Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 13
(Season 3 - Vol 3)

Starring: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion and David Hewlett
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 29 October 2007

After an Atlantis team vanishes while off-world, Sheppard mounts a rescue mission. Not only do they find the missing crew dead, but they also discover an alien device that begins creating hallucinations in Sheppard's team, who see each other as enemies...

At the centre of Phantoms is a fairly clichéd plot - you can see the twist coming a mile off. It's pretty obvious early on that the alien device has something to do with it. And, as it is established from the opening scene that the first batch of bodies the Atlantis team come across killed one another, it's pretty obvious that the alien device somehow turns allies against each other.

While it's not the most original of ideas, the writers really pull out all the stops to make the resulting plot much better than expected. There's a really great moment that got me in a way that M. Night Shyamalan movies used to do. It concerns Beckett... and I'll say no more.

Carl Binder (co-executive producer/writer) and Martin Wood (director/supervising producer) provide an interesting audio commentary. Highlights include the failed stunt, where a truck didn't explode as planned; and the revelation that David Hewlett twisted his ankle quite badly while diving from the cave. Wood also rather unconvincingly pretends to be embarrassed about his voice over work on this episode - but then spends quite some time talking about it anyway.

When McKay, Sheppard and the others discover an Aurora-class warship called the Tria filled with Ancients, they're ecstatic. But with the return of the Ancients to Atlantis, the humans are ordered to leave, forcing the team to go their separate ways...

The Return - Part I is a pretty interesting episode, but really acts as the build up to the much stronger Part II. There's a surprise guest star; a great CGI shot of a new space construction the SGC has approved and built; and a cliff-hanger that you know won't really see the break up of the Atlantis team.

The only thing I can really think of to complain about is that the teaser features the Replicators. Because of this you know they are going to make an appearance at some point in the episode. So, when the Ancients appear, I was expecting it to be a Replicator trap. I won't spoil whether or not this is the case.

Martin Gero (producer/writer) and Paul Mullie (executive producer) provide the first of two great audio commentaries on this disc. Highlights include them pointing out the Ancient extra who insists on looking into the camera on every take; their issues with Beckett's civilian dress sense; Gero's excuse as to why he got the World of Warcraft facts wrong in the script; and whether the Puddle Jumper really would fit over those railings that are in front of the Earth's stargate.

Major General Jack O'Neill and Richard Woolsey are currently in hiding from Replicators. But their hopes of escape increase once Sheppard's team hears of the attack on Atlantis, and goes AWOL in hopes of regaining control of the city...

The Return - Part II offers a great conclusion to the story. It's pretty obvious that everyone will return to Atlantis, so there was never really any worry that the team wouldn't get back together, but the way they take back the city is quite ingenious. It was also great to see Richard Dean Anderson do some quite impressive underwater work

Gero and Mullie return for the second of their audio commentaries. Highlights include Gero offering fans the chance to provide their own audio commentary on the credit sequence while he reacts; an explanation as to why the drones don't follow the Puddle Jumper under the water even though it is shown, later in the episode, that they can function under water; and Gero revealing that he provided an over dubbing sigh for Richard Dean Anderson.


When the whales of Lantia gather around city, the people of Atlantis begin to fall seriously ill. Meanwhile Teyla and others begin to witness what appear to be ghosts of the Ancients...

Echoes allows McKay to delve a little deeper into his history with the whales of Lantia - when they all start converging on Atlantis. It soon becomes apparent that the whales' calls are lethal to humans, and members of the Atlantis crew start to become seriously ill. Meanwhile, an increasing number of the crew start to see apparitions of the Ancients, as well as a badly burnt man.

While this is far from a bad episode, it's not one of this season's strongest stories. It could be that I was reminded too much of Star Trek: IV: The Voyage Home, but (and without spoiling too much) the whole whale story line was a little too corny.

William Waring (director) and Brenton Spencer (director of photography) provide a pretty weak audio commentary. It's mostly pointing out what's going on on screen, followed by long pauses.

Extras include the previously mentioned audio commentaries; Mission Directive: Phantoms featuring Martin Wood (14 mins look behind the scenes of the Phantoms episode. Director Martin Wood seems to have his work cut out for him as nothing goes right); General O'Neill Goes To Atlantis (14 mins look at the return of Richard Dean Anderson to the Stargate franchise); Photo Gallery; and Production Design Gallery.

Pete Boomer

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