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"Sunday" is the seventeenth episode of the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


While the Atlantis expedition relaxes on a mandatory rest day, a mysterious explosion rocks the city, leaving three people dead. It is later discovered that a scientist is a walking time bomb, and the crew goes about trying to prevent another explosion.


On a Sunday in the city of Atlantis, the crew is enjoying a mandatory rest day, a newly-instituted policy established by Dr. Kate Heightmeyer to give the Atlantis expedition some time for recreation. Teyla Emmagan and Dr. Harriet Hewston have just finished a sparring session together and are discussing the events of the rest day. They also talk about a man who seems to have a fondness for Teyla; she tries to change the subject, saying the ways of her people are different. After the discussion, they both agree to have a late lunch together.


Teyla getting caught in the explosion.

As they enter the mess hall, Teyla remembers that she left her Bantos rods behind in the gym. As she turns around to fetch her things, there is a massive explosion behind her and she gets thrown across the corridor. She realizes that a bomb has just gone off in the mess hall. As she attempts to get up, she sees a piece of shrapnel in her abdomen.

Three hours before the incident, Dr. Elizabeth Weir is in her office catching up on some work rather than relaxing, when a handsome young scientist, Mike Branton, finds her. He wonders why she is working on her day off, as she has ordered everyone else to do. It turns out that Branton is also catching up on work, but has just finished. He invites her to lunch, but she thinks that it is a date, since she has a personal rule not to be involved with people under her. However, Branton insists that it is not a date, just friends or co-workers going out for lunch. He eventually persuades her to come. She agrees to go with him in one hour.

During that time, she passes Dr. Carson Beckett, who was planning to go fishing with Dr. Rodney McKay on the mainland. He notices that she is hiding something, and just guesses that she is going on a "hot date", but agrees not to tell anyone. Weir later makes it to Teyla's quarters. Initially, she was to have lunch with Teyla, but she had other arrangements, she agreed to go sparring with Hewston. Weir then decides to join Branton for lunch.


Weir and Branton.

During their "not a date" lunch, they argue about whether a man and a woman can be just friends. He later decides to take Weir to the outskirts of the city to enjoy the view of the ocean. Weir then finishes her bottle of water, meaning that lunch is over. Branton admits that he should have brought dessert to last longer. He then starts admitting that he likes her and begins to wear down her shields, and even kisses her. She seems attracted to him, but decides she can't allow a potential romance to bloom.

She is later saved from the awkward situation when the control tower radios her that there has been an incident in the city. When she arrives, she is informed that there was an explosion in the mess hall, with three people dead and more injured. They believe the explosion may have been caused by a bomb.

Five hours before the incident, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and Ronon Dex plan to play golf with Teyla. However, Teyla regrets that she is behind on paperwork (which is an excuse not to play golf). Sheppard lets her off. Ronon then tells him that he has to catch up on mission reports too. However, Sheppard calls his bluff and takes him to the golfing area, where they meet up with Dr. James Watson, who is also playing golf, and Beckett, who plans to take one of them fishing. However, they all decline. Watson comes up to Beckett, complaining of a headache. However, Beckett points him to Dr. Cole.


Sheppard and Ronon.

Later, Ronon becomes bored playing golf, and takes Sheppard to the gym, to play a "real sport". The sport turns out to be an apparent Satedan training sport, of capturing the opponent's flag. Every time a level is complete, the next level becomes harder, such as using one leg, and one arm. Ronon easily beats him on rounds one and two. Sheppard later plans to stop playing, where he takes Ronon to his quarters to drink beer and listen to some music. There, Sheppard wonders if he left anyone back on Sateda, whether a wife or a girlfriend. Ronon says "close enough", referring to Melena Omi. Ronon wonders if Sheppard was married. He says that he used to be. They then hear an explosion.

They rush to the mess hall, where they see Dr. Radek Zelenka examining the wreckage. Luckily, there is no structural damage. However, he tells them that McKay is checking up on something, and informs them that a few eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Dr. Hewston mysteriously blow up.

Fourteen hours before the incident, McKay is in the Atlantis infirmary in the middle of the night. He is with Beckett, Hewston and Watson. The two young scientists accidentally activated a device emitting radiation, but deactivated it. McKay shouts at them, telling them to take extra care. He later thinks his is being too condescending, and decides to give the scientists a break, by giving them tomorrow off. However, he wasn't aware that it is the mandatory rest day. He looks at Beckett, who is imitating the retraction of a fishing rod, meaning the fishing trip they planned a month ago is happening today.


McKay and Brown.

The next morning, McKay sees Dr. Katie Brown in her botany lab. He wonders if he could have lunch with her today, because he thought the month within the planning of the fishing trip and doing it was enough time to think of something to get out of it. He plans to take lunch to her in the lab. When he arrives in the mess hall, he sees Weir talking with Branton. Beckett comes in, thinking he has brought lunch for both of them. McKay then makes an excuse that he promised Katie to have lunch with her, since they are seeing too little of each other. He promises to come fishing next week.

Back in the botany lab, the couple were talking about the events over a year ago, with the Lt. Laura Cadman incident. She told him that he was ignoring her ever since for a year, but actually made time to see her the past few months. Later, they both hear an explosion, and McKay runs to a lab.

He informs Sheppard, Ronon and Teyla that the device Hewston and Watson activated, was an Ancient device created as a weapon. It uses an unusual type of radiation to create an explosive tumor behind a person's lung. After an unpredictable period of time, during which the tumor grows, it approaches critical mass and then unexpectedly detonates. With Hewston dead, the only other infected person, Watson, is still at large. They try contacting him, but he is already in the infirmary, about to be operated on by Beckett.


Beckett and Lorne.

Two hours before the incident, Beckett plans to persuade someone else to go fishing with him. He tries Zelenka, who is too busy playing chess with another member. He is playing for trades, and is winning. Beckett then comes to Major Evan Lorne. But he's too busy painting the city skyline. He then goes to Dr. Biro, but discovers her erratic personality. He officially calls the fishing trip a bust. He goes to Cole, who has a migraine and dismisses her for some rest, while he catches up on paperwork.

A while later, he treats a Pretty Marine with a sprained ankle from playing volleyball, when he hears the explosion. He rushes to the mess hall and sees Teyla, who he promises to take care of. After he finishes on Teyla, he starts working on Watson, when he gets a call from McKay. He tells him the situation, and to leave Watson. However, Beckett evacuates the level, but stays behind with a nurse to operate and remove the tumor. He locks down the section, meaning teams can't get in to stop him. They attempt to talk Beckett out of helping Watson, but he refuses and operates on him.


Beckett is killed.

Half an hour later, he took out the tumor, and sends it to a box. He is called to stay in the infirmary while the disposal team moves into the infirmary. However, he takes the box and slowly moves through a corridor to meet them half way. When they meet, he gives the box to an explosives technician. He then proceeds in turning around and starts his return to the OR, when the box suddenly explodes, killing him and the technician nearby.


Memorial service in honor of Carson Beckett

Before the memorial service, after which Beckett's remains will be sent home to Earth for burial, McKay expresses guilt that he did not go fishing with Beckett earlier, because then he would not have been killed. However, Ronon tells him that there was nothing he can do, and tells him "what's done is done". Beckett's memorial service is held in the Atlantis gate room with all of the staff in attendance, and Dr. Weir gives his eulogy. After the service ends, Beckett's casket is carried through the gate back to Earth by McKay, Sheppard, Zelenka, Lorne, Ronon and Cole, as a lone Piper plays "The Dark Island", a traditional Scottish funeral song.

After their return from Earth, McKay is standing on one of Atlantis' piers grieving over Beckett's death and sees a vision of him. He explains that his family was amazing, and later tells Beckett that it is his fault, and should've just gone fishing with him. Beckett comforts Rodney and tells him that it's not his fault that he died. McKay says that he's only saying what he wants to hear, and Beckett tells him, "That's what best friends do sometimes. And in this case it also happens to be true". Rodney admits that Carson was the closest thing to a best friend he ever had. They then say a final goodbye before Beckett fades away.


Appearances for Sunday




Sentient Species




Notable QuotesEdit

(When Sheppard and Ronon are golfing, Ronon hits the golf ball and the ball goes beyond the horizon)
Sheppard: That was OK.
Watson: OK?! You can't even see where it landed!

Beckett: Aye. Um, I don't suppose there's any chance you'd like to come fishing with me on the mainland, is there?
Lorne: If you'd got to me earlier, maybe, but I kinda wanna finish this up.
Beckett: Och, it looks done to me.
Lorne: That is why I am the painter and you a doctor.
Beckett: Very good point.

McKay: I should have just gone fishing with him.
Ronon: Don't.
McKay: No, if I'd gone fishing, if I'd checked the machine, if I hadn't assigned two junior guys to catalog the lab.
Ronon: Rodney...what's done is done.
McKay: I know. And uh...that's what's killing me.

Weir: We've said goodbye to a lot of friends today. Our mission is a dangerous one. We lose people; a fact we're all painfully aware of. But Carson was... I can't remember anyone coming to me with a complaint against him. Ever. He was a kind soul. He was... He was a healer. And he will be very deeply missed. Georg Fabricius said, "Death comes to us all, but great achievements, they build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold." Every single life Carson saved is a monument to him. And that gives me great comfort.

(The closing scene of the episode.)
Imaginary Beckett: How'd it go back on Earth?
McKay: It was, it was awful. Your family was amazing, though.
Imaginary Beckett: Aye, they are. Good turnout?
McKay: Oh, packed the church.
Imaginary Beckett: Oh, that's good to hear!
McKay: It's not gonna be the same round here without you.
Imaginary Beckett: Oh, you're telling me!
McKay: You know, the universe is a big place. Who knows, maybe we'll bump into each other again.
Imaginary Beckett: Aye, who knows?
McKay: You were the closest thing to a best friend I ever had. I'm really, really sorry. I should have just...
Imaginary Beckett: Hey. This wasn't your fault.
McKay: You're just telling me what I want to hear.
Imaginary Beckett: Well that's what best friends do sometimes. And in this case it also happens to be true. Take care of yourself, Rodney.
McKay: Goodbye, Carson.


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Stargate Wiki has 33 images related to Sunday.
  • Dr. Radek Zelenka mentions "Dr. Mallozzi" and his "anime collection" during his conversation with Dr. Carson Beckett. This is a reference to Stargate: Atlantis executive producer and writer Joseph Mallozzi, who, in his blog entries on fan site and other places, frequently talked about his anime watching habits.
  • The story in this episode is told in a nonlinear fashion, using multiple flashbacks to show where each character was and what they were doing before the pivotal moment. This allows viewers to get a sense of what was happening from each of the characters' viewpoints as well as from the entire group. Beckett appears in every viewpoint except Teyla Emmagan's in the teaser.
  • During the memorial service towards the end, Elizabeth Weir quotes Georg Fabricius: "Death comes to us all. But great achievements, they build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold."
  • Teyla Emmagan's fighting style is first named in this episode. It is called Bantos fighting, and the weapons are called Bantos rods.
  • When looking at the pier, the Ancient translates to "time on your you have too".
  • This episode once again shows Rodney McKay's tendency to hallucinate during times of extreme emotional distress.
  • The hallucination of Beckett is similar to the Scrubs episode "My Screw Up."
  • This episode is the last one to feature Paul McGillion as a regular cast member (although he is still in the opening titles for the remainder of Season 3).
  • This episode marks the first appearance of  Katie Brown since the episode "Duet"
  • The picture that McKay is holding while putting away Beckett's belongings, is a screenshot from the episode "Duet".
  • Walking through the Stargate as a pallbearer is the first time Ronon Dex has been seen going to Earth in the series. The first episode where he is actually seen there is in season 4, "Miller's Crossing".
  • This is the first episode in which Ronon addresses John and Rodney by their first names.
  • This episode takes place approximately a year and a half after the events of "Runner" and several weeks after those of "Tao of Rodney".
  • This episode takes place over a period of four days. (The day before the Mandatory rest day, the mandatory rest day, and then two days later the funeral of Carson Beckett).
  • John tells Ronon that he was once married. His ex-wife Nancy Sheppard would later appear in "Outcast".
  • Harriet Hewston refers to the events of "Tao of Rodney" while Katie Brown refers to those of "Duet".
  • Daniel Bacon (James Watson) previously portrayed SMSgt. Russell Benson an SGC Technician in numerous episodes of Stargate SG-1 in its early seasons.
  • Lara Gilchrist (Harriet Hewston) is best known for playing Paulla Schaffer in Battlestar Galactica.
  • SPOILER ALERT: In his final conversation with Beckett, McKay says "You know, the universe is a big place. Who knows, maybe we'll bump into each other again." a year later, in the episode "The Kindred, Part 1," McKay meets Beckett again, albeit a cloned version of him. The cloned Beckett makes several appearances in subsequent episodes.
  • In "The Kindred, Part 2", McKay mentions that the events of this episode take place six months after the events of "Misbegotten".

Goofs Edit

  • There might have been an option to prevent the second tumor from exploding. Since it was all about a critical mass, and the explosive tumor was documented in the database, it is quite likely that cutting it in two smaller pieces would prevent the explosion, and spare the life of Dr. Carson Beckett. If effective, it would also mean a quick and safe method to end the danger of explosion, since non-critical mass pieces could easily wait for the ordinance disposal crew.
    • The crew was careful when transporting the tumor even after it was removed from the patient; it is possible that cutting or otherwise agitating it would have caused it to detonate anyway. Especially once considering that the tumor could not have reached critical mass on its own once outside the patient, and as such agitating it was most likely the cause of the detonation anyway.
  • In "The Long Goodbye" there is mention of a halon fire suppression system being installed. There is no sign of fire suppression after the explosion at the beginning of the episode in which fires are visibly burning.
    • The fire suppression system could be tuned to longer-duration rise of temperature, whereas an explosion without secondary fires would only raise the room temperature for a short period of time.
    • The Halon fire suppression system could have been removed by the Ancients when they returned to the city in The Return, Part 1 or by the Asurans when they repaired the city in The Return, Part 2.

First appearanceEdit



In other languages Edit

  • Russian: Воскресенье (Sunday)
  • Hungarian: Vasárnap (Sunday)

External linksEdit

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