Seizure

Summary | Analysis | Production | Transcript | Fan Reviews

Homeworld Command tries to convince an ally occupying a naquadria-rich planet to let them try to dial Destiny, but suspects that they have already been infiltrated by the Lucian Alliance.

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EPISODE #215
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.27.12
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 02.27.12
WRITTEN BY: Rémi Aubuchon
DIRECTED BY: Helen Shaver
GUEST STARS:

Victor Garber (Ambassador Ovirda), David Hewlett (Rodney McKay), Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey), Kathleen Munroe (Amanda Perry), Julie McNiven (Ginn), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James), Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody), Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park), Patrick Gilmore (Dale Volker), Lou Diamond Phillips (David Telford), Richard Beauchamp (Soldier), Daren Herbert (Captain), John Shaw (Administrator), Adam Thomas (Airman), Jackie Blackmore (Worker)

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Colonel David Telford and I.O.A. representative Richard Woolsey meet at the Pentagon with Ambassador Ovirda and other delegates from the planet Langara — a long-time ally of Earth (“Meridian”). Earth wants to use Langara’s naquadria core to power another attempt to dial the ninth chevron. The goal is to establish a supply line and send relief personnel to the crew on board Destiny. The Langarans worry that their planet might explode as did the Icarus planet (“Air, Part 1”).

Having revised the formulae Eli Wallace and Dr. Nicholas Rush used, however, a confident Dr. Rodney McKay tells the assembled delegation that he believes Langara would be perfectly safe.

The Langarans refuse. They want to verify McKay’s work first. Telford argues that the Lucian Alliance also wants to use Langara’s Stargate to reach Destiny again. When they come they will not take no for an answer — nor will they use McKay’s safer formulae for powering the wormhole with the planet’s volatile naquadria core. Still, Ambassador Ovirda refuses.

Woolsey certainly understands the Langaran position. But Colonel Telford is convinced that the Langarans already have an agreement in place with the dangerous Lucian Alliance. As proof, he offers still un-deciphered communiqués between the Langarans and the Alliance that Earth has captured with spy satellites. The head of Homeworld Command, Major General Jack O’Neill, has authorized Telford to undertake a military mission to Langara to prove that the ninth chevron can be safely dialed.

Destiny‘s commander, Colonel Everett Young, joins the strategy session on Earth in via the communication stones. Young wants Dr. McKay to swap bodies with Rush in order to come on board the ship and brief Eli before the ship’s crew commits to the plan. While on Earth, Rush can study McKay’s laptop.

But Rush is unavailable. Using the neural interface chair, his consciousness has been uploaded into the immersive simulation program that Young experienced (“Trial and Error”). Here he can visit with Amanda Perry and feel as if he is actually in physical contact with her, though her consciousness is now stored in the ship’s computer (“Hope”). They have spent considerable time together, sharing a variety of experiences.

Annoyed with Rush, Young asks Adam Brody to switch bodies with McKay instead, so that Eli can verify McKay’s research. When Eli agrees that the plan is scientifically sound, Young and McKay return to Earth.

The first objective of Telford’s mission is to prove McKay’s approach. The second is to ascertain whether the Langarans have a pact with the Lucian Alliance. Woolsey and McKay, however, refuse to participate if Telford intends to take the Langaran Gate Room by force. Young reassures them that is not the plan.

Woolsey and an Airman first arrive in the Langaran Gate room with a peace offering for their allies: an Ancient communication stone. When the unsuspecting Langaran Captain inspects the stone, he instantly swaps bodies with Lt. Matthew Scott on board Destiny. Lt. Scott authorizes Woolsey to visit Administrator Halperin, the Langaran official in charge of their Stargate facility. He, in turn, examines the other communication stone — promptly having his mind swapped bodies with Colonel Young. Telford, McKay, and SG-4 and SG-5 arrive through the Stargate, and in the guise of the Administrator, Young allows McKay to prepare the Langaran Stargate to dial the ninth chevron.

Meanwhile, Woolsey slips back to the Administrator’s office to search for the Lucian Alliance communiqués.

The Langaran Captain’s second in command is suspicious. He believes that this test could ignite Langara’s naquadria core. Scott assures him that was a bargaining position, but the man remains unconvinced.

On Destiny, Rush wants to leave the simulation. He sits in the Ancient chair and Perry activates it — but it does not return him to reality. Perry is puzzled. Rush realizes the simulation is isolated, so there is no way the program can be deactivated from inside. Perry disappears.

Eli tries to summon Ginn (“Hope”), but she doesn’t appear. Hesitantly, he tells Brody and Chloe Armstrong that he and Ginn were trying to figure out a way to be intimate. It involved uploading and then downloading Eli’s consciousness. But Ginn felt it was too dangerous. Apparently, Perry and Rush didn’t share that view.

Perry rejoins a flustered Rush inside the simulation. She blames Ginn’s disapproval for Rush’s inability to return to reality. He again sits in the Ancient chair, and this time it seems to work. Since he has been gone over 12 hours, a hungry Rush heads for the Mess.

Using an emergency shutdown of the F.T.L. engines as a diversion, Ginn now appears to Eli. She tells him that Perry has been blocking Ginn’s effort to reveal that Rush is still trapped in the simulation. She is about to tell Eli how to alter the program and free Rush … when she disappears.

Inside the simulation, Perry attributes the F.T.L. shutdown to a potential overload that she has now fixed. But Rush grows suspicious. He strips Destiny of shields to prove that he is still trapped within the simulation. Amanda admits to a mistake in programming the parameters: she assumed he loved her as she loves him. That would have allowed him to come and go as he wished. Telling him not to blame himself, she disappears.

On Langara, Woolsey returns to the Gate Room. He reports what he has found from his snooping: the Langarans haven’t entered into a secret deal with the enemy, but in fact they have refused every overture made by the Lucian Alliance. As McKay dials the first chevron to Destiny, Ambassador Ovirda arrives. He is not fooled by what is going on inside his facility, and orders his troops to shoot the intruders if the eighth chevron encodes. Woolsey wants to surrender and return to Earth. But Telford refuses: they must see the mission through and determine that the ninth chevron can be dialed safely.

As the fifth chevron locks, McKay tells Young that the power levels are as predicted. His formulae work. The seventh chevron locks. But Young orders them to abort the dialing sequence and surrender to the Langarans.

Soon after, Lt. Scott and Colonel Young return to Destiny in defeat. The Langarans have released Woolsey, McKay, Telford, and his team in exchange for removing the Stargate from the power facility and defending Langara from the Lucian Alliance in the future.

After two days in a coma in the Infirmary, Nicholas Rush awakens. Eli bitterly explains that he was able to rescue Rush only by quarantining the memory bank where Ginn and Perry are stored. Once again, both men have lost the women they love.

-S. Fetter

ANALYSIS

  • Langara is the homeworld of Jonas Quinn, once a member of SG-1. His fate was put in question when it was mentioned in a late Stargate SG-1 episode that his home planet had fallen to the Ori.)
  • As revealed when the planet was first introduced back in the fifth season of Stargate SG-1 (“Meridian”), Langara has vast deposits of the mineral naquadria — the same mineral that made up the core of the Icarus planet (“Air, Part 1”) and the planet that the Lucian Alliance used to dial to Destiny (“Incursion, Part 1”). (Langara’s rich deposits of the highly explosive mineral were artificially created by a Goa’uld scientist.)

    Earth has been allies with the Langarans for years (last seen in “Fallout”), so it makes sense that we would try to convince them to let us use their planet and their Stargate to reach Destiny. It is a huge gamble for them to take, however, since both planets used to dial the ninth chevron to date have exploded. But McKay’s interrupted test seems to indicate that he has indeed found a way to do it safely.

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “Seizure” guest stars Stargate Atlantis‘s David Hewlett and Robert Picardo, as Dr. Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey (respectively). Though Stargate SG-1 cast members appeared multiple times throughout Season One, it’s the first time that a series regular from Atlantis has appeared on the show.
  • “I was sitting there [reading the script] going, ‘How does McKay fit into this world?’ He’s such a different character, and Atlantis is so different from SGU. I was a little nervous about that. But I think they’ve done a really good job of getting them in there.

    “It’s not a McKay episode. It’s not all about McKay and it’s not all about Robert [Picardo]. It’s an episode of SGU. But I think they’ve nicely melded the worlds together.

    “… You cannot have McKay in an episode — just like you can’t have Jack [O’Neill] in an episode of Stargate — without a certain personality, or at least aspects of that personality, coming through. But I think they’ve done a really good job of getting just enough of it in there. But not so much that it takes away from what they are doing on SGU.” (Actor David Hewlett, in an interview with GateWorld)

  • “Had a fun scene with [David Hewlett] today! It’s so great to have him in this episode!” (“Vanessa James” actress Julia Benson, in a post on Twitter)
  • “Great but looong day on SGU with David Hewlett, Brian Jacob Smith, Picardo, Garber & Louis! Way cool ep!” (“David Telford” actor Lou Diamond Phillips, in a post on Twitter)
  • “Longest Stargate shooting day ever … and yet somehow not long enough. I will be back to serious McKay mourning when this is over!” (“Rodney McKay” actor David Hewlett, in a post on Twitter)
  • “Without any of the specifics, it’s sort of like an SG-1 episode I wrote called ‘The Pegasus Project’ back in [Season Ten]. In that there were events that needed to happen in the other galaxy that affected both sides, meaning the Destiny needs our help but we need to do something in the Milky Way in order to help it. And the people who are helping us in the Milky Way are naturally folks who work in and around the S.G.C. or Atlantis, and the people who help us this time are Woolsey and McKay.

    “Most of their storyline takes place in the Milky Way and on a planet near Earth … not in the Pegasus Galaxy but our galaxy. It was just a natural fit. I’ve been thinking of a story to bring McKay back from the beginning, but we just didn’t want him to come aboard the ship and solve the problem, that’s our job. Obviously he has his own important things to do. It’s not like he just drops everything because there’s a few folks stuck on a ship. But this time we need him and he comes up with something that is obviously very smart.

    “That isn’t to say that we don’t get a great scene between him and Eli and some fun kind of SG-1 style stuff and Atlantis stuff in terms of storytelling in the episode. It’s a little bit funnier because David [Hewlett] can’t help himself, and there’s a whole other storyline that is really quite intense with Rush. The two storylines share a similar theme. We go back and forth between Destiny and this planet. It’s kind of fun, I don’t want to give away too much about the story, but McKay is very much McKay, I’ll just say that. He doesn’t have to pretend to be anyone else because it’s SGU.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with TV Deathray)

  • “I’d spoken to [David] Hewlett a bunch before, and I had actually met Robert [Picardo] before. I was very excited when they first announced that we were working with them, because when I watched Atlantis, McKay was really the character that kept me watching. Not that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise, but he really made the show for me, and I could never take my eyes off of him. So I was so excited to even be around him on set and then I actually got the chance to work with him, which, of course, made everything a million times better.

    “I just respect him so much and then, on top of that, I think he and Eli, you know … I almost didn’t take the role when I first got offered it, because I didn’t think I could possibly ever even come close to playing anything like McKay. And then I realized that Eli isn’t McKay and I said this to David. I said, ‘You know, a reason I took this job is because I realized that he’s not McKay and I don’t have to play him like McKay,’ and I think that makes for an interesting dynamic between the two of them. They have so much in common but they’re so different.” (Actor David Blue, in an interview with TV Deathray)

  • “I just returned a few days ago from Vancouver, where I guest starred on Stargate Universe, the newest installment of the Stargate franchise. I think StarTrek.com readers should sample Stargate Universe if they haven’t yet. It is an incredibly good show. It’s much darker and more dramatic than the other Stargate series. That makes it a little more Trek-like, actually. If you’re a Trek fan and you’ve never been a Stargate fan before, this is the show for you. I’m back as Richard Woolsey, and I’m back in a business suit, so I’m apparently no longer a commander.” (“Richard Woolsey” actor Robert Picardo, in a fan Q&A at StarTrek.com)
  • “[I] watched the producer’s cut of ‘Seizure.’ Great performances all around but I have to put in a great word for guest stars Victor Garber, Bob Picardo, and David Hewlett. Loved having McKay and Woolsey back in the swing of things. Seeing them on screen again really made me realize how much I miss ’em!” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog
  • “Two famous, well-loved Atlantis characters, Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey, [guest-star for an episode] … and it has a little bit of the flavor of last season, when we brought O’Neill back. This is a little bit of the old show in terms of storytelling and in terms of the story itself, [especially regarding] the element of humor that is in the show. Because David is funny. David Hewlett is a funny man. And McKay’s a funny character.”

    “But it is a really intriguing story too, and in some ways in the storytelling it’s a little bit like ‘The Pegasus Project’ was, in that people at both ends of the story need to work together to achieve something. ‘Pegasus Project’ was an episode of SG-1 that I wrote that was the first crossover between SG-1 and Atlantis. So this is sort of a crossover between Atlantis and SGU.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with Blastr.com)

  • “We’ve finally lit a fire under the people in charge of the Stargate program back on Earth and made them realize that maybe they can’t get their people home, but perhaps they can figure out a way to dial into Destiny to at least supply them with necessities. I’m hoping this episode will be fun for the audience because we bring back a few characters from Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis to help search for another Icarus-type planet with a naquadah core big enough to power a Stargate and dial the ninth chevron.

    “I’m also hoping that an episode like this will help start to weave SGU more into SG-1 and Atlantis and allow fans to realize that everything is interconnected. Brad and Rob have, I think, unfairly taken a great deal of flack from some fans who say that the show has made a left turn away from the Stargate franchise. I don’t buy that, and for several reasons. Yes, you could do Atlantis forever and ever, but after a while you’re going to run out of stories because it’s a fairly contained series. It’s a fun show and I enjoyed watching it, but with SGU here’s a chance to do something even cooler. I think we want to prove to fans that we remain true to the Stargate franchise. We’re still telling Stargate stories, just in a slightly different way.” (Writer Remi Aubuchon, in an interview with SciFiAndTVTalk)

  • “In ‘Seizure,’ we try again essentially to investigate at least the possibility of dialing Destiny from another place in the Milky Way Galaxy, because what we feel what we desperately need the most is a supply line. Even though we can’t go home, if we had support and help and resources from Earth, that would be fabulous. And that leads into the beginnings of the arc that takes us into the last episodes, which I don’t want to give away. We meet beings who we have a lot in common with. I’ll just leave it at that.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with Blastr.com)
  • “I was really nervous about going back. It’s almost, for want of a better analogy, being expelled from school and then coming back to teach. I was a little apprehensive going in because it was a new cast and a whole different show. As such, I made sure to watch a bunch of episodes to get a sense of what was going on. One of the things that always annoyed me with Atlantis is when a guest-star would come in and say, ‘I don’t watch the show.’ I’d always think, ‘Look, we’re paying you good money, so do your homework.’

    “Going into SGU I knew that it had a very different tone, and that worried me because McKay is funny, do you know what I mean? Whether he wants to be or not, the character is funny, and I like to think that he is real and the comedy is out of the reality of the situation. At the same time, McKay doesn’t quite fit into SGU. However, when Brad Wright gave me the script and we talked about it, he told me that McKay had been written tame enough to work within the framework of SGU but also without losing too much of who the character truly is. I think they did a good job at that.

    “What’s interesting is when I first got on the set I definitely felt a little weirdness from people. Like we first did when we started on Atlantis, this cast got a lot of flack at the time about the fact that they had replaced Atlantis, and they were in a much tougher situation because they did replace Atlantis. We didn’t replace SG-1. As I had to keep saying over and over again, we were a complement to SG-1 throughout the same time. They got a good two more years out of that show while were on at the same time, right?

    “So I picked up a little bit of initial weirdness on the SGU set. They were all very sweet and very nice and very welcoming, but I definitely felt that they weren’t sure how I felt about things. One day I was doing a scene with Lou Diamond Phillips, and in-between takes he said to me, ‘So, you don’t mind us eating your sandwiches anymore.’ I was like, ‘What?’ and Lou jokingly said, ‘I read that in an interview. Everyone knows what you said.’ In an interview I’d said, being typically Hewlett, that I hadn’t as yet watched SGU because they were eating my sandwiches. It was a joke. With me it’s all about the food — food and resentment — and Lou called me on it. I said to him, ‘Wait a sec. You guys have to understand that we talk like that with one another about each other and our own show. That’s just our thing.’

    “Let’s face it, Atlantis was cancelled and we weren’t always the nicest about SGU. You can’t help it, though. It’s very difficult not to feel like you were replaced; the franchise carried on and they simply replaced the actors, but that’s not what they did. SGU was a very different show, and on top of that, its cast didn’t have what the Atlantis cast had, which was the SG-1 guys to talk to. You could go to someone like Michael Shanks and ask him, ‘What the hell? Why is this like this?’ or, ‘Why do people do this?’ and he’d tell you, ‘Don’t worry, that’s the way it works on Stargate.’ Amanda Tapping was great at that, too. The SGU guys didn’t have that. They were thrown into this world where they were acting their guts out and then going online and reading comments from people who were berating the show.

    “It was really tough for them, and I’m so glad I got the chance to work on their show because I think they got to see that I certainly didn’t have any ill will towards them, and we’re all jobbing actors and we’re all a part of trying to make this thing work. I have to say, too, that, I really like Lou Diamond Phillips. In fact, we ended up going to his kid’s birthday party a couple of weekends later. He’s a lovely guy, but obviously was a little miffed, along with a number of other people, about the fact that I’d said something that quite upset them. However, once I got to the SGU set I was like, ‘Now that you’ve met me, do you understand that it was an off-the-cuff, snarky comment?’ It’s what I say, it’s what I do. My humor is basically based on self-deprecation and demeaning other people.

    “So from more than just an acting standpoint, it was really good to get in there and meet these actors and see the people behind the show and discover how great they all are. Again, though, SGU was a very, very different show. It definitely had a totally different feel from Atlantis and it was not one that I felt as comfortable with. I felt like I was a guest-star on SGU. I didn’t feel a part of it, if that makes any sense, and not because of anyone’s attitude towards me, it’s just the nature of the beast. McKay is from a completely different world, but it was really nice of Brad Wright to bring me back. He was very happy to have me there, and I got some closure in a way. I felt like if the show had continued that McKay would have come back and could have fit in.

    “In some ways it sounds more like a social visit than an actual work environment, but there was actually some work involved, too, when I was shooting ‘Seizure.’ Oh, and Robert Picardo, how could forget him. He was there, too. We seem to do like a traveling double act. Bob really enjoyed himself and they loved having him, of course. Again, it was such a weird experience because it wasn’t Atlantis, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think the biggest issue that SGU had is that it was called Stargate. If it was just called Universe I think they would probably have fared better because there wouldn’t have been those expectations from the Atlantis or SG-1 fans. It was Stargate but it was a completely new take or tone to the franchise, and I think that made it very difficult for them. Ideally I’d have loved to have been doing Atlantis while SGU was on. That would have, to some extent, helped as well I think. It wouldn’t have been like ripping off a Band Aid and it perhaps would have given SGU the time to become what it wanted to be.” (Actor David Hewlett, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk’s Steve Eramo)