Back again and this time we have the season 7 mid season two parter, Evolution.

Synopsis

 

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Teal’c and Bra’tac are off-world, exploring a lead about a meeting between two minor Goa’uld only to find the meeting site a wasteland littered with corpses and one of the two Goa’uld among them. They attempt to gain information from a survivor about what happened only for him to be killed by an unknown warrior in black armour who then attacks to two Free Jaffa, with Staff weapons having no effect on the warrior, but dies before he can finish off either of the two Jaffa.

The warrior is brought through the Stargate to the SGC where Carter along with Jacob/Selmak operate on the new threat, finding the creature inside to be a strange translucent host of a Goa’uld. They also find that whatever killed it wasn’t due to the efforts of the two Jaffa with the cause likely being down to the poor makeup of the host itself. According to Selmak the host may have been created through the use of an Ancient artefact that was a much more powerful version of the Sarcophagus, that drove human hosts insane almost immediately making it useless, and may have been possessed by a Goa’uld on Earth. Fearing that Anubis is using technology similar to the artefact to create the hosts Hammond gives the go ahead for Daniel to search ruins in Honduras with Dr Lee (another SGC scientist).

The two scientists head to Honduras where they meet with a guide who leads them deep into jungle to a location of their choosing, though the guide assures them there are no temples there that he’s seen. Some hours later they arrive at the site, with the guide’s information seemingly being correct about there being no temples. While searching the area however Dr Lee literally stumbles upon the entrance to the underground temple which the two scientists proceed to explore, finding evidence of the Goa’uld they’re looking for. Inside they find the artefact in question and manage to escape a water trap that floods the temple only to find themselves captured by armed guerrilla fighters.

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While the scientists follow the lead on the artefact Bra’tac shares information about other minor Goa’uld who are under attack from Anubis and Ba’al and that they should do what they can to maintain the current balance of power while also taking the opportunity to capture one of the new warriors being used by Anubis. The remains of SG-1 along with other SG teams and Free Jaffa forces head to one of the planets controlled by a minor Goa’uld to set up an ambush but all as per usual goes wrong, with the warrior walking through a forcefield, withstanding heavy machinegun and Staff fire, and withstanding Claymore mines plus C4 while inflicting heavy losses on the combined group. The firefight also gives away their position to the Goa’uld forces on the planet and the combined forces are captured after the SG team holding the Gate are forced to retreat.

While in captivity the combined force waits for the opportunity of rescue, with O’Neill once again being the worst negotiator of all time. Not only do his initial attempts to convince the Goa’uld that they’re trying to help but the attempts to convince their guard to free them also go unanswered. The team are only able to escape when the formerly devout and loyal Jaffa on the base help them escape when they see how the battle has turned against them and the team are able to capture a warrior inside the cargo hold of a Tel’tak before bringing it back to the SGC where they successfully interrogate it for information as to its homeworld. The celebration of completing the mission is cut short however when the team find out Daniel and Dr Lee have been captured.

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Somewhere in South America the two SGC scientists are taken by their captors to a camp in a clearing somewhere, with the guide having been shot and left for dead when he tried to escape. Despite the two proclaiming that they know nothing of worth to their captors the leader refuses to accept their answers and instead decides to torture the two of them through means that include food/drink deprivation and the use of electrical shock. While Daniel is able to resist Lee is unable to resist for long and reveals the true nature of the device to their captors which the leader foolishly activates.

At the SGC Hammond is given unofficial clearance to conduct an off-the-books operation to track down and rescue the two members of his command (as the official US policy prevents payment of ransom or a large scale military operation), with O’Neill heading down to Honduras to meet Burke, a former Special Forces comrade who has clearly been stuck in the region too long on unofficial punishment duty for a mission that led to a death in their team that has left Burke incredibly jaded. Given their history the two refuse to work together and O’Neill takes a guide into the jungle to Daniel’s last known location at the temple.

Meanwhile the SGC also begin planning a reconnaissance/Search and Destroy mission to the homeworld shown by the warrior to find out how many warriors Anubis has and do as much damage as possible to his efforts to create more. Jacob leads the way, donning the warrior armour to infiltrate the base while the others wait nearby in a Tel’tak for his signal to begin their incursion. After making his way into the base Jacob is able to evade a Goa’uld who checks him in and let Teal’c and Carter into the base. Inside they find a Goa’uld queen creating blank symbiotes to be used as the perfect soldier as they have all the healing abilities of the Goa’uld without the megalomania or desire for power.

Back in the jungle O’Neill makes it to the site only to find Burke has beaten him there, having decided to put his issues aside for the sake of rescuing the others. Soon the two of them stumble upon the guide who is still alive and in pretty decent shape who reveals more about what happened and where the rebels were headed and asks them to focus on rescuing their friends as they own him money for the trip. While heading up to the rebel’s locations Burke reveals that he killed the teammate who died as he had sold them out to those they were tracking, wanting to set himself in the private sector but Burke kept it quiet because it would’ve meant that his widow wouldn’t have seen the husband’s pension due to his traitorous nature.

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In the camp the leader once again starts to torture and interrogate Daniel for information about the device. While the archaeologist tries to warn them about the dangers of being near them the leader refuses and shows that he’s begun to lose his mind when he kills one of his men for questioning him. When returned to the cell Daniel and Lee escape, knowing that soon everything is going to get worse than it is already. Just as they begin their escape the dead goon is resurrected by his proximity to the device and begins killing the other rebels, seemingly invincible. The two SGC members run into the forest, pursued by the remaining rebels and Daniel is eventually cornered by them only to be rescued at the last minute by O’Neill while Burke eliminates the resurrected rebel with his grenade launcher. While they recover the artefact the two scientists, delirious from their ordeal, both refuse to be near it to Burke’s entertainment.

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Back on the planet creating the new warriors they find that Anubis already has an army of them at his disposal, making their elimination a top priority. Unfortunately the team are discovered, forcing them to detonate what explosives they’ve already placed and retreat back to Bra’tac’s Tel’tak, barely making it off the planet. Their flight is interrupted by the on-board presence of another of the warriors who they manage to eject using the transport rings before heading back to the SGC. Back at base both teams celebrate a mission that was largely successful.

 

Analysis

 

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So here we are with the midseason two parter and boy was it a big one, with it going to several different locations over the course of 90s minutes and having 3-4 different subplots active. Thankfully however it largely manages to pull it off.

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The main plot is centered around the introduction and dealing with of a new threat in the form of Goa’uld supersoldiers loyal to Anubis. Not only are they able to withstand normal methods of killing Goa’uld forces but they are also unquestionably loyal to their leader unlike the growing Jaffa Rebellion. This sees the two main strands of Daniel looking for artefacts on Earth related to the new technology who O’Neill eventually has to save while the others take a more direct approach to find out just where they’re coming from. Over the course of this they find that not only is the technology capable of driving humans insane but also that Anubis has already created an entire army of the warriors that are battle ready, increasing the stakes for the SGC to find a way to beat them.

The reasoning behind Anubis’ decision to use these new soldiers is proven early on in the episode when the combined SGC/Free Jaffa force is captured by a minor Goa’uld but are quickly realised by one of his Jaffa when he realises that the story of godliness is a lie and immediately joins with the team.

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The episode largely focuses on this aspect but there are more hints at character backstory just in the episode, in particular once again O’Neill’s. Here we find out more about his past in the military, finding out that a mission he was on went south when one of their own was killed under suspicious circumstances with the character of Burke, his former teammate, revealing that he killed the other guy for betraying them but keeping it silent to protect others on the team and their family from repercussions while he took the fall.

Burke is very much the standout character from the two parter, played fantastically by Enrico Colantoni, and manages to be quite complex despite only appearing in one half of the two parter. Very quickly he’s shown as a jaded cynic about the world, having seen the bad side of backroom politics in South America for over a decade at least but a man who’ll put aside his problems for the sake of helping others. It’s a shame more of the other one time characters aren’t so quickly well established in this way.

The only criticism of the episode I’d have is that towards the end it does start to get a bit rushed. While for the Earth subplot, which by the end is basically a homage to the film Predator, this doesn’t have much of an effect it does make the supersoldier subplot a bit more jarring and moves too quickly, especially at the latter stages when they arrive on the captured warriors homeworld.

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Overall the episodes are an action packed end to the first half of the season, further increasing the threat to the SGC while also maintaining the more jokey elements of the show. While it at times bites off more than it can chew it ends in a good place that adds to the growing Anubis arc.

 

Assorted Musings

 

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· I really wish I could give quote of the episode to the entire Jail Cell conversation about not coming to actually kill a Goa’uld for once.

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· That rebel with the glasses looks like the guy from the video for Darude Sandstorm.

· The jungle music is clearly inspired by Predator.

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Quote of the episode: “So if you want to let us go we’ll be on our way, to save the world another da… you’re not buying this are you?” – O’Neill