Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stargate Atlantis--"The Last Man"

So much for trying to keep up with these reviews on a daily basis. I am not feeling consistently well from day to day. Here is to doing the best I can, whatever that may be. At least “The Last Man’ was a unique episode to watch even with its clear influences.

“The Last Man’ is a semi-alternate reality story with apocalyptic overtones. I am usually a sucker for those. In this case, Sheppard is transported 48,000 years into the future when he travels through the stargate during a solar lare. There he meets the hologram of an ae Rodney who explains to him all the bad things that happened after he was lost in time. Teyla was murdered after givign birth. Michael used her baby to create his army of hybrids. Sam and Ronon were killed battling the hybrids. When Woolsey took over Atlantis, Rodney and Keller, who have fallen in love, quit. Keller eventually dies of exposure to the Hoff virus. That is when Rodney hatches a plan to send a hologram into the future to return Sheppard to the past proper in order to change things.

The plan sort of works. Sheppard is sent back in time with the knowledge of teyla’s location, but the place is booby trapped to explode. The explosion signals the fourth season ending cliffhanger.

My description may not sound like it, but there is a lot of Babylon 5‘s “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” in ‘The Last Man.” They both jump ahead several times into the future, holograms of major characters are prominent, and there are hints of changes to come for the next season. Unlike “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars,“ “The Last Man” is mostly eye candy since Sheppard’s return to the past means none of the tragic events told in flashback likely happened. That diminishes the episode a bit, but knowing every main character dies is such--pardon the pun--overkill, the episode may not have much meaning for the skeptics among us in the first place.

But I am a sucker for alternate reality stories, so I liked it. “The Last Man” is frivolous and arguably meaningless, both puzzling traits for a season finale, but there is a high entertainment value. To make yet another comic book analogy, it is a What If? issue on film. If you liked that comic, “The Last Man” will be right up your alley.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Stargate Atlantis--"The Kindred, Part II"

A burst diverticula and a feeding tube ago, more accurately, October 25th, 2012, I reviewed "The Kindred, Part I." The episode would have to end on a cliffhanger, no? I hope the anticipation for the resolution was not to excruciating. I was not in shape for much television reviewing in the interim. In my opinion, Part II is a bit of a letdown.

When we left off, our heroes were raiding one of Michael’s old labs to fin the kidnapped Teyla when they find the allegedly dead for a year and a half Beckett instead. We discover before the first act is over that Beckett is a clone and is deteriorating. Should we guess then that Beckett clone will sacrifice himself heroically to save Teyla, thereby making up for the pointless death of the main character back in the third season? Be serious.

Things look promising. Beckett clone leads our heroes to Michael’s main lab in which he is holing the athosians prisoner and is experimenting on Teyla’s unborn child. When they are pinned down by an ambush, Beckett clone runs off alone to save Teyla. Alas, he cannot, as Michael forbids his creations from harming him. Instead, he gets away with Teyla after shooting the helpless Beckett Clone. Back on Atlantis, Beckett clone is placed in stasis to preserve his life until…I do not know. The writers come up with a decent send off for the character, I suppose.

While it is great to see Paul McGillion again, revealing Beckett is a deteriorating clone riht away takes the wind out of the story’s sails. We know he is going to be disposed of and te emtions of the reunion are not going to be real. The only thing we can rely on for excitement is the action. There is plenty of it, but that is not what I wanted to see at the cliffhanger. I wanted beckett to get a more meaningful send off than being randomly killed in an explosion, and he does not get one. Instead, he fails at rescuing Teyla and gets mothballed for his trouble.

Color me unimpressed with this one. It reminds me a lot of the Peter Parker is a Clone/ Ben Reilly is the Real Spiderman travesty of the mid-90’s. I cringe at jut about any story involving clones being mistaken for the real McCoy since then. This episode is no exception.

Rating: ** (out of 5)