"Message in a Bottle"
Overall Rating: Very Good
A M. A. L. P. picked up electro-magnetic transmissions on an airless, lifeless planet. Finding alien technology for Earth’s defense is still a priority. SG-1 gates to the planet, and finds a metallic artifact, an orb, in a building. The orb is the source of the EM transmissions, and does not seem to be a threat. O’Neill decides to take it back to the SGC. The initial study, and testing, of the artifact is done at the SGC, just in case the orb becomes threatening, and needs to be sent back through the stargate.
While Jackson, Carter, and other SGC staff study the puzzle of the orb’s energy emissions, the dormant artifact becomes active. Segments of the orb separate, and its internal temperature is climbing. Spikes emanate form the orb when O’Neill and Teal’c move to take it back to the gate room. Before they can send the artifact through the stargate, the orb extends long poles, anchoring itself to the floor, walls, and ceiling of the gate room, and impaling O’Neill. While treating O’Neill, Dr. Frasier discovers microbes originating from the orb. Stargate Command is put into quarantine, battling an alien infection and a mysterious, possibly sentient, artifact.
This episode is reminiscent of The Andromeda Strain. To me, anything relating to an extraterrestrial microbe coming to Earth is reminiscent of The Andromeda Strain.
On the planet, Jackson comments about what appears to be writing on the orb. Back at SGC, Jackson comments about how the writing on the orb is too small to been seen with the naked eye. I have new respect for the prescription strength of Daniel Jackson's eyeglasses.
Dr. Fraiser wants to break the quarantine in order to get more medicine, and gets miffed when General Hammond says no. Fraiser wanting to violate the quarantine makes no sense. Dr. Fraiser is an Air Force officer, and a medical doctor, who understands what could happen if a virulent, alien pathogen gets loose on Earth. I have no idea why she was taken out of character for this unnecessary bit of dialog.
This episode left me questioning SGC’s rationale for bringing alien artifacts directly to Earth. The idea of an extraterrestrial contagion is handled much better than in the episode, “The Broca Divide.” Still, blithely returning with unknown technology just seems like such a bad idea. I always wonder why there isn’t a quarantine planet used as a buffer before returning to Earth. Mucking about with something unknown, and potentially deadly, is an extraordinarily bad idea. Of course, this also helps to keep the series feeling extraordinarily real.