“Ghost in the Machine” is the first alteration from the original plan for the fifth season. The episode resumes and presumably concludes the story arc rogue group of Replicators lead by Replicator Weir. As Torri Higginson refused to reprise the role of Weir for the originally planned arc, this episode had to wrap it up quickly sans Weir. So how did it do? Subdued, but surprisingly effective under the circumstances is my call.
While investigating a planet inhabited by flying monkeys--there is a subtle ’there’s no place like home’ there throughout, a la The Wizard of Oz--AR-1’s puddle jumper becomes infected with a computer virus. When the virus infects Atlantis itself, the virus is revealed to be the disembodied Replicator Weir. She and her merry bunch develop a way to leave their bodies behind and live in subspace. It is a painful existence, however, an now they want real bodies back.
Our heroes reluctantly agree to allow them to recreate minimal Replicator bodies in order to construct permanent, organic bodies. When one of her acolytes bucks the plan and tries to escape in his current minimal Replicator body, Replicator Weir is forced to destroy him. Feeling she cannot trust everyone to avoid temptation, Replicator Weir leads the rest of them to float out in deep space forever where they cannot harm anyone.
Such an episode had to be done to avoid loose ends. The writers did the best they could without Higginson, but her presence is sorely misse. One suspects her absence sticks in the craw of fans the way Sabrina Lloyd burned Sliders fans when she refused to appear one last time to conclude wade’s story arc. Still, “Ghost in the Machine” is effectively emotional when you realize the huge risks our heroes are taking solely because they want to help their old friend. It coms across well considering their old friend is not really there. The score might have been four stars if Higinson had returned.
Rating: *** (out of 5)