SGA 4.20 "The Last Man Part 1" Episode Guide

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Précis

Through a time anomaly, Sheppard winds up thousands of years in the future and finds the city almost completely buried in sand and a hologram of Dr. McKay, which lets him know how life changed after he went missing on a mission.

Guide | Transcript

MGM/SciFi.com Official Summary

After another unsuccessful search for Teyla, Sheppard 'gates home to Atlantis to discover that the city is sweltering hot, utterly abandoned, and surrounded by a vast desert. Sheppard is dumbfounded until a hologram of Rodney McKay — an aged Rodney McKay — welcomes him to the future. A solar flare has interfered with the Stargate, causing it to send Sheppard 48,000 years forward in time. He may now be the last human alive in the universe.

Sheppard is horrified, especially when the hologram-McKay tells him what happened after his disappearance in the past. Michael killed Teyla and used her baby for genetic research. His army of hybrids swarmed across the galaxy, exterminating the Wraith and killing all humans who wouldn't make good hybrid slaves. Carter and Ronon both died heroically fighting this terrible foe: Carter in an epic space battle and Ronon during an assault on one of Michael's biggest facilities with an unexpected ally, Todd the Wraith, at his side.

Then the I.O.A. put Richard Woolsey in charge of Atlantis. Keeping only a meager team in place to study the city itself, the bureaucrat allowed Michael to dominate the rest of the galaxy. Disgusted, McKay and Keller both returned to Earth. They fell in love, but their happiness was short-lived. Keller came down with a fatal disease as a result of exposure to the Hoffan drug, whose ravages she had struggled to stop in the Pegasus galaxy. After she died, McKay, grief-stricken, devoted 25 years of his life to bringing Sheppard home in order to rewrite the timeline that had gone so wrong.

McKay has arranged for this hologram of himself to greet Sheppard, seal him into a stasis pod to keep him from aging, and monitor the planet's sun for centuries until just the right solar flare appears to send Sheppard back to his own time. The plan isn't without risks. Power may run out before the flare arrives, stranding Sheppard forever. Also, the corridor to the stasis pods is blocked with sand. Sheppard can only reach the pods by detouring outside the city, into a rising sandstorm. He barely survives. Back inside, he wearily follows McKay to the stasis pods. The hologram-McKay tells him the location where Teyla was imprisoned when Michael killed her. Then McKay seals Sheppard into the stasis pod to wait.

In the past, twelve days after Sheppard disappeared, he arrives back in Atlantis through the Stargate. The hologram-McKay's plan worked perfectly. Once Sheppard's astonished teammates are satisfied that he's for real, he leads them on a raid of the facility where Teyla will soon die. Unfortunately, Teyla isn't there, and the place is booby-trapped. As the building blows up around his team, it looks like Sheppard has run out of time, after all.

Cast

Guest Stars

Production

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Production Notes

  • "We also took the time to discuss [...] Paul’s very cool idea for the season (?) finale, a little episode we’re calling…“Finale“. The last two episodes of the season "will not be a two-parter." (Joseph Mallozzi's June 6 blog)
  • "Today, we gave Alan notes on his outline, discussed Midway, and had a very brief discussion of Martin’s next episode which we should start breaking tomorrow. That will leave three scripts to be written when we get back: the Joe F. story, Paul’s season finale idea, and the empty slot." (Joseph Mallozzi' June 18 blog)
  • "Finally, we will get around to breaking that Sheppard on Earth story next week along with what we hope will be the season finale." (Joseph Mallozzi's August 2 blog)
  • "Harmony is not the season finale. The season finale has yet to be broken. Also, the production order of the episodes does not reflect their air order." (Joseph Mallozzi's August 5 blog)
  • "Despite the distractions, we (hopefully) have our final episode slotted. No title yet but, like most season finales, this one will be big - but very, very different." (Joseph Mallozzi's August 8 blog)
  • "We are not thinking past season four which will end on a cliffhanger. We have a general idea of where we want this major arc to go and hopefully will have a chance to develop it with a fifth season pick-up." (Joseph Mallozzi's August 10 blog) The season finale is linked in some way to "The Kindred". (Joseph Mallozzi's August 14 blog)
  • "Outcast is being re-written as we speak and there’s a first draft out of the season finale, The Last Man. We are partway through filming Harmony and will be moving on to Trio next. Outcast will follow Trio and then we’ll be finishing up with season finale." (Joseph Mallozzi's September 2 blog)
  • "Then, this afternoon, we had an extra special guest drop by for a visit. Bob Picardo had swung by for his costume fitting [...] Bob is, of course, in town to shoot his scenes for the big season finale, The Last Man, and came up with a fun idea regarding the outfit Woolsey should be wearing in this episode. It won’t be his standard suit." (Joseph Mallozzi's September 19 blog)
  • David Hewlett, in his Twitter log on August 16, 2007: "they're booking me for a life cast! apparently i'm to get very old."
  • "It actually works out that today, all I had booked was to stick my head in a vat of algaenate for a head cast. They had to book me in to go and do this stuff for - Todd Masters is doing some weird and wonderful things to my head for the last episode of the season. Hopefully nothing fatal is all I can say." — David Hewlett in UGO interview, September 20, 2007.
  • "Short week on Atlantis for me, just Thursday and Friday of McKay, though they packed in three episodes...we finished off Trio, Outcast and started our big season finale Last man. [...] Next week is looking brutal with 4 hours of prosthetics every day...not to mention all that marvelous McKay dialogue!" — David Hewlett in his blog, September 30, 2007.
  • Joseph Mallozzi has published pictures and a video of David Hewlett in his "old guy" make-up in his blog. Check out October 1 and October 2.
  • "Looks like tomorrow will be a doozy that will see The Last Man wrapping late, late, late - or early, early, early depending on how you look at it. On tap: triage, battle action, on the bridge of the Phoenix." (Joseph Mallozzi's October 4 blog)
  • Joseph Mallozzi's blog entries for October 3 and 4 include pictures and a video about a sandstorm and its aftermath in the halls of the Atlantis set. In the video, Joe Flanigan braves the "sandstorm", which Mallozzi said in his October 5 blog wasn't really sand: "Our special effects team purchased 1000 lbs of cornmeal for that sequence. Cornmeal and something else, I can’t remember what. Maybe oats? Apparently one offers the correct look while the other offers the proper consistency that allows it to fly and swirl."
  • "I joined Marty G. and Paul for a special screening of The Last Man director’s cut. A great season-ender (and a bit of a tearjerker - I defy you not to cry or feel sad or pity or slightly dizzy) with a final shot that will have fandom buzzing from final fade to the opening shot of season five." (Joseph Mallozzi's October 16 blog)
  • "Well, I should let Paul talk about "The Last Man." But it's a great story. It's a great idea. It puts Sheppard in a very interesting situation. McKay is in it, too, in a very big way, although it isn't really McKay. I don't want to give away too much. It's a great episode and it's, I think, a perfect season ender. Thank goodness it's not the series ender! It's very-much a cliffhanger." — Brad Wright, GW Interview The Wright Stuff, published November 21, 2007.
  • "Watched the Day One Mix of The Last Man, our season 4 finale. Great, great episode - and one that will surely have fans pulling their hair out when those final credits roll. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait too long for the season 5 premiere - or there could be a riot. I love these types of time travel episodes in which the ultimate fate of our beloved characters are foretold - some telling, others tragic, all touching. The last few episodes of season four should come with a 3-hanky alert." (Joseph Mallozzi's January 10 blog)

Further Reading


--DeeKayP 17:28, 2 September 2007 (PDT)