The Sokar two-parter is here tonight and ain’t it a mixed bag.

Synopsis

We start in the SGC who have unexpectedly received a delegation from the Tok’ra, led by Martouf, who have come to inform them that Jacob/Selmak has been captured by Sokar, the Goa’uld who has modelled himself after the Devil, and ben sent to a moon that Sokar has turned into a literal depiction of Hell itself. The Tok’ra have come to the SGC however to seek Carter’s help as Jolinar is the only known person to have escaped and they need to access the memories left in Carter’s mind while also using SG-1 as a covert strike to rescue Jacob. Due to the nature of the Netu, the moon turned into Hell, being a prison planet they are forced to use a Tel’tak to approach the planet, where Martouf and SG-1 will descend while Teal’c stays in orbit ready to pick them up.

During transport Martouf begins using the memory technology previously used on SG-1 to allow Carter to search her memories. Despite trying to focus on Jolinar’s memories of escaping other memories begin to surface, including memories of Jolinar and Martouf together and her own of Jacob telling her that her mother had died. Later on she explores more memories which include those of Jolinar being tortured by Sokar but begins to experience actual pain from the torture itself, waking the other members of SG-1 before it’s shut off. Concerned at the effects of the device O’Neill pulls Martouf aside to try to get him to back off from using the device so much. Arriving at the planet the team prepare to drop in pods in what could be a one way trip with only a radio to stay in contact with Teal’c.

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The team make it to the planet which is just as Hell-like as described. Carter, with the memory device now working passively, is able to help the team navigate around the network of caves before finding themselves inside a half ruined colony that houses the condemned. Carter finally manages to remember the name of the lord of Netu, Bynarr, who Jolinar had seduced which allowed her escape in the first place. The team are captured however by Bynarr and his hooded First Prime, Na’onak, before being thrown into ‘the pit’ which is where they find a heavily weakened Jacob, who conveys that Sokar has been building his forces to attack the System Lords in less than two week’s time.

Elsewhere Bynarr has travelled to Sokar on Delmak, which Netu orbits, to thank him for bringing Jolinar to Netu. Sokar however reveals he hadn’t brought them to Netu and that they’re intruders, sending Bynarr back to find out what they want while he has troops scour the space around the moon to find any ships. On the moon Carter is taken away by Na’onak to be brought before Bynarr, who intends to have his revenge on Jolinar, who in short time kills his master. The visit wasn’t pointless however as they realise there are transport rings inside Bynarr’s quarters. The group stage an escape, knocking out there guards but unbeknownst to them Teal’c is under attack from Death Gliders in orbit. They make it back to Bynarr’s chambers where they attempt to use the rings but are captured by Na’onak, who reveals himself as a heavily scarred Apophis. Apophis’ men find the radio device used to talk to Teal’c, meaning that even if they escape again they have no means to contact him for pickup, before sending them back to the pit.

After a while in the pit Carter is summoned before Apophis, who is planning to remove Sokar and take control of his army, and finds the memory device on Carter, planning to use it to gain information from the team by drugging them. With Carter he tries to use a memory of her and her father’s past, while with O’Neill he uses Charlie, Daniel a memory of sorting Sha’re’s things back at the SGC, and for Martouf he uses Carter, who he sees as Jolinar. While the attempts to get information from Carter Daniel, and O’Neill fails Martouf easily breaks and reveals the location of the Tok’ra resistance. While being removed from his interrogation however Daniel is able to reobtain the radio to talk to Teal’c.

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Teal’c meanwhile has travelled to the Tok’ra base to inform them of what is going on and request help. The Tok’ra representative Aldwin returns with a bomb they will use to blow up Netu and hopefully take out Sokar’s ships along with it. The bomb however will kill anyone on the moon. While seemingly willing to wait in orbit Aldwin, upon seeing Apophis beaming to Sokar’s ship, launches the bomb at Netu, leaving the team with only 12 minutes to escape. Refusing to leave until the last moment Teal’c locks Aldwin in the cargo hold. Despite being locked in the hold Aldwin still helps Teal’c by explaining exactly what he needs to do to intercept the matter stream, while also adding how dangerous it will be. Managing to intercept the team Teal’c gets the Tel’tak away just in time, accepting Aldwin’s apology for not believing in him or the team.

On Sokar’s ship Apophis is brought before the Goa’uld himself where he exchanges the information on the Tok’ra in return for command of Netu. Martouf’s information however is revealed to be false, with Sokar having Apophis tortured as a result. Apophis however manages to overpower his torturer and attempts to use his Staff weapon on Sokar, who is able to activate his personal shield just in time. After Netu and Sokar’s vessel is destroyed it is revealed that Apophis managed to get away in time, taking control of Sokar’s forces as a result.

Analysis

To be honest the Jolinar’s Memories/The Devil You Know two parter is probably my least favourite multiple episode story of the entire show for me. It feels very elongated and filled with pointless scenes that don’t add much to the plot and could’ve been skipped for the sake of moving the story along.

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The major setting of the episode is the prison planet of Netu, made to look like Hell itself, and while this is nice in theory it doesn’t work that well in practice, with many scenes just horrible to look at due to poor lighting as they go for the flame-lit look and in other areas the contrast is quite harsh, making it hard to know what characters are doing, let alone where they’re heading. It also doesn’t help that the background noise sounds like one from one of those stupid flash torture games, with dialogue constantly forced to be heard over people moaning or screaming in pain, which itself gets tedious after a while.

Some of the characterisation doesn’t make much sense to me either really as Sokar, who hates Apophis with a passion we are told, giving the man a position that makes him effectively 3rd in line to Sokar’s throne after damaging his face and making him assume a false name. While it makes sense in a way as it wounds Apophis’ pride it ignores the fact that Apophis largely only cares for power and unwatched on Netu he is put in a great position to reacquire his power, which he does so with almost zero opposition with the only thing that delays him is false information from Martouf.

Despite the foul ups much of the second episode is fairly good, in particular the Tok’ra/Teal’c parts where we see the Tok’ra, who until now have been quite uppity in tone, admit they’re forced to do quite horrible things for the greater good, with Aldwin (a character who appears in a few episodes later on) explaining that despite appearances they are at war and therefore wiping out a planet to stop Sokar taking over would constitute necessary losses.

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Overall the two parter is one that does get better towards the end. The problem is that it starts from a very low base.

Assorted Musings

· Sokar really is just a one-dimensional character and it makes no sense that he hadn’t been crushed by others previously.

· The Tok’ra seem to operate solely through the use of McGuffins. Not once so far have they done anything but either come bearing bad news or suddenly have an all-powerful weapon they themselves couldn’t use.

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Quote of the episode: “They put that damn memory thing on me. Then they gave me something... that reminded me of the 70s.” – O’Neill