SG3-15: Pretense

It’s the second episode of “Law and Order: Interplanetary Division” when Skaara and Klorel, in the custody of the Tollans, each want sole possession of the body they currently ‘share’.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: There was an alien incursion in SGC, compelling Carter and Maybourne to team up.


It’s a Kitty!  And Then Jack Gets Served

The first post-credits scene has Schrodinger the marmalade cat come through the active Stargate despite the iris thanks to the Tollans’ phasing technology.  Sam recognizes the cat and gives a quick recap to her teammates and Hammond before Narim comes through the Gate as well.  The general has the troops stand down; I appreciate how everybody at SGC is still a bit more on edge than normal after last episode.


Narim and Sam have a Moment before being joined by the others.  He’s present as “the Tollan Curia requests the presence of [Jack] and your team for triad”.  Between the pre-credits scene and the rest of the episode, the matter is explained.  Basically Heru-Ur and Klorel were engaged in battle; the Tollan defence grid took out two of the former’s motherships while a small vessel containing the latter crashed on the Tollans’ new home-world of Tollana.  The Tollans have a device that permits both the symbiote and the host to speak freely, so now each has expressed the desire to take the physical body to themselves.

In the Tollan justice system, there is a pair of ‘seekers’ with opposing goals- in this case, Klorel and Skaara.  Each side has an Archon who argues that side of the case with a third neutral Archon as the deciding vote.  I suspect this is an important case as High Chancellor Travell oversees it.  Possibly this case will be setting the precedent for any similar cases in the future.

SG-1 goes with Narim to Tollana, which has a Tollan-built Stargate.  Daniel comments on how much smarter the Tollans are than Earth’s culture but Jack just refutes that Earth’s Stargate is bigger.  Which isn’t really a refuting statement since SGC didn’t built theirs.  The Tollan architecture has a lot of elegant angles to it; it’s aesthetically pleasing while also looking just enough ‘off’ to not be Earthian.

Setting Up for Triad

After a certain point, the team’s weapons are scanned and disabled to prevent their usage during Triad.  It’s not discussed when/how they are un-disabled; possibly when they return to Earth?  The group is introduced to the aforementioned High Chancellor, a middle-aged lady who does come off as a gender-swapped civilian Hammond.  She’s fair but firm.


Next the group goes to another chamber where they meet with Klorel/Skaara.  The former hates them for their role in his father’s downfall but the latter is “very happy” to see them.  Narim explains the device and how the light is blue for Skaara and red for Klorel.  While I know ‘blue is safe’ and ‘red is danger’ are typical meanings, I can’t help but link that bit of color coding to Star Wars when in a science-fiction setting.  Although they only get one vote, Skaara chooses both Jack and Daniel as his Archons since in his words “O’Neill is strong.  Daniel is wise.”

Zipacna, a Goa’uld, comes in with some guards as Klorel’s Archon.  Jack is cranky although Narim and Travell assure him that the Goa’uld weapons have also been disabled.  Teal’c tells the others that Zipacna was a loyal under-lord to Apophis.  Wikipedia tells me that Zipacna is from Mayan mythology; he was regarded as a demon and at least claimed to make mountains.  I’m not sure if having a white actor play him is white-washing or a commentary on how often in the past whites dominated people of color.  Zipacna and Klorel exit to discuss their plans in private.

As further evidence of a continued Nox-Tollan alliance, Lya arrives as the third Archon since the Tollans believe she’s among the few capable of remaining truly neutral in the debate.  When the team is alone, Jack is jubiliant, thinking Lya will side with them, although his teammates aren’t so sure.  Jack tells Teal’c and Sam to keep an eye on “Zippy’s kids” during the triad.

On Triad

Travell opens the triad by stating why it’s being held: both Klorel and Skaara want exclusive usage of the body they are currently sharing.  While the debates begin, Sam and Teal’c follow some Guards to a nearby ion cannon.


Unnervingly, Zipacna compares the Abydonians (and by extension, all humans) to animals.  Jack and Daniel struggle to refute this, although they don’t go for the ‘humans are sentient/sapient and animals are not’ point.  They don’t even bring up how animals often compared to humans are rarely eaten (dolphins and cats for example).  Skaara does discuss how he didn’t just lose bodily autotomy but his life as well.  Plus, he does remember Klorel’s attempt on Daniel’s life and how he couldn’t do anything about it.  I had forgotten that Skaara and Sha’re were siblings, which suddenly makes me wonder how much of a genetic component there is in choosing preferred hosts.

It’s also stressed by Daniel how parasitic the Goa’uld are, in that they stole the technology from others that makes them more advanced than humans as well as stealing bodies from humans.  Zipacna attempts to dismiss Skaara as just a remnant of the original body’s personality but Lya points out that Skaara’s words aren’t like that.

I think that’s a nod to what’s going on with Sam and whatever remains of Jolinar, which is brought up when she meets with Narim.  Evidently she doesn’t want to try dating him while she’s still sorting out which feelings are hers and which are Jolinar’s.  This makes sense as Jolinar had a mate of her own and since she last saw Narim Sam has heard of two alternate realities where she married Jack.  She has enough tact not to bring up those other reasons.

Sam explains to him that SG-1 is concerned the guards did something to the ion cannons to disable them so that the Goa’uld can come and wipe out the Tollans.  But the Tollans can’t find anything wrong with them and Jack wants them to lie low so that he and Daniel can remain Skaara’s Archons.


Afraid that the Tollans’ lack of knowledge on warfare will prove to be a fatal flaw, Teal’c goes to Lya.  She warns him that he can’t discuss the Triad in hopes of influencing her.  But Teal’c ‘just’ wants to discuss the potential of the Goa’uld trying to attack Tollana.

Lya is late to the next triad session.  Zipacna points out that a Goa’uld requires a host to survive, and uses SG-1’s earlier point that by staying in Skaara both he and Klorel will live.  Jack flippantly brings up the Tok’ra as a way to remove Klorel and so that the Goa’uld can take him and the team can have Skaara.  Lya asks if Jack would offer himself as a host; he goes “uh… no”.

Narim, Sam, and Teal’c enter before the debate can continue, so that Narim can inform Travell she needs to pull up the view from the orbit observatory.  A Goa’uld mothership is approaching; Zipacna claims it’s simply to escort him and Klorel away from Tollana.

Zipacna tries to wrap up the triad, but Travell pushes back.  Yet Jack and Daniel accept the offer to vote now.  Lya decides to vote in favor of Skaara, since he was the one born to the body and that being a Goa’uld host is no life at all.  The Tok’ra will be called upon to help remove Klorel, but for the time being Travell locks the device on ‘blue’ so that Skaara alone can use his body.

Attempted Wipe-Out

Travell graciously dismisses Zipacna before leaving, but the Goa’uld gets out a silver ball to send a message.  Jack and Teal’c knock him and almost everybody goes outside as the mothership begins to lock on the ion cannons.  At Jack’s instruction, Skaara remains indoors.  Narim also goes off to alert Travell.  So the guards did sabotage the ion cannons somehow.  I don’t think it’s clarified how exactly, though.

Small vessels arrive as well to attack.  Teal’c admits to O’Neill he disobeyed him and went to Lya for aid.  The group goes to the ion cannon Lya concealed earlier, which was why she was late earlier.  While the others take cover in a nearby grove, Teal’c manages to activate the ion cannon which takes out first the drones and then the mothership.

Lya cuts the line thin between hiding an ion cannon for future usage and firing it herself.  I suspect she knows that not hiding it would have caused far more harm as the Tollans are primarily a defensive culture and would have done poorly against the far more aggressive Goa’uld.

Jack tries to use having saved the planet to gain access to an ion cannon but Travell stands firm on the Tollan policy for not sharing their technology with a less advanced culture.  However, that does mean the Tollans do still have a debt to SG-1.  The Tok’ra do the procedure and Klorel will be dropped off in his container on a Goa’uld world.  Skaara shows up to hug Jack and Sam and to do a forearm clasp with Teal’c.

Weirdly, he doesn’t interact with his brother-in-law Daniel beyond a friendly but brief pat on the forearm.  Plus, neither Klorel nor Skaara mentions Sha’re.  Skaara was her presumably little brother while she was briefly host to Klorel’s ‘mother’.  I don’t think it was ever clarified if Amanuet was like Hathor or not.  I’m not sure if I’m happy her death wasn’t used to further Skaara’s character or upset she flat-out wasn’t mentioned.  Furthermore, I have little hope that we’ll be seeing Skaara himself again.


I really enjoyed this episode, part because it required attentive viewing of some previous episodes, primarily “The Nox” and “Enigma” from season one.  Omoc isn’t seen, but I don’t think he’s part of the legislative branch.  Narim probably was involved only thanks to his established connection to SG-1, who Skaara had requested.  Lya returns and acts when she knows it’s the best course, which is different from Anataeus’ firm no interaction policy.

In my review of “The Nox” I used an extended analogy to explain the interactions between the cultures with differing levels of technology.  The main thrust of it is that Earth’s culture is too young to understand most advanced technology/math.   By extension, Earth’s culture is just too young to safely use it.

Now, here’s comes the worrying aspect.  There is a recurring story element of what happens when a child uses adult technology: Charlie messed around with his dad’s gun and died as a result.  There does seem to have been a parallel to what happened to the other culture discussed in “Enigma”.  The Tollans gifted them with advanced technology and they misused it, causing their destruction and leading the Tollans to have to evacuate the planet.  I’m not sure whether or not it was a deliberate parallel but it certainly shows why it’s a bad idea for a culture to get ahold of technology beyond their usual usage.


Next time on Stargate SG-1: The team deals with a scientist and his creation Urgo.


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