Atlantis season 3
Atlantis Season 3
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Season 2 Season 4
This episode is part 1 of 2; it is followed by "The Return, Part 2".

"The Return, Part 1" is the tenth episode of the third season, as well as the 50th episode of Stargate: Atlantis.


While testing the McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge, the Daedalus picks up an Ancient warship, the Tria, who retake control of Atlantis, and the expedition is expelled to Earth. However, the Asurans are heading straight for Atlantis.

Previously on Stargate: Atlantis

The Atlantis expedition made first contact with a surviving colony of Ancients called the Asurans. When the Asurans capture Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team and Dr. Elizabeth Weir and probe their minds, Dr. Rodney McKay realizes that they are not people, but machines, a new threat of Human-form Replicators.



With Atlantis' Zero Point Module depleted, Dr. Rodney McKay and Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter devise an ingenious solution to solve the problem of transportation between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies. Using 34 Stargates from both galaxies, Stargate Command has constructed a massive chain of Stargates between the galaxies that would reduce the time to travel between Atlantis and Earth from three weeks to thirty minutes. The test is successful, but after Lt. Colonel John Sheppard returns from the test, McKay detects strange readings on the Daedalus's sensors.

Upon closer examination, McKay finds out that the anomalous contact is actually an Aurora-class battleship moving close to the speed of light. McKay hypothesizes that the ship is a damaged Ancient battleship making its way from Atlantis to Earth, but because its hyperdrive is damaged, it is forced to move at near lightspeed. Though the trip would take thousands of years, relativity from moving close to the speed of light would mean that only a few years, shortened further from stasis, would pass from the crew's perspective. The implications of this would mean that there could be living, breathing Lanteans on board.


The Daedalus manages to make contact with the ship, the Tria, and transport the Lantean crew, numbering roughly a hundred survivors, back to Atlantis. The Lanteans are overjoyed to see that their city is still intact, but reveal shocking news. They intend to reclaim the city and ask the Tau'ri to leave. Without warning, Helia the captain of the good ship Tria mentally summons forth an Lantean lockout device that rises out of the gateroom floor, activates it, and casually informs all present that, "Atlantis is now under my control." Major General Jack O'Neill and Richard Woolsey arrive in Atlantis to try to negotiate, offering manpower, resources and infrastructure to help the Lanteans make Atlantis great again, but the Lanteans' position is steadfast. They acknowledge everything the Tau'ri have done and the debt they owe them, but say they need time alone after ten thousand years and that at some point in the future, they will be welcomed back.

With no support from the Lanteans, and with an Ori invasion of the Milky Way galaxy to deal with, the Atlantis expedition is disbanded and returned to Earth. Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex, and the Athosians are relocated to another planet. Everybody attempts to deal with their sudden separation from Atlantis in their own way. Sheppard is assigned to lead one of the SG teams, McKay is reassigned to Area 51 and Dr. Carson Beckett is given a surgery post at the SGC. Dr. Elizabeth Weir essentially drops off the radar and becomes a virtual hermit until Beckett coaxes her out to have dinner with the others.

Meanwhile, back in Atlantis, O'Neill and Woolsey (who the Lanteans welcomed to stay as ambassadors) report that an Asuran ship was detected, but the Lanteans are confident that they won't be harmed, since the Asurans' base programming prevents them from doing so. Unfortunately for them, the Lanteans are taken completely by surprise when the Asurans suddenly attack and invade Atlantis.

Bill Lee 7

Sheppard, McKay and Weir are summoned to the SGC, along with Beckett, despite the fact he did not bring his cell phone, though he wasn't called-in in the first place. After hearing O'Neill's final transmission, Major General Henry Landry decides to send the Daedalus to Atlantis and destroy the city with a Nuclear warhead. With the gate bridge in place, the Asurans could use it to gate to any planet in the Milky Way, which the SGC cannot allow. The four Atlantis expedition members told of this are horrified at the news, and hatch a daring plan to try to save O'Neill, Woolsey, and Atlantis. Before anybody at the SGC realizes it, the four steal a cache of upgraded Replicator disruptors (calling them "Anti-Replicator guns" or ARGs), hijack a Puddle Jumper, and use the gate bridge to travel to the Pegasus galaxy.

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On the new Athosian homeworld, Teyla and Ronon are approached by Ladon Radim, asking them to consider working with the Genii against the Wraith. After Radim leaves, the two discuss this: Ronon has no desire to join the Genii, but Teyla comments that he may not be happy as a farmer.

At that moment, Sheppard, McKay, Weir, and Beckett arrive, and recruit Ronon and Teyla to help retake the city. With the team assembled, McKay uses a special backdoor program embedded into the Stargate's programming to open a wormhole to Atlantis and disable its Stargate shield. Sheppard then flies the Jumper straight through the gate, uncertain of what is waiting for them on the other side.


Ancient; Anti-Replicator gun; Area 51; Asuran; Athosian; Atlantis database; Atlantis' shield; Aurora-class battleship; Base code; Beer; Lt. Laura Cadman; Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter; Cat; Cell phone; Crew of Tria; Cheetos; Daedalus; Dog; Doppler effect; Foothold situation; Genii; Grounding station; President Henry Hayes; International Oversight Advisory; Iris; Johnny Cash; Acastus Kolya; Lantea's mainland; Lantean lockout device; Long range sensors; Masaryk University; McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge; Midway space station; Nanite; New Athos; Niam; Ori; Particle magnum; Pizza; Planet (The Return, Part 1); Popcorn; The Princess Bride; Puddle Jumper; Sensor; SG-4; South Pier; Stargate Command; Stargate shield; Sudoku; Tava; Tria; Turtle; War and Peace; Oscar Wilde; World of Warcraft; Wraith; Wraith cruiser; Zat'nik'tel; Zero Point Module

Notable Quotes

O'Neill: He's late.
Landry: When traveling almost three million light-years I'm not so sure there's such thing as late.
O'Neill: Right. Yes.
Landry: You're just mad that you didn't get to fly the maiden-voyage yourself.
O'Neill: General, I'm quite fond of both maidens and voyages. I mean, put the two together...
(Landry interrupts)
Landry: You're not a test-pilot anymore, Jack.
O'Neill: That's what the President said.

Sheppard: What if you were forced from your home by war, only to return to find someone on your couch, eating your Cheetos, watching your TV.
McKay: Well, I would be fine with that.
Sheppard: No you wouldn't.

Woolsey: Keep in mind that when they left Atlantis, we were basically a hunter-gatherer species.
McKay: Well, did you remind them if we hadn't hunted and gathered them out of the void between galaxies they would still be stuck there?

Sheppard: You should call her.
Beckett: Who? Cadman?
Weir: You guys did make a cute couple.
Beckett: It didn't work out. Maybe it had to do with our first kiss being through Rodney.

Landry: Colonel Sheppard, I'm going to assume you're still at the Midway Station waiting for Dr. McKay to rewrite his macro. I understand what you're doing, Colonel - Hell, I'll even call it brave, but if you don't turn that ship around immediately and come back to the SGC, I'll see to it personally that your career in the military is-
(Sheppard slaps a button, disconnecting the communication)
Sheppard: That way I won't know what he was gonna say.

Beckett: My turtles!
(Everyone pauses for a while, looking confused)
Weir: What?
Beckett: I just bought some wee baby turtles and no one knows to feed them.
Weir: Well, turtles are pretty hardy. I'm sure they will be fine.
Sheppard: And they make good soup.
(Beckett frowns)

McKay: They emit a directional energy beam that disrupts the connection between nanites.
Ronon: Not what I asked.
McKay: Yes...they work good.
Ronon: Good.


Stargate Wiki has 22 images related to The Return, Part 1.


  • When on board the Daedalus they found the Ancient warship Tria between galaxies. However, when they went alongside the Tria there where stars surrounding the Daedalus. (not actually a mistake, it could simply be other galaxies)
  • Dr. Bill Lee claims to have a "Level 75 Mage, specializing in engineering and jeweling" in World of Warcraft. However, at the time the episode aired, the maximum level possible was 70. He also says that he wants to increase his enchanting skill but it is not possible to have more than two professions and he already said he was an engineer and jeweler. He mentions that he has a beta of the expansion (though does not specify which, it can be assumed it is Wrath of the Lich King), thus explaining his ability to be level 75. He also mentions that raising his enchanting skill is "not going so well" probably due to the inability to have more than two professions. Furthermore, when asked her race, Weir replies 'mage'. Mage is a class, not a race, and Bill should have known this.
  • Major General Jack O'Neill's Class A uniform (dress blues) has the rank insignia of a Major General (2 stars). However, his standard SG uniform (while on Atlantis) has the insignia of a Brigadier General (1 star).
  • As with several other episodes, the Spacegates portrayed possess only eight chevrons compared to the nine that all Stargates are considered to have. Most fans (and this wiki) put this down to an oversight on behalf of the SFX team and consider them to have nine-chevrons as far as Stargate canon is concerned.
  • In the scene that O'Neill is telling Dr. Elizabeth Weir what went on during the transitional meeting, the background changes occasionally from a mask on the wall, to a type of crest/shield.
  • During the shot of the McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge test, the Pegasus gate is partially erased, black stripes cover it on the bottom, yet some details can still be seen.
  • When Lt. Colonel John Sheppard shoots Major Christopher Wallace with a Zat'nik'tel during their escape from Stargate Command, Dr. Carson Beckett is holding his shoulder. The zat shot would have traveled through both men and incapacitated them, but it only affects Wallace. (this occurs on several occasions through out the SG1 franchise)
  • When Dr. Rodney McKay dials Atlantis at the end of the episode, a Tau'ri soldier can be seen at the bottom right hand of the screen. Only O'Neill, Richard Woolsey and the Lanteans should be on Atlantis.
  • When Lt. Colonel John Sheppard is talking to Major General Henry Landry after taking command of an SG team, he is not wearing an SG team patch or an SGC patch.
  • When the Tria deccelarates from almost the speed of light (299792458m/s), Mckay claims it is pulling about 27Gs which is 270m/s/s which means it would take them about 6 days to match the maximum speed of the deadalus (150.300.225m/s)  They could have increased their decceleration.

First appearances



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