Today we have yet another two episodes of SG-1. The first isn’t anything special but the second sets out how the show goes on to evolve over the rest of the seasons. Let’s start then.

Brief Candle

Synopsis

We open with a man praying to a Greek statue, most likely of their Goa’uld, before disappearing when SG-1 step through the Gate. The team hear a woman screaming and move to investigate, finding the man and his wife hiding in the corner with the wife clearly pregnant and due to give birth. Given the urgency Daniel (having helped during a birth on a dig) and Carter (because ovaries) help her give birth to a son. The man and woman, called Alekos and Thetys, not only intend to call the baby Daniel but also reveal a distinctive birthmark on his arm.

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Introducing the team to the rest of the village they notice how they all seem to be not only in perfect health but also in their 20s and 30s. One of the women, Kynthia, quickly takes and interest in O’Neill, offering him food and seducing him into doing the nasty. The others are told that Pelops, the Goa’uld the village worship, gives everyone a blissful 100 days, which they take to mean a 100 day feast. O’Neill still in the tent with the woman notices everyone come in after a siren goes off and fall unconscious. The other’s find him and wonder what happened only to see O’Neill become effected by the same condition.

The next day everyone is up and about with a noticeably drunken looking O’Neill stumbling outside and dunking his head into the fountain but still appears lethargic. Daniel and Teal’c go to the temple to find out more about their belief system, such as what Pelops did, with Teal’c deciphering the writing on the status to find a Goa’uld tablet that changes text when a specific device is waved across it but Teal’c is unable to read it. Back at the village Carter takes more samples and asks Thetys to give something to baby Daniel, coming to see that the toddler next to her is Daniel. Upon further investigation they find that everyone is only a couple of dozen days old, with a man appearing in his late teens only being 12 days old and Alekos and Thetys are 31 and 21 days respectively.

The team regroup to try and work out what is causing this, with Daniel suspecting it’s a virus that can be transmitted via sexual contact. O’Neill tries to deny having the virus but soon himself, and the rest of the villagers, fall unconscious once again at sundown. Back at the SGC Carter and Fraiser look at blood samples of both O’Neill and the natives and find that they do indeed have a virus but that O’Neill has a higher amount of it for unknown reasons. Carter returns to the planet and finds that O’Neill has aged rapidly, with him now looking in his 60s, and that the virus is trying adapt to the fact he is in his 40s which is why he’s aging so rapidly. Despite wanting to help O’Neill sends them back to avoid spreading the disease.

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Back in the lab Carter finds out that the virus is actually a nanomachine that is actively replicating inside the blood, and further conclude that Pelops was experimenting on the inhabitants. In the Gate temple Kynthia comes to keep O’Neill company as according to their customs they’re married. O’Neill becomes increasingly angry at the circumstances the planet and now himself are facing of incredibly short lifespans. Kynthia however refuses to accept the fact they aren’t really ‘The Chosen’ and runs off.

Back in the lab Carter and Fraiser try to understand why the nanites aren’t functioning properly back on Earth, concluding there must be something on the planet. Carter notices however that the gloves on the Isochamber rapidly start decaying, with the nanites trying to spread out of the lab. In the temple, where O’Neill is now in his 70s, Alekos comes to talk to O’Neill, believing his stories of living many thousands of days. He reveals that he wants to go explore the world but that Pelops forbid it and will strike him down, a belief that O’Neill convinces him isn’t true. Kynthia comes back and wonders why O’Neill is choosing to live in isolation at the temple and both share their views of how they should go forward given the situation, eventually choosing to remain together.

At the SGC General Hammond concludes that they can no longer work on the nanites due to the threat they pose to those on Earth and that they can no longer go to the planet as it has been deemed too much of a hazard to Earth. O’Neill, now in his 80s, receives a goodbye message from the others and is angered once again by the continued devotion the inhabitants show to Pelops. After informing them that Pelops treats them as his slaves they vow to no longer be ‘The Chosen’ and destroy the icons of Pelops in the temple, including the statue. Given how Pelops didn’t strike them down they finally see that Pelops wasn’t a God and isn’t coming back. O’Neill and Kynthia go on a walk outside the area allowed by Pelops, with them noticing that they haven’t fallen asleep like they usually do.

The next morning they arrive back early at the village and find everyone else still asleep, concluding there must be a device that puts everyone to sleep. Heading to the temple O’Neill finds a device hidden in the base of the statue and sends a message to the SGC, who send SG-1 in HAZMAT gear to the planet, who’re shocked to see just how old O’Neill has gotten. Using a radio transmitter SG-1 is able to wake everyone up, revealing that they’ve fixed the problem. Carter concludes that the nanites are being attacked by the immune system and that O’Neill will go back to looking how he used to and that the natives will live normal length lives. O’Neill says goodbye to Kynthia and the team head back to Earth.

Analysis

Pretty standard episode really. Never really liked this episode that much though as very little happens if you look at it; O’Neill fucks someone, gets an STD that makes him age, the team cure the people of the planet, everyone goes home.

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Despite this however I do like the reuse of the Greco-Roman architecture, which this time is also used for the costumes that people wear. This rarely gets seen again due to the fact most Goa’uld use Egyptian looks as their base with only Cronus being the main Goa’uld we see who follows a Greco-Roman theme.

Overall it’s an episode that doesn’t do too much and therefore is largely forgotten by most, with the only thing of note is how fucking awful RDAs prosthetics are for when he ages.

Assorted Musings

· Can’t wait for the time when they drop this terrible soundtrack from the early period of the show. Sounds childish and generic as hell.

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· RDA really does play the grouchy old man who wants you off his garden cliché to a T in this episode. The voice in particular is pretty hilarious, if stupid, throughout.

Quote of the episode: “Don’t worry. Aside from a little prostate problem we won’t go into, it’s not so bad.”– O’Neill at age 90.

Thor’s Hammer

Synopsis

The episode begins in the SGC briefing room with Daniel informing the rest of the team and Hammond about what he’s learnt so far, with him deciphering writings that reveal that there are two types of ‘Gods’, the Goa’uld or evil gods, and the benevolent gods who advanced other cultures, and Daniel believes that these gods maybe those of Norse mythology. Teal’c reveals the co-ordinates Daniel found in Norse teachings are of a planet all Jaffa are taught not to go to, a planet called Cimmeria. The team head through the Gate and arrive in front of a groups of villagers who begin laughing at them and start chanting ‘Thor’ at an obelisk which begins to power up. While dialling the Gate to retreat a beam emerges from the obelisk and passes over them harmlessly before focusing on Teal’c and causing him immense pain. O’Neill tries to push him out of harm’s way but both are beamed away.

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In the aftermath Daniel believes the obelisk to be ‘Thor’s Hammer’ and that O’Neill and Teal’c may be dead. A local woman comes on horseback and jokes that they look short to be Gods. She introduces herself as Gairwyn and welcomes them, believing that they deliberately brought two ‘Etins’ with them to be rid of them. Carter and Daniel correct her that they’re friends from ‘Midgard’ and that they want to rescue them if they can. Gairwyn reveals that a previous person, Kendra, came through the Gate and was transported away so may know where they were sent.

O’Neill and Teal’c wake up in a cavern where a hologram, in the form of a Viking, informs them that they’re in a prison. It’s revealed that the Hammer believed them to be Goa’uld and that they are now imprisoned until they head through a gateway that’ll kill any Goa’uld, allowing the host to go free. Teal’c tells O’Neill to leave him to his fate but O’Neill stays and insists they find another way out.

Elsewhere Gairwyn has lead Daniel and Carter to Kendra’s house who is healing a local child with a Goa’uld healing device. Kendra reveals herself to be a former host to a Goa’uld that was killed by the Hammer years ago. Daniel further questions her about the process of having the symbiote removed and that their friends consist of a human and a Jaffa, a fact to which Kendra responds badly believing that he deserves to die for serving the Goa’uld. After consulting the Gods Kendra agrees to help them.

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In the cavern Teal’c and O’Neill find a number of dead hosts and Goa’uld beside a water source that’ve been killed by a large animal. Unknown to them something is watching them. Moving on they find a great hall and find that, while O’Neill’s MP5 still works, Teal’c Staff Weapon no longer functions. While discussing how they could use the Hammer to save Sha’re O’Neill jumps at a noise he hears from the water room. While they think nothing of it it’s that the beast has gone.

Back at Kendra’s house Carter displays cynicism at the belief in the Gods and Runes but Daniel chooses to go along with it if it makes Kendra more comfortable. During further discussion they find that Kendra was chosen as a host for her beauty but also that something of the host must survive as she was able to influence the Goa’uld into going to Cimmeria, thinking that it’d be a quick death but finds that only the symbiote is killed. Thunder rolls through the valley which Kendra sees as the sign to go looking for their friends.

In the cave the monster reveals itself, a lizard looking being that calls itself an Unas, or ‘first one’. Teal’c is shocked at this, believing the Unas to be a legend. It is quickly able to fight off Teal’c but is put down by MP5 fire. While O’Neill and Teal’c conclude it is dead and move on the camera hovers over him, revealing his eyes to glow. Teal’c further reveals the story of the Unas a being a being that evolved on the same planet as the Goa’uld and was first used as a host before humans were. O’Neill overhears Teal’c only ‘believe’ that he is dead, as the Unas is believed to have immense regenerative abilities, causing them to both conclude that it must be dead, despite the noises in the background but the screams of the Unas reveal that it is no myth.

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Carter and Daniel follow Kendra for many hours and Carter begins to lose faith in her as a guide to the caverns but Daniel refuses to listen, still feeling that Kendra is telling the truth. At the top of a river they find the entrance to a cavern marked with the symbol of Thor’s Hammer but that she is unable to remember the layout of the cavern itself. Back in the cavern O’Neill and Teal’c find the exit but when Teal’c enters the doorway a red light envelopes him and causes more pain. With the Unas catching up and ammunition they choose to mount a last stand with O’Neill refusing to leave his friend behind. In the ensuing fight Teal’c is able to hold the Unas in place in the light until it dies, almost killing himself in the process.

Both groups join up and know that the only way to rescue Teal’c is to destroy the Hammer but that it means losing their only surefire way of saving Sha’re. Daniel takes the Staff Weapon outside the gate and blasts it, causing it to be destroyed, allowing Teal’c to leave the cavern. The groups heads back down to the Gate and tell them to seal up the cavern as a stopgap now that the Hammer doesn’t work. The team presents Kendra with a box they can give to Thor should they ever return to Cimmeria to inform them about Earth and the Tau’ri.

Analysis

This is probably one of the most important early episodes of the show as it introduces, if not in-person, the Asgard, a race who would go on to become one of the most important allies of the SGC during the coming years and who are integral to many of the show’s plotlines going forward. It also goes further into exploring the backstory of the galaxy at large as up until now all we’ve seen is the current galactic stage while now we’ve seen other species entirely, in the form of the Unas, but that also the Goa’uld are at war with another group of people, rather than just themselves.

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The idea that there are multiple races on the galactic stage comes back again and again as the show goes forward and in the episodes coming up soon but also gave the show room to breath. Early season one very much focuses on just the Goa’uld as a presence and very primitive civilisations but after this episode it very quickly becomes about exploring much more advanced human cultures around the galaxy but also other races that pop up every now and then.

Much like Brief Candle this episode goes out of its way to show yet another cultural form and society as opposed to just Egyptian, which in this case is medieval Vikings, which is much closer to now than previous ones. As opposed to Greco-Roman this episode puts greater emphasis on the day-to-day peasant style look than the hedonistic environment of the previous episode with discussions of hard toil and shortages of fresh water.

One of the most surprising things about the episode however is the fact this was written by the same person who wrote Emancipation which is seen as the worst of the season (and even the show) while this is regarded as one of the best.

Assorted Musings

· I like the little nod to the Voyager ‘Golden Disk’ the box plays, not only in being a record of humans in a simplistic way but also being done by the Sagan institute.

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· The juxtaposition of the two settings of this episode plays nicely, with the peaceful, if hard, life on the surface and the dark and foreboding underworld beneath.

· The Unas in this episode is done by James Earl Jones, more commonly known for voicing Darth Vader in the original trilogy of Star Wars

Quote of the episode: “Are you considering the same tactic as I?” “Teal’c, the cliché is, “are you thinking what I’m thinking?”. And the answer is yes.” – Teal’c and O’Neill facing the Unas.