SG6-19: The Changeling

Teal’c undergoes quite a lot of stress, but Daniel’s there to lend a hand.

Last time on Stargate SG-1: The team got tricked by a trio of criminals, but wised up in time to stop their plan.

 

Okay, this post will be more analyzation than review, simply because a lot of the episode is mind-screwy.  In a good way, but it’d be complicated to explain.  In the end, very little of the episode is actually occurring, similar to “Forever in a Day” and “Absolute Power”.  There’s a clip of dozens of dead Jaffa by a lake, as there was an ambush on the rebel Jaffa, with Teal’c sharing his symbiote with the injured Bra’tac.  The tail end is also real, with Teal’c and Bra’tac being brought back to SGC in hopes of saving them.  In the end, Jacob/Selmak shows up with modified tretonin to test on them, as the Tok’ra have been working on a way to end the Jaffa’s dependence on larval symbiotes since learning about the compound in “Cure”.

The commentary is with director Martin Wood and Christopher Judge, who wrote this episode as well as starring as Teal’c.  It turns out this is the first time Judge has seen the completed episode.  It’s not discussed much, but Brad Wright essentially polished up the story to turn it into a teleplay.

There’s one dream of Teal’c being at SGC with his teammates.  Janet gets involved both in the dream and reality due to Teal’c being off-kilter.

In the other dream, “T” is a human firefighter.  Sam is a captain, Jack is the chief, Jonas is a probie, Bra’tac is a paternal figure, Siler is a fellow firefighter, and Walter makes an auditory cameo as the radio dispatcher.  I think they’re in the city of Coquitlam, which my spell-check actually recognizes as a word.  Hammond only shows up in the SGC-dream and reality, which is odd.

Sho’nac from “Crossroads” shows up as Shauna, T’s significant other.  I’m not sure if the show simply didn’t want to recast Drey’auc again or if Teal’c genuinely loves/loved Sho’nac more.  This means that Rya’c doesn’t seem to exist in T’s life.  The commentary doesn’t note why that decision was made or at even acknowledge Rya’c’s existence that I caught.  Maybe the episode wanted to focus on Teal’c being a son to Bra’tac (Brae in the ‘human’ dream) instead of being a father himself.  That, and it’d be expanding the cast and things could have gotten unwieldy.

Apophis makes a few cameos- evidently Teal’c still has a strong fear of his former god returning.  Understandable, given how many times Apophis did return from apparent death.  A couple of scenes show that Bra’tac might be more accepting of his impending death than Teal’c is.

Daniel shows up as a hospital psychologist to help out Teal’c, which is a great treat.  The fact that T only vaguely recognizes the brunet clarifies that Teal’c is deep in his dreams.  In both reality and the firefighter dream, it’s stressed that Jonas felt welcomed by Teal’c onto the team.  However, it seems that Teal’c himself partially sees Jonas as a ‘newbie’ still opposed to a full-fledged team member.  Then again, Teal’c, Jack, and Sam have been working together for six years while Jonas has been around for only one.

It was a very complicated episode in terms of keeping track of what’s going on yet greatly enjoyable in figuring things out and as a ride in general, like a mini-version of the show as a whole.   Furthermore, this episode gives an in-depth look at Teal’c’s subconscious as well as containing the return of the tretonin and how it can be used for good.  Sadly, the Jaffa rebellion has received another blow, the consequences of which were briefly seen on-screen.  Over a hundred Jaffa were killed and their symbiotes taken.  It’s not clarified how Teal’c and Bra’tac survived- the former would claim skill, the latter luck as well.  But the how isn’t the important, it’s the consequences of their survival.

Daniel refuses to leave behind his teammates even after having Ascended, having learned Jack’s belief in not leaving people behind.  He stayed close by Teal’c, if not always in his head, until Teal’c was recovering in the SGC infirmary due to the tretonin.  I’m guessing that Bra’tac is in a different room for his recovery.  I can only presume that ‘Junior’ ended up dead due to the exertion of keeping two heavily wounded Jaffa alive for three days.

Poor Teal’c has a mini-breakdown when he can’t tell which dream is real.  Shauna does her best to reassure him that this life is the real one.  It’s a bit tragic, as it shows that Teal’c does want to have had that happy life with her.  Even the commentary seems to have forgotten about Drey’auc.  I can only guess that this confirms that Teal’c only really appreciated her as Rya’c’s mother instead of loving her for her.  That makes the whole mess in “Family” all the weirder and more aggravating.

19Teal'c&Daniel

Daniel is the one to put the idea that both dreams are false into Teal’c’s head and calls him by that name.  It’s also gradually revealed that Daniel is actually there as his Ascended self, not just another figment of the dream.  Michael Shanks was rather handsome here, too.  He always has been attractive, but maybe I’m less accustomed to seeing Daniel due to his infrequent appearances in this season.

This was a very Teal’c-centric episode.  Bra’tac, Janet, and Daniel were key supporting characters.  Janet is the one to bring up in reality a reminder to Jonas how Jaffa see their lives flash before them if they go too long without their symbiotes, which was seen in “Threshold” and makes me wonder what Bra’tac has been seeing all this time.  Jonas, Sam, Jack, Sho’nac/Shauna, and Jacob/Selmak were also present to move the story forward.  Honestly, this would be an awful episode to watch as a first-timer, but it makes perfect sense after the past six seasons.

Evidently Judge wanted to get rid of the symbiote, achieving that via this episode, and wants to grow hair (I know that will happen at some point in the future).  Going by what’s said, it might be in season seven.

Daniel shows up for the final scene to reassure his friend that everything will be fine.  It’s interesting- particularly given what’s later learned about the Ancients- how Daniel has been in neutral brown and beige hues throughout his appearances in this episode.

At this point, Daniel has had to support both Jack and Teal’c while they’re stranded and in need of rescue.  I’m assuming that Sam hasn’t and won’t be needing that as she’s usually the one involved in rescuing her teammates, not the one being rescued.  Which is a nice inversion of the ‘damsel in distress’ trope, to be frank.

 

Next time on Stargate SG-1: Time for another first encounter with another world!

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