Well, well, well. Look who it is. Yes, it’s our former assistant, Trevor Finn, who has made the leap from script-collator/lunch-getter/baboon-anal-gland-drainer to Story Editor on XIII: The Series. Congratulations are in order and, as is customary whenever someone you once hired takes a step up in the industry, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my “Thanks for hiring me that one time because it was a crucial step in the process that led to my inevitable succes” gift.
Impressive, no? Our boy has come a long way from the days
we used to make him eat balsa wood and old gum wrappers for lunch and laughs he would coordinate our scripts. Of course, I’m not surprised. My fellow producers, Alex and Paul, now THEY are surprised (“Are you sure we’re talking about the same Trevor? Trevor Finn?”), but I’m not because I know Trevor is a terrific writer. How do I know? Why, I’ve read his stuff. Not lately mind you even though I told him I would get around to reading that revised script only to keep getting waylaid by miniseries work, horror script rewrites, new series idea spinning, and meetings. BUT I HAVE read his stuff and it’s good. How good? So good that I’m going to read that revised script of his tonight for fear that he may someday be running his own show and fail to give me a job on the grounds that he never got around to reading MY script.
Continuing our trip down Stargate memory lane, let’s reflect back on a couple of episodes of Atlantis’s second season. Namely…
Hey! It’s a pre-Jennifer Keller Jewel Staite. Well, you could be forgiven for failing to recognize her under that make-up. Yes, before she was Atlantis’ Chief Medical Officer, Jewel played the role of the tragic young wraith, Ellia. She was great – and that says a lot about how incredibly talented she is because she was required to convey a wide range of emotions through those prosthetics. The fact that she was an utter professional and sweetheart certainly impressed as well. So, when an opportunity to cast a new recurring character presented itself, Jewel seemed like the obvious fit. And it certainly helped that she’d been unrecognizable under the wraith mask.
Ellia is by no means evil and yet she must kill in order to survive. Having her drink the retrovirus and transform into a crazed mutant version of her hybrid self allows our team off the hook. By episode’s end, they have to kill her. But, what if she hadn’t mutated? What if she had remained the original, divided Ellia? What would the team have done then? I would have loved to see that difficult dilemma play out.
This episode opened up a host of possibilities that we never really got around to pursuing – namely, the notion of wraith children. In fact, I ended up pitching out a story involving Sheppard and co. teaming with the Genii to destroy a high value target that – surprise! – turns out to be a wraith nursery. Talk about difficult dilemmas. Anyway, I outlined the original story (along with three other Atlantis stories I missed out on) here: January 11, 2009: The 4 Best Stargate: Atlantis Episodes I Never Got to Write
The events of the last episode pay off in this one. Carry-over! I love it! As the retrovirus Ellia transferred to Sheppard courses through his system, John becomes a superman – of sorts. He’s fast, agile, strong – and suddenly possessed of a positively savage attitude. One of the episode’s most interesting moments sees Sheppard sparring with Teyla. Things get a little out of hand and, the next thing you know, he’s kissing her. She lets him down – painfully. Now, the question arises: Did the retrovirus make him act instinctually and wholly out of character or did it strip him of his inhibitions and lead him to act on some deep-seeded yearning? In other words: Sheyla or not?
Personally, I always thought there was great potential there and even the suggestion of romantic feelings. Although never pursued, it was always a possibility – until the Rachel Luttrell, the actress who played Teyla, became pregnant. At that point, we were faced with several creative avenues, one of which involved making John the father. And, while it certainly would have made for some fine drama, the prospect of a secret affair would, it was argued, undermine both characters. But more on that topic when we hit season 4.
Anyway, the John/Teyla kiss was actually Rachel’s first onscreen kiss. And it just happened to come on a day when her parents were visiting the set. Talk about pressure!
Love the egg hunt in the cave scenes but these type of sequences always bring to mind the gain/loss calculator. The first team to visit the cave risks their lives to save Sheppard. Two marines die in the process. At episode’s end, we all breathe a sigh of relief and things are back to normal. Except for our two marines. Granted, we never really knew them but, presumably, other people did. Say, their loved ones?
Sure, members of the expedition died all the time over the course of the series run, but there’s a difference between dying in the heat of battle and dying in an attempt to save someone else – in this case, a single individual. I’m not arguing against the decision to risk their lives for Sheppard (We don’t leave our people behind, after all), only pointing out the apparent egocentricity of our top tier team members. To be fair, A LOT of shows (and movies) are guilty of this. Thoughts?