Today a Tau’ri vessel is once again attacked and the team go on a little quest.
Company of Thieves
The Odyssey, joined by Carter, is scouting a remote location for a second Ori Supergate, only to be attacked by three Ha’taks of unknown origin. As they attempt to escape the ship accidentally wanders into an old minefield and finds themselves critically damaged thereby allowing them to be boarded by their attackers. After being knocked out Carter awakens in the cargo bay with the rest of the crew, having been kept there by their captors from the Lucian Alliance. Carter and longtime Odyssey commander Emerson are summoned to the bridge by their captor Anateo. Their captor orders them to disable the subspace beacon but they refuse, leading to Emerson being executed.
Back on Earth the team try to decide their course of action in helping the stranded ship as they no longer have another 304 on standby and the Jaffa partly blame the SGC for the destruction of Dakara. Vala comes through for them by obtaining a Tel’tak on its last legs but arrive too late to find that the subspace beacon had been ripped out and sold/dumped it to a junkyard planet. Vala drags Daniel down to the surface and finds an old contact of hers who has the beacon, only for the contact to have predicted her double-cross and double-crosses her instead with both of the team members being captured by the Alliance and brought to the Odyssey.
Falling back to the SGC Mitchell and Teal’c decide to have Mitchell infiltrate the Alliance disguised as one of its lieutenants that isn’t well-known by look and gain access to Netan, the leader of the Alliance. Using the Tok’ra suggestion drug that Daniel used to impersonate Yu’s servant in Summit Mitchell is able to make himself appear as “Kefflin” to Netan and infiltrate the ship. Unfortunately the clapped-out Tel’tak finally fails leading to Teal’c being captured, though the two members of SG-1 manage to turn this to their advantage by having Mitchell “torture” him for the information regarding the Odyssey.
Meanwhile on the Odyssey the Tau’ri crew begin an escape when Carter unlocks one of the hatches in the bay where they’re held. By the time the Alliance realise what’s going on Daniel and Vala take back the Bridge from them. Vala attempts to get the Asgard beams working managing to beam Anateo into space to his death and secure the other Alliance forces who remain which allows the crew take back the ship and begin repairs.
On Netan’s ship the spy Netan sent to check on the Odyssey returns only for it to be revealed as Tenat, the alien Mitchell and SG-1 have had dealings with before. Surprisingly though Tenat keeps Mitchell’s ID a secret believing this to be a con and demanding a 25% cut of whatever they make. Mitchell breaks Teal’c out and begin to escape. Elsewhere Netan confronts Tenat, revealing he knows the others were members of SG-1 and has Tenat fire on the other Ha’tak to prove his loyalty as the two ships close in on the damaged Odyssey. It’s revealed however that the other ship is the real Netan’s ship and that the Netan on Tenat’s ship is Mitchell in disguise. The Odyssey beams the two teammembers across moments before the Ha’tak is destroyed and jumps to hyperspace just in time.
The Tau’ri and Lucian Alliance are now at war.
Oh the Lucian Alliance. If there was ever a C grade group of characters on the show it’s definitely the Lucian Alliance. To be fair to them they’re an enemy on a show that traditionally only ever had two “main” foes and now they’re the third wheel to the two storylines of the Ori and the Goa’uld remnant under Ba’al. This has never given them a good foundation to build upon and it doesn’t help that they were introduced as a “joke” enemy during the events of Prometheus Unbound to only function as Vala’s trade partners. Given how Tenat and his alien race get killed near the end of the episode I can’t help but think this episode was meant to reset the position of the group on the show, removing the jokier aspects of them and lining them up for a war with the SGC only for the show to be cut short before they could fulfil that role and were instead shoehorned into Universe when that began.
As part of this repositioning the episode has ended up quite clunky when it comes to the tone it is portraying at any one time. It’s very offputting to see these “fun” conversations between Vala and others while we see recurring characters executed and enemies suffering death by exposure. It feels like this was originally meant to be Unbound 2.0 in tone when it comes to scenes like Vala fixing the hyperdrive or trying to con someone else out of their hardware but then got caught up in needing to reassert the Alliance as this evil and sinister force they’ve never really lived up to at any point.
One of the character moves I am enjoying however is this continued process of Daniel clearly turning into O’Neill after a decade of having to deal with all this crap. It’s fun to watch the man who used to be quite wide-eyed slowly come to realise just why O’Neill was the way he was so long ago now, with Daniel no longer having time for cliché bad guys he’d previously try the diplomatic solution for hours at a time with. It seems that the Vala caused mental degradation is really starting to have an effect now.
Overall though Company of Thieves is a very uneven mess of an episode that is flawed throughout due to tonal issues and a not very interesting villain though does contain some neat character moments that do lessen the blow somewhat.
· Surprised Milky Way battlecruiser captains still accept the job given how quickly the SGC gets them killed.
· For a powerful alliance of criminals the Alliance don’t half lose easily.
Quote of the episode: “Uh you should probably prepare to return fire.”
“For the record, I’m always prepared. I just have to press this button here.” – Daniel and Marks
The Quest, Part One
The search for Merlin’s weapon continues at the SGC where Daniel is trying to work out where it could be as the three locations the Knights visited all turned up empty. In a dream however Vala comes up with an answer in that the true location is the summation of the addresses of the previous three locations, with the resulting search coming up with only one result. Finding that the planet contains another Ye Olde Settlement they head in, finding that Ba’al has already arrived and began searching for the “Sangraal”, the anti-Ascended weapon, with a three day head start. The team begin looking for information in the village, finding an old man who seems to know where the location is and claims it’s defended by a dragon. The old man claims he has a map but refuses to part with it as Ba’al had attempted to steal it.
The team head to the local pub to have a meal while planning what to do next but the Ori show up and began their usual pillaging and burning of books. The old man returns and offers to lead them to the Sangraal, with the team forced to fight their way out of the tavern in the process when an Ori patrol enters. The team quickly find themselves coming across a time-dilation maze, with the people who went the wrong way finding themselves stuck inside the field. Using both their cunning and technology the team are able to make it through.
Some time later the team come upon Ba’al sitting on a chest. Though the Goa’uld tries to warn them they end up stepping through a field and becoming trapped along with him. While Ba’al has been trapped for three days the team quickly figure out the solution, one he’d never come up with, which is that you’re supposed to put things inside the chest rather than be rewarded with treasure. While Ba’al is initially sceptical they all put something in (though some had to be more persuaded to) and the field comes down. While Mitchell wants to initially deal with Ba’al there and then the former all-powerful Goa’uld claims to know the dragon’s name.
Eventually they make it to the cave where they confront the old man where the others confront him about his knowledge of the Ori. While at first he tries to excuse himself he eventually drops the act, revealing himself to really be Adria. The leader of the Crusade reveals that she planted the dream Vala had to get them to come and solve the riddle. Given that they can’t deal with Adria given her personal shield and she could order the levelling of the village the two groups decide to work together for the time being.
The team come across another test in the form of a lost boy they follow, eventually finding him trapped in a cage. When the group lifts the cage door a hidden entrance reveals itself at the back of the cage which leads them to the Ancient version of a quiz show. After solving a series of riddles the team make it through to a wall of fire. Eventually Daniel realises that the wall of flame is a test of faith and walks through it, revealing it as an illusion. At the center of the cavern stands the Sangraal but no one is able to grab it, instead they’re confronted by a dragon.
And right after dealing with the Alliance we’re back to the Ori and the chase for the Sangraal and finally the show begins moving away from the generic badguys of the Ori thread and instead move with the character of Adria. The biggest problem the plotline has faced till now is that in season 9 and early 10 the Ori was always represented on the field by a pale guy who said “hallowed are the Ori”, removing any human face from them to connect with. Now however Adria is once again built up some more as a character the viewer can begin to understand. In her previous experiences we’ve mainly only seen her power being displayed, with her only doubt being her mother not converting to the faith. Now however we see a lot more of her doubts and weaknesses as a person, becoming an entirely different person when her powers were removed by the defences in the cave as she was more reserved and avoided the spotlight. It shows that while she may be a true believer in the crusade and its mission she still significantly doubts her own personal abilities to deliver that mission as its leader.
We also get the return of Ba’al who is once again put in this strange position of having to help and work alongside the team even if he has outstanding issues with them. It’s a strange but increasingly interesting perspective on the show where a previously one-sided enemy is now occasionally the team’s ally before being able to be against them again come the next day. Some of that is clearly down to the shared goals of fighting the Ori but there are hints of respect or straight talking there as well, with Ba’al having completely dropped the “god voice” he typically used for years and dropping the charade entirely, talking to them normally and just getting on with things. They also introduce a clear jealousy to the character as he’s faced with the fact Adria has actual powers and is effectively the god he pretends to be, having bickering arguments with her throughout compared to the only slight mockery with the team who he still sees himself as at least slightly better than.
The episode also brings back the “challenges” from the start of season 9 when it comes to the defences placed around Ancient stashes and that was quite an interesting aspect it was sad to see axed. In between now and then they’d removed a lot of the complexity and instead gone back to just basic action, such as the second Black Knight hologram. Some of the tests in this episode had an Indiana Jones vibe around them, especially the “leap of faith” at the end, and it definitely brought back some of the adventure elements the show had lost when it came to the alien opponents and foreign worlds. The only issue with some of them is that towards the end they became slightly rushed, with the child one seeming the least needed and probably could’ve been cut to add more t the riddle challenges because they were kind of simple.
In the end the episode has some interesting character pieces involving some lesser explored side-characters, some unusual challenges for the team to try and solve, and the return of more action-adventure tones than just pure action. Shame it had that bloody dragon.
· Bit cheeky that torch glare on Adria.
· Oh look, the worst effect in the history of the show.
Quote of the episode: “He’s tiny, have him squeeze through the bars.”
“Assist us or I will squeeze you through these bars.” – Ba’al and Teal’c