ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 11.14.08
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 03.01.10
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: William Waring
Robert Davi (Acastus Kolya), Tamlyn Tomita (Shen Xiaoyi), David Nykl (Radek Zelenka), Anna Galvin (Vanessa Conrad), Sharon Taylor (Amelia Banks), Haley Cook (Dr. Kiang), Jonathon Young (Parrish), Chuck Campbell (Chuck), Carlo Fanella (Genii Soldier), Linden Banks (Dovelock)
Eating with Ronon Dex and Dr. Rodney McKay, Teyla Emmagan invites Richard Woolsey to join them. He opts to eat in his quarters as he’s prepping for his upcoming performance review. Hands full, he attempts to hail a transporter. Dr. Vanessa Conrad, recently arrived in the city from Earth, drops him on the southeast pier, level 19, before continuing on herself. Richard is immediately attracted to the scientist and tries to play it cool.
Later, McKay is accosted by Radek Zelenka, back early from a ceremony on planet M2J. Zelenka wants to scan the ocean floor around the city, as he has noted anomalous temperature fluctuations. McKay dismisses the idea as a waste of time. Needing McKay’s authorization, Zelenka finally persuades him to reconfigure Atlantis’s short-range sensors. Within seconds, they locate something. The metallic, 4-foot-long cylinder is taken to McKay’s lab where he and Zelenka begin studying it.
Meanwhile, I.O.A. representative Shen Xiaoyi beams into the gate room, having just arrived for Mr. Woolsey’s first (and critical) performance review. Woolsey takes her on a tour of the city. After admitting that Woolsey has done an admirable job surviving his nine months in Atlantis, Shen congratulates him on a promotion — which will return him to Earth as chairman of the I.O.A.’s new environmental initiative.
Woolsey sees the job change as a slap in the face, a condemnation of his performance in Atlantis. When he reacts negatively, Shen elaborates. The I.O.A. believes his judgment is compromised. They want a change in the leadership of Atlantis.
Later, still struggling to understand his superiors’ decision, Woolsey is in his quarters when Dr. Conrad stops by to invite him to the night’s movie screening. He shares his bad news, and Vanessa points out that Shen wouldn’t have made the three week trip if he were already fired. He may still be able to fight.
Encouraged by her insight, Woolsey confronts Shen about her true motives. He finds out that her real goal is to take Woolsey’s job, and there is nothing he can do about it. She already has the right powerful people back on Earth in her corner. Richard retreats to a scenic Atlantis balcony to consider his next move, only to find Vanessa there. They are making dinner plans when Banks arrives to tell Woolsey that Dr. McKay needs him.
He and Zelenka have discovered that the device they recovered from the ocean floor contains the chemicals to biologically seed a new home world for an extinct, silicon-based race. It’s also a repository of this dead civilization’s history and knowledge. Acquiring this sort of advanced information is what the Atlantis expedition is meant to do. But while it’s a veritable gold mine for them — and perhaps a way for Woolsey to impress his superiors — Rodney is also certain that extracting the data from the device will destroy it, and the hope of a people to recreate their civilization.
Needing to reschedule with Dr. Conrad, Woolsey asks Banks where her assigned quarters are located. Banks searches the computer and finds no reference to a Dr. Vanessa Conrad on Atlantis. Unnerved, Woolsey has himself checked by Dr. Keller. She finds nothing beyond sleep deprivation. Returning to his quarters, Woolsey finds Conrad there. Before she can explain fully, Shen arrives, demanding to know why Woolsey hasn’t ordered McKay to harvest the data in the alien device. Conrad protests — but only Woolsey can see and hear her.
McKay realizes that he’s seen the ultra-low frequency the device emits. It’s similar to a device causing mass hallucinogen on M1B-129 (“Phantoms”). He hurries to Woolsey’s quarters to tell him they must get rid of the device. With Shen, McKay and Conrad all talking at once, Woolsey ushers Shen and McKay out with the promise of a decision soon. He allows Conrad to explain herself.
Meanwhile, on the mainland with a botany team, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard has been captured by an old enemy. Acastus Kolya, the former Genii commander who Sheppard killed (“Irresponsible”), wants Sheppard’s I.D.C. so he can destroy Atlantis by sending an explosive device through the Stargate. He beats Sheppard with his fists mercilessly. When Sheppard resists, Kolya has his men chop off his left hand so the Jumper (which requires John’s Ancient gene to operate) can be used instead.
Later, John manages to free himself while Kolya and his men are elsewhere, and escapes. As he flees through the forest, though, he falls over the edge of a cliff. Sheppard manages to hang on, but with only one hand he can’t climb back up. Kolya arrives and finds him there. He tells Sheppard that he never meant for this to happen — and John should use his left hand to pull himself up to safety. Sheppard pulls his arm out of his jacket, seeing that his missing hand is restored. He climbs back up the cliffside.
As Vanessa reveals the truth of her identity to Richard in Atlantis, Kolya does the same to Sheppard on the mainland. Both of them are manifestations of the alien device’s artificial intelligence, which has the mission of making sure the Sekkari civilization is reborn. Fearing Sheppard, as the chief military man, the A.I. wanted to divert him while trying to ascertain what sort of people the Atlanteans were. Satisfied that Woolsey will listen now, Vanessa tells the story of the Sekkari.
After millions of years, they found they could not save themselves from extinction — so they dispatched over 50 of the capsules, hoping to recreate themselves. All of them failed. This particular capsule malfunctioned and the A.I. guided it to this world, where it has laid dormant for thousands of years. The Jumper exiting the underwater bay (“The Prodigal”) alerted it to the presence of sentient life.
Kolya adds that the form of Sheppard’s diversion was drawn entirely from his own mind. In truth, it is John who tortures himself every day.
Now the fate of the Sekkari rests with Mr. Woolsey. While he considers what to do with the capsule and its potential riches, Shen views a private communication transmitted from the I.O.A. back on Earth. They have chosen James Coolidge (“Midway”) to replace Woolsey, instead of her. But as a reward for her excellent service, Shen will head the I.O.A.’s environmental initiative. Deeply angered, Shen writes a report praising Woolsey’s work — thereby ensuring his appointment as permanent commander.
After Shen departs via the Stargate, Conrad acknowledges that the transmission she watched was a hallucination. McKay complains that he didn’t get to see the A.I. Conrad assumes the true Sekkari form — a silvery, metallic, humanoid one — and shows herself to Rodney before the Apollo beams the device aboard for the final leg of its journey.
It isn’t until Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon, McKay and Woolsey share a meal later in the mess hall that McKay, boasting he is just too intelligent to be fooled by the A.I., learns he did see a manifestation of the A.I. He saw it as Zelenka who was, after all, responsible for the discovery of the device — and who didn’t really come back early from his off-world trip, after all.
- Anna Galvin (“Vanessa Conrad”) played Dr. Reya Varrick in the Stargate SG-1 ninth season episode “Collateral Damage.”
- Jonathon Young’s character, the exuberant botanist Dr. Parrish, first appeared in the Season Two episode “Runner.”
- “While I’m not exactly blazing through this script, I am advancing at a fairly steady five-page-a-day pace. Still, this one has been atypical in its progression. Usually, it takes me a while to get going but once I’m past those first three acts, the last two go very quickly. In this case, however, it’s been just the opposite: fairly smooth sailing from the get-go with nary a hiccup until I hit the fourth act, at which point things slowed to a crawl.
“Unlike most episodes which have an A main storyline and B secondary storyline, this one is a triple A and it’s been a bit of a challenge balancing the three. First, there’s Sheppard and his mainland troubles. Then, there’s McKay and his Zelenka-assisted investigation of the mystery find. And, finally, there’s Woolsey and his good news/bad news/bizarre news day. The way it’s looking, this initial draft is going to clock in at a healthy 60+ pages which I’ll, of course, edit down to a much more reasonable 56-58 before putting it out.
“Given the type of script it is, I’m expecting significant notes and a potentially heavy rewrite — which, in this case, isn’t a problem because I’ll have all of the hiatus to work on it. The important thing is that I put out a first draft that will give the office a fair approximation of how the production schedule will break down. Most of the beats are sound so I don’t expect much scene-shifting. The only one that worries me is what I’ll be doing to Sheppard at the end of the third act. I suspect more than one person in the room will say something to the effect of: ‘Are you nuts?!’ Should make for an interesting debate.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Marty G. objected to my brutal treatment of Sheppard while Paul took issue with one particular Holy Sh*t Moment in that regard. I agreed that the scenes are dark, but I argued they’re necessarily so. No clean and comical this time out for our hero as the chickens come home to roost. Or, in this case, one particularly bad-ass rooster. Alex’s concerns about the subtlety of the Shen imbroglio were echoed and some great suggestions offered with regard to the McKay-Zelenka scenes.
“From the cover notes, we moved on to the page notes. Some discussion on the mechanics of the transporter scene, the mainland intro, the off-world fooferah, the short list, the ‘convincing’ gloves, the infirmary scene, and the reveal.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Actress Tamlyn Tomita (a.k.a. I.O.A. rep Shen Xiaoyi) stopped in to say hi today. She is, of course, in town to shoot her scenes for ‘Remnants’ and seemed genuinely excited about her character’s role in the episode.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Will had phoned me up last night to inquire about Dr. Conrad’s patch. ‘She has a slight accent,’ he said. ‘I think it’s either Australian or New Zealand.’ Great! Val had both patches at the ready this morning and, after checking with guest star Anna Galvin (whose name will ring a bell with many SG-1 fans), Aussie won out over Newzie (incidentally, Fondy tried to convince me that people from New Zealand are referred to as Kiwi’s, not Newzies, but I knew she was pulling my leg).” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “I was cutting ‘Remnants’ which clocked in at an astounding +9.20! Trimming out the first four and a half minutes was no problem; losing the next four and a bit of a chore. The last twenty seconds was freaking impossible and, after going over the episode twice, I threw in the towel and decided to it pick things up Monday morning.
“It’s a great episode (Carl says it’s his favorite among the three I wrote this season) with not one, not two, but three parallel storylines. The David’s are great together, Bob shows off his great comic timing, and our nefarious special guest star puts our helpless hero through some real physical and psychological torment. Even though ‘Remnants’ is a perfectly appropriate title for the episode, ‘Revelations’ would have worked as well. But it was already taken.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “‘Remnants,’ Joe told me, is a bittersweet Woolsey story. It deals with Woolsey’s sense of alienation as the leader of Atlantis. You see, Woolsey is the outsider; he’s in your typical ‘lonely at the top, tough to be the boss’ scenario and he deals with it by keeping to himself, for the most part. Joe explained a little more about Woolsey for me: beneath that authoritarian, by the book commander, he’s a bit socially awkward (Joe’s words, not mine!). Joe continued: ‘As a kid in high school, Woolsey was always the last picked for sports teams. But it’s this awkwardness that makes him human.’
“… So, at the end of the day, this is very much a character driven episode. Joe concluded, ‘It’s about surface impressions versus inner realities.’
“And there were wildly divergent opinions about the script on the first reading. Robert C. Cooper found it too literary, while Carl Binder has steadfastly maintained that it’s one of his favorite stories (but that guys a known suck-up, so who can say?). The network execs are generally wary of stories that don’t have a ticking clock or immediate jeopardy. But don’t worry, I’ve seen the producer’s cut, and this is a great episode. Will Waring did a superb job directing, and there was a lot of material to pare it down to time, so it’s jam packed.” (Script coordinator Alex Levine, in a post at his SciFi.com blog)
- “Three seemingly unrelated storylines have more in common than we first realize in an episode that finds Sheppard facing off against his supposedly dead arch nemesis, McKay and Zelenka exploring a mysterious alien device, and a lonely Richard Woolsey finding love where he least expects it. Great performances all around, with the terrific chemistry between the various pairings (Sheppard and Kolya, McKay and Zelenka, Woolsey and Conrad) really making for a memorable outing.” (Writer / producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)