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  1. #1
    Chief Master Sergeant
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    Post Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Season one of Stargate: Atlantis was a powerhouse of new cultures, enemies and technologies for us to discover. We kick off with Rising, the introduction to Pegasus and all it has to offer. The moral standard our characters would adhere to had been set and with this done, they move on to new places with courage, compassion and cachet from the audience.

    But what if it hadn't happened as it did? What if the city didn't rise on cue?
    This eventuality is explored in my favourite SGA episode; Before I Sleep.

    Right from the start, there is an unusual similarity between Elizabeth and the old woman in the stasis pod. And it becomes apparent they are connected as we are given a shot of Weir in the foreground with 'Aged Weir' (whom I will refer to as AW) just over her shoulder. Fade the scenery around AW to the table in the middle of the room and she awakens to see the team around her. She gives no clue that she recognises them and turns her attention to the window upon which, smiles and announces "It worked," then falls asleep.

    While writing this I fell into an old habit of mine where I give too many irrelevant details so from this point on I'll assume you don't need a blow by blow 95% accurate script read to you. If something is really important I'll reference the time (MM:SS) on the DVD. This is the point in the episode where it changes from a good episode to a great episode.

    09:10, Weir looks down upon AW in a hospital bed and seems to be reflecting upon all the things that she feels she would have or could have done, in that time. AW awakes and begins telling her story to the best person to understand it, herself. The first scenes in Atlantis replay with subtle differences. Rodney tells AW that he was able to access the controls instantly and she replies "...Not the first time". This is where we start to see the sacrifice she's made to talk to our Weir. She continues her epic tale later in the episode as she is constantly falling in and out of consciousness.

    12:30, Weir requests a stimulant for AW and Carson refuses claiming it might kill her, Weir responds "I believe she can handle it, and i know she'd want it" This scene is among the most powerful in the whole first season and allows us insight into Weir's strength of character. It's well shot with a beautiful music choice, it resonates her drive and determination and the level of detriment she would endure for those she serves.

    13:55, Weir escorts AW to the Gate room, operational in all its' glory. Another amazing scene, it's a 'oner' which begins in a hallway behind AW then pans up and around the Gate room, the control room and back down the stairs to AW who sits in her wheel chair admiring 'what could have been'.

    14:10, AW: "Seeing the city like this, sitting on the surface of the ocean, you can't imagine how relieved i am,"
    McKay: "what are you saying, the city didn't rise the first time round?"
    AW: "No, no, the city was in serious trouble, the very moment we arrived"
    This conversation reveals to us not only; the key moment in the pilot that separated our reality from her own, but also AW's heroism which up to this point we took for granted. She continues the story and at this point i will add that all of the flashbacks are very well done, the subtle differences creating a big difference and the things that needed to be the same remained unchanged.

    16:05, The severity of their situation slaps us in the face catching us off guard, as we hear over the radio the death of Col. Sumner and his men with the crashing of ocean as windows break and screams for help fading away.

    17:55, The bulk heads throughout the city close, cutting people off from the Gate room, their escape, and their lives. Rodney tries to reopen them to no avail.

    18:20, Weir tells Rodney and Grouden not to wait too long before moving to the jumper bay, this is Rodney's finest hour up to now, he remains where he is and drowns while trying to save others lives. This says a lot for his character as we don't often see him being the heroic one and shows the audience he is as strong as John when he needs to be.
    Rodney: "I... died?"
    AW: "You never gave up trying... right until the end."

    21:05, Cue time travel and major disorientation. The wraith attack the jumper and AW while telling the story, becomes overwhelmed with emotion and she passes out.

    23:00, Ship fight, crashes, weir awakens to find Janus.

    I'm really sorry I'm going to have to cut this short because i have lots of work to do, and i don't want to have to finish it later either so I'll just put the important stuff in. I've already gotten too detail oriented anyway.

    AW is brought before the Lantean council, her request to return with a ZPM is refused and the time machine is destroyed at their order. Saying that there has been enough tampering with time. She is extended an invitation to return to Earth with the Lanteans: 'You are welcome to return to earth with our people, you will not be returning to yours'

    Janus argues for AW's case and disobeys the council to send her back to the future with the stasis pod. The way AW talks about Janus seems to allude to somewhat of a crush developing.

    32:00, The last transport the ancients were waiting on is destroyed and conveyed to us in a similar way to that which Col. Sumner died by. This repetition of circumstances increases the meaning we gain from the events by drawing further parallels between the Ancients and ourselves. And also shows that the wraith were indeed as ruthless then as they are now, if not more so.

    33:05, Weir: "Are you in any pain?"
    AW: "Would we admit it, if we were?"
    This is another brilliant reminder that they are the same and reinforces Weir's decision to give AW a stimulant by revealing that she still holds the same level of drive and endurance our Weir holds.

    33:40, AW tells Weir to enjoy the moment and enjoy her Birthday,
    AW: Life is quick
    Weir: Not for you
    AW: It was my choice Elizabeth, i didn't second guess it then and i don't regret it now
    This shows us how much seeing the city saved means to both Elizabeth's and how much they would sacrifice to that end to see it through.

    35:00, Janus admits his plan might not work and AW says she'll take the chance, Janus however is convinced she will survive, and tells her of the failsafe he has created.

    36:10, Janus actually kept his research, he plans to rebuild the time machine.
    36:30, AW: Thank you.
    Janus: Thank you, for giving me the hope that Atlantis will survive another 10000 years, after you discover it again.
    This reveals how much it meant to have his work validated by a descendant and that the submersion (which may well have been his plan too) worked.

    37:20, Janus looks back at AW, smiles and departs through the gate leaving AW all alone, and we see that the solitude hits her as she looks around aimlessly and the camera zooms out on her at the top of the stairs while the music fades away giving us what is the most scenically beautiful shot in the whole episode.

    38:20, AW enters the stasis pod and it slowly fades her young self out, and her old self in.

    38:35, This is the point that turns Before I Sleep from a great episode to the greatest episode in my opinion.
    Weir: "It worked, the stasis, the failsafe, you gave up your entire life..."
    AW: "No, because we are the same person, the best part of my life is just beginning, im exploring a new galaxy, i have years ahead of me still.
    Trust yourself Elizabeth, all that matters is right now." As she says this, she begins to cry. Those old grey eyes glisten with emotion which resonates in her voice as the words echo both sadness and great joy at a life (and i mean a WHOLE life) dedicated to those she served, that she was able to save each and everyone of them, even if not the first time. This is the final reminder that concretes our opinion of Elizabeth Weir as a strong and compassionate leader who would do anything for any of those under her command.

    39:45, Weir turns to tell Rodney what the note means then AW's head slowly slumps onto her shoulder as the heart monitor moves from a regular beep, to a monotonal constant. Weir turns back to her side, and holds her hand as a single tear gathers in her eye.

    40:20, Weir is alone on the balcony she was standing on during the opening scene and in her hand is the pot the Athosians made for her that John gave her for her birthday. Inside are Her aged self's ashes and as she sprinkles them over the balcony the music fades. John comes to tell her the mission briefing is starting, and Weir tells him she'll be right there. After a pause reconsiders and requests a minute’s grace.

    41:10, The scene ends quietly with Weir leaning over the balcony in deep thought the same way the episode began and we can't help but feel as though so much has happened, yet so little has changed for everyone. Only Elizabeth has been deeply affected not only gaining a huge amount of respect from her team, but from herself too. Her older self told her not to be so hard on herself and to enjoy the moment, and this is far better than any birthday present she could hope for, as she can legitimately take this advice from someone who truly knows her.

    The whole episode has focussed on Weir's development as a character and allowed us a better view into who she really is. Through the amazing camera work and the wide range of music providing a second layer of meaning to the story we gain insight into what it's like to be in a position of power such as hers but also more importantly see the level of personal sacrifice she endures and would endure for the people under her command. The overall growth of her personality and her determination resulting from this episodes events come because now she knows she owes it to herself, quite literally, to do what she can for the sacrifice her older self made.

    While i don't believe that a complex opinion about a 45 minute episode of a television show can be summed up accurately into a numerical figure, there are always people who either won't read the article or won't accept it without that figure so. Assuming that 0 is unobtainable level of terrible and 10 is an unobtainable level of perfection.
    On a scale of 0 to 10 i award 'Before I Sleep' a 9.75 out of 10.

    This was kind of a spur of the moment thing, and i doubt i will be writing more reviews, it came about because i was rewatching season 1 when i realised how utterly amazing this episode really was. As such, i feel that with more preparation or time (which i lack, year 12 exams etc) i could have A) cut back the useless details and B) organised it more logically.

    Thanks for reading, Not the shortest thing... it's around 1900 words.
    I'd really like discussion on the episode, other great episodes and also some constructive criticism for my writing if anyones an english wiz.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by MickyD; August 22nd, 2009 at 02:00 AM. Reason: grammar corrections
    Das guy eating vegetabbles, says 'Waock!' and nice guy obliteratio for sudden.

    I always hated that saying...

  2. #2
    Colonel
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    I agree, one of the best SGA episodes

  3. #3
    Second Lieutenant Xiphias's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Holy 4chan meme in title, Batman!

  4. #4
    Second Lieutenant Holy Hannah!'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Yeah that was very good
    I brought alot of emotions out thinking about if Elizabeth be trapped forever
    (it must be a good one because i can remember it by the titile)

  5. #5
    General Linda06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    This sin't my fave ep but it is a great ep. It's the best ever Weir ep IMO


  6. #6
    Chief Master Sergeant
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Linda06 View Post
    This sin't my fave ep but it is a great ep. It's the best ever Weir ep IMO
    What's your favourite episode then?
    Das guy eating vegetabbles, says 'Waock!' and nice guy obliteratio for sudden.

    I always hated that saying...

  7. #7
    Major Alder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by MickyD View Post
    I'd really like discussion on the episode, other great episodes and also some constructive criticism for my writing if anyones an english wiz.

    Thanks again.
    Just out of curiosity, is there a reason why you didn't want to post this in the existing episode thread?

    http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?t=5691

  8. #8
    General Linda06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by MickyD View Post
    What's your favourite episode then?
    Well my faves are Submersion, The Queen, maybe Vengeance


  9. #9
    Major General CazzBlade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Good episode, but one of my least favourites of season 1. I don't enjoy rewatching it.
    What we do in life echoes in eternity - Gladiator vghUp the Blades!
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  10. #10
    Air Force Chief of Staff Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    To answer the title of the thread (while the review will be moved by the mods):

    it depends whether you like the character of Elizabeth, or not.

    I thought it was brilliant. And nice putting so much time in typing up this review.
    Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
    Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 9 of SG-1
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  11. #11
    Major General CazzBlade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post
    it depends whether you like the character of Elizabeth, or not.
    I disagree. Elizabeth is one of my favourite characters (behind Sheppard, and just behind Teyla), but I don't find this ep all that enjoyable. I found it interesting first time round and I think the concept is great, but I don't enjoy the episode. I'm not a fan of AU's where our characters die.
    What we do in life echoes in eternity - Gladiator vghUp the Blades!
    http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/h...gs/CSI-sig.jpg

  12. #12
    Air Force Chief of Staff Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by CazzBlade View Post
    I disagree.
    You may.

    But you'll find that most people will say they don't due to characters not in their favor getting the limelight. It's almost always the case when people like/dislike episodes.

    Just look at the best actor in SGA thread to see that same trend return - half the time it's more about the favorite character which is fictional than the actual actor potraying the character.
    Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
    Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 9 of SG-1
    First time watching Star Trek: The Adventures of Captain Kirk and his Trusted Sidekick, Mr. Spock

  13. #13
    Colonel
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    I really enjoyed this episode and found the "what ifs" to be fascinating! (Mckay dies!!! yaaay!!!!) I loved Janus... an Ancient who was a rebel.... he and elizabeth had sparks.... (just knows he was out there watching atlantis from his cloaked time traveling jumper and rescued elizabeth from the replicators.) We needed to see more of them together.

  14. #14
    Major General CazzBlade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post
    You may.

    But you'll find that most people will say they don't due to characters not in their favor getting the limelight. It's almost always the case when people like/dislike episodes.
    I like being an exception I do agree though, most of the time that is the case

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post
    Just look at the best actor in SGA thread to see that same trend return - half the time it's more about the favorite character which is fictional than the actual actor potraying the character.
    I do think there is a correlation between liking someones acting and liking the character, but yes you do tend to stick up for your favourite character when it's not neccessarily the best, if you get what I'm saying, I'm not sure I do anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by Rac80 View Post
    I really enjoyed this episode and found the "what ifs" to be fascinating! (Mckay dies!!! yaaay!!!!)
    Should have known

    Although I respectfully disagree with your DJ better than Indiana Jones sig, no chance
    What we do in life echoes in eternity - Gladiator vghUp the Blades!
    http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/h...gs/CSI-sig.jpg

  15. #15
    Air Force Chief of Staff Falcon Horus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rac80 View Post
    I really enjoyed this episode and found the "what ifs" to be fascinating! (Mckay dies!!! yaaay!!!!)
    ^^See, what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by CazzBlade View Post
    I do think there is a correlation between liking someones acting and liking the character, but yes you do tend to stick up for your favourite character when it's not neccessarily the best, if you get what I'm saying, I'm not sure I do anymore
    I do - loud and clear.
    Heightmeyer's Lemming -- still the coolest Lemming of the forum
    Proper Stargate Rewatch -- season 9 of SG-1
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  16. #16
    The Monitor jelgate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Before I Sleep a great episode?

    In SGA? Maybe the Top 20
    In the Stargate franchise? It doesn't appear on the list
    Quote Originally Posted by aretood2 View Post
    Jelgate is right

  17. #17
    Colonel Alteran of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    The greatest episode, for obvious reasons.

  18. #18
    Chief Master Sergeant
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alder View Post
    Just out of curiosity, is there a reason why you didn't want to post this in the existing episode thread?

    http://forum.gateworld.net/showthread.php?t=5691
    Honestly, i didn't know there was one, i'm rather new here and i don't browse through the various forums. sorry.

    also i'm fairly lazy... but uhh yeah in this case... the not knowing thing.
    Das guy eating vegetabbles, says 'Waock!' and nice guy obliteratio for sudden.

    I always hated that saying...

  19. #19
    Chief Master Sergeant
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alteran of Atlantis View Post
    The greatest episode, for obvious reasons.
    Naturally.
    Das guy eating vegetabbles, says 'Waock!' and nice guy obliteratio for sudden.

    I always hated that saying...

  20. #20
    General Linda06's Avatar
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    Default Re: Before I Sleep; Great Episode, or Greatest Episode? Spoilers ensue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon Horus View Post
    You may.

    But you'll find that most people will say they don't due to characters not in their favor getting the limelight. It's almost always the case when people like/dislike episodes.

    Just look at the best actor in SGA thread to see that same trend return - half the time it's more about the favorite character which is fictional than the actual actor potraying the character.
    Well I wasn't that fussy on Elizabeth one way or the other but I did thoroughly enjoy Before I sleep. I think it was the best Weir ep they done And one of the best AU- ish type eps SGA has done...hmm in fact I think it's the only good AU-ish type they've done.


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