SG3-20: Maternal Instinct

The team and Bra’tac go to Keb in hopes of finding the Haresis.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: The team went to a planet in the midst of a religious war.

 

Attack on Chulak

Bra’tac comes through the Gate with the heavily injured guard Moac (or is it Mo’ac?).  Apophis has led an attack on Chulak, wiping out most of his still-loyal subjects.  Jack in particular is aggravated by the revelation that Apophis still lives.

Teal’c and Bra’tac go the OR after Moac’s surgery where Janet and her people did the best they could.  Moac and Bra’tac each feel they have failed the other.  Bra’tac assures Moac of his bravery and says something in the Jaffa tongue before Moac dies.

Bra’tac wants to spread Moac’s ashes on Apophis’ grave someday but he’s also tired of having seen so many deaths committed by the Goa’uld.  Teal’c refuses to let all those deaths be in vain and calls Bra’tac the strongest Jaffa he knows.  The elderly Jaffa is horrified by Apophis attacking his own Jaffa; although not mentioned, surely most or even all the symbiotes within them were Apophis’ kin and/or descendants.  Even worse, he didn’t use any in-space weaponry to take out Chulak, instead Apophis and his soldiers got close and personal with their victims.  It’s never said where Apophis got this army.  It can’t be the kids from “Rules of Engagement” since they’re Jaffa; maybe they’re from other planets once ruled by Apophis?

20StudyMeeting

Teal’c realizes that the attack couldn’t have been carried out from space if Apophis and his forces were looking for something- or rather, someone.  The two Jaffa meet with Daniel in his study to discuss the Haresis and Keb.  Bra’tac reveals there’s an ancient legend about Keb and how the Goa’uld hate and fear that place.

Elderly Jaffa went there for a spiritual ritual before dying; when the Goa’uld found out about that place, a few went there but did not return and therefore Keb was forbidden to be spoken of again.  The father of Bra’tac explained to his young son that if the Goa’uld truly were “all powerful gods” then they would not know fear but they do.

Of course, he doesn’t know Keb’s Stargate address.  When Daniel brings up that in Earth mythology Keb was where Osiris hid from Set, Bra’tac recalls that Osiris did so on a planet in the Lok’na core group.  Sam pulls up the list of Stargate addresses on a desktop computer.  Bra’tac points out the list of Lok’na planets; there’s only one planet in Ancient red (for their list) opposed to the others in yellow (the Abydos cartouche).  Ergo, that ‘missing’ planet is Keb.

Keb at Last

A MALP is sent through first and sees no visible threat.  Hammond is still worried about sending anyone there but Jack points out even if it’s forbidden that Apophis is “nuts enough” to go anyway so he wants back-up.  SG-2 and Bra’tac are both to accompany the quartet to Keb.

The five head out into the forest, with SG-2 to stay near the Stargate to “hold the fort”.  In a sandy area, Bra’tac and Teal’c find the footprints of several Jaffa.  As they trek alongside a broad stream, Teal’c comments that Bra’tac has been “unusually silent”, which is pretty funny coming from him.  Then again, Bra’tac is usually in better spirits.  The older Jaffa admits that soon he will no longer be able to carry a Prim’ta, which is a death sentence for a Jaffa.  More footprints are found, with Bra’tac being better able to decipher them than Teal’c.

Heading into the woods, Daniel and Sim pick up on a smell.  A raven flies out of a nearby bush, startling them and me.  On the other side of the bush, the team finds burnt black corpses.  Nothing else around them is burned, leading to a comparison to lightning.

Bra’tac calls for SG-1 since he has found the body of the priestess.  She was shot in the back a few days ago, with the eight Jaffa guards ending up dead soon afterward.  It’s surmised that she was carrying the boy when killed as her hands were unbound and the Jaffa shot low.  Bra’tac is bemused why Apophis hasn’t sent more Jaffa through after the first group didn’t return.

They continue through the woods, eventually spotting the temple further ahead.  The show cuts to their arrival at the Eastern-style temple.  Jack flippantly references Martha Stewart about the décor.  Daniel starts to shrug off his gear, suggesting that weaponry here would be a bad idea.  Bra’tac concurs that it is “sacred ground” so he and Jack remove their weaponry as well.

Entering the temple, the trio encounters an Asian monk who seemingly appears out of nowhere.  He’s not named in the episode, so I’ll be calling him ‘the monk’ throughout.  Jack’s reluctant to remove his shoes, making an oblique reference to their smell, but Daniel’s all for it.

A shoeless Daniel sits across from the monk, who apparently only speaks in nature-centric riddles to Jack’s bemused annoyance.  Daniel references “zen codes” and Buddhism.  Wait.  I know it later became big in Asia, but I’m positive that Buddhism started in India.  So why then does this temple have a clear central Asian influence?

Outside, Teal’c and Sam are both uneasy.  After briefly spotting a band of bright blue in a pond, Teal’c lies about having seen anything but does admit, “I do not have a good feeling about this place”.  Given how I know he does become a Star Wars fan at some point, it is possible he has already seen them.  Or maybe this is just a coincidence.  Jack joins the duo, annoyed about the whole situation.

Ascension

20Meditation

The monk, Daniel, and Bra’tac are sitting in the star-shaped sandy area for meditation and apparent purification.  But Bra’tac can’t begin with his symbiote in him.  While not ready to die yet, he’s glad that there will come a day when he’ll have a journey towards oneness.  When Daniel checks, the monk tells him that he doesn’t have to die but he has his own burdens for the journey ahead.

Bra’tac exits the temple and assures Teal’c that he’s not ready to die yet and that “we still have false gods to slay”.  The monk has been talking to Daniel about Mother Nature in his own way.  Once Daniel realizes that, the monk moves on to questioning Daniel’s motives in wanting to find the boy.

Daniel first acknowledges his promise to Sha’re to protect the boy and keep him safe.  Then he acknowledges that he hates the Goa’uld for causing the death of his wife and millions of others, leading the monk to warn him that his hatred will lead to the dark side to the child’s death.

The monk lights a candle with his mind and wants Daniel to put it out.  After Daniel blows it out, he clarifies that he wanted Daniel to do so with his mind.  Relighting the candle, he tells Daniel to put his hand in the flame.  When Daniel does so and gets burned, the monk turns it into a message about trust and having faith in Desala- his word for Mother Nature.

It’s night time when an irritable Jack enters the temple.   Daniel tries to explain things, but Jack just calls him “grasshopper”.  The concept of Ascension is brought up for the first time in the series (yay), where beings can achieve a higher plane of existence.  Daniel doesn’t think any of the original aliens are around and that the monk is a guide for those who want to follow the teachings left behind.  Retaking his seat, Daniel lights the candle with his mind.  When Jack isn’t convinced, Daniel opts to telekinetically move around Jack’s gun.

Whirring is heard, so Jack heads out to spot gliders overhead.  Teal’c and Bra’tac are sent to check it out while Jack contacts Major Coburn back at the Gate and gives Sam orders where to set up a line of claymores (which I thought were giant swords, not explosives, but okay).

Teal’c and Bra’tac find that a Goa’uld mothership has landed with a sizable army coming out.  I wonder if Apophis just stole this mothership since he’s no longer a System Lord.  Sam comes in the temple to report back to Jack.  Daniel then demonstrates his pyrokinesis again, unnerving Sam.

Now it’s the Jaffas’ turn to report back to Jack.  As Jack and Sam leave, the monk has disappeared again.  Daniel stares up at the ceiling and there’s a glow in his lens.

Mother Nature

The four spot the approaching army.  Wincing, Jack goes, “D’oh!”  I think this is the first time he’s referenced The Simpsons.  A glowing figure briefly materializes before Daniel.  Approaching the nearest wall, Daniel realizes it’s intangible and goes through.  On the other side is a chamber containing the glowing woman and a sort of candle containing an infant.  Back outside, they’re trying to formulate an escape plan.  Jack goes back for Daniel but can’t find him.

Jack contacts Major Coburn about going through the Gate and getting back-up.  As the Jaffa soldiers get closer, Jack amends that to “lots of back-up”.  As the four take cover and ready themselves for battle, clouds appear overhead.

20Baby

Daniel picks up the baby to hold.  I have no idea why the baby has blue eyes if he’s the child of Apophis and Sha’re (and there’s no way for the baby to be Daniel’s, who does have blue eyes).  Pausing before going back through the wall, Daniel realizes he never did anything- it was all her.  He recognizes that the baby is better off with her and puts him back in his cradle, as he just promised Sha’re that the baby would be safe.

The Jaffa warriors have reached the temple, with the quartet having their weapons at the ready.  The monk shows up to tell the Jaffa that they’re not welcome here.  Their leader is scornful as the storm clouds rumble and blasts the monk in the chest.  An upset Daniel shows up and tells them to lower their weapons as one alien is still here and not to be trifled with.  Warily they do so.

Desala keeps the four from being hurt as well.  There’s thunder overhead and then lightning strikes kill the Jaffa intruders and blow up the gilders in the sky.  Jack comments, “Well, that was cool.”

The monk’s physical form turns into energy as he Ascends, leaving behind his garments.  So, I think this makes that earlier comment of Teal’c a Star Wars reference on at least a Doylist level, given how that’s what Obi-Wan and Yoda did when they died (minus the immediate proof they had transferred to a different plane of existence).

Desala comes out with the baby in her arms, as she must take the child to somewhere else now to keep him safe.  Daniel hopes to see them again someday and she touches his cheek before going away.  Coburn makes contact with Jack, who reports that they’re secure.  On Coburn’s end the Stargate activates and “a strange bright light” is approaching.  Jack warns them to put them down their weapons until the light is gone.  Coburn tells SG-1 when the light has gone through the Stargate.

Daniel is at loose ends now- so much so that Jack has to remind him to put his shoes back on.

Conclusion

A version of Mother Nature was encountered in this episode, who is largely benevolent but not to be crossed.  The episode title refers to her love for the infant Haresis, who with the death of the priestess she’ll probably raise as her own.  The Haresis is finally seen, although him having blue eyes is very confusing to me since both parents are Middle Eastern.

Bra’tac returns to face his own mortality, possibly in part because he’s outliving most of his students and likely never thought he’d live past being capable of carrying a Prim’ta.  There’s something vaguely horrifying in how Jaffa must die after they live past needing a Prim’ta.

Apophis apparently will go to any lengths to retrieve the Haresis, who he wants as his next host.  Probably more than ever given how his current one has been disfigured and the Goa’uld in general have a lot of vanity.  He continues to be a stubborn threat to the SGC, although I truly am at a loss to explain how he’s managed to obtain an army of any size, let alone a Goa’uld mothership, since he seems prone to wiping out loyal Jaffa just in case any are traitors or know where the Haresis is.

There were a couple of nods towards Star Wars here as well as a definite reference to The Simpsons.  Ascension has been brought up for the first time; I have to wonder if the scriptwriters already had a general plan in place by this point given how intensely curious Daniel is about it.  Jack, despite this being an episode with the ‘actual’ Mother Nature in it, is too down-to-earth to be intrigued by the idea of Ascension.  Speaking of Daniel, I wonder how he’ll cope.  Finding the Haresis was his main point in continuing on with the SGC after his wife’s death.  Maybe that’ll be covered next episode or he’s hopeful about encountering the Haresis again in the future.

 

Next time on Stargate SG-1: Off-world, the team finds a crystal skull with an unusual ability.

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