ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10.12.07
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 09.29.08
DVD DISC: Season 4, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: William Waring
GUEST STARS: Christopher Judge (Teal'c), David Nykl (Radek Zelenka), Scott Heindl (Wraith), Aleks Paunovic (Rakai), Kyra Zagorsky (Ara), Mark Dacascos (Tyre), Arran Landry (Townsperson), Rob Avery (Lt. Miller), Byron Lucas (Replicator)
- Some time has passed (perhaps a few weeks) since Elizabeth Weir was lost to the Replicators ("Lifeline"). The International Oversight Advisory, the agency on Earth that oversees the Atlantis expedition, has appointed the new leader of the base: Samantha Carter, formerly a member of SG-1. According to rumor they chose her because of her science background, and her knowledge of both Ancient technology and the Replicators.
Carter's involvement with the Stargate predates even the formation of Stargate Command. She spent two years at the Pentagon trying to make the program a reality (SG-1: "Secrets"), and was heavily involved in engineering the super-computer system and software programming that would operate the gate at the S.G.C. Upon the program's official inception in 1997 she joined SG-1 (SG-1: "Children of the Gods"), and served with the team for a decade. During that time she also worked for several months in research and development of alien technology at Area 51 (SG-1: "Avalon, Part 1").
Sam does not have a great deal of command experience, however. She led SG-1's offworld missions during the year that Jack O'Neill was in charge of the S.G.C. (SG-1: Season Eight). When she rejoined SG-1 after her time at Area 51 the following year, Carter often effectively shared mission command with the new leader of SG-1, Cameron Mitchell, as the two held the same rank.
- It is significant that the international agency has appointed a United States military officer to succeed Weir. When the Atlantis expedition was first launched three years ago, it was highly significant and deliberate that they chose a civilian leader and a diplomat to command a base that, though there is a strong military presence, is first an international base for scientific research (SG-1: "New Order, Part 2;" "Rising, Part 1").
This may reflect a willingness to make the Atlantis base more of a military outpost, now that Earth has discovered the major threats that the Wraith and the Replicators in the Pegasus Galaxy pose to Earth and its interests.
- Carter has been to Atlantis once before, one year ago, when SG-1 visited on a mission to dial the Ori's Supergate in Earth's own galaxy in order to stop the enemy from sending through any more ships (SG-1: "The Pegasus Project").
- The Wraith-Replicator war is now in full swing. Atlantis is monitoring the conflict (primarily with the city's long-range sensors, most likely), and know that the Replicators are "kicking some serious ass" in their last offensive.
- When the Satedans first made the decision to fight back against the Wraith, they started striking against known Wraith strongholds rather than waiting for the enemy to come to them. Tyre, Rakai, and Ara were on one of these missions when the Wraith made their final, devastating attack on their homeworld. Ronon was a squad commander on that same mission, and presumed that his friends were dead and decided to take his squad back through the gate after seeing Wraith Darts hit their position.
In fact, the group found a network of caves to hide out in. It took them two weeks to make it back safely through the gate. They saw the Wraith prepping on the planet for a massive strike, but by the time they made it home to Sateda it was too late.
- Five Satedans came out of those caves alive, Tyre claims. The other two, Marika and Hemi, have since been killed. Though Tyre and the others originally claimed that their friends were killed on missions against the Wraith, they later admitted that the Wraith killed them because they would not become Wraith worshipers.
- Tyre, Rakai, and Ara have the same Satedan tattoo on the left side of their necks that Ronon has. It is presumably a military insignia, possibly indicating that they were members of the same regiment.
- A framed photo of Jack O'Neill is visible in Sam's open luggage as she is settling into her new quarters. Whether she also has pictures of her other friends from Earth, or if this is a hint that Sam and Jack are now more personally involved, is unknown.
- When Rodney visits Sam's quarters, he refers to the "unrequited lust" that has been hanging over their heads. Though his ego might like to think it's at least a little bit requited, he's talking about his own hots for the Colonel. When the two first met Rodney told her he found her attractive ("I've always had a thing for dumb blondes") ("48 Hours"). Sam even gave him a goodbye kiss after the two helped to save the Earth ("Redemption, Part 2").
- Sheppard's name was on the short list for taking command of Atlantis. It sounds like he wasn't really interested in the job, due to the way that the I.O.A. treated Elizabeth, continually questioning her decisions and abilities ("The Intruder," "Misbegotten," "First Strike").
- Sheppard believes that Dr. Weir may still be alive and in Replicator custody on Asuras, their homeworld. He wants to mount a rescue op to retrieve her, but the I.O.A. has been stonewalling him. Now that she is in command of the expedition, Colonel Carter has committed to considering a mission if he brings to her a plan that has at least a reasonable chance of succeeding.
- The Wraith base that Sheppard's team and the Satedans infiltrated is a weapons research facility. There they were studying a single captured Replicator, attempting to deactivate the command to attack the Wraith that is present in their base code. This is the reason the Replicators were originally engineered by the Ancients -- as a weapon against the Wraith ("Progeny").
But when the team first encountered the Replicators a year ago, the attack code had been deactivated for centuries. It was, in fact, the Wraith -- who are no technology slouches themselves -- who originally deactivated it many thousands of years ago. The command was only reactivated recently, by Sheppard and his team ("Lifeline"), a strategic move that initiated the new Wraith-Replicator war.
- According to Wraith claims, they had already defeated the Ancients and won the galaxy when the Replicators first appeared and began attacking them -- meaning it took quite a while for the Ancients to conceive of an create them as a weapon. But this last-ditch effort was not successful, as the Wraith managed to upload a deactivation virus to disable their core attack command.
It is unclear why the Ancients did not discover this and reactivate the attack code, choosing instead to try and wipe out the Replicators themselves (who had begun creating their own civilization) ("Progeny"). It may be that, with the war effectively over at this point, the last of the remaining Ancients had decided to leave Atlantis and return to Earth ("Before I Sleep"), and did not want to leave their super-powerful (but ultimately unsuccessful) weapon behind.
- Many Wraith facilities are currently undermanned, indicating that the Wraith have significantly redistributed their soldiers to deal with the attacking Replicators. Though the Wraith often fight amongst themselves, such a war may also help to unite them against the Replicators.
- The Wraith apparently use a captured Replicator to access their enemy's collective mind, in order to upload and spread their deactivation computer virus. This is definitely a safer and easier way to access the Replicator's shared programming than what Sheppard's team did: infiltrate the Replicator homeworld and physically upload programming changes at the source ("Lifeline").
- The changes that Rodney made to the Replicator base code not only reactivated the command to attack the Wraith, but have left the Wraith's computer virus ineffective. Either Rodney's changes will have to be undone so the old virus will work, or the virus will have to be re-engineered.
- The stasis field used by the Wraith to hold a captured Replicator suspends him in mid-air. Theoretically, since a Replicator is made up of trillions of cell-sized nanites, he could eventually break out of the shield or otherwise influence his surroundings if he was allowed any sort of mobility -- as the Replicators on Asuras managed to eventually compensate for the anti-Replicator shield generated by the Puddle Jumper in "Lifeline."
- Wraith stunners are ineffective against a Replicator, and their warriors appear to be no match for a Replicator at hand-to-hand combat. The Replicator captive made quick work of two armed Wraith, and presumably escaped the lab.
- Ronon's three Satedan friends are Wraith worshipers -- humans who the Wraith allow to live, and who worship them in return. The Atlantis team first encountered such people a year and a half ago while infiltrating a hive ship ("The Hive") -- but until now it was never clear just how the Wraith convert their followers (or at least some of them). The Wraith drain the life out of a person and then restore it, again and again, until the victim's psyche is utterly broken.
The Wraith promise their followers "eternal life." Presumably, this means that those who serve them well are given infusions of new life energy, as Colonel Sheppard's Wraith friend did to restore him in "Common Ground."
- The fact that the Wraith could feed on Tyre, Rakai, and Ara provides the first evidence that Ronon is physiologically unique even among his own people. A Wraith tried to feed on him when he was first captured, but something stopped him ("Runner"). It could be, however, that the Wraith was not unable to feed on Ronon, but decided to stop and turn him into a Runner when he realized how remarkably strong Ronon is.
- SG-1 is still active at Stargate Command. Teal'c is still a member of the team, as are the others, presumably.
- The I.O.A. has issued a new security directive forbidding off-world visitors to Atlantis for the time being -- no doubt due to the fact that Atlantis barely escaped the Replicator attack on its former homeworld and settled on a new planet ("Lifeline").
- The Wraith use the same transporter technology used by Darts to cull people on the ground as a transportation system inside a ground-based facility. A user simply steps into a transport chamber and activates it, and the sweeping beam transports them to another part of the complex.
The Ancients use their own transporter technology in the same way, providing for elevator-like transport chambers throughout Atlantis.
- Ronon Dex - Before he discovered the truth about his Satedan friends, Ronon had decided to leave Atlantis to join them. This was not because he no longer felt welcome on Atlantis, or because he would rather be with his own people, but because he believed that they needed him to look out for them. Ronon presumed them dead and failed to rescue them many years ago, and since they have been on their own they had already lost two of their own.
Having discovered that his friends were forcibly-converted Wraith worshipers, Ronon was forced to fight them to the death. He killed Rakai after watching him slash Ara's throat in a rage. He also went toe-to-toe with Tyre, and ultimately let him go. Ronon has now redoubled his commitment to his new family on Atlantis.
- Samantha Carter - Colonel Carter has been appointed by the I.O.A. to succeed Dr. Weir as the commander of the Atlantis expedition in the Pegasus Galaxy. Sam has said goodbye to SG-1 and her friends, knowing that they will always be there for her when she needs them. She now settles into a very different role as a commander and administrator, sending teams on missions, handling the I.O.A. back home, and dealing directly with the threats of the Wraith and the Replicators.
As an experienced field officer, Sam is also not afraid to get into the trenches with her people. She led the rescue op into Wraith territory to save Sheppard, Teyla, and McKay.
- John Sheppard - John was on the short list to take command of Atlantis. Even had the job been offered to him, he likely would not have taken it after seeing how the I.O.A. treated Elizabeth.
Sheppard has been pressing his superiors to allow him to mount a rescue operation to retrieve Dr. Weir, who he thinks may still be alive in the hands of the Replicators. But he must come up with a plan that has a reasonable chance of succeeding before Colonel Carter, his new commanding officer, will consider it.
- Teyla Emmagan - Teyla confesses to Ronon that leaving her people behind to join the Atlantis team was one of the hardest decisions she has ever made. She had been their leader for a long time (the only leader some of the Athosians had ever known). Later she sometimes has felt like she betrayed them, and still second-guesses herself from time to time -- but she reminds herself that she can do more for her people and the rest of the galaxy in Atlantis than she ever could before.
- Rodney McKay - When McKay heard that the I.O.A. was assigning the foremost scientist on Ancient technology and the Replicators to be the new commander of Atlantis, he naturally assumed they meant him. He was genuinely excited over the prospect of being in charge, and believed he could do a lot of good. Now he not only has to get used to a new commander -- he has to get used to working with Samantha Carter, an old "friend" and perhaps his greatest scientific rival.
- Will Wraith scientists discover a way to deactivate the Replicator's attack directive once again? How much of a fight are they putting up?
- Will the encounter with Ronon and the death of his two friends make Tyre change his ways, or will he continue to serve the enemy as a Wraith worshiper?
- Actor Aleks Paunovic ("Rakai") previously played Teal'c's Jaffa friend Shaq'rel in Stargate SG-1 Season Six's "Redemption" -- a two-part episode that also guest starred David Hewlett ("Rodney McKay").
- In one early scene, Rakai gives Ronon a new tattoo on his forearm. The writers were forced to accommodate actor Jason Momoa when he returned from hiatus with the tattoo, which he says took some two hours to draw and six hours to ink.
- "I'm almost finished my rewrite of 'Reunion' and am, admittedly, a little worried. While the script offers plenty of action, it is primarily a character-driven story. It'll be interesting to see what kind of notes we receive from the network." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- "We'll see a glimpse of [Ronon's] 'specialist' skills in an episode called 'Reunion.'" (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- "Mark Dacascos has signed on to play the role of Tyre. Mark was terrific in Brotherhood of the Wolf (and his stint as the host of Iron Chef America -- hmmm, wonder if he can get me on as a guest judge), and is apparently a very, very sweet guy according to Bam Bam who worked with him on The Crow." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- "When it was announced that I was going over to Atlantis I had some people say to me, 'Oh, my God, you're going to play this character for another year.' Oddly enough, though, she isn't the same character. She can't be. Sam is no longer in a position of subordination. It's far easier to be a lemming than it is to be the leader of the lemmings. I'm not saying that the characters on Atlantis are lemmings, but in the military it's much easier to be a subordinate and follow someone else's orders rather than have to make up your own, knowing that any decision you make affects thousands of peoples' lives.
"They say, 'Heavy is the head that wears the crown.' Sam has the mantel of looking after everyone on this base. For the first time in her career and in her life she's in charge of a group of people, but my character isn't focusing a great deal on the in-charge part. By that I mean she's not all like, 'Rah, rah, rah, I'm your new leader!' It's more a case of, 'OK, I'm responsible for these peoples' lives, and along with having to make the right decisions, I also have to be aware of the fact that people are going to be following my orders, which means they've got to be the right orders.'
"So that's the challenge for Sam, and the challenge for me when playing her is to try to temper being in charge with not abusing that responsibility and not being power-hungry, which she's not. It's very much a case of me, Amanda, and Sam coming into this new situation and going, 'We're not taking over here. We're just being aware that everyone has their areas of expertise,' and with Sam, she's just the facilitator of those expertise." (Actress Amanda Tapping, in an interview with Steve Eramo)