Here we are at the end of Season 5, with an episode where a longstanding character says goodbye and another where Thor returns once more
We start with the team returning off-world with Daniel having been exposed to radiation from an unknown source. While they are able to get him to the infirmary the dose he’s received has already been confirmed as lethal. During a briefing with Hammond the rest of SG-1 reveal that the planet they were on is surprisingly advanced, with it currently at a mid-20th level with the three nation states on the planet currently engaged in a Cold War. In the capital of one of the nations, Kelowna, the team are introduced to Jonas Quinn, a scientific and ethical advisor at a top-secret research facility, who is very interested in the team simply due to them being aliens which sees him get on well with Daniel from the get go. It turns out the facility is experimenting on a highly-unstable and radioactive version of naquadah called naqaudriah for the potential use in a weapons program. While the others are unaware of what happened the Kelownan government claim he had attempted to sabotage the project.
The team break from the meeting to try and help Daniel, who is already suffering from the effects of radiation sickness, where O’Neill attempts to get information from Daniel about what really happened. Daniel however refuses to reveal what really happened as he’s dying anyway so it wouldn’t change anything. The others meanwhile attempts to contact off-world allies and find Goa’uld tech to help but nothing comes to fruition. Instead of continuing however Hammond and Carter decide to try to make the most of a crap situation by instead attempting to stay on the Kelownans good side so that they can get access to the naquadriah, which Carter believes would allow them to create hyperdrives and shield tech, by continuing formal diplomatic relations.
O’Neill journeys back to the planet to relay the message from the SGC and bumps into Jonas, who he has clear disdain for in part covering up the incident with Daniel. Jonas however expresses condolences for what’s going on but refuses to help clear Daniel’s name, knowing that nothing would change the leadership’s mind when it comes to developing their naquadriah weapons. O’Neill responds in a surprisingly Daniel-like way on the issue, stating that while Jonas may hope it’ll create peace on the planet the weapon will only have the deterrent effect they want if they use it at least once to demonstrate it.
While the events carry on, with the SGC trying to both save his life and their relations with the Kelownans, Daniel begins to experience visions of a woman who he recognises as the Ancient Oma Desala, the woman who protected the Harcesis child during Maternal Instinct. She explains that she is there to help Daniel move onto the next plane and ascend. While he has the character to ascend he doesn’t believe he deserves it as he doesn’t feel he’s done any lasting good but Oma displays this isn’t the case, showing him glimpses of what his friends said at his bedside regarding his character.
While O’Neill sits at his friend’s bedside he is interrupted by Hammond and Jonas. It turns out that the Kelownan scientist had at first tried to clear Daniel’s name but when that failed he stole a quantity of naquadriah and has defected to the SGC, hoping that they can use it to better use than just for weapons of mass destruction. He also reveals to O’Neill what actually happened to Daniel on the planet. During the observation of a test the naquadriah accidently becomes critical and threatens to destroy the facility and likely the city. While the scientists in the room are immediately exposed Daniel breaks the observation room glass and runs in, stopping the reaction but exposing himself to lethal radiation.
As Daniel nears death Jacob/Selmak finally arrives to try and help save him. While this would be successful Daniel instead decides he’s worthy of moving on, instead preventing them by talking to O’Neill in the dreamstate. As the two friends have an emotional goodbye O’Neill tells the others to let him day, as the group witness their friend finally ascend to the higher plane.
Here we see Daniel Jackson take a bow and move on to the next life and in terms of character exits it’s a pretty good one as while it does tell his story over the events of the episode is more instead focuses on how he’s effected the lives of those around him over the course of the last five seasons.
During the episode we see O’Neill having to come to terms with his friend’s inevitable death and takes his lessons over the years on board, trying to convince the Kelownans that their new weapon is too dangerous similar to what Daniel would’ve done if he had the chance. Elsewhere at the SGC we see Carter and others focusing on how to best help as many as possible through the new elements, taking on board Daniel’s advice that he’s no more important than anyone else and that thousands could be saved from the Goa’uld if this new technology works out for them. Even newcomer Jonas Quinn is effected by Daniel’s actions, choosing to not only try and convince the regime to heed his warnings but then also defects and takes the naquadriah with him to prevent awful things happening like they did to the newcomers and his friends.
One of the most surprising things I found in the episode was just how graphic they went with showing off the effects of radiation sickness on Daniel. Over the course of a handful of transformations we see the progression from some small spots on his face to his arms being bandaged and then finally his whole body wrapped in a cast and his eyes and mouth surrounded by ulcerations. Even Daniel himself quite darkly lists off all the things that will happen to his body and which of them is most likely to kill him. For a show that is so often light-hearted this was quite a dark turn for it but it’s one that they manage to pull off by depicting Daniel in a believable way as he comes to terms with his death and the growing sickness over the course of a few hours.
The episode remains a memorable one, providing a remarkably good sendoff to one of the central characters on the show, showing just how he changed the others he knew, with some more intrigue sprinkled throughout.
· The incident in this episode is based on the death of Louis Slotin, who died after stopping a plutonium core going critical at Los Alamos in 1946. While he was initially praised for saving lives he later lost this status after it emerged he was deliberately messing around and ignoring safety protocols which would’ve prevented the incident.
· I think this is the first time we find a functioning off-world civilisation of close to modern status.
Quote of the episode: “If you are to die, Daniel Jackson, I wish you to know that I believe that the fight against the Goa’uld will have lost one of its greatest warriors. And I will have lost one of my greatest friends.” – Teal’c
We begin with Osiris leading two Ha’taks over an unknown planet that is protected by their treaty with the Asgard only to be confronted by Thor in his battleship. While Thor attempts to attack the Goa’uld ships the shields are able to resist the weapons it for so long feared, with Osiris proclaiming their days of bowing to the Asgard are over.
We cut back to the SGC where SG-1 are still coming to terms with the death of Daniel with them taking conflicting stances on whether to stay on active duty or not. The decision is delayed however as the Asgard arrive to not only collect the android Reece but also to inform them Thor has been killed and that the Goa’uld who killed him are now laying siege to a facility on the planet seen at the beginning. The Asgard request help in saving the research base from the Goa’uld as the Asgard currently have no ships available at short notice.
The team take their crummy repurposed Tel’tak and manage to make it to the planet unscathed, being beemed into the research labs by the Asgard researcher Heimdall who welcomes them before explaining their mission further, revealing that Thor isn’t dead but was captured and now held hostage by Osiris. The team use hologram tech on the base to beam an image of themselves into the room he’s kept in so O’Neill can talk to him. While he tries to convince Thor to let them rescue him Thor instead asks they take Heimdall and all her research to the Asgard as it’s vital to the future of the Asgard. It turns out that the Asgard are a clone race and that they’re slowly dying due to increased errors in the process of cloning meaning their genepool is dying out. The team decide to send O’Neill and Teal’c to Osiris’ ship to rescue their friend while Carter directs them from down below, allowing them to avoid the Jaffa patrols.
Meanwhile Osiris’ master Anubis has arrived on the ship and proceeds to interrogate Thor for information, using a device that connects the Asgard’s mind to the ship itself before leaving. As O’Neill and Teal’c attempt to breach the room sometime later they’re rendered unconscious and captured by the Goa’uld. Thor however is able to break them out since he is now able to control parts of the ship’s systems via the mental link. Their next issue however comes in the form of the Goa’uld discovering the location of the science facility on the planet and capturing Carter in the process.
While all starts to seem lost Heimdall is able to beam them all aboard along with Thor and attempt to escape via the transport only to be confronted by the now lone Ha’tak. Their skin is saved yet again by the appearance of Asgard reinforcements in the form of three O’Neill-class ships which force Anubis to retreat. The team return to the SGC where the team decide to head out for food, only to feel a slight breeze go past from an unknown source.
So here we have the almost direct follow up to Meridian with the team still coming to terms with the death of their friend. Rather than constantly referencing the fact Daniel died they instead more focus on the character actions due to his unmentioned death. Here we see Teal’c being his usual stoic self and not mentioning it, O’Neill looking to do anything he can other than think about his death, and Carter being much more reminiscent about the loss of Daniel. This interplays well between the three of them, with them having to come to terms with each other’s different coping mechanisms and move past the issue of Daniel by the end of the episode.
Outside of this however the episode is a bit of a mess to me. Many of the elements seems jumbled together in a rather hasty way with many of them not having any lasting impact. In particular the sudden reversal from them being on the ship to Osiris invading the planet with only about 10-15 minutes left wasn’t a good one, meaning that Carter was rescued almost immediately. Overall it seems the episode was half a good idea that was then stretched to fill out 45 minutes to bulk out the end of the season.
In conclusion the episode has something there, especially regarding Daniel’s death, but a haphazard execution prevents it from being something great, instead going down as a bit of a mess.
· Pretty sure this is the first time we see Anubis on screen, clearly showing off his nature as a walking cloak.
· Despite Daniel dying last episode Michael Shanks is still here in the form of Thor, with Heimdall voiced by Teryl Rothery (Dr Fraiser).
Quote of the episode: “Our chances of escape are negligible.”
“Oh, I don’t know. All we’ve got to do is bust out of here, take out every Jaffa between here and the pel’tak, commandeer the ship, and fly on home.”
“(annoyed) I stand corrected.” – Teal’c and O’Neill