Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Andy Mikita
The One Where: Atlantis sends the Daedalus and Apollo out to destroy Replicator ships, and after a week the fleets have withdrawn to the homeworld. McKay comes up with a new plan – rather than breaking apart nanite cells, he can effectively magnetise them, pulling all the Replicators into one giant, inert blob which can then be destroyed by overloading the ZPMs on the homeworld. He creates a Replicator, which he names FRAN (Friendly Replicator ANdroid), while Sheppard and crew convince the captive Wraith to negotiate an alliance with some hive ships. They also hook up with Larrin, who agrees to help.
The allied ships take care of the Replicator fleet while McKay, Ronon and FRAN beam down to the homeworld. It all goes to plan until the power circuits short out and McKay is unable to overload the ZPMs, but it turns out that it doesn’t matter – the planet is rich in neutronium, which causes the blob to sink into the planet and implode.
In the aftermath, the Wraith disappear and Larrin leaves. Among the remains of the homeworld, however, a ship lurks... and (presumably) Replicator Weir’s in command!
Verdict: A huge improvement over the mid-season finale, although it’s not without its problems. It still doesn’t really feel like a mid-season story despite having all the right ingredients – Atlantis being in a perilous situation, a big battle royale involving unlikely alliances, and a battle that culminates in the elimination of a Big Bad. The stuff with FRAN feels a little underdone – I really was expecting a double-cross and it was surprising when it didn’t happen, and it felt like they wanted to have more of a debate over the ethics of creating her just to “kill” her in the mission (but maybe they tired themselves out with debates about humanity in “This Mortal Coil”). As for the twist with Weir at the end, it’s nicely done, but with the knowledge that Torri Higginson won’t be back for the rest of this season, wouldn’t that have been better as a season finale cliffhanger?
Speculation: Weir’s final lines about “being able to work without looking over [their] shoulders” is ambiguous – was she worried about the Replicators, or Atlantis? Has she become a villain?
References: As with “This Mortal Coil”, the episode title is taken from Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy.
Trivia: Christopher Heyerdahl had a scheduling conflict, so although it’s his voice we hear delivering the Wraith’s lines, he’s been temporarily replaced by another actor, Brendan Penny.
Carter: "There's one more thing you need to see. McKay has thrown us kind of a curve ball."
Sheppard: "Oh, great. I was just thinking we need more of those today."