Saturday, September 01, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Duet"

Out of all the film homage the Stargate franchise has done, the Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin flick All of Me has to be the strangest. Body switching, men acting extremely effeminate, and slapstick comedy abound. “Duet” tries way to hard to make you like the annoying, but simultaneously likable Rodney by placing him in the most absurd situation imaginable, then running with it.

While searching for survivors on a planet that has recently been culled, our heroes are attacked by a Dart. It is shot down, but not before Rodney and his military escort, Laura Cadman, are teleported into the Wraith…uh, pantry. Zelenka can only retrieve one of them, and it turns out to be Rodney. It is soon discovered Cadman is sharing his mind. Hilarity ensues.

You can probably feel in the blanks. Rodney looks crazy arguing with the voice in his head only he can hear. Cadman plays Cyrano for Rodney on a date with a botanist. Cadman takes over, so Rodney exhibit’s the mannerisms of a woman. Naturally, he kisses another man. There is a reason All of Me is not generally considered a comedy classic--all the humorous bits can be seen coming a mile away. The virtue of it is Martin and Tomlin. Such it is with “Duet.” There is nothing here you could not figure is coming, but David Hewlett plays the heck out of it. I am particularly impressed with the scenes in which he is arguing with ’himself” by taking on Cadman’s personality half the time.

The subplot is the largely forgettable acclimation of Ronon into the Atlantis crew. Sheppard wants him to join AR_1. Weir is not so sure about the idea. There is not any catalyst for her changing her mind other than a trust in Sheppard. There are a couple scenes between Ronon and Teyla in which they demonstrate their kindred spirits, but I am mostly under whelmed.

I am mostly under whelmed with “Duet” in general. It is funny in places even if the jokes are not very original. The problem is there is not point to the episode beyond set up for the humor. The problem is resolved almost as an after thought once the bag of gags has run its course. Rodney fans will like “Duet,” but I could take or leave it.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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