SG5-9: Between Two Fires

Narim involves the team in figuring out what the Tollan Curia is hiding.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: The team and four Russians got trapped in a ziggurat.

 

Dead Man’s Warning

It’s a cloudy day on Tollana; thematically appropriate as they’re holding Omoc’s funeral.  Narim gives a speech about the older man before Chancellor Travell lights a flame on a device.  I figure it’s some sort of funerary rite.  SG-1 is present in formal garb; the Tollans are in what seems to be mourning/formal garb for them.  When Narim reveals it was in Omoc’s wishes to have only those he respected at his funeral, the three humans express bafflement as he didn’t seem to care for them at all.  I do wish Omoc had been seen between “Enigma” and now to better clarify the relationship between them, or even mentioned.

Travell expresses a desire to meet with Jack tomorrow before telling Narim to show their guests back to the Stargate.  As the five leave, the woman nods at a pair of guards who follow them before she heads in another direction.

All of them are confused why the Curia (leading council) would want to talk with Jack, especially with the implication it’s about the Tollans’ policy of not sharing their technology.  Off-screen, the wormhole is formed.  Narim and Sam have a more intimate goodbye while the guards stand nearby.  After the quartet leaves, Narim walks between the guards.

There’s a wormhole effect as the team returns to SGC.  It turns out Narim slipped Sam a mini hologram message when he clasped her hands.  Before his death, Omoc expressed fear for Earth.  The guys are confused.  They hold a briefing with Hammond on the topic, all of them concerned Travell’s proposed meeting is linked to this warning.

But Jack and Daniel still go to Travell’s office to meet with her as Sam and Teal’c apparently opted to go visit with Narim.  Travell comments on the Tollan policy but that with Omoc’s death the isolationist faction has lost the majority on the Curia so a new, cooperative agenda is now possible.  Since Tollan society has regrown faster than expected, they need more resources such as trinium.

Travell dims the lightning as part of the process to briefly deactivate the security so that the next part of their conversation is “off the record” as Jack phrases it.  Trinium is needed but mostly this is a way to save public face among the isolationists in regards to their supporters.  In exchange for providing trinium, Earth will receive an ion cannon.  Jack is attracted to such a deal.

Did I miss when Earth gained access to a source of trinium?  “Spirits” ended with the natives and their guardians planning to bury their Stargate.  I suppose it could have happened off-screen, especially if SG-1 wasn’t involved or if nothing exciting happened.

Near a body of water, Teal’c and Sam are on a bench.  He tries to bring up Narim’s blatant crush on Sam, but the blonde doesn’t want to talk about it.  Good thing too, as Narim himself shows up moments later.  He gave Sam the message in that way because of all the extra security forces around the funeral.  It’s believed that Omoc had a heart attack due to stress.

Jack and Daniel show up and explain the situation as Travell told them.  A worried Narim recaps what happened the last time the Tollans shared their technology with a more primitive society.  Jack comments, “You know, we prefer ‘less advanced’, if you don’t mind.”

“My apologies,” responds Narim.  “You know what I meant.  If used the wrong way, this ion cannon could lead you to disaster.”

SG-1 is left quiet by this legitimate concern.  The show cuts to Sam leading a briefing about how the ion cannon is too advanced to be reverse engineered and does have a limited range.  The Russians are still cranky with SGC after last episode.  Sam says they need thirty-eight ion cannons to cover the whole planet, excluding back-ups, before bringing up Narim’s opposition to the idea and Omoc’s concern.

Hammond admits that the Curia might have ulterior motives, Jack concurring that something is up.  The general tells the team to proceed before having Jack stay back for a moment.  He tells the younger man, “Just remember, this deal could change the course of our history.”

“So… don’t blow it?”

“What you’re sensing as trouble could be simple internal political wrangling.”

“I understand that.”

“Or we could be walking into a mine field.”

“Thank you, sir.  These little chats of ours always bring me great joy and serve to easy my mind,” Jack replies before exiting the room.

Narim greets the four, saying he’s to escort them to Travell.  The two guards thus leave.  Then the brunet reveals how every Tollan has a small implant to monitor their health.  As the person closest to him, Narim inherited Omoc’s belongings, including his implant and health records.  He goes on a brief tangent about Tollan health care before clarifying that it took over twice the usual time for responders to react to Omoc’s heart attack.  He’s afraid that the other man was murdered.

Isn’t this the exact same subplot as in “2010”?  Maybe the show is foreshadowing what the next episode will be about.

Curia Conspiracy?

Jack and Daniel return to Travell’s office, the latter asking why they need trinium.  They’ve brought a sample to be tested.  The woman informs them that the element is used in a lot of technologies.  Jack inquires in response, “Do you people practice being vague?”

One of the guys doing the commentary enjoys that line.  The two men confess that just one ion cannon won’t protect their planet.  There’s some awkwardness, but Travell will discuss it with the Curia and leaves.

Sam, Teal’c, and Narim have gone to the latter’s house.  He has his own AI to handle things and things get a bit awkward when Sam realizes he has it programmed with her voice.  Narim had hoped she wouldn’t recognize it.  Teal’c is focused on finding proof of Omoc’s murder.

Narim reveals that crimes are rare, especially murder.  The trio can read through the Curia meeting records, which can be translated into English for Sam and Teal’c.

Sitting up against a pillar, Daniel and Jack are concerned.  The latter is okay with obtaining more, better weaponry and doesn’t get why someone would kill over this.  Daniel isn’t okay with them proceeding blindly into this.  Jack turns it around by going, “Blindly, yes, but we still have our slightly heightened sense of smell.”

A guard approaches them to escort the duo back to Chancellor Travell.

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Sam and Narim are researching on a computer while on a couch while Teal’c is standing at a console in the adjacent room.  They do a specific search for ion cannons discussed within the past six months.  Then Daniel and Jack arrive, bantering.  Going to the door, Narim lets them in.  Jack checks on Teal’c.

As it turns out, Earth will receive more ion cannons over time as the trinium deliveries are made.  Narim is shocked by this.  Teal’c finds something: Omoc protested against an unscheduled test of an ion cannon.  Narim realizes that the meeting lasted far longer than recorded because he remembers how Omoc was very late to their preplanned dinner.

The five are confused.  Omoc’s protest was lodged with every branch of the government, so it’d be nigh impossible to erase unless there was a very large conspiracy.

Back on base, the team talks to Hammond.  It’s possible that they don’t actually know how hard it is for the Tollans to access trinium.  Sam has a plan: put a slight radioactive element into the shipment and if noted by the Tollans say it’s an issue with the refining process they haven’t fixed yet.

SG-1 returns to Narim’s house, where the Tollan starting to get cold feet.  Daniel points out if the government is willing to commit murder to conceal something “untoward”, then Narim’s actions aren’t treason.  Jack and Daniel reveal how Travell turned off the recording system to talk off the record.  Narim is horrified as that’s illegal as well.  Since Omoc’s access code should still work, Narim will go with Daniel and Sam while Jack and Teal’c go find out where the trinium went.  The duo presses Narim to get Tollan tech and weapons so they can protect themselves.

The trio reaches the entrance to Travell’s office, where Narim puts in the code to open the doors despite his concern that if the code isn’t functioning anymore security will arrive in seconds.  They enter cautiously into the dark room.  Narim sits at her desk and starts to activate the technology to access data.  He discovers that the ion cannon in question was actually ineffective against a Goa’uld mothership, which left peacefully afterwards.  If the ion cannons are useless against the Goa’uld, then why not give them to the Earthlings.

Pulling the Trigger

Jack and Teal’c sneak around in a dark area of the city and then into a building as they track down the trinium.  Teal’c is blasé about the fact they have to hold hands for both of them to use the technology to pass through the wall, but Jack is awkward.  He lets go as soon as possible.

They find a strange piece of technology that baffles both men.  Jack is worried by the quantity in the vast chamber, each ‘pedestal’ a few feet apart.  The commentary reveals that the space is actually a school cafeteria.

Narim watches a video and realizes the Curia has been working on weapons of mass destruction involving phase shift technology, thus requiring trinium.  At first the brunet hopes this will be the replacement defense system, but Sam knows the Goa’uld don’t work that way.

Suddenly the other lights go on as Travell and two guards enter, followed by more.  Both Travell and Narim are upset.  Then Tanith shows up.

Jack returns to Narim’s house where two guards are present.  Teal’c takes out one while Jack takes out the other.  He states, “This is not a good sign.”

Sam and Daniel are startled that Tanith is still alive.  It’s explained that Tanith used an escape pod prior to the sun’s explosion, the Goa’uld thanking Sam for destroying Apophis’ fleet.  He wants to see Teal’c and Jack again.  It turns out Travell and the rest of the Curia got blackmailed into creating this technology or Tollana would be attacked.

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Narim is upset while Travell feels she and the Curia had to do this to protect their new home.  Tanith gets Travell to assure him that the delivery will be made.  Narim feels it’d be better to “fight and die” while in her position of leadership Travell couldn’t make that decision for the population.  The brunet manages to escape, Sam and Daniel ending up on the floor.  The guards head after Narim.

It’s day again when Narim gets grabbed into some bushes by Teal’c.  Jack’s there too.  Narim explains the situation.  Jack goes, “Uh, back up to that Goa’uld bargain part.”

When Narim clarifies who’s the Goa’uld in question, Teal’c gets wide-eyed.  Jack tells him, “Easy, big fella.”

Narim goes on to further clarify the situation as it stands.  Jack realizes these bombs could go through irises and Narim notes that their phase shift technology can do that.

Travell tells a guard to use Narim’s health implant to track him down.  When the guard points out that’s illegal, she tells flatly to “do it” and he leaves.  Sam is incredulous while Daniel provokes Tanith.  It’s confirmed that the Goa’uld has a new master whose name isn’t known to mortals.

… Is it Anubis already?  In any case, Tanith wants to deal with Teal’c personally and leaves.

The trio is talking in their hiding spot, with Jack wanting to destroy the new weaponry.  Narim comments, “Travell was right.  It’s not so easy when the fate of your planet is in your own hands.”

“Narim-” Jack starts to say, but Narim continues, “Look, the Goa’uld will attack Tollana if the delivery is not made.  You are asking me to destroy my own world.”

Jack refutes, “I am asking you not to sacrifice Earth and God knows how many other planets to save your own ass.  I’m asking you to do the right thing and you know it.”

Narim can’t respond.  The events of “Red Sky” confirms that Jack is willing to put his own planet at risk to save another one, but isn’t willing to risk multiple planets for a single one.

Sam and Daniel are in chairs while Travell puts up a translucent screen.  Tanith’s image shows up to basically Skype with her as it’s nearly time for the first delivery.  First Travell must prove its effectiveness by sending it through the Tauri planet within thirty minutes.  Travell is shocked by this demand.

Jack and Teal’c have returned to the weaponry chamber, the latter managing to open one up without any idea of what he’s doing.  The duo ends up surrounded by guards.  As he puts up his hands, Jack goes, “Good enough.”

Sam and Daniel aren’t happy with Chancellor Travell, pointing out that she knew what this weaponry would be used for but just didn’t think she’d have to pull the trigger.  Jack and Teal’c are brought in by guards, Jack greeting the other two by saying “Hi kids”.

They had Narim’s health implant on them since that enabled the Tollan to move freely.  An ion cannon is fired on a Tollan building, causing a massive explosion.  Presumably this was the warehouse housing the new weaponry.

Travell and the guards exit, sealing the prisoners in the chamber.  But by using his phase shift technology gizmo, Narim gets in and nods at Sam with a smile.  Jack is eager to leave as there’s another explosion.

Guards and civilians alike are freaking out as the Goa’uld begin their attack on the city.  It’s time for SG-1 to head back to Earth while Narim chooses to stay and fight with his people.  Sam states, “I hope this isn’t goodbye” and turns to look at him one last time before following her teammates towards the Gate.  There are more explosions behind Narim.

The team has a briefing with Hammond about these events.  Teal’c has no idea who Tanith’s new master could be.  Since the Goa’uld here didn’t want to directly attack Earth, clearly they’re not ready to risk the Asgard’s wrath by breaking the treaty.  Walter contacts them about getting a message from Narim.  His audio message starts to explain how badly the situation is going for them and then cuts off in mid-sentence.  Sam in particularly is saddened by Narim’s death.

Conclusion

The commentary seems to have been recorded around the time they were filming the season finale “Revelations”.  As it touches on, this is a very dense episode due to tying into past ones.  This is also a very political episode, with only a few action scenes.

Most of the focus goes to Jack, Sam, and Narim.  Jack is on sturdier moral ground than last episode.  Narim is still smitten with Sam, who’s less sure of her feelings towards him.  Sadly, Narim and most of the Tollans end up dead due to the Goa’uld attack.  There are apparently a few survivors out there somehow thanks to getting through the Tollans’ Stargate before its destruction, but who knows if they’ll ever show up on the show.

Tanith returns, working for an unknown Goa’uld.  He blackmailed the Tollan Curia into building dangerous new weaponry for them with the clear threat of destroying Tollana.  When Omoc could no longer deem the potential destruction of many civilizations an acceptable risk to saving their own, he was murdered.  Yet I can see where the Tollan Curia would be pressured into this deal, afraid of losing their new home world after just a few years.

“Between Two Fires” handled the info dumps to catch up new/forgetful viewers well, especially as the ‘previously on’ segment didn’t risk including scenes from “Exodus” to spoil the reveal of Tanith’s survival.  I suppose the title referred to the tough situation faced by the Tollan Curia: either risk their own planet’s destruction or that of other planets.  Again the show discusses the Star Trek moral of the needs of the many outweighing that of the few on a large scale.

The Russians are still cranky with the American SGC.  I’m just waiting for the Canadians to find out so Meredith Rodney McKay can show up.  I’m excited how once I wrap up season seven I can start watching Stargate Atlantis so he’ll be on my computer screen regularly.  And no, I haven’t caved into looking up when his appearances on SG-1 are so I’ll still be surprised when he does so.

 

Next time on Stargate SG-1: The Aschen show up again… that’s bad news indeed.

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