This episode is part 3 of 3; it is preceded by "First Strike" and "Adrift".
Gallery Episode Transcript

"Lifeline" is the second episode of the fourth season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and his team use Dr. Elizabeth Weir to perform a daring operation to infiltrate Asuras, to steal a much needed Zero Point Module to power Atlantis and go to their new home. In the same time, the Apollo continues to search for the lost city.

Previously on Stargate: Atlantis[]

Atlantis attempted to flee Lantea from the beam of the Asuran Stargate satellite. However, the city was grazed by the beam and exited hyperspace early, and ended up drifting in space with little power left. The expedition worked to restore the Stardrive, but had to survive an asteroid belt. Meanwhile, Dr. Jennifer Keller tried to save Dr. Elizabeth Weir, but in the end, had to resort to Dr. Rodney McKay reactivating the nanites in Weir's cells, against Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's orders not to. Despite attempting to restore the hyperdrive, the city's power levels dropped below the minimal power requirements to require a jump. However, with the plan to implement a hyperdrive on a Puddle Jumper, they realized Asuras was nearby, and planned to steal a Zero Point Module from there.


In the still-drifting Atlantis, Dr. Rodney McKay and Dr. Radek Zelenka are in a Puddle Jumper, completing the calculations to implement the hyperdrive. After a mishap, involving a short circuit, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard arrives, checking up on the progress. However, he tells McKay a problematic question, that even if they did arrive to Asuras and steal the Zero Point Module, escaping would be suicide. McKay says he had been thinking, and decided that if they stand any chance to succeed, they need help. They turn to the seemingly recovered and improved Dr. Elizabeth Weir. They ask for her help.

Lifeline 1

McKay tells Weir the infiltration plan.

McKay tells Weir with the team that with her nanites, they will be able to use them to their advantage to steal the ZPM. They could use them to get in and out without being noticed. However, if the Replicators are able to take control of her, Sheppard will order McKay to activate the kill-switch, which will terminate the nanites, but since the nanites are the only thing keeping her alive, she will die. Despite the big danger, Weir immediately wants to start the mission. Sheppard talks with her alone. Weir tells him not to hesitate with the kill-switch, despite his assurances that it will not happen.

McKay finishes up on the hyperdrives. Ronon Dex comes in and tells Sheppard that they're ready, despite McKay's skepticism that they could break up on entering hyperspace. Meanwhile, Sheppard tells Teyla Emmagan to stay behind. He tells her that Zelenka found a planet for the city to jump to, but that they would have to evacuate, since the power would be too drained to achieve a stable orbit. He tells her that if he and his team don't return within twelve hours, she should give the order to jump. He then proceeds to the Jumper, where the team takes off. Sheppard tells those remaining on Atlantis not to get into any "wild parties" when they're gone. The Jumper then successfully jumps into hyperspace.

Lifeline 2

Carter and Bill arrive in Pegasus.

Meanwhile, Colonel Samantha Carter and Dr. Bill Lee arrive on a beautiful planet in the Pegasus galaxy. Lee comments that the planet looks a lot like Elwynn Forest from World of Warcraft. He takes out a camera to take a picture. However, Carter contacts the Apollo, who quickly beams them both on-board before Lee takes the photo. Carter tells Colonel Abraham Ellis the plan to find Atlantis. It is a simple, yet tedious one. Assuming that Atlantis dropped out of hyperspace early, they would have to power up the Apollo's sensors to extend their range significantly. They would follow Atlantis' original path, making a short hyperspace jump, scanning the area, and then jumping to the next area. Naturally, such a process is incredibly time consuming, as it would require about 50 jumps.

Lifeline 4

John Sheppard and Ronon Dex obtain a ZPM.

The Jumper successfully drops out of hyperspace and cloaks over the Replicator homeworld. However, too much power was used, so they can't jump back. McKay then proposes to use the to-be-acquired ZPM to power the ship. McKay then tweaks with the nanites, while Weir finds her way into the collective, where she is easily able to find an unguarded ZPM. The cloaked Jumper lands above the building, where Sheppard and Ronon exit and follow Weir's instructions. They easily enter to steal a ZPM. They then manage to return to the Jumper undetected. However, McKay discovers the command directive to attack the Wraith that was left dormant, and proposes to use Weir to reactivate it. However, Sheppard doesn't want to hear about it and prepares to leave the planet. McKay then has another proposal; they can upload his code to activate it through the Central data core so the Asurans will start to attack the Wraith on the next merge. The problem is that it is in the middle of the building in the center of the city. Sheppard decides to do this after they return from Atlantis. However, if they leave now the Asurans will upgrade their security and the team will not have this opportunity again.

The Apollo exits its eleventh hyperspace jump, with 39 to go. However, the long range sensors aren't able to pick up Atlantis, meaning they still haven't found them. They prepare jump number twelve.


Weir and Oberoth go head to head.

The Jumper arrives over the necessary building, where they de-cloak to make room for an Anti-Replicator field, which will protect the core room and the Jumper. Sheppard leaves McKay with Weir, while he and Ronon make their way to the core room. However, Oberoth is made aware of the field, and finds out that the core is inside it. He orders the other Replicators to attempt to breach the field. Meanwhile, Sheppard plugs the computer tablet with McKay's code into the core, but nothing happens. With several Replicators sacrificing themselves to override the field's frequency, McKay quickly instructs Sheppard on implementing adjustments to the negotiation protocol to exploit parallelism at the device interface. However, the Replicators are quickly able to breach the field, and Oberoth is on his way.

Lifeline 3

A surrounded Weir orders Sheppard to leave her behind.

With no other alternative, Sheppard frantically works on fixing the interface before getting captured. When Weir suddenly leaves McKay, he attempts to disable the nanites and kill her, ignorant of her true intention (to stop Oberoth), but the command fails to work for unknown reasons. Meanwhile, Weir confronts Oberoth and makes physical contact with him, connecting herself to the Replicator network. She uses her access to freeze all of the Replicators, giving her team time to allow them to escape. A surprised Oberoth admits that he admires her attempt, but is quickly able to overpower her, claiming to her that she has under-estimated him. Now that he has regained control, all the Replicators start moving again. They easily capture McKay, Sheppard and Ronon trying to escape.

With all of them captured, Oberoth visits them in a holding cell, telling them that Weir's attempts to stop him proved too taxing for her, and is going to upgrade her to join the collective. He then wants to probe their minds on the precise location of Atlantis, so the Asurans could destroy it. However, Oberoth finds it hard to extract the information. He then discovers that it was all a trick, made by Weir. In reality, all the Replicators are still frozen. Weir says that she never under-estimated him, but he has truly under-estimated her. Oberoth angrily tells her that she will not leave the city alive, which Weir replies by saying that her team will.

After fixing the interface, and uploading the Wraith attack code, Sheppard is ready to go back to the Jumper, but not before getting Weir back. Oberoth, who will not be fooled again, overpowers Weir for real this time and manages to physically grab her arm. Sheppard and Ronon find her, and even try to shoot Oberoth with an Anti-Replicator gun, but can't terminate him, since the Replicators have managed to override the frequency. Weir, who can't release herself from Oberoth, pleads with Sheppard to leave her behind, and is eventually forced to order him to do so, as the Replicators regain control and fire at them, and surround Weir, preventing her escape. Sheppard is forced to leave her behind and run back to the Jumper and escape without her.

Boarding the Jumper, Sheppard orders McKay to hook up the ZPM so that they can escape to hyperspace, but McKay is unable to do so in a timely fashion due to the intricate nature of the task. With no cloak due to a lack of power, Sheppard flees into orbit, losing weapons from Asuran attacks. Reaching orbit, an Asuran cruiser decloaks in front of the Puddle Jumper and powers weapons.

Battle to save Atlantis 1

The Apollo battles an Asuran cruiser.

As the team braces for their fate, the cruiser unexpectedly takes missile fire. To everyone's astonishment, the attacker is the Apollo which had finally located Atlantis and rushed to Asuras to help upon learning of the mission. Colonel Ellis informs Sheppard the Apollo 302 Bay is open for them to land and suggests that they hurry. At Sheppard's request, Carter scans the planet for Weir's subcutaneous locator beacon in an attempt to beam her out, but can't find her. A devastated Sheppard acknowledges this then, while the Apollo continues to lay down covering fire, lands the Puddle Jumper in the Apollo's port hanger bay. With the Jumper on board, the Apollo jumps to hyperspace.

Atlantis lands

Atlantis lands on M35-117.

Back in Atlantis, they are able to install the ZPM, and the city is now fully powered. McKay finds them a new home planet, M35-117, a planet with a large ocean, like Lantea. He purposely left out a group of planets during earlier considerations, so the Asurans can probe Weir's mind and still never find Atlantis. The city jumps into hyperspace, and arrives over M35-117. Sheppard goes into the Control chair, where he will land the city. The re-entry (or, more accurately, as Bill Lee points out, just plain "entry," since Atlantis never left that particular planet) into the atmosphere and landing are very rough, but the city is now on its new ocean, with plenty of power remaining in the new ZPM.

Lifeline 5

Carter and Sheppard discuss Weir's fate.

At night, a grieving Ronon and Teyla pack away Weir's personal belongings, wondering who will fill in for her. Meanwhile, Carter and McKay are able to contact Stargate Command and are now back on the grid. Also, Zelenka arrives with a surprising announcement; long range scanners have detected a massive fleet of Asuran ships heading for a Wraith controlled planet. McKay concludes that their mission was indeed successful. Later, Carter talks with Sheppard, looking over the two visible moons on their new planet. Carter tells Sheppard that she is amazed that they have pulled off the mission. She has been ordered back to Earth, and passes on Major General Hank Landry's condolences for the loss of Weir. Sheppard, however, vows that he will find her again.


Appearances for Lifeline





Sentient Species





Notable quotes[]

(After McKay has a close call with a power surge.)
Sheppard: How's it coming?
McKay: (Pointing to Zelenka) Well, we'd be making a lot more progress if "Timmy Torture" here wasn't trying to kill me every two seconds.
Zelenka: I'm not trying to kill him.

(After arriving on the Asuran homeworld by Jumper Hyperdrive)
McKay: Believe it or not, Zelenka was right.
(McKay babbles on about the hyperdrive being burned down)
Ronon: So what are you trying to say? We can't go back?
McKay: No, what I'm trying to... Actually that is exactly what I'm saying.

(The team braces for death when suddenly the Asuran cruiser is hit by missiles, surprising the team)
Sheppard: What the hell was that?!
(The Apollo is revealed to be attacking the Asuran ship)
Ellis: Colonel Sheppard this is the Apollo, do you read?
Sheppard: (shocked) Colonel Ellis is that you?
Ellis: Affirmative, the 302 bay is open and you have permission to come aboard, I suggest you hurry.
Sheppard: Copy that Apollo. We're on our way.
McKay: Can I add that your timing is pretty damned perfect?!
Carter: We would have gotten here earlier but we had a little trouble finding Atlantis.
McKay: (surprised) Sam, is that you?
Carter: It's me Rodney, I'll explain when you get on board.
Sheppard: Colonel, we lost Doctor Weir on the Replicator planet. Can you lock on her locator beacon and beam her up?
(Carter tries but fails)
Carter: (sadly) I'm not picking up any signal.
(The team is visibly saddened)
Sheppard: (sadly) Copy that.
(The Jumper lands on the Apollo which continues to lay down covering fire then jumps to hyperspace once the Jumper is aboard)

Sheppard: Have we got enough energy to keep the shield up for re-entry?
McKay: There'd better be. What, a city this size'll create considerable friction. We come in too fast or too steep and the shield could attenuate under the stress and the whole place'll be torn to shreds, or burn up, or both.
Sheppard: It never ends with you, you know?!
McKay: What?

McKay: We wanna touch down gently, like a leaf kissing the surface of a pond. (The shaking city makes a very rough landing over the ocean) Nice kissing!


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • This episode shows that Asuras apparently had no active life signs sensors at the time as the team was not detected the moment they exited the cloaked jumper (the team would've been the only human life signs present on the entire planet).
  • Weir taking control of the Asurans through Oberoth perfectly mirrors to Dr. Daniel Jackson's takeover of the Milky Way Replicators through Replicator Carter in "Reckoning, Part 2", even briefly freezing the entire network of Replicators to buy their respective teams enough time to complete their mission. In both cases they ultimately sacrificed themselves, albeit Jackson ascended (again) and Weir simply assimilated into the Asuran collective and was presumed dead until she reappears again in altered replicator form in "Ghost in the Machine".
  • Despite appearing in four episodes previously, this is the first and only time Lee has visited the Pegasus galaxy and Atlantis.
  • On September 12, 2007, unfinished versions of this episode and "Adrift" were leaked onto the internet. They were rough cuts without sound effects or music, as well as missing many computer generated scenes used solely for aesthetic purposes and scene changes.
  • In order to avoid the use of costly visual effects, the production cast mime artists as the frozen Asurans.



The Apollo enters hyperspace, mirrored left-to-right.

  • When the Apollo enters hyperspace, the shot is mirrored, with the "tower" on the ship being on the right side, not the left.
  • In the next scene after the jumper team enters Apollo's jumper bay and they enter hyperspace, Atlantis is shown flying through space with the shield extended to the whole city (35:25). This is in contrast to when the jumper leaves at first (07:45). The crew might have already installed the Zero Point Module and extended the shield off-screen but Dr. Radek Zelenka only confirms that the ZPM is online a few seconds later.
  • In "Adrift", Dr. Rodney McKay suffered several cuts to his face. However, in this episode - taking place only a day or so later - they are visibly reduced and almost healed.
  • At 16:33, Rodney describes his plan to use the jumper's cloak to act as an anti-replicator field and insinuates that the replicators would have to wait until they could override the field to walk in and attack. However, any replicator outside the field could've immediately reacted and simply fired drones, which would not be affected by the field, at the jumper now in plain view.
  • When Atlantis touches down on the surface of the ocean of New Lantea, parts of the city can be seen under water even though the shield is still raised.

Other languages[]

  • Hungarian: Menekülő út (Escape Route)
  • German: Rettungsleine (Lifeline)
  • French: Dernier Recours (Last Resort)

External links[]

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