Stargate Atlantis

Season 3 Episode 16

The Ark

Aired Friday 10:00 PM May 18, 2007 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
301 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Atlantis team uncovers the last survivors of a civilization who have been placed in suspended animation aboard a space station. As some of the people awaken, problems from the past threaten to destroy everyone on the station, including Sheppard.

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  • Disturbing attitudes of the main cast to saving the trapped people

    Regarding the episode as a whole, I would echo what others have written - entertaining enough, but definitely a case of "seen it all before".

    However, what I found particularly troubling myself were the attitudes of the main "heroic" cast to saving the 1000 people (inc. 200 children) trapped in the storage device. It was definitely a case of if they aren't from America - oops, Freudian slip, I of course meant Atlantis - then who cares. They really aren't given a second thought. An entire race of people are judged by the actions of one (apparently) mentally disturbed individual. Sheppard couldn't care less when Jamus is injured, not even asking how serious it is. The supposedly more sensitive Teyla lies right to Jamus' face about trying to save the device (after a 5 second conversation with McKay where he clearly hasn't bothered to think about how they might do it) to save her own skin, and later Sheppard threatens to leave him behind (effectively threatening to kill him) just for insisting that they TRY and save 1000 people rather than just leave. Somehow, Jamus is the one painted as the "bad guy", "getting what he deserves" at the end and dying when he is extracted from the storage device.

    The only hint of remorse comes in a throwaway line right at the end where Teyla merely states they they might have done the same in his situation. But even this doesn't suggest any of the principal cast had any problem with letting 200 kids burn, Weir (who I generally want to punch for her unbelievably condescending attitude - there's no way someone like that would be a successful diplomat) even mildly berates Sheppard at the end for finally going through with saving the module (for Teyla of course, not the 1000 people he doesn't care about).

    I realise this is Stargate not Star Trek, but still is this an attitude the US public finds acceptable in their real armed forces, let alone fictional? Shocking.moreless
  • Shepard as hero again, Wraith, frozen civilizations and some atomic bombs. Slow episode, among the first i kept skipping from the useless time to time gibberish.

    From the beginning to, almost the end everything revolves on the same ship around the sins and bad decisions a civilization had to make because of the Wraith. The rest is pretty much same stuff they have to deal with from time to time. Impossible odds, hostage at gunpoint and Shepard's hero thing to save those they never leave behind. Other than that all that was interesting are the scenes near the end, where actually a little bit of action does happen. This is yet another of those fill-up episodes totally worthless and useless, a little boring but still bears that SGA feel.moreless
  • Did this on Stargate SG-1 already!

    The plot of trying to save a race by downloading them and then trying to save them was already done on Stargate SG-1 (and done better, in my opinion).

    Maybe if they had acknowledged that or tied the episode to the previous episode I might've forgiven it more.

    This had nothing new.

    There was no interesting twist.

    None of the characters were really all that developed. The guest stars were not that interesting and the main ones just went through the usual paces.

    The last episode "the game" was quite good, so I was really sad that this episode failed to hold my interest.moreless
  • See Summary

    This was a slower episode which I'll call a filler. It didn't really pertain to any particular established story line. The story itself was ok, but this episode is by no means a must see. Sheppards Team discovers a station hidden inside of a moon orbiting a planet, with devices holding thousands of people in stasis, similar to Wraith technology. The people of the planet below stored themselves away and made sure no other people survived on the planet by employing a nuclear grade explosion. This was their way of hiding from the Wraith, or to out live them in some way. There is tension between the 2 people revived by the team, one causes catastrophic damage and leaves the team to clean up and fend for themselves. In the end the Atlantis Team survives, and saves the lives of the people in the device.moreless
  • All the things done for dying people...

    I liked this one - this was somehow different, again. They never keep the same line for more than one episode, so there is always variety. I loved that this was space episode and all the thing with those dying people - that man who said, that he wish he would have never beamed out - that he could have gone thinking happy thoughts and the way the old man told about all the sacrifices the made for that base and the survival - the things he was ready to do to save his people and Teyla understand that. All the excitement, action... motion. Lovely episode.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

Kenneth Welsh

Kenneth Welsh


Guest Star

Joris Jarsky

Joris Jarsky


Guest Star

Kavan Smith

Kavan Smith

Major Evan Lorne

Recurring Role

Chuck Campbell

Chuck Campbell


Recurring Role

Gerry Durand

Gerry Durand

Captain Levine

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Sheppard's earphone (instead of his radio piece) makes a reappearance near the end of the episode, after the shuttle has landed on the planet.

    • Goof: In the shuttle when Herreck first wakes up, Sheppard enters the Jumper. In his ear is an in ear earphone with a wire emerging from his shirt. In the next image of him, he has his radio in his ear and earphone is gone.

    • It would not be possible for Sheppard to survive an uncontrolled re-entry into a planetary atmosphere. Actual re-entry paths must be carefully calculated so that the ship does not come in on too steep an angle (and burn up) or too shallow an angle (and just skim the atmosphere before bouncing off into space). The ship would be equally unable to survive impact with the ground given the speed it was traveling.

    • When Sheppard visits Teyla in the Atlantis infirmary, his Atlantis and American flag patches have swapped shoulders.

    • When Herick is getting away in the shuttle, while he is still on the station, if you look on the console to the right, you can see what appears to be a Snickers bar.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Ronon: Uh, Sheppard, I wouldn't leave this guy with that guy right now, not unless you wanted this guy dead.
      Sheppard: You really think he would...
      Ronon: I would.

    • Teyla: Perhaps the only way to preserve your people now is to preserve their memory. If you die, they will be forgotten. Their deaths will go unrecorded, and the Wraith will have won. Or leave here with us now, and keep the spirit of your people alive inside you. Document their achievements, their struggles and triumphs. Tell their story to anyone who will listen. The choice is yours.

    • (Debris hits the control room window causing a small crack)
      McKay: I'm.... I'm alive...(Crack starts to widen) I'm dead. I'm so dead!

    • Weir: And I assume you have come to the Infirmary in order to have your head examined.
      Sheppard: Hey, I pulled it off, didn't I?
      Teyla: Yes, you did.

    • Ronon: Hey. Remember you still owe me a fight to the death.
      Sheppard: I look forward to that.

    • McKay: Just... Can I say one more thing?
      (The moonbase shakes again)
      Sheppard: As long as you say it as fast as you can.
      McKay: Don't do this. It's impossible.
      Sheppard: Willing to bet a week's wages on that?
      McKay: Yeah, how're you gonna pay up if I win, huh?
      Sheppard: Thanks for caring!
      McKay: Yeah.

    • Lorne: I think he's crazy. The thing's how many hundred years old? And it's out of fuel.
      Ronon: He said he could fly it.
      Beckett: You do realize you're out of your bloody mind, right?
      Sheppard: Yeah, probably.

    • McKay: Yes, but I've already told you, there's no way I can rig up a compatible power source for the Jumper.
      Sheppard: I'm not talking about the Jumper.
      McKay: What?
      Sheppard: I always wanted to fly a space shuttle. Now's my chance.
      McKay: Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

    • McKay: I have no idea how to determine who's who in this thing. Look, maybe if I had a few hours...
      Sheppard: Well, you don't.
      McKay: Yes, I know, but short of randomly beaming people out one by one...
      Sheppard: There's a thousand people in this thing.
      McKay: I am aware of that.

    • Sheppard(to Jamus, who is holding Teyla hostage): This rock is gonna burn up in the atmosphere.
      Beckett: Meaning if you don't open this door, you'll die.
      Jamus: Then I will die with my people.
      Sheppard: OK. Open up the door and let Teyla out and you can die with your people.

    • Beckett: Tell them we'll be there in a jiff.
      Sheppard: You guys hear that?
      McKay:(over the radio) Yay! Faint hope!

    • Weir: Help is on its way. What else can we do?
      Ronon: Hurry!

    • Weir: What's happened?
      Sheppard: We've got ourselves in a damaged moonbase in a decaying orbit, cut off from each other, and we lost the Jumper. That happened. Well, there's more to it than that, but you get the idea.

    • McKay: If anyone's counting, we have another problem.

    • McKay: All right. I'm gonna take a look around, see if I can figure out a way to seal the compartments between us. I figure it would be nice if we were all together as we burn up.
      Sheppard(reprovingly): McKay.
      McKay: I'm sorry. I mean, as we get rescued. I always get those two confused.

    • Ronon: I'm not good at this.
      Sheppard: What?
      Ronon: Waiting to die.
      Sheppard: Don't think about it.
      Ronon: I don't like small spaces.
      Sheppard: Could be worse.
      Ronon: Personally, I'd rather die fighting.
      Sheppard: I'd rather not die.
      Ronon: I'm just saying...
      Sheppard: Look, if this rock burns up in the atmosphere, I'll fight you to the death myself. Deal?
      Ronon: You're on.

    • McKay: We don't have much time left. The moon was already in a low orbit to start with. We're beginning to skim the outer atmosphere. We're gonna slow down exponentially.
      Sheppard: Think of a brilliant plan, Rodney! That's what you do best. Using as little oxygen as possible.

    • McKay: Okay, time for the How Screwed We Are report.
      Sheppard: All right, go ahead.
      McKay: There's no way to seal the compartments between us from here. You know, there's too many hatches left open. Herick was obviously trying to vent the station to space. Look, I'm going to need to suit up, see what I can do.
      Sheppard: Doesn't sound too screwed.
      McKay: Ho, ho, ho, but I'm not finished yet. Because the shuttle was attached and exhausted all of its fuel during the burn, and moon has been knocked out of its orbit.
      Sheppard: How much time do we have?
      McKay: Before we burn up, or before we suffocate? Because the reactors scrammed and shut down during all this, so we're down to emergency power, most of which is being channeled into the people storage device.
      Sheppard: Well, I don't know. Pick one.
      McKay: Not done yet. Cause there's still the fact that the Jumper was blasted out of the docking port, so there is no way off this rock in either case.

    • Sheppard (after Ronon just popped his own arm back in its socket): That's disturbing.
      Ronon: I don't like to wait.

    • McKay: Herick just killed himself and tried to take us with him. Chances are, he's succeeded too. I watched him open the rear hatch of the shuttle before he fired the main engines.
      Sheppard: Why would he do that?
      McKay (Sarcastically): You know, I never really got to know him, so, uh...

    • McKay(over the radio): Sheppard, Ronon, come in.
      Sheppard(a little out of it): Still here. Barely.
      McKay(relieved): I was pretty sure you were dead!
      Sheppard: Yeah, well, same here.

    • Teyla: I am sorry, Herick, but we have scanned the surface of your planet. If your world was at war with the Wraith, the war was lost many years ago.
      McKay: More like centuries. (after Teyla lowers her head in irritation) I mean, there is nothing down there but ruins and plant life.
      Sheppard: Dial up the sensitivity a notch, all right?

    • McKay: I recognized the energy signature as very similar, virtually identical, to Wraith beaming technology. I think he was automatically reintegrated when life support systems started up.
      Weir: Beaming technology?! A minute ago you said the station was antiquated.
      Sheppard: Other than the one upgrade.
      McKay: And the artificial gravity.
      Sheppard: Say early Apollo program.

    • Sheppard(after Rodney turned the power on without his permission): Rodney!
      McKay: You said you wanted to take a closer look at that shuttle.
      Sheppard: I did not!
      McKay: Ah, well, you were thinking it.

    • Sheppard: We're out of here.
      McKay(spotting a closed hatch): Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. I need to find out what's inside. I'm the same way with Christmas presents and piñatas. One more compartment, other side of this door.
      Sheppard: Okay. Just one more.

    • McKay: The compartments between us are in vacuum, possibly damaged by the explosion. We're cut off from each other.
      Sheppard: What else?
      McKay: Look, just give me a second to figure out how screwed we are and I'll get back to you.
      (some time later)
      McKay: (over radio) OK, time for the 'How Screwed We Are' report.

    • McKay: Unfortunately, the computer froze. It was completely locked up. Probably should have used a Mac.

    • Sheppard: That's not the reason i did it.
      Teyla: I know.
      Sheppard: Don't go feeling special. I would have done it for any one of you.
      Teyla: Of course.
      Sheppard: (Turns to leave) Except for maybe McKay.
      Teyla: Yes, I think even for Rodney.
      Sheppard: Maybe.

    • Sheppard: I guarantee your gonna see pretty much the same technology your looking at here. Which I'd call vintage 1967.
      McKay: Oh yeah, yeah. You know we hollowed out a lot of moons in the '60s.
      Sheppard: Well, if we did, this is what it would look like.
      McKay: What about that shuttle, huh? You know, the one we saw when we docked?
      Sheppard: It was very 007.
      McKay: See, even you were intrigued.
      Sheppard: A little bit. Elizabeth gave us the go-ahead to explore this station if, and I underline the "if" there, we find anything we can use against our many and sundry bad guys.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Footage of Major Lorne's Puddle Jumper exiting the stargate is a re-use from the previous episode, "The Game".

    • Even though this episode aired first, it was actually filmed after the episode "Sunday" making this Paul McGillion's final episode of the season.

    • During the taping of this episode Paul McGillion played a practical joke on Rachel Luttrell by getting up on the bed right beside her (It was very dark in the room) and he put his face right next to her and said, "Hello sweetheart!"

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on January 8, 2007 on Movie Central and February 12, 2007 on The Movie Network.
      -This episode aired in the UK on February 14, 2007 on Sky One.
      -Syndication Premiere: February 23-24, 2008.
      -This episode aired in Australia on June 12, 2008 on Channel 7.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on June 10, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.


    • Doctor Who:

      The storyline is similar to the 1975 Tom Baker Dr. Who episodes "The Ark in Space" in which the Doctor, Sarah and Harry discover the last survivors of the human race held in suspended animation in the space station Nerva, aka "the Ark".

    • Noah's Ark:

      The title of this episode is an allusion to Noah's Ark. A vessel used to spare the last of a civilization destroyed by global flood.

    • McKay: Looks like the entire bulkhead was twisted when Sammy Suicide decided to fire up his rocket ship.

      A reference to the 1915 black and white, silent movie Sammy's Semi-Suicide.

    • McKay: Unfortunately the computer froze, it was completely locked up. Probably should have used a Mac.

      A Mac or Macintosh is a computer produced by the American company Apple Inc.

    • Apollo programme:

      Project Apollo was a series of human spaceflight missions undertaken by the United States of America using the Apollo spacecraft, conducted during the years 1961-1972. In that time it landed 12 astronauts on the moon.

    • Sheppard: That's very Double-O-Seven.

      Refers to the code name of the famous spy, James Bond, from the Ian Fleming novels.

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