|Sketchley's Translations Main Index||Macross Portal|
|By AARON SKETCHLEY (aaronsketch@HOTdelete_thisMAIL.com)||Ver 1.22 2021.02.05|
The Serpent's Lair
In the Line of Duty
Message in a Bottle
The Tok'ra: Part 1
The Tok'ra: Part 2
A Matter of Time
The Fifth Race
One False Step
Show and Tell
Out of Mind
Bra'tac, who has come as Apophis's loyal servant, puts the mortally wounded Klorel in a sarcophagus to regenerate, and the invasion of Earth is put on hold until Klorel recovers. Apophis orders Bra'tac to kill SG-1—an order that he subsequently ignores, freeing SG-1 instead. Whereupon the soldiers loyal to Bra'tac join forces with SG-1, and they continue sabotaging Klorel's ship before ringing to Apophis's ship to continue the fight.
Meanwhile, General Hammond is tasked with transporting Earth's best and brightest through the gate to the "Alpha Site", while fending off Colonel Samuels, who leads the counterattack against the Goa'uld ships. The tension between the two is great, and General Hammond gets some of the best lines in the episode—Don S. Davis's delivery of them is the highlight of the episode.
This episode starts with the eminent threat of the destruction of the Earth, and then puts it on the back burner as it stalls to fill in most of the running time. Due to that, a lot of the scenes and action are a repeat of the preceding episode—with the complication that the Goa'uld and their Jaffa soldiers know that the SG-1 team is onboard.
Tony Amendola's appearance as Master Bra'tac is a welcome addition, as his repertoire with O'Neill over who is the leader—or has the best tactics, or the best weapons—is quite enjoyable. However, the episode never really recaptures the tension of the preceding three episodes. One thing the episode does masterfully, however, is depict just how outmatched and out-of-their-league our heroes and the Earth truly are. While it takes a (long) while to put off the Goa'uld attack, the episode thoroughly underlines how much of a continuing threat the Goa'uld are.
Carter attempts to revive an evacuee who was injured in the attack, and gets possessed by a Goa'uld! The Goa'uld turns out to be Jolinar, a Tok'ra—who is on the run from the System Lords—and is being hunted by an Ashrak, a Goa'uld assassin.
Back on Earth, Cassandra (last seen in season 1's "Singularity") visits, and becomes the catalyst that reveals who and what Carter has become to her teammates. This is when the fun really begins, as the Ashrak—who was also injured in the Goa'uld attack on the villagers—revives, and begins relentlessly hunting Carter down.
The highlight, and some of the funnest parts of the episode, is Carter acting out of character—acting how the Tokra thinks she would act—and the other SG-1 team members slowly catching on that she's not who she appears to be. The infiltration of SGC by the Ashrak is also handled with aplomb, and also provides some big laughs. In the process, the episode elaborates on the security procedures and checks in SGC to prevent a Goa'uld infiltration; and how much more thorough they need to be. It may have been only a few throwaway lines and shots, but it adds volumes to the believability of the Stargate setting.
While the ending is a forgone conclusion, I really liked how Carter doesn't bounce back to her usual self and appears to be quite traumatized by the whole experience. As this episode has a really profound effect on the rest of the series, it is a must see!
A mysterious white light envelopes them, and they are transported to a large dark chamber illuminated only by an overhead spotlight on the five of them. The man they helped falls to his knees and prostrates himself—they are all on trial! Jackson suddenly realizes that taldor means 'justice'. The man is a murderer, and SG-1 is guilty of helping him. Their punishment: being sent through the stargate to an underground penal colony for the rest of their lives!
At one point Jackson speculates that the jail is inside the stargate facility of a long extinct civilization. The problem is that there are no guards, there is no DHD, there is a hierarchy among the prisoners, and food comes through the stargate once a day.
Concurrently, Stargate Command dispatches SG-9—the diplomatic team—to negotiate for SG-1's release. This eventually leads to General Hammond's first trip through the stargate to plead SG-1's case. Hammond's trepidation and resolve just before going through the stargate is one of the highlights of the episode.
The episode also sets up a villain—Linea—who's been given the nickname "the destroyer of worlds". Most puzzling, she appears to have advanced scientific knowledge (biology and chemistry in particular), something similar to a Goa'uld hand device, and is able to hack the SGC computer system within minutes of learning how to use it, but has next to no knowledge of the stargate network! Intriguing.
Regaining consciousness, SG-1 finds themselves back on earth, split into two groups: Teal'c and O'Neill, and Carter and Jackson. Like an episode of the Twilight Zone, they are reliving tragic experiences in O'Neill's and Jackson's past, with groups of the planet's residents—still concealed in the black robes—silently observing the SG-1 team members in what comes across as a macabre experiment.
While the repetitive nature of the story could be a bit tedious for those not paying full attention, it is interesting watching the characters starting to grasp their situation, and figure out how to get out of it. The episode also plays with the viewers, setting up a couple of sequences that challenge us to see if we can pick up the subtle clues and signs that indicate whether the SG-1 team has truly escaped its predicament or not.
The highlight of the episode is the return of Jay Acovone as Lt. Col. Kawalsky. It's a shame that the character was killed in the series' third episode, as the great chemistry Acovone has with the rest of the cast is on marvellous display here. However, not having done so would have greatly diminished the emotional punch of The Enemy Within.
It's also nice when the series films "on location". This time it's the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park. When combined with the rain forest seen in last week's Prisoners, they underscore how great Vancouver is as a filming location!
Shyla's father, the leader of the planet—who pretends to be a Goa'uld but we later learn killed the Goa'uld ruler of the planet 700 years ago—sentences the SG-1 team to work in the mines. Soon, Shyla retrieves Jackson, and brings him to share dinner with her father. Things start really deteriorating from there, and in an ensuing escape attempt from the mines, Jackson is caught in a rock slide and heavily injured.
He is put into a Goa'uld Sarcophagus to heal, and makes a full recovery. It's here that we start getting into the meat and potatoes of this story, and the myriad of meanings that the title represents. Perhaps the best part of the episode is its closer look at the Sarcophagus technology, and how its use can be just as detrimental as it is lifesaving. Along the way, we get some intriguing clues about why the Goa'uld are as bad as they are, as well as more insight into the Tok'ra and how much they differ from the Goa'uld.
The episode also takes a close look at Jackson. While his "dazed and confused" persona leaves a lot to be desired, he does an incredibly heroic thing at the end when he decides to go back to the planet to not only confront Shyla—who essentially turned him into an addict—but to also try to rescue the people of the planet from their harsh existence of hand-mining Naquadah out of fear of a Goa'uld reprisal if they stop delivering it.
SG-1 heads to the world to render assistance, and they soon discover that Cimmeria has been invaded by the Goa'uld System Lord Heru'ur—the son of Ra and Hathor! The episode wisely splits the SG-1 team in two, with O'Neill and Teal'c fighting a guerrilla war to delay Heru'ur's Jaffa from their final attack on the remaining Cimmerians, and Carter and Jackson trying to unravel the riddles in the Hall of Thor's Might in the hopes of gaining access to Asgardian weapons to defend the planet before it is too late.
Due to that, this episode has a lot going for it: there's a lot of action, the introduction of a new Goa'uld System Lord, and some genuine exploring and unearthing of hidden secrets. The highlight is the reveal of the Asgardians themselves, and as they are still cloaked in shadows, the episode poses just as many questions as it answers—if not more so!
The only low points are the changed filming locations for the Cimmerian stargate (I've heard that some of the filming locations have been turned into residential areas over the years, perhaps this was one of them?), and that Kendra doesn't return—having been killed before the SG-1 team arrives. Nevertheless, Carter being able to use Kendra's Goa'uld Hand Device and struggling to activate the Healing Device is intriguing. All-in-all, while the episode doesn't change the status quo, it unexpectedly moves the show into new directions and areas to explore.
As Carter and Jackson prepare to leave, the orb's internal temperature begins increases rapidly. Fearing that it may be a bomb, Teal'c and O'Neill move the orb from the lab to the gate room. As they prepare to throw the orb through the open gate, spikes shoot out of it affixing it to the floor, and ceiling—as well as spearing O'Neill and pinning him to the wall.
From here, the episode takes on some unexpected twists and turns as SG-1 and the entire SGC race to decipher the text on the orb, rescue O'Neill, and prevent the virus that's coming out of the orb from infecting the Earth! As an added twist, they discover that the virus can infect concrete AND is fed by energy—meaning that the base's auto-destruct will only speed up the inevitability of the virus escaping from the SGC and infecting the Earth!
Throughout this, there are some scenes with great character development. One of the better ones has O'Neill indicating that he regrets bringing the orb back for study, and Teal'c responds that it wasn't a mistake, but a necessary risk, as "the benefit may outweigh the risk".
This episode is about three things: what Apophis has been up to after his spaceship was destroyed in "The Serpent's Lair", what Teal'c's wife has had to do to survive and raise their son, and Teal'c's relationship with his wife and those he left behind on Chulak. Perhaps due to that, there are parts that are a bit thin. That is to say, they aren't given as much attention as they probably should have. What is missing most is an explanation of why Fro'tak decided to marry Drey'auc—close friends generally don't do those sorts of things, and Teal'c's reaction implies that it's not acceptable in Jaffa culture, either.
Despite that weakness, the episode covers a lot of ground, and does a good job at further developing the culture of the Jaffa, along with reminding us of how depraved the Goa'uld are, and how tenuous a grip on power the System Lords have. While the ending is—as O'Neill says in the episode—a little too easy, the indication that the people in the 'Land of Light' ("The Broca Divide") are welcoming Rya'c and Drey'auc is a nice bit of continuity with their offer of refuge to the Tolan's in "Enigma".
On Earth, Carter faces her father, an air force general who has pulled a number of strings to give Carter her dream job: a position in NASA. Alas, despite his rank, he has no idea what Carter really does in Cheyenne Mountain. O'Neill, on the other hand, is confronted by a nosy reporter who knows a little too much about the Stargate program for it to be the fruits of investigative journalism—General Hammond suspects a political angle, and suspicion falls on Senator Kinsey.
On Abydos, Jackson is shocked to find his wife Sha're back with her father, apparently free from the Goa'uld inside her, and 9 months pregnant. She was hidden there by Apophis from the other System Lords, and the Goa'uld is merely sleeping inside her. The wildcard is Teal'c, who is struggling to understand why a pair of Goa'uld would want to make a human offspring—something that he has never heard of having happened in his long years of experience serving the Goa'uld!
This episode is all about keeping secrets and the troubles and complications caused by keeping secrets—or having ones secrets revealed. In the process, new secrets are also created that hopefully continue causing discord among the Goa'uld System Lords.
The highlights are the main characters all dealing with situations that put them well out of their comfort zones, and watching their actions and reactions. Some handle it better than others, but no one truly comes out unchanged from their experiences. This episode also lays the foundations for the stories in many, many subsequent episodes—a definite must-see.
Teal'c's condition gets worse and worse. The Goa'uld symbiote he carries that usually protects him from all manner of disease is no help. All it is doing is slowing the pace of the effects of the insect's venom. Colonel Maybourne appears, with orders to remove Teal'c to his facility, and with designs on Teal'c and the insects—as it is soon learned that the bugs reproduce by rewriting their victim's DNA until a dozen new bugs emerge from the victim's corpse.
The episode becomes a race against the clock: can the SG-1 team find the cure in time? Can they administer the cure before Teal'c dies? Can they find him—as he escaped en route to Maybourne's facility—before units under Maybourne's control find Teal'c first?
Aside from the steadily increasing tension, the highlight of the episode is Teal'c's humour. He is truly a fish-out-of-water, and knows hardly anything about Earth, and the customs and culture of the people living just outside the SGC base. Also, one of the best things about this episode is that we never learn about the bugs—where they came from, how to get rid of an infestation, etc. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but grin at the final sequence after Teal'c recovers and gives his 'reward' to the little girl that helped him.
Moments before departing, Carter calls her father—Jacob Carter—who is dying of cancer. He puts on a brave face, but she sees through it. However, as she is key to the success of the mission, she can't be replaced and has to depart with the SG-1 team.
At the gate address, SG-1 makes contact with the Tok'ra, and are taken to their secret underground base. This sets up a very interesting and tension filled introduction and exploration of who and what the Tok'ra are. Perhaps what is most remarkable is that despite the shared goal of defeating the Goa'uld System Lords, the humans and Tok'ra don't immediately jump into an alliance. In fact, there is plenty of distrust and concern on both sides—to the point that O'Neill repeatedly asks if they are prisoners!
The episode also ends on a cliffhanger, with Carter's father on death's door, and the SG-1 team effectively imprisoned until the Tok'ra decide to move their hideout to another planet. The episode is a must see, as it sets up some major story elements and fills in the broad strokes of themes that continue to run through the next eight and a half seasons of the Stargate SG-1 series. That's on top of the excellent characterization of Carter, Jacob Carter, General Hammond, and the Tok'ra Martouf and his love relationship with Jolinar!
The Tok'ra allow Carter and O'Neill to return to Earth. Their task is not a simple one, for after convincing General Hammond that the blending is in everyone's best interests, they still have to convince Carter's father Jacob that it's a good idea.
As is common in 2-parters, the second part generally doesn't quite live up to the anticipation and expectations left by the first part. The Tok'ra: Part 2 comes close, but it leaves a few too many unanswered questions (related to the episode's plot, not the overall series' plot). And in fitting in so many things, the episode appears to have rushed or glossed over some important details. For example: how did the Goa'uld spy that was in Cordesh leave him without killing the host? How did the spy take over the Tok'ra woman? When it did, did it battle the Goa'uld symbiote in it to the death?
Nevertheless, the episode does round out the Tok'ra significantly, and while not answering or resolving any of the long-term story themes and issues, it does provide a satisfying conclusion to Jacob Carter's introductory arc and the relationship problems he has with his daughter. On top of that, it opens a whole realm of possibilities with the Tok'ra being not-quite-allied friends against the Goa'uld, as well as further adventures with the combined Jacob Carter/Selmak being.
SG-1 departs, sans O'Neill and under the command of Carter, to investigate SG-11's disappearance, smooth things over with the locals, and hopefully establish a trade relationship with them for trinium. While investigating SG-11's mining site, SG-1 is captured by First Nations warriors—specifically Coast Salish tribesmen—equipped with forged trinium weapons and armour.
This episode was an unexpected delight. Up until now, the Stargate show has looked to ancient European or Asian civilizations and cultures for inspiration. This is the first time we get something much closer to home. Home being my hometown Victoria, near Vancouver where the Stargate shows were filmed. Due to that, a lot of the themes and cultural representations are very familiar to me. However, I couldn't help but note that the First Nations are occasionally depicted as "generic", and some of the cultural artifacts (totem poles, carvings) came across more as a Westerner's interpretation rather than well-researched recreations of the Coast Salish people's unique artistic styles.
Nevertheless, despite its flaws, this episode satisfied me. One of the reasons I started watching SG-1 was to get a taste of home, and this episode is more or less a full course meal. Alas, due to the circumstances in the episode, the planet gets cut off from the stargate network (the locals bury their stargate), and we never get to revisit it in later seasons.
SG-1 is released by promising to retrieve the Touchstone, and returns to SGC, where they inform General Hammond. The subsequent investigation unearths a can of worms, and reveals a shadow organization working behind SGC's back to illicitly retrieve alien technology!
As this episode sets up huge story arcs in subsequent seasons and series, it is a must see. There is also the return of Col. Maybourne—the bad-guy that we love to hate—and the introduction of a whole division at Area 51 that is backwards-engineering the technologies that SGC, and SG-1 in particular, has managed to bring back deliberately or accidentally.
One highlight of the episode is the revelation that General Hammond is quite aware of politics, and is cognizant enough to have unofficial connections to—when push comes to shove—get his message through to the top, or call in favours to get the results he needs to complete his mission. There's also the heavy implication that there is still a debate on how to use the Stargate Program, with the people championing the scorched-earth, take-what-we-want-no-matter-the-hurt-caused paradigm mostly staying in the shadows. The episode is full of very intriguing and troubling developments!
O'Neill volunteers to lead a rescue mission, but General Hammond—suspecting that something is seriously amiss—orders a M.A.L.P. to investigate the situation on the other side before he commits any SGC personnel. They soon learn that the planet SG-10 is on is inside the event horizon of a black hole. Not only that, but gravity and time distortions are seeping through the stargate and growing stronger and stronger inside SGC. Worse still, they cannot severe the connection by shutting down the stargate!
A Matter of Time is one of, if not the most memorable Stargate SG-1 episodes. We are treated to truly unique sights, sounds, and phenomenon that don't appear again in this series, and hardly—if ever—appear in other science fiction franchises.
It's to the writers' credit that they have created a truly engaging hour of television that keeps the viewer on the edge of the seat the entire time, but without relying on the villain de jour or other returning protagonists. In addition, the episode not only highlights Carter's genius, it also reveals significant pieces of O'Neill's past military action.
The highlight of the episode is its exploration of gravity-induced time dilation, and its scientific accuracy—in as much as the premise allows. The only weak point is the formation of the black hole at the beginning. Perhaps it would be better to have had the planet fall into the black hole (after having had it's orbit disrupted into that trajectory) rather than being sucked into one that explodes into formation. Be that as it may, despite not having a villain, this is a great action episode with the fate of the world resting in the balance!
Reviving a few hours later in the infirmary in Stargate Command, O'Neill initially appears to be unaffected by what happened. However, his diction starts to be gradually replaced with a heretofore unknown language, and he starts behaving uncharacteristically—reprogramming the stargate dialing program being one of the more extreme things he does.
This episode is a tour de force. We get a range of fully earned emotions—joy, sadness—as well as volumes of humour. On top of that, we get our first real introduction to the Ancients, in addition to the names of all four races that were members of the ancient alliance. This episode marks a major turning point for the people of Earth, as not only do they learn about the creators of the stargate network and addresses to stargates that the Goa'uld most likely don't know about, but also the first inklings of the possibility of a close relationship with the Asgard ("Thor's race").
This episode is a must see: not only does it set up the things that eventually grow and develop into Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, it is also loaded with mysteries and riddles—all with a healthy dose of pathos and laughs!
SG-1 has no choice but to take the severely injured Apophis back to SGC, and begin to interrogate him while his injuries are tended to. They don't make much progress, as Apophis succumbs to rapid aging and the withdrawal symptoms from the sarcophagus—the device the Goa'uld use to heal and regenerate. However, the Goa'uld that Apophis escaped from lays siege on the SGC through the stargate in order to recapture him, and deploys a new weapon that will eventually melt the protective iris over the gate!
This episode is loaded with important details on what's being happening with Apophis, the System Lords, and the Tok'ra. It explains why Apophis and the other powerful Goa'uld have been leaving Earth alone—they're fighting battles against each other—and introduces Sokar, a new villain who is essentially the 'original' Satan!
The highlight of the episode is watching Apophis painfully deteriorate and eventually die. However, the best part of the episode is how much it delves into the morality of the heroes in SG-1 as well as SGC. On the one hand you have O'Neill who risks his and his team's lives to rescue the injured Apophis (even though he later laments that he should have shot Apophis, we know he would never do it). On the other hand we have General Hammond emphasizing that Apophis is a prisoner of war, who has certain rights (on Earth), and his later unwillingness to hand over a prisoner to certain execution. Finally, there is SG-1's uncomfortable reaction when they learn that the President has ordered SGC to send Apophis to Sokar, and later when they learn from the Tok'ra that Sokar will probably be using a sarcophagus to revive Apophis and continue torturing him!
Through both Apophis's statements, Sokar's actions, and the Tok'ra's estimation of what Sokar will do to Apophis's body, we are treated to another round of Gua'uld depravity and villainy.
What follows is an episode that is a mix of charming and tedious. While the gimmick that Jackson's and Ma'chello's consciousnesses switch bodies is interesting, it does raise a lot of questions. Such as how did Ma'chello learn how to imitate Jackson—and other earthlings—so quickly in the limited time he had to observe them?
Nevertheless, the episode pays off when Teal'c and O'Neill switch bodies, and we start to learn surprising things about both of them ('you will not shave my head!' and kelno'reem). And while it's a given that Jackson will be returned to his own body eventually, the moral debate between Ma'chello and Jackson comes across as rushed, and is less than satisfying. Alas, the episode leaves far too many unanswered questions due to its focus on the gimmick of seeing the male characters in different bodies—questions such as what exactly did Ma'chello create that so incensed the Goa'uld? Did SGC acquire any of it? And can others use the stasis-bed that Ma'chello used to keep himself alive for centuries?
SG-1 makes contact with the aliens in their village. Despite looking very similar to humans, the aliens are not. They are also so primitive that they have not developed communication much beyond the most basic—or, as Jackson puts it, "I've had a deeper conversation with a dog"! Jackson communicates enough that the aliens bring the wreckage of the drone to SG-1. However, soon after that the aliens start collapsing one by one from an unknown affliction or illness. From there, it is a race to determine the cause of the illness, if it has been transmitted to the SG teams, and how to cure the aliens.
The episode is at times amusing, but at other times very slowly paced. While it does a good job showing the ramifications of two alien species coming into contact with each other—specifically the mayhem caused by introduced viruses—it may have been better to have the story set in a place where the primitive aliens can at least communicate with our heroes.
Nevertheless, this episode suggests that one reason why epidemics caused by the introduction of viruses don't occur more often is because most "aliens" the SG teams meet are people taken from Earth who have already been exposed to Earth's biome in the relatively recent past. The symbiotic relationship between the apparently sentient "mushrooms" and not-human alien humanoids is also intriguing. Alas, the episode hardly delves into it beyond the suggestion of intelligent plants having a communicative relationship with mammal-like creatures.
The boy—who is sick and on death's door—forms a bond with O'Neill at his 'mother's urging. Everyone assumes that the 'mother' is an imaginary friend that the boy concocted due to the apparent trauma of losing his homeworld. However, the 'mother' turns out to be a member of an alien race that is completely invisible and silent until they fire they're weapon, because they are 180° out of phase with us!
This episode is an interesting interpretation of 'my enemy's enemy is my friend'. The twist being the rebels (or terrorists as the Tok'ra describe them) who strongly disagree! The part of 'Charlie'—the young boy who came to warn Earth—is wonderfully acted. The problem is that the series has already tackled the theme of a traumatized child befriending one of the SG-1 team members in the first season's Cold Lazarus and Singularity.
Nevertheless, the concept of the Re'tu is quite thought provoking, and an appearance by Carter's father is always more than welcome. One highlight of the episode is how everyone with a Goa'uld in them—Teal'c, Carter's father and his Tok'ra companion—react almost like they are physically ill when they get too close to the Re'tu. Alas, the episode doesn't even try to establish a dialogue between SGC and the Re'tu, and basically ignores how the Tok'ra acquired their information on the Re'tu Central Authority or the tactics of the Re'tu rebels.
This is a wonderful, humour laced episode that ultimately morphs into a road-trip as the SG-1 team races from Colorado to New York to find their way back home. Along the way, we are introduced to a young "Lieutenant" Hammond, and reintroduced to the young Catherine Langford—it's great to see Glynis Davies years before she became Maryann Wallace in Stargate Universe!
Despite having no antagonists and a load of humour, this episode has a surprising amount of tension. The explanation for the time travelling is also well thought out, and it gives this episode its countdown timer. It should be noted that this episode feels utterly unique and original, despite sharing many major plot points with Back to the Future (mistaken travel to the past, have to convince a younger version of a friend to help, use the time machine exactly when an impossible-to-predict natural phenomenon occurs, and so on.)
I was blown away at how the production team used a bundle of locations in the Vancouver area to show the hippie's bus trip across the US—the efforts of the location scouts really paid off! Nevertheless, the highlight of the episode is Teal'c's conversation with the hippie bus driver, with a lot of the lines being made all that much more humorous by Christopher Judge's deadpan delivery. The episode is a real treat.
This episode plays as a pseudo clip-show. While it is interesting to relive some of SG-1's greatest events, the manner in which the episode clotheslines the clips together does the exact opposite of building tension. By the time Teal'c appears—being the only SG-1 member to have returned to the real SGC—it was hard to care about his decision to leave the Earth.
As this is the 3rd or 4th time I've watched the SG-1 series straight through, I'm quite surprised that I have no memory of having watched this supposed cliffhanger! Which, in many ways, speaks volumes about it. It's a shame that the 2nd season ends on such a dismal note, despite the show having shown its potential for greatness in more than half the episodes this season (based on my ratings of 3 stars or higher). Perhaps the only redeeming point is the return of Hathor from the first season.