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RUNNER
 
RATINGS SCORECARD
GATEWORLD - * * *
FAN POLL - 8.12
SCI FI RATING - 2.0

Season Ratings
EPISODE NUMBER - 203
DVD DISC - Season 2, Disc 1
ORIGINAL U.S. AIR DATE - 07.29.05
SYNDICATION AIR DATE - 10.02.06
WRITTEN BY - Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY - Martin Wood
GUEST STARRING - Kavan Smith (Major Lorne), Mitch Pileggi (Colonel Steven Caldwell), Jonathon Young (Parrish), Dan Payne (Reed), James Lafazanos (Wraith)
Sheppard and his team attempt to locate Lieutenant Ford, only to find themselves captives of a former soldier who is being hunted by the Wraith.

Atlantis officers patrolling P3M-736 report finding a dead Wraith. The enzyme sack in the right arm has been removed. Sheppard immediately suspects Ford and orders a mission to investigate.

Before departure Colonel Caldwell reminds Sheppard that Ford is a security threat. If the opportunity arises the Colonel should deal with him.

It is nightfall when the Jumper arrives. The lifesigns detector is not functional. Sheppard separates the team in a search pattern. Soon he and Teyla find the location where the Wraith was slain. She locates where the brush has recently been disturbed and they follow the path in that direction.

Major Lorne and McKay begin to pursue a suspect at about the same time Sheppard and Teyla are in pursuit of one of their own. Teyla is stunned to the ground, and Sheppard is soon taken down as well.

When they wake, they are bound together at the mouth of a cave. A large, powerful man has captured them. Sheppard's weapon pointed in their faces, he shares his name and rank. "Specialist Ronon Dex," replies the man.

In the morning Lorne and McKay continue their search for Ford. Fifteen minutes into the patrol Lorne is stunned by a Wraith pistol wielded by Ford, who takes Rodney with him so they can "catch up" while on their way to save Sheppard and Teyla from Ronon.

Ford had been scouting a planet where a Wraith hive ship had landed. Seeing a Wraith commander detach from the main group, he chose to follow the creature through the Stargate. This led him to 736. The commander was hunting Ronon, but Ford killed him for his enzyme.

Still holding the pistol at his captives, Ronon explains that the Wraith hunt him for game. He can't stay in one place for too long because they have installed a tracking transmitter in his back. Sheppard insists that Dr. Beckett would have a good chance of removing the transmitter. Eventually Ronon agrees to trade the surgery for recapturing Ford himself.

Sheppard returns from Atlantis with Dr. Beckett who locates the transmitter in his back. He insists Ronon lie down and take a sedative to sleep, since he will be cutting very close to his spinal chord, but Ronon insists to do the procedure sitting and awake. He manages to remove it, and shortly afterward Ronon falls unconscious.

Ford passes McKay a gun and goes hunting for Lorne and another SF who has come in pursuit. When the men find McKay, Ford stuns them from behind. Rodney insists he has had enough and is going to take Aiden back to the Jumper, but Ford doesn't believe he'll hurt him. McKay shots him in his left shoulder. Seeing the look on Ford's face, he runs in the opposite direction.

Beckett has deactivated the transmitter just as they hear McKay firing his weapon, screaming for help. The Stargate is activated and three Wraith Darts emerge. McKay is caught in one of Ronon's traps and hoisted into a tree. When Ford catches up he is fully prepared to execute the doctor, but Ronon arrives and turns the tide. A knife fight ensues, but Sheppard arrives to stop it. Ford turns and flees.

Sheppard chases him to the culling beam. Realizing there is no other way off the planet, Ford swears that he'll show them all that he's OK -- better than OK -- and runs headlong into the beam.

Sheppard takes Dex back to Atlantis, and when he has news brings him to the control room. They have sent a M.A.L.P. to his homeworld, Sateda, but it does not appear that anyone survived the last attack. Ronon no longer has a home to which he can return.

- D. Read

PRODUCTION
  • "At the end of last season we had a big three day post-mortem where we talked about what worked last year, what didn't and what we wanted to do for Season Two. For reasons too numerous to go into, Ford's character was under developed and needed reinvention. We came up with a very cool arc for him, one that both the writers and Rainbow were excited with ... but it meant reducing his presence in Season Two. That's all I want to say right now; you'll see it play out this season, but we're very happy with the change and Rainbow is going a great job in his new role." (Writer Martin Gero, in a message at GateWorld Forum)

  • "This story is all about, yes, you guessed it, running. It also marks the debut of our new character, played by Jason Momoa. He's got a tracking device in his back that allows the Wraith to know where he is at all times, so he's constantly on the move. ... Jason is 6-foot-4 and has this deep, booming voice, but he's not Chris Judge junior. He's a terrific addition to the Atlantis team and is willing to do anything you ask of him.

    "In 'Runner,' Jason had to run a lot. He's got bad knees but he said to me, 'Its OK, I can do this.' One of the days we were in the woods doing a scene and I said to Jason, 'You have to run towards us, take a shot in the leg, and then Ford challenges you. He eventually leaves and you get up and tear out of there.' I figured Jason would just run out of the shot, but he decided that he would stay in the frame and we'd follow beside him. We had our steadi-cam mounted on tracks, I yelled, 'Action,' and we began shooting. At the end of the scene, Jason ran off through the dense bush and we couldn't keep up with him. He was too fast for us.

    "Jason is such a positive force and his character is really going to flourish on Atlantis." (Director Martin Wood, in an interview with TV Zone magazine [#190])

  • "Intermingled with [Ronon Dex's] story is the return of Ford, or should I say 'Super' Ford. At the end of '[The] Siege,' the lieutenant winds up with certain abilities he didn't have before. This year, Ford is a new character in that he's no longer young Aiden Ford, with the boyish charm. He not only has an edge to him, but he's nuts, too. It's hard when you're dealing with nuts and even harder when you're dealing with super nuts.

    "Sheppard and Ford face off for a second time in 'Runner.' Neither of them wants to kill the other, but they both have the drop on one another. In both cases it's a Mexican stand-off and Ford gets shot. He gets away as well. In 'Runner,' Joe and Rainbow chose to play the scene exactly the same way as they did in '[The] Siege,' and you can see it in their faces. The only difference is that I filmed it in a tighter angle." (Director Martin Wood, in an interview with TV Zone magazine [#190])

  • "It was very hard to let go of Rainbow. However, he's doing an amazing job in his recurring role as the 'new' Ford.

    "Introducing Jason has been wonderful. He's brought a new energy on-set, both as an actor and as his character. Because Ronon has such a strong personality it's forcing the other characters to reveal more about themselves in response to him, which is terrific." ("Elizabeth Weir" actress Torri Higginson, in an interview with Steve Eramo)

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    The Stargate OmnipediaThe Stargate Omnipedia
    SHIPS
    Puddle Jumper
    Wraith Dart
    Wraith hive ship
    TECHNOLOGY
    culling beam, Wraith
    medical scanner, Ancient
    Ronon's gun
    stasis unit, Wraith
    transmitter, Wraith
    Wraith stunner rifle
    Wraith stunner pistol
    MISCELLANY
    Code Orange
    enzyme, Wraith
    Ring of the Ancestors
    Runner

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