48 HoursEPISODE #514
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 03.15.02
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 01.13.03
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Peter F. Woeste
David Hewlett (Dr. McKay), Tom McBeath (Harold Maybourne), Colin Cunningham (Major Davis), Bill Marchant (Goa’uld), Gary Chalk (Russian Colonel), Gary Jones (Technician), John de Lancie (Col. Frank Simmons), Jeff Seymour (Mr. Black), Martin Blatz (NID Guard), Dan Shea (Sgt. Siler), Tracy Westerholm (SF), Ken Phelan (Food Server)
SG-1 rushes back to the Stargate on another planet, chased by a pair of Goa’uld death gliders. Each shot nearly misses them. They reach the Stargate and hurriedly dial out, and Colonel Jack O’Neill orders Teal’c through the gate after the others.
A massive Goa’uld Al’kesh appears, piloted by Tanith — against whom Teal’c has sworn an oath of revenge for murdering his lover (“Crossroads,” “Exodus”). He stops and takes aim with his weapon — a large cannon taken off a downed glider — annihilating the cockpit and bringing the ship crashing down. Teal’c turns to go through the Stargate — but does not emerge through Earth’s gate on the other side. The wormhole disengages … Teal’c appears to have been lost.
When they begin to dial up the planet again, the Stargate sends an unknown error to the dialing computer. General George Hammond orders the dialing procedure aborted.
Colonel O’Neill is at a loss, but Major Samantha Carter offers an explanation: if Tanith’s ship crashed into the dial-home device, it would have prematurely cut off power to the Stargate. The feedback signal from the gate indicates that there is still an energy pattern stored in its memory buffer — Teal’c, she believes. And if anyone were to gate in to or out of the S.G.C., the new wormhole would wipe clean the buffer and kill Teal’c.
The S.G.C. must find a way to trick the gate into reintegrating his pattern. To do this, Carter believes they have to create an event horizon without establishing a wormhole … but she’s not sure if that is even possible.
Sergeant Siler and his team readjust the Stargate’s iris to block any incoming wormholes from forming (essentially “burying” the gate), as eight S.G. teams are currently off-world and could dial in at any time. Dr. Daniel Jackson, meanwhile, is sent to Russia to negotiate for the one thing that could save Teal’c’s life: the Earth gate’s D.H.D.
Jackson and Major Davis arrive in Moscow to negotiate with a Russian Colonel, Chekov. Though they are in possession of Earth’s other Stargate and the D.H.D., the Russian government does not currently have any desire to operate its own Stargate program after a past disaster (“Watergate”). Besides, as Davis reminds them, it is technically and logistically impossible to run concurrent programs from the same planet. To compensate, Russia demands equal access to all technologies procured by the S.G.C. — past, present and future.
Colonel Frank Simmons, from the N.I.D., arrives at Stargate Command with Dr. McKay — whom he claims is the foremost authority on Stargate technology. McKay is an arrogant man, who insists that the dialing computer engineered by Carter to run the Earth gate is full of flaws and has caused numerous incidents that could have ended in catastrophe. Though the two are forced to work on the problem together, McKay ultimately doesn’t believe that Teal’c can be saved — and believes that Carter’s theories about how to rescue him are guesswork based on little more than intuition.
The Pentagon gives them only 48 hours to find a way to save Teal’c before they must return to normal operations.
O’Neill, meanwhile, decides to take matters into his own hands when Harry Maybourne shows up. Maybourne suspects that Simmons has captured a Goa’uld (“Desperate Measures”), and Simmons all but confirms it when he tries to blackmail General Hammond — offering the information on how to get Teal’c out of the Stargate in exchange for a Goa’uld hand device.
Maybourne and O’Neill track Simmons movements, and find the Goa’uld at a secret N.I.D. safe house. They overpower the guards, but the Goa’uld will tell them nothing. But O’Neill notices that there are cameras in the room, and finds a video tape of Simmons’ conversation with the Goa’uld — in which he reveals how to use the D.H.D. to save Teal’c.
Dr. Jackson and Major Davis argue about what to offer the Russians. After they offer them naquadah reactor technology (“Learning Curve”) and plead for their help, the Russians agree to lend their D.H.D. to the United States. The Russian Colonel accompanies the device, and O’Neill tells Hammond that he has information that can save Teal’c — and incriminate Colonel Simmons. Hammond orders Simmons to be arrested, and aborts the dialing procedure that would have wiped out Teal’c’s energy signature. With their 48 hours expired, the Pentagon had just ordered the S.G.C. to resume normal operations.
Carter wires the D.H.D. to the Stargate and follows the Goa’uld’s instructions, removing the master control crystal. They fire up the Stargate and an event horizon is formed. Teal’c appears, having no knowledge of the events that have transpired. But the D.H.D. shorts out, destroying the crystal and rendering the Russian device worthless.
Dr. McKay is ordered by the Air Force to fly to Russia, where he will help them in their new naquadah generator program. He is not happy.
- Teal’c carries the gun he recovered from a downed Goa’uld death glider a few months ago (“The Fifth Man”). Presumably, it’s the same weapon, and he didn’t scavenge another from a glider on the planet SG-1 was scouting when they found Tanith. (Notice that Teal’c handed the weapon to an S.G.C. worker upon his return to Earth, as if if was expected protocol to do so.) But does he carry it on a regular basis now, or did the team know what they were getting into on the planet?
SG-1 had traveled to P3X-116 after the S.G.C. received an intelligence report from the Tok’ra that the Goa’uld were scouting the planet for a new base. This probably explains why Teal’c though to bring along heavy weaponry.)
- Tanith piloted an Al’kesh, a Goa’uld mid-range bomber. The ship made its first appearance in Season Four’s “Exodus,” when a ship of Apophis attacked SG-1’s stolen Goa’uld mothership.
- A Stargate doesn’t need a constant power source to maintain a wormhole for a short period of time. SG-1 used a gate without a power source to escape from Thor’s ship (“Nemesis”), since the power stored in its reserves was enough for them to dial out once. Why, then, did the fact that the D.H.D. was destroyed cut off the wormhole prematurely? Sam theorizes that it was the destruction of the D.H.D. that severed the wormhole before the receiving gate had a chance to reintegrate Teal’c’s energy pattern.
It’s possible that the tremendous amount of energy directed at the game (from the explosion of Tanith’s ship) also played a part in the malfunction. An energy blast alone may have caused the other end of the wormhole to jump to another gate (“Solitudes,” “A Matter of Time”) — but the simultaneous destruction of the D.H.D. apparently combined with the energy from the explosion to terminate the wormhole altogether.
- There is a subtle but important difference between what happened to Teal’c and what SG-1 deliberately did in delivering Maclarium to the K’Tau sun (“Red Sky”). To deliver the element, Carter cut off the wormhole before the payload had reached the receiving gate, causing the object en route to rematerialize in its most basic, elemental form inside the K’Tau sun (or such was the goal).
In Teal’c’s case, his energy pattern had completely reached the receiving Stargate (on Earth), but had not yet been reintegrated. The difference is, apparently, a matter of a split second.
- Carter asks to have a M.A.L.P. probe standing by as they redial the planet where Teal’c was lost. Was there not already one on the planet, sent ahead of the team to scout the area and confirm the presence of the D.H.D.? As this is standard procedure for off-world travel, it stands to reason that S.G. teams often send M.A.L.P.s back through to Earth upon arrival on another planet, before embarking on their mission.
- The United States and Russia have a deal regarding the Stargate program — apparently established after the Russian program was cancelled (“Watergate”) — that has been ignored by both sides (“The Tomb”). The nations agreed to share information and technology acquired by gate travel, since it is technically and logistically impossible to run concurrent Stargate programs from the same planet.
- The new deal struck by Dr. Jackson and Major Davis apparently wipes the board clean. In exchange for the Russian D.H.D. (recovered from the Germans after World War II, who in turn found it at the original Giza dig [“Watergate”]), the S.G.C. will share naquadah reactor technology (acquired from the Orbanians in Season Three’s “Learning Curve”). The deal may also include Russian access to mission reports and future technology procured by the S.G.C., and possibly the permanent stationing of a Russian liaison and S.G. team to Cheyenne Mountain.
- Dr. McKay has been studying the Stargate program out of Area 51 for over a year, using a virtual computer model of the gate that was built while the second gate (now in use at the S.G.C.) was there (“Touchstone”). Area 51 is a secret government facility where technology brought back through the Stargate is stored, studied and backwards-engineered (“Touchstone”). Though it has had ties to the N.I.D. in the past (especially in the form of Colonel Maybourne), McKay claims that he works for the Air Force, and not for Colonel Simmons (an N.I.D. operative).
- The Stargate has massive amounts of memory — like a computer buffer. The gate temporarily stores the energy patterns in crystals before it reconverts them back into matter. It does this to make sure it has all the information from the incoming person or object before it reassembles them.
The Stargate therefore has crystal-based technology within its inner mechanisms. The D.H.D. is not the only crystal-based piece of technology developed by the Ancients.
- The gate can emit some 400 feedback signals during a dialing procedure. The S.G.C.’s dialing computer — designed by Major Carter — ignores 220 of them, according to Dr. McKay. One of the error signals it can detect, though, indicates that there is still an energy patter in the gate’s memory buffer.
- The Stargate has various safety protocols built-in to prevent different energy signals from getting mixed together during transit and reconstitution. One way it does this is by erasing its memory buffer every time a new wormhole is established — an overall system reset every time the gate is activated.
- The iris sits just in front of the plane where the event horizon is formed (less than three micrometers, according to Carter in “The Enemy Within”). By offsetting the iris into the gate, the S.G.C. can stop an incoming wormhole from forming — just like burying the gate.
- The S.G.C. dialing computer makes up for the lack of a D.H.D. by generating a series of instructions based on electrical impulses send to the Stargate, to which the gate’s control crystals respond. These signals were found mostly by trial and error over a great deal of time, according to Sam. (In fact, it took 15 years to jury-rig a system that would dial the gate, according to Carter in “Children of the Gods”.)
- Rodney McKay – Dr. McKay is an expert on the Stargate, who till now has worked at Area 51 as a civilian contractor for the U.S. Air Force. He’s arrogant and has little regard for Teal’c’s life — at least while he was convinced that there was no real possibility of rescuing him — but really seems to have a thing for Samantha Carter, who is perhaps the closest he’s ever encountered to his intellectual equal.
- Frank Simmons – Simmons wasn’t just a pain in the side of Stargate Command … he was an outright criminal, dealing with a Goa’uld and keeping it hidden for his own agenda. The Colonel has now been outed and arrested for his crimes.
- Teal’c – Teal’c has achieved his revenge against Tanith, shooting down and (presumably) killing the Goa’uld who murdered his love, Shau’nac (“Crossroads”). He was almost killed in a freak Stargate accident, but was saved by his Tau’ri friends.
- Is Tanith dead?
- Why did SG-1 decide to go to P3X-116, if they knew the Goa’uld were establishing a presence there? What was the mission objective?
- Is there anything significant about Tanith and his master establishing a new base?
- How was Teal’c trapped in the gate’s systems? Was the D.H.D. really destroyed? (Is Carter’s theory accurate?)
- How did the original designers of the S.G.C. dialing computer find the proper signals to transmit to the Stargate to make it perform various functions? How did they find and identify nearly 200 signals sent from the gate during a dialing procedure?
- Carter said that the electrical signals that control the Stargate were “mostly” determined by trial and error. Which were not? How were they discovered?
- The guards working at the secret N.I.D. facility were named after members of the show’s writing team: Joe (Mallozzi), Paul (Mullie), and Peter (DeLuise).
- “The working title for this episode was ‘Teal’c Interrupted,’ but later changed to ’48 Hours.’ I was extremely disappointed. I figured, hey, if you can call an episode ‘Watergate,’ you should be able to call another one ‘Teal’c Interrupted!’
“The episode kicks off with the shocking death of Tanith, shocking insofar as he was a mid-major villain who suddenly and all too quickly buys it in spectacularly unspectacular fashion. From what I recall, we were unable to reach a deal with the actor on another episode and, rather than leave the character dangling, elected to write him out instead. This episode also saw the introduction of one Dr. Rodney McKay (‘Rodney?’ I remember asking Rob at the time. ‘Is that the name you want to go with?’), an insufferable ass who, over the course of the franchise’s run, ended up redeeming himself in surprising fashion.” (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)