Visit GateWorld every Friday this summer for a new installment of the Friday Five, a countdown of our favorite episodes, characters, technology and more from 15 years of Stargate history! Use trackbacks to post your own Friday Five for this week’s topic on your blog, or post a comment below to let us know how your picks compare.
This Week: To Be Continued …
Those are the worlds we all hate … and secretly love! Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis have always been great at leaving us hanging, ending an episode with a whopper of a cliffhanger moment. Characters are in distress, planets hang in the balance, the bad guys have the upper hand — how can the team possibly get out of this one? Tune in next week to find out! In this week’s Friday Five, we’ve picked our five favorite cliffhanger moments (not full episodes) from season finales and mid-season two-parters.
Thanks to Candace and Jordan for suggesting this week’s topic!
SG-1 Season Nine’s “Camelot”
For an entire year, SG-1 (and the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy) has lived under the threat of the coming Ori armies — ships with advanced technology and filled with willing soldiers eager to die in the name of their gods. The Priors had come through the Stargate to preach Origin and to try and force entire worlds to convert; those who refused would surely fall to the powerful ships. Knowing the high stakes, Earth joined an alliance of Milky Way ships to hold the line against the invading fleet at the Supergate.
Humans, Free Jaffa, Lucian Alliance, even Asgard joined the fight … but their combined might barely even slowed down the enemy warships. As the ninth season ended Samantha Carter was hanging in space in an EVA suit, Daniel was on the bridge of the Korolev, and Mitchell was trying to make it to the F-302 bay when the ship was hit by enemy fire and exploded.
The Ori have arrived. On board one of their ships, Vala Mal Doran stands watching the carnage — about to give birth to their new leader.
Atlantis Season One’s “The Siege, Part 2”
Nearly a year after the Atlantis expedition discovered the lost city of the Ancients, the Wraith — old enemy of the Ancients — learned of it and renewed their 10,000-year-old conflict with new vigor. Wraith hive ships arrive and attack the city in multiple stages, including Dart attacks and bombardment from space. It’s all that our team can do to just keep the city’s defense shield up, let alone mount any kind of counter-offensive. But Dr. Weir manages to secure crude nuclear devices from the Genii, making a new option possible.
With Atlantis’s defenses compromised and Aiden Ford face-to-face with a squadron on invaders, John Sheppard takes a cloaked Puddle Jumper with a nuke into orbit, on course for one of the hives. It’s a suicide mission, but it’s all that they have. As the first season concludes, he radios back to the city: “I’m goin’ in …”
SG-1 Season Seven’s “Lost City, Part 2”
Everything is turned upside-down in “Lost City,” one of SG-1‘s grandest finales: Hammond is relieved of duty, Jack’s life is on the line when he takes a download of the Ancient repository of knowledge into his head, and Anubis attacks Earth directly. The Colonel leads SG-1 from Stargate Command to the distant, fiery planet of Proclarush, and all the way back to the ice of Antarctica. There they find the remnants of an Ancient outpost, with a weapon that they use to destroy Anubis’s fleet and save the planet.
But Jack still has the Ancient database unspooling in his brain, and is near death. The team puts him into a stasis chamber inside the Ancient base, and Jack says goodbye just before he is frozen … perhaps never to wake again. SG-1 has saved the world, but perhaps at great personal cost.
SG-1 Season One’s “There But For the Grace of God”
The first season of Stargate SG-1 finished with a story arc that started with Daniel’s visit to an alternate reality, where the Goa’uld were invading Earth … quite successfully. Cities have been destroyed, a pyramid ship landed on top of Cheyenne Mountain, and Jaffa are quickly moving through the corridors into the base. In the alternate reality Jack O’Neill is dead, Sam Carter has blown herself up, and Teal’c is still in the service of Apophis. Daniel is convinced that their reality is close enough to our own that the same thing must be about to happen to us, and so he returns home with a dire warning.
Shot in the side by a staff weapon as he fled, Daniel cries out to the team on the planet P3R-233. When his Jack, Sam and Teal’c find him, he tells them desperately, “We’re all in very big trouble! They’re coming. They’re coming …”
SG-1 Season Three’s “Jolinar’s Memories”
SG-1 and the Tok’ra operative Martouf go undercover to the hellish moon of Ne’tu, which the rogue Goa’uld Sokar has shaped to fit the myth of Hell to use it as a prison colony. There they find Jacob Carter, Sam’s dad and a Tok’ra operative himself, imprisoned and tortured by the Goa’uld who is poised to overthrow the System Lords. Old enemies are long-dead, but new enemies like Sokar are on the rise. But the team has an ace in the hole: the memories of Jolinar, the only person ever to escape the prison, inside Sam’s head. They use it to take advantage of the prison warden, free Jacob, and attempt to activate transport rings hidden in Bynarr’s quarters.
But the big escape doesn’t go to plan, as Bynarr’s First Prime — a cloaked and imposing figure named Na’onak — kills his master and stops the team from escaping. He’s taking over the prison, and is now in control of SG-1’s fate. But “you shall call me Na’onak no longer,” he says. “From this day forth I shall reclaim my real name …”
“Apophis.” Raised from the dead.
Best. Cliffhanger. Ever.
NEXT WEEK ON THE FIVE: Most Interesting Minor Goa’uld. Blog about your top picks next Friday, and trackback to our post!
I would say without a doubt the Ori arriving was my favorite cliffhanger. It was such a OMFG moment. They were so big and so powerful. It seemed hopeless (and kind of was for a while). Certainly my dislike of organized religion played a role in my love of the Ori ark.
Not sure about your “Number 1”, I thought “The Siege, Part 2″ was WAY more of a cliff hanger than that. Then again I watched season 3 on DVD so didn’t have to wait between episodes to see the next part. I think ‘The Last Man’ could have had an awesome cliff hanger if they just ended it with John going into status, the bit with the building imploding seemed cheap and slapped on. It would have worked better as the opening for the next season. The best cliff hangers and two parters are when it’s written as one long… Read more »
Honestly, the atlantis gate exploading had me.
What about ‘First Contact’ (Season 5/Atlantis)? I mean…that last thing you saw the tower get blown up with still Sheppard and Zelenka inside. Sure…John could’be survived, but what about Radek? I was kinda nervous thinking they were gonna kill off Zelenka.
Cliffhanger #4 was even scarier because they DIDN’T have the ZPM to raise the shields yet. That arrived in The Siege Part 3 when the Deadalus showed up to deus ex machina Sheppard to safety.
Atlantis’ tower blowing up was a good one, and I also think that the end of season six when Daniel tried to stop Anubis and was pulled back, and Anubis got away was a big cliffhanger…
i must agree ltcarter. the ori arrival was a HUGE moment… most of the time the story arcs you could come up with possibillities for what they would do next. the ori arrival.. it was like, frell… what are they gonna do? how are they gonna write this and get them outta there and have it believable. are they gonna gett them out of there? it was a terrifying moment
Siege Part 2 should be at the top of this list. There hasn’t been a bigger and more impactful cliffhanger in Stargate.
I damn near punched my screen when ‘To Be Continued’ came up in that episode, and the whole Siege 3-parter is some of Atlantis’ best.
It should be Number 1.
Uhm.. “Nemesis”…. replicator ON EARTH?
Honestly though, I don’t think the feeling of awe/terror can be topped that the end of “Camelot” brought. We knew they were powerful, but not like that. And with all the cast changes in the previous few years, you honesty didn’t know who survived that battle.
Yeah, you guys missed First Contact, and First Strike/Adrift!
I also suppose that #1 and #2 didn’t affect me much because both those episodes I was watching off the DVDs since I was new to Stargate, so I could just have gone to the new episode and not worried about the cliffehanger. That’s why some of the others mentioned had much more impact on me than those.
YEH WHAT ABOUT FIRST STRIKE I MEAN C’MON REPLICATORS, GIANT LASER BEAM BLOWS UP THE GATE ROOM I MEAN SOME OF US REALY THOUGHT THEY WERE GONNA MAKE IT OUT ALIVE. SERIOUSLY I STILL THINK THAT MOMENT WHEN THE LASER BEAM HITS IS SO COOL ALSO NOT REALY A CLIFFHANGER BUT THE EPISODE WHERE MICHAEL FINDS OUT HE’S A WRAITH THAT WAS GOOD. PLUS THE END OF SEASON TWO TO BEGIN SEASON 3 WITH NO MAN”S LAND I THOUGHT SHEPPARD MAY HAVE BEEN DEAD I WAS LIKE NOOOOOOOOOOO! HE CAN”T BE DEAD ALSO SEASON 4 CLIFFHANGER AT THE END OF… Read more »
Folks often make good suggestions for alternate additions to the Friday Five lists. But for those of you who suggest something different, I have to ask: Which of these would you DROP? Saying “Hey, this one is cool, too” is one thing. Narrowing down 15 years of Stargate into five picks is a little tougher. I actually did love the “First Strike” cliffhanger. It was a toss-up between that and “The Siege” for me. I thought that the “floating lost in space” that was the actual cliffhanger moment, though, wasn’t nearly as interesting as the beam attack and the rest… Read more »
i’d say its equal first for the siege part2 and the ori arriving for me. i was left screaming at the tv!! (back in the days that i watched them on tv) waiting the whole year for the next episode almost killed me both times!! tv writers can be so mean…
A good question, Darren; I would imagine that sometimes narrowing a list such as this down is tricky. Personally, I would have put in “The Last Man” or “The Fourth Horseman” (either/or) and removed “Jolinar’s Memories”. I realize that a lot of people liked the big reveal in “JM”, but I always found Apophis to be about the least interesting character of the franchise, so his reappearance pretty much ruined the episode for me.
Darren, my suggestion would be to do two separate lists, one for SG-1 (in which I have no interest) and one for Atlantis.
I thought the end of Season 9 was the best. I was entrenched in goosebumps and WTF was going thru my mind and mouth between seasons!! That and First Contact with the gate exploding! Still so sad to see Atlantis cut short right when it got it’s wings :(