Another two episodes. One quite good and the other utterly dreadful.
One False Step
We start with the SGC preparing to send out a UAV for off-world recon to scout out further from the Gate than they can on foot. The UAV however quickly suffers problems and crashes into a piece of local wildlife. While discussing a plan to recover it a naked man covered in white paint comes up to the crashed drone and starts toying with it, leading the team to proceed to the planet to make contact. After finding the man and trying to introduce himself he runs off screaming to a nearby collection of huts that contains even more of the naked people in white paint who react curiously to the team’s presence. With little choice due to the non-speaking nature of the people Daniel tries to understand their visual behaviour and communicate likewise while the others hang around the huts.
The villagers, after apparently understanding Daniel’s terrible UAV impersonation, bring out the wreckage but one of people who dragged it out suddenly collapses after he gets fluid from it on his hand. While trying to work out what is wrong the others starts singing, apparently in an attempt to revive him but nothing happens, instead others start to get ill. The team summon Fraiser from the SGC to come and treat those who’ve fallen unwell as best as possible. Fraiser and Carter bring back on of the sick to the SGC to see what’s wrong with him but are unable to come up with an explanation or solution to the problem.
On the planet O’Neill and Teal’c continue looking around while Daniel communicates further with the natives. In the village Daniel observes one of the natives raising a plant out the ground and then lowering back down when O’Neill and Teal’c return, informing Daniel that those in other villages have fallen ill. O’Neill and Daniel start arguing while Teal’c talks to the SGC, with the two of them unable to work out why they’re angry with each other, leading to the two of them heading back to the SGC t get checked out while Teal’c, the only one still fine, stays and makes observations for Daniel. A short time later multiple plants spring up, causing Teal’c to search under the sand to find a series of roots and green liquid, which causes him to suffer extreme headaches when touching them.
Upon return to the SGC both start to feel better almost immediately and their checkups by Fraiser finds them perfectly fine with no explanation for their condition. The native in the lab however flatlines and Fraiser is forced to revive him and is barely able to. Fraiser is called away yet again however when Daniel gets ill again after watching footage of the plants, with Carter working out that the plants are sending out a soundwave they can’t hear that causes their illness. Teal’c suddenly returns however, also starting to feel better but still grouchy, retelling the team what happened to him, leading them to finding that the UAV crash caused the sound transmitted by the plant to change, with the original sound reviving the previously comatose native in the lab.
The team return to the planet and deploy a device that will transmit the first sound before leaving. When the natives start responding the plants regrow as well.
This episode is fucking dreadful and is honestly probably worse than Emancipation as while that one was annoyingly preachy this one is just utterly shite from plot to costume to even the performances by the main cast who don’t really seem to enjoy this episode. Who seriously thought a plot about a species who use annoying singing to communicate would be a hit and all while wearing terrible skin coloured wetsuits to appear naked when you can clearly see their junk at the same time. There are a couple of decent conversations during this episode but my god is it appalling to watch.
· Despite Teal’c being rendered almost unconscious by touching the liquid he somehow made it back to the Gate several miles away? Whatever.
· ‘We might have transmitted something to the planet which caused this but don’t know what. I know let’s bring the native back because that’s a good idea’.
Quote of the episode: “Oh, please! We have a difference of opinion on just about everything.” “Give me an example.” “I don’t know, pick something! How about mythology!” “Rumors, lies, fairytales.” – Daniel and O’Neill.
Show and Tell
The episode begins with an unexpected off-world activation and the Iris failing to close for unknown reasons. While the control room attempt to fix it a child comes through the Gate to the confusion of the defence team and is unresponsive when Carter tries to talk to them, only responding that he’s there to warn them when O’Neill starts talking to Hammond. After a checkup with Dr Fraiser the child starts talking more, saying that his mother said he should only talk to O’Neill as after the attempted trickery in Spirits he’s the only trustworthy person on base. Despite the team expressing some belief that ‘Mother’ is made up the child possesses great knowledge of the last few weeks of activity at the SGC. O’Neill further talks to the child alone and agrees to his wish to be called Charlie by O’Neill and that he is there to warn them about a faction of a group called the Reetou are planning to attack the SGC.
Later on O’Neill brings Teal’c along when he visits Charlie but the boy reacts badly, calling him Jaffa and that he wants to destroy Reetou. Upon getting ‘Mother’ to agree to trust the rest of SG-1 Teal’c moves closer to greet Charlie but suddenly experiences pain as the symbiote reacts badly to the presence of the child. Fraiser appears however revealing that Charlie is not only essentially falling apart due to multiple defects but also has an unusual brain makeup that might explain the effect on Teal’c. While performing more tests on Charlie the child explains that the rebel Reetou faction is attempting to kill all potential hosts for the Goa’uld while the ‘Central Authority’ wants to stop that happening. He also reveals that the Reetou aren’t human but an invisible alien species and that Charlie has been made to act as intermediary between the SGC and the Reetou leadership. Hammond and the others still show scepticism at ‘Mother’s’ existence, causing her to shoot out a computer terminal with a plasma like weapon.
With little understanding of what is going on the team decide to summon help from the Tok’ra, with Jacob/Selmak arriving with another Tok’ra to help out. Jacob is taken to meet Charlie, whose condition is getting worse, with Jacob experiencing much the same reaction as Teal’c and use a weapon called a TER to expose the invisible Reetou they finally confirm what it is. Jacob reveals that the rebel Reetou use guerrilla tactics to attack other groups, usually through bomb squads. Without any chance to stop them once they reach Earth the team instead decide to go to the Reetou staging point to find out as much as possible, finding that the theorised dozen at most are actually more like an entire army only a few hundred meters from the Gate.
Upon return Carter takes Teal’c and the Tok’ra operative to install palm-readers in the control room as an added safety measure to prevent the Reetou opening the Iris but after installing them it become clear a team of Reetou have already made it on base, with one of them killing the Tok’ra operative. The team begin a sweep of the base, sealing sections behind them as they’re cleared, and manage to eliminate most of the Reetou but suffer a number of casualties in the process including ‘Mother’. Despite ending the threat Charlie’s condition begins to deteriorate rapidly, with Selmak offering to take him to be implanted with a symbiote to help him.
Show and Tell, despite not initially looking that good, is probably one of the more interesting and unique episodes of the second season as not only does it introduce many of the concepts that’d come to be key in the franchise, such as ‘phase shifting’, TERs, and the palm scanners, but also provides a good insight into an often referenced but never really delved into part of O’Neill’s backstory which is his ability as a parent. While the episode uses the Reetou plot to draw the viewer in the fatherhood aspect with the relationship between O’Neill and ‘Charlie’ is the better one and has more depth to it.
The main villain themselves, the Reetou are an interesting change from the norm, with them being a presence that you can’t see but can covertly interfere with you and still attack people. It’s seem clear that they’re meant to be representative of states like Afghanistan in the late 90s that saw conflict between pro-western forces and insurgent forces that used asymmetrical warfare such as suicide bombers and given how the show continues on through both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq it’s a shame a foe like them are never really seen again.
Overall the episode is a nice episode with a fairly simple to follow main plot with a more interesting and complex subplot that doesn’t rely on previous content and provides a nice jumping off point for new viewers of the show and for the general fan as the more usual ‘monster of the week’ affair.
· The palm readers are probably the first real noticeable longterm effect in the show that stays.
· That kid bonds way too easily with O’Neill, picking up many of his mannerisms and quotes by the end of the episode.
Quote of the episode: “Even though we can’t see them, these Reetou, they can definitely see us.” “Which poses a great strategic disadvantage. I understand why the Goa’uld want to eliminate them.” “They’re Goa’uld, Teal’c - that’s their job.”