SGA 4.04 "Doppelganger" Episode Guide

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Sheppard encounters a psychopathic crystalline entity that takes on his likeness in his team's nightmares.

Guide | Transcript

MGM/ Official Summary

On the planet M3X-387, Sheppard's team finds a crystal emitting low-level energy readings. The glowing crystal mesmerizes Sheppard, who touches it and receives a shock. The crystal goes dark, and the team hurries home so Dr. Keller can make sure that Sheppard's okay. He seems to be.

That night, however, Teyla dreams that Sheppard is attacking her. Dr. Kate Heightmeyer, Atlantis's psychologist, kindly warns her not to put too much stock in dreams, but Teyla is afraid to sleep. Only after Keller gives her a sedative does she feel better. The next night, Keller also has a nightmare in which Sheppard's the bad guy. Then Ronon, too, dreams that Sheppard wants to kill him. Based on these experiences, Keller and Col. Carter agree that Sheppard's brush with the crystal wasn't as harmless as it seemed. As if either woman needed more convincing, a sleepwalking Maj. Lorne suddenly pulls a gun on Sheppard, convinced that Sheppard is dangerous.

After Ronon stuns Lorne, the team constructs a working theory: a sociopathic energy being from the crystal has stolen Sheppard's image and is jumping from person to person, generating terrifying dreams, perhaps because it feeds on fear. McKay and Zelenka return to M3X-387, where they collect both the inert crystal that Sheppard touched and a new one that's still glowing. By studying both, they pinpoint an energy signature that will allow them to track the entity. Tracking it, however, may prove easier than stopping it: although they're able to keep their new specimen trapped in a non-conductive container, the old specimen is traveling the city at will through power conduits.

That night, Dr. Heightmeyer also has a nightmare. The next morning, the team is grief-stricken to discover that Heightmeyer really has died, killed by her dream. The entity is deadly — and soon it moves on to a new host: McKay.

With the freaked-out scientist locked in a non-conductive isolation room, demanding coffee so he won't fall asleep and die, his friends decide that they must try to communicate with the entity. Keller sedates McKay, allowing Sheppard to use alien mind-linking technology (obtained by Carter during her years on SG-1) to enter McKay's dream world.

He finds himself in a rowboat with McKay, far out in the ocean, being menaced by a whale. In the back of the boat sits the entity — which looks just like Sheppard. It taunts McKay, threatening him with death. Despite the real Sheppard's best efforts, McKay gives up and the whale swallows the boat. In the isolation room, McKay flatlines. Sheppard's nightmarish duplicate is about to claim another victim.


Guest Stars


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Production Notes

  • "a.k.a. N.O.A.S." (Joseph Mallozzi's blog)
  • This is the first episode to go before cameras on March 1. (Joseph Mallozzi's blog, David Hewlett's blog, David Nykl's blog)
  • "Day two of production means our first day of dailies (a.k.a. the previous day’s footage). Stand-outs sequences included a mesmerized Keller, that Rising-era look, and an armed and barefoot Lorne." (Joseph Mallozzi's March 2 blog)
  • "By the way, we watched our very first director’s cut late last week. Rob Cooper did a terrific job on Doppelganger. Some wonderfully way-out sequences in this one as well as some effectively creepy scenes as well, not to mention the full-contact extreme Shep whumpage in this one. This one is a lot of fun and, believe me, you cannot wait to see it! But, alas, you’ll have to." (Joseph Mallozzi's March 19 blog)
  • "I think there's actually more Shep whumpage in Doppelganger [than in Travelers], both A [being whumped] and B [whumping someone]." (Joseph Mallozzi's April 3 blog)
  • "Doppelganger and Lifelife certainly have their dark moments as well." (Joseph Mallozzi's April 3 blog)
  • "When you find out what the episode is about, it will become obvious [what N.O.A.S. stands for]. I think. Alternately, knowing what it stands for will pretty much tell you what the episode is about." (Joseph Mallozzi's April 12 blog)
  • "GW Whumpers writes: “Our suggestion for NOAS is Nightmare on Atlantis Street.” Answer: Affirmative." (Joseph Mallozzi's April 17 blog)
  • "O'Neill went out, touched a crystal and all this stuff happened [1.07 "Cold Lazarus"]. We've never done that again. And I thought, 'Well, wouldn't it be interesting if we found another crystalline life-form like that.' But in that case we were kind of lucky that it had reasonably good intentions. There was a sinister aspect to it in that we didn't know what was going on, but at the end of the day it was kind of just curious. So I took the flip side of that and said, 'What if it's a psychopath? What if it's truly evil?' And it enduces some pretty freaky nightmares. [...] What would our characters dream about? The fun part of the episode is, because it's Sheppard that initially engages and touches the crystal, and thus unleashes the entity on everyone, the physical form it takes in the nightmares is Sheppard. And so everyone is having these nightmares that are being pulled out of them by the entity, but Sheppard is appearing in those dreams as the sort of negative enciting [sic] force." (Robert C. Cooper in Gateworld interview, April 18, 2007)
  • "Next up - the Day 1 Mix of Doppelganger. What a difference sound effects and music make! I predict this one will be a fan favorite with plenty of fiendishly creepy sequences, some nice character moments as we delve into each player’s nightmare scenario, and a Sheppard beat-down to beat all Sheppard beat-downs. [...] We find out something interesting about Lorne (dating back to his childhood) in Doppelganger." (Joseph Mallozzi's May 22 blog)
  • "It's really important that there's a distinction between your character and its twin, but in this case it was tricky because for the first two-thirds of Doppelganger you can't tell which Sheppard is which. It had to be a gradual distinction between the real one and his twin until the latter evolves into complete evil. It was a little complicated, though, because we didn't quite have all the scenes written in order to qualify the transition. So it was a fairly abrupt evolution from subtle differences to glaring differences." — Joe Flanigan, Starburst interview, published August 2007.

Further Reading

--DeeKayP 06:58, 1 June 2007 (PDT)