Broken TiesEPISODE #503
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.25.08
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 09.28.09
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Ken Girotti
Collecting plant stuffs, Ronon Dex and Teyla Emmagan stroll though a wooded area. They chuckle over Kanaan’s transition to living in Atlantis. Ronon spots a body in a clearing and, as he approaches it, he is ambushed and shot three times with a Wraith stunner. As he collapses, Teyla sees the attacker: Ronon’s former friend and fellow Satedan, Tyre (“Reunion”). Tyre also stuns Teyla, but leaves her on the planet when he takes Ronon. She returns to Atlantis to report Ronon’s kidnapping.
Unable to track Ronon, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard presumes Tyre wanted Ronon alive. To try and find a lead on Tyre, John suggests that they ask another Satedan, Solen Sincha, who Teyla and Ronon encountered on the planet Belkan two years ago (“Trinity”). Ready to roll, Sheppard heads for the door. But Mr. Richard Woolsey, Atlantis’s new commander, clears his throat … reminding Sheppard of protocol.
Once Sheppard asks for permission, the team starts off again, but Woolsey stops them. Teyla has not formally petitioned to rejoin the team. Surprised, Sheppard allows her to decide after they talk to Sincha.
The drunken Sincha is still on Belkan. He has with no love for the Wraith-worshiping Tyre, who the Satedans despise and the Wraith have apparently abandoned after he failed to deliver Ronon and the team a year ago. Sincha agrees to pass along any information he might hear on Ronon.
Meanwhile, the captive Ronon regains consciousness inside a dark, dank house on the planet Sarif Sur. A sickly Tyre feels he is repaying Ronon for saving him here many years ago. By handing Ronon over to the Wraith, Tyre is sharing with him the ecstasy he has found at their hand. Ronon feels betrayed when a Wraith and guards appear. The dominant Wraith feeds and reverse-feeds on Ronon multiple times, draining the life out of him only to restore it again. It is by this process that he made Tyre a Wraith-worshiper. Ronon resists with all his might, and the weary and frustrated Wraith decides to take him back to his lab
When Tyre begs to be subjected to the euphoric process, reminding the Wraith that he had promised to reinstate their former arrangement if he handed over Ronon, the Wraith flings him against the wall, having no further need of Tyre.
While waiting for intel, Teyla discusses with Woolsey her dilemma about returning to work. She wishes to continue the fight against the Wraith, but doesn’t wish to risk leaving her newborn son without a mother. Woolsey confides that he can sympathize, having had only a Yorkie he loved and lost in a divorce.
After a sleepless night spent searching for a fresh perspective on how to find Ronon, McKay goes to the mess hall where he finds Sheppard. As they go over the details again, Major Lorne comes in with new intel from Sincha. Ronon and Tyre are on Sarif Sur.
Searching the planet, Lorne’s team locates the barely alive Tyre. He is taken to the Atlantis infirmary, where Dr. Jennifer Keller finds that reverse-feeding leaves behind a Wraith enzyme which produces a euphoric state. Withdrawal is similar to withdrawal from any addictive substance. Tyre is moved to an isolation room where he is strapped to a bed, writhing and screaming through the slow and painful withdrawal. Sheppard refuses to allow any sedatives which might slow his recovery.
Teyla learns of Tyre’s capture, and angrily confronts Sheppard about not including her in the mission. Sheppard tells her she must decide now if she wants to return to his team — he can’t give her the option every time a mission comes up.
Still vacillating, Teyla turns to Kanaan. He repeats what Sheppard told her when she was pregnant: In rejoining the team, she makes the future safe not only for Torren, but all children.
As Tyre detoxes, Ronon screams with a similar agony as he is repeatedly subjected to the reverse-feeding process by the Wraith. While Tyre regains his sanity an his freedom, Ronon slips further away, enthralled by his new Wraith master.
When Tyre is finally clean, he tells Sheppard that he knows where Ronon is. He asks to accompany the rescue team. Woolsey is against this, but Sheppard knows what it is to be desperate to save a buddy. Reluctantly, Woolsey agrees, but he wants Lorne’s team to go along. Teyla overhears as she and Torren are going to meet Kanaan in the cafeteria, and she hands off the baby to Woolsey and goes to suit up.
Tyre leads the team to a Wraith laboratory. He shows them where to plant C4 explosives in the power relay chamber, so that the facility can be destroyed with the flick of a switch. When they locate Ronon, he defends the Wraith who has converted him. Ronon, the one man who hated the Wraith more than anyone in the Pegasus Galaxy, has been turned. He has sworn his allegiance to the Wraith, and sworn death to their enemies — Atlantis.
Tyre grabs Teyla from behind, threatening her life if anyone resists capture. He, too, appears to still be a Wraith-worshiper — or he is playing both sides. Before they are taken to holding cells, Ronon punches Sheppard in the face.
After Tyre and Ronon convince the Wraith that Sheppard, in particular, is worth more converted than dead, Tyre removes Sheppard from his cell for a first session. When the Wraith reaches out to feed on Sheppard, Tyre draws his sword and cuts off the creature’s hand. Sheppard quickly shoots the Wraith and holds off others as Ronon and Tyre fight one another.
Freed earlier by Tyre, who is still on their side, Teyla and McKay free Lorne’s team and arrive on the scene. Ronon has gained the upper hand on Tyre and is beating him to a pulp, but Teyla stuns Ronon — again, he has to be shot three times with a stunner before he finally collapses.
Lorne’s team is quickly overwhelmed by Wraith. Threatening to destroy the facility with the hidden explosives, Tyre is able to buy everyone’s freedom. The Wraith allows them to leave. When they are all safely in the Jumper, Tyre detonates the C4, obliterating the research lab, killing the Wraith, and sacrificing himself in a final Satedan act of redemption.
Back in the Atlantis infirmary, Ronon endures the same painful detox that Tyre went through. He tries to convince Sheppard that he isn’t a threat to them, and screams for Sheppard to either kill him or set him free.
Teyla officially decides to rejoin Sheppard’s team. She visits Woolsey’s quarters to officially request reinstatement, where she finds that he has changed from his Atlantis uniform into a regular suit and tie — something “more comfortable.” Ready to relax as well, Teyla heads to her quarters where she and Kanaan cuddle Torren.
Ronon’s team mates take turns sitting with him until he is finally free of the Wraith enzyme, and their brainwashing. Sheppard tells him of Tyre’s honorable death, and leaves Tyre’s sword at Ronon’s side. Ronon, understanding Tyre now, lays the sword across his chest and grieves.
- “Despite the fact that my mother and sister are in town, we’re only days away from celebrating Christmas, and I have a first draft of ‘Broken Ties’ in hand, my mind is far from on holiday mode. If it’s not worrying about the tighter shooting schedule or whether or not Mark D. will be available for a return engagement, it’s fretting over motherhood issues or a red giant’s gravitational pull.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)
- “There is a story I’ve been wanting to do in the back half of the season [Season Four], which is a Ronon story which essentially is the sequel to ‘Reunion.’ Just because the stories that needed telling in the back half would never got around to making it. The sequel that I would like to do in Season Five … would afford us the opportunity to see a little of Ronon’s dark side, so in response to that Jason [Momoa] will get the opportunity to go to the dark side.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with Slice of SciFi)
- “Jason came in and we discussed the big sword fight (Enough with the sparring! Let’s see some real clashing steel!), hair issues, and redemption. You know, the usual.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)
- “It’s an episode that takes Ronon far beyond the wise-cracking warrior persona fans have grown to know and love, offering up a glimpse of the character at his most vulnerable. Jason goes all out in this one, delivering by far his best performance to date. Some really wonderful scenes for Rachel and Bob as well as Teyla and Woolsey deal with personal issues. Also, a couple of touching Ronon-Sheppard moments as well.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)
- “Speaking of Jason, the dreaded one gives what is by far his best performance of the series in Season Five’s ‘Broken Ties.’ It’s an episode he is extremely proud of, and justifiably so. We watched the Day One mix the other day and were very, very impressed — not only with Jason’s tour-de-force, but with Joel Goldsmith’s terrific score.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)
- “It’s nice to see many of you enjoyed our second episode, ‘The Seed.’ What I found particularly pleasing was the number of people who went in expecting to hate the Woolsey character only to be genuinely surprised by how much they liked him in this episode. Well, hopefully you’ll like him even more after next week’s episode, ‘Broken Ties,’ in which we get a glimpse of his more human side. And to those of you asking about the baby, Kanaan, and whether or not Teyla will face a crisis of conscience once she is confronted with the prospect of returning to active off-world duty — tune in next week for an episode that’ll focus on issues of personal conflict, belonging, self-sacrifice and friendship.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)
- “Joe had lots to say about Friday’s episode, entitled ‘Broken Ties,’ a Ronon-centric episode that he wrote and produced. Firstly, he told me that Jason Momoa, who plays Ronon, gave a great performance. He showed a wide range of emotions, and allowed us to see Ronon at his lowest point, displaying a vulnerability not often shown by actors who play tough guy roles. It takes guts and talent, and this guy has both.
“Mark Dacascos returns to reprise his role as Tyre, and, as Joe explained, Mark is the crew’s all time favourite guest star. ‘Why?’ you might ask. Because he’s so darn nice, that’s why! And I concur, as I have met him myself — he really is a gentleman.
“Joe also mentioned that this is a great episode for stunts. James ‘Bam Bam’ Bamford, our stunt coordinator and stuntman extraordinaire, has always wanted to do an extended sword fight, and he finally gets the opportunity to do just that in this episode. Now, unfortunately, the sword fight was edited down considerably for the episode to tighten it up and make it great, but for those of you sword fight enthusiasts, I understand Ivon Bartok will be including the entire sword fight in a behind the scenes featurette that will be on the Season Five DVDs. So that’s something to look forward to.
“As for story arcs, Joe noted that we did a Ronon-based story in episode three last year (‘Reunion’) focusing on Ronon having to choose between his old Satedan friends and his new role on Atlantis. Similarly, in this episode’s B-story, Teyla, a new mother, is confronted with the dilemma of whether or not to give up her adventurous ways to be a better mother to her newborn son. This episode also shows Woolsey at his most human. In Joe’s opinion, it’s the little moments that really uncover character, and you’ll see a lot of those moments in ‘Broken Ties.'” (Script coordinator Alex Levine, in a message at his SciFi.com blog)