While the Atlantis expedition explore the city and make themselves at home for the long haul, Dr. Rodney McKay uses a Personal shield emitter that can't be turned off, and a strange entity is accidentally unleashed on the city, and its want of any kind of energy means grave danger for the expedition.
In the Atlantis infirmary, Dr. Rodney McKay is talking to mice as Dr. Carson Beckett prepares the Ancient Technology Activation gene therapy inoculation. Beckett wonders why McKay was eager to volunteer, and McKay simply responds that he's always eager to help. Also, he wants to be able to use Ancient technology just like Major John Sheppard. All Beckett can give is a maybe, as this is the first human trial. McKay wonders why they haven't done it before, to which Beckett simply responds that it is legal in the Pegasus Galaxy. Before McKay can make any more objections, Beckett inoculates him with the therapy.
Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Grodin and Dr. Elizabeth Weir are discussing various city maintenance topics. The water from the ocean is automatically being desalinized, so there will be no fresh water shortages. Grodin also informs them that most Ancient technology only requires activation, while only some of it requires the ATA gene to work. Weir also wants some areas designated for recreation, and wants to get rid of the ten thousand year-old plants. They are also working to assign crew quarters to everyone.
As they enter the control room, the first thing Weir sees is Sheppard pushing McKay off of a balcony. Concerned, she rushes to the edge, and sees an uninjured McKay stand up. He is happy to say that Beckett's gene therapy worked, and he has the ATA gene. He was also able to activate a Personal shield emitter, which stood up to the balcony fall, a shot in the leg, and a punch from Grodin. However, a small problem arises when he can't get to the emitter to take it off.
Back in the infirmary, Beckett and Grodin are celebrating the success of the first ATA gene therapy test, much to the annoyance of McKay. But when McKay mentions a toast, Grodin suddenly wonders if McKay has tried to eat or drink anything since he put the shield on. Immediately worried, McKay tries to drink a glass of coffee, but he cannot. He complains about dying that day, but Beckett says that he can survive about three days without water. McKay tries to deactivate the device with his mind, but is unsuccessful.
In the conference room, Sheppard is discussing security around Atlantis. Although Teyla Emmagan offers the Athosians' help, Weir politely refuses, on the grounds that they need to be trained in Tau'ri weapons and tactics. Also, they fear searching the city too recklessly, an idea which McKay supports, stating that the smallest thing they find could kill them (a reference to his own future demise via dehydration).
Concerned for McKay's life, Weir goes to Beckett to ask if there is anything he can do. She is also having Grodin's team look through the tech manuals that came with the device. Beckett thinks it may be a result of giving the gene artificially, but Weir has another theory. On the basis that Ancient technology is controlled by a mental component, she thinks that subconsciously, McKay might be afraid and unwilling to take the device off, and would naturally take it off when it came to the point of severe dehydration. She reminds Beckett that there are other fail-safes in Ancient technology, and doubts that they would build a device that could kill the user.
Meanwhile, Grodin has just finished installing a new self-destruct system, which requires two security codes to activate. Everyone will be issued a unique, personal code, which they will have to memorize. The system is in place as a last measure of defense against the Wraith. Lt. Aiden Ford is worried that it won't do enough damage, but McKay assures him that it will, explaining it would be equivalent to a twenty kiloton nuclear explosion. Sheppard wants to let Teyla in on what they're doing, but Weir is still hesitant about the loyalty of the Athosians.
That night, Sheppard is recounting a scary story for the Athosian children, but they get distracted when he mentions a hockey mask. Soon, they become more interested in hockey than the story Sheppard was originally telling them. However, not liking hockey himself, he tries to get the children interested in football, but it becomes time for bed. After the children all head back to their rooms, Sheppard warns Teyla not to let McKay in on his opinion of hockey. But Teyla wants to hear more about football, to which Sheppard says he can do better than talk.
In his room, Jinto asks his father about how safe they are in Atlantis. His father only says that nothing except their love is certain. He also asks about the wind, and the ghosts of the Ancestors (Ancients), but his father asks him to go to sleep.
In the conference room, Sheppard, McKay, Teyla and Ford are watching a videotape recording of a football game that Sheppard brought along. Teyla is a bit confused about the outcome and exact nuances of the game. At that time, Weir comes in, wondering why she wasn't invited. However, the more pressing question is why Sheppard brought along a tape of football as his one personal item, to which he responds that the Atlantis expedition is the biggest Hail Mary of all time, and that the game is metaphorical. Teyla then asks what a Hail Mary is, but Sheppard is unable to accurately respond, so he side-tracks to Ferris Wheels.
Meanwhile, Jinto, who cannot sleep, sneaks out and gets his friend. They want to play a game of Wraith Hide and seek, Jinto seeking. After some attempts to find Wex, he starts to look in a closet with boxes from Earth. However, Jinto disappears, and Wex can't find him. Wex tells Halling.
Halling goes to Sheppard's quarters, and delivers the news. Even though Jinto knows not to touch anything, Sheppard starts a citywide search, and Wex is afraid of monsters. In teams of two, they start searching the city, but suddenly the power starts to fluctuate. They can't use sensors, because the sensors won't indicate separate people, but they do pick up a strange energy reading. Weir tries to contact him with the internal communication system, but suddenly, the Stargate dials itself, and McKay is starting to seriously consider the possibility of ghosts.
Teyla, though, may have a lead. One of the Athosians, Marta, saw what she claims to be a Wraith illusion. Teyla doesn't sense any Wraith, but Weir still puts everyone on the alert. All the searching stops, and at the same time, more Athosians report seeing the shadow. Halling also offers a prayer to the Ancient Spirits, asking forgiveness if they have angered them. At the same time, McKay's condition worsens, and he faints from hunger.
As Sheppard leaves the infirmary, another power loss happens, but this time, he sees the same shadow the Athosians saw. As soon as it passes, the lights come back on, but the shadow also passed Grodin, and went to feed on one of the Naquadah generators. Sheppard and Grodin both report this to Weir and her first idea is to turn off all of their generators. However, if they did that, this being would go and feed off of the people of the city, so they have to leave the generators on.
As Weir makes a citywide call, Jinto suddenly comes on the com line, scared, but safe. Jinto starts to retrace his steps through the city, and they find the room that had boxes, however, the boxes are not there. Sheppard pushes a button on the panel, and they are transported to another part of the city, where they find Jinto. They can also explain the malfunctions as faulty operation of the main systems by Jinto.
Back in the gate room, Grodin has figured out a way to track the entity. He has it going in circles by turning the power generators on and off, but Weir fears that they might be angering the creature. However, the entity crosses Ford and Sgt. Stackhouse. Though Ford can open a door, he cannot make it in in time, and gets scorched by the entity, causing him to scream in pain with his cries being heard by the staff in the control room and also Sheppard, Jinto and McKay while back in the control room, Elizabeth closes her eyes, obviously believing that they've lost Ford.
In the main area, Ford lies on the ground, unconscious and with smoke rising from his clothes. Stackhouse checks Ford for a pulse and then radios for a medical team.
In the infirmary, Ford is recovering from his wounds, and Beckett asks about this posing any real danger. Ford's companion is feeling guilty, but Sheppard reassures him there was nothing he could have done.
Back in the lab, McKay finds the source of the energy creature, or more accurately, a sentient life form. They captured it in a Containment vessel, which Jinto accidentally opens. However, the entity becomes increasingly dangerous, so they have to find a way to recapture it in the device. A few moments later, McKay finds a way to use the device, and at the same time, the shield deactivates.
Back among the Athosians, the children and some of the adults are fearing sleep because of the creature. However, Teyla comes up with the story that the darkness fears fire, and the Athosians light candles for protection. For good luck, Weir does the same, and they prepare themselves to capture the entity. However, the attempt fails, as the creature seems to recognize the trap, and avoids going into it again.
Teyla has a new idea, though. She thinks that maybe the creature wants to leave, and that they should let it go through the Stargate. Despite objections from McKay, they put the plan into action.
McKay powers up a Naquadah generator so that they can use that as bait, and they open the Stargate to M4X-337. However, before they get the generator though, the MALP's battery dies, and the creature starts to feed on the Stargate energy.
As a last resort, McKay puts on the shield device, and goes into the entity. From there, he throws the Naquadah generator through the event horizon, and the entity leaves through the gate.
After it is safely gone, medics arrive to help McKay, who has passed out once again.
McKay: (to the mouse) Got your eye on anyone?
Beckett: Umm, not really.
McKay: Actually I was talking to the mouse. But now that you mention it, some of those Athosian women are pretty hot, and we DID just save them from the Wraith, so we gotta trade on that while we can. You know, before they discover that we're not actually that cool.
(discussing the gene therapy)
Beckett: You are the first human trial.
McKay: Well, why now? I mean, if it's possible, we knew we'd need as many people with the gene as we could get.
Beckett: Well, actually, without proper FDA approval, it was virtually impossible on Earth. Let's just say it's, uh, legal here in the Pegasus Galaxy.
McKay: (worried) And completely safe?
Beckett: As far as experimental gene therapy go.
(after Becket's explanation on how gene therapy works)
McKay: A mouse retrovirus?
Beckett: It's been deactivated.
McKay: Are there any side... (gets injected) effects?
Beckett: Dry mouth, headache, the irresistible urge to run on a small wheel...
Grodin: Major Sheppard seems to be taking his time okaying enough space.
Weir: Well, the safety and security of this expedition are his...
McKay: (voice over) Okay, I'm ready! (Weir and Grodin witness Sheppard push McKay off the balcony)
Weir: Oh, my God.
McKay: Hit me.
(Grodin hits him, but a force shield stops him)
Grodin: Oh, God!
McKay: You didn't have to swing so hard, and notice he didn't even hesitate.
Weir: I'm still trying to understand how you thought it was a good idea to test this device by having someone throw you off a balcony.
McKay: Oh, believe me, that's not the first thing we tried.
Sheppard: (proudly) I shot him. (Weir glares at him) In the leg!
McKay: I'm invulnerable!
Weir: Aren't you the one who's always spouting off about how proper and careful scientific procedure must be adhered to?
McKay: (sing-song) IN - VUL - NER - ABLE!
Weir: OK, take it off!
McKay: Oh, you're just jealous.
Weir: Oh yes. Green with envy.
Grodin: I'm thinking, Mr. Invincible!
Beckett: Captain Untouchable!
Grodin: (both laugh) Ooh, that's good!
McKay: You guys done?
Beckett: I've been working on this gene therapy for months, forgive me for wanting to celebrate the fact that it worked on the first human trial!
McKay: (sarcastic) Oooh, Let's all have a toast!
Beckett: He fainted.
McKay: Oh, there's got to be a better word.
Beckett: "Faint" is the proper medical term.
McKay: (defensively) I passed out from... manly hunger.
Sheppard: Well, hang in there. (over radio) Dr. Weir, this is Sheppard. McKay's okay. (smirks) He, uh, he fainted.
McKay: Oh yeah, that's very sympathetic. Let's all mock the dying man! Thank you!
(about the transporter)
Sheppard: Apparently it's also an elevator.
Weir: We can stop taking the stairs everywhere.
McKay: (sarcastically) Oh, how nice for you all.
McKay: If this thing feeds on energy we could be in big trouble, and when I say we, I mean you because I won't actually be around for much longer.
Sheppard: Listen, Teyla. Uh, don't tell McKay what I said about hockey not being a real man's sport 'cause, uh, it's a Canadian thing, a little touchy about it.
Beckett: This may be more serious than I suspected.
McKay: Why, thank you! I'm hungry already. What am I going to do? If I don't get this stupid thing off, I'll be dead by the end of the day.
Beckett: Relax. You can live three or four days without water.
McKay: Yeah, I'm talking about food!
Beckett: Well, you found some Ancient text with the device. What did it say about taking it off?
McKay: Oh, yeah, there were some explicit instructions which I chose to completely ignore!
Grodin: Well, some Ancient technology uses a mental component for operation.
McKay: Just shut up. I'm thinking.
Grodin: Is there any chance that the gene therapy isn't permanent?
Beckett: It's possible.
McKay: I'm a dead man.
Grodin: If both codes are properly entered the naquadah generator will overload. It will take thirty seconds.
Ford: You sure it'll do enough damage?
McKay: Ever seen a 20 kiloton nuclear explosion?
Sheppard: I have. (everyone stares at him, he shrugs) Not up close.
Weir: I wouldn't have thought you believed in ghosts.
McKay: I never used to, then I learned about things called Wraiths that can suck the life out of you with their hands. (raises hand, gestures demonstratively) What the hell is that?
(during a briefing)
Weir: And we don't want anyone else getting hurt the way Halling did. I mean, everyone needs to understand they are not to touch anything unfamiliar unless it's been cleared first.
McKay: That's very important. I mean you never know. Even a tiny, little, innocuous-looking thing can... can kill you. Dead man talking.
(Sheppard gets a look at how large the entity is)
Sheppard: It's coming.I think we're gonna need a bigger boat.
McKay: Size doesn't matter.
Sheppard: That's a myth.
McKay: It'll fit. It traps the entity in subspace. You just just have to make sure it gets all the way in the containment vessel before you shut it off.
(Sheppard and McKay set up a naquadah generator on a MALP)
McKay: This is a bad idea.
Weir: You said that already.
McKay: Well, it's worth saying again.
McKay: (opening his eyes) What happened?
Weir: You did it.
McKay: I did?
Weir: It went through the Gate.
Sheppard: You must have passed out.
McKay: Oh. Well, thanks for not saying the other thing.
- Joe Flanigan as Major John Sheppard
- Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir
- Rachel Luttrell as Teyla Emmagan
- Rainbow Sun Francks as Lt. Aiden Ford
- David Hewlett as Dr. Rodney McKay
- Paul McGillion as Dr. Carson Beckett
- Craig Veroni as Dr. Peter Grodin
- Christopher Heyerdahl as Halling
- Reece Thompson as Jinto
- Casey Dubois as Wex
- Boyan Vukelic as Sgt. Stackhouse
- Meghan Black as Marta
- Jon Johnson as Parker (Uncredited)
- Tony Baretta as Smitty (Uncredited)
- Colin Decker as Marine (Uncredited)
- Chris Bradford as Marine (Uncredited)
- Andre Benjamin as Marine (Uncredited)
- Chronologically, it is only a couple of days since the team arrived at Atlantis, thus it is a couple of days since the events in "Rising".
- The device used for trapping the energy being is the same prop used in Stargate SG-1 episode "Sight Unseen" for the Dimension observer. In that case, it let people see creatures from another dimension.
- Only the Region one DVD contains a commentary for this episode.
- Between the original Stargate film, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, this is the first episode in which Colonel/Brigadier General Jack O'Neill is neither seen nor mentioned.
- This episode and the Stargate SG-1 episode "Lockdown", which premiered on the same night, both featured villains of a non-corporeal state penetrating the heroes' headquarters. Both were defeated the same way: sent to another planet to be trapped forever.
- Another two personal shields would later be used in the season three episodes "McKay and Mrs. Miller" and "Irresponsible".
- Major John Sheppard makes references to the two well known horror movie series Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street when he is telling the Athosian children a scary story. It should be noted that British-born Canadian actor David Hewlett (Dr. Rodney McKay) appeared in an episode of the TV series, Friday the 13th which despite the name is not directly connected to the Friday the 13th film franchise.
- Major John Sheppard makes a reference to Jaws when trying to capture the Shadow creature by saying "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat".
- This is the last of twelve episodes of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis directed by David Warry-Smith.
- Dr. Rodney McKay is seen holding a chocolate bar in Stargate Operations. When the shield device falls off, he takes the chocolate bar from his jacket pocket. He couldn't have placed it there since the shield was surrounding his whole body.
- Right at the end, after the entity has gone through the gate, we get an overhead shot of McKay lying on the ground in front of the gate, his legs are stretched out straight. In the next shot, one of his legs is bent. This shouldn't be possible, as he was unconscious. Also at this point, McKay is found laying a few meters behind the MALP despite being right beside it to throw the Naquadah generator into the Stargate moments beforehand. It seems unlikely he would have moved very far from the spot before passing out.
- McKay was surrounded by the shield for more than a day. Not only did his beard not grow, he looks as fresh as he did at the beginning of the episode, expulsion of waste was also unaddressed. If he could not eat food or drink, it seems probable he couldn't go to the bathroom either.
- French: Invulnérable (Invulnerable)
- Russian: Прятки (Hide-and-seek)
- Czech: Hra na schovávanou (Hide and seek)
- Hungarian: Bújócska (Hide and seek)
- German: Dunkle Schatten (Dark Shadows)
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