank-you for another great episode, I’m so sad that will be your last. But there is still the movie and SGU! I hope you can write episodes like the ones for this year for the new series!

    Thanks again!

  32. Hi, Joe.

    Thank you so much for your commentary on Remnants and the behind the scenes photos. Robert Davi was splendid in this episode, and all of the SGA team were excellent as well. Interesting episode.

    Glad Jelly is feeling better.

    Best wishes.

  33. Was it just me, or were the scenes on the mainland shot similarly to “Phantoms”? I saw it that way, anyway, and realized that Sheppard was hallucinating even before the machete scene. I realized Conrad wasn’t really there when Amelia delivered the message to Woolsey, but I never did catch on about Radek until the last scene. Nicely done! I’ll have to rewatch his scenes.

    I finally got to watch “Prodigal,” too, right before the new episode. We had two hours of Atlantis and then Sanctuary, so it was a fun evening. I even forgot to open the bottle of wine I’d bought for the evening!

  34. didn’t see the hand chop coming, and i went into this episode knowing nothing, so I thought Shep was gonna be sans-hand for the remainder of the series. Glad he’s not!

    I can’t believe that “Atlantis” is almost over. It makes me so sad. I just re-watched “The Shrine” this morning and it reminds me how much I love these characters.

    Really gonna miss it.

    Looking forward to lots of McKeller next Friday!

  35. : “No, wait a minute. She spells her name with a K. Here she is.”

    That made me laugh out loud, because as Banks was checking, I actually thought “Is that ‘Conrad’ with a C or a K?” I spend waaaay too much time running names in the computer at work!

  36. Hey Joe,

    Just had my parents over to watch Search and Rescue – couldn’t leave them on a cliffhanger, as we’d watched The Last Man a couple of weeks ago.

    They thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the birth scene. Thanks.

    Cheers, Chev

  37. elf-ears said:

    I did wish for more insight into Sheppard. We already know he beats himself up and takes more on than anyone one should. I really, really would have liked to see him dealing about this at the end by TALKING with his team, or something.

    Dealing with it by talking with his team – doesn’t really sound like Sheppard. He’d want to put the whole thing behind him and bury it deep. Sheppard strikes me as a fairly private person. I thought the ending was in character.

    Cheers, Chev

  38. Well, I’ll be the first to say it: yes, you went too far. Despite the fact that I realized it was a hallucination, I found the mutilation of Sheppard to be horrifying and sickening, so sickening that I could not watch any more of the Kolya-Sheppard scenes.

    Believe it or not, not everyone in your audience is so desensitized that we want to see horror. I found it horribly out of place for the show, and not at all in keeping with your established sensibilities. Honestly, if this had happened in one of the early seasons, I would have stopped watching the show. As it is, I suppose it doesn’t much matter, does it?

  39. Hey Joe!

    Absolutely astounding job with Remnants, did not expect the many twists that occurred, and some amazing writing! Good to see everybody involved as well, even if it involved one scene (Keller and Chuck, yay!). Thanks for providing an ‘explanation’ to his recent absence as well. 🙂

    The entire ordeal between Kolya and Sheppard was great, and the cutting of the hand literally almost made me cringe, along with the Genii soldier getting knifed in the head. Sure, the cutting of the hand could seem brutal, but, in the course of the story, it worked well.

    I really liked all the little jokes and puns placed in the episode, which helped to diversify the feeling in the episode. Good ole’ Woolsey definitely needs some company. 😉

    Thank you, as well, for the rundown. It’s great to see what little tidbits could’ve went into the story. You did an amazing job, and to this, I thank you muchly!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  40. Hi Joe!

    Thanks for the breakdown of Remnants. We had the sense something was up not only because of what was happening, but how it was shot. Things felt a little…off…in a good way! It was a mystery…oooooh. 🙂

    The hand chopping was “OMGed!” worthy. Even without the commercial break, it was shot and edited to give alarm, so to speak. Especially with JF’s acting right before the Chop – real fear in his eyes. Robert Davi was great as always – so glad the real Kolya is really dead, but you found a way to bring him back.

    I’m glad you worked in some soul-searching for Shep, even though we don’t have the answer why yet. It’s about his mom, maybe? Hmmm…interesting. But boy, seeing the physical manifestation of his internal “beating himself up,” even more than in Doppelganger, says Shep sure needs a hug! (I’m betting there would be no shortage of huggers should one be needed. 😉 ) *raises hand*

    Loved the bookend balcony lunch scenes. The set/background is very beautiful, and it’s great to see the Team hang out and joke around.

    Woolsey/Robert P. were again, fantastic. RP’s emphasis on the right (or wrong 😉 ) word show how an actor can bring words to life.

    David N. did a great job as AI!Zelenka. We kept discussing whether or not he was real or imaginary, because DN kept Zelenka’s alienness subtle (except for the “brilliant” comment). Loved the “I toooold you sooooo!” look Zelenka gave McKay when Banks said they’d found something.

    I think the overall story was interesting – how the disparate stories wove together and cool alien tech/creatures. Sure, they ain’t the Growlblinkies from The Daedalus Variations, but I like that they weren’t trying to kill us! Well, maybe put Shep through the wringer, but it’s all good at the end of the day.

    Enjoyed the Chuck moments – shades of Barton Fink? – and the “Neat”/”Weird” McKay/Shep moment. 🙂 I did recognize Parrish from Runner, but the Lorne comment was a nice callback and confirmed my recognition.

    Well, better get back to what I’m supposed to be doing. Have a great weekend!!


  41. Loved Remnants and loved the write up.

    I had to watch the episode twice, though, as a friend dropped by during the first run. I was chatting with her and my roommate, glanced to see Sheppard getting beaten up, chatted some more, looked over and Sheppard was missing a hand. That was rather disconcerting. It also caused the conversation to stall for five minutes because I suddenly blurted out, “What happened to his hand? Didn’t he have two of them when the show started?” and my roommate and my friend were rendered helpless with laughter.

    To be honest, I’m not the biggest Sheppard fan. It’s not that I don’t like him; it’s just that I like him better with someone else. I really liked him with Koyla this episode. The scenes were intense and I really enjoyed them.

    I also loved the McKay/Zelenka scenes, but then, I always do. I knew Zelenka wasn’t himself. He didn’t once give McKay the stinkeye or curse in Czech. 🙂

    And Woolsey was fantastic as always. I didn’t think about Harvey until you mentioned it, but yes, I can dig it. Love the movie Harvey.

    But, I do have one small complaint. I get so excited when I see that Wil Waring is directing because I think to myself, “Tonight, I will find the pineapple”. And then I get so wrapped up in the story, I forget to look for it. You writers really must stop doing your job so well. 😉

  42. I think I found the pineapple…it is on it’s side in the woods just behind Sheppard before he heads back to the Jumper…..right?

  43. I have to say, Remnants was my favorite episode of yours this season.

    Thanks for the run-down of the episode! I think your idea for the “green episode” would have indeed been a powerful message–life altering in fact. 😉

  44. I’ve got to say, this episode was really good. I’ll think of something better to say later.

  45. The Sparky shippers must be so disappointed you dropped that Kolya line about Weir.

    This Shep/Weir shipper is 🙁

  46. ElisaD said:

    The no blood on the bandage, may I ask was this a decision made not to have blood shown on a family TV show or was something else behind that?

    Ooh I’m glad you brought it up. I wondered the same thing. I thought that is one really clean bandage. I figured they had cauterized it, which would have stopped the bleeding. Am I right?

    Cheers, Chev

  47. I really liked this episode, it was fun and dark, and with Woosley, a bit dirty as well. I think the Koya taking Sheps’ hand thing was done well, it was dark and very real feeling, much more realistic to most shows that wont go there. I really think Atlantis has hit a great stride this season and I’ll be sad to see it end, but I’m happy to say it will, at least for me, go out on top.

  48. LOVED it. Tightly woven, every question answered. I’d find myself saying, “But what about…” and then realizing my concern had been answered. Great craftmanship. Drama and humor in good balance. I was surprised at some of the dissenting voices from commenters, but they appear to be mostly from Shep fans who had particular expectations for the ep. Going in completely spoiler-free, I had no expectations and loved it. (To be fair to the Shep fans, I’m a McKay fan first and a Woolsey fan second, so I can’t feel their disappointment first-hand.) And I’m surprised that your fellow writers were squeamish about the torture, but then Atlantis has always had a “family show” feel to it. Imagine that scene done on Farscape or Battlestar Gallactica, for example! Best line: “Lorne warned me about this!” Heeeee!

  49. Not too many people know of Harvey. Here is some trivia on the movie. Almost all the players in the move are the original cast members of the play. It was James Stewart’s idea to do the play as a movie and insisted on the actors from the play to be part of it. This is also one of James Stewart’s favorite plays to do. He said looking out on the faces of kids in the audience was priceless. They had a look of wonder and Where is the Rabbit??

    Sorry this is in two parts.

  50. coucou Joseph! Sa va ?
    Moi oui!!!
    J’ai trés bien manger hier avec ma famille!
    Le cassoulet été délicieux, et en desert il y avait 3 gateaux différents (flan au pruno, tarte au pomme et Forêt Noir) hummmmmmm j’ai téllement manger que j’en ai eu mal au ventre, d’allieur je n’ai pas bien dormie cette nuit!

    Oh, je ne préfére pas lire les spoilers de “The Remnants ” plus que 6 petits jours à attendre avant de le voir.

    En tt cas merci pour ces photos =)!!!

    Bisou bisou!! a bientot!

  51. Hi Joe,
    So glad that Jelly is feeling better and hope that Maximus will be soon.
    Thanks for the run down of Remnants. It’s always fun to see what the original intent was & the changes that you had to make to accommodate the time constraints. Have to admit when I saw it the first time, I thought it was an okay episode. The second time around I really enjoyed it and the difference was I fast-forwarded through the Woolsey story. Sorry, I know that must seem horrible. It was the original kernel for the story but I just don’t think it has the depth that the other two had. I’m not a fan of torture scenes & I think the amputation went waaay too far for a family show. The positive for me was the quiet intensity between Sheppard & Kolya. JF & Robert Davi play off each other beautifully. And I loved, loved, loved the McKay – Zelenka story. I think this is the most time they’ve had together since…? Their rapport is the way I image them to be day to day in the lab when there’s no crisis going on. McKay grudgingly listening as Zelenka patiently justifies his next project. And the entire episode was peppered with some truly great lines. “They’re scientist, trust me, they don’t run very fast.” (Kolya I image is thinking of McKay, which is what I find so amusing-or am I just projecting?) runs a close second to “ “My point is your point is pointless. And a giant waste of time.” And McKay’s whole “Are you sick? Am I sick? What have you heard?” Followed by Zelenka’s reassuring laugh that “Nobody’s sick Rodney”. I’m a fan who lives for the character moments & Rodney & Radeks story was choke full of them. And I laugh out loud each time I see them. DH’s delivery makes me laugh like no one else. Oh, I’m going to miss that when it’s over!
    Looking forward to “Brian Storm” & all the McKeller goodness.

  52. Hi Joe,

    Remnants is one of my favourite episodes so far this season, good job :). You kept my interest from start to finish. Just a little question though. It was established that extracting the data would corrupt the genetic code, but what’s stopping us from going back to the planet we took it to after it has finished seed planting and taking the data then?

  53. Hello Joe,

    I just wanted to say thankyou for writing such a wonderful episode. It was truly back to the old Stargate Atlantis that I love so much: action, comedy, aliens, surprise twist and character development. Not to mention no mass murdering of wraith 😉
    The only thing it was missing was Todd *sigh* but I know he’ll be appearing soon in “Infection” (and TWO more episodes after that 🙂 )

    Please tell Carl Binder that his contribution really cracked me up! It was hilarious (especially to us divorcee’s):

    KOLYA: You can tolerate more than any man I’ve ever known. Now why is that?

    SHEPPARD: I was married once.

    Thanks for the write-up too! It was great to read about what we missed out on seeing due to time constraints.

  54. I was really looking forward to this one but once I picked that none of it was real I lost interest. I even guessed that Zelenka wasn’t real the second time he told Rodney to focus on the data.

    What a waste of bringing Koyla back…

    And to think we still have the body-swapping cliche episode to get through this Season, and one called Infection. Which sci-fi cliche is that one?

    I dunno. Maybe there’s a law somewhere that all Sci-Fi series have to include all the typical sci-fi cliche’s during the course of their lives and because Atlantis has managed to avoid most of the, they all have to be squeezed into this season.

    I’ve defended this show endlessly against those people who watch it every week despite proclaiming how ‘bad’ the show is, but it’s hard to keep defending it when you have episodes like this and body-swapping episodes. We did body-swapping episodes twice in Season 2. Why do we need another? And we had ‘alien race makes someone hallucinate in order to protect itself” at the start of SG-1 Season 5. It wasn’t an IA, it was a guy using a chemical, but really…

    I know not every episode can be an FX filled episode that blows us away or makes huge dramatic leaps in the shows mythology, but when you make shows like The Shrine, First Contact/Lost Tribe and even last week’s great final Michael episode you show us what you’re capable of… and then you go and do this. It just seems that for ever Shrine or Reckoning Part II there’s a Harmony or a Space Race. Really don’t know why that is.

    Really reminds me a lot of the game companies that release games that get universally bad reviews. They release a game, everyone plays it, everyone hates it, and once we get past the bile and overreactions, everyone asks “Did these guys even play the game before they released it”. The same applies to these sorts of episodes.

    And yeah, it’s a stupid question to ask you “Did you guys even watch this episode” because of course you did. But didn’t you see that maybe this episode had a lot of similarities with another episode where people were made to see things in order to stop them from harming/wiping out another race? Like The 5th Man (an episode I love) or an episode like Home, even?

    I’m just dissapointed that with 6 episodes to go (including this latest one) we’re still getting episodes that look like they’re coming out of a Sci-Fi plot generation machine. Identity looks to be heading in that direction.

    Look, I hope I’m wrong – I really do. When I first read the synopsis for Red Sky I thought it would be a horrible episode – dull, uninteresting, a waste of time – but now that episode sits as one of my favs. Grace did that as well (but you can’t bame me too much for that one, as it sat in the middle of Season 7, a Season that gave us as many wastes of such as Revisions, Enemy Mine and *shudder* Space Race as it did instant classics like Heroes and Lost City).

    So please, tell me that I’m wrong. Tell me that Identity isn’t another body-swapping episode along the lines of Holiday, Duet and The Long Goodbye…


  55. Had to ask, how do you feel when you hear/see your episodes, like this one, being hyped up all over the internet?

    Loved the comment about maybe using the “Sheppard’s mum” bit in the future, it would be nice to know more about his blood relatives. Plans for this in the/a future movie? Family or past comrades (Holland, Mitch, Dex etc.)?

    Also, How’s Jelly? =)

  56. I loved how this episode had a dark spin to it, you really did good on this one. Do you think Sheppard has a particular dark side? How dark do you think he could be if put to the test? We saw that he was still brilliant as Soldier!John even missing one hand, so I think that says a lot. You?

  57. Little off-topic, but I treated myself to an early Christmas present! Picked up the Atlantis season 1 DVD and started watching last night. Catching episodes I might have missed, refreshing my memory on others. Hide and Seek was great for seeing the beginnings of the Sheppard/McKay friendship. Best laugh-out-loud moment of the night was from Hide and Seek: “I shot him!” Loved the grin on Sheppard’s face.

    So when is this movie coming out now? Like February, right, so we only have to wait a couple weeks in between it and the last episodes? Right?? 😉

  58. Remnants = pieces of three. Pretty good and not like I thought. You had me fooled with Zelenka and Conrad, but -even though I love Davi- its too bad you picked Kolya, knew then and there that something hinky was going on because he WAS dead. I just wish you would admit how much you enjoy torturing Sheppard as surrogate for real life feelings, and I’m just wondering how much farther down that road you would’ve gone in a s6! So… my dark side was considering the possibility and so was a bit disappointed that Sheppard wasn’t going to resemble Luke Skywalker from now on. After all, it IS a dangerous galaxy and shit happens. I knew Woolsey was lonely (after that conversation that he didn’t even get to keep the dog), and I don’t think Rodney is lonely anymore because he has the team, sister, sci friends and *choke* Keller. After the ep was over, I would imagine the person that John would seriously talk to if he needed is Rodney (like in The Shrine and other previous eps). So something bad happened to his mother huh? not surprised at that either. I’m thinking she tripped on a toy plane young John left on the stairs (after being told to put it away), fell, broke her neck and died. And his father and brother blamed him for that.

  59. Sorry I forgot to say thanks for making Dr. Vanessa Conrad an Australian. It was great to see what the Aussie flag looks like on their uniforms. Although, by doing that are you implying that us Aussies are alien lifeforms? :O

  60. I loved that episode, but you shouldn’t have gotten rid of that Weir line. And, just wondering, do the characters in Atlantis even acknowledge that was Weir in GitM? They act like she died way before that. I think many people would have been a lot happier if you kept that line!

  61. I loved the “Dick” moment at the transporter. Sitting all by myself I laughed and laughed.

    Is Anna’s character Australian or a New Zealander? The flag on the uniform could be either (both countries flags are the same except for 1 star I believe). Anna’s accent didn’t sound particularly Australian or New Zealander, more English/European. But maybe that was me.

  62. Thanks for the insight.
    I think you did a brilliant job on the episode. ^^

  63. Thanks for the scoop on Remnants. AWESOME!!! I could relate to Sheppard’s hallucinations. Sheppard being tortured by his past, I do that so often, beat myself up over things that I did or didn’t do in the past and blame myself for now. I’m probably not as hard on myself as Sheppard. I still have all my limbs.
    Is the show really cancelled?? I have all the episodes saved on my dvr, I just can’t erase them, not yet.
    Thanks again, Joe Looking forward to SGU!

  64. Thanks Joe for the detailed breakdown on Remnants and especially your thoughts as to Sheppard’s backstory. Although i’m still feeling somewhat disappointed that we’ve not been able to visit his past in a little more depth, it helps to know that you’ve at least put thought to it and have your own ideas and perceptions as to what makes him tick. Hopefully, we might see some of that shine through in any future films.

    I did watch the episode again and I still stand by my intitial comment of yesterday. It’s a great story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the interaction between Sheppard and Koyla, through to getting a little more insight on Woolsey ( and I have to agree that he is a great character and addition to the show) and of course the wonderful Rodney/Zelenka moments. The cast did you proud once again and Will’s directing was simply brilliant.

    I’m gonna disagree with comments made yesterday as to the quick cuts between scenes and how they distorted things. Personally, I felt that some of those scenes on the mainland were dark enough in their own rights and we only needed a momentary glimpse to understand the full impact of what was happening. Dwelling any longer on the torture and beating would have only served to take away from the intended impact of drama and suspense.. And as the human mind is quite possibly the darkest place to be at the best of times, leaving the audience to fill in those gaps themselves was definately the best served option.

    Once again, kudos. After putting out an eppi like that, I can only turn again to TPTB and ask them what the hell they thought they were doing when cancelling the show. With the awsome way this season has rolled out thus far, it’s hard to believe that any sane person would consider it good business to be pulling the plug on such a successful run. Then again, I don’t pretend to try and understand.. It gives me headaches. And the disturbing urge to become alarmingly violent.

  65. I liked this episode a lot, although I agree with multisemi that the torture of Sheppard was a bit too much and painful to watch, even knowing from the spoilers that it wasn’t real. (The “you’re going to give me a hand” like was brilliant, though.) I’m growing really fond of Woolsey, and I loved the final revelation that Zelenka was a manifestation of the IA too. I didn’t see that one coming at all! Also it was nice to see the team eating together, like they were used to in previous seasons. I wish we’d see this friendship more often, more casually, veiled in all (or most) episodes even when it’s not the focus.

    Thank you for this very enjoyable episode.

  66. Hi JM

    there have been fires around Los Angeles and therefore i’m worried about Joe Flanigan, he is one of your main actors for SGA and i need to know if he’s ok aswell for the show but for me as well. so please for the shows sake and for his fans get him on the phone please.

  67. By the way, I totally didn’t/don’t get the movie titles gag. Must be a big hole in my cultural knowledge. So if you have the energy to explain it, I would appreciate it. 🙂

  68. the fundamental loneliness of these three characters and their deep-seated vulnerabilities which are exploited by the A.I.

    I love this comment. I am going to watch the ep again with this thought in mind.

    I think of the three characters Rodney, Woolsey and John, Rodney has moved the most away from this loneliness. It has taken him awhile but he has rediscoved his family (Jeannie), developed life long friendships with the team and has even fallen in love. Despite all this I love that he can still have such bouts of insecurity/loneliness.

    Woolsey is just starting his journey of self discovery so his loneliness seems to be the most pronounced but I think it might be the easiest for him to move beyond it. He seems to have less baggae than the other two.

    It is John’s loneliness that gets me. As much as he has gained in friends and family during his time on Atlantis I don’t see him, like the other have of ever losing this fundamental loneliness. I think he has this constant irrational fear that one day everything thing he has will be taken away from him and it will be his fault. He puts on such a good front tho but like you said he is such a tortured soul that he will never let himself be at peace.

    One of my fave moments is at the beginning where Rodney looks so offended that John would go off on a mission and tell Ronan and not him.

    I don’t know why but it just bugs me when people say that certain things shouldn’t happen on Atlantis since it is a family show. Where do they get that Idea it is a “Family show”? I have never seen it advertised as such. Maybe we just have different ideas on what a family show” is.

    What Family show has Aliens that will suck the life out of you, that blow up beloved characters (Carson) or have them captured and tortured by replicators(Weir)? Whole societies (The Hoffan) have been wiped out by the Wraith and seriously misguided genetic experiments have been performed on prisoners (Michael). Then one of the prisoners goes on a killing spree as revenge against those who experimented on him. There is also more gun play and explosions then on any other “family show” I have ever watched.

    I really love this show and if the adult members of a family want to watch it together that is great but that doesn’t make it a “family show”. I hope this doesn’t offend anybody but I just don’t get it.

  69. Thanks for the enlightening breakdown of Remnants!
    Robert Picardo’s delivery was indeed brilliant!
    (I must confess however that I didn’t quite understand the movie gag)
    I got a new pet rat yesterday! I’m trying to think of a good Stargate name for him. Any suggestions? He’s black and a little small (I got the runt!) and quite jumpy 😀

  70. @ ishshahpat

    Get a life…if you don’t like the relationship, DON’T watch the show… I don’t care to hear about your hatred for anything SGA.

    Um, what? You don’t think people are allowed to express their opinion about the show? Some of us like a ship free show. Some don’t. Neither group should tell the others to keep quiet about it.

    I for one, would be quite happy with zero ships. It’s not why I watch. Some people have tuned it because they enjoy them. Chacon son gout!

    Also, people don’t have to love every aspect of the show to love it as a whole. Joe has stated that he understands the need to vent and since it’s his blog I think that’s the rule around here.

  71. Hi,
    I really thought the episode was good. I had my suspicions from the start but not about Zelenka, that was well played.
    One question, you show photographs of the couples involved in the story but no Sheppard? is there a reason why? Just thinking back I don’t remember seeing one for some time. Am I missing something.

  72. Re: Remnants
    Loved it. However, as others have pointed out, it was a bit disappointing in the sense that we didn’t learn anything knew about Sheppard. After reading Alex Levine’s blog entry, I thought we would finally see what made Shep tick… and that didn’t happen. As others have said, there was no fall-out, his team didn’t learn what he had gone through… nothing. It made me sad that you decided to drop the line about his mother and past characters (whether it was Weir, Sumner, Ford, Carson, his dad or any other of the people he’s lost). Just the short line about his mother would have made us learn in canon something knew and part of why he’s like he is. I don’t question your creative decisions, but personally I wish that no Shep & Kolya scenes would have been cut. It could’ve been an episode with more Shep & Kolya and Wolsey and less Rodney & Radek, since we’ve seen several Rodney centric stuff already this season.
    Any chance of including meaty scenes with Sheppard AND something about Shep’s mother or more background for him in the movie?

    Re: SGU
    Well, I haven’t read what you wrote about it in these past entries because I’m not interested in another Stargate show. I didn’t like the original movie. I didn’t like SG-1. For me the franchise started and will end with Atlantis. However, that doesn’t mean that I wish the new show sinks or anything. I’m just not interested in it. I came to Atlantis from day one because I’ve been a fan of Joe Flanigan since the mid 90s, and I love Sheppard to bits and I like all the Atlantis characters. The SG-1 characters never worked for me. And I’m really not interested in giving another set of characters a chance.

    I must admit that I had a chuckle when I watched a video online from a recent convention in OZ/NZ a couple of weeks ago, in which David Hewlett called the new show Stargate: 90210 😉

  73. @ HBMC – please don’t post spoilers for *upcoming eps* without a little warning. Some of us don’t want to know anything about upcoming eps and make an effort to avoid spoilers. Your assistance in this matter would be very appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


  74. Hate the movie gag. Feels constructed and out of place.
    And ( almost ) no Teyla or Ronon in this Ep, the next one, and Vegas ? Oh mei!

  75. Hello Joe!

    Still no news from Maximus! Does that mean good news? Have any other doggy in your pack shown any signs of illness? I hope Jelly is still on the path of recovery.

    I think that dogs are extra special, over and above any other pets, even cats. And the reason why is a bit bizarre but beautiful: an anthropologist once formulated a theory that humans became intellligent because of our association with dogs! Of course, all the other little anthropologists in the playground have been laughing at him ever since he spoke up about it. But this theory is so elegant and beautiful that I keep thinking it has to have more than a bit of Truth to it.

    Anyway, his theory goes that once we were the same as all our brothers apes, with brains mostly devoted to the senses we needed for hunting and protecting ourselves. Then one day, our apes ancestors made a pact with the dogs’ ancestors, the wolf. The wolves took over the hunting and guarding for our packs in return for food and shelter. And we were able to give more of our brain power over to thinking rather than managing our over-developed senses.

    And I wish I could remember this anthropologist’s name because I’d love to read more about it but unfortunately, like McKay, I’ve a terrible time remembering names. If anyone out there has heard about him, I would love to be told more!

    Halfway through the Book of Ambergris, Joe, and relishing every page of it! Reading is so enjoyable that I’m amazed no one has thought to make it a sin yet!

    Thanks Joe!

  76. *waves*

    Well, I finally got to watch Remnants after weeks of squeeing my lil head off, and to be honest I was a lil disappointed. 🙁 Which makes me sad because I was so looking forward to this ep. 🙁 I just felt as if the Kolya and Shep story was given… a bit of… disservice shall we say. I absolutely adore the Kolya/Shep interactions and think the two play off extremely well together. The bits we had of them, I adored, but I still don’t feel at the end of the ep i’ve actually learned anything more about Shep that I didn’t already know.

    We know that Shep tortures himself, feels guilty for decisions he’s made, he feels a sense of responsibility for his Atlantis family. But the big all important question of why that is, is still a mystery. And while I love a good mystery, I think it’s important that the audience knows that reason also… maybe the writers don’t? I don’t know. But given it’s the core of Sheppard’s personality, I think it would be something that the writers may want to touch on. Why does he do the things he does? What’s happened in his past to cause these feelings? Did something happen to him? Where people not there for him when he needed them? What drives him to feel guilty? At the end of the 5th season I kinda expected to know these reasons for a lead character. Particularly as we know what drives McKay, Ronon, Teyla and know even Woolsey… yet for some reason we don’t know what drives the lead character? That’s a real shame. And honestly I was expecting to see why in your eppy, and that’s the reason I was so looking forward to the ep, to gain more of an insight into his psyche… The whump I love, you know, and the interaction with Kolya is always a huge bonus, and JF and RD play extremely well off each other. The hand chopping wasn’t extreme at all… I wasn’t expecting it to be used a tool to pilot the jumper, instead I kinda thought it was Sheppard’s way of ‘washing’ the blood from his hands… but obviously not. 😆

    And while i’m on one… why no caring? 🙁 I love whump, but I adore my comfort even more. I wanted the team to know what Sheppard put himself through and for the team to at least acknowledge that in some way, but again nothing… 🙁

    One more point while i’m rambling.. how come Mckay couldn’t see the AI when his mind had been touched by the AI in the form of Zelenka? If Shep and Woolsey could see her because the AI had been in their minds, why couldn’t McKay?

    Okay i’m done, sorry Mr M, it was an interesting story and I did like the Sakari, I was just disappointed that we didn’t learn so much more… I simply felt the Shep/Kolya stuff was just an add on. 🙁

  77. Thanks for the write-up Joe, that was a fantastic episode! I love the twist at the end with Zelenka, very clever! I always liked the SG-1 episode Scorched Earth, so the similarity between the Gadeemer and Sekkari races was a nice touch.

  78. My son and I were in disagreement over the Daedalus or the Apollo being in the Pegasus galaxy for Remnants. We watched it again and Rodney tells Woolsey that the Daedalus could take the device on its way but at the end the Apollo took it. Were they both there for some reason? Thanks.

  79. What was the point of raising all these issues about Sheppard if you never intended to address any of them. We still have no idea why Sheppard does what he does, or have any more insight into his psyche.

    It’s great that you wanted to write a Woolsey episode so badly and explore the character more, what a shame no one can be bothered doing the same for the lead of the show who as usual gets crumbs thrown his way.

    Some deeper and meaningful dialogue would have been a lot more appropriate than some mindless beating. For someone who didnt want to cause Sheppard any harm the Sakari seemed quite gleeful in his participation in Sheppard’s torture. Beating him constantly on the face just seemed a bit too gratuitous and realistically Sheppard should have been out cold and covered in bruises after such a beating, but realism doesn’t seem to count for much these days on SGA.

    Why cut out some of the Sheppard/Koyla scenes and leave in all the over the top Rodney babbling. I guess that’s a stupid question, can’t have any Rodney dialogue being axed with him being the best thing about SGA. Season 5 has succeeded in killing off any genuine team dynamic and most of the time these so called best friends act like strangers. Ronon and Teyla should really have been billed as supporting characters as showing them in the main cast is becoming a joke.

  80. absolutely bloody brilliant! Oh sorry, Just watched Remnants and it was absolutely bloody brilliant.
    I’m off to bed now.
    nighty night

  81. KOLYA: #Dr. Weir was just one in a long line wasn’t she, Sheppard? Just another one that…slipped through your fingers.


    Was this filmed? OMG please let it be on the DVD’s.

  82. Perragrin said:

    “Once again, kudos. After putting out an eppi like that, I can only turn again to TPTB and ask them what the hell they thought they were doing when cancelling the show. With the awsome way this season has rolled out thus far, it’s hard to believe that any sane person would consider it good business to be pulling the plug on such a successful run. Then again, I don’t pretend to try and understand.. It gives me headaches.”

    Well said Perragrin! With each passing episode I get more and more angery that this great show will be removed from weekly TV and moved to a movie…just so upsetting!

  83. oops…I got half of my post right!! still learning how to do some things…sorry! don’t why the last part showed up the the blockquote… 🙁

  84. ishshahpat: Get a life…if you don’t like the relationship, DON’T watch the show… I don’t care to hear about your hatred for anything SGA.

    Get a life says the person who is … commenting on the same blog on the internet.

    The point <———————

    Your head

    Some of us like most things about SGA. Hating one element is not the same as hating the entire show. Add me to the list of people who are sick of the McKay/Keller relationship being shoved down our throats. Having said that, this was a great episode. I’m still peeved that Koyla died in such a ridiculous manner – he was a brilliant enemy.

    Dale: both countries flags are the same except for 1 star I believe

    Close enough for someone in the Northern hemisphere, I suppose. The flag is Australian.

  85. Thank you for sharing the insights on Remnant! I’m always fascinated by ep breakdowns and love hearing the stuff we missed. 🙂 It’s really too bad the “lonely McKay” stuff didn’t make it in. I wish the discussions of his misgivings with Zelenka has stayed too — I had thought it odd that, while McKay seemed reluctant to take the information when he presented the problem to Woolsey, he seemed to be in favour of it in the scene with Zelenka — I think the scene really did need that little bit. Ah well, time cosntraints and all, I know … I’m also bummed that the bit about Sheppard’s mom got cut. So I take it she died in an accident, then, rather than from an illness? It’s heartbreaking to think there won’t be another season in which we might learn these things ….

  86. I LOVED both Prodigal & Remnants – 2 fantastic episodes in a row! I just wanted to say terrific job (esp. since Remnants was yours!).
    Thanks for keeping us in the loop with Universe too,

  87. Hi Joe – Absolutely loved “Remnants” Robert Davi was just sooo evil and cool.

    Hope all the pups stay healthy!

  88. Thanks, Joe, for the post-episode write up. I always enjoy getting your perspective on some of what was going on behind the scenes and in the details of the episodes you write. I think it’s helped me to appreciate the show all the more, as I feel I’ve gained a better understanding of what goes into the writing process and how it eventually ends up on screen.

    Alas, the tea drinker and Zelenka aficionado in me is lamenting the loss of the scene where Radek brings Rodney a cup of tea. But thanks to you mentioning it had existed at some point in the script development I can at least imagine how it might have looked on screen. ; )

  89. “As we sat down to prep this episode, it was pointed out that we had never been inside a transporter when it actually transported someone.”

    Actually, we have. Way back in…”Hide and Seek,” I think. Sheppard was doing a sweep of the city and the camera followed him into the transporter, the doors closed, then the doors opened on a different hallway, and the camera followed Sheppard out. Martin Wood explained how the continuous shot was done in the DVD commentary.

  90. Bouhouhouhou T_T

    There are a Convention in Paris and I didn’t go (sorry but I speak English than an english cow)

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