|Original air date|
Mitch Pileggi as Colonel Steven Caldwell
|Atlantis Season 2|
|Season 1||Season 3|
In the Mess hall of Atlantis, two members of the expedition are playing chess, while Ronon Dex watches them. Ronon, biased to physical action and who has little time for intellectual pursuits, finds the strategy-and-tactics game laughable. Dr. Elizabeth Weir joins Ronon at a table, and Weir and Ronon have an embarrassing misunderstanding, arising from a misunderstood definitional cross-reference as to the meaning of the phrase "I'm leaving". Dr. Rodney McKay calls Weir, saving her from further embarrassment. In the command center, McKay shows Weir and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard a galactic map, which shows the Ancient ship Aurora, activated by subspace beacon transmitted when they installed the Zero Point Module. Because there is no other way to reach Aurora, the team decides to use the Daedalus to fly to the ship's position, although Colonel Steven Caldwell at first wants to take this mission alone. Weir refuses, and insists Sheppard and his team pursue the mission.
They reach Aurora, and detect a Wraith scout ship--which the Daedalus quickly destroys as it approaches. They decide to board the Aurora, which is badly damaged, so Sheppard's team has to wear Space suits as they beam onto it. They discover hundreds of stasis pods, which contain members of the crew. McKay activates Aurora's life support systems, so the Atlantis team no longer has to use bulky spacesuits. McKay determines that although the pod systems have kept the crew alive for a very long time, they will eventually die, because although their aging has been drastically slowed, it has not been stopped--and over the course of ten thousand years, their bodies have become very atrophied and aged. McKay also monitors their cortical activity, and concludes further that the Ancients' minds are connected to each other, and that they are collectively experiencing and interacting in a virtual environment. In order to communicate with the Ancients, McKay decides to use an empty stasis pod to connect himself to the link between the Ancients, but Teyla, realizing that the situation is best managed by McKay monitoring the situation, appeals to McKay's ego, and Sheppard goes in instead.
In stasis, Sheppard finds himself in a virtual environment on a simulated Aurora. Sheppard is soon confronted by an Ancient and brought before the Captain of Aurora, but none of Aurora crew seem to realize that they are in stasis. Sheppard is then brought into a holding cell, where he tells them about Atlantis today, and that the Ancients ultimately lost the war against the Wraith. The Aurora captain does not believe Sheppard, and declares he has information about a weakness in Wraith technology. Sheppard then disconnects from the virtual environment and informs McKay and Caldwell about what he has learned, and reenters the virtual environment. Meanwhile, the Daedalus detects two Wraith cruisers--which will reach them within the hour.
In the virtual environment, Sheppard talks with First Officer Trebal, whom he again tries to persuade that what he says is true--she says that she will inform the captain. However, the Aurora Guard tells Sheppard he has been ordered to ignore him, so Sheppard escapes the cell by momentarily disconnecting, then reentering the environment, and taking a weapon from the guard who has entered the cell to investigate his vanishing. Outside, Teyla Emmagan and Ronon search through the actual Aurora, and find the long-decomposed body of an Ancient woman outside the stasis pods, who had been removed from it, and killed, by a Wraith. The Wraith had subsequently linked with the virtual environment through the pod. McKay and Sheppard later surmise--due to her uncooperative conduct--that the Wraith is masquerading as the first officer. The Wraith also found the ship once it became active, and reconfigured the system to their advantage. Because the Atlantis team cannot risk killing Sheppard, McKay searches for a way to disconnect the Wraith "manually".
Sheppard, meanwhile, finds the captain on the virtual bridge, and tries to convince the captain that what Sheppard is saying is true, but Sheppard is stunned by the first officer, who again convinces the captain that they have other things to do, and to ignore Sheppard's warnings. On the actual Aurora, McKay decides to link himself to the virtual environment in order to warn Sheppard, and virtual McKay is also arrested by members of the Aurora crew. Meanwhile, Teyla and Ronon "stall" Caldwell from learning about McKay's entrance into the virtual environment--Caldwell wants to destroy Aurora and leave before the Wraith get there. In the virtual cell, McKay informs Sheppard what he has learned, and Sheppard concludes that the first officer is Wraith. McKay then is able to free them and even stun two of the guards. Outside the virtual environment, Teyla is forced to tell Caldwell the truth, and Ronon and Teyla are beamed back to the Daedalus, and they decide to wait until the last moment to retrieve Sheppard and McKay.
On the virtual Aurora, McKay determines that the Wraith has deleted the important information about the weakness in the Wraith technology from the Aurora's computer files. McKay and Sheppard conclude that the Wraith is deceiving the Aurora crew into divulging the secrets of the intergalactic type of hyperdrive--so that the Wraith can reach Earth, the Wraith's sought-after "new feeding ground".
When McKay catches a glimpse of the first officer he comments that she is really "hot", commenting on her physical attractiveness. Sheppard chides McKay for 'drooling' over someone who seems to be a human female, but who is, in fact, Wraith. While Sheppard proceeds once more to speak with the captain, McKay disconnects himself from the virtual environment, and then moves to physically disconnect the Wraith interloper. As Sheppard is trying to convince the captain and bridge crew that the first officer is actually Wraith, McKay unplugs the Wraith, thereby causing the female first officer to be revealed for what 'she' really is, in front of the captain and crew--and then causing 'her' to disappear from the virtual environment. This convinces the crew of the Aurora that Sheppard is obviously telling the truth. The Wraith awakens in the real world, none too pleased, and as McKay is standing next to the stasis pod containing the Wraith, he runs for his life while emptying the magazine of his sidearm at the Wraith.
Meanwhile, Sheppard talks with the captain, who now believes him, but it turns out that the captain does not know the contents of the communique about the Wraith weakness--it is lost forever. The captain decides to help Sheppard destroy the two Wraith cruisers. Sheppard disconnects just in time to finish off the furious, already-wounded Wraith who had been hunting McKay. The two Wraith cruisers arrive, and Sheppard and McKay are beamed aboard the Daedalus. Sheppard then reveals that the captain of the Aurora gave him his self-destruct codes. The Daedalus flees--and, as the Aurora explodes, the explosion also destroys both Wraith cruisers.
Back in Atlantis, the team informs Weir about what has happened and concludes from communications monitored from the Wraith cruisers that the Wraith did not have time to transmit the specifications of Ancient intergalactic hyperdrive technology--and at the request of the Aurora captain, the Atlantis team drinks a champagne toast to the crew of the Aurora.
Ancient; Asgard transporter; Aurora; Aurora-class battleship; Brain; Champagne; Chess; Colt M1911A1 pistol; Daedalus; Delta wave; Drone weapon; Earth; EEG; Golf; Hyperdrive; Hyperspace; Lantean; Lantean stun weapon; Long range sensors; M9 pistol; Mark III; Mess hall; Particle magnum; Puddle Jumper; Self-destruct; Skirmish on the Aurora; Space suit; Stasis pod; Telepathy; Virtual reality pod; The Wizard of Oz; Wraith; Wraith biometric receiver; Wraith cruiser; Wraith Dart; Wraith scout ship; Wraith technology; Zero Point Module
Weir: It's called chess. It's a game.
Ronon: They've been sitting there like that since I sat down.
Weir: Those two, they play every single day.
Ronon: Neither one of them's even blinked yet.
Weir: Well, it's not really a game action.
Ronon: I can see that.
Weir: It's all about strategy. He's planning his next move, and the move after that, and the move after that. Ronon: You guys do a lot of that around here.
Weir: Yes, we do.
McKay: Now remember, the system creates a direct feedback loop between the processor and your brainwaves. So, when you want to disconnect you need to erm...well, really concentrate.
Sheppard: You mean think it.
McKay: Well I think it will probably take more than that otherwise you'll be popping out of that thing everytime it crossed your mind.
Sheppard: So, there's no place like home?
McKay: If that works for you.
Sheppard: I need to talk to the first officer.
Guard: She gave orders not to be disturbed.
Sheppard: It's okay, she said she was gonna talk to the Captain for me and it's been a while so...
Guard: She also gave order to ignore everything you say.
Sheppard: Then why are you talking to me right now?
McKay: Caldwell sent them to search the ship's armory.
Sheppard: (his face lights up) Yeah?
McKay: No, unfortunately it was depleted of drones.
McKay: Where are you taking me, I'm telling you, I'm with Colonel Sheppard. Colonel John Sheppard...He's about so high...erm there's...erm...Brown hair, a bit muscle....erm, the term is rakish?
McKay: The communiqué has been erased.
Sheppard: Why would the Wraith do that?
McKay: Well, it says right here: "I, the Wraith, delete this important information to keep you from seeing it."
Captain of Aurora: I've never been more proud than I am at this moment. It has been an honor serving with you. And although we may not return to Atlantis, rest assured that the Aurora will be remembered.
- According to the DVD commentary, every scene where Ronon Dex appears in the Space suit had to be played by a body double because Jason Momoa's dreadlocks would not fit in the helmet.
- The weakness of Wraith technology was never found, but it probably had something to do with its biological nature.
- It possible the weakness is indeed cause of its biological nature because when Todd’s hive ship began to badly malfunction in season 5’s “infection” when it contracted the wraith version of cancer, which may indicate that a large enough concentration of biological or radiological weapons (bio and radioactive respectfully) weapons would be the most powerful weapons to use on the hive ships.
- In this episode, two Wraith cruisers were destroyed by the self-destruct on the Aurora. These are the first two destroyed since the expedition arrived in the galaxy.
- Beginning with this episode, Colonel Steven Caldwell and the crew of the Daedalus wear a modified version of the SGC's Earth symbol patch (worn on the left arm), depicting the point of origin symbol for Atlantis set against an image of Earth. Previously, they had worn the standard pyramid and sun origin symbol used by SG-1 and other SG teams.
- This episode is sold as the first in the season on the PlayStation Store, but is in fact the ninth. "The Siege, Part 3" is sold as the second rather than the first.
- The two people playing chess at the beginning of this episode are real chess champions who were brought in to add some sense of realism to the scene. They even changed the way the chess board was originally set up for the scene as they weren't happy with it.
- Teyla refers to the events of "Before I Sleep" while John tells Rodney that he does not trust him, an oblique reference to those of "Trinity".
- Paul McGillion (Dr. Carson Beckett) does not appear in this episode.
- Bruce Dawson (Captain of Aurora) previously played Crewman in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Forsaken".
- Ryan W. Smith (Aurora Crewman) previously played SF in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Heroes, Part 1".
- James Lafazanos (Wraith Commander (Aurora)) previously played Jimmy in the Stargate: Atlantis episode "Rising", Steve in the episodes "Suspicion" and "Poisoning the Well", Mister Hooper in the episode "The Defiant One", Gordon in the episodes "The Gift", "The Siege, Part 2" and "The Siege, Part 3", Bob in the episode "The Siege, Part 1", Wraith Commander (Runner) in the episode "Runner" and Wraith Commander (Condemned) in the episode "Condemned".
- Pascale Hutton (First Officer Trebal) is best known for playing Abby Corrigan on Sanctuary.
- Daedalus is using the old purple style hyperspace window instead of the blue one.
- Sheppard could have proved the Aurora's Captain that they are in a virtual environment by disconnecting and reconnecting again.
- The Captain of Aurora was considerably aged in the face, but his beard was practically non existent. This was essentially disproved in the episode "Before I Sleep". Dr. Elizabeth Weir was in stasis just as long as they were, and her hair was incredibly long. Although this can be explained away as their past view of themselves in the digital world.
- Also the fact that they are Ancients and Weir is human.
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