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"Stargate: Atlantis" The Shrine (2008)

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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Almost unbearably brilliant

Author: owlaurence from France
10 June 2011

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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24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes of either franchise!

Author: BandNHuffPA from United States
24 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I originally gave this episode a 9 (out of 10), but since it has created such a powerful image in my mind, I have changed to a 10. I actually started tearing up when I tried to explain the episode to someone who had not seen the show. What a wonderfully written episode with fine acting by the entire cast.

David Hewlett's portrayal of Dr. McKay has always been a highlight of this series. He has always given his normally arrogant character a surprising depth, from heroics to fear and from happiness to anguish. Don't be fooled that his name is the last to appear on the credits. He is the star of this show.

His performance in "The Shrine" is one of the best I have ever seen in a science-fiction series. Even if you have never had a family member who has suffered from debilitating brain injuries or Alzheimer's, this episode will absolutely tear your heart. Here Hewlett gives the viewer all the stages of an Alzheimer's type brain disorder in just an hour's time. He certainly deserves an Emmy nomination for this performance, but the Emmys often overlook science-fiction shows for more "mainstream" viewing.

Kudos also to Jewel Stait, Joe Flannigan and Kate Hewlett (David Hewlett's sister on the series and in real life) for their performances in this episode. Stait has been a great addition to this series and Flannigan has always been the perfect military lead. And Kate Hewlett's rare guest shots are always welcome.

If you have never seen an episode of Stargate Atlantis, this is the one to watch. Then check out the series from the beginning and see what a fantastic show you have missed. Also give the original feature film Stargate, and the first series Stargate SG-1 and its two sequel films a look.

I look forward to the rest of this final season of Stargate Atlantis, and to the planned future films.

Great Job!

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The best of the entire series

Author: frank-secada from United States
27 October 2010

After viewing all the episodes of the entire series, one by one each night, I had to come back to this one. The emotional content is just so rich and moving. David and Kate Hewlett are outstanding of course, but after watching it again I was so surprised and gratified to see the little emotional gems and currents from the other characters.

Ronon trying to comfort Jeannie was touching and funny, and the little byplay between Ronon and Dr. Keller shows his affection for her and her awareness of it, and her dismissing of his grumbling when he checks out clean on the scan that he didn't feel he needed anyway. It was a nice little touch, about a second long, given by her facial expression and the tone of her voice, a little quiet aside while someone else is talking, and it was wonderful.

But for me the most touching part, which only became more clear after having seen the entire episode (and the rest of the season), was that gentle, quiet, reassuring tone in which Dr. Keller spoke to Rodney, in the very first scene of this episode, and carried through in all the videos Rodney made which chronicled his deterioration. In that quiet, understated way, Jewel Staite's performance spoke volumes. It was beautiful, especially the end.

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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Best episode so far *small spoilers*

Author: jmphil4 from United States
23 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't want to give too much away, but this was the best episode of the season, IMHO.

David Hewlett was spot on in his acting, and the scenes between Joe Flanigan and himself were so touching.

Plus his sister Kate comes back--awesome job!! Great job to the writers, too!!!

I'd have to say, this one episode is reason enough to get the DVD set when it comes out. I hope it's going to have some great behind the scenes information!!


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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

My Favorite Episode...hits close to home

Author: ddravland-1 from United States
31 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mr. Hewlett, I saved "The Shrine" on my DVR from the first time it aired (am a loyal fan of SG Atlantis and a consistent fan of the Star Trek and Stargate Franchises since the beginning of each). I play "The Shrine" every couple months and am over-whelmed (every time) by your acting, the story-line and actors. It hits so close to home for me. I have a condition of 'memory loss' myself...ICD-9 Code: 780-93 to be exact...and why I can remember that, I don't know. Much of this is not understood or can be explained away very well. The TV episode has a happy ending because someone finds out what it is that's wrong and then fixes it. Not so in my case. Your acting portrays what happens to someone exactly! In my case, the degradation is slower and will drag on for a few years yet, but how you portrayed the character and how your friends in the episode dealt with it is very true to life. I have wanted to find some way to get a message to you, to thank you for bringing this out into the sunlight, for others to see...because 'we' are out there and are going thru the same thing as you showed us. Thank you so much for your heartfelt acting and dedication! I had to turn my old DVR in today, to get another one because of problems with the hard-drive on it. So, I have lost "The Shrine" but got to see it today an old friend. It somehow helps to see how I will 'go out'...I can plan for 'more difficult' times ahead. I have no one that understands what is happening to me, but in "The Shrine"...I did. Thank you so much! Darryl Dravland Cincinnati

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Episode

Author: rickpen from Edmonton
9 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

spoiler alert. i love this episode. It's one of my favorites. I do have a small bone to pick with the editors however. I had downloaded a working copy of this episode and it had a slight but important difference from the aired version. At the time that Rodney professes his love for the doctor he adds "i just though you should know".

This line is important as it is repeated back to Rodney by the doctor in the episode "Brain Storm".It is at that point that the viewer realizes that the doctor began falling in love with Rodney at that point in the earlier episode. Why they made the bonehead move to remove it from the official episode I'll never know. now if i could just find the earlier copy of the one from the internet.

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