SG6-11: Prometheus

The SGC is backed into a corner to let a reporter, her producer, and a small camera crew onto the titular secret project.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: The team’s latest ‘first contact’ wasn’t as disastrous as in the past.

Inquisitive Reporter

Sam is walking down a sidewalk out in the city, heading to her car, when she’s approached by Julia Donovan and a cameraman.  The other blonde is an Inside Access reporter, wanting to know about the secret project called Prometheus despite Sam’s chilly reaction.  Julia has a sample of what she claims is trinium, and the experts she showed it to suspect it’s not from Earth.  Sam remains determined to not give any answers.

After the credits, Sam has reported the encounter to Hammond in his office.  Despite his efforts to reassure her, Sam’s worried that the trinium is real and there’s the fact that Julia knows the name.  Already the government has taken steps to spy on Julia.  On the one hand, that’s invasive and probably illegal.  On the other, there clearly has been some sort of leak in the SGC program that needs to be found sooner rather than later, given the sort of technology and knowledge it deals with.  In any case, it’s stated that Davis has been sent to speak with her.

It’s nighttime as a limo drives down the street, Julia talking on her cell in the back.  To her annoyance, the limo stops so that Major Paul Davis can enter, wearing his dress blues.  The ensuing conversation brings up good points on both sides- the SGC has valid reasons to keep its secrets, but Julia’s also right in that hiding is never a good long-term strategy.

Back at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Davis speaks to Hammond as the two men walk down a hallway to the latter’s office, both worried about the leak.  It’s affirmed that Julia currently thinks that Prometheus is a “fusion reactor”.  Picking up the red phone, Hammond wants to speak with the President.

Julia shows up at a meeting room to see her producer Al with Sam and Davis (both in dress blues).  It turns out that the President used his influence to shut down the story.  Al points out that Prometheus will become public eventually and therefore Julia can do an exclusive documentary on it to be released at that point.  He’s also aware that if Julia tries to ‘go foreign’ with the story she could get charged with treason.

Davis, Hammond, and SG-1 have a meeting in the briefing room on the subject.  Since they want to find the leak, they want to give Julia access in hopes of achieving that goal with the intent of destroying the footage afterwards since without it she can’t do a valid story.  Jonas is a bit worried about the double-crossing, while presumably for more pragmatic reasons Jack goes, “This is an insanely bad idea.”

However, Hammond stands firm that the decision has been made and puts Sam and Jonas in charge of guiding the tour.

The Titular Project

There’s a small red-and-white checkered building out in an arid space; Sam, Jonas, and two soldiers are standing before it.  Two SUVs pull up, Julia, Al, and the four camera crew personnel emerging.  The quartet enters the hut to take the elevator several hundred feet below the surface.  The soldiers do show up later- I guess they took the next trip down?

11Quartet

Project Prometheus is the X-303, a fairly large spacecraft.  The above screen-cap is of the quartet’s reaction to it- well, Jonas is watching the ‘newbies’.  As the tour begins, it turns out that Julia has a firm grasp on scientific knowledge.  Sam does concede that alien technology is part of the ship, but lies that it’s from a crash in Fairbanks in 1978.  She remarks quietly to Jonas that’s “better than Roswell”.  There’s a reference to the ‘little men’ being grey opposed to green.

The crew is to set up on the bridge, while Julia wants to see more.  Sam does technobabble, with Julia and Al having more questions.  The X-303 isn’t complete, with support systems still being built.  The camera crew is setting under the supervision of the two soldiers, but at least one guy has a zat which he uses on them.  The one lady (later revealed to be named Jonas) gets to work on the console.

Sam, Jonas, Al, and Julia have arrived at the engine room.  There’s some chatting, particularly about how the ship does have a hyperdrive.

While the guys drag off the unconscious soldiers, Jones is downloading data from the computer.

When there’s a beep, Sam goes to check a console to learn that there’s an error message.  She expresses her confusion to Jonas, as there’s no reason for the hyperdrive simulations to have been interrupted.  The blonde attempts to call the bridge to no avail.  Jonas suggests the comms system isn’t done either; I don’t know if he’s right or if the saboteurs just didn’t pick up the phone.  While Sam goes to the bridge, Jonas is left to keep an eye on Julia and Al.

Jones has activated a thing and wants to get the others.  Two of the three guys leave the bridge.  When they find Sam, she quickly grows suspicious of them and fights them.  The third guy shows up to try zatting her, so she runs off.

Jonas is doing stuff as a concerned Julia watches, as he’s trying to slow down the hacker.

Sam manages to hide in a supply closet, so the guys have Jones seal Sam into there.  Jonas and Jones continue their hack-off.  Sam tries to use her radio to no avail so she looks around at all the gizmos around her.

To Julia’s confusion, the guys show up with zats and guns.  Jones contacts them about Jonas’ sabotage.  Al quickly realizes the issue and gets out the crystal Jonas had hidden to Julia’s frustration.  Searching through the odds and ends, Sam finds a screwdriver to use.

Jones gets back to work.  Julia is confused and Jonas is grumpy.  It turns out that the quartet is deliberately trying to create an overload via the hyperdrive generators.  If their demands aren’t met, they’ll explode the X-303, which would take out most of Nevada.

A Hostage Situation

Lots of soldiers have arrived near the aboveground building.  Arriving in a silver SUV (I think), Jack shows up to yell, “Major Davis!  What the hell happened?!”

Davis explains the situation in brief.

“I don’t believe it.  I do not believe this.”

Davis explains some more.

“This is supposedly the most secure facility on the face of the planet.”

“We think it was the camera crew, sir,” Davis reveals.

“Did anyone bother with a background check?!”

“Yes, sir, and they were clean,” Davis refutes firmly.  At least one member was a decorated Marine.  Clearly this was a long-term plan.  An African-American female soldier alerts the guys.  The quartet’s demands are to either gain Adrian Conrad and Colonel Frank Simmons or they’ll blow up the ship.  Jack is silently cranky.

Sam is doing techy stuff to try creating a radio in order to contact somebody.

Davis is on the phone with somebody while the others are doing stuff.  One lady soldier gets a signal on a different frequency- it’s Sam.  Jack gets in touch with her to learn the situation and get answers.  It’s strongly suspected that this is a rogue NID plot.  They come up with an idea even if they’re unsure if it’ll work.

Julia and Jones are sitting on the ground.  It turns out that Al was in on the plot, his betrayal upsetting Julia.  Jonas is annoyed at them.  Evidently if the quartet can’t leave via the X-303, they won’t mind dying.

There’s a black van driving along.  Frank Simmons, Davis, and some soldiers are in the back.  Davis explains the situation.  The other man claims that he wanted Conrad in NID’s custody over SGC’s; I suspect his why is more about obtaining power rather protecting Earth and other planets.  Davis is prickly, but Simmons is more focused on boarding the X-303 in better clothes.

The three guys are chatting about how critical the right settings are to taking off and they need them from Jonas.  A gun gets pointed at them.  When Al tries to protect them as he thought violence wasn’t part of the plan, he gets himself killed.  I’m not terribly sad, given how he must have known at some prior point that the plan involved threatening to explode most of Nevada.  Julia is horrified, and Jonas caves in to do the new settings.  The main guy threatens to kill them both if the engines don’t start.

Above ground, Teal’c has arrived at the tent, having been one of the escorts for the possessed Adrian Conrad off-screen.  It’s time for them to send in the prisoners.

Back in her supply closet, Sam is using the plasma cutter to reach the adjoining level to enact the plan.  Jonas has done the adjusting but remains incredulous that they’ll get anywhere since the hyperdrive generators aren’t finished yet.  The possessed Adrian Conrad shows up to fix that issue.

Frank Simmons shows up on the bridge with Jones, and it’s time to go.  The docking clamps are released.

The lady soldier alerts the guys to the situation, making Teal’c and Davis vocalise their fear about Sam failing or dying.  Jack is silently worried.

Simmons speaks to Davis over the radio- ‘politely’ requesting for the roof’s removal at first, but quickly shifting to threats.

Sam manages to get into a hallway.

Back at the tent, they retract the roof so the X-303 starts to move up.  Jack, Teal’c, and Davis emerge from the tent to watch the spacecraft rise up in a piece of fairly impressive CGI.  As the ship heads into the atmosphere, the hallway where Sam is starts to depressurize.  Getting to a small space containing a ladder, she shuts the door behind her to make it quiet and safe.

Everybody’s worried back at the tent, particularly as none of the X-302s are ready to fly.  Jack realizes that they have the death glider from Anubis’ ship from the events of “Descent”.  Davis shouts instructions after Jack and Teal’c as they dash off.

Beyond Earth

Julia wants answers about whether or not Adrian is an alien, given what a tight spot they’re in.  Jonas is blasé, as he’s been in tighter spots.  Hmm.  I wonder which situation Jonas would say was his tightest one.  Frank Simmons shows up to greet Julia and Jonas.  The blonde gets briefly distracted by the revelation that Jonas is an alien too.  Jonas wants to know where the ship is going.  Simmons will work with Conrad as long as it’s in their mutual interests, and is prepared for the inevitable double-cross but thinks he’ll win.  Dismissive towards Sam, Simmons believes that she’s dead.

But Sam is crawling through a spacious vent and finds a control panel.

The death glider sneaks below the X-303 in order to dock without alerting those on-board.  Meanwhile, Sam continues to do techy stuff.  Jones is doing stuff on the bridge while the guys are nearby.  After some beeping, Jones realizes that the sublight engines are off so she’s lost control.  Evidently a circuit has been cut.  Simmons realizes that it’s Carter and tells the guys to go after her, telling one guy to leave behind his gun.

Simmons contacts the possessed Conrad, who’s scornful of the humans’ “crude” machinery.  This leads Simmons to scoff, “Spare me the supervillain riff.  We’re on the clock here.”

Sam beats up one guy but then the other two show up.  The blonde is clearly worried but then all three get zatted by Jack and Teal’c.

Adrian gives the go-ahead so Simmons wants to leave now.  It turns out that Conrad gave the NID the coordinates they’ll be using.

Jack, Teal’c, and Sam are in a hallway when they hear the hyperdrive generator turn on.  Julia did too, and Jonas explains what it was.  The blonde frets, “That’s bad, isn’t it?”

The lady soldier reports to Davis, who’s silently worried.

The X-303 is travelling via hyperdrive while Jack, Teal’c, and Sam are sneaking around.  The systems have been reprogrammed so Sam doesn’t have the access codes anymore.

Simmons is failing to radio the three guys and decides to leave with the gun.  But then the possessed Adrian tackles him and slaps aside Jones.  The Goa’uld tries to choke Simmons, but the man repeatedly shoots him.  I suppose Simmons was aware of this possibility and that’s why he had the guy leave behind the gun.

The trio arrives on the bridge.  Teal’c takes Jones’ pulse and confirms she’s alive.  According to Jack, Conrad is “toast”.  As Jones wakes back up, Teal’c gets her to say where the hostages are.  Carter is told to stay on the bridge by Jack, both worried about where Simmons could be.  The guys still leave for the supply room, but are soon attacked by the now-possessed Simmons, who quickly gets the upper hand.

The Goa’uld really wants the Shol’va dead (that word isn’t used here, but the implications are clear).  As the ship exits hyperspace, Jack manages to hit some buttons to cause the hallway to start depressurizing.  Simmons gets sucked out into space.  Hitting the buttons again, Jack manages to get things back to normal before he and Teal’c could get sucked out as well.

Getting up, Teal’c is surprisingly serene.  Jack pats him (on the bicep, I think) reassuringly.

Almost everybody has gathered on the bridge.  Jones wants to know where her team is, and evidently SG-1 doesn’t know where they went (that’s… concerning).  The brunette gives an explanation on where and why they wanted to go (and further clarification on what info the possessed Conrad gave them).  Sam isn’t sure where they are since they left hyperspace prematurely due to the naquadria’s instability (again, oops).  Without knowing that, she doesn’t know how to get back to Earth.

Julia expresses her worry and nobody has an answer for her.

Jonas is walking along and reveals that the two soldiers are off checking the food supply as he returns to the bridge.  Sam is trying to figure out the answer.  There’s a noise and another spaceship emerges from hyperspace, SG-1 recognizing it as Asgardian.

In his chair, Thor teleports onto the bridge.  Jack is pleased by his friend’s “nice timing” and there’s a bit of banter.  It turns out that the Asgard keep an eye out on Earth’s hyperspace activity (huh- I wonder what they made of “Redemption, Part 2” then).  However, right now the Asgard need SG-1’s help due to the Replicators having overrun their home world.

Conclusion

Originally this episode aired in August 2002, with the next airing that December.  Therefore, you guys can wait a week.  It’s hard to believe that I’m already halfway through season six, meaning that there are only thirty-three episodes left before I can start watching Stargate Atlantis.  That means RODNEY!  … And friends.

For the record, it was tricky keeping Jonas and Jones straight.  This is why characters’ names ought to be varied.  That’s not bringing in the fact that Julia is yet another J-name.

Early on in the commentary, there’s a quick explanation on who Prometheus was in mythology and therefore why that name was chosen for Earth’s first spacecraft (basically, his gifts granted humanity a higher level of civilization).  Later on, there’s some squee over Amanda Tapping’s various virtues, which is adorable.  There’s also an acknowledgement that Sam’s antics are rather MacGyver-y.

The director’s featurette is once again, fairly laidback and a bit silly.  The only two remaining are for “Metamorphosis” and season finale “Full Circle” further highlighting how the crew had run out of ideas and/or energy for them.

Technically Michael Shanks returns, as he voices Thor.  This was the last showing for John de Lancie as Colonel Frank Simmons as well as Bill Marchant as Adrian Conrad.  The NID returns to be a sly foe for the SGC.  It’s starting to look like the NID (or at least its rogue faction) is starting to forget why they wanted advanced technology and weaponry- to defend Earth, not threatening to damage it if they get some.

I do wish there’re been a more in-depth look at the ethics used by both the SGC and Julia.  Clearly the leak must have been Al or a ‘friend’ of his for Julia to learn the information she did.  It’s very likely she sees herself as a heroic whistleblower on the government’s secrecy, despite the risks as somebody did kill off reporter Armin Selig who got too close to learning what the SGC was back in season two’s “Secrets”.  It was probably the NID then too.

Maybe Julia will get involved in fighting the Replicators.  I don’t have high hopes that both Julia and Jones will survive the next episode, but I will appreciate that this episode showcased THREE women with scientific know-how as well as a background WOC soldier.  And it was nice that Davis got a first name and a larger role than usual- possibly he’s the go-to diplomatic option for Hammond now that Daniel isn’t available.

Now I’m wondering what Maybourne was up to and if he had any inkling of this scheme.

Next time on Stargate SG-1: Mistakes are made in the fight against the Replicators.

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