"Touchstone" is the fourteenth episode of the second season of Stargate SG-1.


When attempting to study the Touchstone on Madrona, SG-1 discover it is missing. The Madronans blame the Tau'ri since people in SG uniform took it earlier. Soon after noticing strange weather on Earth, SG-1 comes to the conclusion that the NID is launching secret offworld missions by using Earth's second Stargate from Antarctica stored in Area 51. SG-1 launch a mission to find the Touchstone before Madrona is destroyed.


SG-1 returns to the planet Madrona, where they intended to study, using some of Carter's 'doohickeys', a device called a Touchstone, which controls the planet's weather. However, on returning to the planet, SG-1 is accused by the Madronans of stealing the Touchstone; they claim that men dressed in Stargate Command uniforms stole the device. Without the Touchstone, Medrona's weather is out of control. The team quickly reports back to Stargate Command and Major General George S. Hammond of the accusation.

Dialing computer 1

The energy signatures match, confirming that the second Stargate found in Antarctica is still being used.

After checking the base computer's mainframe, Captain Samantha Carter does some research and discovers that the Earth's second Stargate is being used, but not by Stargate Command. She also explains that the second Stargate was activated at the precise moment the SGC's gate was used to prevent detection.

After unsuccessful attempts to contact the President of the United States, Hammond begins to believe someone is controlling the President's schedule. Daniel also has suspicions; after noticing unusual weather on Earth, he realizes the cause must be the Touchstone. Carter has also learned more about the situation. She confirms the location of the second Stargate is in Nevada. Hammond reveals that Colonel Harold Maybourne has been transferred to Area 51 in Nevada.

SG-1 leaves for Area 51 to confront Maybourne. While there, the team learns that the second gate, supposedly under 24-hour guard, has been replaced with a replica. In an attempt to track the second gate, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Colonel Jack O'Neill return to Madrona to overpower the gate and send a MALP through. With the MALP, Stargate Command finds that the second gate is somewhere in southern Utah. Calling in a favor from Bernie Whitlow, Hammond learns that a C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft has just been requested to pick something up from a particular airfield in southern Utah. The C-5 is among the only aircraft large enough to move a Stargate.

The team is sent to the airfield, where they find the second gate. They recover the Touchstone, but four men jump through the gate before the team can learn their destination. SG-1 returns the Touchstone to Madrona, where the people faced a deadly winter storm. Thanks to the return of the device, weather is restored.

The second Stargate is again moved, this time under the guard of the SGC, a permanent iris is installed on the gate to ensure it is never used again, and it will be constantly watched by soldiers under Hammond's command.


Appearances for Touchstone





Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

(While explaining the Touchstone)
Carter: The high priest turns a series of calibrated rings, which seem to determine the meteorological conditions over the entire planet's surface.
Hammond: Do we have any idea on what makes it tick?
O'Neill: That's why we'd like to go back, sir. Carter wants to get a closer look with some of her specialized... doohickeys.
Hammond: "Doohickeys?"
O'Neill: I believe that's the technical term, sir.

O'Neill: Hold it! All right. We came here in peace and we expect to go in one... piece.

La Moor: We are a simple people, Colonel. We have no means to protect ourselves from this disaster. If my uncle decides to trust you this day, our entire future will depend on this decision.
O'Neill: Okay, that's a little pressure, but we can handle that.

O'Neill: General, would you mind if I have Carter recheck the dialing computer? Just to see if there are any signs of anyone sneaking through the gate covertly, behind your back, as it were, sir.
Hammond: Nothing happens regarding that Stargate without my knowing about it. If a person sneezes near it, I get a report.
O'Neill: I understand. (he turns to leave)
Hammond: Colonel. Have Carter check it anyway.

O'Neill: (walking into the room) Anything yet?
Carter: Not on the Touchstone, sir.
Jackson: Possibly its effects. Have you been watching The Weather Channel?
O'Neill: I'm more of a C-SPAN guy.

Hammond: (speaking on the red phone ) No, I need to talk to him now. Son, do you know what color this phone is? (resigned) Yes, I'll hold.

O'Neill: Is this where you're keeping the little green men?
Reynolds: There are no alien life forms at Area 51.
O'Neill: Present company excluded, of course.
Maybourne: Colonel O'Neill.
O'Neill: Hello, Maybourne.
Maybourne: Major, if you'll excuse us.
(Major Reynolds leaves.)
Maybourne: Teal'c, it's good to see you well.
Teal'c: In my culture, I would be well within my rights to dismember you.
Maybourne: (visibly afraid) Well... that's interesting.

Hammond: Here we are, transporting our people across the galaxy to find something we lost in our own backyard. Incredible.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The NID operation to steal alien technology is revisited in numerous following episodes, culminating in "Shades of Grey".
  • In the Australian and Region 2 releases of the DVD Box set, "The Fifth Race" is the next episode in order, followed by "A Matter of Time". This order is followed on the Australian streaming video service Stan.


  • When the Medronans take SG-1 to show them that the Touchstone is missing, the doors leading to it are already opened and the statue is through the doorway. However, when they walk into the storage room of the statue, they open doors to get to it. If those doors had been closed, the statue would not have been visible.
  • Before going to Utah to retrieve the second Stargate, Major General George S. Hammond tells SG-1 not to fire under any circumstances. However, he doesn't mention using the Zat'nik'tels to stun, even though SG-1 ultimately carry them. Had they used the Zats and stunned at least the first three NID agents they found, they wouldn't have been able to escape.
  • Teal'c says in this episode that SG-2 was on a mission "galaxies away" from Madrona. Later episodes establish that, with few exceptions, all the planets visited in Stargate SG-1 are located in the Milky Way and Teal'c doesn't seem to be one to use hyperbole.
  • There is no apparent reason why the MALP has to be sent to the second gate from Madrona. The overloading operation could presumably have occurred from any gate not on Earth, such as one not experiencing a devastating blizzard.

Other languages[]

  • French: La Clé de Voûte (The Touchstone)
  • German: Das zweite Tor (The Second Gate)
  • Italian: Pietra di Paragone (The Touchstone)
  • Spanish: La Piedra de Toque (The Touchstone)
  • Czech: Svatý kámen (Holy Stone)
  • Hungarian: Próbakő (Touchstone)
  • Russian: Пробный камень (Touchstone)

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