Overall Rating: 8.2 + 0.4 for just being awesome = 8.6
The "Jack is Awesome" hour is well worth a viewing for the shear awesomeness factor.
Watch the episode. Seriously. But a quick summary is here.
I love how Jack handles all of the problems that Hammond would have dealt with in his very earnest and straight-shooting way by being a conniving, tricky little bastard. PERFECT! That's how you change the guard but keep the characters consistent. I particularly enjoyed his comments in the letter to Hammond. "If I'd known what you had to deal with every single day, I'd have tried to be less of a pain in the ass." LOL Hammond was in fact a gigantic bag of awesome for putting up with Jack, but Jack is his own unique brand of awesome, complete with wisecracking, clever double-crossing, and no patience at all for incompetence or stupidity. "It seems to respond amazingly well to any form of visible light." (and O'Neill just dryly turns out the lights) I mean, I just LOVE it!
The basic plot was well thought out and did a great job keeping you guessing, but the tone was always light and fun, and that was a wise decision, because they chose to end this episode on a mischievous and happy note, so going too heavy at any point would have ruined the flow and taken away the good feelings at the end. It's simple, it's fun, and it's what Gate writers do best.
All of the basic decisions that go into crafting a good plot for a television show are frequently taken for granted because most professional writers do it so well, but this script is getting a lot of credit because they had a ton of things going on at the same time in their "day in the life" story and they made the right decision for each of them - that's hard to do.
RDA was the star of this one, obviously...but even guys like Dr. Lee and Ba'al made it fun to watch from the acting critic perspective.
You don't have to lead in an identical way to be just as effective as a great man like Hammond. Jack's style may be more colorful, but he shows the same respect for his people and the same good judgment and the results are just as good.