Here’s a nice surprise. I’m quick to dismiss a lot of what we’re watching in this phase of SG-1 – and the ones we’re skipping really left me cold – but “Message in a Bottle” has a couple of very nice moments, including Teal’c telling a joke for the very first time. It’s got a mawkish subplot with some cheesy sad piano at one point, but the main story is a mystery that kept our son’s attention.
Our heroes bring back a small orb from a dead planet because it’s got some kind of battery inside that’s kept it ticking for about a hundred thousand years. But after a day or so on Earth, the orb starts waking, giving off heat and radiation, so they try throwing it back where they found it. The orb doesn’t want to go; it sends out attachments that latch into the concrete, and impales Jack, bloodlessly, against a wall. Worse, there’s some kind of virus that’s spreading.
The story’s built around our heroes trying to translate the microscopic inscriptions on the orb and finding a way to fight the virus or break the harder-than-steel pole holding Jack against the wall. It kept our kid guessing and completely riveted, at least when he wasn’t squirming because he’d somehow shifted a sofa cushion so far that he’d left a “sinkhole” behind. He didn’t much like Jack being helpless for the whole story, but full credit to Richard Dean Anderson. Before the base personnel got Jack something to sit on, the actor had to be strapped in some kind of harness to the wall for a couple of long shots and I’m sure that couldn’t have been very comfortable for him at all!