ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 01.12.2001
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 02.11.2002
DVD DISC: Season 4, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Brad Wright
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS: Christopher Cousins (Joe), Dion Luther (Mollem), Gary Jones (Walter), Ronny Cox (The President), Teryl Rothery (Dr. Janet Fraiser), David Neale (Dialer), Linnea Johnson (Guide), Bryce Hodgson (Kid), Liza Huget (Waitress)
Dr. Samantha Carter approaches a man sitting at a table outside of a small restaurant. It's her husband, Joe. She tells him that her pregnancy test came back negative; they are both disappointed. As Sam walks him to a terminal for him to leave the planet on business, they discuss the Aschen – an alien race with whom Earth has been allied for a decade. Though the Aschen's medical technology is hundreds of years beyond Earth's, they can offer Sam no answers.
The year is 2010. A service at the J. R. Reed Space Terminal in Washington, D.C. – where the Stargate is now in use by the public – commemorates the 10-year-old Earth-Aschen alliance. President Kinsey addresses the crowd via a large-screen monitor, thanking the former members of SG-1 for their service – and patting himself on the back for forging the Aschen alliance, which has saved Earth from the Goa'uld.
Everyone is there – Sam, Daniel Jackson, Teal'c, Dr. Fraiser – everyone except Jack O'Neill, the former leader of SG-1. And as old friends catch up, we learn that General Hammond has been deceased for six years.
Janet Fraiser convinces Sam to let her give her a second opinion on her infertility. After a few tests, Janet gives Sam some bad news – news with even worse implications. Not only can Sam never have children, but it's the sort of diagnosis that can't be overlooked. The Aschen doctors have been lying to her, telling Sam that she and Joe should just keep trying.
The two gain unauthorized access to the Aschen computer core, and discover that the sterility is a worldwide catastrophe. In the last two years, the birth rate has dropped 91 percent. It is systematic and deliberate, the likely result of the Aschen's anti-aging vaccine. The Aschen, it seems, are quietly and methodically wiping out the human race.
Carter and Fraiser take their discovery to Daniel and Teal'c. With no other option available, Sam conceives of only one way to save the human race from the Aschen: send a message 10 years into the past to prevent the alliance from ever happening.
They've learned how to do it already ("1969"): they can use the Aschen computers to predict a solar flare. By dialing the proper Stargate address (taking the wormhole's path close enough to the sun, and on the correct side of the sun) at the proper moment, the flare will cause the wormhole to bend back on itself and return to Earth – along with a time dilation. The magnitude of the flare will allow them to pinpoint the approximate time in the S.G.C.'s history.
The plan is agreed upon, and Sam uses her position as a scientist working with the Aschen Mollum on the Jupiter Ignition Project (intended to create a second star in our solar system) to gain access to their advanced sensor and computer systems. She and Janet pinpoint an upcoming solar flare that will allow them to connect to the Earth of the past.
Sam next travels to a small Minnesota cabin to enlist the aide of Jack O'Neill. The retired Colonel is unwilling to help, though – he had opposed the Aschen alliance from the beginning, but everyone (including Carter) shut him down. He likes his bitter, self-absorbed life just fine the way it is.
Sam returns without him, and she and Daniel join a guided tour of the old S.G.C. facility (now open to the public) to retrieve the only known G.D.O. still in existence. The device is required in order to open the iris in the year 2000 and send the message through. They soon discover that O'Neill has changed his mind, and is there waiting for them.
The team finds a few zat guns – but the G.D.O. isn't there. They learn that it's in the Oval Office, in the President's desk. Sam enlists her husband, who is a high-ranking ambassador, to retrieve it for them. In doing so, she learns that Joe knew about the Aschen plan all along.
Joe is convinced to help them – but refuses to hand over the G.D.O. unless O'Neill promises to leave Sam out of it.
Without her help, the group assaults the highly-guarded Stargate terminal. Teal'c comes through the gate from Chulak, shoots down the guard who meets him, and dials the Stargate at the proper moment to link it back to Earth in the year 2000. O'Neill activates the G.D.O. to open the iris, and rushes the gate to throw a handwritten note through it.
The laser defense network takes down both he and Teal'c, leaving Jack only a few feet away from the Stargate – lying dead on the stairs. Daniel rushes forward, but he too is killed before he is able to reach the gate.
Sam, though, refuses to flee the scene with her husband and rushes back inside. She sees her friends dead at the foot of the gate, and rushes down. Grabbing the note from O'Neill's hand, she tosses it through the event horizon as dozens of laser blasts strike her back.
Ten years in the past, Hammond orders the iris opened – and a crumpled piece of paper falls through. The wormhole disconnects, and the team enters the Gate Room. O'Neill recognizes his own handwriting and signature, telling them not to go to P4C-970 – the world where SG-1 was to soon make first contact with the Aschen. Though no other information is given, Hammond orders the destination permanently removed from the dialing computer.
- It should be noted first and foremost that, because history has been changed and SG-1 will not make first contact with the Aschen on P4C-970, this future will not come to pass. While some elements may remain unaffected, much of what we learned about SG-1 and the planet Earth after the year 2000 must be rewritten.
- Before being warned away from the first contact with the Aschen on P4C-970, SG-1 made contact with the advanced race in the year 2000. The Earth-Aschen alliance soon followed,and Earth joined the Aschen Confederation of planets.
The Aschen appear to be human – but it is uncertain whether or not they are descended from Earth. The Aschen are hundreds of years more technologically advanced than us, and with their help we engaged the Goa'uld in all-out war, and defeated them.
- Joe said that if it wasn't for Samantha, Earth would have never met the Aschen. He may have been referring to her work on the Stargate program in general, or he may have been referring to something specific she did during SG-1's mission to P4C-970.
- The Aschen are apparently at the heart of a confederation of worlds, none of which the S.G.C. had yet encountered in 2000. It's not revealed how large or widespread the confederation is in 2000 (or in 2010), but the Aschen may be sharing their technology with many other worlds less advanced than them. If they are deliberately wiping out the human race, it is likely that they are doing the same to other civilizations. It may be their intent to conquer the galaxy this way – by making peace, then slowly destroying their ally from within.
- The Aschen may not, in fact, be maliciously trying to destroy the population of Earth. While the fact that the birth rate had dropped 91 percent in two years is highly suspect, it is not impossible that the Aschen were simply having trouble adapting their anti-aging infertility treatment to humans. It was an agreed-upon goal, after all, to significantly reduce the worldwide birth rate (by around 30 percent).
The anti-aging treatment nearly doubled the human lifespan.
- When SG-1 first met the Aschen, the aliens were friendly and willing to share their advanced technology. This must have come as a breath of fresh air to Hammond and the S.G.C., who have struggled with being unable to obtain technology for the past three and a half years ("Shades of Grey," "The Other Side"). But as O'Neill said in his mission report, the Aschen were simply too good to be true. In this case, though, it took Earth 10 years to find that out.
- Carter was working with the Aschen on a program to ignite the planet Jupiter into a second star for our solar system – a reference to the Arthur C. Clark novel 2010: The Year We Make Contact and the film that was based on it. In that story, an alien race uses its technology to turn Jupiter into a star in order to help life develop on one of its moons.
- A war between Earth and the Goa'uld raged sometime between 2000 and 2010 – probably early on in the decade, considering that Joe and Sam have been trying to have kids since 2007. As a result, the Tok'ra were apparently destroyed and scattered, and the Jaffa sided with Earth behind Teal'c. Earth was finally victorious, thanks to the Aschen alliance, and the Goa'uld were destroyed (though to what extent is unknown).
- Afterward, for reasons unknown, very few Jaffa remained loyal to Earth. (It is likely that they suffered great losses in the war.) Apparently, Aschen medical technology could not reverse the damage done by the creation of a Goa'uld symbiote pouch and the elimination of the Jaffa's immune system: it is of great concern to them that there are very few Goa'uld symbiotes left for implantation.
- The Aschen appear to be particularly sensitive to loud noise. Every Aschen present at the ceremony reacted to the gunshots fired, and covered their ears.
- The Aschen were working with humans on a project to convert Jupiter into a star. It was not revealed why this would be advantageous to Earth. But part of their advanced understanding of solar physics enables them to predict solar flares.
- How could humans not know about the rapid and extreme decline in the worldwide birthrate? A catastrophe so great should have certainly been realized after two years – even if only through personal conversations – regardless of the extent to which the Aschen controlled the world's media outlets.
- SG-1 justified changing their own history because, if they did not, the human race on Earth would most likely come to an end. Carter and the others were willing to sacrifice 10 years of the history of the universe – including the defeat of the Goa'uld, Sam's marriage to Joe, and much more – in order to undo the Aschen alliance.
In those 10 years, Carter seems to have softened on her strong stance against not changing history ("1969"). Who knows what other ramifications this action might have? The death of SG-1? The Goa'uld conquering Earth and continuing to spread throughout the galaxy? Though the Grandfather Paradox teaches us that one cannot possibly predict the harm that can be done by affecting the past, Carter sees no other way of saving Earth.
Will she choose to do it again, should something else catastrophic happen in the future? Is this a "universal reset button?"
- Look for some poor audio dubbing in the scene featuring O'Neill and Carter outside the former's cabin. Sam's mouth does not always line up with what she's saying, revealing the likelihood that the director or producers changed the way "Aschen" was going to be pronounced after this scene was filmed. Though the actress seems to be putting the emphasis on the first syllable, the audio looping places it on the second syllable.
- The S.G.C. tour guide refers to the Gate room as the "Embarkation Room" – which is how the area was awkwardly referred to early on in the show's first season.
- Sergeant Davis (a technician who often mans the S.G.C.'s dialing computer) has become an operations technical advisor at the former S.G.C. facility at Cheyenne Mountain (now open to tourists). His first name is Walter. [In later seasons of the show his surname would be established as Harriman, not Davis.]
- The Stargate terminal has automated defense systems in 2010, including a network of lasers and an electromagnetic dampening field. The team couldn't send through a radio transmission, but they could use the G.D.O. to signal the S.G.C. to open the iris. Jack was either already inside the field bubble when he entered the G.D.O. code from the platform near the gate, or the device continuously transmits – and was broadcasting after he approached the gate. The latter seems more likely.
- Presumably, the blood on the note sent back to 2000 will be confirmed as Jack O'Neill's.
- What happened in the year 2010 after the message was sent through? There are two main theories to consider. The entire 10-year timeline could have been completely destroyed, and that reality blinked out of existence to be rewritten. Or, it could have continued on with SG-1 dead and the human race dying out – existing from our point of view as, in effect, an alternate reality.
- The Aschen may have been using dargol – or a form of it – in their anti-aging treatment. SG-1 encountered the chemical on the planet Vyus ("Past and Present"); it was used as a pesticide and had the side effect of retarding the aging process. The people of Vyus stopped using the chemical because it had an adverse affect on their fertility rate.
- SG-1 got another glimpse of the future: in "1969," they spent a few moments several decades into the future, where they met an aged Cassandra. But was that future predicated on the previous reality, where Earth was decimated by the Aschen, or on the new reality? Most likely the new reality, without contact with the Aschen on P4C-970, because of the fact that Cassandra was looking back on their history from a point far ahead of 2010, when everything was changed.
- The note was effective in preventing SG-1 from making first contact with the Aschen on P4C-970. But considering the fact that the Aschen were part of a larger confederation, the note may not have been specific enough. The S.G.C. could still make contact with them eventually, leading to the same alliance and the same subtle attack.
- The newspaper Joe was reading as the show opens is "The Washington Examiner." The headline: "Aschen Promise Anti-Aging Vaccine Worldwide."
- In the year 2010, the Stargate is in use at the J.R. Reed Space Terminal in Washington, D.C.
- Aschen medical technology includes an anti-aging vaccine, anti-cancer treatment, and medical machines that can reverse tissue damage and mend broken bones. They are hundreds of years ahead of us.
- Character development for "2010" is a tricky matter. While it is interesting to see how the team has changed over 10 years, it should also be remembered that this timeline has been destroyed – or at least diverted. Some of the developments we learned of may happen again in the next 10 years; others will surely not come to pass.
- Samantha Carter - After making possible the alliance between Earth and the Aschen in 2000, Sam went on to marry Joe, an ambassador. She apparently made colonel before retiring from active duty (based on Walter's statement), and by the year 2010 was working with the Aschen in a laboratory setting. Her current assignment was the Jupiter Ignition Project.
Sam struggled with not being able to have children (after trying for nearly three years) – but her woes were immediately overshadowed by the realization that the Aschen were systematically destroying the human race. She conceived of a wild plan to stop the alliance from ever happening, and left Joe to join her team when it was uncertain whether the plan would succeed. Like her friends, Carter died in order to prevent the last 10 years from happening as they did.
- Jack O'Neill - O'Neill fought in the successful war against the Goa'uld, and retired alone to his cabin in Minnesota. He and Sam apparently had some sort of falling out – probably related to his opposition to the Aschen alliance, and her strong support of it. Jack initially refused to help his friends change the past, but finally consented to save the world one last time. He died at the foot of the Stargate, unable to reach it by himself.
Jack has been in the Oval Office. He was kicked out – possibly for confronting Kinsey about the Aschen alliance.
- Teal'c - With the Goa'uld overthrown, Teal'c retired to live in peace on Chulak, and doesn't see his former teammates very often. He had the golden seal of Apophis removed from his forehead (perhaps thanks to Aschen medical technology), and has grown to be a more relaxed, happy person.
But when it was revealed that the Aschen are slowly destroying the human race, Teal'c did not hesitate to join his friends in sending a message back in time, in order to change the past – including undoing the destruction of the Goa'uld. Even after the end of the Goa'uld, and the end of the S.G.C., Teal'c did not falter in placing his loyalty to Earth over his own interests.
- Janet Fraiser - By 2010, Janet has come to see herself as obsolete. Because the Aschen are hundreds of years beyond us in medical technology, she has little to do. But she does help Sam uncover the Aschen plot against humankind, and joins the former SG-1 in trying to send a message back in time. After retrieving Teal'c, Janet apparently remained on Chulak while her friends were attempting to send the message.
- Daniel Jackson - Like his friends, Daniel remained loyal to SG-1 long after the S.G.C. was dissolved. He sacrificed his life to help send the message back to the past, erasing 10 years of history.
- George Hammond - George Hammond died in 2004, apparently of a heart attack. But Fraiser doubts the Aschen doctors' explanation, and believes the General was probably murdered. He had called her the night before he died and told her that he had something very important to talk to her about. It is possible that he had discovered that the Aschen were planning to wipe out Earth's population.
- Robert Kinsey - Kinsey was elected President of the United States – in either 2004 or 2008, as he is still in office in 2010. He takes credit for forging the alliance with the Aschen, which he believes to be the most important alliance in human history.
- Walter - Ten years in the future, the Stargate has been made public and relocated to a public transportation terminal – but Sergeant Walter Davis [Harriman] remains behind at the old Stargate Command, as a technical advisor to the museum. His loyalties still lie with SG-1, as he allows them to take weapons out of the S.G.C. collection for a secret mission.
- Were the Aschen deliberately trying to wipe out the human race on Earth?
- Can the anti-aging vaccine work without damaging the human reproductive system? Do the Aschen use it themselves? What is their average lifespan?
- Are the Aschen human, originally descended from Earth?
- To what degree were the Aschen present on Earth? Did they have civilians living there,working and even intermarrying with humans? Were humans allowed to move offworld, elsewhere within the Aschen Confederation?
- How large is the Aschen Confederation? What other worlds are members?
- Did Earth put the Aschen in contact with their other allies – perhaps the Tollan, or the Asgard?
- When was the Goa'uld War? How long did it last, and what were its other ramifications? To what extent do the Goa'uld still exist? What do Jaffa now do with their mature symbiotes?
- Why are so few Jaffa still loyal to the Tau'ri (Earth)?
- How were the Tok'ra destroyed? When?
- Were the Asgard not involved in the Goa'uld War, if the Aschen's help was necessary? Are they still at war with the Replicators in 2010?
- When was the S.G.C. closed? When was the Stargate made public knowledge? What other S.G. teams gained renown?
- Why did Jack so vehemently oppose the Aschen alliance? Simple intuition?
- When and where did Sam meet Joe? For how long have they been married?
- Was General Hammond murdered? What had he discovered?
- Why were the Aschen planning to turn Jupiter into a star? Was it part of their own needs for living on Earth once humans were wiped out?
- "Anytime we can kill off all main characters is an opportunity not to be missed. And they go out in blazing style in the closing moments of this episode, my favorite Brad Wright script of the show's fourth season. This was the first part of what could have been an Aschen trilogy, book-ended by '2001,' but that third episode – like many intriguing notions – just never came to fruition." (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- "Arguably my favorite is still an episode called '2010' directed by Andy Mikita. It was his first directing assignment and it was a script that came out of me very quickly and organically. He absolutely hit it out of the park. He did such a good job directing that episode that it feels like a little movie to me." (Writer / executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with Syfy Wire)