Sho’nac, the childhood sweetheart of Teal’c, visits SGC since she’s apparently converted her symbiote away from the Goa’uld mind-set and ergo wants to join the Tok’ra.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: A Tok’ra researcher ran an experiment on the human members of SG-1 which nearly ended in disaster. But in the end, just Apophis’ new battleship facility got blown up.
“Sho’nac of the Red Hills”
The episode opens with an off-world activation occurring at the SGC. Once Walter alerts Hammond and Jack that it’s the signal given to Bra’tac the iris is opened. Jack heads down into the Gate room as a hooded figure comes through: a woman with a golden emblem on her forehead.
The humans are bemused, since she’s clearly not Bra’tac. She identifies herself and states that Bra’tac didn’t come with her due to “great unrest” on Chulak. Presumably Apophis has reclaimed that planet for his own use AKA for resources and Jaffa-power after it was determined that the Haresis wasn’t there.
Teal’c, who still has that mini blond goatee, comes in and recognizes her. They do some greeting as Jack watches on awkwardly. Apparently she and Bra’tac are under the impression that Jack is “Teal’c’s apprentice”. … Yeah, that’s why I use the “noun of Teal’c” method since the standard possessive just looks weird to me. Sho’nac reveals she has information that “could destroy the Goa’uld”.
After the credits, there’s a briefing with her, Janet, Hammond, and SG-1. As seen above, Hammond is at the head of the table, with Janet, Teal’c, and Sho’nac on one side. On the other side, albeit unseen in the screen cap, are the three human members of SG-1. At this point, Sho’nac has removed her traveling robes (or maybe they were for disguise?). It’s never quite clarified, but I think the fact that her forehead marking is golden paint is a mark of her being a priestess. Sho’nac claims she’s found a way to communicate with her symbiote to the skepticism of the others at the table. Janet points out that the interaction between the symbiote and the Jaffa carrying it is on a subconscious level.
Sho’nac has ‘taught’ her symbiote that the Goa’uld are villainous in their desire for control and domination. Of course, it’s acknowledged that they can’t communicate with words so no Goa’uld secrets can be shared until it takes a host. Plus, said symbiote is already grown so there’s a deadline to get to the Tok’ra to make the transfer. She collapses and the symbiote mostly emerges, but Sho’nac convinces it to return to his pouch.
Teryl Rothery’s credit comes as Janet, Jack, Teal’c, and Hammond are in the infirmary where Sho’nac is recovering. With the symbiote fully grown, it can’t properly act as her immune system anymore. At his suggestion, the others leave Teal’c alone with Sho’nac. She’s hurt that he doesn’t believe her and it turns out she’s a relatively new convert to the belief of the Goa’uld not being gods. It’s pointed out that Bra’tac wouldn’t have sent her if he hadn’t believed in her.
Jack moseys over to Daniel’s study where Sam is researching with him. Despite the others’ dubiousness, Jack is aware that Teal’c has “history” with Sho’nac. Sam comments that most of the Tok’ra left the Goa’uld genetic pool about two thousand years ago, thus there’s two ‘lines’ of knowledge. A new symbiote would be incredibly helpful in getting the Tok’ra up to date on Goa’uld society and technology beyond their spying. Jack brings up Teal’c not believing her, so why should they?
Then Teal’c comes up to request assistance from his teammates, who follow him curiously. It’s stated that communication between a Jaffa and his symbiote can only occur when in such a deep state of meditation that his heart could stop. Jack asks, “Is it dangerous?”
Daniel points out, “Jack, he’s stopping his heart.”
Jack grumbles, “I mean for us.”
Teal’c concedes he is uncertain of what if anything will happen when he achieves this state, but just in case he wants his teammates on hand. Upon reaching this state, the symbiote ‘shares’ the memory of how the father of Teal’c was killed by Chronos. His queen is present as well… Rhea, I presume. At the same time his father is collapsing in the flashback, Teal’c does so as well.
Sam calls for medical aid but Teal’c assures her that he’s fine. This confirms that Sho’nac is telling the truth about Jaffa-symbiote communication being possible. Despite being basically in his gut, the symbiote in Teal’c hates his guts.
SG-1 and Hammond has a briefing with Anise on the topic at SGC. Anise clarifies that the Tok’ra were “spawned” by the “great queen” Ageria, who according to Daniel was a Roman goddess of fountains and childbirth as well as advisor to a legendary Roman ruler. Jack’s baffled by how those two go together. In any case, she was killed by Ra shortly after spawning, thus stressing why their group wanted Ra dead more than any other Goa’uld.
The numbers of the Tok’ra have always been small but due to few turncoats and multiple deaths in battle they’ve been dwindling. Anise must first check with the high council on whether or not to do this despite the short deadline. Freya comes out when Teal’c has a personal request about not wanting Sho’nac to die. All Freya can safely promise is that she’ll try.
After the meeting, Teal’c goes to visit a meditating Sho’nac, who is weakening due to having a grown symbiote in her pouch. Sho’nac has always admired Teal’c since they were children and even more now since “you challenged the gods and won”.
However, at the same time she feels he’s abandoned Chulak for SGC, offending him. She snaps back, “I have all but given my life for a cause that you inspired!”
Sho’nac gets him to admit to what his symbiote showed him. She goes to reassure him that for a while it was the same with her and her symbiote- it showed her fearful and terrible memories but gradually developed remorse and shame, lastly starting to show happy memories. She knows that there’s more going on with him, and he turns around to confess, “I fear losing you a second time.”
They get close together and she assures him, “never again,” before they kiss. And it can’t be a matter of the writer forgetting since Katharyn Powers also wrote “Family”. I suppose it’s possible that part of why Teal’c and Drey’auc were never close was because Teal’c was smitten with Sho’nac but due to becoming a priestess she can’t marry anybody. I think that’s what went down, in any case. But yeah, now Teal’c is definitely a hypocrite in how he handled Drey’auc in that episode.
And given how it’s the next morning when Teal’c exits what I think are her guest quarters, it’s entirely possible they had ‘last night alive’ sex. Teal’c is certainly is a good mood. Daniel walks with him to assure him that he’s “here to talk” if he ever wants to; apparently he took Jack’s commentary more seriously than he appeared. Sam joins them to alert them that it’s time to go to the Tok’ra, who have accepted the offer.
The group travels to the Tok’ra underground base on Vorash, where Anise greets them. I have to wonder if her outfit last episode was a nod towards to how badly she wanted to have tried out the Atoneek technology. Jack is cranky at the whole situation. Anise shakes Sam’s hand before commenting her father also told her to kiss Jack, who comments it was probably supposed to be the other way around before she can do so. The Tok’ra have found a very young symbiote to use for Sho’nac so that this won’t be a death sentence for her.
Hebron of Parabal is introduced to the group, as he volunteered to be a host. Apparently until a generation ago his people were ruled by the Goa’uld, so he’s acutely aware of the risks. Sho’nac collapses again as time has run out. The symbiote jumps out of the pouch of Sho’nac and into Hebron’s throat. Anise affirms that the transfer has been done, and the symbiote warns that Sho’nac is near death so another Tok’ra is sent off to get the Prim’ta. Which I thought was the name of the ceremony, then again I think “first Prim’ta” was the phrase used in “Bloodlines”.
The symbiote introduces himself as Tanith. The human members of SG-1 are unnerved as Tanith states allegiance to the Tok’ra. Anise visits the humans in a meeting room in their base to assure them that while still weak, Sho’nac is likely to recover.
Hebron/Tanith comes in, the former seemingly coming out to assure SG-1 that he’s in an equal partnership with Tanith. Anise wants the Goa’uld knowledge gained from Tanith to be primarily a Tok’ra matter, not a SGC one.
Jack is very cranky and openly dubious about how ‘equal’ Tok’ra and host bonds are. Sho’nac and Teal’c come in, with Tanith being glad to finally see her face and Sho’nac just as glad to see Tanith. A grumpy Jack just wants to return to Earth.
Anise goes after him in the hallway in a futile effort to get him to calm down. Teal’c wants to stay behind a moment, which Jack accepts and tells him they’ll be at the Gate. Once his teammates have left, Teal’c reveals to Sho’nac that he wants to leave SGC and help her on Chulak. Um, Teal’c? Drey’auc and Rya’c? Will they stay off-world or join you there? After the mess in “Family” I doubt Drey’auc will be remotely okay with sharing… then again, legally I think you two are divorced. As they make their goodbyes, Sho’nac calls him “my love”.
That night, Sho’nac visits Tanith… who isn’t actually reformed and kills her in the same manner Chronos killed the father of Teal’c.
Teal’c is talking to Hammond and his teammates about his intentions when the Gate activates and Anise comes through in a more modest outfit than earlier. Two guys come through as well, carrying a cloth-covered stretcher. Both Sho’nac and the symbiote are dead. The Tok’ra claim it’s the fault of waiting too long. Teal’c pulls back the cloth to see her face as everybody around him is upset.
First he speaks in the Jaffa tongue to her; Daniel translates it as “Our love does not end in death.”
Then he leans down for a final kiss… well, this episode is definitely clarifying why his marriage to Drey’auc is so rocky. He’s always been hung up on his childhood sweetheart. Anise brought back the body so Teal’c can do whatever Jaffa ritual he deems fit.
Later, he’s meditating when he receives the same flashback as before. Jack, hearing his scream, goes to the door. Opening the door, Teal’c states that Sho’nac was murdered and the pair returns to the Tok’ra base.
Once told of his theory, and they did a blood test on her body, Anise reveals to let him take revenge so Teal’c runs through the halls and it takes a decent-sized group to get him to sop. Jack realizes that the Tok’ra knew already. Freya comes out to admit they had their concerns which were only confirmed after her death since they were hopeful that Sho’nac had in fact succeeded. They want to manipulate Tanith like he had hoped to manipulate them.
Jack asks after the host; Anise affirms they’ll do their best to remove the symbiote after Tanith is no longer useful. As the Tok’ra in a war for their existence (and to generally stop the Goa’uld from mucking around in the galaxy), Anise won’t apologize for the means.
Teal’c encounters Tanith, who’s faking sorrow over the death of Sho’nac. Not wanting her sacrifice/death to be in vain, Teal’c plays along. When Tanith expresses a desire for them to meet again to remember Sho’ac together, Teal’c agrees, “We will meet again. You have my promise.”
In this episode, it’s revealed that Teal’c has never stopped loving his childhood sweetheart, even after she became a priestess and thus couldn’t marry. That explains a lot about his marriage troubles. I have to wonder if part of the reason Bra’tac didn’t come along is because he didn’t want to deal with the pining. I suppose it wasn’t really cheating since Drey’auc divorced Teal’c to keep herself and Rya’c alive and safe by marrying Fro’tak. Hmm, since he and Teal’c were childhood friends maybe part of why Fro’tak was down with marrying Drey’auc was because he was aware Teal’c was in love with Sho’nac.
Jack does his best to keep an eye out on his teammates’ emotional well-being as well as their physical. Daniel also is doing his best to get friendlier with Teal’c, since he’s already close to Jack and Sam. But mostly the rest of the core cast is in the background as Teal’c gets as starry-eyed as a stoic guy like him can get over Sho’nac. I won’t grumble about her being white where most Jaffa aren’t if only because the show gave an interracial relationship (albeit a brief one) in return. Similarly, her death was mostly about Goa’uld power plays even if also caused emotional pain for Teal’c. Plus, now we can avoid a messy love triangle.
Anise returns as well; although her head is firmly in charge, she’s not heartless even if usually Freya handles that aspect of interaction with beings. Of course, it’s relatively concerning how this episode confirms that a Goa’uld can ‘fake’ being its host. It’s likely that Tanith shall return in the future, possibly so that Teal’c can get his revenge for the death of Sho’nac.
… And who’s going to explain matters to Bra’tac?
Next time on Stargate SG-1: There is a Go’auld plot to ruin a treaty summit between the US President and the leader of the Tok’ra.