Stargate Atlantis

Season 3 Episode 14

Tao of Rodney

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 04, 2007 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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out of 10
390 votes
  • Inner space instead of outer space

    Wonderfully humanistic episode that addresses inner space instead of outer space.

    McKay's overweaning narcissism is often intolerable. But in this episode it is an integral part of the character arc.

    The scenes where a dying McKay sheds his abrasive egotism and reaches out to his long suffering colleagues from the heart are truly touching.
  • Sometimes there needs to be an '11' score to select.

    ... and this episode is one of those times. The series often features an individual character or even multiple characters and their relationships. This episode is a 'Rodney' episode, and as I, or any of my friends and family will attest too, these are the best episodes, so far, of the series. This installment of the Rodney episode is no exception, the humor, character emotion, and relationship development was above and beyond the call of duty. Well done, looking forward to the next Rodney ep!!!
  • See Summary

    The Tao of Rodney was one of my favorite episodes. It was a McKay focused episode, developing the character more. We get to see the emotional transitions of McKay who has more or less been put on a one way ticket, with no guarantee of success with his plans. We also got to learn more about the process of Ascension, and how it was studied by the Ancients. Rodney was zapped by some Ancient device, which mutated his genes to evolve physically, at a faster rate than normal, giving him super abilities such as telekenisis, mind reading abilities, and his own intelligence increasing. He has a choice, Ascend or Die permanently. It is interesting to watch McKay gain wisdom, into himself, into life, into all. Does he make it? Watch and find out!!!
  • My Favorite Episode of Stargate: Atlantis to date.

    The Tao of Rodney is currently my favorite episode of Stargate: Atlantis to date, moste definitely my favorite of Season 3. It, of course, showcases Rodney McCay and how he would react to getting close to becoming Ascended. When it was done with Daniel Jackson on Stargate: SG1, it just seemed too easy for a character to become a higher being (even though Dr. Jackson had a little help from Oma Desala). With Dr. McCay it was entirely different. When Rodney McCay got subjected to the radiation from the Ancient device, it was more dynamic than Dr. Jackson's path. Rodney develops "superpowers" as he gets closer to the point of where he needs to Ascend or die. This was handled quite well with the character not being capable of concieving of Ascending. With death looming for Rodney, he decides to use what little time he has left to help his "family" as well as humanity. From performing a tea ceremony for Teyla, removing Ronan's scars from his back, or even writing a 500 page book for Dr. Weir, this shows that there is more depth to Rodney McCay that what is seen at first blush. Whereas Dr. Jackson just succumbed to radiation sickness and, after a heartfelt talk with Jack O'Neil, Ascends. Everyone in Rodney's "family" gathers in support for him and shows that although he usually gets on their last nerves at times, they actually care for him. At the telling moment where Rodney either ascends or dies, the solution comes to him and he becomes human again. David Hewlett did an exceptional job with bringing another facet to Rodney McCay and just not leaving the character as a stereotypical "grumpy scientist". As an actor, he is to make the character he plays as believable as possible. He gives a performance where the other actors can interact and work off of which makes this story, to me, have a little more impact than the Ascending on Stargate: SG1. The feeling of family comes forth in this episode (along with the episode "Sunday" that was also in this season) and makes you actually care about what happens next. Isn't that what great Television Shows are supposed to do?
  • Even more brilliant McKay...

    This episode was good but I do not think it was so brilliant as many have thought. It offered so much new, opened a new perspective to McKay and show us two new side of him - totally genius and hyper super egoist one and the second one - caring, and really doing and saying what he thoughts. So, for character development it was great. The storyline itself - the way he was gaining more and more.. maybe the irony of you got all the knowledges but you are not able to use them - the beauty of the mind. The story was great but all the wining from McKay - it can drive crazy. And the end - when he was dying, grasped Beckett and then had told what to do to save him.. Great ending.
  • Pure 100% Rodney!

    This episode was pretty awesome, coming from a Rodney fan like myself. But there was something about it, something that annoyed me. It was too much Rodney, I'd call it over-exposure. Too many snarky comments, too much "me, me, me", not enough of the rest of the cast. It was annoying by the end of it, and I was thankful Rodney finally saw the light and decided to do nice things, say goodbye to everyone, and deal with his impending death. As much as this episode was funny, and full of wonderful Rodney-isms, it was one big annoying fiesta. In my opinion, it could have been written a lot better and made less annoying.
  • The episodes have been getting better every week. This episode is all about Rodney McKay. He got super powers in the first half of the episode, then he figured he was going to die because of those powers.

    It was fun watching McKay try to Ascend, in order to save his life. The nice things he did showed a new, different part of him. It was also cool to see what he did with his new super powers - like saving Zelanka's life. It was a great episode to watch. In the next episodes I think they need an episode with the Wraith in it. They haven't had one in awhile. Aden Ford, I also think, should be on soon - before everyone forgets who he is. Overall, all the new episodes have been really good. I hope they keep up the good work.
  • Pretty good episode, but nothing special.

    This episode would have been awesome if it didn't practically copy a Stargate SG-1 Episode. It's great to see Rodney freaking out about not being able to ascend and him actually being nice for a change, but, other than that, it wasn't anything great. Dr. Zelenka (I know I spelled it wrong) tried to help Rodney even though Rodney treats him like crap. I think they really mutally respect each other, which is pretty cool. Anyways, again the reason I don't like this episode as much as I should is because it is almost just like the episode in Stargate SG-1 when O'Neill gets the ancient knowledge downloaded into his brain and he would die in a few days because it was too much for the brain. Ya, they put a lot of different aspects in this episode, but it just wasn't enough. Overall, it was a pretty good episode though and had great character development.
  • SGA does "Flowers for Algernon"...but will it ever come up again?

    If there’s one complaint that seems to rise above the rest, when it comes to “Stargate: Atlantis”, it’s the lack of balance in character exploration. One might argue that the writers rarely get character development right, since there seems to be little change over time, but they do write episodes that focus on certain characters. More often than not, such episodes focus on either Sheppard or McKay.

    Both complaints come together in this particular episode. First and foremost, Rodney McKay is the focus of this episode and there’s not a shred of doubt about it. The title makes that plainly obvious. And what happens in this episode will probably mean nothing in the end, despite the fact that the circumstances could and should result in a massive shift in Rodney’s personality.

    These issues become a point of contention because it didn’t have to be that way. Many fans remember how the first season was constructed and note the delicate balance: plot and character arcs, consistent world-building, and a true sense of isolation. Taken in context with the sagging creativity on “SG-1” in the same time period, and it gave many fans hope that the series would revive the best aspects of the franchise. Since then, expectations have cooled, because the producers have fallen into predictable patterns and the series has been struggling against that tide.

    This is pertinent to this episode because many fans will ask a pointed question: does anything in this episode really matter? If this were a series like “Babylon 5” or “Lost”, Rodney’s experience would likely result in a massive change in the character’s progression. More than that, there would be a clear path for the character leading to this moment of personal revelation.

    Instead, one is left to wonder if all of Rodney’s soul-searching (as good and necessary as it is) will stick, or if he’ll go back to being the snarky, arrogant genius that he’s been since the inception. Just as Sheppard’s experience with the Ancients is ignored until it’s convenient for this particular plot thread, I expect McKay’s epiphany to be handled sporadically at best.

    I could be wrong, but when it comes to a character as iconic as Rodney, whose personality quirks are practically his entire reason to exist, change is incredibly rare. There’s simply too much to lose. And for me, that renders so much of the meaningful work in this episode moot. That’s a shame, because this is one of the better character pieces for the franchise in quite some time. The episode itself is a great use of a familiar plot device, but I’m concerned that it will lose something in the long view.
  • The ballad of McKay

    Once upon a time there was a brilliant man, but this brilliant man had flaws that didn’t make him happy for he knew he wasn’t as cool as the strong pilots from the base or as handsome as some other men less brilliant & less talented were or as brave as some gentle alien women were kind enough not to say and so he grew insecure of the love his friends: How could anybody love him, if he couldn’t love himself? Rodney steps into an ancient device designed to trigger ascension in regular human beings, at first it only increases his hearing and gives him some extra abilities that makes him feel like the king of the world but as Elizabeth’s investigation advances it becomes clear for everyone this might be a death sentence if ascension isn’t achieved by the subject. Elizabeth urges Sheppard to help him ascend, Carlton and Zelenka work day and night to find a cure but Rodney is the only one among them able to recognize his days are numbered so he let go & make amends with everyone he knows: He goes to Zelenka to ask his forgiveness because he can’t help but to surround himself with this bubble of hostility to protect himself all the time, Radeck couldn’t know this but he most certainly didn’t deserve such treatment from him.

    To Teyla, he offers to serve a ceremonial tea for the dead in memory of her father, a gesture for all those many she’s had to him over the years; to Ronon he heals the scars on his back for all those inner scars he hides so deep no one could ever reach; to Elizabeth he writes a novel, a 500 pages long novel about the Elizabeth he has seen every day they’ve spent together, his Elizabeth, the one no one else could see the way he does and to Sheppard he asks to read his eulogy for they have always been okay with each other, no matter what. As the time has come to either ascend or die, all his friends gather around him, Rodney is still not ready and fear overwhelms him as Elizabeth pleads Sheppard to help him one last time but all Rodney can do is to surround himself with this new protecting bubble made out of the love of his friends so once Carson comes up with a last minute solution that returns him to normal, he grows less powerful, perhaps still a little hostile but a lot more happy about himself.
  • Finally something a little different. But then Jack had similar super genius twice and Daniel once, so it is not a new story line. But it showed McKay with somewhat of a heart when he saw what he was facing.

    Rehashes SG-1 story line but with some twists. I liked that when he returned to normal he was sitting looking at the stuff he had done when he had the super IQ and he had no clue what the stuff was all about. Also he gave something to Elizabeth with was only 500 pages long, typical Rodney, and that was probably the preface.
    I saw a comment that the jumper was bigger. I doubt it, as those props cost a fortune to make and they probably only ever made one. Just like Cattlecar Gallactica, there is only one Viper.
    I am awaiting how they are going to integrate Samantha Carter into next seasons episodes, maybe they will make some impressive discoveries together.
    No one ever mentioned that Rodney changed nationalities. When he was in SG-1 he was an American now he is Canadian.
  • Excellent episode!!!

    This episode was pure adventure, as most of SA episode are...Also, another characteristics are unpredictability and the fact that are very enjoyable...So in this episode, while entering one of the ancients labs in Atlantis Dr. McKay gets hit by a strange energy...At first, it shows to have positive effects, in the sense that Dr. Mckay's Intellect is increased and he is given new powers, like telekinesis or the ability to heal...But with time, it is discovered that the body of Rodney cannot resist more and that pretty soon, either he will have to ascend or he will die...From Dr. Weir to Ronan, they all want to help Rodney to save his life...Finally, he finds a way and transmits it to Beckett and he manages to be saved...9.3/10.
  • Good episode, but when did Sheppard spend six months with the ancients?

    This was a good episode especially since McKay improved some of Atlantis systems and the way the handle the storyline for McKay. This story lined showed a different side of McKay, a really personal side it made him seem human with all the emotions and the way he cared about what the other member of his team have gone through.
  • One of The Best

    This is on of the best episodes ever made and one of my personal favorites. it is exactly what makes this show worth watching. It is exciting from start to finish and it is well worth watching i might even say that it is better then the season 3 final episode. Don't get me wrong the season final was great(one of the best yet) but i just loved this episode.
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  • *MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW* I cannot stress enough how amazingly well done this episode was.

    Rodney is zapped by some ancient device and begins to develop superhuman powers. This has cool and funny repercussions in itself but the fact that its rodney with his ego and huge bragging ability just makes it all the more fun. I cannot stress enough how amazingly well this episode was done. it felt more like a movie then a 40 minute show. the plots developed at an easy pace and nothing felt like it was crammed into the allotted time slot.

    In the first part of the episode we are treated to glimpses of the very happy Mckay going about his day pinching food from Carson, annoying Ronon, worrying Elizabeth, making Radek angry and making col Shep wish he had magical powers. But as the plot lines progressed we learn that these powers arent without a downside. And as Mckay resignes himself to his fate there are some very heart warming moments as he tries to right the wrongs and make everyone happy.
    At the end of the line was a very touching goodbye that brought a tear to my eye.
  • Pure Rodney!

    This was a wonderful episode. Great character development and a kinder and charming side of the beautiful Rodney McKay.
    Rodney steps on an ancient device and a green light surrounds him. He appears to be fine. Until the team return from a mission and Rodney explains how he thinks to broke the enemies weapons with a single thought. Of course no one believes him. He then lifts Carson up with his mind and everyone is amazed. Rodney becomes smarter, has super hearing, hears people thoughts and can move things with his mind. The ancient machine seems to enable a person to ascend. But theres a catch. You either ascend or die.
    Rodney thinks he cant ascend to he creates and changings things to help humanity and atlantis. When Radek is hit but electricity, Rodney saves his life by healing him.
    Everyone tries to help Rodney ascend but Rodney isnt very cooperative and doenst believe....

    This is a fantasic episode and if you are a Rodney lover like me i suggest you watch it!
  • Great episode. It was centered on Rodney a lot, but if you don't like McKay, you should stop watching the show, because he is never going to leave (I hope, I'm a big Hewlett fan).

    In this episode I think that the writers are trying to show that Rodney isn't just an annoying character like Kavanaugh, but really can be nice. To ascend, McKay will have to "make peace with himself", and to do that, he goes around saying and doing nice things for people. He goes to Zelenka and tells him what a smart scientist Radek is and Rodney shouldn't have treated Zelenka the way he does. He goes to Teyla and you can see how happy she is when Rodney begins the memorial tea service with her. He goes to Weir and gives her a long book he wrote, and heals Ronon's scars from the wraith tracker. Ronon does a lot more in this season than he did last season. More talking, more "team bonding", all that stuff. I am glad to see Ronon and Rodney finally talking to each other. Great team bonding episode, one of the best episodes since the beginning of Atlantis. The alternate thing I was going to put in my Classification was "Exactly why I watch this series", because that is true also, but this fit better.
  • This episode i think was quite sad in its own way as rodney shuts his brain out and shows everyone how he really feels. Atlantis is always great so i have nothing more to say. Oh yea when is the episode \\\"Sunday\\\" going to be aired?

    This episode commences with Rodney and zelenka argueing who had the worst childhood (zelenka wins). They are in a part of atlantis that was previously flooded. Rodney Zelenka and a load more scientists enter a room which seems to be a lab of some sort. Rodney (apparently showing off because a women he like was there) Steps up on to the step where the control pannel thing is and presses something. Some lights shine around him and he collapses. Rodney wakes up in the infirmary, Carson says hes OK but asks Rodney if he feels OK Rodney ofcourse says hes hungry and goes off to the cantine. Rodney sits at a table on his own as Shepherd and the rest of the team are sat a few tables back from him. Rodney shows super hearing as hears what they are talking about. Rodney not realising they are so far away starts saying i can hear you you know as they are talking about him. Shepherd and the rest of the team look at him as if heh was stupid. Shepherds team is then called to duty to save another team as they are being attacked. They then return all looking odd as Rodney claims that he was thinking about how it would be great if all they\\\'re guns jammed at the same time and it happened. No one seems to believe Rodny until he manages to levetate Carson in the air. Rodney starts getting smarter and starts changing things including how the ZPM works which causes an electric burst which electricutes zelenka. Zelenka almost dies until rodney heals him with his bare hands. In the mean time everyone is telling Weir how they would like to go to that lab and become super...
  • (Spoilers) This was a amazing episode Rodney gets supers powers like healing hands and super hearing when he activates a ancient machine.

    This was a amazing episode Rodney gets supers powers like healing hands and super hearing when he activates a ancient machine. The machine was used to help ancients ascend but there is a drawback if you dont ascend you die. Rodney develops lots of cool poweres like being able to read minds and telekinesis. When he realises he is dieing there are alot of touching scenes between Rodney and the others. He apoligizes to Radek for the way he has treated him and even removes Ronons scars from his back. This was definetly one of the best Atlantis episodes ever.

    Number of wraith:0
    Number of deaths: I would say half a death he comes back
    Numbers of reasons to watch episode: to many to count just watch it

    Character development: Lots for Rodney and alot of bonding between him and the others.
  • Development of the only well-defined character aboard this floating-metal-snowfake.

    The reason I wonder sometimes what it's like to sit in the Stargate Atlantis writer's room is because I yern to know if the spendid colour and definition of Rodney's character comes from them or from the actor or maybe some unquantifiable combination of the two.

    I adore him, I hate him, I understand him and I almost know what he's going to say before he says it. Isn't that a sign of someone well-drawn?

    Personnally, I think it's the actor that's made this guy so fun to watch and hence lead the writers to want to give him lines.

    I didn't intent for this review to be an inarticulate Rodney-rub-up but what the hell. Adoration.

    I've always found this show nothing more than a stylistic varied on the Star Trek formulae but am finally reading to admit that I watch it for Rodney and his annoying charm.

    One love, one Rodney.

  • I don't care why it was shown instead of 'Sunday', I loved it.

    I swear the three most recent episodes have been my favourite of all time, and I can't even say for sure why. This episode was fantastic.

    After Rodney receives a shock from an ancient device we see his intelligence level rapidly increase, as well as the ability to read people's minds and the power of telekinesis. Rodney utilises these newfound pwoers to drastically change the power output system of Atlantis to use the ZPM more efficiently, and he even finds a way to strengthen the shields of the Daedalus. No doubt that'll come in handy later on...not giving anything away!

    However, as the episode progresses it is realised that all these powers come at a cost. In order to survive Rodney has to ascend, there appears to be no way of going back to being ordinary and as a result Rodney has to prepare to ascend. He does this by apologising and trying to please as many people as he can. The moments with Ronon and Teyla I found the most moving. McKay shows up at Teyla's place unannounced strides in and says that he knows that next week is the anniversary of her father's death, but as he might not be around, he'd like to go through the tea ceremony with her. You can see that she is visibly moved. The moment with Ronon was also brilliant, he first asked Ronon about his scars and whether he kept them to remind them what he'd been through or to remind him what to avoid in the future. Ronon says that he tries to forget that they are there. Rodney hugs him for a long time, let's go, and as he walks away, he says, 'please forgive me I just healed them' Ronon feels his back and you can see he is thankful too.

    As time progresses he's gets worse, because his body can't handle being so pwoerful, and as he prepares to ascend/die, he jerks violently awake and stares into Beckett's eyes and then falls down dead. As Beckett tries to revive him, Weir tells him not to but Beckett explains that Rodney told him how to save him. Beckett saves him by hooking him up to the machine and Zalenka pushing some buttons.

    In the final section we see Rodney working away on his laptop. He's frustrated because he can't understand any of the new math he created while super-intelligent. Elizabeth asks him how he is and so follows a conversation where McKay reveals that, not only does he 'like' Elizabeth, but he also thinks that she likes him. It really is hilarious to watch.
  • Rodney McKay gets a jolt of Ancient technology that super speeds him through the preparatory stages of the ascenscion process, but there is a catch.

    Another great "one off" episode that doesn't necessarily fit into any grand story arc. Unless you see SG-Atlantis as a story which endeavours to learn about a group of characters as they uncover the mysteries of the ancient Atlanteans, the Pegasus Galaxy and their new home.

    This was a great chance to see the emotional turmoil our familiar cast endures as they struggle to save the life of one of their own. It was an episode that featured the same high quality sense of humour and intelligence that we, the audience, have come to expect from this high calibre creative team.

    These episodes are what drive the sci-fi genre, because without depth of character and character interaction all you have is a bunch of super intellectual, ivory tower sci-tech dialogue. Not that that isn't enjoyable, but the balance is what makes the SG universe truly amazing.