Kate Hewlett returns to star with her brother David in what is the best episode thus far of the fifth and final season. The episode takes a big risk by forcing David Hewlett to play Rodney as a man becoming more confused and childlike as a parasite robs him of his intelligence and memories. Such a performance could easily come off as overacting and insulting to the developmentally retarded, but Hewlett does a very good job at avoiding the pitfalls.
I have already reveale the plot--Rodney is infected with a brain parasite which saps his intelligence and memories. It is touching both how his friends rally around him an Rodney reveals his honest feelings about their friendship as he deteriorates. His sister, Jeannie, arrives to spend his last days with him. Ronon tells her of the title shrine that can alleged make Rodney lucid again for a ay. AR-1 braves the Wraith to take Rodney, Jeannie, and Keller there. Once at the shrine, it is discovered a certain radiation affects the parasite causing infected people to et better for a short time. Keller performs unsanitary brain surgery right there to remove the parasite. Miraculously, Rodney does not wind up getting coloring books for Christmas the rest of his life because of the emergency surgery.
“The Shrine” is another one of those efforts to humanize Rodney. It may be the best so far. I am not certain why virtually all of them have to involve a rain disorer killing him, but there you go. What could have been a painfully embarrassing imitation of a retarded man is played poignantly by Hewlett. It is good to see his sister back, too. Is this for the final time? I hope not.
Rating: **** (out of 5)