Today we have a two parter on the cards which sees the culmination of the plotline started at the beginning of the season involving the introduction of the Tok’ra faction.
We begin with Carter experiencing a flashback of Jolinar’s memories, which reveal a Stargate address to an unknown planet that it seems the Tok’ra evacuated to. At the following briefing they agree, despite scepticism from O’Neill, to travel to the planet dialled to try to find them as they may prove to be worthy allies in the fight against the Goa’uld. Before leaving Carter decides to call her father, unknowingly observed by Hammond, but is quickly brushed off by him. Hammond tries to get her to reconsider going on the mission so that she can spend time with her father before he succumbs to his cancer but she disagrees, believing her position on the mission is more required.
The team arrive on a desert planet with no signs of civilisation and the MALP out of commission and proceed to explore the nearby area. While traversing a dune however they’re ambushed by members of the Tok’ra and are involved in a standoff, only to be broken when Carter recalls the name of one of the other Tok’ra, Martouf, with the Tok’ra agreeing to listen to their reason for coming in the first place, transporting them to their underground base.
Back at the SGC Hammond remains in contact with Jacob Carter and is called to the hospital, where he finds that Jacob is in a worse state than previously thought as the cancer has spread from his lymph nodes to his liver. Despite knowing he has little time left Hammond is still unable to fulfil his request of knowing what his daughter is actually doing under Cheyenne Mountain. Hammond leaves the room soon after but rushes back when Jacob crashes, with the doctor telling him that he should urgently get Jacob’s family to come say their goodbyes.
In the Tok’ra base the team are introduced to the high councillor Garshaw who enquires of how they came to know of the Tok’ra and what happened to Jolinar in the first place. The negotiations however are going badly, with them not only arguing over Jolinar’s fate but also the definition of what a Goa’uld is. The host of Garshaw, a woman named Yosuf, manages to break the deadlock by not only explaining what it’s like to be a Tok’ra host but also brings them to meet another Tok’ra called Selmak, whose host is dying. This causes further frustrations, with none of the team wanting to become a host, with the team becoming prisoner due to the sensitive information they now have about the Tok’ra base.
Martouf, wanting to get to know Carter better, takes her to the surface where he reveals that Jolinar was the mate to both him and his symbiote Lantash for over a century. Things are made more awkward however when Martouf offhandedly suggests once again for her to be the host to selmak. After connecting however they’re interrupted by Daniel and a group of Tok’ra who inform them the Tok’ra Council are ready to meet with them. While being escorted to the meeting O’Neill follows a Tok’ra who breaks off from the group and finds him using a communication ball, similar to the much larger one seen during the season 1 finale.
The Council meeting itself however goes badly, with the team unable to make a sufficient case for an alliance. The meeting is interrupted however by SG-3 who have come to bring Carter due to the advancement of Jacob’s cancer. Both teams however are now stranded with the Tok’ra as they present a large security risk until the Tok’ra choose to move to another planet again. Carter however sees and opportunity however, with them floating the idea that Jacob could become a host for Selmak, with Garshaw allowing two members of SG-1 to return to convince Jacob to become said host.
O’Neill and Carter head back to Earth so that they can talk to Jacob and brief Hammond. While Hammond first supports much the same scepticism as O’Neill he agrees to give the alliance a go, bringing the two of them to the hospital to see Jacob. Carter, with clearance, begins to tell Jacob about what her job actually entails, with him agreeing to go to the Tok’ra planet to at least court the possibility of becoming a host to Selmak.
While O’Neill and Carter are off-world the Tok’ra receive word a Goa’uld fleet is on the way. By the time they return with Jacob they find the base in full scale evacuation, with the other members of SG-1 and SG-3, despite being let go, helping them as much as they can. Carter brings Jacob to Selmak and Martouf to explain further but much like the others is apprehensive. Martouf, wishing to help, suggests Jacob talks to Selmak and its host Saroosh to find out what it’d be like. Selmak, after initial conversation, ‘interviews’ Jacob to find out more about him and is convinced by his answers, leading to their blending.
The rest of SG-1 go to the Council to report that Cordesh, the Tok’ra O’Neill observed earlier, has a communication device the Tok’ra refuse to use. However they find Cordesh’s host in a collapsing tunnel who only gives a partial cryptic warning before being crushed. O’Neill however observes a woman with the communication ball and grabs her, revealing that the symbiote inside the crushed man has switched bodies. Garshaw sees this as further proof of the Tau’ri’s honest intentions and states will be glad to call them friends.
Back in the blending quarters it goes well but Selmak is still in a weak state and is unable to be moved early so Carter and Martouf volunteer to stay until Jacob/Selmak are able to walk. SG-1 bring Garshaw with them to Earth, barely making it through the Gate as Death Gliders make a pass over them, leaving Carter, Martouf, and Selmak as the only ones left. Jacob/Selmak wake up, with Jacob expressing surprise at not only the cancer but also his arthritis being gone, and the group make their way to the Gate, barely making it out of the tunnels alive and managing to dial the Gate just before the Goa’uld dial in.
Back in the SGC Jacob not only reassures them of their concerns that the Tok’ra are good in intentions and that he can act as a liaison between the two groups, with Martouf agreeing to keep an eye on Jacob and Garshaw admitting to being impressed by their achievement of building a manual dialling device. Jacob says goodbye and leaves, parting by passing the team a final message from the Tok’ra; ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’.
So that’s the mid-season two parter done and dusted, with the final introduction of the Tok’ra faction into the Stargate universe as a group of rebel symbiotes who oppose the System Lord way of ruling over the galaxy. The main thrust of the story is the growing initial friendship between the Tau’ri and the Tok’ra from mistrust and anxiety to seeing how both can benefit from each other, with the Tok’ra initially believing that the SGC killed off their agents deliberately and the SGC believing them to be the same as the Goa’uld until they both realise their intentions are pure.
Much of this central theme is personified in the animosity and bonding between Carter and her father throughout the episode, with them both unwilling to admit their weaknesses to each other at the start to them realising they’re more alike than they think, with them surprisingly getting along better when one of them is a host to a symbiote.
While the two sides do come together over the course of the episode O’Neill’s mistrust and cynicism about the Tok’ra as a people and society would form the groundwork of later episodes, with him not only still not a fan of their adherence to secrecy but also expressing doubt at their sincerity when it comes to only taking volunteer hosts. This was also seen in the second part with the symbiote Cordesh turning traitor and working against the Tok’ra without them noticing, alerting a Goa’uld fleet to their location.
Overall this is a two parter that seeks to establish new plotlines which it succeeds at doing but also providing a microcosm looking at different views of operating against the Goa’uld System Lords and how this will affect the show going forward with the introduction of the major side character of Jacob/Selmak.
· It’s strange how the Tok’ra must’ve left their previous base several months back but weren’t betrayed until now when surely it’d be easier to keep them on the move always.
· O’Neill really really needs to be kept away from all diplomatic efforts as he is the one who usually causes the issues but then it’d be no fun to watch I guess with Daniel’s more measured approach being the only one seen.
Quote of the episode: “Assuming, of course, you are the Tok’ra.” “And if we’re not?”
“Well, I guess we all start shooting. There’s blood, death, hard feelings; it’d suck.” – O’Neill and Cordesh.