Another two episodes. One about hard line military thinking and another about hippy-dippy spiritual nonsense.

New Ground

Synopsis

We begin with archaeologists on an unknown world, uncovering their Stargate for the very first time. While guessing its purpose it begins to dial in, to reveal a MALP coming through. On Earth the SGC have been cold-calling Gates that previously didn’t connect and they’ve just had their first hit. Daniel begins communications with the archaeologists, with the male Nyan willing to talk while his female co-worker Mallin believes it to be an ‘Optrican trick’ and that their own society were wrong.

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On SG-1s arrival and after initial introductions Nyan reveals more of the situation, with his nations Bedrosia believing that all life started on the planet while their enemy the Optricans believe, correctly, that their ancestors were brought through the Stargate thousands of years ago but the Gate was lost during a volcanic eruption. Soon after arrival Bedrosian airships show up, deploying a stunning weapon that takes out most of the team while Teal’c manages to escape detection in the nearby woods but is found by a patrolling Bedrosian soldier. Despite taking him out Teal’c is struck in the face by his stunning weapon, rendering him blind.

At the digsite the Bedrosian commanding officer, Rigar, is shown to be a diehard believer in his way of life, calling the team ‘Optrican spies’ and demanding what they are doing in Bedrosia, ignoring the team’s explanation for being there, while also setting up a small military camp to keep the discovery hidden. Rigar’s second in command starts to express belief in the story of SG-1 but is overridden by Rigar, who states that he won’t let their country’s religion or wargoal be shown to be fake, stating that the Stargate must be fake in some bizarre psychological warfare.

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In the words the heavily injured Teal’c is found by Nyan, who brings the Jaffa to a nearby cave for safety. While in the cave Nyan asks Teal’c for the truth, who explains that the Optrican’s belief is correct. Nyan believes he can get help if he goes to the Bedrosian scientific community but Teal’c disagrees, given that the Bedrosian military clearly has the means of destroying any trace of the truth. Nyan leaves however to get more supplies, leaving Teal’c alone in the cave.

At the camp Rigar begins to interrogate the team, demanding information about why they are there and Teal’c’s location. Despite trying to explain who they are (but not giving up Teal’c) Rigar still refuses to question his beliefs, which include revering a Goa’uld, and begins to physically torture the team.

Nyan eventually returns to the cave with supplies that includes a healing device that can fix Teal’c’s eyesight but also accidently learns of Teal’c’s alien nature. While Teal’c explains belief that his symbiote will heal him Nyan believes that the device is the best method to heal him. Teal’c however still expresses distrust however, believing that Nyan will try to remove him just like the military would but Nyan allays his fears by explaining that to him being proved wrong is as interesting as being proved right. After a number of treatments Teal’c regains enough of his eyesight to once again navigate, with him requesting Nyan’s help in rescuing his team.

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At the digsite the SGC eventually dials the Gate, worried by the lack of contact from the team but is instead but in contact with Riger. Despite Hammond further backing up the claims of SG-1 and being shown the Gate working Riger instead continues to deny any of what happened. Knowing that his conversation with Riger is going nowhere he tries to use the MALP to help the trapped team but is caught after Riger’s second in command notices the MALP hitting the side of the tent.

Elsewhere Teal’c and Nyan begin their rescue attempt, with them stealing a shuttle after Nyan Zats the two guards. Flying to the digsite they crash the shuttle, with Nyan playing the part of a scared scientist to lure several guards away, who Teal’c manages to stun. Despite being outnumbered Teal’c is able to pin down the guards while Nyan rescues the team. Now with both sides evenly matched Daniel is able to dial the Gate while the others eliminate most of the guards, with SG-1 along with Nyan being able to make it through the Gate just before Bedrosian reinforcements arrive. In gratitude for helping them Nyan is offered a place at the SGC to help with scientific study of any objects brought back through the Gate.

Analysis

The core of this episode is mainly written around the idea of what would happen if you were fighting a war that was proven to be fought for the wrong reasons. Throughout the episode we are shown that the planet is currently in either a hot or cold war with two superpowers, Bedrosia and Optrica, seemingly fighting over ideology, with Bedrosia believing their god created life on the planet while the Optricans believe that they came through the Stargate and the Bedrosian god brought them there. While we are not aware of how long the war has been going on for we do know that SG-1s arrival proves that the Bedrosian state is built on a lie.

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These issues are largely expressed through the character of Commander Riger, a single-minded military man who is steadfast in his beliefs. Despite seeing his beliefs completely questioned by evidence throughout the episode the man only becomes increasingly unhinged, going so far as to torturing the team because they refuse to back his view of the world. In the end he attempts to have the team transferred to a ‘secure facility’, likely a prison where they can be quietly killed as ‘Optrican spies’, and most likely also have the entire digsite destroyed so no one can question the Bedrosian faith.

Nyan on the otherhand portrays the idea of science as malleable compared to the set in stone thinking of his military counterparts. Despite having set out to prove the Bedrosian theory correct he ends up not only uncovering the Stargate, proving the Optricans right, but also decides to help the team, claiming that to him just the act of discovery itself is what he loves. While initially placing his faith in the idea he could convince other scientists about what happened he eventually comes round to helping the team escape, knowing that without proof the Bedrosian scientific community would most likely laugh him out, much like how Daniel himself was mocked when he first theorised about the idea of Aliens building the pyramids.

Overall this episode is one that portrays two opposing philosophies against each other through a military vs civilian manner and is much deeper than it would appear at first, in many ways ending up as a mirror reflection of how things could’ve ended up with the Stargate on Earth.

Assorted Musings

· No one seems to have noticed that one of the Bedrosian archaeologists disappears when the Stargate is activated for the first time.

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· The spread effect of the Bedrosian stun weapons is a cool one with how it follows the form of whatever it hits.

Quote of the episode: “Hey Rigar. You know that “we come in peace” business? Bite me.” – O’Neill

Maternal Instinct

Synopsis

The episode begins with the SGC experiencing an unexpected dialing of the Gate, with Bra’tac arriving with a heavily injured Jaffa, briefing the SGC that Chulak has been attacked by Apophis, who now controls all of Sokar’s forces, essentially exterminating the Jaffa on the planet in an attempt to wipe out the Jaffa Rebellion that had been growing there. Despite the best efforts of the SGC Teal’c’s companion, his newest apprentice, dies of his wounds. The team reveal to Bra’tac that Apophis was also likely searching for the Harcesis child but that it had been placed on a planet called Kheb. Bra’tac reveals he was told by his father about a place called Kheb that used to be a place that Jaffa travelled to and knows of a series of planets that could be a likely grouping. Carter, matching the planets to the data from both the Cartouche and the Ancients, finds the one planet that wasn’t on the Cartouche.

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The team, along with Bra’tac and SG-2, lead on an expedition to the planet (with SG-2 holding down the Gate) and quickly traces that another group of Jaffa were recently on the planet. Following the trail of bodies the team eventually find the monastery of Kheb itself. Arriving both Bra’tac and Daniel claim to have a feeling from the place that causes them to give up their weapons, while O’Neill refuses to give his up. Entering the monastery itself they find a monk inside who speaks in increasingly irritating metaphors while also talking off something called ‘Desala’. While Daniel and Bra’tac are willing to try to fit in with and understand the monk O’Neill becomes increasingly annoyed by what he perceives as deliberately evasive answers to his questions, soon deciding to head outside rather than deal with the monk any further. Bra’tac is soon also forced to leave as the monk states that Jaffa cannot complete ‘the journey’ with a symbiote still inside them.

Later on during his spiritual journey alongside the monk, with Daniel attempting to light a candle, he reveals why the team are there in the first place, which is to seek the child’s knowledge. The monk expresses doubt in Daniel’s view that only he can truly protect the candle and that he should trust Desala to protect the child instead. O’Neill eventually grows tired and once again interrupts, with Daniel explaining that the monastery explains some way of achieving powers of the mind and a way to another plane of existence. The argument is interrupted however by the arrival of a Jaffa force with a landed Ha’tak nearby. With Daniel unwilling to leave until he finds the child the others fortify as best they can and wait for the Jaffa force to make their way to them.

While the others get ready to fight the entity the monk called ‘Desala’ finally reveals itself to Daniel, leading him to the Harcesis child, which had been hidden close-by the entire time. While he initially tries to take the child Daniel finally realises that it was Desala who had the powers all along and that the child is safest with her than anywhere else. Outside the Jaffa finally arrive and kill the monk before Daniel returns, telling the team to drop their weapons which Bra’tac agrees with. When the Jaffa now attempt to attack the now disarmed team Desala promptly kills them with lightning before helping the monk to move to the next plane of existence (later known as Ascension) before leaving with the child to an unknown location.

Analysis

So Maternal Instinct finally provides the final step in the search of the Harcesis child plotline started last season, with the team discovering the child and realising that it’s better protected than they ever could.

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Most of the conflict in this episode however comes from the argument between O’Neill and Daniel, with the former seeing the whole Kheb thing as spiritual mumbo-jumbo while the latter sees it as a way for greater purpose. This ends with both of them being proven wrong in different ways, with O’Neill in the end having faith in the unknown force that was Desala and Daniel realising that sometimes more than just knowledge is required to achieve something.

While the episode does feature this conflict much of it is fairly boring and made up of frustratingly stupid metaphorical content that comes straight from the mind of a stoner.

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Overall the episode is one that does provide some closure for a long running plot thread but is also one that feels very long to watch and filled with content that isn’t of much use.

Assorted Musings

· So that’s where Galen Tyrol went after leaving the Galactica. He became a Jaffa.

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· The first part of this episode on Kheb plays like CSI, with Bra’tac and Teal’c studying crime scenes.

· Oh so Jaffa can’t get oneness but humans can. The monk is clearly a space racist.

Quote of the episode: “If we happen to make it out of this in one piece, remind me to harm Daniel severely.” – O’Neill