Here we are again, this time with an episode about crystals turning into people and one about a group of people who live in the words. Let’s get to it.

Cold Lazarus

Synopsis

We begin with SG-1 on a very yellow world made of sand with hundreds of blue crystals strewn about, which upon closer inspection have been blown apart by something unknown. O’Neill descends into a pit by himself and upon touching a crystal gets zapped by an unknown force, moments later a copy of him appears above him. As the rest of the team prepares to go back through the Gate the copy follows, abandoning the real O’Neill on the planet.

At the debriefing the copy is distant and more focused on his observations of the real O’Neill and upon dismissal goes to his locker to learn what he can. At the bottom of the locker he finds an old cigar case that is filled with knick-knacks including photos of O’Neill earlier in his military career and of him and his son Charlie. Carter comes into the room to get changed into civilian gear and tries to make small-talk about family but the clone leaves. Carter talks about this with Daniel before they head to the lab and finds out about the fact O’Neill’s son is dead and that he killed himself with O’Neill’s service pistol.

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After learning about her address from the belongings the copy heads to his ex-wife Sara’s house. Not knowing what happened but observing children’s toys he asks to see Charlie, causing Sara to run away angrily and her father to come out and invite him inside. After looking around Charlie’s old room the copy understands that he’s dead, with Sara finding him soon after. With Sara reconnecting with the more emotional copy whereas the real O’Neill remained closed off.

Back at the SGC Daniel and Carter enlist Teal’c’s help with their studies on the crystal, including getting him to fire his staff weapon at it without permission, finding that it was the Goa’uld who destroyed the crystals on the planet. While studying the results the crystal startles them after it starts copying their faces when they get close. The Gate starts activating and the three of them run to the Gateroom where the base is on full alert to find the real O’Neill come back through the Gate and is promptly arrested on suspicion of being a Goa’uld trick.

Sara and the copy have gone to a local park to reconnect and it’s revealed that O’Neill walked away from Sara as he felt she blamed him for Charlie’s death. The copy begins to confuse Sara by talking about the Stargate and suffers an energy spike that causes Sara to take him to the local hospital.

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At the SGC they confirm that their O’Neill is the real one after a series of tests and conclude that the copy must be a crystal from the planet. After talking to the crystal that copied their faces they find out that the Goa’uld killed the crystals after a Jaffa was killed upon interacting with them. They’re unable to find the copy on base and find that the small crystal is already decaying and suspect the copy will to. Hammond finds that the copy is at the hospital and sends the team there, confiscating Teal’c’s Staff Weapon after he tries to take it with him, thinking the planet is violent after watching TV footage of protests.

At the hospital the copy once again confuses Sara due to asking to go through the Stargate and his energy spikes are becoming more violent and frequent, leading to the hospital to be evacuated. SG-1 arrives and O’Neill finds Sara, causing further confusion as she’s seen two of them. The team go to find the copy, who is weakened immensely and thinks they’re there to kill him and that the copy thought that the only way to save O’Neill was to bring Charlie back to the planet, confusing physical pain with emotional pain. The copy changes form to that of Charlie and gives both O’Neill and Sara the chance to say goodbye properly. The episode ends with O’Neill taking Charlie through the Gate.

Analysis

This is a pretty decent episode that focuses more on O’Neill as a person, rather than just the walking quip machine he had been previously, predominantly on the damage the death of his son before the events of the film did to him as a person and his relationship with his family and friends. It’s quite interesting to see in a fairly light-hearted show a realistic look on relationships after a traumatic event, with other shows normally just hitting the recent button or getting them straight back together again as if nothing ever happened (*cough Amy & Rory in Asylum of the Daleks *cough*).

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Also this marks the first time we see this show’s view of Earth outside the surroundings of the SGC, with it being a world that is seeing the growing fragility after what then was still the era of post-USSR conflicts such as the Yugoslav wars and Chechnyan conflicts. This causes Teal’c, still a newcomer, to wrongly think that the Earth is warlike and in constant turmoil, and that they should be armed outside.

Despite the good of the episode I have to say that the soundtrack for it is dreadful. It genuinely sounds like a terrible children’s carton or Disney film where everyone lives happily ever after with no consequences.

Assorted Musings

· Teal’c has clearly been reading up on Earth as he is able to identify all the sporting teams of Chicago when given a hat with the name on it.

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· I’m surprised no one noticed something was wrong much earlier and that O’Neill had been replaced given how he was surprisingly silent back on base.

Quote of the episode: “Your world is a strange place.” – Teal’c after watching television for the first time.

The Nox

Synopsis

This episode begins with the SGC showing off their facilities and toys to the Secretary of Defence. Despite the show the Secretary shares the concerns of the administration that the SGC isn’t bringing back enough technology to justify the program. Teal’c, sensing the mood, shares information he has about a creature that can make itself invisible on command. SG-1 promptly head to the planet in question. After moving only a few yards away from the Gate they turn around to find their equipment and the Gate itself have disappeared. The team split up in an attempt to find the Gate with Daniel and O’Neill finding and attempting to tranq the creature they came to find. A Staff Weapon shot goes past and upon investigation they find that Apophis and a team of Jaffa are also on the planet, also likely trying to acquire the flying creature. The team decide to try and capture Apophis given his small guard.

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The team set up an ambush in a narrow ravine and try to take out Apophis but he activates an energy shield. One of the Jaffa pass him a Staff Weapon and he promptly takes out O’Neill, Carter, and Daniel. Teal’c walks out and declares that he dies free but he, along with the rest of those killed (which includes a Jaffa), disappear suddenly. The team wake up in a small hut with their wounds completely healed. Expressing confusion at the situation a strange man and woman enter the tent and request they come outside which reveals a group of huts in a small clearing, with two other natives, an old man and a young child.

After a while the previously quiet natives start talking English after learning it. They reveal that their weapons are gone and that they will take them back to the Stargate. Despite requesting to stay and wanting to deal with Apophis the natives, called the Nox, repeatedly tell them they should leave immediately and that their leaders don’t want to talk to them. They also reveal that they’re still healing their ‘brother’, the other Jaffa injured. O’Neill and Carter request to help the Nox defend themselves but are gain rebuffed. As a result the team decide to take the injured Jaffa with them for information but fear the Apophis will be waiting for them.

Teal’c goes to the tent housing the other Jaffa where he refuses to abandon Apophis and instead wants to capture SG-1 for a reward. Outside the others are building rudimentary weapons, such as a bow and arrow, to use to hunt down Apophis. The Nox child follows O’Neill as he practices, questioning why they want to kill Apophis, with O’Neill explaining who Apophis is and why he needs to be killed. One of the flying animals appears and O’Neill tries to attack it with the bow without success. One of the Nox comes and is angry at O’Neill for teaching the child about violence and that it’s the Nox who have the power to hide things, not the animals themselves. They also explain that the Nox will only let them take Apophis or his men if they voluntarily go with them.

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Back at the camp the Jaffa cries out to attract one of the Nox and stabs both Teal’c and the Nox woman before making his escape. As the Nox treat her the escaped Jaffa witnesses this, intending to tell Apophis. SG-1 talks to the leader about this and state that their inability to hide while healing could be a fatal weakness, something to which the Nox leader also agrees. Teal’c and O’Neill follow the escaped Jaffa and find him informing the other Jaffa about the Nox. While arguing with the Nox about what to do they realise the child has gone missing and is found, injured by Apophis, and brought back to the camp to be healed, with SG-1 seeing it as a trap.

Upon their offer of help being rejected again the team fake going back to the Gate and instead intend to attack Apophis when he tries to attack the Nox. O’Neill believes a slower weapon like the arrow will pass through Apophis’ shield, similar to how the Staff Weapon made it through earlier, and intends to tranq him that way. The team ambush Apophis again and this time see much more success with them quickly overpowering his guards, however as O’Neill strikes he is teleported away by the Nox, causing him to exclaim that he’ll come back in force next time.

The team return to the Gate’s location with the Nox revealing that they’ve sent Apophis back through. The Nox ask why the team were so determined to defend them with the team replying that it’s the way of the strong to defend the weak. The Nox leader reveals there is a city floating in the sky and declares that ‘their way is not the only way’. With the Nox intending to bury the Gate after they leave the team are somber after they realise that their insistence on force has cost them not only an ally but also the advanced knowledge they possess. O’Neill remarks on what the Nox told him earlier on, that the very young don’t always listen to their elders.

Analysis

This episode, while at times badly paced, is one of my favourite of the entire show, let alone the season. It’s common for shows in the Sci-Fi genre to always have the main character not only win, but always be right. On Star Trek the federation are the utopian good guys who routinely ‘white man’s burden’ their way through the universe and on Doctor Who the Doctor is always right, no matter how many die in the process. Here however we see how SG-1 not only wrongly assume that the simple appearance and dress of the Nox must mean they’re inferior but their stubbornness and refusal to listen to them end up costing them dearly as it turns out that the Nox had the technology they had been searching for all along. It’s this inability to get what they want or always be in the right that sets Stargate SG-1 apart, especially in its infancy when the SGC is still in its early days and not a superpower.

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Also this episode marks the first appearance of the Goa’uld since The Enemy Within and goes further into explaining how they became so dominant. Not only do they have personal shields that can detect the kinetic force of incoming objects but this episode first hints at their nature as technological scavengers who take what they can. The rareness of disobedience is also shown in detail for the first time, with former friends of Teal’c refusing to leave Apophis as they still believe him to be a god even when having he chance to shows that Jaffa society is incredibly focused around devotion to one’s god, a fact that comes into sharp focus later in the season when it takes focus in Teal’c’s backstory.

However once again the music in this episode is quite shite to be perfectly honest and the wandering hippy look of the Nox does wear a bit thin, especially considering the later revelation of the floating city.

Assorted Musings

· All the Jaffa share Teal’c’s golden marking which is wrong as that is only meant to belong to the First Prime while lower ranked Jaffa have standard tattoos of the Goa’uld symbols.

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· The episode quickly deals with the previous question of how do teams always find their way back to the Gate which appears to be via a signal locator.

Quote of the episode: “The very young do not always do what they’re told.” – Anteaus