View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'The Kindred, Part 2'
January 30th, 2008, 07:06 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/s4/419.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/graphics/419.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 FOUR</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s4/419.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">THE KINDRED, PART 2</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 419</FONT>
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The team is shocked when an old friend, believed to be dead, miraculously returns to them. Teyla plans an escape from Michael's captivity.
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March 3rd, 2008, 02:24 PM
The first half of this important two-episode arc set the stage for resolution of several plot threads, most notably the fate of the Athosians and Teyla’s child. It also marked the return of Dr. Carson Beckett, an event completely ruined by the SFC promotional department. Even so, there was considerable excitement regarding his return and how it would be handled.
Sometimes bringing back a beloved character, especially one that has been dead for an entire season, can be problematic. Such events tend to overshadow everything else and disrupt the flow of a season arc. Beckett’s return was logically handled within the context of Michael’s grand scheme; the connections to previous continuity made sense of the situation. Even so, the writers felt the need to add endless comments about how great it was to have Beckett back, and they became distracting and unnecessary by the time the episode was over.
The attention on Beckett forced a simpler structure: save Teyla before Beckett’s biological breakdown clock expired. That gave the episode a certain sense of balance, with Teyla’s plight getting plenty of attention. Frankly, I found that to be more interesting, because that was the plot thread that would have to continue into the near future. Beckett was obviously not coming back for the long-term.
While Michael’s plan for Teyla’s child was somewhat predictable, I was expecting the usual late-minute rescue. This is where Beckett’s unique situation tossed a wrench into the normal mechanics, and his return became a lot more meaningful for me. If any other team member had gone for Teyla, Michael’s would have been toast. Instead, the Beckett clone’s inherent nature gave Michael the upper hand, and Teyla and her child are still in Michael’s possession. That certainly leaves Team Atlantis in a bad way for the season finale.
This episode also serves to pass the medical torch to Dr. Keller more completely and logically than the previous 18 episodes ever managed. Keller and Beckett worked well together (if only to make the requisite exposition a lot less painful), and the writers took the opportunity to show how similarly they can approach novel problems. But a delayed transition shouldn’t have been necessary, and after this much time, there will definitely be Beckett fans pointing out how inferior Keller is in comparison.
Generally speaking, however, Beckett’s return is just a bit too invasive to the story, especially at the end. The final act is interminable, with dialogue clearly designed for nostalgia and fan service. Some of that is warranted in this case, considering that Beckett was brought back due to high demand, but there’s such a thing as going overboard. When character like Carter, who never really knew anything about Beckett, take an unbelievable amount of time saying goodbye, it’s an exercise in excess.
Reprinted with permission
Original source: c. Critical Myth, 2008
All rights reserved
March 5th, 2008, 11:34 AM
Strong emotion runs through the second part of The Kindred as the theme of reunions, and how they are never quite what you expect, weaves through the story. It is an unexpected story in some ways; the ending bittersweet and unpredictable yet it is more powerful because of that. While it lacks the certain something that would elevate it to the heights of a Sateda or Common Ground, it delivers a quality episode in its own quiet way with the assistance of some powerful performances and complementary production.
Teyla’s search for her people – the main plot in the first half of the story – is demoted to sub-plot in the second part. Here is the long awaited reunion and the moment she and Halling are reunited is beautifully poignant – excellent acting from Christopher Heyerdahl and Rachel Luttrell. His defence of her when the others come to take her away is heart-warming. As a result, these interactions provide something meaningful to the arc in a way the search perhaps failed to do given the lack of interaction seen between Teyla and the Athosians before it began and the sporadic mentions of it in the second half of the season.
The other emotional resonance of Teyla’s reunion is with her child’s father, Kanan. The scene in which Teyla’s pleading with him finally cracks through Michael’s control is very well done. As Kanan reaches out to lay a hand over Teyla’s – and his – unborn child, suddenly I found myself believing in their relationship and why Teyla had fallen for him. Again, excellent acting which Luttrell followed through in the rest of the scene as she begs Michael not to harm her child only for him to perform an ultrasound to check the baby’s health. Her dismay at Michael injecting her regardless is palpable. Connor Trinneer continues to portray Michael as simply thinking he is being misunderstood in his motives while also showing the bitter anger at what has happened to him and which helps provide the audience with the knowledge of why he is the way he is. It is a masterful piece of acting supported by the writing and direction.
Overall, the sub-plot is very successful especially for the ending which unexpectedly leaves Teyla in the hands of Michael. While the set-up for that – Teyla hesitating when initially rescued – would be fine if Teyla were not pregnant, it is unbelievable given her child must come first now. Still, the unpredicted ending provides a bittersweet conclusion despite the rescue of the other Athosians.
Given the powerful content of the sub-plot, the main plot also had to deliver – and it did. The return of Carson Beckett also provided the Atlantis team with an unexpected reunion. The reactions are perfectly characterised from McKay’s desperate joy at having his friend back, to Sheppard’s reserved acceptance, to Ronon’s refusal to deal with it, to Sam’s concerns. Everybody delivers a good performance but David Hewlett is absolutely superb as McKay; joyful at being reunited, apologetic and distraught at having to deliver bad news, protective of Carson at all times. His initial scene on filling Beckett in and the final goodbye scene are incredibly moving simply for the way Hewlett plays McKay’s emotions so out in the open for all to see. These scenes though are complemented by Paul McGillion who acts his socks off through the entire episode.
It’s great to see McGillion back and while the clone storyline had the potential to be disappointing and cliché, McGillion’s acting fully brings home how torn this Beckett is at finding out he is a clone and his desperate attempt to prove himself worthy perhaps of being alive at all. He manages to raise the underlying philosophical discussions around clones within the story without ever making it seem obvious and never detracting.
That final scene for Beckett is also unexpected; just as Team Atlantis fail to recover Teyla, they also cannot save Beckett – there is no appearance of a sudden miracle cure only the stasis pod. Everybody delivers a fantastic performance in this scene; their regret, their goodbyes, their efforts to reassure Beckett and each other that it is only temporary are realistic and heartfelt. The moment where Beckett tells Sheppard to bring Teyla home is very touching. The music underscoring this scene just adds to the poignancy. Here is not victory but defeat.
As a result of the unexpected turns in the final act, the story finishes on a bittersweet note – much like most reunions – yet the story is all the better for this. Had Teyla been rescued, had Beckett been cured, it would have been too pat, too easy – and the impact would have been much, much less. Alan McCullough deserves praise for the writing here.
If I have one complaint in the episode it is around the last reunion in the story between Keller and Nabal. Nabal had much potential as a character yet here he is demoted to unimportant spy for Michael status (such a waste) and his scenes lack the emotional resonance of the others. Jewel Staite tries hard to evoke shock and disgust at her initial identification but with Beckett reminding her pompously of her duties of the doctor, the scene falls flat. Keller does much better in her interactions with Beckett as they work on the cure and in the last scene coming across as a caring colleague.
Given the emotional, character driven content of the story with only minimal action sequences, the episode could have lost pace but the excellent direction ensures that the episode retains the interest. The rest of the production matches quality; the special effects, the set designs of Michael’s complex, the make-up of the hybrids and Michael – everything sparkles with polish.
Unfortunately, the few flaws here and there do detract from the overall quality and the episode although powerful and moving never does reach the heights of Sateda or Common Ground. Perhaps, ultimately, this is because this is the conclusion of a two-part story and the former while enjoyable did not equally match the quality of this finale. Regardless, The Kindred II could almost stand alone and it is a powerful and emotional slice of entertainment and perhaps, even art.
September 28th, 2012, 07:11 AM
The Kindred (Part 2)
Remember when I said "I do have to hand it to them for ending it the way they did, I was not expecting that at all." Well that ending forms much of the basis of this second part which is obviously the payoff of the entire thing, Dr. Carson Beckett who died in an explosion has come back from the grave and there are tons of mysteries and questions surrounding him; those of you who wanted Carson back, you've got your wish but this oddly doesn't feel like the payoff we've been expecting.
For one, much of the episodes content could pass as a standalone episode rather then a second-part of a two parter. The crews observation of Beckett, the analysis of him and Beckett's own interactions barely tie into anything that was hinted at and much of it seems like what they would usually do if they encountered someone of unknown origin; there is no sense of threat or urgency, it's just Beckett facing the crew under different circumstances and it's a shame because it made all of what was introduced in the first part pointless. I feel somewhat disappointed that the first part promised all of that only to lead into a story that focused on the revived Beckett; they could of cut out a lot of the first part and just had the team discover Beckett but I guess it wouldn't work well for the cliffhanger they had going on... While it does attempt to explore what it introduced, it doesn't feel as epic as it could of been, everything in Michael's scenes feel commonplace from the setting they're placed in to the people who are introduced to even Teyla getting trapped. There is not much that suggests that these scenes belong in a two-parter (well except for Teyla reuniting with her people, the plot about the baby and her subsequent uncertainty), barely offering anything in the way of character interaction or pivitol plot moments and when they do happen, it isn't even substantial. For example, Teyla gets the chance to act fearful, confident and happy, utilizing stuff like the family and the bonds that reinforces what we love about her character and being with Michael certainly allows her to show off a bit (in terms of emotion) but there isn't anything that we haven't seen before, in fact she had much more substantial scenes in Part 1 where there was something that allowed her to show a range of dynamics. It's troublesome when something isn't substantial in Part 2 because it leads us to question why this is a two-parter in the first place.
This oddly feels less appealing.
It's nice to see Beckett though. He obviously knows he's been given a second chance but he doesn't use that second chance to change himself, instead he acts the same as he ever did and this is good as it shows that he's still the same old determined self who won't sit down and do nothing and who's sympathetic and compassionate towards the people who cares; however, he does add a sense of bleakness to his performance. There's something in watching him try to grip to his conditions, trying to grasp what's going on and that something is what drives his performance; this is a Beckett we've never seen before, with depth and complexion and he pulls it off exceptionally with every line selling the awkward situation he's in and every emotion accurately reflecting how the character feels. There is never a moment where we feel disillusioned and as the stakes get raised we feel more and more engaged with his character, I'll admit, the threat of him dieing was a bit generic but it's forgiven when the performance is this good. Beckett's performance can only be enhanced when McKay is with him for the majority of the episode as he too provides a performance that's equally exceptional; his scenes here remind me of "Sunday" in that there is a sense of humbleness in his actions, combined with a sense of awkwardness, sadness and empathy that reflects a side of McKay that's locked up deep inside of him. I could connect with McKay as he talked with Beckett, revealing what has happened to him, feeling a sense of guilt, offering him options. The way he stumbled over words and teared up at certain moments really showed that he cared for Beckett and treated him as a friend and he showed a true sense of empathy in those scenes; though there were times where he overdid it, he seemed innocent yet well-minded at the same time, a perfect fit for Beckett's situation and the two of them manage to make it all come together in the end which is almost beautiful the way it's set up. Brings a tear to your eye doesn't it.
However, two finely acted characters don't really make up for the rest of the flaws of the episode, which bring it down considerably despite the efforts of the above. Sheppard, Keller and Sam act as if Beckett have never died instead going about their day as normal and it's a shame because there are a whole lot of things they could of done, Sheppard could of confronted Beckett and let out a retrospect from when they were together and Keller could of been excited at the prospect of working with Beckett, they do make references to his appearance but still. The action scenes promise to be exciting but many of them seems to be disappointing but that's not to say that the action scenes are nicely done, they shoot their guns with finesse and skill, managing to get into a couple of surprises here and there but these scenes lack a sort of substance that's expected in a two-parter. An example of this has to be the scene in the end, the crew keeps shooting for who knows how long until by mere coincidence they just happen to notice some obviously placed gas cans (which they even mention) and use that to defeat the bad guys; that makes the battle feel like a distraction rather then an actual battle and it's disheartening because it shows a lack of care, if they can do battles like this than just imagine how future battles will go down. I can't believe how they managed to make Michael feel common; he feels more like a villain who stands around, looking menacing while executing his plans then he did as a dynamic character who had a compassionate but sinister side just one part before. He's still able to do the scenes with a sense of compassion and he's even able to make himself pretty powerful in times of need but none of it feels like Michael and it just saddens me to see him fall from grace so quickly like that, he was one of the best villains of Atlantis and now look at him, he's just a regular old Stargate villian. Shame...
Beckett + McKay = Amazing.
The second part of the two parter is good but it raises questions as to whether this warranted a two-parter in the first place. Much of the stuff that was touched upon in the first-part barely gets explored and it doesn't seem to bother to live up to the standards of a second part, instead stirring around in middling territory. Beckett's performance in this is incredible, he manages to take what he is given and he makes it into a beautiful performance that has depth, emotion and heart. It serves as both a nice treat to the fans and the pinnacle of the episode; however it can't save the episode from it's ultimate undoing, which is a lack of action, character moments and urgency that will leave the average viewer feeling disappointed and the Stargate fan scratching their heads. If it were a single episode it would of been better but since this consist of two parts, both parts have to be judged equally and both parts are really disapointing; at least it sets goals for the future ahead.
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