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"Tangent" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of Stargate SG-1.


Teal'c and Colonel Jack O'Neill test a Death Glider they acquired from Apophis in the past. However, the Glider has a life of its own, when a Recall device installed by Apophis sends the ship back to Chulak, which will take several hundred years at their current speed, and they only have a few days of oxygen.


Teal'c is test-flying the X-301 Interceptor, an experimental United States Air Force fighter assembled from parts of two of Apophis' Death Gliders (recovered after Apophis' attack on Earth) and human tech. It can achieve escape velocity with virtually no G-forces for the pilots, and even Carter doesn't fully understand how it works. Lt. General Maurice Vidrine is impressed (though not as much by O'Neill's sense of humor.)

The next test is aerial combat, with the SGC serving as Mission Control Center. Colonel Jack O'Neill joins Teal'c in the X-301, but they overshoot the attack run, heading directly out into space. "We are no longer in control of the vehicle. I repeat, we have lost control and cannot eject. Please advise."

Once they're moving at a million miles an hour through space, propulsion shuts down. Apophis' recorded voice states that he installed booby traps (aka Recall devices) in his gliders, so none of his betrayers would be able to use his craft, and they would return to his homeworld...after a very long time.

Affected by the time lag it takes for radio signals to reach the X-301, Major Samantha Carter and Major Paul Davis at the SGC - with O'Neill and Teal'c on the glider - collaborate on a plan to slingshot them around Jupiter: The rocket motors of the AIM 120A air-to-air missiles, never fired during the weapons test, are still under their control. Unfortunately, the missiles don't have enough thrust and one breaks away from its mounting, hits the glider causing some damage, forcing O'Neill and Teal'c to reduce life support to freezing temperatures and very low oxygen levels.

Dr. Daniel Jackson contacted allies capable of spaceflight. Anise of the Tok'ra throws him a secret bone by saying she will not risk exposing a covert operative on a Goa'uld-occupied world, even though a Tel'tak is within a day or so of Earth. Carter pinpoints the world, she and Daniel 'gate there and are picked up by Transportation rings. Fortunately, it is the Tok'ra operative, Jacob Carter, who quickly reigns in his temper (he was preparing to destroy part of the planet) once he realizes his friends' lives are at stake. The ship will reach the X-301 in roughly 24 hours.

With 12 hours of air remaining, Teal'c decides to go into an extremely deep state of kelno'reem, slowing his heart rate, reducing his oxygen consumption. O'Neill asks who he'll talk to. Teal'c renders O'Neill speechless with his depth of feeling and friendship.

Jacob pushes the cargo ship beyond maximum safe velocity, resulting in the hyperspace engines crashing within spitting distance of two Ha'taks. Daniel stalls them by saying he's the Great and Powerful Oz in Goa'uld. They launch gliders in response, but Jacob and Carter repair the engines and the ship is able to re-enter hyperspace.

Upon arrival, Teal'c and O'Neill are asleep, near death. Jacob nudges the X-301 with the cargo ship, waking O'Neill into an amusing but dangerous daze from oxygen deprivation. Fortunately, he understands enough to wake Teal'c up by throwing a pen at him. Obeying Carter's instructions, they saturate their lungs with the remaining oxygen, open the glider's canopy, exhale and push away. Five meters from the glider, Jacob rings them aboard. Though they fall over to the floor, they're both alive.

A while later, the SGC receives the message from Sam and the control room erupts with joy at the news that the rescue has been a success.


Appearances for Tangent





Sentient Species




Notable QuotesEdit

Hammond: While we're waiting I have someone who'd like to meet your team.
Davis: Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, allow me to introduce to you: Lieutenant General Vidrine.
Vidrine: Colonel.
O'Neill: General.
Vidrine: Major.
Carter: General.
Vidrine: Doctor.
Jackson: General.

Vidrine: Light that candle boys.
(walking toward the X-301)
Teal'c: Does General Vidrine wish us to perform some sort of candle burning ritual?
O'Neill: Yes... that's it... exactly.

(Directly after the X-301 had entered space)
O'Neill: Uh, Teal'c, on our six, is that what I think it is?
Teal'c: If you think it is Earth; yes.
O'Neill: It's shrinking.
Teal'c: Its size remains constant, rather it is we who are moving away at extreme velocity.

(A sound comes from the instruments)
Teal'c: These instruments indicate drive shutdown. We're no longer accelerating.
O'Neill: That's good.
Teal'c: I will attempt to restart.
(Suddenly a voice is heard from the machine)
Voice: Shol'va! To all those who turn against their god, know this -- for your insolence you will die in the cold of space. What is rightfully mine will now return to me.
O'Neill: Was that who I think it was? And did he just say what I think he said?
Teal'c: If you think it was Apophis, and that he said that the gliders from which this craft was constructed contained a device designed to return this glider to his homeworld, then yes.
O'Neill: He also mentioned something about dying.
Teal'c: In the cold of space.
O'Neill: Right...
(Brief pause)
O'Neill: Well, the old boy hasn't lost his touch.

Jacob: So how do you intend to get them out of the glider once we get there? I mean, there's no chance it'll fit into the cargo bay.
Jackson: Well, we were kinda hoping that you could... um, like... beam them out or...
Jacob(laughs) Beam them out? What am I? Scotty?

(A Jaffa aboard one of the Ha'taks contacts Jacob's ship)
Jaffa: Kree tal shal mak, Heru'ur!!
Jackson: Mak tal shree, lok tak mekta satak Oz!! (the radio repeats him in a Goa'uld voice)
Jaffa: Mak tal Oz!?
Jackson: Mak tal Oz kree!! (the radio repeats him in a Goa'uld voice)
Jaffa: Kal tak shree tal ma nak!!
Jacob: All right, we're almost finished, Sam's just finishing.
Jackson: Uh, that's good, cuz I don't think they bought my act.
Jacob: Why, who'd you say you were?
Jackson: The, uh... Great and Powerful Oz.
Jacob: (eye roll, sigh)

O'Neill: Jacob, is that you?
Jacob: Yes, it is, Jack. Now do what we tell you.
O'Neill: Do you know your ship's bigger than ours?


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Stargate Wiki has 11 images related to Tangent.
  • At the end of the episode, Teal'c and O'Neill are briefly exposed to vacuum without space suits. This will probably be survivable as long as they are re-compressed quickly, which (in the episode) they are. However, they are seen keeping their eyes open which would not be advisable in a vacuum. [1]
  • The missiles the X-301 has are equipped with shield frequency modulators which theoretically should enable the missiles to pass through Goa'uld shields. However, this is never brought up again in the series, meaning that it was merely an experiment and perhaps failed when put into actual use.
  • While it was a failed experiment, the X-301 featured in this episode was the first step towards Earth developing its stellar fleet; the X-301 concept later evolved into the entirely man-made X-302 hyperspace fighter, as well as the X-303 cruisers, most famously represented by the flagship Prometheus.
  • O'Neill refers to not wanting to freeze to death again, probably in reference to "Solitudes."
  • The planet where Jackson and Carter are headed to inform the Tok'ra (P2C-257) looks a lot like the planet from "Need" (Terella).
  • The plot of this episode is reminiscent of the Apollo 13 mission.
  • This episode suggests that Bra'tac's plan to attack Apophis' ship during the first attempt to invade Earth (SG1: "The Serpent's Lair") might have failed, as it would lead to the activation of this same failsafe in the death gliders. However, Jacob mentions in this episode, over two years later, that the devices are "new, even to the Tok'ra". Considering the efficiency of the Tok'ra spy network, it is likely they are newer than two years and thus had not in fact been in place at the time of The Serpent's Lair.


  • The initial pass of the X-301 Interceptor is announced as coming from the southwest, yet the camera looks along Runway 18 (South) to see it approaching.
    • Southwest is still technically South. The X-301 is also a fairly large craft, so just facing in the general direction should be enough to see it coming at the close range depicted.
    • Teal'c may have also banked to align with the runway for his pass; before that he might well have been approaching from the southwest.
  • According to Air Force regulations, Lt. General Maurice Vidrine's mustache would not be allowed. To be within regulation, it would have to end at the corner of his mouth.
  • Teal'c remarks that the X-301 will take several hundred years to reach Apophis' homeworld as it is traveling at sublight speeds. If the ship is indeed traveling at a slow (in interstellar terms) 1,000,000 mi/h the trip to even the nearest star (Proxima Centauri) would take about 2,700 years. Presumably Apophis' homeworld is far more distant. In fact, for any distance above a few dozen light years the ship would have to accelerate to velocities sufficient for relativistic time dilation to become a significant factor (say, over 0.5c, or ~335 million mph), thereby shortening the trip from the passengers' perspective to "several hundred years," from an Earth-frame perspective duration of possibly many millenia. Its coasting speed while passing Jupiter is obviously lower, since at 0.5c the ship would traverse the 140,000 km (87,000 mi) diameter of Jupiter in just under one second, leaving the planet far behind long before the missile-motor hijinks shown could be performed (not to mention that at that velocity, no amount of missiles the craft could possibly carry would generate any appreciable vector change).
    • Also, traveling at 1,000,000 mph, the trip to Jupiter itself would have taken the X-301 over two weeks at the two planets' closest approach (or some 3 weeks at mean distance, about a month at maximum distance). However, the craft only stopped accelerating once its drive shut down some time later than when its speed was reported to Control at 10^6 mph. Since the acceleration of the drive and the exact time for which the craft had been accelerating (assuming constant acceleration) and distance at the time from Earth to Jupiter are unknown (although the latter can be inferred from air date, the assumption that the episode takes place on or around that date, and an astronomical atlas), it is impossible to know for certain the craft's final speed. It may have been high enough for Teal'c's time estimate to be roughly correct, or the recall device may have resumed acceleration at a later time (e.g. once the craft had left the Solar System) for an unknown period of time before shutting down again. It is doubtful Teal'c would have known exact details about the device's operation though, since he had not known of its existence in the first place.
    • In actual physics, there is no limit on the speed anything can reach in deep space (i.e., in the absence of matter to mechanically drag against or gravity wells to deflect trajectories, both of which are present in atmospheric flight on Earth). By accelerating long enough, a craft could in principle reach a fraction of c (the speed of light) arbitrarily close to unity, and would then maintain it effectively indefinitely without any thrust. The major concerns at c-fractional speeds would be particle and radiation shielding, since the energy of cosmic dust and random EM radiation encountering a craft at close to lightspeed would be high enough to destroy the craft and/or cook the occupants. Also, current propulsion methods do not provide enough fuel energy-efficiency to reach such speeds, as the more fuel is carried, the more massive the craft, the more fuel it needs, and so on. Environment power such as solar power or an ion drive does not require fuel to be carried on board, but with current real-world technology can only reach very low accelerations.
  • General Vidrine addresses Teal'c as "son" in the manner senior officers might sometimes address their considerable juniors (especially enlisted personnel). However, the general may or may not be aware that Teal'c is both many decades older than him (around 100 years old), and that even though he has no official rank in the US Air Force, for a number of years prior to his defection he held a position in Apophis' forces (First Prime, second in command after Apophis himself) that effectively amounts to a five-star general, two grades Vidrine's senior.
    • From this point of view, Teal'c only peer in the US Armed Forces would probably be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (or the Secretary of Defense, as in Goa'uld forces there is no civilian supervision of the military, which is instead subordinate directly to the Goa'uld overlord), and even then Teal'c is much older and had been First Prime longer (since shortly before Rya'c was born, i.e. some 12 years) than Chairmen of Joint Chiefs normally serve.
    • On the other hand, Teal'c probably has no wish to claim any seniority based on his prior rank, as he is glad to be free of Apophis' service and deeply regrets many of his actions during that period.



First AppearanceEdit


Other LanguagesEdit

  • French: Perdus dans L’Espace (Lost in Space)
  • Italian: Perduti nello Spazio (Lost in Space)
  • Spanish: Tangentes (Tangents)
  • Czech: Zkušební Let (The Experimental Flight)
  • Hungarian: Röppálya (Trajectory)
  • German: Rettung im All (Rescue in Space)

External LinksEdit

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Tangent (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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