Tonight’s episode of Stargate Atlantis, “This Mortal Coil”, is the mid-season finale. Written by Joseph Mallozzi (and Paul Mullie) and directed by William Waring, the episode also marks the return of Torri Higginson as Elizabeth Weir as the Replicators find Atlantis … or do they?
Mallozzi explains this rather cryptic summary of the episode a bit to TV Zone Magazine (special issue #79, November 2007): “When this episode, which is the first of a two parter, opens, the Atlantis gate has been inoperative for three days and for some reason our people can’t get it working again. An Ancient drone then crashes into the city and they’re like ‘Where did that come from?’ When our heroes start to investigate the drone, they begin to notice that other Atlantis personnel, including Zelenka, Keller and [Lorne], are acting strangely. I don’t want to give too much away, but, again, things aren’t what they seem.”
The mystery is supposed to unfold from there. Those who have viewed the previews given by MGM and the Sci Fi Channel have been able to piece some of that mystery together, and if you’re one of the fans who has seen the incredibly detailed spoilers on another fan website, even more of the pieces are there for the taking. But don’t let what you see and read be too misleading. As a matter of fact, the plot still relies heavily on taking what is known and trying not to misinterpret the clues, just like the team had to do in “The Seer” when given some very intense, seemingly obvious, visions of the future.
“It was a script that required a lot of rethinking, re-ordering, and dialogue massaging to present a complex story in as concise, informative, and entertaining a way as possible. It was hell, but there are some very touching character moments that I thought turned out very nicely,” Mallozzi explained in his personal blog when asked why this episode had been so hard for him to write after he had shared about his agony with his readers during the writing process.
Adding even more to the mystery and the cliffhanger, Mallozzi teased his readers during the production of the episodes with, “No major construction for The Seer, but we will marry some of the exterior scenes from this episode to the This Mortal Coil shoot. James [Robbins, Production Designer] and Tom [Wells, Supervising Art Director] also pitch out how they’d like to pull off the ‘horrific reveal’ at script’s end. I love it!”
Thankfully, fans will not have to wait too long (like last season’s incredibly long hiatus) to find out what the implications of this “horrific reveal” are, since Stargate Atlantis will return to the Sci Fi Channel on Friday, January 4, at 10pm Eastern with “Be All My Sins Remember’d”. Until that time, viewers will have to wait and speculate on how the pieces of the mystery fit together and still keep in mind that “things aren’t what they seem.”
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