Another two episodes today. The first seeing everyone turn on each other and the other find a would be wonder drug gone wrong.
The episode begins with an evacuation by a large contingent of Tok’ra, led by Malek, and SG teams to the Tau’ri’s Alpha Site after the latest site has come under attack by a Goa’uld force, with large numbers of both groups being killed or wounded in the process. Despite the events preceding the congregation of such large numbers of Tok’ra and Jaffa within the confines of the compound quickly becomes an issue, with both sides tested by old issues between them relating to the long-running Goa’uld-Tok’ra War in which both groups routinely fought and killed each other, leading to fighting in the compound with even some SG personnel such as O’Neill expressing doubts about certain parties.
Despite hopes that the earlier tensions had been defused signs of sabotage start to appear on the base, including attempts to overload a naquadah generator, leading O’Neill to shut down access to the Stargate and essentially quarantine the Alpha Site until they track down whoever is tampering with the base. The team begin using a Za’tarc detector to question those on the base, though the device to test only the Tok’ra at first arouses anger amongst them while the later decision to test the Jaffa leads to issues of questioning their honour. Before the testing of the latter can start however a Tok’ra is found murdered in a supply dump, immediately placing suspicion on a Jaffa he was fighting with earlier who is found to lie when claiming he didn’t kill him. The autopsy however shows a manner of death inconsistent with that of a killing by a Jaffa and to make matter worse the suspect is found murdered in his cell.
The suspicion between the three groups comes to a head when Malek and Rak’nor, who is also helping his fellow Jaffa at the base, publicly fight in the middle of the compound leading everyone to draw on each other. Bra’tac manages to resolve the standoff when tracks belonging to an unknown individual heading out of the base. The combined force decides to split up into threes (featuring one of each group) and search the forest around the base. Sometime during the search Teal’c and others stumble upon one of the search trios dead with no signs of the killer. When O’Neill’s trio of Bra’tac and Malek follow a noise nearby the still unknown assailant heavily injures Bra’tac while invisible and drags him off seemingly to his death. The group decide to use the naquadah generator to generate a field that should render the assailant visible, proving who the threat is once and for all. Later autopsies also prove that the killer is likely an Ashrak, a Goa’uld assassin.
At the Gate, while waiting for the generator to come online, the Ashrak attacks several members of the combined force seemingly in an attempt to break through the Gate, injuring many and causing further wounded through friendly fire. It turns out though his target was one of the SG GDOs so that it could attack other SG facilities, which it grabbed off of Major Pierce. The generator however comes online and reveals the Ashrak for a moment but the attacker is able to shutdown the generator before attacking again. Carter is able to bring the field online again, revealing the Ashrak as he attempts to kill O’Neill but the assassin is killed by Bra’tac, who it turns out survived the attack in the forest but is badly wounded. In the aftermath of the attack the forces agree to put aside their differences, with Anubis’ plan to create divisions between the three groups having in the end made the bond between them stronger.
Allegiance as an episode is one that is made up of many different genres, with it being not only part murder-mystery but also contains a nice dose of intrigue, diplomacy, and action as well.
Most of the plot revolves around Anubis attempting to create fractures between his three main non-Goa’uld enemies and here we see a marked difference from previous methods employed by villains on the show. While others have used nefarious means before, such as the Cassandra body-bomb way back at the start of the show, here we see the use of an invisible assassin to make it so it appears each of the three members of the Tau’ri-Tok’ra-Free Jaffa Alliance are attempting to kill each other off over previous differences, thereby making it easier for Anubis to wipe them out and in this case he almost succeeds. It’s only in the end when the killer is revealed as Anubis’ lackey that the three groups realise that they need each other to win the coming war.
Much of the episode focuses around two different groups of people, with Bra’tac and Jacob/Selmak trying to act as intermediaries while others such as Rak’nor and Malek are instead too focused on previous battles to look at the bigger picture. On the heroes side O’Neill spends a lot of time moving between the two groups of people. At one point he’ll be determined try and stop the two forces of the Tok’ra and Jaffa from killing each other while in the next he won’t care that much if it ends with one of the two groups dying. In particular O’Neill’s issues with the Tok’ra following the events of Abyss are still fresh to him, making him distrustful of their intentions outside of Jacob/Selmak who he trusts as a friend.
Both of the previous points make the episode more enjoyable as a whole as it makes the episode a much more complex affair than many other Goa’uld conspiracy plots in the past as for most of the episode it’s unclear as to whether the Goa’uld are even involved, with it able to be anyone on the base. The character motivations are also very believable given the events in the episode, such as the Tok’ra being insulted in that they alone are initially suspected of being the killers or the Jaffa code of honour being breached by the mere thought they’re insidious traitors.
The only downside was really that the Tau’ri are never even suspected of being responsible even though in the past we’ve seen SG members be highly susceptible to outside Goa’uld influence or even fighting for third parties such as the NID. The fact that they’re the good guys while the others are being questioned is a letdown in that regard to an otherwise excellent episode.
Overall the episode is a great one full of intrigue and detective aspects with no real downsides outside some groups getting off lighter than others but the final message of coming together against a common enemy remains well thought out.
· So O’Neill just fires in a circle with an M249 and no one writes him up for it? OK.
· Surprised the Asrak didn’t kill Bra’tac when he had the chance.
Quote of the episode: “It seemed like a power fluctuation in the cycle output of the naquadah reactor. But at closer inspection, I discovered the absorption port and its redundancy had been tampered with.”
“Carter, I haven’t had coffee.”– Carter and O’Neill
We find ourselves beginning off-world again at an alien digsite watching a reception committee made up of civilian (Dollen) and military officials (Tegar) of the planet Pangar, waiting for visitors from another world who it turns out are SG-1. Carter and O’Neill are brought to a meeting room where Dollen and Tegar begin informal discussions about the Stargate and its systems and how they’ll trade between them. The two of them introduce the two to a miracle drug that fixes any known ailment which they call Tretonin. In return for an amount to test the two members of SG-1 try to offer 10 planets they can go to that are safe and plenty of natural resources and cultural value but are disturbed by the Pangarans wishes for the co-ordinates to partial addresses they’ve found, which include Goa’uld homeworlds.
While the others are busy in the meeting Teal’c and Jonas instead spend their time helping the Pangaran scientists and archaeologists at the digsite near where they found the Stargate. One of the archaeologists, Zenna, takes them on a tour of the site showing them what they’ve discovered so far including half deciphered writings on the walls of a former temple. During the tour however Zenna tries to make them aware of something about the Tretonin but is unable to finish informing them at the time. Later on when Jonas tries to talk to her further she’s noticeably quiet and refuses to even discuss the Tretonin story, hinting that someone must’ve overheard their initial conversation. Instead Jonas and Teal’c decide to do some unauthorised searching of the records to find any information they can, including maps of secret facilities where Tretonin is stored and distributed from.
Later that evening the two members of the team sneak into one of the facilities to continue nosing around. While much of it seems like ordinary science equipment they find a large room that looks like a fish farm but instead of fish they’re farming Goa’uld symbiotes. Before they can leave however an alarm is triggered when they’re spotted by security. During the fight Jonas and a guard fall in and while they’re both pulled out the guard has been infested by one of the symbiotes.
The discovery of the farm causes a minor diplomatic incident with both sides feeling betrayed by the other but both continue with the talks anyway. The Pandarans reveal that despite the symbiotes being what they are they’ve never taken over a host before, only instead reducing the victims to a catatonic state, while they can harvest Tretonin from the symbiotes. In a show of trust Dollen, against the advice of Tegar, reveals their real secret to Tretonin which is that they found a live Goa’uld Queen in the ruins. Given that neither party knows what is causing the catatonic state the team decide to call the Tok’ra to help with the guard and the matter of the Goa’uld Queen.
Meanwhile Jonas heads back to the digsite to talk to Zenna, who is much more talkative as the veil of secrecy has been lifted. It turns out Zenna wanted them to learn the truth by leaving certain files in her tent. The two of them decide to continue the translations in the temple as a way to regrow trust in light of the breaking and entering the day before. During exploration of the temple ruins the two of them and Teal’c find that at some point in the past Ra occupied the planet.
Back at the main science building the Tok’ra arrive and try their best to work out why nothing happened to the guard when he was attacked by the symbiote. They do however have a potential method for removing the symbiote from the guard but it is risky. Before going any further however they request to see the Queen in question and to the team’s surprise actually support the use of the Goa’uld for the benefit of humans, seeing a sense of payback for what the Goa’uld had done for so long. The payback may end soon however as the Queen is dying while also Fraiser back at the SGC finds that Tretonin is essentially required once taken as it functions as a symbiote would by permanently suppressing the immune system. Thankfully the Tok’ra believe that they could create a serum to remove the effects of the drug, both positive and negative, which would mean the Pandarans go back to being ordinary.
At the digsite the Jonas, Teal’c, and Zenna continue their work on the fresco that depicts whoever was trapped in the temple. It reveals that the Queen trapped there was placed as punishment for leading a revolt against Ra and that it means that the Queen they Pandarans have been using is in fact the Queen of the Tok’ra. In the main facility the team reveal the finding to the Tok’ra who agree to continue their work but are finding more strange issues, such as the symbiotes are defective and that the Tretonin should be working better than it is. While the Tok’ra Malek tries to negotiate the release of the Queen his companion forces her way into the storage facility and sacrifices itself to allow the Queen to take over her host.
When she recovers the Queen, Egeria, speaks with both SG-1 and Malek as well as the Dollen regarding recent events. She reveals that she had deliberately sabotaged her symbiotes in the hope that they’d stop experimenting yet when they found the Tretonin they kept on experimenting. Dollen expresses his sincerest apologies for what they did to her which she accepts, knowing that they never meant to truly harm her. As her final act she gives them the material needed to create the antidote to the Tretonin issues.
On its own Cure seems like a traditional one-shot episode that when done is done. Instead it lays down the ground work for the one of the biggest developments in the course of the show’s mythology.
The story largely functions like several others have as one about the dangers of science run amok. While initially the Pandarans seem perfectly ordinary and advanced to a decent standard it’s slowly revealed that cracks are fast appearing in the society as Tretonin, a miracle drug that initially seemed to help prevent disease entirely, is fast running out which will cause the deaths of 20% of the population. Instead they’re desperate for any solution to the problems, initially by a suicide mission to storm a Goa’uld homeworld which would likely lead to the massacre of the entire planet or re-subjugation by the Goa’uld. It’s only when they open up to the outsiders, who are also likewise forced to open up about their intentions, that the Tok’ra are able to provide a solution to the issue, in the end with their Queen giving her life to provide the cure.
The episode’s McGuffin quickly gives away why it’ll become so important for the show’s mythos in the future. A drug that happens to replace the need for a symbiote while at the same time providing the same effects as a symbiote? Why can you think of a race of beings that would benefit from such a change in their needs? Right now of course this never comes up in the episode, with the main focus on its effects on humans but the fact Malek in the episode is clearly interested in other applications of the drug to use against Goa’uld domination this endpoint is quite an easy one to reach.
Lastly the episode slightly widens up the mythos of the past for the show. Up until now the Tok’ra’s history before the SGC arrived is fairly obscure other than the frequent mention that they’ve been fighting the Goa’uld for thousands of years. Here we see that they were created out of the offspring of a specific Goa’uld who attempted to rebel against Ra’s use of humans and that she’d been secreted away for thousands of years. Even after all that time Egeria is still maintaining her ways of kindness and understanding, using her last lifeforce to help save the people who’d experimented on her, thinking she was yet another Goa’uld.
Overall the episode is yet another display of the show continuing to move forward with the introduction of new items that’ll become handy later on while also fleshing out the backstory to a longstanding ally that has remained largely blank.
· That secure facility was easy to break into
· O’Neill really shouldn’t be leading anything that involves
polite conversation skills.
Quote of the episode: “A Goa’uld offspring is born with the intellect and knowledge of the queen who bore it. Normally the fully developed personality would emerge, allowing the symbiote to control the host immediately upon blending.”
“Glowing eyes, cliché behavior, evilness, that kind of thing.”– Carter and O’Neill