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"Childhood's End" is the sixth episode of the first season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Major John Sheppard's team's Puddle Jumper goes down during a routine mission due to electromagnetic interference. The team also make first contact with the inhabitants of M7G-677, who mostly comprise of children, since they believe that in order for the Wraith to leave them alone, they must kill themselves the night before their 25th birthday.


Major John Sheppard's team suddenly loses control of their Puddle Jumper and crashes. Investigating the Electromagnetic field that made them crash, the team discover that the planet they've landed on has no one over the age of 25. They soon learn that upon turning 25, the people of this society commit suicide because they believe it keeps the Wraith from coming back to the world on the grounds that the population are not old enough to interest them.


The team discover this isn't the case when they try to find out what brought their Jumper down. They find a device powered by a Zero Point Module which acts as a sort of an Electromagnetic field generator which disables all electrical devices within the radius, including those of the Wraith and the Lanteans; the Wraith have never returned because, even if they simply landed outside the field, they would subsequently lose their technological advantage.

Dr. Rodney McKay believes that the ZPM will allow the Atlantis team to power the Atlantis shields and takes it upon himself to bring it back to Atlantis, but Sheppard tells him to be quick, as one of the natives he has befriended; Keras, one of the village 'elders'; is going to kill himself the next day. However, upon returning, he is ordered by Dr. Elizabeth Weir to return it; the ZPM is effectively useless to Atlantis, as it only has enough power to keep their shield running for a few hours, while it is the planet's only defense and could maintain its shield for at least several more years. McKay also deduces that the suicide pact is actually connected to the device; the shield has only a limited range, so the suicide pact was created as a means of population control to stop them expanding too far and thus being deprived of the shield's protection.

Prior to McKay's re-activation of the emitter, a Wraith relay device, long deactivated due to the emitter's activity, becomes active and begins broadcasting a distress beacon.


Wraith probes are immediately dispatched, nearly resulting in a confrontation between Sheppard's team and some of the natives who believe they are responsible for this change, but McKay reattaches the ZPM, the emitter is re-activated, and the probe are unable to broadcast any data back to their hive ship of origin. As they depart, McKay reveals that, although the ZPM's power is limited, he has managed to work out a means of expanding the shield, allowing for population growth and rendering the suicide pact unnecessary; at least for the next couple of generations. As he departs, Sheppard gives Keras a present of a bag of chocolate, commenting that such a thing is traditional on birthdays back on their planet.


Appearances for Childhood's End





Sentient Species



Notable QuotesEdit

(the sensors have discovered a powerful energy field)
Sheppard: You think it's worth checking out?
McKay: Any significant energy emission generally indicates technological civilization.
Sheppard: So... you think it's worth checking out?
McKay: (sarcastically) I'm sorry. Yes. Energy field good.
(the ship begins to shake violently)
McKay: (seriously) Okay, maybe not.

Weir: Rodney! We can't just visit planets, take away their defenses, uproot their cultures and bring ‘em all back here to Atlantis!
McKay: If they have a ZPM, yes we can.
Weir: Oh my God! How morally superior you must feel!

McKay: What are we going to tell them, Teyla? "Listen, kiddies, everything you believe is wrong, and trust us because we've been here for almost an hour!"

McKay: Let's play a quiet game. Let's see who can be quiet the longest.
Casta: I'm not a quiet person.
McKay: That's not quiet. That's talking.
Casta: Well, I'm not a quiet person. I talk a lot.

Casta: You're mean!
McKay: Thank you for finally noticing. (gets mad and starts to shake Casta) Oh, you wanna go? You wanna go do you?!
Ford: Okay (picks up Casta) You have a real gift with the kids. You do birthday parties?

McKay: (to Neleus and another kid) Look, both of you, go to your rooms! (they continue to aim bows at McKay) You're not buying this, are you?


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  • The title of this episode is a reference to the book Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.
  • On the DVD commentary for this episode, writer Martin Gero compares Aries to a villain in The Incredibles. In the scene of the final confrontation with Major John Sheppard, he begins "monologuing," which is a key feature of villains in the film.
  • On the DVD commentary for the episode The Eye, writer Martin Gero revealed the planet in Childhood's end, M7G-677 is named after his birthday. Martin July Gero 6 1977.
  • According to Gero, the inspiration for the "guards", Casta and Cleo, came from a rather long airplane ride in which he was sitting behind two hyper twins.
  • This is the first episode without Dr. Carson Beckett; one of only four during the first season despite the fact that he was not yet a regular. It is also the first episode in which Halling does not appear.
  • The Crossbow-like weapon with which Keras is shot is the same one used by the warriors of Juna SG-1 encountered in "Double Jeopardy".
  • A point has been made that since the range of the electromagnetic device was increased by 50% near the end of the show, the Puddle Jumper would then be well within range and hence disabled once more. However, Dr. Rodney McKay and Lt. Aiden Ford probably took the Puddle Jumper back to Atlantis once the device was disabled and parked it a safe distance away when they returned to the planet.
  • Rodney recalls working with Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter to "avert global catastrophe" is a reference to the Stargate SG-1 Season 6 episodes "Redemption, Part 1" and "Redemption, Part 2" in which Rodney helped Carter and the SGC stop the Goa'uld System Lord, Anubis's attempts to destroy Earth by keeping the SGC's Stargate open for as long as possible which would eventually trigger an overload and cause the Stargate itself to explode with the impact if successful capable of destroying Earth as well. This also establishes the fact that Rodney worked with Stargate Command and the Stargate Program long before anyone associated with the Atlantis Expedition was ever introduced.
  • The first few seconds of the episode shows the Jumper flying over a lake near a forest. This same footage is later recycled in "Sanctuary" when they fly toward the people of Proculus. As far as recycled footage goes - for example: overhead footage of Atlantis, this use of recycled footage could be in violation of canon, for it is extremely unlikely the two locations are exactly the same.
  • After McKay deactivates the shield, Sheppard is forced to destroy the Wraith homing beacon and is seized by the boys. A scene just after this was cut involving Sheppard being hit by stones. In the DVD commentary, Rachel Luttrell recalls Joe Flanigan getting hit in the head.
  • The fact that no one on this planet is allowed to live past 25 years of age is very reminiscent of Logan's Run, a novel, film and TV series, in which the members of a futuristic society are not allowed to live beyond 30 years (21 in the original novel). The members of the society on this planet and the ones in Logan's Run see their deaths as necessary for the survival of their people.
  • This is the first of thirty-three episodes of Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe written by Martin Gero.
  • This is the only episode of Stargate: Atlantis directed by David Winning.
  • Courtenay J. Stevens (Keras) previously played Lt. Kevin Elliot in the Stargate SG-1 episodes "Proving Ground", "Summit" and "Last Stand".
  • Julie Patzwald (Pelius) and Shane Meier (Neleus) previously played Naytha and Garan respectively in the Stargate SG-1 episode "A Hundred Days".
  • Dominic Zamprogna (Aries) is best known for playing James "Jammer" Lyman in Battlestar Galactica.


  • McKay makes a huge deal of Ford bringing a magnetic compass to another planet in another galaxy, despite compasses being part of standard SG team equipment for off world missions. We've previously seen SG-1 use a compass on multiple occasions.
    • A compass or magnetized needle should work on every life-supporting planet, because they (nearly?) always have a magnetic field. So you can find and hold a direction while traveling. The only problem is, that the poles are moving even on Earth (albeit very slowly and in a tight radius) and are not necessarily where you expect them to be when looking at a globe or other representation of that planet.
  • Unless the years on M7G-677 are exactly as long as Earth years, which is highly unlikely, the team should be unable to directly compare their ages to the planet's inhabitants' using absolute numbers without converting the units. For instance, Lt. Aiden Ford, being 25, is implied to be slightly older than Keras, but if M7G-677 years are longer, Keras would actually be older than Ford.
    • It could be argued that, like the language, the units of time are "translated" and standardized for the benefit of the viewer.
  • When Sheppard and Ford are shooting at the Wraith probe, they fire a fairly long burst each, but in the very next shot, without reloading the weapon, the magazines on their P90s are completely full.
  • A plastic white 5 gallon bucket can bee seen when the team first comes to the village before they meets with the elders. The bucket is visible through several camera changes.



  • Won Chicago International Film Festival Silver Plaque for "Special Achievement: Direction" (David Winning)
  • Won New York Festivals Bronze Medal for "TV Programming & Promotion - Television Entertainment Programs - Action/Adventure"
  • Won WorldFest Houston Platinum Award for "Television and Cable Production - Directing - Television" (David Winning)

In Other LanguagesEdit

  • French: La fin de l'innocence (The end of innocence)
  • Russian: Конец детства (Childhood's End)
  • Czech: Konec dětství (Childhood's End)
  • Hungarian: A gyermekkor vége (The Childhood's End)

External linksEdit

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