Gallery Episode Transcript

"Phantoms" is the ninth episode of the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team travels to M1B-129 to retrieve a missing team, but come across a Wraith Mind manipulator, making the team see things that aren't there.


During an off-world mission, Major Leonard's team is overdue for contact, and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard takes his team, Dr. Carson Beckett and three other Marines to find them. Upon arriving, they find four Genii corpses that are seriously decayed—and who appear to have killed each other. Finding a cave with strange energy readings, they discover a Wraith bunker, including a damaged generator. Nearby are the bodies of the missing team, minus their CO, Leonard. A video recording indicates that Leonard killed his men, but one of them mentions requesting evac by the Prometheus, a ship that had been destroyed more than a year earlier. Deciding they need more help, the team tries to get back to Atlantis, but someone has sabotaged the Dial Home Device to explode, which kills one of the marines. On top of that, they draw fire from Leonard, injuring the two other marines, Lt. Kagan and Sgt. Barroso. Sheppard decides to head back to the cave.

Dr. McKay inside Wraith device

While there, Dr. Rodney McKay deduces that the device is a mind manipulator designed to cause hallucinations in humans, increasing the Wraith's own hallucination producing ability. The Genii soldiers apparently found and activated it. Unaware of how to turn it off, they tried to destroy it, but only succeeded in damaging the device, and it will take McKay some time to turn it off. Ronon Dex soon follows the hallucinating Leonard, with Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan in pursuit, but Teyla is shot in the leg. Sheppard manages to get the wounded Teyla to Leonard's camp, and tries to dress her wounds. Leonard soon approaches but runs out of ammo. Sheppard tries to calm him down, but Leonard, thinking Sheppard is a Kull warrior, kills himself with a Fragmentation grenade.

On Atlantis, Doctors Elizabeth Weir and Radek Zelenka try to make contact with the team with no success due to the device's jamming effects. A UAV is sent, but thinking the UAV is a Wraith Dart, Ronon shoots it down.

Sheppard's hallucinations about Afghanistan

Soon, the others are affected, and they start behaving unusually strange. Later even the team is experiencing weird things: Sheppard hallucinates that he is back in Afghanistan; Ronon believes there are Wraith nearby; Beckett believes that Barroso is still alive and that Kagan is dead, and McKay believes the generator is on the verge of exploding. Teyla alone is unaffected due to the Wraith DNA in her genetic makeup. Believing Teyla is Captain Charlie Holland, a soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan, Sheppard takes her back to the cave, with Ronon, who believes that Sheppard is a Wraith trying to feed off Teyla, in pursuit.

Sheppard shoots McKay under device influence

At the cave, Beckett, at the urging of a hallucination of a dead Barroso, takes Kagan to find help, while McKay realizes that he is affected by the machine, but is then shot by Sheppard. As Ronon approaches, McKay tells Teyla to shut the device down, having previously explained the process to her. Teyla, appearing as Holland to Sheppard, convinces Sheppard to aid her in disabling the device. As Ronon closes in, Teyla discovers that McKay had nearly finished shutting it down and directs Sheppard to the main power conduit. With Teyla's direction, Sheppard is able to cut power to the device and the hallucinations immediately cease. Nearby, Sheppard finds Beckett with Kagan who is still alive.

With the device off, Atlantis is able to make contact with the team and sends the Daedalus to pick them up. With the Daedalus a few hours away, Atlantis sends through supplies that allow Beckett to stabilize Kagan who will survive and treat everyone else's wounds. As they wait for rescue, Teyla asks if Sheppard got Holland to safety in the end and he admits he failed.


Appearances for Phantoms





Sentient Species




Notable quotes

McKay: I'm picking up that puzzling energy reading.
Beckett: What is it?
McKay: Did I not just use the word "puzzling"?
Beckett: Charming.

Teyla: Is that what made all these people kill each other?
McKay: I hope so.
Sheppard: You hope so?
McKay: Otherwise, there are two bizarre things going on, and one is more than enough for me, thank you very much.

Kagan: This frequency, can it hurt us?
McKay: Nah, it's doubtful apart from the obvious sterility issues.
Kagan: What? What?
Sheppard: He's kidding (pause) You're kidding, right?

(while carrying the bodies to the gate)
McKay: (panting) Can we stop for a second?
Sheppard: No.
McKay: Look, I mean no disrespect but this guy's heavy, and ever since I was shot in the ass by an arrow, I've been prone to sciatica.

Sheppard: Got any ideas about killing me?
Teyla: No.
Sheppard: That's good to hear.

McKay: How is Kroger?
Beckett: Kagan.
McKay: Kagan, Kagan. What is it with me and names?

McKay: You shot me!
Sheppard: Yes, Rodney, I shot you and I said I was sorry.
Ronon: You shot me too!
Sheppard: I'm sorry for shooting everyone! Just... the Daedalus will be here in a little while. Let's get some rest...


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • Dr. Rodney McKay references the movie This Is Spinal Tap in this episode when he states "Whoever turned it on, dialed it up to eleven, then just left it there". This is a reference to the scene in the rock-u-mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap when a bandmate shows the director the fact that their Marshall amplifiers are special and go up to eleven on all the knobs and not the standard ten. The director then asked if they were "any louder" as a result, to which the bandmate replied: "Well it's one louder isn't it?" (even though in this case the amp was the same as a standard amp just with a different knob scale).
  • There were many obstacles involving the Stargate in this episode. The first being Major Leonard blowing up the Dial Home Device's power source making it impossible for McKay to dial it manually and the inability of Atlantis to make radio contact and send a power source. The second being the position of the gate in the forest surrounded by trees making it difficult to fit a Puddle Jumper.


  • When Sheppard shoots Dr. Rodney McKay he shoots him high on his left side yet when we see McKay's bandage it is low on his left side.
  • The Fragmentation grenade that explodes less than 15 feet from Sheppard does no damage to him, despite being the equivalent of 6 sticks of dynamite and with multiple bits of metal flying in his unprotected direction.
  • At 23:44, after hearing that Dr. Radek Zelenka had little luck countering the EM field blocking radio communications Dr. Elizabeth Weir decides to send a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to the planet. This makes little sense as the UAV also requires a radio link to transmit any information it finds, so it would be useless until they could find a way to counter the EM field. Despite this, at 29:46 Atlantis was somehow getting telemetry from their UAV, even after the wraith device was shown to have increased its power output significantly two separate times since the episode began.
  • When the team is carrying their dead through the forest (about 10 minutes into the episode) on stretchers they come along a gravel road. Watch to the left of the screen and you can clearly see gaffers wires and ropes for the dolly track for several seconds.

Other languages

  • Russian: Видения (Phantoms)
  • Hungarian: Fantomok (Phantoms)

External links

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