View Full Version : SGA "Midway" Repairing the Plotholes

September 18th, 2008, 05:53 AM
Multiple viewing value of a DVD episode depends a lot on how well the viewer can mentally "paper over" continuity issues or holes in the plot. A SciFi affectionato can normally be expected to do a lot toward preserving the "suspension of disbelief" but there are limits and boundaries that, once exceeded, break the episode. A broken episode is then devalued to throwaway or perhaps very limited as a nostalgia keepsake. Fortunately, there are many episodes in the DVD set that remain enjoyable to watch over and over again (imo), unfortunately, with a big gaping hole in the plot unresolved, this is not one of them.

I'm thinking that someday the state of technology may improve to the point that episode "patches" or "upgrades" might be possible the way they are for computer software now. This seems especially feasible when the primary means of purchase becomes digital downloading. It seems to me that any helpful things cooked up now might eventually filter their way up such that future "re-releases" with a their hypothetical "service pack" of options might be all that much better. In fact, I'm not sure why right now a DVD viewer can't program select to have a "deleted scene" spliced back in if they desire. Maybe that could be the next step in tech to anticipate on the way. Wouldn't it be cool if one could select the "mood" of an episode depending on which scenes are used, e.g., more action, less action but more character moments, more humor, skip certain humor, etc.

Sheppard Spacesuit Scene Recap:

There is a scene that takes place in the in the Midway station. After it has been overrun by Wraith, Sheppard, sole surviving human at large, is trying to fight his way to the jumper bay. In desperation, he radios Rodney to evacuate all the air except for the control room. Rodney types in the command. The Wraith all quickly keel over and die of asphyxiation, save the head wraith, who ambushes Sheppard near the airlock. Some head wraiths must be made of sterner stuff, as we learned in "Sateta", in this case, maybe even if they don't look it. Ahem. Maybe.

Sheppard prevails in the life and death struggle with the head wraith but subsequently falls over in turn from lack of oxygen. It looks as if he is passing out, or worse. The next time we see Sheppard is a few minutes later, inside a spacesuit, where, alerted by the sound of breathing, McKay discovers him.

Statement of the Sheppard Spacesuit Problem:

The big problem is that there is no way in heck that Sheppard could have gotten into that spacesuit by himself, especially in his near-death condition. Even if he could, though it's clearly impossible in the Stargate world as well as our own, he would not still be hanging on the wall, which also makes no sense. It's barely plausible that a fully functional McKay, aka spacesuit expert, could have gotten him out of the suit, in the amount of time available. Other than the fact that Sheppard, essentially ordered McKay to get him out of the suit, why not just drag Sheppard, suit and all, into the jumper. Nevertheless, with a seconds to spare, all of them fly away in the jumper, with spacesuit-free Sheppard at the controls, no less.

How Sheppard got into the suit is by far, the worst gaping hole in the plot, fatal in the sense of destroying suspension of disbelief unless some way can be conceived to bridge the gap. The only thing we have going for us is that we have 10-15 minutes of off camera story time in which something can happen to save the day.

The challenge is to devise something that could have happened off camera and preserve continuity, as opposed to something that would require rewriting and reshooting the existing scenes, such as adding an emergency air closet for Sheppard to crawl into.

Sheppard Spacesuit WT Solution

Definitely talking ex deux machina territory here. Or...maybe just ex machina...

So, my first attempt was to apply what might be called, the Wallace and Grommit "Wrong Trousers" solution: (In the spirit of Episode 200 in SG1)

The (previously off camera) scene begins with Sheppard laying unconscious on the floor.

Two long robotic maintenance arms controlled by the station's A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) spring forth from trap doors in the ceiling. They industriously unscrew the helmut off the wall-mounted suit, then reach down to grasp at Sheppard. We now notice that Sheppard's arms, in the clutch of robotic hands, are compactly pinned to each side of his torso as he is hoisted above the now headless spacesuit body. They summarily stuff him down through the hole, feet first, then quickly screw the top back on.

The mechanical hands slap their palms together in glancing blows, job well done, but then pause. One hand raises its forefinger in the air, as if having an afterthought. Suddenly the other robotic hand flourishes a feather duster, brushes the suit with a few quick strokes. The other jointed metallic hand, thumb to tip of forefinger, gestures the "OK" sign while we are treated to the classic "ping" sound and pinpoint flash of light that signifies that the suit is now sparkling clean. The pair go limp, then rapidly retract and disappear back up into the ceiling.

That's why later, Sheppard asks for help getting out because his arms aren't actually in the sleeves of the suit, you see. :)

We never see maintenance people swabbing the decks or polishing rails. Why wouldn't there be robotic maintenance arms poised behind regularly spaced doorways throughout the station that take care of such routine tasks when we are not looking? The station sure looks clean and has a computer, after all.

A really breathtaking portrayal of A.I. controlled robotic arms can be seen in an episode near the end of Season Three of a different franchise, Star Trek "Enterprise". They're inside a giant sphere that is more-or-less a giant space station. But that's there and this is here.

Alas, we never see robot tech in SG except mostly human form. And replicators are too too dangerous, even "friendly" ones, (regrettably, even Like Eva, in "Outcast"). And, have to admit, the Midway's computer is dumber than a shell-face wraith drone. I guess the station just looks clean because it's new.

Various "...Complaints and Misgivings" threads in the forum here have a some related good stuff in them. But this thread is hopefully to be about "Midway" episode-specific solutions now that problems are identified. It has also been proposed that maybe one of Sheppard's ascended girlfriends helped him. Perhaps call that the "AG Solution". A few kinks to work out, but promising... Very promising.

September 19th, 2008, 11:23 AM
Sheppard Spacesuit AG Solution

It has been proposed that one of Sheppard's Ascended Girlfriends helped him get into the spacesuit in "Midway", hence, The "AG Solution".

It really is the only possible way. But, which girlfriend?

Let's see, on the one hand, he had essentially one heavy date with pre-ascended Athar, in "Santuary", but they had to break it off because of conflicting work schedules.

On the other hand, in "Epiphany", we have Teer, whom he saw regularly for six months during which they became pretty intimate, before he helped her ascend.

I'm going with bachelorette number two, Teer.

Actually, it is perhaps Hetta, Teer's little sister, that was enamored with him the most because only she felt the graveness of his condition as she exhausted herself to heal him each time he fought the beast. Sheppard's demonstration of bravery and fortitude was ultimately responsible for enabling them all to have their epiphany, and consequently achieve their lifelong ambition. So the bond may be even stronger with Hetta than with Teer, though it is of a different nature.

There is still a slight glitch to figure out.

Ascended beings seem galaxy dependent which implies that they can't sustain their existence between galaxies.

Inside a galaxy, it may be merely taxing for an AB to travel the interstellar distances, not impossible, even though they are seen using gates for that purpose.

Telepathy can go galaxy wide, so since the ascended are big on telepathy, they can presumably at least project part of themselves that far. They also seem to have no trouble flying through space.

Some New Age mystics have espoused that emanations from the center of the galaxy can have influence on states of spirituality. Maybe a component of this emanation sort of lights up ascended beings with energy that they then channel using their strength of will.

The inverse square law would apply such that as one moves farther out from a galactic core, the energy diminishes rapidly. So an ascended being trying to fly between galaxies would normally "run out of gas" long before getting very far out, then, like an exhausted bird no longer able to flap its wings, fall back down to Earth, or, in this case, Pegasus.

Ascended beings of pure energy could be expected to be pretty flexible, nearly infinitely "stretchy", Probably not very pleasant for them but if telepathy can extend the width of a galaxy, maybe an AB could stretch like a rubber band that far too, but then have to spring back to the starting point when they tired out, because they actually haven't gone anywhere.

Now, what if another ascended being was, in effect, standing on the shoulders of the first? The second might be propelled upward when they stretched and the two would be able to twice as far. I'm thinking the same thing for holding hands and going sideways, they could spin and then fan out, like a line of performing ice skaters, "cracking the whip".

Maybe Teer and Sheppard at least had telepathic contact initially, and then somehow Teer and the others managed to stretch themselves out to the dying Sheppard just long enough to help him ascend, after which he would have been able to enter the suit before fizzling out and falling. Then all he would have had to do was to immediately return to mortal form once inside the suit.

Adjacent galaxies are surprisely close together compared to their width. Only about twenty times as far apart as they are wide, on average.

Galaxy Info:

Therefore, since there were around ten in the cloister, ten AB working together should be able to, extend out halfway, just barely,

Something like this:

The Missing Scenes

Sheppard slips toward unconsciousness as he lay there on the floor.

His thoughts start drifting to his time in the Cloister with Teer.

A misty ethereal look pervades everything in the dreamscape.

They are in the meditation room, Teer is instructing Sheppard in ways of ascension but Sheppard is drawn to her eyes. He then finds himself focused on her moving lips that now seem to be speaking words that fade into an irrelevant murmur. As Sheppard gazes, she becomes more and more beautiful.

Now, the background changes, they are embracing in the "bedroom" scene.


Teer: "Yes, John?"

Sheppard: "Well, what I mean is.... I want us to be together."

Teer: "But we are..."

Sheppard: "I mean really together...Like a... a couple. "

Teer: "But things are different now."

The scene changes to the center of the Cloister. Teer and John are standing by the fountain. We notice Hetta appearing on the scene looking pleased to see John. But she doesn't want to interrupt their conversation.

Sheppard: (now a bit agitated) "Yeah Yeah. So you're ascended, right? And I'm not. But I could have. I mean I could..."

Sheppard: (just noticing that their location changed) "What just happened now? Is this real?"

Teer:"That depends on what you mean by real."

Sheppard: (smiles) "You're ascended all right."

Hetta: (finally getting a chance to say something) "John! I'm so happy to see you!"

Sheppard: "Me too sweety. You know I was really starting to miss you too."

Hetta:"Still fighting monsters and beasts?"

Sheppard: "Actually, I think I remember winning this time."

Hetta: "Well, don't worry. Even if you...(her expression changes to alarm) Wait!"

Just then, Sheppard, seems to lose his balance a little, trips and falls backward into the fountain. Only something strange starts happening. The water around him starts bubbling and frothing violently.

Now Sheppard is floundering in a rapids, barely able to keep his head above water.

Teer: "John!"

Sheppard: "Help me..." his head bobs under.

Sheppard is being swept away by the angry water which is, of course, a metaphor for the fact that Sheppard is dying.

Hetta: "We must help him!"

Teer: (To the others as they gather around) "He helped us. Now it is our turn to help him."

Avrid: "There is a way, but the cost will be great."

Terr:"What price would you put on our ascendance?"

Avrid: (nodding with resolve. The others nod in agreement) "We will endure it, whatever the cost."

Sheppard is feeling very cold. He seems to have fallen off the edge of an ice sheet. His fingers futilely try to gain purchase on the edge of the ice, weaken, then he falls back in. The ocean extends expansively to the horizon behind him from the "shoreline" formed where the ice ends.

On his last attempt, he sees figures in the distance inland on the sea of thin ice. They seem to be skating. Ice capades? Was that the beast? The beast seems to be helping them participate in some kind of maypole dance. The figures spin and spiral in around the beast who serves as an anchor in the center.

Suddenly, they fan out and begin to "crack the whip" toward Sheppard. As they swing closer, We can see that it is in fact, Hetta, who is at the head of the line, her hand held tightly by Teer. Avrid and the others are further back in the human daisy chain.

The scene changes to outer space.

A cadre of ascended beings in tendril form are seen stretching out from the Pegasus galaxy.

Hetta and Teer are in the lead. The scene alters to superimpose on their form as light beings, close up of their faces bathed in an angelic glow, as their hair streams behind them as if buffeted by wind. Hetta, especially, is smiling with confidence and determination to help her friend. Midway can be seen as a speck in the distance growing ever larger against the black void as they speed toward their destination.

We shift to the inside scene where Sheppard has managed to roll over on his back. But that was the last of his remaining strength. Finally, a glowing blue tendril pushes through the wall, then a few more, they seem to be it fighting against a strong gusting wind to make headway.

Finally they seem to draw in, gather strength and with one final push they elongate forward, to a single strand, little more than a thread, that nevertheless, manages to caress Sheppard with a gentle tap on the forehead. It then pulls back into the tiny bundle which is now being reeled in by the other tendrils coming out of the wall to which it has remained attached. A moment later they all disappear from view into the wall again.

Back to the ice.

The skaters swoop forward. The lead skater, Hetta drops to one knee, skidding to a stop, then lays down. Hetta plunges her arm into the water to fish for Sheppard who has at this point disappeared beneath the surface

There is a scene of groping hands underwater one above, one reaching up from below. They finally touch and the fingers hook together. Sheppard is pulled upwards to once again breach the surface. He gasps a breath and finally gets his other elbow up on the shelf of ice supporting his weight

The fingers of their hands are slowly pulling apart. Hetta and the others are being pulled away. As they separate there is an ominous sound of ice cracking apart. The skaters are falling through!

Back to space.

The ascended beings' formation is collapsing. They all are tumbling in disarray as they tailspin back downwards into the Pegasus galaxy.

The scene changes. We see an x-ray view of Sheppard's head. His brain has a growing region that is lighting up like in the display of Rodney in "Tao of Rodney" (but without the numerics) Now his entire brain pulses. Sheppard's eyes flash open with sudden awareness, then close again.

Sheppard's body transforms into a glowing mass of blue tendrils. He has ascended. The mass of tendrils looks smaller than normal. In fact it is shrinking and flickering like a flashlight with weak batteries. It drifts up falteringly toward the spacesuit then draws itself in through the faceplate.

Back to the ocean. The skaters are gone The ice is gone. Sheppard sees empty ocean extending from horizon to horizon in all directions.

He finds himself clinging, not to a fragment ice, but to an oceangoing buoy. The lettering "Midway" becomes visible on its side. This one has a bell mounted on its top. It rings as the buoy bobs back and forth with the waves.

A thick fog rolls in obscuring all form. The sound of the clanging bell fades and transforms into the Midway station's self-destruct klaxon. His eye focus on a vaguely familiar face as Mckay peers in at him through the faceplate.

Sheppard isn't entirely sure where he is. Memory loss is stock in trade for returning to human form. Fortunately, Sheppard's won't be too severe as he was only ascended for a few seconds. Still, for now, all he knows is that the suit is making him fell very claustrophobic. Almost like drowning.

Sheppard: "Get me out of here."

Later when they are at the controls of the jumper.

(The following scene could be inserted after they have witnessed the

Sheppard: (To McKay) "Did they have a swimming pool?"

Mckay: (annoyance) "No."

McKay: (registering concern) "How long were you out there? And why'd you hang yourself on the wall like that?"

Sheppard: "I don't know."

McKay: "Heh. Oxygen depravation. I know all about that. Makes you do and see crazy things."

McKay(glancing back over shoulder to address the passengers): "Did I ever tell you about the time I was stuck in a sinking jumper....."

Everyone in the back: (annoyed, in unison)" "Yes."

McKay: (disappointed) "Oh. Right."