Today we get a sort of crossover and then Ba’al launches a Spartacus tribute act.
The team are onboard the Odyssey on its way to a special destination that Daniel has been trying to get to for years, Atlantis. Upon arrival the team attempt to brief FART as to why they’re here, only for it to end in an argument between Carter and Rodney as to how best to lock out the Supergate in the Milky Way by dialling from the Pegasus and then jumping the connection similar to A Matter of Time. Given that Rodney will be needed on the mission Sheppard gives the team much needed intel on how to deal with the pain in the arse scientist. Daniel and Vala stay behind on Atlantis to look for Merlin’s weapon or information relating to it.
On the Odyssey enroute to the blackhole Rodney and Carter have another chat, with Rodney alluding to his time submerged in a Jumper and that a hallucination of her saved his life with Carter correctly deducing he’d imagined her scantily-clad. Rodney proceeds to annoy many members of the crew while they setup the Gate they brought with them, successfully linking it to the Milky Way gate smuggled to the Supergate’s location. Despite several attempts to use a nuclear weapon to cause a spike and shift the connection it has no effect. While planning for a more powerful attempt Teal’c is forced to go quiet, cloaking himself and the Gate, as an Ori ship approaches the Supergate to check up on it.
In the city Weir introduces Daniel and Vala to an Ancient interface used to search the city’s database and which seems oddly easy to use even with Daniel half distracted by Vala. While Vala sees this as a job well done Daniel isn’t so sure given how simple it was and begins to further question the display, asking it to display the Ancients who went back to Earth which includes a man who looks suspiciously like Merlin. When the hologram starts using specific language Daniel sees her for what it is, the ascended Ancient Morgan Le Fay hiding as the hologram causing her to disappear. While Weir initially doesn’t believe Daniel’s theory they’re able to prove it’s Morgan, causing the Ancient to drop her act entirely.
While running silent Teal’c receives a warning from Atlantis relayed via the SGC that a Wraith ship is approaching the Odyssey and that he needs to warn them. Teal’c breaks radio silence to warn the others, alerting the Ori ship to the fact a ship is in area. When the Odyssey attempts to break for higher orbit they come under fire from the Hive ship, forcing them to try and bring the Hive ship closer to the black hole to even the odds. Luring the Hive ship closer to the black hole and therefore the Gate there they drop their final nuclear payload, obliterating the Hive ship and causing enough power for the jumping to occur, igniting the Supergate with the resulting vortex incinerating the Ori vessel above it.
After breaking her act on the city Morgan begins to fill in the gaps regarding the history of the Ancients who came back to Earth. After both Merlin and Morgan had initially ascended Merlin began to fear the Ori threat and descended to build his weapon while also helping a certain King of the Britons as well. Eventually the others who were ascended sent down Morgan to check on his work as they feared what he was doing. After Daniel voices his discontent at the inaction of the Ancients Morgan decides to try and help them, only to be pulled away by the others. While they found the information they’re looking for Daniel also sadly notes that the Ancients aren’t going to ever help them.
Oh look, it’s a crossover episode in which there’s barely any crossover whatsoever. Right off the bat the biggest problem of the episode is this single fact, with most of the Atlantis cast simply not appearing in the episode. Even the Daedalus is absent when they could’ve easily had that appear as the BC-304 needed to get to and from the city. Instead, while Weir and Rodney appear prominently, it’s more like New Order from season 8 with some characters from the other show there but on the whole it’s little more than set dressing as opposed to a serious attempt to mix the two shows together in terms of most characters appearing from both shows in a serious way.
Outside of this however I do like how elements of the show are put together. The idea of the Wraith and Ori ships showing up just when they did makes sense and isn’t just an excuse to shove a giant space battle in, with the actual battle being little more than 5 seconds. The Ancient database makes a reappearance from season one of Atlantis, this time with Morgan having surreptitiously having taken control of the interface to help out in what little way she can, though that as usual isn’t going far enough for people like Daniel. This background setting blending of the two shows is far better done than the character part of it and is much stronger for the story it tries to tell as a result.
Talking of Daniel the episode tries to up the stakes for the team by having it so that even in a fight against the Ori the Ancients will not suddenly come down from Olympus and fight alongside the humans but that they’ll still block deliberate attempts to help them while turning a blind eye to more out of the way interventions however, with it being implied that the Gate only survived the blast because something must’ve interfered with it. This message is a little blurred in the episode itself however with the fact the direct intervention wouldn’t have been blocked if Daniel hadn’t kept trying to push for more intervention so it definitely come across as more “well we helped you but we’re not going to fight this war for you” rather than callous ignoring of their plight.
The major change in terms of the mythos however is clearly the closing off of the Supergate for at least for now and to be honest I can’t help but think this was the wrong time to do it. The gate was opened only 2 episodes ago so in what can only be a month at most not only have no other ships appeared (why?) but instead the team manage to easily come up with a solution to something that was meant to be a major threat. It seems like the show had no real way of making it work as a plot device so were forced to deal with it but didn’t quote know what to do, emphasised when the Supergate is reopened only a few episodes later. This seems like a wasted episode in that regard.
Overall the episode is a good one as a standalone but is fairly weak when it comes to some of the crossover elements and the impact on the mythos is debatable.
· I like how Mitchell breaks the fourth wall with his “cool” comment by looking at the camera.
· If only there was a second BC-304 that could’ve been sent to help out the Odyssey.
Quote of the episode: “I was trapped in the back of a sinking jumper and my mind conjured you up as a means of survival. What you would do in my situation? Saved my life.
“Okay well that’s sort of nice.”
“Hmm. Yes it was.”
“Was I naked?”
“Partially.” – Rodney and Carter
As the SGC keep hunting down Merlin’s weapon the base is alerted to an Al’kesh entering US airspace, leading to a very public F-16 shootdown of the thing but it remains largely intact after the crash. At the crash site the team find the pilot, one annoyingly happy Ba’al. In the interrogation Ba’al claims the other clones are turning against him and that he’s the real
Spartacus Ba’al. Ba’al claims that he knows just where Merlin’s weapon is and that in return he asks for the SGC to help him hunt down his clones. Agent Barrett of the NID turns up however and attempts to take him into NID custody, needing him for the investigation into The Trust.
Over the course of a series of missions SG teams end up capturing all of the Ba’als, with all of them claiming to be the real
Spartacus Ba’al. As the SGC ends up becoming the interstellar version of Gitmo, with all the clones getting nice jumpsuits with their own numbers on, the interrogations of the clones leads nowhere fast as all refuse to reveal any information regarding Merlin’s weapon. Barrett starts acting out of character, especially around Carter, and ends up pulling rank with a guard to see one of the clones while still carrying his sidearm. The clone takes his chance and overpowers him before breaking out all of the clones and arming them.
The lower levels of the base are quickly overrun by the clones, forcing the SGC to prepare symbiote gas countermeasures to be pumped directly into the vents but this will take time. Before this happens what defence forces and SG teams remain split up into groups and prepare assault positions until the gas is ready. Unfortunately Vala’s team is discovered, causing an immediate assault and the gas isn’t able to be deployed as effectively as they’d have liked.
In the cut off lower levels Carter is brought to the leader who demands her access codes, revealing that all along they needed the list of planets and didn’t actually have any information themselves. While at first she refuses to give up the code the threat of killing the other hostages, including Barrett, forces her hand and she unlocks the terminal, believing the clones will be recaptured or killed any how. After getting the codes however Supreme Ba’al hints that they have a way off the base that the SGC have missed.
All groups end up meeting outside one of the multipurpose rooms where all the clones have retreated to and are suddenly beamed away to a waiting Tel’tak, with all of their trackers together having overcome the jamming that was in place. In the aftermath the team try to understand how the breakout happened, finding that Barrett has been compromised and brainwashed by Ba’al just for this purpose. The episode ends with the team forced to take Barrett into custody until they can find a way to break the brainwashing.
Oh look, a wild Ba’al has appeared in what is probably the best episode of the season so far. As opposed to the deathly serious plots of the last three episodes this feels more like the comedy-drama tone of other episodes the show has become famous for.
So as we saw Ba’al has been thinking up grand designs for the future, realising that the Merlin weapon is the only way not to survive the Ori threat on the Milky Way. As opposed to working with the SGC however he chooses once more to go alone, seeing them more as a hindrance than as a potential ally but still knows they have vital intelligence that he needs. Unlike previous Goa’uld enemies Ba’al once again demonstrates his more intellectual plans, with a scheme that required months of planning to get the right man on the inside to help him in the form of Barrett and then getting all his clones to follow him for the plan. Until the final 10 minutes you really don’t have any idea as to just what he’s planning to do, instead the belief is still very much he’s just hardballing with his info.
On the flipside the episode doesn’t make the mistake of dumbing down the heroes to allow the villain to win. Recently the show’s have suffered from the heroes making obviously crap decisions in an effort to create a threat but all that ends up doing is making it boring to watch as it doesn’t make the villain strong but effectively a plot device as opposed to a character. Here however the SGC really is overpowered by Ba’al. They had contingencies in place that failed and had no way of knowing that Barrett had been turned. It’s the fact that the team were on top for most of the episode which makes it so thrilling to watch as their former position of strength so quickly becomes one of them on the backfoot and unable to regain control until it’s too late.
Insiders isn’t a very complex episode, not really, with a simple structure and plot. What it does do however is use this simplicity to good effect, crafting a great 45 minute story that is thrilling to watch yet also filled with some smaller comedic touches that really help each part standout. A great little episode that demonstrates why season 10 is a far improvement over the bumpy ninth.
· Christ that was a very old episode in the flashback, The Fifth Race.
· Damn if only Daniel as here he could save the day!
· Hmm where have I seen that gas container prop recently?
Quote of the episode: “You don’t think you can control her?”
“Sir I know I can’t control her but that’s pretty much par for the course. Sir Carter and I are the same rank, Teal’c’s an alien, Jackson’s a civilian. I learned a long time ago I don’t control anything.” – Landry and Mitchell