Tonight we have an SG-1 conspiracy special and their version of Apollo 13.
Point of No Return
We start with the team summoned to an emergency meeting with Hammond at the SGC. Hammond shows the team a recording from a man who phoned the base trying to reach O’Neill. While the recording at first seems like the usual mix of government conspiracy rantings, such as secret special ops team and Roswell, the man later reveals that he somehow knows about the Stargate and demands to meet him in person who he’ll ‘blow the lid’ on the whole thing.
O’Neill arrives at the meeting place where he is met by a strange man who calls himself Martin, who uses a strange device to scan him for bugs. While he once again comes across as a conspiracy nut he seems to have large amounts of information pertaining to what a Stargate is and the purpose of the SGC. While O’Neill tries to blow him off with a story that ‘Project Stargate’ is just a science program Martin is adamant that the Stargate is real and that he’s actually from outer space. After being discretely informed that Carter and Daniel have his address O’Neill decides to indulge his delusions to stall him while the others search his home.
While O’Neill and Martin are in the woods searching for his ‘spaceship’ the others search his home, finding an assortment of various drugs used to treat mental disorders amongst his collection of sci-fi items. Daniel also finds a journal that is filled with even more conspiracies, writing him off as completely insane. Unbeknownst to the team however a group of individuals are spying on them from a secret camera placed in the house, confirming at least some of Martin’s delusions. The team decide to meet with the doctor who prescribed the drugs given to him, who backs up the idea that Martin is paranoid, drawing others into delusions he uses to cover up his personal issues. When pressed for information he becomes defensive but does provide them with Martin’s workplace.
Elsewhere O’Neill and Teal’c are still keeping an eye on Martin, who decides to meet them at their motel. The two SG members start to get more irritated by Martin’s delusions, such as his ‘proof’ of a break in because a tooth pick was moved, and his demands to go through the Stargate. Their views are changed slightly however when he provides them with a Stargate address he claims is his planet. The pair decide to ween him off his medication for his own good, causing Martin to remember the actual location of the ship after a momentary collapse.
In another part of the state Carter and Daniel make their way to Martin’s work address, only to find an empty warehouse before being confronted by the same mysterious men who were spying on them earlier. The men proceed to interrogate them, demanding to know who they are and why they’re so interested in Martin. The leader of the group reveals himself, the doctor who they spoke to earlier on.
Back in the forest the three find Martin’s ship, revealed to be some kind of escape pod that housed a small group of individuals. The discovery acts as a catalyst to Martin’s other memories which reveal that Martin’s group where from a planet at war with the Goa’uld, and that when they saw the war was lost the group decided to go into hiding on Earth, something which Martin didn’t agree to. The SGC decide to use Martin as bait for the others, who they’ve worked out must be holding Carter and Daniel. While they take the bait and take Martin with them they also do something to the crashed escape pod.
After following Martin’s locater beacon to a warehouse they find him and the missing SG members unharmed inside but no signs of the other aliens. Martin discovers a countdown on one of his people’s devices, evacuating the warehouse thinking the building is rigged but in fact it applied to the escape shuttle, leading to it self-destructing in the forest. The team decide to bring Martin to the SGC and visit his world, only finding his worst fears realised as the world is nothing but ruins.
Point of No Return is an episode that likes to lull the viewer into a seemingly straight forward narrative before flipping the picture multiple times throughout. What initially appears to be a straight forward shadowy conspiracy episode goes to multiple places and questions your view of the characters constantly.
By far the most interesting character of the episode is Martin. While he is initially portrayed as a lonely man with mental issues that make him susceptible to paranoid and conspiracy delusions he slowly emerges as someone who isn’t insane at all, but rather someone whose memories were stolen from him so that others could hide in secret. Also while seemingly being a meek person by the end of the episode he is shown to have been brave and loyal in his past life, having wanted to convince his fellow shipmates to not abandon their people and instead return to them and fight the Goa’uld, even though it would’ve been a lost cause. In a similar fashion the other members of Martin’s original group are at first portrayed as a group of nefarious individuals who want to eliminate risks to their revealing but are later revealed as people who just want to lay low and deliberately avoided hurting anyone they came into contact with.
Overall like many of the Earth based episodes this one plays like a Cold War thriller, with shadowy agents and paranoid individuals, but this time the show reverses the stereotype by the end, with the paranoid being proved right and the seemingly evil agents being revealed to be trying to hide from the real villains.
· Here we have the introduction of Teal’c’s off-base cover stories of hat affectionado Murray and Teal’c the terrible chef.
· That little fourth-wall breaking line about a Stargate being a good idea for a TV show always cracks me up.
· I do like how the show just inserts as many real life conspiracies as possible into the episode for Martin to reference.
Quote of the episode: *Listening to Martin’s conspiracy tape* “He goes on like that for a while” *fast forwards to only hear even more ravings* “Quite a while” - Hammond
The episode begins with the team sans Teal’c on a well-guarded airstrip along with both Hammond and General Vidrine, a by the book officer. It turns out that the affair is to watch Teal’c demonstrate the X-301 Interceptor, a Death Glider fitted out with US gear to be used for planetary defence, which impresses all watching. The team go ahead with a planned weapons test, with O’Neill joining Teal’c on-board the craft, but things start to go wrong as the X-301 starts moving by itself, with Teal’c unable to stop the ship from going into space. It turns out that the Glider contains a recall device placed by Apophis that has activated, making the ship set course for his homeworld several hundred years away.
As the ship heads away from Earth communication becomes harder and harder as it takes longer for transmissions to reach either side, slowing down any rescue planning. Despite the new problems the team try a plan using the two AIM-120s on the ship to act as a makeshift thruster to put them on a course to slingshot around Jupiter. While this initially seems to go successfully the second missile breaks off the craft early and slams into the ship, causing them to be unsuccessful in their attempt and damages the ship’s life support and oxygen systems.
With the initial plan ending in failure the SGC contacts their allies for help. While none are able to provide at the time Anise of the Tok’ra provides hints of the location of an off-world Tok’ra operative who might be able to help them. Daniel and Carter head to the planet in question, being almost immediately picked up by Jacob/Selmak, who is the Tok’ra operative Anise hinted to. Despite initially being angry at them, having been in the process of blowing up the area they were in, he quickly comes round to helping them after they reveal why they’re there. Selmak pushes the Tel’tak to the limit, causing the hyperdrive to break down while they’re in a ‘bad neighbourhood’, drawing the attention of two Ha’taks. While the Carters attempt to repair the ship Daniel attempts to buy time, calling himself the ‘Great and Powerful Oz’ in an attempt to hoodwink the two motherships, barely managing to hold them off until it’s repaired.
By the time the Tel’tak arrives oxygen deprivation has rendered O’Neill slightly delirious, believing the cargo ship to be a hallucination, but Carter is able to convince him to get Teal’c’s attention (who had been in a deep Kelno’reem to conserve oxygen). Carter relays the new plan to the two of them, with Teal’c and O’Neill having to expose themselves to vacuum by leaving the craft so that they can be ringed aboard by the others. The plan goes successfully, with the two of them surviving the trip relatively intact, with the SGC being made aware and celebrating the rescue of the team.
So here is SG-1s take on the film Apollo 13, with the team facing disaster on board a stricken space ship undergoing a routine mission. I quite like this episode, largely due to the many nods to other films and sci-fi littered throughout including Trek, Star Wars, and the previously mentioned The Wizard of Oz.
The most interesting item from the episode is the X-301 and what this represents to the franchise. While we’ve previously seen a couple of technological advances within the show, such as the naqaudah reactor, this marks the point at which the show starts showing actual progression in terms of the tools available to the team, with the X-301 being the culmination of four years of exploration by the team. While it goes badly this time this paves the way for future prototypes on the show including other fighter aircraft and eventually space cruisers/aircraft carriers of their own to rival anything the Goa’uld possess.
Overall the episode is a good nod to a well-known disaster film while also advancing the internal technological progression of the SGC in a believable way.
· The one time Anise is actually useful and she doesn’t even appear. What a surprise.
Quote of the episode: “Jacob, is that you?” “Yes, it is, Jack. Now do what we tell you.” “Do you know your ship’s bigger than ours?” –O’Neill and Jacob/Selmak