Stargate Atlantis

Season 4 Episode 20

The Last Man (1)

2
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 07, 2008 on Syfy
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
396 votes
33

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Sheppard returns from a mission and finds Atlantis abandoned and surrounded by sand dunes. He soon finds a hologram of Dr. McKay, who tells him he has come 48,000 years into the future, and everyone is long dead. But the McKay hologram has a plan to save the city and restore Sheppard to his own time.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Heartfelt story telling

    10
    Heartfelt story telling.



    Evokes the same feelings of loss as the SF novel "Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart, and the SF film "A.I." by Steven Spielberg.
  • We see what might have been.

    9.7
    This episode gives the writers a chance to explore what occurs should the team be unsuccessful in defending against Michael and his created race. The writers don't go into any details on Michael's success or failure, but we learn what might have been for many characters. We also discover Atlantis stands for at least 26 more years (with humans) and 48-49,000 years.



    It was nice to have an (very brief) opportunity to see how the future might turn out should failure occur. Yet, we know (or hope we know) the Atlantis team will be successful and hence an alternative reality story.



    A big thank you to the writers and producers and now, please, let us have the canon success stories.



    Oh, one item they failed to mention . . . What happened to Dr. Beckett? After all last we saw he was using the same chamber as Sheppard.moreless
  • The best finale EVER!

    10
    I honestly don't know what to say. This was really to painful to watch... We saw all our heroes die. The scene where we saw the last moments of Jennifer was just to much for me. I really support the idea of Jewel Staite joining the regular cast next season. And I wonder if the writers will recreate the relationship between her and McKay in the normal timeline.



    It is really great that the characters will have a chance to change everything and that John remembers everything that McKay said to him in the future. Well there were only two very small errors in the episode - what happened to Carson and the surviving Replicators? But the episode still was perfect. Let's wait for the fifth season now.moreless
  • See Summary

    9.5
    The Last Man was a great episode with lots of action, drama and insight into the characters. The episode was mainly about Sheppard getting trapped 48,000 years in the future and being assisted by the Hologram Dr. McKay to set things right. Hologram McKay gives detailed accounts of what happened to the other team members, the universe, and himself. It was interesting to see how each persons story unfolded, and the choices they made. I was happy to see such solid character in all of the characters. They are who they are to the core, and it shines through. I really enjoyed watching this episode and watching the story unravel.moreless
  • A fresh approach to a season finale.

    8.5
    As far as season finales go, there have definitely been better ones but this for me was still an excellent episode. A look into the future and a look at how things might be if the Atlantis team was to fail. This episode really showed character spirit. We rarely, if ever, see our favourite characters die. With this alternate time line we got to see how the characters reacted with certain death. Although we have seen them face almost certain death before we could be confident that they would find a way to escape and survive. Ronons death for me could have been more dramatic but it was how I imagine he would act in that situation, sacrificing himself for the success of the mission and the safety of his men. I am a big fan of Todd the wraith and was pleased to see him fight and die side by side with Ronon. Carters death was also extremely self-sacrificing and heroic. Carters role in Atlantis, I feel, is very different from SG-1. In SG-1 she was a scientist and a soldier. But in Atlantis she is a leader first. I thought her alternate story line really brought back the character which we loved to watch through out all 10 seasons of SG-1. With her working on the Phoenix with McKay, then sacrificing herself to save her crew. This is definitely the Carter I remember. Teylas appearance in this episode is very small although understandable as Rachel Luttrell was pregnant at the time. Though she isn't seen much, Teyla is still a main part of the episode and the story line. A lot of people don't believe McKay would have abandoned Atlantis so easily but this episode is telling the story over, I suspect months in Atlantis after Sheppard's disappearance, then years back on Earth. The loss of all three members of McKay's team could have easily caused him to re-evaluate his role on Atlantis. I understand Keller not wanting McKay to waste his life obsessing about fixing everything but this is the McKay we know and love and he wouldn't have it any other way. Major, or should I say, General Lorne's role was a good addition to the story. I thought it was good to see a loved character had survived in Pegasus and made it home. Although I thought McKay's line to Lorne, "You saw whats happening in Pegasus and you know whats happening here." needed a little more explanation. Although our focus was more aimed towards what happened in the alternate time line, Joe Flanigan's performance really kept our minds on the problem at hand as Sheppard realized he had to prevent all these things from coming to pass. I thought the episode would have been more success to leave us hanging with Sheppard still in the future. The cliff hanger of the building collapsing, I my opinion, wasn't the best way to end the episode as well as the season. All in all this episode was extremely exciting and very enjoyable.moreless
Amanda Tapping

Amanda Tapping

Colonel Samantha Carter

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major / Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell

Teyla Emmagan

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

Ronon Dex

Kory Grim

Kory Grim

Recruit

Guest Star

Christian Sloan

Christian Sloan

Hybrid

Guest Star

Dan Kashagama

Dan Kashagama

Doctor

Guest Star

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Richard Woolsey

Recurring Role

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Dr. Jennifer Keller

Recurring Role

David Nykl

David Nykl

Dr. Radek Zelenka

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Ronon: Force of habit.
      Todd the Wraith: Indeed.

      This might be a reference to a previous episode of Atlantis "Midway" and tribute to Stargate SG-1's Teal'c (Christopher Judge) who appeared in that episode and quite frequently said "indeed" in his dialog.

    • Naquadah technology advanced a great deal in the 25 years McKay worked to solve the problem. The Mark XII Naquadah generators are 10 generations more advanced then the Mark II's currently being used. A single Mark XII was able to power the shield of Atlantis for nearly 400 years, after laying dormant for 48,000 years.

    • When Keller takes a splinter out of McKay, he is typically Rodney about it ("splinter acting" David Hewlett calls it) in much the same way as he did in the Season 2 episode "Conversion" when he and Sheppard were brought to the Infirmary together.

    • Other instances of time travel using a solar flare were the Stargate SG-1 episodes "1969", "2010", and the DVD Movie Stargate Continuum.

    • In the future when "Holo-McKay" tells Sheppard the history, what has happened after Sheppard disappeared, he says that all that can be prevented if and when Sheppard will return back because he would already know all what was going to happen. In the Stargate universe, when somebody time travels they create a parallel universe from the point they arrive, so all that stuff happened in that universe, but as soon as Sheppard returns he's in a different universe than the one he spoke to "Holo-McKay".

    • This is the second time that McKay talks about inventing a new kind of math. Here he believes he'll have to invent one to get the answers he needs. In the Season 3 episode "The Tao of Rodney", McKay, whose intelligence had been artificially accelerated, claimed to have created a new kind of math.

    • This is the second time that Lorne has been seen in an important position in an alternate timeline. The first was in the Stargate SG-1 Season 10 episode "The Road Not Taken" in which he was leader of SG-1.

    • This episode marks the first time we see the Asgard Beam Weapons destroy a Wraith Hive-Ship.

    • Based on estimates of the ages of the two Weirs in "Before I Sleep", a person in stasis ages one year for every (approximately) 160-165 years of real time that passes. Since he had been in stasis 700-800 years when he returned to Atlantis from the future, Sheppard was physically 4-5 years older than when the episode began.

    • The decorations in General Lorne's office include the Atlantis skyline painting he did in the Season 3 episode "Sunday". Also the name tag on his desk says General E. Lorne. The E. stands for Evan.

    • Rodney blames a recent adjustment of the Atlantis operating system for not engaging the failsafe that prevents dangerous wormholes from connecting. However, previous episodes of Stargate SG-1 indicate that is it the responsibility of the dialing gate's DHD to detect such problems, not the receiving gate.

  • QUOTES (40)

    • Holo-McKay: If I don't get you back within two months of when you left, then it'll be too late.
      Sheppard: Too late. What the hell's that supposed to mean?
      Holo-McKay: Things, didn't exactly go well for us, after your disappearance. Once I figured out what happened to you, I realized there was nothing we could do. The Air Force pronounced you KIA. Gave you a very nice military funeral back on Earth. Obviously the casket was empty, but um, you know it's the thought that counts. From there, well, from there things went from bad to worse.

    • Holo-McKay: (of Carter) With her last breath, she took out three of Michael's hive ships. And we buried another empty casket.

    • (Sheppard is trying to get through the sandstorm)
      Holo-McKay: Sheppard? Sheppard can you hear me?
      Sheppard: Yeah, I hear ya.
      Holo-McKay: How you doing?
      Sheppard: Never better. (struggles through the storm) Rodney?
      Holo-McKay: Yeah, I'm still here.
      Sheppard: Tell me about Ronon.
      Holo-McKay: What, now?
      Sheppard: Yes, now. Talk to me Rodney.
      Holo-McKay: Right, uh, well, after what happened to you, and then Teyla, I guess he didn't feel comfortable on the base anymore. He persuaded Sam to let him go offworld to recruit a strike force.

    • Holo-McKay: (after telling Sheppard about Ronon) I'm sorry. I wish some of these stories had happier endings. (Sheppard doesn't reply) Sheppard? Sheppard, you still with me? Sheppard!
      (Sheppard falls through the door out of the sandstorm, and falls down unconscious)
      Holo-McKay: Your bio-signature's barely registering. Sheppard! Oh, God.

    • (Sheppard wakes up after his walk through the sandstorm)
      Holo-McKay: There you go. You can do it.
      Sheppard: Rodney.
      Holo-McKay: I'm still here. Look, I'd help you up but I'm a...
      Sheppard: How long was I out?
      Holo-McKay: All night. Look, you don't look so good, maybe we should get you to the stasis chamber as soon as possible.
      Sheppard: Agreed.

    • (Sheppard runs through the gate, holds up his hands to the Marines)
      Sheppard: Whoa.
      Carter: John.
      Sheppard: Colonel. It worked. It worked. Rodney, you're a genius.
      McKay: Okay.
      Carter: John, what happened?
      Sheppard: How much time has gone by?
      Carter: You've been missing for twelve days.
      Sheppard: (to himself) Twelve days, twelves days, okay, she wouldn't have had her baby yet (to Carter and McKay) Look, I know this sounds kinda weird but we're on the clock.
      Carter: John, what are you talking about?
      Sheppard: I know where Teyla is.

    • Todd: Are we done?
      Ronon: Yeah.
      (Ronon blows the facility, Todd, and himself up)

    • Ronon: I was just gonna blow it up.
      Todd: Naturally.

    • McKay: Umm, well, we've had a number of glitches since we, uh, last updated the operating system.
      Sheppard: Oh, that's what you call a glitch, huh?!
      McKay: Yes, well, you should know that, uh, I'll be giving Zelenka a stern talking to.

    • Sheppard: In the past twenty five years, d'you happen to notice who won the Superbowl?
      Holo-McKay: Oh. Uh, 'fraid not.
      Sheppard: Oh. Stanley Cup? World Series?
      Holo-McKay: I was never really much of a sports fan.
      Sheppard: Right. Had to ask.

    • Sheppard: Yeah. I guess I've had a tough day, but you've had a tough twenty five years.

    • Keller: The year I spent in Atlantis, I – I saw more things than people even dream about in their lifetime. I don't have any regrets.
      McKay: But I do – a whole boatload of 'em. I wanna do something about it.
      Keller: No. Just promise me that you're not gonna waste the rest of your life chasing after something that's already gone.

    • Keller: Where have you been?
      McKay: I've been working.
      Keller: Working? On what?
      McKay: The solution – to everything. You, this, all of this – I mean, Atlantis, Pegasus, Michael, everything.
      Keller: What are you talking about?
      McKay: I'm gonna change the time line. I'm gonna make it so none of this ever happened. I mean, you won't get sick, Teyla won't die, Michael won't complete his research, none of it.
      Keller: Oh, Rodney.
      McKay: OK, I've already worked out the basic plan. I mean, the details will be a bit more complicated. I'll probably have to create a whole new form of math just to do the calculations, but I know I can do it.
      Keller: What's done is done. You can't change the past.
      McKay: You can. I can – and I'm going to, even if it takes the rest of my life.

    • Sheppard: Wait a minute. You and Keller?
      McKay: Why do you find that so surprising?
      Sheppard: I'm just saying, if we start monkeying around with this time line here, there's no guarantee it's gonna turn out the same for you two.
      McKay: Yeah, that's what I'm counting on.
      Sheppard: Why's that? You survived; you got the girl. It doesn't sound so bad.
      McKay: No, at first it was great.

    • Woolsey: Michael knows the defensive capabilities of this base and our ships. The I.O.A. thinks it's highly unlikely he will launch an unprovoked attack.
      Keller: So, that's it, then? We're supposed to just stand back and let him take over the rest of the galaxy?
      Woolsey: How many more of our own people have to die, Doctor? Colonel Sheppard, Colonel Carter, Ronon, Teyla – they were your friends.
      McKay: Sheppard is not dead.
      Woolsey: Right. He's just been transported forty eight thousand years into the future. I guess that makes him one of the lucky ones.

    • (When Sheppard decides not to wait until the storm calms down)
      Holo-McKay: What about the storm?
      Sheppard: It's been going on for seven hours. For all we know, it could go on for days.
      Holo-McKay: It'll be dark soon.
      Sheppard: All the more reason to get going. All I've gotta do is walk in a straight line.
      Holo-McKay: That may not be as easy as you think!

    • Sheppard: The city has solar-powered generators, right?
      Holo-McKay: (sarcastically) Yes, which would come in very handy if we were trying to power a couple of electric golf carts.
      Sheppard: See, you're still thinking like the old McKay.
      Holo-McKay: I can't really help that! Look, what are you saying?
      Sheppard: The sun's going red giant, right? Increased solar energy. The worse it gets, the more power we'll have.
      Holo-McKay: Oh my God. That could work!

    • (About the dying sun)
      Sheppard: All right. How long before that happens?
      Holo-McKay: It is impossible to say, but my best estimate is under five hundred years.
      Sheppard: But you said I'd be in stasis for at least seven hundred.
      Holo-McKay: Right. So the moment you step out of the stasis chamber, you'll be killed.
      Sheppard: Rodney, you've gotta think of something!
      Holo-McKay: I am trying. It's like I said ...
      Sheppard: ... you didn't anticipate the variable. I get it.

    • Holo-McKay: The sun in this system is dying. It's running out of fuel.
      Sheppard: Wouldn't that make it colder?
      Holo-McKay: No. As it consumes the heavier elements, it begins to expand. It's basically turning into a red giant.
      Sheppard: OK, so mystery solved. Let's move on.
      Holo-McKay: No, no. You don't get it. This isn't some kind of cyclical climate change. This is – this is a one-way ticket.

    • McKay: Look, I know you have been debriefed about all the future events, all the things we have to avoid, but there is one more thing I need to know: Do I still have hair?
      Sheppard: No.

    • Sheppard: Where the hell have you been?
      Holo-McKay: I was inputting our new solar flare requirements into the long-range sensors... And I found out what happened to the ocean.
      Sheppard: Well, are you gonna tell me or are you gonna keep it a secret?

    • Holo-McKay: Finally they decided to give her a new ship – Phoenix. Barely off the assembly line; half the Asgard systems weren't finished; the other half weren't working. We spent the better part of a month getting her ready for combat. We worked day and night, side by side. Zelenka might have been there as well. I don't really remember.

    • Holo-McKay: Oh. Well, I suppose it doesn't really matter anyways. We'll just wait for the storm to blow over and have you out of here in no time at all... Well, you'll actually be here for seven hundred years but you know what I mean.

    • Holo-McKay: (About sand blocking their way) Well, I wasn't programmed for this variable!
      Sheppard: You said you had twenty five years to work on this plan!
      Holo-McKay: Well, McKay did – and he brilliantly anticipated a lot of potential problems. It's just that, well, this wasn't one of them.

    • Sheppard: (About sand blocking their way) Forty eight thousand years into the future, you've still got a knack for stating the obvious.

    • Holo-McKay: (About wraith) He took advantage of their weakened state and their internal divisions – and in less than a year, he had the Wraith on their knees - literally.

    • Holo-McKay: (About Teyla) It's not your fault.
      Sheppard: I should have been there.
      Holo-McKay: And you will be – and knowing the address where we eventually found Teyla, you will be able to get there much quicker. You'll save Teyla, save the baby, change the fate of the galaxy.

    • Sheppard: (About solar flares)And that doesn't happen every day.
      Holo-McKay: Exactly.
      Sheppard: How long are we talking about?
      Holo-McKay: Oh, seven, eight hundred years. A thousand, tops.
      Sheppard: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That's your plan? I'm forty eight thousand years into the future and you wanna put me on ice for another thousand?
      Holo-McKay: Tops.

    • Sheppard: It's really nice to have company, but if what you're saying is true, what good does it do me?
      Holo-McKay: Oh, trust me, I wouldn't go to all this trouble just so we could have a chat. No, no – I'm here to bring you back.

    • Sheppard: If I'm in the future, that means you're, uh ...
      Holo-McKay: ... dead. Dead and buried and turned to dust a long, long time ago, along with everyone you ever knew. There's no way of knowing what the state of human civilization is; whether it even still exists. I mean, we've obviously abandoned the city.
      Sheppard: Obviously!
      Holo-McKay: There's not enough power for you to gate back to Earth, and without a M.A.L.P., going anywhere else would be far too risky. It is entirely possible that you are the last human being alive.
      Sheppard: You're not doing a very good job of cheering me up here.

    • Sheppard: (After he learns about the time travel) This is a practical joke.
      Holo-McKay: No, I'm afraid not. Freak accident. Sorry.
      Sheppard: You're telling me I just traveled forty eight thousand years into the future in ten seconds?
      Holo-McKay: I know – it is kind of cool when you think about it, isn't it?
      Sheppard: Surfing a thirty foot wave in Waimei is cool. Dating a supermodel is cool. This is not cool!

    • Sheppard: I was sent back in time?
      Holo-McKay: Uh, no. In fact, you were sent forward into the future.
      Sheppard: How far into the future?
      Holo-McKay: Huh, an interesting question – and one that was not easy to figure out. I had to determine the exact characteristics of the solar flare in question ...
      Sheppard: Rodney!
      Holo-McKay: Forty eight thousand years, give or take.

    • Sheppard:You look, uh ... different.
      Holo-McKay: That's 'cause you remember me the way I was.
      Sheppard: What, you mean earlier today?

    • Holo-McKay: (Over radio) Look, I need you to describe exactly what you're seeing. Where are you?
      Sheppard: I'm in the Control Room. It's deserted.
      Holo-McKay: Is there any power?
      Sheppard: No. Everything's dead – and, oh yeah, did I tell you the ocean's gone?
      Holo-McKay: Sorry, what?
      Sheppard: The big blue thing out the window. It's gone. It's – it's – it's a desert – and it's about a hundred and twenty degrees in here.

    • Sheppard: (When returning to deserted Atlantis) If this is a surprise party, it's not my birthday.

    • Sheppard: The Genii contact didn't show up.
      Lorne: Can't say I'm surprised.
      Sheppard: What are you saying, Major? The Genii can't be trusted?!
      Lorne: Well, they did try and kill you and Dr. McKay along with that little girl.
      Sheppard: True, true – and normally that's the kind of thing I'd take personally, but Ladon claims he didn't order the hit. He's trying to get on our good side.

    • Holo-McKay: Hey there!
      Sheppard: Rodney!
      Holo-McKay: Ah, it's good to see you again.
      Sheppard: You're a hologram.
      Holo-McKay: (Sarcastically) No!

    • Holo-McKay: A sand storm! You ever been in one of those?
      Sheppard: As a matter of fact I have!
      Holo-McKay: Oh...Then you know what that means.

    • Sheppard: Somebody turned up the heat.

    • Sheppard: This is either the most elaborate practical joke of all time, or I'm in serious trouble here.

  • NOTES (10)

    • This episode was originally supposed to end with Sheppard saying "I know where Teyla is", but Sci-Fi insisted there be another scene afterwards where the team attempt a rescue and get trapped, leaving more of a cliff-hanger.

    • At this point in the series, the producers had no plans to make Woolsey the base commander for season five as they believed Amanda Tapping would return. It worked out to be remarkable forshadowing as Robert Picardo did end up joining the main cast due to Tapping leaving to executive produce and star in Sanctuary.

    • The scene with McKay and Keller walking down the street was filmed outside the Stargate Atlantis studio in Vancouver, BC.

    • Cornmeal (or cornflour) was used as sand which was fired into Joe Flanigan's face during the scene where Sheppard has to make it through the sandstorm.

    • As of this episode, John Sheppard is over 700 years old due to being in stasis.

    • Awards:

      -Todd Masters and Leah Ehman were nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Achievement in Make-Up for this episode.

    • Rachel Luttrell did not appear in this episode. A body double was used for the one scene she was in and Martin Wood used creative camera angles to show as much of the body double as possible without making it clear that it wasn't Rachel Luttrell.

    • Sheppard was originally supposed to return to an ice-covered Atlantis instead of the city covered in sand. But since the Stargate SG-1 movie Continuum was partly shot in Antarctica the imagery would have been too similar. Therefore, the Ice Age was changed to a period of extreme heat due to the sun turning into a red giant.

    • David Nykl (Dr. Zelenka) whose name appears in the guest credits briefly appears in this episode, but has no dialog. Kate Hewlett (Jeanie Miller) also appears briefly, and though she does speak, the voiceover takes away from her lines making her role virtually non-speaking as well.

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on March 10, 2008 on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
      -This episode aired in the UK on March 11, 2008 on Sky One.
      -Syndication Premiere: April 11-12, 2009.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on September 2, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • The Last Man:

      The episode seems to be named after the Mary Shelley story, The Last Man, which is regarded as one of the first science fiction novels and in which the world has been decimated by a plague, similar to the Hoffan Drug. Furthermore, as John Sheppard emerges forty-eight thousand years into the future, Rodney states that he may be the last human alive. This is similar to the predicament of the main character Lionel Verney, as he exists at the end of humanity as well.

    • Star Trek: Voyager:

      The idea of the Emergency Medical Hologram surviving into the future was explored in several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, and oddly enough, Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey on Stargate Atlantis) played the EMH in that series.

    • Red Dwarf:

      Sheppard is the last man alive far in the future with his only companion a holographic simulation of the person who bugged him the most. This is the premise of the classic British Sci-Fi-Comedy series Red Dwarf. There is even a Red Dwarf novel called The Last Human.

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