Stargate Atlantis

Season 1 Episode 4

Thirty Eight Minutes

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Jul 30, 2004 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
484 votes

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Episode Summary

The Puddle Jumper has been damaged and is stuck part way through an Orbital Space Gate. The team have only 38 minutes to find a way to dislodge themselves before the Stargate shuts down, cutting the Jumper in half. To make matters worse, John Sheppard has an alien creature attached to his neck that is sucking the life from him.moreless

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  • The panicky whiner character

    We're all familiar with the Dr. McKay panicky whiner type character. If we don't have one in our own family, then we probably know one at work.

    His (or her) first impulse when something goes wrong is to let his emotions run wild. Instead of contributing to the solution of the problem, he gets in the way of others who are doing their best to remain calm so they can solve the problem.

    The panicky whiner character is irritating beyond belief, but he is actually very useful in advancing the plot. His obnoxious whining is basically well-disguised exposition. Also, he illustrates what the protagonists must NOT do, which is give in to panic.

    The funniest character of this type was USMC Pvt Hudson in James Cameron's SF classic "Aliens."

    Hudson: Well that's great, that's just fuckin' great, man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now man...

    Hudson: That's it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?

    Hudson: Seventeen *days?* Hey man, I don't wanna rain on your parade, but we're not gonna last seventeen *hours!* Those things are gonna come in here just like they did before. And they're gonna come in here...

    Hudson: ...and they're gonna come in here AND THEY'RE GONNA GET US!

    Hudson: Wow, that's beautiful. That... that tells it all.

    Hudson: I don't believe this, I don't fucking *believe* this.

    Hudson: Oh, maaaaaan and I was getting short. Four more weeks and out, now I'm going to die on this rock. This ain't fair man.

    Hudson: Four more weeks.

    Hudson: How? The transmitter was on the APC. It's wasted.

    Hudson: Think of what? We're *fucked*!

    Hudson: We're doomed now...

    Hudson: Oh yeah, sure. With *those* things running around? You can count *me* out.

    Every time the Hudson character, played to perfection by actor Bill Paxton, started whining, I couldn't stop laughing.

    Fortunately McKay, like Hudson in "Aliens," eventually pulls himself together and redeems himself.moreless
  • Sheppard's team does a recon of the Wraith planet to find them gone. As if it flew away in on piece. Sheppard is attacked by a large insect and the "Puddle Jumper" ends up lodged halfway in the Stargate leaving thirty eight minutes before they die.moreless

    We find out some interesting and vital information about the Stargate. Basically anything has thirty eight minutes to totally bridge the Stargate before it shuts down on any one trip through. There are lower life forms that mimic the Wraith and the way they feed. Dr. McKay's character is really as annoying as he seems to be all of the time!

    It looks as if the whole Wraith complex was actually a ship of some kind that must have been on this planet for centuries. The whole thing lifted off leaving a large crater in its wake. As Ford said, "It's not a blast crater" so it must have just took off. This somehow seems very ominous to say the least.

    Those Wraith that were left behind were different than the main ones. The Wraith must live and work in a hive type mentality. Those few Wraiths we saw looked like soldier Wraiths Similar to the soldier ants you see. If you look at an ant hill you'll see different size ants, workers, soldiers, drones, etc. Each has there own specific job and they work for the queen.

    That bug was reminiscent of the Alien crature but not as creepy. Not that this one wasn't creepy, but it healed itself even after it had been blown to bits by Ford sidearm. I believe it was blown out the airlock at the end. I hope!

    Is McKay going to crack under the pressure each time something happens. They spend about as much time placating his idiosyncrasies as they do with the problem at hand. I really hope they get past this.

    I'm still enjoying the Weir, Sheppard, Teyla, and Ford characters. They really move these stories forward and are quite effective. We got to see some of the other scientist's as well in this episode. I also enjoy the doctor's role in all of this. He has good beside manner.

    Pretty good comeback after the last episode. I enjoyed this one more and the tension was more real for me. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • See Summary

    This episode was a decent continuation of the Atlantis Expedition. It was a window into the characters and how they each deal with being under extreme pressure while time is counting down, and people's lives on the line. It was interesting to see how different people reacted. I also believe there was groundwork being laid for future story lines. The insect attatched to Major Sheppard was very similar in its nature to the Wraith, and I believe we will see more about this Later, as well as with the Ego driven scientist who was challenging Dr. Weir's actions. Not a favorite episode, but an important one in relation to future episodes I think.moreless
  • The team finds themselves in mortal danger when their puddle jumper ship becomes lodged in the Stargate.

    Jumper One returns to the Stargate on final approach, after having suffered an attack from several remaining Wraith on their homeworld. Major Sheppard is in critical condition, having been bitten in the neck by a paralyzing insect that refuses to let go. After opening the gate to Atlantis, Jumper One begins to make its way through the event horizon, but becomes lodged mid-way via a damaged starboard drive pod that did not retract. Power is cut inside the ship, and it is imminently clear that the team has 38 minutes to live before the gate automatically shuts down.moreless
  • Troubles in the middle..

    I liked the problem and the build up of this episode - the problem with stargate. I have so many times watched some things going trough there and wondered - mm.. what happens if they are stucked there. In this episode, it comes out. All the time counting thing and that everything there seems to be going on the same time scale than episode on real time.

    The only thing that looked weird for me - all the shocking thing. I would be quite sure that poor Sheppard would have get little brain damage as they did not managed to get him up very quick and they spent much time on the jumper before they get him to the stargate.

    But it was really good episode. Lot of nerve-wracking moments.moreless
Joe Flanigan

Joe Flanigan

Major / Lt. Colonel John Sheppard

Torri Higginson

Torri Higginson

Dr. Elizabeth Weir

Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell

Teyla Emmagan

Rainbow Sun Francks

Rainbow Sun Francks

Lt. Aiden Ford

David Hewlett

David Hewlett

Dr. Rodney McKay

Fiona Hogan

Fiona Hogan

Dr. Simpson

Guest Star

Joseph May

Joseph May

Sgt. Markham

Guest Star

Paul McGillion

Paul McGillion

Dr. Carson Beckett

Recurring Role

Craig Veroni

Craig Veroni

Dr. Peter Grodin

Recurring Role

Christopher Heyerdahl

Christopher Heyerdahl


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • Goof: At the end of the episode, when they are through the gate, Shepard has no heartbeat and is dead. Yet you can clearly see him breath while they are trying to reanimate him!

    • Zelenka says several lines in Czech in this episode. First he says "Můžeš mi dát ty nejnovější data, prosim? Já se s tímhle nemůžu hnout." which translates to "Please, could you give me the latest data? I can't seem to solve this." Then he says "Ne, tak aspoň, aspoň tři mi dej." which translates to "No. Give me at least, at least three." Lastly he says "To je ono, my to máme. which translates to "That is it, we have it."

    • At the beginning of the episode, Lieutenant Ford mentions "threading the needle", a Jaffa expression meaning to fly through the Stargate, which was first mentioned by Bra'tac in the Stargate SG-1 third season premiere "Into the Fire".

    • Dr. Kavanagh's motion-by-decompression solution is the same one used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect". Additionally, Samantha Carter attempts to use this method to propel the Prometheus out of a nebula in the seventh-season Stargate SG-1 episode "Grace".

    • Goof: At the beginning of the episode it shows the Puddle Jumper flying towards the gate, and the event horizon can be seen. In the next shot McKay tells one of the crew to radio Atlantis when the gate is active, but no one does.

    • Goof: To get through the gate they decide to 'blow' the rear hatch (which means they just opened it, because there was no explosion heard). However, when they arrive on the other end, the door is closed.

    • Goof: The crew of the jumper only dials five symbols into the DHD before hitting the engage button.

    • The creature attached to Sheppard is later referred to an Iratus bug in the episode "Instinct".

    • It is revealed that objects are only transported through the Stargate in one piece. This contradicts several instances in Stargate SG-1 where a puddle shutting off well before 38 minutes cuts something in half--a Jaffa's staff weapon, the air tube leading from Ernest's underwater suit, the Goa'uld-ed Major Kawalski...)

    • Goof: It's a good thing that no Wraith ships detected them in the 38 minutes they were stuck in the Stargate in orbit.

  • QUOTES (34)

    • Teyla: Did the doctor not say to pour salt on the creature?
      McKay: I think that was a metaphor? But, it doesn't matter, just try everything.

    • McKay: Zelenka. Why can I never remember that name?

    • Weir: All right. You perceive death a certain way. I accept that, in fact, I respect that. But we do not prepare for death. We do everything we can to stave it off. That is who we are.
      Halling: I am not asking you to suspend your efforts.
      Weir: No. You want me to tell everyone on that ship that they should expect to die? I will not send them that message. And if you feel that violates Teyla's personal rights, I apologize, I truly do. But there's nothing I can do about that right now.

    • Beckett: Son, you don't cut leeches off, you pour salt on them.

    • Sheppard: (To McKay about the bug on his neck) What I'm trying to say is if you don't get this damn thing off me, I have even less time than you do.

    • McKay: Yes, Elizabeth, it's an extremely intriguing conundrum, and one that I would love to discuss with you in detail, until the Stargate shuts down and this ship is cut in two-
      Weir: Rodney, calm down.
      McKay: - at which point-
      Weir: Rodney! If I'm going to be any help to you, I need to catch up.

    • McKay: If you know of some way of manually retracting the mechanism...
      Sheppard: In the cockpit, on the left.
      McKay: The cockpit is regrettably demolecularised at the moment.

    • Weir: If you waste one more minute which could be used to help the people trapped on that ship because of your ego...I promise you, I will dial the coordinates of a very lonely planet where you can be as self-important as you want to be.

    • Kavanagh: I thought it was important to point out the risk.
      Weir: Fine. You did. Now please, worry a little bit more about their lives and less about your own ass. (Kavanagh looks away. Weir checks her watch.) Twenty three minutes.

    • Grodin: The Stargate transmits matter in discrete units. The front half of the ship cannot rematerialise until the whole ship has crossed into the event horizon. The Stargate is essentially waiting for the contiguous components -- meaning the Jumper and everyone inside -- to enter completely before it can transport them.
      (Beckett stares at him blankly, then looks at Weir.)
      Weir: He said the Gate only sends things through in one piece.
      Beckett: Right. Sorry.

    • Weir: Alright. Let me put Kavanagh, Grodin and Simpson in a room; see what they come up with.
      McKay: That's good. And the Czech, the Czech, um, the Czech whose name I can never remember.
      Weir: Doctor Zelenka?
      McKay: That's him. We'll work it at our end.

    • McKay: (looking at his watch) And we have less than thirty eight minutes.
      Weir: Hold on. Why thirty eight minutes?
      McKay: Because that's the maximum amount of time a Stargate can remain open in non-relativistic conditions. It's one of the more immutable laws of wormhole physics and, oh my, look at the time. It's now more like thirty five minutes. Are we all caught up?!

    • McKay: What am I expecting to find in here that's gonna get rid of that thing?
      Teyla: Something for the pain.
      McKay: I don't think Tylenol's going to do it. He needs a doctor! (He calls to the cockpit.) How much longer?

    • Ford: Welcome back, Sir.
      Sheppard: I have to admit, it is a pleasant surprise.

    • Weir: How're you feeling?
      Sheppard: Starving.
      McKay: Uh, he's got quite the hickey.

    • Weir: Don't be so methodical. Just pick one at random!

    • McKay: Yes, what have you got there? Any food?
      Ford: You're kidding.
      McKay: I have less than 20 minutes to save our lives, and I am teetering on the brink of a hypoglycemic reaction, so...

    • Sheppard: It's like the ugliest damn tick you've ever seen.

    • Weir: What could I do to help?
      Zelenka: Stop talking, please.

    • Ford: Some sort of funky alien bug attached itself to his neck.

    • Weir: I'm sorry, I don't have time right now.
      Halling: Neither do those people who are trapped aboard the ship of the ancestors.
      Weir: News travels fast.

    • Teyla: My father often told stories of creatures such as this… I always thought he was just trying to keep the children from straying far from our camp.
      Sheppard: Great… He tell you how to kill it?
      Ford: (after he sees Teyla shake her head no) I don't know sir… I'm not sure we can.
      Sheppard: Well, I could use a second opinion.

    • Ford: Why'd you close the door?
      McKay: So that when the Stargate shuts down and the forward section is severed, we're not directly exposed to space.
      Ford: Will it hold?
      McKay: Like a screen door on a submarine. I just prefer hypoxia to explosive decompression. It's a personal thing!

    • Ford: What the hell was that? (seeing the event horizon inside of the jumper) That's strange.
      McKay: Yes, it is.
      Ford: That is the…
      McKay: Yes, it is.
      Ford: That scraping sound… we're stuck.
      McKay: Yes, we are. Apparently the engine pods failed to retract in time. It's a square peg, round hole.

    • Sheppard: Ford, what is that?
      Ford: We're stuck, sir.
      Sheppard: What?
      Ford: In the gate.
      Sheppard: You mean my day just got worse?

    • Sheppard: (about the place he thought was a Wraith headquarters) It's gone.
      McKay: What? I thought you said it was in a mountainside.
      Teyla: It was. We were inside it.
      Sheppard: Let's move. (after a while) This was the spot.
      McKay: (looking at a huge crater) It's more of a hole than a mountain, really.

    • Kavanagh: I happily left the SGC because I had had it up to here with the military running things, and you just busted me like a Private.
      Weir: Don't be so dramatic. Besides, the Air Force doesn't have Privates.
      Kavanagh: Neither do I. You just cut them off. Right in front of my research team.

    • (In the confined space of the Puddle Jumper)
      McKay: Well, if you'll excuse me, I'll be a foot and a half over there taking some readings. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

    • (Ford tests alcohol on the creature)
      Sheppard: Save some for me.
      Ford: Wrong type of alcohol, sir.
      Sheppard: What's the good of that?
      Ford (after the creature doesn't react): Not much, sir.

    • Teyla: We should let you rest.
      Sheppard: No, you should get me food.

    • Weir: By the way, what were you going to say?
      Sheppard: When?
      Weir: Before, when you thought... you know.
      Sheppard: Oh. That.
      Weir: I didn't want you to say at the time. But now I'm curious.
      Sheppard: I was going to say, uh... (long pause) "Take care of each other".
      Weir: That's nice.
      McKay: And, indeed we did.
      Sheppard: Yes, you did. Thank you. Again.
      McKay: You're welcome.
      Teyla: Good night.
      Weir: (after McKay, Teyla and Ford leave) You weren't really going to say that, were you?
      Sheppard: I have no idea what you're talking about.
      Weir: I didn't think so.

    • McKay: Oh, I apologize for being the only person here who truly comprehends how screwed we are!
      Sheppard: Don't talk to me about screwed.

    • Sheppard: There's plenty of time to solve this thing, but you gotta stop using your mouth and start using your brain.
      McKay: Sorry. I just react to certain doom a certain way; it's a bad habit.

    • Beckett: I'm told you have something of a cling-on...
      Sheppard: That's funny.

  • NOTES (4)

    • According to an interview, this episode is one of Joe Flanigan's (John Sheppard) least favorite episodes.

    • International Airdates:

      -This episode aired in Canada on August 2, 2004 on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
      -This episode aired in the UK on November 2, 2004 on Sky One.
      -This episode aired in Australia on April 7, 2005 on Channel 7.
      -Syndication Premiere: October 15-16, 2005

    • This episode is directed by Mario Azzopardi. It is the first time he has directed an episode of Stargate since the Stargate SG-1 episode "Cor-Ai".

    • This episode marks the first appearances of Dr. Zelenka (David Nykl) and Dr. Kavanagh (Ben Cotton) on the series.