Stargate SG-1

Season 1 Episode 11

The Torment of Tantalus

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Oct 03, 1997 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

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out of 10
410 votes
  • Sweet

    Daniel discovers through old records that another person went through the Stargate in 1945 and never returned. When researching the event it leads to his old mentor and former head of the SG project, Katherine. The man that vanished was he fiance' and she had thought him dead. NOW they mount a research and rescue operation to see if he still lives.
  • Reveiw.

    This episode and story of this Stargate SG-1 episode is the best one out of the first season is a great one as Daniel finds that their was a man who went throw the gate in 1945 and never came home and SG-1 goes and tries to find him The effects in the episode looks great as always the offworld set looks amazing as always again the best and funniest part of the episode is when Littlefield is not excited to see Catharine and he goes hum and walks off then she talks to her self about what was she thinking was priceless the end
  • SG-1 learns the truth about the Stargate, when they investigate an experiment conducted in 1945 in which the Gate was opened.

    Daniel stumbles across footage of the Gate being opened in 1945, and SG-1 sets off on a mission to rescue Dr. Ernest Littlefield the man who went through. We also learn that the Goa'uld did not in fact build the gates. Remarkably Ernest is still alive on this planet after more than 50 years(we'll let that one slide ;)), and he show Daniel something incredible. The true universal language with I thought was a really unique concept. I loved how they set up the four members of the "alien United Nations" the Furlings, Nox, Asgard, and the Ancients, in this episode. However, the best part of the whole episode was Ernest's compassionate argument against Daniel's wish to stay behind with the device. "No prize is worth achieving if you cannot share it." Great line and very true.

    Let's be honest not much happened in this episode and that meaning of life stuff has little meaning to the overall Stargate SG-1 story arc through the first season and beyond. I would easily say this is the worst episode of the first season of SG-1. The special effects are okay but I somewhat suspect this episode was made to save some production money. There are several flashback scenes that have none of the main cast members because the scenes themselves take place in the 1940's. The Torment of Tantalus' torment is watching it and I Tracey K. Nameth call it "cavity filler!"
  • The team finds out that the Stargate had been made to work before ... in 1945!

    I liked this episode because we find out about the "coalition" of the 4 intelligent races in the galaxy ... and from what we can understand, they were all good (well, it's an assumption if you haven't seen the rest of the series). Unfortunately, the coalition doesn't exist anymore, as the place looked like it'd been left in ruins for a very long time.
    The storyline about Dr Littlefield was quite interesting, but could have been done in a better way ... or maybe it was the actors that didn't really inspire me. Anyway, I felt like something was missing from that part of the story, this is why I'm giving this episode a lower score than usual.
    Again, we see the character and personality of the SG-1 members revealed. Daniel's undying curiosity; Sam' brilliance; Jack's military mind and Teal'c's coolness under pressure.
    A very well done episode, which contributes to the story line and the personalities of the characters, even though it was effectively a filler episode.
  • Daniel finds out that the Stargate was activated in 1945, and a man, Dr. Ernest Littlefield went through it. But he never returned, so SG-1 sets out to recover him.

    Hate to say it but this one was not a great episode. My first problem was the naive thought that Dr. Ernest Littlefield was still alive, and ofcourse he was. I mean the logic of it is flawed in many areas. That aside it was important in that we find out there was something of an alliance between four powerful races and that there were keys to solving the universes greatest mysteries in a device shown to SG-1 by Ernest Littlefield. However, when returning home becomes a problem a conflict arises between Daniel and O'neill, which is the first time we see how determined Daniel is to find out information that would not llikely benefit the defence of Earth but rather just for the wonder of exploration, which almost kills him as SG-1 get escapes the crumbling cave,thanks to Carter, just in the knick of time. My problem here was mainly with this Dr. Ernest Littlefield being alive(I mean think about it guys) and Daniel's annoying habit of being so unbelievably naive(I'm going to give him the nickname, "the naive one").
    It was ok to watch but really not a great episode. Below average.
  • My my favorite episode, so far...

    This was so much different than previous episodes and that Cathrine storyline and more links with the events of the original movie was brought in - it was amazing. All the thing Daniel discovered - old documents about experimenting with stargate, dialing manually - it all could be very helpful for them later.

    All the storyline with man locked to the other side for so many years... the emotional effect it most have had and Daniel - on his own element, when he saws the room. But ofcourse, when they find something create, it is gone to the end of the episode. So, no gain in the end, but it was fantastic episode.
  • "meaning of life" stuff

    Very very good episode. This explores the history of the Stargate program and how the gate came to be shut down. When an explorer - Ernest Littlefield - went through the gate and didn't come back, the leaders thought it best to stop using the gate and keep it under guard. SG-1 finds a video of Ernest going through the gate and shows Catherine - Ernest's girlfriend/fiance(?). They figure out the gate address and go there - to find that Ernest is still alive! Catherine is overjoyed but Ernest is embarrassed (he was naked when the team came through). Daniel finds this machine where the four main alien races held meetings and it contains all of this "meaning of life stuff." He doesn't want to leave it behind but a big storm is about to knock the castle off the edge of a cliff into the ocean. Overall very good and revealing.
  • introduces the four race alliance...

    The SGC finds evidence that a man went through the gate back when it was first discovered. They dialed the coordinates that he went to and found him. He was really old...Anyways, Daniel found a sort of meeting room between four allied races: the Nox, Ancients, Asgards, and Fursomething (I can't remember on the top of my head). Daniel absolutely druels over the writings while the structure he's in is collapsing. It's the whole meaning of life stuff and he's obssessed with it. Anyways, they get off the planet before it collaspes. Basically, the episode was important because it introduced the different powerful races. For me, though, it wasn't my favorite story line. Ernest and his old girl friend (I forgot her name too) were annoying and boreing. Overall, ok episode with an amazing discovery.
  • Amazing...

    This is also one of the best episodes in season 1. It turns out some people turned on the gate in 1945 and some one named ernest Littlefield went through and was lost. It turns out he was the fiance of Catherine Langford. I like seeing characters that were in the movie on the series. So SG1 and Catherine go to the planet and ernest is still alive and still loves catherine. What is really a kick in the but is the DHD is destroyed and they can't get home. Ernest shows Daniel a room and we, don't really learn about the four great races but we know that that was a meeting place of four great races. Sg1 as always figures out a way to get home. Daniel really wanted to stay but Jack wouldn't let him. Later...
  • The first great episode

    This episode is probably the best of the first season and one of the best in the entire series. First the idea that the military experimented on the gate in 1945 and actually made it work was very interesting. The character of Ernest was terrifically played by Keene Curtis and a young Paul McGillion. What I liked most abut this episode was the chemistry between Ernest and Katharine. Now this is also the most influential episode because of the introduction of Alliance of the four great races and the Ancients. There were some things in this episode that weren’t so great mostly the falling rocks.
  • A must see episode that reveals how the Stargate program began, and possibly how humanity itself began.

    This is quite possibly the best episode from season one because it not only has a great story-line, but so much is revealed about the history of the Stargate program and the histories of ancient advanced beings. In this episode, SG1 escorts Catherine: a fellow scientist who lost her fiancee decades ago after he traveled through the Stargate and never returned. With SG1's help, Catherine is able to travel to the same destination her fiancee went to, and upon arriving there, they are welcomed by the fragile old man into a castle which is just as fragile and old.

    The former lovers are reunited, but Daniel discovers that the old man has been living alone in solitude, and has been passing time by studying an old text within the castle. However, this is not ordinary text. This book is written using the elements of life as a universal language, with the images of the elements projected as holograms in the air by a machine. By analyzing the markings on the walls, they theorize that the universal language was used as a communication method between 4 different advanced races (Asgard and Thor's race among others) who were in a congregation similar to the United Nations. However, a dilemma arises when Daniel becomes consumed with learning as much as he can about the text, while the castle is crumbling around him. This of course is what the title, "The Torment of Tantalus" refers to, where Tantalus "was reaching for something that was... out of reach", Daniel tries to do the same thing. Daniel must leave the text and return through the Stargate before he is killed, thus losing the possibility of ever learning what the text fully contained.

    This episode was Great! It was the first episode that had me wanting more after it was over. With a great score, and with the sounds of the building collapsing the entire time, this episode is very exciting and very well put together. Definitely one of my favourite episodes in the series.
  • Amazing that a love held on so....

    This was the first episode of stargate sg1 that i ever saw that was back in march of 2003. i have been i big fan eversince. when i first saw this episopde i didn't know what the show was about and therefore this episode was fairly confusing however, i have watched it since then and i realize that it was a good episode.ernest survived all those years on almost nothing and when Catherine came he was still in love with her. this is where the team first finds out about the four great races.Daniel does not what to leave when it is time to go but Jack forces him to come with him.later.
  • SG-1 learned more about the Stargate that was found on Earth.

    I thought this show was interesting, but unrealistic, which isn't saying much because it's a show about a Stargate that doesn't even exist.

    When SG-1 go through the gate with Katherine and find Ernest I would expect him to be a little crazy. True, he does talk about seeing and speaking with Katherine on the planet, but other than that he's pretty normal. And for another thing if a person were left alone without any human contact for 50 years they wouldn't be able to talk in complete sentences like he was doing.

    Other than that it was a great episode. But, I did think it interesting that they got there just in time to rescue him before the whole place collapsed. I would have thought if it could survive 50 years than it probably wouldn't have been completely destroyed when they left.
  • An episdode about true love that surpasses all times.

    Daniel discovers that in 1945, a man named Dr. Ernest Littlefield, went through the Stargate but never returned. He also finds out that Katherine Langford, the woman who originally recruited him to figure out how the Stargate worked, was engaged to Ernest at the time of his disappearance…53 Years Ago! So Daniel brings her back to the SGC to take part in the briefing for Ernest’s rescue. Katherine insists on going and is given permission.

    On arriving they are approached by a very old, very naked Ernest, who then tries to hug them all which brings about some funny results. Ernest then shows Daniel a room with a fancy light thingy that just might be the ‘meaning of life’ kind of stuff. But the building they are in is ready to collapse. The building starts collapsing, by first bringing the DHD down into the depths of the ocean when that part of the floor falls away.

    Sam then figures that the only way to get home means manually dialing the gate, but with no power source they are going to have to use something else to power the gate…lightning from the storm that is going full force, and is acting a lot like a hurricane.

    But of course they all get home safe and sound. It was a really good episode about true love, because Katherine and Ernest still loved each other after 53 years of separation. Great episode that you want to see over and over again.
  • Possibly the first truly great episode, but certainly one of the most important and pivotal for pointing Stargate in the right direction.

    This is probably one of the first (and few) episodes from the first season to really show which direction was going, and change the show for the better.

    The episode still had a few silly moments (escaping just as the stone roof collapses, diving to avoid falling rocks, etc), but they are vastly outweighed by the episode's strong points.

    Firstly, the idea of the 4 great races, which would lead the series down the road to greatness by adding the first of many layers to the show's complex mythology. Secondly is the main story of the rescue, and the chemistry between Ernest and Catherine. They make the highly unusual concept of their relationship that much more believable and provide some humour.

    All in all, this is a very important episode, and a definite must see for any soon-to-be SG-1 fan.
  • A woman tries to rescue her fiance from another world when he stepped in to the Stargate 50 years ago.

    This is a cute episode about lost love and trying to gain it back. It's hard to imagine losing someone for over 50 years and to find out they are alive and that there is a chance to see them again. The entire story was very interesting and it truly is amazing how Ernest was able to live by himself all of those years. I was really surprised how he hadn't gone crazy from being alone all of those years, I probably would have. Overall, this episode wasn't a real important part of the main storyline, but it did have some important stuff in it. From the first gate opening in '45 to secrets to the universe on the other planet.
  • This is basically a flashback episode about how the stargate project really got started, even if it wasn't true.

    This episode was really cool. It is all about this dude that got lost on another planet like 50 years ago when the Stargate Project really got started. Even though this episode was cool, I didn't like the fact that they lied about it. What is shone in this episode is not how the SGC got started. The stargate wasn't found until like 1970 and it wasn't activated until like 1990. They completely messed up how the whole thing got started. They should have shone something from the movie Stargate if they wanted to do a flashback episode. But, other then that it was a great ep.
  • This episode is rich in the continuing story arc for Stargate

    This episode takes SG-1 to a planet where a man had been sent through the gate years earlier. He was Catherine's finance, and she comes along. This episode reveals the 4 Races that had an alliance (Nox, Asgard, Ferlings, and Ancients). This episode gives Daniel information and writings which he uses numerous times later in the series. This episode really has the "meaning of live stuff." It was enjoyable and original. Episodes like this show that they were well written and create a elements in the SG-1 universe that can be used in later episodes, and that is often what happens.
  • Was a very good episode.

    I thought this episode was good becouse it revealed more about the Catherine and her father. It also revealed a lot about what happend to the stargate between when it was descovered and the episode 1969 when SG1 found it in storage and used it to get back to are time. It also had a lot of character development to Catherine's character which I liked even though she doesnt appear on the show very much. I also found it intresting that they talked about the 4 races even though it doesnt reveal who they are in the episode. So all in all I thought this was a good episode that was very revealing.
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