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Stargate Atlantis

Season 2 Episode 14

Grace Under Pressure

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jan 27, 2006 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
471 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Dr. McKay is trapped underwater in a sinking Puddle Jumper and he must rely on Samantha Carter for his survival.

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  • See Summary

    Grace under pressure was an ok episode, though it was a little slow. It was very similar to SG1's episode where Carter is stranded on Prometheus and a space entity, or God? was helping her in her mind. This was a McKay focused episode, and we learned more about his character. The other Atlantis Team members initiated a rescue effort, but there were few options, and it was proving difficult. In the end it was through the assistance of a indigenous whale that helped the team to locate McKay's puddle jumper. It was nice to see Carter again, even if she was only a manifestation of McKays subconscience mind.moreless
  • McKay's Mind!

    Well we all know McKay, he's arogant, petty and treats people badly, and that's how we love him. This one, if not THE funniest episode so far, i remember laughing from 5 to 5 minutes Rodney making those funny come backs when he was talking to Sam, who is an imagination of his subconscience. I also remember en episode in SG1 when Rodney goes to SGC and tells Sam about his hallucination and how it kept him alive. Rodney is probably the funniest man in this show, this episode just proves it. I hope to see more episodes as hilarious as this one .moreless
  • Retread, retread, retread...

    This is a fairly simple episode, and because it focuses primarily on McKay, enjoyment is directly related to one’s tolerance for the character. Some fans, including myself, have complained about the screen time devoted to McKay and his personality flaws. It felt as though the first half of the season was dominated by the subject. This episode could be perceived as salt on the wound, though in a more objective sense, it simply doesn’t cover new territory.

    When it comes to the characters on this show, McKay is the one that routinely bugs the hell out of me but, moments later, reminds me why I like him. It’s very much a moment-to-moment love/hate thing. I’ve found that McKay is most tolerable when he has someone with as strong a personality in the same scene. That’s why Sheppard is such a great match, and why his battles with Weir and Zelenka work on a structural level.

    Put him in a bottle and force us to listen to him whine for an act or so? Not so tolerable. Frankly, the episode was a wash for me until the moment that McKay’s vision of Samantha Carter emerged on the scene. Once he had someone to work against, in terms of the scene dynamic, it was a lot less annoying. It didn’t hurt that the writers were able to introduce some ambiguity.

    Unfortunately, this also shoved the episode directly into retread territory. Even the producers cite the “SG-1” episode “Grace” as a primary influence on this episode! Granted, after so many episodes within the franchise, the two series will begin repeating concepts, falling into the same problems that the Trek franchise struggled with towards the end. But the “Stargate” franchise, at least, has a better grasp on character development, even without a truly serialized format.

    In essence, the idea is that the same situation is viable if the characters involved react in a different manner than the characters in the original iteration. But that’s not what happens in this case; at least, not to the degree necessary to make the episode something more than derivative. There’s some slight hint that the ocean creature was trying to help McKay survive, and thus brought about the hallucinations in some way, but it’s hardly a given.

    My other issue with the episode is that it comes on the heels of another crossover with “SG-1”. I don’t necessarily mind that the two series have connective threads, but I do mind when the “SG-1” cast is used as a way to lend credibility to an episode. As logical as this crossover is, it feels like a stunt. I would rather see this series stand on its own, because it can do so with relative ease. Hopefully the next episode will focus more on the cast as a whole and attempt to cover new ground.

  • Rodney and a Captain Griffin are out test flying a puddle jumper that had crashed when it loses flight capabilities and crashes in the ocean. Griffin sacrifices himself to save Rodney and Rodney hallucinates Colonel Samantha Carter to keep him company.moreless

    OMG a whole episode of Rodney being Rodney on the ocean floor. I knew nothing about this episode and based on the title was looking forward to it. Then it started and the realization of what it was about hit me.

    That's about it for me. I enjoyed the interaction between Zelenka and Weir especially when she mentioned that if McKay couldn't rely on him who could he rely on. A truer statement was never made. Just to prove that I sat through all of this episode may I say it's just like Rodney to blame Zelenka for the accident and his possible death. Also Griffin saved his life which was quickly forgotten in his paranoia filled rants.

    I do admit that McKay drives a lot of the episodes (In the wrong direction) and that David Hewlett is a wonderful actor, I just can't stand this character and for everyone thing McKay does to endear himself he does at least five things to drive you crazy.

    Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Deep under water...

    It was, again, totally new storyline but I most say, not the best. Ok, it had stunning moments. First, the acting again. McKay character is just so superb and catching character that it is hard to miss - all the panic, all the talking and yelling. Then very good part of this episode was the dialog between McKay and Carter, all the hallucination thing. That if this is his hallucination that should at least be pleasant and worth it.

    But I did not liked the episode because it was one man show. McKay is good and fascinating character but far from my favorite and I would prefer more action.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

Nimet Kanji

Nimet Kanji

Dr. Bryce

Guest Star

Peter Abrams

Peter Abrams

Dr. Donaldson

Guest Star

William MacDonald

William MacDonald

Captain Hugh Griffin

Guest Star

Amanda Tapping

Amanda Tapping

Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter

Recurring Role

David Nykl

David Nykl

Dr. Radek Zelenka

Recurring Role

Chuck Campbell

Chuck Campbell


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Sheppard: When the Wraith attacked the city, you were able to turn the shield into a cloak.

      This refers to events in the Season 2 opening episode "Siege Part 3."

    • McKay: (about the jumper he's in) This is the first flight this thing has had since it was shot down and repaired.

      This most likely refers to the Puddle Jumper shot down by the prisoners in the episode "Condemned."

    • Nitpick: Atlantis sensors are able to pick up Wraith ships several weeks away, and can track every life form in the city. It seems odd that those same sensors wouldn't be able to find one of its own jumpers in the ocean surrounding the city.

    • The whale that leads Sheppard to the Jumper would later be revealed to be a Flagisallus, and not a mammal like a whale but a big fish, in the episode "Echoes."

    • The planet in the Pegasus Galaxy that Moore and McNab brought equipment to cut through the ice and study the ocean was designated M8R-169.

    • In this episode Zelenka speaks Czech: Do prdele, to je na hovno tohle to. Kdo to vymyslel, že budeme pod vodou, tentokrát...? This means: Damn, it's screwed up this. Whose idea was this, we'll be underwater, this time… ?

    • According to McKay, the Jumper was sinking at a rate of 20 feet/minute. This fall rate (1/3 feet/sec.) is very slow and impacting the sea bottom at this speed seems very unlikely to damage the hull integrity of the Jumper. Further, since McKay was unable to disengage the inertial dampeners, any impact at such a low speed should have been virtually unnoticeable from inside the Jumper.

    • Goof: As Griffin is making small talk with Dr. McKay, one of the things he mentions about Christopher Columbus is that he was the first who proposed the Earth wasn't flat. This is a a very common misconception, which seems to have come from an 1828 novel written by American author Washington Irving. In fact, the Earth was known to be round since before the time of Christ, and any educated person (including the Church and the Nobility) or even ordinary sailors would have known this around Columbus' time. What he argued was that the Earth was smaller than what everybody else thought, so a western route over the Atlantic Ocean to Asia from Europe would be a shorter than expected trip. As it turns out, Columbus was actually wrong! The Earth's size was fairly well known from the time of the ancient Greeks, and Medieval scholars had a number very close to modern measurements.

  • QUOTES (31)

    • McKay: Radek, you're gonna have to hurry it up, we are already 1200 feet deep and sinking at a rate of about... 20 feet a minute.
      Zelenka: That's very impressive.
      McKay: Excuse me?!

    • McKay: Look, I need to be the one on the surface saving the poor bastard stuck down here, not actually be the poor bastard stuck down here. By the time Zelenka comes up with a plan, I'll have died of old age.

    • Griffin: So, let me ask you something. As a scientist does it bother you that most of your work, no matter how brilliant, will eventually be considered misguided? 'Cause that would bother me.
      McKay: I'm sorry?
      Griffin: Well, given enough time, everything's pretty much proven wrong, right?
      McKay: No.
      Griffin: Everything from the Earth being flat and the sun revolving around us?
      McKay: Well, if you wanna go back hundreds of years…

    • McKay: (to himself) Wide open fields. Wide open fields. You are not stuck in a metal casket in a thousand feet of water; you are in a wide open field.

    • McKay: (to himself) Radio transmitter is in the forward section which is now flooded with water. Which means that you have no way to contact the surface which means that they have no way to triangulate your position. Okay. All right. Been in worse situations. That you can't think of them right now doesn't make it any less true.

    • McKay: (yelling at Jumper) Oh, come on! A little heat's gonna cost me forty minutes? Is that really how you want this to go down, huh? You want me to freeze to death? You're sure you wouldn't rather I imploded with you, you lemon? Do you really have an opinion anyway, you, you….No! Why? Because you are an inanimate object! Does that stop me from talking to you? Oh, no, no, no, my inanimate friend. Because I have been struck upon the head!

    • McKay: (to sea creature) I'm sorry if I'm bugging you but I kind of need to leave this thing on for a bit, you know. Maybe you could tell my friends where I am, you could do that, huh, you could go for help? (to himself) What am I doing? Well, I'm, uh, treating an alien whale like Lassie.

    • Weir: That's all you've got? You haven't narrowed the search area at all.
      Zelenka: No, no, in fact we've increased it slightly.
      Weir: And how does that count as progress?

    • McKay: (about Carter seducing him) I know what you're trying to do!
      Carter: Well, I should hope so.
      McKay: You're trying to slow me down again!
      Carter: Actually I'm trying to do the opposite.
      McKay: No, no. You're distracting me. You know I've only got a couple of minutes to execute my plan and you're doing the one thing you know could possibly slow me down!
      Carter: You're thinking too much. Come here.
      McKay: No. No, I'm not gonna fall for your plan, Lieutenant Colonel Siren!

    • Zelenka: (about the sea monster) It's at least 6 to 8 times as large as this Jumper so lets's not venture too close, okay?
      Sheppard: How are the shields doing?
      Zelenka: 12 minutes.
      Sheppard: All right! Let's check it out.
      Zelenka: (plaintively) Why?

    • (Carter is pressing herself against McKay)
      McKay: What are you doing?
      Carter: For warmth...
      McKay:'re not physically here, can't transfer any heat.
      Carter: Doesn't mean I can't get you hot!

    • McKay: Ow, Wow. I am arguing with myself about who had an idea first. Me, or me. I really am petty aren't I?
      Carter: And arrogant and bad with people, yes.

    • McKay: God, I'm freezing. Why am I so cold. Oh, no. I haven't lost that much blood have I? (Thinking)
      Of course it could have something to do with the billions or so gallons of freezing water you're surrounded by, you idiot!

    • Griffin: You aren't Spanish, are you?
      McKay: Oh yes! Of the Barcelona McKays!

    • McKay: Been a bad day.
      Carter: You're gonna get out of this.
      McKay: I don't think I would even believe that if you were naked.

    • Zelenka: (cursing in Czech) Do prdele, to je na hovno tohle to. Kdo to vymyslel, že budeme pod vodou, tentokrát...?
      Sheppard: I think my Czech's getting better, 'cause I know what you mean.

    • Carter: Y'know, I was thinking about what you said. I think you were right.
      McKay: Uh, I am? Right about what?
      Carter: Well, I am your fantasy. It's only fair you should get some.

    • McKay: You're the worst hallucination ever!
      Carter: Oh, you don't mean that!

    • McKay: (to Sam) Ah, c'mon! You're a figment of my imagination! The least you could do is take your top off!

    • Zelenka: All I'm getting is sporadic life sign readings.
      Sheppard: As in... sea monster life signs?

    • Carter: This isn't good.
      McKay: Look, just, just ... just shut up! I mean, you come in here, you don't help me, you say the one plan I've got is bad, you, you claim to be a creation of my mind and yet you are in no way dressed provocatively...

    • Carter: (After the Jumper jolted violently) Feels like we hit the bottom.
      McKay: Oh, really? Well, this is good! Well, the chances of us imploding are much slimmer!

    • McKay: Don't play mind games with me.
      Carter: I am a mind game.

    • McKay: You gonna help me, or not?
      Carter: I'll help you stay alive as long as possible, but no – I'm not helping you with this plan.
      McKay: So my own hallucination is saying no to me?!
      Carter: You must realize subconsciously that you need to be talked out of this.
      McKay: I can't even hallucinate right today!

    • Carter: They'll find a way.
      McKay: No they won't! You and I both know the one person who can figure it all out is stuck in the back of a sinking Jumper!
      Carter: Me.
      McKay: Oh, touché!

    • Zelenka: (After hearing that he has to join Sheppard in submerging Jumper) I, I ... I can't even swim!
      Sheppard: There's not a lot of swimming under a thousand feet of ocean.

    • McKay: What else am I hallucinating?
      Carter: What do you mean?
      McKay: Well, if you're not real, what is? I mean, how, how, how do I tell the difference? How do I know that any of these readings I've been taking are correct?
      Carter: You're not that far gone.

    • Carter: Why else would I be here?
      McKay: I don't know! Maybe one last romp before I die.
      Carter: One last romp?! Please, we never ...
      McKay: Okay, one first romp, but it's romping that comes to mind, not your brains, blondie. Now, you've gotta admit, I am a handsome man standing ...
      Carter: You're essentially arguing with yourself. You realize that, right?

    • McKay: You are very clever. I will even give you brilliant; but there is brilliant, and then there's me.

    • Carter: (to McKay) The way I see it, you're scared. You're a little panicked, you're a lot lonely. You knew you could use some help, so your subconscious is manifesting the one person you know is smarter than you.

    • McKay: We make a good team, you and I.
      Carter: Sure...
      McKay: No, no I mean it. I really enjoy working with you, always have.
      (Carter nods)
      McKay: I wonder... I wonder why we never... hooked up?
      McKay: Well aside from the fact that you're petty, arrogant and treat people badly?
      McKay: ...Yes?
      Carter: No, that's pretty much it. Petty, arrogant, bad with people.

  • NOTES (7)

    • The shot where the water level lowers when McKay is rescued was sped up in post-production as it wouldn't lower quick enough. This can be seen through the speed of the bubbles rising underwater.

    • This episode is a bottle show, that is, an episode that uses no new sets and very few new visual effects in an effort to reduce costs.

    • The character of Captain Hugh Griffin was named for a friend of Martin Gero.

    • Awards:

      -Joel Goldsmith was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore) for this episode.

    • This is the first episode of the series in which Rachel Luttrell does not appear.

    • Jason Momoa and Paul McGillion do not appear in this episode.

    • International Airdates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on December 12, 2005 on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
      -This episode aired in the UK on February 1, 2006 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Australia on May 3, 2007 on Channel 7.
      -Syndication Premiere: February 10-11, 2007.


    • McKay: I'm treating an alien whale like Lassie.

      Lassie is the quintessential loyal canine, she has been seen in various incarnations from original book form in Lassie Come Home in 1938 all the way to the latest film simply titled Lassie in 2005.

    • Sheppard: Chocolate and peanut butter.

      During the 70's and 80's, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup slogan was about "chocolate and peanut butter" together.

    • McKay: No. No, I'm not gonna fall for your plan, Lt. Colonel Siren!

      In Greek mythology the Sirens were sea nymphs who lived on an island called Sirenum scopuli, which was surrounded by cliffs and rocks. Approaching sailors were drawn to them by their enchanted singing, causing them to sail onto the rocks and drown.

    • Title:

      "Grace" refers to the Stargate SG-1 episode "Grace". In that episode, Samantha Carter was trapped alone on a ship and hallucinated people she knew to help her. In this episode, McKay hallucinates her to help him in the same situation.