Stargate SG-1

Season 2 Episode 16

A Matter of Time

4
Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 1999 on Syfy
9.0
out of 10
User Rating
312 votes
10

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
SG-10 is on a planet when its sun becomes a black hole, and the Stargate link back to Earth threatens to destroy first Stargate Command and then the entire planet.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Apparently everyone's IQ got sucked into a black hole.

    1.5
    I hated this episode. Which is a shame, because the ideas upon which it is based are very interesting. But unfortunately, it was marred by the fact that the writers seem to have suddenly got the idea into their heads that every single person watching is incredibly stupid, or at least that is my impression. The sheer number of times the Captain Carter is told that noone understands her is frankly rather insulting, and completely out of character with everything else I have seen thus far.



    Up until this point, the most we've got is the occasional request for Carter or Jackson to simplify and summarize their technobabble. But suddenly it seems that Carter is being treated as if she was a savant-like intelligence by everyone around her. It runs right the way through the episode - Colonel O'Neill suddenly has trouble understanding a simple analogy about wormholes right at the start. "Alright", I said to myself, "I'm willing to let it pass just this once." But it didn't stop. Every scene with Captain Carter in it, someone was telling her that they didn't understand what was going on, that she should stop, slow down, not even bother explaining. Now I can understand that perhaps not every viewer is completely familiarised with the physics of black holes - I certainly am no expert - but really? Can't we just let the technobabble flow for just a few seconds? It's not even particularly complicated by technobabble standards.



    So that was my main gripe. But there's plenty of other stuff wrong with this episode. Until the last 5 minutes, they manage to just about keep the effects of the wormhole fairly logical. The time dilation effect keeps expanding, gravity slowly increases behind it. But then it all breaks down. They decide to go down on ropes to set off a bomb and divert the wormhole somewhere else. Why can't they do it by remote control? "Variance in the gravitational field", says Carter. Cue another braindead O'Neill comment to the effect that none of it makes any sense to him. He's into Astronomy, for crying out loud! There is no way he could not know what a gravitational field is, and variance isn't THAT uncommon a word, is it? Or am I just deluding myself there?



    Anyway, back to the problems: there are going to be tidal forces acting on the ropes that should tear them apart. There should even be lethal tidal forces acting on Jack and Cromwell*, given how quickly they say they feel the extra weight. The human body is not built to withstand extra g-forces, so it makes things like lifting your arms above your head pretty much impossible. Yet O'Neill is able to reach up and turn on the bomb, after catching Cromwell (who should just have ripped his arm straight off on his way down). Right, ok, so they've some how set the bomb to go off (Did I mention there should be, you guessed it, tidal forces acting on the bomb?) and now Teal'c and Carter have to pull O'Neill out of there. I don't care how strong Teal'c is, it's not going to happen. O'Neill is HEAVY with an extra capitalised H, and the rope dangling beneath him is probably as heavy again, given the extra gravity. The Time Dilation issues involved mean that the act of pulling him up is going to be very odd and difficult to interpret - I can accept the makers of the series pulling out of trying to work out what would happen on this one. However, when the bomb goes off, O'Neill has somehow got far enough away to escape being killed by the explosion. It obviously takes a lot of kinetic energy to get out of the gravitational field, as the explosion was sucked in. But then surely, if O'Neill got out, he must have had more kinetic energy than the explosion? Which implies that Carter and Teal'c's arm muscles possess the equivalent strength of a rather large bomb. Oh dear.



    That's enough gravitational field weirdness errors for now. The Stargate writers have obviously bitten off more than they can chew in simulating the effects of a black hole. To be honest, I think I could have overlooked the rather large paragraph of mistakes above if it weren't for the incredibly patronising "Everyone watching this is stupid" vibes emanating from my computer screen.



    The disappointing thing was, I thought the first 5-10 minutes were excellent. As another reviewer has mentioned, the frozen image of SG-10 slowed to a standstill is an effective and powerful one. I just wished the rest of the episode had served to amplify it.



    Sir Thursday



    *And why the hell was Cromwell even in this episode? So we can find out that O'Neill spent 4 months in an Iraqi jail? As far as I can see the only other thing he did in the episode was die a gravity-induced death.moreless
  • TIME MAY BE RUNNING OUT FOR EARTH!

    6.0
    While attempting to save the members of SG-10 from a black hole on planet P3X-451, the SG-1 team activates the Stargate and exposes themselves to the hole's gravitational pull. Trying to break free, the team shuts down the gate's power and in the ensuing explosions Teal'c is badly injured. Even without power the black hole's gravity continues to draw the SGC closer to the swirling wormhole. With the intense gravity field warping the space/time continuum, the SGC loses contact with the outside world and the Pentagon sends O'Neill's former mate Colonel Cromwell to investigate. Cromwell is tormented with guilt for deserting O'Neill during an earlier mission, and volunteers to partner up with him in an attempt to save the SGC and the Earth. Time slows to a near stand-still inside the SGC, where only O'Neill and Cromwell are left. Carter scrambles for a solution before everything is torn apart by the black hole's gravitational tides.moreless
  • The SGC gates to a black hole...

    8.8
    This was a pretty entertaining episode, and the concept was extremely unique. As usual Jack's humor made the show fun. The images of SG-10 stuck on the planet being destroyed were very compelling and did a great job of adding a sense of urgency to the episode. I think this is the first episode where Sgt Siler gets electrocuted, the first of many times I might add. The Colonel Cromwell character was interesting, but I did not like how they resolved his conflict with O'Niell, that is they did not resolve it, they killed him off. The time dilation aspect of the episode was especially well written and very believable.moreless
  • Relativity...

    9.3
    I adored this episode - all the relative physics side and the idea with blackhole and the time passing thing. It was so well written. It looked unique and catching from every aspect. The way the story was built - first the running scene and then the way it had little effect, started to have larger effect - all the action, visual side. I most say - the effects were great - the class flying, the climbing to the gate. And all the time different thing - two weeks with not too much time. And those soldiers, when they meat Fraser.. and the end..



    Really beautiful episode.moreless
  • Great effects and humor.

    9.1
    This episode starts with some of the coolest special effects I've seen on TV. The formation of the black hole was very well done and actually about as realistic looking as one would expect. I loved the way Jack felt about leaving a man he had trained and recommended for this command behind to be ripped apart by gravitational forces. This was a big wormhole physics episode that helped explained a little more about the gate. I liked Colonel Cromwell and the back-story on Jack and his career in Desert Storm. The final scene was so well done and exiting. This is one of the best episodes in the season and in the early history of the show.moreless
Richard Dean Anderson

Richard Dean Anderson

Colonel/Brigadier General Jonathan J. "Jack" O'Neill

Christopher Judge

Christopher Judge

Teal'c

Amanda Tapping

Amanda Tapping

Captain/Major/ Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter

Don S. Davis

Don S. Davis

Major General George S. Hammond

Michael Shanks

Michael Shanks

Dr. Daniel Jackson

Marshall Teague

Marshall Teague

Colonel Frank Cromwell

Guest Star

Jim Thorburn

Jim Thorburn

Watts

Guest Star

Biski Gugushe

Biski Gugushe

SF Guard

Guest Star

Teryl Rothery

Teryl Rothery

Dr. Janet Fraiser

Recurring Role

Tobias Mehler

Tobias Mehler

Lieutenant Graham Simmons

Recurring Role

Colin Cunningham

Colin Cunningham

Major Paul Davis

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (15)

    • While it is certainly true that time slows down near a black hole, the episode has many scientific flaws (more than should be expected of a science fiction show). For one, the only way for the sun to become a black hole would be for it to go supernova, which would wipe the solar system out very rapidly; there's no way they would have time to get to the gate. Besides that, the gravitational pull of a black hole is not stronger than that of its progenitor star, so if these effects happened after the sun turned into a black hole, they should have happened before that as well.

    • Trivia: Sergeant Siler gets electrocuted in this episode while tripping the main breaker to the Stargate, marking the first of many times Siler has an accident or injury.

    • Carter reveals in the third episode of season one, "The Enemy Within," that if an iris does not hold, a failsafe destroying the mountain will activate. However; this episode contradicts that statement.

    • Trivia: Jack spent four months in an Iraqi prison after being wounded and thought dead by Cromwell.

    • Trivia: Another location mentioned is P2A-870.

    • Trivia: Daniel is on a dig on P3X-808.

    • Trivia: A trinium-strengthened iris is installed after this episode.

    • Trivia: You can find the address to P3W-451 and many other planets here.

    • Trivia: We learn its possible to have a wormhole open longer than 38 minutes under certain circumstances.

    • Trivia: Colonel Cromwell's code to set the auto-destruct was 10432772.

    • In the first 6 minutes that the MALP was on P3W-451 the SGC received 11 frames of video, less than one second's worth. Yet the camera on the MALP responded immediately to pan upward to view the black hole, a process taking several seconds.

    • When dialing to P3W-451, the computer displayed the Chulak coordinates.

    • When dialing back to P3W-451, one computer monitor's screen wasn't dialing but you could hear the gate dialing.

    • Colonel Cromwell called a Senior Airman "sergeant".

    • SG-10 was wearing OD green uniforms on their mission on P3W-451 but it was clearly a desert planet and they do have desert camouflage.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (looking at a video feed)
      Cromwell: Who's this?
      Jack: Henry Boyd. Good officer: smart. Kinda reminds me of Carter a little bit. This was their first mission as a team.
      Cromwell: He looks scared to death.
      Jack: He's on a planet that's about to be swallowed up by a black hole... and he knows it.

    • Jack: You just came from Washington, sir?
      Hammond: There and back again, after someone upstairs managed to explain what was going on to me, we called an all-night session with the President and the Joint Chiefs. I've been gone nearly eighteen hours.
      Jack: I thought you were on the phone...

    • Cromwell: We used to be friends, Jack.
      Jack: Yep.
      Cromwell: I was sick to my stomach when I found out you were still alive. I wanted to go back for you.
      Jack: Why don't we just do this and get the hell out of here, all right?
      Cromwell: Somebody dropped a dime on the incursion. You got hit, you went down. I made a judgment call to save the rest of the team.
      Jack: And I saw you take off. And then I saw four months of my life disappear in some stinking Iraqi prison.
      Cromwell: I thought you were dead!
      Jack: You thought wrong! What do you want? You want me to forgive you, is that it?
      Cromwell: Yeah, I guess I do.
      Jack: Well, that's tough. What happened to "nobody gets left behind"?

    • Sam: Well, sir, accounting for time spent coming and going, I would guess that time within the SGC facility has slowed to an average of about 600 percent below normal. When you ordered Colonel O'Neill to wait 5 minutes, you were really telling him to wait 6 hours, maybe more.
      Hammond: Captain, relativity gives me a headache.

    • Jack: Look, I know I should know this by now. I swear it'll be the last time I ask. These wormholes we go through, they're not always there, right?
      Sam: No, sir. It can only form between two open gates.
      Jack: What's with the worm part? The worm thing. I...I don't get that.
      Sam: That's just a metaphor.
      Jack: Right. I knew that.

    • Cromwell: (under increased gravity) I feel like I've put on a hundred pounds!
      Jack: I wasn't gonna say anything.

    • Cromwell: (about Sam) Man, she's...
      Jack: ...way smarter than we are.

    • Jack: Well, we dialed it to a planet that's being sucked into a black hole. Very bad, very dangerous.
      Cromwell: Why is that?
      Jack: Things tend to get sucked in...

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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