Season 3 Episode 21 – SG-1 finds a crystal skull inside a giant Mayan pyramid. Jackson disappears so SG-1 turns to Jackson’s grandfather for help.
The Stargate rover explores a giant pyramid that looks Mayan by design. It discovers a chamber with a crystal skull that Jackson wants to explore, and with the detection of slowed neutrinos, Carter wants to explore it too. In the mission debriefing, Jackson says that his grandfather Nick discovered a crystal skull on Earth in the late 1970s and was supposedly teleported to a chamber whose description matches the chamber in the alien pyramid when Nick looked into the skull’s eyes. SG-1 goes to the chamber. As Jackson looks into the eyes of the Crystal Skull, it starts activating. Carter faints from the increased radiation and Teal’c fires a Zat gun at the skull, stopping whatever it started. Jackson passes out but no one sees him do so. O’Neill takes Carter in a fireman carry and runs back to the stargate with Teal’c following. At Stargate Command, Teal’c quickly recovers from the increased radiation but O’Neill and Carter need some more time. Carter is still unconscious and O’Neill developed a fever. Teal’c returns to the planet to retrieve the crystal skull for study, which is when Jackson, now recovered, realizes that he cannot be seen by Teal’c. He follows Teal’c back to Stargate Command where he commentates on everyone’s decisions regarding researching the crystal skull. When meditating, Teal’c starts to sense Jackson but is still unable to see or hear him. When Jackson’s research assistant fails to provide more information regarding the skull, SG-1 decides to speak with Jackson’s grandfather who is actually in a psychiatric hospital in Oregon. Jackson accompanies the team to the hospital and asks his grandfather to be truthful to his friends. Nick is hesitant at first but bargains to say more if he sees the skull. So Nick is brought to Stargate Command and shown the crystal skull where Nick describes the chamber he was transported to and the alien beings he spoke with while there. Nick is shown the VIP room where it is revealed he could see and hear Jackson this entire time but thought he was just a hallucination. Through Nick, Jackson communicates the need to return to the planet so the crystal skull could finish what it started. Nick accompanies SG-1 because why the hell not. In the chamber, Teal’c replaces the crystal skull, Jackson looks into it and the skull finishes its thing. This results in everyone but Teal’c disappearing into the alternate plane Jackson found himself in and able to communicate with the beings that appear. SG-1 says they are enemies of the Goa’uld and wish to trade knowledge and culture. The beings agree and say Nick can stay because he visited before.
As much as I enjoy the episodes where Jackson is singled out, this one feels sub par. Maybe it’s because Teal’c disappeared when the aliens arrived. Maybe it’s because the aliens didn’t question what a Jaffa was doing with SG-1 if SG-1 are supposedly friendly. Maybe it’s because Teal’c ability to almost-but-not-quite sense Jackson was never given more depth. Or maybe I just think the relationship between Teal’c and Jackson was underutilized in this episode.
We learned a little more about Jackson, which is that he came from a family of archaeologists. His grandfather and his parents were archaeologists, so it must run in the family. Maybe that explains his skills and knowledge in archaeology. He’s a database of random information because he grew up around three different specialties and then had his own. This is why he knows close to everything about every culture on Earth.
I find it interesting that Nick is introduced this one episode and then left on a random planet by the end. Sure, Nick doesn’t have much of a life on Earth since he was living in a psychiatric hospital, but what about his affairs? Are they in order? Will he be allowed to get them in order before moving permanently to his new home? And where the hell is he going to live? If the alien beings live in an alternate plane of existence, then why do they have human-sized passageways? Did they have dealings with the Ancients? Do they have appropriate accommodation and food for Nick?
Maybe this episode is sub par because the world building in the background isn’t very complete. Or maybe I’m still riding the disappointment from “Maternal Instinct.” Either way, these past two episodes feel like a slump before the big season finale and it kind of worries me.
This episode does feature one of my favorite types of interactions of all time though:
Nick: Forgive me… he insisted. Daniel is here.
Jackson: Repeat what I’m saying: I’m standing right beside you.
Nick: Standing right beside me.
O’Neill: He’s lost a few pounds.
Jackson: Jack, don’t be an ass.
Nick: Jack, don’t be an ass.
This episode’s adorable mascot is O’Neill getting up from the hospital bed, flopping on the ground, and Teal’c helping him to flop back on the hospital bed.