Fail Safe

| Analysis | Production | Review

Earth finds itself threatened by something even larger than the Goa'uld when the team learns that an asteroid is on a collision course with the planet.

FAN RATING - 8.39 
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 4
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS: Colin Cunningham (Major Davis), Gary Jones (Technician), David Bloom (Spellman), Greg Anderson (Webber), Michael Teigen (Telescope Guy), Kirsten Williamson (Jalen)
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  • SG-1 is rescued from the asteroid at the episode's end by Jalen, a member of the Tok'ra. We've actually seen her before: the Tok'ra operative played by actress Kirsten Williamson greeted SG-1 when they transported down to the Tok'ra base at the start of Season Four's finale, "Exodus."


  • "When we first started on the show, Paul and I were a true writing team, often working on scripts together, bouncing dialogue back and forth in our offices. Then, as the demands of production became more pressing, our partnership evolved. Rather than write together, we started to write separately. One of us would start a script and send it to the other who would revise what was written, then forge ahead. When he'd hit a wall, he would send the script back and the other would take over, revising all that had come before, then moving forward. We eventually settled into this routine but, in time, again as a result of production demands, we became a writing team in name only. We would write entire drafts separately, then switch off and do polishes on each others' work. Eventually, we would do our own polishes, yet we maintained our official onscreen partnership. Why? Because while I was doing more originals, Paul, in his duties as a producer on the series, did the lion's share of the uncredited script rewrites on other writers. And so, for instance, while both our names may appear in the credits, this episode was pretty much Paul's from start to finish. One of my favorite exchanges from 'Fail Safe:'

    Carter: Now find the wires leading from the timer to the detonator and cut the red one.

    O'Neill: Carter, they're all yellow.

    Carter: Say again?

    O'Neill: There are five wires, and they're all yellow!

    "One of the things that I remember about this episode was how uncomfortable Rick and Chris were in those spacesuits (a recurring on-set theme that ran through both shows) – so much so that they simply refused to wear them any longer than they had to. Of course, how long was necessary was open to debate. In one sequence in the episode, they discover Sam and Daniel have managed to save themselves by taking refuge inside a ship's pods. Rather than releasing them immediately, Jack and Teal'c apparently take the time to repressurize the ship AND THEN remove their spacesuits (which would take them at least a half an hour) before releasing Sam and Daniel. Nobody else at home seemed to notice, but we sure did." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)