In Stargate’s Legacy Adam Barnard looks back at some of the Stargate franchise’s finest episodes. Read more here!
What began as a standard off-world operation for SG-1 took a turn for the worse in the most entertaining way possible. Veering off from the serious dilemma of a time loop, “Window of Opportunity” exhibited the comedic coping mechanisms of a flustered and stir-crazy Jack O’Neill, joined by the level-headed but subtly comic Teal’c, as they brave the challenges of suffering through the loop countless times — all set in motion by an off-world native with the noblest of intentions.
“If everything goes back to the way it was, you can do anything, without having to worry about consequences.” A rudimentary observation made by Dr. Jackson, which led to one of Stargate‘s most epic montages: O’Neill and Teal’c playing golf in the Gate Room, riding bikes through the halls, and relinquishing all notions of responsibility to embrace adolescent-like deviance.
Who would have thought that one of Stargate‘s most brilliant and noteworthy episodes would be such a departure from the standard tonal formula?
What I appreciated about this episode was how it took a serious, potentially dark premise and told the story in the most unexpected way. Rather than emphasize the grave nature of the predicament, it took a golden opportunity to infuse some outstanding comedic elements, oftentimes reflecting the progression of insanity that the time loop affects in our heroes. But beneath all the silliness lies the true genius of the episode. Balancing out all of the comedic gold mined by the writers from this Groundhog Day-inspired premise was some of the strongest, most sincere character moments of the series to date.
O’Neill is, as always, the biggest jokester of the episode, never hesitating to insert his signature snark at every appropriate moment. But he also stands out as the driving force behind fixing this dangerous dilemma. Jack’s humor is endearing, but here his perseverance is his most valuable characteristic. From numerous levels of trial and error (which included learning Latin from scratch, out-translating Dr. Jackson, and enduring dozens of attempts to solve the problem before the loop reset), O’Neill displayed his virtue as the resilient leader of SG-1 who has truly earned his stripes as commander.
I specifically enjoyed the insight into the chemistry of the SG-1 team. The repetition of events, and the fact that SG-1 had to fight against itself to resolve the problem showcased their devotion, loyalty, and camaraderie, while simultaneously showing a more personal side of individual team members. Most importantly, through brilliant and tastefully placed comedic moments, the episode remained humorous while holding the gravity of the situation intact.
“Window of Opportunity” stuck the landing, avoiding a campy conclusion by creating a heartfelt exchange between O’Neill and Malikai (the episode’s antagonist). I’m typically never a fan of episodes that climax with the heroes simply talking down the villain through some elementary persuasion. That said, this exchange felt organic and plausible, and was even a bit of a tearjerker. Once again, this is O’Neill’s episode to shine, as he reveals a serious, darker side while recalling his son’s death in an attempt to talk down down a maniacal, grief-driven Malikai from continuing the time loop in the hopes of being reunited with his late wife.
This turn at the end was a pleasant surprise, as it grounded the episode in basic, relatable human emotion rather than malicious villainous intent, giving the story a more powerful and purposeful ending. The ability of “Window of Opportunity” to seamlessly integrate grave, intense drama and witty humor is yet another example the powerful fusion of elements that made Stargate so special and lovable, and it remains one of the highlights from the first few years of the series.
And finally, after all the events of the episode, I must have re-watched that kiss scene about half a dozen times simply thinking, “Was that just me, or was Carter really into that kiss?”
I suppose we’ll never know.
“I’m sorry, but that just happens to be the way I feel about it! … What do you think?”
Let us know what you think in the comment section below, or over at Gateworld Forum!