Stargate Atlantis

Season 3 Episode 12


Aired Friday 10:00 PM Apr 20, 2007 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
271 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The whales of Lantea congregate around the city and the inhabitants of Atlantis begin to suffer ill effects. Are they there to communicate or attack?

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  • I've had different reactions to this episode at different times… Spoilers if you continue…

    I've had different reactions to this episode at different times…

    Spoilers if you continue…

    When I first saw it, I kind of liked it. It seemed unique and different with rising stakes and a mysterious element about why whales were gathering around Atlantis. The explanation is that the whales know that a powerful solar flare is about to erupt and send a massive eruption through space and directly at the planet. The whales know this because it's happened in the planet's past. With this warning of the impending eruption, our heroes have time to put the Daedalus, with its shields, in the path of the blast (exciting visual) and thus saving the city and the whales. However, when I watched it again recently, I found myself not believing a word of it. We're simply being asked to believe too many preposterous things. The idea of a precisely timed eruption occurring with so much historic repetition that animal life codes it in its DNA, pushes things too far. Also, the idea of a single-focused eruption (more like a laser beam) isn't believable no matter how good the visual is.

    Bottom line is, you'll probably enjoy it the first time around while the mystery is unfolding but once the mystery is solved, you're not going to like it.moreless
  • See Summary

    Echoes was a little slow, and though it was nice to see Sam the whale fish again, this episode doesn't really contribute to the over all season storylines. Eventually more whale fish creatures show up, and the Atlantis Team discovers that there is trouble, and the Ancients were able to extend their sheild. Will they be able to save the day, and the Whale fish creatures? It does keep you on your toes a little at times. It was interesting to see the "ghotst" and the solving of that puzzle. There was a little character growth for some of the main characters, but nothing significant.moreless
  • People on Atlantis start to see things, and hundreds of whales show up outside the city.

    This episode was interesting. I like the way the whales keep helping the people of Atlantis. I would have hoped the whales had a part in future episodes. It was also interesting the way McKay and Sheppard had to shout, after getting to close to the whales and losing part of their hearing for awhile. That was fun. I thought that it was good when McKay passed out early on in the show, to keep the excitment going. I thought it built up nicely as the story went along. I did think, however, that the ending part with the sun could have been explained a little bit better. It was an overall good episode. I had a good time watching it.moreless
  • An unique warning mechanism...

    I liked this. The idea how the events first looked so chaotic and there seemed to be no merging story - just some flashes and events, giving us idea that this maybe a lovely filler episode. In some way it was - specially the lovely part. I loved the whale idea - that the thing that looked to be problem, was just a warning for much bigger problem. So I would say, there was many surprises and those moments when something unexpected happened - like Elizabeth fainting in the middle of conversation and McKay on the jumper...

    But the dynamic and motion - it was not too intense and on some moment, maybe too slow - so that could be the weak side of this episode - not very intense storyline and action.moreless
  • whales?

    So, whales are migrating towards the city...well, actually, they're not really whales, they're big fishes. Anyways, the whales are emitting some kind of sonar type thing that is messing with the humans and many fall ill. Apparently, however, the whales came to warm Atlantis about an impending doom. The sun is going to do something bad (I forgot the techno mumbo jumbo) Anyways, all is well in the end. I didn't really like the story. It seemed a but cheesy and stupid. Some of the character interactions were interesting, especially between Ronan and Teyla. Overall, not my favorite but not that bad.moreless
Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major / Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell

Teyla Emmagan

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Jason Momoa

Jason Momoa

Ronon Dex

Paul McGillion

Paul McGillion

Dr. Carson Beckett

Torri Higginson

Torri Higginson

Dr. Elizabeth Weir

Patricia Nudd

Patricia Nudd

Ancient Woman

Guest Star

Amanda Burke

Amanda Burke

2nd Scientist

Guest Star

David Quinlan

David Quinlan

1st Scientist

Guest Star

Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

Colonel Steven Caldwell

Recurring Role

David Nykl

David Nykl

Dr. Radek Zelenka

Recurring Role

Claire Rankin

Claire Rankin

Dr. Kate Heightmeyer

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • In this episode Zelenka speaks Czech: "Zaplať pánbůh." which translates to "Thank goodness."

    • McKay: ...probably the very same whale that saved me last year when I was trapped in that submerged jumper.

      McKay is referring to the events of the second season episode "Grace Under Pressure."

    • Ronon: Well, we've seen devices that mess with people's minds, cause them to hallucinate things.

      Ronon is most likely referring to the Wraith device from the episode "Phantoms."

    • In this episode McKay indicates that the Canadian football field is larger then the American football field. The Canadian football field is 150 yards by 65 yards, a total of 9,750 square yards. The American football field is 120 yards by 53 1/3 yards, a total of 6,400 square yards. So the Canadian football field is wider, longer, and the area is larger.

    • The pulse in which the flagisalis send to the members of the Atlantis expedition is a form of communication. The last time the solar phenomenon took place, the device McKay found in the bio–lab transmitted a record of events to the flagisalis and they then stored it in their genetic memory. When the creatures sensed the phenomenon was taking place again, they then used this pulse to send visual messages (The beings the expedition members were seeing) of the events from their genetic memory to the expedition members in order to warn them.

    • The first time the solar phenomenon took place, an Ancient science vessel known as the Adaris was caught in the blast and its crew were all killed instantly, however a pilot on board managed to open a hyperspace window just as the blast hit and escape to warn Atlantis. When the lone surviving pilot returned to Atlantis to warn the Lantean people of the coming danger, the Lanteans were able to prevent Atlantis' and Lantea's destruction. They used their 3 ZPMs to extend the shield over a large portion of the surface of Lantea, protecting the city and also a large number of the population of the Flagisalis.

    • Three ZPMs were installed in Atlantis to power the star drive during the Asuran invasion in "The Return Part 2", which were recovered by the expedition when they reclaimed the city. One ZPM is being used by Atlantis, while the other two are being used to power the Ancient outpost in Antarctica and the Odyssey (to combat the Ori), respectively.

    • Meredith is McKay's first name - Rodney being his second. This was revealed when his sister Jeannie called him "Meredith" in the episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller" season 3 episode 8.

    • Rodney's computer graphics of the sun included a schematic of the Daedalus long before anyone thought to use the ship to protect Atlantis from the coronal mass ejection.

    • The name of the alien whale species in the ocean of Lantea is Flagisalis according to McKay.

    • There are new areas of the city that can be explored due to the repairs completed by the Asurans, such as the lab discovered by Rodney.

  • QUOTES (35)

    • Teyla: (soothingly) And then slowly exhale, allowing each breath to cleanse you, restoring your body and spirit. Feel your body and mind clearing, open to all that surrounds you. Embrace the silence. (snoring sound) Ronon? (more snores)

    • Weir: Rodney, we have enough power now to raise the shield, and cloak the city, and dial home. Please, can you start seeing the glass as half full?
      McKay: Well, you mean one-third full.

    • McKay: Now, unfortunately, these whales are several generations removed from the incident, so they're finding the language a bit of a tough go. It's kind of like trying to sing the lyrics to the Macarena. You can sound out the words, but you have no idea what you're singing.

    • Beckett: Their eardrums have been perforated.
      Weir: How?
      Zelenka: The whales are emitting an intense low-frequency-pulse, like a sonar, as well as an EM field. The combination is very dangerous to humans, particularly in such close proximity.
      McKay: (yelling) It's the whales.
      Beckett: (of the yelling to Weir) Hearing's been impaired. It should heal soon.
      McKay: (still yelling) It's their echolocation. It's creating very powerful vibrations. The closer we got, the worse it became.
      Zelenka: (yelling back) Yes. Yes. Rodney, we know.
      McKay: Oh.
      Sheppard: (yelling) What?
      Beckett: They should rest.
      Weir: Agreed.

    • McKay: All right, not too close now, okay? We still have no idea what these things eat. (Sees Sheppard look pained) What? What is it?
      Sheppard: Nothing. Just got a headache all of a sudden.
      McKay: Where'd they go?
      Sheppard: I don't know.
      Zelenka: (from Atlantis) Oh, they're right in front of you.
      Sheppard: Yeah, well, we're away of that. (Sees McKay look pained) What's wrong?
      McKay: Now my head's hurting too.
      Sheppard: That's not a coincidence.
      McKay: I don't think so.
      Sheppard: I'm pulling back.
      McKay: Good idea.
      Zelenka: Perhaps, it's the whales' echolocation mechanism. It's creating uncomfortable vibrations which are...
      McKay: Yes, Radek. We are moving away. Try to keep up, okay?
      Zelenka: (seeing something on the monitor) Oh, my.
      Sheppard: "Oh, my," what?
      Zelenka: I'm detecting several more whales.
      McKay: How many more?
      Zelenka: Dozens more. They're still several kilometers away from you, but they're heading towards you.
      Sheppard: Rodney.
      McKay: What?
      Sheppard: Your nose is bleeding.

    • McKay: There you are.
      Weir: Rodney, I told you-
      McKay: Oh no not you I mean Sheppard.
      Weir: Thank you.
      (McKay speaks very rapidly)
      McKay: Oh I mean not that I don't want to talk to you, when you can be a part of this conversation, in fact I think you'll find it every bit as interesting as-
      Sheppard: What are you saying?

    • (Sheppard comes up behind McKay, who is looking out at the sea)
      McKay: Huh. Hey, how long have you been standing there?
      Sheppard: Hour or so.
      McKay: What? Why didn't you say anything? I feel like a...oh. It's the kidding.

    • Sheppard: What about you? How was the hunting?
      Ronon: If there was any game, it was all scared off by the noise his stupid machines made.
      Zelenka: I said I was sorry. It was necessary for the tests.
      Sheppard: You're the one who volunteered to go.
      Ronon: Well, if I do something like that again, shoot me.
      Zelenka: He was like this all night, you know, very agitated. Had me scared.

    • Ronon:(walking over to a meditating Teyla) Mind if I join you... ?
      Teyla: If you fall asleep one more time...
      Ronon:(picking up one of the Bokkens resting against the wall and offers it to her) Hit me with that.

    • Sheppard: Rodney?
      McKay: It's over.
      Sheppard: And we're not toast.
      McKay: We're not toast!
      Sheppard: Good plan, huh?

    • Ronon: How're they doing?
      Zelenka: Well, according to my calculations, the blast wave should have hit us by now but I'm reading no discernable increase in radiation.
      Ronon: So they're doing good?
      Zelenka: Yes. So far, anyway.

    • Caldwell: How long will this last, Doctor?
      McKay: Anywhere from a few seconds to several hours.
      Sheppard: Hours?! You never said anything about hours!
      Caldwell: We're building up serious heat behind the shield.
      McKay(plaintively): I told you this wasn't a good plan!

    • Sheppard(over the radio): How's it going, Rodney?
      McKay: You know, this might look easy, but it's actually a little more complicated than just flipping a switch.

    • McKay: I don't think you fully grasp the reality of just how damned hot it gets that close to the surface of the sun.
      Sheppard: That's why we're taking a ZPM, to strengthen the shields.
      McKay: From the blast wave, yes, but even with the shields at that strength, the build-up of residual heat behind it could cause serious problems for the Daedalus...(pointing to himself) … and everyone inside it.
      Sheppard: Could. Could cause.

    • McKay: This is not a good plan.
      Sheppard: Sure it is.
      McKay: You realise just how close we'll have to get to the sun?
      Sheppard: Pretty damned close, I'm thinkin'.
      McKay: Suicidally close. I mean, we'll be toast.

    • Sheppard(over the radio): Colonel Caldwell? This is Sheppard.
      Caldwell: Go ahead, Colonel.
      Sheppard: I think we have a plan.
      McKay: We do?

    • Weir: What's wrong?
      Sheppard: We figured it out.
      McKay: Well, actually, I did most of the figuring...

    • Weir(to Sheppard, about Rodney): How's he doing?
      Sheppard: I don't know. He's taking a while. A lot longer than he usually takes.
      McKay: He can hear you, you know!
      Sheppard: Yeah. We know.

    • McKay: It's like a receiver calibrated to the specific frequencies on which the whales communicate.
      Sheppard: The Ancients designed it to study whales so they could learn about their songs.
      McKay: They were studying the whales' language, trying to assign frequencies to emotions and identify moods.
      Sheppard: All sorts of tree-huggy stuff.

    • Beckett: These should help, but don't take them until you can have at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest.
      Weir: Huh! Around here?! When does that ever happen?

    • Sheppard: So, these, uh, whales. Did the Ancients say they're good eating?
      McKay: Oh, you wouldn't!
      Sheppard: I would.

    • Weir: I trust this little diversion isn't actually cutting into your work time?
      McKay: Oh, no, no. No, of course not. No, I'm just dabbling in my free time.
      Weir: Alright, then, boys. Dabble away!

    • Sheppard: Did the Ancients have a name for it?
      McKay: Yeah. Flagecallus… I know, they were terrible at naming things. I've just, um... I've just called it "whale" for now.

    • Weir(pointing to the tablet): And what is that?
      Sheppard: That's Rodney's whale friend.
      McKay: Ah, but not actually a whale. Whale-like, but not a mammal. It's a fish. It's a big, big fish.

    • Teyla: Many Ancestors died here recently. During the Replicator invasion the crew of the Tria were all murdered. Perhaps they attempted to ascend but were prevented from fully doing so… Trapped between this plane of existence and the next.
      Weir: You mean ghosts?
      Ronon: You ask me, it's too much meditation.

    • Weir: We cannot keep all three ZeePMs from the Replicator take-over, Rodney. We get one. Now, I don't know how to make it any clearer for you.
      McKay: Well, I felt if I could just outline the reasons for keeping them, you know, bullet point, very brief...
      Weir: It was twenty-six pages!

    • McKay: Elizabeth. Did you get my email?
      Weir: Which email? One of the seven today, or one of the eighteen yesterday?

    • Zelenka(about Ronon): He was like this all night, you know, very agitated. Had me scared.
      Sheppard: He'll be alright. Get him home, get him a nice warm bath, hot meal...

    • Sheppard: Well? How'd the camping go?
      Zelenka(sounding very excited): Oh, splendid. I was able to run several ground-penetrating radar tests. You know, to test the dielectric permittivity of the region's subsurface.
      Sheppard(sarcastically): Sweet!

    • McKay: I've been monitoring Sam on the underwater scanner.
      Sheppard: Stop calling him that.
      McKay: Why?
      Sheppard: It's creepy.
      McKay: No it's not. Look. Here he is circling the city. He's been doing this for a while. Won't leave.
      Sheppard: You didn't feed him did you?
      McKay: No!

    • Sheppard: Ah another whale.
      McKay: Yeah, probably the mother.
      Sheppard: That guy's the size of a football field!
      McKay: A Canadian football field.

    • Weir: Okay, so our shield is already activated. What else?
      McKay: Ah, small problem? The ancients had three ZPM at their disposal, we... as you know, only have one. Maybe I was so insistent on keeping them because I, too, was able to sense trouble in the horizon.
      Sheppard: Just like a pigeon.

    • Weir: And why are you studying this?
      McKay: Oh, 'cause he's out there right now, circling the city. Sheppard and I saw him. Probably the very same whale that saved me last year when I was trapped in that submerged Jumper.
      Sheppard: I thought Zelenka and I saved you.
      McKay: Well, you did, technically... but only after Sam led you to me.
      Weir: Sam?
      McKay: Aah... it's the whale. I named him, uhh... after... Sam... antha Carter? It's personal use.
      Sheppard: You named him after Samantha Carter?
      McKay: Well, Sam's a boy's name, too.
      Weir: And... how do you know... he's a he?
      McKay: Oh, because I cross-referenced the renderings in the database with the whale outside and you'll see... the males have a rather prominent...
      Weir: Oh it's okay, never mind. I'll take your word for it.

    • (about the whales coming to Atlantis)
      Weir: Yeah, but the whales were aware this was happening.
      McKay: Well, a lot of animals--whales, dolphins...
      Zelenka: Pigeons.
      McKay: Are affected by the tiniest anomalies in the magnetosphere. It's as if their internal compasses were somehow, well...pigeons?
      Zelenka: Yeah, homing pigeons. I used to raise them before coming here. We used to consult solar charts before our pigeon races.
      McKay: Pigeon races?
      Weir: Rodney!

    • Sheppard: Pain's going away. Think my hearing's getting better too. What about you?
      McKay: ...
      Sheppard: Rodney!
      McKay: ...
      Sheppard: Canadian Football League is a joke!
      McKay: ...
      Sheppard: Celine Dion is overrated!
      McKay: ...
      Sheppard: Zelenka is smarter than you are!
      McKay: Hey! I found a mention of a biolab in the database. Ancient scientists used it to study animal life. We should check it out!
      Sheppard: Okay... Meredith!

  • NOTES (6)

    • Two lines were cut from the end of the scene with McKay and Sheppard in the Infirmary. Beckett was to say "We'll talk later" to which McKay replied, "Darth Vader?".

    • The painkillers that Dr. Beckett hands out are actually jelly beans that have been packaged up.

    • The shot of the Daedalus flying towards the sun is re-used from "The Intruder".

    • The shot of the Puddle Jumper diving underwater is re-used from "Grace Under Pressure".

    • Rachel Luttrell voiced the "previously on Stargate Atlantis" line.

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on November 27, 2006 on Movie Central and January 15, 2007 on The Movie Network.
      -This episode aired in the UK on January 17, 2007 on Sky One.
      -Syndication Premiere: January 26-27, 2008.
      -This episode aired in Australia on May 15, 2008 on Channel 7.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on May 27, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.


    • Sheppard: Rodney's on his way, he's just taking some Dramamine.

      Dramamine is a medicine used to prevent motion sickness, especially seasickness. It is manufactured by Pfizer.

    • McKay: Did you know that there was a lobster-like crustacean down there the size of a Buick?

      Buick is a brand of luxury automobiles built in the United States and China by General Motors. Buicks are also sold in Canada and Israel. The line itself appears to be a take-off of a line from Woody Allen's Annie Hall in which Alvy Singer (Allen) says "Honey, there's a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick."

    • McKay: So they're, um, finding the language a bit of a tough go. It's kind of like singing the lyrics to the Macarena. You can sound out the words, but you have no idea what you're singing.

      "Macarena" is a 1995 song by Los del Río that became a worldwide hit. It also inspired a much-parodied dance craze.

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