The team returns to Kelowna to attempt negotiations.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: Daniel sneakily helped out Jack when the other man had been captured by Baal.
I’m posting this a day earlier simply because this date was explicitly given in the director’s featurette as one of the days they were filming this episode (albeit in 2002). There’s no way I was going to ignore such fortuitous timing. So… happy fifteenth anniversary to “Shadow Play”, basically, even if it actually aired in July 2002.
Back in Contact
The iris is closed and there are soldiers at the ready in the Gate Room. Over in the control room, Walter reports that an audio message is coming through the wormhole. Once it’s on a wavelength they can hear, it turns out to be Commander Hale of Kelowna trying to get a response from Earth as they want to reopen trade negotiations. Jonas recognizes the name but he’s been promoted since he last saw him.
SG-1 and Hammond is later discussing this in the briefing room. Jack is understandably resistant to the idea, given the events of “Meridian”. Sam points out that they do need naquadria and that their one setback shouldn’t permanently stop them from research.
There’s a leafy space in Jonas’ study, including a pineapple as pointed out by Peter DeLuise in the commentary. I didn’t realize that Stargate SG-1 was doing that before Psych. Teal’c comes by to alert the other guy that the Kelownan representatives will be soon arriving. He’s empathic to Jonas’ stress about being viewed as a traitor and opens up about what happened to him after his own big decision as well as how things have improved for him since, doing his best to reassure his teammate.
A trio (two men and a woman, all white) comes through the Gate and Hammond introduces himself. They are Commander Hale, Ambassador Dreylock (the lady), and Doctor Kieran. When Hammond introduces SG-1 to them, Jonas greets the ‘professor’ but is ignored. After Hammond leaves with the visitors, Jack checks in on Jonas. The younger man reveals how he and Kieran worked together for six years and were teacher-student at the university before that.
Everybody gathers in the briefing room, where Jack and Hale rub each other the wrong way. Dreylock does an info dump about how Kelowna, Tirania, and the Andari Federation are the three major powers on their planet which have had an uneasy peace for several years now. However, the other two powers are about to sign a non-aggression pact with each other, a move that the Kelownans view as a prelude to the other nations attacking them.
Thanks to a recent dig, Kelowna now has a surplus of naquadria that they’re willing to exchange for military technology. Jack is antsy. Sam clarifies that SGC is hesitant to do so, briefly outlining what went down in “The Other Side”. Dreylock wants to protect her nation. Hammond expresses reluctance to interfere in another planet’s war. SGC feels there’s a difference between this one and fighting the Goa’uld.
Maybe it’s due to it being an intra-planet affair opposed to an inter-planet one? Furthermore, the Goa’uld manipulate situations to ensure that they have the upper hand technologically over their subjects. It’s presumed that these three nations are roughly equal in power and therefore SGC would be giving the Kelownans an unfair technological advantage (although the Kelownans would see if as evening the odds as they’re outnumbered).
The mention of the trio being the major powers makes me wonder how many minor powers there are and how they feel about the constant in-fighting. Has Kelowna even considered turning to them as allies or do the other nations just stay out of the way when the ‘big kids’ start resume fighting?
The Kelownans pull their trump card- they’ve had the scientists create a naquadria bomb and have tested one. They’re willing to use it (them?) as a last resort if they can’t obtain aid from Earth. SG-1 is silently grumpy, unable to argue further. Jack and Sam are probably flash-backing to how WWII ended, which Teal’c and Jonas probably know about by now and thus might be doing the same. Hammond certainly must be.
Down in a lab (maybe Sam’s), the quartet discusses the situation. Jonas is worried about his homeland, clarifying that the last major conflict was twenty years ago. Generations of various insults/feuding regularly build up into outright war.
March of the Resistance
Jack goes to Hammond’s office to chat at the general’s off-screen request/call. The colonel doesn’t want to get involved because he’s afraid that the Kelownans won’t stop at defending themselves with whatever technology they receive. Hammond notes, “You sound like Doctor Jackson.”
“We spent some time together,” Jack acknowledges.
The general suspects that Jack is also influenced by his personal dislike for the Kelownans… which was induced by what happened with Daniel (not just his fatal radiation poisoning, but their effort to accuse him of causing the incident in the first place). The alarm blares; once Walter reports that it’s from Kelowna the iris is opened.
Doctor Kieran enters the Gate room alone, as Dreylock and Hale are in another meeting due to the non-aggression pact having been signed. The older man wishes to speak with Jonas.
Jonas is reading in his study when Kieran arrives, with initial emphasis on his aquarium and the fish within. Awkwardly Jonas clears a chair for his old mentor. He perks up when he gets to talk about traveling to other worlds. Kieran sees himself as a realist and Jonas as a dreamer. Jonas wants the three nations to unite so that Earth can properly share its technology with his home planet.
Uh… what about the minor powers? Are there any? Surely there must be- otherwise the trio would be called ‘the powers’ and not ‘the major powers’. Maybe the minor powers are variously aligned with one of the big three? Shutting the study door, Kieran reveals that he has similar sentiments. There is apparently “the resistance” whose goal is to prevent the world’s leaders from destroying the planet.
I look this episode is from over a decade before The Force Awakens, but it’s still humorous to me. Jonas is concerned that sounds like a coup and that they’re doomed. Kieran claims that civilians in all three nations are fed up with “this never-ending conflict” but the leaders aren’t listening to the populace’s mood. Since seeing the naquadria bomb test, Kieran has been having nightmares and doesn’t want it to be used for real.
Later, Jonas has told his teammates and Hammond about this conversation off-screen so they can discuss it amongst themselves in the briefing room. Hammond gives the team their orders for going to Kelowna. Doctor Kieran is waiting for them in the Gate room, where he reassures Jonas that not everybody sees him as a traitor. This doesn’t change the fact that if Jonas stays on Kelowna past the negotiations he’ll be arrested for treason.
After an establishing shot of the city (which I half-suspect is reused footage from “Meridian”), there’s a large meeting room. The director’s featurette reveals that this space was also the police station in “Nightwalkers”. At the large wooden table are Ambassador Dreylock and First Minister Vallis, the latter recognizing Jonas and is rather friendly to him, particularly given the circumstances of Jonas’ departure.
SG-1 takes their seats on the other side of the table. Jack is… Jack, so Sam has to take point in negotiating and checking on data. It turns out that archeologists have found shafts containing more naquadria- three hundred pounds of it. Sam expresses concern about how it’s housed (because, ya know, it’s uber-dangerous) but the Kelownans are certain they have things under control.
A curt Teal’c gets to the point about what the Kelownans want. It’s admitted that Kelowna has less air power than its enemies and therefore they want to change that. SG-1 counters with offering antibiotics that will save lives (because this planet is roughly 1940s in terms of tech, if the atom bomb parallel hadn’t clued you in, as the commentary confirms). Vallis feels that there are “more pressing needs” at the moment than that.
Later, SG-1 and Kieran chat in the latter’s study (I think). Sam has just finished clearing it for bugs as the scene opens. Kieran admits that he gets contacted by the resistance, not the other way around. There’s a heavily guarded warehouse as their headquarters, where Kieran isn’t even allowed unless he has a scheduled drop. SG-1 quickly gets him to cave into talking to them.
That night, Kieran goes over to the warehouse where multiple people are preparing. He speaks with one of the leaders about the Earthlings and how he trusts Jonas at least.
In the now-darkened meeting room, Jonas is brought before the First Minister. The guards leave them alone. Jonas sits down near Vallis, who’s upset about Jonas representing another planet but gets that Jonas thinks he did the right thing. Jonas knows he did. Disappointed in Jonas, Vallis changes the subject to how he doesn’t want Kelowna to be destroyed.
“Two hundred years of prejudice” is brought up, making me wonder what exactly was the instigating event- or was it simply more of the little things building up into one giant issue like later on? Vallis is afraid that the other nations are determined to wipe out Kelowna and wants Jonas “to serve [his] country”.
Jonas doesn’t want to betray his friends by getting Earth technology for Kelowna. But that’s not what Vallis wants Jonas to do- instead, he reveals that Kieran has grown “erratic” since Jonas’ departure. Again, Jonas doesn’t want to spy on his mentor. Vallis is persuasive, but is under the impression that Jonas wants to “come home” and have things go back to how they were. He understandably doesn’t realize just how much Jonas is enjoying exploring the galaxy.
A tired Kieran is doing stuff in his lab the next morning when Jonas drops by to worry about him. It turns out that the older man has been suffering headaches frequently and thus has trouble concentrating. Jonas tries to reassure him but it was at this point that I got a sense that something was wrong. I wasn’t sure what yet, just that there was another shoe waiting to drop.
In the meeting room, SG-1 is speaking with the Kelownans again. Jack is so prickly that Teal’c has to clarify why the team leader is behaving so. Sam tries to use their words against them. A lady shows up so the trio of Kelownan representatives have to step out.
A grumpy Jack checks with Jonas about Kieran, the younger man saying that he hasn’t seen him today. The trio returns with the reveal that Tieranians are amassing at a border. Sam offers to have Earth as a diplomatic third-party and doesn’t see the issue with the other nations learning about the Stargate. Evidently she’s forgotten about what happened in “New Ground”. Awkwardly the trio admits that Kelownan civilians don’t know about the Gate, either.
Jonas’ idealistic argument to do that too gets countered by Vallis pointing out if it was that easy, then the Stargate would be public knowledge on Earth.
Kieran is frazzled in his study when Jonas knocks on the door. Letting him and his teammates in, Kieran reveals that Tomis Leed, a fellow resistance member, has been suddenly transferred. Doctor Silas was similarly transferred a month ago… which means no one knows where he (now they) went and their belongings are gone too. Kieran is afraid that the government is moving in on the resistance.
It turns out this building can’t be taken over by the resistance due to how heavily guarded it is thanks to the Stargate’s presence, but Kieran believes that SGC personnel could. Jack gets snagged into getting involved by Kieran revealing that he’s made a stockpile of naquadria to offer SGC in exchange for their help. He wants to set up a meeting for SG-1 to meet with the resistance.
Walking down an alley, Kieran gets dragged off by an odd-sounding Jonas. A soldier finds them, Jonas shooting back as the duo makes their escape. Jonas’ gun butt glows red, giving it away as an intar. It makes sense that Jonas wouldn’t want to fatally injure any of his fellow people. However, the commentary notes that it’s shooting bullets instead of stunning beams as a clue as to what is ‘really’ going on. The soldier shoots at them and Kieran ends up falling down from a fire escape with a thud.
Doctor Kieran is in an isolation chamber. In the adjoining room, Janet reports on his condition to Hammond as they gaze down at him through the glass wall. According to the Kelownans, Doctor Kieran was found in a deserted street with a broken bone and head trauma. They agreed to send him over to Earth due to the more advanced medical facilities.
Hammond then speaks with SG-1 in the briefing room. Jonas points out how bad it’d end for the planet if SGC backs out now. Sam has an idea how to find the resistance- by following the naquadria’s radioactive signature. She, Jack, and Teal’c go to where Kieran was found.
Jonas is there by him when Doctor Kieran wakes up. Kieran is stressed out but Jonas has a plan. The doctor is miserable about what he and the other scientists’ pursuit of knowledge led to. Jonas reassures him, “It’s not your fault.”
Janet shows Kieran’s PET scans to Hammond. Evidently, they match up with signs of advanced schizophrenia, but it’s basically impossible that nobody noticed over the past twenty years and it’s rare to set in over the age of thirty-five. A concerned Janet points out that Kieran has been having hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
There’s a brief clip of Kieran speaking to Jonas… and the security monitor doesn’t show Jonas being there.
First Minister Vallis and Commander Hale are in the meeting room when Jonas shows up, flanked by guards, to speak with him.
The trio finds an abandoned warehouse to Jack’s confusion. Sam locates the naquadria in a chest.
Jonas doesn’t want the naquadria bomb used, especially after seeing the destructive power of the Goa’uld during the “Redemption” two-parter and presumably off-screen in “Abyss”. You can’t tell me that the rest of SG-1 didn’t show up to rescue their boss after Yu’s initial attack. Vallis dismissively points out how the Goa’uld haven’t been here for a millennium.
It’s countered that naquadria is linked to naquadah, and Jonas is afraid that the Goa’uld will end up noticing how this planet is using it given how there is naquadah in the symbiotes’ blood. Jack shows up to announce that they’re leaving. He whispers to Jonas that Carter and Teal’c have already left, and that the resistance was just in Kieran’s head.
Jonas demands to know what happened to Doctor Silas and Tomis Leed. It’s admitted that they were taken to a governmental mental facility. Until Kieran started to act oddly, the government didn’t realize that there was a genuine program but they’ve been staying quiet to keep the other scientists from panicking. Jonas is understandably miserable by this behavior.
Janet reports to SG-1 and Hammond in the briefing room. Her theory is that the naquadria being researched wasn’t properly shielded, which would tie back to how easily things went pear-shaped in “Meridian”. It’s confirmed that Jonas will be fine as he didn’t have enough exposure to it.
Here on Earth they’ll make sure that they have proper shielding while dealing with naquadria. Sam sent a message to Kelowna offering help to upgrade their safety, but SGC hasn’t heard anything since Jack and Jonas’ return. It’s possible that they’re already at war. Janet can keep Kieran’s condition from worsening but the damage can’t be undone.
Showing up on the security monitor, Jonas goes to visit Kieran in his room and offer reassurance and to reveal that he’ll be going to another, better equipped facility. Kieran still believes in the resistance and its incoming victory, even seeing the leader in the adjoining room. Jonas can’t bring himself to take away Kieran’s hope.
It turns out that Jonas’ planet’s name is spelled Kelowna, not Kelona. The odd thing is that Microsoft Word recognizes the former as a word. The commentary quickly reveals it’s the same name as a British Columbia town that’s a popular retirement spot, which is probably the reason for that. The point is that at some point I’ll have to modify my “Meridian” review accordingly.
It’s admitted that this episode was partially inspired by the film A Beautiful Mind. I think I’ve seen it, or at least parts of it, but my main take-away was that an off-set romance bloomed between Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly as a result. Also, that the scene where Kieran opens up about his symptoms to Jonas is a vision according to the commentary, which does make sense in hindsight. Plus, it was foreshadowing how Leed, Silas, and Kieran were the original members of the project and thus why they were first affected- they had the most exposure.
This episode had Jonas learn that he can’t go home again- even if he wanted to. His home planet is on the brink of war and the government can be callous about its scientists’ safety. I have to wonder if there is a real resistance of some kind, because surely there are pacifists in the nations. Or are they keeping silent out of a fear of being viewed as unpatriotic?
Furthermore, he has ‘lost’ his mentor to mental illness, which is tragic. Possibly even more so is the fact that Jonas didn’t seek out any family or friends- possibly afraid of their reactions now that he’s a “traitor” or he lacks them.
The Director’s Featurette reveals how the nighttime building silhouette was done for the meeting with Vallis and Jonas, which is very cool. There’s some snark and silliness, as well as a close-up on the planetary map. I continue to greatly enjoy them.
Why is it that weird technology ‘creates’ schizophrenia in the Stargate-verse? First there were the events of “Legacy” and now this. I also wonder if the Kolownans let SG-1 take Kieran back in hopes of them finding out more about what’s going on, given Earth’s greater medical knowledge.
Peter DeLuise is interested in doing a third episode about the Goa’uld returning to Kelowna after sensing the naquadria being used there… I have my doubts it’ll be made, though, given how comparatively soon Daniel will be returning.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: It’s a lower-deck episode!