This episode is part 2 of 2; it is preceded by "Progeny".
Gallery Episode Transcript

"The Real World" is the sixth episode in the third season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Dr. Elizabeth Weir awakens in a psychiatric hospital outside Washington D.C. where she is told that she never left Earth, and the entire Stargate Program, and Atlantis never existed but all is not what it seems.


The Real World 2

Elizabeth awakens in Willoughby State Hospital

Waking up in Willoughby State Hospital outside Washington D.C., Dr. Elizabeth Weir is shocked to discover that her entire experience in Atlantis over the last two years was solely a figment of her imagination. Through the help of her psychiatrist Dr. Adam Fletcher, she learns that a car accident that killed her fiance left her in a near catatonic state and suffering from delusional psychosis.

The Real World 1

Jack O'Neill visits Weir in the hospital

Forced to come to terms with this new reality, Weir is visited by her mother Katherine Weir and Major General Jack O'Neill, who assures her that he has never heard of a Stargate Program, let alone the lost city of Atlantis. Yet as she starts to pick up the pieces of her life, she continues to have unsettling visions warning her that she must return to Atlantis.

Atlantis Medical Scanner

Elizabeth in Atlantis infirmary

Back on Atlantis — which is not the product of a deranged imagination — the team holds a vigil for the comatose Weir, who in reality has been infected by Asuran nanites, which were passed on to her by Niam's attack ("Progeny"), that are quickly taking over her body and mind. Dr. Carson Beckett tries to eliminate the nanites by injecting Weir with Wraith cells. The nanites will then fulfill their programming and destroy the Wraith cells, breaking up into their individual forms and leaving them susceptible to an Electromagnetic pulse. The attempt is partially successful, destroying most of the nanites. Unfortunately, some nanites have survived. Ultimately, Weir's fate is now in her own hands.

Elizabeth Weir's Nanite infestation

Niam's image attempts to prevent Weir from escape

In Weir's head, the destruction of the majority of the nanites results in her believing that she must return to Atlantis. However, the nanite-induced visions attempt to stop her. Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, risking a nanite infection himself, enters Elizabeth's isolation chamber, gripping her hand and arm in the belief that physical contact may help him to get through to her, and urges her to fight the nanites. In her nanite-induced delusion, Weir then sees Sheppard lead the way to the Stargate, which will take her back to Atlantis. Again, the nanites try to stop Weir, but she ignores them and walks through the gate. Weir then wakes up in Atlantis' infirmary, breaking the hold the nanites had over her.

With Weir now fighting, her immune system shuts down the nanites. She and Sheppard, who was not infected, later discuss the whole ordeal which took place over the course of only five hours. Weir is disturbed by the experience and what it means in regards to the Replicator threat.


Appearances for The Real World





Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

Weir: It is a relief to see a friendly face.
O'Neill: Yeah... I was going for friendly.

O'Neill: I don't know anything about Atlantis! Except that it was a fairly mediocre Donovan song... not one of my favorites...

O'Neill: And so... we're the fantasy?
Weir: Yes.
O'Neill: You know I don't mind being fantasized about occasionally...

O'Neill: Have you given any thought to coming back to the negotiating table? That non-proliferation treaty... you kind of left us hanging mid-sentence there. It'd sure be nice to hear the punchline someday.
Weir: And the U.N. would be okay with that?
O'Neill: Not just okay. They're insisting.
Weir: Really?
O'Neill: When you're the best, you're the best. Even if you've had a little...setback, so to speak...he said awkwardly.

O'Neill: Well maybe you've got to work your way up into playing shape. Spend a little time doing short shifts before you work your way up to the front line.
Weir: I know nothing about football.
O'Neill: Nor hockey apparently.

O'Neill: Now, just to be sure we're on the same page, we're against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, right?
Weir: Got it...

McKay: What?
Beckett: What?
McKay: It's that look. That's the same look I get when I have a brilliant idea.
Sheppard: How would you know how you looked?
McKay: Cause it's happened more than once in front of a mirror, ok?

McKay: Okay. We think we've found a way to uncouple the nanite cells from Elizabeth's cells.
Beckett: We?
Teyla: How?
McKay: We create a distraction.
Beckett: It finally occurred to me why I wasn't having any success.
McKay: What were the nanites originally designed to do?
Ronon: Fight the Wraith.
McKay: Exactly. So, that's what we'll get them to do now.
Beckett: We think by implanting a small amount of Wraith tissue into Dr. Weir's body...
McKay: It's like a tumor.
Beckett: Aye, a small tumor, yes. The nanite cells will essentially...
McKay: Will attack it. They have to. It's what they are programmed to do. Which will draw them away from Elizabeth's cells, effectively unbinding them.
Beckett: It will only last a few seconds or so, mind you, before the nanites attack the Wraith tissue and return their focus to Dr. Weir's cells.
McKay: But that's all we need. Momentary distraction to draw them away from her so we can zap them with the EM pulse.
Sheppard: Okay, let's do it.

Sheppard: You know, if Carson's right, and you can hear me, I suppose I should say something profound. (slight pause) Okay, I'm not so good at profound, but you should know, we're doing everything we can to get you through this. These...these nanites, I don't know what they're putting you through. I don't know what they're doing to you, but don't let them get to you. We're doing everything we can to bring you back, but you've got to do your part. You've gotta fight this.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • When Weir's face disappears in her mirror, and she drops a bottle of medication, the "medication" is, in fact, Jelly Bellys.
  • This episode marks the second appearance of an event horizon not within a gate. The first time was in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Legacy".
  • Since the beginning of the show, a Pocket watch has been seen on Weir's desk in several episodes. This is the first episode to mention it and explain that it was given to her by her father.
  • This episode is very similar to the Earth: Final Conflict episode "In Memory" where Captain Lili Marquette wakes up on Earth, years after the Taelons have been defeated, only to find out that she is actually being interrogated by the Jaridians and the entire scenario is fake. Both stories involve the main character being committed to a hospital and psychiatrically evaluated.
  • The plot is also similar to the movie Jacob's Ladder. One of the scenes that makes this episode look similar is when Elizabeth can see Jack's head shaking abnormally during one of their conversations.
  • Sheppard's line of saying "I suppose I should say something profound. (slight pause) Okay, I'm not so good at profound" is similar to that of Colonel Jack O'Neill from "The Serpent's Lair" when he says "Okay. Well, I suppose now is the time for me to say something profound. [pause] Nothing comes to mind. Let's do it."
  • The soundtrack from the beginning of the episode is very similar to the one from the game Silent Hill, where part of the plot takes place also in a psychiatric hospital.


  • When Dr. Adam Fletcher is telling Weir about the car crash that killed Simon Wallace, he states that a car ran a red light and impacted the driver's side door. Later, when Weir is using the computer to view the news headline, it is accompanied by a picture of a car on its left side (driver's side). The driver's side looks relatively undamaged, whereas the passenger's door is severely dented. It is possible that it is the vehicle which struck theirs, but unlikely due to the lack of damage to the nose and hood.

Other languages[]

  • Russian: Реальный мир (The Real World)
  • Hungarian: A valódi világ (The Real World)
  • French: Le Monde réel (The Real World)

External links[]

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