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Recap / Stargate Atlantis S02 E12 "Epiphany"

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What is it with you and ascended women?
McKay on Sheppard's latest liason

McKay detects some strange energy readings, and the team go to check it out. They find what looks like a perfectly ordinary door - which turns out to be covered by an ancient cloaking device. When their rigged up MALP-on-a-stick (McKay's camera + duct tape + stick) reveals nothing out of the ordinary, Sheppard elects to go through and investigate. The moment he enters, he gets sucked through, and cannot seem to get out again. Worse, there's nothing interesting in or near the cave at all.

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McKay reviews the tape to see if they can figure out what went wrong - and realizes to his horror that the tape is full and the battery is dead - after about 20 seconds of exposure. He hypothesizes that the doorway must be some kind of time-dilation field, and has the team throw the rest of their supplies through immediately, then runs back to the Jumper with Teyla for more. Sheppard, who has been unable to make radio contact and is out of water after two days of waiting, is of course delighted by the appearance of three fresh canteens, but can't help wondering what took them so long.

After another couple of days with no further contact, he decides he needs to head farther from the cave to be able to survive. Thus, when Teyla returns from the Jumper with extra supplies and fresh batteries for the camera, he is long gone. The area is beautiful, but Sheppard is being stalked by a giant invisible monster. Suddenly, a man bursts forth from the forest crying for help and running from "the Beast." Sheppard engages the Beast in a knife fight...and wakes up in bed, attended by beautiful women.

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Well, one woman and a little girl with Healing Hands, who have been tending him. The woman is Teer, the sister of the man he rescued, and they are all members of a community whose ancestors came to "the Sanctuary" generations ago, seeking (and attaining) Ascension. She tells him that the Sanctuary was created by the Ancients to allow those seeking Ascension to follow the path in peace - and that it is impossible to leave. She also tells him that the Beast can never enter their village. Needless to say, it's not long before the Beast enters their village.

The villagers all flee inside, but Sheppard stands and fights it a second time. And again wakes up in bed, covered with horrible wounds in the process of being healed. He is not pleased that none of the villagers stood to fight with him, but Teer explains that peace and meditation are required for Ascension, never violence. And after having lived with them for weeks he should know this. McKay in the meantime has wasted no time in returning to Atlantis and scrambling a team to come and rescue Sheppard.

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Flying over the Sanctuary, McKay is able to locate the power source for the time dilation field and is confident that he can go in and turn it off. Weir and Beckett insist on coming along too, just because. After several months, Sheppard decides to return to the cave to check things out, and finds the extra supplies from the Jumper that Teyla sent through. He's very excited by this, but Teer tells him a) she already knows, because she can follow him with her mind, b) he's some kind of Chosen One who is going to lead them all to Ascension, and c) tonight is the night they get it on.

Weir, McKay, Beckett, Teyla and Ronon come through the gate and start making for the power source. Teer senses them coming, and interrupts Sheppard telling everyone yet again that there's more to life than meditation to tell him that they're all about to be attacked by the Beast. Still unable to convince the villagers to help out, Sheppard rushes off alone to rescue them, and proceeds to get pounded by the Beast a third time. When it looks like all six of them are about to be covered in unsightly claw marks, Teer and the villagers appear. They take down the Beast, which turns out to be the embodiment of their own fears and their last barrier to Ascension. And then they all Ascend, thanking Sheppard for his help. Sheppard declines to go with them, and Ascended!Teer opens up the portal so they can all leave without damaging the Sanctuary.

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