Jaffa, Tauri, and Tok’ra must unite to stop an implacable and invisible threat.
Last time on Stargate SG-1: A pair of scientists were critical in saving the day.
Off-world, there’s a mix of SGC personnel and Jaffa. I won’t lie, when I spotted Janet I initially panicked before remembering that no, she dies in the two-parter “Heroes”, so she’ll be fine here. Jack, Sam, Teal’c, and Bra’tac are all present as well. A pair of Tok’ra come through the wormhole with a chest. They grudgingly reveal that within is a zatarc detector. Rak’nor, last seen in “The Warrior”, is present as well. It turns out SG-12 got wiped out in the battle on the wormhole’s other side. Jacob/Selmak is among the few still there… at least until he shows up with another Tok’ra guy just before the wormhole closes.
Everybody’s still on edge, while Jacob gets a staff blast on the leg just moments beforehand. It’s clarified that Anubis attacked the Risa system where the Tok’ra had been hiding. They couldn’t retreat to SGC because Jonas and SG-2 were returning at the time.
This location is the oft-mentioned Alpha site. Two of the Tok’ra guys are Malek (white) and Ocker (black). It’s admitted that “less than a quarter” of the Tok’ra made it… and their numbers had already taken a heavy hit during “Summit” and “Last Stand”. The Alpha Site is currently a base for some Jaffa rebels while others work as spies. It’s quickly evident that there’s tension between the Jaffa and the Tok’ra. The injured Jacob/Selmak is helped along by Sam and Ocker.
A memorial service is held for three dead Tok’ra, their heads covered. Teal’c translates the words for Jack. The kawoosh of a momentary wormhole destroys the bodies as well as the upper part of the wooden platform. Sam and Jacob share a hug. The somber moment gets broken when a fight breaks out between Ocker and a blond Jaffa, whose name is later revealed to be Ar’tok.
Jack gets baffled by the cultural differences, as well as annoyed. Ar’tok thinks the Tok’ra aren’t different from the Goa’uld, slightly upsetting Teal’c. After Jack gets the crowd to scatter, he himself gets rubbed the wrong way by the arrogance of the Tok’ra but quickly backs down. Sam shows up to talk with Jack, who’s generally fed up with this whole situation but wants to try being diplomatic. Daw. Clearly Daniel’s more pacifistic approach in the past has influenced him here. Once he walks off, the others (Sam, Teal’c, Bra’tac, and Rak’nor) remain concerned.
Jacob is watching some Jaffa train in the fighting style seen in “The Warrior” elsewhere in the camp. Jack shows up, ostensibly to check on the older man’s leg (Selmak is healing it). Sitting down, Jack wants to know what’s going on. When Jacob acknowledges that the Tok’ra can be arrogant, Jack is vocal about his awareness of the drawbacks. Jacob counters how blending saved both of their lives, but admits that Kanan used Jack. Selmak was sickened when he (she?) learned what went down. However, Kanan was trying to do the right thing and Jacob is smart enough to not point out that it’s possible Kanan’s actions were influenced by the arrival of Jack’s morals.
Jack sidesteps the whole mess by admitting that he likes Jacob. It turns out that the Tok’ra have often fought Jaffa, even now since it’s Anubis’ Jaffa that were doing the fighting. Furthermore, neither rebellion is doing well.
Nearly Blowing Up
Later, in a small building, Sam does technobabble to her two teammates. Jack protests, “Carter, I haven’t had coffee.”
It’s clarified that a reactor was sabotaged to explode and she barely caught the issue in time to avert it. Jack uses his radio to have Pierce and his men guard the Gate, as he suspects whoever set up the sabotage wanted to get off-world prior to the explosion.
Using the MALP, the trio contacts Hammond and Jonas on the situation. Pierce is nearby. In the control room, Jonas wants to join them. Jack shoots down the idea as he doesn’t want any Gate travel from/to the Alpha Site for a while, planning to check back in after twenty-hour hours.
A Tok’ra delegation arrives at the Gate, wanting to depart. The trio has to explain that there’s a saboteur on the site, the location of which they want to keep secret from the Goa’uld. Jack is suspicious of the Tok’ra since there wasn’t any issue prior to their arrival. Selmak suggests they use the zatarc detector. Sam is dubious, but Selmak clarifies that it’ll pick up on any lie or deception.
The show cuts to the end of Malek’s chat, to which Selmak, Bra’tac, and Jack are present for. Ocker and Ar’tok are still prickly towards each other outside, Teal’c having to intervene before they come to blows. Back in the room, Jacob is planning things out. Bra’tac is worried that the Jaffa will find the zatarc detector dishonorable and is aware that Jack doesn’t trust the Tok’ra. Despite his trouble with having been tested via it during “Divide and Conquer”, Jack is willing to be tested again. Bra’tac wants the Jaffa to be seen as equals by the Tok’ra.
Malek calls for the colonel as he’s found Ocker’s body. Ar’tok is promptly accused of killing him, and the blond doesn’t help his case by stating he wishes he had to Malek’s anger. Janet and Sam go to do an initial investigation of the body. Ar’tok… oh. His name is an anagram of Tok’ra. That’s actually kind of clever. Ahem. Ar’tok doesn’t want to be screened so Bra’tac gets him to calm down. Jack wants Sam to supersize and stresses to Janet that she needs to learn the cause of death.
Going over to Bra’tac and Jacob/Selmak, Jacob tells them that their influence over the two groups will be critical to keep things from getting worse. The older men nod. Malek, Jack, and Jacob/Selmak are present for the screening. The blond insists that he didn’t kill Ocker but there’s a red glow. Bra’tac is uneasy, as are the others. Jack and Sam know first-hand that the zatarc detector is fallible. Malek is upset and won’t trust the word of a Jaffa. They want to wait for the autopsy, Jack and Bra’tac unwilling to immediately judge the blond. Malek points out how hard it is to lose yet another Tok’ra, particularly in a space that was supposed to be safe.
In another building, Janet gives a speech on the cause of death to the group. Teal’c and Bra’tac point out that vengeance is done face-to-face by the Jaffa. Malek is skeptical, but then the alarm blares. Ar’tok is dead in his cell when the group arrives. Jack pulls his lips in, aware that things just got even more complicated.
Sam and Janet look over the body; this time it was a frontal attack by a blade. The guards outside didn’t hear anything and the cell door is locked so Sam suggests it was through the bars. It’s suggested that Ar’tok didn’t fear his killer and thus the lack of defensive wounds.
As they cross the campsite, Rak’nor is upset by his fellow Jaffa’s death and mistrusts the Tok’ra. A standoff occurs between the two groups. Jack, clearly feigning bemusement, tries to defuse the situation. Bra’tac calls for Teal’c and O’Neill; the latter has to ‘nudge’ his teammate into accompanying him. The elder Jaffa has found footprints of a fleeing person.
Malek wants to know if it’s a Tok’ra or a Jaffa, but Bra’tac isn’t that good. The weapons power down on both sides and Jack wants to do a headcount. Cutting to after that, Jack reports that everybody has been accounted for and therefore someone or something is trying to turn the groups on each other. He wants to search the surrounding area for the intruder with people in groups of three- a Tauri, a Tok’ra, and a Jaffa.
Triple Trouble (Part 2)
The various trios head into the mossy woods. Teal’c, Pierce, and their Tok’ra guy find a dead trio so Teal’c radios Jack about the situation. Sam and her two companions are nearby. Teal’c can tell that they were killed separately and dragged to their current location.
Jack and Bra’tac hear something rustling in the bushes so the former radios Sam about going over to Teal’c; the blonde is with her dad and Rak’nor. It was at this point that it hit me that Rya’c isn’t present- I can only guess he’s off-world on a mission at this time.
There’s briefly a weird POV that reminds of the ‘wraith world’ in the Middle-Earth movies. Bra’tac shoves Malek out of the way and then fights the invisible being. Jack heads back over to the duo as Bra’tac fails to fend off his opponent. A bloodied up Bra’tac gets dragged off into the brush. A panicky Malek runs off, quickly found by Jack who’s behind a tree. Malek claims that Bra’tac is dead.
Later on, Teal’c is NOT happy with Malek, having his hands around the man’s throat while having him on the ground. Jack tells him to stop, so Jacob crouches down to point out that Bra’tac wouldn’t want this, to which Jack concedes is true. Teal’c releases his grip on Malek, causing the guy to gasp repeatedly. The commentary notes how it was Richard’s idea to say ‘stop’ as if he doesn’t mean it.
Malek reports how Bra’tac somehow anticipated the initial attack despite the foe being invisible. The others promptly worry that Nrrti is their foe. Jacob doubts that Nirrti would team up with Anubis, given her essentially exiled status amongst the system lords. There aren’t any TERs on site; Malek and Sam chat and come up with a plan. Jack doesn’t need to know the details, just that there’s a plan to reveal the intruder. Everybody is still on edge, particularly Teal’c.
Once back at the camp, Jack does a speech on the invisible spy. He then checks with Teal’c, who tells the other Jaffa about the ‘death’ of Bra’tac and tells them that his death will be in vain if they don’t work together to stop this enemy. A large group is to defend the Gate.
Jack and Teal’c are aware that if the enemy escapes, the Alpha Site will have to be abandoned. Others are off doing stuff. Janet gives the core group a large speech on the latest deaths. Teal’c realizes that this foe could be an ashrak. Janet recalls the events of “In the Line of Duty”, causing Teal’c to go “Indeed”.
Teal’c reports what a single ashrak once did for Apophis. Jack is aware that this ashrak has a “divide and conquer” policy for this mission, which further ties this episode into the same-titled episode. Jack is warily near the Gate, while others wait and fidget in the background.
Rak’nor misses Bra’tac, Jack agreeing. Sam is fine-tuning the gizmo. The intruder’s POV is briefly seen again, him then doing multiple attacks rapidly. Teal’c gets attacked; there’s lots of fighting seemingly to no avail. Jack alerts the medics before checking on Teal’c, as the intruder has stopped for now. Pierce reports that his GDO got stolen during the fight.
Malek wants to leave, but a curt Jack wants the Gate heavily guarded. The medics are already at work as Jack remains tense. Later on, he checks on Sam.
Rak’nor and Teal’c miss Bra’tac. Malek and Sam are doing science, while Rak’nor is now willing to fight and die side-by-side with the Tok’ra. Sam turns on the modified reactor, its energy field causing a tingling sensation. A staticky image is briefly seen, Sam getting knocked over by it. She goes to turn the reactor to full power with Malek and Jacob.
Everybody’s on edge as Jack reloads his gun. The ashrak’s POV is seen momentarily. Teal’c somehow senses the guy and goes to protect Rak’nor. Jack fires a lot before getting out a big gun, telling everybody to get down. He fires a lot to seemingly to no result.
Sam turns the reactor back on. Rak’nor seems to be okay. Now visible, the ashrak charges at Jack. Malek attacks him, but a heavily injured Bra’tac saves the day. Teal’c and Rak’nor go to help him out. Jack alerts Pierce to the good news. Malek is shocked while Sam gets back Pierce’s GDO.
Janet tends to Bra’tac, who exposits how the ashrak left him for dead but his symbiote saved him.
“Not bad,” goes Jack.
Malek acknowledges that he owes Bra’tac his life twice over and asks for forgiveness. He holds out his hand and Bra’tac clasps his forearm. Bra’tac reaches down for the oddly-shaped (or maybe just broken) blade to give a speech about how the ashrak’s plan backfired.
Anubis presumably had the ashrak sneak through the Gate with the retreating Tok’ra with the goal of turning the various factions against each other so that they cannot unite to fight him. But like Bra’tac points out at the end, what really happened is that the three factions united to take out their common enemy… which wouldn’t have happened if Anubis had just let them go. Oops.
Peter and Gary (and James the visual producer) team up for the commentary. It turns out that the crew deliberately reused most of the extras from “The Warrior” since they’d be those same Jaffa anyway. Peter acknowledges the possibility of ‘continuity lockout’ for casual viewers. Later on, Peter affirms that Ar’tok’s hostility to the Tok’ra caused the false positive. Furthermore, it’s acknowledged that in the fight against the system lords, the Jaffa are the brawn while the Tok’ra are the brains. Does that make the Tauri the heart?
There’s not a lot of substance to the director’s featurette- it was fun to watch, though. Teryl is silly and it’s stressed that this episode had a high number of extras compared to the usual one.
Rak’nor, Bra’tac, Jacob/Selmak, Janet, and Malek were the supporting cast to the main trio here. Poor Jonas (and Hammond) only got about thirty seconds of screen time. It’s probably worrying that Jonas is the nonessential member of the team, with Jack doing his best to be diplomatic. It’s not really stated in the episode proper, but Jack is the Tauri equivalent to Jacob/Selmak and Bra’tac, which is why Jack has gotten along with both in the past and why the two of them get along here.
At the end, Peter alludes to Teal’c nearly being a Zen Master as why he picked up on the ashrak’s presence. Presumably Bra’tac is one and therefore why he was better at sensing the attacker. Speaking of whom, I can only guess that the ashrak underestimated how resilient/determined Bra’tac is and therefore why he only left him for dead instead of actually killing him.
The Tauri focused on getting the two other groups getting along, since they’ve already had their episodes of becoming allies to them (“The Tok’ra” two-parter and “The Warrior”). Now the three groups can form a three-pronged rebellion against the system lords instead of each being off doing their own thing.
Next time on Stargate SG-1: More backstory on the Tok’ra is revealed.