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Recap / Stargate Atlantis S02 E03 "Runner"

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You don't know what it's like, almost dying like I did, having your friends turn on you, no one trusts you. I'm out here all alone.
Lieutenant Ford

Checking out the plant life on the high UV-world of P3M-736, Major Lorne and his botanist charge discover a single dead Wraith, apparently killed by bullets and missing his enzyme sack. This looks like the work of the missing Lieutenant Ford, and Sheppard assembles a team to investigate.

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However, there seem to be two mysterious figures lurking in the dense jungles, and Teyla and Sheppard are stunned and captured. McKay and Lorne catch up with Ford - who knocks out Lorne and kidnaps McKay, vacillating wildly between enthusiastic, lost, and homicidal. In one of his enthusiastic phases, he tells McKay that Sheppard and Teyla have been captured and that he's going to rescue them, thereby proving that he's alright.

Teyla and Sheppard eventually come to, in the company of Ronon Dex, a former member of the Satedan military. Between bouts of implacability and veiled threat, he explains that he was once captured by the Wraith. When they were unable to feed off of him, they implanted a tracking device on his back and released him as a "runner"—a human who constantly flees while they hunt him for sport. He has since gotten fairly adept at hunting them in return.

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Sheppard offers the help of Atlantis in removing Ronon's tracking device. Ronon reluctantly agrees to let Sheppard return and bring back Dr. Beckett to perform the operation, keeping Teyla as a hostage. Beckett is less than enthusiastic about all this, but is able to remove and deactivate the tracking device - although not before three Wraith darts have arrived on the planet.

Meanwhile, Ford has decided that McKay needs to die, resulting in McKay shooting him in the shoulder and then getting caught in one of Ronon's rope traps. Neither of these dissuades Ford too much (he apparently has no qualms about shooting an unarmed upside-down man), but he is unexpectedly rescued by Ronon, who has agreed to capture Ford as a thank-you for the surgery. They knife fight for a while, but Ford escapes again - and runs into Sheppard. Sheppard is also unable to talk him down, however, and ends up shooting him (again). Saying something about "proving himself," Ford leaps into the vacuum beam of a passing Wraith dart and escapes through the Stargate.

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Ronon returns to Atlantis with them as a possible new member of the team.

Tropes

  • Androcles' Lion: Invoked by Sheppard when Beckett goes to remove Ronon's tracking device.
    Beckett: And who are you in this retelling? The Romans?
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Ford.
  • A Friend in Need: Sheppard Invokes this when Caldwell describes Ford as a security threat.
  • Hand Cannon: Ronon Dex has an impressive one.
  • The Last of His Kind: As far as Ronon knows, he's the only Satedan to survive the culling of his homeworld.
  • Made of Iron: Ford can shrug of gunshots, thanks to the Wraith enzyme. Though, none of the people shooting at him were going for the kill shot, as they were trying to bring him back alive.
  • Scars Are Forever: Ronon Dex has scars on his back from his attempts to remove the tracking device the Wraith implanted there.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Wraith use "Runners" to hunt especially tough humans from planet to planet for sport.
  • The Load: McKay, even more than usual due to his insistence on wearing a bulky radiation suit and covering himself in homemade sunscreen.
  • The War on Terror: When Caldwell mentions "Code Orange and above", Sheppard asks him to explain the correspondence between color codes and their respective severities.
  • Transplant: Mauve Shirt Major Lorne started out on Stargate SG-1 before coming to the Pegasus galaxy on the Daedalus.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Ronon Dex, during his time as a Runner.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Wraith enzyme has made Ford incredibly badass, yet batshit insane.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: MALP telemetry reveals in the end of the episode that the Wraith have utterly destroyed Ronon's homeworld of Sateda.
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