Today on Stargate SG-1 we watch the team meet and old ally for the last time and say goodbye to a large drain on the base cafeteria.
The SGC receive a request to enter the base from Jared Kane, the officer from the Rand Protectorate who Daniel befriended several years ago, about urgent information for the team. Upon arrival he reveals that the Protectorate has been given a satellite-based superweapon by the Ori in exchange for subservience and are using it on the Caledonian Federation who refuse to submit to the Ori. Knowing the new system could be a threat to the Tau’ri as well as his own people, Jared has come seeking help in removing the Ori from Rand. The SGC, agreeing that the Ori could present a wider threat and that the senseless bloodshed needs to be stopped, work with Jared on a plan to use the Prometheus to attack the satellite while Daniel and Jared try a diplomatic method with Rand leaders.
With the plan decided Daniel and Jared head by Stargate to Tegalus, arriving in Rand territory, only to immediately be arrested for treason and held in detention until a “trial” can sentence them to death (if they even get a trial). In orbit above the Prometheus arrives and attacks the satellite as it begins to power up, only finding it’s had a shield attached. The satellite in retaliation fires at the ship, punching straight through the shield and doing serious damage forcing an evacuation when the Rand president Nadal overrides his military commander, Goran, and orders the destruction of the ship despite its peas of surrender. The surviving F-302s regroup with the survivors beamed out to Caledonian territory and begin to plan a way to retaliate along with the Caledonians.
Working with the Caledonians Carter juryrigs a stealth missile that will allow them to take out the Rand control bunker for the satellite weapon with an EMP, allowing them to attempt to destroy the satellite with an F-302 strike. In the aftermath of the EMP though Daniel once more attempts to find a diplomatic solution, offering Caledonia the Stargate so they can leave the planet in exchange for not destroying the weapon. The Caledonians agree given the options on the table. Nadal however immediately breaks his word and attempts to destroy Caledonia only for Goran to kill him, who’s also shot in the process. Jared takes control of the situation, getting medical support for Goran who agrees to keep the deal.
Some time later Mitchell visits Daniel in his lab to talk about what’s going to happen now regarding Tegalus. Daniel informs Mitchell, who’s been off-base, that Caledonia and Rand ended up blowing each other to hell and no contact could be made with anyone on the planet, with both agreeing in understatement that it’s been a “rough day”.
Oh look, it’s a callback episode and just like the episode it’s referring back to it’s not a very happen is it.
So the show has brought us back to Tegalus, the world visited back in early season 8, that found itself broiled in a decades long Cold War between the Rand and Caledonian nations. Just like before the SGC once again initiate conflict on the surface by appearing on the planet, because the SGC never learns its lesson about interfering. The episode also includes themes from its predecessor when it comes to its commentary on items such as WMDs, with both sides shown time and time again that the throwing of a third party into a tense standoff with said weapons forces each side to make rushed decisions that aren’t thought through entirely but result in truly devastating consequences for all. This sees Rand quickly take out the Tau’ri vessel as their only ability is to immediately resort to their superweapon and Caledonia threatening a first strike with their WMDs as a desperate attack.
The episode also takes a fairly harsh but fair view on the fact that while diplomacy should be tried as much as possible it unfortunately can’t always result in a desired outcome. Throughout the episode Daniel time and time again tries for the diplomatic result, dead set on achieving a peaceful conclusion that allows both the Rand and Caledonians to retain their values and way of life. Even when this seems to be possible it unfortunately slips through his fingers, with the two sides unable to resist their impulses and resorting to their old ways of conflict. Even Daniel seems to have reached his limit by the end, almost callously remarking it to be a “bad day” in a manner that is very unlike the man we came to know. It seems that even the hardened believer in peace can reach his limit if those he tries so hard to help refuse to listen.
The Tegalus storyline however does suffer slightly in the episode though, especially when it comes to the characters. Once again it pretty much repeats the earlier episode by having the civilians be the religious nutters and the military being the sane goodguys. While this isn’t a bad thing once in a while I think it would’ve been interesting if the fallout from the previous war had led to a hardline stance in the Rand military and that its civilian government was effectively held hostage as a result. Given the show’s military backing however I can understand why this likely wouldn’t have ever been approved.
Outside of tying up the Tegalus question also does us all a favour by finally destructing the mess that was the Prometheus CGI model. Thankfully the boxset only has the SD version of seasons 8-10, thereby saving me from witnessing the worst of it, but by god is it terrible. It never made sense to me with how Atlantis had the beautiful Daedalus class ship while the flagship show never wrote out the old wreck until now, especially when we start to see the, churn out the newer ships by the bucketload. The ship made sense as a rough prototype but given how the show designed such brilliant looks in the past with the Ha’tak and Asgard ships it’s a shame it took so long to get a good human vessel on the show.
Ethon is a good episode, if not a great one, bringing back the Ori storyline in a more closed environment that focuses more on the effects after they leave as opposed to when they first visit a planet. While the episode’s strengths come from its predecessor Icon so do many of its weaknesses, preventing it from truly spreading its wings.
· This planet really does have a thing for nukes.
· So the Caledonian spies can’t attack the facility but Jared managed to easily get through the Gate? Hmm.
Quote of the episode: “Do you ever give up?”
“Not until I’m dead, and sometimes not even then.” – Jared and Daniel
Off the Grid
The team are off-world attempting to infiltrate a planet under the control of the Lucian Alliance, the group of mercs and smugglers who filled the vacuum left by the Goa’uld, only for it to go badly and see the Alliance attack them. As they attempt to dial the planet’s Stargate it’s been away right in front of them by person’s unknown, leaving them at the mercy of the Alliance forces attacking them. Moving back to the mission briefing it turns out that the team were on the planet to investigate a corn-like foodstuff called Kassa that is both delicious and highly-addictive, with at least one member of SG-3 falling victim to its seductive powers. The plan quickly goes awry when SG-1 decide to push the local Alliance outfit for answers, arguing about which of them look most like a drug dealer, and end up being captured before moving to the events at the start of the episode.
Thankfully for the team Landry calls in the latest BC-304, the Odyssey, to rescue the team. The ship arrives just in time to beam the team out of the hotzone. It turns out that Gates are being stolen by someone all across the galaxy and no one seems to know why. Landry decided to talk to the Goa’uld Nerus, still held at Area 51, offering him a feast in return for information. The glutton revealed that the man behind the stolen Gates is none other than Ba’al, who’s clearly moved into the house removal business. Due to the Ori threat Ba’al has decided to set up a new domain using a separate Gate network that only he has access to and is using those Gates stolen to do so. Nerus demands to be released in exchange for information about where Ba’al is, doing so but not trusting his coordinates. Instead Landry had a beacon placed inside one of the many things he ate and it’s now reporting Ba’al’s actual location.
On Ba’al’s new flagship Nerus unwittingly begins to help the SGC steal back the Gates stolen when he releases a computer virus onto the ship that had been placed on his communication orb. This allows the Odyssey to approach undetected and beam aboard SG-1 who begin attaching locater beacons to all the Gates in storage so that the Odyssey can beam them back across. The team are discovered however and to make matters worse three Ha’tak from the Lucian Alliance emerge and begin to attack Ba’al’s ship. While most of the Gates are successfully beamed out Ba’al is able to remove the virus and bring up shields just before the last Gate and SG-1 along with it can be beamed out. The Odyssey attempts to buy time by attacking the Alliance ships but is unable to stop Ba’al’s ship from being destroyed and barely manage to retreat themselves.
Thankfully however it turns out that SG-1 had used the last Gate to dial out and make it back to the SGC to safety.
And here we are with the return of both the Lucian Alliance and the Ba’al story once more, with both taking up roles in a food company supply chain it seems. Both of the groups have differing but related goals when it comes to their longterm goals in the galaxy, with Lucian Alliance aiming to set up relatively simple but lucrative drug supply schemes while Ba’al wants to carry on with the old but from a fresh start by recreating his old territory from scratch.
The fact that both of these plotlines need to share the same space in a 42 minute episode does mean that neither is really developed to their full potential but thankfully they’re fairly simple to begin with, meaning that not too much is lost. They even save space by intertwining the final act of both into the same fight, with the LA trying to get back at both Ba’al and the Tau’ri for scuppering their plans involving super corn and Ba’al losing all he gained due to a fat Goa’uld.
Previously said fat Goa’uld is probably the highlight of the episode to be honest, with it providing the first good Landry specific scenes for a while now, and are definitely the most comedic in tone with Nerus once again gorging himself on generic Earth foods that he believes are a luxury while Landry has to put up with him while pretending he isn’t outwitting him at every turn. This time however the humour also goes beyond Earth, with scenes between Ba’al and Nerus being equally enjoyable to watch, adding some light-heartedness to a character who’s largely been very serious previously.
On the otherhand the weakest element of the episode has to be the Lucian Alliance subplot. While the origins of the faction is an interesting one and had a lot of potential the show never seems to be able to capitalise on it and this episode is another case for that. The group only has one definable personality in the form of its leader but even he isn’t that great. Instead they feel very much like a second-rate villain that is brought out only when they run out of everything else and never seem to accomplish much in the process.
Overall it’s very much a filler episode that doesn’t have any lasting impact on the show given all the problems are solved inside the timeslot. That doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable however, with some fun scenes between one or two characters complimented by some tight-quarters action involving our heroes.
· Daniel is clearly the one who looks most like a drug dealer at this point.
· I do love that little headshake from Cliff Simon.
Quote of the episode: “We’re supposed to stay under the radar.”
“I doubt if this world possesses such technology.” – Carter and Teal’c