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Recap / Stargate Atlantis S01 E19 "The Siege (Part 1)"

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We are at war, Elizabeth. In war, there are casualties.
Dr. Zelenka

So, there are three hive ships en-route to Atlantis which will arrive shortly. Luckily, they will pass within range of the defense satellite encountered earlier, although the satellite is offline. McKay is confident that they can repair it and let it wipe out the Wraith ships. As McKay, Grodin and a pilot fly out to the satellite Zelenka raises a concern with Dr Weir. The self destruct system built into the city is not powerful enough, large chunks of the city will survive which the Wraith could reverse engineer advanced technologies from. Not to mention the Ancient database that the computers contain. Zelenka begins work on an alternative.

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Meanwhile, the puddle jumper has arrived at the satellite, McKay believes that the damage is mostly superficial but that the power source has simply been depleted. They have brought along a generator which he intends to hook up and repower the weapon. McKay dons a space suit, makes his way through the airlock and starts to connect the generator.

Back in the city, Teyla has a run-in with the chief of security, he believes that her psychic connection to the Wraith is a liability and that she is involuntarily providing them with intel. She furiously denies this and a scuffle ensues. Zelenka shows his new self destruct system to Weir — detonating all of their generators at the same time results in much smaller chunks which should be enough to prevent the Wraith from recovering anything useful. He also has an idea to write a virus which will activate just before detonation and wipe the computers. Weir is understandably distressed at the prospect of deleting the single greatest repository of Ancient knowledge, but Radek gives the page quote and informs her that with the large number of computers they brought with them it may be possible to take a copy of perhaps 7 or 8 percent of the data.

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The satellite now has power, the life support is back online and Grodin manages to reactivate the artificial gravity, unfortunately it comes on a bit faster than they were expecting and Rodney didn't make it to the ladder in time.

McKay: Oh yeah, that's permanent back damage.
Grodin: Sorry, I assumed it would come on more gradually.
McKay: Well you assumed with my life.

Back on Atlantis, the security officer from earlier is found unconscious and badly injured, suspicion falls on Teyla and she is detained. It is suspected that the Wraith are somehow controlling her and using her as an agent within the city.

Grodin runs some diagnostics and confirms that the satellite and weapon are fine, but the circuit which supplies power to the weapon is damaged, they need to reroute power through an alternate circuit. Which can only be done from outside. After drawing straws, McKay suits up and heads out. He locates the damaged circuit and Grodin identifies an undamaged one they can reroute through. McKay begins the repairs.

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Beckett has completed an examination of the DNA samples recovered from the injured officer's wounds. It's Wraith. A scan of the city uncovers a single Wraith hiding in an unused section of the city. After a quick battle he is captured and imprisoned.

Meanwhile, McKay has finished his repairs and Grodin confirms that everything appears to be working. The puddle jumper comes around to dock with the satellite and pick up Grodin so they can get clear. But something has gone wrong, it seems that the circuit that they used to repair the weapon was the one that supplied power to the airlock. Without a spacesuit Grodin cannot get out of the satellite and back to the jumper. Knowing that there isn't enough time for McKay to go back and rework the repairs Grodin orders them to get to a safe distance. He will operate the satellite and destroy the hive ships, then they'll have plenty of time to rescue him.

Presently, the Wraith arrive. Grodin powers up the weapon and switches it to automatic firing mode. After a short charge up time the satellite fires, and neatly slices the lead hive ship into two pieces. Which then explode. McKay radios Atlantis, "We have a kill!" and there is much rejoicing. McKay asks why Grodin hasn't fired again, inside the satellite there are flashing lights, alarms and showers of sparks. Grodin explains that the circuit they used to repair the weapon has fried itself. The satellite cannot fire again. Grodin tells McKay that there's no point risking themselves to save him and apologizes for his failure to get all the ships. McKay ignores him and orders the pilot to get them back to the satellite, but it's already too late. The remaining Wraith ships turn and fire on the satellite, completely obliterating it. McKay passes on the bad news to Atlantis. Weir tells them to return, at the very least, losing a hive ship has given the Wraith a scare. They are now holding back and seem to be re-evaluating their plans, Grodin having bought Atlantis some extra time. Zelenka puts the self-destruct program into standby mode, ready for Weir to give the order.

To Be Continued

Tropes

  • Exposition Diagram: Zelenka uses one to explain why the self-destruct program is insufficient.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
    Bob the Wraith: I will tell you this: no matter where you flee, we will find you. Just as surely as we will find Earth. And when we do, we shall feast!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Grodin
  • Kill Sat: The Ancient weapon satellite complete with a Wave Motion Gun.
  • Mauve Shirt: Grodin
  • Metaphorgotten
    Rodney McKay: In military parlance, surprise is... an element on our side.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The weapons platform, further cementing the Ancients as Too Dumb to Live Neglectful Precursors.
    • The artificial gravity turns on instantly, and the controls are in a multi-story open space. Grodin even admits that he assumed the gravity would turn on gradually.
    • Power conduits are routed through the outside of the platform, making repairing them unnecessarily difficult.
    • The airlock runs off the same power as the weapon (and the rest of the platform); an emergency power supply to the airlock would've easily saved Grodin.
    • All that being said, this trope is justified somewhat by the fact that the Ancients were fighting a losing war of attrition against an enemy with an overwhelming numerical advantage, which may have necessitated making the satellites as easy to build as possible with minimal safety features and redundant systems in order to crank out as many of them as possible to replace lost ones due to Wraith attacks as quickly as possible.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Atlantis crew manages to destroy one of the Wraith hive ships and slow down their advance, but at the cost of Peter Grodin's life and the loss of the last weapons satellite.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: for who is going to go outside and repair the satellite - until they realize you can't play Rock, Paper, Scissors with three people and end up Drawing Straws instead.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Dr. Peter Grodin
  • Season Finale
  • Stiff Upper Lip: As befitting an Englishman, Grodin doesn't even bat an eyelid when he tells them to leave him behind and get clear while he makes his heroic sacrifice.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Ancient weapon satellite has one and it's powerful enough to slice a Wraith hive ship in half in one shot. Too bad it craps out immediately afterwards and it's blasted to bits by the remaining two.
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