I celebrated Canada Day in typical fashion: rewriting a script and then taking a break to attend some food-related event. We received the last batch of notes on our script for the miniseries early Saturday morning and, since my writing partner, Paul, was (conveniently) out of town and without computer access, it fell on me to start on the blue draft. I worked through all of Saturday and most of Sunday, but did manage to get down to Steveston Village for
the Canada Day Parade Canada Day festivities fish and chips. Lulu tagged along and had a fantastic time being the center of attention, but I’m sure she’d tell you that it would have gone a whole lot better had the day the been comprised of more chips and less avoiding being stepped on by the crowd.
We parked a good ten minute walk from the village. I had the foresight to take down the address of the house I parked in front of. And good thing I did too because I ended up having to use the MAP function of my iPhone to find my way back. Without it, I’m sure we’d still be there today, wandering the neighborhood in search of my Q7.
While everyone else was taking in the parade, we made our way quickly dockside so that we could grab a table and early lunch before the hungry hordes descended. Along the way, I snapped a few pics:
So I’ve noticed that, over on Gateworld, they’re doing a Stargate Atlantis Season Two Rewatch which is (sort of) coinciding with my trip down SGA memory lane: Stargate Rewatch: Atlantis Season Two Join us throughout July for this month’s leg of the Stargate Rewatch! #SGRewatch Rather than bull ahead at this 2-episodes-an-entry pace, I thought I’d slow it down a bit so that we could join in on the fun. I’ll give each episode a more thorough treatment starting today and, in the meantime, you can head on over to Gateworld (http://www.gateworld.net/index.shtml) and start submitting nominations in the following categories:
- Best Episode (Season Two)
- Best Sheppard Moment
- Best McKay Moment
- Best Teyla Moment
- Best Ronon Moment
- Best Weir Moment
- Best Beckett Moment
- Best Team Moment
- Best Alien Race
- Best Individual Villain
- Coolest Ancient Technology
- Coolest Alien Technology
- Best Guest Star (based on one specific Season Two episode)
So, picking up where we left off on Saturday, we continue our SGA reminiscing by looking back on…
CRITICAL MASS (213)
One of the great things about having a franchise run as long as Stargate did was the opportunity we had to create and develop a very rich backstory. There were seemingly innumerable elements we could draw from in crafting new stories. While this was hugely satisfying for us as writers and equally rewarding for longtime fans, there was always the risk of confusing or alienating casual viewers. We tried to keep the two worlds of Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis as separate and distinct as possible but, occasionally, there were instances where crossover did occur. Like in this episode. I, for one, loved the idea of crossover when it came to characters, didn’t mind it when it came to shared mythology like the Ancients, but wasn’t exactly enamored of it when it came to unique aspects like, say, the goa’uld and the Trust. I thought it was unnecessarily complex, potentially confusing, and, for lack of a better way of putting it, “wasn’t clean”. And so, for these reasons, I objected to this story at the pitch stage. But, as so often happen over the franchise’s 17 season run, I was overruled and they went ahead and produced a pretty damn good episode.
It should be noted that I wasn’t the only one who had issues with this episode in its early stages. Some of the cast members objected to the introduction of SG-1 elements for completely different reasons: they felt Atlantis had to stand on its own and any crossover somehow minimized it as a unique series. While I sympathized, I nevertheless felt that crossover was a good thing, strengthening both shows and the franchise as a whole. Others found the story muddled (as result, the episode was renamed Critical Mess by some). But, in the end, while the presence of a go’auld on Atlantis still feels strange to me, the story is dynamic and suspenseful, building to a terrific surprise reveal and nail-biter of a conclusion
Rachel Luttrell makes her television singing debut in this episode with a song (“Beyond the Night”) composed by the late Joel Goldsmith and his sister Ellen, with lyrics by Stargate’s own Paul Simon = Carl Binder.
Some of my favorite parts of this episode have nothing to do with the main storyline. They all involve Zelenka who gets sent off-world by Rodney to help out those lovable scamps from the Childhood’s End planet. Zelenka’s angry mutterings “My sister has a child. He breaks things. He throws things. He smears things onto furniture.” fairly encapsulates my feelings toward kids as well. And the poor guy ends up getting stranded on the planet while Atlantis dealt with more pressing issues. Come on, fan fic writers! Where are the Zelenka/Lord of the Flies stories?
Interesting guest stars abound in this episode. There’s Mitch Pileggi reprising his role as Colonel Caldwell, Ben Cotton returning as the ever-annoying, Kavanaugh, SG-1’s Gary Jones as Harriman, and the great Beau Bridges as General Landry. I say “great” because, not only is Beau a great actor, but he was truly great to work with. And then there’s Hermiod, the cranky Asgard, who takes part in one of my favorites exchanges:
Hermiod: Dr Kavanagh?.
Hermiod: Stop talking, please. (Silence) Thank you.
It’s also great to see Bill Dow, a.k.a. Dr. Lee, make a return appearance. He presides over another great moment when Lee is trying to explain the relay plan to a roomful of scientists. His first example, “the twilight bark” from 101 Dalmations, receives nothing but blank stares. But his second example of Gondor’s fire signals from Lord of the Rings has everyone nodding appreciably. NEEERDS!
In defending Cadman, Sheppard dismisses her as a suspect because she’s trustworthy while Weir initially casts suspicion on Kavanaugh because he’s not. Given the fact that everyone knows the goa’uld are behind the threat, doesn’t it seem odd that no one ever floats the possibility that someone may have been implanted with a symbiote?
Weir crosses the line, something that makes her uncomfortable and that she readily admits to at episode’s end. By giving Ronon the go-ahead to torture Kavanaugh, she makes a most uncharacteristic decision under extreme circumstances. Personally, I don’t blame her. I would have made the same call. Still, she’s a better person than I am so I hold her to a higher standard. Thoughts? Was it the right call?