• Various/Onna Carr

Stargate Atlantis, "The Tao of Rodney," an Episode in Review

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

Post by Onna Carr


Season three, episode fourteen of Stargate Atlantis, "the Tao of Rodney," is a fascinating look at what happens to Dr. Rodney McKay when he is actually faced with very real threat of his own demise. The episode begins with Rodney and Zelinka tinkering with a piece of Ancient technology that shoots him with a energy beam. 

Initially, Rodney is ecstatic as the beam has given him the gifts of telekinesis and of reading  people's minds--until Dr. Weir discovers that the Ancients who received the beam, which was used to accelerate their ascension process, all were unable to ascend before their biology gave out from the strain the beam put on their altered genetic code. 

As Rodney realizes that he is soon to pass away, he decides to become infinitely less self-absorbed.  For example, he speaks with Holling and discovers that the anniversary of Teyla's father's death is approaching and honors her and her father's memory by serving her the ceremonial tea that is the Athosian custom for such an anniversary. 

Rodney also heals Ronan's scars from his capture by the Wraith, lets Zelinka know that he values him as a colleague, and writes Dr. Weir a book that honors her work and her leadership of the Atlantis expedition. 

As Rodney's body continues to change and is health fails, the Scrapper, Lt. Col. John Sheppard, comes to Rodney's quarters to offer him some advice on meditation, which he picked up from Ancient Wannabees during a six-month stay on a planet.  This knowledge is rather limited to thinking about Ferris wheels (as that makes him happy) because he was not focused on much during his stay save the cute brunette (unavailable brunettes appear to be Sheppard's main weakness throughout the series). 

As Rodney nears death, he telekinetically shares with Dr. Beckett how to import his previous genetic structure into the beaming device.  Dr. Beckett imports the necessary information, and they shoot Rodney with the beam once more, reversing the damage and putting him back into his original state.

I enjoyed how this episode revealed that Dr. Rodney McKay could regain his humanity and chose to do so in what he thought were his last days, which is more than I would have thought him capable of, which brings me back to the heart of Stargate Atlantis, finding community in the vacuum of space and one step farther, to cultivating that community through one's care for others.

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