SG6-3: Descent

Jack, Sam, and Davis end up trapped on a mothership that sinks into the Pacific.  Jacob, Teal’c, and Jonas work to rescue them.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: The day was saved thanks to many people’s contributions!

 

The Other Shoe Drops

A cargo ship is traveling through space.  Jacob and Sam are seated up front, Jonas and Teal’c in the middle, and Jack is with somebody in the back.  Jack can’t help but ask, “Are we there yet?”

They are approaching a mothership that has neared Earth.  Jonas is overwhelmed and delighted to be in space, particularly given how his culture was only just starting to theorize on such a possibility.

“Indeed,” goes Teal’c.

“Until something goes horribly wrong,” Jack grumbles.

There’s a scientist and Major Davis present on the ship as well.  The smaller ship has reached the mothership, which Jonas is also impressed by to Jack’s annoyance.  Sam suspects it’s the same ship Anubis used to attack/kidnap Thor.  There aren’t any life signs nor pods, yet there’s no visible damage to the ship.  Jack knows that something must be wrong with it.

Jacob suggests that they use the transport rings instead of having the cargo ship enter a cargo boy.  Jonas is told to stay with Teal’c while the others go on board.  Jack ends up using the ‘because I said so’ reasoning… which weirdly makes sense.  Jack is now Jonas’ superior and he needs to establish that his orders must be followed, because there won’t always be time for explanations.  Furthermore, Jonas lacks the military experience which is often needed by SG-1 (even Daniel got adept with weaponry over time).  Even if Jonas has memorized Daniel’s reports, that doesn’t mean he’d know what to do in a similar situation.  I’ve read and watched a lot of fantasy, but I’d be a mess if somehow transported to such a world (well, actually, I’d alternate between squee and panic).

Sam, Jacob, Jack, Davis, and the scientist Doctor Friesen go down a hallway once beamed aboard.  There’s intermittent static to the group’s anxiety.

Sitting down, Jonas is annoyed.  A blasé Teal’c reports to Hammond and Walter down in SGC but he doesn’t seem to get that ‘holding their breath’ is just an expression.  Then again, it could be just how Teal’c expresses his humor.  The two guys share a look of some kind, but I’m unsure what.

The group heads to the peltac (bridge) and Jacob goes into the computer system.  The self-destruct countdown got suspended which means it could start up again.  Sam and Davis go off to see if they can shut it down entirely.  Sitting down on Anubis’ throne, Jack wants to salvage the ship.  The commentary reveals this is the chair Daniel Jackson used in “Absolute Power” but with cloth thrown over it (after earlier lamp-shading how often they use the same hallway set).

Jacob points out that this could be a “Trojan Horse”, making Jack prickly but Jacob’s just concerned that his favorite planet could get wiped out.  Jack and Friesen start to leave to check on the hyperdrive, but then more static is heard so Jack asks the older man to look up what’s going on with that.

Sam fails to access a space so she contacts her dad.  It turns out that the computer core area is shut down from the rest of the ship, along with its life support.  Both Carters are confused by this.

Jack and Friesen are going down a hallway back to the peltac, the latter suggesting they check the shield generators.  The colonel isn’t swayed by Friesen wanting to see them, although the scientist has a point that this ship’s shields were/are strong enough to protect against Asgardian attacks.

Sam and Davis find a door that had been blasted at, which is the access to the actual computer core.  Jacob suspects there was a deliberate overload and Sam agrees there could have been a saboteur.

The other duo is alerted.  Jack leaves to “blow something up” while Friesen is told to rejoin Jacob.  But the scientist opts to backtrack.

On the door, Jack sets up an explosive- they duck into a side corridor prior to the blast.  Sam, Davis, and Jack last enter the space, the latter contacting Jacob.  Both guys are impressed by the computer core set-up.

Friesen is using his notes to find the shield generators as there’s more static.  Then there’s a brief glow and the scientist starts to look around.  A trio of Anubis’s Jaffa show up.

Wet Behind the Ears

Teal’c is silent while Jonas is bored, getting out a banana to eat.  Wait.  I thought the “Redemption” commentary confirmed that Corin was kept from snacking and drinking from his thermos on-screen (it’s a character thing, actually, to underscore that he has a higher metabolism due to different biochemistry and his high IQ).  The commentary reveals this tic will only be in the first six episodes.

Teal’c points out that this is Jonas’ first mission.  Wait.  So was that bit at the end of last episode them leaving to meet up with Jacob for this expedition…?  Of course, he then has to concede that it wasn’t the same for him.  Then again, Teal’c proved both his loyalty and martial skills by helping stop the possessed Kowalsky.  But Teal’c doesn’t point that out.  Jonas has heard the rumors about him only being picked to keep out a Russian.

When Jonas suggests that he and Teal’c ought to stick together due to both being aliens, the other man gets concerned (real or false, I don’t know) about there being an “alien conspiracy”.  Jonas figures that it’s just an example of Teal’c’s sense of humor.  “Teal’c’s” just looks so awkward to meet… no wonder I avoid using it whenever possible.  In any case, Jonas continues eating his banana.  The commentary notes that the only ways to bond with Teal’c are either to kill somebody to save his life or to “present him with a Jaffa priestess” in a probable reference to Sho’nac.

Sam uses the log to confirm that Thor was captured onto this ship and the blonde thinks Anubis underestimated the Asgardian.  Thor’s consciousness might have rewritten programming and generally acted as a virus.  Then it traveled halfway across the galaxy to Earth.  Davis expresses concern that the ‘virus’ won’t distinguish between them and the Goa’uld.

Friesen can’t be contacted by Sam nor Jack.  When she checks with her dad, he admits he hasn’t seen him.  An aggravated Jack knows where the scientist went and leaves.  When more static is heard, Davis determines it’s coming from the intercom.  Wait, wouldn’t that have been obvious…?  Then again, maybe they were afraid it was a sign of some new technology, given what Anubis has been up to.  Sam decides to check it out.

Wandering down a hallway, Jack finds the prone scientist.  After checking for a pulse, Jack contacts Sam about Friesen’s death so it’s time to retreat to the peltac.  Jack contacts Jacob just as the other man gets blasted in the shoulder by one of the three Jaffa.  After briefly fiddling with the controls, the trio leaves.  Jacob’s unconscious as Jack fails to radio him.

3QuartetSGC

Sam and Davis get found by Jack in a hallway as they near the peltac.  The blonde promptly goes to her dad, who’s injured but waking up.  Davis realizes that the mothership’s course has been set to crash into Earth.  Teal’c gets contacted by Jack about beaming them out.  Except the three Jaffa beam onboard first.

Teal’c is a badass and zats all three.  Jonas is wide-eyed as the other man collects the others’ weapons.

Back on the mothership, it’s pointed out that the crash into the Pacific will cause a tidal wave.  Upon her father’s suggestions, Sam does some techy stuff.  Going by the fact that nothing else is said about a tidal wave, I’m going to assume that the ‘dampeners’ and such worked to prevent collateral damage.

Over the radio, Teal’c informs Jack about the attack… and how the ring crystals were damaged during it.  There’s not enough to dock in a cargo bay to get them back.  Also, I kind of suspect that Anubis’ Jaffa were killed because they’re never mentioned again.

Underwater Rescue

It’s now nighttime at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.  Walter and Hammond are among the people in the briefing room.  Colonel Chekov is namedropped as the general phones the President.  Teal’c and Jonas arrive, learning that the mothership is intact underwater and hopefully the personnel onboard are alive.  The duo is given permission to join the rescue mission.  The commentary admits that the mothership crashed off-screen to conserve the budget.

There are Jeeps going along a dark road.  Jonas thinks he could have helped yet feels ashamed that he froze during the cargo ship attack just like in “Meridian”.  He wishes he could take action like Doctor Jackson did.  Teal’c points out that he helped Sam figure out what to do with the Stargate.  But Jonas wants to be better at thinking in the “heat of the moment”.  Um.  Hang on.  Isn’t the issue that Jonas didn’t take action…?  Teal’c reassures him that he’ll have many chances in the future.  Also, I hope Jonas realizes that suspecting he had a tendency to freeze up is part of why Jack was reluctant to let him go on the mothership (justified by knowing that Daniel acted when there was radiation but Jonas didn’t).

The commentary admits that the two actors were filmed in the same spot and then Judge’s side was flipped to make the crew’s life easier.  I hadn’t caught that although I did notice the footage was just close-ups on the actors’ faces, but that’s a common tactic used in television and movies.

Jacob and Jack are sitting near Anubis’ throne.  The light is a bit bluer than before to emphasize that they’re underwater.  Selmak is ‘working’ on Jacob’s burns and broken collarbone.  He has deduced that the Jaffa were in kel’no’reem in the computer core area and thus their heartbeats/energy signatures were too low for the sensors to pick up on.  When Jacob opened up that door to let in Sam and Davis, he unwittingly also let out the trio.

Sam and Davis return, having put life support at fifty percent.  The engines are broken, there’s structural damage on the lower levels, and there’s water pressure.  I don’t know how waterproof spacecraft are, but it does make sense that spacecraft would be built for vacuums, not deep water.  Jack has faith that help will come.

The self-destruct countdown is still stuck halfway through.  It’s theorized that Thor’s virus defended itself from the Jaffa and Sam wants to go back to the computer core.  Jack opts to tag along.

Walter and Siler are side by side; the former reports to Hammond that the DSRV is in the water.  A sub-like machine is indeed underwater.

Jack and Sam hear more static as they walk down a hallway… and then they spot water on the floor.  She reports to the other two about the signs of flooding.  Davis helps Jacob up so they can go to the console to check on the ship.  There’s been a hull breach in the engineering level and the water pressure is pushing the water up.  Essentially, the ship is flooding from the inside.

The duo gets sealed in by the ship’s systems in a well-meant but misguided safety measure.  Soon the water is up to their ankles.

The sub is within sight of the sunken mothership.  Sam has failed to locally access the controls and Jacob can’t undo it at the peltac.  The duo is now waist-high in water.  Davis wants to go down and help them, but Jacob points out how futile that’d be.

“I’m looking at major shrinkage here,” notes Jack wryly.  Between this and the last episode, I think the writers were letting out their inner teenage selves.  Jacob is still trying to find a backdoor way to open the door while Sam’s afraid that the space will be flooded within minutes.

Jack stays snarky to the blonde’s amusement as the water reaches their necks.  As the space completely fills with water, Jacob can’t figure out what to do.  Both he and Davis are bleak.  Despairing, Jacob goes, “Sam… I’m sorry.”

Just as the duo are completely underwater, the security protocol suddenly gets erased.  Although soaked, they’re alive as the water drains through the cracked door.

Teal’c contacts Jacob, who summarizes the situation.  Jonas and Teal’c head down a hallway.  Sam reports to a very relieved Davis and Jacob; the former accidentally claps the latter’s back on his injury.  Jacob admits that the protocol erased itself.  Sam’s confused while Jack just wants out.

From Water to Air

The four members of SG-1 meet up but Sam doesn’t want to leave yet.

Walter informs Hammond about the situation, including Friesen’s death.  Back on the peltac, Davis is using a laptop to try figuring out the static.  By running it through a program to restore the soundwaves, it’s learned to be the same initial message Thor gave Jack over and over again.  Teal’c recognizes the phrase and Sam realizes that it’s not a virus but Thor’s own consciousness trapped on the ship.  She wants to bring along the consciousness so that the Agardians can transfer him into a new cloned body.  Davis points out that once the download has occurred, the self-destruct countdown will resume.

Teal’c notes that’ll give them seventeen minutes.  Davis wants to keep the mothership for its technology.  Jacob counters that it’ll never fly again anyway.  Jonas is told to take the others to the sub.  Jack, Sam, and Teal’c go down to the computer core despite there being more flooding.

Sam uses technology to download Thor’s mind onto a large square crystal (its width and length are close to a microwave, I think).  To her amusement, Jack checks, “You sure you got all of him in there?  He’s a smart guy, you know.”

The self-destruct countdown has resumed so it’s time to go.  Leaving the core, they head down a hallway but the door is shut up ahead.  Sam figures it must have shut due to flooding.  Jack contacts Jacob about the situation.  Upset, the older man points out that all the other corridors were already flooded.  Jacob, Jonas, and Davis run down a hallway.

“I got nothing,” admits Jack.  Turning to Sam, he asks, “How are you doing?”

I love the continuation of Jack’s utter faith in Sam’s brilliance.  It’s warranted, as she and Teal’c realize that they could use gliders to escape.  Jack goes along with the plan.

Again, Peter DeLuise makes his cameo as a lieutenant associated with the sub.  Over the radio, Jack explains the plan to Jacob.  Despite being worried and annoyed, Jacob gives them advise as Sam does techy stuff at a console.  Jack wants the others to leave on the sub and get to a safe distance.  Having an idea to help his new teammates, Jonas dashes off to Jacob’s aggravation.

As Sam does stuff, the guys watch on worriedly.  Jack assures her, “No pressure, Carter.  Plenty of time.”

“On the contrary, O’Neill.”

“Lots and lots of time,” Jack stresses.  He does the hand-across-throat gesture to Teal’c in order to shut him up.  Jacob contacts Jack to warn him about Jonas staying and to say “good luck”.

Reaching a panel, Jonas strips off most of his extra gear and takes a deep breath.

The sub is leaving as the garbled intercom reveals there are seven minutes left.  Jack notes, “Ah, see?  Plenty of time.”

But Sam can’t figure out how to reroute the power (the problem is getting the ‘force field’ working before opening the glider bay doors so that they’re not instantly flooded.

Swimming under a partially open door, Jonas reaches a control tower to move around clear panels.  It’s impressive how long he’s holding his breath (possibly another sign of him being a non-Earthling) but it turns out that Corin is just that good with holding his breath while moving/swimming, impressing Peter.

Sam is confused when the force field comes on, but Teal’c is certain that Jonas did it.

Swimming around, Jonas does a thing to ring himself to a dry area.  In a very impressive effect, the water in the space comes with Jonas and flows down and out.  The commentary confirms that only ten gallons was real (and that was for dumping on Corin).  Jonas hurries over to the trio, asking, “Did it work?”

“We’re about to find out,” Jack informs him.

Teal’c, Sam, and Thor’s crystal get into one glider while Jack and Jonas get into another (this duo exchanges thanks/you’re welcomes).  The glider bay doors open safely and the two gliders exit through the force field.  It’s a bumpy ride as the gliders are meant for space, not water.

But Jack and Teal’c pilot the gliders out of the water and into the air as the mothership explodes.  Jacob contacts them that those on the sub are seasick but okay before asking after Jonas.  Jack tells him, “All members of SG-1 present and accounted for.”

Jonas is smiling due to this being his first trip in a death glider.  Amused, Jack does a barrel roll in response.

Conclusion

It’s Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones (and Peter Woeste) for the commentary again, which makes it automatically hilariously amazing.  Seriously, this commentary really needs to be listened to.  Evidently back in the day, the fans were hopeful that “Descent” was a reference to Daniel coming back.  Poor fans.  The end bit reveals that this was recorded when “Prometheus” was being filmed, which is the eleventh episode of this season.

This episode’s arc for Jonas was him proving himself as a member of SG-1.  The main plot turned out to be rescuing Thor (again) as well as surviving the mothership’s crash themselves.  Davis’ actor Colin Cunningham had a ‘free week’ so he offered himself up for the role and got it as it was originally a second scientist.  What this means is that Davis got a larger role than he usually does.  The commentary reveals that the ‘fan name’ of Paul as his first name will be made canon in the near future.  Gary Jones is faux-grumpy about the confusion over his name.

Once again, the commentary notes how great Amanda Tapping does “technobabble” (the actual term they use) as well as how she learns what it means for the episode.  And I appreciate how the show continually highlights what an affectionate, mutually respectful father-daughter relationship the Carters have.

The opening credits’ imagery has been altered again (Richard, Amanda, Christopher, Corin, and Don in that order).  I feel like the show has too many characters whose names start with J: Jack, Jacob, Janet, and Jonas.  It just strikes me as odd, is all.

The director’s featurette shows Peter’s office- there’s a SG-1 poster as well as one for The Phantom Menace as well as lots of concept art.  There’s also a mannequin wearing the costume worn by the Jaffa woman who held the queen-symbiote back in the pilot.  Among the neat behind-the-scenes details was plenty of footage of the water tank used for the flooding scenes.  It turns out that when the water is ‘rising’ the three-walled plastic set was actually sinking.  Plus, a spinning camera was used for the barrel roll footage.  Richard Dean Anderson is still recovering from his knee surgery, poor guy.

Even without Daniel, I’ve been enjoying this season greatly.  Of course, two of the episodes so far have included Doctor Meredith Rodney McKay, so maybe I’m biased.  But things are moving on great in terms of plot, characterization, humor, heart, and action.

 

Next time on Stargate SG-1: Time to return to Antarctica!

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