View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: Sunday
November 19th, 2006, 08:58 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/s3/317.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/graphics/317.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/s3/317.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">SUNDAY</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 317</FONT>
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The team tries to relax during a mandatory day off, until an explosion leaves three people dead -- and reveals that one scientist is a walking time bomb.
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January 17th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Sometimes being a Stargate fan sucks.
We get action, we get drama, we get crazy-cool computer graphics and, amazingly enough, someone finally decided that character development should be part of that list too. On the other hand, we see a lot of death in our favorite weekly show, and not as much of it as we'd like is on the bad guy's side. We've come to accept that sometimes someone just has to die, but we've also been trained to appreciate the levity with which the Stargate universe treats death (aka the last ten years of Daniel Jackson in SG-1). The question with Atlantis' newest episode is: Just what am I supposed to *feel* after all of this?
The fans had been asking for a relaxed-team storyline pretty much since the show started, and Martin Gero was happy to oblige. We were thrilled as the spoilers for "Sunday" hit the grapevine. A team day! Finally!
I'm actually still excited about the episode, except for the whole part where Doctor Carson Beckett died from an exploding tumor.
Kind of put a damper on the whole team day, huh?
But really, let's get serious. This episode had some absolutely *fantastic* things going for it: girl talk with Teyla and Elizabeth, chess with Radek Zelenka, painting with Major Lorne and a whole host of other amazingly funny, truly charming character moments that made our lives a little better. Though Shepphard's backstory (as it was) was more diconcerting than actually helpful, it was still part of a nice guy moment between him and Ronon that made it almost worth it. Elizabeth's non-date was a lot of fun to watch (even though it was rather out of the blue) and Carson's teasing moments in the hallway were side-splitting.
On the other hand, Sunday was a sobering reminder to fans of the Stargate universe that things never come easily, and even a quiet, fun-filled day comes at a cost. We were never reminded of this so blatantly as when we watched Carson walk away from a supposedly-secure biohazard tank and get killed by an explosion mid-sentence. Talk about harsh.
But maybe harsh wasn't the point of this episode. While many fans (inlcuding myself) feel cheated at Beckett's sudden, rather random death, I can't help wondering if the point of Sunday was to remind us that sometimes harsh comes with the territory.
Life sucks. Occasionally, we need to be reminded of that. It's just a shame that they felt they had to sacrifice Paul McGillion's exceptionally enjoyable and well-loved character to do it.
I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Paul or Beckett, but until that day comes I think that this episode, controversial as it may be, is a ray of hope for us. Because Beckett himself reminds us that even after loss, life goes on. And so will Stargate. We'll all miss Carson Beckett: warm heart, accent, and gate-phobia included.
What I hope we *won't* miss is the reminder that friends may go, but the mission stays the same.
January 20th, 2007, 01:51 AM
This episode Sunday...cannot be described with words.
Yes, it was different from the regular episodes that we receive each week which are action packed, full of hard decisions and then a heroic act by one person that saves all. And that is why this episode will be remembered as a tribute to the characters, because it was the act of one that stands out beyond all others that we have seen in the past.
This was a story that needed to be said.
Elisabeth Weir - :weir40:
The reason that she is so work driven is that she does not want to split her focus with relationships, which in the past have hurt her. So we have, in this episode, the Elisabeth that is behind the boss façade.
John Sheppard and Ronan - :sheppardanime21: :ronananime25:
He is continually trying to teach Ronan Earth culture and willing to learn about his. Ranging from golf, Sataen catch the flag to just chilling out with a friend and getting to know each other better.
Teyla Emaggan - :teyla:
This episode shows that she does have friendship with several women in Atlantis and is welcomed with open arms. She trusts them implicitly with her own life.
Radek Zalenka - :zelenka:
Not very much to say about him except Mr. Chess Champ.
Rodney McKay - :mckayanime01
This was, to my point of view, a big episode with him. Developments with his personal life are astounding when you think of Rodney McKay.
His relationship with Katie Brown, he even admitted to her that he would like to get married. Not to her but someone very much like her, maybe her, but not right now.....etc etc in McKay stammering style.
But his friendship with Carson is the closest thing he has had to a best friend. They had planned to go fishing on the main land for space trout, but was desperate to get out of it because he cannot stand the thought of standing waist deep in water. But made the plans to make Carson happy.
But there is a event, that I couldn't even imagine, that makes everyone's life that he touched stop and think about how just an ordinary day can change everything.
Carson Beckett - :beckett:
Leader, healer and friend.
The man who just wanted to go fishing with some friends, namely his best friend Rodney.
The charmer when he ran in to Elisabeth when she was on her way to 'lunch'.
The forgiver/best friend in several scenes with Rodney.
The Doctor with Teyla when she ended up injured.
The friend while trying to invite Ronan, John, Lorne and Radek out fishing.
The good colleague when covering shift for a fellow doctor when she had a migraine when he admitted to himself that the fishing trip when bust.
The moral man who would not leave a man to die alone in a distant corner of Atlantis, which would end, unknowingly, to his own death.
Now it is probably because I am Scottish myself that effected me more but it just came completely out of know where. And I still cry when I watch those end scenes.
The writers and TPTB have done just a fantastic job with this episode, they really have.
The closing scene is McKay alone on one of the piers and the ghost of Carson is talking to him about how it went when he returned his body back home. He then told Rodney what he wanted to hear, that it wasn't his fault in anyway, because they are best friends.
Then closing scene.
If you refuse to watch this episode because it is a character based one, then you are missing out what will be remembered as one of the great episodes in my point of view.
January 21st, 2007, 10:34 AM
"Sunday" drops us in medias res, a day off in the lives of the Atlantis crew, for whom, we soon discover, there is no such thing.
Like a local evening news sportscast which so effusively describes your home team’s performance in the first half of the game that you immediately realize they’ve lost, any discussion of “Sunday” must concede that it simultaneously thrills and disgusts.
An Atlantian Sunday does indeed provide the guilty pleasure of one-stop-shopping character development, (along with a dash of some subtle and some not-so-subtle product placement). The writers score easily with an opening tease: Teyla discussing a mystery love-interest. We are further treated to Major Lorne painting, Zelenka crowing over anime DVDs and even Sheppard listening to British Columbian indie rock.
The episode delivers lots of visual treats as well; a very artfully done shot of a golf ball splashing down outside the city is one of the most memorable, and we are also reminded of the immense scale of the city, with all its implied possibilities, in a sweeping view of McKay at the end of the show. One might question the choice of plot sequencing at first, but admittedly, jumping back and forth in the timeline does seem to be an efficient way of encompassing all the characters’ activities and also communicating the emotional weight of the episode. By repeating the bomb blast and the overlapping lines, that feeling that everyone has of remembering where they were when an epic event occurred is conveyed quite strongly.
“Sunday” injects some of Season 3’s most genuine scenes of humanity with Noah Wyle-esque newcomer Mike Branton and Dr. Weir. Here the writing team amazingly navigates the dangerous shark-infested waters of sci-fi romantic comedy: “You are more appealing than a wall” is classic. These two arguably win the prize for the best sub-plot of the episode, and they play it to the hilt.
Long-overdue tidbits like Teyla’s having a friend (ok, she gets blown up, but at least she had a friend,) and more between McKay and his girlfriend, also do not disappoint. The success of a few minor details vary, such as Teyla’s cute new top, Zelenka’s interesting backpack, Weir’s questionable bright red blouse at the memorial service and the bagpipes (a nice touch).
As a pretty transparent device for explaining McKay’s technobabble to the audience, the Ronon character has lately been flirting with oafishness; “Sunday’s” brief sparring scene gives a welcome glimpse of hope for the Satedan diaspora as Ronon cleverly toys with Sheppard. Until this episode I had never actually seen anyone “hop” in resignation, but Flanigan manages it, and as Sheppard shifts to one foot we learn that the bonding ritual of one-upsmanship transcends galaxies (beer, too). And like a gauzy skirt billowing over a Lexington Avenue sidewalk grate, there was the big thrill of the dormant Season 1 tension of a Sheppard and Teyla pairing being ever-so-playfully tickled. All of this was great fun to watch.
Alas, here is where [Scott Clark, or insert your local sportscaster’s name here] begins his halftime turn for the worse. Possibly this season’s greatest blow to audiences, the uber-absurd "explosive tumors" can only be handled at arm’s length, between the figurative thumb and forefinger of quotation marks, and beside which Dr. Beckett’s regrettably cliché, “I’ll be right back,” pales. Of course it’s bad enough that Dr. Beckett seems to die like a Star Trek extra whose only line is a truncated “Captain, I’ve found somethi...!” But to add insult to…well, to insult, he is killed by this latest development in the realm of weapons of mass destruction fiction. That tumor idea is frankly too large a pill to swallow – we become aware that, oh yeah, this is a TV show, and it removes us from the moment’s drama.
The characters’ reactions to Beckett’s death seemed a bit tepid, but perhaps there are more reverberations in store in future episodes. For now, we see no sobbing, no anger. However, some effects on the team are visible -- Teyla, who always seems to know the right thing to say, is for once at a loss for words, able only to repeat “a great sadness.” Hewlett seems to eke a kind of numb grief out of the script through sheer eye movements, and Flanigan’s stoic Sheppard during Dr. Weir’s eulogy seems consistent with character, a military man on the verge of cracking. Luttrell makes the most of her brief camera time at the memorial service with glistening eyes, although that could have been the shrapnel wound. ‘Sterile’ might be too strong a word for the memorial service scene, but there was scarcely a wet eye in the place. Tasteful fake tears would have been preferable to none at all.
It seems a bit shortsighted, destroying a major character for seemingly no apparent reason other than killing a character (Beckett could have simply left Atlantis and ridden off into the Recurring Character Land sunset). Given the amount of acrobatic writing any future Beckett episode would have to do to overcome the whole being-engulfed-by-a-fireball thing, one might suspect set politics are to be blamed for his demise. Or, perhaps we fans are spoiled: weary television emperors lolling on our couches, all too quick to give the imperial thumbs-down with a flick of the remote. Perhaps great plots, characters, foley artistry and CGI have become a yawn, driving producers into ever-more problematic attempts to outdo themselves – or to punish us -- by screwing around with the cast. Whatever the impetus, the viewer chatroom grousing is hitting Dr. Pulaski-heights. It seems some folks aren’t happy about a new, younger doctor, packed with fresh, blonde Nielsen-y goodness.
But in the end, helpless Carson fans can only wish upon her a visit from the explosive-tumor fairy. In the meantime, they have McKay’s parting lines to hang upon: “You know, the universe is a big place. Who knows -- maybe we’ll bump into each other again.”
January 27th, 2007, 08:22 PM
No one is safe. A simple fact that we, both the audiences and the characters, have forgotten. And in Sunday, we are reminded of that.
More than just giving us our share of character moments, Sunday sends a powerful message that we all needed hear, whether we like it or not. We are given a loss, a loss that is so dear to our hearts, so sudden that we are brought to our knees. But then again, that's how life really is. You never when or where someone will die. Whether it's today or tomorrow, struck by lightning or hit by a car. But that's not what all this episode is about, it's also about how you deal with a great loss, how you move on with life, because life doesn't stop when someone dies, because life doesn't end just because you want it to. Sunday is not just a glimpse of a fantasy-like world, Sunday is what life really is about.
A seemingly normal day starts off with Teyla and a female scientist, Dr. Houston, walking down the hall, talking about your usual girl talk, the men in their lives and whatnot. But an explosion rocks the city, and the clock turns back in a '24'-like way as we see the hours before the explosion through some of our main characters' eyes.
The normally strict Dr. Weir is asked out for lunch by a new hot-shot scientist Mike Branton. The line "You are more appealing than a wall" will surely be a classic to remember. This is the first time that we see Elizabeth out in a relaxed date with another member of the expedition, and it was handle quite nicely with care. Although it leaves the fans of Sheppard/Weir and McKay/Weir and even Ronan/Weir pairings with butterflies in their stomaches as to who will she end up with. I know I surely did. Not that Branton wasn't cute. But that moment of love is rudely interrupted as we hear and feel the explosion. And the clock turns again.
We land with Ronan and Sheppard wandering aimlessly around the city trying to find interesting things to do. The golfing scenes are quite hilarious although it doesn't quite measure up to SG-1's Window of Opportunity with Teal'c and O'Neill. The Sadetan Capture the Flag moment had me falling out of my chair with laughter, making me wish that this should have been the game we played back in school, and defintely much more appealing that the normal version. Poor Sheppard getting smacked around. Then we find them lounging in Sheppard's quarters listening to music and talk about Earth things. Ronan mentions that he always thought Sheppard and Teyla would get together, making us wonder again who is Teyla's new mysterious man. And we learn of Sheppard's "sort of" marriage, leaving us wanting for more. But once again the explosion occurs as the clock turns.
This time is McKay dressed in a bathrobe (that's what I thought it was) with tussled hair and a maniacal expression like a person deprieved of his beauty sleep, yelling at two poor scientists. When Carson declares that the two are healthy, McKay's expression softens a bit, letting us see that the man does care about the people he works with, before going back to his "I'm the superior one" attitude. Carson and Rodney's fishing trip is dreaded by McKay who bumps into Katie Brown. Sadly, Rodney chooses to babysit baby furns with Katie instead of going fishing with his best buddy Carson (I thought Sheppard was his best friend?). But the lovely evening is interrupted as the explosion turns back the clock again.
We see our lovely Carson Beckett wandering throughout the city, Bumping into Elizabeth, whom he sweetly teases about her date. Rodney tells him that he can't go fishing cause he really wants to spend time with Katie, and Carson reluctantly relents as Rodney promises to go next weekend, not knowing that there will be no next weekend. He goes around asking everyone if they want to go. Sheppard and Ronan were having fun golfing on the balcony. Zelenka was way too excited about winning over everyone at chess, and his poor opponent is so mad that he curses out SOB twice!! I guess cable programs doesn't mind cursing too much. We find out that Lorne can paint!!!!! More background story for the supporting cast, and that's something that Stargate has always been good with, a solid supporting cast. It's always good to learn that Lorne has a hobby other than just sitting around waiting for orders to shoot people. Finally after having no luck find a partner, the good Doc returns to the infirmary to relieve a migrain-stricken fellow Doctor. But the explosion occurs as Carson sprints into actions, calling orders left and right.
At this point, we know what everyone was doing before the explosion. We see Teyla being wheeled out with a shrapnel wound, and Sheppard more worried than ever. We learn that what caused the explosion was not a bomb, but an Ancient-designed explosive tumor (REALLY) that grows inside the human body that was exposed, namely, the two scientists Rodney had been yelling at hours before. With one dead, and the other one in critical condition, the team races against the clock to remove the tumor before it's too late. Defying Sheppard's orders to get out, Carson manages to retrieve the tumor but it eventually explodes, flames engulfing Carson as he walked away from the hand-off to the marine.
A memorial service to Carson at the gateroom with the bagpipes playing in the background gave me a weird moment of deja vu. It seems only not so long ago that SG-1 had lost its CMO Dr. Frasier.
Although no tears were shed. We can clearly see the expressions of grief and sadness in their eyes. A simple coffin draped with a Scottish flag carries the kindest soul ever to walk the Earth. The six pall-bearers, Sheppard, McKay, Lorne, Ronan, Zelenka, and a fellow doctor, carry the coffin through the Stargate. At that moment, we all agree with Teyla's words, "I feel a great sadness."
I can't help but being reminded of September 11th, a simple ordinary turned into a living nightmare. Sunday reminded us that life can be gone in a blink of an eye. It reminds us to treasure the moments we share with our friends because we never know which day may be our last. Rodney's guilt of "I should just gone fishing with him" is something we all can relate to if we were him.
We grieved for the loss of Carson Beckett, a well beloved character. For the first time since episodes like Meridian and Ethon, this is the first Atlantis episode that left me with a heavy heart and tears running down my face. I never expected Carson to die, but then again, there never is a ordinary day on Atlantis. Though I don't agree with TPTB for killing off Beckett, I think the way they delivered his death is well written. It serves as a reminder to us that even though we thought we won, that it's over, we could still loose a friend. It reminds us that every victory has its costs, and just because it was people we hardly know doesn't mean that there isn't someone out there who cares. Some fans will feel cheated with Carson's death, but then again, that's life, and life doesn't care how you die, life is just brutal that way.
For those who don't like watching character pieces, this is one you DO NOT what to miss. Not only does it deliver memorable moments, it also teaches us a lesson about the harsh reality of life.
And as Stargate fans, we know that death is not always permenant (coughDanielJacksoncough). As Rodney says "The universe is a big place. Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other again."
And that last moment of Rodney looking off the pier brought on another deja vu moment, in Meridian when Daniel walks through the glowing Stargate, leaving Jack behind alone, gazing longingly at the light. And that gives me a bit of comfort, maybe he'll be back someday, just like Daniel did.
This simple piece of writing turned out to be what I believe the BEST episode of Atlantis. It is heart-breaking to see and almost everyone will feel the loss. This episode truly delivers like Stargate. It is great that between action packed episodes, that once in a while, we get a simple, loving story. And that's always been the beauty of Stargate.
I believe we will see Carson Beckett again. After all, in real life, every end is just a new beginning.
This is Stargate at its best. A MASTERPIECE!!
February 2nd, 2007, 01:09 PM
An aftertaste of disappointment. That’s how viewers should be left after watching Sunday, not because we lost a lovely character, but because the writing team, however it’s managed, is letting us down.
Before you think me too harsh, you should know I think that the episode was very cleverly written; Martin Gero has given us some great stuff. What troubles me is the degree to which viewers are expected to suspend disbelief. This goes beyond Gero.
Suspending disbelief with the science stuff, that’s fine, great, fun; we expect that with sci-fi, we love it. Having to suspend disbelief with regards to the characters, however, leaves the show a bit cartoonish. If the writers don’t their characters seriously, we can’t take them seriously, and that’s rather disappointing.
Here’s Where the Writing is Great:
Some of the story-line and character interactions in Sunday was very clever. Elizabeth’s new friend was very charming (if rather random). Teyla’s girly friendships show a new side to her. Carson’s teasing of Elizabeth was witty, fun, and made us feel good about them both. Sheppard and Ronon’s sparing match was an absolutely brilliant homage to Monty Python’s black-knight scene in The Holy Grail - honestly, loosing a leg in battle, it’s only a flesh wound! Onto round three. Ha! Great stuff.
The backdrop to the vignettes show some of why characters are in love with their new city, too. Those were great vistas. The romance of the city abounded and we got a real taste of the city’s importance as a story-devise. More than pretty vistas and good graphics, however, it was incorporated into the story telling really very well. Kudos.
The different vignettes were cleverly interwoven, as well. Jumping in story time-line can be distracting but this wasn’t the case for Sunday. Each vignette was both interesting on its own and advanced the episode’s story as well. Nicely done.
Here’s Where the Writing Lets us Down:
The character development was sudden and inconsistent. Needed, sure, and enjoyable, but it left me thinking that these are not the people I’ve come to know. This comes down to a writing team that’s going in different directions. Perhaps Joseph Mallozzi’s or Paul Mullie’s Sheppard is different than Martin Gero’s Sheppard. That could happen, sure. But when Gero’s Mackay deviates suddenly from Gero’s Mackay from a few episodes ago… we have a problem. The producers/writers could tighten this up.
Killing off the doctor after focusing on his closeness to the main protagonists is rather too similar to the killing off of Dr. Janet Frasier. Fraser was killed in an introspective episode as well, so this was rather like an echo of an earlier episode in the other series.
There’s a problem with the way Carson was killed off. Carson is very self-sacrificing for his patients, yes. But when he jeopardizes his own life for one patient, he jeopardizes his team’s health care. He turns his back completely on the greater good and I thought that was inconsistent for an intelligent man.
His death was random. Time and time again, we see Sheppard surviving scenarios that should kill him. For a helicopter pilot, he has tremendous range. Jack O’Niel is good at the Special Forces stuff ‘cause he done it for years; it’s his skill-set. Sheppard goes from being a helicopter pilot to being a great infantry man without the background for it. More than that, in Irresponsible we see he’s a pretty good gunslinger, too. But, while Sheppard consistently survives the unsurvivable, Carson is killed off the first time he tries to dispose a bomb. Random.
Seeing some depth to Mackay was nice. We need that to take him seriously. But he went from a guy who worries what his friends were saying about him as he enters a room and jealous for his position with his friends in Mackay and Mrs. Miller to suddenly being best friends with Carson and perusing (poorly) a romantic relationship. Too sudden.
The Ronon we’ve come to know is singularly driven towards his revenge quest. It’s made him an uber-warrior. Great. We even learnt some of the back story to his motivation. Great. This leads him to be a man who is uncomfortable sitting around and frustrated with Mackay’s babbling. Fine. He’s impatient with meditation and golf is silly. Got it. But suddenly sitting around drinking beer with a buddy is a nice past-time. Hmmm… It’s a poor shadow to the way we saw Teal’c grow from uber-warrior to fun friend.
Elizabeth’s romantic dalliance was sudden and a bit off-putting (where did he come from to be so familiar?). We’d seen in the past that she had a relationship and a dog. She sacrificed this to lead the expedition off the edge of the world. Ok, that’s her priorities. Her “lonely at the top” mentality towards socializing is rather over-the-top and we’ve seen it create some professional distance with those closest around her. Suddenly this man’s so charming it turns her around? His beard wasn’t that wowing!
I would preferred to have learned more about how she dealt with the loss of her previous relationship and her relationships with the people already close to her. Bringing in a sudden charmer is… Sudden and random at the same time.
Slow down, guys, and take charge of the direction of your characters. Chasing what you think you need will diminish what you’re creating; makes us change direction too quickly. The character development in season one’s Home was brilliant. In Mackay and Mrs. Miller, the development was clever and touching. And, we’ve watched Ronon transform from The Predator to warm protector. Great stuff.
There was a lot in Sunday to win fans, but, I found suddenness and randomness of character more than a bit disconcerting. The need to suspend disbelief in characters already developed leaves me detached and disappointed. It may have been good episode writing, but it was not good series production.
My humble opinion.
February 3rd, 2007, 07:13 AM
Give me back my Sunday. This was an episode in search of a plot and sunk by a stupid plot device. Yes, they finally delivered on character moments as they have been promising. But in a poorly written, copycat episode that only delivers a meaningless death of a beloved character.
Ronon and John. Carson teasing Weir. Teyla ducking out on golf lessons, Zelenka hustling the chess club. Wonderful stuff--the kinds of moments that the writers and producers should have been delivering on for the last two seasons. They handed them out in spades first season, when this was still truly an ensemble show. And now? They stitch them all together in one episode, give it the barest hint of a plot, and expect these light moments to carry such a heavy emotional load?
I think not.
Then they made Carson an extra in the episode about his own death. Rodney in mortal danger? Tao of Rodney. Grace Under Pressure. Sheppard? Common Ground. Ephiphany. Ronon got Sateda, Weir, Real World. Carson? He gets to be Little Orphan Carson and wander around in the background of the episode until it’s time for him to step up and explode. Carson deserved better, and so did Paul McGillion and the rest of the cast.
Next we can add one more episode of SGA to the "copycat" pile. Yes, there are no new stories. But there are fresh takes and new twists and intelligent second looks rather than retreads and rip offs. This was definitely the latter. Good grief, exploding TUMORS? Yet another idiotic Ancient device just left lying around? And we are supposed to believe that these people were advanced enough to ascend?
Rodney's grief and regret in Carson's quarters is possibly the best scene in the episode. But the final scene, where Rodney confesses his undying best buddyhood with Carson just did not work. If this was true, why did they not even bother to film the scene in Tao of Rodney where Carson and Rodney say goodbye? Why wasn't Carson in any of the scenes in McKay and Mrs. Miller? They should have been showing us this friendship over the last season and 3/4s, using those character moments they’ve been so stingy with until now. But no, they were too busy focusing on the “coolness” of Rodney and John, the Starsky and Hutch of the Pegasus Galaxy. Remind again what show I’m watching?
If I want meaningless, pointless death I'll watch Battlestar Galactica and/or the evening news. In this particular case, all they managed to do was massively highlight the utter meaninglessness of killing off a great character who was an asset to the show both on screen and off. I don't watch SGA to be reminded how people die in real life; I watch SGA as a brief holiday from real life. I could have handled Carson being brainwashed by Michael and setting bombs and having to be killed to save everyone. I could have handled almost anything but this idiotic stuff up. Yes, it was a lovely funeral. But the point isn't that it was lovely or the great face that we got from everyone while it was going on. The point is that it was a FUNERAL. A pointless, stupid funeral for a pointless stupid death that should never, ever have happened.
I don't get this upset about fictional characters. But like any good book, these characters in the shows and movies that catch our attention become friends; we connect to them on an often visceral level. It's been the ensemble cast that I've loved from the get go, and my frustration with the show has been mostly with the neglect of that ensemble, of the family, of the team they built and showcased Season 1. Honestly? No Carson for the rest of this season and possibly into the future won't be that different from this season and most of last. His character was that thoroughly marginalized. But it will continue to be a huge waste of talent and potential stories and quality of character and acting that could have really made this show shine. No, Carson wasn't always well written, but he was always, always well acted.
Will I keep watching? I don't know. When Babylon 5 replaced Sinclair with Marty Stu Sheridan, I couldn't imagine ever liking the show again. But Garibaldi was still there. Delenn. Vir, Londo, G'Kar, Marcus, all characters that I loved. I watched in spite of myself at the beginning of Season 2, and wound up a loyal fan for the rest of the show's run. But I never, EVER stopped missing Sinclair, and the show was never as shiny and lovely as it had been. SG:A still has Rodney, and Teyla, Sheppard and Ronon and Zelenka, and, for a while, Weir. While I can't see Sam truly fitting into the character dynamic or show premise, she just might. While I highly doubt it, Jewel's character could be a fantastic addition. Maybe I will watch to the bitter end–when and if I find the time and have nothing better to do.
But I will never, ever stop missing Carson, and wondering how much better this or that episode would have been with his presence, his compassion, his teasing, his depth. No matter where the show goes, it's lost something incredibly vital for me, something it can never recover. Yes, it's just a tv show, and yes, there are far more important things going on in the world. Maybe that's why I love these characters and this universe so much, because it's been a safe haven where I could escape the horrors of the real world for a while? It's called a sanity break. Or at least it used to be, before Sunday.
February 21st, 2007, 01:52 PM
Heart-breaking best sums up Sunday as Atlantis says goodbye to one of its most loved characters, Doctor Carson Beckett. It seems fitting that the last story of a character who embodies the human soul of the expedition is rich in character moments and interactions. They provide a poignant back-drop of friendship and camaraderie for the primary story of Beckett’s final hours which is very well constructed. It builds slowly to its shocking climax with the final act given over to reaction and farewell. If it is all a little too reminiscent of SG1’s Heroes, it is equally emotional.
The final act especially tugs at the heart-strings; Teyla’s inability to express her emotions beyond ‘I feel a great sadness’, her wish to be at the memorial, the absolute silence of the gate room, Weir’s eulogy and the bag-pipes, the walk of the casket through the wormhole home to Earth. The last scene is given over to a moving farewell between McKay and Beckett; the former finding some peace from his feelings of guilt in a conversation with the latter’s ghost. Unfortunately, the moment is ruined a little by the falseness of the back-drops of both the sky and city. I would prefer the episode to end with the gate-room scene with the team gathered in farewell and the wormhole closing around the final pall-bearers to the strains of the bag-pipes; that brought to tears to my eyes. But admittedly it made sense to give McKay some closure given the events of the story.
The story is a beautifully woven tapestry with Beckett’s final day constituting the main thread that weaves in and out of the others. The concept of picking up each strand at ever increasing intervals back in time before returning to the present with Beckett’s own tale enables the intrigue over the initial event – the explosion that injures Teyla – to build interest and engage the audience as the full picture of what happened is slowly revealed. It is a little unfortunate the previous episode also began with an event and then retold the story as this looks a little like duplication but in contrast to The Ark, Sunday is much more complicated and much more subtle. Martin Gero deserves praise for writing such an intricately detailed script while Will Waring also deserves credit for the direction that brings it to the screen.
The story is packed with character moments and interactions; Teyla’s girly chats with Weir and the ill fated Houston, Weir’s date, Sheppard and Ronan’s discussion on relationships, McKay ranting at his junior scientists and his date with Katie Brown to avoid his promised fishing trip with Beckett, Lorne painting, Zelenka hustling everybody at chess. The scenarios all provide fascinating glimpses into the characters – although some get more insight revealed than others; who knew that Teyla, a self-assured warrior princess would prefer for a man to make the first move? Or that Weir feels she needs to isolate herself so much yet clearly craves the closeness that can come with a relationship? That Sheppard has been unhappily married and Ronan is still mourning the woman he lost on Sateda? That McKay has been inspired to think about marriage after reconnecting with his sister? Sunday is a fabulous cornucopia of character development.
Importantly, throughout each thread of the story, Beckett appears and interacts with the primary characters; from teasing Weir about her date, inviting Ronan and Sheppard fishing, letting McKay off the hook so he can be with Katie, unsuccessfully trying to recruit Lorne and Zelenka, reassuring Teyla as he walks with her to surgery. His friendship and fellowship with them all is showcased beautifully. This makes the moment of his actual death particularly moving and heartfelt.
There is a real shock factor to the explosion; the tension having been built with the palpable worry from the others, the lockdown, Beckett’s fierce determination to save his patient and the brief moment of belief that he has survived the danger only for it to be cruelly wiped out in the next instant. The act of saving his patient, putting him first, taking over from his ill colleague; all paint Beckett as the kind, compassionate yet quietly heroic doctor that he has been shown to be throughout the series. The story is a tribute to the character in many ways and Paul McGillion gives a wonderful performance as he so often does.
Yet the heart of this story, a doctor dying saving the life of a patient, has been done before in Stargate SG1’s Heroes where Janet Fraiser met her end saving a patient on the battlefield. The similarity in the underlying core of the story is startlingly familiar and feels a little repetitive for someone who watches both shows. While I have no idea of the creative vision or the business pressures that prompted the decision to kill Beckett off, just the resonance with Fraiser’s departure should have, in my opinion, caused them to rethink this one from a franchise perspective.
That aside, as a story that does kill off a much loved character, Sunday excels. Beautifully written, well directed, with only minor flaws around the special effects that jar a little, it provides an emotion-packed character-focused spectacle for Beckett’s final hurrah. I personally will miss the character and am sad to see him go, but if he had to go, this is certainly a fitting tribute and farewell to Carson Beckett.
June 4th, 2007, 04:01 PM
Without question, this is an episode designed to stir up fandom. The entire situation is contrived to bring about the death of Dr. Carson Beckett, a fan favorite who has rarely been given the time or depth deserved. One could argue that the episode serves the purpose of setting other plot thread in motion as well, but the flow of the episode makes it more likely that the end goal was in mind and the rest came after.
All things being equal, the body count has never matches the inherent dangers faced by Team Atlantis. They’ve lost Ford, but that was mostly an issue of cast chemistry. Frankly, I’m shocked that the character was given the kind of long-term exit he was given. Minor characters have been killed here and there, but like most episodic genre series, the longevity of the cast becomes a liability to any sense of realism.
Sooner or later, a main character has to die when so many dangers abound. The trick is to make the death seem organic in the storytelling, the logical consequence of statistics or personal destiny. Even the best writers run into trouble when that moment comes. This is actually not a bad attempt at giving a character a strong send-off, as he’s actually doing what he does best: saving lives that would otherwise be lost.
The structure of the episode gives it a “lower decks” feeling. The writers don’t try to build too much plot around Beckett’s death; they take the time to explore what the characters were doing in the quiet moments before the crisis comes. Some of that time is even spent on characters other than Sheppard and McKay, which is a nice touch.
Once again, it seems like McKay is acting without a shred of consideration to the events of “The Tao of Rodney”, especially at the beginning of the episode. He also seems to forget the incidents, earlier in the series, where his ability to work his way out of a deadly situation was only marginally successful. Whatever the case, this is another episode that should leave McKay with lasting consequences, and it will be disappointing if that doesn’t happen. (The romance angle could also help humanize him, though it’s disappointing to have this apparent long-term development come seemingly out of nowhere.)
Sheppard’s growing rapport with Ronon is always fun to see. I’d like to see more depth to Ronon (which is pretty much a constant complaint at this point), but this sets up the possibility of John and Ronon vying for Teyla’s affections. It’s about time that the writers recalled that John and Teyla had been dancing around each other in the first season, and while I’m usually annoyed by inane relationship drama, it may lead to character development. As rare as that can be, it’s a welcome possibility.
There’s also the possibility of romance for Weir, though that’s more of a negative for her than a positive. If there’s one long-term character arc that has been sporadically building this season, it’s Weir and her embattled position as the head of Team Atlantis. On several occasions, I’ve wondered if Weir’s choices would come back to haunt her, and the writers have never taken it as far as they could (or should) have. Questions could come up regarding Weir’s activities during the time leading to Beckett’s death, and it could add to the long list of reasons why the IOA might want someone else in the leadership role.
This will probably never be listed as anyone’s favorite episode, since it is overwhelmed by the seemingly unnecessary death of Dr. Beckett. It had its moments, however, and if certain character elements remain in the forefront after coming up in this hour, then the episode might make better sense in the long run. The worst thing that could happen is the most obvious, given the history of the “Stargate” franchise: that Beckett’s death would be largely ignored and barely referenced.
June 6th, 2007, 06:09 PM
“Sunday” was a brilliant episode, an amusing episode, a profoundly sad episode and whether one loves it or hates it, it is an episode that will likely live on to become an important part of the Stargate Atlantis legacy.
The day off concept was genius. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know the Stargate Atlantis characters a little better. The concept allowed the viewer to see how the characters spend their time off, see them goofing around, see them interacting with each other on a different level other than a mission. This not only allowed for character development but also for a few interesting revelations. Lorne paints, Zalenka is a chess hustler, McKay makes a move with Katie, and of course learning that Sheppard was married! The character interactions ranged from funny, to serious to poignant. All in all a brilliant glimpse into their private lives and loves.
The death of Carson was a difficult scene to watch. Even if one knows it is coming, one can easily find themself hoping that sometime between the present viewing and the last viewing that the scene has miraculously changed and Carson survives.
The writers chose to write Carson’s death in a way that would seem to reflect what Carson Beckett stood for both as a physician and a man. For as talented and brilliant as Carson was, he was a simple man who held true to his beliefs. He didn’t seek greatness or notoriety, he just did what he thought was best and what he thought was right. His up most concern was always for someone else, to help them, to save them. He did this regardless of who the patient was, a good friend, a stranger, even a Wraith (reference to “Duet” when he approached the dart with the injured Wraith) He died doing what he lived to do – being a good person, a caring doctor who always put some one else’s life/needs ahead of his own. It was a fine tribute to the character of Dr. Beckett.
The exploding tumor was an interesting concept and likely as plausible as many other science fiction concepts that are out there. One of the more interesting things about it was that the tumors were the result of yet another Ancient experiment gone wrong. They used radiation to send particles into the body that are programmed to use existing chemicals/minerals in the body to “build” explosive tumors – to presumably create a bio-weapon to “infect” their enemies? That type of concept for a weapon alone should generate a lot of moral discussion. Also, it seems many of the Ancients attempts at developing a way to defeat the Wraith have had terrible consequences; the Asurans being another example.
There was much in this episode that was beautifully done. While the death of a beloved character is never welcomed, it does provide an opportunity for the other characters in the story to stretch as they react to and deal with the death. Gero covered this aspect as the other characters reactions to Carson’s death were heartfelt, poignant and provided further insight into each of them. Rodney feeling guilty (he worries a lot and I think has a fear of doing something wrong that would lead to dire consequences) – Ronon being stoic (never quite know how he feels) – Sheppard, “it hasn’t hit me yet, not looking forward to it when it does” (he always seems to suppress his feelings or at least has difficulty expressing them) – and Teyla, she wanted to honor Carson by being present and standing at his funeral (honor and ceremony are important to her). The last scene out on the Atlantis dock where Carson “appeared” to Rodney and they had their “talk” was both sweet and sad. So many times a loved one will “talk” with or even have a “conversation” with the deceased person. With TV you can actually “show” the deceased person for dramatic purposes and the Director/Actors worked this scene out perfectly, it was poignant, but not over the top.
Kudos to Gero for writing such a great script.
Kudos to Paul McGillion for a superb acting job in bringing the character of Dr. Beckett to life over these past 3 seasons. He portrayed Dr. Beckett with dignity, honor, caring and such a profound sense of humanity that not only will the character be deeply missed but will be forever irreplaceable.
Also kudos to;
David Hewlett who did an outstanding job portraying Dr. McKay. The viewer saw many different levels of McKay, from the typical McKay yelling at fellow scientists, then trying to get out of his fishing date with Carson, fumbling with his words in his budding relationship with Katie Brown and then finally his guilt and angst over the death of Carson; Hewlett delivered superbly. Specifically the scene in Carson’s room when he is packing up his belongings shows how the character has grown – he is able express his feelings and his guilt about Carson to Ronon. The McKay from season 1 and 2 would have found it difficult if not impossible to do that.
Joe Flannigan also did an outstanding job portraying Sheppard. There was also a wide range to his character in this episode – from relaxed and goofing around, to guy talk and games of one-upmanship with Ronon, to the serious Sheppard after the explosion, the concerned Sheppard with Teyla and the Sheppard who has trouble being able to express his feelings. Specifically the scene at the funeral when he is standing so stoically, one can see the pain and emotion that he is really feeling in his eyes, this was extremely well done. Joe Flannigan truly has a remarkable ability as an actor to express many different levels of emotion and thought with just his eyes or by the expression on his face.
All in all, “Sunday” was a heartwarming, heartbreaking episode. It is one of the best Atlantis episodes to date but one that will be forever hard to watch.
August 24th, 2012, 12:54 AM
The mandatory day off has always an ever elusive subject for Stargate. We always assume that they have days off but never have we seen them on their day off. To our surprise the writers manage to show us just what happens on their days off but they also manage to include a certain twist, one that would prove to be both stupid and brilliant.
The episode oddly enough, starts off with that twist when it contains what appears to be an ordinary day and then we have a woman we've never even seen before exploding into thin air (the explanation for this is questionable; I mean exploding tumors? granted they had a good explanation for it but still...). It really sets off what would be Sunday's primary theme, that there would truly be no off-days for the Stargate team; it's sad, these team members always expect to have some peace and relaxation to themselves but they're always put into these life threatening, dramatic situations and this is reflected throughout the episode as they drop whatever they're doing and jump into action; these people know that there R&R is just a luxury to them. There is an episode concept that is tied to this, a concept showcasing what these people did in their off-time before the incident and while it may seem a bit gimmicky, it does help in showing these people in their off-time.
What guys do in their off-time.
It is quite enjoyable to see everybody shown in these scenes, Sheppard and Ronan hanging out (it was fun to see Sheppard being bested by Ronan multiple times before deciding on a guy's night out.), Beckett and his fishing trip (makes me wish he would of actually gone fishing, the way he seems interested in it), Weir and her relationship with some guy and McKay and his love interest... Every one of those scenes reveal little tidbits we don't know about, puts their character in a moment where we can know them without having the threat of action around them; we see the emotions, the connections, the interests, the tension and even the desperation in every one of these scenes. From Weir's view of love (which feels somewhat forced though) to Beckett's desperation in getting a fishing partner, there is everything for everyone that more then fleshes out his character. The only scene I didn't like would have to be McKay and his love interest but only for the fact that it doesn't seem like a true relationship. Both these people are supposed to be awkward and in love but it seems like McKay is better with chicks then he thinks, which totally ruined the immersion for me; don't get me wrong, his scenes show sort of a humanness and sensibility with McKay but I just can't buy the relationship.
The characters all do their part effortlessly though every aspect of the episode, though they have some parts that falter and they have to bob and weave through the various awkward pop-culture references; they more then take their characters seriously in order to provide an impression that isn't just an actor playing a TV role. These are real people we're seeing, at one moments they're enjoying themselves, having a day off, laughing but at another moment they can also be serious and those serious moments really showcase the theme at hand; these people don't look like they're thinking about a day off, they're doing their job, they're briefing other people and they're even taking risky decisions to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. That moment where they take the moment seriously despite the light stuff that has happened shows reflects that and it also showcases the acting ability well. The guest characters are a bit off in their acting abilities but that's like the only flaw when it comes to the characters.
No days off.
This is also the last episode where Beckett appears which is a shame since he's been proven to be a valuable member of the team since his rocky beginnings in "Rising". Personally I think he was somewhat overused (in contrast to Season 1, where he was mainly on the base and didn't appear as much; he seemed to be a full member of the team in Seasons 2 & 3) and I didn't care much for him as the others did (contradictorily, because he didn't appear much in character-revealing scenes.) but man is it sad he's going to be gone. The episode shows this well as everything is somber, the emotions of the actors, the mood of Atlantis, even the lack of music; this is truly meant as a serious moment for the crew and the crew reflect that back, showing just how essential every team member is. The sympathy they show for him, the words they speak of him, the attempts to help each other out in regards to this; Beckett was really an essential member of the team and his passing provides the best moment of the episode. I don't think there will ever be anybody that'll replace Beckett character wise, I mean they can try but he just had that sense of compassion and vibrancy that few doctors had and he really gave Atlantis that shine; I'm interested in seeing his replacement but I don't think they can replace him.
This has the makings of an amazing SGA episode but oddly enough it falls short. I think I have to blame the gimmick, the twist and the guest stars but despite that; it still manages to be the best of Season 3. It gives us insight into our characters, it shows our character during the tense and somber times and best of all, it's about the characters. The death of Beckett is something that provides the episode's best moments but he will be solely missed... It seems that in the end, there are never any days off for SGA.
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