Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 6

The Shrine

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Aug 22, 2008 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
370 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

McKay begins to lose his memory after contracting the Pegasus version of Alzheimer's called "Second Childhood."

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  • Rodney meets "Charly" (Flowers for Algernon)

    Rodney meets "Charly."

    Charly was a 1968 American film adapted by veteran screenwriter Stirling Silliphant from the novel Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes.

    Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the title character Charly, a mentally ***ed bakery worker who is the subject of an initially successful but eventually abortive and tragic experiment to increase human intelligence.

    The cast included Claire Bloom, Lilia Skala, Leon Janney and Dick Van Patten.moreless
  • Buddy

    This episode was so good and so heartbreaking. The way Sheppard says the word, "Buddy," is so sad. It all sounds so genuine. Like he really cares so much about Rodney. I can't even describe how it makes me feel. Now, every time someone says the word buddy on any show, I get this lump in my chest. I want to cry. This episode literally got me to like Sheppard's character. I actually appreciate him more in all the episodes I've ever seen. Also when Rodney says Ronan Dex with that accent on the "Dex". It makes me smile with sarrow. And of coarse when he says John. It brings tears to my eyes. Then there's the part when they're in the infermary and John gives Rodney this look. He's got a tear in his eye, and he's just looking at Rodney in this pitying way. His arrangement friend has been reduced to this mush mouthed pitiful child.

    On a second note, this episode was practically made for me. I have this odd obsession with mental illness. Physical too, but mental when I can get it. When I start a new show, I actually read through the episode guide to look for any episodes with mental illness. I am in love with this episode.

    It doesn't hurt that Rodney is my favorite character on the show.moreless
  • An very emotional Rodney episode with a great performance by David Hewlett.

    One of the things I like about Stargate Atlantis is the writers ability to create great action-packed shows, emotional chracter-driven shows, or maybe a combination of both, and still make the episode interesting. The idea of Rodney's picking up the Pegasus version of chicken pox and is excellent and well conceived. This kind of story runs the risk of being overplayed or made to look ridiculous but it is dealt with in a sensitive and respectful manner. David Hewlett really has an opportunity to shine in this episode and he does. His performance is entirely convincing and, at times, he actually had me believing this was all happening in front of me.

    The minor criticism for this episode is the Deus Ex Machina of the "shrine". From the moment it was mentioned, it was obvious it was going to be some magical ancient machine that could heal all of McKay's problems. However convenient it was, I did like how it played out though. And the fact that it is included on a Wraith stronghold added a little peril to the episode, though the presence of the Wraith did nothing to interfere with the main plot. If I'm going to nitpick, I would also say that Keller's quick-fix surgery in a damp cave under the threat of Wraith discovery using tools from a first aid kit was a bit of a stretch, but I'm going to let that slip as it was a great episode overall.

    There's not much else to mention about this one really. It's definately not action packed and some might even call it a filler episode, but it is worth watching if only for Hewlett's performance. I'm giving this one 9/10.moreless
  • A brilliant and heartbreaking performance by David Hewlett.

    There's only 3 times in my life that I have actually teared up when watching a television show or movie (Ironically all of them while watching Stargate episodes) This was one of them.

    David Hewlett's performance in this episode was truly inspired. Undoubtedly one of the greatest performances in the franchise''s history. He made you genuinely believe that the true Rodney McKay was slipping further and further away. He conveyed so well just how devastating it would be for a character like McKay who's entire life and self worth revolves around his intelligence to slowly lose it. From his body language to the slurred and warm tone to his words, it was truly a remarkable performance deserving of recognition. Brilliant performances also by Jewel Staite and Kate Hewlett in conveying their characters individual and shared grief over Rodney's situation. And yes while I will admit there are plot holes in the flooded-planet situation (ie. Why didn't the scientist notice the glacier was melting?) David's heartbreaking performance makes those holes seem irrelevant.moreless
  • Fantastic episode, although characterization a little off.

    For more than a decade the SG-1 show was my favorite program (I continued to enjoy the DVD'S and the DTV films well after the shows cancellation) until the fourth season of Atlantis. The fifth season simply took that to the next level. This episode was a prime example of how perfect an episode can be when the writing and acting are in perfect sync. I can't really say any more that is positive about the episode, it was a joy to watch and I look forward to the DVD's so I can watch it again with commentary.

    On the other hand, I like to disassociate myself from time to time and watch my favorite sci-fi in that mindset and while I constantly sing the praises of the show to my friends as an example of "smart television" (nerd TV as it were) this episode to an outsider would probably appear ridiculous. Whether you believe in global warming or not, the blatant usage here as a scare-tactic was unnecessary, considering the overall conflict of the episode had nothing to do with it (the catalyst of the plot could have been anything) and the arrogant attitude the Earth-native humans have over the Pegasus-native humans is out of character for the franchise. Specifically I refer to Dr. Keller's automatic dismissal of the "mystical place" that Ronon refers to that might help Rodney briefly, considering they all came to Atlantis through a metal gate found in the desert in Giza in the 1920's, and since the formation of the SGC 13 years before Lord knows how many "mystical ancient devices" turned out to yield post-modern technology or the very least positive results. Rather out of character for a member of an expedition member who has to retain an open mind.

    Those moments aside, I really did love the episode rather because I enjoy trying to predict how an episode will play out, and being proven wrong.moreless
Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell

Teyla Emmagan

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

Ronon Dex

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite

Dr. Jennifer Keller

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Richard Woolsey

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Kate Hewlett

Kate Hewlett

Jeannie Miller

Recurring Role

David Nykl

David Nykl

Dr. Radek Zelenka

Recurring Role

Sharon Taylor (II)

Sharon Taylor (II)

Technician/Amelia Banks

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Nitpick: The team couldn't gate directly back to Atlantis as the tower would have been flooded, so they waited 9 hours for the water to recede. However, as the wormhole shut down after 38 minutes, they could have simply dialled a space gate and allowed the water to come through with them (into space), then dial Atlantis from there after a further 38 minutes. Given that Rodney lost consciousness and appeared to be very ill, it is unlikely that they would have stayed on the planet for 9 hours when they could've been back in 76 minutes.

    • Woolsey reveals that his father had Alzheimer's. The disease is similar to "Second Childhood," the Pegasus galaxy equivalent but is not caused by a parasite. "Second Childhood" is also more severe in that all memories are affected including speech.

    • Talus is a planet once that once belonged to the Lanteans. They built a shrine, where a person afflicted with "Second Childhood" can be him or herself for a day, before they die. The planet was taken over by the Wraith during their war with the Asurans and is now home to 2 Hive ships.

    • This episode implies that a submerged Stargate could bring in water to Atlantis.

    • Although it is never mentioned on screen during the series it is not possible for a Puddle Jumper to enter the Stargate while cloaked, which is why Sheppard used his smoke technique. The Puddle Jumper console contains a warning in Ancient that translates to "Never Attempt Gate Reentry When In Cloak Mode."

    • The flooded planet is designated M44-5YN. The planet was used by the Atlantis Expedition to study the long term effects of global warming.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Rodney: I can't stop shivering!
      Ronon: You're letting all the hot air out of your mouth.

    • Teyla: Were you running a fever before we left?
      McKay: I don't know. I'm always running something.

    • Ronon: I thought you didn't believe?
      Keller: Is that a prerequisite?

    • McKay: Look, my brain is not some new deck off the back of your house.
      Sheppard: I'm not the one doing the surgery.
      McKay: (to Keller) Yeah, and as my parting advice, you need to stop letting these guys talk you into doing stupid things!

    • Keller: I have enough anesthetic to put you out. You're not going to feel a thing.
      McKay: Yeah, it's probably a hammer.

    • (Ronon blasts the parasite)
      Sheppard: You could have stepped on it.
      Ronon: She told me to shoot it.

    • Sheppard: Well actually we're gonna have a big feast first.
      McKay: Last supper, huh?
      Sheppard: Well, suits your Messiah complex.
      McKay: True.

    • McKay: How about we say goodbye now.
      Sheppard: No.
      McKay: What do you mean no?
      Sheppard: I mean, I'm not saying goodbye.
      McKay: Well I'm saying it anyway.
      Sheppard: Well, I'm not listening.
      McKay: Pretty soon I won't know who you are.
      Sheppard: Then I'll remind you.
      McKay: Yeah, but I don't want you to see me like that. I want you to remember me as I am, as your genius friend. Not as some…
      Sheppard: Not happening.
      McKay: Please.
      Sheppard: You're stuck with me, Rodney. Just accept it.
      McKay: But…
      Sheppard: No. That's final.
      McKay: 'Kay.
      Sheppard: Okay.
      McKay: You've been a good friend, Arthur.
      (They look at each other and burst out laughing)

    • (Sheppard hands McKay a beer)
      McKay: I don't know, should I have another?
      Sheppard: What could happen?
      McKay: I shouldn't have banged on your door like that. I feel ridiculous.
      Sheppard: Don't.
      McKay: Been trying to remember the name of my sister's kid.
      Sheppard: …Betty.
      McKay: Betty? Pretty sure that's not it.
      Sheppard: It's Madison. See, at least you remember what it wasn't.
      McKay: Well, it's an underrated skill.
      Sheppard: I'm just saying you might not be as far gone as you think.
      McKay: I'm hiding it. Believe me, I've already forgotten more than most people will ever know. And I know that sounds…arrogant, is that right.
      Sheppard: Yeah, that works.

    • Sheppard: Stuff happens, Woolsey. And by stuff I mean...
      Woolsey: I know what you mean, thanks.

    • Keller: You can go ahead, Rodney.
      McKay: I don't remember where to start.
      Keller: Sure you do.
      McKay: No.
      Keller: Just like we've been doing. We'll just go from there.
      McKay: My name is Mr. Rodney McKay.
      Keller: No.
      McKay: Yes.
      Keller: Come on now, you're Dr. McKay. Remember?
      McKay: No, I'm not anymore. I'm not smart anymore. Doctors are smart, so I'm mister. Now.
      Keller: Okay.
      McKay: I used to be the smartest person ever. And now…and now I'm not.
      Keller: That's what we're trying to fix. Right?
      McKay: You can't fix me.
      Keller: You know we're trying our very best.
      McKay: You can't. You can't. Can't.
      Keller: It's okay. Rodney, what's the next thing you're supposed to remember?
      McKay: Where'd John go?
      Keller: He just had to go away for a few minutes, he'll be…
      McKay: John?
      Keller: Rodney. Rodney, I'm your friend. I'm right here.
      McKay: Where are you John? John.
      (Recording stops)
      Jeannie: Why the hell didn't you tell me my brother was this far gone?

    • Sheppard: You know Woolsey wants to send a M.A.L.P. ahead of every transit?
      McKay: That's gonna get old fast.
      Sheppard: That's what I said.

    • McKay: I think I got a little wetter than you did.
      Sheppard: I don't know. I got a little damp dialing the DHD.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Awards:

      -This episode was nominated for an Nebula Award for Best Script to Brad Wright.

    • Although credited, all of David Nykl's scenes were cut from the final cut. He was however, seen for a few seconds, passing the team in the control room, but he had no dialogue.

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on August 25, 2008 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
      -This episode aired in the UK on September 23, 2008 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Sweden on October 31, 2008 on TV6.
      -This episode aired in Germany on August 26, 2009 on RTL II.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on October 22, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.
      -Syndication Premiere: October 24-25, 2009.
      -This episode aired in Australia on February 25, 2010 on 7TWO.

    • This episode had to be renamed from "The Shrine of Talus" to simply "The Shrine", due to legal clearance issues.

    • This is the 300th episode produced in the Stargate franchise, 214 episodes of Stargate SG-1 and 86 episodes of Stargate Atlantis.