8.04 "Zero Hour" Episode Guide

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In his difficult early days commanding the SGC, reluctant Gen. Jack O'Neill is faced by every form of catastrophe known to man, from incarcerated aliens to bunting crises, a kidnapped SG-1 team and the predations of opportunistic System Lord Ba'al, a new administrative sidekick, and a looming visit from President Henry Hayes. Somehow it all works out, and Gen. O'Neill passes his trial by fire.

Guide | Transcript

SciFi.com Official Summary

Five days to zero hour: Brig. Gen. Jack O'Neill is having a busy time managing his new duties as head of Stargate Command—even with Radar O'Reilly–like help by the familiar Gate room technician, Sgt. Walter Harriman (whose last name has changed from Davis). The president is coming, and O'Neill is up to his behind in paperwork, in food and bunting approvals and in debriefing SG-2, just back from its mission to planet P8F-809. But at least has he a new administrative aide: former CIA analyst Mark Gilmor, assigned to this post by General Hammond himself. After O'Neill leaves for yet another meeting, Gilmor places a mysterious phone call, telling the person at the other end that O'Neill doesn't suspect a thing.

Later, after cajoling from an SG scientist, Dr. Lee, O'Neill reluctantly authorizes the arrival of an alien plant that SG-8 brought from P6J-908 for analysis.

Lt. Col. Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c inform O'Neill they have a Stargate address in the former domain of the recently defeated Goa'uld system lord Anubis—a site that his power-mad rival Ba'al apparently hasn't claimed yet and which may be home to an abandoned base where a cache of Goa'uld weapons may exist. Teal'c has a Jaffa ring-activation device that should give them access into the base. But with fourteen SG teams all offworld and unavailable for backup, O'Neill holds the mission back one day—which irritates his old teammates, who believe even that may be too long a delay.

And O'Neill has enough problems. Dr. Lee's seedling has become a full-grown plant in just a few hours, and SG-5, led by Maj. Davis, has just brought two delegates from the planet Amra, here to negotiate a trade agreement with Earth. After an hour of the two bickering with each other, O'Neill locks them in a room until they come to an agreement. That doesn't turn out well.

Four days to zero hour: SG-1 embarks with the Marine Combat SG-3, led by Col. Reynolds, as backup. On the planet, Carter order SG-3 to guard the gate while she, Teal'c, and Daniel move out. Shortly afterward, after being unable to raise SG-1 on radio, Reynolds and two of his men, Peterson and Bosco, find themselves buzzed by a Goa'uld Alkesh fighter. O'Neill sends SG-10 and SG-12 to the planet as backup.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lee's plant has grown to immense portions, seemingly reacting to light. It has taken over the entire level and is using the ventilation shafts to spread airborne spoors. And then Ba'al projects his holographic image through the gate to tell O'Neill he has captured SG-1 and will exchange them in return for System Lord Camulus, who had requested asylum on Earth (in 8.01 "New Order Part 1" and 8.02 "New Order Part 2").

Three days to zero hour: Camulus won't cooperate. O'Neill plays a gambit and ushers Camulus to the Gate, but Camulus seems perfectly willing to be given to his enemy. After O'Neill locks him back up, Camulus, saying he didn't expect asylum would mean imprisonment, tells O'Neill of a planet with an Ancient device, which Camulus had bragged out and is probably what Ba'al is after. SG-3 goes to the planet and returns with a half-charged Zero Point Module (ZPM)—the Ancient power source that is the only thing powerful enough to activate the Ancient weapons SG-1 found at Antarctica. Then the lights go out. The plant is now in the walls and is interfering with power and communication. And then Ba'al comes through to say time is up. O'Neill says some of the Gate systems are fried and dialing out is impossible—buying another day.

Later, Reynolds and Maj. Davis remind O'Neill of the poison formula that the Tok'ra developed to kill Goa'uld and which was provided to SGC two years ago. There is enough at Area 51 to negate a sizable enemy force on three planets. The problem is, no one knows on which planet SG-1 is being held. The attack would be a major one and could provoke another attack on Earth. But SGC now possesses the ZPM that could power up the ultimate Ancient weapon.

Dr. Lee has found that gamma radiation seems to work on the plant, and he prepares a method of delivering a strong enough level to the entire base. Nonessential personnel will have to be evacuated, and everyone remaining will need to wear protective suits. The president's visit is being canceled. O'Neill, overwhelmed, finishes writing up his resignation letter to Hammond.

Gilmor informs O'Neill that the plant has been eradicated and Stargate dial-up restored. O'Neill is about to keep his word and send Camulus through when Dr. Lee suddenly informs O'Neill that the radiation used to kill the plant has illuminated a foreign substance in the ZPM. An electrical charge applied to samples scraped off the ZPM causes the fragments explode—the ZPM is booby trapped and, if placed in the Ancient chair in Antarctica, would explode with enough force to destroy the planet. That's why Camulus was so eager to leave: Not having been able to make the device work, he'd made sure no one else could, either. O'Neill confronts Camulus and strikes a deal: trade the Ancient device for the lives of SG-1 and have Camulus use it to kill Ba'al. Reynolds escorts Camulus to a neutral planet where he and ZPM are turned over. Yet SG-1 is not returned.

One day to zero hour: The invasion is set to begin. Just then, SG-1 makes contact via radio. They're under heavy fire, and their Dial Home Device (DHD) is inaccessible. Carter requests the iris be opened. O'Neill is hesitant—they've been in enemy hands and their iris codes may have been compromised. But Daniel says they were never near Ba'al—they're on P2X-887 and have been trapped inside Anubis' secret base all this time. When they finally got out, there was a Jaffa ambush waiting for them.

O'Neill reconsiders and opens the iris. SG-1 comes home. Later, Carter informs O'Neill that after reviewing Dr. Lee's notes, the booby-trapped ZPM now in Ba'al's possession turns out to be powerful enough to destroy the entire solar system—which is exactly, O'Neill explains, why he instead gave Camulus the depleted ZPM they had on hand. Ba'al really won't like Camulus handing him that. As O'Neill gets ready to prepare for the president's arrival, Gilmor reveals that he himself was sent by the president to evaluate O'Neill's performance before the change in command was officially announced. But O'Neill already knew that—Hammond had told him. O'Neill then adds a line to his resignation letter: "Never mind."


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--Kylie Lee 04:58, 9 Aug 2004 (PDT)