View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Be All My Sins Remember'd'

January 2nd, 2008, 03:45 PM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border:0;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s4/411.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/graphics/411.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/s4/411.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">BE ALL MY SINS REMEMBER'D</A></FONT>
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With a plan to potentially extinguish the Replicator threat, the Atlantis team must seek an alliance with a fleet of Wraith ships.

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January 7th, 2008, 03:32 PM
Thankfully, the Sci-Fi Channel chose not to hold the second half of this season for several months in some vain attempt to stretch out one of their few successful properties. The nature of this particular two-parter was a bit more subtle than usual, and it was good to have the previous episode relatively fresh in mind before tackling the conclusion.

The first half of the season left off with the apparent revelation of Weir’s death and the discovery of a massive Replicator fleet. With humanity in the Pegasus Galaxy under immediate threat by the Asuran onslaught, it’s the usual matter of strange bedfellows. The Wraith already working on the problem of the Replicators is the first unexpected source of help, and soon thereafter, Larrin and her people (from “Travelers”) join the fray.

Most of the episode is devoted to the process of bringing this unlikely alliance together, once it is clear that the Asgard upgrades to the SGC arsenal will only help in battles of limited scope. Considering the fact that the alliances were a foregone conclusion, the writers did a great job of keeping the interaction with the Wraith and the Travelers interesting and fresh. In particular, the captured Wraith working with Team Atlantis is still a great addition to the recurring cast, and hopefully he will appear in the future.

The interaction between McKay and Carter was particularly interesting in this episode, because it provides insight into Carter’s place in the Atlantis dynamic. McKay eventually figures out a solution to the Replicator problem, but it’s not a quick process. Most of the time, McKay works out a technical solution in a matter of minutes or hours, and after some last-minute adjustments, the problem is solved. McKay gets to have the inspiration but also the benefit of a collaborative process getting there.

The writers resisted the urge of allowing Carter to step back into the technical genius role, which had to be very tempting. Instead, she made a key suggestion, but otherwise left the execution in McKay’s capable, neurotic hands. That’s not to say that Carter’s command presence is entirely convincing in the episode; her attempt at correcting Ellis and his attitude was played too softly. That’s an odd way to describe it, but that’s exactly the word that comes to mind when watching the scene. However, it’s now quite obvious that Carter is not intended as the “savior” of Team Atlantis; if anything, her presence has been downplayed significantly.

I’m also not particularly sold on the idea that the Asurans have been annihilated. Leaving the final minute of the episode aside, the circumstances were far too “clean” given the threat level involved. While one could argue that the Replicators served their purpose by muddying the waters with the Wraith even more, they had plenty of potential as an ongoing enemy.

That said, the ending could be interpreted two different ways. One could assume that more than one copy of the Weir Replicator survived, along with enough of the Asurans to allow the writers to revisit them in the future. Or, going in a more intriguing direction, it could have been the true Weir, alive after all, leading a secret agenda against the enemies of Team Atlantis. Either way, it’s great to know that Torri Higginson won’t disappear completely.

John Keegan
Reprinted with permission
Original source: c. Critical Myth, 2008
All rights reserved
Link: http://www.criticalmyth.com

January 7th, 2008, 05:10 PM
"It's time to begin..." - Dr. Elizabeth Weir

I had previously reviewed this episode in the general discussion thread, but repeated viewings have prompted a new outlook on it, and a new review:

With such gems as "Doppleganger", "Tabula Rasa", and "Adrift", Season Four has been a tough one for any single episode to top. However, that has changed with the ambitious two-parter/ressurection story, "This Mortal Coil" and "Be All My Sins Remember'd". Not only do the two serve as the conclusion to the tense Wraith-Asuran War, they seem to be the harbingers of change on Atlantis, bringing vitality back to a show that seemed to had lost its place last season.

With nearly the last year of the show (late Season Three to early Season Four) focusing on the Asurans, and the ante being upped at almost every confrontation, it was only logical that a showdown was in the works. And that terrific plot is what's up first today. Almost every episode this season had its place in "Be All My Sins Remember'd"; "Adrift", "Lifeline", and "This Mortal Coil" added the dissapearance of Elizabeth Weir, "Missing" added the suspense of Teyla Emmagan's pregancy, "Reunion" offered the fear some now felt as the Replicators became ever-stronger, forcing even Satedans to side with their enemies, "The Seer" allowed for the eventual cross-species alliance, "Travelers" brought in the eleventh-hour assistance of Larrin's people and their fleet, and "Miller's Crossing" set up the modification of the Replicator code for McKay's brilliant scheme that saves the day.

As all these plotlines are drawn together, a second element completely is added in; the Asgard upgrades, bestowed on Earth in SG-1's "Unending", have been mounted on the Apollo and Daedalus, both of which are ready to begin Atlantis' counterstrike against the Asurans. Of course, it's only a matter of time before the Replicators counter their actions, which forces the team to once more enter an alliance with the Wraith, and throw their lot in with the renegade Travelers, in an attempt to defeat their mutual foe once and for all.

And in doing so, we come across one of the largest battle sequences in Stargate history. Although not quite topping "Reckoning, Part 2" in scope, the Battle of Asuras is nonetheless an amazing and breathtaking show of both CGI and the culmination of ten years of exploring the universe. Watching Wraith hives and Earth 304s fight side-by-side against enemy ships (Ancient ones, at that!) was a truly remarkable sight to behold. Under it all, of course, was the marvelous FRAN, whose sacrifice enabled the allied forces to win the day... although there is something to be said for using a massive blob of nanites to destroy your enemies, and I will miss the cityworld Asuras, one of the few planets I cared to revisit in Atlantis.

But the battle aside, "Be All My Sins Remember'd" has plenty to offer; character moments not the least of it. The revelation of Teyla's pregnancy, and John's surpisingly-harsh reaction, both added to the overall effect of the episode, and it was easy to sympathize with both sides. In the end, though, it is the generally-rough Ronon who I came to admire, setting aside his personal opinion on the matter to help a friend through a difficult time. Samantha Carter and Rodney McKay also recieved attention from the writers, each growing on me in new ways. Instead of being the one to break up the disputes between boys, Carter calmly stands by and watches as Col. Ellis reminds Rodney of his place (something long overdue), but is quick to reprimand the officer himself as soon as McKay has left. I expect to see repricussions for this later on, perhaps in the form of Carter beginning to shift more towards the civilians than the military.

Perhaps the most moving character of the episode, though, was one I had just met: FRAN (the Friendly Replicator ANdroid). She was created with the knowledge of how she was going to die, destroying billions of her own kind with her, but understanding how important it was in order to preserve the lives of billions more. Although, as McKay insists, she will never be human, she certainly showed more humanity than many a person I have ever seen, both in Stargate and reality.

And lastly, speaking of humanity, what has become of our dear Dr. Weir? Finally revealed at the episode's conclusion in the ruins of Asuras, she seems to be back for the duration... but only time will tell if Elizabeth will return as a savoir or a merchant of death for those living in Pegasus.

So overall, for providing all of the above, and hopefully setting the stage for many more like it, "Be All My Sins Remember'd" gets a renewed score; and if any episode deserved a second chance, it was this one.

Episode Rating: ****

Wynd Ryder
January 11th, 2008, 07:27 AM
This is an invigorating episode of enemies becoming temporary allies to eliminate a bigger mutual threat and opens the way for further conflicts among the allies later.
Invigorating in that Atlantis' association with each ally makes it vulnerable by giving away its location, various bits of information, and surrendering members of its #1 team to temporary capture. Other than additional ships added to the fray, what did Larrin give Atlantis? With the wraith alliance in this episode, the lead wraith does assist McKay and his dialogue is often humorous, if unappreciated by our heroes. But he didn't answer Sheppard about what went on while their team was unconscious. This makes me eager to see what future consequences are in store.
I can't think of a good reason for Larrin to tie-up Sheppard for their talk or for letting her know the location of Atlantis. There was a rendezvous place after the battle; why not one away from Atlantis before? Sheppard gave information about the Ancient gene and helped boost the power of Larrin's ships. Why not some concessions to Atlantis, at least a way to initiate contact? It makes me wonder when these Travelers are going to attempt to seize Atlantis.
This episode is jam packed with conflict, humor, nuances, and special effects. All very well done and divided among a large cast of regular and guest characters, each in significant multiple scenes. Interplay among characters, even in groups, was excellent with their nuances, dialogues, and positioning. For just two scene examples: Ronon, Wraith, Sheppard, and Teyla in a jumper after being jettisoned in space from a hive ship--Ronon is staring down Wraith who no longer needs to be restrained. Or the scene when Carter's look at McKay's happy pronouncement of how easily his replicator block will destroy the replicators, causing him to admit to Sheppard there is a complication.
For one episode of about 44", there was considerable relationship development among characters; namely, Col. Ellis' bullishness with Atlantis' personnel as he was when Weir was in charge. Sheppard's control of McKay in conflict with Ellis and of Ronon in multiple conflicts with Wraith. Carter dismissing McKay before chastising Ellis about their conflict. Also, I greatly enjoyed the reemergence of the genius between McKay and Carter as she grasps his whole planet implosion theory to approve it, then again to advance it during the blackout. The scene where Teyla is forced to disclose her pregnancy is awkward, but so is real life. It works and I got the impression that Sheppard was hurt and jealous and will have to come to terms with her pregnancy. Ronon has become a good enough friend to know how to help Teyla. I got a sense of a widower who had enjoyed marriage and had looked forward to fatherhood.
I have a problem with the attraction between Sheppard and Larrin. It's an old Stargate mantra to have deep romantic interests between two persons who cannot be together. I wouldn't be so weary and adamantly opposed if even one shipper lasted throughout Stargate infinity. It's not realistic in a military or scientific community that none of these regular characters has a happy, long-lived marriage with spouse present.
I also had a problem with McKay's droning on about technical matters in a military strategy meeting after all these years and with time being a pressing factor.
Another often repeated problem is when an off-world team is in trouble and Stargate base orders them to evacuate, then the gate shuts down and the base immediately tries to redial. How is the off-world team suppose to redial for evacuation?
Repetition that I enjoy immensely is the humor that is worked in well and lightens the tensions.
Sheppard has the reputation for not following orders, but McKay more often doesn't follow orders, the plan, or mission protocol.:cool:
The episode was seamless. Excellent edit.
As surprising as the finish might be, writers gave us a clue that there might be other types of replicator ships. The locating device only located Aurora class ships. Thus, an invigorating ending with Nanite-Weir commanding a ship.

January 12th, 2008, 02:09 PM
Be All My Sins Remembered will undoubtedly be remembered as a classic Atlantis episode; a well-constructed plot filled with intrigue, conflict and snippets of personal interaction that’s a joy to watch and complemented on every level by every aspect of the production. It is not flawless; the pacing is a little slow at times, the characterisation a little off in places and revisiting the cliché of the whole hero-taken-hostage-by-beautiful-woman was a little unnecessary, but in truth these are minor blemishes on an otherwise polished episode.

My main grumble in regards to characterisation is Sheppard. Given the character’s proclaimed view back in Sateda of thinking of his team as family, here he seems to revert to treating them like they are only colleagues. He provides little support to McKay with Ellis in the initial briefing and his reaction to Teyla’s news lacks any hint of friendship as he removes her from active duty and walks away. They are weird off-notes; it feels uncomfortable. There is perhaps some recognition that Sheppard is acting out of character within the plot as it does supply explanations implicitly in Sheppard’s respect for Ellis and his anger with Teyla allowing Sheppard to unknowingly put her at risk. But it still feels uncomfortable.

The other really uncomfortable moment comes in Sheppard being tied to a chair while he and Larrin negotiate. The more toned down banter between them in the briefing scene and their goodbye is much better executed than this whole redux of the cliché of Travellers. It was unnecessary; the humour is misplaced with Larrin’s outfit back to the screaming ‘Space Vixen’ and the tying up of Sheppard just bizarre. I think the character dynamic is interesting but there is a worrying hint that the intention is to play it as an opportunity for cheap, sexual innuendo and an easy gag which does neither character any favours. In this episode, that way of playing it was so out of place it is also jarring. If humour was wanted then the Wraith threatening to feed on McKay was more the way to go; witty, clever and amusing.

The other minor blemish is the pacing. In places, it is perfect – the whole sequence of the battle, the super-blob and resolution is extremely well-done; the opening teaser is good. Yet in other places there is lethargy. Perhaps because there feels like there is no immediate threat to Atlantis within the story; the briefings which provide exposition slow up the action pieces; the direction and acting sees the characters relatively relaxed and at ease as the plan comes together rather than acting with a sense of urgency – there is no deadline to achieving anything until well into the battle itself.

The other problem with the pacing is the overall sense of the season arcs. The arc created in reinitiating the Replicators code to attack the Wraith but that going wrong with them turning on the human food supply and ultimately Atlantis destroying the Replicators and putting things right again had the potential to run for an entire season. This resolution feels too quick. It feels like having been baked a wonderful chocolate cake, I’ve given in and eaten it early rather than waiting for dinner and no matter how good the cake tasted, in eating it early, I’ve ruined what could have been a greater moment of satisfaction later.

Equally, while I am thrilled that Teyla’s pregnancy has finally been revealed, the lack of mention of said pregnancy and her search for her people since The Seer almost gives it a ‘so what’ quality. I applaud the arc approach in play in Atlantis rather than the weekly episodic stand alone stories of the past but arcs need to be timed correctly in terms of laying the foundation, keeping the arc in the audiences’ mind, when to take them forward, when to complete. I don’t think they’ve quite got that right here and it will be interesting to see what happens with the arcs in the final half of the season.

For all my complaints, Be All My Sins Remembered, is a well-executed episode. The story is well-constructed with the events transpiring in a well-thought out fashion. There is humour in places and there is conflict. The revisit to Ellis/McKay antipathy in First Strike is well played. The character moments especially Ronon’s gentle support of Teyla after her revelation of her pregnancy is wonderful; the hand holding lovely. The introduction of FRAN is a fantastic idea that adds a great nuance to the story and is very well portrayed. FRAN is so well conceived and there is such great chemistry between her and McKay that there is a sense of disappointment that we won’t see her again.

The other aspect of the episode that truly sings is the special effects. While the battles and amalgamation of the super-blob are fabulously executed, the subtle Replicator nanite block dissolving into a liquid state and the remnants of the planet in space are equally impressive. They are not the only things well-executed. The music throughout is great but I especially love the segment that underscores the march of the Wraith into the puddle-jumper. The characterisation of Sam is joyous with both her command ability, her scientific prowess and her very female reaction to Teyla’s news – ‘who’s the father’ showing a rounded version of Sam. The teaser of Weir seemingly in charge of a Replicator ship that avoided detection at the end provides a titillating teaser that I hope is followed up. It all adds a polish over the finished episode.

The subject of Be All My Sins Remembered, the winning nature of the story, the spectacular feast of special effects all makes for a classic episode. It is not flawless and the polished nature of the final production cannot hide that but it is a very enjoyable outing and one that will be remembered.

January 13th, 2008, 06:32 AM
4x11 Be All My Sins Remembered --- Very Repeatable

BAMSR is sure to become one of the most memorable episodes of this season. It is exciting, it is fun, it is loaded with action and it has well defined, effective character moments. All the right ingredients, all put together in an amazing package.

Martin Gero is an excellent writer, probably the best of the Stargate writers, but in JM blog he shares credit with the other stargate writers. So, kudos to all who participated in BAMSR and are responsible for this great season so far. Directing credit goes to Andy Mikita.

Carter is the right fit for Atlantis. She seems to be one of them. She understands Sheppard and McKay and what it’s like to be on an SG team and live with danger. She laughs with them and at the banter that breaks the tension. She understands the battle strategy and the technology. With BAMSR she seems, even more, to be one of the Atlantis team. And she proved herself to be their protector when she stood up for her command and her people, making it clear to Ellis that he did not have the authority to dress down McKay.

McKay is in great McKay form in everything he does. He tries to snow the colonels with complexity and doesn’t fool anyone. He lies to them. He bores the Wraith. He strikes out with the replicator shut down code and then ends his ‘dry spell’ with ‘I think I’ve got my first good idea in three weeks.’ He talks technobable to Carter (and she talks it back). The Godzilla blob, priceless! Zalenka, always! Cubes that slump. Fran! ‘Shouldn’t have given her speech.’ ‘Yeah.’ And the ending (I love the character endings this season): Sheppard describing Ellis to McKay: ‘Yeah. Good guy. Excellent judge of character.’

Fran! Wonderful character; wonderfully conceived; wonderfully played by Michelle Morgan. It’s a good thing they can reproduce her, because she is too entertaining to never see again. She may even be smarter than McKay; that would be interesting. Not enough was made of the moral dilemma concerning her, but as Sheppard said, ‘Well, we are teaming up with the Wraith. I guess it's that kind of a mission.’ Desperate times…

Finally, the Teyla pregnancy reveal. Interesting choice of timing, but perfectly conceived in terms of character reactions. Well played by all, especially JF. Ronon may have the caring reaction, but Sheppard has no such luxury. Just before a critical battle, trying to make a deal with the devil, he had taken Teyla on an extremely dangerous mission to a Wraith hive ship where she had no distinct purpose and no possibility of defense. They all got stunned and Sheppard was awakened by a Wraith holding his gun and saying ‘Be calm.’ Then he dealt with Larrin. There must have been a better time in two months to tell him. :rolleyes: But, Teyla had things she wanted to do and she wanted to avoid the argument with Sheppard over which missions he would permit her to go on. She was needed to help evacuate worlds and she wanted to continue looking for her people. Perhaps neither, on a case-by-case basis, would be any problem for a pregnant woman. But Sheppard had the right as the team leader in a combat situation to evaluate all the factors. Like he said ‘This is different. We get shot at, beat up, stunned. We take a chance every time we walk through the Gate.’ Her Answer, ‘Athosian women remain very active in the community well up ...,’ is not on point. A pregnant Athosian woman may stay active, but it is hard to imagine that one ever went seeking the Wraith and it is unlikely that one ever recovered from a Wraith stunning anyplace where she still had a future. Sheppard did have a need-to-know and he had a right to feel deceived. He knew that she has not been feeling well which means she had been lying to him about the cause. Teyla chose not to tell Sheppard about the pregnancy for two months. She chose to go on a mission where she did not need to be. She does have a right to privacy up to a point, but not when other’s lives are involved. Pregnancy can be a non-issue in many situations, but nausea can be debilitating where performance is critical. Sheppard is her friend. She knows him well. She knew Sheppard would consider her not telling him as a betrayal of the team and their friendship. She knowingly sacrificed his trust.

Larrin is an interesting character. Clearly meant to bring some levity to a dark and intense season, she and the Travelers remain mysterious even after participating in the battle against the replicators. Most of her interest lies in her relationship with Sheppard. Sheppard, who, in the history of the show, has actually been shown as interested in few women, really only Chaya, who he seemed to have an immediate connection with through the Ancient gene, and Teer, who he spent six months with, has always been described (by McKay, anyway) as the charming Fly Boy, attractive to women (and, I think, the female viewers will verify that). Larrin, however, shows no attraction to him. In Travelers, which was played for humor, Larrin has him tortured, threatens him and flirts with him to get what she wants. Then she turns away and becomes a no-nonsense leader. In BAMSR, the usually confident Sheppard is off balance around her, seeming to be wary of her, confused by her and attracted to her all at the same time. JF’s portrayal of this bewildered Sheppard is absolutely inspired. His expressions are classic and fun to watch. The transformation in Sheppard as soon as he becomes aware of Larrin is comical. At the end of BAMSR, as he is leaving Larrin, he asks for a way to contact her ‘for professional reasons;’ she essentially answers, don’t call me, I’ll call you. Jill Wagner makes an effective over-the-top, enigmatic Larrin, capable of drawing the wrath of every Sheppard shipper in fandom. It seems she would be a character for adolescent boys, but I find Larrin and the role reversal she represents, intriguing. This is a relationship I look forward to seeing again multiple times in season 5 (If not again in S4). Best line Larrin to Sheppard: ‘Oh, nothing for you to concern your pretty little head with.’

I’ll leave the evaluation of space battles to others and just say, WOW! My suspension of disbelief usually carries me through them and through the technobable too. I do wonder how they keep track of who is on their side and how safe it was for Sheppard to be out there in the same kind of ship the replicators had (especially with Larrin).

The ending with some version of Weir was unexpected. No guesses about where it will lead. It is a stub for whatever TPTB decide to do in the future, good or evil.

Funniest scene: Colonel. Colonel. Colonel. Colonels. Colonel. Colonels. Seriously?
Favorite scene: In the jumper at the hive ship. The Wraith waking Sheppard.
Most profound line-Fran: One always wishes to fulfill one's purpose.

BAMSR seems to be a nexus for the season. It draws from the episodes that come before it, wraps up some story arcs and sets up the continuation of others.
Great episode.
Great season.
Sheppard: Hmm! Wraith back being enemies; Replicators don't exist any more; you end your dry spell…
All is right with the world.

January 13th, 2008, 11:37 AM
To be honest, This Mortal Coil seemed like nothing more than a railroaded MacGuffin to set up the second part of the two-parter. With this in mind, I had high expectations for Be All My Sins Remember'd, and, thankfully, was not dissapointed.

Interestingly, Be All My Sins seems to excel in the very areas that This Mortal Coil struggled in.
The first of these areas was the foreshadowing of the episode's plot. Be All My Sins felt well placed because it fitted with the rest of the season. Rather than a brief and forced vision of the episode that was more like a trailer, we have some real resolution of a lot of loose ends from Season 4. The Travellers, Todd the Wraith and the Wraith-Asuran war all felt naturally placed on their own, but all pay off in this midseason finale without feeling forced in any way.

Another way in which this episode triumphed over its precursor is in the character of Fran. The idea that she may be a person rather than a weapon is brought up and although never really resolved, it accomplishes its goal of looking at the characters' views on the matter. However, this idea didn't feel forced into the episode in the way that it did in This Mortal Coil. We have McKay feeling uncomfortable over her, and Carter accepting that it's the only way, but it happily sits in the background without screaming "look at me, we're tackling serious moral issues now!"

The real flaw in this episode is the timing of it. The episode tries to fit a good deal of plot into only forty-five minutes and it's clear that things are bursting at the seams. The two times this really sticks out is meeting with the Hive Ships and the work designing the planet-destroying anti-Asuran weapon. In both cases, the audience-proxy; Zelenka and Sheppard, are removed from the scene, then returned in time for another character to info-dump the intervening events. This was quite noticeable, but it was done relatively elegantly and all in all, it didn't detract from the episode too much.

Arguments have appeared about the battle, and the relatively "weak" Auroras. Although these arguments may have merits, I think it is important to remember that throughout Atlantis, drones are shown to be powerful weapons, but no indication appears as to how hard they actually are to build. The Tau’ri strategy has also been to swarm an enemy ship with drones, but the Asurans, who actually build their own, may be more cautious in wasting them against a clearly inferior fleet, especially when they’re probably expecting something bigger to arrive to justify the whole endeavour.

For Be All My Sins, a mention has to go to the CGI. The CGI for Season 4 continues to live up to its impressive standard, especially in the final battle over Asuras. It is important to strike a balance, however, between flashy space explosions and real action. The special effects' job is to compliment the actors, not overwhelm it. Fortunately, this episode achieves this well, and doesn't fall into the trap of showing a pretty battle rather than the characters. Throughout the fight, we see all of the characters talking, giving orders and co-ordinating the battle. Ultimately, it is Colonel Ellis, Colonel Caldwell, Todd and Larrin fighting over Asuras, and not the Daedalus, the Apollo, some Travellers and the Wraith, and this is definitely a good thing.

Although it is less noticeable than the special effects or the plot, Be All My Sins features the kind of light humour that has come to signify Atlantis. Ellis/McKay, Zelenka/McKay and Sheppard/McKay dialogue all retains its wit and humour, without feeling like any one character is just there to be laughed at.

In conclusion, although I would have preferred a better lead-up to this episode than the railroaded plot device of This Mortal Coil, Be All My Sins Remember'd is a strong episode and a good example of Atlantis at its best. After a fairly weak third season, it's good to see some reliable episodes breathing life back into the series, and we can only hope that the rest of season 4 lives up to this high standard.

January 30th, 2008, 07:11 PM
The second half of season 4 opened with a bang – literally. “Be All My Sins Remembered” offered the viewer classic; one might even say epic, science fiction drama – space battles, questionable alliances and top notch CGI. It also offered some strong and somewhat surprising characters moments.

The episode opened with the Atlantis team using intelligence garnered from the mid season finale as theyare seen desperately trying to evacuate planets before the arrival of the Asurans. However their efforts are unsuccessful as the Asurans arrive and they subsequently loose not only many people on the planet but also military personnel. The first few minutes of the episode does an excellent job of setting the desperate and ominous tone for the situation they are facing. What follows is a plan that seems fairly straightforward at first but quickly becomes more complicated and perilous as it has to rely on some uncertain and unexpected components.

The military Alliance between Atlantis, the Wraith and the Travelers was risky, questionable, precarious and intriguingly delicious. It was an alliance not born of mutual trust but rather mutual need - to eliminate the Asurans – and even the reason to eliminate the Asurans was different for each; for the Travelers they needed to preserve their trading partners for food and supplies, the Wraith wanted to survive and Atlantis wanted to prevent the annihilation of humans in the Pegasus Galaxy for whom circumstances they felt responsible for. An alliance like this is intriguing for the possible twists it can take, as one can never really trust the other. The phrase “to dance with the devil” comes to mind when describing this alliance.

Rodney eventually comes up a plan to destroy the Asurans by creating a program to attract and bind their nanites together instead of breaking them apart. He named his plan FRAN, who turned out to be a rather attractive and compelling replicater “created” by Rodney to deliver the program that would ultimately destroy the Asurans. However FRAN was supposed to be a square box, when that failed Rodney created a human form replicater – FRAN - to carry out the plan. What he did not count on her unsettlingly human characteristics. Her creation brought up just as many questions as it answered, one of which how self aware she was and was it right to have her “kill herself.” The plan is tenuous, desperate and has questionable ethics to consider as they decide to move forward; perhaps Sheppard’s line, “…I guess it’s that kind of a mission” sums it all up quite well.

The episode also had some good character moments that brought some surprising turns. It was good to see Carter finally flex some command muscle and dress Ellis down for his inappropriate remarks about Rodney. It was a nice throwback to Hammond and how he would stand up for his people. Carter needed a moment like this to establish herself as commander, to both the characters on the show and the viewers.

Sheppard’s reaction to Teyla’s announcement that she was pregnant was unexpected on one level but understandable on another. Ronon’s response by being understanding and supportive was also unexpected and understandable. It was interesting that the writers did not take the easy or expected response for each character but instead added a little twist to the moment. Certainly made it more interesting - and, in the case of Teyla and John, something needing to be resolved later.

Just when one would expect to have the episode wrap up and end, the writers throw in one final twist. The set up comes when Rodney clicks the Asuran home world planet out of the computer and Sheppard says, “If only that easy in real life” gave one the sense of the end, but in hindsight, foreshadowing. The next view was of the ruined Asuran planet. There was some good viewer misdirection here as one might be expecting to see some surviving replicator cells. Instead the viewers were treated to a surprise, an Asuran ship with Dr. Elizabeth Weir at the helm who declared quite ominously, “It’s time to begin.” Those few seconds at the end with Weir will provide a lot of discussion and speculation over the coming months. Was that the real Weir or a clone? Is she under the control of the replicator? Is that the faction of rep looking for ascend? What is Weir’s role; is she leader? What is that group of replicators up to? How will it eventually affect Atlantis and the team? Very intriguing and it opens up a plethora of both storyline possibilities and character angst. This is one plot element that the producers need to follow up and see through to a satisfactory conclusion.

There was a lot of stuff going on in this episode. One wonders if the producers should have considered a two-parter, but after repeated viewing making it a two-parter would have actually been detrimental to the story. Having it too drawn out would have made many scenes and the big battle seem somewhat anti-climatic and given the viewer the feeling – wow they went through all that for this! The fast paced nature of the episode added to the general desperate and urgent feeling the story was trying to evoke.

The special effects department gets an A+++. The CGI, especially the battle scenes were all outstanding.
Exceptional writing by Martin Gero and directing by Andy Mikita all contributed to the success of this episode.

“Be All My Sins Remembered” brought together a variety of different plotlines in a cohesive, fast paced and exciting story that offered a little bit of everything, action, intrigue, character moments, and it delivered on all counts.


September 17th, 2012, 02:55 PM
Be All My Sins Remember'd

I have finally reached the episode which Atlantis fans praise up the wazoo. Awesome visual effects, awesome plot, awesome usage of the replicators, Fran! This is one of those epic episodes that Stargate seems to do so well but there must be something in this episode that separates it from all of the other epics out there. If several people call one of the best episode of the show then I'm in for an experience right, surely thousands of Stargate fans can't be wrong?

Unfortunately, they were.


Let's talk about the thing that gets the most praise here; the visual effects. The 44 minutes that spans this episode surely leaves us with some amazing visual treats; everywhere you look, explosions all around you and those explosions sure look realistic. Boom, blast, ka-blong! The sheer amount of ferocity the way they seemlessly blend into the world are a sign of the talent that Stargate's visual effects team shows, so are the ships that appear on the show. The expressive detail, lighting and coloring makes all of the ships we see just as memorable as the next and we see upwards of 50 or more ships in the episode. We can't forget about the super impressive nanite effects and the awesome ever flowing blob; the small details, the sense of scale, all portrayed masterfully. The real wonder is how they manage to incorporate ships, explosions and nanites into one scene and have it all balanced; it's quite a feat really, all those ships, tons of explosions, everything going on screen all at once, they must of worked for hours just trying to find the right balance between action and sci-fi, those ships firing their lasers, getting destroyed, explosions all about; none of it seems to get in the way but all of it seems to contribute to the action. It's awesome how they manage to use the visual effects.

But it feels like the effects are the most prominent thing of the episode taking about 65% of the episode; the other 35% is of course reserved for the plot and surprisingly, the plot doesn't live up. Much of it is mainly Rodney trying to find a way to rid the replicators and the Atlantis crew recruiting ships for the epic fight at hand; you would think that with the episode's last scene they would have to face an insurmountable threat but it isn't even felt here, sure there are some scenes where it's felt; planets being evacuated and seeing a planet be destroyed from example but for the most part it's mainly forgoing the threat. If I was watching an episode that was highly praised for being epic then I would want the episode to focus on the threat; sure McKay's scenes are good as he tried to explain the highly technical stuff to the crew and as he tried to build his own replicator but if there isn't a threat then where does that leave us? The others are in the same boat as McKay as well, they act as if they were going into something epic but for most of the time we see them, they act as the third wheel; not bothering to play a major part in any of the scenes even when given the opportunity. For the most part, Sheppard manages to stand out from the crowd but that's because he's given scenes where he can at least utilize his skill, scenes such as chatting with Teyla and being tied up while chatting with a woman for example.

Sheppard gets the most action.

The battle that happens 35 minutes into the episode is what you expect from a Stargate epic but there are simply too many ingredients in the pot; we get ships fighting, we get McKay trying to save the day, we get the nanites and we even have a surprise that hampers them. I understand what they're trying to do but it's just hard for me to get involved when I'm being flashed with tons of visual effects trying to be impressed, I mean just look at the Star Wars prequels. The characters are doing well with the action they're given but it seems like they too are aware that there's a lot going on and so they try to match up to what's going on, often to poor results. Stuff like this can be done right you know (the replicators bunching up becoming Godzlilla, the ships trying to hold back the replicators, them blowing up the planet...), just look at SGA's very own "The Siege", it had tons of stuff doing on but it had real stakes, it had characters which truly felt the weight of the situation and it didn't try to be anything more then what it was, which was a last stand without any hope; It didn't have to resort to excessive space battles or even excessive visual effects, it just focused on the situation at hand and the characters in that situation. Now if it were done somewhat like that then maybe, maybe it might not be such a chore to watch.

There were some good things though; Teyla's acting is one that both fits her character and promises to change her character at the same time, admitting that she's pregnant is quite possibly one of the best moments in the episode as it showcases her confident personality clashing with those of the crew that gives her a much needed dynamic plot wise. Sam is making some steps towards not being Weir, the moments on the Daedalus shows both her different ways of involvement and her different style of command, no one will think Sam is Weir when she's on that ship and there are some moments where her old SG1 self comes out, showcasing the worry and judgement that made her what she is today; however, those moments are few and inbetween and Sam still hasn't gotten past the Weir block (additionally, the chemistry that supposedly exists between Rodney and Sam is nonexistent; it's like those episodes where they were together in SG1 never happened.) but it's nice to know steps are being taken and what they tried to explore with Fran was admirable with the fear of dying and the desire to keep on living; it's short but it gives the episode some depth.

McKay and Sam... I don't know.

Many people praise this as one of the best in Season 4 but the truth is, it's not what they make it out to be.
The action is there, the visual effects are amazing and it's definitely epic but the other stuff such as the plot, the characters and the stakes don't live up to the promises of the episode as evident by the fact that many of their characters spend their time playing a lesser position. The main problem is that there are too many special effects, often drawing it's focus away at various times; special effects are good when used accordingly but too many special effects can often lead to a bad thing, when you're showing off the cool explosions and ships that you made, you often forget about the characters and more of these characters could of gone a long way in an episode like this. This isn't something you should go out of your way to see but it is decent.