Description: O’Neill and the SG-1 team travel to P7J-989, where they discover a beautiful garden and a dome full of strange metallic chambers, each containing an unconscious person. As the team inspects the chambers, they are trapped and knocked unconscious.
The first thing to strike me was SG-1’s entrance into the dome, with weapons drawn. Here they are, entering, unannounced and uninvited, someone else’s world and they run around with their guns out. Sure, I understand why they would do that, but it seems very un-guestly, if that’s a word (and it is now).
Otherwise, it becomes apparent very early on that O’Neill and the gang are in a very realistic virtual reality simulator, not unlike the Matrix. Of course, this was shot and aired well before that movie so it’s possible the ‘mystery’ of their predicament may not have been that obvious, except, of course, to SF fans.
This episode has an interesting mix of creepy, mystery and humor that raises it about the usual, mediocre SG-1 episode. For starters, check out the big hair on Teal’c! Ha! That’s funny. And second, any show that has Dwight Schultz in it can’t be bad (not even TNG). Dwight (who I’ll always see as Mad Dog Murdoch from The A-Team) plays the Gamekeeper to perfection.
Additionally we get some badly needed character development for O’Neill and Jackson by expanding their backstories in an interesting manner. The whole ‘try, try again to make it right’ approach to past regrets is a thought provoking one, and ripe to be explored by a person in VR. The biggest knock on this episode is that it doesn’t really go into more depth on this idea, instead skimming the surface and using just enough to enable SG-1 to escape the Gamekeeper’s clutches. I think they could have shortened the O’Neill and Jackson flashbacks and used that time to go deeper.
Still, a cut above most episodes so far.
[After reuniting with Carter and Jackson]
Teal’c – “What is this place?”
Jackson – “The New York Museum of Art.”
[After being told by Gen. Hammond to return to the VR world]
O’Neill – “Um, General. Without meaning – this time – to sound like… a smartass… are you cracked?”