And here I am with another two episodes for you. The first in which O’Neill becomes infected with an alien organism and the other where Teal’c loses all reasoning ability.

Message In A Bottle

Synopsis

The episode begins with the team on a moon with no atmosphere, there to track down what is emitting an EM signature. Inside a temple like structure they find an orb with unknown writing on it, with Daniel guessing that it’s a time capsule while Teal’c believes it may be a weapon. Regardless they choose to take it back with them for analysis, not noticing it light up when placed inside the MALP.

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Back in the lab Carter and Daniel quickly get to work on studying the artefact, with them finding microscopic writing on the outside with Daniel hoping them to be instructions. The team however are only able to look at it for 24 hours before NID are given control of the object, forcing them to pull an all-nighter, but quickly run out of time. The object however begins to activate and give off both nuclear and thermal radiation with the team deciding to throw it back off-world as a precaution. The object seems to be aware of their actions however and attempts to make it harder for them to take it back through the Gate. Despite this Teal’c and O’Neill manage to get the Gate dialled and bring it to the Gateroom but a series of long spikes emerge from the orb fixing it in place, with one of them pinning O’Neill to the wall.

The team begin trying to get O’Neill out, with them first trying a staff blast on the orb with no effect and Carter stopping further attempts with it as they have no idea what it did. Instead they try to cut the beam with a torch but progress is slow as the unknown metal is highly resistant to heat. Due to the nature of the situation Hammond seals off the mountain while the rest of the base begin helping anyway they can, with Fraiser trying to work out the mysterious virus now in O’Neill’s system while Carter and Daniel lead a team to continue study of the object to work out what it is. Upon further analysis with UV lights Carter and Fraiser find out that the virus is spreading not only through the concrete itself but also has infected other people already and is trying to make its way into the SGC computer mainframe.

Despite the attempts to free O’Neill with the cutting torch they’re unsuccessful, with the object simply just expanding the length of the spike when they get close to cutting a particular section. Elsewhere on base Carter and Daniel are hitting a brick wall when it comes to working out how to deal with it. Carter gets close to a possible solution by suffocating it (as heat feeds it but also needs oxygen) but the virus finally gets into the computers and then traps her in an elevator, forcing Daniel to free her. Carter manages to report her plan to Hammond who agrees to her plan but the Wildfire protocol (the bases emergency protocol for infection from the Gate) activates the self-destruct, which they can no longer shut off, which will feed the orb enough energy to spread worldwide.

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The plan goes ahead but the oxygen deprivation only slows down the virus and doesn’t stop it. Daniel and another however notice a symbol appearing on the infected screens, believing that the virus is trying to communicate with them. Without being able to talk via its own language they instead allow the virus to grow in O’Neill so he can function as a conduit to talk to the virus. The plan works, with the virus taking on O’Neill’s mannerisms at the same time, with it revealing that the orb was an Ark used to sustain them when their world died. After initial conflict they negotiate with the organism, where they will send the organism to a suitable primordial world and it’d return control of the base computers to them to stop the self-destruct, and manage to get back O’Neill in the process

Analysis

What to say about this episode? Not much really. There’s nothing of consequence in this episode and to be honest I find it fairly boring to watch as most of the runtime is filled by stuff that could’ve been skipped if they’d done certain decisions earlier, like noticing the giant symbol on the displays.

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There’s a couple of good bits to the episode however, with the scenes exploring the increasingly brotherly relationship between O’Neill and Teal’c being some of the best so far in the show and would go on to be a mainstay of the franchise.

The only other thing of note however is the wordplay in the subject of the episode, with the base infection protocol being called ‘Wildfire’ and the organisation behaves just like a fire does, with it being fed by thermal radiation but suffocated by oxygen deprivation.

Other than that as I say not much to talk about really as it serves mainly to fill out the 22 episode season length than any real plot purpose.

Assorted Musings

· I do love Daniel’s ‘sorry, not sorry’ face when he reveals the airmen’s crush on Carter during the lab scene. It’s the right mix between rubbing it in and trying to move on past the awkwardness.

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· The ‘virus’ makes little sense to me. It can eat through walls! It can eat through metal! It can eat through computers! Antibiotics, nope.

Quote of the episode: “Undomesticated equines could not remove me.” – Teal’c

Family

Synopsis

The episode begins with an off-world activation that is revealed to be Bra’tac who has come to tell them Apophis not only lives but that Teal’c’s son, Rya’c, has been taken hostage by him. In the briefing room it’s revealed that both Apophis and Klorel managed to Gate off of their ship before it exploded in the season opening. Despite concerns by Hammond over it being a trap he agrees to let SG-1 go back to Chulak to rescue Teal’c’s family and bring them back to Earth.

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After dealing with the guards at the Gate the team make their way to the city of Chulak, finding Teal’c’s wife, Drey’auc, in the house of his friend, Fro’tak, and being told she has remarried him, believing Teal’c to have died previously. In private the team and Bra’tac agree to trust Fro’tak but also keep an eye on him just in case due to his unknown allegiances while also dealing with Teal’c’s issues with Fro’tak marrying Drey’auc, getting Teal’c’s word that he won’t kill Fro’tak for being cuckold.

The team go ahead with a plan to attack Apophis’ palace that night and manage to grab Rya’c. However he not only gives away their position by calling for the guards but also calls Teal’c ‘Shol’va’ as well, making it clear that Apophis has had him brainwashed to become a loyal servant of Apophis. Upon return to Fro’tak’s house they watch a transmission from Apophis showing Rya’c off as ‘his most loyal subject’ and has him speak out against Teal’c. Teal’c notices that Rya’c gets Drey’auc’s birthplace wrong therefore thinking he is deliberately giving his location away, an idea that both O’Neill and Bra’tac is beyond a child and must be a trap. Before they can discuss it further though guards come to search Fro’tak’s house, with Fro’tac hiding them in a secret room which Teal’c sees as confirmation of him being trustworthy. Later that night however Fro’tac witnesses Teal’c and Drey’auc reconnect romantically.

In the early hours of the morning Fro’tak leaves the house, with a still suspicious O’Neill covertly following him, observing Fro’tak entering the palace and attempting to sell them out. O’Neill however Zats the guard and is forced to kill Fro’tak after he tries to alert the guards to his presence. O’Neill manages to escape back to the house in a Serpent Guard’s suit of armour, telling the others of what happened. Given the circumstances the team quickly leave the city for the location that Rya’c gave away in the earlier broadcast. The team manage to eliminate the suspiciously small guard travelling with Rya’c and grow suspicious of Rya’c’s behaviour after his earlier stunt, with Teal’c unwilling to see his son as anything but innocent. These suspicions grow when they find the Gate practically unguarded with only two Jaffa present. Despite these concerns however the team have little choice but to go back to Earth anyway, with Bra’tac once again staying behind on Chulak.

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At the SGC the initial medical checkup is clean, with Fraiser not finding anything suspicious. Drey’auc however becomes visibly troubled after noticing that two of his teeth, which were knocked out, are still there. The team try to get Rya’c to show his teeth but Rya’c’s demeanour once again changes to that seen earlier in the palace, forcing them to sedate him. The team remove the teeth, with them finding that they contained a biological agent that functioned as an airborne plague. With the initial plan thwarted the team instead turn their attention to Rya’c himself, with them trying to break through the brainwashing, where they’re forced to use a Zat as a makeshift form of ECT. Despite the risks however it is successful in treating him and as a result are able to send both Rya’c and Drey’auc off-world to the Land of Light to safety.

Analysis

Much like Bloodlines last season this episode largely exists to explore more of Teal’c’s backstory and character and placing it at the forefront. This time once again it’s his son in danger, with him becoming a pawn to Apophis’ plan to destroy the Tau’ri. However unlike the previous episode, which focused on how his family were a risk to him, this one focused on how Teal’c’s perspective was undermined by his feelings for his family, with him unable to contemplate his son being used against him or compromised until even his own wife tells him so.

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Despite this good them of the episode much of it is still flawed. Rya’c’s behaviour is off the scales in terms of obvious traitor levels. ‘Yes, I a 10 year old kid fooled a several thousand year old Goa’uld’, cmon in what world would that make any fucking sense. Also after a single attempt at turning him back (which does have an admittedly badass shot of Rya’c spitting on Teal’c’s face) they immediately go straight for makeshift ECT treatment? Talk about the SGC failing to be a certified child friendly environment. Also the much maligned ‘third shot’ feature of the Zat makes a rare appearance in this episode, also for no real reason as he doesn’t disintegrate the guard.

Regardless of the flaws however this is still a pretty good episode, with a more complicated plot than some recent episodes and some complex relationship stuff that ends in understandable fashion for all those involved. Definitely one of the stronger standalone episodes of the seas.

Assorted Musings

· Seriously Fro’tak what did you think would happen. You only have a silver emblem while he has a golden one should’ve indicated this to you.

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· Teal’c’s obliviousness is stupid at times, especially with everyone else going ‘this is too easy’ every 5 minutes towards the end.

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Quote of the episode: “No wonder these guys are always cranky” – O’Neill in full Jaffa armour.