It’s official.  I WILL be doing  a signing in support of my comic book series, Dark Matter, at the upcoming San Diego Comic Con.  NOT in the parking lot or out of my hotel room but INSIDE the actual convention center!

WHEN?  Saturday, July 14th.  4:00 p.m.

WHERE?  Dark Horse Comics  booth number #2615.

WHY SHOULD YOU COME BY?  Because I’ll be signing copies of Dark Matter #1 AND giving away some Stargate-related goodies as well.  Also, Akemi will be on hand to answer any Tokyo or Osaka-related questions and rough up anyone who gets out of line.

Don’t mess with Akemi. She will decapitate you like a profiterole.

Let’s talk Stargate – specifically, Stargate: Atlantis’s second season episode…


While the premise was great, this episode suffered from a very tight turnaround on the script.  It was only days from outline approval to first draft followed by a rewrite under similar time constraints.  The result = an episode that, while engaging, does give rise to a number of questions.  Questions like…Wh

Why does everyone automatically believe that it is Weir they are speaking to and not the alien entity that has entered her body?

Why does Sheppard, the city’s highest ranking military officer, recklessly allow himself to be possessed by an alien entity?

In retrospect, I think these issues could have been addressed by having both Weir and Sheppard struck at the same time while both pods are being studied.  Both go down and are transported to the infirmary but it is Weir who comes to first.  By the time she, Phebus/Weir, realizes the situation she’s in, Thalen/Sheppard is awake and on the run.

If Phebus is so eager to “win the war” by killing her old rival, why doesn’t she do it while he’s still in the pod and vulnerable?  It can’t be because of any consequences she may face at the hands of the Atlantis crew because she knows she has only a few hours to live, readily admitting as much earlier.  It can be “the thrill of the hunt” because, at episode’s end, she orders Teyla to drag her bound enemy into camera range so she (Phebus) can watch Teyla kill him.

This too could have been addressed by rolling with the aforementioned scenario.  If she never has the opportunity to kill him off the top, this isn’t an issue.

Why the hell is McKay unloading a weapon in John’s direction?  He’s smart enough to realize that he could kill Sheppard.

This one’s simple.  DON’T have McKay fire on Sheppard.

Phebus threatens to turn on (what is a deadly version of) the Halon fire suppression system and kill everyone on Atlantis.  Why would the city be outfitted with a highly toxic fire suppression system?  Are they cheaper than sprinklers?

Rather than go with Halon, which suggests they were an “after-market addition” on the part of the Atlantis crew, why not have the city’s last ditch fail safe protocol be an immediate lockdown and sealing of the affected areas followed by either a venting of oxygen or piping in of CO2?  Both would do the trick.

There is one interesting suggestion late in the episode when Teyla has Thalen/Sheppard lined up for the kill shot.  As Thalen faces certain death, he informs her: ” If you kill me, you’re killing him. He cares for you more than you know.” Thalen, of course, has access to Sheppard’s memories and thoughts, so the question here is “Is Thalen saying this because John believes Teyla loves him?  Or is he saying this because John loves Teyla?”.  Intriguing.

The best part of this episode was getting to see Weir/Torri kick ass.


33 thoughts on “July 6, 2012: The Comic Con Approacheth! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! The Long Goodbye!

  1. Would love to say hello to you at the booth. Will there be any good noshing going on? I don’t have a ticket, sell tickets at the door, and do they let normal people in?
    In regard to the episode, why would the ancients have halon? In a nextGen Startrek ep. when a fire started on the ship, it was put out by a vacuumized force field. (but I think too much at this point.) I was wondering how Ronan could have been so fooled?

  2. @Joe:

    Have fun in San Diego…wish I could be there (who needs a stinking badge? Apparently I do 😉 ). Well maybe next year.

    On The Long Goodbye, I did think the imprinting scene was a little awkward. I like your version much better. I also wondered why Phebus/Weir didn’t simply activate the self-destruct and then lock it out, or does that require two command codes?

    It was 105F/40C here again today. I had to tow our camper for a weekend away with my wife and kids (I was watching the Transmission Temperature Gauge intently while towing). Be safe everyone!

  3. G’day Joe

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…almost forgot about The Long Goodbye, which is maybe my favourite Atlantis episode. It is good fun.

  4. Agree with many of your thoughts on this episode. And yes, it was good to see Torri in action! Also, dang, but I wish you would have gone with the Teyla/John thing. Why didn’t you?

  5. Halon sounds like a good choice to me because of the low concentrations needed, but then it wouldn’t suffocate like that. Obviously the city is equipped for a full purge if it’s enough halon to kill people. Once you can do a full purge, then, yeah, what’s the point of halon over something else?

    It’s really, really hard to purge enough oxygen with an otherwise safe gas to kill people.

  6. I get a mixed bag of feelings about this episode. It’s a love/hate and hate/love type of thing. Of course, it’s weak on just those points you raised. It could have been handled better.

    I do love that Caldwell has got to prove himself and if his orders are to be followed there has to be a certain amount of blind trust. Maybe Caldwell needs to prove to himself that he’s back to normal. Don’t mind the Caldwell stuff. I love that character a lot.

    I’m with you about Weir. It was great seeing her kick ass. I really wish we got more of that in other episodes. I think it strengthens her character.

    I think I would have liked to have seen the climax of this happen near the gate or in the main command area. I think it would have made for better drama.

    Also, I like seeing our heroes go bad even if they are under alien influence. Good stuff.

  7. Just to clarify, I haven’t been mulling the question of how to drop the partial pressure of oxygen with gas purges for the purpose of killing people. It was entirely within the context of controlling furnace environments for the heat treatment of metals. What people did with some of the metals does bother me, though.

  8. Ah, yes, “he cares for you more than you know” – the line that spawned several thousand fanfics. Second only to that kiss in Conversion.

  9. Heh. JeffW just pulled a das. 😉

    Can’t talk. Bushed. Spent the entire day cleaning my grandmom’s old place for new renters…just got in at 11 pm and I’m hungry, filthy, and very cranky. It wasn’t so much that we had to clean, but we had to organize. The last renters had packed up much of the stuff that was in the house and put it in storage to make room for their stuff (and to protect our stuff from their two dogs and three cats). So we had to unpack it all – mostly the kitchen stuff, and bedding – and just get everything (like furniture) back to where it belongs. It took me, mom, hubby, and one of our workmen to get it all in order. Five Polish guys are supposed to be staying for the summer…I hope they’re cute. 😀



  10. Completely off topic: Anyone care to suggest my next language?

    One of my public-TV auction prizes was a drastic discount on course at local private language school. Already fluent in Spanish, conversational in German. Considering Mandarin Chinese, based on international and local info on most-spoken languages and interpretation demand. Japanese and Arabic also intrigue me.

    What do the Friends of Joe think? Thanks.

  11. I didn’t enjoy this episode very much because as a viewer it was difficult for me to tell that it was an alien that was trying to kill people, not the characters I love. Weir trying to kill Sheppard? NOOOOOOO Then forcing others to go after them and try to kill them too and forcing Teyla to “kill” Sheppard or risk the death of everybody? just not a good plotline for me. I like the us versus them plot, and this was an us versus us thing. or so it seemed. like the gould with the light in the eyes, you knew it was the alien doing it. or the voice. just my opinion. However, I did appreciate all the good action and McKay shooting a gun is funny and dangerous to everybody including him. LOL It is a good episode, just not my favorite.

    I think Thalen said what he did to Teyla just to try and stop her from shooting him, cause people don’t want to shoot people we love and who loves us normally. I don’t think it had anything to do with how Sheppard really felt, just another ploy to manipulate Teyla.

    Hubby is out of town so I am making my own SGU marathon. i am on the 2nd season and just watched Pathogen. OH, that one gets me every time. I ended up watching it 3 times. wow, so good. I know how eli’s mom felt and I just bawl every time I see her scenes. and then when she saw Eli……i really lose it then. wow. so awesome. Now I am sad, cause 2nd season was so awesome. sad there wasn’t a 3rd. but I am glad for what we got. now on to cloverdale. (love that one too.)

  12. Okay…was able to eat some salad, cheese, and crackers…don’t wanna go too heavy right before bed, and it was just enough to give me a little energy.

    @ JeffW – The heat’s rising here, too. Today I rigged a large umbrella to shield mom’s fish pond from the worst of the sun’s rays – hopefully the little fishes will be okay (last fall she had two large trees that used to offer their shade to the pond pruned back, so now the water is exposed to the full sun during the hottest part of the day).

    I was fortunate enough to work in air conditioning, but unfortunate in that I had to go in and out of the house a lot. I drank loads of water – more today than I think I’ve had all week! Tomorrow is supposed to be worse – getting up near 100 here at the shore, which is just unheard of. People who are used to warm weather are probably rolling their eyes at me, but extremely hot weather is not the norm here and some folks – like myself – don’t adjust to it very well.


  13. @bailey: If memory serves, Joe explained a few posts ago that the creative team decided against Teyla /John as canon because of Ms. Luttrell’s real-life pregnancy. Use the WordPress search feature to verify, please.

  14. Joe. You ask too many questions. The Long Goodbye is one of my favorite episodes. It is suspenseful, entertaining, funny, with lots of action throughout the city. Love the camera work sweeping from one building to another, or one area to another. Love the humor especially the opening where John and McKay are trying to explain TV to a puzzled Teyla and Ronon. McKay describes it as a “fictional representation of ridiculously attractive people in absurd situations”, while the beautiful Rachel and gorgeous Jason sit there smirking. Sounds like he was talking about them to me. It was funny when McKay said “Okay, we’re ready to crack it open”, talking about the “coffin”.

    Why did McKay unload his weapon in John’s direction? Because everyone knows he couldn’t hit the side of a barn.

    “Why does Sheppard, the city’s highest ranking military officer, recklessly allow himself to be possessed by an alien entity?” Because Weir said he is a hopeless romantic at heart and the possession will only last, at the most, a day.

    Why did Phebus threaten to turn on the Halon fire suppression system and kill everyone on Atlantis? Who cares. That went right over my head. I hate to tell you Joe, but not everyone here is technology savy.

    Why If Phebus is so eager to “win the war” by killing her old rival, why doesn’t she do it while he’s still in the pod and vulnerable? Because they have a history together (and a little time to spare) and hunting each other down to kill was a “sport”. Phebus eventually has to try and make Teyla kill him because they are running out of time and McKay and Caldwell are taking back control of the city.

    “Or is he saying this because John loves Teyla?”.” Of course John loves Teyla. When you work closely with people, you tend to develope a family type of love for them. Joe, don’t you love Carl?

    Great episode. Great writing and directing. Don’t you agree now?
    Just say yes.

  15. Yep. Yep, yep and blerghhhh. 🙂 Here’re a few more:

    Setting aside why they believe Weir/Phoebus, why do they go along with this request at all? Because the Stargate program has such a history of body-swapping going well.

    Why doesn’t Caldwell immediately lock both Shephard and Weir out of every system? And increase the guard at crucial areas?

    WTH does Ronan believe whatshisname?

    Who laced their breakfast with stupid pills?

    [Sigh] ….well at least everyone looked pretty.

  16. Well, since it’s official that you’re going to ComicCon, it’s official that I’m upset I can’t go becuase I’ll be in Santa Cruz next week. Well, slightly upset, it’s hard to be mad in such a beautiful setting surrounded by family and friends. It just would have been really nice to go this year because my friend who works for DC is also going to be there promoting something he’s kinda been hush-hush about for a while. Don’t know if it’s DC related or a personal side project, but it still would have been nice to see him. We were best friends in high school and we haven’t really gotten together in over a year or so. I would’ve had two great reasons to go this year! Dangit!

    Joe, I have a foodie question for you. As someone who frequents multiple restaurants that serve multiple courses, do you have a favorite palette cleanser? I’ve only been to three restaurants that are considered five star that serve 7 course meals and they all served the same type of sorbet, just different flavors depending on what the main course was or what was next. What other kinds of palette cleansers are there?

    Also, I just watched an episode of “triple D” and they went to a place in Vancouver called Jethro’s Fine Grub. Pretty small place, eh? They only showed the pulled pork sandwich, too. I guess their menu wasn’t too spectacular or deep to show more than the one dish.

    -Mike A.

  17. Hi Joe,

    Guessing you already heard about Stargate Universe sweeping the Constellation awards tonight, WOO HOO!! Ming Na won for best lead actress, and SGU earned the oh-so-well-deserved awards for best technical, best script, best contribution to CANADIAN TV, and most importantly BEST TELEVISION SERIES OVERALL!!! I hope and pray MGM Studios takes notice of this and choose to base the next coming of Stargate Universe with one of the major Canadian networks (maybe Superchannel or E1 Entertainment, or even CTV/Space/Bell Media?) so that it will be taken out of the network mothballs it’s been placed into and is PUT BACK ON THE AIR WHERE IT BELONGS! Ha, I am guessing you and your writing team already have a plethoria of ideas as to how you were going to pick up from where it left off, but I do have a script I’ve been working on, in the event the powers-that-be are game to bringing some new writers on board. I hope your other writing projects are going well, they sound really awesome! I’m currently finishing post production now on my first feature film “The Epic Adventures of Lakegirl” (and received very kind words of encouragement from Mark Savela while working on the CGI part — yes I am a one-gal editing team, haha) and truly, I hope the series gets back on the air. I don’t expect this comment to be posted at all, but I thought getting a nice note about Stargate Universe might be something you’d find intriguing.

    All the best,
    Marjorie R

  18. No Comic Con for me, hubby and I are fuel masters for the Utah fire conclave and that’s the night of the big show before the effigy burn. Yes, it is a tinderbox out here, but we have a place and a city fire truck on hand. Very exciting.

  19. Joe
    Have you read The Age of Miracles by Karrn Thompson Walker.
    It is an exelent read, I think you would like

  20. @baterista9 – you could be lazy and learn French. Not that French is easy, but since you already know Spanish, French would be a breeze for you. Lots of common words.

    I would love to go to ComicCon. There are lots of folks going that I know who I’d love to catch up with. Joe, please take a moment to say ‘hi’ to Colin Cunningham who will be at the Falling Skies panel. He is such a nice guy.

    Hello @jorie74 – best of luck on your new project and your potential writing career.


  21. The Long Goodbye is one of my favorite episodes of Atlantis. Torri was fantastic. I also liked that everybody got to be involved in the episode. McKay had to figure out the passord, Caldwell got to yell at Rodney and give orders, Ronon and Teyla got to hunt for Sheppard and Weir and Sheppard and Weir got to shoot guns and try to kill each other. So you had to suspend common sense in a few points. You have to do that in most shows anyway. One show recently had a doctor stripping in the ICU, like that would happen in real life.

  22. Fair questions. And you’re right of course. But this is one of those episodes that I enjoyed so much that I just let the questions slide. Part of the appeal was seeing Torri (and to a lesser extent, Joe Flanigan) playing such a different character. Beside the line you mention where Thelan lets Teyla in on how John feels, I also remember the line where Thelan tells Ronon about John screaming inside his head after Ronon is shot. How honest is Thelan being? Is John fully aware at that moment but helpless?

    On re-watch, this is one of those episodes that also make me wish we’d seen John and Teyla eventually become involved. I began reading the Stargate Atlantis series of novels that picks up after the series leaves off, in hopes of enjoying some further adventures, and the books do take the two characters in a different direction. But the quality of writing isn’t what I’d hoped for and I’m not sure I’ll finish the books.

    I’d happily pay, though, for a novelization of the Atlantis movie script!

  23. Have fun on your trip! I loved the ice-cream videos. I noticed that Jelly got a bite first. We do the same thing. The oldest one gets first dibs.

    Das: It’s the humidity that really gets us in the South. One of my friends moved to Boston and recently came back to Memphis for a visit. He said “It’s like breathing water”. That is an apt description because it reminds me of the steam room at the spa.

    The Long Goodbye: It’s always interesting to see the actors stretch their skill. The way they switch from one personality to another is fascinating. Personally, I thought being possessed was a bad idea but no one listens to me. 😉

  24. Neil Gaiman’s The Day the Saucers Came is now a comic on 4 t-shirts, but I can’t see all of it because it premieres at Comic Con. If you spot one and it is glorious, please…oh, I don’t even know if i want to know.

  25. Well, ok, there were a number of truck sized plot holes to detract from this episode. But it was reasonably fast paced, fun seeing Weir breaking loose, and our heroes stumbling around trying to get back in control. So, not great, but not too terrible.
    Hope comic con is lots of fun. Much as I’m tempted to go nuts and take off, I’ll act like an adult. Besides, I’ll console myself playing with my new Mac, which I finally broke down and ordered. Guess I’ll watch the idiot box and see if I can spot you or the gang hanging out guess I should start planning for next year…

  26. @baterista9, I say try Mandarin Chinese, not sure why, just sounds like it would be fun.
    ~Joe I hope you all have so much fun at the con!! Wish I were going, but you have fun for me, thanks.

  27. @ Tam Dixon – Yeah, the humidity is a killer. Dewpoint here is 72, which is high. I went out this morning at 7:30, filled the car, stopped at a produce stand, came home and watered my plants, and I’ve been holed up in the house ever since. Temp inside is 80 degrees, but I actually feel a tad chilled. Air conditioning is only meant to pull down temps 16 degrees from the ambient temperature outside, anything more would be refrigeration. So if it’s 96 outside, can’t expect it to get below 80 inside (of course, that’s with normal AC doing it’s normal thing). Our high today was 99, so I guess I can’t complain about 80 degrees inside.

    Today I ventured into the kitchen once – to make lemon-limeade and an avocado salad /salsa. The latter consisted of avocado, tomato, onions, kalamata olives, fresh cilantro, garlic, cumin, lime juice, and a few minced Goya (canned) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I usually use fresh jalapeno, but decided to experiment a little. It was delicious! However, just going into the kitchen to make those two things (about 1/2 hour), raised the kitchen temp – the ‘coolest’ room in the house – from 79 to 80.

    Greeeeat. And JUST now my satellite went out. Not the entire thing, just the local package. I just started watching the local news, and two minutes in it goes black. The non-locals work fine. I know there are storms travelling across PA, but I wouldn’t think that would be the problem. Grrr. Time to call DirecTV…



  28. My first thoughts on The Long Goodbye were ‘why would Sheppard allow himself to be possessed? As the next in charge, with Weir already possessed–it would be irresponsible. Security risks alone a concern and they trusted an unknown entity on her word with no proof…But I take the episode as in and loved Weir and Sheppard out to get each other..loved the action and premise despite the holes in the reasoning behind it!!

  29. I always thought there were signs that Sheppard could really go for Weir but won’t go there because of their mutual ranks in the heirarchy of Atlantis, so he figures Teyla’s someone more attainable. Plus I think that Thalen knows from John that Teyla is a very compassionate person and is just playing on that with John’s affections for her, figuring that the Athosian won’t fire.

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