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"I'm not so common."

Episode No.   Season
9 1x09 1
Original Air Date
December 5th, 2008
December 8th, 2008 FlagIcon UK small
Written By
Directed By
Chronological Information
Preceded By
Followed By

"Requiem" is the ninth episode of the first season of Sanctuary, and the ninth episode overall in the series.


Dr. Magnus and Will investigate a distressing call for help deep from the merfolk below the Bermuda Triangle, resulting in a deadly battle to save Magnus' life.


Opening Sequence

Inside a submarine, Dr. Helen Magnus, wet and confused, watches the read-outs on a screen. She hears a noise and looks at the air vent as it closes. Hurrying around the small room, checking the air vents, she realizes that they are all closed. She eventually goes back to the monitor, seeing the CO2 and oxygen levels change.

She rushes back to the door and looks through the glass port hole at Dr. Will Zimmerman, who looks back at her with a determined look on his face. Magnus begins to gasp for air, falls to the floor and takes a last breath as Will watches.

Act I

The Sanctuary submarine Nautilus is in the Milwaukee Deep, off the coast of Puerto Rico. Dr. Magnus and Will are the only ones on board, discussing a number of the significant historical figures the Head of the Sanctuary Network has met during her long life. They get a call from Henry Foss, who informs them that Sally the mermaid, who asked them to investigate a telepathic call for aid from her people, has had no further contact with the Merfolk. Henry also points out how exciting it must be for them, since they are currently in the actual Bermuda Triangle. Magnus rebuffs their speculations, as there is nothing spectacular about the Triangle except that a higher than average amount of Abnormal see life resides here.

Will eventually finds the Merfolk: there has been a massacre among their kind, and now over a hundred dead bodies float in the deep, a catastrophe for a species as rare as the Merfolk. Magnus and Will bring a female specimen aboard and realize that she was not killed by an animal. Magnus finds a clear fluid that she cannot identified, and opts to return to the surface. Soon afterwards, she notices a headache and strange spasms in her hand.

Will is reading a book when suddenly he hears a loud noise; Magnus has collapsed and her head hurts more and more. She tells him that something is wrong.

Act II

Magnus feels an intense pressure and bleeds from the nose. She wants to stop the Nautilus from returning to the surface in order to find out what is going on. They soon return to their original depth. Magnus gets better again, while Will has no symptoms of any kind.

During an analysis of her blood, Will asks Magnus some questions about how Ashley is copping with the fact that her father is Jack the Ripper. Magnus rebuffs him and wants to leave, and they have an argument. He tells her that she and the team are the first people he ever really connected to, while she explains that after all the friends, colleagues and lovers she buried, she is reluctant to get to close to people. However, she feels that he is doing great and that he could replace her in case something happened to her. Just then, Magnus has another attack and they have to go deeper again.

The blood analysis gives them no clues. Will suggests looking for a parasite, and Magnus scans her body for unidentified elements. The computer soon discovers a microscopic parasite in her brainstem that is multiplying and taking over her brain.


An autopsy of the dead mermaid shows that she too was affected by the parasite, which all but destroyed the logic center of her brain: the Merfolk tore each other apart after getting infected. When Magnus checked the body, the parasite penetrated her gloves and moved to her body, which is now showing more and more symptoms. There seem only two choices: if they return to the surface, she will die, and if they stay, she will eventually turn into a raging killer.

Magnus injects herself with a compound that should make her body a less good host for the parasite, but her body immediately reacts by attacking Will and ordering him to take them deeper.

Later Magnus apologizes and tells Will she would never have infected him deliberately. He is concerned about her seeming to loose control of her emotions. They continue to go deeper, but the Nautilus has limits where depth is concerned. Magnus tells Will that in the event that she is no longer in control of herself, he must act decisively.

Magnus still feels pain from the pressure, and takes the sub deeper. At 2,400 feet, the hull of the Nautilus begins to show signs of weakness.

Act IV

As water begins to enter the hull, Magnus becomes more and more aggressive. At almost 3,000 feet, the ship hits an underwater mountain shelf, and stops. The engine room and the primary cargo hold are flooded. When showing Will where they are on a monitor, Magnus knocks him out from behind.

Will wakes up and realizes he is cuffed to a chair. Magnus accuses him of lying to her and trying to profile her like a criminal, telling him that while he wants to save her, it was actually she who saved him from a life of mediocrity and shame, and that she can save him again. He realizes that she herself made them lose control of the sub. He tells her that he agrees with her that they must go deeper, but that they must go somewhere else for that.

Magnus then enters the flooded section of the ship, while Will uses the time alone to free himself. He tries to lock her in the flooded section, but she returns and takes him with her in order to help her use a control panel. After they are successful, she takes off his oxygen mask. He returns to the section that still has air and points a gun at Magnus, who follows close behind. Unimpressed, she just tells him not to miss.

Act V

Magnus confronts Will and takes the gun when he refuses to shoot. In her rage, she tells him that no one lives forever, and pulls the trigger. However, Will has removed the magazine. She leaves him behind to take the ship deeper, but gets locked in the control room by Will, who removes the oxygen from that section (at this point, the plot returns to the opening scene). Magnus soon looses consciousness and a clear fluid leaves her body: the parasite is looking for a new host. Will freezes it and revives Magnus, who soon returns to her former self.

Some time later, the Nautilus is secured and Magnus and Will have a talk. While Will states that Magnus may have lived for a long time, but that her work is not yet done, Magnus explains that her work will never be done, and that the day will come when he will have to take over. Yet, they both agree that that day is not today.


Series Regulars

Guest Starring

Notable Quotes

HELEN: [while being stuck in a submarine underwater] I'm frustrated.

WILL: Why? Because we can't surface?

HELEN: Because I can't relate to Ashley!

WILL: Well, she's 23. No species on earth can relate to people that age.

HELEN: Spare me the platitudes. You've no idea what it's been like.

WILL: Which is why I ask the questions that I do.

HELEN: Why? Because you see me as some sort of curiosity? Some perverse form of entertainment for you to enjoy?

WILL: No, not at all. It's because I've never had this before - a challenge, a mentor that I could really believe in.

WILL: Magnus, never, ever ask me to kill you again!

Background, Notes, and Trivia

  • Chronology: At Dr. Will Zimmerman's reference of Ashley Magnus' silent behavior lately being related to recently learning that John Druitt is her father and Helen confirming it (referring to the fallout between mother and daughter still persisting from events of "The Five" through "Edward" and even up to now) it can safely be assumed that this episode chronologically follows closely behind the events of the previous two episodes, possibly taking place up to a week or so after the end of Episode 1x07 - "The Five"; not very long, possibly a few days after Episode 1x08 - "Edward".
  • Chronology: This episode establishes Ashley Magnus' birth year to be 1984 based on Will mentioning Ashley being 23; also duel establishing this episode to be chronologically before her 24th birthday in late-June 2008.[1]
    • In Episode 1x01 - "Sanctuary For All, Part I" Ashley is 23-years-old and Helen is 157-years-old. Ashley's birthday is said to be in the summer. With Helen's birthday known to be August 27th and Ashley's birthday calculated to occur two month before hers in late-June, with Ashley mentioning Helen as still being 157 in Episode 1x07 - "The Five" two episodes ago, and Ashley referenced as still being 23 in this episode by Will, it means that Ashley has yet to have her late-June birthday in 2008.
  • This episode establishes connections between Dr. Helen Magnus and a number of historical figures: Louis Pasteur was a good friend of her father's, and her godfather. She personally knew H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, U.S. presidents Teddy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as J. Edgar Hoover. She was also in the room when Alfred Jodl and the Nazis surrendered at the end of World War II.
  • Emilie Ullerup and Christopher Heyerdahl do not appear in this episode.
  • Amanda Tapping was nominated for a Constellation award (Best Female Performance in a 2008 Science Fiction Television Episode) and won a Leo award (Dramatic Series: Best Lead Performance by a Female) for her performance in this episode.
  • Geographic Error: At one point the ship's readout shows depth at ~1500 feet and temperature at ~34°F. In tropical waters, at that depth, the temp. would be 55°F to 60°F.
  • Scientific Error: Magnus identifies parasites in the 'pyramidal tract of my brainstem'. Later she refers to the limbic system which supports emotional behavior and motivation. The writers have conflated two separate and unconnected uses of 'pyramidal'. Pyramidal tracts are bunches of nerves that help channel motor control signals from the brain to the muscles. Pyramidal neurons are the main excitatory neurons of the prefrontal cortex (which includes the limbic system). Both are called pyramidal merely because they have a pointy-at-one-end-wide-at-the-other shape.
  • In discussing how deep the sub can go, Will says "We can adjust the nitrogen, CO2, and oxygen levels to accommodate for the increasing pressure, right?" Subs do not adjust inner pressure. No matter how deep they go, the inside pressure remains pretty much the same...only the strength of the hull keeps the sub from imploding. However, Will's question establishes something the writers need for us to accept in a later scene.
  • Reference: In Episode 4x07 - "Icebreaker" Henry describes the plot of "Requiem", in light of what may look like similar circumstances.

Media Gallery | Photos and Video

References, External Links, and Websites

  1. Reference Notes Section
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