"Beneath the Surface" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of Stargate SG-1.


Major Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Colonel Jack O'Neill and Teal'c are somehow working as miners on the ice-age ridden planet of P3R-118, and are known as Thera, Karlan, Jonah and Tor respectively. Meanwhile, the SG teams are searching all over the ice covered planet for any signs of SG-1, who have gone missing.


An advanced alien city sits in the middle of a planetary ice age. The elements rage around it, but the city remains protected by a giant dome. Deep underground, the working class maintains the systems that power the great city — though they do not even know it exists.

Four of these workers are SG-1. Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson line up for the afternoon meal. Kegan, the young woman who dishes out their food, is not happy to see Carter. She refuses to give her bread, and a scuffle ensues. Daniel and Jack end up in a fight, but Teal'c grabs the colonel and tries to stop him. He tries to convince them that they are friends — that all four of them are part of something called "SG-1." Teal'c is dragged away shouting, "We do not belong here!"

The memories of SG-1 have been wiped out — or at least covered by false memories. They know of O'Neill as "Jonah," Carter as "Thera," and Jackson as "Karlan." Teal'c, they believe, is called "Tor."

While O'Neill and Carter seem to know each other well, Jackson is estranged to them. He spends his time with Kegan, his friend. Living conditions for the workers are rough, and their days are hard — but they believe it is an honor to serve, that they are helping their people survive an ice age.

On Earth, Major General George S. Hammond is in contact with Administrator Calder — one of the alien city's local leaders. SG-1 has been missing for many days. Calder explains that the group had gone out to explore the nearby glacier region, and never returned. Hammond sends an SG team, led by Major Michael Griff, to look for them.

Beneath the surface of the planet, Jackson begins to dream about the Stargate and about O'Neill — but cannot figure out what the shimmering circle of water is. Slowly, his memories start to resurface. He believes that Jonah and Thera — and even Tor — may have once been his friends, and that they are supposed to be doing something bigger, something more important. His friend Kegan tries to dissuade him, believing that Carter and O'Neill are only trying to win special treatment from Brenna, the workers' foreman.

But Jackson continues his search for the truth. He realizes that he cannot remember very far into his own past, and finds that strange. He speaks to Teal'c when he returns—but the Jaffa tells him he was night sick and does not know him.

In Administrator Calder's office, Brenna has brought some of Sam's ideas to share with her supervisor. Carter has many good ideas for improving efficiency at the plant, but Calder isn't interested; he worries that one day, she might make things so efficient that the system does not require workers at all. He is interested only in maintaining power—both literally and figuratively — and keeping the working class subjugated to the people above whom they serve. Sam's ideas are rejected.

Major Griff's team returns to Earth, reporting that no sign of SG-1 was found on the glacier. Beyond that, though, Griff expresses doubt that O'Neill would have ever let his team go out there, and that if Administrator Calder said that was the case, he must be lying.

Later, while moving to release the pressure from one of the machines, Teal'c passes out. The pressure rises dramatically, threatening to explode and take out the entire section. Daniel, Jack and Sam work together to save the facility. Daniel takes the opportunity to try and get to know the two better, and learns that Sam has had the same dream—a dream about the Stargate. They agree to meet after lights out.

Carter, Jackson and O'Neill continue to slowly remember more and more of their pasts. Sam recalls details about the SGC — names like "SG-1," "DHD," "GDO." Jack begins to remember his feelings for Carter, and the two grow closer. Personalities begin to resurface as they continue to dig deeper — expressions, like Jack's "for cryin' out loud," escape. Sam inadvertently refers to O'Neill as "sir."

In a dream, O'Neill remembers seeing the city and speaking with Calder. He confronted him about the slave labor underground, and refused to recommend trade with this world. Calder had SG-1 captured and stamped them with new personalities in order to keep the secret slave labor from being revealed.

Brenna is dissatisfied with Calder's treatment of the workers. Some days later, she reports back again: SG-1 has been seen meeting together late at night, and there is evidence that they are beginning to remember. The memory stamp ordered by Calder is not keeping its hold. In addition, Teal'c is now dying. He cannot remember to kelno'reem, the Jaffa meditation process that allows his symbiote to cure him of illness. Calder orders O'Neill, Carter and Jackson expelled to the surface, to die in the cold.

General Hammond has very few choices other than breaking off diplomatic relations with the planet. Instead, he orders Griff to draw up plans for a covert search and rescue operation. Fortunately, the mission is not needed. Brenna, herself a worker, decides to act against Calder rather than expelling SG-1 to die on the surface. She brings all four of them into her office and tells them that their suspicions about false memories are true. Brenna explains who they really are — but before she can help them to escape the facility, Calder arrives with two armed guards. He shoots Brenna in the shoulder for her disloyalty, and turns his weapon to SG-1.

Teal'c awakens suddenly and overpowers the guards, and O'Neill grabs Calder's weapon. Teal'c explains that he undid his bandages (covering his symbiote pouch) in the night. When he realized he was different from everyone else, he began to remember who he really was. He put himself into a deep state of kelno'reem through the night, and woke up healed.

Before they escape, O'Neill drags Calder in front of the workers and tells them the truth — that they are slaves to the city above. To prove it, Jack shoots out a skylight overhead. Instead of ice and snow burying the workers, they feel the warm rays of the sun.

Brenna tells SG-1 that their memories will return in time, especially once they are home. They will take her with them to receive treatment for her wound, and promise to relocate the workers to a tropical world they have recently found. Calder and his people will have to work for themselves for a change.


Appearances for Beneath the Surface





Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

Jackson: Big night-sick guy with the uh...
Carter: Tor.
Jackson: He said we were part of something called SG-1.
O'Neill: Yeah, what is that?
Carter: A team?
O'Neill: What kind of a name is that for a team?
Jackson: I don't know. Look, I just think I'm supposed to be doing something more important.
Carter: We're helping our people survive an ice age.
O'Neill: Yeah, what's more important than that?

Jackson: Look, I just have this feeling that all of us are part of this bigger, grander thing.
O'Neill: Well, I certainly understand what you're talking about.
Jackson: You do?
O'Neill: No.

Jackson: Do you also have the same dream?
O'Neill: About you?
Carter: No, about the shimmering circle of water.
O'Neill: No, my dreams are about... (looking at Carter) other things.

O'Neill: My memory's fine.
Jackson: Really?
O'Neill: Yeah!
Jackson: What did you do in the mines?
O'Neill: I mined!
Jackson: No, what did you do?
O'Neill: I remember shoveling ore into a cart.
Jackson: And?
O'Neill: I did that a lot.

Carter: We have to keep this to ourselves. If the others heard us talking they'd think we're night sick.
O'Neill: What if we are night sick?
Carter: I don't think so, sir.
Jackson: What?
Carter: What?
Jackson: You just called Jonah "sir."
Carter: Well it's an expression.  Isn't it?

O'Neill: I remember something. There's a man... he's bald and wears a short sleeved shirt... and somehow he's very important to me. I think his name is... Homer.
Carter: Doesn't ring a bell.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • According to the DVD commentaries, Thera and Jonah were supposed to kiss to confirm that they were in a relationship, but this was dropped because O'Neill had already kissed Carter earlier in the season in "Window of Opportunity".
  • The guns used by the administrator and his body guards are actually Nintendo "Zappers" with their barrels sawed off.
  • Teal'c's beard is removed sometime before the start of the episode, presumably to conceal his alien origin.
  • At one point O'Neill says that in another life he handled dangerous explosives, which is a reference to Richard Dean Anderson's previous role as MacGyver.
  • As mentioned above Teal'c's beard, which he started sporting at the start of the season, is removed. However all of SG-1 had something done to alter the appearance. O'Neill had a noticeable beard growing, Carter's hair was cut much shorter, and Jackson was without glasses throughout the episode.
  • When O'Neill (as Jonah) takes the bowl from another worker, he looks at the mound of food and says, "That means something." This is likely a reference to a scene in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind where Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfus) shapes a mound from his mashed potatoes.


Other languages[]

  • French: Sous la Glace (Beneath the Ice)
  • Italian: Sotto la Superficie (Beneath the Surface)
  • Spanish: Bajo la Superficie (Beneath the Surface)
  • Czech: Pod povrchem (Beneath the Surface)
  • Hungarian: A felszín alatt (Beneath the Surface)
  • German: Der Planet der Eiszeit (Planet of the Ice Age)

Links and navigation[]

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Beneath the Surface (Stargate SG-1). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with SGCommand, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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