Here we are almost at the midpoint of season 7, with another jokey episode where the SGC screw up the Gate network and a quite bad trope filled mess of an episode.
Jay Felger is in his lab at the SGC readying a new weapon prototype which he hopes will impress the higherups, in particular Carter, much to his colleague’s (Chloe) annoyance. O’Neill and Carter arrive to watch the demonstration of Felger’s new laser weapon but instead the weapon goes up in a pile of smoke, knocking out base power at the same time. The incident happens to be the latest in a long run of failures on Felger’s part, leading to Hammond considering to fire him unless he shows them something in the next 24 hours. Felger decides to resurrect a project he called “Avenger”, a computer virus that should lock out a Gate’s DHD which would heavily weaken the Goa’uld’s logistical and strategic movement. Interested, Carter stays behind while the rest of SG-1 go off on another mission.
Soon Felger, Chloe, and Carter are able to put together a working prototype of the virus and decide to implement it in the field, choosing to deploy it on one of the mining planets controlled by Ba’al. While they initially celebrate success with the virus having its desired effects things soon take a turn for the worse with SG-1 finding that their Gates are also no longer working, suggesting that the SGC have managed to cripple the entire Gate network. They review their code and find that the virus is being transmitted via the network through its self-update mechanism, slowly locking off the entire system, stranding most of the SG teams off-world. The SGC itself however is left with the only operational Gate as it doesn’t have a DHD.
While the three of them initially attempt to work out a solution using the SGC’s unchanged code and using that to reset the Gate network Felger goes AWOL after seeing how much damage his attempts to impress others have caused. Carter however is able to find him and convince him to come back and finish his work. Back at the SGC Felger and Carter present a new plan to Hammond which is to upload the old code at the mining planet they first infected, though this would require a potentially one-way trip through the Gate. Though understandably sceptical Hammond approves the mission due to having no other options.
On the planet Felger gets to work on reprogramming the DHD while Carter keeps watch. Felger discovers that his program didn’t break the Gate network but that it was instead modified by Ba’al, who then used the modified program to take out the network which allowed him to use his more powerful fleet to take out other Goa’uld opposed to him. Not only having to cope with dealing with an unfamiliar version of the program the two of them come under heavy Jaffa attack. While Carter is initially able to hold them off they seem done for as an Al’kesh shows up, only for it to be revealed to be controlled by O’Neill and Teal’c. After this timely intervention the two are able to fix the system and restore the network. Upon his return to the lab Felger and Chloe get caught making out while Carter gets jealous, ending up fighting with Chloe to O’Neill and Felger’s delight, only to be revealed as yet another of Felger’s daydreams once again leaving it unclear just how much of the episode really happened.
Here’s the return of Jay Felger, the SGC scientist with an overactive imagination, and once again his desire of heroism ruins things for everyone at the SGC.
The episode’s main storyline is rather believable even with the jokey nature of the thing. Fegler, who was previously shown to be living in his own little world is quite understandably in danger of getting sacked as he spends more time fantasising about being a hero at the SGC rather than actually delivering working results. This results in him creating Avenger which quickly kills the entire network. This idea is quite a good one as it’s surprising this never happened before given how much the SGC muck about with the systems that power the Gate which has included bypassing safety protocols and playing with the underlying control mechanisms. After finally realising that doing his part and owning up to it is more important than trying to be the big hero Felger manages to achieve what he wanted in the first place, having a role on the frontlines once more and fixing problems for the SGC.
The main part of the plot I didn’t like was the cop out towards the end where they suddenly had Ba’al reconfigure the virus himself, removing all culpability from the SGC. This removes a lot of the character journey Felger had been on and also removed any sense of critique regarding Air Force failures in how they conduct themselves, which had been in the show before in episodes like Chain Reaction, with Felger himself towards the end directly points out it wasn’t their fault that everything had gone wrong but the fault of the bad guys misusing their weapons against them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this reversal was at least partly pressured by the Air Force given the then recent invasion of Iraq and high-profile incidents in which US Air Force planes had attacked and killed US, British, and Peshmerga personnel on the ground.
It’s also a shame that Coombs didn’t make a return as his double act with Felger was one of the highlights of the previous appearance in the episode The Other Guys, with them portraying a more stereotypically nerdy look at the fans. While Felger plays well off of Carter and Chloe his friendship/rivalry with his fellow scientist was more interesting IMO.
Overall the episode is a fun one that also demonstrates that side characters can carry episodes of the show by themselves, with practically all of SG-1 absent for nearly the entire episode, but once again these are a real rarity which is a shame given how good the recurring and guest actors the show attracted were.
· Felger makes dioramas of the SG teams. Surely that’s a massive security breach?
· Surprised Hammond didn’t fire Felger in the end just for all that happened, or that O’Neil didn’t just shoot him.
Quote of the episode: “Felger’s gone with her”
“(sarcastically) I’m inspired with confidence” – Hammond and O’Neill
The team are off-world, meeting with a Free Jaffa contact under the reign of the Goa’uld Moloc only to be ambushed by Jaffa still loyal to the Goa’uld. Despite holding their ground the team end up being helped by others hidden in the fog, revealed to be an all-women group of Jaffa. The group harvest the symbiote from the dead friendly Jaffa and then bring SG-1 with them to meet with their leader. At their camp off-world the team are introduced to their leader, Ishta, and that they’re the Hak’tyl, a group of warriors who run an Underground Railroad of sorts to evacuate females from Moloc’s domain as he has decreed they’re to be killed. Ishta and others talk to Carter and reveal that their alliance is to be based on the trading of symbiotes for their help as warriors. Carter instead tries to offer them Tretonin as an alternative to symbiotes but many of the Jaffa have reservations.
Teal’c, now reliant on Tretonin and having experienced the same reservations of the drug, attempts to convince Ishta of the benefits of the drug and make her aware of the continued risks of attacking Jaffa patrols in the hope of obtaining symbiotes. During a sparring match between the two Ishta sees that he still maintains his skills as a warrior despite the drug, leading her to ask for volunteers amongst her people to test it which sees the camp split between those who are open to the new tests and those who are still believers in the old ways. As the volunteers head to Earth to begin the tests on Tretonin Ishta and Teal’c continue to bond and Daniel tries to interact with one of the children Nesa, whose conservative older sister refuses to let talk to outsiders. After talking to the girl her sister, Neith, confronts Daniel at Staffpoint the next morning.
At the SGC they begin testing the Tretonin on the four volunteers who came forward and while most of them successfully take the drug another begins to suffer side-effects that lower its effectiveness and despite Fraisers attempts to save her by reintroducing a symbiote she dies. Given what is essentially a 25% mortality rate in the tests Ishtar decides to side with Neith in obtaining more symbiotes for the others. While the attack initially goes well Ishta realises they killed Free Jaffa as well as Moloc forces, with another managing to wound Neith during a brief distraction. Brought to the SGC for medical help she initially refuses to take Tretonin until Nesa appears, who reveals that she chose to volunteer for the drug and it’s working on her and convinces her older sister to do the same. In both cases treatment is successful and the Hak’tyl say their goodbyes, with Teal’c and Ishta sharing a more intimate farewell.
Well here we have the show’s attempt at yet another Sci-Fi trope and quite a bad one to be honest; the Amazon planet.
The story follows the team once again trying to help out the Free Jaffa who as per usual see themselves end up being nothing but cheap cannon fodder. This time however the team are helped by a group of all female warriors who reveal themselves to be from a women only group. In return for saving them the team attempt to transition the Jaffa onto Tretonin, which has apparently been sat in the lab until now and never used after Teal’c started taking it several months before. While initial results cause a schism, with the death of a leading member of the clan, the Jaffa are finally shown the error of their ways when the Hak’tyl accidentally start killing Free Jaffa in their attacks on the rest of the Jaffa.
Personally I just find the episode to be a bit of a mess as its plot makes little sense, such as Moloc deliberately stunting his army growth by killing off all female babies in some bizarre strength metaphor and the random use of the Amazon trope. The Hak’tyl is also made out to be the fools of the piece, both only ever doing wrong after their introduction and other members randomly lashing out at the members of SG-1 for daring to talk to anyone. Overall the episode uses bad tropes in a tired fashion, with the Hak’tyl getting portrayed as stupidly backward and aggressive to outsiders to an almost ludicrous degree and sees the holding back of SGC resources that make no sense in having been held back for so long.
· Are there any female Jaffa leaders Teal’c isn’t attracted to?
Quote of the episode: “She probably feels more comfortable talking to Sam.”
“Why, because we have penises?” – Daniel and O’Neill