"Stargate: Atlantis" Vegas (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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The one where we see SGA: Else-world...
Mel J21 March 2009
'Vegas'~ Season five, episode nineteen

In the penultimate episode to SGA, we explore an alternate reality where Sheppard left the Air Force after his incident in Afghanistan and is now a world-weary detective in Las Vegas leading a rather bleak life wrought by addictive gambling and isolation from any friends or family. However, his life is set to change when he finds himself investigating a series of murders involving people who seem to have had the life sucked out of them (a la Wraith-style).

This is a unique episode because it moves so far away from the SGA that is featured in every other storyline and it is far more than a homage to 'CSI'. It grimly explores how the characters we have come to know and love could easily have walked a different path and become so unlike the people we see in the show, and how each have come to influence the others for the better. Just as we witness the emotionally dark depths Sheppard could have descended to without a team and the camaraderie he so enjoys, we also reflect on how pragmatic and cold McKay could have been if he had not learned the meaning of friendship.

It was a shame 'Vegas' came so late, as the show was about to end. It would have been nice to re-explore this else-world again. It was an adventurous piece of script-writing and this episode will definitely be a favourite among sci-fi fans like myself who appreciate insights into alternate realities.
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Different angle is fresh and cool.
Jakewobegon4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm one of those new fans just getting into "The Best Season of Atlantis" only to find out the show is being canceled. Granted, I've enjoyed some episodes of SG-1 and liked the few episodes of Atlantis I've seen including the pilot. With the Stargate: Atlantis marathons and some help from my brother, I was able to catch up a bit with the series.

So, like I said, I find out there's just a few episodes left of the series. To make it worse, I groan over the fact that this one is an alternate reality episode. I've hated alternate reality television episodes since the dream sequences of Gilligan's Island, and I figured this episode was a sign that the show had run its course since they would waste one of the final few on what always seemed to be filler.

I was wrong.

This episode blew me away! Like looking through a different colored lens, this episode showed just how cool John Sheppard is; why McKay is so likable while being such a pompous ass; and best of all, why the Wraith are one of the coolest villains ever.

I'll leave the details for the spoiler comments. Just know that this is NOT a wasted filler episode and well worth its entry as last episode before the big finale.

Trust me.
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Mykaella4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was a really great episode -- very possibly the best ever. Unlike most episodes, my eyes were glued on the TV the entire time because I wasn't sure what to expect next.

It had the gritty feel of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" -- one of my favorite shows of all time -- complete with appropriate and enhancing use of modern popular music. (Some of the music sounded familiar but without clicking with a particular song -- was some of it composed for the show?) That made it really fun for me.

It was really nice to see Rodney being a stronger, more confident version of himself, rather than just an arrogant tool. The callbacks to the first episode(s) were also very well placed and amusing.

I was slightly disappointed that there was no cross back to the "real" reality we've come to know, but I'm not sure how well it would have played anyway.

It's a crying shame that this should come as the second-to-last episode of the series, since I could definitely see this new scenario going somewhere. As a spin-off or movie, it could draw a new kind of audience. A crime drama based in real modern society like "CSI" but with the twist of a single alien race hiding and wreaking havoc among us could be really compelling if done right.

And, WOW, was John Sheppard attractive as a heart-breaking loner rogue with a conscience. Pardon me while I drool. ;)
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A Breath of Fresh Air - Woderful1
Mark Tyler9 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This the next to last episode in the series to date is a trip to a parallel universe, that will at first leave you wondering what on Earth the franchise is up to, but the answer to that lies at the end of one of the best episodes the series ever fielded.

The story revolves around Detective Shepard in Las Vegas, and we soon realize that this isn't our Shepard, but one in a parallel reality where things happened just a bit differently. However, all the characters are familiar. The episode is filled with irony and pathos, and wonderfully sets up the finale episode.

Joe Flannigan should have won an Emmy for his performance as a Shepard who is basically the same person we know, but who's life took a tragic turn.
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One of the best Stargate episodes ever.
David Fairbrother16 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I spoke about this episode, Vegas, with the friend who got me hooked onto Stargate Atlantis in the first place, he simply couldn't understand why it was one of my favourites. This is my best attempt to put into words what I believe made Vegas so great.

The episode begins with a crime scene in the middle of the desert, a reporter buzzing around, trying to get the best photo or a key tidbit for her story. A red car rolls toward the scene, stops, and the driver's door opens. Det. John Sheppard steps from it. We don't know it for sure yet, but this is the alternate-reality version of the Lt. Col. John Sheppard we know from the series. This is completely held from the viewers until around halfway through - though of course many will figure it out before then.

Not long after this, a series of CSI-style re-enactments take place. I've disliked the vast majority CSI episodes that I see since I was 14, yet the urge as a viewer to scream at an unknowing Det. Sheppard - "IT'S A WRAITH ATTACK!" is overwhelming, which makes these cut-scenes quite bearable. This is one of the first things I loved about this episode. The filming style was truly unique, completely different to what we're used to on Atlantis - and it worked wonderfully.

Next up is the soundtrack. Who'd have thought that Wraith would enjoy rocking to Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People"? The show's main theme for Sheppard, "Solitary Man" by Johnny Cash, really fits Joe Flanigan's character both in this episode's reality and in the series' reality. There's also the untitled chase and Western instrumentals, which really added to their respective scenes.

My favourite part of this episode is where the alternate universe Dr. Rodney McKay tells Det. Sheppard of the "other Sheppard" - a truly thought-provoking and touching exchange between the two men. The unspoken moment in this scene really makes it perfect, with Hewlett and Flanigan playing it beautifully.

Of course, the finale - which I won't reveal - is, to my mind, open-ended. We, the audience, get to choose the fate of this alt-universe Sheppard. It's in our hands.

All up, "Vegas" was a wondrously crafted story with a lot of things done very differently. It's one of my personal favourite Atlantis episodes. If Joe Flanigan were to resume his role of the detective from this episode, in the form of a police procedural series with a scifi twist, I would without a doubt watch it. Any series like that would be truly amazing, just like this episode.
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artana3 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was awesome!

I love SGA from the very first time, and now, this is a really UNIQUE directing and plot, what gives more freshness than the previous years' efforts.

It was really good to see the respect of the X-files, and using the recent, fashionable crime series' equipments, with BRILLIANT acting!

Yes, the series is over (who cares what fans and viewers wants and say, if the decision makers are deaf and blind, only good series are stopped on their top, like SGA), and they tried to fit into the decreased time possibility what they could.

And they made it.

Maybe, because of SGA's last days, they could be enough courageous to do it as it is, like an INDEPENDENT SGA episode.

This was worthy to wait for, and really bad that this kind of talent can not be visible any more in this format (no matter they promised SGA DVDs, it is simply just not the same).

And one more: FOREVER JOHN SHEPPARD! (no matter in what galaxy he is)
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Stargate Las Vegas - everything goes
owlaurence16 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In itself, this episodes has many solid points. A real effort has obviously been made to create a unique atmosphere. The soundtrack is perfect and really supports the plot; even the camera angles remind you of some genre movies. Even the editing, which quickly juxtaposes apparently disconnected scenes, is interesting and new as it allows the plot to take a few shortcuts instead of explaining everything in a linear way. Besides, there are more passing references made to other series than I can possibly recognise (wetsern movies, CSI, the Sopranos...).

As for the plot, I like alternate realities just for the sake of the concept, and because they always teach us something about familiar characters, and how they might have changed (or not) due to some incident that may seem trivial to us. Indeed, even though everybody feels different, the small details still match. Sheppard is a somber, asocial "nobody detective" (who doesn't flirt, for crying out loud!) but his favorite poster still hangs on his wall. McKay may be a lot cooler here, but he still uses Zelenka as a punching-bag. Besides, he might have met our guys (more probably, he went to another dimension yet). Apparently, the only real difference in this reality is that Sheppard's notorious insubordination cost him his career (I think the key incident was mentioned in a previous episode). Apart from that the SG programme and Atlantis expedition followed their normal course; only, in his absence, Teyla and Ronon never were recruited and some Wraiths reached Earth. (And hey, guess who's here --once more dying of starvation, and with no hope of being rescued by Sheppard either.) So the plot is solid, although very confusing at first --I always laugh when I see how easily a Wraith can pass for human. Things only get really interesting after Sheppard is contacted by the SGC, and we see how easily he might go back into the fold. This won't happen, of course (the scriptwriters can't usually kill the heroes, so they delightfully take their revenge on every doppleganger / alternate-character they can). Anyway, Sheppard's semi-victory over the Wraith creates an interesting situation, as this is the first time an alternate dimension influences ours. Usually, it's rather the other way round.

On the whole, this is a very good standalone episode. The only very bad point is that it comes much, much too late. SGA stops next episode; even though this plot actually triggers the finale, who cares about other dimensions and people whom we'll never see again? Not to mention, half our usual cast is not even there. The final arc should have built up over a much longer period instead of starting so fast, so late, and it should have somehow encompassed more elements from the last five years. So because of that major problem of timing (but it was already the same with SG-1), I'm taking several points off from the otherwise very good score that episode deserves.
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Awesome story line, backed by an awesome soundtrack
Mischief81031 August 2014
It's an alternate reality plot that lets Joe Flanigan show off Sheppard's coolness. But the best thing about this episode is the dark, driving soundtrack played throughout. From classic rock to crunch metal, it really paces the episode and it's over before you know it.

The episode is well written, well acted and well produced.

At first, I seriously thought about just skipping this one and moving to the series finale, but decided to watch it through and I was pleasantly surprised at how good, if different, it was.

I also liked how the other characters from the season show their alternate reality sides. From Woolsey, to McKay to Keller, they all show a different side. It leads you to ask yourself: "If I had made a different choice sometime in the past, how radically different would my path have been?"
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THE best episode of Atlantis to date.
info-1784922 January 2009
I think this is THE best episode of Atlantis to date. Caught me by total surprise.

On reading other comments on thew web you'll either love it or hate it. I think it is fantastic!!!

The setting, the music (and im not even a rock fan) People say it is like CSI. hmmm, maybe but very very loosely based but this isn't about forensic science at all. This is a different john shepherd who hasn't had as much luck as he has in the Atlantis reality.Its nice to see how the star of the show may react given that we all owe half our chances to luck anyhow.

Shame there wont be another part to it. In fact shame they don't make a series around it.

As said, you'll love or hate it. Right up my street. I have now watched it 15 times and counting!!
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Showcases the characters that were carefully crafted one last time, from an unusual angle.
maya-maya3 September 2013
Vegas is actually my favourite SGA episode, for many reasons.

First off, AU is a lovely trope that just isn't explored often enough even in sci-fi where it can almost be considered a canon trope. And using it so late in the show's run, when we already know the characters pretty well, makes it all the more powerful.

Second, the production is beautiful. You can tell that every shot has been considered carefully, and it shows because the cinematography - the editing, the colours, everything you never notice when it's there is wonderfully done. Every shot builds on the atmosphere - which is apparently supposed to be CSI Las Vegas meets The X-Files - and the stark contrast to the usual look of SGA delivers an even greater impact. This isn't just a nice, weird niche episode, this is the whole team that works on the show and loves the show going, "see what we can do".

Third, the score is just excellent, not just because after five seasons we finally got a Johnny Cash song and it fit.

Fourth, it works because it's the penultimate episode and as we get to see tiny details to the characters we haven't seen, we're forced to face that fact that this is it. You can let a show run out in the rush of an action-packed three-part finale, or you can take the opportunity to showcase the characters you've crafted one last time, from an unusual angle and without the adrenaline rush and dramatic plot twists.

(Fifth, this is truly John Sheppard's episode, and after five years he kind of deserves it.)

And finally, it's kind of crazy that a story that could very well be used as an introduction to the series is used in the penultimate episode, but it also makes a lot of sense to draw the viewer's attention to the fact that the main story, the story they've been watching for five years, is just one of many. The concept of alternate universes has been thoroughly explored before in the show, so it's a very smart, very meta idea to say "yes, this show is ending, and look, we're even giving you the normal kind of show finale that you expect, but consider what could have been, what could yet be."
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