The Fifth Man

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production | Review

O'Neill and Lieutenant Tyler are ambushed by Goa'uld forces and trapped behind enemy lines – while the rest of their team discover they don't know who Tyler is.

FAN RATING - 8.06 
DVD DISC: Season 5, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARS: Dion Johnstone (Tyler), Gary Jones (Technician), John de Lancie (Colonel Frank Simmons), Teryl Rothery (Dr. Janet Fraiser), Karen van Blankenstein (Nurse), Brad Kelly (Jaffa), Shawn Stewart (Jaffa), Dario DeIaco (Jaffa)
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Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter and Teal'c rush for the Stargate, and quickly dial back to Earth. They are under fire from a group of Jaffa soldiers, and barely make it back alive. Colonel Jack O'Neill and Lieutenant Tyler remain on P7S-441, pinned down by enemy fire.

But when they request that General Hammond send them back with reinforcements, he denies their request and orders them to the infirmary for a complete evaluation. For reasons they can barely speculate on, no one else at the S.G.C. knows who Tyler is, or remembers the last three weeks he has spent training with SG-1.

Back on the planet, O'Neill and Tyler find a small, stone structure to hide out in. Jack's mind is focused on his training, and with weapon in hand he keeps a lookout for the Jaffa. Tyler is injured, and can't stand up – let alone help in their defense.

Carter, Teal'c and Jackson try to find some answers, though Hammond has their access to the base restricted. Sam hacks into the base computer system, and to her surprise finds no record of a Lieutenant Tyler having ever served at the S.G.C. But she makes another discovery: an anonymous user, identified only by a four-digit code (User 4574), is accessing the computer records from outside the base – including SG-1's personnel files.

As the day begins to wane, O'Neill concludes that reinforcements aren't coming right away. He digs in, setting explosive charges around the perimeter of their camp. Tyler is appreciative of what O'Neill is doing, though he seems to feel guilty for having put him in this situation. If reinforcements don't show up soon, Jack isn't sure how long he can hold off the enemy army by himself.

Colonel Frank Simmons visits the S.G.C. from the Pentagon to conduct an investigation into possible security problems. He interviews Sam, Daniel and Teal'c individually, despite Hammond's objections. The general makes some calls to his government connections, but can find out nothing about Simmons' orders or motives – but suspects he may be involved with the N.I.D., a secret government organization that has tried to take control of the S.G.C. in one form or another since before the inception of the Stargate program ("Touchstone"). Even the president will not intervene now.

Simmons confronts Daniel about his motivations, and tells him outright that he doesn't think a civilian archaeologist with emotional ties to the mission has any business in a field unit. He questions Teal'c's true loyalties, of course, given the Jaffa's recent reversion back to Apophis' service ("Enemies," "Threshold").

And Carter? She isn't trustworthy either, according to Simmons. In addition to everything else she has been through in the last few years, the last time they met she harbored a powerful alien in her home ("Ascension").

But Carter knows a thing or two herself, and confronts Simmons about accessing the base computer records externally. She knows his anonymous user I.D.

Dr. Janet Fraiser soon discovers the reason why SG-1 has had their memories altered. She finds a powder residue on Teal'c's jacket that causes her to see a brief flash of Lieutenant Tyler, and analyzes it. The chemical affects those parts of the brain dealing with facial recognition and memory, and can be used to make a total stranger believe that he or she knows the chemical's user personally.

With the Jaffa army pressing in, Tyler confesses this to O'Neill. He reveals his true, alien identity, telling Jack that his species (the Reole) uses the natural chameleon ability to survive. The Goa'uld have learned of this, and hunt them to obtain the power of memory alteration. He does not want O'Neill to risk his life at his defense.

But Jack engages the Jaffa in battle, determined to protect Tyler – no matter who he really is. Just when they are about to be overwhelmed, reinforcements arrive. The rest of SG-1 has been sent to recover them.

Tyler does not want the team to risk their lives for him any longer, and flees into the woods, trying to lead the Jaffa away from the gate. He is quickly captured. SG-1 recovers the cannon from a death glider downed by Colonel O'Neill, though, and use it as extra firepower to rescue Tyler and clear the Jaffa army away from the Stargate.

The alien says goodbye to the team and returns to his world, where he says they will bury their Stargate in an attempt to hide from the Goa'uld. SG-1 returns home, but finds that Colonel Simmons plans to report serious concerns about the S.G.C., threatening to take down General Hammond's command.


  • General Hammond's phone calls – especially his apparent inability to get ahold of the president in order to get to the bottom of Colonel Simmons' investigation – are reminiscent of Season Two's "Touchstone." When the S.G.C. discovered that someone was using Earth's second Stargate to steal technology from other planets, SG-1 determined that the N.I.D. was behind it. Now, they suspect the same secret government agency of being behind Simmons' agenda.
  • A single, well-placed shot from a grenade launcher can take down a Goa'uld death glider. Major Kawalsky did something similar when he shot down a glider with a surface-to-air missile back in the first episode, "Children of the Gods."
  • Tyler's species is called the Reole. They do not embrace technology, and are not very good fighters. The Goa'uld are hunting them to extinction – perhaps because they see them as a threat, like the Reetou ("Show and Tell") and Aris Boch's race ("Deadman Switch"), both of which have also been the subject of Goa'uld genocide programs. A group of Reole are starting a new colony on a planet in an isolated part of the galaxy, where they plan to bury their Stargate.
  • The Reole are being pursued for study by the Goa'uld – though just which Goa'uld these Jaffa are serving is unclear. The emblems on their foreheads do not seem to match those of the Jaffa in service to any Goa'uld known by SG-1.
  • One of Hammond's final exchanges with Colonel Simmons is also reminiscent of "Touchstone." Simmons tells him, "Administrations change, sir." Hammond replies, "So do orders." Colonel O'Neill had a similar exchange with the N.I.D.'s Colonel Maybourne, who subtly threatened to regain control of the second Stargate under a future presidential administration. "Orders change; paperwork gets lost," he told O'Neill.
  • Did the Jaffa see Tyler in his true, alien form? That's what we saw, so it's likely. Either Tyler simply hadn't had an opportunity to use his chemical on the Jaffa, or the Goa'uld studying the Reole has come up with a way to counter its affects. Another possibility (and a more likely one) is that a Jaffa's larval symbiote does not allow the chemical to be effective for very long – though Teal'c remained affected for several hours.
  • The large canon attached to a Goa'uld death glider has a relatively small amount of kickback when fired, and may have even been designed to be detached and used by hand when necessary. It has handles, and Teal'c managed to find himself a shoulder strap for it.
  • Tyler said that, although his people are going into hiding, he will talk with them about an alliance with Earth. The benefits of this are obvious, should Earth scientists be able to adapt the Reole's camouflage chemical for military or intelligence purposes.


  • Tyler's species is called the "Reole," and are able to use a chemical – one their bodies naturally produce – to alter the memories of those with whom they come into contact. It is a natural chameleon ability that has enable their peaceful race to survive.


  • Jack O'NeillJack O'Neill - Jack is absolutely true to his character in sticking with Tyler, and using his skills to defend him – even when he learned that Tyler is an alien, and not one of his men. "We don't leave our people behind," Jack told him – a sentiment he has expressed numerous times (notably "A Matter of Time" and "Divide and Conquer").

    O'Neill was born in Chicago, but raised in Minnesota.
  • George HammondGeorge Hammond - General Hammond's command has been threatened by Colonel Simmons, who will submit a report detailing serious concerns about S.G.C. personnel and the way they do business. The general found himself unable to turn to his superiors for help, and was told by Simmons that he should resign his position gracefully.
  • Samantha CarterSamantha Carter - When General Hammond refused to allow Carter to take a team back to rescue O'Neill, she became uncharacteristically insubordinate – threatening to disobey his orders and return to the planet. Perhaps this is a side-effect of the Reole chemical; perhaps it's a result of her personal feelings for Jack; or, perhaps O'Neill's selective attention to orders is starting to rub off on her.

    Sam is also willing and able to hack into the S.G.C.'s computer system (at least from an internal terminal) if she feels she needs to. And when Colonel Simmons questioned her loyalty and her having come under alien influences, Sam had the guts to confront him about his motives for his entire investigation, not to mention his dubious access to secure S.G.C. computer files.
  • Janet FraiserJanet Fraiser - At Sam's prompting, Dr. Fraiser was willing to violate procedure in order to find evidence that would explain why her friends were remembering someone who didn't exist. But when the general discovered that Janet herself had been exposed to the Reole's chemical, she came straight out and admitted what she had done in order to figure it out.


  • Which Goa'uld sent the Jaffa to apprehend the Reole?
  • How did SG-1 encounter Tyler, and how did he get within close enough proximity to use his chemical camouflage on them all?
  • Who is behind Simmons' investigation? From whom does he get his orders?
  • On what world are the Reole building a new colony?
  • Will the Reole agree to negotiate an alliance with Earth?
  • What will Simmons' report say, and to whom will it be given? Can he really influence what happens to the S.G.C.?
  • Will Hammond be forced to resign (again)?
  • Does the Reole chemical have any long-term side-effects?


  • Actor Dion Johnstone ("Tyler") played Novar / Captain Nelson – leader of the Jaffa trainees in Season Three's "Rules of Engagement," and the Unas Chaka in Season Four's "The First Ones."
  • Actor Shawn Stewart – who plays a Jaffa in this episode – also played a Jaffa back in Season One's "There But For the Grace of God."
  • "It's quite a 'shoot-em up' because I wanted to put O'Neill in a military situation where he shows his mettle as a one man force. Rick [Richard Dean Anderson] just eats that stuff up and he does a great job. There's also a new member of the team – hence the title of the episode – but I can't tell you any more than that, or O'Neill would have to shoot you." (Executive producer Brad Wright, in Cult Times magazine #69)
  • "In this episode, O'Neill gets stranded behind enemy lines, fighting a new Jaffa faction under an unknown System Lord. In this episode we get the largest number of corpses ever in the show. O'Neill is really trying to outdo the Terminator. We kill everybody – twice." (Director/writer Peter DeLuise, in an interview with TV-Highlights magazine)
  • "No plans to bring Tyler back. Interestingly, the actor who played Tyler, Dion Johnstone, also played Chaka in 'The First Ones' and 'Beast of Burden.' He will also be playing an alien in [Season Six's] 'Forsaken' and an off-world victim of Goa'uld experimentation in Season Six's 'Metamorphosis.' Four different performances for four very different characters. The guy is incredible." (Co-executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at
  • "Actor Dion Johnstone assumed a number of very different roles over the course of the franchise's run. He drew on his extensive theater background to play the part of Chaka in 'The First Ones' (reprising the role in 'Beast of Burden'), doing a brilliant job of conveying a wide range of emotion through some heavy prosthetic make-up. In this episode, he plays another alien – of sorts – the mysterious Lieutenant Tyler whose existence no one but SG-1 can recall, and delivers another great performance.

    "One of the things I remember about this episode was the hell of a time editing had cutting around all the Jaffa bodies O'Neill has to negotiate on his way to the gate. I mean, holy crap, does he kill a lot of 'em! Apparently, Brad felt the sea of corpses put a damper on an otherwise happy ending." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)