The team encounters a culture losing a war on their planet.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: The team (and Thor) fought against the Replicators.
It’s night time at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex when Jack shows up in civilian garb, including his black leather jacket (is it a favorite of his or does he just have the one jacket?). Evidently there’s been five incoming wormholes in the past ninety minutes from an unknown location. Sam and Walter are at the controls, trying to figure out the radio frequency being used on the other end.
Jack: All right, I’m here two hours early. When did you get here?
Sam: I haven’t left yet.
Jack: Didn’t I order you to get a life?
Sam: Yes, sir, you did, but this is…
Daniel shows up then, excited about SGC being the ones contacted for once, further annoying Jack about himself being the only teammate who apparently regularly goes off-base to do non-work things. Walter and Sam figure out the frequency to hear them but can’t contact them back; the culture is called Euronda. Evidently their world is under attack and they want aid and have in fact sent through people in an effort to find said aid. The wormhole then shuts down.
Walter informs them that there were three impact events on the iris, upsetting Sam. Jack tries to reassure her it’s not her fault, but she clearly still feels responsible for the three people’s deaths.
Apparently the sarcophagus head bit is the new opening credits sequence. … Okay then.
Hammond has a briefing with SG-1; Teal’c brings up the possibility of it being a Gou’ald tactic which Sam refutes. They’re interrupted by the Gate activating again; Walter assures Sam that two-way communication is now possible. Sam and Hammond talk to Alar, who manages to send a visual of himself.
Evidently they’re at a war with a group they used to coexist peacefully with. Alar’s base is deep underground with superior technology and they found the Stargate while creating more tunnels. An attack begins on Alar’s end, leading to the end of their talk and the wormhole shuts down. But first Alar managed to send the coordinates for his planet.
Daniel wants to help these descendants of Earth while Jack wants to leave it up to Hammond. There’s an amusing bit where Hammond agrees to send aid and Daniel tries to keep arguing to send aid before realizing that he already got his ‘yes’. I don’t care if it’s a common gag, it’s still hilarious. Hammond stresses SGC shouldn’t meddle with a war but there are “humanitarian concerns” so SG-1 can take supplies with them through the Gate.
Hammond and O’Neill are hopeful they’ve found at last a relatively equal culture where a technological and military exchange is possible. A MALP will be sent through beforehand and the team has a twenty-four hour deadline to return. Jack and Daniel have a funny exchange about trying to translate the expression of Teal’c, who still has his mini blond goatee, before they go through the wormhole.
The four arrive in a chamber where there are distant explosions and frequent shaking. Sam finds Alar, injured, in a hallway between the Gate and the dial-home device. They get surrounded by soldiers, but Alar assures the group that everything is fine.
I do like how while Alar is overall in charge, Farrel is a woman who is apparently in charge of military matters. Evidently gender equality is a thing for them, or their numbers are small enough that gender inequality is too much bother. It might be a combination of both.
Daniel and Teal’c off-screen distribute the supplies before rejoining the others. Alar and the group are a bit uneasy about Teal’c but Jack assures Alar that he’s part of their team. As he escorts them down a hallway, Alar explains that he ended up in charge as his father was when the war began. Daniel asks the obvious: why haven’t they evacuated through the Stargate?
In response, Alar takes them to a giant chamber where thousands from his father’s generation are in stasis and there’s apparently a second chamber with just as many. Evidently they’ll only awaken once the war has ended; I’m not quite sure how the process works. Alar has more or less given up hope on the war ever ending.
Alar takes them to the war room. Apparently there haven’t been ground attacks in years due to the surface becoming unliveable, further baffling Daniel. An unmanned drone is approaching to do bomb damage assessment so they offer Jack the opportunity to use their advanced technology to take it out, which he accepts. Jack is impressed by the technology. Of course, he’s then unnerved by seeing an example of a guy who’s been left unresponsive by using the “neural interface” too often, although he’s still among their best pilots.
Alar does a toast to friendship between their cultures at dinner. Teal’c apparently doesn’t drink alcohol; I wonder if it’s a moral thing or if his system, due to its healing factor, processes it too fast for him to get drunk a la Steve Rogers. Ferral enjoyed the food, particularly given the limited quantity and quality they’ve been living off of for years.
Apparently they use “controlled fusion” to power their reactors but since heavy water is in short supply they can’t have them at full power anymore. Sam starts to explain heavy water to Jack before he grumbles that he knows what it is and offers to Alar to provide it. A deal is hashed out; admittedly SGC at first glance seems to be getting the better bargain.
Daniel is still stuck on why they haven’t left for another planet and is concerned that ultimately the heavy water provided will be used for offence. He asks, “What is there left to win?”
A distant explosion rattles the room and makes the lights flicker as another attack begins. Alar, Ferrel, and the others leave to handle the situation. Jack had tried to get Daniel to be quiet but was too subtle apparently. Jack has Sam repeat their orders. Daniel brings up a metaphor that baffles Teal’c; Jack ‘calls’ Daniel out on using metaphors being unfair to Teal’c and is firm on his decision since both sides win in this deal. Jack and Daniel are each aggravated with the other.
Sam and Daniel return to the SGC. Sam discusses the deal made and reveals how the heavy water will be used to General Hammond, who’s aware that Daniel’s in a mood. Hammond points out that Apophis is out there and capable of wiping Earth out. Daniel points out they don’t know why this war is being fought nor anything about the enemy being fought. Sam concedes that he has a point.
In the war room, Jack and Teal’c show up to see if they can help. Teal’c and Jack each get put in a device that’ll let them pilot a group of unmanned aero fighters- the same technology Jack used earlier. Meanwhile, Sam and Daniel have returned with as much heavy water they could easily get their hands on in such a short time, promising Alar that more is on the way. This amount will only power the generator for a matter of hours; Alar shows the pair the massive generator.
Jack’s ‘fighter’ ends up crashing into an enemy one… which had people in it. He realizes that Ferrel and the others never clarified that the other side used unmanned fighters as well. But Ferrel is just grateful that Jack took out- however unwittingly- several of their enemies.
The group gathers for a second toast, this one for Alar’s father. A lot of heavy water will have to be provided to keep powering the generators. As seen below, Ferrel gets Alar to listen to the silence with the defence shield at full strength.
Daniel- with Sam stressing to Jack that Hammond wants to know too- asks about how the war began. Alar recounts how there was a surprise attack when he was nine. When Daniel comments on the lack of proof, Alar counters there’s no proof that the three deaths were just tragic accidents and not the SGC’s deliberate fault. When Daniel asks about the enemy, Jack flat-out tells him to “shut up”.
Sam wants a look at their fusion technology. After giving Jack kudos for shooting down the enemy bombers on their way to the Gate, Alar reveals that he doesn’t want Teal’c to return as he’s “not like us”. Jack officially has a bad feeling about the whole situation and stops Daniel from dialing home.
Jack wants to take a look around with Teal’c and apologizes to Daniel, telling him to “go ask questions”. Bemused by the turn-around, Daniel leaves. I have to wonder if this like “Shades of Grey” and Jack was leery but is better at having a poker face and/or concerned about listening devices.
Alar is showing Sam the fusion technology; apparently all sources for heavy water are in enemy hands. Sam realizes this base must have been built long before the war. Alar clarifies that while the attack was a surprise, the war itself was not. The plan was to stay in the underground base once the war was won until the surface was liveable again.
In a shadowy hallway, Jack and Teal’c have the following conversation.
Jack: So, what’s your impression of Alar?
Teal’c: That he is concealing something.
Jack: Like what?
Teal’c: I am unsure. He is concealing it.
Using a zat to start the process, Teal’c forces a door the rest of the way open. I’m not quite sure if they’re in the same stasis chamber as before or if they’ve found its counterpart. Jack looks over all the profiles, realizing that “every damn one of them is the same.”
Finding Ferrel, Daniel asks after the enemy and how they must have a name beyond ‘enemy’. Evidently they call them ‘breeders’ since they reproduce without regard to “genetic purity”. This obviously unnerves Daniel, especially once Ferrel acknowledges they come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Sam has found pipes that go between the base and the surface, which they stated was poisoned. Daniel finds Jack and Teal’c, convinced that somehow Alar’s side is the one that so scared/angered the other side that they attacked before they were the ones attacked.
Jack and Teal’c promptly go off to pilot in order to buy time. Sam confirms to Daniel that the first attack was a pre-emptive strike since this base was built “long before the war started” and it’s likely that the pipes were used to poison the atmosphere, thus clarifying why Alar’s forces are so unconcerned on the subject. Alar confirms to them that wiping out the Breeders was his father’s vision and has the two held at gunpoint when they won’t contact General Hammond.
Jack and Teal’c start taking out the Eurondan fighters; while the soldiers are distracted by this revelation Sam and Daniel take out their guards to get the upper hand. Teal’c gets out of his device to prevent Alar from shooting Jack, who’s focused on piloting his fighter into the ground. I think he aimed it to kick-start the base’s destruction.
Alar is baffled by this betrayal as the base starts to collapse. Jack warns him not to follow them before the quartet exits the chamber. Rubble falls on top of Ferrel, presumably killing her. SG-1 heads back to the Stargate; Alar finds the generator is falling apart as well. The wormhole is activated, Teal’c and Daniel going through despite being under fire. Jack and Sam take out the soldiers before approaching the Gate themselves. Alar catches up to them, wanting to come with them and promising to teach them everything he knows.
Silently they go through the wormhole back to the SGC. Jack tells them to close the iris. Once it’s shut, Walter sees on his screen that there was an impact before the wormhole shuts down. Hammond expresses disappointment that they didn’t return with any Eurondan technology. Jack is firm that he shouldn’t be. Sam is quiet and Jack is a stoic tangled ball of emotions right now.
I’m not quite sure how Peter DeLuise is both the episode director and the creative consultant for this episode. Then again, this was a great episode that balanced drama and humor wonderfully. By this point I’m used to any suspicion/hostility towards Teal’c is because he’s a Jaffa and where there are Jaffa there are usually Goa’uld. So the fact that the group was centered around eugenics and thus were racist came as a genuine surprise to me even if I suspected from the get-go that they were holding back something about the war.
Rene Auberjonois played Alar; he’s most famous for his role as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. So that’s another link between this ‘star’ franchise and that one. Alar and his followers were unnerving in how they honestly believed they were in the right. I hope the other group manages to heal their world and create some kind of peace for at least a few generations. After a war that lasted for decades and rendered the surface unliveable, I suspect combat isn’t going to be popular for a long while. Also, maybe someday they’ll find the Stargate and contact Earth.
Jack continues to temper his desire to get technology to defend Earth with wanting to do so morally. I’m not sure when he started to suspect that something was ‘up’ with the base, but he’s certainly better at not ruffling feathers than Daniel… at least when he wants to not do so. When he wants to provoke people, he doesn’t pull any punches. I’m a little worried that one of these days Jack and Daniel will cross one line too many and things will get really messy.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: The team gets superpowers for an episode.