Stargate SG-1

Season 2 Episode 16

A Matter of Time

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 1999 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
322 votes
  • Apparently everyone's IQ got sucked into a black hole.

    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.

    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.
  • The SGC gates to a black hole...

    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.
  • Relativity...

    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.
  • Great effects and humor.

    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.
  • This episode was really good to me, it started out with excitement and it continued till the very end. Good show kept my attention the whole time. that is what a tv show is supposed to do. It had just enough humor in it to make it lifelike.

    In the beginning they were trying to help sg-10 get back unitl they realized that there was no way to help them cause of the time dilation deal. But then they realize that they can not shut the gate down. Thenm of course there is more of O'Neill's past thrtown in there from his military career. Reminding us that he has been around for a while and like anyone else he can hold a grudge.
    Cromwell apparently was really sorry about what happened in the gulf but jack was unable to just forgive and forget.
    I liked the idea that Jack also voiced his admiration and respect for Sam and her abilities.
    But with the time thing being all out of wack it was realy cool how they could get so much done and still have time to pull this off.
    The whole show was full of questions answers and then yet more questons. It was like a show of a great puzzle.
    I really enjoyed this episode. Jack got a chance to be a hero once again and of course Sam was right there to share in the glore of it all. All may not agree but to me it was very entertaining.
    This is exactly why I love watching this show and will for as long as I am able.
    Of course we can't forget the last sene when daniel get's back, "Hi Jack, Did I miss anything?" It's at least a small dose of the Jack and Daniel repore. Great! Isn't it?
  • The SGC opens the stargate to a planet that has an expanding black hole. The gate will not shut down and SG-1 must save the day.

    This episode got me hooked on the show. I was first impressed by the fact that it was actual science applied in a fictional way. I know that sounds so ridiculous for a sci-fi show to do that, but this was it.

    The science used was easy to grasp and fairly accurate. Of course there was some fiction applied, but that is what made the show interesting.

    It was evident from this writer that there was both thought and research done for this screen play. I applaud the entire project and I am happy to say that this series is still one of my favorites.
  • Some clever ideas, great visual effects, and humour overcome some serious flaws with the story and situation.

    I have to say that this is an episode with a really great concept: connected to a gate that's orbiting a black hole. However, this episode has some serious flaws.

    First off, the one thing that I keep remembering about this episode is the back story of Jack and Cromwell having known each other in the Gulf War, and the annoying cliché of one of the leaving the other behind, only to realise they had survived. Then, they go the full distance with this cliché in the big hero finale, which only lessons the quality of the episode.

    Now, another thing that I don't like about this episode is the big finale. I mean the whole thing seems it was set up just to finalise the cliché I mentioned above with Cromwell. I suppose simply setting the timer on the bomb to about 2 minutes and just "lowering" it down isn't as exciting.

    The visual effects in this episode range from great to rather pathetic. The destruction of the iris is pathetic, but the collapsing of the sun, the black hole in the planet's sky, and the funnel-shaped event horizon vortex thingy are all great.

    In fact, the best things in this episode are in the first 5 minutes, before the credits show up. Another thing that sticks in my memory (a positive one, thankfully) is the chilling sequence where Jack tells Hammond to look at the expression on Henry Boyd's face. It's so effective, that it rivals even the best visual effects sequences as the episode's best quality.

    But, as always, you have some great bits of humour thrown in the works, which only add to the episode's enjoyment. Personal favourites of mine include "I thought you were on the phone", "Don't even pretend you understood that", and "Hey Jack, did I miss anything?”

    Although I don't really love this episode, a lot of other fans to from what I’ve read on message boards. It doesn't really add anything to the SG1 story arc (although they'll definitely have to watch it before seeing "Exodus"), but they might really enjoy it. Once again, I'll leave it up to you.
  • A good episode

    I like this episode of SG1 for many reasons. One of these is that the science that they talk about in the show is somewhat understandable(dont know about accurate). Another thing that I liked is the way that they showed Sams response to what the military was planning to do and how she tried and tried to find a way to fix it and didnt stop until she did. One thing that really caught my attention was the way that they used someone from Jacks past to go down to the SGC to go and save them. I like how they revealed Jacks experience in Iraq and how he felt about the matter.
  • This is a very interesting episode... Very!

    This is a star….Well, it was a star, now it looks like a hurricane and what the hell?! What is that star doing! Its like its going down into that hurricane… OMG is that , is that a planet breaking into pieces…. Could this be.. can it be!! A BLACK HOLE!!! Run to the gate run…. Ay.. what the, for some reason it seems we are moving in Slow motion. SLOW.. Slowwwwww! Intro to: A matter of Time. Relatively Speaking :)

    The show starts off with Jack catching a lesson about why a wormhole is called a wormhole. Soon he’s overwhelmed by the intelligence of Sam in typical jack fashion, and this little cute moment is interrupted by unscheduled gate activation… incoming.
    In SGC (Star Gate Command) the gate is blue and they are waiting for something to come through and hear a strange noise in place of what usually is the SG team’s gate signal. It’s very slow, but Sam is able to pick up on the pattern, and suggest that they put it into the computer to manipulate it. Once in, she determines that this sound is probably one of theirs, so she ask the “fiddler of buttons” to increase the speed 200%.... its sounding more like a signal now, and she suggest they ramp it to 600%.. BOOM! There we go… gate signal.. They open the iris and nothing comes through.

    A few puzzled faces, and Jack, in his tough guy routine, says let’s mount up boys, there’s trouble brewing. Gen. Hammond, being smart, when in any other case would have allowed for this rescue mission without precursor, has the perfect hesitation this episode, the one that saves his teams life. They send a MALP in, and it reaches land, and it shows a red blur. They wonder what they are seeing, why is it red? Carter knows that the image is there, so once again they enter in information into the computer to manipulate it, and raise it a few wavelengths until they see the SG team, seemingly frozen in motion. Everyone thinks that the M.A.L.P has malfunctioned, because the faces of the team members are of fright, panic, and insane worry. Hammond asks for the entire playback of the tape and he is informed that this (after about five minutes) is all they have received, 6 frames of footage. How is this possible? They put two and two together. The red shifting of the video- the slow motion radio signal… the now panning up instantly-camera (inconsistency) to see a big black spot in the sky. Yeap… Even jack knows… it’s a black hole. And he also knows there’s nothing they can do.

    Sam wants to leave the gate open and watch. Jake has to reminder her that what they’ll be watching is good people dying in slow motion. She relinquishes and they prepare to shut off the gate. What’s this? It won’t disengage?! Trouble has begun. They try to cut of power to the gate room…. Nothing! The gate is being powered by the black hole and has surpassed the theoretical “on” time limit of 43 minutes… or something like that. Soon, after Hammond tries to call the president, they realize that there is a time dilation and time is passing more slowly, especially since Hammond goes top side, gets hauled of to Washington, returns from his trip to Washington, but which only lasted 15 minutes relative to jack and everyone in SGC.

    Everyone knows what has to be done… they must destroy the gate… But Sam believes that this will not work, and that the gate will remain, and it will eat earth away anyway. They order everyone out and two to remain to arm the self-destruct. They spend 5 minutes in SGC trying to set up the bomb, where out on the surface of the base days are passing, and Sam tries to come up with a new plan… 2 minutes before they self-destruct the base, Sam rushes in with her new plan and they order a special bomb to set off, to overload the gate with energy and cause it to jump. Jack and a former combat unit partner of his, the one that left him for dead in Iraq, have the task of detonating the bomb. The time distortions are immense now, so are the gravity waves. They move into position to set off the bomb, when something goes wrong, the guy there to help jack is now hanging on to jacks body for support since his rope is now broken, and the gravity is sucking them down towards the worm hole. The guy sacrifices his life by letting go, and Jack tries to grab him (yeah, like he would really be doing someone good by struggling with a 230 pound marine on his back and 5 G’s pulling down on him.) Jack arms the bomb… BOOM! Jack wakes up the next day battered and bruised. Everyone is happy, jack made it.. Daniel, who wasn’t in the episode, but on some dig on another planet tell sack he’s been gone 3 weeks. Jack say’s “I’ll sleep in” and they chuckle.. Game over.

    I like this episode… It’s very good, and opens your minds to possibilities.

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