Before I Sleep

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A woman is found in suspended animation in Atlantis, and the team is shocked to see that it is Dr. Weir herself, who tells them of her trip 10,000 years into the city's past.

FAN RATING - 8.31 
NIELSEN - 2.3 
DVD DISC: Season 1, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Carl Binder
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS: Gildart Jackson (Janus), Matthew Walker (Moros), Paul McGillion (Dr. Beckett), Craig Veroni (Dr. Grodin), Melia McClure (Melia), David Nykl (Dr. Zelenka), Alex De Costa (Technician), Bro Gilbert (Scientist #1), Peter Grasso (Scientist #2), Robert Patrick (Colonel Sumner)
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  • Our timeline is not the first time that the Atlantis expedition arrived in the city from Earth. In the original timeline, the city did not rise but flooded when the shield failed. Nearly the entire expedition was killed – Weir, Sheppard, and Zelenka escaped on the time ship, and six others managed to get into one of the other ships. Their fate is unknown. Sheppard inadvertently piloted the ship into the past, and he and Zelenka perished when the ship was shot down by the Wraith.

    The team that we know only survived because of Dr. Weir's trip into the past, and her and Janus's efforts to save the city knowing that it would one day be found by humans from Earth.
  • The previous timeline's Dr. Weir has delivered to the team five gate addresses for planets in the Pegasus Galaxy – Ancient outposts. On each is known to be a working Zero Point Module, the valuable power source that can power Atlantis's great shield and protect the city, and allow them to dial the gate back home to Earth – at least as of 10,000 years ago.

    Sheppard's team has already been to one of these planets, designated M7G-677 ("Childhood's End"). Some planets, including this one, have Z.P.M.s that the team simply cannot recover without placing others in great danger. Whether or not one of these worlds will yield a charged module that the team can bring back remains to be seen.
  • When the team arrived from Earth and discovered their power consumption crisis, they discovered that upon their arrival there had been a sudden power surge in the section of the city where the stasis lab is located. They shut down all the secondary systems, including the lab's, and almost killed the aging Weir.
  • The Ancient time ship is of the same design as the ship recently discovered in the Milky Way galaxy by SG-1, on a planet once visited by the Ancients (SG-1: "It's Good To Be King") – a Puddle Jumper equipped with a "flux capacitor" time manipulation device. Janus no doubt continued his work after he left Atlantis, building at least this one additional functioning ship. It may have been he who was using the ship to study the evolution of the humans on that planet.
  • In the previous timeline, McKay talks to Major Sheppard about the "Gate ship" bay – the same name he tried to give the ships in our timeline, but which Sheppard rejected in favor of "Puddle Jumper" ("Rising, Part 2").
  • During the great war 10,000 years ago, the Lanteans sent a delegation with their warships in the faint hope of negotiating a truce with the Wraith. This is the first indication that they did, in fact, have large warships and not just tiny Puddle Jumpers.
  • The Lanteans were governed by a council, who were apparently quite stern and conservative – no doubt hardened by years of war with the Wraith, which they had recently given up any hope of winning.
  • The elder Elizabeth uses the term "Lantean," the same used by the Wraith in reference to the former residents of Atlantis ("The Defiant One").
  • With the exception of Janus, the inventor of the time travel device, the Ancients were strongly opposed to messing with the causal implications of time travel. The Lantean Council condemned Janus's experiments in time travel and censured him; he was ordered not to build the time ship, and after Weir's arrival they ordered the remains of the ship and all research material to be destroyed. Janus disobeyed (again), taking his research with him back to Earth.
  • It is apparent that the Ancients maintained colonies throughout the Pegasus Galaxy – perhaps because they outgrew Atlantis's planet during the millions of years they were there, or because they are explorers at heart (as Dr. Weir observed). (The latter is more likely, as the team in our time have yet to discover any Ancient cities on the planet outside Atlantis.) We know that, in addition to seeding the Pegasus Galaxy with human life, some Ancients also lived among them ("Sanctuary"). Thus the human colonies throughout the galaxy know the Ancients as their ancestors.

    Some of these planets also likely did not possess Stargates, otherwise the refugees returning to Atlantis in transport ships could have simply gated into the city.
  • Janus was apparently the first Ancient to perfect time travel technology, though others of his species had apparently been working in this field of research millions of years ago. SG-1 once found a world where an Ancient colony had developed a device that uses multiple Stargates to loop time – but they could not perfect time travel technology before they were wiped out by a plague (SG-1: "Window of Opportunity").
  • Melia, the female leader on the Lantean Council, is the same woman who recorded the holographic message discovered by the expedition in our timeline, in which she described the Wraith war and the Lanteans' ultimate decision to submerge the city and evacuate through the Stargate to Earth ("Rising, Part 1"). Despite their rejection of Janus's plans, they remained concerned about the future of the city and hopeful that humans might one day return.
  • Janus confirms that humans are the second evolution of the Ancients' form of life, something that has been speculated since the Ancient Ayiana was found frozen in Antarctica nearly three years ago ("Frozen").
  • The Ancients who last lived in Atlantis 10,000 years ago were not ascended. They were mortal humans who escaped the Wraith by traveling to Earth through the Stargate. They had at some point studied ascension in Atlantis, however ("Hide and Seek"), though it is not clear whether any Ancients had ascended by this time. Some who remained in the Pegasus Galaxy did ascend at some point ("Sanctuary"), either prior to or after the Lanteans' escape.
  • There was a small potted tree at the bottom of the stairs in the gate room when the last of the Lanteans left, but it is not there when the expedition arrived from Earth. Obviously the tree died in the intervening millennia; the only explanation for the pot's absence is that Weir took it upon herself, either before entering the stasis or during one of her revival periods, to get rid of it.
  • The Ancients who went to Earth through the Stargate 10,000 years ago likely integrated themselves into ancient human society, and brought more than the story of the city of Atlantis: They likely procreated with humans on Earth, introducing their evolutionarily advanced genes into the human gene pool – resulting in the rare gene possessed today by Sheppard, Jack O'Neill, and others.
  • Janus brought his research with him to Earth and planned to continue his time travel experiments, though he was not sure he would get very far with the Lantean Council watching his every move. He apparently did: SG-1 discovered one of the same model of time ships on a planet in the Milky Way Galaxy.


  • The Ancient stasis chamber slows the metabolic rate, but it does not stop it entirely – thus Weir aged several decades over the course of 10,000 years in stasis.
  • Ancient warships are more powerful than Wraith hive ships in a one-on-one match-up. The Ancients were ultimately defeated, though, because the Wraith were so many in number.
  • The Ancients had transport ships, which apparently ferried individuals back and forth from other Ancient colonies throughout the Pegasus Galaxy. The ships could hold more than 300 passengers, and were equipped with cloaking shields. None of this class of ship have been found in Atlantis yet, to our knowledge.
  • To protect Weir and the city, Janus locked all planets' access to dial in to the Atlantis Stargate, except Earth. This is a previously unknown gate function, and may be unique to the advanced Atlantis Stargate.


  • Elizabeth WeirElizabeth Weir - Elizabeth came face-to-face with an extremely aged version of herself from an alternate timeline, and learned that when her expedition from Earth originally arrived in Atlantis they were all killed when the shield collapsed underwater. She learned that she had traveled 10,000 years into the past and met the original Ancients, giving up her life to save her team in the future.

    It is also Elizabeth's birthday. (She didn't want anyone to find out about it, though.)
  • Rodney McKayRodney McKay - McKay learned that in the previous timeline he valiantly tried to save the others right up until the end, when he was killed in the flooding of Atlantis.

    Rodney dislikes Back to the Future because of its scientific inaccuracies. Major Sheppard, however, is a fan.


  • How did Major Sheppard find out that it was Weir's birthday? How old is she?
  • Did the six expedition members who made it into a Puddle Jumper in the previous timeline survive? If they could pilot the ship out of Atlantis, where could they have gone?
  • How long did the Lantean's war with the Wraith last? For how long had the city been submerged when Weir arrived in the past?
  • Did the Lanteans who traveled through the Stargate to Earth 10,000 years ago stay there? They apparently passed on the story that would become the myth of the great city, and passed on their genes – but did they all live out their lives on Earth?
  • Was Janus responsible for creating the time ship that SG-1 found in the Milky Way galaxy ("It's Good To Be King")? Did he himself leave Earth with it?
  • Will the team find a Z.P.M. they can take back to Atlantis on one of these five planets?


  • "I'm playing an Ancient who is a Nutty Professor type. The story, which I thought was very good, is that they find an old lady who is the 10,000-year-old version of Dr. Weir. She's looking at the 10,000-year-old version of herself.

    "It transpires that 10,000 years ago, when the Atlanteans left the city, there was a guy called Janus, who was this very forward-thinking professor and Ancient who created a time machine. Basically, it's the story of Janus and Dr. Weir and how she used his time machine and came back to the city, and [how] they saved the city together 10,000 years ago.

    "They did some amazing makeup, a whole prosthetic process [with Torri Higginson, "Dr. Weir"]. Torri was fantastic. All of my stuff, basically, was with her, and she had a whole ordeal to go through before we did anything together. She was getting up at two in the morning to do four hours of makeup before the day started. She not only had to do the Ancient scenes, which were the ones I was in, but she had to do the scenes with Dr. Weir in the current time dealing with the old Dr. Weir. So she had a lot of work to do." ("Janus" actor Gildart Jackson, in an interview with Sci Fi Wire)