Written by Damien Kindler
Directed by Martin Wood
Considering how much time I’ve spent complaining about the emphasis on McKay since the beginning of the season, some might have been expecting to hear an echo this week (assuming anyone is actually expecting anything from me…LOL!). But I’m going to cut against my own grain here and actually give this one a qualified thumbs up. Surprising, no?
McKay stepped in it so deeply...
Perhaps it’s because I enjoyed watching McKay step in it so deeply, apparently without learning much of a lesson. His arrogance goes through the roof in this episode, and this time, he’s not perfect, and it’s not a matter of saying he can’t pull off the miracle just before he does. This is McKay at his absolute worst, and while that alone wouldn’t have been meaningful, his interaction with Sheppard made this worthwhile.
McKay goes from confident to obsessive...
McKay goes from confident to obsessive during the course of the episode. McKay has an almost physical need to succeed, and as the complexity and difficulty of the challenge increases, so does his need to solve the problem. He begins to believe in himself to the point where he can resolve issues even the Ancients couldn’t solve, and that’s right on the edge of complete megalomania. Not quite there, of course, or the character would lose credibility. But it helps give scope to his achievements, because they’ve given him overconfidence in abundance.
Sheppard takes a lot of the blame...
It might have been McKay Overkill if the episode hadn’t been more about how McKay’s ego was allowed to explode (literally). Sheppard takes a lot of the blame on himself, but there were a number of other layers involves. Caldwell makes the situation rather plain: if Weir doesn’t follow Sheppard’s lead and trust McKay to control the experiment, then the Pentagon will apply the necessary pressure to make it happen. One way or another, Weir was forced into a corner, all based on the promise of something that could solve everyone’s problems.
McKay was the one making those promises...
McKay was the one making those promises, though, and that’s the issue. McKay was operating out of an intense desire to be the one to save everybody from everything. He would find the perfect energy source, transforming human progress overnight, and he would deliver the ultimate weapon against the Wraith (and maybe even the Ori). Compared to such glory, what were a few technical issues?
Zelenka’s true worth is demonstrated...
I actually like how Caldwell and Weir battle it out, and how Zelenka’s true worth is demonstrated through an exploration of McKay’s faults. Maybe that’s what I liked about this episode; instead of McKay stepping in to save the day, his mistakes lead to a deeper understanding of everyone else’s priorities.
A bit more of Teyla...
We finally get a bit more out of Teyla, and it’s rather intriguing. Ronon is still working as an individual, and this episode hints to a few problems down the road if he doesn’t get a better sense of the morality he’ll be expected to follow.
Teyla shows more of her original edge in this episode...
Interestingly, Teyla shows more of her original edge in this episode, when she effectively tells Ronon that she might have done things his way, given the choice. It brings up an interesting question: is Teyla’s somewhat subdued presence a conscious decision on her part?
Ronon’s scenes weren’t particularly strong.
That said, Ronon’s scenes weren’t particularly strong. He’s definitely a badass, and he does the action poses very well. Some of the character moments in this episode weren’t nearly as strong. Compared to the near-perfect interaction between McKay and Sheppard, some of those scenes between Ronon and Teyla were just plain painful.
Will this experience change McKay? Probably not. But will it change how others deal with him and his choices in the future? I certainly hope so. I especially hope that Zelenka uses this as a chance to come into his own. I also hope that this becomes the beginning of a process of slow but steady character growth for McKay. Granted, the “Stargate” franchise has been built on characters with a certain static quality, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change.
Final Rating: 7/10
From the archive of Entil'zha