|Original air date|
Paul McGillion as Dr. Carson Beckett
|Atlantis Season 1|
While on the way back to Atlantis, a Puddle Jumper is stuck halfway through the Stargate. The team has thirty eight minutes before the Stargate shuts down, and the team will be blown into space. While another team works out a way to save them, a bug attaches itself to Major John Sheppard's neck, and it is slowly killing him.
Major John Sheppard leads a team that includes Lt. Aiden Ford, Dr. Rodney McKay, and Teyla Emmagan back to the Wraith homeworld to do reconnaissance on the Wraith. They intend to survey the Wraith stronghold where they were taken prisoner, but soon learn that it was actually a massive ship that has now taken off and left a huge crater in its place (see "Rising"). In awe, they prepare to return to their Puddle Jumper and head back to Atlantis. On the way back, they are attacked by three Wraith warriors.
Sheppard orders the rest of his team back to the Puddle Jumper, but stays behind to provide cover by shooting at the Wraith. He manages to kill one, but as he is retreating, he is attacked by a large, black parasitic creature. He is immobilized, and one of the Wraith approaches him. Sheppard is surprised when the Wraith leaves without killing him. He soon realizes that the action was not one of altruism but sadism, since a death at the hands of the parasitic creature is slower and more painful than a death at the hands of a Wraith.Ford returns for Sheppard and discovers the parasite. His attempts to detach it from Sheppard prove unsuccessful. Ford then takes out his pistol and shoots the creature with it. This, however, instead of killing the creature, causes severe pain for Sheppard near to killing him, while the creature simply heals itself. Ford and Sheppard conclude that the creature acts like a Wraith; that is, it feeds off the life of its host, and any attempts to damage it only hurt the host. The team brings Sheppard aboard the Puddle Jumper and take off. In an effort to return to Atlantis as quickly as possible, and get Sheppard into the hands of a medical doctor, Sgt. Markham approaches the Stargate in orbit around the planet at a high velocity. But the jumper's thruster pods, which were damaged by the Wraith as the craft took off, do not retract in time. The vehicle becomes lodged in the Stargate, with half of it demolecularized and half of it still outside the gate in space above the planet.
Only thirty-eight minutes can pass before a Stargate's wormhole shuts down. In this case, such an event would destroy the part of the Jumper that had demolecularized and would leave the rest open to the vacuum of space. The team members in the still-intact section of the Jumper inform Atlantis of their predicament.
Dr. Carson Beckett in Atlantis works with Ford and Teyla to help Sheppard. They notice that the creature has a soft underbelly, and Beckett suggests that pouring various substances on it could kill it in the way that pouring salt on a leech can kill it. Several substances, including iodine, have no effect. When the team tries salt and water, Sheppard is put in a great deal of pain. As Sheppard gets weaker, the team search for a solution by discussing the creature's similarity to the Wraith, conjecturing that it the two species could be related by evolution. Sheppard is then struck with an idea. He tells the team to electrocute him with a defibrillator, suggesting that if he is dead, the creature will no longer attach itself to him. Ford reluctantly agrees, and he then kills the Major. Several seconds later, Teyla is able to pull the creature off him, after which Ford shoots it repeatedly. Ford then uses the defibrillator on Sheppard several more times in an attempt to revive him, but this proves unsuccessful. Not wanting the Major to die, Teyla accompanies his body into the wormhole, where it will stay in demolecularized stasis.
Meanwhile, a team of scientists in Atlantis, including the American Dr. Peter Kavanagh and the Czech Dr. Radek Zelenka work to find a solution to the immobility of the Jumper and the impending death of its crew. Kavanagh voices his concerns about the risks to Dr. Weir and she responds by accusing him of being to concerned about himself. He complains to Dr. Elizabeth Weir about his dislike of taking orders and of working with the military, and she responds by threatening to send him through the Stargate to an uninhabitable planet if he continues to be disruptive. When he scoffs at this threat, she responds by asserting that she will carry through with it if he remains a problem and sends him back to work.
Zelenka proves to be more useful, as he finds a way to manually retract the Jumper's thrust pods after experimenting on a Jumper in Atlantis. He relays this information to McKay, who has also been experimenting. McKay is successful in manually retracting the pods, but the Jumper remains stationary due to inertia. Time is running short, and Kavanagh realizes that that there is only one way to get the rest of the Jumper through the Stargate and remolecularized in Atlantis before the wormhole closes and the crew is killed. He states that the team must blow the rear hatch of the craft in the hope that the evacuation of the craft's atmosphere will provide enough momentum to propel the craft through the gate in time. Ford agrees to stay behind and manually blow the hatch, and McKay then goes through the wormhole's event horizon. The plan is successful, and the craft passes through the wormhole and arrives in Atlantis before the stargate deactivates, where Sheppard is successfully revived by Beckett.
Athosians; Atlantis conference room; Atlantis infirmary; Chocolate; Claustrophobia; Control crystal; Culling; Czech Republic; Defibrillator; Dog tag; Event horizon; First aid kit; Flashlight; Heart; Hive ship; Hypoglycemia; Iodine; Iratus bug; Jumper bay; Puddle Jumper; Rubbing alcohol; Salt; Star Trek; Tylenol; Wraith; Wraith homeworld; Wraith warrior
Ford: Why'd you close the door?
McKay: So that when the Stargate shuts down and the forward section is severed, we're not directly exposed to space.
Ford: Will it hold?
McKay: Like a screen door on a submarine. I just prefer hypoxia to explosive decompression. It's a personal thing.
(about the Jumper)
Weir: Is there anything I can do to help?
Zelenka: Stop talking, please.
McKay: If you know of some way of manually retracting the mechanism...
Sheppard: In the cockpit, on the left.
McKay: The cockpit is regrettably demolecularised at the moment.
McKay: Oh, I apologize for being the only person who truly comprehends how screwed we are!
Sheppard: Don't talk to me about screwed! And let's not give up on Markham and Stackhouse either. There's plenty of time to solve this thing, but you've got to stop using your mouth and start using your brain!
McKay: I'm sorry. It's just, um, I react to certain doom a certain way.
McKay: Well, if you'll excuse me, I'll be a foot and a half over there taking some readings. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
Grodin: The Stargate transmits matter into discrete units... the front half of the ship cannot rematerialize till the whole ship is crossed into the event horizon. The Stargate is essentially waiting for the continuous component, that's meaning the Jumper and everything inside to enter completely before it can transport them...
Weir: (Beckett stares then looks at Weir) He says the Gate only sends things through in one piece.
Kavanagh: I happily left the SGC because I had had it up to here with the military running things; and you just busted me like a private.
Weir: Don't be so dramatic. Besides, the Air Force doesn't have privates.
Kavanagh: Neither do I. You just cut them off. Right in front of my research team.
Weir: That's what this is about? You're embarrassed?
Kavanagh: Well, humiliated would be a little more accurate.
Weir: I haven't worked up to humiliation yet.
- This episode indicates a number of countries involved in the Atlantis expedition through flag patches; Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Scotland (for some reason with a separate flag from the other team members from the UK), United Kingdom, United States and Zimbabwé.
- Mario Azzopardi makes his return to the Stargate franchise in this episode. He had the distinctive honor of directing the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, "Children of the Gods". This is his first time directing an episode of the franchise since the Season 1 Episode "Cor-ai." Coincidentally, Mario Azzopardi has only directed Season 1 Episodes of both SG-1 and Atlantis.
- This episode is the only episode of either Stargate SG-1 or Stargate: Atlantis to actually occur in real-time; between the opening of the Stargate and the resolution, 38 minutes of screentime do occur.
- Only the Region one DVD contains a commentary for this episode.
- Dr. Peter Kavanagh's motion-by-decompression solution is the same one used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect". Additionally, Major Samantha Carter attempts to use this method to propel the Prometheus out of a nebula in the seventh-season Stargate SG-1 episode "Grace".
- The events of this episode, with a crew stranded on a spacecraft, being in communication with a ground team giving them directions and running simulations using only the equipment available aboard the craft, are very similar to the events surrounding the real-life Apollo 13 mission, where the crew had to use ingenious engineering improvisation in order to survive a trip back to Earth after an accident on the way to the Moon.
- Lt. Aiden Ford managed to have opened the rear hatch of the Puddle Jumper for it to gain enough thrust to go through the Gate. However, when it went through, the hatch was closed.
- At the beginning of the episode, on approach to the gate, only five chevrons are dialed.
- GateWorld. on