Stargate: Atlantis is coming to a close – it’s been a great ride. The show took a bit to adjust to, but after a while the characters and new location grew on me because it had the same feel to the writing that we’ve come to enjoy from the Stargate franchise.

It was hard not to know that last week’s episode was the next to last episode for Atlantis. I went into the episode, titled “Vegas” (written and directed by Robert Cooper), not really looking forward to it. I was coming into it with a bit of a dour perspective because it was some alternate timeline story. My thought? “Why would they do this to us in the next to last episode of the series?”

WARNING: If you DVR’d the episode, a bit of an outline spoiler follows the break.

The episode surprised me. It started out with the feel of a CSI episode as LVPD Detective John Sheppard investigated a case involving dessicated corpses. His investigation led him to an “odd” looking man who was more than he appeared. It’s about halfway into the episode when we meet the SGC from Area 51, in the form of FBI Agent Woolsey. We meet other characters from the SGC (All in a stuffy suit-wearing environment… we wouldn’t have liked this reality in our show) and in the end, after Woolsey fills Sheppard in on the Stargate, Sheppard puts it all together and figures out where the “odd” looking man, a Wraith who’s on Earth, could be hiding. Before they can stop the Wraith, he sends a homing signal that the SGC figured did not reach the Pegasus Galaxy… in their reality. But they surmised that the signal may have reached the Wraith in different realities.

I ended up liking this almost stand-alone episode. I was expecting it to wrap up in a way that righted the alternate time line to our own, but instead, it only referenced it and it looked like a lead-in to the final episode, titled “Enemy At The Gate” as previews indicate that a Wraith ship ends up at Earth. I surmise that it gets to Earth because of the signal sent from “Vegas.”

We’ll see.

I’ll be bummed to see the series go. We have Stargate: Universe coming at us but we’ll have to adapt to a whole new group, learn all new backgrounds and get a whole new grasp on the show.

We also have a Stargate: Atlantis movie coming at us somewhere down the road.

As we head into the final episode of Stargate: Atlantis, I leave you with a few behind the scenes images above and a few sneak-peek images from next week’s episode below. Yep, you read right. NEXT WEEK’S EPISODE. It’s nothing big, but it’s what all I can do for those of us patiently waiting.

Images: Behind the Scenes-MGM, Preview- © 2009 NBC Universal, Inc

The final episode of Stargate: Atlantis airs on January 9, 2009.