In itself, this episodes has many solid points. A real effort has obviously been made to create a unique atmosphere. The soundtrack is perfect and really supports the plot; even the camera angles remind you of some genre movies. Even the editing, which quickly juxtaposes apparently disconnected scenes, is interesting and new as it allows the plot to take a few shortcuts instead of explaining everything in a linear way. Besides, there are more passing references made to other series than I can possibly recognise (wetsern movies, CSI, the Sopranos...).
As for the plot, I like alternate realities just for the sake of the concept, and because they always teach us something about familiar characters, and how they might have changed (or not) due to some incident that may seem trivial to us. Indeed, even though everybody feels different, the small details still match. Sheppard is a somber, asocial "nobody detective" (who doesn't flirt, for crying out loud!) but his favorite poster still hangs on his wall. McKay may be a lot cooler here, but he still uses Zelenka as a punching-bag. Besides, he might have met our guys (more probably, he went to another dimension yet). Apparently, the only real difference in this reality is that Sheppard's notorious insubordination cost him his career (I think the key incident was mentioned in a previous episode). Apart from that the SG programme and Atlantis expedition followed their normal course; only, in his absence, Teyla and Ronon never were recruited and some Wraiths reached Earth. (And hey, guess who's here --once more dying of starvation, and with no hope of being rescued by Sheppard either.) So the plot is solid, although very confusing at first --I always laugh when I see how easily a Wraith can pass for human. Things only get really interesting after Sheppard is contacted by the SGC, and we see how easily he might go back into the fold. This won't happen, of course (the scriptwriters can't usually kill the heroes, so they delightfully take their revenge on every doppleganger / alternate-character they can). Anyway, Sheppard's semi-victory over the Wraith creates an interesting situation, as this is the first time an alternate dimension influences ours. Usually, it's rather the other way round.
On the whole, this is a very good standalone episode. The only very bad point is that it comes much, much too late. SGA stops next episode; even though this plot actually triggers the finale, who cares about other dimensions and people whom we'll never see again? Not to mention, half our usual cast is not even there. The final arc should have built up over a much longer period instead of starting so fast, so late, and it should have somehow encompassed more elements from the last five years. So because of that major problem of timing (but it was already the same with SG-1), I'm taking several points off from the otherwise very good score that episode deserves.
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