Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"McKay and Mrs. Miller

“McKay and Mrs. Miller” makes good on David Hewlett’s to have his real sister, Kate, play Rodney’s sister on the series. The episode also is, intentionally or not-- a nod to Ace Rimmer from Red Dwarf as a more charismatic version of an obnoxious character for a parallel reality makes an appearance. The overall plot of two universes nearly being destroyed takes a backseat to some sweet sibling moments. That is quite an accomplishment when placed in perspective.

Rodney’s sister, Jeanie Miller, is a brilliant theoretical physicist who gave up her career for a husband and daughter. One days, she has a flash of inspiration watching her daughter play and comes up with some calculation that, once published, attract the attention of Sam. She wants Jeanie to work for Stargate Command, but Jeanie resents the idea of commercial use for theoretical physics and refuses to work for the US military. She is definitely Canadian. Sam asks Rodney to return to Earth to change Jeanie’s mind. He is reluctant to bring her in because they are estranged, but after he tricks her into beaming aboard Daedalus, her interest is pique.

The two begin work on a project to draw unlimited energy from a parallel universe under the assumption the odds of the universe being inhabited are infinitesimal. Unfortunately, the other universe is inhabited an they send their version of Rodney, whom we shall call Rod, to stop the experiment before rod’s universe is destroyed.

Rod is the complete opposite of Rodney. He is humble about his intelligence, friendly, and fun. He hits it off with everyone, but especially Jeanie. Rodney quickly feels alienated as rod takes his plsce professionally and personally. It reaches the point that when a plan is devised to save both universes by sending Rod back to his, roney cannot believe he wants to go because of what a fit he is in the ’real” universe. Rod goes anyway, claiming that his universe is ot perfect, but it is his. The ZPM is completely depleted in the effort to stop the experiment and ensure rod gets home.

The best part of the episode is Rodney does not have a sitcom-esque complete turn around because of what he learns from rod. He does resolve his differences with jeanie, but it is an a sweetly awkward manner that shows he is trying, but does not really know how. He is aided along by Sheppard, who secretly shows her the recording Rodney made to her back in “Letters from Pegasus.” when it is all said and done, Rodney uncharacteristically joins AR-1 hanging out in the mess hall where they tell him, perhaps not in all honesty, they did not like Rod all that much, but Rodney is welcome to hang out with them.

Everyone acts rather casual about the universe possibly being destroyed, but aside from that, “McKay and Mrs. Miller” is a great episode. I have complained in the past that Rodney-centric episodes often go too far over the top is order to place the character in comedic situations. I feared with an Ace Rimmer Rodney running around, this episode might be the worst yet. Instead, it is one of the best. The powers that be dialed it back from absurd comey to a personal story about Rodney’s fumbling at maintaining relationships, but his family and friends stick with him anyway. Oh, and two universes are nearly destroyed. But the latter is not as big a deal as the former.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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