"Stargate: Atlantis" Vegas (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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The one where we see SGA: Else-world...
cosmic_quest21 March 2009
'Vegas'~ Season five, episode nineteen

In the penultimate episode to SGA, we explore an alternate reality where Sheppard left the Air Force after his incident in Afghanistan and is now a world-weary detective in Las Vegas leading a rather bleak life wrought by addictive gambling and isolation from any friends or family. However, his life is set to change when he finds himself investigating a series of murders involving people who seem to have had the life sucked out of them (a la Wraith-style).

This is a unique episode because it moves so far away from the SGA that is featured in every other storyline and it is far more than a homage to 'CSI'. It grimly explores how the characters we have come to know and love could easily have walked a different path and become so unlike the people we see in the show, and how each have come to influence the others for the better. Just as we witness the emotionally dark depths Sheppard could have descended to without a team and the camaraderie he so enjoys, we also reflect on how pragmatic and cold McKay could have been if he had not learned the meaning of friendship.

It was a shame 'Vegas' came so late, as the show was about to end. It would have been nice to re-explore this else-world again. It was an adventurous piece of script-writing and this episode will definitely be a favourite among sci-fi fans like myself who appreciate insights into alternate realities.
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Different angle is fresh and cool.
Jakewobegon4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm one of those new fans just getting into "The Best Season of Atlantis" only to find out the show is being canceled. Granted, I've enjoyed some episodes of SG-1 and liked the few episodes of Atlantis I've seen including the pilot. With the Stargate: Atlantis marathons and some help from my brother, I was able to catch up a bit with the series.

So, like I said, I find out there's just a few episodes left of the series. To make it worse, I groan over the fact that this one is an alternate reality episode. I've hated alternate reality television episodes since the dream sequences of Gilligan's Island, and I figured this episode was a sign that the show had run its course since they would waste one of the final few on what always seemed to be filler.

I was wrong.

This episode blew me away! Like looking through a different colored lens, this episode showed just how cool John Sheppard is; why McKay is so likable while being such a pompous ass; and best of all, why the Wraith are one of the coolest villains ever.

I'll leave the details for the spoiler comments. Just know that this is NOT a wasted filler episode and well worth its entry as last episode before the big finale.

Trust me.
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Mykaella4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was a really great episode -- very possibly the best ever. Unlike most episodes, my eyes were glued on the TV the entire time because I wasn't sure what to expect next.

It had the gritty feel of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" -- one of my favorite shows of all time -- complete with appropriate and enhancing use of modern popular music. (Some of the music sounded familiar but without clicking with a particular song -- was some of it composed for the show?) That made it really fun for me.

It was really nice to see Rodney being a stronger, more confident version of himself, rather than just an arrogant tool. The callbacks to the first episode(s) were also very well placed and amusing.

I was slightly disappointed that there was no cross back to the "real" reality we've come to know, but I'm not sure how well it would have played anyway.

It's a crying shame that this should come as the second-to-last episode of the series, since I could definitely see this new scenario going somewhere. As a spin-off or movie, it could draw a new kind of audience. A crime drama based in real modern society like "CSI" but with the twist of a single alien race hiding and wreaking havoc among us could be really compelling if done right.

And, WOW, was John Sheppard attractive as a heart-breaking loner rogue with a conscience. Pardon me while I drool. ;)
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A Breath of Fresh Air - Woderful1
mhtyler9 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This the next to last episode in the series to date is a trip to a parallel universe, that will at first leave you wondering what on Earth the franchise is up to, but the answer to that lies at the end of one of the best episodes the series ever fielded.

The story revolves around Detective Shepard in Las Vegas, and we soon realize that this isn't our Shepard, but one in a parallel reality where things happened just a bit differently. However, all the characters are familiar. The episode is filled with irony and pathos, and wonderfully sets up the finale episode.

Joe Flannigan should have won an Emmy for his performance as a Shepard who is basically the same person we know, but who's life took a tragic turn.
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One of the best Stargate episodes ever.
schoolsarge16 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I spoke about this episode, Vegas, with the friend who got me hooked onto Stargate Atlantis in the first place, he simply couldn't understand why it was one of my favourites. This is my best attempt to put into words what I believe made Vegas so great.

The episode begins with a crime scene in the middle of the desert, a reporter buzzing around, trying to get the best photo or a key tidbit for her story. A red car rolls toward the scene, stops, and the driver's door opens. Det. John Sheppard steps from it. We don't know it for sure yet, but this is the alternate-reality version of the Lt. Col. John Sheppard we know from the series. This is completely held from the viewers until around halfway through - though of course many will figure it out before then.

Not long after this, a series of CSI-style re-enactments take place. I've disliked the vast majority CSI episodes that I see since I was 14, yet the urge as a viewer to scream at an unknowing Det. Sheppard - "IT'S A WRAITH ATTACK!" is overwhelming, which makes these cut-scenes quite bearable. This is one of the first things I loved about this episode. The filming style was truly unique, completely different to what we're used to on Atlantis - and it worked wonderfully.

Next up is the soundtrack. Who'd have thought that Wraith would enjoy rocking to Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People"? The show's main theme for Sheppard, "Solitary Man" by Johnny Cash, really fits Joe Flanigan's character both in this episode's reality and in the series' reality. There's also the untitled chase and Western instrumentals, which really added to their respective scenes.

My favourite part of this episode is where the alternate universe Dr. Rodney McKay tells Det. Sheppard of the "other Sheppard" - a truly thought-provoking and touching exchange between the two men. The unspoken moment in this scene really makes it perfect, with Hewlett and Flanigan playing it beautifully.

Of course, the finale - which I won't reveal - is, to my mind, open-ended. We, the audience, get to choose the fate of this alt-universe Sheppard. It's in our hands.

All up, "Vegas" was a wondrously crafted story with a lot of things done very differently. It's one of my personal favourite Atlantis episodes. If Joe Flanigan were to resume his role of the detective from this episode, in the form of a police procedural series with a scifi twist, I would without a doubt watch it. Any series like that would be truly amazing, just like this episode.
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reprisecompilation3 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was awesome!

I love SGA from the very first time, and now, this is a really UNIQUE directing and plot, what gives more freshness than the previous years' efforts.

It was really good to see the respect of the X-files, and using the recent, fashionable crime series' equipments, with BRILLIANT acting!

Yes, the series is over (who cares what fans and viewers wants and say, if the decision makers are deaf and blind, only good series are stopped on their top, like SGA), and they tried to fit into the decreased time possibility what they could.

And they made it.

Maybe, because of SGA's last days, they could be enough courageous to do it as it is, like an INDEPENDENT SGA episode.

This was worthy to wait for, and really bad that this kind of talent can not be visible any more in this format (no matter they promised SGA DVDs, it is simply just not the same).

And one more: FOREVER JOHN SHEPPARD! (no matter in what galaxy he is)
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Awesome story line, backed by an awesome soundtrack
Mischief81031 August 2014
It's an alternate reality plot that lets Joe Flanigan show off Sheppard's coolness. But the best thing about this episode is the dark, driving soundtrack played throughout. From classic rock to crunch metal, it really paces the episode and it's over before you know it.

The episode is well written, well acted and well produced.

At first, I seriously thought about just skipping this one and moving to the series finale, but decided to watch it through and I was pleasantly surprised at how good, if different, it was.

I also liked how the other characters from the season show their alternate reality sides. From Woolsey, to McKay to Keller, they all show a different side. It leads you to ask yourself: "If I had made a different choice sometime in the past, how radically different would my path have been?"
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Showcases the characters that were carefully crafted one last time, from an unusual angle.
maya-maya3 September 2013
Vegas is actually my favourite SGA episode, for many reasons.

First off, AU is a lovely trope that just isn't explored often enough even in sci-fi where it can almost be considered a canon trope. And using it so late in the show's run, when we already know the characters pretty well, makes it all the more powerful.

Second, the production is beautiful. You can tell that every shot has been considered carefully, and it shows because the cinematography - the editing, the colours, everything you never notice when it's there is wonderfully done. Every shot builds on the atmosphere - which is apparently supposed to be CSI Las Vegas meets The X-Files - and the stark contrast to the usual look of SGA delivers an even greater impact. This isn't just a nice, weird niche episode, this is the whole team that works on the show and loves the show going, "see what we can do".

Third, the score is just excellent, not just because after five seasons we finally got a Johnny Cash song and it fit.

Fourth, it works because it's the penultimate episode and as we get to see tiny details to the characters we haven't seen, we're forced to face that fact that this is it. You can let a show run out in the rush of an action-packed three-part finale, or you can take the opportunity to showcase the characters you've crafted one last time, from an unusual angle and without the adrenaline rush and dramatic plot twists.

(Fifth, this is truly John Sheppard's episode, and after five years he kind of deserves it.)

And finally, it's kind of crazy that a story that could very well be used as an introduction to the series is used in the penultimate episode, but it also makes a lot of sense to draw the viewer's attention to the fact that the main story, the story they've been watching for five years, is just one of many. The concept of alternate universes has been thoroughly explored before in the show, so it's a very smart, very meta idea to say "yes, this show is ending, and look, we're even giving you the normal kind of show finale that you expect, but consider what could have been, what could yet be."
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THE best episode of Atlantis to date.
info-1784922 January 2009
I think this is THE best episode of Atlantis to date. Caught me by total surprise.

On reading other comments on thew web you'll either love it or hate it. I think it is fantastic!!!

The setting, the music (and im not even a rock fan) People say it is like CSI. hmmm, maybe but very very loosely based but this isn't about forensic science at all. This is a different john shepherd who hasn't had as much luck as he has in the Atlantis reality.Its nice to see how the star of the show may react given that we all owe half our chances to luck anyhow.

Shame there wont be another part to it. In fact shame they don't make a series around it.

As said, you'll love or hate it. Right up my street. I have now watched it 15 times and counting!!
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Wonderful episode
cassmj17 June 2013
A classic of alternate realities. I can only imagine that if more people had watched this episode (actually, this whole season), the series would have continued. Definitely not a stand-alone episode, though. This requires watching the episode of Rodney and his sister (name escapes me) where they create the original reality bridge. In any case, an excellent exploration of Shepard and McKay's characters. Well worth the watching, and one of the best of any series' episodes of "playing with the storyline." Very sad the series ended after this. The writers/producers demonstrated the creative levels they could achieve in this story.
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Stargate Las Vegas - everything goes
owlaurence16 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
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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john-370110 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
i for one thought that this episode was one of the best made. honestly, till i read this forum, i never saw any connection to csi. it seemed to me to be more of an homage to cowboy bebop. the driving music throughout(granted, it wasn't jazz, but music driving the story was a main element of cb) not to mention that the tension and the hunter/hunted interplay was also reminiscent of cb.

over all i thought this was a great way to usher in the final episode. the main scenes that reminded me of cowboy bebop were the motel scene(with the wraith donning his disguise), the poker scene including the chase, and the final gunfight and consequential death of john shepperd.
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chiguy1726 April 2019
I don't know how this got so many high ratings. It's a bad homage to/knock off of CSI. Down to the cut aways and establishing shots, and the entire filming style. The ONLY element of the whole Stragate Atlantis universe is the presence of a Wraith (on an alternate Earth). It turns out the entire episode takes place in an alternate universe (Col. Shepherd is a police officer instead of in the military) - as stated in the synopsis.

It was just a very odd "artistic" choice that, for me, did not translate well. I don't know if it was a different writer/director, or if they wanted to take a chance and try something different since it was so close to the end of the series, but I didn't care for it at all. Even compared to the rest of the latter part of the series, which felt rather lackluster, I just thought it was cheesy and poorly executed. Apparently some people did enjoy it, so... it could just be me.
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If I wanted to watch a crime show set in Vegas I'd have spent my hour watching CSI
tigsms1319 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As a huge fan of the Stargate movie, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis I can say without a doubt that this episode comes short to meeting the expectations I have for this franchise.

This episode is a rare dud in a stellar show. Although well-directed, well-acted (showing the diversity of Joe Flaniga and David Hewlett), as well as showcasing the amazing special effects viewers have come to expect from the Stargate franchise, this episode is nonetheless a failure in its attempt to blend the popularity of CSI with that of the Stargate universe. The death-defying actions of the Wraith, such as jumping off a building leaving "Detective Sheppherd" stunned, do not dumbfound a veteran viewer of Atlantis who has already seen these types of stunts throughout the first few seasons of the show.

Despite being an interesting and creative adaptation, "Vegas" gives the viewer more reason to watch one of the three CSI series than Stargate Atlantis.
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CSI: Atlantis
XweAponX7 September 2015
This episode parodied and homaged the CSI franchise to death, including an appearance of bad-guys Frank Vincent and Steve Schirripa. I was upset that the usual Atlantis Title Set was used, they should have used another song by The Who.

The thing I loved about CSI was the little CGI vignettes showing how a particular victim is Murdered, how their heart exploded, etc. Only here, it's the result of a Wraith Feeding Frenzy. One particular Wraith, who is messing with Ionizing Radiation, making people sick around him- Unless he feeds on them and kills them outright.

In this alternate CSI-Atlantis Timeline, John Sheppard is a loser who works as a detective in Vegas. He is a good detective, but he follows no rules. "A Solitary Man" as the Johnny Cash song says. In fact, he probably bopped "Lady Heather" on the side, when William Pederson wasn't doing it. John has been following a series of odd murders with tenacity.

In CSI, we usually get to see the Detectives talking to Coroners and the like, as the story progresses to reveal how a particular murder was accomplished. Same thing happens here, this iteration of Sheppard runs into a new Coroner, "Dr. Keller" - And she shoves some false info on him in an attempt to give him a bum steer.

Of course it didn't work, it had the opposite effect, bringing him right to the murderer's door. And if you thought the Strip Strangler was bad, this guy's even worse.

Unfortunately, this ain't really CSI, it's Stargate, and John just bumbled into a world o' hurt! A gaggle of Black Unmarked SUV's cart him away to where a calm and rational sounding Rodney Mackay gives him the lowdown- And a starved Todd the Wraith tells him his Future - And also how to find the Wraith in question.

In the end, maybe it worked out for that universe, but what effect will it have in the Atlantis 'Verse? This was a new direction for Stargate stories, we did not see it end here, this type of story was also used in Stargate Universe, in fact that whole show was done a lot like this one "novelty" episode. I was surprised that SGU was canceled quickly, there was a lot of potential.

But this one episode was the key that unlocked the creativity gates. Robert C Cooper himself directed it.
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Unique? Hardly. Original? Strike two....
Orpheus-54 January 2009
It isn't original to mimic another show. Maybe if this had been a throw-away episode somewhere in the middle of the series, it could have been forgiven. But to waste the penultimate episode on a gimmick is unforgivable.

In an overall weak season, this was truly the pits. The writers just ran out of ideas this season, I guess.

I was going to be sorry to see the show go, but after losing interest as the season progressed, this episode guaranteed that I'll just watch the series finale out of respect for what used to be.

And I'm not going to even bother with the "younger, hipper" Stargate replacement. Give it up, SciFi.
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I don't know where to start
TiburonCapt8 January 2009
I've been a fan of the Stargate series since my mom took me to see the original movie when it was playing in the theaters, and I've done my best to keep up with it since. The franchise has had its ups and downs (and a few to many clip shows if you ask me) but overall it has seemed like the quality of the shows had a set standard.

I applaud the writers for their ability to write a script that didn't follow the usual formula (team goes to new planet, team gets in trouble, teams gets the locals to help, team comes home, etc). This is a bad habit to break, so I give them credit for being able to write something...different.

This was awful. The entire episode lacked plot. When you try to create an "alternate time line" and see how the other half lives so to speak, I think it requires a bit of a lead in. We've seen in Star Trek, for example, and the many episodes involved in the "Mirror Universe" where at one point "Enterprise" featured 2 standalone episodes in said universe, but it was only after we had been exposed so many times and had a better understanding of the universe makeup.

Instead we jump straight into an alternate time line with no setup, no build up, in fact it's pretty damn cold. The writers had an interesting idea, but instead wrote it too fast, and in the process destroyed it, which is unfortunately sums up the majority of the last 2 seasons.

Finally, and I realize with the series coming to a quick halt (like a train desperately trying to avoid a car on the tracks) that this is probably wasted, but I never the less feel necessary to point out that somewhere along the lines the writers forgot why we watch. We as viewers have an emotional investment in the characters in the series, and in this particular case in the "team." Instead of focusing on gimmicky plots, half-assed emulations, and crappy camera shots, go back to where it all began. It is my hope that the writers are able to begin the new series in the franchise with a different attitude than what Atlantis was met with.


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fluwyn29 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is IMHO the very best episode of one of the best sci-fi shows there is. It's completely different from the 'normal' episodes, showing the skill of the writers, actors and director(s). The way of filming is different, colors are different, music is different, well known characters are somewhat different, making it a very acceptable alternate universe. One of the characters we know from a previous episode (Miller's Crossing).

I keep watching it, discovering something new each time. Great music too. It feels like it's a movie in stead of 'just' an episode. Would have been cool if was as long a movie! No better way to end a show than with something spectacular like this, only the conclusion of the story follows.

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Not really Atlantis, but .... ???
ainsdefcon27 January 2009
This is Not an ordinary/normal Stargate Atlantis episode. The actor plays new, different characters, in a Vegas/detective story, in something that feels like a bad copy attempt of a CSI episode, with influence from SgA, lock stock, rfa dream, etc.

The show is canceled and this episode sends the clear message that they want to show that they can do other roles/films/things, like a CV so that they will have the possibility of getting new work. It's a mess of cool filmtechnics (that sometimes works), a lot of hard music and ambition to show off, that isn't consequent nor thought through. They could have done this ep in the middle of the season, but when it's the second last episode, it sucks.


If you've followed the series, this episode is most likely to be a very big disappointment.

If you are a young teenager or never seen the show before, and like sci-fi ... you will probably love it.

PS! this ep is still need to see since it explains some events in the last episode. DS!
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What did I just watch
optimusprime123452 January 2009
I just have too saw this episode has too be the worst ever and having them announce that this was the last season in the middle of the season was really terrible. I got too like this show and was getting use too the cf characters of coarse they don't want any one too get too close

so people will go off there rocker but I thought this episode really was dumb and stupid.

Well that cast did pull off the alternate reality and I was a little impressed but not much plus they never made it clear how it happen but I liked it some what because it was set in Vegas and I like CSI Vegas.

I would really like them too make universe better if they are capable.
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stephenbelgrave-1310431 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I don't get it!!! I've read the various reviews of Vegas and I have to say this episode was amazing. I've always liked alternate timelines and this episode received a great treatment. I just love the writing too. We just get dropped into the story and we get an Earthy insight into what can happen to a Human that interacted with a Wraith.
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Surprisingly interesting CSI parody
l-7263010 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
For a moment I thought I opened the wrong show. But it turns out interesting actually. The alternative universe setting is brilliant. The music, the light, and the storyline are very CSI. As a SG fan and CSI fan at the same time, I enjoy this episode very much. Btw, the scene that the wraith puts human make-up on himself with rock music playing is somehow very funny.
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Sadly, one of only two good episodes in the last 2 seasons of SGA
tomasajdari8 August 2018
Each and every episode since S04E01 has been either garbage or slightly below average... but mostly garbage. The Ghost in the Machine and Vegas are 5/5 shows with nice production values and sensible script. The inevitability of Sheppards fate/demise is awesome.
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