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Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 16

Brain Storm

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Nov 21, 2008 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
299 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

McKay returns to Earth to witness the unveiling of his rival's latest breakthrough.

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  • See Summary

    Brain Storm was quite a storm indeed! This was a fun and exciting episode with a cameo appearance by Bill Nye The Science Guy. The episode focused on the relationship growing between McKay and Keller. It was nice to see them take things to the next level, and join the Mile High Club! I think that the concept of this episode was good, though I was thinking that we were going to see Jeannie, McKay's sister, as it was her work as well as McKay's which Tunney utilized to create the device in question. He thought it could help save the earth from global warming, but things aren't always greener on the other side!!!moreless
  • A relationship resolved

    The romance between Rodney McKay and Jennifer Keller has been a point of contention since Keller's first foray into such territory. Fans were rankled by the abrupt nature of their mutual interest, especially since the writers had Ronon equally interested in Jennifer around the exact same time. Keller has struggled to gain traction with the fans, seen as an intrusive replacement for the "departed" Dr. Beckett, and her inclusion in a love triangle didn't help matters.

    Thankfully, this is a pleasant little episode that goes a long way towards demonstrating why Keller is a good match for Rodney. She gives him plenty of room for his ego, but she does manage to rein it in from time to time. She's got equal determination and looks after his best interests, particularly when he's in "speaking without thinking" mode. And she looks damn good in a party dress (but really, does Jewel Staite ever look horrible?).

    The plot had some interesting insights into the scientific community and the difficulties faced by those engaged in cutting-edge but classified research, but beyond that, it was a standard situation. Experiment goes awry, loved ones in peril, McKay saves the day. Special appearances by Dave Foley and Bill Nye the Science Guy weren't enough to overcome those issues.

    In fact, it felt like the episode was trying to be more humorous than it was. Don't get me wrong; there were definite moments with chuckle-worthy material, but by and large, the synthesis of comedy and drama didn't quite hit the mark. I doubt it made much of a difference in the end, however, since I imagine reactions to the episode were based less on the content and more on the McKay/Keller relationship as a whole.

    With only a handful of episodes left, it's a bit unfortunate that an entire episode was devoted to a couple of characters and an admittedly unpopular relationship. On the other hand, this does resolve the question of whether or not the two will even have a relationship, which ties up another potential loose end. The writers could certainly have done worse.moreless
  • the final episodes and this is all they come up with?

    I saw the commercial for this episode and I thought it was going to suck. Back on earth, cliched researcher rivalries, and cheesy love mixed in... I'll admit it was better than I thought it would be, but still not that good. I don't like McKay and Keller at all. I think Keller and Ronon should be together. The plot in this episode was not interesting. The whole idea of going to a conference to see a rival's work and then having to fix it, just not that interesting. What made the episode watchable was the character development of McKay. Overall, just an average episode and I'm disappointed that they're not going out better.moreless
  • Good episode: very interesting story line and character development of Rodney. The ending could be better.

    I thought this episode was pretty decent actually. Despite being fed up with the fact that they're wasting the few episodes that are left of the final season of Atlantis focusing on only one or a few of the characters instead of giving us team episodes I did actually like Rodney in this for the most part. I actually found him sort of endearing in his egocentric tendencies and the stuff between him, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson was hilarious. Plus there's the fact that I enjoy Dave Foley quite a bit.

    It wasn't a particularly meaningful episode nor did it do anything to further any storyline but it was amusing and I think that TPTB actually did a really good job with the Mckay/Keller stuff. I don't have a lot of faith in them when it comes to romantic relationships on these shows but it was very sweet. That being said, are Jason Mamoa and Rachel Lutrell still employed? They seem to have been abducted. Hopefully they'll use the last few episodes of the series to showcase the entire team.moreless
  • A very not-so subtle messege about global warming with Bill Nye!

    Right off the bat i want to say something. After reading some reviews about how bad the writing is and should have some continuity to the last episode ever, let me make this clear. I hope you realise this but long ago, months ago, the writers hatched out these stories without knowing their show was getting the axe hence the fillers. And stop reffering to BSG, it's a completely different show altogether. Stargate isn't BSG.

    Now that's off my chest, this story was intersting and nothing more. It held my interest and I liked the 'real' geniuses being there, aka Bill Nye. This story was served to prosper the McKay/Keller relationship which I don't really care that much about like many others. However, I'm willing to accept it and move along.

    The next few episodes with the wraith and the season finale won't give us closure but it might build a premise to the movie, so it can hit the floor running and have no need for exposition we've all heard before.moreless
Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

Ronon Dex

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Dr. Jennifer Keller

Dave Foley

Dave Foley

Dr. Malcolm Tunney

Guest Star

Bill Nye

Bill Nye


Guest Star

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Neil DeGrasse Tyson


Guest Star

Gary Jones

Gary Jones

Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • A deleted scene from this episode has Bill Nye giving a speech about how science fiction can bring people to together in the pursuit of scientific interest. Martin Gero explains in the DVD commentary that the episode was to end with this scene but was ultimately cut due to time restraints.

    • The theatre where the presentation is made,is the Carl Binder Memorial Theatre. This is named after the executive producer Carl Binder.

    • McKay: Yeah, but, that's my bridge! My sister and I came up with it!

      McKay is referring to the season 3 episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller."

    • In the first scene with Tunney after he presses a button before walking over to his colleague a beep can be heard coming from the computer. This beep is frequently used in Star Trek after a command has been put in the computer.

    • McKay: Neil likes to steal things from me, things like women and theoretical physics ideas.

      McKay previously mentioned his idea being stolen by Tyson in the season 4 episode "Trio."

    • The man that we see in the wheelchair and talking with electronic voice synthesizer is suppose to be Stephen Hawking, World famous scientist.

    • Keller: I love you, I have for some time now.

      This is the exact same thing McKay told her on Day 6 of his recordings, after being infected by Second Childhood in "The Shine."

  • QUOTES (18)

    • McKay: Oh, thank God. You're ok, you're ok.
      Keller: I'm really cold.
      McKay (rubbing her arms): Me too.
      (They gaze into each other's eyes.)
      Keller: You saved me.
      McKay: Guess that makes us even. I used an axe – a big axe! I mean, I really wish you were conscious, 'cause I think it's the coolest thing I've ever done in my...
      (Smiling, Jennifer leans forward and kisses him deeply. He gazes at her as she pulls back.)
      McKay: Oh, I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you.
      (She looks into his eyes.)
      Keller: I love you.
      (His eyes widen in amazement.)
      Keller: I have for some time now. Just wanted you to know.

    • Tunney: Ok, I think that's it. Before I run it, just check my math.
      Bill Nye: I have been! Why do you think I'm standing here?!

    • Keller: I'm gonna radio once I get through.
      McKay: Good luck.
      Keller: You too.
      (She turns and leaves.)
      Tunney: She seems like a very capable woman.
      McKay: She sure is.
      Tunney: It's your sister, right? Is she single?
      (Rodney rolls his eyes.)
      McKay: All right. (ignoring Tunney, he turns back to the consoles.) Where were we?

    • McKay: A sudden dramatic cooling beam – the irregular power from the bridge.
      Tunney: Oh, so when the bridge makes a sudden demand on the heat sink...
      McKay: ...the heat sink reacts by drawing power from a single localized place inside the containment field...
      Tunney: ...and that beam would freeze anything in its path. Oh, I did not see this coming.
      McKay: It's freeze lightning!
      Tunney: "Freeze lightning"! Ooh, I like that!

    • McKay: Ah. Well, it takes a big man to admit that he's wrong and, much as I appreciate it, I really would prefer that this whole apology thing took place a little more publicly.
      Tunney: Are you kidding?! You are the one who should be apologizing to me.
      McKay: What the hell for?
      Tunney: I invited you here as a courtesy; out of kindness. You know, most people think you've lost your mind – that you've gone Howard Hughes.
      McKay: Just because I don't call any more doesn't mean I'm keeping my urine in jars!

    • Receptionist: I'll just need you both to sign this non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement.
      (He picks up two thick documents and drops them onto the desk in front of them.)
      McKay: Oh, you're not serious.
      Receptionist: Is there a problem, sir?
      McKay (looking at the document in front of him): This whole thing is a confidentiality agreement?!
      Receptionist: Yes, sir.
      McKay: What could he possibly be doing back there that needs to be kept two hundred pages secret?!
      Receptionist (belligerently): If you want to go inside, sir, you need to sign the agreement.
      (Jennifer is already signing her document. Rodney looks at the receptionist stubbornly.)
      McKay: Dinosaurs?
      Receptionist: Excuse me?
      McKay: Do they have living dinosaurs back there? Because I'll sign this if he's brought dinosaurs back to life, but short of that he's out of his mind if he thinks I'm gonna pretend that whatever discovery he has made is so important and so secret that I have to sign the unabridged works of William Shakespeare here.

    • Keller: It's like his whole left side has been flash-frozen. I have never seen anything like this before.
      Tunney: Oh… oh, man…
      Rodney: Look, this isn't entirely your fault.
      Tunney: I… I really hope he signed his waiver.

    • Rodney: So, I was thinking… that, um, if I was to, say, show up… with a woman…
      Jennifer: Uh-Huh.
      Rodney: A-A beautiful woman… that, um, they would maybe not think that I was… like, a complete loser. Like, it would be one day, the first night we were there and then you could be off to Chippewa Falls. I mean, it could be fun.
      Jennifer: Hmmm. Well, let's see, a room full of physicists, a long-winded presentation I probably won't understand… Yeah, doesn't really sound like fun.
      Rodney: Well, they'll be drinks, probably, and maybe those little sandwiches… and… me. I'll be there.
      Jennifer: You don't have to fabricate all these reasons on why you need me to be with you, you just ask me out on a date.

    • (seeing McKay and Keller)
      Sheppard: Think he's ever going to make a move?
      Ronon: Who cares?

    • Kramer: Some of these worst-case scenarios are terrifying…
      Tunney: Of course they're terrifying--they're worst-case scenarios. They are the worst possible thing that could happen, ever.

    • Bill Nye: See, back in the day whenever one of these people came up with a new idea or published a new paper, Dr. McKay here would swear that he was already working on something very similar. Just hadn't gotten around to publishing it yet.
      Neil Tyson: He'd say things like "I was about to say that very same thing," or " I was just about to have that same idea."
      McKay: Hey, at least I didn't declassify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil. That make you feel like a big man?

    • McKay: I think maybe this was a bad idea.
      Keller: Why?
      McKay: Well, it's just… I remembered I don't really like these people.
      Keller: Is it that you don't' like them, or maybe they don't like you.
      McKay: Possible. I mean, I used to be a little… abrasive?
      Keller: Oh, used to be, yeah.

    • McKay: Humble, eh? I guess I can try anything once.

    • Front Desk Guy: Mr. Tunney would like a word.
      McKay: Ah-hah. Well, I'm guessing that that word is "I apologize".
      Bill Nye: That's, uh, two words, genius.

    • McKay: Okay, this little side effect is going to really hamper our attempts to shut this thing down.
      Keller: And by "hamper," you mean "get us all killed."
      McKay: Yeah. Something like that.

    • Keller: You guys need to suck it up and get along.
      Bill Nye: It's like I've always said. You see, people are more alike than they are different…
      Keller: Not now, Nye.
      Bill Nye: Okay.

    • McKay: Hey, I'm Dr. Rodney McKay, all right? "Difficult" takes a few seconds, "impossible," a few minutes.

    • (Rodney is running off to save Jennifer and Tully is trying to convince him to stop the machine)
      Tully: But... (Struggles) You're smarter than me.
      Rodney: (Pause) I know...
      (Rodney runs off)

  • NOTES (4)

    • The cast and crew were notified of the series' cancellation on the last day of filming for this episode.

    • Michael Robert Coleman (Front Desk Guy) previously played a Med Tech in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Powers That Be."

    • Rachel Luttrell and Robert Picardo do not appear in this episode.

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on November 24, 2008 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
      -This episode aired in the UK on December 2, 2008 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Sweden on January 9, 2009 on TV6.
      -This episode aired in Germany on November 4, 2009 on RTL II.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on November 26, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.
      -Syndication Premiere: March 13-14, 2010.
      -This episode aired in Australia on May 5, 2010 on 7TWO.


    • Keller: You know, my Uncle George, he always hated the phrase "save the planet."

      This could be a reference to stand-up comedian George Carlin, who often voiced a similar stance on the phrase.

    • Firefly:

      The discussion of strawberries between Keller and McKay maybe a reference to Jewel Staite's character Kaylee Frye, from Firefly, who had a known obsession for strawberries.