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"Proving Ground" is the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Stargate SG-1.


SG-1 is training a group of recruits to test their limits when joining an SG team. Training doesn't go very well, so Colonel Jack O'Neill plans to motivate them.


SG-1 is busy training a group of four young Stargate Command recruits (Lt. Kevin Elliot, Lt. Jennifer Hailey, Lt. Carl Grogan, and Lt. Satterfield) for the rigors of off-world missions using several life-like scenarios.

The episode opens with O'Neill and Teal'c leading the four recruits to an abandoned warehouse, where they hope to find Major Carter and Dr. Jackson -- whom Jack says were taken by the Goa'uld.

O'Neill and Teal'c go inside, and the young soldiers -- commanded by Lieutenant Elliot -- rush in a few moments later when they hear gunfire despite Elliot hesitating over the situation.

The recruits find O'Neill and Teal'c unconscious on the floor, and Sam and Daniel pointing weapons at each other with each claiming the other is a Goa'uld despite Sam insisting that she's a Tokra.

Lt. Grogan subdues Carter which in turn draws Elliott's anger and the group begin bickering amongst themselves about Grogan shooting her but there's a nasty surprise in store as Daniel reveals that Sam was telling the truth all along: she's a Tokra and he's actually a Goa'uld.

Without waiting for a response, he uses his gun to shoot the four recruits who are stunned by the revelation.

Seconds later, the training exercise ends, and as everyone recovers, Colonel O'Neill chastises Elliot and his team for failing.

Later in the SGC mess hall, Carter talks to O'Neill about Lieutenant Elliot. Jack recognizes that Lieutenant Hailey ("Prodigy") is brilliant, but thinks that the rest of the team doesn't hold great promise for the future of the SGC. Elliot is a fine Air Force Academy graduate, but being in the SGC takes an extra something. Jack believes that Elliot thinks too much, and that makes him indecisive.

Back at the training facility, Colonel O'Neill leads the recruits in another simulation. They are to infiltrate a building believed to house a valuable piece of Goa'uld technology. They find the device, but it is booby-trapped. After a moment of indecision, Elliot orders his team out, and the device explodes. But one of his men, Grogan, doesn't make it out. O'Neill condemns Elliot for leaving a man behind, and declares the exercise to be another failure.

And as a result, the leader already considers himself a "wash-out" for leaving one of his team (Grogan) behind during a simulated explosion.

Colonel Jack O'Neill receives a phone call from Major Samantha Carter, warning him about a situation at "Sierra Golf Charlie"; he consequently attacks the personnel that met him near the training area; one of the opponents manage to shoot him back. The trainees offer their help, stating that they're all that's available.

Infiltrating Stargate Command, they use the armory to stock up on stun weapons and back-up "live ammunition" handguns. Reaching Carter's lab, they find out that the entire SGC, including the rest of the SG-1, appears to be under a sort of Goa'uld mind control last seen on the planet Argos (identified as P3X-8596).

The plan is to have the cadets shut off the gate, and then destroy the device. However, when outside the Embarkation room, O'Neill recalls them, ordering them to fall back to the lab where he is.

On their next sortie, they retrieve Carter, and upon returning to the lab come to the conclusion that O'Neill has been "infected."

On their third attempt, they manage to reach their goal: they disable everybody in their way (including Dr. Daniel Jackson) and rig the supposedly mind-controlling device with C-4. When it doesn't explode (it was clay, not C-4), SG-1 and Major General George S. Hammond reveal that the whole thing was a very elaborate ploy set up by SG-1, Hammond, and the SGC personnel; the "real" bullets were in fact blank ones. They congratulate the lieutenants.

Hailey, however, is still in the Embarkation Room, trying to finish her part of the mission. Suddenly, the Stargate engages and opens a wormhole that turns out to be releasing deadly radiation. Hailey tries to manually override the Iris, but is electrocuted in the process and passes out. The leader of the team of cadets, Elliot, ignores Hammond's orders to evacuate and runs into the room anyway to attempt to rescue his fallen teammate. She turns out to be not only fine, but also a part of this last training exercise. SG-1 congratulates the cadets again, and all four members are told that they have a bright future in the SGC.

Major Events

  • Lt. Kevin Elliot, Lt. Carl Grogan and Lt. Satterfield are all introduced for the first time.
  • Lt. Jennifer Hailey returns and it's revealed that she's part of the new group of recruits SG-1 are training.
  • After failing the first few training situations, the group eventually pass and are presumbly assigned to SG teams.


Air Force Academy; Argos; C-4; Cell phone; First Prime; Foothold situation; Gamma ray; Goa'uld; Intar; Iris; Jello; Level 14; Level 16; Level 18; Level 19; Level 20; Level 26; Level 27; Level 28; Manual iris control; Major Mansfield; Nanite; Pelops; The Pentagon; Protein marker; SG-3; SG-17; Special Operations; Stargate Command armory; Stargate Command monitoring station; Zat'nik'tel

Notable Quotes

Elliot: (after seeing Dr. Jackson on the monitor) Looks like their leader is Dr. Jackson.
O'Neill: I always knew he wanted that office.

O'Neill: What's your excuse?
Satterfield: I didn't believe Dr. Jackson was a Goa'uld.
Carter: Why not, Satterfield?
Satterfield: I don't know, Ma'am. That was just my instinct.
Hailey: She thinks he's cute.

Carter: Try to remember when you were in their shoes.
O'Neill: I wore boots.


Stargate Wiki has 8 images related to Proving Ground.

First appearances


In other languages

  • French: L'Épreuve du Feu (Ordeal by Fire)
  • Italian: Terreno di Prova (Proving Ground)
  • Spanish: Terreno de Pruebas (Proving Ground)
  • Czech: Zkouška ohněm (Trial by Fire)


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