Dear Johnny Fanboy,

This time I have some questions about the Season 2 Stargate Atlantis episodes The Hive and Epiphany for you.

1. In The Hive, some of the Atlantis crew are held prisoner onboard a Wraith hive ship. But what is with that Wraith prison door? It is an organic design that leaves big holes in the door. I have examined the holes on freeze-frame and zoom, and some of them are easily big enough for a person to get through. You can't argue that they are hooked up to electricity or something and would shock any attempted escapees, because in this story two of the crew put their hands through the holes in order to throw knives.

2. In Epiphany, can you explain why the Ancients made the doorway to the other time zone look like a door? I know that the other realm is designed specifically for those preparing to ascend, and the inability to travel back through the doorway is intentional, but what about innocent people who stumble upon it (like the Atlantis crew)? Isn't it a little stupid to have the doorway look like a doorway?

3. Also, why have those people been waiting so long to ascend? We are led to believe that they were led there by the Ancients and we know that time on that side of the portal travels much faster than on "our" side. It seems that they've been there for thousands of years and many of them are in fact the descendents of others who tried to ascend. How crap is that? And then Sheppard comes along and says "fight the monster" and they all ascend!

4. Finally, what is going on with Sheppard's facial hair in Epiphany? When he is rescued at the end of the episode, he moans that he can't wait to have a shave. Why didn't he have one before he was rescued? All the men there are clean-shaven and we know that they have facial hair because one of the men he chats to has a little triangle of hair on his chin and a very obvious 12-o'clock shadow. Couldn't Sheppard have borrowed a razor? Yes, I know this is used as a plot device to signify the passage of time, but even so...

See what you can do with these!

Steve Hannah

Johnny Fanboy replies:

1. Those doors are indeed a very odd design, but they open and close in an organic manner, like growing vines that connect in the middle. It could well be that they are also intelligent technology and that if they were to detect anyone attempting to slip through them, they would squeeze shut in order to deter, injure or kill any attempted escapees.

I must also say that, having examined the positions of the gaps, I think you'd have to be some kind of acrobat or contortionist to try and get through them.

2. No, not really. The only people likely to travel to that planet are the Ancients and those who deliberately follow in their footsteps, for whom the doorway was left to be found. It was also hidden away under foliage, so the Atlantis crew were only able to detect its presence with their scanning equipment. Onscreen evidence suggests that the Atlantis crew are the only people to have stumbled upon it to date, apart from those seeking ascension.

3. Actually, those people weren't led there by the Ancients, but rather followed in the Ancients' footsteps of their own volition. And who ever said that ascension was guaranteed? Is enrolling at a military academy any guarantee of becoming a general? Is going to university any guarantee of getting a first-class degree? Is joining a monastery any guarantee of becoming a monk? I don't think so. You have to work at it, it takes time, and you might not succeed. Maybe some of the Ancient writing outside actually reads: "We would like to point out that crossing this barrier does not constitute a guarantee of ascension. The Ancients can accept no responsibility for failure to ascend or any resulting disappointment or loss of liberty."

As for Sheppard's intervention, bear in mind that it was foretold that he would come and help the final few to ascend, so maybe this became a self-fulfilling prophecy: the people became complacent knowing that help would arrive one day.

4. How do we know that the locals have razors? Perhaps one of their mental disciplines is the ability to control the rate of growth of their hair. Alternatively, maybe Sheppard usually uses an electric razor, whereas the locals only possess low-tech razor blades, which Sheppard dislikes because he always cuts himself to ribbons with them.

I'll cut it at that point!

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