View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: McKay and Mrs. Miller
July 28th, 2006, 06:45 PM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s3/308.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/graphics/308.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Episode Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">ATLANTIS SEASON THREE</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s3/308.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">MCKAY AND MRS. MILLER</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 308</FONT>
<IMG SRC="/images/clear.gif" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="10" ALT="">
Rodney McKay is reunited with his estranged sister back on Earth, who has given up a brilliant career as a scientist to raise a family.
<FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888"><B><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s3/308.shtml">VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE ></A></B>
SPOILERS! PHOTOS! AND MORE!</FONT></FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TABLE></DIV>
<HR SIZE="1" NOSHADE>
<FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif"><FONT SIZE="4"><B>GATEWORLD FAN REVIEWS</B></FONT>
<I>Calling All Writers!</I> Tell the world what you think of the newest episodes of <I>Stargate SG-1</I>! Rather than publishing a single review at GateWorld, we're letting <I>you</I> offer your thoughtful and well-reasoned evaluation of episodes. Some of our favorite reviews will be highlighted on GateWorld.net, exposing your writing to tens of thousands of readers! But we do have some guidelines, so please read carefully before submitting your review.
<B>This thread does not function like normal threads at GateWorld! Read this post carefully.</B>
Fan Review threads are not for conversation, even if it is discussing a member's review. For that, please use the official GateWorld episode discussion threads in this folder's partner "Episodes" sub-folder. All posts to this thread that are conversational will be immediately deleted.
Fan Review threads are strictly reserved for formal reviews, which are deemed by the moderators to meet the following four guidelines:
<UL><B>(1) LENGTH.</B> Your review must be a <I>minimum of 400 words</I> and a <I>maximum of 1,000 words</I>.
<B>(2) FORMALITY.</B> Your review should be in a formal prose style (not informal and conversational, as regular forum posts are), following the Introduction - Body - Conclusion form. (The best reviews will include a single, encapsulated statement evaluating the overall episode that is stated in the introduction, defended in the body, and restated in the conclusion.)
<B>(3) EDITORIALIZING.</B> This piece is about <I>your opinion</I> of this specific episode. Do not summarize scenes or plot points, and generally avoid objective analysis of developments in story arcs, characters, etc. Assume that your readers have seen the episode you are discussing. Your review should give your opinion of various aspects of the episode (see below), not simply inform.
Beyond this, your ultimate goal is to challenge readers to think about the episode in a way they may not have when they first saw it. Avoid phrases like "I liked" and "I didn't like." Don't merely state what you thought -- defend it with examples.
Aspects of the episode that you might want to include in your review are (you do not need to cover every item on this list!):
Music / score
Costumes & makeup
Overall production value
Contribution to story arcs / overall series</UL>
<B>(4) FAIRNESS.</B> Very few that you dislike are without a few saving graces, just as very few episodes that you love are completely without flaw. Avoid unqualified gushing on the one hand, or unbalanced negativism on the other. Personal attacks on the show's cast or crew are strictly forbidden.</UL>
Visit the previous season episode guides at GateWorld.net to find sample reviews.
By posting a reply to this thread, you are submitting a Fan Review for publication here on the forum! (Questions or concerns can be directed to the moderators via Private Message or the <A HREF="http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?t=17629">"Ask the Moderators"</A> thread; do not post them here.) All reviews that are deemed to sufficiently meet the guidelines above will be approved and published in this thread, regardless of the author or the opinions contained. Reviews will not be edited for content. If your review is not approved within 48 hours, please consider rewriting it (and perhaps having someone beta read it for you) and submitting it again.
By submitting a review, you agree and grant permission for it to remain published here (nonexclusively). You also grant GateWorld nonexclusive rights to edit your review and republish it elsewhere on the site, with your byline intact (as provided in the body of your review, or if none, your GateWorld Forum username at the time of republishing). GateWorld's editors reserve the right to revise these guidelines in the future.
<DIV ALIGN="center"><I><B>All reviews are the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of GateWorld.net and its owner.</B></I></DIV></FONT>
September 12th, 2006, 04:14 PM
When I saw that this episode was about McKay, I was a little worried. The writers tried to hit McKay with their “poor character exploration” stick in the second season, and it never really went anywhere. Sure, Rodney blew up a planetary system because of his arrogance and stubbornness, but why make that a trigger for long-term character change? This is, after all, “SGA”, where characters need to stay the same, regardless of mistakes or trauma.
I’m not saying that this episode is necessarily going to mark a new phase in McKay’s life, since the writers will have to prove that out in the rest of the season, but it does have a lot of potential. Bringing in McKay’s sister in this fashion was quite a creative coup; bringing in Hewlett’s actual sister was even more impressive. They brought a certain “reality” to the sibling rivalry that gave the episode a little more flavor.
I was most impressed by the fact that the issue in this episode, which could have easily been stand-alone to the hilt, led to something that should have long-term consequences. The ZPM is now depleted, leaving Team Atlantis with a major problem should the Wraith or Asurans come calling. In fact, they would probably have trouble resisting the Genii at this point. McKay made the right decision given the stakes, and he had lots of people backing him this time around, but ultimately the experiment was a major disaster for Team Atlantis and their viability.
Much like McKay’s character development, this is something that could be fumbled by writers in future episodes, but I have to believe (until the next episode, anyway) that it will play into the whole situation with the Asurans and this very tentative season arc that may be developing. With the mid-season break coming, complete with cliffhanger, I see this as being a stepping stone to the troubles ahead.
So I give the writers credit for finally doing something that they should have done several times before: mixing character development with plot development. And what was the result? One of the better episodes of the season. I finally found myself ignoring my typical annoyance with McKay’s two-dimension characterization, because there was finally something to sink my teeth into, above and beyond good one-liners. Even the humor was better in this episode, especially once his doppelganger emerged from the parallel universe. It was enough to help me ignore the incredibly fake laughter used to introduce the “breakfast club” scenes.
September 16th, 2006, 06:49 AM
David Hewlett’s idea to turn ‘brother’ into ‘sister’ just in case creates one of the best episodes of Atlantis so far.
Ever since she was briefly mentioned back in ‘Hot Zone’, McKay’s sister has become a major source of fan speculation. It was clear from both that episode and his later words in ‘Letters From Pegasus’ that something had happened between them and they were no longer close and it was obviously a regret of his. This was a side of Rodney we hadn’t really seen before and it had many intrigued. Anticipation grew at the announcement that Martin Gero was writing a ‘McKay’s sister’ episode and the final product does not disappoint.
Whilst it did contain some pretty important plot points, the crux of this episode is the characters and how they react and develop. In this one the plot serves them rather than the other way round – something the fans have often been disappointed about in the past. This is very much a character piece.
McKay is obviously our main focus of this episode and it gives Hewlett a chance to show the kind of subtly that McKay’s very ‘in your face’ character doesn’t always allow. From his attempted pleasantness yet extreme awkwardness when first going to see Jeannie, to his obvious pain covered up with anger when he feels like he is being excluded from the group it was a master class in how to continue to make an essentially unlikable character into someone we care about. All the credit can’t go to Hewlett though – the directing and writing in this episode were excellent and especially good at showing us things from Rodney’s point of view. When he walks in and finds Jeannie sharing embarrassing stories from his childhood we can feel his humiliation and empathise with his reaction even though the sensible part of us knows the team care about him and are just joking around. His big revelation about finally realising (or at least finally admitting) that he is almost solely to blame for his bad relationship with Jeannie was very well played. Sheppard’s minimal but vital input was beautifully done, showing their friendship in a realistic light – he’s not there to tell Rodney anything but there to guide him into figuring something out he needs to discover for himself. It just shows how well he’s getting to know McKay.
Jeannie’s introduction in the open scene was perfect to show us who she is. From doting mother to science genius at a moment’s notice, her preoccupation and focus were very McKay-like traits whilst her surroundings show just how different she is from her brother. The visual of her writing everything out in finger paints, surrounded by her child’s toys was a very powerful way of showing the juxtaposition between the two parts of her life and did give the feeling that she was suppressing herself for the sake of her family. Although she says how much she loves her husband and daughter, it was strongly suggested that she also misses the life of an academic and generally tries to avoid it in case she is tempted.
The relationship between brother and sister was everything the fans had hoped for and was instantly recognisable to anyone who has a sibling. It was complex and a study in contrasts between loving someone and not always liking them. It is made clear at the start that Rodney does feel a fair bit of contempt and anger towards her due to her decision. When he arrives back on Earth, the first thing he asks is ‘what has she done?’, not ‘how is she?’ or ‘is she alright?’ It’s like he has been expecting her to screw up and talks about her choice of life with complete contempt. It’s also obvious that he feels like he is in competition with her and is quite happy cut her out of the project, but yet he also says that he has been keeping tabs to see if she’s been publishing work. There seems to be an internal conflict between him wanting her to be all she can be and not wanting to risk her being better than him. For her part, Jeannie is very much hurt still by what he did and all but admits that her telling stories on him is revenge and trying to hurt him back.
Despite all the sniping between them it is obvious that he still very much cares about his sister. He’s still protective over her, warning off John when he so much as smiles at her and getting particularly jealous when she seems to like Rod much more than him. He wants to be a better brother but he simply doesn’t know how. A step in the right direction comes when he realises that she has every reason to hate him and his change in behaviour is remarkable even if it is just the little things; he makes sure she gets the credit due and lets her push the button where he didn’t want her to before. They may only be small things but this is a very different Rodney than what we are used to.
The most touching moment of the episode comes with their last goodbye. Sheppard showing her the video from ‘Letters From Pegasus’ was a lovely touch and a beautiful way of showing Jeannie just how much her brother cares. The awkwardness of their conversation was wonderfully realistic and the hug brought tears to the eyes of many a fan. They part with not a perfect relationship but at least with a start made to mending those bridges. It was also great to see him finally asks how she is considering his first reaction when he arrived at Earth.
Two other rather large matters rightfully took a back seat in this episode but blended in with the main plot well. ‘Rod’ could have quite easily have been a whole episode on its own but it worked very well in this case to further accentuate Rodney’s problems and insecurities as well as to open his eyes to his faults. Rod’s perfection was a little irritating and in the end we feel how the team eventually do; he’s just not our Rodney. The final scene was a great team moment. Their Rodney isn’t perfect and they don’t want him to be.
Finally, the loss of the ZPM. An occurrence that could have major repercussions in later episodes and which was genuinely shocking considering it wasn’t the crux of the episode. Hopefully this will lead to some interesting developments to come.
Overall, one of Atlantis’ best episodes to date. Perfect mixture of character piece and plot with some beautiful writing and acting. The only minor grumble is it would have been interesting to have seen Carson’s take on the whole thing. If you’re not a McKay fan then there’s not much for you here but for the rest of us this is as near perfect an episode as we’re likely to get.
September 17th, 2006, 09:46 AM
McKay and Mrs. Miller is a brilliantly written and superbly acted story that, while centering on McKay’s relationship with his sister Jeannie, also provided some very good team bonding moments.
The episode was an emotional rollercoaster for Rodney. Not only did he have to come to terms with his feelings for his sister, he had to face his own fears and insecurities as a brother as a member of Sheppard’s team.
The writing, by Martin Gero, was near perfection in this story. From just the opening sequence, the essence of Jeannie’s character was readily established. She is a devoted mother as we first see her playing with her daughter in a room filled with toys. Then we see a brilliant scientist who has an epiphany while watching the toy train go over the bridge and then frantically works to get it all down on paper – with her daughter’s fingerpaints. Then we see a loving, understanding family as her husband comes home, seeing the plethora of papers lying around simply asks “How was your day?”
Gero also did a magnificent job catching the essence of the brother-sister relationship – both in general and in the specific relationship he wrote between McKay and Jeannie. The teasing, one-upmanship and even the hurt and pain from trampled feelings we saw between McKay and Jeannie can be found in many sibling relationships. Gero hit the right note here as many people can relate to these feelings with their own brother and/or sister.
The relationship between Rodney and Jeannie was complicated and strained from years of alienation, disappointment and missed opportunities. From the beginning, one could see that they really care for each other but after so much hurt and so many years apart they had trouble connecting again – and in true McKay fashion both were a little stubborn in that neither one of them was willing to make the first gesture. I saw an analogy in that while they were trying to create a bridge between 2 alternate universes, they also needed to find a way to build a bridge between the 2 of them.
There are small moments when you begin to see a change in Rodney’s character, a self realization that his actions have been hurtful to his sister and he tries to make it up to her. In the scene when they are sending Rod back, he gives Jeannie credit and lets her push the button – when earlier in the episode he hadn’t. And the final scene between Rodney and his sister was poignant and a significant growth moment for Rodney’s character. He reaches out to her, hugs her and tells her they should get together again. There is obviously still work that needs to be done in this relationship between brother and sister but the foundation for that bridge has been put firmly in place.
Besides coming to terms with his relationship with Jeannie, McKay also had to face other emotional challenges. Rodney seems insecure in his relationships with people – and Gero expertly gave the viewer an opportunity to see those fears and insecurities surface; thus providing insight into Rodney’s character and his relationship with Sheppard’s team. This was evident in the three cafeteria scenes. The first one Rodney walks in to find the team laughing as Jeannie is telling embarrassing childhood stories about him which the team promptly tease him about. Rodney is obviously embarrassed and hurt. The next cafeteria scene the team is laughing as Rod is telling stories about himself and the alternate universe Atlantis. Again one can see Rodney is affected by this as he begins to feel excluded from the group and not liked as much as Rod. The last scene he walks in to find the team laughing and enjoying a fun moment without him. This seems to play into his fear and insecurity of not being liked and not being considered “part of the group.” The team quickly works together to allay his fears. They tell him they do like him more than Rod then have him sit down and immediately include him in their group conversation. There is room for conjecture on how much of what they said was true and how much they were just saying to tell Rodney what he needed to hear – probably a bit of both, but in the end what is important is that they recognized the feelings Rodney was experiencing. They realized they needed to reach out to Rodney, to let him know they did care, they do like him and he is not just a member of the team but a member of their group. This scene was such a good team bonding/caring moment. It was an important growth moment for both Rodney’s character and for the team.
The friendship between John and Rodney was also highlighted in several scenes. It was touching how Sheppard – despite his earlier teasing of Rodney, showed the tape from “Letters to Pegasus” to Jeannie. He obviously recognized how distressed Rodney was over his estranged relationship with his sister. It shows how much John cares about Rodney. Also the fact that Rodney went to Sheppard for advice shows that - despite the teasing - shows he trusts John to seek him out. The way John handled this was perfect. He didn’t tell Rodney what to do, just kept saying enough to keep Rodney talking to let Rodney draw his own conclusions and solutions. This was good interaction and an important scene in showing the friendship, bond and understanding between John and Rodney.
Bravo to both David Hewlett and his real life sister Kate Hewlett for a terrific acting job. They both really shined.
McKay and Mrs. Miller was a great character and team building episode built around the strained relationship between Rodney and his sister and the aftereffects of a power generating experiment gone awry. It provided great insight into McKay’s character and his relationships as well as opportunity for character growth. It is one of the best episodes to date.
December 7th, 2006, 08:07 AM
A comedy episode with the redoubtable McKay front and centre has success written all over it so it is with some surprise that the episode doesn’t quite live up to its potential and harder still to pinpoint the reason why. David Hewlett in fine form as McKay; check. Hewlett’s sister playing McKay’s sister; check. Sibling banter throughout; check. Guest appearance by Amanda Tapping; check. Believable story and great team dynamics; whoops.
The first part of the episode is wonderfully executed with the introduction of McKay’s sister facilitated by Colonel Carter. McKay and Carter have always had a great competitive dynamic and Hewlett and Tapping play off each other as seamlessly as ever. This is best demonstrated in the scene at the SGC with McKay reading his sister’s work and Carter pacing impatiently around him to finish and their verbal jousts over whether the math adds up. Their relationship is nicely contrasted and complemented by the competitive nature of the McKay siblings.
Hewlett and his sister, Kate, do a superb job. The comedic nature of their banter is nicely offset by their subtle reactions in displaying the underlying emotional reunion of the siblings and their efforts to move past their four years of silence despite the hurt and distance that has been built up between them. The timing of the banter between them is flawless; their exasperation with the other nicely evident and their actual fondness for each other gives all their shared scenes a wonderful warmth (helped no doubt by their real sibling relationship). The scene of McKay turning up at Jeannie’s door with flowers, his awkward interaction with her daughter, their arguing over the rights and wrongs of their work being in the hands of the US government, provides the best example of this although the scene on the Daedalus with Carter on the video feed briefing them is also very good as is the final scene of the siblings saying goodbye and coming to terms with each other. The relationship is imbued with the theme of building bridges which is also the central arc of the story; building bridges between universes.
Having successfully dealt with the introduction of Jeannie and with Carter’s role completed the rest of the episode moves on to the meat of the story. It starts out well; the scenes of the two siblings working together on the Daedalus and the cut-backs to Atlantis with Zelenka building the containment chamber is well done and builds a great sense of tension that culminates with the switching on of the device. Unfortunately, the story flounders after this point with the arrival of Rod.
Part of the reason is the sheer predictability that the bridge would connect with an inhabited parallel universe; part of the reason is that Rod is not particularly well drawn as a character in his own right. Rod is supposed to be the more likeable version of McKay yet here is where the character comes unstuck because McKay is hugely likeable to the audience because of his flaws and lack of social graces; that’s what makes McKay, McKay. A ‘nice’, and supposedly ‘cool’ version is infinitely less interesting and so Rod proves to be a bit of a bore and hence less likeable. Hewlett also seems a little uncertain how to play Rod and he never truly seems comfortable in the character while he continues to excel as McKay. His jealous reaction to the interloper is one of the few redeeming features of the rest of the episode.
The other reason why the story flounders is because of the way the team is portrayed in their reactions to Rod and McKay. SGA has struggled occasionally to demonstrate a real team spirit between the characters but episodes such as Sateda and Common Ground this season have helped to build that team spirit back into the show; McKay and Mrs Miller undermines that with the running joke of McKay constantly showing up to the rest of the team laughing together and him excluded. Indeed the team is primarily only used as an ensemble to show these scenes of excluding McKay. The final scene of the team reassuring McKay of his place and his joining them in the banter is too little/too late to make up for the damage caused by the those earlier moments of exclusion and isolation of McKay, although the great Sheppard/McKay interaction in the advice scene and later with Sheppard showing Jeannie the video message, almost makes up for it.
Ultimately, that uncomfortable feeling of exclusion from the team translates to the audience who is sympathising with McKay and makes the whole Rod escapade an irritation rather than a welcome snapshot into another universe in the way of SG1’s There But For the Grace of God, Point of View, or even Ripple Effect. It also detracts from showcasing Jeannie and McKay although the intent seems in part to have been to have added further conflict to enable McKay’s moment of revelation about how bad a brother he has been, and for the character to correct earlier mistakes (for example, giving Jeannie credit). The special effects of placing Rod/McKay in the same space are well done though and the handshake at the end a marvel.
Indeed, the overall execution of the episode from lighting to make-up to costume to set design is well done except for the underlying story. Its weaknesses – its predictability, the unsuccessful character of Rod, the undermining rather than strengthening of the SGA team spirit all slowly erode the promise of the excellent beginning and the wonderful chemistry between David Hewlett and his sister as the McKay siblings, yet such is the quality of both that the viewer is almost fooled into believing the whole is as good. In the end, it’s not a bad episode; it just fails to live up to high expectations.
December 8th, 2006, 09:47 PM
At first glance, Mrs Miller seems to be the most ordinary character yet to have a notable role in a Stargate Atlantis episode. She's an earthbound Canadian housewife. She plays with her daughter and has a husband who cooks. She doesn't harbour any alien parasites. She hasn't got a bumpy forehead, green skin or extra teeth. She doesn't have a tendency to glow, shoot people or evolve suddenly. She looks like the sort of person you see at the supermarket.
In a show where so many outlandish and alien characters have been produced for our entertainment, it might seem that ordinary is destined to be mundane, boring. At best it might be a sweet but slow filler episode.
Happily, this was not the case for McKay and Mrs Miller.
The story kicks off well enough with a mildly intriguing opening teaser, and when the two siblings get together the episode is off to a very promising start. The dialogue between estranged brother and bemused sister is believable and gives us instant empathy with Jeannie without alienating us from poor dysfunctional Rodney. The relationship between these two, which forms a central pillar of the episode, is beautifully nuanced throughout. The audience's sympathies are pushed between the two of them as they alternate between regression to childhood modes of behaviour and touching attempts to re-establish their relationship on an adult footing.
We may not fight monsters very often, nor do we get to escape exploding planets in spaceships, but we all have a relative or a friend who stopped calling us and hurt us, or who we know we should call yet we don't. A hook such as this is an asset to any episode, and is capitalised on well by this story.
Other than Mckay and Jeanie, we get to see McKay and McKay. The Other McKay is everything that McKay isn't. Well, not everything. He's clever, and he's irritating; just irritating for different reasons. Equal and opposite, then. As a way of shining a light on McKay's insecurities and his slightly uncomfortable friendships with the rest of the Atlanteans, it was effective. However, this role was performed in much the same way and rather more smoothly by Jeannie, and it is difficult to see how Other McKay's contribution to this theme was valuable.
It's always fun watching an actor act against himself, and the infrequency of the realisations that you're watching trick photography and not actually seeing two identical people is a measure of the director's skill: in this case it was very well done indeed. Of all Atlantis' characters, only McKay could be relied upon to dislike himself enough for the dialogue to be sparky, and in this he was the ideal choice to be duplicated. Nevertheless, this portion of the story seemed to detract from the story of Mrs Miller and our McKay.
This left the episode with a disjointed and jumbled air; not that that's necessarily a bad thing. The scenes containing Amanda Tapping's prominent and pleasant cameo bookended the first segment, of Rodney and Jeannie's reunion and Jeannie's first exposures to the wonders her brother sees every day. When the pair arrive at Atlantis the dynamic is set between them and the rest of the regulars. And into this we have the surprise injection of an extra piece, Other McKay, halfway through the episode. Were this Doctor Who I'd find nothing abnormal about this. Were it Farscape I'd expect it. But Atlantis has always had a tendency to set out the gameboard at the start of each episode and keep to the rules for 43 minutes at a time, and even a small deviation from this is notable. This break in the pattern would be welcome, only the elements of the story do not hang well together and they jar.
An episode with a weaker central premise would suffer greatly from this mismatch. In McKay and Mrs Miller this is not the case, and the two Hewletts deserve vast amounts of praise for the ultimate success of the episode. It is their beautifully observed portrayal of these two people that gives the episode both heart and brain. David Hewlett has worked at this for years, and it shows, but Kate Hewlett is a revelation, a star.
She is an accomplished actress and created a realistic character with wonderful depth in a mere score or so of scenes. Bizzarrely, she came close to being too realistic; she is a lovely, radiant-looking woman, but without the perfect hair and make-up that characterises television's women, and without the total absence of hips. Like I said, she looked as if she could exist in the real world and go to supermarkets. This, combined with her exceptionally convincing acting, made her at times seem slightly out of place, as if a character introduced in The Simpsons were to be a rotorscoped pink-brown actor rather than an eight-fingered yellow blobman.
The tecnobabble anomaly-of-the-week was standard fare. With an extra set of McKay-standard brains on the team, it was inevitable that some science would happen, glow a bit, and then go horribly wrong without actually killing any of the regular cast. Inevitable and unavoidable; no one can complain about that. It really did glow very prettily too. This week's dose of weird science was raised above the expectation of eventual inconsequentiality by the side effect that caused the ZPM to deplete. There are some aspects of Atlantis that suffer from the dreaded Reset Button, but when a ZPM is lost you know that there will be consequences in a future episode.
McKay and Mrs Miller is thouroughly watchable, with some of the best dialogue yet written for the show. What it lacks in suspense and cohesion it more than makes up for in warmth and dry humour. And in Mrs Jeannie Miller née McKay we see the most ordinary, special, normal, fantastic, real, and interesting guest character the show has given us to date.
August 13th, 2012, 07:47 PM
McKay and Mrs. Miller
Rodney and Junie are a brother and sister pair on the show but did you know that they're brother and sister in real life? Yes, Actors David and Kate (who play the respective roles) Hewlett are brothers and sisters in real life and I've heard that they're pretty close, close enough to allow Kate a guest spot on the show. Now the strained bro/sis relationship should be an Atlantis classic, David trying to reconnect with her sister and her sister just flat out rejecting him; that allows for loads of potential character growth and it's something that's worth watching. Surely the Atlantis writers can make something out of that premise right?
Well not exactly...
It does start off amazingly well though, the first sights we see of Junie are something to behold; she has a family (with both a daughter and husband that play the role nicely), she's cute, she's charming and then just when we least expect it, we see the skills behind her, the talent that she holds behind her innocent image of a family woman. McKay isn't even involved and we learn a lot of things about her, just from the opening sequence alone; that sets up the basis for when Rodney (who's personality is well captured) does arrive and when he does, the thing just blossoms out of control. These two clearly have some form of chemistry that isn't just a brother and sister relationship; they work well together, they manage to bounce off a routine that is really entertaining and they manage to grow each other's characters; with every word McKay says about Junie's current life, her potential and her past we get something about Rodney's personality, aspirations, past and his regretfulness. Without both of them I doubt we would of learned anything about the other.
McKay and Mrs. Miller together again.
The initial scenes on how they get connected are somewhat awkward. While I usually like Samantha Carter and she did seem useful, she mainly interrupted what could of been Rodney and Junie time with her awkward attempts at humor and her condescending behavior that attempts to replicate the chemistry they had in SG-1, but once we get past the awkwardness; fans will be clamoring over their connection. The appearance of the SGC actually helps to introduce several things, one being what would be the main plot point of the episode which appears to be something that should have people thinking of "Trinity" almost immediately; the plot point is definitely an interesting one as anybody who has loved "Trinity" would just love to imagine what would of happened had it worked and it really plays well into the Junie as it reinforces her skills and personality, so does the SGC. What she thinks, what she believes in, those are all things that make a character. A personality is one thing but the stuff that resides behind that personality is another and this plot point drives them, it makes them into the scientists that they are while also supporting the relationship between the two and these two are clearly good when they're scientists.
Junie McKay isn't perfect though, there are times where she seems as annoying as Rodney McKay. While the scenes where she tells the crew his secrets is amusing at first, (somewhat laughed at "Meridith"...) it gets annoying because it treads across the same old territory he's known for. Weak, scrawny, embarrassing moments only this time, it involves her sister and everybody knows about it. I find it detracting because it affects her character and it unnecessarily draws the focus away from her and to McKay which I found to be really bad. It may seem like this is what the episode will consist of if you haven't seen it yet, however what happens could very well be the most blasphemous thing the show has ever done.
Yup, the show introduces an alternate universe McKay who's much cooler, better and awesomer then him.
I like that they gave David Hewlett the chance to play two roles and while he does do it effortlessly, his role seems to be designed to give Rodney someone he can be jealous at as he looks over him, watches as the people like him, gets annoyed and rejected. They don't bother to do a unique take on the whole subject (the Atlantis crew just swoons over him) and as such it ultimately becomes a stale ("I'm from an alternate universe where McKay is better"), what's worse is that it even sidelines Mrs. Miller who is reduced to a background role while the secondary Rodney takes her place. I wouldn't be surprised if this episode was titled "The Two McKays" before Junie made her appearance.
"The Two McKays"
This episode title insists that we're going to be exploring Meridith "Rodney" McKay and Junie McKay's relationship as they worked together, talked to each other and explored each other; I imagined that they would of made quips with each other, argued, blamed each other while trying to work together and then eventually learn what the other is thinking and make up in an impressive matter. (It could of even involved an adventure.) They do some stuff involving Junie that explores that relationship, such as have him interact with the better Rodney while the real Rodney watches and having him contemplate the stuff when talking with someone else but it doesn't fix the real issue, which is that alternate Rodney gets more attention then anybody else; even the whole "Trinity" like concept doesn't even seem like it's being treated seriously, (really...) only getting passing mentions to reassure viewers that it's there. If you were watching this episode then you'd be pretty pissed if it didn't live up to it's promises. You'd be further pissed when you watch them waste a ZPM, discover that the message McKay recorded didn't even get sent (If I were Rodney, I would of just quit and taken up teaching.) and then have the Atlantis team brush off the thing like it never happened and welcome them back. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The episode title ultimately ends up being a misdemeanor as we get an episode that broils on cliches and sidelines it's ultimate purpose. The first half of it is good as we get the stuff we're promised. Rodney and Junie and the exploration into their relationship; the characterization is nice, the atmosphere is fun and it's really engaging. The second half of it is just terrible, they have the nerve to sideline Junie and insert a duplicate Rodney McKay into the proceedings thus diluting anything that the episode could of worked up to at this point. Premise is terrible, nothing is taken seriously and this just shows the Atlantis team as irresponsible. You'd do well watching the first half but no one watches just half an episode and we can't ignore the second half so yeah... At least Kate Hewlett got an acting credit out of this.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.2 Copyright © 2015 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.