"Chain Reaction" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Stargate SG-1.


Major General George S. Hammond is apparently forced to retire, and replaced by a Major General Henry Bauer. There is nothing SG-1 could do about it, since they will fight someone high up in government. However, Colonel Jack O'Neill enlists the help of Harold Maybourne to stop the NID, and Senator Robert Kinsey to return Hammond to his office.


On an alien planet, SG-1 is ambushed by the Goa'uld. Major Samantha Carter manages to dial out and transmit the SG-1 IDC back to Stargate Command. On the other end, the SGC receives their radio call and Colonel Jack O'Neill's explanation of the situation. Major General George S. Hammond, in violation of procedure, orders the Iris to be opened. Goa'uld energy blasts start coming through the Stargate, hitting the insides of the gate room. SG-1 makes it through just in time before General Hammond closes the iris.

In the debrief afterwards, O'Neill thanks Hammond for opening the iris. Hammond gravely responds that had he followed procedure, they would all be dead. He then announces to the SG-1 team that he has decided to retire. O'Neill doesn't believe him and later tries to talk him out of it as Hammond is leaving his office. Afterwards, he exchanges personal words of farewell with each of the SG-1 members, including Teal'c: "On Chulak, when a great warrior retires from the field of battle, it is customary to sing a song of lament. --- Fortunately, we are not on Chulak."

The SGC is put under the command of Major General Henry Bauer, who quickly turns the SGC on its head. He divides up SG-1, putting Teal'c in SG-3, the marine combat team, Dr. Daniel Jackson behind a desk, and Carter to oversee the development of a new Naquadah-enhanced bomb. O'Neill, after complaining, is asked to take a vacation and rethink his insubordination.

O'Neill, predictably, goes to see Hammond, who insists it will just take time to get used to the new CO. But after much coaxing from O'Neill, Hammond reveals that he was forced to retire by the NID, who threatened him by picking up his granddaughters for a ride and then return them unharmed from school one day.

Meanwhile, at the SGC, Teal'c and SG-3 go to a Goa'uld-held world on P3S-452 to gather more refined naquadah for the "Doomsday device" that Carter is now working on. They return with Lt. Morrison wounded, and Major Wade dead, but a sufficient amount of naquadah. Bauer doesn't care about the casualties, and is content that the naquadah was retrieved.

O'Neill then goes to see ex-Colonel Harold Maybourne, behind bars where O'Neill had put him in "Watergate". He gets him out of jail, and Maybourne takes O'Neill to his apartment, currently purchased off the books, where they would hopefully be able to procure information from Maybourne's computer to blackmail the NID with. But Maybourne's access codes have been removed, and several minutes later, a black-ops team with mini-uzis and MP5K submachine guns bursts in. O'Neill and Maybourne barely manage to escape through a hidden door.

Carter finds out that the test planet for the naquadah bomb has life on it, and protests, to no avail. The bomb is sent by MALP to the planet, with a secondary observation MALP following. Daniel bursts into the gate room, warning Bauer that the planet contains naquadah in the soil, which will amplify the effects of the explosion. Carter realizes that this is why the planet was chosen in the first place; many Goa'uld strongholds are laced with naquadah, and utilizing this fact may be to their advantage. However, in this case it may create an explosion that would consume the whole planet. Bauer insists that if this happens, the Stargate will be destroyed and Earth will feel no effects from the bomb.

O'Neill and Maybourne now have to blackmail someone high in the NID in order to get what they want. They go to Senator Robert Kinsey's house, the politician who almost had the SGC shut down. Getting him to lead them up to his office, O'Neill holds him at gunpoint while Maybourne accesses his computer.

At the SGC, the bomb is set off. Exactly as Carter expected, the bomb starts a chain reaction, and the explosion destroys the observation MALP. The planet is destroyed, but the Stargate is not: the energy from the explosion provides it power, keeping the wormhole active, and transmitting deadly radiation through the Stargate back to the SGC. Carter orders the iris closed, but it will not hold forever. Carter urges the now in-over-his-head Bauer to order the evacuation of the base.

At a security station on Level 16, Teal'c, Daniel, Carter, and Bauer monitor the gate room. Carter explains there's still a chance that the wormhole will collapse after the theoretical 38-minute limit. Otherwise, the radiation will melt through the iris, and even if they were to engage the self-destruct, the Stargate would most likely survive, and with the planet on the other side turned into a ball of plasma able to power the gate for months, even its burial under a mountain wouldn't stop the radiation.

In Senator Kinsey's house, Maybourne has succeeded in accessing the NID sites. Over threats and curses from Kinsey, O'Neill figures out that the password must be "Oscar", the name of Kinsey's dog. They get information that link Kinsey to numerous illegal NID actions, including Maybourne's Area 51 operation, the Russian operation from "Watergate", and the blackmailing of Hammond. O'Neill delivers his offer: re-instate Hammond, or he'll give the information to the press. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kinsey has meanwhile called the NID, who have just rolled up to the front door. While they don't dare come in with Kinsey's party guests downstairs, O'Neill and Maybourne have no way out.

There is a tense minute at the SGC when the 38-minute window comes and goes. Bauer declares for there to be no point in remaining, and starts to head towards the surface. The team follows him, but Teal'c turns and stays one more minute. At 38 minutes and 34.12 seconds, the gate deactivates.

When Senator Kinsey exits the house with O'Neill and Maybourne accompanying, NID personnel are prevented from moving to apprehend the pair by the press, whom O'Neill called to create a diversion. The press pester Kinsey about his presidential ambitions, and Kinsey launches into his usual politicking while O'Neill and Maybourne get away.

Later, back at the SGC, Hammond has been re-instated. He thanks O'Neill for what he's done and asks how he can ever repay him. Suddenly, there's a phone call for O'Neill from Maybourne; Maybourne emailed himself a copy of the incriminating evidence, and used it to get himself transferred to a prison with reduced security, from which he escaped. He is currently on a tropical island. O'Neill hangs up the phone and tells Hammond that one day, he would like the General to "buy back my soul".

Meanwhile, on the unnamed tropical island, Maybourne is busy having a good time and is even seen dancing with an unknown woman.


Appearances for Chain Reaction





Sentient Species





Notable quotes[]

Teal'c: (to Hammond) On Chulak, when a great warrior retires from the field of battle, it is customary to sing a song of lament. (slight pause) Fortunately, we are not on Chulak.

O'Neill: General Hammond kept us together for a reason. The fact is, if it wasn't for SG-1, right now you'd be sittin' with a snake in your head, instead of your head up your a...
Bauer: Colonel!

(Entering Maybourne's empty apartment)
O'Neill: Have ya heard of IKEA?

O'Neill: (to Maybourne) I see you're on that famous beer and mustard diet. How's that workin' out for ya?"

(At Senator Kinsey's house)
O'Neill: Afternoon, Ma'am. I'm Mr. Starsky and this is... Hutch. (Referring to Maybourne)

Kinsey: And aren't you supposed to be in a federal prison, Colonel?
Maybourne: Colonel O'Neill graciously asked the president to help me dig up some information about my former associates.
Kinsey: (scoff) And you trust this man?
O'Neill: (he and Maybourne look at each other) No.

O'Neill: I'm not leaving until I get what I came for.
Kinsey: Oh. And what are you going to do?
O'Neill: Well, I was thinking about shootin' you. (pulls a gun and points it at Kinsey)
Maybourne: Jack... what are you doing?
O'Neill: Getting a little dirty for you, Maybourne?

Kinsey: Colonel, have you completely taken leave of your senses?
O'Neill: I'm hangin' around Maybourne. What does that say?
Kinsey: How dare you come into my house, waving a gun?
O'Neill: Not waving, pointing. Sit down.

Kinsey: Oh Please! Given the chance, half of all American citizen won't even vote. And the half that do vote are too stupid to know what they're doing.
O'Neill: Which explains how you got elected.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • According to the DVD commentaries, there are many references to the movie The Silence of the Lambs. As Lecter does with Clarice in the movie, Colonel Harold Maybourne refers to quid pro quo, should Colonel Jack O'Neill really want to get help from him. Another reference is the final telephone conversation between O'Neill and Maybourne, the latter calling from an exotic place, just as Lecter called Clarice Starling at the end of The Silence of the Lambs.
  • The original ending to this episode saw Maybourne walking free and O'Neill looking the other way. The producers decided not to go forward with this idea as it would be too out of character for O'Neill.
  • Towards the end of the episode both O'Neill and Hammond are wearing radiation dosimeters to measure their potential exposure.

Other languages[]

  • German: Kettenreaktion (Chain Reaction)
  • Czech: Řetězová reakce (Chain Reaction)
  • Slovak: Reťazová reakcia (Chain Reaction)
  • Russian:Цепная реакция (Cepnája reákcija) (Chain Reaction)
  • French: Réactions en chaîne (Chain Reactions)
  • Italian: Reazione a catena (Chain Reaction)
  • Spanish: Reacción en cadena (Chain Reaction)
  • Hungarian: Láncreakció (Chain Reaction)

Links and navigation[]

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Chain Reaction (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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