This episode is a clip show: it is largely composed of clips of previous episodes.

"Letters from Pegasus" is the seventeenth episode of the first season of Stargate: Atlantis.


In the wake of discovering a fleet of three Hive Ships zeroing on Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay manages to give the Stargate enough power to dial Earth for one second, which is more than enough time to send compressed data, including the team members' messages to their families.

Previously on Stargate: Atlantis[]

A Wraith Dart arrives at Atlantis and scans the city and sends a message into space before self-destructing. Dr. Radek Zelenka aims the Long range sensors to where the message was sent and discovered three Hive ships that will arrive at Atlantis in two weeks.


Orin's village

John and Teyla arrive on Orin's planet

After Atlantis discovers three Wraith Hive Ships coming in their direction, the leading team discusses what to do. Lt. Aiden Ford suggests they take the Zero Point Module from M7G-677 but Dr. Elizabeth Weir refuses to back such a suggestion. Dr. Rodney McKay reveals that they can use the whole of their energy resources to open a wormhole to Earth and send a high-compression data burst. Though risky, the team decides to do it. After the meeting, Dr. Radek Zelenka informs the team where the Hive ships will leave hyperspace and Major John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan decide to personally oversee the threat. They travel to a planet which Teyla knows via Puddle Jumper and meet an old friend of hers named Orin. After warning him of the threat from the Wraith, Teyla tells Orin that they will rescue his family although Sheppard can make no promises.

At Atlantis, McKay suggests that since space will remain after the initial data transfer, everyone should include a personal message to be sent to Earth as well. Weir decides that every member of the team should have the possibility to send a video message to their loved ones (given they do not reveal classified information). Ford takes on this task by filming a message intended for his grandparents.

Attack on Orin's planet 1

Wraith Hive ship with several cruisers

Meanwhile, Teyla and Sheppard quarrel about Teyla's promise of help to Orin when the Wraith abruptly appear. Each Hive ship is escorted by three Wraith cruisers, making the force invading Atlantis much worse than they'd expected. They shower the planet with a flurry of Wraith Darts. Before the Jumper can escape through the Stargate, it is dialed by the Wraith, so they are unable to leave. They return to the predetermined location to meet Orin and wait for him.

Radek Zelenka 4

Radek Zelenka describes Atlantis rising

In the meantime, the Atlantis members continue to forge their messages. Dr. Carson Beckett, although inarticulate at first, sends a sentimental message to his mother. Zelenka recounts (in Czech) Atlantis' Rising. Sgt. Bates sends a message to his younger brother and Weir informs the families of fallen servicemen about the fate of their family members as well as an additional personal message to Simon. McKay even films a lengthy message on his own while Dr. Peter Kavanagh sends a message to Brigadier General Jack O'Neill in which he lists all the mistakes Weir has made (in his opinion)(although ironically and somewhat humorously, its very likely that not only would O'Neill not care enough about an arbitrary supplemental procedural complaint video from a scientist to watch more than a few seconds, but that he'd most likely agree with all of her decisions anyway, so make no effort to take the complaint into any consideration). During these clips, several flashbacks occur from former episodes which outline ambiguous details and facilitate a clearer understanding of the past months; including the events during the storm around Atlantis, the attack of the Genii, and several battles with the Wraith.

On the planet, Sheppard and Teyla can only watch in horror while the Wraith cull the population en masse. Suddenly, a dart deposits something on the planet which emits a strange beam so Sheppard intrigued resolves to investigate regardless of the danger. While he is away, a Wraith passes right by the Jumper, oblivious to its presence but highly suspicious he only just misses the shield by less than a yard. When he finally walks away a relieved Teyla can hardly believe her luck. Thankfully, minutes later, Teyla is able to collect a few escaping inhabitants who wander by. When Sheppard returns a short while later, he adamantly wants to escape immediately (since the gate is deactivated) but Teyla insists that if he does leave she will stay behind and wait as she had promised to do. So Sheppard reluctantly agrees to wait a little longer for Orin and his family, in the hopes they've still managed to escape the massive Wraith culling going on. After what seems like forever, Orin finally arrives accompanied by several other denizens. Sheppard worries there's too many for the Jumper to cope with, but on witnessing a few get culled by the beams right before their eyes, Sheppard is shook into consenting to take as many as possible. They're able to flee through the gate but not without some unfortunate human loss to the Wraith.

In Atlantis, Sheppard and Teyla divulge to Weir the threat which the Wraith fleet poses. Both are shown to be disturbed by what they have witnessed and upset with Sheppard finding a little consolation in the fact that they saved some people. Soon after, Weir asks him to record a message to the family of Colonel Marshall Sumner which he promptly accepts and thoughtfully carries out.

The "intergalactic e-mail" is successfully sent to Stargate Command and received by SMSgt. Walter Harriman who asks Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter who sent it.

A surprised Carter then informs Harriman that it's from Atlantis...


Appearances for Letters from Pegasus





Sentient Species





Notable quotes[]

(Weir has just briefed Atlantis' scientists about the approaching Wraith fleet)
Weir: So, recommendations?
Beckett: Other than panic?
Weir: Other than panic, yes.

Ford: I could tell my grandma what I've been up to all this time.
Weir: Well, if your grandmother had security clearance, yes, you could! But for now you can tell her that you're well - and that you miss her.

(Ford is recording video messages of each expedition member to send home)
Beckett: What shall I say?
Ford: Uh…uh…"I miss you"? "I wish you were here"?
Beckett: I wish who was here?
Ford: I don't know. Who do you wish was here?
Beckett: Nobody! I wish I wasn't bloody here!

Zelenka: Na dně moře máme „fail safe“, mechanismus. Obrovskou silou vytrhl kotvu města ze dna oceánu. My jsme... Zhrozili jsme jsme... Zhrozili jsme se. Neuveřitelný, co se to děje a ten hluk; celé město se třáslo jako při zemětřesení. To bylo něco neuvěritelnýho. A najednou... se hneme. Celé město stoupalo. Stoupalo nahoru, nahoru k hladině. To, to bylo něco neuveřitelnýho a a a věže prorazily hladinu a vyjeli jsme nahoru nahoru a vody, vlny, vodopády, všechno teče z těch vejšek. A my... vystřelili jsme nahoru, úplně, úplně na vršek.. Slunce... Sluníčko, prostě... proudilo do všech oken. Do smrti, do smrti na to nezapomenu. (On the bottom of the sea we have a failsafe mechanism. It pulled up the anchor of the city from the bottom of the sea with great force. We.... we were.... we were scared. That was incredible, what happened? And that noise. The whole city was shaking, it was like an earthquake. That was so incredible. And then we were moving. The whole city was rising. It was rising up, rising up to the ocean surface. It was, it was really incredible and the towers broke through the surface. We were going up. Water, waves, waterfalls were falling down from the heights. And we... we were shot up, right to the top. Sun... just shine... It was shining through all the windows. I'll remember it for the rest of my life... for the rest of my life.)
Ford: You didn't say anything that would require security clearance, did you?
Zelenka: Security clearance?

(McKay's recording)
McKay: (adjusts hair) Right. And in five, four, three-
(he stops speaking and holds up two fingers to signify the “two” count, then folds his arms and looks serious.)
McKay: (dramatically) This is Doctor Rodney McKay speaking to you from my base of operations in the lost city of Atlantis, located deep within the Pegasus galaxy. I record this message on the eve of our darkest hour. As I speak, an alien armada of biblical proportions is on its way, bent - dare I say hellbent, in keeping with the metaphor – on our destruction. We will do our best to stave off their attack but I am afraid that defeat is all but inevitable. I, and the other members of my team, face the most horrific deaths imaginable, as our very lives are sucked from our chests in a, in a, horrific - Okay, uh, start again. Start again.

Weir: We have to warn Earth.
Sheppard: Even if it's the last thing we do?
Weir: Especially if it's the last thing we do.

(Weir records a message to everyone's family)
Weir: Finally I would like to say something to the families of every member of this expedition. I wish I could tell you more about what your loved ones are doing and someday I hope you find out, because you will be amazed. But I will tell you that I could not be more proud of each and every one of them. Their heroism has amazed me. Their resourcefulness has staggered me. We face a terrible enemy and an uncertain future. But if we are never heard from again, know that your loved ones did not face that uncertainty alone. We are facing our future together.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The final transmission to Earth would have consisted of: city specifications, mission reports, tactical assessments, a ton of data that they had deciphered from Atlantis database and hours of personal messages.
  • Its later revealed that McKay's message didn't get through to his sister. However, Sheppard shows it to her in McKay and Mrs. Miller and it helps change her view of her brother.


  • During Sgt. Bates' and Dr. Miko Kusanagi's recording sessions to their families, both of them are wearing their Atlantis expedition patches is on their jackets. Being that the expedition is classified, it's unlikely that their families have clearance.
  • During the final scene on the gate status monitors, both the gate and the glyph selection only display 7 chevrons locked, despite receiving a connection from another galaxy that would dial 8.

Other languages[]

  • French: Derniers Messages (Last messages)
  • Russian: Письма из Пегаса (Letters from Pegasus)
  • Hungarian: Levelek a Pegazusból (Letters from Pegasus)
  • German: Nachrichten aus der Pegasus-Galaxie (Messages from the Pegasus Galaxy)

External links[]

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