SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties" Episode Guide

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Ronon endures a grueling ordeal after his former friend, Tyre, captures and delivers him to the Wraith. Meanwhile, the team launches a rescue mission for their missing comrade.

Guide | Transcript

MGM/ Official Summary

Ronon is ambushed during an off-world mission and awakens, much later, a prisoner of his former friend, Tyre. The fellow Satedan, it turns out, has fallen on hard times since they last crossed paths. Abandoned by the Wraith he once served, he is undergoing a physiological and psychological withdrawal from the reverse-feeding process once granted to him as a Wraith worshiper. But he believes he has come up with a way to win back the respect of his former masters: by delivering them Ronon.

Intent on turning their defiant captive, the Wraith begin their process of reverse-feeding—stealing Ronon’s life, bringing him to the brink of death, then restoring his youth. Again, and again, and again.

A tip, meanwhile, leads the team to an abandoned village. But Ronon and the Wraith are long gone, and the only remnant of their former presence is a seriously injured Tyre who may be their only hope of rescuing their friend.


Guest Stars


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Stills Galleries

Production Galleries

The following are links to images concerning the production of this episode and were published by Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog:

Production Notes

  • "I have a first draft of Broken Ties in hand [...] worrying about the tighter shooting schedule or whether or not Mark D. will be available for a return engagement ..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, December 20, 2007.
  • "Apparently, I’m the Ties Guy, as I’ve written The Ties That Bind, Family Ties, and now Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, December 21, 2007.
  • "I don’t think a wig would look anywhere near as good as the real thing. If it came down to a choice between wigging Jason and losing the dreads, I’d rather lose the dreads. [...] I’ve left the ultimate fate of those dreads in Jason’s hand. I have already scripted an appropriate scene should he choose to do away with them." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, January 18, 2008.
  • "As for episode #3 - the great hair debate rages on." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, January 21, 2008.
  • "The first three [directors] on deck: Andy Mikita, Will Waring, and Ken Girotti." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, January 22, 2008.
  • "Production Designer James Robbins swung by the offices to show us some of the concept art for the first three episodes. [...] I offered my thoughts on Broken Ties (At first I thought Rodney might have had a bathtub shipped over from Earth but, ultimately, decided to go with one of Lantian design). — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, January 24, 2008.
  • "Rachel remains a series regular and an important part of the team. Two of the first three episodes see some major developments for the character." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 4, 2008.
  • "We’ll be seeing Tyre (played by Mark Dacascos) in season 5’s Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 6, 2008.
  • "Anneteldy writes: “And some people become Wraith worshippers because they are ‘addicted’ to the pleasurable aspects of getting one’s life returned. How’d I do?” Answer: You did great. How great? Check out season 5’s Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 10, 2008.
  • "Despite the delay, I got in about five minutes before the prosthetics meeting. We discussed upcoming episodes Whispers, The Daedalus Variations, The Seed, and Broken Ties. Among the subjects covered: visual versus practical effects, stunt people vs. acrobats, fog, elements of the visual we saw in Spoils of War, yogurt, and, of course, methacil." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 12, 2008.
  • "I’m hoping to complete a first draft [for Whispers] before Thursday - when prep begins on Broken Ties. Jason came in and we discussed the big sword fight (Enough with the sparring! Let’s see some real clashing steel!), hair issues, and redemption. You know, the usual." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 22, 2008.
  • "And, today, it was my turn to as prep began on my episode, Broken Ties. We kicked things off with the 9:00 a.m. concept meeting. In attendance = everyone! In addition to special guest director we frankly don’t see enough of Ken Girotti. I love this guy. Not only is he a terrific director (his credits include 24, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Supernatural, Xena), but a genuinely fun guy to hang around with. Ken, myself, and the representatives of the various departments sat around the big conference room table while first A.D. Alex Pappas took us through the script, scene by scene. We stopped occasionally to discuss the transformation scenes, with Todd Masters and Mark Savela weighing in with their thoughts, recommendations, and best-case scenarios. By the time we hit FADE OUT, it was 9:28. “Time!”I yelled. “This has got to be a record!” I’d never sat through a concept meeting that clocked in at less than 45 minutes before! Sadly, we weren’t even close. The record is held by a Robert Cooper SG-1 season 10 script that took less than 1 minutes to get through!" — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 28, 2008.
  • "Prep continued today on Broken Ties with a 9:00 a.m. stunts meeting during which we discussed, well, stunts, squibs, and Tyre’s kick-ass sword that Evil Kenny brought in for approval. Halfway through the show and tell, 1st AD Alex Pappas snatched it up and proceeded to show off his mastery of the blade. We were all blown away - until BamBam lost the tip of his ear. // From there, we rolled into the visual effects meeting. We ran through our options with Todd Masters and Mark Savela, talked playback (I later approved a fantastic PET scan), then talked stunners, blasters, matte shots, morphs, the money shot, and the view out the window. // I let Ken handle the extras meeting..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 29, 2008.
  • "Jason came by the office about a half dozen times today, each time popping up to discuss Broken Ties for all of two minutes before being called back down to set. Then, I rounded out my afternoon by skimming past scripts for appropriate flashback sequences." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 4, 2008.
  • "Congratulations to Jason Momoa who came into my office today, clearly smitten by the brand new addition to the show: Tyre’s sword. 'It’s perfectly balanced,' he enthused, brandishing it threateningly. 'Can I keep it?' In the interest of keeping my actors happy (and my fingers attached) I happily agreed." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 5, 2008.
  • "We had the production meeting for Broken Ties this morning. It’s all systems go. We start shooting Monday at The Bridge while BamBam runs Jason and Mark Dacascos through the paces over at Norco. The tendril meeting was scheduled for tomorrow, then canceled after careful consideration." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 6, 2008.
  • "We welcomed Mark Damascus (aka Tyre) back to the show today as he stopped by our offices on his way out of his costume fitting and over to Norco where he was going to start running through the big fight sequence with Jason. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: What a super nice guy - easy-going, incredibly humble. Seriously. If any of you are thinking of throwing a party, put him on the guest list. Chat him up. You’ll love him." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 10, 2008.
  • "Broken Ties is shooting the Solen scene..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 13, 2008.
  • "I’ve just had my first bath in front of the entire Atlantis crew…thankfully just BEFORE lunch rather than after it….I would be displacing a hell of a lot more water after I’ve finished grazing the fine foods of our lunchtime catering…what sane soul can say no to free deserts?…certainly not this one! If me in a bath doesn’t sink the franchise then we may be unstoppable…anyone who has seen “A Dog’s Breakfast” knows what horror awaits them ;-) ... Ken Girotti is directing this episode and he’s doing an incredible job…more importantly he’s great fun to tease and knows exactly how to give it back…we’re all hoping he’ll be returning for more later this season." — David Hewlett in his blog, March 13, 2008.
  • "Word from the set is that the actors are really enjoying working with Ken Girotti on Broken Ties. This is great to hear because we love what we’ve been seeing in dailies. Jason, who was totally pumped about this episode for weeks prior to filming, has been doing an awesome job. And all-around class act Mark Dacascos has been equally terrific, not to mention a real pleasure to work with." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 14, 2008.
  • "I did take some time off in the afternoon to deal with the teeniest of potential on-set crises after John Lenic informed me that we were in danger of not making our day. We dropped scene 50, trimmed scenes 44 and 49, and that was hopefully enough to take most of the pressure off. I wanted to stick around for the big sword fight sequence, but I had that rewrite to get back to. I still managed to snap a few pics though." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 18, 2008.
  • "Ken Girotti, who will be directing GitM, also finishes up his director’s cut of Broken Ties, which means I‘ll be heading over to editing later in the week." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 24, 2008.
  • "The director’s cut of Broken Ties was great." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 29, 2008.
  • "I’ll spend most of Monday and Tuesday sequestered in the cramped, dimly lit confines of an editing suite, working on my producer’s cut of Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 30, 2008.
  • Nicky wrote: "So, has there been any particularly exciting/challenging stunt work for season 5 you can tell us about that won't give away too much for the upcoming season?" Answer: "Yes ... episode #503 so far ... watch it and thou shall see..." — James Bamford, stunt coordinator, in his GW Q&A thread, March 31, 2008.
  • "As expected, I spent most of the day in editing working on my producer’s cut of Broken Ties. I trimmed the Previously On segment, made some changes to the opening walk and talk, and was making good progress - until I was stymied by the conference room scene. I considered my options, tried to formulate a game plan, suggested playing part of the scene on Sheppard (which didn’t really work), tried to stay in the wide (which didn’t really work either), tried to stay off Woolsey’s right shoulder (which proved impossible). Eventually, I gave up and moved on, reasoning I’d probably have more success tomorrow because tomorrow is Tuesday and, historically, Tuesday’s have always been good editing days. I skipped the scene and forged ahead, putting back the reference to Sarif Sur, losing the foibles gag, adding head here, tail trimming there - [...] Anyway, I managed to almost reach the end of Act II before breaking for lunch, then made some headway into Act III (the parallel montage sequence proved trickier than I expected) before time ran out on me." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 31, 2008.
  • "I’m still working on my producer’s cut of Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 1, 2008.
  • "I’ve finished my producer’s cut of Broken Ties. Paul came in to take a look at it and, after much discussion, we both agreed we’d need to re-shoot the cafeteria scene (Paul is particularly fond of the bath gag). We’ll also need a pick-up of Ronon drawing his sword, the warriors falling back (rather than looking like a bunch of downcast extras shuffling off to the catering truck), and the B-side hits." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 3, 2008.
  • "I did a quick rewrite of the Sheppard-McKay cafeteria scene from Broken Ties that I’ve requested be re-shot..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 8, 2008.
  • "Incorporated all of the notes on the Broken Ties producer’s cut and will be locking the episode later next week once the cafeteria scene and the wraith battle sequences have been shot. It’s an episode that takes Ronon far beyond the wise-cracking warrior persona fans have grown to know and love, offering up a glimpse of the character at his most vulnerable. Jason goes all out in this one, delivering by far his best performance to date. Some really wonderful scenes for Rachel and Bob as well as Teyla and Woolsey deal with personal issues. Also, a couple of touching Ronon-Sheppard moments as well." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 11, 2008.
  • "My VFX spotting session for Broken Ties was moved to the afternoon. It went swimmingly - with the exception of the sword-drawing insert I’m going to need re-shot. They’ll be shooting the Sheppard-McKay cafeteria scene on Tuesday and, if all goes well, I hope to lock this episode some time before it actually airs." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 17, 2008.
  • "Otherwise, the front half offers up some great team-episodes as well as episodes which go a long way toward cementing the bonds of friendship between our various players (... Ronon and the rest of the team - but Sheppard in particular - in Broken Ties, ... are a few that immediately come to mind)." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 17, 2008.
  • "We’ll certainly see more of Teyla than we did in season four. As a fan of the character, you’ll no doubt love Search and Rescue, Broken Ties, and The Queen, and no doubt enjoy The Daedalus Variations, Ghost in the Machine, and The Shrine." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 28, 2008.
  • "Well, I was at the studio until wrap last night, overseeing a pick-up on an insert. Now, normally, I don’t hang around for inserts, but given that this was the second time around for what I figured to be a fairly straightforward shot of a sword being drawn, I decided it might be best if I was on set. “We’ll get to it at around five thirty,”I was informed. Then: “It might be closer to six.” And: “Six thirty for sure.” Later: “Seven o’ clock.” And then: “Head down in twenty minutes.”(This at 7:00 p.m.). Come 7:45 p.m., main unit finally wrapped. The crew quickly moved in, set up the shot - got three takes of the sword being drawn (just in case) and we were done. It had taken all of five minutes and, just like that, Broken Ties was complete. Minus score, sound, color timing, and visual effects." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 7, 2008.
  • "I was at post today to approve that insert for Broken Ties ... There are times when the schedule is so tight, that we may drop scenes to make our day. And, usually, the scenes to be dropped are what we refer to as “inserts”, quickie shots of someone holding up a photograph or drawing a sword from a scabbard - essentially, a shot that can be picked up at a later date because it doesn’t involve a specific actor. In the case of the insert shot I referred to in my last entry, it was shot but I asked for a re-shoot because I felt that the angle might confuse viewers as to who, exactly, was pulling their sword." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 8, 2008.
  • teknikal asks: "Which stunt sequence in s5 has required the most planning?" Answer: "There have already been sooooo many but probably the big scene in Broken Ties so far.....can't say what it was yet..." — James Bamford in his GW Q&A, May 11, 2008.
  • "There are a number of standalone episodes that contain bigger arc elements (ie. The Seed, Broken Ties, Whispers, Tracker, The Queen) in addition to your one-offs (Daedalus Variations, The Shrine)." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 19, 2008.
  • Excerpt from Sci Fi Wire, Atlantis Focuses on Wraith, May 20, 2008:
Also look for the return of the Wraith-worshipping Satedan Tyre (Mark Dacascos) in an episode in which he captures Ronon (Jason Momoa) and attempts to sacrifice him to the Wraith. Ronon is given so much Wraith enzyme in the episode that he gives in completely to his dark side and apparently does some serious damage to Sheppard (Joe Flanigan).
Momoa said that he got so deep into his character's rage in the episode that he actually broke a gurney he was strapped to. Momoa called the episode the most fun he's ever had as an actor. (Contrary to previous speculation, however, Momoa does not lose his trademark dreadlocks in the episode.)
  • "The beginning of 'Broken Ties' is all this [master] wig [that cost $10,000]. There is some of my hair in there, which they sewed in to make it look more like my hair. When it came to us it was really clean and kind of dark. By the end of the season it will be perfect, because it has to get dirty and used. ... SCI FI said no [to cutting Ronon's hair in this episode] — which is funny because they didn't want to have Ronon to have dreads in the first place! ... SCI FI won't let me cut it until it comes to the point where it is going to hurt my neck — which is basically the reason I wanted to cut it. So it's going to get to a point where physically I'm going to have to cut this thing off, because it weighs just as much as the other one. But it's nice that I can go home at night [without it]." — Jason Momoa, Gateworld interview, May 26, 2008.
  • "Speaking of Jason, the dreaded one gives what is by far his best performance of the series in season five’s Broken Ties. It’s an episode he is extremely proud of, and justifiably so. We watched the Day One mix the other day and were very, very impressed - not only with Jason’s tour-de-force, but with Joel Goldsmith’s terrific score." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 28, 2008.
  • "Actually in Joe's script, "Broken Ties," it has some great comic moments for Woolsey as well." — Alan McCullough in Gateworld interview, published June 4, 2008.
  • "I do save my first drafts. In the past, I have offered up scene-by-scene comparisons between the first drafts and the finished episodes. For season five, I’ll be offering the breakdowns on Broken Ties, Whispers, and Remnants." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 5, 2008.
  • "On tap tomorrow: director’s cuts of Inquisition and First Contact, and a Day 2 Mix of Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 10, 2008.
  • Excerpts of Jason Momoa's interview with Gateword, published June 11, 2008:
    • "It's awesome! It's probably the best episode -- the hardest thing as an actor [for me] to do. Because even though not a lot is scripted, for Ronon there's not a lot of dialogue. It's his looks and a lot of pain that he goes through. Just a lot of pain."
    • "The fight was great. We worked really hard on it. I almost feel sorry for Mark Dacascos ["Tyre"]. He's great to work with. We have really good chemistry together. I feel bad for him because we spent four days training with it, and two and a half hours of shooting. So we kind of got screwed on the whole fight. And the fight in my opinion came out really crappy."
    • "Because once again, we didn't have time to shoot it [the fight with Tyre]. It's ten pounds of "shoot" in a five pound bag. It's like we're stuck, and we have to shoot a lot of stuff. And fight scenes take a lot of time. It's just something that should have been done second unit. ... It just sucks because you put a lot of time and effort into something. It was a big fight. It goes from swords to guns to hand-to-hand. To get a really good fight, you have to cover it properly. It sucks because the director didn't have time. Because we didn't have time. ... I'm sure the fans will love it. On a personal level, it's a little unfulfilling. Not when you put that much time and effort into it."
    • "Character, it's great. There's a lot of pain. I get to play a heroin addict times ten. I've never gotten to play that kind of role before, where I have to be all jacked up and hopped up. The most that anyone's ever been hopped up. So I've got to dig deep in my imagination what it would be like -- that pain, to have every muscle ache and every fiber inside of me just screaming, on fire, just boiling. And actually having to cry for someone to kill me."
    • "Just to the point where he's like, "Just f***ing kill me. Get this over with." And then not. So it was pretty heavy. And I spent a big part of the day ... it was the greatest acting experience I've had so far. The end of the episode -- I don't want to revisit it ever again. It was a pretty dark place to go to."
    • "But it's such a very small ... there's a lot of stuff in that episode. And so it's very small. And what we decided to do was not make it too dark. ... As far as the Dark Side, I find really [that] is when he's recovering. You really see this different side to him. But it would have been nice to cut the hair off and see a whole different character for ... maybe go a couple episodes with the dark side of the character."
  • "On the way, we ran into actor Tyler McClendon, the actor I cast as Ronon’s wraith captor in Broken Ties. On the strength of his eerily menacing performance in that episode, Tyler has earned a spot on our recurring wraith rotation. Truth be told, this isn’t Tyler’s first franchise appearance - but even an eagle-eyed fan would have trouble recognizing Lt. Banks from Avalon I, Cameron Mitchell’s doomed co-pilot during the battle with Anubis’s fleet over Antarctica, under all that make-up." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 12, 2008.
  • "I rewrote the tease of Remnants ... and changed the final beat to avoid repeating a visual from Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 13, 2008.
  • "Mrs.B108 writes: “Do Sheppard and Teyla have any personal obstacles between them this year?” Answer: "A certain issue will be addressed in Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 13, 2008.
  • "Only my two days into hiatus and I suspect I may have underestimated by reading capacity. I’ll pick up some more titles on Wednesday since I’ll be dropping by the offices anyway to watch the Ghost in the Machine day one mix and the Broken Ties final mix, and begin discussions on Project Twilight." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 15, 2008.
  • "At about 10:00 a.m., everyone else got in and we retired to the writers’ room for a quadruple feature: Broken Ties (Day 2 Mix - only two notes: 1. Pre-lap the tavern walla in the Ext. Village - Night establisher and, 2. Put the walla back in the Sheppard-Woolsey scene)..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 18, 2008. ["As someone pointed out, the actual background conversation (a.k.a. “walla”) is supplied in post. As Paul said, it usually amounts to nothing more than indistinguishable muttering." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 16, 2008)]
  • "I swung by post today to approve the seamless version of Broken Ties. The seamless version is, of course, the uninterrupted version that will eventually find its way onto DVD. Many shows (The Shield come to mind) simply go to black at the end of each act but Stargate’s episodes run uninterrupted, segueing smoothly from the last scene of one act into the first scene of the next. Usually. Sometimes, because of the way an episode has been shot, the transition can be a little jarring. ... I was faced with just such a challenge today. The final shot of the act is a static close up of Ronon, but the first shot of the next act is moving and jumps the axis (we were on Ronon’s left side and, suddenly, we’re on his right). ... Unfortunately, cutting to an insert wouldn’t work in this case. So, rather than add a shot, I cut one. I lose the final shot of the act so that instead of ending on Ronon, we end on Tyre then pick up the first shot of the next act - FINDING RONON. Let me know if it bugs you when you watch the episode on 5 DVD." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 24, 2008.
  • "Mailbox quota exceeded? How the hell is that possible? I mean, COME ON! My writing partner Paul hasn’t deleted an email in over three years. His inbox looks like a guest list for an Italian wedding and yet he doesn’t seem to have any problem either sending or receiving. Of course, it may have been the size of the files being sent my way. They were images from Broken Ties that the visual effects department was sending MGM’s way for the official website. For some reason, I have become the middle man in all matters of publicity between the production and either the studio or network. Whether it’s photos, trailers, or episode synopses, they have to go through me before they go public. ... I stand corrected. I approve most of the publicity stuff. I have no say on the network promos and stills. And, by the way, that was SciFi not MGM [that sent out poor quality cast promo pictures in which the actors/characters appear to levitate, are proportionally incorrect, and cast no shadows]." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 25 and 27, 2008.
  • "Well, it’s nice to see many of you enjoyed our second episode, The Seed. What I found particularly pleasing was the number of people who went in expecting to hate the Woolsey character only to be genuinely surprised by how much they liked him in this episode. Well, hopefully you’ll like him even more after next week’s episode, Broken Ties, in which we get a glimpse of his more human side. And to those of you asking about the baby, Kanaan, and whether or not Teyla will face a crisis of conscience once she is confronted with the prospect of returning to active off-world duty - tune in next week for an episode that’ll focus on issues of personal conflict, belonging, self-sacrifice and friendship." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, July 19, 2008.

Further Reading

--DeeKayP 11:18, 25 January 2008 (PST)