"The Gamekeeper" is the fourth episode of the second season of Stargate SG-1.


On P7J-989, SG-1 is attached to virtual reality pods. Captain Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson are replaying Jackson's parents' death, and Colonel Jack O'Neill and Teal'c are replaying a past mission gone awry. The caretaker of the pods and the other other residents, the Keeper, is keeping the planet's inhabitants from leaving the pods.


SG-1 visits a world and finds itself in a large beautiful garden, but they discover that all people on the world are tied to some machines. Suddenly, all team members are captured by some empty machines. Afterwards, they are separated and find themselves in other places.

Colonel Jack O'Neill and Teal'c of Chulak are in a wooded area and meet other human soldiers from Earth, including Charles Kawalsky, who died one year ago. O'Neill recognizes this place and remembers that this was the time of an undercover mission in East Germany, 1982, where one of them died. However, the soldiers act as if Teal'c is one of them and call him "Thomas". Because they think that they might have traveled through time, they again go through the mission. It again goes wrong, and the mission starts again from the beginning. This scenario happens over and over, and O'Neill isn't able to change the outcome.

Dr. Daniel Jackson and Captain Samantha Carter are in a museum, and Jackson remembers it as the time when his parents were killed by falling stones. He also tries to change this event several times but also fails. During one of his attempts, Melburn called him "Danny" like he was a tiny child.

O'Neill and Teal'c are visited by a strange man named the "Keeper", who tells them that he offers them the possibility to change the past, albeit only in a simulation. Afterwards, he also visits Daniel and Carter and tells them the same. However all members of SG-1 decide that they won't take part in this simulations anymore and refuse to do anything. Because of this, the Keeper brings all the team members back together and tells them that, over a thousand years ago, a chemical disaster took place which destroyed this world. Because of this, the whole civilization entered stasis, and now they want more scenarios for their virtual world. Because Teal'c's and Carter's brains can't be accessed, Jaffa are apparently immune to the process and Sam's mind has been altered by Jolinar of Malkshur, the Keeper lets them take part in the simulations of their friends.

While they talk, they are watched by many people, the other inhabitants of the virtual world, and when they hear that the outside world has recovered, they react. However, the Keeper sends them away and finally lets SG-1 free. The team returns to Earth, where they are checked in the infirmary and then report to Major General George S. Hammond. The General tells them to get more information about this virtual world, which would mean that they would have to be hooked up to the machines again, and Hammond orders them to do so. Due to his uncharacteristic behavior, SG-1 concludes that they are still in the VR, and O'Neill attacks the General, who orders them to be arrested.

In the cell, they are visited by Kawalsky, who tells them that they simply should stay in the VR. The team escapes and suddenly meets the residents of the VR, who ask the team about the outside world. They tell them that a beautiful garden exists outside. Since they are unaware of any exits out of the VR, SG-1 decides to show the residents their planet through their memories. Before they could step through the Stargate to show how, it is shut off by the Keeper, who was disguised as Hammond. They chase after him and accidentally discover the exit doors that the Keeper has been trying to keep his people from discovering, enabling them to exit the VR for real. They capture the Keeper in the garden and demand to know why he didn't let out the people. He tells them that they would ruin the garden which he manages and finally the whole world, thus repeating their former mistakes. However the people have already left the VR and now go through the garden and pick flowers, much to the anger of the Keeper. Promising to return and help the residents begin new lives, SG-1 returns to Earth.


Appearances for The Gamekeeper





Sentient Species





Notable quotes[]

Carter: This is beautiful.
O'Neill: Yeah... but where there's a garden, there's snakes.
Jackson: And flowers. (sneezes) Way too many flowers.

Jackson: Jack, we should go back to the planet and free those people.
O'Neill: I'm not sure it's any of our business, frankly.
Hammond: I concur. Who are we to judge how someone on another planet lives?
Jackson: But the people are in those machines under false pretenses. The Keeper is lying to them about what's outside.
Fraiser: Okay, if, if I may weigh in here…all evidence points to the fact that the machines are clinically sustaining those people. Removing them could be like taking a patient off life support when he still needs it.
Hammond: Sounds to me like we have to get more information to make this decision, folks.
Teal'c: The only way to gain more information would be to venture back into the artificial world of P7J-989.
Hammond: Then that's exactly what I want you to do.
O'Neill: Uh, General, without meaning to, this time, to sound like a smart ass, are you cracked?

Hammond: What are you doing, Colonel?
O'Neill: Ah, I'm looking for the edges of a mask.
Hammond: What?
O'Neill:You're obviously not the real General Hammond.
Hammond: Sit down, Colonel.
O'Neill: I don't think so, bucko. The jig's up, we're on to ya.
Hammond: What are you talking about?
Carter: We're still on P7J-989.
O'Neill: Oh, you betcha. This is just a new game brought to you by our good friend (Pats Hammond on the head) the Keeper.

Jackson: Where are we going?
O'Neill: Back through the Gate to show them what their planet looks like... (gets confused) our memories... before the virtual reality... Leave me alone!

Keeper: They are ruining everything. Do you know they are actually picking the flowers?
O'Neill: This is real this time, isn't it?
Keeper: Do not pull that! You are ruining the garden! I told you they would ruin everything. First the garden, next the entire planet!
Jackson/O'Neill: It's real.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • This is the first episode to indicate that Captain Samantha Carter's mind had some lingering effects from having been possessed by a symbiote, as the pod could not read her like it could Daniel and Jack because of her experience with Jolinar.
  • The point of origin for P7J-989 at the end of the episode as Dr. Daniel Jackson dials out is the symbol used by the Keeper for the portals he creates.
  • Dwight Schultz (Keeper) is known for playing Capt. H. M. Murdock in the series The A-Team and Reginald Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. The character of Reginald Barclay was particularly known for his addiction to holodeck programs on Star Trek, which may be referenced by the nature of the simulations in this episode and Schultz's role as the Gamekeeper. He is the second Star Trek veteran to appear in the franchise after Armin Shimerman in "The Nox". Coincidentally, Schultz also appears in the popular 1990s sci-fi show Babylon 5 in a similarly eccentric role early into that show's Season 2 run, in Episode 5, merely one episode off from this one.


  • During Teal'c and Colonel Jack O'Neill's second time going through the assault, after Colonel John Michaels is hit and downed, O'Neill moves to pull him into cover, and three members of the team are on the ground, Michaels in the foreground on the right, a second in the background near the blue car, and a third in the foreground at the left side of the screen. When O'Neill pulls Michaels back behind the wagon full of rocks, the third soldier has mysteriously vanished after being out of frame for only a moment, and prior to the "game" being reset. [mark 15:03, DVD release]

Other languages[]

  • Czech: Správce (Warden)
  • French: Le Maître Du Jeu (The Gamekeeper)
  • German: Virtueller Alptraum (Virtual Nightmare)
  • Hungarian: Emlékek rabjai (Captives of Memories)
  • Italian: Realtà Virtuale (Virtual Reality)
  • Polish: Dozorca (Caretaker)
  • Spanish: El Guarda (The Guardian)

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