Gallery Episode Transcript

"Brain Storm" is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Dr. Rodney McKay invites Dr. Jennifer Keller on a date to attend a science conference with him on Earth put on by his rival Dr. Malcolm Tunney. Tunney tests a Matter bridge intended to fight global warming by transferring heat to another reality but when he can't shut it down, McKay must work with his rivals to overload the bridge before the temperature in the building drops to deadly levels.


Dr. Rodney McKay is invited to a landmark scientific presentation by an old "friend" from his school days, or rival, Dr. Malcolm Tunney, who has gone on to great success, with public acclaim and lots of money. McKay, meanwhile, hasn't published in years and can't tell anyone about what he really does for a living.

Bringing along Dr. Jennifer Keller as his date, McKay returns to Earth for the event. The two are brought to a secret desert facility by Tunney's private jet. There the test of an astonishing new technology is to take place, a demonstration that doubles as a high-society cocktail party for dozens of wealthy and important guests.


But McKay and the rest of the guests are unaware that some of Tunney's colleagues have warned about possible catastrophic consequences for what he is about to do. The device to be demonstrated activates, and it causes the temperature in the room to drop. It appears to be a weather-control device of some sort, an ingenious solution to global warming.

The crowd applauds... but Dr. Tunney is soon informed that his device cannot be shut down. Not only is Tunney's project in danger, but so are the lives of everyone in the facility.


It turns out Tunney built a matter bridge to channel heat into an alternate reality. But like the one McKay and Jeannie Miller created, there are problems and it can't be shut down. It just keeps drawing heat. Apparently Tunney managed to somehow get his hands on a paper McKay wrote about the matter bridge he created and disregarding the warnings in it about trying to make such a bridge, Tunney went ahead and created one. McKay and Tunney enlist the other scientists that are there for help, including Bill Nye. Keller takes a cell phone and tries to call Stargate Command for help, but is trapped when Freeze lightning freezes the door to the room she's in and causes freezing water to start to flood it. After an unsuccessful attempt to overload the bridge, McKay decides to open another one to starve the first one of power and cause them both to collapse.

Brain Storm 1

Rodney McKay rescues Jennifer Keller

After finding out Keller's in trouble, he rushes off to help her and leaves Tunney and Bill Nye to finish the job. As Tunney and Bill Nye activate a second matter bridge, successfully blowing the power and collapsing both bridges, McKay finds Keller and breaks through the door with a fire axe. Finding her not breathing, he successfully revives her with CPR. They kiss as Keller confesses her feelings with a reference to one of the recording McKay made while infected with Second Childhood. Later on the plane, after McKay expresses his annoyance at Malcolm to Keller, she notices that it is just the two of them in the plane (aside from the pilots).


Appearances for Brain Storm



  • Matter bridge incident



Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

McKay: So....I was thinking... that, um, if I were to, say, show up with a woman...
Keller: Uh-huh.
McKay: A-a beautiful woman...

Receptionist: I'll just need you both to sign this non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement. (picks up two thick documents and gives places them before McKay and Keller)
McKay: Oh, you're not serious.
Receptionist: Is there a problem, sir?
McKay: This whole thing is a confidentiality agreement?!
Receptionist: Yes, sir.
McKay: What could he possibly be doing back there that needs to be kept two hundred pages secret?!
Receptionist: If you want to go inside, sir, you need to sign the agreement.
McKay: Dinosaurs?
Receptionist: Excuse me?
McKay: Do they have living dinosaurs back there? Because I'll sign this if he's brought dinosaurs back to life, but short of that he's out of his mind if he thinks I'm gonna pretend that whatever discovery he has made is so important and so secret that I have to sign the unabridged works of William Shakespeare here.
Keller: (holds up her pen) Just sign it.

McKay: Neil likes to steal things from me – things like women and theoretical physics ideas.
Tyson: Yeah, but who hasn't stolen an idea from the great Rodney McKay?!
McKay: Oh, so we admit it now!
Nye: See, back in the day whenever any one of these people came up with a new idea or published a new paper, Doctor McKay here would swear that he was already working on something very similar; just hadn't gotten around to publishing it yet.
Tyson: He'd say things like, "I was about to say that very same thing," or "I was just about to have that same idea"!
McKay: Hey, at least I didn't declassify Pluto from planet status. Way to make all the little kids cry, Neil. That make you feel like a big man?

McKay: A sudden dramatic cooling beam – the irregular power from the bridge.
Tunney: Oh, so when the bridge makes a sudden demand on the heat sink...
McKay: ... the heat sink reacts by drawing power from a single localized place inside the containment field...
Tunney: ... and that beam would freeze anything in its path. Oh, I did not see this coming.
McKay: It's freeze lightning!
Tunney: "Freeze lightning"! Ooh, I like that!

(Speaking to the crowd)
Tunney:The result is what I am calling freeze lightning.
McKay: (annoyed) Unbelievable.

Keller: I'm gonna radio once I get through.
McKay: Good luck.
Keller: You too.
(She turns and leaves.)
Tunney: She seems like a very capable woman.
McKay: She sure is.
Tunney: It's your sister, right? Is she single?
(Rodney rolls his eyes.)
McKay: All right. (ignoring Tunney, he turns back to the consoles.) Where were we?

Tunney: Yeah, but you have any idea how difficult it's going to be to configure the system to open two concurrent space-time bridges?
McKay: I never said it was going to be easy.
Tunney: It's going to be impossible.
McKay: I'm Dr. Rodney McKay, alright? Difficult takes a few seconds; impossible, a few minutes.

Tunney: You’re smarter than me.
McKay: (snidely) I know. (runs off)
Tunney: McKay! (groans) This is outrageous! I mean right when we need him the most he puts it on me and I'm supposed to be the one who's gonna do this?! I... (Bill Nye slaps him) Ow!
Nye: Man up!

McKay: Oh, thank God. You're ok, you're ok.
Keller: I'm really cold.
McKay: (rubbing her arms) Me too.
(They gaze into each other's eyes.)
Keller: You saved me.
McKay: Guess that makes us even. I used an axe – a big axe! I mean, I really wish you were conscious, 'cause I think it's the coolest thing I've ever done in my...
(Smiling, Jennifer leans forward and kisses him deeply. He gazes at her as she pulls back.)
McKay: Oh, I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you.
(She looks into his eyes.)
Keller: I love you.
(His eyes widen in amazement.)
Keller: I have for some time now. Just wanted you to know.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • When Dr. Jennifer Keller says, "I love you, I have for some time now," she is mirroring what Dr. Rodney McKay told her on Day 6 of his recordings after being infected by Second Childhood in the episode "The Shrine". McKay doesn't remember leaving the message for her due to the parasite's effects.
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson introducing himself as "from television" but Keller not recognizing him, as well as McKay complaining that Tyson stole one of his ideas matches Carter and McKay talking about him in "Trio".
  • In the first scene with Dr. Malcolm Tunney, after he presses a button before walking over to his colleague, a beep can be heard coming from the computer. This beep is frequently used in Star Trek after a command has been put in the computer.
  • Keller mentions that her uncle George finds the term "saving the planet" misleading, due to the fact that the planet is not under threat by global warming, life on it is. This is a reference to stand-up comedian George Carlin, who often voiced this stance on the phrase.
  • The discussion of strawberries between Keller and McKay may be a reference to Jewel Staite's character from Firefly, Kaylee Frye, who had a known obsession with strawberries. However, when asked about this at a Comic Con, she said that it was not intended to be such.
  • Tunney mentions CERN's LHC Particle accelerator to prove that in the same way nothing went wrong with it on its activation despite the fear of micro black holes and instantaneous destruction of the Earth, nothing will go wrong when he activates the device. The real-world LHC had not actually been activated yet at the time of filming, but was expected to have been by the time the episode was to be aired. However, mechanical problems caused the shutdown of the device before the stage of the activation that had many worried about doomsday scenarios, making Tunney's statement (partially) inaccurate at time of first airing. The collider was finally activated on November 20, 2009 - oddly enough one day off of exactly one year after the episode's airdate (November 21, 2008).
  • In the scene where the physicists discuss a solution, there is an Easter egg on the white board: Fork Bomb :(){:|:&};: In the Unix operating system a fork bomb recursively creates processes and crashes the system.
  • A deleted scene from this episode has Bill Nye giving a speech about how science fiction can bring people together in the pursuit of scientific interest. Martin Gero explains in the DVD commentary that the episode was to end with this scene but was ultimately cut due to time restraints.
  • The cast and crew were notified of the series' cancellation on the last day of filming this episode.


  • At 33:11 while trying to contact Stargate Command with low cellular reception, Dr. Jennifer Keller manages to hear CMSgt. Walter Harriman clearly on her end while Walter hears garbled static. This is not how cell service works as the return signal to the phone would be as equally garbled as the outgoing signal to the other phone due to poor reception.
  • At 38:56 Dr. Rodney McKay starts bashing through the door instead of simply bashing the ice covering the door knob (which was shown to be easily broken through with a simple kick in an earlier scene).

Other languages[]

  • Hungarian: Ötletelés (Brainstorming)
  • German: Eiszeit (Ice Age)
  • French: Rendez-vous glacial (Freezing Date)

External links[]

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