Our trip down SGA memory lane continues with…


Back in season one’s Letters from Pegasus, McKay makes mention of a sister.  In truth, in the script, he makes mention of a brother but David requested the gender change since he had a sister who happened to be an actress and, should a future episode call for an appearance by Rodney’s fictional sister… Well, as it turned out, two seasons later, we were looking to cast Rodney’s sister Jeanie and David’s sister, Kate, ended up auditioning for the role.  And nailing it.

Probably this episode’s most shocking revelation is the fact that Rodney’s real name is Meredith.  Seriously.  What sane parent would name their son Meredith?  The name Rodney, which caused much consternation among the writers when we first floated the idea of transferring the McKay character over from SG-1 (“His first name is what?  Rodney?  Can we change it?”), suddenly doesn’t seem so bad.

Among the interesting tidbits that Rod reveals about his alternate universe is the fact that Jeanie has three kids -not just one – named Madison, Bradley, and Robbie.  Coincidentally, Bradley Wright and Robbie Cooper were the show’s creators and show runners.

One of the more amusing elements of this episode is the introduction of the AU Rodney McKay, Rod, who ends up charming Jeanie and the team while, simultaneously, annoying the hell out of our Rodney.  I’ve always loved AU episodes for their ability to offer us a glimpse of what might have been.  Ripple Effect, The Road Not Taken, Vegas – all offered interesting variations on our characters, the result of different circumstances, different decisions.  I suppose I enjoy these glimpses because they make me think of the different paths I could have taken over the course of my life and how those alternate decisions may have played out, how the repercussions of those choices would have shaped a different me.

I’m sure you’ve all played What If?, thought about those linchpin moments in your life when you made a decision that changed things for the better or worse.  How different would my life be if: 1) I hadn’t sent out resumes to about a hundred production companies, back in the day, in the hopes of landing a job as a script reader, landing instead a shot at writing the animation script that ultimately launched my career?, 2) I’d never suggested to Paul that we should consider a writing partnership, 3) I turned down the opportunity with Stargate, choosing instead to maintain my comfy freelance lifestyle in Montreal rather than rolling the dice and moving to the other side of the country?, 4) I hadn’t made some truly regrettable relationship choices?, 5) I’d just rolled the dice, like I’d done with Vancouver, and simply moved to L.A. after Stargate ended?

Of course 5) is still a possibility.

So what about you?  What were your top 5 What Might Have Been moments?

29 thoughts on “August 9, 2012: Days of Stargate Atlantis past! McKay and Mrs. Miller! What Might Have Been Moments!

  1. I’ve been a little out of touch. A good friend passed away this past weekend and the funeral was yesterday. He was the father of my best friend and a delightful man. He will be missed.

    I, of course, missed Common Ground, one of my all time favorite episodes because of its fascinating glimpses into the Wraith. And Todd. Especially Todd. But das summed it up very well in her posts yesterday. I just love reading das when she talks about Wraith. And Todd. Did I mention Todd?

    My what if’s?

    1. What if I’d pursued art instead of science? I would likely be a starving artist or illustrator. Or maybe a graphic artist (also starving).

    2. What if I had not gotten into medical school at the last minute and pursued my Masters and Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry instead? Many of my best friends are people I met in and around med school. Life would be very different.

    3. What if I had gotten that internship in Seattle? I could practically be Joe’s neighbor!

    4. What if I had decided not to have kids? (that would be kinda sad)

    5. What if I was still married? I can answer that one: life would not be nearly as much fun!

  2. Sheesh. Ask a deep question…if I toss and turn all night replaying my life in my head, I’m blaming you.

  3. McKay and Mrs. Miller is one on my favorite episodes. David and Kate were very good together. I bet David Hewlett had a great time filming this. Very touching scene in the end when McKay hugs his sister and asks, “How are ya? You happy? You okay?”

    My What Might Have Been moments would be to correct things I see as wrong in my life now. Things not turning out as planned or taking certain paths that have literally led to nowhere. Sad to even think about what could have been. Just live with the world I have created for myself. It’s my own fault. To correct, it would require me to go back to High School, which ain’t worth it. But then, maybe it would be…

  4. Oddly enough, I really don’t have any ‘what might have been’ moments, at least not the sort one regrets. I’m a pretty linear sort of person, which is odd when you think about my enjoyment of sci fi with all its ‘what if’ type alternate universes, and such. I have enough to deal with just living in the here and now without musing over and/or pining away about what might have been.

    I think maybe the only thing that I reflect upon is my life course, and my decision to try to live by Christian principles – principles and a belief that has grounded me, and has helped my restless mind focus and find contentment in what I have. Also, it has helped me realize that I can’t fix all the problems in this world (especially the environmental/ecological/humanitarian issues), and that it will take a higher power to do so. That’s where real faith and humility comes in – to trust someone else to fix the problems you so desperately want to fix yourself. It’s very hard sometimes, but had I not done that I know I would probably have been some some sort of tree-hugging, whale-rescuing, herb-growing, freak-show travelling hippiefied goth band groupie, trying to save the world and wallowing in the pit of despair at my failure to do so.


  5. Off-topic question.

    Shooting the shuttle scenes in particular in SGU, I notice some really awesome flares from the console lights. Streaking across horizontally. I’m assuming those were not post-production effects. That said, was a filter used? what kind? or was it just the lens? If you know that is 🙂

  6. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any.

    Mostly because I take whatever decision I make in life, and go with it, regreting something just isn’t useful. Sure we all have regrets but I find it better not to dwell on the past and move forward.

  7. @ Sparrowhawk – Very sorry to hear about your loss. My heart goes out to you and your friend’s family. {{{hugs}}}

    ~ Deirdre

  8. @Joe:

    Your #4…yep, I’ve been there (unfortunately). But (fortunately), I learned from my mistakes and made the next one count (since 1994 and going strong.)

    Can’t say I have any real regrets. The ones I do have are minor and easy to live with (on the level of “I wish I had bought a house in an unincorporated area” or “I’ve probably should have bought that bigger truck”). Even the relationship mistakes (#4 above) I learned from, so at least I gained that from the experience.

    On the job front, even in jobs I didn’t take, I can see I made the right decision (for example, getting out of defense contracting when I did and moving to England instead); it all came out pretty well.

    Maybe I’m just being unimaginative…

    What if I had hair? Or ran a one-design sailboat snorkel tour business out of Key Largo? Or maybe did acrylic artwork and sold it near the tourist attractions in a big city (makes me wonder how I would look in a beanie)?
    Nah…I’m (mostly) happy where I’m at. 😉

  9. I do love AUs. As far as my own life, the main one that I think of when I think of such things is how things might have been different if I’d gone to USC (where I got accepted and even offered decent financial aid) instead of much smaller and less impressive schools in-state. College is usually a dynamic time for anyone, and I wonder if I would like the person I would have become if I’d chosen that path, if I’d be at a better career point, and what people I might have met. I wonder if I could see that version of myself, if I’d wish I’d taken that opportunity or if I’d be more grateful for my life as it is.

  10. WIth regards to the ‘what-if’ moments, the only response I could think of was to quote Jack O’Neill… “I wouldn’t be here.”

  11. Ok, be that way, Sandman.

    In my early career ambitions, I once traded up mentors so that someone in a much higher position was “in my corner”. It turned out my original mentor knew I was walking right into the sights of a sociopath (not the new mentor, someone else). I wonder what would have happened if someone who knew the truth was in my corner. Would I have had a chance or would she have gone down with me or had she already survived by throwing others under the bus? It’s a mixed regret, since maybe what I did in switching mentors was dodge having someone else hurt, too.

    I was about to fight in a taekwondo tournament at the Colorado Springs OTC. My traveling companion suggested I go to Sports Med. and get my ankles taped by the best. I’d been told I needed to rely on my agility to avoid injury so I refused.

    I rolled my ankle so badly that day, not due to lack of agility, but a shin clash had confused the nerves in that leg for a bit. I kept my lead by going unapproachably rabid from the pain of my foot flopping at the end of my shin, throwing jump spinning kicks with the same leg I was jumping off of. That injury cost me 2 (technically 3) surgeries and had me rationing my ankle the rest of my fighting career, eventually ending it.

    2a. I randomly called the right martial arts school with the best coach, an Olympian, when I decided to take it up.

    2b. Due to being casted up from one of those surgeries, I wasn’t training and actually went out to socialize and met (re-met) my now husband.

    I once had a Word of Knowledge for someone, but I was so wrapped up in myself that I didn’t deliver it. I didn’t see the guy again, but it would have made a huge difference for his healing.

    I once wrote two scripts in a very short amount of time and answering a “what have you been up to?” unexpectedly led to a job. The time between deciding to write creatively again and landing a stake in something big was ridiculously short. Events are still flowing from that job lead.

    I’ll always wonder if I caused my son’s (probably soon to be dx’d) autism by attempting natural induction when I had no idea what I was doing. The hyper-labor that was necessary to deliver a baby that started out asynclitic exposed his brain to an intense and prolonged amount of oxytocin. There’s speculation regarding the role of that hormone in autism. I know there are other factors in the cause, but he’s so functional in so many ways, so then when he’s not, it’s easy to think a little less nudge in that direction would have reigned it in just enough.

  12. Oh, the Air Force Academy, I forgot about that. I turned down a nomination. I’m glad I did. That was no place for me.

  13. I love Rodney’s sister. Their chemestry is totally there. Something hard to fake, I think. And, it’s cute how someone else pointed it out. Nicely done!

  14. BTW, I’m here in Las Vegas at the Star Trek con and saw Robert Picardo talk. He is quite the funny guy. This is something I would never have guessed by his performances in SG-1/A.

    He mentioned you and talked about getting the SG-A job. Also, the growth his character went through on the show.

    I got a picture with him and will get it signed tomorrow. He’s really cool.

  15. I do like a good AU story. This one was good because Rod from the AU was a nice guy rather than evil which is how a lot of AU stories go. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the Red Dwarf episode Dimension Jump that introduced Ace Rimmer to the world. Rod had a bit of Ace Rimmer about him. 🙂

    PS: Joe, I received a package from Richard Woolsey yesterday!!! Thanks! It’s awesome!

  16. @sparrowhawk. So sorry to hear.
    My Dad said the other day, “I guess we need to accept the fact we’re getting to an age where we start losing those closest to us. It’s the deal me made, right? When we took our first breath, we made the deal of life? Love, hopes, happiness and grief. It’s human.”

    @Joe. Congratulations for casting Kate Hewlett. I loved any episode with her in it.

    I don’t have too many what ifs. They’re mostly from my school years and late teens.

    1. What if I hadn’t let my Chemistry teacher get to me after saying he didn’t appreciate creativity in his class and continued Chemistry and Physics.

    2. What if I hadn’t taken a McDonald’s management offer and gone to Uni for 6 years of hospitality. I’m now a software programmer. Try and guess the jobs I took to end up in this profession.

    3. What if I hadn’t missed the job interview to be a manager at Crown Casino.

    I’m happy with where I’m at, despite losing Mum this year (which turns out to be negligence by her GP), so I don’t wotif much. Even after finding out Mum’s death was preventable, I miss her like hell, but I can’t wotif over a situation I can in no way change.

  17. What if, when I was 17, I had not broken up with my first ever boyfriend that Friday afternoon, and had gone to see Romeo and Juliet with him up at the college? I later found out he had a ring and a proposal for me. I broke his heart badly, but I am very glad that’s a road I did not travel. He’s a dear sweet man, but yikes, I was so young.
    I made a few very bad decisions as a silly young woman, not to be recounted online, ever. The ones I can talk about include a college boyfriend who locked me in the apartment so I wouldn’t run away. Educational at the very least.
    Joining the Navy, that was huge. It was a not well thought out decision. Gave me everything good I have now.
    Dancing with my date, he flirted with a girl over my head. I thought about dumping my drink on him and walking out. I didn’t, although I gave him hell for being rude. We’ve been married 25 years now.
    Buying Burning Man tickets on a whim in 2001. We’ve been attending every year since then, and it is a large part of my creative life. Some say to the point of obsession, but all burners are obsessed.

  18. Okay. About McKay and Mrs. Miller. For one thing, I really liked the title because I enjoy plays on words and people ever-so-slightly altering an old movie title and making it their own. The chemistry between Rodney and his sister was a joy to behold and the story was very good.

    Oh – and what DP said reminded me of another branch point: I turned down a Navy scholarship for med school. Life would certainly have been different if I’d gone that way! I may have been stationed with Maggiemayday in Japan!

    @das: Thanks. He made it to age 84 and although the last couple of years were rough (Alzheimers), had a good, long life.

  19. McKay and Mrs. Miller = one of my favorite Atlantis episodes! Great performances from both David and Kate.

    I’ve got a few “what if’s”, but not much time to run with it, so here’s one…

    As a senior in high school I scored very highly on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test) and was heavily recruited by the Navy. I seriously considered both the Navy and Marine Corps, but eventually let my mother talk me out of it. This was four years after the Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon and she was convinced that if I joined the military, I would be killed.

    I should have joined anyway!

  20. Season three might have been the strongest of the five seasons of SGA, and McKay and Mrs Miller is one of those episodes that is responsible for that. It’s another homerun episode, with so many things going for it. And the ending was such a nice one, with our Rodney truly a part of the team, accepting and accepted.
    that’s a tough question you ask. Like Das, I don’t really have regrets. Even the wrong decisions I’ve made in life have made me who I am, and I am comfortable with that. But the what-if game is something I also enjoy playing. So, 1) I had kept practicing/learning Japanese. Had my adoptive mother been willing to use Japanese in the house after we got back from a year in Tokyo, I’d be bilingual.Where that would have led me, I don’t know, but over time I’ve lost any aptitude I’ve had for languages. 2) I loved reading sci fi from childhood to today. I also enjoyed writing classes. But I never made the leap from the occasional piece of fan-fic or knock-off short story to seriously considering becoming a writer.3) A loss of focus in high school. For a variety of reasons, I lost my interest in many subjects in school, and didn’t apply myself to some I should have. In a few cases I pushed back against teachers I didn’t like, purposefully neglecting work. So there went any career in the sciences. Since Isaac Asimov has been a personal favorite of mine, this is probably the thing I come closest to truly regretting. 4) Cuttiing ties with home sooner. Because of my father’s medical history, I ended up moving back home at a time most people are moving on to begin their own life. Once I did move on, I would end up coming back for similiar reasons, this time involving my mother. Had their health not required my presence, I wonder where I would be today. No regrets though. besides any sense of duty, the experience helped me prepare for my current career in ways nothing else could have. 5) Staying in the military. I did a stint in the military. Where I would be had I stayed in would be fun to discover. My MOS was certainly light-years away from what I do now. Different friends, different skill sets, and a high probability I’d be living somewhere far different from here. Then again, had I done so, I might be living with the guilt from not being there when my parents needed me.
    So, there is my list.All in all, I think I came out ok. Though if there is an afterlife, I sort of hope that it allows us to look back to see what might have been. though that might get creepy, as the alternate “we” look back to, and we begin to compare ourselves….hmm, good thing I’m non-religious.

  21. Top five moments? I packed up after Vet tech school (20yrs old) and found a job 300 miles away from home. My mom is still pissed about that one. Deciding to marry my sparring partner. Having a child. Having a hysterectomy. Joining Karate class. All of those are the good decisions I’ve made.

    Even if each one have brought some painful moments BUT they were worth it! It is odd thinking about the paths NOT taken. If I had stayed in No-whereville with my family, things would have been very different. I suppose I’m lucky because I’m pretty happy with the way life has turned out. I’ve reconnected with some of my high school friends on FB and some of their stories are so sad.

    Hubby wants to relocate to the Nashville area when our son graduates high school. That’s only two years away. I have a lot of friends in Nashville BUT my family would only be 1 ½ hours away. Great for visiting/helping my mom but bad because of my meth-head relatives. Drug addicts think in a completely different way than the “normal” world. Some of the decisions they make are just…..:roll: .

    I enjoyed MCKAY AND MRS. MILLER! I’ve become a big Kate Hewlett fan and it’s great the way her brother supports her career. His support created A Dog’s Breakfast to give her a starring role. I’m envious of that close sibling relation they have. Something I probably will never experience in my family or my hubby in his family. They brought that relationship to their characters in McKay and Mrs. Miller. Their little sarcastic quibbles were so fun to watch. Was any of that ad-libbed?

    Sparrowhawk: Condolences on your loss…praying for you.

  22. 8 am woke up…ack! Overslept! Trash day! Dude coming next week to measure for new garage door! Must clean out the garage, NOW! Rain coming, must feed cats! Rain coming, must mow lawn!! Ack, ack, ACK!! Make beds. Feed cats, leave troublemaking Boo kitty in cage. Wash up cat dishes. Still have time, trash truck comes at 10 am…SO WHY THE HECK IS IT COMING AT 8:30??! GRRRRRR! Scurry around in my underdrawers, gathering trash! Miss the @#$%ing truck! That’s okay, Mr. Das can run it to the township depot. Inform Mr. Das of this. Lots of grumbling…and some arm flailing. I mean, what’s up with that? Seems Mr. Das is hungry and very cranky. I think I married a Wraith. 😛 Lucky me. 😉 Bag up trash in the garage (it’s a hoarder’s paradise!! *Note to self: Stop going to yard sales!!). RAIN STILL COMING!! Grass still long!! Mr. Cranky Das still hungry!! Landscaper mowing neighbor’s yard. Send Mumbles McGrumbles over to ask if they can cut our grass, too. They can! YAY!! Send Mr. Das to the dump. Grab the garden shears and snip some straggly plants. Pay landscaper. Send Mr. Das to breakfast and to work. Peace and quiet…but also no rest for the wicked! No…that’s not right. No rest for the weary! That’s it, that’s the one! No time to eat! Rain almost here. Descend back into the bowels of hell the garage. Bag up more treasures now deemed to be trash. RAIN!!! YAAAAAAAY!! Vacuum garage. Spiders!! ACK! Thunderboomer! Eek! Lightning! ACK! Lights flicker. Whew. Finished phase one of garage purge. Run out in the rain (check first to make sure still not in underdrawers) to chat with neighbor. Rain, rain, RAIN! Woo! It’s wonderful!! BRILLIANT IDEA!! Grab rags and wash the car! Soaked to the skin and loving it! Washing the car AND taking a shower! Two birds, one stone! Back inside. Release The Terror! Boo kitty approves of slightly tidier garage. Big Girl kitty (a.k.a. Miss Hisser) does not approve of Boo kitty. Peel off sodden clothes. Take real shower. Noon! Turn on news. Whip up bowl of grits with pepper jack, garlic and Red Hot sauce. FINALLY eat breakfast.

    Now, just to finish up my coffee, drop old files off to be shredded and another bag of trash to the depot, and then I’m off to work! And it’s only 1:30 pm! The day’s still young!! (Man, o man…do I need a nap. 😛 )


  23. I too have always loved the AU eps and anything that messes with the time line.
    My 5 “what ifs?” Funny you should mention that, I toss that around in my head pretty often and count my blessings.

    1. What if I did attend public school and not a private school in high school? I wouldn’t have met my former roommates and never have moved to FLA.

    2. What if I had finished college after studying surgical technology ( before it was as popular as it is now)? It would have been easier to make the career change from medicine to artist.

    3. What if I had married that comedian and not the man I am married to now? I would be divorced.

    4. What if I had never moved to FLA? I would still be in New England unchanged and not the person I am today, where I am today. Moving away changed my perspective and allowed me to grow out of some old emotional habits.

    5. What if I never had God in my life?There would be no way for me to deal with my guilt for things I’m not proud of doing.

    Didn’t mean to get deep but those are things that have crossed mt mind over the years and have been made major impacts on me.

  24. First What Might Have Been moment that leapt to mind: The 1980 summer night a young man asked me for my phone number, but neither of us had pencil or paper.

    I recall telling him we could be found in the Hopewell book, though our mailing address was Ringoes. We had just met at a neighbor’s party, so he also could have asked the neighbor. Never heard from him.

    At any rate, I looked HIM up a few months later; he thought I had given him the brush-off. But I was getting ready to move to Miami at that point.

    Seeing as I met my husband-to-be within a week of two of moving, that was a major turning point.

    Second WMHBm was discovering “Stargate” when it moved to US basic cable in 2002, because that led to many new friendships and activities during a difficult decade (decline and death of parents /inlaws, injuries and surgeries, other stresses).

    Third is taking the federal civil service exam in 1980. Back then, it was one exam for all agencies; now, only certain agencies positions require a standardized exam. That exam was the catalyst for my move to Miami.

    I don’t agree with this gent’s politics, but he provides history of the federal civil service exam, and it agrees with my recollections.

    4 & 5? Nothing really jumps out, except for some stupidity in my college years that we won’t go into. 😉

  25. What if I hadn’t married a sick, twisted man? I’d have avoided lots of pain, but I wouldn’t have my two wonderfully grown-up children… They’re worth it.

    In 1972 I informed my boss (I was a proofreader for one of the first printing firms using computer-set type) that I was pregnant and would be leaving; she told me regretfully that I had been picked to cross-train into computer programming… but again, my kids are worth it.

    All in all, I’m good.

  26. So Joe, is # 5 the reason you’ve been “life- and house-cleaning” lately? 🙂

    “What if?”

    1. I can so relate to what Das had to say. Ditto! Also, what if I hadn’t followed my faith from an early age? Too scary to think about, and it would have been “one hot mess,” to quote Niecy Nash. 🙂 Loving God is never a mistake, and he has literally saved my life more than once! Falling unconscious as a toddler (while cutting teeth — those dental issues), almost drowning as a child, a couple very close calls with assault, a driver running me off the road (an exit was there), jawbone infection, fainting due to pain, etc. I’m sure my guardian angels will have combat stories to tell me one day. 🙂 Then there were the huge “saves” of wisdom and guidance at just the right time. Amazingly, the right words would find me while reading my Bible or meeting people with on-target advice. So many wrong turns safely avoided and disasters averted. God orchestrated all of that. Where would I be without him?

    2. What if I hadn’t followed a grade-schooler’s love for reading and writing stories? Would never have gone into journalism (for the discipline of it), and never gotten to improve those skills, write stories, meet incredible people, travel, use a foreign language, and come out of an introvert’s shell. I probably would followed a love of health sciences, and gone to veterinary school at Purdue or studied physical therapy at IU.

    3. What if I just lurked here on the blog, read the Stargate stories, and never posted comments for fear of what others might think? I’d never have met so many interesting people, made good friends, read new books, traded recipes or dog stories, or learned something almost every day.

    Life has not been easy. There have been health issues/painful “what ifs” that were outside my control. But I know the future still holds good things.
    That’s where trust in # 1 comes in. 🙂

  27. This really was a great episode. Martin Gero said it was on of his top top for the season, and Martin Wood did a great job lining up and shooting the scenes. He called like putting together a rubic’s cube. It is fun how writers like yourself can pull little bits from other stories to create circles (I guess you call them Arcs) especially since it is to the same person like an author of a series. And as Martin was saying you got a little extra energy out of the sibling relationship because of the true real relationship. I am glad they did not do the kidnapping thing as originally thought. Rodney’s character was not as so self serving and egocentric in this episode. His sister and Rod really kept him in check as they fed his insecurities.

    Ahhh the what ifs: 1) What if I had been able to apply myself more in math and science when I was in school (subjects I really do like).
    2) What if my asthma had not been around when I attempted to join the military I might not have gone on to college
    3) What if I had rejected the country assigned to me the US Peace Corps, I would to have not learned what Thai food is nor know what a rubber tree is much less know what little I need to be happy
    4)What if I had not returned to the home of Ratchanee’s Mother, I would be much richer but less world traveled-there were some very good times
    5)What if I had not watched a single Stargate episode?

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