Teal’c reacts badly to a giant bug’s sting he receives on a mission.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: Sha’re gave birth and Jack witnessed a death.
A Buggy Mission
SG-1 arrives on the planet to a city that’s relatively close to Earth-level technology opposed to the ancient cultures they often see. However, said city is abandoned. Neither the pre-mission probe nor Sam’s devices are picking up on any serious amounts of radiation or pollution. The team agrees there’s not enough damage done to the city for the lack of life to be the work of a Goa’uld attack.
Then a giant dragonfly-like insect with a huge stinger lands on Teal’c. Before Jack can shoot it, the bug stings Teal’c in the back and flies off. Daniel alerts the rest of the team that a huge swarm of the bugs is coming so the team hurriedly heads back to SGC where Laara (I’ll be calling her by her actress’ name until the show gives her one) closes the iris in time for a bunch of bugs to go splat into it.
Janet is doing her best to help Teal’c but she’s out of her depth since the “viral infection” is screwing with the Jaffa’s DNA. Sam suggests bringing in a geneticist named Timothy Harlow who already has the necessary clearance to know about the Stargate program.
He, Janet, and Sam realize the venom is rewriting the genetic material of Teal’c, and the Goa’uld larva within him is only slowing the process down. Basically, it would have been even worse had one of the three humans been stung.
Jack visits Teal’c at his sickbed. Teal’c is in pain and scared of becoming something else; he tells Jack, “You are my friend. When there is no longer any hope I would rather die.” Well, this scenario is awfully familiar.
I’m sure the parallels weren’t lost on Jack, even if only subconsciously. Small wonder he keeps verbalizing his desire to beat up or shoot Maybourne; the other man is a handy outlet for his rage and helplessness at history seemingly repeating itself. Also, I wonder if Jack suspects Maybourne had a role in Selig’s death given how Maybourne is on friendly terms with Senator Kinsey and presumably other politicians.
“One of the Good Guys”
Colonel Maybourne is firm in his belief that he’s doing what’s right. He wants Teal’c to undergo the transformation in hopes of creating a new, potent biological weapon, hoodwinking Harlow into believing there’d be better odds for Teal’c in a different facility. And it is true that SGC isn’t fully equipped for this sort of scenario.
Teal’c is in an incredible amount of pain and the venom has spread to the point where it wants to continue the process. Beating Maybourne, Harlow, and the other few soldiers in the transport trunk unconscious, Teal’c removes his larva and runs into the woods.
For most of the episode, Maybourne has point on the search for Teal’c, despite his arm being in a sling from his injuries. Luckily, SG-1 manages to find and help Teal’c before him. Harlow also reassures the group that the bug specimen will be lost due to an “unfortunate lab accident” as soon as it’s clear Teal’c will make a full recovery so that Maybourne won’t have access to it.
Despite being outwitted this episode, I suspect he’ll return in future episodes in further efforts to use the Stargate program for his own ends.
A Bug’s Life
Jack, Daniel, and Sam end up returning to the planet in order to get a sample of the bug venom now that Teal’c is missing. Ultimately, they return home with a single bug chasing them that gets through before the iris closes.
They also got footage of what exactly happened to the planet’s inhabitants. They got stung and acted as incubators for a group of new bugs. So it’s a race not only against Maybourne but against time so that Earth doesn’t suffer the same fate.
While the search is ongoing, Harlow finds a cure that along with the Goa’uld larva will halt and hopefully reverse the metamorphosis. Despite some concerns from SGC, particularly Sam who knew him beforehand, that he has aligned himself with Maybourne Harlow proves himself an ally to the team.
Another Ally (This One Literally and Metaphorically)
Finding himself in a nearby town/city, Teal’c hides out in an abandoned warehouse. However, a preteen girl named Ally frequents it for her squirt gun practice. It’s summer vacation and her mom works full-time while her dad was a cop. Odds are good that he died in the line of duty. Anyway, Ally shares her chocolate with him and shows him an even better hiding spot.
She goes on to defy Maybourne, ‘smelling’ that he has bad intentions opposed to good ones. It’s a gift passed down from her dad, evidently, to smell whether somebody is good/innocent or not. Afterwards, she powers through at a phone booth to reach Jack O’Neill at SGC so that he and the team can come to their teammate’s aid.
In the final scene, a healed Teal’c returns to the warehouse with Daniel to gift her with a “more powerful weapon”. Ally promptly squirts him with it and runs off in hopes of getting to play with him. Teal’c is apparently impressed with her fighting spirit and squirts an unimpressed Daniel with her old squirt gun before going off presumably to have a water gun fight with her.
This was a good episode, especially in comparison to the last one featuring Teal’c. Supporting characters Ally and Timothy Harlow are well fleshed-out despite probably never returning. Maybourne returns to act as a secondary antagonist to the deadline of the transformation rate. I’m a little bemused at how the bugs evolved; possibly when they were smaller they used other creatures but eventually grew to start using humans instead.
It’s an interesting parallel between Jack and Teal’c in that sometimes they use humor and lack of comprehension at the finer details of English respectively to either lighten the mood or be underestimated by others. But sometimes it does seem to be sincere, like an ill Teal’c with Ally and Jack’s jokes about paddling the dying larva. In the latter case, this gives Janet and Sam inspiration that the natural bioelectric current is what was missing from their simulated environment, allowing the larva to live long enough to return to Teal’c. Jack seemed actually baffled that his joke linked to what was actually wrong with the larva.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: The team goes in search of the Tok’ra.