Thor needs SG-1’s help when Replicators infest his ship and take it to Earth in the season three finale.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: Daniel’s grandfather helped out SGC when a crystal skull was found.
Real Life Writes the Plot
Daniel is side-lined this episode due to having experienced appendicitis and is now recovering from the surgery. As explained in the special features, this is because Michael Shanks had that happen and the scriptwriters figured just telling the truth would work well enough to explain his character’s inactivity.
As a result of Daniel being side-lined, the rest of SG-1 got some time off. First, Jack checks on his injured teammate as well as wanting to see Daniel’s scar. Daniel refuses and apparently notices that Jack got a haircut. I couldn’t tell the difference. Jack offers a fishing trip but Daniel- despite his grumblings- is aware he’s not well enough to go far.
Jack next visits Sam in her lab where she’s setting up for a naquadah related experiment she never had the time for before. She uses ‘technobabble’ on him until he points out they are on vacation but Sam refutes she enjoys doing research. Teal’c is off visiting “his kid”; I wonder if the exclusion of Drey’auc is because Teal’c only mentioned Rya’c in his plans or if the teammates are aware their marriage is a rocky one. Jack’s excited to go fishing and doesn’t get why Sam is staying in the lab, the blonde claiming this is “fun” for her. While it’s mostly implied, Jack does suggest her coming along on his fishing trip.
Leaving, Jack is chased down by Sam in the hallway only for her to say “have a good time”. Jack is mid-sentence in praising his fishing spot up in Minnesota when he’s teleported away. Sam promptly hits the alarm button on the wall. Jack is resigned when he spots Earth below and heads deeper into the ship, calling out for Thor. There’s whirring and flashes of light down the corridor before shoebox-sized metal spiders start rushing out. Unnerved, Jack hides in a nook.
The credits, like for “Children of the Gods”, are dramatic close-ups of a sarcophagus mask before zooming out to see the full head. I don’t recall any other episodes having this style of credits.
The metal spiders continue to approach from both sides, further freaking out Jack, especially when one is briefly on him. Sam and Hammond are discussing Jack’s disappearance as they go to his office. The general sends her off to get the news to Teal’c so he can contact Major Davis via phone. I’m sorry, but I will never stop being amused by Hammond’s actor being Don S. Davis and then there being a character with the same surname.
Presumably over the intercom, Thor gives Jack instructions on how to enter a chamber, whose doors close behind him. Thor lying in a pod and Jack goes over to him. The ensuing conversation goes as follows:
Jack: You all right?
Thor: I am dying.
Jack: What happened?
Thor: It is, as you humans say, a long story.
It’s a rare occasion when Jack is the ‘straight man’ for a funny bit. Jack rightfully suspects the bugs’ involvement. Thor explains they are attracted to the energy output of the transporter, thus why Jack couldn’t be beamed directly to this chamber. It is confirmed these bugs are the enemy “worse than the Goa’uld” brought up in “Fair Game”. Apparently Thor set up recordings for Jack to use as Thor is now too weak to be helpful. He passes out before Jack can get clarification on why Thor would want forgiveness (not going to lie, at first I thought he had died).
Jack messes with the stones and the ‘control panel’ to watch various recordings Thor made to “pass on necessary information”. The bugs’ name is officially given: the Replicators. By this time, my memories of season eight are fairly fuzzy but I do recall these guys are still a problem.
Thor’s ship became infested during a battle against them and they learned of Earth’s existence by accessing its computer and they set a course for Earth. The rest of the crew left and Thor destroyed the outbound transporter to contain the Replicators. He wanted to prevent the ship from reaching Earth but apparently failed.
Hammond, Sam, and Teal’c are having a briefing about Jack vanishing when a hologram of Jack shows up. He wants lots of explosives on hand to be transported up to the ship for use in destroying the “techno-bugs” as Jack calls them. Jack explains the situation; his plan is to “destroy the ship” and doesn’t want to risk Sam nor Teal’c especially since the outbound transporter is down.
Sam explains to Hammond that the Asgard cloaking technology renders their ships invisible to Earth’s technology- they’ve been trying to locate the ship since Jack vanished to no effect. Jack is meddling with the controls to learn how to work the transporter, leaving before Thor’s recording reminds him about the energy output attracting the Replicators.
Jack is angry that Teal’c and Sam beam onboard along with the explosives, as Hammond overruled Jack’s order for them to stay put. The replicators start approaching so they grab what they can and leave. The zat is ineffective against them but guns can break them into pieces… which then reform. The trio retreats back to the chamber after ‘shattering’ them a second time. Thor is now awake and initially pessimistic about their odds, so the four attempt to come up with a plan to stop the Replicators. It’s brought up here that the pod has anti-gravity technology to make it easy to move. There is dampening technology inside the ships in case of explosions, and Thor admits if he knew a way to destroy the ship he would have done so before endangering them. Jack shows Sam how to work the stones and leaves her to watch the recordings as she’s more adept with technology than him.
Davis arrives on base to be greeted by Hammond; there has been no radio contact with the team since their departure. Back on Thor’s ship, Thor explains to the trio the history of the Replicators. They were found on an otherwise deserted planet and brought on-board before the Asgard realized just how dangerous they were. Jack jokes about how they at the SGC do that sort of thing but he expected better from the Asgard. The Replicators haven’t landed yet as they want to construct as many of them as possible (without risking the hull’s integrity) before doing so; they’re a partial hive mind geared towards “self-replication”.
Sam has a light bulb moment: if they can compromise the hull it’d explode upon re-entry. Thor confirms this would be the case. Jack is baffled by their technology isn’t advanced enough to handle “a little heat”. Jack is wary but agrees to the plan.
He and Teal’c, decked out in gear and armed, head out into the hallways with Sam instructing them over the intercom. The two can hear the Replicators within the walls. Thor explains the flashing areas on the map have been disabled before teaching her how to zoom in.
As seen above, part of their gear entails goggles that make them look like they’re about to engage in a paintball fight. On their way, they encounter a pair of Replicators more interested in consuming metal than in them so they pass by safely. When Sam asks, Thor explains the Replicators disable the sensors that can detect them but left alone the thermal ones so that’s how she can see her teammates but not the Replicators.
Thor won’t risk using the medical technology as the Replicators might have tampered with it. Despite them having brought supplies and Sam having had “field training” Thor figures they can’t help him (presumably due to anatomy differences).
Teal’c and Jack reach a location with a beam of light surrounded by numerous Replicators on their way to the bridge, so Jack promptly closes the door again after saying “forget that”. Instead, they retrieved the rest of their gear, including the space suit. Sam checks them for damage before telling Jack about Thor’s refusal to be put into statis to preserve his life.
Jack checks on him, who wants to be as much help as possible and besides if the ship does blow up they’re all dead anyway. Sam recalls the dampening shields, but there’s nothing in the space between the ship and its protective force fields to stop an explosion. By placing it by the deceleration drive, they can blow the ship up.
“One Small Step for Jaffa”
Daniel approaches Hammond in case he could help. SGC is now at Defcon 3, according to Davis as he elaborates on the planned scenario in case the ship tries to land on Earth. Daniel is worried about his friends and doesn’t know what will happen to them.
The Replicators haven’t reached the air lock area yet. As there is a radiation concern, Teal’c is the best-suited to do the space-walk. Sam tells them how to operate the airlock as the two guys make their way there. Jack lowers the visor on the helmet, locks it in, and checks the radio. The first door is opened and Teal’c goes through with Jack shutting it behind him.
Jack: Say something.
Teal’c: One small step for Jaffa.
Jack: Very nice.
This humorous yet touching moment is marred by something dripping from the ceiling onto the air tank of the space suit. Teal’c heads out into space to place the explosive as Jack watches on worriedly. Even though they’re just red dots to her, Sam is watching on worriedly as well. Jack stays nearby and thus can hear the Replicators approaching. He alerts Teal’c in an effort to get him back onboard as soon as possible.
Then the outer door shuts and Jack can’t get it to open. He contacts Sam, who’s trying. Teal’c reaches the door and also can’t get it to open. As Jack tries to reassure him, the air tank blows due to the acid (?) dripped onto it. The best plan Sam can come up with is for Teal’c to push off from the ship so he can be picked up by the transport beam. Jack reports the plan to Teal’c, who does so.
While a close call, Sam does manage to transport Teal’c safely back onto the ship. At the same time Jack is getting Teal’c to wake up, Sam must risk activating the pod to keep Thor alive as he’s out of it and the pod is beeping and flashing erratically.
Hammond checks with Walter before going over to Daniel. When he suggests that the younger man return to the infirmary, he refuses as he feels he should at least be in the control room if he can’t be up on the ship. Hammond acknowledges, “Now you know how I feel most of the time.”
Jack and Teal’c safely return to the chamber where Sam updates them on Thor while helping her teammate out of the space suit. Timing will be critical for setting off the explosive: too early and the Replicators can change the course and too late the bomb might have been burned off. When Jack asks, she can’t fix the other transporter without his help. Jack tries to see if he can contact Hammond but the stones aren’t working anymore. Replicators start coming in, leading Teal’c to worry about dying.
Jack: Aw, come on, Teal’c, lighten up. We’ve been in these situations before.
Sam: No, sir, we haven’t.
Jack: We haven’t?
I appreciate how it’s close but not exactly the same dialogue as in “The Serpent’s Lair”.
The ship starts to make its descent, but luckily Sam gets an idea. Hammond and Davis learn from Walter that the ship is going to land on the USA’s west coast. When Daniel is worried about attacking the ship, Hammond points out that if the ship “enters the atmosphere” in one piece then it’s probable that SG-1 failed.
Sam teleports the Stargate onto the ship. Davis, Hammond, and Jackson quickly realize the plan so Hammond calls for access to the sealed Beta Gate. Teal’c is manually dialing the Gate (since it apparently has enough reverse power for one go or something) while Jack keeps a lookout.
The Replicators start approaching so Jack begins blasting them. Sam is also surrounded by Replicators. Teal’c finishes dialing and gets Jack to duck to avoid the ‘woosh’ part of the wormhole activating. Sam and Thor’s pod teleport in. Although she sends Thor’s pod though, Sam won’t let them leave until it’s the right time to blow the explosive.
While waiting they keep blasting away at the Replicators who keep on coming. At last Sam gives the word and Jack triggers the explosive. The ship blows up; Walter and Davis both confirm the ship is a fireball that will crash into the Pacific. Daniel is afraid for his friends. Davis tries to reassure him but Hammond is quiet. On a piece of floating wreckage in the ocean… there is a Replicator. No clue yet if that’s the only survivor (not that it will be for long anyway).
This was a very well-done season finale. Plenty of humor (which I pointed out), plenty of drama, plenty of action, and even a bit of romance given Jack and Sam’s awkward interaction at the beginning implied some mutual attraction that they have to repress given regulations. I am a bit curious how different this episode would have been if Michael Shanks hadn’t been laid up after surgery.
Obviously the four on the ship survived to go through to… somewhere. Alas, a Replicator survived too which is probably a fundamental part of the next season’s opener given the ‘to be continued’ at the end. The Replicators are introduced here and am aware they’ll be a problem for a long time to come. Thor came back as did Major Davis; Walter got a few lines as well. While this episode does rely on having seen other episodes, it’s still great and gives enough data for anybody who is an irregular watcher.
… Did the Stargate survive the explosion? Those rings have come across as incredibly durable.
Before I start season four there will be a season wrap-up post.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: Thor turns to Sam for aid while her teammates deal with the aftermath of a surviving Replicator on Earth.