For the Alteran artifact, see Ark of Truth.

Gallery Episode Transcript

"The Ark" is the sixteenth episode of the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team discovers a moon base where the last of a race of Humans remain. They soon discover, however, the entire population is in danger when the station is damaged through the suicide of a recently awakened resident.



Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team investigates a derelict, centuries-old space station on a distant moon. Inside they find the last remnants of a civilization frozen in stasis using reverse-engineered Wraith beaming device. One thousand men, women, and children were put into stasis in an attempt to avoid extinction at the hands of their longtime enemy, the Wraith.

Herick is the first to awaken when Sheppard's team restores power. Placed in stasis in his mid-thirties, Herick is the technician who created the stasis device for his people. Though he expects to find his wife and son there with him, they are missing, along with the shuttle they were meant to arrive on. Angry, Herick awakens their leader, Jamus.

Due to riots following the launch of the first shuttle, Jamus explains, the second shuttle, with Herick's family aboard, was left behind in order to conceal the existence of the sanctuary space station. Herick, distraught, commits suicide rather than live without his loved ones: He activates the shuttle's engines and destroys the hangar bay doors, allowing the vacuum to suck him into space. This, however, also alters the moon's orbit; it is now falling toward the planet with an exponential acceleration. As the Puddle Jumper has been pulled into space when Herick decompressed the hangar bay, both Sheppard's team and the last remnants of the dying civilization are now trapped on board, doomed to die.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir contacts the team through the Stargate soon, however, and sends a team to help. It seems as though the members of the Atlantis expedition and Jamus have been saved; however, the team cannot possibly save over a thousand people. Jamus, fiercely defiant, states that he will not go without his people — and will make sure that the Atlantis team does not, either. He takes Teyla Emmagan as a hostage, and will only release her if Sheppard gives his people safe passage off the failing station. As way of explaining his refusal to abandon them, he describes to Teyla his people's actions to keep the Wraith away - they used atomic weapons to destroy the incoming Wraith fleet, counting on the radiation from the weapons to sterilize the planet, eliminating the Wraith's desire to feed upon the people any longer - but eliminating the people themselves at the same time. All survivors of the culling were killed by the radiation, making the planet seem useless to the Wraith, and thus ensuring that the survivors aboard the space station would no longer have to deal with the threat of culling.

Shuttle rough landing

Teyla and the team cannot guarantee the survival of the people in stasis, so Jamus takes Teyla hostage; he places her in stasis, along with himself, and Dr. Rodney McKay is unable to distinguish her life-signs from the survivors already in the device. He is also unable to devise a way of interfacing the storage system's power needs with a Puddle Jumper's systems in the time remaining, so Sheppard, determined to try to save Teyla's life, develops a plan to pilot the shuttle down to the planet's surface with the stasis unit aboard. As all of the fuel in the shuttle was used up by Herick in his suicide, Sheppard cannot get the shuttle into orbit; he tries to align the vessel for reentry, but at the critical moment, the shuttle's explosive bolts fail, keeping it attached to the station. Sheppard rides out a great deal of turbulence before the moon breaks up around him; he pilots the ship to a rough but safe landing. Both he and the stasis unit survive; eventually, everyone within it (including Teyla) is safely awakened. Unfortunately, due to his injuries, Jamus does not survive the awakening process. Teyla remarks that Jamus was only doing what he thought was best for his people, and that in his position, Sheppard would have done exactly the same thing - to which he objects.


Appearances for The Ark





Sentient Species



Notable quotes

Sheppard: I guarantee you're gonna see pretty much the same technology you're looking at here. Which I'd call vintage 1967.
McKay: Oh yeah, yeah. You know we hollowed out a lot of moons in the '60s.
Sheppard: Well, if we did, this is what it would look like.
McKay: What about that shuttle, huh? You know, the one we saw when we docked?
Sheppard: It was very 007.
McKay: See, even you were intrigued.
Sheppard: A little bit. Elizabeth gave us the go-ahead to explore this station if, and I underline the "if" there, we find anything we can use against our many and sundry bad guys.

McKay: Okay, time for the How Screwed We Are report.
Sheppard: All right, go ahead.
McKay: There's no way to seal the compartments between us from here. You know, there's too many hatches left open. Herick was obviously trying to vent the station to space. Look, I'm going to need to suit up, see what I can do.
Sheppard: Doesn't sound too screwed.
McKay: Ho, ho, ho, but I'm not finished yet. Because the shuttle was attached and exhausted all of its fuel during the burn, and moon has been knocked out of its orbit.
Sheppard: How much time do we have?
McKay: Before we burn up, or before we suffocate? Because the reactors scrammed and shut down during all this, so we're down to emergency power, most of which is being channeled into the people storage device.
Sheppard: Well, I don't know. Pick one.
McKay: Not done yet. Cause there's still the fact that the Jumper was blasted out of the docking port, so there is no way off this rock in either case.

McKay: (Object hits the window but nothing happens) I'm alive!  (Window starts cracking) I'm dead.  I'm SO dead!

Ronon: I'm not good at this.
Sheppard: What?
Ronon: Waiting to die.
Sheppard: Don't think about it.
Ronon: I don't like small spaces.
Sheppard: Could be worse.
Ronon: Personally, I'd rather die fighting.
Sheppard: I'd rather not die.
Ronon: I'm just saying...
Sheppard: Look, if this rock burns up in the atmosphere, I'll fight you to the death myself. Deal?
Ronon: You're on.

Beckett: Tell them we'll be there in a jiff.
Sheppard: You guys hear that?
McKay: (over the radio) Yay! Faint hope!

Lorne: I think he's crazy. The thing's how many hundred years old? And it's out of fuel.
Ronon: He said he could fly it.
Beckett: You do realize you're out of your bloody mind, right?
Sheppard: Yeah, probably.

McKay: Just... Can I say one more thing?
(The moonbase shakes again)
Sheppard: As long as you say it as fast as you can.
McKay: Don't do this. It's impossible.
Sheppard: Willing to bet a week's wages on that?
McKay: Yeah, how're you gonna pay up if I win, huh?
Sheppard: Thanks for caring!
McKay: Yeah.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • This episode takes place over the course of approximately eight hours.
  • The premise of a failing lifeboat carrying the last of a people was also seen in the Stargate SG-1 season 7 episode "Lifeboat". It is also quite similar to the Doctor Who serial "The Ark in Space" which the Doctor, Sarah and Harry discover the last survivors of the human race held in suspended animation in the space station Nerva, aka "the Ark".
  • The symbols on the tail of the Shuttle are clearly Greek letters (Xi Sigma Theta).
  • The logo on Jamus jumpsuit is a vertically flipped version of the same logo appearing everywhere else in the episode, including that on Herick jumpsuit.
  • Even though this episode aired first, it was actually filmed after the episode "Sunday", making this Paul McGillion's final episode of the season.


Snickers is a popular candy in the Pegasus Galaxy

  • When Herick sits at the controls of the shuttle, a Snickers bar is clearly seen on the dashboard, as well as a bottle of water and a package of baby wipes.
  • When Sheppard visits Teyla in the Atlantis infirmary, his Atlantis and American flag patches have swapped shoulders.
  • When Sheppard and Ronon Dex fight against the gushing air stream to close their compartment, they close the wrong door, i.e. the one with inflowing stream, instead of the one that would stop the outflow of air.
  • When the Jumper gets sucked out, its hatch is closed. Yet it stands to reason that the hatch would have remained open after McKay got the life support back online so as to allow them faster access to the Jumper.
  • When Jamus gets up and stumbles to get a hold of Teyla's gun, we never see him reach far enough to grab it out of her holster. In addition, he would have had to unlatch the safety strap to pull the gun out. It seems the actor had it the whole time prior to the scene.
  • At 24:11, the porthole on the hatch McKay is trying to close has a grey piece of metal instead of a window, most likely to hide the studio the set was built inside.

Other languages

  • Russian: Ковчег (The Ark)
  • Hungarian: A bárka (The Ark)

External links

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