Common Ground

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Common Ground
The Wraith and Sheppard.

Stargate: Atlantis



Production #


Original air date

August 25, 2006

Written by

Ken Cuperus

Directed by

William Waring

Guest stars

Robert Davi as Commander Acastus Kolya
Christopher Heyerdahl as "Todd"
Ryan Robbins as Ladon Radim
Chuck Campbell as Chuck
Paul Lazenby as Genii Soldier
Geoff Redknap as Old Sheppard

Preceded by

"The Real World"

Followed by

"McKay and Mrs. Miller"

Atlantis season 3
Atlantis Season 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20
Season 2 Season 4

"Common Ground" is the seventh episode of the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard is captured by Commander Acastus Kolya, who wants the expedition to hand over Ladon Radim, in exchange for returning Sheppard. As the Atlantis team bargain for more time and a solution to get John back before it's too late, John finds himself being imprisoned alongside a Wraith who is also feeding on John with the two being forced to work together in the hope of surviving and ultimately escaping.



While on a mission off-world, the team is ambushed by a Genii strike team. As the team escapes through the Stargate, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard is captured by Commander Acastus Kolya. Back on Atlantis, the team suspects that Ladon Radim, the current leader of the Genii, had betrayed them. Ladon arrives to Atlantis and asserts that he is not responsible for Sheppard's capture.


At that moment, Atlantis is contacted by Kolya. He has Sheppard hostage and demands that Dr. Elizabeth Weir turn Ladon over to him to get Sheppard back. Weir refuses to give in to Kolya's terms, so in order to coerce her into agreeing, he uses a captured Wraith to slowly drain Sheppard's life. He gives Weir three hours to answer his demands or he will let the Wraith feed on Sheppard again. Throughout the episode, Dr. Beckett says that they still don't really understand the Wraith feeding process, and he can't predict exactly how cumulative feedings will affect Sheppard, or what will be the point of no return.

It is revealed that the reason for Kolya's antagonism towards Ladon is their rivalry for the leadership of the Genii. Kolya firmly believes that he is the rightful ruler of the Genii, but his plans were ruined by Ladon, who informed the government of his rival's plans and pulled off a coup of his own. Ladon agrees to help the team find Sheppard. With the information he provides, the marine team strikes at a Genii outpost, but quickly discover it to be a dead end.

Meanwhile, Sheppard begins to talk to the Wraith, who is also a prisoner of the Genii. Both prisoners want to escape; Sheppard wants to get back to Atlantis, while the Wraith is tired of being starved in a prison cell, explaining that, for a Wraith, hunger is like a raging fire inside them, and they have no choice but to feed. Initially, the Wraith does not trust Sheppard, believing that the chances of escaping were zero, he has been there for many years and has had his resolve weakened, but he gradually becomes impressed by Sheppard's unwaning hope that his people will come to save him, and the prospect of truly being able to feast. Eventually, the Wraith agrees to an escape plan.

C g1189

Sheppard after being fed upon.

Working together, the unlikely allies escape from their prison. However, as they try to reach the Stargate, Genii forces begin to pursue. In order to gain the strength to fight them off, the injured Wraith feeds off Sheppard, leaving him barely alive, and easily defeats the Genii, feeding on two of them. Sheppard tells the Wraith to finish him, but the Wraith says he doesn't understand. At that moment, the Atlantis team, who have found out the location of the prison, arrive, and are horrified to see what appears to be the Wraith feeding on Sheppard. However, the sated Wraith keeps his word to Sheppard and returns life force back to him, restoring his physical condition; indeed, Dr. Rodney McKay says that Sheppard almost looks younger than he did before. The Wraith reveals that the Wraith give the 'Gift of Life' only to their most devout followers… and, he adds, to their brothers. Sheppard tells the others to stand down, he will honour his agreement with the Wraith to let him go.


Using the Genii radio, Sheppard threatens Kolya (who escapes through the Stargate), saying that unlike their last encounter, he will not hesitate to kill him if they meet again. He then stuns the Wraith with Ronon Dex's Particle magnum, and the team drops him off at an unknown planet where he and the Wraith agree that the next time they meet, "all bets are off." The Wraith is then presumably picked up by a Wraith Dart. Both part ways with the realization that there are many things they don't know about each other's kind, but also a newfound understanding.


Cassel Massan; Cloak; Cowen; FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon; Genii; Genii communicator; Genii pistol; Genii shotgun; Gift of Life; Harpoon; Acastus Kolya's capture of John Sheppard; Kolya's planet; Mouse; Particle magnum; Planet (Common Ground); Puddle Jumper; Rat; Subcutaeneous locator beacon; Wraith; Wraith Dart; Wraith worshipper

Notable QuotesEdit

Kolya: The truth is, I would've settled for Doctor McKay, but I don't imagine I would enjoy his constant wailing.

Ladon: If you trade my life for Sheppard you will not only be yielding to blackmail, you will be planting the seeds of civil war.
Ronon: So what? I say we turn him over and let 'em fight it out.
McKay: We can't do that!
Ronon: Why not?
McKay: Well, because! (looks at Weir) Can we?

McKay: Alright, people, let's do this one by the numbers. We get in, we get our man, we get out. Stay sharp and stay alive.
Beckett: What are you on about?
McKay: Oh, just things that Sheppard would say, so I thought I would, um ...
Teyla: (with a look of both patience and exasperation) Well said, Rodney.
Ronon: Just stay behind me.

McKay: (after firing his P-90 at some boxes) I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I just reacted.
Teyla: (gun at ready) What is it?
McKay: Um… mouse? Really big one, though. More of a rat, really, possibly rabid…

Sheppard: How far is the Stargate?
Todd: It will be guarded.
Sheppard: We got guns.
Todd: They will be waiting for us.
Sheppard: Don't be so negative. You think you're gonna make it?
Todd: If I feed.
Sheppard: Well don't look at me.
(Both draw weapons at each other)
Sheppard: We make it to the Stargate, we both go our separate ways. Until then, we're gonna need each other. Deal?

Sheppard: You have no idea where the Stargate is, do you?
Todd: It was many years ago.
Sheppard: Way to go John. Listening to a Wraith.
Todd: It was not my intention to deceive you Sheppard.
(Over the radio)
Genii Soldier: Reinforcements have arrived at the Stargate, Commander.
Kolya: Kill the Wraith on sight, but I want Sheppard alive.
Sheppard: Well, we learned two things. One...he likes me better than you...
(Wraith chuckles)
Sheppard: Two...we probably would've never made it to the Stargate anyway.
Todd: Then it is over.
Sheppard: No. Our people don't leave each other behind. That's three things you've learned.
Todd: You still believe that?
Sheppard: Kolya doesn't know where we are. He's wasting manpower. Could be he's searching for us or guarding the gate. The odds of my people finding us are going up and up.
Todd: You are more like Wraith than you know.
Sheppard: I'm not sure I like the sound of that.
Todd: There is much about Wraith that you do not know Sheppard.

Weir: What will we be up against?
Ladon: Nothing one of your cloaked jumpers and my good friend Ronon couldn't handle. I ask only that you leave Kolya for my own forces to find.
Weir: No promises.


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Stargate Wiki has 9 images related to Common Ground.


  • The hole created in the cell wall by the Genii Soldier changes shape between the close up and long shots.
  • At 5:13, a German Atlantis crew member can be seen sporting his German flag patch upside down. He is seen again at 21:10.
  • Near the end of the episode, the Dial Home Device's glyphs are glowing yellow instead of blue. Yellow is exclusive to Stargates used in the Milky Way while blue is used by the Stargates of Pegasus.
  • Several times over the episode there is an Atlantian guard to be seen, wearing a German patch on his arm. Through the entire episode the patch is applied the wrong way round.

First appearanceEdit


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