Stargate: Atlantis: Season 5, Episode 5

Ghost in the Machine (15 Aug. 2008)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 379 users  
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A group of beings stranded in sub-space seek help from Atlantis to return to normal space. But their outrageous claims and erratic behavior strains the trust of their benefactors and forces a painful solution.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dr. Jennifer Keller (credit only)
Leanne Adachi ...
Richard Busch ...
Dr. Elizabeth Weir (archive footage)
Oberoth (archive footage)
Patricia Cullen ...
Replicator Crew Member (archive footage)


Returning from an off-world mission in a puddle jumper, Sheppard, Teyla, Ronan and McKay suddenly find themselves in a ship that swings wildly between complete power failure and power surges that are blowing out some of the ship's systems. When they manage to get back to Atlantis, a diagnostics check reveals no problem whatsoever with the jumper. Soon however, systems across the city are affected in the same way. McKay is having difficulty isolating the source but it finds him by shutting down all but his computer. When he finally manages to communicate with it, he and everyone else is in shock at who it claims to be. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis



Release Date:

15 August 2008 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(5.1 surround)| (Dolby 5.1)


Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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Did You Know?


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Main Title
Composed by Joel Goldsmith
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User Reviews

Weir/der and Weir/der
11 June 2011 | by (France) – See all my reviews

This is another case of an episode which, after a rather classic beginning, quickly builds up to a real shocker -much like what happened in The Kindred. Barely five episodes ago, if I may say so. The fact is, this episode concludes an arc that has been slowly developed over a very long time, and the fact that it does so in a bare 40mn is a bit of a letdown. I mean, Elizabeth deserved so much better.

Well, she deserved looking like herself, for one. Apparently it was Torri Higginson herself who refused to come back, but the result is that she script has to wrap up many things at once, and that we are asked to empathise with someone who looks like a perfect stranger. Michelle Morgan does a very decent job of impersonating Weir, but it just feels wrong. The whole episode plays on the conflict between our (and everybody's) instinctive sympathy for her, and the possibility that she might now be an enemy --but much of that conflict is undermined by her strange appearance. Still, I must admit it adds an interesting twist to her identity issues. (Why couldn't Carter be there? She might have had something to say about that.)

So this is a character-driven episode, and it provides many good moments, both touching and amusing. The plot understandably emphasises on the small details that remind us of how Weir used to be, while always maintaining the doubt about whether she really is *our* Elizabeth. But there is no way to know for sure, of course --or is there? It is also very entertaining to watch the humans' continued struggle with the too-advanced Lantian technology (I particularly like Woolsey's difficult "relationship" with Atlantis; it looks as if the city was trying to get back at him for taking over so brutally.)

Finally, this is our final farewell to a character who was fundamental to the series and whose ghost was still haunting it. In many ways, even though it happens way too fast, it is a really beautiful sendoff that epitomises everything Elizabeth Weir really was, solving all those endless debates in one small heroic moment. (And I really can't believe that nobody will ever considered retrieving her). It also offers a very sobering reflection on what being human means. So, this episode is a major moment for the series and it really has everything to be great -it just lacks a pinch of Torri Higginson.

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