Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Epiphany"

Considering how pivotal a character he is in virtually every episode thus far in the series, it is strange to have a Sheppard-centric episode--one entitled “Epiphany,” no less--that reveals next to nothing about Sheppard other than what he already figured. He is a reckless guy who lives in the moment rather than dwell on the consequences of his past actions or fret over what might happen because of his actions in the future. His attitude turns out to be a virtue here, so what can be said about it?

While investigating energy readings on a remote planet, Sheppard is sucked into a portal. On the other side, time flows at a 250/1 ration than the real world. To prevent you from digging out your calculators, it takes about two hours for Sheppard to be rescued, but six months pass inside for him. In that time, he joins of village of people who have come there to prepare for ascension. They spend their days meditating in prearation for what amounts to the afterlife for the virtuous.

Complicating matters is an invisible monster which periodically attacks the people. Sheppard battles it alone an unsuccessfully twice before the people are forced to conront the reality the monster is the personification of their fears. Once they overcome the fear by confronting the monster, they ascend. It is Sheppard’s urging for them to live a little that prompts their new found courage. Conveniently, ithe people discover their backbones at the exact moment Sheppard’s friends come to rescue him.

Sheppard’s predicament is quite similar to Jack’s in “A Hundred Days,” without the hint Sheppard may have left the female guest star pregnant in the end. Joe Flanagan, who worked as a journalist before becoming an actor, helped develop the story. One would have hope his input might have made up for lack of originality by delving into his character, but no such luck. The portal is a good hiing place for human looking to escape the Wraith, too, but I will bet the possibility is never brought up again.

Disappointing is a good word to describe “Epiphany.” It is way too much like “A Hundred Days.” We do not gain any insight into Sheppard. The monster is pretty cool special effect. It reminds me of a translucent version of old Smokey from Lost although based on its origin, I will bet is it meant as an homage to the id Monster from Forbidden Planet. I suppose if you are a big Flanagan or Sheppard fan, you will like “Epiphany.” For my taste, it is too shallow.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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