Product Placement and Plot Devices

Written by Dan

Published December 5, 2007

I just finished watching the latest Atlantis episode, “Miller’s Crossing,” and I can’t help but wonder about the writers’ thoughts as they set up the story’s plot. For those who missed it, McKay’s sister Jeannie gets kidnapped by some thugs who have been spying on the family, including monitoring her e-mail via a trojan horse on the family laptop. They decide to take her after McKay asks for her help in solving a problem with the reprogramming of the Replicators.

Now think about that for a minute. McKay has been regularly sending e-mail from the Pegasus Galaxy to his civilian sister (who, granted, knows all about the program). E-mail about super-secret projects that require the highest security clearance in the world. He’s sending that e-mail to her home laptop. And the latest e-mail he sends contains the complete Replicator source code.

Sure, Rodney deserves a lot of blame for getting his sister into the whole mess in the first place. But they were both begging for trouble by communicating the way they were. Who the hell set them up with their communications, FEMA? Isn’t the government supposed to maintain full control over any laptop that has access to classified information? Or was Rodney just sending his messages to her Hotmail address?

(I wonder if it’s any coincidence that the Stargate franchise seems to have a cozy product placement deal with Dell? As McKay himself once observed, they probably should have used a Mac.)