The IntruderEPISODE #202
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.22.2005
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 09.25.2006
DVD DISC: Season 2, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
Atlantis's senior staff and several other members of the expedition return to Earth through their Z.P.M.-powered Stargate. While there, new personnel is assigned to the distant base, and some unresolved matters are resolved. Simon reveals to Elizabeth Weir that he has met someone else. John Sheppard meets with Ford's family and explains the situation as best he can with the information blackout, and soon he is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel to lead Atlantis's military contingent – despite the objections of a very irritated Colonel Steven Caldwell, commander of the Daedalus.
Sixteen days into their return trip to Pegasus aboard the Daedalus, Sheppard and Weir find themselves keeping each other company in the morning hours. But their peace is interrupted by a report that Dr. Monroe has been killed. With burn marks on his fingertips, it's logical to believe he received a fatal jolt from his station. He had been running a routine diagnostic, but just before he was killed it's possible all power was rerouted in the section (killing cameras and doors) to give him the jolt that did it. Still the circumstances look suspicious.
After a public confrontation regarding procedure, Colonel Caldwell pulls Weir aside to remind her of the chain of command. But she knows exactly what he's frustrated about: he did not want to command the Daedalus, but to preside over the military contingent on Atlantis.
McKay analyzes the section Monroe had been working in and discovers that the doctor was busily trying to initialize certain security protocols that would shut down corrupted programs. Apparently there is a problem with the ship, and it could be that someone killed Monroe to cover it up. Caldwell orders an immediate drop from hyperspace.
When McKay and crewman Lindstrom attempt to trace the power spike, a coolant leak erupts in the room, forcing both men to evacuate. With Lindstrom trapped in a decompression chamber, the doors mysteriously open and he is sucked into space. McKay argues that no one could have determined where the men had been and what they were doing at that exact moment – indicating that none of the crew is a saboteur.
Asgard crew member Hermiod has done some searching through the systems himself, and has uncovered the problem: An artificial intelligence virus has infected the ship's systems. There is evidence of it in Navigation, Communications, and Propulsion – and the virus is spreading, rewriting itself as it grows. McKay soon makes an even more disturbing discover: the virus is Wraith.
He explains to the others that it was most likely transmitted in a compressed format and took some time to unfold and spread (since it has been some two months since the ship's last encounter with a Wraith ship). Plus the fact that the Daedalus has now returned to Wraith feeding grounds has likely activated it. It is programmed to take control of the ship and fly the Daedalus into Wraith territory, giving them access to its intergalactic hyperdrive technology ... and the coordinates to Earth.
The Daedalus begins broadcasting an unauthorized distress call. Without enough control to guide the ship to them, the virus is calling the Wraith. A complete systems shut down could take up to two hours, giving the Wraith plenty of time to learn the ship's position. Caldwell agrees to send Sheppard out in an F-302, where he physically destroys the communications array. The signal can no longer be broadcast.
His mission successful, Sheppard tries to return the craft to the hangar bay, but the ship has its own plans. The virus has uploaded itself into the F-302 and is flying him away from the ship. McKay extends the Asgard transporter beam to lock on to his radio signal and transports Sheppard back to the bridge, leaving the fighter out in space.
The crew now has time to perform a complete systems restart. But when the systems come back online, the virus copies itself from an unknown source back into the systems. What's worse, it sets a course for the nearest star's chromosphere, which will keep the ship intact for the Wraith but kill everyone on board.
McKay recalls a mission report of an incident where Stargate Command was overrun by an alien computer virus ("Entity"). It uploaded itself into a M.A.L.P. to stay alive during a system restore. Except, in this case, the virus has copied itself into potentially all of the Daedalus's F-302s. McKay proposes they manually disconnect all of the ships' memory boards to prevent the virus from using them as lifeboats.
After the virus tries to shut them out of the hangar bay, Hermiod beams Sheppard and McKay directly there. The virus opens the bay doors, but Hermiod manages to raise the forcefield. It will only be a matter of time before the shield is taken over by the virus and the bay loses atmosphere. Sheppard and McKay manage to remove all the memory drives and get into the last F-302 before the bay decompresses.
With minutes until lethal radiation exposure, the crew initiates another shut down. Once again, it does not work. Sheppard realizes they missed a computer – the one belonging to the F-302 left in space. The virus is still in control of that fighter, and it has been tracking them all along. He and McKay take their ship out to confront it, and it pursues. Dipping deeper into the chromosphere, Sheppard destroys the opposing craft. After one more shut down, the crew regains control of the ship.
The team makes their return to Atlantis, where Teyla reports that there has been no sign of the Wraith in the weeks they have been away. Apparently they still believe Atlantis was destroyed. Weir and the staff are eager to get back to work.
- "Torri and the writers would love to explore Weir's softer side. I think you'll get what you're looking for early on in Season Two in an episode called 'Intruder.'" (Writer Martin Gero, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
- "I just did 'The Intruder' which is, basically, the same story as the 'Entity.' Remember the storyline of the artificial intelligence that comes through, goes into the computer and affects the base, and goes into Carter? She starts talking through the computer. And then her consciousness is kind of downloaded into this alien mainframe that it created.
"'The Intruder' is like that, but it's a Wraith artificial intelligence. It's a virus that's in the Daedalus. And so that's a lot of fun.
"Mitch Pileggi from The X-Files is the captain of that ship. He's a real nose-to-the-grindstone kind of hardcore captain. I like him. He's a really good character. He's fantastic. He can do no wrong. The thing about Mitch as an actor is he just trusts that the lines are there. He trusts that they're good. And he just stands with his weight evenly distributed over both feet, just like Cagney used to do, and he just says the lines. Do you know what I mean? He doesn't walk around and go, 'I wonder how I can enhance this somehow.' He just trusts that the lines are good. ... And he does it and you go, 'Yes, I believe it.' So that's why it's so cool.
"And the Daedalus, of course, is infinitely more cool than the Prometheus because it's got the hyperdrive and it's got sneeze guards on it. There used to be bare wall with copy machine fronts and phones and sprinklers, but now there's a sneeze guard piece of smoked plexi in front of it, which gives it added depth. Because it used to be the Prometheus walls; now they're Daedalus walls. And sneeze guards is so you don't sneeze on your salad as you're serving yourself on the buffet." (Director Peter DeLuise, in an interview with GateWorld)
- "I got to work with Beau Bridges. He's such a lovely man, and the scene we did was a good one for my character; again, it was her defending her nest and General Landry was representing Big Brother. She was fighting for her people and what she believes in, and for me to do that with an actor like Beau Bridges was a thrill.
"That's the only crossover we've done so far – at least in our first 9 or 10 episodes this season – between Atlantis and SG-1 and I feel so lucky that I was a part of it. I know there's talk about doing it again here and there but I don't think they want to make a habit of it. While it's nice to have a tapestry and that layered effect of intermingling, you don't want it to take away from the fact that these are two very separate shows." ("Elizabeth Weir" actress Torri Higginson, in an interview with Steve Eramo)