|Original air date|
|SG-1 Season 2|
|Season 1||Season 3|
While attempting to study the Touchstone on Madrona, SG-1 discover it is missing. The Madronans blame the Tau'ri since people in SG uniform took it earlier. Soon after noticing strange weather on Earth, SG-1 comes to the conclusion that the NID is launching secret offworld missions by using Earth's second Stargate from Antarctica stored in Area 51. SG-1 launch a mission to find the Touchworld before Madrona is destroyed.
SG-1 returns to the planet Madrona, where they intended to study (using some of Carter's 'doohickeys') a device called a Touchstone, which controls the planet's weather. However, on returning to the planet, SG-1 is accused by the Madronans of stealing the Touchstone, who claim that men dressed in Stargate Command uniforms stole the device. Without the Touchstone, Medrona's weather is spinning violently out of control.
After checking the base computer's mainframe, Captain Samantha Carter does some research and discovers that the Earth's second Stargate is being used -- but not by Stargate Command. She also explains that the second Stargate was activated at the precise moment the SGC's gate is used to prevent detection.
After unsuccessful attempts to contact the President of the United States, Hammond begins to believe someone is controlling the President's schedule. Daniel also has suspicions -- after noticing unusual weather on Earth, he realizes the cause must be the Touchstone. Carter has also learned more about the situation. She confirms the location of the second Stargate -- Nevada. Hammond then reveals that Colonel Harold Maybourne has been transferred to Area 51 in Nevada.
SG-1 then leaves for Area 51 to confront Maybourne. While there, the team learns that the second gate, supposedly under 24-hour guard, has been replaced with a replica. In an attempt to track the second gate, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Colonel Jack O'Neill return to Madrona to overpower the gate and send a MALP through. With the MALP, Stargate Command finds that the second gate is somewhere in southern Utah. Calling in a favor from Bernie Whitlow, Hammond learns that a C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft has just been requested to pick something up from a particular airfield in southern Utah. The C-5 is among the only aircraft large enough to move a Stargate.
The team is sent to the airfield, where they find the second gate. They recover the Touchstone, but four men jump through the gate before the team can learn their destination. SG-1 returns the Touchstone to Madrona, where the people faced a deadly winter storm. Thanks to the return of the device, weather is restored.
The second Stargate is again moved, this time under the guard of the SGC, where a permanent iris is installed on the gate to ensure it is never used again and will be constantly watched by soldiers under Hammond's command.
|Appearances for Touchstone|
(While explaining the Touchstone)
Carter: The high priest turns a series of calibrated rings, which seem to determine the meteorological conditions over the entire planet's surface.
Hammond: Do we have any idea on what makes it tick?
O'Neill: That's why we'd like to go back, sir. Carter wants to get a closer look with some of her specialized... doohickeys.
O'Neill: I believe that's the technical term, sir.
O'Neill: Hold it! All right. We came here in peace and we expect to go in one... piece.
La Moor: We are a simple people, Colonel. We have no means to protect ourselves from this disaster. If my uncle decides to trust you this day, our entire future will depend on this decision.
O'Neill: Okay, that's a little pressure. But we can handle that.
O'Neill: General, would you mind if I have Carter recheck the dialing computer? Just to see if there are any signs of anyone sneaking through the gate covertly. Behind your back, as it were, sir.
Hammond: Nothing happens regarding that Stargate without my knowing about it. If a person sneezes near it, I get a report.
O'Neill: I understand. (he turns to leave)
Hammond: Colonel. Have Carter check it anyway.
O'Neill: (walking into the room) Anything yet?
Carter: Not on the Touchstone, sir.
Jackson: Possibly its effects. Have you been watching The Weather Channel?
O'Neill: I'm more of a C-SPAN guy.
Hammond: (speaking on the red phone ) No, I need to talk to him now. Son, do you know what color this phone is? (resigned) Yes, I’ll hold.
O'Neill: Is this where you're keeping the little green men?
Reynolds: There are no alien life forms at Area 51.
O'Neill: Present company excluded of course.
Maybourne: Colonel O'Neill.
O'Neill: Hello, Maybourne.
Maybourne: Major, if you'll excuse us.
(Major Reynolds leaves.)
Maybourne: Teal'c, it's good to see you well.
Teal'c: In my culture, I would be well within my rights to dismember you.
Maybourne: (visibly afraid) Well... that's interesting.
Hammond: Here we are, transporting our people across the galaxy to find something we lost in our own backyard. Incredible.
- The current Area 51 research projects include a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease discovered by SG-5; Dr. Daniel Jackson's notes on Heliopolis -- "meaning of life stuff" ("The Torment of Tantalus"); and two Goa'uld Death Gliders stolen from Apophis when SG-1 destroyed his Ha'taks in Earth's orbit ("The Serpent's Lair"). The two Death Gliders would be used to create the X-301 Interceptor. There are no alien lifeforms at Area 51, according to the Major Albert Reynolds.
- The NID operation to steal alien technology is revisited in numerous following episodes, culminating in "Shades of Grey".
- This episode sees the first appearance of the rogue NID group that goes on to become The Committee and later The Trust.
- It is hinted in the book Stargate SG-1: Friends and Foes: Stargate Season Two that the unknown aliens who terraformed the planet were the mysterious Furlings and that the Touchstone is one of their technology.
- Michael Shanks and Vaitiare Bandera's daughter, Tatiana Shanks, was born during the filming of this episode.
- Being the second gate from Antarctica, the NID's Stargate has a working Dial Home Device; No mention is made of it being salvaged, despite its obvious advantages presented to the SGC.
- This is the only episode of Stargate SG-1 written by Sam Egan. He previously worked with Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner on The Outer Limits. He was also the writer of 8 episodes of Sanctuary starring Amanda Tapping.
- Before going to Utah to retrieve the second Stargate, Major General George S. Hammond tells SG-1 not to fire under any circumstances. However, he doesn't mention using the Zat'nik'tels to stun, even though SG-1 ultimately end up carrying them. Had they used the Zats and stunned at least the first three NID agents they found, they wouldn't have been able to escape.
- Teal'c says in this episode that SG-2 was on a mission "galaxies away" from Madrona. Later episodes establish that, with few exceptions, all the planets visited in Stargate SG-1 are located in the Milky Way and Teal'c doesn't seem to be one to use hyperbole.
- When the second gate is activated, the unstable vortex creates a hole the same size as the opening in the ring. This shouldn't happen as the vortex has a smaller diameter and so a smaller hole. If the larger hole happened normally then there would be a trough in front of each gate where the ring is buried.
- The ring is only visible because of the angle of the shots and the fact that the lid of the crate is above the gate, in many shots only part of the ring is visible which would not be the case if the hole was the same size as the gate.
- When Major General George S. Hammond is first trying to get a hold of the President, he signals to Colonel Jack O'Neill to sit, then speaks to the "boy" on the phone whilst covering it with his left hand. In the next shot, he is no longer covering the mouthpiece.
- There is no apparent reason why the MALP has to be sent to the second gate from Madrona. The overloading operation could presumably have occurred from any gate not on Earth, such as one not experiencing a devastating blizzard.
- French : La Clé de Voûte (The Touchstone)
- German: Das zweite Tor (The Second Gate)
- Italian: Pietra di Paragone (The Touchstone)
- Spanish: La Piedra de Toque (The Touchstone)
- Czech: Svatý kámen (Holy Stone)
- Hungarian: Próbakő (Touchstone)
- Russian: Пробный камень (Touchstone)