Stargate: Atlantis (2004–2009)
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The Shrine 

Rodney is infected with a deadly illness known as "second childhood" which diminishes his mind capabilities and makes him lose his memory gradually.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dr. Radek Zelenka
Amelia Banks


While on an off-world mission, Rodney McKay acquires a parasitic organism and over a period of a few weeks, degenerates into a child-like reverie. His sister Jeannie travels to Atlantis to be with him in what everyone believes will be his final few days. Ronan however recalls a fable from his youth of a shrine where people reverting to their childhood much like McKay could go with their friends and family and become lucent for one last day. It works but McKay isn't too keen on it being his last day of life and Dr. Keller suggests thew only other option is for her to operate. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Release Date:

22 August 2008 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(5.1 surround)| (Dolby 5.1)


Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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Did You Know?


This is the 300th episode of the Stargate franchise. See more »


Colonel Sheppard, upon dialing Atlantis from the flooded planet, tells Woolsey to not lover the Stargate shield "or the entire tower will be flooded." In Stargate SG-1: Watergate it is established that a submerged Stargate would not allow the water to pass through it because of the kind of constant pressure that it exerts on the wormhole. It is conceivable that Sheppard may not have known this, however. See more »


Richard Woolsey: Colonel Sheppard, when you reach the research camp, please remind Dr. Nichols that he is now one hour and fifteen minutes overdue for his scheduled check-in.
Lt. Colonel John Sheppard: Alright. Want me to smack him around or anything?
Richard Woolsey: Just the reminder please.
Teyla Emmagan: Shouldn't we be concerned for Dr. Nichols' team?
Lt. Colonel John Sheppard: No. The settlement's a half hour away from the gate and Woolsey's got him checking in every six. I'm sure Nichols is just tired of taking the round trip.
Dr. Rodney McKay: Still, wouldn't hurt to bust his chops a bit. That Nichols is ...
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Referenced in Stargate: Atlantis: Brain Storm (2008) See more »


Main Title
Composed by Joel Goldsmith
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User Reviews

Almost unbearably brilliant
10 June 2011 | by See all my reviews

Some episodes just seem to punch you in the guts. This, despite the total lack of action, is one of them. The first 5 seconds set the tone: disturbingly familiar, chillingly realistic, and yet deeply touching and so well interpreted that despite every horrible reminiscence it might conjure up, you probably won't drop it before the last minute. I know I never do even though it physically *hurts* to watch. Yup. Every single time.

Fortunately, the whole episode is brilliantly balanced on the fine line between comedy and nightmare, mostly thanks to the cast's really great performances. Nobody overdoes it, conveying just the right blend of emotion and bravado. Every little detail feels right and says something about how the characters interact and how they truly feel. Obviously, most of this revolves about Rodney. His intelligence is everything to him; losing it, and seeing himself losing it, has to be the most horrible thing he could imagine --and yet it provides such wonderful moments, adding a new depth to his relationships with others, particularly with Sheppard and Jennifer. It's mostly thanks to those three that an episode without any particular significance for the season acquires such resonance.

Last but definitely not least, despite what you might think from reading this, the episode actually has several honestly funny moments to offer, and it manages to blend them seamlessly with the ongoing tragedy. Of course, another thing that rescues the episode from the brink of depression is that obviously, for once there will be a cure. Wishful thinking it may be, but it's still comforting, and I think that this is one of SF's best points: not to look away from reality, but to look beyond it, if I may say so.

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