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FAN REVIEWS: 'Missing'

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    FAN REVIEWS: 'Missing'

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    During a visit to New Athos, Teyla and Dr. Keller find themselves on the run from a primitive tribe of warriors.



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    Last edited by GateWorld; February 4, 2021, 12:56 AM.

    4x07 Missing

    The winning streak that was this season had to come to an end sometime. My prediction is that this will be my least favorite episode of the season. I certainly hope there are no more like this. In contrast to Tabula Rasa, which seemed to fly by, Missing crawled. I found myself looking at the clock repeatedly to see how long they would drag out the dull running around in the woods and when the rest of the team would get involved. The answer was for almost the entire episode. There was no ‘B’ plot. There was no team. There was essentially no story, but that is fine when the happenings are exciting, suspenseful, humorous or otherwise entertaining. That was not the case here.

    This was a very predictable and superficial episode, essentially no suspense, no sci-fi, with the characters on a repeat loop. Teyla is the one being brave, calm and encouraging (no surprise there). Keller is the scared whiny brat. Over and over. Predictably, Keller finds some backbone along the way. There is not much change in the relationship between the two women in this episode. I expect, future episodes will show them as having bonded, but the process did not stand out here.

    Best parts: Any of the scenes with Sheppard, McKay or Ronon. All of them actually seemed like they were part of an Atlantis episode instead of ‘Survivor’. Of the rest, Teyla being irritated at Keller seemed real and was about the only character development Teyla received. Teyla’s being afraid of the Bola Kai did lend some urgency to the situation. Teyla’s killing all their attackers to keep them from alerting the others was wise and a look at the darker side of her, but certainly not unexpected of the character we already know. The choreography of the fights is always intriguing.

    This was more Keller’s episode than Teyla’s. She is the one that received the character development. She was a character that was beginning to fit in and that I was coming to like. Unfortunately, this episode threw her back into the questionable category or maybe the ‘who cares’ category. If we are lucky, most of her time will be spent standing by bedsides in future episodes.

    Teyla has a boyfriend. Let’s hope he doesn’t go the way of most main character’s love interests. Someone needs to tend the home and hearth. He and ‘the family’ would provide Teyla with an activity and focus that she has been lacking for a long time. Being a working ‘family person,’ if handled correctly, could add depth to the show and to the family feel of Sheppard’s team.

    Leaving the fate of the Athosians open-ended means that their disappearance will be addressed in the future. Their story arc has got to get more interesting in future episodes.

    * Sheppard’s goodbye, “Have fun kids,” contrasts with the horror that awaits them.
    * Teyla has a ‘date’ with Kanan. Sheppard teasing her about looking like she has date.
    * Sheppard and McKay’s game of guessing the character form the actor’s name. Very cute.
    * McKay’s list of medications.
    * The lollipops. The Bola Kai with one.
    * The rope bridge. That would be so much fun to play on (a foot off the ground, of course).
    * Keller’s Summer camp story.
    * Teyla’s rite of passage story.
    * Sheppard on duty in the control room. Rarely see that aspect of his job. No need for a gratuitous leader presence here.
    * Coolest scene: Sheppard, McKay and Ronon appearing from the cloaked jumper.
    * Best lines:
    McKay "Hey, Arrows can hurt"
    Ronan "Only if you’re stupid enough to get hit in the ass with one"

    Not so good:
    * No sci-fi. Running around in the woods the whole time with cannibals. What show is this?
    * Keller’s whining. Terror is an unflattering look on Staite. McKay was never this annoying.
    * Not going armed. Everyone should have enough experience to not step through the gate unprepared to protect themselves. It’s a blind one way trip.
    * Neither one of them has their radio in a pocket.
    * Leaving the weapons from the first fight. At the very least hide them so they are available later.
    * Keller protecting herself with a scalpel when earlier she was holding a big knife.
    * Teyla fighting in a long, tight leather coat.
    * More primitive people. The Bola Kai. At least they have an added dimension, cannibalism.
    * Predictably, the wounded man was going to be trouble.
    * Wraith worshippers may be getting a little too common.
    * A whole planet to put a stargate on and it is in deep woods in mountainous country.
    * The Athosians are farmers in deep woods in mountainous country.
    * Sheppard: “Searched the whole planet, no life signs.” Since when can they distinguish human life signs?

    This episode may even surpass The Real World as my least liked episode. Only time will tell. Let’s hope there are no more like it this season or ever. Very low on my repeatability scale.

    Oh hum.


      Heralded by Joe Mallozzi as the ‘Thelma and Louise’ of the Stargate world, Missing’s only real similarity with that film is that two hunted women have to fight against the odds to survive. Ultimately Missing has less in common with that classic film, and much more in common with original Stargate movie – and that’s not a bad thing. Both Rachel Luttrell and Jewel Staite bring life to their characters in what is ultimately a very simple story set in a very simple setting, and which relies on the mix of action and dialogue to maintain pace and interest while setting up season arcs.

      The story is simple focusing on the bonding of two very different people; one, a civilian who finds courage and the other, a warrior who has to deal with a devastating personal loss. The story is one at the heart of Stargate history; the original Jack and Daniel dynamic and even the friendship between Sheppard and McKay has overtones. In bonding together, civilian and military form a strong union that allows them to survive. The repetition of theme with the two male characters substituted for female brings a subtly different dynamic to the piece.

      The main credit has to go to Carl Binder for the writing; there are lots of great nuggets in amongst the entire piece; the description of the ‘flying ship which came through the portal and disappeared’ painted a vivid picture, the banter between Ronon and McKay over arrows. It is a well-written episode and that shines through. Binder always does a great job at writing female characters and with the story pared back to the women being hunted, it provides many opportunities to showcase both characters; Keller’s fear and panic in contrast to Teyla’s steely calm resolve; Keller’s ability to rationalise what has happened to Teyla’s people in contrast to Teyla’s emotion-clouded thinking. Both women are shown as competent in their fields yet vulnerable; Keller in her fear and Teyla in confiding about Kanan. Equally, the personal stories that pepper the dialogue in between action reveal back-story for both women in an understated way.

      With such a simple story the danger of it dragging in terms of pace is very high but there is a nice mix of action and dialogue. The stunt work and fight scenes deserve a mention for creating a sense of real danger, both in Teyla’s fight with the Bola Kai and in Keller’s crossing of the rope bridge which was enhanced with the brilliant direction and sweeping canyon shot. The action pieces offset the more subdued sitting and talking moments which provide the exposition. The pace is a little off in places – but in the main, the action and dialogue are spaced out well enough to keep the viewer engaged. However, a small complaint is that it was obvious in a couple of places that Luttrell was replaced by her stunt double – usually the horrendous wig was a give away.

      Both Luttrell and Staite turn in credible performances. Staite excels in displaying Keller’s fear; in the scene where Keller and Teyla are hiding under the overhang of a rock, Keller’s fright as she admits she knows she should be prepared is incredibly well done. Equally, Luttrell’s best moment comes in Teyla’s confiding her friendship with Kanan; her fear of what has happened, her caring for him and her sense of loss come across clearly. Kudos to both women for carrying the episode so well.

      In wider terms, the story by all accounts begins an important arc for Teyla and for the series; it will be interesting to see where they go with it. The final scene with the ‘we have to talk’ line from Keller leaves the audience wondering what is wrong (although for those of us spoiled on Teyla’s upcoming pregnancy makes that slightly less dramatic) and the mention of Kanan provides the groundwork for who’s the daddy. I do wish though that some mention of the mysterious friend from childhood had been worked into a previous episode; Reunion would have been a good place with Teyla and Ronon’s discussion on leaving their people to fight with the Atlantis expedition. While some of the scripts were written before Luttrell revealed her pregnancy, it would have been good to have included something in an earlier episode to provide a better grounding for Teyla’s sudden and secret romance.

      The episode also does a great job of painting a wider picture of the Pegasus Galaxy and Stargate Universe; the Bola Kai are an interesting addition. They may provide some good material in the future and I hope they aren’t forgotten or have been used as a one-trick pony. Equally fascinating is the rather ruthless Nabel, and again, here’s hoping more will be made of him in future episodes; he had a certain darkness that bodes well as a potential successor for the much missed Kolya.

      It is surprising from a Stargate perspective to realise that this was the first time in a long while that female characters have been provided an opportunity for a buddy-buddy episode. I can’t help but regret that this wasn’t done earlier with Weir and Teyla; nor can I get away from the nagging sensation that it would have been more appropriate to have had a Carter/Teyla bonding episode given Keller is supposed to be a recurring character – although admittedly such a story would have been very different to Missing given the civilian versus warrior dynamic would have been absent. I like Keller but the jury is definitely out on whether this is the best use of the character mix.

      As a female buddy story, Missing does have similarities to ‘Thelma and Louise’ but its roots are firmly embedded in the Stargate history. Civilian and military working together to save the universe has worked well for the franchise for eleven years and counting; Missing is no exception to that rule and while I may question which characters were showcased and wish for minor improvements, I enjoyed it.
      Women of the Gate LJ Community.
      My Stargate Fanfiction. My LiveJournal.



        Stargate is a purely action/adventure based franchise so those types of episodes focusing on action/adventure they do well but Stargate has been known to do the character-based episode; one where the character is put through a scenario which reveals her most inner secrets, provides a substantial growth to her character and gives the audience a chance to be engaged at the tribulations and struggles of the character. This episode is one of those character-based ones and guess who's the focus of this episode? Dr. Keller, the doctor who's just starting out in this Stargate world.

        Placing her in a situation where there is no easy escape and an ever certain struggle of life & death is the perfect way to exploit her character, so is not including many scenes in Atlantis. Yes for the majority of the episode there are no cutaways to Atlantis, (only two or so which are mostly minor and mostly there to serve certain requirements such as having a McKay/Sheppard scene or checking up on their status) it's kind of like what "The Real World" would of been had they gone that extra mile; there is nothing to get in the way of Keller as she goes through this journey of hers, it's just her and surprisingly Teyla all alone with just their guts, instincts and whatever they can find. I have to say that introducing Teyla really sets up the situation well; the environment, the mystery (which manages to be subtle but is evident at times), the antagonists... Teyla's a good character when her potential is used and used it is here; the stuff here is different from the norm yet related to the characters in some way, there's a sense of tension and uncertainty that's hidden within a layer of beauty and there's also a counterbalance that works well for our character of the hour. Everything here is essential to the episode at hand yet feels like it's laying the ground for future SGA episodes, I doubt it would of worked if someone else went with her; sure some elements would remain but we wouldn't get a true exploration into Keller's character.

        True character.

        Dr. Keller may be a recurring character (though appearing in many of the episodes of SGA) but she feels like a main character in terms of the potential she has, the hidden history that she holds, her likes and dislikes, her personality, her traits and her inner ambitions. Every one of those things are explored in the episode in the most satisfying way possible, drawing attention to both the major parts and the subtle parts of her character and as time goes on, there is a sense that the character is being guided along a path of self-revelation, one of growth... There is something you see in Keller having to face obstacle after obstacle, moment after moments; there are moments where she appears vulnerable and then there are moments where she's the most heroic person there is and throughout the episode, we can see portions of her character being revealed and that she's changing and becoming more then just a doctor. Teyla with her aggressive, stern and confident personality can only add to Keller's performance; her bravado acts like the thing that keeps everyone safe yet manages to be something that shows a contrast and reinforces Keller's views and beliefs (while also showcasing a bit of Teyla's character herself); and through her worst and best moments, the actor behind her manages to put out an amazing performance even managing to shed a few tears here and there.

        The writing in here is exceptional, managing to nicely portray a character story with a progressive growth that ends satisfactory. They waste no time in making scenes that are important to the story at hand, placing them in settings that seem magnificent yet sensible at the same time; filler is narely to be found in this episode and you can tell that they know how to utilize these scenes as you feel the sense of naturalness and somberness that many of these scenes have, (even music doesn't even bother to appear) The pacing may be a bit off at parts but it chugs along nicely, managing to get to a pivitol part of the story in only 20 minutes. They even manage to throw in a couple of twists or two such as including a fellow who feels minor but ultimately plays an essential part in many scenes; I was surprised as to how he added to Dr. Keller's character or even how he managed to play a big role in the climax himself, I would of thought he would of been a character who just happened to hang out for the episode and never be seen again but he proves to be more then that especially when he's in a state of vulnerability. And the cinematography/lighting deserves mention for really exposing the beauty and the weight that many of these scenes/moments have; the grey hues combined with the various sweeping wide shots and perfect balance between characters and detail are amazingly effective for the episode as a whole.

        A really good shot.

        "Missing" is a fine episode, fine acting, fine story, fine writing, fine character exploraiton. If there is one flaw, I would have to say it's Keller's acting in the beginning but I wouldn't blame it on the character; to me her actions don't seem that objectionable, she's just a person who's going off world for the first time, (similar to Beckett.) it's obvious that she would freak out and overreact but I'm guessing the problem for most people is how she overreacts. I can understand the hate, she is somewhat annoying but getting through those annoying moments is somewhat like a right of passage in itself; through these moments lies substantial character and if you can manage to find that then you'll find a pretty good episode. It still doesn't deter the fact that there is something you have to get past but to each his own and with what happens in the end, I'm interested in seeing what happens in regards to character and importance.

        Back from the grave.