|Original air date|
|Atlantis Season 4|
|Season 3||Season 5|
While on a mission to evacuate a planet prone to earthquakes, Colonel Samantha Carter, Dr. Jennifer Keller and Dr. Rodney McKay end up trapped in an abandoned, underground mine left behind by the Genii. While trying to escape, the three try to get to know each other better.
Dr. Jennifer Keller and Dr. Rodney McKay report their findings on M5V-801 to Colonel Samantha Carter and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. The planet has been suffering from tremors for several generations, and experience around four tremors a day, as the settlement is built over seismically unstable ground. Also, it was a mining planet. Twenty years ago, the Genii came and forced all the inhabitants as miners for their own personal gain. However, after the Genii got the resources they needed, they abandoned the planet. Because of this, and the unsafe air quality, an abnormally high number of inhabitants are suffering from respiratory problems. They organize a mission to evacuate the settlement into another part of the continent, but in order to do so, the inhabitants have a list of demands a "mile and a half long".
Carter arranges for her, Keller and McKay to go to the planet. An hour later, they arrive and are walking to the settlement, when McKay steps through a very weak, hollow part of the ground, which causes a hole in the ground, where McKay falls through it. Carter and Keller lay on the ground to spread their body weight, and sees McKay at the bottom, hurt, but alive. However, as the women plan to dial the Stargate for help, the hole gets bigger and they fall through also.
The trio find themselves in the abandoned Genii mining facility. Upon further investigation, they see a massive door, presumably the main entrance and exit. McKay notices a panel of Genii numerals, which requires a code to open the door. However, since they don't know the code, they move on to the next sealed door, painted red, which most likely means the door was sealed for a reason. Their suspicions turn out to be correct, when they notice a very high drop down a chasm on the other side.
With nothing much more to do, they decide to just sit and wait for rescue to arrive, since if they don't report to Atlantis, they'll soon send help if they don't check in. However, as they sit and wait, they experience a tremor, and notice the facility is starting to give way. Since the facility is only supported by metal stilts, which are starting to give way, since the three people and the earth is putting on more weight for the complex to support. With this information, help may come too late, so they plan to escape. They notice a load of crates around. Their plan is to stack the crates into a pyramid-like fashion. Meanwhile, in order to reduce weight, Keller moves the earth down the chasm.
With the crate-pyramid, Carter starts going up the crates, since both McKay and Keller are both afraid of heights. However, as Carter approaches the top, the wood starts to crack below her and give way. However, so close to escape, Carter continues to reach the beams to the hole and climb up, but before she is able to do so, the crates shatter, and Carter slams into the ground on her stomach. Since that plan didn't work, they have to think up a new plan.
Soon, McKay finds something to double up as a grappling hook. However, since they couldn't find rope, McKay estimates since the hole is 20 to 25 feet high, and thinks that if they tie jackets, shirts and pants together, it could create a rope long enough. He tells them to strip, and Keller starts doing so, until Carter conveniently found rope. Keller then pulls her shirt down and replaces her jacket, while an obvious look of disappointment comes across McKay's face. Carter notices the rope is too thin for them to grab onto, so she and Keller starts tying it. McKay reads through Genii files, hoping the files could contain the codes to unlock the door. Meanwhile, the women play "Who would you rather...?". There, McKay overhears the name Neil deGrasse Tyson, where he claims he once stole an idea from him. He is then forced to play the game with them.
Suddenly, they hear the noise of children playing in the field. Together, they all scream for their help. The children notice, and are just curious why the trio are down there. The trio ask them for their help. However, they say they can't, because if their parents find out that they are helping strangers in an area they're not supposed to play in, they'll all get into trouble. This angrily upsets McKay, but Carter attempts to bribe the kids by saying "We'll get you what ever you want." Knowing exactly what a pair of ten-year-old boys would want, McKay states that is a brilliant idea and tells Carter to take her shirt off. Carter says "I think we can reason with them without going into that" and McKay turns to Keller, who says nothing and does nothing.
After the kids leave, the trio talk about Dr. Radek Zelenka, after Carter was trapped with him during the quarantine lockdown, and all agree that they find him weird. The women then wonder what happened between McKay and Dr. Katie Brown during the quarantine. He told her that he needed some time to figure out his emotional problems. However, Katie interpreted that as McKay breaking up with her and she has been put on the list for return to Earth. McKay assumes its for the best, but Keller thinks that she deserves to be with a nice guy like him. This seems to cheer McKay up. They then hear the kids return, but just came here to win a bet with their friends. As McKay barks at them, another tremor strikes the area. They have to move fast, as the facility is becoming more unstable.
They finish with the rope, and McKay insists on throwing it through the hole. However several attempts later, McKay still can't do it. One attempt hits a gas pipe, which ignites. Carter quickly stops it. Carter then has a go and succeeds in sending the rope through. Unfortunately, the hook just simply comes back, bringing more earth with it. With this plan in the toilet, McKay has another idea. Tying the rope to the metal beams, they could make a bridge using planks to put up a crate on it, and climb to safety. However, there's a problem, the planks aren't long enough to make it from one metal beam to another and the crates are too heavy.
Keller, however, has an idea on how to make it work, by a simple bar trick: they use three planks in a way that it could support the crates. Keller demonstrates with knives and cups in their packs. After the demonstration, they get to it. They line up the planks to form the bridge, and place a crate in the middle. Afterwards, Carter attempts to get on the crates, and manages to reach the hole, and is about to grab hold of it, when the bridge collapses. Carter falls 25 feet down and breaks a leg. As Keller tends to her, she deduces out that she has about an hour until the internal bleeding could get severe.
McKay then has another idea on how to escape, by using the hook and rope option, except this time, they use the gas pipe. McKay constructs a cannon and fills it with some gas. He then places the rope on the cannon and then uses a detonator to ignite the gas. As Keller carefully aims it at the hole, the rope is fired out of the hole and catches some ground. McKay pulls the rope, so the hook can grip some land. However, the more he pulls, more earth is dropping down to the facility, giving it more weight. The facility's metal stilts starts to buckle under the strain. Keller falls backwards through the red door and continues falling. However, she has hold of the rope, and McKay tries to hold on, causing pain in his hands in the process.
As McKay tries to pull her up, Keller tells him to stop, since she can see light, a mine shaft coming out to the open. Keller is able to swing and makes it into the tunnel. However, this causes McKay's hands to bleed. But he insists on taking Carter down, since her leg is broken. McKay makes a makeshift seat for her, and ropes her down, where she is able to swing to safety. Now she's safe, it's now McKay turn. He goes down, but pauses when it is time to swing. He admits that after four years of "shooting guns, running around, and saving people," he should be better at it by now, but isn't. He takes a break, when he feels the rope start to snap. He swings and makes it to the tunnel with the women. Just after, they see the facility completely collapse, and fall down the chasm.
Carter, McKay and Keller make their way back to Atlantis. Keller tells McKay that he lost a bet with the bar trick and that he owes her a drink. However, McKay is oblivious to being asked out in this intimate moment. Keller asks him again, clarifying her intent, and they leave together.
Atlantis; Atlantis infirmary; Atlantis transporter; Beer; Katie Brown; Claustrophobia; Commander's office; Dating; Detonator; Ronon Dex; Dollar; Earthquake; Gas; Genii; Genii language; Monty Hall; Ibuprofen; Lolly pop; M5V-801; Marriage; Mining operations; Morphine; Neil deGrasse Tyson; People of M5V-801; Playing card; Puddle Jumper; Quarantine lockdown; Rope; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Who would you rather...?; Radek Zelenka
McKay: Are you talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson? He once stole an idea from me. Did I tell you that story?
Carter: Only about a dozen times, McKay.
Carter: (to the two boys) Do you need something? Anything. We can get it for you. If you help us, we'll get you whatever you want.
McKay: Oh, yes, good. Great idea, yes.
McKay: (imitating lifting up his shirt) Maybe you should show 'em your...
Carter: Excuse me?!
McKay: Hey, I was once a ten year old boy too. I know what gets their attention.
McKay: What? D'you wanna get out of here or not?!
Carter: I think we can reason with them without resorting to that, thank you.
McKay: If you say so.
Keller: You owe me a beer, by the way.
McKay: Hey, if this works, I'll buy you a keg.
McKay: The grappling hook didn't work because the hook wouldn't hold our weight in the soil; the crates didn't work because Sam was too heavy... (Carter looks at him indignantly) Oh, well, we all would've been, I mean our weight in general. Nothing to do with you, you just... I mean, you're in very good shape, seriously. You have like, uh, the perfect body. (Keller glares at him) Oh, not that you don't. Oh, no, no, I realise that your bodies are different and, uh, uh, maybe that would mean that I think that your body is imperfect but that is not the case. No, no, far, far, far from it. That is a sweet... uh, which is to say, I mean, it would be impossible for me to choose which of you...
Carter: Rest assured, you're never gonna have to.
Keller: Hang on, wait a minute, don't pull me up!
McKay: What?! Why?
Keller: I see light!
McKay: No no no, don't go toward the light! You want to stay in the land of the living!!
Keller: You're up, McKay!
McKay: Oh great. You know what I was just thinking would be awesome? More physical exertion.
McKay: This is not gonna scar, is it?
Keller: Chicks dig scars.
McKay: Not the chicks I dig.
- This is the first episode involving the interest between Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Jennifer Keller.
- When they are playing the game Who would you rather...?, Colonel Samantha Carter always picks the older, more distinguished of the choices offered.
- According to Martin Gero on the Season four DVD special features, this episode was meant to be one of the cheapest, but ended up as one of the most expensive instead.
- This is not the first time McKay refers to his sixth-grade science project. In the episode "Underground" he recounts how he built a model of an atomic bomb and was subsequently interrogated by the CIA for several hours.
- The set used for the Genii mining facility, was previously used as a set for the Achilles during the filming of Stargate: Continuum.
- At one point, Carter decides to see what's behind "Door Number Two," to which McKay replies "After you, Monty." This is a reference to Let's Make A Deal, a game show which aired in various forms from 1963 onwards. Its most famous host (among several) was Monty Hall. Contestants were given a choice between several doors or curtains, with prizes of varying value behind them, including a "zonk," or a prize of low or questionable value, such as a live llama.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was mentioned in this episode, made an appearance later in the season five episode "Brain Storm".
- Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan) does not appear in this episode.
- Jason Momoa (Ronon Dex) does not appear in this episode.
- When treating Carter, Keller gives her some Ibuprofen, Ibuprofen is a blood thinner and would have made the bleeding worse.
- Keller states that she has no Morphine in her basic medical kit, however, most basic medical kits do contain Morphine, or at least Codine, both of which would have been a better choice. Morphine and Codine however reduce cognitive function, whereas Ibuprofen lessens pain, while reducing swelling. Hence Carter's refusal of Morphine.
- One would assume that McKay would be able to make a pulley from the rope, making the lowering of Carter easier.
- Nominated DGC Craft Award for "Direction - Television Series" (Martin Wood)
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