I’ve decided i’m going to need a name for this series of articles. as you can tell from the title “Letters from Pegasus” is what i’ve settled on but when i get round to that episode the title’s gonna get a bit freaky.
and seeing as i’ve retrofitted all the previous posts with the new title new readers (i have readers?) will have no idea what i’m talking about. this thing used to be just called SGA quick review.
anyway stargate episodes tend to fit into two categories (or bridge them): episodes about stargate the ongoing war against evil aliens and episodes about stargate the characters. this episode is an amazing epitome of the latter.
We open this episode on a CGI shot of a stargategate in an infinite expanse of fog with some rock doofers nearby. then we fade to the shepsquad on a set of the same thing because apparently they could afford that anyway. they’ve been walking around for hours in hazmat suits and found jack shit so shep and ford decide to head off home, with mkay objecting because apparently there is weird energy readings (aka science to be done). then they take off their helmets because the atlantis expidition, especially lead scientist dr rodney mckcay, are smart enough to realise that breathing in strange fog with no water in it is a smart thing to do on a sci-fi show. ford dials back to base on the shnazzy new pegasus DHD, toy available now, and… wait i don’t think i’ve mentioned DHDs before. DHDs are pedastals that provide power to stargates and also allow you to dial them without spinning the inner ring, thus saving on prop money. as i was saying they dial atlantis but then more weird energy readings happens, as they are wont to do, and mkay says the fog is powering the stargate, the fog they are now breathing in need i remind you, and there’s enough fog to get them back to earth.
So everyone takes turns at telling each other why they don’t want to go home. but of course they kinda do and anyway they have to at least call up and say “don’t worry, we’re fine and also we’re fighting space vampires… don’t worry!” unfortunately the ancients built all the pegasus gates without anyway to 8th chevron lock so that people didn’t follow them when they inevitably got attacked by their own creations again but that’s ok because mkay just rips that gizmo out of the atlantis computer and staples it on. weir and the shepsquad all line up on fog planet and dial up earth (guess one of the ancients left a post it with the pegasus symbol version on it for them). they are greeted over radio by walter harriman from sg1, he’s the guy who reads out the “chevron one encoded” thing and he says “ya know what, the prometheus(see last week) has asgard hyperdrives now, we can give you a lift back”. they decide that since the prometheus can do that now to they can send someone through to give them a report on the whole space vampires thing so weir steps through the gate and gives a report to Major-General George Hammond, who was the boss of the SGC before Weir took 0ver and kind of a big deal over on sg1. oh and mkay’s there now, i guess he must have walked through the gate off camera or something. meanwhile shep (he came through too?) offers to take teylaa (ok so i guess they left ford in charge of atlantis) shopping, ok progressive subversion of the joke and… we cut to him sitting impatiently in a limo. meanwhile mkay goes home to watch the twilight zone and his neighbour that he left the cat with suddenly wants him to send his gateship through her wormhole. what can i say, nerds are the new sexy. weir tries to fight various attempts to axe atlantis then goes home to do the tounge thing with her boyfriend that she left behind for the mission but something feels wrong… eh probably nothing, she’s likely just getting down from the high of being in an flying citadel fighting vampires and needs time adjusting to normal life. she also thinks it’s a pity shep and teylaa didn’t come through with them, except they did because we’ve seen them. ok, no plotholes here, they must have come through on a later trip. meanwhile teylaa returns to shep’s partylimo wearing the earth version of what she usually wears which of course dissapoints the number john in him who clearly only suggested this shopping trip in the hope she would discover Victoria’s Secret but then he’s distracted by the fact that something feels wrong… eh it’s probably just the fact that the chauffeur is driving them around colarado springs without being told where they wanted to go so he tells jeeves to take him to his swinging little bachelor pad full of cool stuff to take his mind of it. mkay and weir meet up to discuss how things are weird but hammond calls up to tell them that the prometheus is broken again an unable to take them back home. mkay won’t take this lying down and starts working on a way to open a gate back using the juice left in the ZedPM and the energy of fog planet. meanwhile weir wants to call up the asgard to fix the prometheus for them. oh and hey, looks like ford also came through with them, oh crap now that chakotay ripoff is in charge of atlantis, and he’s just been reassigned by command to go back down to antartica and guard john carpenter’s the thing or something like that. meanwhile shep and teylaa invite some of shep’s old war buddies over for a Paaaahr-Tahy, ford apparently joining them because any chance to party before being shipped out.
mckay yells at weir that there’s no way back and he’s stopped trying, meanwhile mkay get’s angry because the science dudes working with him give him some statistics that show that things shouldn’t work when they probably should and for some reason the inactive ZPM is glowing. huh, they must have got those shots round the wrong way and forgot how their physics work again. meanwhile shep’s buddies are telling teylaa about the time he had a drink off with bin laden but then shep suddenly flips the fuck out. “you guys died years ago in , that girl over there hates me and that’s my old English teacher”. look, i’m sure it’s just the stress of being a veteran thrown into a new war in space and then having that taken away from him. he shoots one the supposedly dead veteran buddy bulk and skull pair and he’s like “what the fuck dude!?” and then shep points the gun at ford as well.
ok, let’s walk away from the crazy person, let’s see what weir and mkay are doing.
mkay is yelling at the leader of the atlantis expidition that physics has started to shaft itself and flips the fuck out, shattering the ZedPM, meanwhile on the other side of the slide cut weir is yelling at dr McKay about Atlantis being militarized.
huh, being the observant person i am it occurs to me that something is up.
weir flips the fuck out and tells the wizard of hammond that she ain’t taking this no more, hammond reveals that he’s actually a fog dude, who lives on fog planet and it was all a dream. he wants to keep them all in the dream world as it turns out using the gate kills a bunch of energy fog dudes and dialing earth would kill millions of them. naturally ShepSquad+1 aren’t too happy about this as they need to wake up to eat stuff but the wizard of fog doesn’t want them to wake up and dial earth, killing said millions, but weir is like “we cool” and gasdude is like “oh fine, go back to Atlantis then”. they wake up and set off home, “but wait” mkay cries, “what if we’re sill in the dream”. “no, what do you think this is, ship in a bottle?” the ghostly voice of don s. davis replies, “now begone with you”
So yeah this one was good. sure i guessed the twist by the end of the teaser again, when i was watching it my first though was “Mum!Weir is going to complain that the fog is people too”, fortunately she didn’t bring that up and this episode happens.
the Director Holly Dale did a really good job of making things seem off. i especially liked the fact that the various unimportant extras were just people speaking off camera or silhouettes out of focus, i’m not sure how to express what exactly that meant but it was just good, also the whooshing slide wipe transition between the seperate dreams was a nice subtle indicator and in the weir and mkay taking turns to tell fake versions of each other that things are wrong it comes nicely together as it switches between each of them saying their part as the woodenly acted fake duplicates try to discourage them. also kudos to the writing team, veteran stargate writers Paul Mullie and Joseph Mallozzi, the way weird continuity flubs kept on happening really leant to the dreamlike atmosphere, things like Lt General Hammond being one rank lower (ok, i’m not that big a nerd, it said that on the wiki) and still heading the SGC instead of homeworld command or whatever he was doing at the time, things like a girl, an actual girl, hitting on Rodney McKay and the fact that the gate uses the old milkyway effect when pegasus gates have a different one. plus as a bonus weir is, for once, not written in the nagging mum role, the fact that she’s actually participating in an episode for once is nice coupled with the fact that she’s the one to call the fog guys out on this and convince them to let them go. shep our usual hero apparently figures out that things ain’t right from the get go and decides to have fun for a while using his lucid dreaming powers to invite a bunch of people he won’t ever see again and missed over to his dream home and relax a little before going all serious “things are wrong”. teylaa naturally shares in shep’s dream because she knows nothing of earth, makes sense to me. weir an mckay? well remember that scene i mentioned where we’re flipping between the two conversations they’re having? it’s great seeing how they interact. McKay being focused on ranting to fake weir about the laws of physics being wrong and not noticing her not caring about atlantis or her robotic talking seems about right for him, meanwhile weir, who as a former negotiator and expidition leader is a people person catches onto “there is something wrong with fake rodney, he should be trying to find a way back to Atlantis”.
as great as this one was though i still have a few minor gripes with it: ford has like one scene in dreamworld where it’s the real him, why even bother bringing him on this episode?, how and why the hell did the ancients build a stargate on a planet full of energy beings killed by stargates capable of mind trapping them? (answer: their stupidity broke the laws of common sense) and also why is it such a big deal for the fog guys to keep atlantis team on imaginary earth when they could have let them play around in imaginary pegasus while they starved to dead? (i mean it’s not even like they cared that much when their ruse was discovered because there was nothing that anyone could have done about it short of what they actually did)
besides those kinda flaws this was one of the best episodes we’ve had so far.