Stargate SG-1: Season Three
By Dwip April 19, 2015, 4:00 am Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

Season 3 is a bit of an oddball – less cohesive than Season 2, a return to the spate of one-offs that marked Season 1, mixed in with some excellent episodes that wrap up old plotlines and introduce some new ones in interesting ways. It’s a mixed bag that somehow manages to work out, even when the main villain isn’t the main villain and the last part of the season has more to do with the next season than this one.

On the other hand, no clip show, so there’s that.

JAFFA, KREE! THERE ARE SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT

Into the Fire

“SG-1 is a valuable asset. But they’re still just one team.”

“Major, you’ve got a lot to learn about how we do things around here.”

“This is our time. It will not come again.”

“YEEHAW!”

In which the SGC learns that SG-1 has been captured by Hathor and mounts a rescue effort led by Colonel Makepeace, which rapidly goes off the rails into disaster. Meanwhile, Teal’c returns to Chulak to free the Jaffa in his most epic display of badassery yet.

(what other screenshot could I use here?)

The action packed finale to the rather weird season 2 finale, which while intriguing in its later half was slooooooow. Plenty of guns and explosions and action hero stuff here, although Carter of all people seems to be the only person in the SG teams who knows how to move tactically.

So many great moments here.

– Jack becoming a host was pretty scary right up until they cheat saved him with cryo.

– Not the best exit for Hathor, but I liked her chilling demise well enough.

– Nice to see the Tok’ra becoming, you know, actual friends and helping out. Did not see agent reveal coming at all.

– I think this is the first time that four SG teams have been mobilized all together to do something. While inspired, it wasn’t altogether successful, and the SGC really needs a Hatchet Force to do cleanup on bad missions.

– For a B plot, Teal’c’s return to Chulak is friggin’ epic, and his William Wallace speech to the Jaffa is suitably heroic and totally badass. And of course it’s kind of appropriate that he only gets a few recruits this early in.

– This is General Hammond’s…second offworld appearance? Cool reveal on Chulak, and of course his turn on the death glider was great.

– And of course that was some hug between Jack and Sam there.

Seth

“Seth?”

“Our record of him ends when the gate was buried in ancient Egypt.”

“Are you saying he never left?”

“That’s our theory. We think he may still be here, hiding amongst Earth’s people.”

“Seth is life. Seth is happiness.” “Seth is almighty.”

In which Jacob comes through to let the SGC know there’s a Goa’uld named Seth, and he’s probably loose on Earth. Guess who gets to track him down?

There’s so much…weird here. The whole cult aspect is so astoundingly 90s that it can’t help but age a little poorly. Waco was fairly fresh back in 1999, but here in 2015 it’s practically ancient history, and all the fears and expectations and resonance from it isn’t really there anymore. Too, an entire compound full of Goa’uld weaponry and a ring transporter?

That said, it’s a pretty cool premise, having a stay behind Goa’uld, and one who looks like a rock star to boot. It could have been done better, and Highlander could tell you all about it, but I kinda like it anyway.

– Weird family arc here. The bits with Tommy and his dad and Jacob and his son didn’t really add much to the episode and are kind of stuck in. I guess Sam has a brother?

– That said, Selmak bitching about Jacob was pretty funny.

– On the other hand, Sam gets to be a badass with a hand device! Doesn’t seem to make her happy, but it’s cool.

– Teal’c explains Jaffa humor. Teal’c comedy is best comedy.

– Is there anything a zat can’t do? Signs point to no. We’ve done the brainwash cure before and it still seems silly.

Fair Game

“With your permission, the Asgard will negotiate with the Goa’uld to include Earth in the Protected Planets Treaty.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

Good news! The SGC is up for awards, delivered by the Secretary of Defense himself! Sam got promoted to Major! The Asgard beam Jack up mid-speech to let him know there’s a way to protect Earth from the combined forces of the System Lords!

Wait, what?

The main thrust here is that the Tau’ri have done a pretty good job making the Goa’uld mad, and they’re thinking very strongly about making an example. The Asgard would love to prevent that, and led by Thor, they want to stick Earth under Asgard protection. Which is good. The bad part is, the Goa’uld want both of Earth’s Stargates. That’s not so good. And then one of the Goa’uld gets bushwhacked and it looks like Teal’c did it. That’s super bad.

There’s a whole hell of a lot going on here:

– Every time I type Thor, just imagine I typed Thor! instead. Thor is awesome. I love Thor.

– Three new Goa’uld, none of which are Egyptian. We get ancient Greece, ancient India, and ancient China. Cool.

– Yu know Yu were waiting for the advent of Yu jokes. Don’t lie. Yu totally were.

– The moment where three Goa’uld at the same time step through the Stargate onto Earth is a really menacing moment.

– The whole thing where Teal’c’s dad was First Prime of Cronus and got executed is one of those brief stories which simultaneously makes Teal’c that much more interesting and puts a whole new spin on Jaffa culture and how it works. The writers apparently took some time to think about the Jaffa between seasons 2 and 3, and it shows.

– Well, the Reetu get more than a throwaway episode, I guess. Nirrti’s little invisibility thing was neat.

– Speaking of Nirrti, her whole setup of Teal’c and Cronus was a huge twist, which ratcheted up the already insanely intense stakes of this episode to whole new levels and really put into focus how menacing the whole Goa’uld on Earth thing was. You knew they were going to try something, but damn.

– More Jolinar’s memories coming to the fore. Sam’s getting better with the various hand devices.

– This is the first hint we get of the Replicators later.

– Maybe the sole down note to this episode is General Hammond’s treatment of Teal’c. Why the hell would you ask the guy to play bodyservant to a bunch of System Lords? What are you even thinking, George?

Overall, though, this is just about a perfect episode. It brings the Earth/Goa’uld conflict to a new level, throws in some new tidbits about the Asgard, and ultimately solves the problem of why the System Lords don’t just obliterate Earth out of hand. In the process we get a wonderfully tense episode with the kind of weight season finales usually get, and we’re only on the third episode.

Legacy

“Do you believe in ghosts?”

“Ah…no.”

“Neither do I. Which means there has to be a logical explanation.”

SG-1 discovers an ancient Goa’uld base with the corpses of a bunch of dead Goa’uld rebels. It’s a bit creepy. Then they go back to the SGC, and Daniel starts seeing some things that are even more creepy. What’s the solution? Lock him up. Then Teal’c gets sick. Oh dear.

So, on the one hand, everyone immediately jumping to the conclusion that Daniel is crazy is a little far-fetched, considering where SG-1 just was and what happened. On the other hand, there’s a lot of terrific stuff in this episode, so I forgive them.

– SG-1 hasn’t really gone for straight up horror before, but they do pretty good at it here, showing a whole series of increasingly bizzare and creepy events that culminate in Daniel freaking the hell out. Special mention to the normal conversation he has with Jack while a Goa’uld is possessing Jack. I also particularly liked the Stargate closet.

– I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, but Michael Shanks has a very good range as an actor. He’s superb here as crazy Daniel. In fact, this is one of the episodes that causes me to think he’s as good as I think he is.

– I had varied feelings on the Machello episode, but his inventions were a neat callback here.

– Man, that bit where everyone gets infected through the gloves was pretty terrifying.

– I feel like half the medicine here is wrong, but I like that they’re trying so hard to explore Goa’uld physiology and its aftereffects on a person.

– What a great episode for Jack and Daniel banter. In particular, the bit where Daniel wakes up in the hospital was hilarious.

All in all, the automatic crazy diagnosis notwithstanding, another strong episode with some great acting in it. The mix between creepy horror movie, mental institution drama, and medical outbreak drama was fantastic, and the addition of a weird little Goa’uld killing landmine is super neat.

Daniel’s right, by the way. They still are digging up World War I landmines and things. It’s kind of wild.

Learning Curve

“So, Merrin. I understand you’re a reactor expert.”

In which SG-1 meets a planet of people who have their children do all their learning for them. And then the children pass on all they know and become dull and empty shells. Who will think of the children?

Ah, we’re back the good old fashioned concept episodes. This one, of course, is about philosophies of learning and community over self. Merrin, for example, is absolutely vital to her people because of her knowledge of naquadah reactors. They know it, she knows it, she’s willing to go to what’s going to amount to her death over it, which is an idea that’s almost completely alien to SG-1, who are way more used to kids getting to be kids instead of humorless automatons.

I am reminded here of all those stereotypes about Asian students, good grades, and rote learning. That seems to be the model the writers were going for here, only packaged in a bunch of blue-eyed, blonde-haired white folks to dodge that little bit of it.

As with all the good Stargate episodes, both sides kind of have a point here – if you could sacrifice yourself to give your entire civilization an enormous leg up in some critical field of study, well, you might do it too if you were the selfless type. But on the other hand, civilization on this world wasn’t really all that exciting. Friendly bunch, just very dull.

A few things:

– Nice to see there are a few people out there who are just plain old friendly. Also, Daniel gets to play archaeologist for once.

– Oh look, Sam built a naquadah reactor in the basement. This may be important later.

– Another one about Sam and Jack’s love of kids, but even Teal’c got to be a bit fatherly in this one as well. He does have a son after all. This is, incidentally, one of the things that sets Stargate apart from a lot of other stories, I think – the characters all have logical character traits and lives before, during, and after Stargate travel. It’s not just villain of week action stuff.

– Case in point, Cassandra gets a shout out here.

– It strikes me as a very unexpected but also very Jack thing to do to adopt a school as his own.

– Boy are those nanites scary. Very useful in a closed system, but one day on Earth for Merrin pretty much completely changed an entire civilization. Probably for the better, but still. That’s big stuff.

Point of View

“It’s not the same with us here, is it?”

“All right, I gotta know. ”

“Yes, I’m about to activate it.”

“No no no, not that. What the hell does ‘kree’ mean?”

In which Dr. Samantha Carter and Major Kowalsky leap through that weird reality mirror thing from There But For the Grace of God and wind up in a reality where some guy named Daniel Jackson is part of SG-1 and Teal’c somehow isn’t First Prime of Apophis. Oh, and apparently Sam isn’t married to Jack, either.

Our second alternate reality episode. Like the first, very cool, probably even better. I enjoy that our gang is the supporting cast for themselves from the other reality. Two Carters is greatly amusing. Cool stealth mission in the Apophis-controlled alt-SGC with moar facial hair.

The real standout here is the Sam/Jack missed romance thing. SG-1 is going to do a lot of playing with this particular ship, but this is kind of the in your face big one where everybody has to come out and acknowledge that yep, definitely could be a thing holy shit. Lots of ways that could have gone wrong. They could have turned into an awful love triangle thing, for instance. What we actually got was an exploration of how rough it has to be to see your husband die, then all of a sudden meet him again. Same guy. Only it’s not the same guy. Very poignant, very emotional stuff.

So many cool moments here:

– Obviously we rode the ship pretty hard here, but both RDA and Amanda Tapping did a great job. Lots of little moments here make the thing work. Especially like the bit where Jack comes out of alt-Sam’s room, runs into real Sam, and for once has absolutely none of his normal barriers up. Well played.

– Loved all the callbacks to previous stuff. The generator Jack built in The Fifth Race makes a comeback, which is cool. Obviously the Asgard make a hell of comeback, which is very cool.

– I’m sorry they didn’t keep Jay Acovone as Kawalsky on the show. Obviously they were too, which is why he keeps coming back, which is fine by me.

– The Carters can finish each others’ sentences. Heh.

– Teal’c gets an epic scene here when his alt-self comes into the room, and Teal’c gives him one chance to renounce Apophis and join them before just blasting him to death to the absolutely jaw-dropping shock of everyone else in the room. Sometimes you forget that Teal’c is a really hardcore dude.

Daniel Jackson Death Count: 4
Killed by Ra in Stargate
The Nox (01×08) where he gets shot by an Apophis Jaffa
Alternate reality Daniel bites it in There But For the Grace of God (01×20)
Alternate reality Daniel bites it offscreen in Point of View (03×06)

Daniel Jackson Presumed Dead: 4
Children of the Gods (01×01) before Jack clues everyone in about Abydos
Fire and Water (01×13) before everyone realizes he was captured by Nem
Shot and left for dead in The Serpent’s Lair (02×01)
Thought killed on some planet but actually captured by Hathor in Out of Mind (02×22)

Deadman Switch

“Who are you?”

“Aris Boch. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

“Ah…not I. Teal’c?”

“I have not.”

“Well that’s disappointing. I’m one of the galaxy’s greatest hunters.”

“Not ringing a bell. Sorry.”

SG-1 is exploring a planet when they suddenly find themselves trapped in a forcefield and captured by a bounty hunter who’s going to trade them to Sokar. Right after they help him track down another Goa’uld. Sort of.

So, that’s Flash Gordon there. FYI. He’s also the best part of this episode. Aris Boch is campy, funny, smart, and kind of amorally charming. Everything he does is pretty great.

The downside of this episode is pretty much the entire rest of it. I just never bought this guy as an agent of the evil Sokar. His plan didn’t really make much sense, and with a few exceptions the plot mostly exists to prove how smart he is. Too, while the whole possible plotline around making more of his drug and getting his people to fight the Goa’uld could have been cool, it never goes anywhere and we’ll get a better version later anyway.

A few things of note:

– Well, something had to stop zats. Lots of small bits of tech in this episode.

– The Tok’ra reveal was at least interesting, if only momentarily stunning.

– “Tacs”

I mean, it was funny, but not even remotely on the same level as its immediate predecessors.

Demons

“The time of the sacrifice is at hand. My lord Satan calls for five wretched souls to be claimed as his.”

“They didn’t call them the Dark Ages because it was dark.”

In which SG-1 finds a planet stuck in the Dark Ages that believes in Christ and sacrifices people to Satan, who looks suspiciously like an Unas.

This one is essentially a morality play with SG-1 as Christ (note Teal’c rising from the dead there), the Unas as Satan, and various corrupt and/or misguided villagers as corrupt and/or misguided villagers. Which is fine as far as it goes, but for the most part this episode is just so painfully slooooooooooow and stock characters can only take you so far.

There’s some good stuff here though.

– I mean, they can’t very well turn God into a Goa’uld on TV, but props for including Christianity I guess?

– The music on this show is really good as a rule, and I uniformly enjoy it, but the haunting and ethereal chanting here is exceptional.

– Turns out there’s more than one Unas. We’ll come back to that later.

– Painful episode aside, it is interesting seeing all the various mechanisms of control Sokar put in place on the villagers, from the Canon to the lightning ring to the Unas.

– This is the latest harvesting of people by the Goa’uld from Earth yet. We’re a long way from the whole ancient Egyptians were it thing.

This could have been a way cooler episode than it actually was. Oh well.

Rules of Engagement

“My Earth name is Captain Kyle Rogers, Acting Quadrant A commander, sir!”

“Your standing orders given to you by your previous Jaffa master?”

“To practice the exercises of battle according to the rules of engagement until the return of our lord Apophis!”

“…really.”

“Master Teal’c, if I may?”

“This is Colonel O’Neill! He is much loved by Apophis!”

SG-1 comes across another SG team pinned down by Jaffa. They attempt to help but are instead gunned down…by the SG team! When they wake up, they discover the truth – Apophis was training infiltration teams to attack the Tau’ri.

I’ve always liked this one. It’s sort of the thing that could happen if you took a couple of platoons of basic training privates, threw them in the woods, and then just left. The inmates totally run the asylum. They’re only sort of good at acting like Tau’ri, of course, but that’s the point – they’re very naïve. And of course SG-1 loves rescuing the naïve.

A few things here:

– Very characteristic of SG-1 to attempt to help a bunch of kids instead of seeing them as enemies to be killed out of hand. Not all SG teams would do it.

– SG-1’s been very lucky, but apparently SG-11 wasn’t. They got captured and killed by Jaffa.

– Intars are now a thing. Neat.

– Also whatever that thing was that summoned Mega Apophis.

– That little recording of Apophis from Serpent’s Song had to resurface somewhere, and here we are.

– At this point, somebody has apparently given the SG-1 actors some military training. They do appear to the untrained eye to move way better than your average actor trying to be soldiers. Of note, the camp infiltration scene.

All that said, it’s a little off how quickly everybody is just like “Ok, yup, Apophis bought the farm. Oh dear.” There are a few other little moments, too, but whatever. I enjoyed it.

Forever In a Day

“Déjà vu?”

“Déjà vu?”

“Déjà vu?”

SG-1 frees the Abydonians from captivity and then gets in a massive battle with Heru’ur’s Jaffa. Meanwhile, Daniel sees Sha’re/Amaunet in a tent and runs in, only to get zapped by a ribbon device.

And then shit gets weird.

In which we have an entire episode that happens inside Daniel’s head while he’s getting zapped by Amaunet in the moments before Teal’c kills her with his staff weapon. There’s an incredible amount of character development for Daniel here, and I’m not sure I can really cover all of it.

Put shortly (or not):

– So, man, how super cool was that battle with the Heru’ur Jaffa at the beginning? Also, the rover with the machine gun on it.

– This is where we more or less wrap up the entire search for Sha’re, but begin one for the Harsesis child who possesses all knowledge of the Goa’uld. So that’s fun.

– An enormous amount about how much Daniel actually truly loves Sha’re resonates throughout the episode. It’s been a bit missing here for the past while, but just when you think they’re done with it…nope.

– Apparently all the stuff with Sha’re appearing and disappearing was her asserting some control via the ribbon device then fading as Amaunet took control, which I think I’m just now understanding on viewing four or so.

– Like that Daniel isn’t quick to forgive Teal’c, at least in his own head. You get a real sense, missing since the early episodes, of how absolutely desperate Daniel is for his wife, and how apocalyptic her loss is. Of course since this is all in his head nobody but him knows, but.

– Daniel and Sam have a kind of weird relationship. They’re like science bros who have each other’s backs and care for one another but it’s not really deep in the same way he is with Jack.

– Lots of little Jack moments, and you get all the respect and all the little jabs they give each other. In a lot of ways these two guys are probably the closest people on the team.

– I say this a lot now, but the acting here is incredible. Michael Shanks really is a great actor, though all the rest of SG-1 does great too with some really confusing, emotional, and understated stuff.

– Every time Daniel does one of those Egyptian funeral ceremonies, I love it. Ma’at is an interesting thing. As is the Osiris myth, which sort of kind of gets a nod.

All in all, it’s a little wild that we’ve just wrapped up one of the most major plot arcs in the entire series in a random one shot midseason episode. Even weirder that it’s all a dream actually done well. For the most part Stargate has always had some really good people running it, and while this episode is confusing it’s a good example of why.

Past and Present

“I’m not saying the first woman you’ve fallen for since Sha’re isn’t a peach. But if she remembers who she is, you’ll be the first to go.”

In which SG-1 finds a bunch of people who have been inflicted by something that made them forget who they were. They’re being led by a woman named Kera who’s apparently very very good with chemistry.

Well, she should be. She’s Linea, the Destroyer of Worlds. She just doesn’t remember it.

Two halves to this one. The A plot with the memory loss and finding out Kera was Linea remained just interesting enough to keep watching despite all the weird chemistry going on and the really generic “HE’S FLATLINING!” medical stuff. It could have been way more interesting if the episode had gone somewhere with it rather than using it as a vehicle to get Daniel and Kera to hook up, which is the B plot. And that part’s ok. She’s cute, she’s smart, she’s direct, Daniel’s been walking around for two years in this weird limbo of Sha’re’s dead but not…ok, that works.

It’s just that, aside from the neat twist at the end, none of it’s really all that interesting.

Jolinar’s Memories

“What’s wrong?”

“Maybe we should discuss this elsewhere.”

“It’s my father.”

“I’m afraid he’s been captured by Sokar.”

“Shall we embark?”

“By all means. To hell with us!”

The Tok’ra come calling, and it’s bad news. Selmak’s been captured, and by Sokar. He’s been sent to a literally hellish prison moon to be tortured to death unless SG-1 can get him out. Big problem – only one person ever got out, and that was Jolinar. And since Jolinar’s dead, it’s up to Sam to remember what she can to save her father.

Oh, by the way, Sokar’s gathering a giant fleet to kill all the System Lords and upset the balance of power in the galaxy, so, you know. No pressure.

Doing Sokar as a villain was an incredible risk for the Stargate team. Ancient Egyptian gods are one thing. Most of us know jack all about them. But Sokar’s literally Satan, and he’s got for real not even joking Hell going on. That’s something we do know about and have some opinions on, most of us. Lots of ways that could go wrong.

I think it mostly escapes major wrongdoing, but only via the strength of the writing and acting here. He’s been building up as a major villain for a while now, but once revealed he looks like he’s a bass player and a drummer short of a super wicked metal band, dude. While the Goa’uld are a bit campy at the best of times, Sokar comes across as a cartoon supervillain waving his hand around a candle. Hell itself is pretty hit or miss, a fairly generic prison planet experience with some added fire and a red filter. It’s ultimately pretty tense and effective but I can’t really love it.

– We get callbacks! One to Deadman Switch about the Goa’uld ship. Another to the Goa’uld memory devices. Amusing for SG-1 to be able to shut down Martouf a bit.

– I’m not sure why I dislike Martouf so much.

– Something happened to Sam’s mom. But we don’t know what. It’s almost like a setup.

– The facial expressions Jack has while Sam is doing the memory recall thing are fascinating.

– I really like the fact that not only do Jolinar’s memories not help Sam out for most of this, they actively lead her down the wrong path with Binar.

– I mean, raise your hand if you actually expected Apophis to show back up there at the end. Oshi-

Hell of a setup for the next episode. So to speak.

The Devil You Know

“Teal’c. This is your god, Apophis, risen from the fires of Natu. The fate of your friends will be pleasant compared to what I have planned for you.”

“Can’t we just play catch?”

Trapped on the prison moon of Natu, SG-1 is now in the clutches of Apophis. But Apophis himself is not secure – Sokar is coming, and he will not be pleased. Meanwhile, the Tok’ra are planning to blow up Natu to kill Sokar.

What could go wrong?

I mean, you’ve kind of got to admire Apophis here. He’s certainly persistent. I actually felt kind of bad when it looks like Sokar’s going to kill him, because that kind of effort deserves reward. Also because at the end of the day Sokar’s kind of a lame villain and Apophis is cool, but.

Which, I dunno about Sokar. I expected better from the guy. Blown up by a moon to make way for Apophis II: The Revenge is kind of a weak way for the most powerful Goa’uld to go out, but he drank his own Kool Aid way way too hard. He deserves what he gets.

– Apophis actually gives a pretty rousing William Wallace speech there at the beginning.

– And Sam’s mom dies in a car crash. Lots of really fun emotional stuff here with Sam and Jacob.

– All the flashbacks with Charlie in this series are kind of heart rending, but Apophis faking Charlie to get info from Jack is moderately evil, isn’t it?

– “And then they gave me something that reminded me of the Seventies.”

– Daniel flashback was kind of weak. But we just spent a bunch of episodes on him, so that’s probably ok.

– Well, they finally did it. They blew up a moon.

Foothold

“Wh…what’s going on? What the hell happened to them?”

“They are not who they appear to be. There’s been an alien incursion within the SGC.”

“Maybourne, you are an idiot every day of the week! Why couldn’t you just take one day off?”

SG-1 comes in out of the rain and is rushed off to the infirmary where they are inexplicably sedated. Thanks to Junior, Teal’c wakes up early and sees Dr. Frasier and General Hammond talking to aliens!

Nobody in the SGC is who they seem to be…

In which we get the post-extravaganza bottle episode. This is a fun little episode, although its implications are puzzling. The reveal of the aliens does kill a lot of the tension of the episode, though having Sam turn to Maybourne of all people for help was a nice touch. It is puzzling that we’re not really going to see much of the Foothold aliens in the future, or those little disc things. You’d think we’d replicate the hell out of them. A very self-contained episode with very not self-contained ideas.

A couple little moments:

– The actors must have all had a blast playing alien versions of themselves. My favorite is alien Doc Frasier doing mad experiments on Junior as Teal’c looks on in agony. Muahaha.

– I’m not sure I entirely buy the whole détente with Maybourne thing at the end, but it was a nice touch.

Pretense

“If a human has the right to take an animal’s body and do with it as he pleases because he is a superior being, then so does a Goa’uld.”

Klorel, fleeing Heru’ur, crash lands on the Tollan home planet. While healing itself from its wounds, Klorel accidentally lets Skaara free, who requests help from the Tollan. Next thing you know, SG-1 is summoned to a trial to determine the fate of both Skaara and Klorel in a battle of wits over who has the rights to Skaara’s body.

Man, this one goes to a lot of places. I got ethical debates over animal rights and slavery at the very least, with a side order of life imprisonment vs. the death penalty and a nice tall glass of the line at which pacifism isn’t pacifism anymore. Stargate has always tried to explore the great questions facing us, and this is probably their best attempt at it yet. For an episode mostly spent parsing legal language, this is pretty heady stuff.

It doesn’t hurt in the least that this is the culmination of one of the major plotlines begun way back in Children of the Gods, along with Sha’re and Apophis. Unlike episodes like Cor-Ai, we’re now far enough into the series to really appreciate the weight of an episode like Pretense.

Of course, the Goa’uld being themselves doesn’t hurt much either.

– Loved the whole cat walks through the iris thing.

– Somewhere along the line, Narim went from “has an awkward crush on Sam” to “kind of creepy, really.”

– Also, and this will come as a surprise, the Tollan sure are arrogant jackasses. I’d have been sad if they’d gotten obliterated here, but only a little.

– Is this the only time Skaara actually makes mention that Sha’re is his sister? I think maybe so.

– Zipacna was kind of awesomely smarmily evil. Smug grin was smug.

– Also, I like episodes where the Tau’ri and Goa’uld have to sit down and play nice. SG-1 and Serpent guards in the same room with no shooting, oh my!

– One gets the feeling by this point in the thing that, while the Nox think the Tau’ri have much to learn, when one looks long into the Tau’ri, the Tau’ri look also at you. This maybe is not the same Lya as appeared back in season 1. She too may be wising up a bit to the way the world works.

– But for real here, screw the Tollan.

Not at all how I expected Skaara to come back to the world, but awesome.

Urgo

“Appearances may be deceiving.”

“One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”

“A fool’s paradise is a wise man’s hell.”

“Never run with scissors?”

“Boooooring!”

SG-1 goes through the gate to check out a tropical island. SG-1 comes right back through the gate. 15 hours have passed. Oh, and they’re seeing some guy named Urgo in their heads.

Somewhere on about the time Teal’c chugs an entire pot of steaming hot coffee to no ill effect, you start to realize that this episode is pretty much going to be comedy. And while Stargate has flirted at various times with comedic episodes to supplement the humor of the rest of the episodes, we’ve never had one that was just supposed to be funny…until the point Urgo appears and you know that this is the one.

The various members of the DeLuise acting and directing clan have and will have a fairly lengthy association with the Stargate franchise in both roles. Here it’s comedy legend Dom DeLuise’s turn, and as in all things he’s brilliant at it. This could have been a horrible farce of an episode, but with this guy effortlessly making the annoying funny, it’s all good. Coffee, pie, defibrillators, everything’s funny.

There’s a bit of a moral thing here between Togar, the original awkward alien neckbeard, and the outgoing and funny Urgo, but since this is comedy let us not take that too seriously.

A few things.

– There are a couple of points where the various supporting cast are supposed to not see Urgo, and at one point Dr. Frasier has a very studied “I am not going to laugh!” face on. Must have been hard.

– Row row row your boat.

– Everything about the coffee bit was great. Also the pie. Maybe especially the pie.

A Hundred Days

“On the third day, we could take no more. We fled to the stone ring…where it used to be.”

“Used to be?”

“You miss him.”

“Yeah.”

“Is this a problem?”

SG-1 is hanging out with some pre-industrial farmer types to watch a meteor shower that happens every 150 years. Some of which are very close. Some of which are hitting the ground. Maybe it’s time to get everybody out of here. Except Jack. Leave Jack.

In which SG-1 deals with the concepts of love and loss by stranding Jack on a planet where the Stargate got hit by a meteor. For months and months. And it’s pretty poignant stuff. Even though I know they’re not actually going to strand Jack there forever, I get where they’re going with it and I’m moved by it. By contrast Laira’s husband’s death isn’t much, but her little speech about mourning him for a hundred days was pretty nice.

And to contrast the whole loss thing, we have lots of love for Jack. Laira, of course, and this is perhaps the most romantic episode Stargate has done thus far, but also the members of SG-1. Laira’s the “move on and forget” coping mechanism for loss, while SG-1 is the “never forget” coping mechanism for same.

Jack being Jack, he’d really, really like the first one. He’s got a lot to forget – his wife, his son, the things he’s done. And we’ve all got some of that going on too. But Jack’s not really that guy. He needs to be out there in the galaxy.

I really like this one.

Some things:

– I’m pretty sure the three months here is the first major in-episode time skip.

– The whole Laira/Jack romance was surprisingly sweet for a single episode fling. Very good job there.

– This is, of course, the one where Janet Frasier has a little girl talk with Sam and ferrets out that yeah, she’s really got a thing for Jack, doesn’t she. We’ve all suspected, of course, but here’s the confirmation. Ahoy, the SS Sam and Jack.

– Teal’c, being Teal’c, really goes above and beyond on that loyalty thing.

– Now we know what the meteor vs. Stargate matchup looks like.

– The whole naquadah trade business here will become a big thing later.

– I should have mentioned this ages ago, but the CGI on the show got a boost at the end of season 2, and thus far in season 3 we’ve had some really cool shots of spaceships and hyperspace and things. I really liked this whole meteor shower thing though.

– Sure, let’s just build a particle accelerator like Sokar. No problem. You go, Sam.

Kind of a pity this one never really gets any good follow-up.

Shades of Grey

“What the hell? Is this a joke, Maybourne? What are you doing here?”

“Well, in a way you invited me.”

Frustrated by the Tollan being themselves, Jack takes it upon himself to blatantly steal a key piece of Tollan technology in front of SG-1 and everybody. Called on the carpet for it, he raves about defending Earth and gets himself fired. But then Colonel Maybourne comes offering a job…

Well, we had to go back to the whole rogue NID teams stealing technology story at some point, and here we are. Seeing Jack take a sudden character regression back to what he was like in the movie is pretty shocking, and while it’s obvious what he’s doing in subsequent watches, the first time through is pretty wild. A sign of how far he’s come, perhaps.

What’s not surprising at all is Maybourne’s involvement in all this, though the sniping between he and Jack is surprisingly like the writers decided the warming of relations in Foothold was as weird as I did and retconned it. And of course it goes way further up the chain than him – it would kind of have to, wouldn’t it?

Some things:

– We’ll be hearing about the ion cannon again, I believe.

– Hey, we know how to use the Goa’uld teleball things now. Sweet. Also anti-gravity. One of the neat things about these episodes is seeing that actual cool shit is getting developed among all else that’s happening.

– Boy did Sam and Daniel look entirely betrayed by everything Jack said to them. Burn. Teal’c Teal’ced well.

– On the other hand, “We drew straws. I lost.”

– Well, at least they didn’t immediately write Laira out.

– For once, the Tollan aren’t being total dicks. In other related news, Hell freezes over.

– We’ll be hearing about the NID again, too, of course.

– Makepeace being the mole was a little out of nowhere. He always struck me as a hard charger but a generally ok guy, but apparently not. Then again, he’s practically the only other named member of an SG team we know about at this point beyond Feretti, who gets a brief mention.

This one moves the plot nicely, but also serves as kind of a character moment for Jack. If this had happened in season 1, where movie Jack was still somewhat in effect, I’d have totally bought the transformation into raving madman here. But this is season 3 Jack, who in no way would do any of the things he faked doing here. People change.

New Ground

“Mallin, I think we found the Gateway.”

“There is no Gateway. That is Optrican legend.”

“Well then, how do you explain this?”

While cold dialing Abydos cartouche addresses, SG-1 stumbles on a planet that had come up dark before. Turns out two archaeologists unburied the gate, and now SG-1 can meet some new friends. Or, since they’ve walked into the middle of a religious war, maybe not.

There’s a pretty interesting premise to this episode – one bunch of people thinks everybody was brought through a gateway by an alien in ancient times, the other one still pretty much believes the Goa’uld are gods without there being any around. And of course SG-1 runs into the wrong group.

The problem here is that instead of running with that premise and exploring the nature of belief systems, the main antagonist is pretty much the Bedrosian stand-in for Torquemada with his soldiers as the Inquisition. I like a good prison break, hell we just had one, but other than that not much happens. Nobody learns much of anything or discusses much of anything except where Teal’c is. Ultimately nothing that happens here is worth remembering, although some concepts get recycled for other, better episodes.

A couple things:

– Blind Teal’c was a nice touch. I don’t think we’ve seen him quite this sort of helpless.

– Nyan: becomes Daniel’s research assistant, is never heard from on the show again.

– I did kind of like the Bedrosian staff weapon analogues. There seems to have been lots of good work that went into this episode, only the writing staff just wasn’t up to delivering a good plot.

Maternal Instinct

“I only know a snowflake cannot exist in a storm of fire.”

“What!?”

In which Bra’tac comes through the gate and lets everyone know that by the way, he knows where Kheb is. Apparently, it’s a Jaffa legend. That’s convenient. Time to go get the harcesis child!

Well, first they’re going to have to make it past a Zen monk. There may or may not be a spoon.

This is one of those episodes where nothing happens and yet everything happens. On the one hand, almost all the episode is either trudging around in the wilderness or exchanging Zen kaons with a monk while lighting candles with minds, which turns out to be somewhat less exciting than you might think until the point at which Daniel starts thinking he’s got superpowers. A Jaffa invasion is kind of nice but is mostly just there to get murdered by Oma Desala.

One or two things occur during this.

– This is about the point Daniel starts getting religion. This will come up again. This is also the point at which the series fairly explicitly starts going spiritual, which it decidedly was not before this point.

– Oma Desala will return, too. Major pieces of lore are like that.

– Ditto on the harcesis child. Didn’t really buy Daniel suddenly getting the point there at the end, but ok.

– I like the incorporation of Sokar Jaffa into Apophis’ troops. We’re also starting to see armies of Jaffa – series is way bigger in scope than days of yore.

– I’m a little jaded now, but the whole glowy light beings thing is pretty neat.

Crystal Skull

“Where’d he go?

“He seemed to disappear.”

SG-1 finds a weird crystal skull on a planet with an enormous pyramid that’s emitting some crazy radiation. They go and check it out, but Daniel looks into its eyes and disappears. Good thing his grandfather found one just like it in 1971 in Belize.

This is one of the weirder standalones. Lots of highly comical “I’m standing right here and you can’t see me!” moments, lots of “Oh no we must find Daniel!” stuff as usual, and a bunch of backstory on Daniel and his grandfather who we never hear about again and a bunch of giant mist aliens we never see again either. So in the broad scheme of the series what actually got accomplished here?

Still better than the fourth Indiana Jones movie though.

A few things:

– My God the green screen work here is bad. The Phantom Menace this is not. Also, obviously plastic skull is plastic.

– Loved the thing where Daniel didn’t believe Nick’s theory and Nick didn’t believe Daniel’s, and they’re both right. Also, one of the few mentions of Daniel’s pre-SGC academic work.

– The humor is really good, I must say.

Nemesis

“Sir, what’s going on?”

“Well, I need a SPAS-12, a BF-8, 10 pounds of PBX and a USAS at the base of the Stargate in , oh, 5 minutes?”

Daniel had to get his appendix out, so it’s vacation time for SG-1. Or it was until Jack suddenly gets beamed aboard Thor’s ship. Remember that enemy the Asgard are fighting that’s worse than the Goa’uld? Yeah.

Because fighting the Goa’uld just wasn’t enough, the writers decided we needed a new bunch of baddies in the galaxy – the Replicators, who look like giant Lego spiders that incidentally obliterate anything that gets in their way. They’re something of a force of nature – you can’t shoot them, you can’t zat them – they just sort of keep coming and coming and multiplying.

For as much overuse as the Replicators are going to get later, here in the early days they’re pretty terrifying. It’s easy to see why Thor’s gang are so freaked out about them, freaked out enough to turn to Earth of all people for help. And, as episodes go, this was a good introduction to them, a nice mix of humor, drama, and action that, despite knowing there are still seven seasons of this show left keep you wondering “How are they going to deal with this one?”

Lots of stuff going on here:

– And now we return to the old-style Ra mask credits.

– Michael Shanks really did get his appendix out, hence why Daniel has almost no role.

– Yay, more awkward Jack and Sam shipping.

– Cool getting to see Thor needing humanity’s help rather than the other way around. Also, Thor! Also, Thor and Jack always cracks me up.

– For all that goes right here, the 90s eyepro is a bit hokey.

– So, getting to drive an Asgard ship is neat.

– “One small step for Jaffa.”

– Well, that’s one way to bring the second Stargate back into play.

– It’s been a while since we’ve been on the verge of revealing the SGC to the world.

– So, that Replicator surfing the piece of Asgard ship in the Pacific was kind of a horrifying cliffhanger.


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