Crystal Skull

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This article is about the episode. For the device, see Crystal skull.
Crystal Skull
Daniel Jackson examining the now active Crystal Skull.

Stargate SG-1



Production #


Original air date

March 3, 2000

Story by

Michael Greenburg & Jarrad Paul

Written by

Brad Wright

Directed by

Brad Turner

Guest stars

Jan Rubes as Dr. Nicholas Ballard
Teryl Rothery as Dr. Janet Fraiser
Jason Schombing as Dr. Robert Rothman
Dan Shea as MSgt. Sylvester Siler
Russell Roberts as Psychiatrist
Jacquie Janzen as Nurse
Daniel Bacon as SMSgt. Russell Benson
Tracy Westerholm as SSgt. Westerholm
Christopher Judge as Voice of Quetzalcoatl

Preceded by

"Maternal Instinct"

Followed by


SG-1 Season 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Season 2 Season 4

"Crystal Skull" is the twenty first episode of the third season of Stargate SG-1.


Dr. Daniel Jackson stares down at a Crystal skull; however, he mysteriously disappears. Jackson tries his best to communicate with the rest of the team even though he can't be seen. The others (SG-1) get his grandfather, Nicholas Ballard, to help, since he claimed to have experienced the same thing three decades earlier. Unfortunately, Nicholas Ballard happens to be in a psychiatric institution.




The members of SG-1 are watching MALP telemetry of a giant Mayan pyramid. The MALP proceeds into the pyramid, but comes to a span which is too narrow for it to traverse. Major Samantha Carter pans the MALP camera across the cavern and realizes that the pyramid contains Leptons, which means a material is slowing Neutrinos, a significant scientific find. Dr. Daniel Jackson has Sam zoom in on the object at the other end. Daniel informs them that it is a Crystal skull, identical to the one Daniel's grandfather Nicholas Ballard discovered in 1971 in Belize.

Daniel briefs SG-1, Major General George S. Hammond and Dr. Janet Fraiser on the skull that his grandfather found, explaining that his grandfather believed the skull transported him to another planet where he met aliens. His grandfather never managed to repeat the event and was scorned by the academic community. General Hammond authorizes a recon mission to the planet, but Dr Fraiser warns that she is unsure what effect the radiation caused by the Leptons might have, and recommends no more than ten to fifteen minutes exposure.

SG-1 travels to the planet and enters the pyramid, where Carter finds high, but safe, levels of muon radiation. The team finds the crystal skull, which Daniel immediately becomes entranced with. Radiation levels begin to increase, and Teal'c notices a form of energy surrounding Daniel. Teal'c, unable to get Daniel's attention, fires his Zat'nik'tel at the skull. The energy dissipates, but SG-1 can no longer see Daniel, who is now unconscious. Carter warns O'Neill that the radiation levels are dangerously high before passing out. SG-1 returns to Stargate Command, without Daniel.

O'Neill and Carter are treated for radiation exposure while Hammond uses the MALP to scan for Daniel, but finds nothing. Teal'c, who is partially protected by his symbiote and consequently in full health, returns to retrieve the skull so that it can be studied in an attempt to learn how rescue Daniel, who they believe was teleported to an unknown location. As Teal'c removes the skull, Daniel regains consciousness and asks what has happened, but Teal'c does not hear Daniel and runs straight through him. Daniel follows Teal'c through the Stargate back to the SGC. Tests on the skull find nothing to help them locate Daniel, so Sam suggests they visit Nick Ballard. Fraiser admits she checked on Nick and found he had committed himself to a Psychiatric hospital after suffering a mental breakdown caused by being unable to have the skull teleport him.


An Omeyocan.

SG-1 visits Ballard in the hospital. An invisible Daniel attends, encouraging his oblivious grandfather to help them. SG-1 tells him about the skull they discovered, and he asks to assist them. At SGC, Ballard is shown the skull and relives his experience for SG-1: he looked into the skull's eyes and was surrounded by a field of energy, then found himself in the pyramid, where giant aliens, apparently composed of mist, told him

"Uy ah ual ing ual ing wetail."

He recognized this as "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" in Mayan. He closed his eyes in fear and was returned to the temple where he found the skull. The temple collapsed and he was never able to locate it again. Daniel follows Nick to the VIP quarters where Nick is staying, where he apologizes, apparently to no one. Daniel asks him what he is apologizing for, and Nick replies that it is for not adopting him when his parents were killed ("The Gamekeeper"). Daniel realizes his grandfather can hear him, but believes Daniel to be a hallucination. Daniel convinces Nick to act as a go-between and together they convince General Hammond to authorize a return mission to the planet. Nick accompanies SG-1, misinforming them that Daniel insisted on it.

Back inside the pyramid, the skull is placed in its original position. Daniel stares into its eyes and all of the group, except Teal'c, are sent 'out of phase'. The giant 'mist' aliens appear and repeat the words Nick heard long ago. Daniel answers the giant that they are enemies of the Goa'uld. The giant is satisfied that they are friends. He remembers Nick and chooses him to stay and tell the giants about their world while SG-1 return to SGC.


1971; Belize; Brain; Crystal skull; Dimension shifting; Germany; Ghost; Goa'uld; Great Pyramids; Claire Jackson; Melburn Jackson; Kayla; Kelno'reem; Lepton; Level 28; MALP; Mayan; Mayan people; Muon radiation; The Netherlands; Neutrino; Omeyocan; Oregon; P7X-377; Plutonium; Pyramid; The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show; Smithsonian Institution; Stargate Command infirmary; Tessa; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; Zat'nik'tel

Notable QuotesEdit

Carter: Well, look at these readings. Sir, these are leptons.
O'Neill: Get out!!
Carter: Well, that means something inside this pyramid is slowing down neutrinos. Normally, neutrinos pass right through ordinary matter, no matter how dense. I mean, something like 500 million billion just passed through you.
O'Neill: No matter how dense.

Fraiser: Colonel I can only guess at the effect this type of radiation may have on the human body. I recommend limited exposure. Ten, 15 minutes at the most.
Jackson: Wait a minute, that's not enough time. I mean there has to be some sort of radioactive suit, or a...
O'Neill: Hey! If you'd been listening, you'd know that Nintendos pass through everything.
Jackson: I heard.
(Carter smirks)
O'Neill: ...Everything.

Teal'c: Whoever the builders are, they appear to be a formidable race.
Jackson: You could fit every pyramid on Earth inside this thing and still have room to spare.
O'Neill: Could you imagine heating this place?

Teal'c: Nicholas Ballard believed the skull to be a teleportation device. Recovering the skull may help us to determine the location to which he was teleported.
Hammond: The MALP telemetry suggests the radiation levels are still too high.
Teal'c: My symbiote provides me with a greater tolerance against the effects of radiation.
Hammond: And if that thing zaps you to wherever it sent Dr. Jackson?
Teal'c: Then I will have succeeded in locating him.

O'Neill: (About Fraiser) Napoleonic power monger.

O'Neill: Look, I'm sick of laying around. Help me up.
Teal'c: Dr. Fraiser believes you are not strong enough to undertake such a mission.
O'Neill: Yeah, whatever.
(O'Neill tries to stand up but instead he crashes onto the floor)
Teal'c: Dr. Fraiser is usually correct on such matters.
(Teal'c heaves O'Neill and throws him onto the bed)
O'Neill: (Muffled) Thank you.
Teal'c: You're welcome, O'Neill.

Hammond: Humor me, Doctor!! I want a full report within 12 hours. (turns and walks out of the room)
Rothman: Yes, sir. I-I was...
Teal'c: Do not look directly into its eyes. (follows Hammond out of the room)
Rothman: Ok...
Jackson: Don't let me down, Robert. (follows Teal'c out of the room)
Rothman: Teleportation device!? I... (scoff) What do you think?
Siler: I think you're gonna get fired.

Jackson: You can see me?
Ballard: Yes, Daniel. I can see you.
Jackson: Why didn't you say something?
Ballard: You are not real, so, it doesn't mean anything.
Jackson: No! No, no, no, no! Nick! Nick, I'm real! I'm real! You're not hallucinating!
Ballard: Hallucinations always say that.

SF: Sirs, Mr. Ballard insisted on seeing both of you immediately.
Nick: Forgive me... he insisted. Daniel is here.
Hammond: 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.
O'Neill: Daniel?
Jackson: Yes!!

O'Neill: So it wasn't the skull alone who did this. It was its connection to the cavern?
Jackson: Yes. I think the skull is just the icon that represents the human form.
Ballard: Yes.
O'Neill: Daniel said you should come along to make it work?
Jackson: Wait. I never said that. You're taking advantage of me.
Ballard: Yes.

Ballard: Now we must wait for the giant aliens.
O'Neill: That just has a nice ring to it.

(O'Neill sees Quetzalcoatl come up behind him)
O'Neill: Holy smoke, Bullwinkle!!


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Stargate Wiki has 7 images related to Crystal Skull.
  • It is confirmed in this episode that Dr. Daniel Jackson had (before joining the Stargate program) the theory that the Egyptian pyramids were not monumental tombs for Pharaohs, but landing pads for alien spaceships and he states that he lost his financial support and credibility in the international academic community because of this. In the original movie, Jackson theorized only so far as that the building of the pyramids must have occured much earlier than thought by most historians. He didn't mention any kind of possible alien involvement and aliens were only mentioned by a student in his lecture, who mocked Jackson with the suggestion. The fourth season episode "The Curse" again mentioned Jackson's pre-Abydos theory about landing pads for space ships, this time from Dr. Steven Rayner, a former friend and colleague who was still upset about Jackson destroying his own career by publicizing his theory, which Steven found absurd and unrealistic.
  • At some point before this episode, Dr. Janet Fraiser was promoted, and now holds the rank of Major.
  • This is the last of two episodes of Stargate SG-1 written by Jarrad Paul. Paul starred alongside Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lancie on the short lived series Legend.


  • When Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Teal'c, Nicholas Ballard, and Dr. Daniel Jackson are walking from the Stargate to the Mayan temple, you can see all 5 shadows on the walkway. Since Daniel did not exist on a visible state at the time, he would not have cast a shadow like the others. On the other hand, it may just be that we, the viewers, can see Daniel's shadow just as we can see Daniel himself. You can also see Daniel's shadow when the SG-1 team visits his grandfather in the hospital when Daniel goes in ahead of the team.
  • When SG-1 enters the cavern, one can clearly see that a green screen is being used, as when they start to cross the catwalk to the skull, the rocks above passed through Teal'c's head.
  • When Teal'c fires his Zat'nik'tel at the Crystal skull in an attempt to stop the expanding energy field, and Jackson is thrown backwards down the steps, Jackson lands with both of his hands and his face hanging over the ledge. When the shot changes and we see Teal'c walking through him, he's suddenly moved about 2 feet back from where he landed, no longer close to the edge.
  • When Teal'c runs out of the cavern the first time, after O'Neill screams for him to get out of there, while Jackson is lying on the floor you can see Teal'c sidestep Jackson instead of running through him.
  • Upon the discovery of the extraterrestrial pyramid Carter exclaims "Sir, these are leptons!" as if that were something extraordinary, and further implies that the presence of leptons is indicative of the presence of a partially neutrino-opaque material. However, the leptons are a class of subatomic particle that, even though some of its members are quite exotic, also contains the electron, one of the most common particles in the universe that is an important constituent of all ordinary matter, is responsible for electric current, electric charge, the majority of chemical reactions, etc.
    • Carter's assertion that a material that slows down or is partially opaque to neutrinos would have far-reaching implications for our understanding of physics is likely true. On a theoretical level we know of substances that are fully opaque to neutrinos (e.g. neutron degenerate matter, although the similarity of the name is largely incidental), and the vast majority of known substances are almost fully transparent to them; partial neutrino transparency cannot be achieved with our current understanding of the fundamental physical forces and particle physics.
    • A claim of partial neutrino opacity (of about 40%; among other fantastic properties such as tensile strength on the order of the strong force) was also made for scrith, the Ringworld floor construction material in Larry Niven's Ringworld series of classic science fiction novels.
  • After Jackson returns to earth with Teal'c, he can sit down on the end of a bed, chairs, a table, and one of the computers in the control room, but when visiting his grandfather, he can walk through the door. His ability to interact with his surroundings is generally inconsistent throughout the episode.
    • As seen in the Season 6 episode Sight Unseen and explained by Carter things in other dimensions can come to rest on things they see as solid or move through them at will.

In other languagesEdit

  • French: Le Crâne de Cristal (Crystal Skull)
  • Italian: Il Teschio di Cristallo (Crystal Skull)
  • Spanish: La Calavera de Cristal (Crystal Skull)
  • Czech: Křišťálová lebka (Crystal Skull)
  • Hungarian: Kristálykoponya (Crystal Skull)
  • German: Der Kristallschädel (Crystal Skull)

External linksEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Crystal Skull (Stargate SG-1). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with SGCommand, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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