Two more episodes today. One where O’Neill is forced to live as a peasant and another where O’Neill joins the NID.
A Hundred Days
On an unknown planet in the middle of the night we find the team with a native woman called Laira as they wait for an event called ‘The Fire Rain’ to start, the local name for an annual meteor shower. While they are excited by the show one of the meteors ends up passing incredibly close to the planet with Laira saying that the display gets more spectacular with every year, leaving Carter and Daniel concerned that the planet is about to be struck by meteors on a large scale.
The next morning in the village the team are getting ready to do a geological survey to find evidence of prior events while Carter goes back to the SGC to get more data. On the survey in a nearby cave they find evidence of a mass extinction event while Carter finds that the asteroid belt the planet is passing through contains many asteroids able to do largescale damage to the planet and should evacuate the planet as early as possible. However the asteroid strike comes earlier than expected meaning a hasty evacuation is put together despite a number of villagers believing it to be a trick to obtain a better trade agreement. During the evacuation however a young couple decide to hide in the caves nearby, where Daniel found proof confirming the ‘ancestors’ hid there after a previous asteroid strike. O’Neill and Laira, the mother of the boy named Garan, head off to get them but a strike hits the Stargate itself, burying it under molten stone and stranding O’Neill off-world with those who chose to stay behind.
Emerging after a few days they find that while there’s been some damage and loss of life there was no ‘big one’ meaning the planet is still habitable. O’Neill however rushes to the Gate after a villager says it’s no longer there to find now solid rock with no traces of the Gate. After initially trying to unbury the Gate with little result and with little other option, and the inability for their people to come back home, O’Neill decides to help out the best he can despite the continued anger from some of the survivors who have little time to grow new crops before the winter comes.
The episode cuts to 3 months later where O’Neill has become accustomed to his new life on the planet, ditching his SG-1 gear for local clothes, and has slowly earnt the respect of those who at first questioned him for helping out around the village and has at some point begun a relationship with Laira.
Meanwhile at the SGC they’ve spent the last three months devising a plan to have the Gate off-world to dig a hole through the rubble and then have Teal’c dig from there to the surface, meaning it’s a one-way trip if it fails. Teal’c begins his dig but makes slow progress and begins running low on oxygen. Laira however hears a radio transmission over O’Neill’s radio she was throwing away leading O’Neill to find and rescue him, allowing the return of the planet’s people but sadly for Laira the fact that O’Neill can go back home with the episode ending ambiguously as to whether she is pregnant or not.
A Hundred Days is an episode that fairly quiet in terms of content compared to some of the recent ones. It’s laid back in its approach and number of scenes with no real threat of any kind but rather a look at how O’Neill would cope for an extended period as a civilian.
Most of the episode focuses on O’Neill adapting from a high tech military job to a very low-tech village in the middle of nowhere, where everything is handcrafted and the people expect you to earn your keep, an experience that the colonel finds oddly relaxing it turns out. During the course of the episode he also develops a relationship with a local woman that eventually turns sexual and unlike some of the previous one episode relationships this one makes a lot of sense, with them having jumped 3 months during the middle.
This 3 month time skip does have a couple of problems however as it completely skips over much of O’Neill’s adaption to the situation, where the angry villagers in one scene are friends with him by the next. While the reasons for the skip are obvious it’s a shame this wasn’t an episode they could’ve expanded and split over two different episodes. The SGC scenes in particular feel fairly rushed as the solution to the Gate burial problem is never fully appreciated in the runtime.
Overall A Hundred Days is a relaxed affair that offers a break from the fast pace of the SGC normally and instead offers a rose-tinted view of what settler life might’ve been like.
· Despite the low living standards they sure do look well-kept on this planet.
· While Laira is a nice person her focus on removing any trace of O’Neill’s past life is a strange one.
· The scene of Teal’c digging through the stone is the earliest strong memory of the show I have, making me think when I was a kid that the Stargate wormholes were rock passages people walked through.
Quote of the episode: “Absolute rotgut. More please.” – O’Neill on the moonshine
Shades of Grey
The team is off-world again, this time on Tollana where they are once again trying to gain technology from Travell the Tollan leader. Despite being grateful for helping to stop the Goa’uld plot in Pretense the Tollan still refuse to provide them with Ion Cannon technology, leading O’Neill to exit the negotiations and also steal the weapon disabler outside the room. While Hammond is initially happy at the result he suspends O’Neill for stealing it once finding out how they actually gained it and after the latter lashes out about the whole ‘no force’ policy while he plans to send the others back to hopefully stop it becoming a full-blown diplomatic incident. Before this can be done however Travell and a Tollan delegation arrives demanding the return of their technology. While Hammond is able to salvage diplomatic relations with the Tollan but is forced to place O’Neill into early retirement to sooth them and to stop other punishment as a result of his other issues over the course of the SGC.
Sometime later Daniel visits O’Neill at his home nearby to have an awkward talk. While Daniel tries to be diplomatic and sympathetic O’Neill reveals that his outburst is over the plan for a secondary SGC off-world (which O’Neill would’ve controlled) being scrubbed by the higher-ups and also having had enough of the ‘touchy-feely’ policy they’ve had so far that’s bared little reward technology-wise, with O’Neill trashing their friendship in the process. A short while later O’Neill is visited by Maybourne of the NID, who is there to offer him a job. It turns out the NID is still operating off-world agents, such as those seen in Touchstone, despite being unable to bring them back to Earth.
To get off-world O’Neill goes back to the SGC for one last request, which is to be let off-world to live out his retirement on another planet, using Laira as a reason to do so., at which point he dials in to the NID base in a ruined temple on yet another world, which has acquired a wide range of technology including anti-grav tech. O’Neill, now in command, leads a group off-world to grab a device that makes people invisible, revealed to be an Asgard device. It turns out that the team are sending back small items via a traitor inside the SGC who picks up small items off-world and smuggles them back to the NID. O’Neill chooses to do the job himself wanting to experience all tasks first hand, barely hiding the device before the traitor’s SG team comes through the Gate, which turns out to be none other than Colonel Makepeace who has taken over SG-1. After the pickup an Asgard arrives, learning of the NID base from the coordinates entered by O’Neill.
Back at the base the Asgard arrive not long after O’Neill, here to take back their stolen technology, with O’Neill giving the NID agents a choice between going to where he dialled, revealed to be the SGC, or get taken by the Asgard. Back at the SGC it’s revealed the entire affair was an elaborate sting operation by the SGC to earn back the trust of their allies after a series of unknown thefts, with O’Neill being used as bait to get the NID to reveal themselves. In the aftermath O’Neill awkwardly apologises to Daniel for the whole argument at his house while Daniel reveals he only visited because they drew straws and he lost.
So there we have, another episode that focuses on Earth itself and the different views and factions fighting for control and power over off-world activates, this time with the NID continuing to run smash and grab ops off-world despite having no way to get larger equipment back home.
These episodes are always fun for me as not only do they expand the Earth element of the show’s mythology but prove that the SGC really is under fire all the time from political interests both inside the government and their supposed ‘fellow agencies’ and much of Hammond’s job seems to be tenuously holding all the various stakeholders together in keeping the base operational. Maybourne once again acts as the SGCs foil, with him running operations that negatively effect the SGC by not only ruining alliances but also moving to having SGC staff work for him as well.
While the scale of the off-world operation is too large to be that believable the idea that there were numerous teams already acting off-world was hinted at and will be further explored in future seasons, with the NID retaining its place as a hive of scum and villainy.
Overall Shades of Grey is a nice episode centred on intrigue and shadow agencies which make up many of the best episodes of the show.
· I’m surprised O’Neill easily getting Hammond to send him off-world didn’t raise red flags for all involved to begin with, given how they left under no great circumstances.
· I take it from the ending the Tollans were hiding on the base the entire episode or something. Must’ve been a boring wait.
Quote of the episode: “Well, look who’s here, come to retrieve your vastly superior stuff? You know it’d be a lot more superior if it weren’t so easy to steal.” – O’Neill to the Tollan at the SGC.