Think old vampire movie where the hero arrives in a creepy village at sunset and all the locals disappear indoors behind a screen of garlic – afraid of the Diamos.
Soon the team discover that ten years a Wraith ship crashed, while the villagers killed many of the survivors one got away and it has been feeding on villagers every two or three months since. In a cave they find Ellia (Jewel Staite), a young female Wraith, cowering behind a old human man who claims to be her father. He insists that she is not a threat – he has developed a serum that would abate the Wraith hunger – and that the killings are the work of another surviving Wraith.
In fact Ellia had learned to sense when the other Wraith was feeding and had timed her feedings to coincide. She takes a trial sample of the team’s retrovirus and admits the truth to her ‘father’. But the retrovirus is not ready for use and has unfortunate results.
Jewel Staite returned at the end of the third season as series regular Dr Jennifer Keller – a human this time.
Leah Ehman was makeup department head; Todd Masters (MastersFX) was responsible for the prosthetic makeup on the show.
I had never seen an episode of Stargate Atlantis when I got the script for ‘Instinct’. So I wasn’'t sure what a Wraith was. All I knew was that I loved the character and her personal struggles, how badly she wanted to be accepted, and the range of emotions she seemed to go through. I wasn’t aware of any heavy-duty prosthetics – it actually just said ‘some prosthetics required’, which I thought meant something fun like a little forehead doo-dad or whatever. And then they informed me that I would have to get my entire head, arms, and hands cast. That’s when I started to clue in, and I went on the Internet and Googled ‘Wraiths’ – and kind of went, ‘Uh, whoa!’ But it seemed like a fun challenge and I was up for it. Silly girl … It was my first time wearing that many prosthetic pieces on my face. As well as having to deal with very large contact lenses and talk with fake pointy teeth. I was really worried that my performance would be affected, and I was definitely distracted during the whole thing.