Today Anubis rears his head once more and people lose some memories.

Prototype

Synopsis

At the SGC the fight against the Ori continues, with the SGC following Tok’ra intel about a possible Supergate site in the Milky Way. When a scout team attempts to visit a nearby planet the Stargate seems to malfunction, sending them to the wrong planet entirely. After running diagnostics they find that this planet’s Gate is waiting for some kind of code to allow entry, much like the Iris system the SGC uses, and if the wrong code is used it sends arrivals to a random nearby Gate as opposed to getting splatted on the windshield. After working out the right code to allow entry the team arrive on a seemingly peaceful world, only to find an entrance to an advanced lab hidden nearby containing a man in suspended animation who they immediately release.

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Returning to the SGC with their “podman” they find that he bears a genetic similarity to the Ancients. Upon waking in the infirmary the man, Khalek, claims to have been a prisoner of an unknown person and was experimented on. After long investigation by Daniel however they find that Khalek was in fact a genetic clone created by Anubis to serve as a continuation. Khalek is immediately moved to a lab to hold him securely while the base tries to decide what to do with him, with Daniel taking a surprisingly hostile view of killing Khalek as soon as possible. Richard Woolsey, now liaison for the IOA, instead relays the IOA wishes to keep Khalek alive to study him for a way to stop the Priors and the Ori.

In the lab Khalek appears to be deliberately trying to ascend while conscious. As the team watch his abilities grow on the monitors the man attempts to escape, using telekinesis to grab a Zat and almost take out the guards before Mitchell puts two in his chest. After healing himself Khalek wakes again, to find that the room has had an electrically charged floor fitted, a shield generator attached to the door, and drugs inserted into his body that are meant to stop his abilities.

While Khalek sits in his cell Landry and Woolsey argue about the best course of action, with Landry cutting of the IOA agreement and instead planning to have Khalek put back in stasis until he can be completely eliminated. SG-1 comes back from the lab site however to reveal that Khalek wants to go back as he needs more treatments in the lab to be able to fully ascend. Using his new powers however Khalek is able to overhear why he won’t be going back and escapes once more, forcing the SGC to turn off their security measures as he pulls the guards inside the room. Approaching the gateroom Khalek goes full Neo, stopping bullets in midair and having insane mind powers, before mentally dialling the Gate back to the lab and stepping through, only to find himself back at the SGC and confronted by Mitchell. Despite having blocked Mitchell’s shots he finds himself wounded by Daniel who’d shot him from the other doorway. With his powers weakened by the initial wound the two are easily able to unload their magazines into Khalek who falls backwards off the ramp dead.

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As Daniel prepares to leave for the evening Woolsey confronts him, assuring him that those who died will see their dependents well looked after by the IOA. Daniel says that he wishes that Woolsey had been right and he was wrong but that he can’t quite bring himself to forgive the man just yet. The episode ends with Woolsey contemplating the consequences of his decisions.

Analysis

So here we go with another episode designed on looking at the fallout of the now Goa’uld free Milky Way that sees the team discovering one of Anubis’ pet projects.

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In this case it turns out that the team have found a lab that contains the clone/son of Anubis, heavily genetically advanced human that is close to Ascension. The main conflict of the episode in many ways however is less about the attempted escapes by the clone but rather the conflict between the IOA and SGC in what to do with him. The episode sees the return of Woolsey, a rather pain in the arse but loyal and honest bureaucrat, who now works for the IOA. While the SGC want to eliminate Khalek due to their previous experience with Anubis and his powers Woolsey rather sees it as an opportunity to develop ways of countering the growing Ori threat.

While the show could’ve easily chosen to have portrayed as one option being right and the other being obviously wrong, especially given how Khalek does eventually escape confinement, the episode instead points out the merits that both ideas had, with Woolsey’s having a greater risk on the short term but a longer term gain while the SGC’s approach could see them lose vital research. This would carry on in later episodes where Khalek is used as the basis for the Anti-Prior devices the team develop in their fight against the Ori, showing that in the outcome of the episode both approaches would later be shown to be correct.

This really is the start of Woolsey as a growing presence on the show that would carry on not only for SG-1 but also Atlantis. This is a man who until now had really been nothing more than a pencil-pusher, even if he was a good one. Now however we slowly start to see more of the man underneath, with the camera at the end lingering on Woolsey as he is shown to reflect on the consequences of his actions. It’s a really nice moment in the show that has been lacking in some of the more intimate character moment stuff as of late. Just that small 5 or so seconds immediately removes the layers of irritating rule-driven man who for most of the episode and you really see the weight on the guy’s shoulders has he doesn’t try to pass off what he did to someone else.

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Outside of this of course the main focus on the episode is the fallout of Anubis being gone finally and just what he might have left behind for others to accidently stumble across. Similar to the treatment of Ba’al earlier on in Ex Deus Machina here we see the that the great battle at the end of season eight didn’t just wipe the slate clean. Anubis was always a Goa’uld obsessed with the Ancients and Ascension so it only makes sense that this would be the case once more, this time with him having tried to perfect a way to ascend mortally without help, thereby not getting descended by the Ancients as a consequence.

As a result of being part of Anubis Khalek bears many of the same traits as his father/creator such as his rampant megalomania, callous regard for those beneath him, and also his penchant for mentally tormenting those against him as part of a game which is seen in this episode by calling Woolsey “Dick” just to get a reaction from the uptight man. Much like with Anubis however Khalek is undone by these same traits, believing himself to be untouchable due to his intellect and powers, not considering he could be tricked by the team as he was and being killed as a result of it. Up to now I’ve been somewhat annoyed at the one episode only enemies but I think in this one Khalek being immediately offed is the right decision as Anubis had reached his natural conclusion as an enemy and now we have Ba’al to fill that hole as chief Goa’uld.

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In conclusion the episode is definitely one of the better filler episodes of the non-Vala part of the season, with the episode dealing with loose threads in a satisfying why while also not outstaying its welcome, adding just enough to the mythology of the show as well as filling up a good 42 minute slot.

Assorted Musings

· I’m pretty sure the MALP would already be covered in bacteria and the Gate wouldn’t react to that for Carter’s tests.

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· Daniel really is turning into O’Neill isn’t he.

· What is it with shows showing Concussion as not really that big a deal.

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· They just had to make the villain British huh?

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Quote of the episode: “Maybe it wasn’t our fault.”

“I thought it was always our fault.” – Carter and Daniel

Collateral Damage

Synopsis

In a city on another planet Mitchell wakes up after a strange set of memories where he appears to beat a woman to death with blood on his hands only to be arrested for the murder of the woman he saw in the visions, a Dr Reya Varrick.

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The episode cuts back several days to reveal that the team are on the world Galar, an advanced society that has the technology to explore memories and implant them into the minds of others. Like the Galarans the SGC are interested in the technology as it’d allow the ability to transfer advanced knowledge and skills to others without years of costly training. The two groups want to exchange the memory tech in return for help with the Galaran hyperdrive program. That night however Reya has an argument with Varta, a man high up in the Galaran government, about the program’s future usage. After the argument Mitchell heads off with Reya, having taken a liking to each other, which ends in the events we saw at the start of the episode.

Varta has the team brought to his office to explain what has happened with Mitchell, also revealing that Mitchell will be allowed to go free to Earth due to the preservation of the trade talks. Varta however does agree to the condition that they may investigate the crime but only on the condition that if they find the evidence to be damning against Mitchell then he must face punishment on Galar for the crimes he’s committed. Two Galaran scientists who worked on the Memory Project, doctors Marell and Amuro, also volunteer to help the team so they can get justice for their dead friend.

Over the course of several sessions the team build up a library of Mitchell’s earlier memories, many of them troubling, to build a baseline to check for inconsistencies in the ones of the murder, such as a failed mission where he bombed a civilian convoy by accident and seeing his father after the latter had been badly wounded while flying, that prove that it’s false in nature. While Mitchell’s name has been cleared Varta doesn’t want an investigation into who actually killed her, claiming that it’s been too distracting already but gives in to pressure from the SGC.

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Continuing the tests they find proof that the killer was Marell, the man who’d pushed for the continued tests. It turns out that Marell was in a relationship with Reya that ended and was still jealous about it, killing her in a fit of rage and placed the memory of doing it in Mitchell while replacing his own memory with another one. Despite this however Marell is kept on the job by Varta, who sates that Marell has no memory so can’t be jailed for it, after having his memories of finding the killer removed, though it’s left ambiguous as to whether this was a case of a crime of passion or a ploy by Varta the whole time.

The episode ends with Mitchell remembering the words of advice his father gave him after he originally planned to quit the Air Force.

Analysis

Another very good episode on the show which is a much more complex piece than it first appears to be, revolving around whether what we think we know is even real.

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The episode largely revolves around a new technology on a foreign world that allows the ability to insert new memories into people, nominally as a way to give them new skills and abilities. The episode however turns into a thriller involving murder, mystery, and suspense when the technology is abused just as it would end up being with a murderer using it to hide his own murder and blame someone else for the crime which in this case is Mitchell. It’s a really disturbing idea that plays out on screen in the idea that you can have memories implanted against your will that make you think you were or did something that you didn’t do and had no choice to relive it day after day or, even worse, know or suspect you didn’t do it but confronted with what appears to be the evidence that you had done it.

In the episode you can see it almost tear Mitchell apart due to what the negatives of the technology cause but it’s a strong character moment to see him carry on through it, even as he’s forced to visit some of the worst moments of his life. It’s good character development for someone who until now hasn’t had much said about him so far after over half a season now and has been a relatively blank slate, defined by one dogfight over Antarctica and that’s about it.

I also quite like the politicking from Varta, played by a man who may be familiar to fans of the greatest Christmas film ever made, who is stuck in the middle between both sides. Not only is he forced to try and keep the SGC on side for the negotiations but also carry out his government’s policies regarding the technology. The portrayal is also rather nuanced as we’re never actually shown whether the crime at the center of the episode was actually a crime of passion or even premediated due to Reya’s opposition to the militarisation of the program. It’s quite a dark moment for the show and works in how it’s never actually answered nor brought up again.

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In the end however it works well as an episode that doesn’t outstay it’s welcome while adding a more thought-provoking episode to the show’s repitoire.

Assorted Musings

· I like how this season adds more and more advanced planets to the show.

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Quote of the episode: “I don’t think diplomacy’s my thing.”

“Oh, That’s what you’re doing.” - Mitchell and Daniel