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Recap / Stargate SG 1 S 5 E 17 Failsafe

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"In eleven days and sixteen hours, all life on Earth will be wiped out."
— Maj. Samantha Carter

The team attempts to intercept an asteroid on a collision course for Earth, only to discover that it was a deliberate plot by the Goa'uld.


"Failsafe" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Captain Obvious: When O'Neill enters the deactivation code for the bomb and the countdown keeps ticking:
    Teal'c: The bomb has yet to be deactivated.
    O'Neill: I can see that, Teal'c.
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  • Coming in Hot: The team are unable to slow their descent as they approach the asteroid, and only barely manage to avoid crashing into the surface due to the ship falling into a deep cravasse.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • It's mentioned that the Tok'ra are still on the run after their base was attacked by the Goa'uld in "Last Stand". Later, the team go to retrieve the cargo ship that Jacob and Daniel crashed on Revanna in the same episode.
    • O'Neill uses the hall of wisdom on K'Tau to speak with the Asgard.
    • O'Neill points out that the Goa'uld have already violated the Protected Planets Treaty by trying to get the Tollan to send a bomb to Earth.
    • The engineers who fix up the cargo ship are revealed to be the same ones responsible for retrofitting the Death Glider in "Tangent".
  • Continuous Decompression: Happens when the hull of the ship is breached due to meteors hitting it as the asteroid passes through the Leonids, causing it to vent atmosphere.
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  • Escape Pod: Carter and Daniel are able to survive the above-mentioned decompression by sealing themselves inside the ship's escape pods.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Hammond declines to join the last team evacuating to the alpha site before the asteroid hits, as he "hasn't been relieved of his command".
  • Hard-Work Montage: Lampshaded/parodied, with scenes of Carter and the engineers hard at work fixing up the cargo ship interspersed with shots of O'Neill and Daniel looking increasingly bored and even falling asleep in Daniel's case.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The staff of the SGC, along with other "important" people, are sent through the gate to the alpha site in preparation for the asteroid to hit.
  • I Can See My House from Here: Inverted; O'Neill delivers a variation on this line to make a point about how low the asteroid is getting.
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  • Loophole Abuse: The Goa'uld attempt to destroy Earth by means of an asteroid strike, dressing it up as a natural disaster to prevent the Asgard from intervening.
  • Made of Explodium: The asteroid is composed almost entirely of naquadah, meaning that the team's original plan to destroy it via nuke will result in a massive explosion that will set the Earth's atmosphere on fire and destroy it anyway.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The team — especially O'Neill — give the engineers tasked with fixing the cargo ship a pretty hard time once it emerges that they were the ones responsible for the glider that sent O'Neill and Teal'c into deep space.
    O'Neill: The X-301? That was you guys?
    Engineer: You have to admit, it performed beautifully right up until the moment where you and Teal'c were sent into... deep space.
    O'Neill: Yeah.
    Daniel: Nice work.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted; the first thing that one of the engineers does after getting to the ship is ask where the facilities are, to the incredulous looks of the team.
  • Nuke 'em: The initial plan is to destroy the asteroid with a naquadah-enhanced warhead before it can reach Earth, until it emerges that the asteroid itself is made of naquadah and this would only make things worse.
  • Precision Crash: Averted, as Carter estimates that the asteroid will hit "somewhere in the Arctic Circle".
  • Running Gag: The following exchange is repeated at several points throughout the episode, regarding their increasingly slim chances:
    Daniel: I'm confident.
    O'Neill or Carter: Me too.
    Teal'c: As am I.
  • Take a Third Option: The team appears to be faced with either allowing the asteroid to hit or detonating the bomb and destroying Earth anyway, until Daniel and Carter come up with a suitably crazy plan to tow the asteroid through Earth by expanding the ship's hyperspace window.
    O'Neill: Yep, Plan Three. Works every time.
  • That's an Order!: An unusually heartwarming example with Hammond ordering Sgt. Harriman to evacuate to the alpha site.
  • Time Skip: The episode skips ten days between the ship leaving Revanna and arriving at the asteroid.
  • Wire Dilemma: O'Neill has to defuse the bomb manually after the keypad is destroyed by a meteor; Carter tells him to cut the red wire, but it turns out they're all yellow and he's forced to cut them randomly one-by-one instead.
    O'Neill: You know, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that this is a very poorly-designed bomb and I think we should say something to somebody when we get back.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Armageddon. This is duly lampshaded.
    O'Neill: I've seen this movie. It hits Paris.
  • Xanatos Gambit: If the people of Earth do nothing, the asteroid hits it and destroys all life on it. If they bomb it, the naquadah core will amplify that explosion ensuring Earth is still destroyed. The one thing Anubis didn't think of is that SG-1 would hyperspace the asteroid through Earth, because who the hell could anticipate that?
  • You Are in Command Now: Discussed; Hammond tells O'Neill that if the mission is unsuccessful, the team is to go to the alpha site where O'Neill should take command.
  • Your Mom: After O'Neill goes to ask the Asgard for help and they refuse:
    O'Neill: And after that, I kind of... lost my temper.
    Hammond: What exactly does that mean?
    Daniel: Let's just say that Jack made a reference to Freyr's mother.
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