Stargate SG-1 2.15 – A Matter of Time

One of the odd things about isolating during this virus is that we’re watching so much stuff on the weekends, because we’ve nowhere else to go, that it seems like a long time since I wrote about Stargate. It’s only been five days. But relativity, as this episode reminds us, is a strange, headache-inducing thing. We all enjoyed this episode because, even for a (mostly) in-the-base cheap one, it’s incredibly imaginative and plays with big, fun physics concepts. The Stargate’s wormhole lands on a planet that’s being torn apart by the gravity of a black hole. The resulting bubble of time dilation causes the wormhole to become locked, with the effects of relative time spreading.

I first saw the concept of gravity screwing with the perception of time in Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s Ballad of Halo Jones in 2000 AD, and I think the writers might have as well. There’s an identical moment in each story as people realize that what appears to be a still photo from the other side of the equation is actually a live image of people that are moving but appear to be frozen. As the dilation spreads from the gate room to the mountain’s entrance, a trip that feels like twenty minutes to the man who makes it actually takes twenty-two hours. It’s very wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and very fun, easily one of the highlights of the show’s first two years.

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