Stargate Atlantis

Season 5 Episode 4

The Daedalus Variations

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Aug 01, 2008 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
322 votes

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Episode Summary

Sheppard's team finds the Earth ship Daedalus abandoned and without power.

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  • A brilliantly crafted episode balancing character moments and visual effects action. It will leave you wanting more!

    When I first saw this episode, I was excited from start to finish. It may be a bottle show but it's one that combines excellent writing, directing and visual effects which, in my opinion, makes it one of the best of season five. Plus, it's always great to see more of the Daedalus so this episode instantly won me over.

    So, from the get go we realise that something is wrong when a deserted ship appears out of nowhere and it becomes apparant fairly early on that this isn't "our" Daedalus. I like how the bridge set was subtly redressed with different plexiglass screens, consoles and lighting effects giving that hint that it is indeed a different ship, and the female commander was a nice touch too.

    It was refreshing to have an episode where the Wraith didn't play a prominent role and we could see the team deal with an unexpected and unknown situation akin to some of those classic SG-1 episodes.

    The acting and story throughout was great as usual and the visual effects are second to none (though there were a few sneaky re-uses in there!). I especially liked the unknown alien ship and it's fighters. Though it may have been slightly contrived it they appeared again in our universe, I couldn't help wanting to know more about them - who they were? Where they came from? Were they the equivalent of the Wraith in the alternate reality? So many questions, but who knows?!

    There are some minor criticisms of the this episode, however, most notably the lack of Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey). Though Kavan Smith (Maj. Lorne) did an excellent job in the few scenes he had, it still felt like the leader of the base should have been present, at the very least toward the end of the episode. Furthermore, McKay's "Deus Ex Machina" way of getting out of impossible situations is getting a little tiresome though it doesn't bring the story down too much.

    Overall, a very well written and directed episode with some great character moments aswell. In my opinion, this definately deserves 9/10. One of the best this season.moreless
  • See Summary

    The Daedalus Variations was a good episode of Stargate Atalantis. This episode was primarily based on the exploits of Dr. McKay as Sheppards Team discovered a Daedalus Ship orbiting the planet Atlantis is based on. Upon furthur analysis it is determined that this ship is from an alternate universe and that the crew is missing. It is fun to watch the episode unravel and see what is happening. The characters in the episode are very good in their respecitive roles. I don't believe this episode was vital to the continuitity of the Atlantis story line but it was good none the less.moreless
  • Not bad...

    I went into this episode thinking that this was just going to be another alternate reality episode but that wasn't the case. Don't get me wrong I find the alternate reality episodes to be really enjoyable, at times. It's fun to see what the differences are between one reality from the other. This episode was unique in that it didn't really ow alot of other people other than Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, and McKay. They are basically stuck on the ship the entire episode, but it was good for a change. I thought that alien species was very cool. I hope we get to see them again, they look like an actual enemy that could be scary and a challenge, that would also be a nice change. I don't know about anyone else but for me the Wraith stopped being scary a couple of years ago.moreless
  • A little tired of all these mutiple/alternate realties- I guess it was a bit disappointing after having just watched Stargate SG1 Continunun

    Too many similar plots are beginning to creep in - how many alternate realities are we going to have to see. There needs to be something new - more in depth character development wouldn't go astray, as well as extending plot development - they are in a brand new universe after all with countless worlds to explore and amazing discoveries to be made (maybe a visit by archaeologist Daniel Jackson to spurn a new story lineand even a new character). With wraith and replicators on the back burner a new direction, discoveries or enemies is needed or the show has a much shorter life than SG1.moreless
  • At long last, an episode that uses something imaginative as a plot mechanism instead of a rip-off from every other Sci-Fi show in the last 30 years.

    From time to time, Stargate has dabbled in alternate worlds. The Ancients left the occasional machine around that would cause alternate worlds to be contacted, and we'd often get a glimpse into the future of "our" world through the alternate worlds. We got an early warning about Apophis' invasion of Earth at one point, and at another the Ori were foreshadowed.

    We've seen the alternate realities played with a bit in Atlantis, too, when an alternate team's energy source endangered "our" universe, as some alternate realities learned to tap into others for energy. That was a natural consequence of a previous episode, and this episode was a logical consequence of that one - that a drive would be invented allowing the travel between alternate realities.

    This kind of thing is why I still watch Stargate - they can occasionally use a good hardcore Science Fiction concept and explore it intelligently instead of falling back on lazy clichéd plots. It doesn't happen nearly enough, these days, but when it does it's a joy.moreless
Tracy Waterhouse

Tracy Waterhouse

Commander Sobel

Guest Star

David Nykl

David Nykl

Dr. Radek Zelenka

Recurring Role

Chuck Campbell

Chuck Campbell


Recurring Role

Kavan Smith

Kavan Smith

Major Evan Lorne

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Sheppard is seen playing on a Nintendo DS while talking to McKay in the Infirmary.

    • The chart behind the alternate Daedalus' captain's chair is set at a different angle (at about 90 degrees) and is orange, instead of green, which is the case of our Daedalus.

    • Alternate Sheppard: Well, the thing is we do have a few questions. See, the Daedalus we know was destroyed two years ago in a battle with the Replicators.

      In this reality the expedition appears to have encountered the Asurans earlier then our reality as two years ago they had just discovered the Replicators.

    • McKay: You said when you went to the future you saw our sun expanding into a red giant, remember?

      This is a reference to the Season 4 finale "The Last Man."

    • Ronon: We've seen our doubles before.
      Teyla: Replicator-manufactured copies...

      This is a reference to the Season 4 episode "This Mortal Coil."

    • McKay: Look, the residual radiation -- it's exactly what we recorded when my double arrived on Atlantis from an alternate reality.

      This is a reference to the Season 3 episode "McKay and Mrs. Miller" and the arrival of "Rod."

    • In the alternate reality from which the Daedalus originated, the ship was not under the command of Colonel Steven Caldwell. Instead it was commanded by a Colonel Sobel who is the first female commander of an Earth battlecruiser we have encountered with the exception of Colonel Samantha Carter, who commanded the Phoenix in the alternate timeline seen in "The Last Man."

    • Ronon's "who cares" attitude about the team's alternate reality doubles is similar to Teal'c's view on the matter . When he met (and killed) his alternate self in the Stargate SG-1 Season 3 episode "Point of View," he stated that "our reality is the only one of consequence" and in the Season 9 episode "Ripple Effect" he did not speak to his alternate self.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • (Sheppard and McKay are walking out of the conference room talking about Teyla's baby)
      Sheppard: What are you talking about?
      McKay: I'm telling you, she's hiding him from me.
      Sheppard: She's not hiding him!
      McKay: Oh yeah? Every time I go to see him, she tells me that he's just settled down.
      Sheppard: Can you blame her? You dropped him.
      McKay: I did not drop him! He jumped.
      Sheppard: Jumped!?
      McKay: Well, he wiggled out of my arms. Look, I said I was sorry. Besides, how much damage could I possibly have done? He fell, like, maybe two feet. Stuff like that happens all the time. I was dropped like a dozen times when I was a kid.
      Sheppard: Well, that explains a lot. Why do you even care? You don't even like kids.
      McKay: It's the principal of the thing. Everyone else gets to hold him, why shouldn't I?

    • Sheppard: So what do we do? Can we just throw this thing in reverse?
      McKay: Uh, yeah, it's a little more complicated than that. The first problem is navigation. They developed a coordinate system to identify the various realities and allow them to get back, but obviously that didn't work.
      Sheppard: Obviously.
      McKay: That's not what bothers me.
      Sheppard: Well, it kind of bothers me.

    • Alternate Sheppard: Daedalus, this is Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard do you read.
      (Ronon and Sheppard look at each other)
      Alternate Sheppard: Daedalus, do you read?
      Sheppard: Uh, yeah, Daedalus, this is Daedalus, come in.
      Alternate Sheppard: Who? Who is this?
      Sheppard: It's a long story.
      Alternate Sheppard: Well, whoever you are you saved our asses when you took out their main weapons. We figured the least we could do is return the favor.
      Sheppard: Much appreciated.

    • Alternate Sheppard: All right, that looks like the last of them. So, what happens now?
      Sheppard: Well we go our own ways.
      Alternate Sheppard: Just like that?
      Sheppard: Pretty much.
      Alternate Sheppard: Well, the thing is we do have a few questions. See, the Daedalus we know was destroyed two years ago in a battle with the Replicators.
      Sheppard: Sorry to hear that. This isn't exactly our Daedalus, we're just borrowing it for a while.
      Alternate Sheppard: Okay, I have no idea what that means.
      Sheppard: Like I said, it's a long story.

    • (whilst under attack and targeting incoming fighters)
      Ronon: Arg!!!
      (Bangs on buttons)
      Sheppard: Easy, Chewy, those buttons are your friends. Just keep trying!
      Ronon: I'M TRYING!!!

    • Sheppard: Our stop is coming up, it's time to get off this train.

    • Sheppard: Why is the blast door closed?
      McKay: Hello?! Residual radiation?
      Sheppard: Oh, right. Have you made any progress?
      McKay: As a matter of fact, yes we have.
      Sheppard: "We"?
      McKay: Me and the other McKay, who, unsurprisingly, is a genius. Not only that, but it looks like the drive was created by yet another McKay from the original reality.
      Sheppard: What makes you say that?
      McKay: Well, there's a certain, um, elegance to the design that I recognise.
      Sheppard: I'm sure that's what the crew were saying when they abandoned ship.

    • Teyla: Colonel, Atlantis is back, I'm picking it up on the sensors.
      Sheppard: You know how to work this stuff?
      Teyla: The last time the Daedalus was in orbit Major Marks generously offered to give (to Ronon) both of us some preliminary training.
      Ronon: I was busy.

    • (in alternate reality)
      Sheppard: Atlantis, this is Sheppard come in.
      Ronon: Maybe they already have a Sheppard.

    • Sheppard: Rodney, do we have juice to power up the Asgard beam?
      McKay: Maybe, maybe you'll be able to get a couple of shots off. Why?
      Sheppard: There's some alien ship attacking Atlantis.
      McKay: So?
      Sheppard: What do you mean so, it's Atlantis.
      McKay: Yeah, well it's not our Atlantis. We have no idea who's down there. Look, we should just stay out of it.
      Teyla: If we do not intervene the city will be destroyed.
      Sheppard: Yeah, we need help. My gut tells me we're better off going with the people on the planet than whoever's on that ship.
      McKay: I hope you're right.
      Sheppard: Yeah, well me too.

    • McKay: In a spectacular feat of multi-dimensional mathematics, I have discovered a way to send the ship back along the path it previously traveled bypassing the navigation system all together.
      Sheppard: Wait a minute, you're talking about putting this thing in reverse?
      McKay: Exactly.
      Sheppard: I just suggested that two hours ago.
      McKay: And naturally I dismissed it out of hand. But then I realized that, including the original designer, not one but two versions of myself have failed to make this work. I had to think not like me. In fact, I had to think the opposite of me, and it doesn't get more opposite than you.
      Sheppard: …I'll take that as a compliment.

    • Alternate Sheppard: All right, Daedalus, good luck.
      Sheppard: Thank you, Colonel. And one last thing, it's been a pleasure. You're obviously a man of great integrity, and a dedicated commander, and a very skilled pilot.
      Alternate Sheppard: Well, that's funny. I was going to say the same to you.

    • (to Rodney holding Torren)
      Teyla: I think you'll make an excellent father someday.
      Sheppard: I've seen a lot of scary things in my time, but that thought scares me the most.

  • NOTES (7)

    • In the original script, the setting was to be a room on Atlantis that kept shifting realities, but it was deemed this would restrict what could take place in the episode and so the setting was moved to the Daedalus.

    • The unidentified aliens in this episode were originally intended to be computer-generated insect-like creatures, however this was dropped as, due to the amount of interaction they would have with the actors, it was deemed to be too expensive.

    • The working title for this episode was "The Flying Dutchman"

    • On Joseph Mallozzi's blog, the writer for the episode, Alan McCullough, said that one of the alternate realities that were discussed was a version where the Ancients won their war with the Wraith but it was decided that this would detract from the story and it never made it into production.

    • The Alien's weapons are a re-used prop from the Stargate SG-1 Season 6 episode "Forsaken."

    • Jewel Staite and Robert Picardo do not appear in this episode.

    • International Air Dates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on August 4, 2008 on Movie Central and The Movie Network.
      -This episode aired in the UK on September 9, 2008 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Sweden on October 17, 2008 on TV6.
      -Syndication Premiere: October 10-11, 2009.
      -This episode aired in the Czech Republic on October 15, 2009 on AXN Sci-fi.


    • Sheppard: Easy, Chewy, those buttons are your friends. Just keep trying!

      This is a reference to Han Solo's copilot in Star Wars as was the cockpit view during the shootout with aliens. The view was the same as what you would see on the command deck of the Millennium Falcon.