While Jack’s off-world with the Tok’ra, the rest of the team goes to a small town with a big secret.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: An Ancient was defrosted but accidentally infected them with a disease and she ended up weakening to the point of death trying to save them.
Call for Help
It’s a rainy night in an almost empty parking lot. A guy ends into a car and drives off down a road, making a phone call. Sam wakes up when the landline on her nightstand rings. She takes the call and the guys says he’s Richard Flemming and needs her help despite it being two AM. There’s a mention of Adrian Conrad. There’s a project that’s now out of control- suddenly there’s the noises of a crash on the other end to Sam’s worried confusion.
At Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Sam is leading a briefing to Hammond, Teal’c, and Jonas about Richard Flemming, who’s a genetics professor. Jonas has read one of his articles (and he has a thermos of tea). Anyway, he’s been working for Immunitech Research lately, which turns out to be owned by Zetatron Industries. When Jonas apparently doesn’t recognize the name, Hammond gives a brief info-dump on him.
Sam says that was ten months ago. Wait. The events of “48 Hours” were less than a year ago? Especially considering how there was a three-month time skip after Daniel’s death. I want to Google to see if there’s a timeline, but I’m vaguely concerned about spoilers. I don’t want to know everything that’s coming up, after all.
In any case, Immunitech Research is now based in Steveston, Oregon. Flemming has been reported missing- his car has been totaled but a body hasn’t been found. There’s a mention of the Tok’ra still looking for a new host for Kanan but clearly action has to be taken without Jack. Teal’c and Hammond exit. Sam calls out Jonas for feigning ignorance about Conrad. He admits he did so to avoid being thought of as strange. Sidestepping his query of if Jack considers him strange, Sam suggests they get lunch.
The trio, dressed in black, exits a car on a road in a small town. Both Teal’c and Sam are wearing sunglasses, but Jonas is not although he does have a handheld video camera. I’m not sure if it was deliberate, but it nicely highlights that they’re more in sync with each other than Jonas. Sam quietly tells both guys to keep an eye on the other while she speaks to the sheriff. In the office, there’s a white deputy and the African-American Sheriff Knox. Seated on opposite sides of his desk, it’s time for a chat.
A photo of severely crashed car is seen- the commentary admits that it nearly drove the property master crazy to sync them up since they got the car for the scene before the crash photo (usually it’s the other way around). Sam asks for his help, leading Knox to lean back in his chair. It’s been eight years since the last murder in the area, but Knox knows something’s fishy. Apparently Flemming’s co-workers acknowledged he’d been acting nervous lately. Despite a lack of history of it, drugs were found in his car. And his lab was destroyed in a fire the previous night.
Sam rejoins the guys (Jonas has a lollipop), saying it’s time to check out Flemming’s house. One guy watches them leave. The commentary is very relieved that they’ve stopped Corin from uncontrollably eating on-screen to showcase Jonas’ hyper-metabolism.
Apparently, research pays well, as Flemming has (well, had) a two-story house. Sam picks the lock so they can enter. They start looking around: Jonas flips through a book, Sam uses the computer, and Teal’c checks out the upper floor. Teal’c rejoins them and they haven’t found anything. In Sam’s case, that indicates a cover-up as there’s too little left on his computer. A van pulls up, Teal’c alerting the others.
A delivery lady is on the stoop; Sam signs for the package. Happily oblivious, she goes back to her van to continue her route. I guess she thinks Sam is a relative/girlfriend…? Opening up the package, Sam finds packing peanuts and a metal canister. A syringe of yellow fluid is within.
Things Get Foggy
Outside there’s a vacancy sign as a Psycho reference. Back in their hotel room, Sam brings up the idea that Flemming suffered from drug-induced paranoia. Teal’c refutes it must have been justified, as he’s missing, his lab got set on fire, and somebody went through his house before they did. It’s possible that the yellow fluid is a type of super drug based off of what Zetatron Industries wanted with the symbiote originally. Jonas is eating toast.
That night, it’s foggy and the town seems deserted. A newspaper sheet blows by. A whole crowd of people gathers in a waterside warehouse. The bearded white guy from before gives a speech about if the trio finds something they’ll have to be ‘dealt’ with.
The next morning, Sam goes to a diner where the guys already are. Jonas is enjoying a big, American breakfast, making her note that “hardened arteries” are also a thing. None of Flemming’s co-workers nor the townsfolk are talking. Jonas has picked up off of various actions that all the natives in the place have been acting half-asleep… and one guy is watching them.
Knox and Sam meet up again. The fire has been confirmed to be arson. When pressed, Sam can honestly admit she doesn’t have any helpful information on solving the case. The sheriff worriedly admits that two months ago another Immunitech employee, Peter Stofer, disappeared and hasn’t been found. There wasn’t any sign of foul play at the time, but some paperwork was gotten out of them. While there’s plenty of blacked out lines, there’s enough left to confirm that Stofer and Flemming worked together. Knox agrees to let Sam borrow the paperwork.
In the hotel room, Sam has pieced together that they were working on stem cell research. After some technobabble, the blonde theorizes it might have been cloning research. Sam figures that there must be a link to Adrian Conrad, because why else would Flemming call her?
That night, Jonas and Teal’c walk down a street, the former spooked by how quiet it’s gotten. The room at Crusty Bill’s Bar grows quiet when the duo enters. Jonas attempts to be friendly to no effect. Teal’c takes a seat and Jonas joins him. They order ginger ale when a waiter comes over. The commentary reveals that the other side of the set is the diner set.
Teal’c points out that they’re not welcome here. Jonas figures that they just have to keep being friendly as small-town people tend to mistrust outsiders, but his effort essentially backfires.
“You have much to learn about humans.”
Jonas argues that they need to spend more time off-base to do just that. They continue to discuss humanity; Teal’c admits his ultimate goal is to return to Chulak with his son. Ruefully Jonas notes that he’ll likely never return home. Some guys wander over from where they were sitting to claim that the duo’s seats are theirs. Putting down their drinks, both guys get up. Knox enters the bar, checking if there’s a problem. Jonas states the ‘issue’ before walking off. After a slight bow, Teal’c follows.
Sheriff Knox confronts the trio and warns them against blowing the operation. Yeah, I was upset and baffled by this reveal initially, since the sheriff had seemed genuinely helpful until this moment.
In the Dark of the Night
There’s a Peter DeLuise cameo as the trio has breakfast again in the diner. Janet has done some off-screen research with the sample sent to SGC, but more needs to be done. Jonas recognizes one of the guys and tries to make amends. But as far as the guy knows, he spent the previous night in bed. When Jonas rejoins his teammates, Teal’c suggests that the man had been drunk last night. Jonas refutes that he lacked any signs of a hangover. Realizing they’re being watched by a scruffy guy, the trio heads out. The commentary notes that the mailbox seen is fake, since they’re filming in Canada.
Nervously the guy crosses the street and keeps following them. Teal’c grabs him into an alley so that Sam can interrogate him. Both Teal’c and Sam are wearing sunglasses, but Jonas is not. I’m not sure if it was deliberate, but it nicely highlights that they’re more in sync with each other than Jonas. The guy shows his ID as Gerald Tobin and confesses his fear that Flemming was murdered.
Until recently, he had been a security guard at Immunitech. According to Flemming’s logic, since Tobin worked the graveyard shift he could be trusted for the request for a gun. Evidently the bad guys only come out at night.
The trio has returned to their hotel room. Teal’c backs up a tea-drinking Jonas on the guy’s identity. Jonas theorizes that there are human clones running around but Sam shoots down that idea. As she lists stuff, Jonas has an epiphany. They go to a space near the shut-down shipyard warehouse. There are recent tire tracks in the snow.
Sam picks the lock, and Jonas wants to learn how to do that. They sneak in; there’s a ship and a lab-like area. They start poking around and Sam finds a bunch of CDs. Teal’c finds a blueprint but she doesn’t recognize it. Jonas spots something through some blinds so they open the door to the adjoining room. The commentary admits that in reality the door opened up to the outside and the room seen next is entirely CGI.
Jonas whistles as they stand at the threshold. A partially built Goa’uld ship is in the larger adjacent room. Once back in their hotel room, Sam makes a phone call to Hammond while Teal’c and Jonas are at a blocky laptop. Jonas can’t read the encoded CDs so Sam wants to try. He gets up from his seat so Sam can sit before the screen.
Sam doubts the NID is involved and theorizes that there’s some kind of nocturnal alien influence going on. She wants to break the CD’s encryption. Also, I think this space might be more than a suite- it’s more of a bungalow. I’m not quite sure.
That night, Teal’c and Jonas are in the car near the warehouse. It’s glistening- with rain as the commentary confirms. Sam checks in with them over the radio as she’s still in the hotel room, slowly making progress on breaking the code.
Knox is settling in to sleep… when he suddenly wakes up and goes to his uniform to get dressed again. Jonas and Teal’c realize that multiple cars are pulling in.
As Sam breaks the code… hieroglyphs show up on the screen to her horror.
A crowd has gathered at the shipyard. Sam contacts the guys to warn them that Goa’uld are doing the building, having deduced that they must have cloned the symbiote. There’s no naquadah in these symbiotes, which is why she and Teal’c didn’t notice anything.
Teal’c and Jonas end up forced to get into a van at gunpoint.
Sam is continuing her translations when she hears cars approaching. There’s a large group nearing so Sam gets out her gun. As there’s pounding at the door, Sam gets out the syringe of fluid.
The deputy is in the back as the other guy drives the van. They want the trio out of town by daybreak- they’re Agents Cross and Singer of NID. They want to use the ship when complete to defend Earth. They didn’t cause this situation, but they are taking advantage of it. It’s explained that the symbiotes are immature so they can’t exert full control yet unless the host is sleeping. Flemming must have been injected but used drugs to stay awake.
A drugged Sam is in the office with Knox and other townspeople. They end up inserting a symbiote into her.
The quartet reaches the motel and realizes that Sam has been taken. They don’t notice the empty syringe under the furniture. Teal’c and Jonas want to rescue their teammate as the NID has a team set up in case of emergencies, the latter pointing out that the symbiotes already know something is up. Cross (the deputy) isn’t a symbiote… but Singer is and he zats the other three.
Jonas wakes up and Sam is faking possession. I added “I HOPE” in my live-blog, by the way, but I turned out to be correct since she’s a main character and thus can’t be possessed by a Goa’uld for the long term. She slaps him. Teal’c is awake but the NID agent is still out of it.
Sam opens up the cooler to insert a symbiote into the agent. The symbiotes have a plan to take over the NID, leading Jonas to get a bit snarky. Knox reveals that they initially only wanted off “this pathetic planet” but once they realized they were being watched, they changed the plan. Sam suggests they ought to get Carter’s computer since she was writing a computer report. The agents leave with the symbiote cooler.
However, she protects her teammates by revealing Teal’c to be a Jaffa and claiming that Jonas isn’t trusted by the humans (offending him) and needs to be killed. She grabs a zat to use… seemingly on him.
The NID SWAT team arrives in town as the agents grab the laptop. One group of agents finds a bunch of already unconscious people in the sheriff’s office while Jonas and Teal’c are tied up. Cross and Singer get in contact with the other agents, but Sam pulls up in a police car. The agents don’t trust her, but she claims she has data for Cross so he lets her through. The backlit scene means that there’s only rain most of the time.
The trio walks off to an isolated area where Sam initially seems to have a modified plan… but then she zats them both. The commentary confirms her actions were to confirm where the symbiotes were before acting. The blonde notes dryly, “You guys aren’t nearly as smart as you think you are.”
Back at SGC, Sam explains that the syringe’s fluid was a ‘kill-switch’ for the symbiote that Flemming had designed. It was discussed earlier how mailing it to himself enabled him to hide it from others for a few days. There’s a recap of what else happened. The townspeople believe they were inoculated against a meningitis outbreak.
After Hammond and Teal’c leave, Jonas expresses mild annoyance that she slapped him despite having regained control by that point (as the drug takes a few minutes to kick in). Claiming she had to make it “look good”, Sam suggests again that they get lunch to Jonas’ bafflement. It was Amanda Tapping’s idea to make the ‘grabbing lunch’ bit bookends of the episode. I suspect she’s trying to distract Jonas with food.
Director Peter DeLuise was half of the commentary, which automatically makes it great. I can’t even be annoyed by his second foray into horror tropes- the first having been “The Tomb”. He also helped the writers figure out the final arc as similar to the plot of the film Predator 2 where the government watching the titular character turned out badly for them (I’m going off of what he said as I’m content with my general ignorance on horror movies).
The director’s featurette was fun and somewhat informative, especially with showing how they filmed the scene where they were in the back of the van. Peter notes at the end of the commentary, “One of my great strengths is knowing what I don’t know.” While hilarious, it’s also truly a strength to be willing to acknowledge when others know more/better on a topic.
As noted by the commentary, this is the first episode without Richard Dean Anderson. This means more attention on the remaining trio of SG-1 as well as on the plot. Teal’c and Jonas got some bonding time, Sam showcased her leadership skills, and Jonas again proved his usefulness as a SG-1 member. They mostly wore black in the episode, showcasing the darker elements of the story.
At least most of the people survived this episode and it turned out that the townspeople were innocent victims of the cloned symbiotes. Flemming and Stofer didn’t, sadly. And SGC managed to show up the NID here without really trying. It would have been better to act as soon as possible to stop the symbiotes, but then again maybe Flemming hadn’t designed his ‘kill-switch’ drug yet. Maybe this was the best-case scenario.
I have to wonder… were the various symbiotes different or truly clones? Did they see each other as extensions of themselves? They probably had access to the genetic memory of the species… so do any of the space-dwelling Goa’uld know about them or not? I’m not quite sure how the genetic memory works for the symbiotes.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: Jack gets captured and tortured but Daniel pops over to help.