Stargate SG-1: Season 1, Episode 19

There But for the Grace of God (20 Feb. 1998)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 576 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

While collecting artifacts on a distant planet, Daniel Jackson is knocked out after touching a mirror-like object. He awakens in the same room but is unable to locate the other members of ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Stuart O'Connell ...
News Anchor
Laara Sadiq ...
Technician #2
Shawn Stewart ...


While collecting artifacts on a distant planet, Daniel Jackson is knocked out after touching a mirror-like object. He awakens in the same room but is unable to locate the other members of SG-1. Assuming that they left without him, he dials up his return home but gets there to find that he is in a different reality. In this world, General Jack O'Neill and Catherine Langford are in charge of the Stargate program; Hammond is a Colonel reporting to O'Neill; and Sam Carter is a civilian scientist working on the project (and also engaged to O'Neill). More importantly, Earth is under attack from the Goa'uld who have already killed over 1 billion people. Carter believes that somehow, Jackson is from a parallel dimension. When Jackson learns the point of origin of the Goa'uld attack, he wants to return to his own universe, believing that his Earth will be similarly attacked. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA)  »

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This ep (teleplay by Bobby Cooper, later producer) is loaded with plot points for later eps. It marks the first time the following major points are referred to: 1. alternate/parallel universes; 2. 38 min time limit for keeping the gate open; 3. Mention/use of a Beta site; 4. parallel universes with different team members of SG-1; 5. Teal'c deciding to leave SG-1; 6. Alternate Sam with long hair; 7. SG-1 travel aboard Gou'ald space ship; 8. first time to show interior of gou'ald space ship; 9. first time to show stargate operating on spaceship; 10. first to show a mechanism to control spaceship (although changed in other ships); 11. first to show death gliders; 12. first to show planetary invasion using gou'ald ships; 13. first to reference Sam speeding up dialing process for Earth gate; 14. first to reference self destruct in response to gou'ald invasion; 15. first time to show Daniel Jackson looking himself up in alternate dimension/time-line; 16. first time to show SG-1 risking courts martial and disobeying a direct order; 17. first to show gou'ald two-way communication sphere; and 18. first to make explicit reference to Sam and Jack's romance, even if only in alternate dimension. There are undoubtedly others. See more »


Daniel puts his video recorder on the table in the "lab" so he can take off his back pack. He then starts stuffing artifacts into his backpack. Before he picks up the second artifact, we can see the recorder on the table, along with another artifact. The camera pans up to Daniel stuffing his backpack, then back to the table where the artifact and the recorder are gone. See more »


Samantha Carter: I surrender! I have information that can help Apophis! There is technology he will want to know about! This is a remote control to an interdimensional portal. I can tell Apophis how to find it!
Jaffa: Hashak Kreyak!
Samantha Carter: [pulling out a grenade] Thank you. Oh yeah. I also wish to blow us all to hell.
See more »


Featured in Stargate SG-1: Citizen Joe (2005) See more »


Main Title
Written by Joel Goldsmith and David Arnold
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User Reviews

One of the best episodes in the series' history
3 April 2013 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

This is my favourite episode of Season One. I'm very partial to stories about parallel universes / alternate realities - I'm a huge fan of the "Star Trek" mirror universe - and alternate history is one of my favourite genres so this was right up my alley. Aside from that, however, it also tells an excellent story which lays the groundwork for the series' first season finale. Like many of the best parallel universe / alternate history stories, it paints the picture of an Earth in turmoil and makes the audience realise just how much is at stake by showing us the worst of all worlds and the consequences of inaction.

For me, one of the most engaging and engrossing aspects of alternate reality stories in and out of "Stargate" is the fact that things are very often the same but different. Here, for instance, we have General Jack O'Neill in command of the SGA instead of Colonel Jack O'Neill in command of SG-1. His job isn't what is the most different about him, however. In most respects, his personality is much more similar to that of the film incarnation of Jack, which makes perfect sense as it was the events of the film which helped the normal version of Jack get his life back together and come to terms with Charlie's death. In no small part, that was due to Daniel's good influence on him. Without Daniel being there for him at a crucial juncture in his life, Jack is, quite frankly, a cold and nasty bastard who is much less likable (for most of the episode, anyway) and much more militaristic than the normal TV version of Jack whom we all know and love. Needless to say, he didn't commit suicide as he was planning to in the film so he must have found some way to deal with Charlie's death but I wouldn't be surprised if this version of Jack detonated the bomb on the surface of Abydos rather than beaming it aboard Ra's ship. He seems rather trigger happy as regards nuclear weapons. I don't think that our Jack would contemplate using them against an inhabited planet. Towards the end of the episode, however, the character shows some of our Jack's warmth and humour and I think that that may be due to Daniel's presence. He really brings out the best in Jack. Plus he can't be all bad if Sam is in love with him.

All of the other characters are more similar to their counterparts from the prime reality. With the exception of her hair and career path, the alternate Sam is practically identical to our Sam: a warm, extremely intelligent and capable woman who is always able to keep a completely level head in a crisis. Given her lack of military training, she is presumably somewhat less capable in terms of physical combat but that's the only real difference that I can think of between the Sams and it doesn't even really come up. Colonel Hammond is much the same as General Hammond, if slightly more severe though nowhere near as much as General O'Neill. His speech to his troops in the Gate Room commending them on their bravery and telling them that it was an honour serving with them is textbook Hammond. Of course, we don't see the alternate Daniel in this episode but he seems to have been much the same as our Daniel was prior to joining the Stargate program, if a bit less sensible for not accepting Catherine's offer.

When it comes to Teal'c, the biggest difference is really his ponytail. He is essentially the same man as our Teal'c was prior to the events of "Children of the Gods": a good man who is forced to play the role that his completely amoral society would have him play. I would attribute Jack's failure to convince him to turn against Apophis in this reality not to the differences in Teal'c's personality but the differences in Jack's. He may well have been more successful if he hadn't sent the bomb to Chulak, killing Drey'auc, Rya'c and (probably) Bra'tac in the process. I admit that I missed some of the subtlety in previous viewings but the look which this Teal'c gives Daniel in their only scene together speaks volumes about his character in my book and yet only communicates one single solitary word to Daniel: "run." He allows Daniel to escape through the Stargate because it's the right thing to do and, in my mind, deliberately avoided killing him by only shooting him in the arm so that he would have a chance to live on. It's a shame that he himself died only moments later, never knowing the life that he could have had as a member of SG-1.

One of this episode's greatest assets is the wonderful character of Catherine Langford as played (brilliantly) by Elizabeth Hoffman. While I was always a fan of Catherine, watching this episode and "The Torment of Tantalus" has made me appreciate just how great a character she was. It's such a shame that this is her final appearance on the series, notwithstanding the middle-aged version's brief cameo in "1969". I wish that she had appeared in at least two or three episodes per season, frankly.

Another thing that occurred to me about this reality is that its differences from the normal one mean that it's fairly unlikely that any of the events portrayed in the series to date happened here. Needless to say, the events of the Daniel- and Teal'c-centric episodes definitely didn't take place but I can't think of events from any other episodes which definitely did take place (especially since SG-1 is seemingly composed of entirely different people) except for the discovery of the Abydos cartouche and even that must have surely occurred under very different circumstances than those portrayed in "Children of the Gods", perhaps even during the events of the film, since Daniel wasn't involved.

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