Gallery Episode Transcript

"Before I Sleep" is the fifteenth episode of the first season of Stargate: Atlantis.


The Atlantis expedition finds an elderly woman in stasis, who was like that for 10,000 years. Thinking she is an Ancient, they revive, but find out that she is Elizabeth Weir, who is from an alternate timeline in which her expedition came to Atlantis, but the conditions weren't as perfect.


Elizabeth Weir after 10,000 years in stasis.

Major John Sheppard congratulating Dr. Elizabeth Weir on her birthday and giving her an earthenware pot which the Athosians made. Afterwards he, Lt. Aiden Ford and Teyla Emmagan explore Atlantis while Dr. Rodney McKay watches from the control room and hopes to find bigger quarters. In a laboratory a cryogenic-like chamber is found, with what appears to be an Ancient woman inside, one who did not evacuate the city with the others.

McKay believes that the Ancient is in some sort of stasis, slowly aging but she will eventually die since she is already very old. Despite Dr. Carson Beckett's protests Weir decides to awaken the woman to ask if she knew where any Zero Point Modules were left. When she later wakes up she at first isn't saying anything, but she is listening and looking at them. Afterwards her only words are "It worked", until she falls asleep. Also the team finds a piece of paper with Stargate addresses written on it, including one they already been to, M7G-677. Later when the woman wakes up, she claims that she is Elizabeth Weir from an alternate timeline who traveled through time in the past. Beckett runs a DNA test on her and confirms her words, while McKay finds out that they nearly killed her when they arrived at Atlantis and cut off power to the systems that were attempting to revive her.

Later when old Weir awakes again she starts to tell her story: when her team arrived at Atlantis only the lights went on but not the consoles or the computer which is different from what happened in the current timeline. When McKay tells her this, aged Weir falls asleep again, and when she again later awakes she's brought into the conference room. She tells how the shield of Atlantis broke down almost immediately after their arrival in the city, which caused Colonel Marshall Sumner and many others to drown when the sea rushed in. Also, the city had no fail-safe in place, to rise to the surface, so the city quickly collapsed.

Alternate McKay in the Gateroom.

In the gateroom, McKay died by drowning, although through his last-minute efforts he gave the others a chance to leave. Before water engulfed the city, Weir, Major John Sheppard and Dr. Radek Zelenka managed to get into a Puddle Jumper that is different from the others. The pod was somehow beamed into space above the planet, where the time travel device in the Jumper was activated, causing it to go back in time 10,000 years. As they appear in the past they're immediately attacked by two unknown ships (Wraith Darts). Hoping for a chance to retaliate, Sheppard inadvertently activated the Drone weapons, but was only able to destroy one Dart before being shot down. When Weir regained consciousness from the crash, she was back in Atlantis, being treated by a man named Janus, who informed her that Sheppard and Zelenka didn't make it. She then found out that she went back in time 10,000 years. The Atlanteans then informed her of war with the Wraith; despite their more advanced technology, the Wraith are overwhelming them with sheer numbers.

Weir was later brought before the Council of Atlantis and she asked if they would give her a Zero Point Module, and use of the time machine to send her back to the precise moment when her team arrived through the gate, but they refused and ordered the time machine destroyed, as it had been built without their consent, nor do they wish to mess with time. The only way they'd help was to offer her to join them in returning to Earth. Only Janus, the inventor of the Time Jumper, attempted to help her. He informed her that the power generation capabilities of the city might be extended by using a single ZPM at a time, as opposed to the normal configuration of all three simultaneously. He devised a Failsafe mechanism to allow the city to rise should his plan fail and power were to drain to a critical level. Then placed Weir in a stasis pod. The pod is set to bring her out of hibernation every 3,300 years or so, to enable Dr. Weir to rotate the ZPMs over the next 10,000 years.

Dr. Weir, now alone in Atlantis.

When all the Ancients left, Weir set the city to slumber and nervously went into stasis. Back in the present the young Weir thanks her and her older self tells her that the gate addresses on the piece of paper she had, lead to Ancient outposts with ZPMs. As young Weir informs McKay and Sheppard about the addresses, back in the bed the old Weir finally dies. Later the young Weir sprinkles the ashes of her older self, from the Athosian earthenware pot Sheppard had given her for her birthday, out over the city of Atlantis from the Control Center balcony, as the sun slowly sets in the distance.


Appearances for Before I Sleep





Sentient Species



Notable quotes

McKay: According to the initial data, I've been able to access, she's been in that chamber for ten thousand years.
Ford: Ten thousand years?!
Sheppard: Doesn't look a day over nine thousand.

(Alternate-Weir first opens her eyes and looks at everyone)
Teyla: Dr. Weir?
Weir: Hello? Can you hear me?
(No response from Alternate-Weir)
McKay: Yeah. That's what I was afraid of... (Waves a hand in front of her face) freezer burn.
Ford: I thought she was "unfrozen."
Beckett: Ten thousand years … d'you expect her to dance a bloody jig?

Ford: Is time travel possible?
McKay: Well, according to Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, there's nothing in the laws of physics to prevent it. Extremely difficult to achieve, mind you – you need the technology to manipulate black holes to create wormholes not only through points in space, but time.
Sheppard: Not to mention a really nice DeLorean.
McKay: Don't even get me started on that movie! (Back to the Future)
Sheppard: I liked that movie!

McKay: The Puddle Jumper they escaped in must have been some sort of a time machine. It had to have an additional component built into it.
Sheppard: Flux capacitor!
McKay: ...Yeah.

McKay: I died?!
Alternate Weir: You never gave up trying, right until the end.
McKay: (shocked) Well, a man wonders how he would choose to go out, given such dire circumstances. Now I know.
Alternate Weir: Trying to save the lives of others.
Sheppard: (smug) But ultimately failing!

(upon learning that Alternate John died)
McKay: (smugly grinning) Ha! Ah, the bitter taste of ultimate failure, hmm?
Sheppard: Well, if you'd just figured out how to fix the damn shield in the first place, none of us would have died.
(Alternate Weir smiles at their bickering)
McKay: I did everything I could, including valiantly attempting to save your sorry-
Weir: Gentlemen, focus.

Teyla: Some sort of laboratory.
McKay: We've come across dozens of those. The city's full of them. Something unusual about it?
Sheppard: (finds someone in suspended animation) I'd have to say... yes.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The episode title refers to the last two lines from Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening out of his 1923 collection New Hampshire, "And miles to go Before I Sleep/And miles to go Before I Sleep". In the poem, a traveler rides through a forest which gets snowier every minute, and he cannot really rest until he reaches the forest owner's place, his goal, as he promised; Weir's long watch over Atlantis can be substituted for the journey in the poem. A full version of it with rhyme scheme can be found on "University of Toronto Representative poetry online". [1]
  • This is one of two episodes in the Stargate canon with a title referring to a poem by Robert Frost, the other one being the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Road Not Taken". Rodney McKay appears in both episodes.
  • The leader of the Council of Atlantis in the episode, Moros, was later revealed to actually have been the Stargate incarnation of the mythological figure Merlin, who featured prominently in the Ori storyline.
  • Although the team will try (and fail) to retrieve one of the ZPMs on Dr. Elizabeth Weir's list in the next episode, as well as referencing one of the list is at M7G-677, the remaining three have not been mentioned.


  • In a related case, all Lanteans are shown in the episode to speak English instead of Ancient. However, it has been established that Dr. Elizabeth Weir has some knowledge of Ancient language, as the Stargate SG-1 episode “Lost City, Part 1” (which predates the events of Stargate: Atlantis) shows her being able to differentiate between Ancient and Latin (which is derived in-universe from Ancient). Later on in Atlantis’ “The Gift”, Dr. Weir was seen successfully translating a text in Wraith language, which she recognized as another derivative of Ancient. Assuming that Dr. Weir had the ability to freely speak Ancient by the time of “Before I Sleep” events, it could be argued that she and the original inhabitants of Atlantis actually spoke Ancient which is only replaced on-screen by spoken English for convenience’s sake.
  • When SG-1 used the Time Jumper for time travel in "Moebius, Part 1", they never shifted their location relative to Earth. However, when Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Major John Sheppard and Dr. Radek Zelenka time travel they were in Atlantis and suddenly in space. This could be explained, however, by SG-1 jumping back in time by an exact number of years, whereas the Atlantis team could have traveled a little more or less than an exact number of years, thereby putting the planet in a different part of its orbit round the Lantean Star. In this case, the jumper did not move at all, but the planet moved from where they were.
  • Dr. Rodney McKay is saying, "Multi-universe", when he should have just said "multiverse", the usual term used by the theory he is describing. However, he may have used the term in order to better relate the concept to something familiar to a layperson.
  • Again, as in the episode "Rising", when Sheppard fires first Drone weapon from the Jumper, there is a mistake in the CGI - one drone flies off, but there is no change in the number of drones still on the Jumper.
  • When the Lanteans are evacuating Atlantis, the Stargate indicates an incoming wormhole, despite being used for outbound travel.
  • As Weir prepares to enter into stasis, she glances out the window of Janus' lab, bubbles are seen rising past the window to the surface. That visual suggests that the city was submerged with an inactive shield and that ocean water was directly outside of the window. With the shield active, the water would be held beyond the perimeter of the city as seen both previously in the series premier, as well as later in "First Strike" when the expedition attempts to save the city from attack by re-submerging it.


Other languages

  • French: Le Grand Sommeil (The Great Sleep)
  • Russian: Прежде, чем я усну (Before I would fell asleep)
  • Hungarian: Mielőtt elaludnék (Before I would fell asleep)
  • German: 10.000 Jahre (10,000 Years)

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