There But for the Grace of God

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There But for the Grace of God
There But For the Grace of God
Daniel Jackson unknowingly entering an alternate reality.

Stargate SG-1



Production #


Original air date

February 20, 1998

Story by

David Kemper

Written by

Robert C. Cooper

Directed by

David Warry-Smith

Guest stars

Elizabeth Hoffman as Catherine Langford
Gary Jones as MSgt. Walter Harriman
Stuart O'Connell as Marine
Michael Kopsa as News Anchor
Laara Sadiq as SSgt. Laura Davis
Shawn Stewart as Jaffa

Preceded by

"Tin Man"

Followed by


SG1 season 1
SG-1 Season 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
Stargate Season 2

"There But for the Grace of God" is the twentieth episode of the first season of Stargate SG-1.


Dr. Daniel Jackson touches a device known as a Quantum Mirror. At first he thinks nothing has happened, only to learn that he is no longer on his own Earth. He soon discovers that he is in an Alternate reality where Samantha Carter is a civilian scientist and Jack O'Neill is a Brigadier General. He must find a way back to his reality, but this proves difficult, as in that Universe the Goa'uld are invading Earth and Teal'c is again Apophis' First Prime.


SG-1 is exploring an alien complex on the planet P3R-233. Dr. Daniel Jackson stumbles onto an alien artifact resembling a mirror. He touches the artifact and unknowingly enters an alternate reality. Finding the complex suddenly abandoned, Daniel concludes that the rest of SG-1 returned through the Stargate without him, and dials home.

Upon his return to Earth, Daniel discovers that Stargate Command has suddenly become quite different, not least of which is the fact that nobody knows who he is. He is arrested by Colonel George S. Hammond and is held captive. Catherine Langford, in charge of the gate program, confronts him and demands to know how he acquired SG-1's code to open the iris. Daniel, still believing that he is in his own reality, insists that he is a member of SG-1.


Dr. Sam Carter.

Through his encounter with Catherine, Daniel quickly discovers several differences in this reality, including the fact that he turned down the offer to work on the Stargate program and that Samantha Carter is a civilian astrophysicist assisting the Stargate Association instead of a Captain in the United States Air Force.


Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, the commander of the SGA.

When Daniel tells Catherine that she was retired and living with Ernest Littlefield she is shocked and confronts Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, who is now commanding officer of the SGA. Daniel uses his probing knowledge of O'Neill, such as his knowledge that O'Neill was contemplating suicide after the death of his son, to get his attention. When Dr. Carter enters, she explains that they "lost" Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Asking what they mean by "lost", Dr. Jackson learns that Earth is under attack by the Goa'uld, One and a half billion people are dead, and most of the world's major population centers have been destroyed; including the Egyptian city that was the last known residence of Daniel's counterpart.

Dr. Carter soon concludes that Daniel is from an alternate reality, triggered by the "Quantum Mirror". Analyzing a transmission received from the planet he returned from, Daniel, Carter and Catherine realize that the transmission is actually a Stargate address, apparently for the source of the current attack on Earth. O'Neill wants to send a bomb through the 'gate, but Daniel points out that, while this won't stop the problem here, his Earth still has a chance. Despite the fact that he will be the only person they can save, as they lack the time to dial the gate more than once, the alternate SG-1 agree to help Daniel.


Teal'c as the First Prime of Apophis.

However, Apophis' Jaffa, led by Teal'c, who in this reality never met SG-1, invade the SGA in retaliation for the destruction of Chulak, making it even more difficult; they have around twenty minutes before the Stargate can be dialed again, and it may be impossible to hold the Jaffa back for that long. Fortunately, Daniel offers O'Neill a video recording of his mission back in his reality, suggesting he show it to Teal'c to buy them time.

Before O'Neill confronts Teal'c, Carter fondly embraces him. Catherine explains to a confused Daniel, "I take it they're not engaged in your reality."

One by one, the alternate members of SG-1 die as they try to buy Daniel time to escape; O'Neill dies first, shot by Teal'c in revenge for O'Neill sending the bomb through the Stargate to Chulak in an attack that ultimately killed Teal'c's wife and son.


Alternate Hammond lies on the ground, dead, having been killed by a blast from a staff weapon.

Hammond and MSgt. Walter Harriman are the next to be killed, dying by the Jaffa Serpent Guards entering the lower levels of the Base.


Dr. Carter seconds before the grenade explodes, killing her and the Jaffa Serpent Guards.

In the Briefing Room, Carter announces that she's surrendered before triggering a grenade that kills her and several Jaffa while Catherine is shot after programming the Stargate for Daniel.

The SGA is destroyed to prevent it from falling into Apophis's hands just after Daniel manages to escape through the Stargate, although he is shot by the alternate Teal'c just as he dives through. Daniel barely escapes back to the planet with the mirror, armed with the gate address of the world that is the staging point for the invasion, and with the hope that what he saw in the alternate reality does not come to pass for his Earth.


Abydos; Air Force One; Albert Einstein; Alternate reality; Ancient Egyptian; Beta Site; C-4; Camcorder; Cheyenne Mountain; Chulak; Colorado Springs; Egypt; Fragmentation grenade; First Prime; Giza; Goa'uld; Handcuffs; Iris; Jaffa; Korush'nai; Ernest Littlefield; London; MRI; Naquadah; New York City; Nuclear warhead; Charlie O'Neill; P3R-233; Paris; Peterson Air Force Base; Philadelphia; President of the United States; Quantum Mirror; Quantum Mirror control; Radar; Rya'c; Skirmish on Alternate Earth; Staff weapon; Suicide; Theory of Relativity; Washington D.C.

Notable QuotesEdit

Jackson: Well, it sounds like I theoretically, possibly, actually found one!
Catherine: One what?
Jackson: One of those things Sam was talking about, an alternate reality!

Carter: What makes you think the Goa'uld are even going to attack your Earth?
Jackson: Oh, I'd say we've pissed them off at least as much as you have.

Carter: I surrender! I have information that can help Apophis! There is technology he will want to know about! This is a remote control to an interdimensional portal. I can tell Apophis how to find it!
Jaffa: Hashak Kreyak!
Carter: (pulling out a grenade) Thank you. Oh yeah. I also wish to blow us all to hell.

(SG-1 finds Jackson on the ground with a staff weapon wound)
O'Neill: Daniel! What the hell is this?
Teal'c: It appears to be caused by a staff weapon.
(O'Neill pulls out the yellow piece of paper with the Goa'uld coordinates out of Jackson's hand.)
Carter: This looks like a Stargate address.
O'Neill: Alright, let's get him back to Earth.
(Jackson suddenly awakens.)
Jackson: No! Jack! We're all in very big trouble! They're coming!


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Stargate Wiki has 21 images related to There But for the Grace of God.
  • The title refers to the quotation "There but for the grace of God go I", by English preacher John Bradford referring to the distinct possibility that, if only a bare few occurrences had been different, one's own reality could have walked the same path as any other one.
  • The dividing point seems to be that, when approached by Catherine Langford to join the original Stargate Program, Dr. Daniel Jackson declined, to the extent that he was apparently "quite rude" to Catherine. However, other details such as Dr. Samantha Carter having never joined the United States Air Force and Jack O'Neill and George S. Hammond having the opposite ranks suggest that there were earlier divergences from the reality we know. Since Jackson was the one who dissuaded O'Neill from detonating the nuclear warhead on Abydos, that planet was never fully explored and many of their continued adventures did not occur. This also explains the difference in O'Neill's personality as the original trip through the Stargate to Abydos had a recuperative effect on O'Neill and greatly softened him from being a cold military man to the O'Neill we see in the SG-1 series. Also, as Jackson never met Sha're, then there would be no reason to go to Chulak to attempt to rescue her (if she was ever taken in this reality). As a result, the team never met Teal'c, hence him lacking from SG-1.
  • The customary 38 minute window that a Stargate can remain open without extraordinary measures is first established here, as is the fact that Earth's dialing computer dials notably slower than a Dial Home Device.
  • The events of this episode resonate contiguously through "The Serpent's Lair", and information gained within this episode is the first indication of an imminent Goa'uld attack.
  • It has been approximately two years since the events of Stargate and one year since the events of "Children of the Gods".
  • This episode takes place one day before "Politics".
  • It should be noted that O'Neill in the alternate reality has a scar on his left eyebrow which is similar to the injury his main timeline self would receive in the Season 3 episode, "Demons" with the injury later leaving O'Neill and the actor, Richard Dean Anderson with a permanent scar above his left eyebrow.
  • The Quantum Mirror is later seen in "Point of View", when visitors from an alternate reality similar to the one shown here contact the SGC for help in escaping the Goa'uld invasion, and mentioned and dismissed as a possibility for the unusual circumstances in "The Fifth Man". It is also dismissed as a way to send the alternate SG-1s home in "Ripple Effect", as Hammond has had it destroyed.
  • This is the only episode of Stargate SG-1 written by David Kemper. He would go on to be a major contributor to Farscape.
  • This is the first of twelve episodes of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis directed by David Warry-Smith.


  • Dr. Daniel Jackson puts his Camcorder on the table in the "lab" so he can take off his back pack. He then starts stuffing artifacts into his backpack. Before he picks up the second artifact, we can see the recorder on the table, along with another artifact. The camera pans up to Jackson stuffing his backpack, then back to the table where the artifact and the recorder are gone.
  • Catherine Langford shows Jackson a world map on which cities destroyed by the Goa'uld are marked by red dots. In a close-up of the map there are red dots in northern and central Europe. In other shots these dots are not present.
  • This map is not accurate, because in central Europe part of map is still Czechoslovakia, which was divided in 1993. However, it is possible that Czechoslovakia still exists in this alternate reality.
  • While dialing the gate on the alternate Earth to send a nuke to Chulak, MSgt. Walter Harriman announces "Chevron Three encoded!", but his lips are clearly not moving. While dialing the gate in an attempt to reach the Beta Site, Harriman announces "Chevron Five encoded!", but 13 seconds later, a close-up of the dialing computer shows Chevron Five being encoded.
  • The alternate SGA acts like they can only dial out to one place. While true, they could flee to P3R-233 and from the safety of there dial out to multiple places.
  • Within the alternate Earth, the second chevron locked when they dial the planet on which the Quantum Mirror is located is the Earth symbol.
  • The Earth symbol is seen on the Stargate on P3R-233.

In other languagesEdit

  • French : Une Dimension Trop Réelle (An all too real dimension)
  • German: Die Invasion, Teil 1 (Invasion, Part 1)
  • Italian: Universi Paralleli (Parallel Universes)
  • Spanish: Mundos Paralelos (Parallel Worlds)
  • Czech: Paralelní svět (Parallel World)
  • Hungarian: Isteni kegyelem (God's Grace)

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