Now can I just say, I have always known that sga was a good show but episodes like these emphasise that when done correctly it can be great. This episode was certainly one of the best. It was well written, well acted and very well put together. The whole feel of it was very realistic and most often down played, allowing the words and actions to speak for themselves.
And this episode certainly gave us a lot to think (and talk) about.
I mean first off, the implications of what John did, and let’s not fool ourselves it was what John did, are shattering. Showing Wallace pictures of Madison and Caleb? He knew that that was exactly what would push that man over the edge and he did it anyway. I could see it coming the moment they showed them together in that room. But the way it was played was amazing because you could see john goading him towards that final step with every. word.
And best of all you can see, quite obviously, the way John feels about what he did, in that last scene. Telling himself it was Wallace’s choice and that he just presemted the options. Seriously Joe Flanigan is an amazing actor because the guilt was palpable. While we are on acting the way he played that scene where Rodney volunteers himself. Both of them shined in that scene, just the right amount of emotion, for the most part understated.
I think both him and David Hewlett shone in this episode, David particularly in the way he showed McKay’s love for Jeanie with just a softening of his voice, in their scene when he was checking she was ok and worrying about her and the way he talked about her to John. (Plus the way he talked to the wrath, another good scene)
The emotional weight the actors gave the characters in the episode kept me spell bound.
I love that Rodney was willing to give his life for his sister, that he would do almost anything to protect her. And I love that john would go to great lengths to protect Rodney. I don’t care whether you think that he did what he did because he loved Rodney or not. The fact of the matter is he did what he did to save Rodney’s life. Because when he went in to see Wallace he had to have known that in time Rodney would have found a way to sacrifice himself for his sister if something had not been done in the meanwhile. He’s Rodney McKay for christ sake, brave under all the cowardly behaviour.
So as you can see I enjoyed the episode though there were some parts that thrilled me (much) less than others. I found myself cringing about some of the ways they chose to show Rodney in this, mainly the comic side where they played up some stupidity (him and the door, him forgetting the way out etc). I think they meant to break the tension in an emotionally heavy episode, and it’s possible that they were just badly placed but for me it served to ruin the momentum of the story telling.
I also didn’t appreciate the way Rodney broached the subject at the end there, as if he would not have realized John would have some negative feelings about it. We have seen, in this episode especially, that Rodney has matured emotionally since season 1 and with all the hard decisions they have had to make over the years, I think he would know how this would prey on John's mind and would not thank him for talking a man into his death. I’m sure there are people who would disagree with me on this and maybe I am over analysing things but it felt that by repeating it not once but twice he was literally slapping John in the face with it, though the way the scene plays out does soften the sting a little.
Anyway, that is my opinion and as I said this only made a small part of my feelings about this episode. The rest was all love. So back to what I liked about the episode.
There were some genuinely funny moments in there that worked well with the rest of the story but served to also reduce the doom and gloom. One star would be the scene with Ronon and Walter Harriman. By the end of it when Ronon practically bolts out of his seat, desperate to get away ‘tell me you have something’, I was in tears, laughing so hard. Likewise Radek's scene at the beginning and that line 'I’m losing the will to live'. So hilarious and played so well. And then there was the McKay-Miller bickering 'you’re no John Sheppard'. It has been said before and I will say it again, who better to play McKay’s sister than David Hewlett’s actual sister. You cannot get that chemistry any other way, that feeling of alternating sibling rivalry and sibling love. On that note Kate Hewlett was very good in the entire episode; she really is a fabulous actor.
Also can I just mention that I liked (read: loved) seeing continuity in the storyline, Rodney working with the nanites following
So all summary, our actors are made of win, Martin Gero is a genius, our writers rule the planet and I love my show. Got it?