Stargate Atlantis

Season 2 Episode 14

Grace Under Pressure

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 27, 2006 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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out of 10
476 votes
  • Retread, retread, retread...

    This is a fairly simple episode, and because it focuses primarily on McKay, enjoyment is directly related to one’s tolerance for the character. Some fans, including myself, have complained about the screen time devoted to McKay and his personality flaws. It felt as though the first half of the season was dominated by the subject. This episode could be perceived as salt on the wound, though in a more objective sense, it simply doesn’t cover new territory.

    When it comes to the characters on this show, McKay is the one that routinely bugs the hell out of me but, moments later, reminds me why I like him. It’s very much a moment-to-moment love/hate thing. I’ve found that McKay is most tolerable when he has someone with as strong a personality in the same scene. That’s why Sheppard is such a great match, and why his battles with Weir and Zelenka work on a structural level.

    Put him in a bottle and force us to listen to him whine for an act or so? Not so tolerable. Frankly, the episode was a wash for me until the moment that McKay’s vision of Samantha Carter emerged on the scene. Once he had someone to work against, in terms of the scene dynamic, it was a lot less annoying. It didn’t hurt that the writers were able to introduce some ambiguity.

    Unfortunately, this also shoved the episode directly into retread territory. Even the producers cite the “SG-1” episode “Grace” as a primary influence on this episode! Granted, after so many episodes within the franchise, the two series will begin repeating concepts, falling into the same problems that the Trek franchise struggled with towards the end. But the “Stargate” franchise, at least, has a better grasp on character development, even without a truly serialized format.

    In essence, the idea is that the same situation is viable if the characters involved react in a different manner than the characters in the original iteration. But that’s not what happens in this case; at least, not to the degree necessary to make the episode something more than derivative. There’s some slight hint that the ocean creature was trying to help McKay survive, and thus brought about the hallucinations in some way, but it’s hardly a given.

    My other issue with the episode is that it comes on the heels of another crossover with “SG-1”. I don’t necessarily mind that the two series have connective threads, but I do mind when the “SG-1” cast is used as a way to lend credibility to an episode. As logical as this crossover is, it feels like a stunt. I would rather see this series stand on its own, because it can do so with relative ease. Hopefully the next episode will focus more on the cast as a whole and attempt to cover new ground.
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