"The Shrine" Brings Tears to My Eyes as it Serves as "Atlantis'" Most Powerful Episode
Jul 30, 2009
When Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) is infected with a parasite that is slowly killing him and has reverted his mind to a childlike state, his sister Jeannie (Kate Hewlett) and the rest of them team prepare to say their goodbyes. With Rodney fading quickly, Ronon (Jason Momoa), who has witnessed a disease like this called "Second Childhood", comes up with a way to revert him back to his former self so Rodney can say his goodbyes the right way...and die with dignity and respect.
I knew at the very beginning of this week that I was going to write a review for "The Shrine", but even with a little bit of time, re-watching the episode today still effected me. In sci-fi, it can be hard sometimes to get emotional about an episode, but the acting performances delivered by David Hewlett and his sister Kate as well as the rest of the team were so powerful, that you can't help but cry a little during this episode. From the very beginning of the episode, the character of Rodney comes across as so utterly helpless that you can't help but feel the same way, wishing there was some way to help him. Then when his sister Jeannie (played by Hewlett's real life sister Kate) comes into the scene and sits with him crying her eyes out feeling helpless herself, you can't help but feel the same way. The fact that two real life siblings were working together I'm sure added to the emotional depth of their scenes and acting.
This episode was first and foremost a character piece rather than a piece of science fiction which is what mad the episode so organic and...real. There is this one scene where Rodney and Sheppard are sitting on the pier drinking beers and Rodney, who by this point is pretty far gone, jokingly calls John Arthur and two of them just start cracking up, despite what is going on. Even Robert Picardo got me a little teary eyed when his character tells the story about his father who had Alzheimers. There were so many different opportunities for the actors to shine in this episode and they all did, especially David Hewlett. I honestly don't know how he didn't get nominated for an emmy for his performance. This is definitely my favorite episode of the show and it gets a HUGE 5/5. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you do.