This article is for the episode, for the city-ship, see Tower

Gallery Episode Transcript

"The Tower" is the fifteenth episode of the second season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team visits a planet where they encounter a City-ship buried under foliage, and the central tower is used by the royalty of the planet.


The Tower.png

Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team is on a planet and Dr. Rodney McKay begins complains about the primitive society, when a man named Eldred appears and tells them about the Tower. It supposedly protects them from the Wraith, so he agrees to show it to them. When the team sees it they are surprised to find it looks like the central spire of Atlantis. Back in the village, Eldred tells them that the Tower destroys the Wraith ships by using thousands of lights, which the team recognizes as Drone weapons. This sparks interest as the people in the Tower may have a Zero Point Module. They contact Atlantis and Dr. Elizabeth Weir orders them to find out more.

Lord Protector's Ancient Control Chair

Ancient Control Chair activated viewscreen.

While McKay goes into the woods with a local guide to check the Tower, back in the village the rest of Sheppard's team intervene as some soldiers attempt to assault Eldred for his lack of respect. Another man named Otho appears and scans Sheppard's team with an Ancient device, then orders just Sheppard brought to the Tower. Sheppard is then brought into the Tower. He remains in radio contact with the others. He describes the interior of the Tower, which looks like Atlantis except that it is styled like an early modern throne room, mixing baroque and other elements.

Lord Protector's throne room.

The throne, Sheppard realizes is actually an Ancient Control chair. McKay has discovered the Tower is merely the main tower of a Lantean City-ship, identical to Atlantis. In the throne room, the Lord Protector talks with Sheppard and tells him he is a guest, not a prisoner. He invites him to dine with them. Afterward, Sheppard contacts his team and orders them to remain quiet and keep a low profile.

In the evening Ronon Dex, Teyla Emmagan and McKay eat with Eldred who tells them that they give the Tower half of their harvest. Meanwhile, in the Tower, while Sheppard has dinner with the royal court, the Lord Protector reacts badly and is taken away. Otho tells Sheppard that the Lord Protector has had these attacks before, he should be fine in the morning.

Later the Protector's daughter, Mara, visits Sheppard's assigned quarters and tries to seduce him, revealing that her father wants them to marry.

Drone activating approaching launch sequence.

In the morning, Sheppard talks to Otho, who tells them that one of his duties is to find the best match for the royal bloodline so that the royalty will still be capable of using the Ancient technology. When he had scanned Sheppard the day before, he had found that Sheppard carries the Ancient Technology Activation gene and thus hoped that it will strengthen the royal bloodline. If Mara doesn't become the next leader of her people, it will fall to her brother, Tavius. Sheppard then calls Dr. Carson Beckett to examine the Lord Protector and Otho leads Sheppard to a Puddle Jumper bay. There, Sheppard offers him the Ancient Technology Activation gene therapy to strengthen the ATA gene in the population. Later, Beckett informs Sheppard that the Protector has been poisoned and that nothing can be done to help him.


Meanwhile, outside the Tower, McKay enters the underground of the city with a young man named Baldric. They find a room filled with racks of Drone weapons but when he activates the systems, the earth begins to shake and the corridor collapses, trapping them inside. They are unable to call for help, so McKay backtracks to the city's Auxiliary control center and begins to access the Ancient mainframe running the city. In order to provide air and regain radio contact, McKay decides to blow a hole in the ceiling with a Drone.

Back in the village, Ronon rescues Petra from the royal guard and in this process kills one of them. This causes a revolt in the village, much to Eldred's shock. Teyla quickly briefs Sheppard on the situation, and he then informs Otho. Suddenly, the villagers hear a bell, which signals that the Lord Protector has died. Otho tells Beckett and Sheppard to leave, at which point Sheppard attempts to bring Mara with him. However, Otho appears and arrests them, revealing that he is the new Lord Protector. He brings them to Tavius, also imprisoned, who says that it was Otho who actually poisoned the Lord Protector. Otho admits it. It turns out he is in love with Mara and Tavius had promised to marry her to Otho if Otho helped him kill his father. However, once Otho used the gene therapy on himself and it worked, he realised he could claim the throne for himself by blaming Tavius for the assassination and he would still be able to marry Mara.

Drone swarm gathering around Tower.

Meanwhile, McKay contacts Teyla who tells him that he has to find the ZPM or the village will be destroyed by the drones in retaliation for the uprising. In the prison cell, Mara brings Sheppard his radio who contacts McKay and orders him to remove the ZPM because Otho's first act as Lord Protector will be the destruction of the village. However, McKay is unable to reach the ZPM and instead suggests a massive power drain to deplete it as the ZPM is already nearly depleted. After a moment of consideration, Sheppard orders McKay to charge the Tower's Stardrive, the single greatest drain of power they can find. Despite the threat of the catacombs further collapsing on him, McKay charges the Stardrive and successfully depletes the remaining power in the ZPM, leaving the Tower powerless and rendering the drones inert just before they reach the village.


Taking advantage of the shaking caused by the Tower's Stardrive powering up, Sheppard and Beckett escape their cell with Beckett locking Tavius within as he leaves. Arriving in the Throne Room just after the power is depleted, Sheppard confronts Otho and reminds him that without the ability to control the Control Chair anymore, he is no longer Lord Protector. Sheppard announces to the nobles around them that they no longer have to bow to Otho or anyone else, not noticing Otho drawing a knife. Mara shouts a warning, enabling Sheppard to dodge the attack and engage in a brief fight with Otho that ends with Sheppard disarming him, cutting Otho across the palm with the knife as he yanks it out of his hand. Otho tells Sheppard that Tavius was right, "I do have a fair knowledge of poisons" before collapsing dead from the fast-acting poison he'd coated his knife with and that had gotten into his system through his cut hand.

Back on Atlantis, Sheppard informs Weir that they have received a supply of new drones and Puddle Jumpers in exchange for medical supplies and a Garage Door Opener so they can contact Atlantis if they need further help. The Atlantis expedition has also offered to help the villagers devise a new system of government. Weir asked if they offered to make him King; he says he declined.


Appearances for The Tower





Sentient Species


Notable quotes

Sheppard: They can't all be planets with cool technology and open minded women.
McKay: I don't see why not.

Baldric: I'm not so sure this is wise.
McKay: Okay, I'm not interested in your primitive taboos, okay? It is a dark and scary place but it's not cursed or haunted or anything like that. It's perfectly safe.
Baldric: Actually the catacombs are prone to earthquakes.
McKay: (worriedly) They are?

Baldric: What'll happen if you succeed?
McKay: Well, two possibilities. Either we create a nice sturdy shaft that will give us some much-needed air and provide a big enough gap for the radio signal to get through, or it will bring the already unsteady ceiling down on us, burying us both alive.
Baldric: I prefer to imagine the first possibility.
McKay: Yes, yes, the power of positive thinking. Very good. While you do that, I will rely on my experience and expertise.
Baldric: You said you'd never done this before.
McKay: General expertise! Will you be quiet while I do this?

Baldric: I can't believe that worked!
McKay: What happened to positive thinking?
Baldric: I lied.

Teyla: Rodney, where have you been?
McKay: Where have I been? I have been trapped underground by an earthquake that blocked off our one exit from this section of the city, that's where I've been!
Teyla: Do you have access to the ZPM?
McKay: No, I don't have access to the ZPM, but thank you for your concern, by the way!
Teyla: Rodney...
McKay: No, no, no, no, no, no. No, it's fine. Your beloved friend has nearly died and while he has had to face the imminent threat of death, your first concern is for the ZPM? It's only natural!
Teyla: I am sorry, Rodney, but we have a few problems of our own. Colonel Sheppard and Doctor Beckett are no longer responding to our radio calls. As well, there is a good possibility that the Lord Protector is about to launch a drone attack on this village. If that happens, everyone here will die.
McKay: Oh.

Sheppard: We got the drones, we got a few Jumpers; I even got the girl.
Weir: You got the girl?!
Sheppard: Well, I mean I could have got the girl. I turned her down.
Weir: What did you offer them in return for the drones and the Jumpers?
Sheppard: A supply of medicines and an IDC if they need to reach us. We also offered to help them come up with a new way of running things when the time comes.
Weir: They didn't offer you King?!
Sheppard: I turned that down too!


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The episode's working title was "Sister City".
  • At 24:43 Otho tells John that the jumpers that are next to them ran out of power years ago. Seeing as the Atlantis Jumpers retained their power for over 10,000 years before being rediscovered, this must mean Ortho's jumpers ran out of power through heavy use (presumably by ancient ancestors of his fuedal society).
  • The character Baldric that helps Dr. Rodney McKay find an entrance to the lower sections of the Tower may be a reference to the character of the same name in the comedy series Blackadder, the first series of which was based in a medieval court.


  • When the guard unlocks the gate to see the prisoners, he uses a key in an old fashioned tumbler style lock. As Dr. Carson Beckett and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard flee and Beckett closes the gate, it would not have locked as it would have needed a key to relock.

Other languages

  • Hungarian: A torony (The Tower)
  • German: Der Turm (The Tower)
  • French: La tour (The Tower)

External links

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