Monday, October 22, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Outcast"

“Outcast,” the second episode co-written by journalist turned actor Joe Flanigam, is a mil character study of Sheppard’s estranged family situation an an overt homage to the Terminator series, particularly Robert Patrick’s (Col. Sumner) portrayal o the T-1000 in Terminator II: Judgment Day. There is a joke dropped in to that effect, carrying on with SGA’s tradition of acknowledging from where it lifts many plot elements.

I describe it as a mild character study because, while it is set up to be an intimate Sheppard story, the personal drama falls to the wayside for an adventure involving a Replicator loose on Earth. In fact, there is more poignancy in the scientist who create the Replicator’s “family’ issues. His young assistant, Ava, turns out to be a Replicator copy of the real Ava after she died in a car accident. Is it not strange for Ava’s story to be a more emotional element than that of Sheppard’s family troubles?

Consider it even stranger because the catalyst for Sheppard returning to Earth is his estranged father’s funeral. Patrick Sheppard had planned every element of his son’s life right up until the point the rebelled by joining the Air Force. They never spoke again. Sheppard’s brother has taken over his father’s company, but has not only resentments over his brother running off to join the military, but apparently he was still dad’s favorite son regardless. Sheppard also runs into his ex-wife (?!) at the funeral.

Have you got all that? Do not worry if you have not, because once Sheppard learns there is a Replicator on the loose, he runs off yet again regardless of family obligations to pursue it It is pretty much action film time as the Replicator channels the T-1000 in several battles with out heroes and a climactic fit with Ava. I will admit the idea of teleporting the Replicator into low earth orbit so he will burn up on entry is a creative way to defeat him, but it feels so od for the pursuit of the Replicator to be sch a focus.

Bates returns as an agent of the International Oversight Committee after receiving an honorable discharge due to injuries he sustained battling the Wraith. He is far less of a jerk than he used to be, so that is a relief. He states that he was in the Air Force. I am pretty sure bates was a Marine instead. I am also reasonably sure Sheppard told Ronon he had never been married. Dear heavens, Sheppard was once married to Kari Wehrer:
How could he let a lovely creature like her get away from him?

I think ’outcast’ is meant to be a better Sheppard-centric episode than it turns out. His father’s death does not play as an important part of the story passed the first act. All we really see is a deep sigh and acceptance from his surviving family members that seppard is going to run off to play adventurer. He leaves his father’s wake in order to hunt a Replicator, for heaven’s sake! Sheppard has not learned anything by the end, either. There is nothing but the hint that his brother and ex-wife accept him for what he is because he is not going to mature no matter what happens in his life. “Outcast” is a decent action piece, but a real disappointment as drama.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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