Sanctuary

| Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions

The team finds a paradise world that would make an ideal sanctuary for those fleeing from the Wraith, but the local inhabitants believe their goddess will not permit it.

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OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 7.41 
NIELSEN - 2.2 
EPISODE #114
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.11.05
DVD DISC: Season 1, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Alan Brennert
DIRECTED BY: James Head
GUEST STARS:

Paul McGillion (Dr. Beckett), Robert Thurston (Zarah), Craig Veroni (Dr. Grodin), Leonor Varela (Chaya Sar)

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ANALYSIS

  • McKay has swiped a Z.P.M. that defended a world from the Wraith before (“Childhood’s End”) — thus his insistence that he has no intention of stealing Proculus’s Z.P.M., should they have one.
  • Including both the expedition from Earth and the Athosians living on the mainland, Atlantis’s planet includes about 200 inhabitants. The expedition members are currently living in just one part of the city, because they do not have the ability to power the entire city with the naquadah generators brought from Earth.
  • Chaya appears to recognize the name “Earth” when Major Sheppard tells her where they are from.
  • Chaya herself is Athar, an ascended Ancient who lived on Proculus when she was a mortal — implying that Proculus itself may have been an Ancient colony. Or, perhaps the Atlanteans sent people to live on the planets they seeded with human life, to monitor their development. During this time she ascended; then, when the Wraith first came to Proculus, she lashed out with her mind and destroyed them to keep her people safe.

    It is thus likely that the Wraith did not evolve to a point where they became a significant threat to the human population of the Pegasus Galaxy until after some of the Ancients ascended.

  • Chaya / Athar is the first evidence we have seen of an ascended Ancient in the Pegasus Galaxy. When in their evolution the Ancients first discovered ascension remains a mystery, but it appears that when they did, not all of them ascended. Those in Pegasus who did ascend did not destroy the Wraith; those who did not ascend eventually fled back through the Stargate to Earth when the Wraith beseiged Atlantis (“Rising, Part 1”).

    Those Ancients who ascended obviously adopted a radically different philosophy, particularly the highest rule that they not interfere with the concerns of mortal life. They likely even left their own kind, the un-ascended Ancients, at the mercy of the Wraith.

  • An ascended Ancient can travel freely through the vacuum of space: Athar gated directly back to the Proculus Stargate in orbit of the planet.
  • Ascended Ancients have great control over the weather and electricity, as Oma Desala demonstrated when she destroyed Apophis’s army in SG-1‘s “Maternal Instinct.” They can even lash out with a powerful electromagnetic blast beyond the atmosphere of a planet.
  • A pair of Wraith hive ships were near Proculus when the Darts — which are short-range craft — attacked the team’s Puddle Jumper. They approached the planet while Chaya / Athar was away visiting Atlantis. It is either a coincidence that they chose this time to move in, or the Wraith have a way of detecting the presence of an ascended Ancient and stayed away, knowing that she could destroy them.
  • The Ancients who ascended were supposed to leave behind all ties to the mortal life. Chaya / Athar’s punishment for saving Proculus from the Wraith was exile, and the unending protection of this world. She is not allowed to protect any others, or to interfere even by helping or teaching the Atlantis expedition. The other ascended Ancients would stop her if she tried — which is certainly consistent with what we know of them (SG-1: “Ascension,” “Full Circle,” “Fallen”).
  • Chaya shared herself with Major Sheppard as Orlin did with Samantha Carter (“Ascension”) — something that allows two beings to share all that they are.

NOTES

  • Proculus’s Stargate is in orbit. Under the protection of Athar, they have lived peacefully and free from disease and knowledge of the Wraith for many thousands of years.
  • The planet Proculus was originally called “Procul-Arum” in an early draft of the script.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • John SheppardJohn Sheppard – Major Sheppard dropped his guard and allowed himself to fall for Chaya. He continually supported her even as the evidence mounted that she isn’t who she said she is, and he still wished to be with her even after learning that she is an ascended Ancient.
  • Rodney McKayRodney McKay – McKay is probably an atheist. He is heavily critical of the Proculans’s religious beliefs and the reasons they have for refusing the team’s request to provide sanctuary for refugees.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Why did the Wraith choose this time to attack Proculus? Did they know that the planet was under the protection of an ascended Ancient? Did they know that she had left? How?
  • Did any Wraith survive Athar’s attack in orbit? Can she sense their presence on the planet?
  • When did the Ancients ascend — and, more significantly, why did only some of them ascend?
  • Why did the ascended not help the un-ascended in the war with the Wraith? What prompted their rule against interfering in the affairs of mortals?
  • Will Major Sheppard maintain his relationship with Chaya?