Two good episodes today which both as usual feature Christopher Judge who is also now the voice of Kratos in God of War.

Need

Synopsis

The episode begins with the team observing a group of Jaffa sending raw Naquadah, the element used to make the Stargates and much of the Goa’uld’s technology, through the planet’s Stargate to an unknown location. After the party leaves the team notice one of them moves into the forest, intending to kill herself. Daniel saves her but her scream alerts her guards to their presence and take the team captive for attempting to kill the princess. They are brought before the leader of the planet who, with the daughter refusing to reveal the truth, sends them to work in the Naquadah mines. Teal’c and Carter believe that the leader isn’t a Goa’uld and the guards aren’t actual Jaffa but are instead mimicking their style of governing. The team attempt to escape but Daniel is trapped in falling rocks when a staff blast triggers a tunnel collapse, causing them all to be captured again.

We switch to the leader and the princess who are discussing who the team are and what they must want. It’s revealed that the princess placed Daniel in the Sarcophagus they have and has clearly taken an interest in him, revealing her name to be Shyla. Daniel, now dressed in royal robes, is taken outside into the forest by Shyla who wants him to tell her the wonders of the stars, but brushes off his concerns for his friends. It also becomes clear she thinks he’s her prophesised ‘Prince Charming’ as it were and is clearly not going to let them go.

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Later Daniel goes to visit the team in the mines, who are clearly at their limits already being worked to near exhaustion. He explains the current situation with the princess which the others find amusing but become more and more angry as other benefits of his new lifestyle are revealed. At the feast in the evening Daniel finds out not only that the leader is 700 years old and that they’re hiding the fact the Goa’uld are gone as a show to keep control but that the leader is also losing his mind with him unable to remember his orders. While talking with Shyla it becomes apparent that she is deliberately slowing down proceedings to keep him there and manages to convince to use the Sarcophagus again.

We jump ahead a few days with Daniel, now dressed in increasingly elaborate robes, visiting the team again where it becomes incredibly apparent that Daniel is suffering addiction-like behaviour to the Sarcophagus, with him talking erratically and lashing out at the others when they question his decisions. Carter has a memory flashback from Jolinar which reveals that the Sarcophagus causes mental breakdown after prolonged use and that Daniel needs to be stopped, a task O’Neill attempts with no success as Daniel is clearly unwilling to give it up but tells him that they’ll be free soon.

The team are finally freed and allowed to go back to the SGC, with Shyla apologising for their treatment which they don’t believe, to a shocked Hammond who so far had been told everything was ok by Daniel. At the standard post-mission checkup it becomes clear that Daniel is already suffering withdrawal effects, with him showing little care for Sha’re and taking his anger out on Carter. After attempting to first return to the planet and then resign, Daniel collapses in Hammond’s office seeing him being taken to the infirmary where he is restrained for his own good as their only choice is to see him go cold turkey.

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Later, while being checked on by Fraiser, he breaks free of his restraints and savagely beats the airman on guard duty, taking his weapon. O’Neill gives chase, following him into a storage locker and is almost shot by a paranoid Daniel who believes they’re trying to kill him. Despite being held at gunpoint O’Neill manages to talk Daniel down, who proceeds to breakdown emotionally. A few days later the now recovered Daniel requests the return to the planet to not only stop the current system of government but to also obtain access to the Naquadah on the planet. When they arrive they find that the leader has died and that Shyla is now the leader, whom Daniel convinces to not only destroy the Sarcophagus but also try to become a better leader.

Analysis

The central theme of this episode is obviously that of addiction, in particular drug addiction, with Daniel first becoming hooked on the effects of repeated Sarcophagus use which, while meaning he no longer needed to wear glasses, saw him quickly become uncaring to the predicament his friends were in but also quick to anger when questioned. We then see the effects when denied that substance with him becoming not only desperate to get that fix, going so far as trying to resign to go there, but to also become incredibly paranoid of those around him, believing that they’re his enemy and are trying to kill him while treating him.

The other side of the episode is the leadership of the planet and this planet is clearly doomed because they are useless. Shyla seems to be a woman with absolutely no sense of anything but self and was introduced as suicidal for no real reason other than the fact she hadn’t met her own Prince Charming. She then goes on to basically hold Daniel hostage and get him hooked on drugs to make him marry her by using his friends as blackmail and then only lets them go once she knows he’ll try to come back to the planet. God only help them if any real crisis happens while she’s in charge.

This is an alright episode that sort of falls apart if you think hard about it as lots of what happens requires very precarious logic and many of the people aren’t that nice unless you ignore a lot of what they do. There’s a reason why this used to be an episode I’d skip.

Assorted Musings

· So the man is 700 years old but she’s her actual age of 30 something. Um don’t won’t to know how that came about.

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· I find it strange how Hammond trusted Daniel’s opinion at any point in this episode as it was quite clear from how he spoke something was wrong.

Quote of the episode: “We had a nice time, Sir. Carter picked up some Naquadah, Teal’c made some new friends, as usual. Daniel got engaged and um I’m gonna hit the showers.” – O’Neill

Thor’s Chariot

Synopsis

The episode begins with the team discussing the building of an early warning system on another planet to warn against Goa’uld attacks but are interrupted by an offworld activation of the Gate which only results in an audible collision against the Iris. After analysis it’s worked out that the object was the box left with the people of Cimmeria, the Viking people from Thor’s Hammer, so they send a probe through, which confirms that the planet has been attacked by Goa’uld forces. Due to the fact it was they who destroyed Thor’s Hammer, the device protecting the Stargate, the team decide they’re responsible for what is happening and head back to the planet.

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On arrival they find signs of battle with both dead Cimmerians and Jaffa littered around the Gate and observe what appeared to be a significant Jaffa base being built nearby. Gairwyn, the woman who first helped them last time, meets them and tells them that a Goa’uld Ha’tak ship first fired at them from atmosphere before troops landed. The meeting is cut short however as they come under fire from two Jaffa patrolling nearby who give chase as they make a run into the trees and are eventually able to evade them. Gairwyn brings them to Kendra’s resting place, the former Goa’uld host, who has died since the events of Thor’s Hammer but Carter finds herself able to use Goa’uld technology much like she was.

Moving on Gairwyn leads them to the cave where the rest of the settlement are hiding. Despite initial confrontation, with the villagers believing Thor has abandoned them due to SG-1s previous actions, SG-1s commitment to fighting the occupying force convinces them to help the team, with one man, Olaf, leading O’Neill and Teal’c to the Jaffa camp and Gairwyn choosing to tell Daniel and Carter of ‘Thor’s Might’, a chamber that could hold weapons to fight the Goa’uld.

O’Neill’s group make it to a cliff from where they observe the camp, with Teal’c deducing the attacking Goa’uld is likely Heru’ur, the son of Ra, due to the presence of Horus guards. However Olaf is captured by a group of guards and brought before Heru’ur forcing Teal’c and O’Neill to rescue him by killing the guards but Heru’ur activates his personal shield, forcing them to retreat back to the caverns. Here the team regroup, with Daniel, Carter, and Gairwyn heading for ‘Thor’s Might’, while Teal’c and O’Neill help defend the caverns.

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Daniel’s group go to an old pedestal that teleports them to an underground chamber. A hologram appears that claims to be Thor and wants them to prove themselves worthy via a series of tests. The group tries to move across the room to another pedestal but the floor, bar a tiny beam, collapses, clearly being the first test. Carter makes it over but Gairwyn encounters difficulty, forcing Daniel to try and help her but both appear to fall but it turns out the floor is merely a trick and that despite failing to make it across their willingness to help each other has shown courage, enabling them to go to the next room to display ‘Wisdom’.

Back near the caverns O’Neill and Teal’c are setting up claymore mines while Olaf keeps watch, alerting them to Jaffa incoming. The claymore’s and MP5 fire deals with the threat but Olaf manages to take out a Jaffa they miss, deeming them all ‘matched’ as a result. The sound of Jaffa horns however leads them to fall back.

In the ‘Wisdom’ chamber Daniel and co debate what they’re meant to do, with Daniel being confused as to what the runes on the wall are meant to mean. His admittance to not knowing the answer causes the hologram to appear and start to console him but stops when Daniel asks to have more time. He reads the runes out as numbers which Carter works out are the first few digits of the mathematical value of Pi and demonstrate it on the shape of the circle written on one of the walls, which recedes to reveal a button. When pressed this reveals Thor’s true form which is that of a Roswell Grey as the tests were to see if they’re ready to see if the people have advanced enough. The hologram reveals itself to be a live transmission of the actual Thor and they choose to tell him the truth that the planet has been attacked because of the circumstances of Thor’s Hammer. Thor however teleports Carter and Daniel away but not Gairwyn. With no other options they head back to help O’Neill and the others.

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At the cavern the team, hopelessly outnumbered, decide to surrender to save the lives of the Cimmerians. However as they’re marched to the Jaffa camp Thor’s ship appears in the sky and effortlessly beams away the entire camp and all the Jaffa, forcing Heru’ur to flee in shame through the Gate. Gairwyn is beamed down to SG-1 and leaves them a message from Thor that his people are friends of all but the Goa’uld and that a new Hammer will be made with an exception for Teal’c.

Analysis

This is a great episode as it not only works as a single adventure but it works to expand the universe of the show in a number of ways with the introduction of a new Goa’uld (and Goa’uld faction outside of Apophis), finally revealing who Thor is and the presence of the Roswell Grey, and concluding the arc started with Thor’s Hammer back in season 1. It’s a shame we don’t go back to Cimmeria ever again as it’s one of my favourite early locations and it provides a nice distinction from the usually antiquity themed locations we largely visit in the early seasons of the show.

The characters in this episode all work well again, with Gairwyn once again being the de facto leader of the settlement when there’s a crisis and the new character Olaf having a believable reason to first be angered by SG-1s presence but then come to respect and befriend them as they fight together to save the settlement. Heru’ur is undeveloped though, mainly functioning as the ‘big bad’ than as a person but given he’s a Goa’uld it’s easy to fill in the gaps while Thor makes enough of an impression for a first meeting while leaving room to grow in the future.

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Overall it’s a fun little ride that doesn’t bite off more than it can chew and helps break up the run of ‘SG-1 are taken hostage’ episodes we had before.

Assorted Musings

· Seriously though, Thor’s main test is the value of Pi. Any Goa’uld who made it onto the planet would’ve easily gained access to the chamber (the Hammer never protected space attacks).

· I never got why O’Neill didn’t first shoot Heru’ur with the MP5 before he raised his shield. Could’ve ended the invasion right there and then.

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Quote of the episode: “Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson, they will in fact calm up.” – Teal’c