Stargate SG-1: Season Two
By Dwip April 15, 2015, 3:39 pm Comments (2) RSS Feed for this post

Season 2 is something of a transition from the primarily Apophis and going boldly where no Tau’ri have gone before feel of Season 1 to the much larger in scope episodes of later seasons. A truly massive number of new lore elements are introduced in these episodes, which will resonate through the rest of SG-1 and on into Atlantis and Universe. Although Season 2 has some serious clunkers in spots, episodes like The Fifth Race, Serpent’s Song, and 1969 represent some of the absolute best episodes in all of Stargate.

Unlike Season 1, where an enormous chunk of the episodes were out of broadcast order for no apparent reason, Season 2 survives mostly intact, with two pairs of episodes swapping places with each for no apparently good reason. Still not sure what the deal is there.

JAFFA, KREE! THERE ARE SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT

The Serpent’s Lair

“I think what the Captain is asking is, ‘What now?'”

“Now we die.”

“Well that’s a bad plan.”

In which SG-1 is captured aboard Klorel’s ship and their execution ordered by Apophis himself while the SGC ineffectively attempts to destroy the invaders. But they are soon rescued by none other than Bra’tac, and after a convoluted plan in which Klorel is briefly captured again and several thrilling gunfights with Apophis’ Jaffa, they manage to destroy the Goa’uld ships.

So how cool is that shot?

This one is all shoot ’em up action to save the Earth from Apophis, so not much to talk about. Lots of cool stuff though:

– Bra’tac returns! And is a badass.

– Daniel upgrades his dual wield from two pistols to a pistol and an MP5.

– Death gliders actually look really cool. I don’t remember if we ever see the painted ones again, but unlike the horribly ugly Goa’uld ships, they’re actually quite graceful.

– “You are Hammond? Of Texas?”

– The beta site is now the alpha site, and will play a way bigger role from now on.

– This is the first clue there’s a Jaffa rebellion beyond Bra’tac and Teal’c.

– Also the first (ineffectual) showing of naquadah bombs, with Samuels and Maybourne running some kind of secret R&D effort.

Daniel Jackson Death Count: 3
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)

Daniel Jackson Presumed Dead: 3
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)

In the Line of Duty

“Not all Goa’uld are the same. There are some who oppose the System Lords. And their ways.”

SG-1 is helping some refugees flee a Goa’uld attack on their planet. Carter stops to help a badly wounded man, but while giving him CPR she gets infected by a Goa’uld!

Oh crap.

So, this is another big one for the lore, although the story’s a bit straightforward. I found it pretty tense the first time, though it loses a lot on rewatch. That said, oh wow, there are Goa’uld that fight the Goa’uld! And badass Goa’uld assassins! And cool new hand devices!

So, lots going on here.

– Obviously the Tok’ra are a big deal. The one we meet here is arrogant as hell, but is more or less telling the truth. And gives its life to save Sam. So that’s kind of huge.

– Apparently the Tok’ra know where Sha’re is. And her apostrophe.

– Also the first appearance of an Ashrak. And its little toy.

– Hey, Cassandra’s back!

– Also, this is the real start of Jack’s balls to the wall hate for the Goa’uld. First Kowalsky, now Carter. He’ll go way over the top before we’re done, but for now it’s rare to see O’Neill this angry. Usually he can at least crack a joke.

– “Oh no, team. There’s a Goa’uld on the loose. We’d better set up security scans. Manned by one guy in a hallway by himself. What could go wrong?” Oh, nothing…

– The success rate on Goa’uld barging into the gate room and demanding that somebody open the stargate as approximately 0% at this point. Just saying.

Prisoners

“YOU ARE PRISONERS”

“And you are…?”

SG-1 unknowingly helps a murderer and is placed on a prison planet by a mysterious people. There they meet Linea, a wise woman who knows all sorts of things about chemicals. Together they hatch an escape plan. But why was she on the planet in the first place?

I confess, this one doesn’t do much for me. The prison planet is essentially generic, with the same generic slop for food and generic fights and what have you. Since this is about 90% of the episode, it’s hard to get excited even about MacGyvering a way out with organic cold fusion. In a better episode, say Cor-Ai, there could have been some neat stuff in here about the nature of hard justice or something, but instead it’s mostly just Hammond being pissed about things which doesn’t leave one much to talk about.

It’s a little bit more exciting back at SGC once we realize Linea is actually the evil Destroyer of Worlds who caused a plague, but even then, what’s with her superhacker abilities?

Meh.

That said…

– Linea will return. Yippy skippy.

– Hammond’s first trip through the gate is kind of neat, I guess, or at least the shot of him going through the gate from the backside was pretty cool cinematography.

– The bit where prisoners tried to escape via the gate when it opened but were actually just killed by it was a neat touch, I guess.

The Gamekeeper

“See that’s just it – it’s history, it happened, it’s over, I can’t change it!”

SG-1 finds a garden planet with a dome, and inside some weird machines with people trapped in them. And then they get trapped too, and experience visions of their own pasts.

Kind of.

This one works for me on a number of levels. On the one hand, we learn some major moments from Jack and Daniel’s pasts, which is cool, if traumatic. On the other hand, the Gamekeeper is kind of funny despite himself.

Too, the episode attempts to go a little deeper and ask if we can change our own pasts. This is a little less successful, since while the trauma is real enough, everyone involved figures out the inability to change the past pretty quick, so that’s kind of out. And the comedy half does sort of sabotage the trauma half – why does the Gamekeeper not get lynched?

Still, as far as standalones go I kinda dig it.

Some things:

– Take the red pill, guys.

– Hey, it’s weird Matrix-generated Kawalsky! I like that they bring Kawalsky back from time to time. He’s clearly having such a great time whenever he shows up.

– Teal’c! With hair!

– I mean, you’re moving a huge ass stone block with super light chain. What could go wrong? Daniel, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your parents were idiots.

– Jolinar aftereffects on Sam apparently include immunity to mind control. Ditto with Junior inside Teal’c.

Need

“What were you thinking?”

“I thought she’d be grateful.”

“She was trying to kill herself.”

SG-1 runs into a bunch of people who have thrown out the Goa’uld, but still mine naquadah. Daniel saves their princess from leaping off a cliff, but everyone gets tossed in the mines. Something’s off here.

So, this is basically a “drugs are bad, kids!” episode disguised as a lore episode about the sarcophagus and its ability to turn people to the dark side. Which is well enough, so far as it goes.

Unfortunately, most anti-drug episodes are fairly predictable and lame, and this one only barely escapes the trap through highly compelling acting by Michael Shanks as Evil Daniel and then Crazed Withdrawals Daniel. He really does have the best acting range of the whole team.

Tragically, however, that doesn’t really help save the episode from a whole bunch of completely nonsensical decisions by Shyla, who acts how the plot needs her to act. Though she does a good enough job at it, she’s a little too lost puppy for my taste.

Still, I like a lot of the ideas presented here, and it’s kind of a shame we’re not really going to get to see Shyla and her bunch again.

– Sam can now sense Goa’uld. More Jolinar bleedover.

– Myan influenced Goa’uld architecture. That’s kind of neat.

– “Daniel. Well, surprisingly difficult to kill you isn’t it?” Almost another entry on the death count list!

Thor’s Chariot

“Kneel before your god!”

“My God is Thor, and he taught us to stand, as equals!”

The SGC receives a message from Cimmeria, the world protected by Thor, whose hammer SG-1 destroyed in Thor’s Hammer. Surprise, they’re under attack by Goa’uld, and they’re screwed unless SG-1 can figure out how to contact the Asgard.

So this is another big episode in which we learn a whole lot, among other things that the Asgard are a benevolent race that, incidentally, can wipe the floor with an entire Goa’uld army in about 30 seconds flat. Cool. They’re also a bit big on puzzles and may have watched Raiders of the Lost Ark once.

So much going on here:

– Some shows would just blow up Thor’s Hammer in season 1 and leave it as a planet of the week deal. Stargate won’t always have the best track record on this, but it’s cool that they came back to this one to show the effects SG-1 can have.

– I think this is the first time SG-1’s friends have tried to contact them through the stargate.

– Jolinar left Sam with the ability to control Goa’uld hand devices. That’s pretty sweet.

– Heru’ur shows up as another new Goa’uld. The son of Ra and Hathor. Nice bunch.

– We’ve also never seen three Goa’uld ships together, and I think the big staff weapon cannon is new.

– Thor shows up! Hi Thor! Thor is best.

– The “too young” bit is an amusing callback to the Nox. Jack’s taking it a bit better now, too.

– And of course the Asgard are by far the most advanced bunch we’ve seen yet, by leaps and bounds.

– Also they’re the Roswell aliens, which is somewhat convenient.

Message In a Bottle

“Any idea what we’re dealing with here?”

“No idea, sir.”

SG-1 goes to a planet that looks like the Moon and picks up this weird round orb thing and takes it back through the gate. Come to find it’s full of alien bacteria. Oh, and it totally pinned Jack to the wall of the gate room. Ow.

Hard to know where to go with this one. On the one hand, it’s a cool idea once you get to the last ten minutes or so and cut to the chase – an alien lifeform that’s just trying to get a better home. So that part’s neat.

On the other hand, this episode draaaaaaaaaags on, and a random guy with a crush on Sam and an amusing Teal’c joke don’t particularly save the episode from making me decide to surf Reddit instead. That part’s less neat. Oh, and a bad timer countdown sequence. We get a lot of those on this show, but come on.

Ultimately, despite a neat idea and a very minor recurring character, there’s a reason I only remember it as that one where O’Neill gets stabbed through the shoulder by the alien spike orb.

Family

“YOU lied! You said you would come back but you never did!”

The SGC gets a visit from Bra’tac, who tells them that hey, by the way, Apophis is still kicking after SG-1 blew up his ship, and he’s got Teal’c’s son Rya’c captive. Oh, and come to find out while you were away, your wife got remarried. Sorry about that.

Nominally, this episode wraps up the Teal’c’s family plotline from Bloodlines for the moment, escaping his wife and son off to the Land of Light with Tuplo and the gang. It also goes a long ways towards establishing Jaffa culture some more, with the introduction of Fro’tak and the whole “your wife remarried” thing.

That said, while the idea of the episode is pretty good, lots of the execution fails. Almost nobody who isn’t Teal’c or Bra’tac can actually pull off Jaffa dialogue without sounding comical, which absolutely destroys any semblance of believability. To top it off, this is possibly the worst episode for the zats in the whole show – not only does the whole disintegrate bodies mode make one of its few returns, they’re also used to cure Rya’c of Apophis’ mind control via a single blast of electroshock. I don’t think it works like that, guys.

Some things of note:

– It’s somewhat ambiguous whether Fro’tak attempts to betray everyone to Apophis because he’s actually a loyalist in sheep’s clothing, or whether it’s a crime of passion because he really wants Teal’c’s wife and is pissed she wants Teal’c more. I like that.

– We knew Apophis was gunning for Earth before, but this is the first time he’s gotten so devious.

– SG-1’s Jaffa disguises are getting better. Also, Jack in Serpent Guard armor!

I’d like to like this one more, but so much of it is just so…bad.

Secrets

“The Goa’uld that has stolen my soul is called Amaunet. She sleeps for the sake of the child.”

“…Dad.”

An alliance? You are nothing. Your world is nothing. Once I have conquered Apophis, I will make slaves of your people. You will serve me.”

“No, I…don’t think so.”

It’s been a year since Daniel told the people of Abydos to bury the Stargate, and now it’s time for him to go back and face the music over the loss of Sha’re, and he’s going to take Teal’c with him while Jack and Sam take a trip to Washington to get a medal from the President. Only it turns out that not only has somebody got word of the Stargate program and is badgering O’Neill about it, Sha’re is on Abydos and she’s pregnant with Apophis’ child!

This one really fires on all cylinders. Both storylines are compelling as hell, unlike last episode the dialogue is all epic (I’d quote most of it if I could), and all the actors are completely up to the task of selling a whole range of scenes. Daniel goes through a million emotions – shock at seeing Sha’re, disbelief that her Goa’uld is sleeping, rage at Apophis’ child, grief when she’s taken again. He and Teal’c go at it over how to best deal with Sha’re, probably the biggest inter-SG-1 fight so far. Meanwhile, Jack gets some good stuff with the reporter, while Sam gets bum rushed with the fact her father has cancer.

There’s a hell of a lot going on here, and it’s all good stuff. This is possibly the best episode so far.

– Seeing Abydos and the folks again was nice. Considering past experiences they give a huge amount of gravitas to this episode, and to Daniel. That said, not a huge fan of Sha’re’s actress, though it’s her baby by Michael Shanks the actor we’re talking about here.

– This is the first time somebody threatens to go public about the Stargate. Big huge moment there.

– I mean, they blow up Apophis when he’s about to attack Earth, and the best they can do is the Air Medal? That seems a little light.

– First appearance of Jacob Carter, who will soon have big things to do. And he wants Sam to go to NASA. If only he knew.

– Considering that Politics was a lame clip show, this is an awfully nice continuation of it.

– Also, Heru’ur is in this episode, because there wasn’t enough tension with the whole “Apophis wants my baby” thing, so they threw in another System Lord. This kind of multi-way intrigue and fighting is one of the best things about this series.

– Once more on the disintegrating zat blast thing, though its days are numbered.

– So many quotable lines. Her’ur’s little speech. Jack’s little “It’s O’Neill. Two L’s” thing. Half of the words out of Daniel’s mouth.

What a great episode. It puts into play a ton of things that will play out through the life of the series, and it’s just a great watch all around. This could have very easily been a season climax of a lesser show.

Bane

“Those are bugs, sir! Big, ugly bugs!”

In which SG-1 goes to a seemingly highly advanced world, only to be attacked by a bunch of giant insects, one of whom stings Teal’c. Fighting for his life, Teal’c is betrayed by the scientist brought in to help him to the dastardly Colonel Maybourne of NID, who carts Teal’c off in chains for his own ends. And then Teal’c escapes. Oh dear.

So, what went right about this one? Well, Stargate’s string of little girls continues to work ok, the one that befriends Teal’c isn’t bad. And we get some points on the O’Neill vs. Maybourne rivalry scorecard, which is good. Teal’c ripping out Junior was kind of shocking.

And then there’s everything else. The giant bug is hokey. The scientist guy swerves back and forth between good guy and bad guy depending on how the writers are feeling that scene. Teal’c just flat out giving up and crawling off to die isn’t explained in any good way. The tough punk kids are hilarious.

Mostly, though, this one just kind of drags. It’s either watching Teal’c sit in a room, or watching everyone else sit in a room watching things. Meh.

On the other hand…

The Tok’ra, Part 1

“Assuming, of course, that you are the Tok’ra.”

“And if we’re not?”

“Well, I guess we all start shooting – there’s blood, death, hard feelings – it’d suck.”

Apparently, they’ve been prodding Carter’s brain in order to see if she can dig up anything about Jolinar and the Tok’ra. And she has – the address of a planet they were on. For all the obvious reasons, an alliance would be great for Earth, so SG-1 goes through to talk to them. The reception is a bit frosty, although one Martouf warms up to Sam at least. Meanwhile, it turns out her father is dying rapidly of cancer.

For the setup half of a two-parter, this one is pretty good. We get to meet a whole new bunch of people, who turn out to be rather fascinating if not exactly the fashion models of the galaxy. The Tok’ra waver between distrust, friendliness, and assholery at the drop of a hat, but they are kind of cool. They’re also going to lock up SG-1 and SG-3 for security purposes, but not everybody’s perfect.

Lots of neat stuff going on here:

– Man, Tok’ra fashion is baaaaaaaaad.

– I think this is the first time we’ve seen one of the Goa’uld ring transporters go down into the ground like that.

– The Tok’ra crystal cave sets look awful, but the idea is pretty neat – grow your own base.

– Gee, guy with Goa’uld communications device, you probably aren’t suspicious.

– Gee, the Jacob and Selmak problems won’t be a solution to anything.

– Obviously the first introduction of Martouf, who I kind of hate as a romantic interest for Sam, though the whole Jolinar’s husband thing is a cool angle.

– Neat watching the very different reactions to the Tok’ra among our team. Jack’s suspicious because Jack, Daniel’s fascinated as always, Teal’c clearly thinks these guys are like, so cool, and Sam’s got a whole hell of a lot going on.

But like, nobody got shot in the whole episode. That never happens!

The Tok’ra, Part 2

“I have decided I like you.”

“Super.”

The whole “We’re going to keep you prisoner” thing by the Tok’ra instantly falls by the wayside when it turns out the Goa’uld know where the Tok’ra base is and are coming to kill everyone. Meanwhile, Sam and Jack go back to Earth to pick up Sam’s dad, who they think could be saved by being a host. Oh, and there are probably Goa’uld spies lurking.

Well, here’s the action half. But mixed with a whole massive helping of plot. I’ll likely give the Tok’ra a lot of shit later on for being dicks, but they come off well in this one, instantly warming to SG-1 once O’Neill tells them about the spies and catches one. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Jacob Carter is willing to be a host to Selmak. Anything to beat cancer, right?

– The insistence by the Tok’ra that somebody volunteer as a host for Selmak is kind of weird at first blush, though they do kind of have a point – nobody’s going to get along well if SG-1’s totally freaked out by the whole symbiotic relationship thing. Then again, maybe it’s kind of like having gay friends while not wanting to be gay yourself, so to speak.

– Kind of weird how the whole Sha’re situation never once came up during the host discussions. Daniel’s a bit quick to go with the flow on the Jacob thing, though in a way that is kind of Daniel.

– All the moments with Jacob figuring out what his daughter really does and then getting to experience it for himself were pretty great. Lots of excellent acting in this one by everyone involved, but everything to do with the host transfer was especially well done. Also, big Carter episode in a really cool way. Yay.

– The business where Goa’uld go in through the back of the neck because they don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror every morning was kind of creepy, to be sure.

– Tok’ra security sucks even worse than the SGC. They have no privacy or secrets yet half their council drives around with teleballs and report to the Goa’uld. Right.

– And of course now we have the Jacob/Selmak blending, which is going to be pretty cool later.

All in all, for our big midseason two part extravaganza, this one went pretty well. Tons of new stuff learned, some nick of time escapes, some nice healthy trust and mistrust, all the things a growing relationship needs.

Spirits

“Obviously we’ve started our relations on the wrong foot.”

“But that’s so…rare, sir.”

“How do I know you’re really Daniel?”

“…Because.”

“Yeah, ok.”

SG-1 is sent to go discover what happened to SG-11, who were running an offworld mining camp for a super element that could be amazing for Earth, if only we could somehow refine it we guess. Only, the planet is inhabited by whatever the proper term is for Native Americans in space, and their spirits made SG-11 disappear. So that’s not good.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A bunch of technologically advanced white guys run into some happy go lucky natives, and everything was good except the natives had some stuff the white guys wanted, so the white guys stabbed the natives in the back to take it, mocking the native religion along the way. With the exception that the white guys in this one don’t actually stab the natives in the back because they all get zapped out of existence by the natives’ Mary Sue race of alien protectors posing as their spirits, that’s basically this episode.

Yeah, I know, right?

This one is pretty much Emancipation except with natives instead of women. Filled with preaching to the audience, filled with people who are pretty much just childlike props so the white guys can talk everything out. We even get people going out of character just to be dicks to the natives. I’m not a big fan of the idea of accusing people of having liberal white guilt, but man, this episode just goes out of its way.

Two things raise this above the level of Emancipation. First, while most of the acting in this one is absolutely atrocious, the series regulars are professional enough to make the attempt. Second, once the aliens actually infiltrate the SGC and start zapping people it turns into a tense base invasion episode that’s kind of cool if you can get past the whole Mary Sue aspect to it.

Ideally, this one is about people trusting each other and the nature of those relationships. People trust each other, things go fine. People don’t, bad stuff happens. This does have a few amusing lines of dialogue here and there and a touching scene at the end, but overall just lacks the seriousness to pull it off.

I’m reminded here of the Highlander fourth season episode Something Wicked. That one dealt with Native American spirituality too, but instead of recycling all the old cliches, it took the concept it wanted (healers of the spirit who consume evil), adapted it to the mythology of the show, and came up with a new, innovative, and really cool new bit of lore for the show.

This episode does none of that, and suffers for it.

A few things:

– The bit with the arrow nailing Jack was amusing.

– Sam’s first command! Too bad it was this.

– The growing influence of the NID is somewhat briefly mentioned. More on that soon.

– Made obvious several times here, Daniel and Jack trust each other a lot. What a change since the movie.

– I will say, Hammond taking orders from a wolf was kind of cool.

– This is the first appearance of trinium. It will return in better episodes.

Touchstone

“That’s why we want to go back. Carter wants to get a closer look with some of her specialized…doohickeys.”

“Doohickeys?”

“I believe that’s the technical term, sir.”

Colonel, why are you back so early? You were supposed to be studying that weather device.”

“And we would, sir, if it were still there.”

SG-1 goes back to the planet of Madrona to check out their really cool weather manipulation device that works on the whole planet. Unfortunately, somebody stole it. Somebody who can mess with the SGC. And they’ve brought it to Earth, and boy is it messing things up. Who can get to the bottom of this? SG-1 can.

So, check out the white Polynesians living on Madrona. Except that one Asian guy. And the random hot babe for gratuitous flesh. Man were those guys hokey.

Aside from them, man. All sorts of stuff going on. The NID stole the second Stargate from Antarctica! Or was it not the NID? Either way, our old buddy Colonel Maybourne has lots of tricks up his sleeve. We’ve had some hints about this before, of course, but this is the one where we really start to see how deep things get. Some times, Hammond can’t just pick up the phone to the president. There may even be some sort of secret cabal trying to use the SGC as pawns to gain alien technology. All kinds of crazy cloak and dagger stuff.

So many cool things here:

– I liked the combination of hero worship and blank facedness from the NID major.

– The reveals inside Area 51 were cool, especially the death gliders. That will come up later.

– Teal’c telling Maybourne about his rights retroactively makes Bane ten times better as an episode.

– Plastic Stargate! Love the obvious use of the prop there.

– I love all the “let’s look cool in our uniforms in a row!” cinematography. Also the Raiders of the Lost Ark reveal scene.

– The team doesn’t actually get to act like a commando team much, so it was neat here. RDA holds his gun hilariously, but Amanda Tapping actually looked somewhat convincing. These things are hard.

– So, so many quotable lines.

“Teal’c, it’s good to see you well.”

“In my culture, I would be well within my rights to dismember you.”

The Fifth Race

“Colonel, are you sure you’re ok?”

“I am absolutely fine! There is nothing cruvus with me! …what?”

“You just said there is nothing cruvus with you.”

“I did not!”

“Yes you did.”

“What if these Ancients were the alien race who invented the Stargate?”

The SGC finds a planet with a ring of runes similar to that of one of the races from Ernest Littlefield’s planet in the Torment of Tantalus in Season 1. SG-1 goes to investigate, and Jack winds up a massive data dump of alien knowledge into his brain that causes him to speak in Latin and MacGyver crazy science experiments. How in the world can they get him back to normal?

I…Jesus. Ok. Look. I’ll be up front here – this is in the running for favorite Stargate episode across 17 seasons of shows, and in a season that’s already given us the Tok’ra, the NID rivalry, the Asgard, and Sha’re’s baby, now we have an episode that tells us about the Ancients who built the Stargates, unlocks a whole new chevron on the gate, and by the way takes us to the Asgard planet where they have a bit of a chat with Jack about four great races who were in an alliance and incidentally humans may one day be the fifth race.

So, you know. Nothing much going on here in this totally and completely random mid-season episode that in no way advances the plot or reveals any possible lore that may eventually become the basis of an entire show. Put simply, this episode is the absolute best of Stargate, in which any possible nitpicks are so inconsequential as to be nullified. It fantastically evokes the sense of wonder and grandeur that should be evoked from the idea of humanity traveling out into the stars and meeting new races of people; people so advanced we can barely speak on their level. And then we hear that maybe someday we might.

That’s big stuff. Those are big ideas for a show about big ideas, and they’ll have ramifications all the way up until the end of televised Stargate.

Which is to say there’s a ton going on here.

– A nice callback to Torment of Tantalus, obviously.

– The first mention of the Ancients, who as Daniel correctly deduces built the Stargates and a lot else besides. They’re going to be a big deal going forward. Most notably, the entire premise of Stargate: Universe begins here.

– Also more on the Asgard, who continue to be humanity’s best friends.

– Also a callback to the Nox as being one of the four races. And the Furlings, who will never appear and be something of a running joke.

– First mention of the eighth chevron on the Stargate, which will later form the basis for Stargate Atlantis.

– Jack MacGyvers a ZPM from SGA.

– Literally every single scene with Jack is kind of hilariously amazing. RDA is the best part of the episode despite barely speaking for most of it, and when he does in Latin.

– Daniel’s little corner of the lab is great. I love the dancing Egyptians screensaver.

– It says something about this episode that I almost forgot that Jack flash programmed the dialing computer with a whole bunch of new non-Abydos cartouche Stargate addresses and completely diagrammed the DHD.

– Also so many fantastic character moments for SG-1 here as Daniel and Teal’c both show the deep bonds they’ve got with Jack. Daniel in particular refusing to leave Jack, period.

Before The Fifth Race, this show was about the struggle between humanity and the Goa’uld. After The Fifth Race, we have glimpsed what a giant place this universe of ours truly is, and the possibilities that are to come. This is really the defining moment when we learn just how big Stargate is going to go.

And it’s gonna go big.

A Matter of Time

“Captain, relativity gives me a headache.”

The brand new SG-10 attempts to gate out of a planet that’s being sucked into a black hole. Time gets really, really screwy, and the Earth is in danger of getting sucked in too. Oh dear.

So, I’m pretty sure the physics on this one are just completely wrong, and honestly it’s a bit too soon for another SGC bottle episode, but eh, this one’s kind of fun for some reason. Except the time distortion comedy, this one’s pretty straight forward – a race against (weird) time to save the planet by doing crazy SGC stuff. Cool. There’s a little bit in here playing on the whole “leave no man behind” trope, which kinda-sorta works (the bit between Jack and Cromwell was nice) but is mostly back burner to the whole black hole thing. Whatever.

A couple things of note:

– We’re one episode past The Fifth Race, and Jack has lost any knowledge he may have once had about how Stargates work. Heh?

– First appearance of Major Davis, who will return.

– At one point, Sam explains time dilation and wormhole physics to General Hammond using a donut. Greatest Stargate moment? Possibly.

– Two episodes after sealing up the second Stargate for good, we’re already unboxing the thing to solve our problems. Oi.

As a side note, this episode and The Fifth Race are switched on my DVD copy. Weird choice, though I can kind of understand wanting to break up two giant episodes with one relatively minor one. That said, it would just make the whole unboxing the second gate thing even more pronounced.

Holiday

“You don’t have to be afraid. We’re not Goa’ulds.”

“We’re not? …Of course we are not! But if we are not Goa’ulds…who are we?”

SG-1 meets an old man named Ma’chello, who Teal’c recognizes as having fought the Goa’uld as an infamous freedom fighter for years. He has many inventions and seems to be senile, but he manages to trick Daniel into swapping bodies. Hijinks ensue.

Well, Stargate had to do the body swapping thing at some point. Here we are. Goes kind from kind of comedic with Ma’chello roaming the streets trying to fit in to extremely dark, with Ma’chello telling Daniel he lost his wife to the Goa’uld and that everyone owes him and Daniel replying that he lost his wife too and that Ma’chello is no better than the Goa’uld.

I dunno. I just can’t get into this one for some reason. I appreciate the deep serious bits about fighting evil so long you become evil and the worth of human life, but for the most part Ma’chello didn’t do much for me as a character.

That said, plenty of good things to be had:

– Everybody gets their hand at trying to play as somebody else on the team except Sam. The Teal’c/Jack swap was especially amusing. Head shaving! Meditation! I love these little character moments.

– Michael Shanks got to play Daniel, Ma’chello, AND Jack here, and did the best of the SG-1 actors at doing his characters. The man really does have quite a range as an actor, as we’ll see in better episodes.

– Shoutout to Christopher Judge for getting to do an RDA impression instead of monosyllabic Teal’c. Amusing to hear him using something approaching a normal voice.

– The secondhand cringe while Ma’chello was out on the town was epic. I always have to pause a couple of times.

Serpent’s Song

“I am…afraid.”

SG-1 gets some coordinates to a planet where they witness a death glider crash. Inside is…Apophis! Now the Tau’ri have Apophis in their grasp, but there is a yet greater Goa’uld who wants him – Sokar.

Well, we sure didn’t see that coming. On the one hand, Apophis’ death here is a bit of a cheat – we know Sokar will probably just stash him in a sarcophagus later and he’ll very likely be back.

On the other hand, this is an enormously touching and emotional episode as SG-1 confronts their greatest enemy in the moment of their perhaps final victory. There are lots of nice little moments here where each member of SG-1 has their confrontation with Apophis, and some truly heart rending scenes where Apophis’ ancient Egyptian host re-emerges after thousands of years of horrific servitude.

– Enter Sokar. Who will come back.

– Wherein Jack faces down a death glider, because that’s what Jack does.

– Teal’c had some nice moments of getting to be incredibly smug.

– Watching Daniel and Apophis spar with each other over Sha’re/Amaunet is worth the price of admission. And I think Apophis is right – he really does love Amaunet just as Daniel does Sha’re.

– Again, every moment with Apophis’ host is completely heart rending and it’s a major credit to Peter Williams that he can sell such an amazing transformation. In a lot of ways these may be the most emotional moments in Stargate. Even if I forget most of the others, that poor host sticks with me.

– Likewise, Daniel performing the funeral rites.

– Apophis gets a lot of little humanizing moments here. He’s still an asshole, of course, but him crying out for Amaunet, and him saying he’s afraid are very human, a sort of admission of a sort of shared personhood between the Goa’uld and the Tau’ri. We are all alone and afraid when we die, so to speak.

Not really what you’d expect after Children of the Gods, I think, but such an enormous moment for the series. Along with The Fifth Race this is one of the best the second season has to offer. That said, there are very few truly bad episodes in Season 2 to begin with.

One False Step

“O’Neill, should we not leave now?”

“What?”

“Our presence here may be making them ill.”

The SGC sends the UAV to a brand new planet where it crashes for no reason. SG-1 goes to investigate and encounters a strange race of not quite human aliens and a bunch of plants. And then the aliens get sick.

On the one hand, an episode about aliens vs. human diseases like this started out as could have been cool. An episode about aliens and symbiotic plants like this ended up as could have been ok. An episode about the SGC’s attitude towards traipsing all over the galaxy without a care could have been interesting. An episode with all three of these things winds up being neither cool nor interesting.

Where do we start. The aliens are people in bodysuits, which isn’t so great. They’re comical, which is intermittently great. They’re mute, which means SG-1 carries the whole episode. But mainly, standing around hypothesizing is just kind of boring in this case.

Too, everyone in the SGC is suddenly an arrogant imperialist jackass, which seems just a little jarring even considering the effects of the alien plants on people. Lots of sneering “well, they’re just primitives!” going on which isn’t so hot.

It’s mostly just kind of…meh.

A couple saving graces though.

– All the Jack and Daniel bits were funny. The argument, the sitting together in the infirmary making up (and finishing each other’s sentences), all of it.

– Daniel miming the way the UAV flies was pretty great. I did like the comedic parts of the episode.

Amusing that fresh off of praising Season 2 for its great episodes we get this.

Show and Tell

“So what do I call you?”

“I do not have a name.”

“What’s your mom call you?”

“Son.”

“It’s not much of a name.”

“No. It’s more of a description.”

The Stargate at the SGC dials in, and despite attempts to close the iris, a little boy steps through and wants to speak to Jack. Turns out there’s a race of creatures called the Reetou, and they want to eradicate the Goa’uld by eradicating all possible hosts. Earth first.

Some episodes of this show are fairly eminently forgettable, and this is one of them. The Reetou are kind of interesting – invisible bug aliens – and the little boy being genetically engineered is kind of neat. Unfortunately, the rest of it isn’t really neat. The whole Jack’s son angle feels completely contrived, I don’t give much of a shit about the Reetou or Charlie, and as luck would have it neither does the show – despite warnings of a massive Reetou attack, they’re never seen again, and despite Charlie getting sent off to the Tok’ra, he’s never seen again either.

Of note, though, this is the first episode with TERs in it, which are used to find the Reetou. We’ll see them again in way better episodes.

1969

“I’d like you to take this note along with you. Keep it in your vest pocket until you get to the other side. It’s fairly self-explanatory.”

In which SG-1 has their wormhole go a bit funky and they wind up in 1969. Hilarity ensues.

So, look. It’s probably inevitable that SG-1 do a time travel episode. And given its brief flirtations with comedy in other episodes it’s probably inevitable that they’d do one that’s straight up balls to the wall comedy. And so we have 1969. In which the time travel backwards (and forwards!) doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, but in an episode this side-splittingly hilarious who even cares? I guess I could knock a few points for the nonsensical future Cassandra in the decommissioned gate room, but meh.

This is one of my favorite episodes of the entire show.

Oh god, so much. So much.

– Teal’c zat guns a Titan missile.

– Air Force Officer (in Russian) “Are you Soviet spies?” Daniel (in Russian) “No.”

– Jack fucks around with his interrogator pretty much because he can.

– One more use of the zat disintegration trick. I think this is the last one.

– SG-1 looks horrified as Jack zats the future General Hammond.

– Daniel apparently speaks 23 languages. Damn.

– But seriously, how outrageous is that hippy bus.

– “You know man, the war.” “The war with Canada.” “No.”

– Because why not have a Raiders of the Lost Ark map montage?

– And then SG-1 jumped a Stargate using truck batteries.

Out of Mind

“First of all, I regret to inform you that everyone on your team – Dr. Daniel Jackson, Captain Samantha Carter, and a Jaffa named Teal’c – are all deceased.”

“As a matter of fact, I imagine everyone you ever knew is probably gone now.”

Jack wakes up in the SGC…in 2077. Everyone he knows is dead, and they aren’t sure what happened to him.

Sam wakes up in the SGC…in 2077. Everyone she knows is dead, and they aren’t sure what happened to her.

Daniel wakes up in the SGC…in 2077. Everyone he knows is dead, and they aren’t sure what happened to him.

Teal’c wakes up in the SGC…in 1999. Everyone he knows is MIA, and they aren’t sure what happened.

…Hey, wait a minute.

What a weird season finale. On the one hand, half of it is a clip show. On the other hand, there’s an extremely compelling episode here as the members of SG-1 attempt to figure out what in the world has happened to them and where they are, and the mystery slowly unravels. Wait, these guys aren’t who they said they were. Wait, they’re actually Goa’uld. Wait, this isn’t the SGC it’s a Goa’uld base. Wait, it’s actually Hathor. Oshi-

By contrast, the bit where Teal’c wakes up and is all “fuck you, leaving!” to General Hammond is a bit forced and a bit weird. There’s a payoff to it, but it doesn’t really fit in an episode about the other three members of SG-1 very well.

The clip show half of this is miserable as usual, while the actual episode is deeply compelling and cool. It’s just a little strange to have a clip show in the finale, especially with so many other strong contenders for finale status like The Fifth Race or Serpent’s Song or even Touchstone. Season 2’s pacing was a little off.

Fun moments to be had!

– Welp, there goes Daniel’s hair from the movie. Action hero Daniel inbound.

– First introduction of the little in-head memory device things.

– It must have been fun for everyone talking about the SGC was just a set. So very meta.

– Some fun ship moments on the SS Sam and Jack, most notably Jack checking barely clothed Sam out every two seconds or so.

– I think the little Jaffa staff gun torch things in the Goa’uld base were new. Those were neat.

– Yay, Hathor’s back. I actually kind of like Hathor, so that was neat. That she was able to prune off a bunch of Serpent and Horus guards was a nice touch, and recreating the entire SGC just to mindfuck SG-1 seems like a very Hathor thing to do.

– New CGI version of the Goa’uld symbiote makes its appearance here, which is a bit off but still better than the prosthetic ones. Also, Hathor threatening to make somebody a host is a pretty creepy as usual.

Daniel Jackson Death Count: 3
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)

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)


Movies and Television Comments (2) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Stargate SG-1: Season Two
avatar Comment by JC #1
April 16, 2015 at 5:50 am

Haven’t seen Stargate for a bit, well, the earlier seasons. I usually rewatch the later seasons. But you have definitely reminded me of some of my favourites of the season. This weekend shall be a Stargate Marathon! *what have you done, firelord Dwipsensei? I was gonna do work this weekend…*

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
April 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Muahahahaha

Leave a Comment